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Monthly Archives: October 2013

First of all, happy Halloween! Recently, I’ve noticed that the radio has been playing Michael Jackson’s Thriller over and over again and it has been driving me mad for the entirety of October. I don’t particularly hate the song but I just wondered why they didn’t play alternative Halloween songs because believe it or not, there are a fair few other songs that could qualify as Halloween party appropriate. So I thought I’d share some of my favourite spooky songs.

1. Kate Bush, Wuthering Heights.

Such a spell-binding voice relating a beautiful classic story of love, passion and the eternal longing of Cathy’s wandering spirit for her Heathcliff. She wants to grab his soul away. Creepy enough for you?

2. Shakespear’s Sister, Stay

Another tragic but beautiful ballad with connotations of death and the human world’s desire to hold onto loved ones. The video is the perfect combination of weird and spooky.

3. Rihanna, Disturbia

Not exactly haunting but undeniably spine-tingling.

4. Panic! At The Disco, This Is Halloween

The Danny Elfman composed version is from the wonderful Tim Burton film The Nightmare Before Christmas, but I love this version. It’s creepy for the kids but still a wonderfully catchy song.

5. My Chemical Romance, Welcome To The Black Parade

To be fair, I could have chosen any song from this album but I went for the title track and it’s freaky video costumes.

6. Ray Parker Jr, Ghostbusters

Adding a slice of joy to any Halloween party. I dare you to put it on and not smile.

7. Meat Loaf, Bat Out Of Hell

It’s always been one of my favourite songs and although it isn’t creepy as such, bats are Halloweeny enough, right?

8. Good Charlotte, My Bloody Valentine

So, a guy loves a girl so much that he brutally murders her boyfriend to be with her. One of the creepiest stories ever told in a song, I think!

9. The Police, Every Breath You Take

Widely considered a romantic ballad, it’s quite clearly about a stalker preying on an ex of his. Anyone who thinks this is a love song has a pretty warped view of what a healthy relationship is like.

10. Bobby Boris Pickett and the Crypt Kickers, Monster Mash

I could never leave this gem of a track off of this list!

 

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CJR-logo

Southampton based Coffee Jingle Records are a small growing record label who aim to support upcoming bands in and around the south coast. The Broken Arrows who I recently interviewed are on their books as are punk band Caught In A Crossfire and metal band Ravenous amongst others. Here I chat with the label’s founder Martin Wake about what it’s really like to run a record label and the artists he loves.

Who are your favourite bands?
Alice In Chains, Manic Street Preachers, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Metallica. As I’ve got older I have found myself appreciating more genres, which has helped the label. I’ve been able to expand the range of genres currently on the label.

Where did the name Coffee Jingle Records come from?
It came from a song by the mock metal band Dethklok called Coffee Jingle and I thought it was a fun idea to name the company that as it just seemed to fit and got a good reaction from everyone I mentioned it to. There were some other names suggested but none of them really stuck and didn’t have the same effect as Coffee Jingle, so I decided to stick with that and I’m glad I did.

How did the label come about?
Its been a idea I have had for a very long time, but never thought I would be able to make it a reality, until I arrived at Southampton University. I was there that me and a friend of mine really started to finalise the idea of the record label and started setting the foundations in place, and it just all took off and long may that continue.

What kind of music does the label sign and how many bands do you currently have?
We have seven bands currently signed to our label and specialise mainly in alternative rock. Our full roster of bands can be found here 

What has been the label’s biggest achievement so far?
Too many to mention.

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
I would be a cobra -free to live life my way and for people who mean me harm to stay away. Perfect!

What would you be doing if you weren’t running Coffee Jingle Records?
Not to sure to be honest. I would probably consider going back to university to study Criminology. 

 

I was recently introduced to an upcoming rapper who goes by the name PW, which comes from his childhood nickname Peewee. He’s an 18-year-old who has received plenty of recognition already, appearing on the cover of Young Voices magazine in March and supporting Dappy at The Garage in Islington. Inspired by artists such as Chipmunk and Wretch 32, PW has been rapping since the age of 14 and his new single Here With You is a perfectly chilled fusion of hip hop and R&B. Have a look at the video!

I chose a pretty broad topic to write about this week, as I wanted to branch out a little. I feel like I’ve been answering some quite specific questions recently, so I felt it was time to explore a broader area. It’s also not something that I’m going to particularly enjoy, as it does involve recalling some bad memories.

What has been the most unpleasant experience of your life?

Many people who know me personally will know that I am twenty-two, very nearly twenty-three and yet I still can’t drive. I had my first driving lesson a week after I turned seventeen and I still haven’t passed. It will probably say a lot about me when I tell you that I passed my theory test on my first try with just one mistake. Sadly, that result is now void because it has been much longer than two years since then without me passing my practical. This means that if I ever wanted to drive, I’d have to take my theory again.

I really don’t enjoy driving because it scares me more than almost everything else. Being in control of such a dangerous machine is something that I can’t deal with and I just don’t trust myself not to make a ghastly and possibly deadly mistake. Naturally, all my family have constantly tried to reassure me that such things are unlikely to happen but I’m an anxious person and my fears often consume me to the point where I just avoid the situation completely. This is why I’ve reached my early twenties with no driving licence.

Back to the question in hand, my most unpleasant experience was my first ever driving test. It was just 45 minutes long but I can honestly say that I’ve never had a worse time. I was so nervous that I almost crashed the car at least twice, cried throughout a very difficult reverse around a corner and quite obviously got the examiner into a state of panic and dismay. The reverse around a corner manoeuvre was always my least favourite and not only did I have to perform it on my first driving test but I had to reverse up a hill first and then reverse around the corner at the top of said hill. To this day, I don’t know how I didn’t completely burn out the car’s engine.

I returned to the test centre a shaking, tearful wreck, knowing I’d failed. I felt so humiliated and stupid that I just wanted to go home. However at the same time, I didn’t want to go home and tell everyone that I’d failed. Luckily, my subsequent two driving tests weren’t as terrifying but of course, as I mentioned, both of those were also fails.

This is probably a very tame answer to this question and I’m sure many people would have a much more harrowing or heartbreaking answer but I have been very lucky in my life. I’ve never lost anyone very close to me apart from my childhood pet cat Felix, whose death was very peaceful after a long illness. Thinking about my response to this question has made me realise how fortunate I’ve been over the past twenty-three years, so in a way although it hasn’t been fun re-living that memory, it has been pretty uplifting.

goldenboysepTITLE: AAA
BAND: The Golden Boys
LABEL: Unsigned
RELEASED: September 25th 2013

The return of jazz and disco music has come with the recent rise of hipster culture and a yearning for the past when things were simpler. A lot of indie bands are incorporating sounds of the 1950s and 60s into their music with a few even going back as far as the 20s and 30s, when blasts of brass instruments got everyone up and dancing in ballrooms everywhere. The Golden Boys have taken these vintage sounds and brought them right up-to-date on their new EP AAA.

They’re a London collective of nine members who are so quirky and unique. There is a touch of Madness to their sound but with a lot more jazzy disco flair. First beginning as a four-piece in 2010, they are now a much bigger, enhanced group who bring joy and excitement to audiences everywhere. Radio 1’s Gemma Cairney has recently given them her support and their growing fanbase are no doubt behind this extrovert, theatrical troupe.

thegoldenboysAAA begins with I Survive, which kicks off with a jazzy blast and retro disco riff. Simple spoken verses intersperse with indie vocals on the chorus. The lyrics are strange and in this case a little cheesy, for example “I survive on a diet of your sweet love” is the main hook. The backing vocals offer a barbershop effect before the funky drum breakdown, a glistening piano and some final sax blasts.

In the middle is the comedic City Gent. Although it is a commentary, ultimately on the relationship between social classes in London, it’s done in a very tongue-in-cheek way. Again, the jazz element is rife and shimmering electronics give it a bit of a modern twist. The instrumentals which repeat over and over are catchy and really fit in with the monotony of a city worker’s life. The arrogance of the song’s protagonist will no doubt resonate with a lot of listeners, making The Golden Boys easy to identify with.

Ending on Wheel Of Fortune, it’s a real disco affair to go out on. A soft synth and solid beat introduce the kooky indie track. Whining riff and a sax joins a catchy bass which makes up the bulk of the instruments, which adopts the retro disco vibe. It’s another softly spoken track that really sums up what they’re all about.

The Golden Boys are a quirky band who are perhaps an acquired taste. If you can’t stand the loud braps of a saxophone or cheeky lyrics, then they really won’t be for you. However, if you need a bit of sunshine in your day, then this is the perfect EP to stick on.

balbecalbumTITLE: Two Sides To Every Story
BAND: Balbec
LABEL: Unsigned
RELEASED: September 10th 2013

Parisian indie-pop fivesome Balbec recently released their third album Two Sides To Every Story. It’s a double album split into mini-albums titled Myth Of Truth and Truth Of Myth. The quirky, captivating album was produced by Ryan Morey and Alex Mazarguil, who have worked with Arcade Fire and Gentle Republic respectively. European pop always has a certain kooky charm to it and Balbec are a band that ooze strange and wonderful sound.

The new album gets its name from a town in Normandy referenced by classic French novelist Marcel Proust in his most famous work In Search Of Lost Time. With an already cultured beginning, the album takes on an arty, intricate form that has earned it comments from music site Echoes and Dust such as:

balbec“Jaunty power indie pop, with a modern twist. A really tuneful and fresh sounding record, both hugely engaging and invigorating.”

Beginning with Echoes Of A Dead Heart, a simple drum and blues guitar track. An eerie wailing emanates from the instruments which includes a singing riff. The quirky kicks in right away with a disturbance over the instrumental and then lapsing into a funky pop guitar with a cool indie ending. It drifts into Governed By The Sun, which has a dirty vocal with a firm aggression coupled with a tricky guitar and quirky harmonies.

The dark, eerie, barely-there vocal is first introduced on Doubts. A kooky arty song with a whispering female vocal set to another bluesy guitar. It dies down before transforming unexpectedly into a mellow riff and drum beat with a melodic vocal. It’s almost like a physical changing from darkness to light. This spooky wailing vocal is something that keeps cropping up on the record with outings on the slow bluesy Crestfallen, the heavier rocky Architecture Of Faith and the quirky beautiful Dogma.

Kooky harmonies are something that this album is littered with. Latitudes and Longitudes is a combination of the soft female vocal and an angsty punk shout from the male. It’s such an unpredictable track that seems to twist and turn. This punk streak continues on In The Hay which again clashes the voices in a strange but effective way. Herd By The Horns also has a quirky harmony that accompanies another blues based style.

The indie flair is most prominent on Ready To Be King with its catchy melody and solid beat. There is also a hint of British indie on the vocals on Drastic where they’re coupled with a funky guitar and steady drum, which doles out a catchy beat. It comes through again on Helpless which has a rolling screeching riff throughout which gives way to a heavier alternative section in the middle.

Touching on a number of genres, there are even slight country hints on Crestfallen and final track Ode To Joy. The final track is the epitome of the album as it includes the eerie pop vocal, catchy toe-tapping rhythm and a quieter whispering towards the end, which culminates in fast strumming. Dramatic and the perfect round-off to the record.

Balbec do touch on so many styles and they have a very unique sound. Creative, unusual patterns in their song structures are what characterises them and they’re very playful, intriguing artists. They’re all about evoking feelings and emotions and clashing them together in ways you’ve probably not heard before.

I reviewed their latest album AM on its release last month and remarked on how different they were from two years ago. One For The Road is a dark, sexy track that stays with you a long time after you’ve finished listening. As the Arctic Monkeys have this retro suave style down to a tee these days, the video for the new single was always going to be an arty, nonsensical but rather beautiful affair. So here it is -guitarist Jamie simply driving around on a tractor and meeting up with a bunch of models at the end while his bandmates stand around looking equally smouldering. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.