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Three Albums Every Teenager Should Have

Editors Choice, Rock

20th June 2016

I don’t think anyone appreciates music as much as teenagers. Whether it be because we’re young and easily influenced, or because our angst allows us to quickly associate with down trodden rockstars’ depressing thoughts, there are three albums which I think every teenager should have in their collection to help them get through those famously difficult years.

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I don’t understand how anyone could go through their teenage years without having a copy of Green Day’s “Dookie” somewhere. Sure, some Blink-182 albums would suffice, but no one really captured teenage angst and disaffection as well as Billie Joe could in “Burnout”, “Longview” and “Basket Case”. Every time I listen to this album my favourite song changes – “Basket Case” and “When I Come Around” may have been what captured the punk rockers into mainstream success, but hidden charms on the record such as “Having a Blast”, “She”, “Sassafras Roots” and “Coming Clean” root so deep into the teenage psyche that the insanely catchy three-chord musings are hands down some of the best Green Day has ever done.

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Probably the best debut album released in the past twenty years, The Strokes’ “Is This It” is so disaffected, disjointed and powerful that it transcends being an album for teenagers and has become the basis for virtually every single indie rock band to come onto the scene since its release. However, I don’t think anyone can quite appreciate Julian Casablancas’ Lou Reed impressions as much as someone who has never heard Lou Reed. “Is This It”, “Barely Legal”, “Someday” and “Hard to Explain” not only provide the musical basis for your favourite 2000s indie band, but also lyrically encapsulate everything being a young has to offer, and what it can’t offer…why won’t you wear your new trenchcoat??

Now for the real Lou Reed. The Velvet Undergound’s Andy Warhol -produced and banana-clad infamous record may not be specifically for teenagers, or at least most teenagers who don’t like listening to two-note musings about hard drugs, but it’s basically a staple for every music lover. Reed’s famous drawlings coupled with Nico’s soft charms, overtly simplistic music and melancholy tones all join to form the phenomenal “I’m Waiting for the Man”, “Venus in Furs” and “Heroin”, some of the best pieces to come out of the late 60s. Listening to this record makes you romanticise a bunch of things you really shouldn’t (like New York brownstones), but it’s one of the most important albums ever created and Music 101 for any teenager – plus, Lou Reed was probably the first emo.

Article by Amy Eskenazi

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The 1975 Ambitiously Respond To Their First Album

Dance/Electronic, News, Pop, Rock

28th February 2016

Fitting with the long list of English groups before them that The 1975 seem to be forging their way into, the Manchester quartet have created a second album that sounds and looks like a more mature version of their first.

This does not mean that the (the arrogant and annoyling titled) ‘I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’ is a direct, boring and lacklustre copy of their debut (and better titled) ‘The 1975’. Rather, it means that what went right on their first try, such as the witty lyrics and experimental mix of electronic beats and rock synth guitar pop, is capitalised on and expanded, and what went wrong is done away with. It means that they’ve taken whatever they learnt after being thrown into fame from their debut after years in a career without any, after touring, dealing with fangirls, pop stars that “want to shag” lead singer Matty Healy, and apparent struggles with cocaine, and turned it into a sprawling, ambitious, and heavenly workable second album that both responds to the questions laid out on their first, and leaves room for The 1975 to grow into the iconoclasts that they seem to be itching to be.

Lyrically, ‘Ugh!’ is the new 1975’s response to the song that first catapulted them into success, ‘Chocolate’, making the first catchy anthem about driving around with soft drugs sound comparably tame to the singer’s electro pop tryst with cocaine. ‘A Change of Heart’ is another answer to their debut – Healy sings ‘never found love in the city’ after telling us on their debut that ‘If you wanna find love then you know where the city is’, perhaps literally making note of this response by telling us that he’s ‘just had a change of heart’. ‘She’s American’ and ‘Paris’ sounds like more tales of the women sung about in ‘She Way Out’ and ‘Settle Down’ from their debut, and ‘The Sound’ is the second album’s festival anthem answer to ‘Girls’ on the first. The link is literally evident by starting the album with a rework of the same track that did the first, ‘The 1975’, showing us from the get go that this album is similar to the first, but the jump into the powerful opener on ‘Love Me’ shows that it’s gone above and beyond what the debut made us expect.

Swapping black and white aesthetics and guitar driven pop for a rose tinted theme and Bowie-inspired riffs hasn’t answered all of Healy’s troubled questions, however. Just as he struggles with belief in God in ‘Antichrist’ on the ‘The 1975’, he continues to plead ‘I’m asking you Jesus, show yourself’ on ‘If I believe you’, contrasting these more serious tones with ‘you shouldn’t have made me atheist’, continuing the link of witty lyricism that is consistent throughout the album, making the scrawling mix of pop, jazz and 80s rock come to life in a way that is new to The 1975’s talents. Some of the record’s best tracks, ‘The Ballad of Me and My Brain’ and ‘Somebody Else’ show us deeper into Healy’s struggling psyche, while always keeping that hint of lightness to the lyrics, ‘I think I’ve gone mad, isn’t that so sad?’. Similarly, ‘Ugh!’’s upbeat tempo and sporadic mix of sound may make it seem like one of the more light-hearted songs on the album, but a closer look reveals that ‘I’m not giving it up again’ may not be as simple as he’s trying to convince us it is.

So much of the album seems unworkable – its 17 track length, variation of genre and style, and almost-too-much instrumentals, but what The 1975 have learnt from their first release has obviously paid off. It’s hard to think of what track they could have cut or where they could have simplified musically – the album’s beauty is contained within its euphoric music, coupled with layered vocals found on ‘Somebody Else’, ‘If I believe you’, and physically manifested on the album’s simplistic artwork. What is most appealing, however, is The 1975’s ability to capture the cultural climate in a way that is lyrically subtle, but visually obvious. In ‘A Change of Heart’ Healy amusingly sings ‘you took a picture of your salad and put it on the internet’, harking back to their video for single ‘Love Me’ where he mocks card board cut out celebrities. ‘Love Me’ is perhaps the album’s marking song – the most literal nod towards the Bowie influence, the characteristic mix of genres, the dazzling bass line (something they’ve thankfully carried over from songs such as ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Girls’ on their debut), and lyrics directly criticising the generation that they’re making music for. The more adept listener will question their own relationship with culture and the celebrities they worship in this internet age.

Healy struggles to find a sense of identity in a world where religion is absent, his friends are overtaken by fame, and his lovers are ‘looking through your phone and then leaving with somebody else’. It’s wholly empty, beautifully depressing and disgustingly perfect – fitting for a band that seem grappled between dichotomies of criticising the modern age and using it for their success. Each listen leaves me so fucking confused, but in the way that only great bands can.

Written by Amy Eskenazi

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Review: Hinds // Leave Me Alone

Emerging Artists, Pop, Rock

15th January 2016

The sound of the resurgence of garage and indie rock has a new face. A few new faces, in fact. The Spanish rockers Hinds have been growing momentum for the past few months through the release of low-fi tracks ‘Garden’ and ‘Chili Town’, and their debut album ‘Leave Me Alone’ is a near-perfect attempt at a bundle of messy nostalgia, a beautiful further nod towards the garage rock scene.

Hinds aren’t the only ones currently nodding in this direction, of course, but ‘Leave Me Alone’ signifies that Hinds are a little more special than the charming qualities of being all female, from Spain, and their obvious The Velvet Underground influence give them. ‘Bamboo’, originally created when Hinds were known as ‘Deers’ and only consisted of singers Carlotta Cosials and Ana García Perrote, is a hazy, acoustically inspired happy-go lucky anthem, while ‘Garden’ and ‘Castigadas en el Granero’ serve as the melodic centrepieces, rivalling with the simplistic funk of ‘Fat Calmed Kiddos’ for the quartet’s best track.

The simplicity of the songs is a highlight rather than a drawback – it continues throughout the album, creating a consistent hark back to their garage inspirations, with the added twist of Mac DeMarco style and much needed girl power. The riff of ‘Chili Town’ perfectly captures Hinds’ musical drawings, with their video encompassing their fun, laid back attitude, which is incidentally what saves the album from becoming too samey.

While the album does admittedly get a bit repetitive, the girls seem to know how to successfully combine their disjointed garage with endearing lyrics. Drinking out of cartons, smoking cigarettes like old Hollywood stars and dancing to an album called ‘Leave Me Alone’ may give Hinds a bit of a tough-girl character, but lyrics such as ‘I am flirting with this guy just to pretend I’m fine’ constitute as the girls’ lyrical equivalent to their similarly fractured, confused and emotionally charged melodies. There’s a mix of apathetic lovesick lyricism, ‘All I’m asking for is you to make a move’, and apathetic teenage musings, ‘you’re getting blinder taking drugs’, sung by voices that tend to crash into each other, rumbling over changing tempos and crackling percussion. All this is highlighted by an underlying sunny disposition, causing you to shift between all consuming thoughts of heartbreak to feeling carefree of such matters, lying on a beach somewhere in Spain. It’s messy, sure, but all good debuts are. Hinds are doing it right.

Article by Amy Eskenazi

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Opinion: Why Noel Gallagher Might Be Onto Something

Pop, Rock, Singer/Songwriter

9th November 2015

Noel Gallagher, Britain’s favourite I-Used-To-Be-Massive-Now-I-Just-Say-Shit-That-Makes-People-Angry washed up rock star (I’m a Blur fan), is Esquire’s December cover star, locked and loaded with a bunch of semi-offensive ranting that got some people from the NME and twitter really going.

Like I said, I’m a Blur fan, but aside from the fact that picking one over the other is a twenty year old phenomenon and therefore about as dead as rivalling bands themselves, I can’t deny Oasis’ major impact on the bands that followed them. I also admire the Gallagher brothers’, and particularly Noel’s, ability to truly act like real “rockstars” and take full advantage of all the sex, drugs and rock n roll that came with it, without ending up in rehab or selling their souls to the perfume-selling money-making career-crushing capitalist devil that so many wannabe rockstars do today. And this issue is where Gallagher really grabs me – I’ve not listened to his solo tries, and to be honest I’ve not gone too deep into Oasis’ albums, although I’ve loved the stuff I’ve heard on throwback-90s nights* – it’s not the first time he’s attacked modern musicians, but in his Esquire interview, he so accurately articulates what is wrong with the current musical climate.

What’s wrong is that everyone is a bit of a wimp. Gallagher hilariously told Esquire “I fucking hate whingeing rock stars…“Oh, yeah, my last selfie got 47-thousand-million likes on Instagram.” Yeah, why don’t you go fuck off and get a drug habit, you penis?’” What’s bottled up in this shameless sentence of spite from a 48 year old man with no filter is a feeling that’s been prevalent in the music industry for a while now – boredom. He continues with “fame is fucking wasted on these people. The new generation of rock stars, when have they ever said anything that made you laugh? When have they ever said anything you remember?… what I want, genuinely, is somebody with a fucking drug habit.” While drug habits are nothing to make light of, and while having one is not usually on anyone’s list for a good musician, you can see where Gallagher’s coming from. Think about your favourite current bands. Think about the last time they actually said anything truly interesting that wasn’t tweeted before being checked by their PR people to make sure it wouldn’t offend anyone. The modern musician – I hasten to call them rockstars – depend on their Instagram captions for any humorous insights, and if they say anything remotely controversial, something that you think a rockstar would be able to do, they get branded by everyone on the internet as ‘problematic’. I’m never one for the whole social-media-is-ruining-our-lives scare stories, but when it comes to bands, the internet age we live in really does make it all a bit… dead.

Take Alex Turner, who doesn’t even have a twitter. Remember the Arctic Monkeys’ 2014 Brit Awards acceptance speech when Turner dropped the microphone? The whole ‘invoice me for the microphone if you need to’ fiasco? That’s the last time I really remember a rockstar challenging the music industry and its followers, in a way that seems so beautifully unnecessary, so arrogant, so damn rock n roll. Still, Gallagher has something to say about Turner; “Alex Turner, Miles Kane, the guys from Royal Blood. They’ve got the fucking skinny jeans and the boots, and all that eyeliner. I’ve got a cat that’s more rock’n’roll than all of them put together.” I’m pretty sure none of those mentioned actually wear eyeliner, but again, Gallagher hits the nail on the head. Alex Turner isn’t actually that interesting, no matter how many leather jackets and sunglasses he has. Sure, the leather and the quiffed hair bring some sense of danger, but what’s really missing from the charts these days isn’t really anything to do with the songs, it’s the artists that are selling them. It’s true when Gallagher says “Record companies now can sell a billion Ed Sheeran downloads tomorrow morning. They don’t want someone like Ian Brown in their offices, or Liam, or Bobby Gillespie, or Richard Ashcroft, or me. They want professionals. That’s what it’s become now.” I’m not saying I want Alex Turner to get back with model Alexa Chung, develop a drug habit, and take to the streets of London at 3am scouring the floor for used needles. But, you have to admit, the Richards, the Dohertys, the Gallaghers of this world – they’re all a bit more interesting to the normal citizen; precisely because they act like real rockstars. We’re all a bit bored with Harry Styles.

Read Esquire’s article here

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Article by Amy Eskenazi

*Oasis fans, I’m joking

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Ones To Watch: Pure Youth

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Ones to Watch, Pop, Rock

1st October 2015

There’s a new London sound from indie quartet Pure Youth. Having already released Jaws-esque electro rock single ‘New November’, newer single ‘I’m Not Yours’ bares resemblance to early Wombats with softer vocals that partner a swinging ‘oh-oh-oh’ chorus that play down otherwise energetic guitars. Pure Youth’s charm seems to come from their ability to write slow build melodies that are as powerful as they are calming, while building upon influences that are clear without distracting from their own unique style. This broad range of influences is shown in ‘Wasted Days’ and ‘I Just Wanted You To Know’ which see the band adapt to an ever so slightly grungier take on their melodic guitars and conversational lyrical delivery, whose vocals tie any loose ends together.

Pure Youth play Camden Barfly on the 28th of October and The Garage, London on the 3rd of December. Check out their bandcamp and souncloud for other tour dates, and have a listen to ‘I’m Not Yours’ here.

Article by Amy Eskenazi

 

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Reading Festival 2015 Review

Events, News

9th September 2015

Reading Festival is a very strange thing. Young people from across the UK congregate on the muddy grounds of Reading like battery farmed chickens, cooped up in a cage of music, drug dealers and beer bongs.

It’s hard to believe that anyone could fully appreciate the music when everywhere you look there’s an underage girl passed out from too many shots, an eighteen year old boy grinding their teeth furiously after too much MDMA, or someone else young doing something stupid after having too much of some other dangerous substance. If one can put down the water bottle full of vodka or plastic baggy containing some sort of mysterious pill for even a minute (I know, it’s hard), the range of talent available for your sober-or-otherwise viewing pleasure last weekend was better than ever before.

The Libertines’ Sunday headlining set convinced me that, while I’ve never been a fan of their music itself (boring pop rock for old people), Pete Doherty and co (because that’s what I think of when I think of The Libertines. Sorry) can still put on a hell of a show. Music that I would never sing along to at home had me singing at the top of my lungs, newer track ‘Gunga Din’ a personal favourite live, even though I would still hesitate to download onto my phone.

Easily one of the best acts from the weekend was Jamie T. Still in his glory days, the punk poet enraptured the festival crowd with a perfect mix of old favourites and newer ballads. ‘Sticks n Stones’, while a cop out favourite, displayed perfectly the kind of feeling you want to get from a festival. Being completely sober for his entire set was one of the best decisions I made on that weekend (and I made a lot of bad ones.)

Indie kings Peace and (indie princes? Yeah) Swim Deep rivalled for the best set over on the NME stage. Swim Deep’s fantastic opener ‘To My Brother’ conjured up best crowd excitement from the weekend, and Peace’s ‘Lovesick’ continued to be a brilliant crowd pleaser. Equally, Circa Waves and Catfish and The Bottlemen put on fun, energetic shows that put them in good stead to headline the NME stage in future.

In terms of smaller bands, I was quite disappointed in Twin Peaks’ set for the sole reason that no one in the crowd really seemed to be enjoying themselves. This probably had something to do with the fact that everyone was too busy gearing up to see the surprise act, Foals, to pay any attention to the Chicago rockers. Personally, I came to the stage for Twin Peaks and left right after, so I was happy to see that the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm didn’t put them off, and that they played with as much oomph as ever before. Stones-esque ‘I Found a New Way’ enticed a few half-assed mosh pits, but fingers crossed that next year they’ll have gained the fans they deserve and the crowd will enjoy their set as much as they (and I) did.

The Bulletproof Bomb were equally impressive on the Festival Republic Stage. Electric track ‘Suitcase’ showed how well the Surrey boys’ songwriting can translate onto the festival stage, and closer ‘Five Green Bottles’ left no doubt that they’ll be moving up both in the world and on Reading staging – last year had them on BBC Introducing; who knows where they’ll be next. (Higher up on Festival Republic, probably.)

Tips for anyone going next year, or to any other festival for their first time: make sure you catch the bands mentioned above if given half a chance, don’t drink too much, and make sure you know what substance you’re taking before you take it. Trust me.

Article by Amy Eskenazi

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Review: Jerry Williams @ Barfly

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News

24th August 2015

It’s rare that a support act will produce the best performance of the evening, but Jerry Williams brought life, elegance and a refreshing sound to Victoria’s set at the Barfly. Her song ‘Boy Oh Boy’ was easily the best song of the night, with her others coming very close.

Promoting her new EP, any nerves that the singer songwriter may have had did not hinder her performance, nor the excitement created for the now released ‘Cold Beer’.

The opening song of the same name, ‘Cold Beer’, sounds just as good live as it does on track, while ‘Film Noir’ showed Jerry’s warm vocals off beautifully. Her backing band gave her performance an edge, but it’s obvious that Jerry could still survive alone as the edge was not lost when she had only her guitar for company. Still, classic bass lines and a welcome beat tied her performance together.

‘Cold Beer’ shows evidence of Jerry’s songwriting skills, and her live performance shows that that she is able to re-create the same excitement onstage as is evident in the recording. Still establishing herself in her career, it’s well worth catching her live – who knows, next time she may well be heading the bill.

Jerry’s EP ‘Cold Beer’ is out now.

Article by Amy Eskenazi

 

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Opinion: Gig etiquette? WTF?

Events, News

11th August 2015

A sweaty, crammed, beer-stained punk show where the average age is twenty-one is the last place that any of the sweaty, crammed, beer-stained twenty-one year olds want there to be a set of rules, so why must we impose list after list of so called “gig etiquette” on these poor souls whose main aim is making sure they don’t puke on the person standing in front of them? If a rock gig is a place for rebellion, why is there even an “etiquette”at all?

If you type anything along the lines of “gig etiquette” into Google, you’ll get the same thing. Don’t constantly take pictures, don’t take pictures at all if you’re at the front, don’t make out with someone in the middle of a pit, don’t get so drunk you wet yourself on someone’s shoulders (I’ve seen this happen). Basically the same thing that would come up if you typed in “how to not be an asshole at a gig”, or, why not just, “how not to be an asshole.”

If you’re going to a gig and you need someone to tell you not to take a camera the size of a semi-detached house and stick it above everyone’s heads when you’re not even a professional photographer – you don’t need to learn about gig etiquette. Get off the website you’re on. Close the internet. Shut down your laptop. Take a step back and realise that no “10 things you shouldn’t do at a concert” list is going to help you. You are just an asshole.

This is why these lists are so ridiculous – the people who make out with their significant other for fifty minutes and then take two million selfies are the same people who cut in line at the supermarket or drive through red lights. They’re just assholes. Or, more realistically, they just don’t care about the people around them. And why should they? Perhaps if you’re at a small acoustic gig in the middle of the day then screaming out lyrics so loud you can’t hear the singer probably isn’t the best idea. But if you’re at a rock concert, why the hell would anyone expect your main concern to be for someone else? Yes, these people can be annoying, but if you start seriously imposing all these rules on them, you diverge so far from the original concept of a rock or punk show that the very point of one becomes obsolete. Just let people do what they want and shut up about it.

Do not fear, conservative gig goers, as this not-caring attitude (or should I say etiquette?) works both ways. Recently I was at a FIDLAR gig where people jumped on stage and tried to take selfies with the singer, who proceeded to bat the phones out of their hands. The band later tweeted “i have no problem breaking your iPhone 6 if you jump on stage and take a selfie while we are playing. please, give me something to break.” Obviously, their opinion is that it is bad gig etiquette to take selfies on stage, while the selfie takers were probably just a bit drunk and trying to have fun. Both had a right to do what they did – the selfie takers wanted to take selfies even though it would obviously annoy the band and it is obviously an assholic thing to do, so they did. The band didn’t like them doing it, so they swatted their phones away. No gig etiquette guide would have stopped the selfie takers from doing what they wanted to do – it’s an asshole thing to do, but they did it away, because they’re assholes. No guide on how to be nice to your fans’ possessions would have stopped FIDLAR from breaking the selfie takers’ phones.

Please, disagree with me. That’s the point. Do what you want to do at a gig, but accept that no list is going to help anyone whose first and foremost priority is having a good time, and the notion of imposing rules on a situation that was made to not have any is absurd. One thing I think we can all agree on is the etiquette of not groping girls (or guys) who crowdsurf. But then again, if you seriously need me to tell you that, you’re just an asshole.

Article by Amy Eskenazi

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Interview: Alistair James

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News

30th July 2015

Alistair James has had a name change, toured with the likes of Miles Kane and The Enemy, and gone off to New York to record an album. I caught up with him to talk about his new single, ‘Saturday Shoppers’, and to see what could be next for the Middlesbrough singer.

 

MusicDash: It’s hard to find information about you when searching ‘Alistair James’ – why the name change from Sheerin?

 

Alistair: I just felt the time was right. Throughout my whole time of gigging and playing and meeting new people, they always ask the same question; “oh are you related to Ed?” Obviously I’m not because the spellings aren’t even the same, and eventually you run out of jokes like “why yes I’m his uncle actually, a very young uncle”, but it was something that I’d thought about for a long time, and then when I went to New York to make the record I felt it was the right time to go with “Alistair James” and have my own identity completely, and not be tied to anyone else. The good thing is it’s still my real name because “James” is my middle name. Thankfully, it hasn’t taken people long to catch on either; I’ve had messages and comments from people saying they prefer it, which is nice to hear. To me it sounds a bit more rock n roll too haha.

 

MusicDash: I love your track ‘Saturday Shoppers’ – the opening riff is very happy go lucky pop, and then it gravitates into more Jake Bugg-esque songwriting. What were the inspirations for the song, and what artists would you say have most greatly influenced your work?

 

Alistair: Thank you, glad you like it. The inspirations behind that song came from a number of places, the lyrics are very much inspired by the style of Ray Davies of The Kinks – the way I wanted to put it across with the characters who are all everyday people in an English setting. I suppose you can hear that in the music too with the way it’s performed, it’s got an aggression in there even though it can sound, like you say, “happy go lucky”. I love a great deal of music, I listen to a ton of stuff, there’s so much out there to take in and all you have to do is turn on the radio or search YouTube. But the people that were the main source of inspiration behind my writing for this record you could say, are The Kinks, The Who, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie. Whenever I was looking for a way to go or an idea to try, those artists and bands always seemed to show me the way for these songs and seemed to come to mind. Bands and artists like that are always going to be a constant source of inspiration too, they have such a legacy and there’s always something different to hear each time you put one of their records on.

 

MusicDash: Are you finished recording your debut album? Can we expect more songs similar to ‘Saturday Shoppers’?

 

Alistair: I am, we wrapped up a couple of weeks of ago in New York City, I’m back in the UK now. There are some songs like Saturday Shoppers, there are also a couple of ballads on there and some different kind of songs that have their own groove I suppose. There’s a good mix on there but the main thing is it flows as a record and each song has a good chorus and a message to go with it that delivers, in my opinion. There was a number of ways the record could have gone; I had a lot of songs written and it was a big debate for a while whether to make it more ballad based, more acoustic based, more piano led, or out and out rock n roll. I think for a first record we got the balance right and luckily I’ve had really good reactions to it so far. I’m super excited about it!

 

MusicDash: What are the differences between working in New York and England? Any difference in writing inspirations?

 

Alistair: Well I wrote all of the record in England, however I did do some writing in New York when we had a few days off and the songs just seemed to pour out of me, but I never like to look into that too much because it’s something I never want to go away. All I can say is that there are a lot more people in New York than where I live in England so there are more characters to write about, but saying that, you find that people’s lives are very similar – everyone goes to work, play their parts and want to live their lives no matter if that’s here or New York. Making the record was a breeze as it should be! It didn’t take us long to record and mixing was under way before we knew it. Being in New York was exciting because it was my first time there and the fact that on my first time I’d gone to make a record made it even more exciting. I think you can hear that in the songs too, a small town kid going to the big apple and being amongst the thick of it, it was great! The people around me had a great work ethic and delivered to the highest degree; not that we would have let them do anything less haha! It would be interesting to make a record in England one time and see how the two differ, but for now I’m just enjoying the ride, and the experience carries on being exciting.

 

MusicDash: What was touring with Miles Kane and The Enemy like? Any stories, or anything you’ve learnt about the music business or touring in general?

 

Alistair: It was great, I think every band and artist longs to tour with the bands they love as a support act. I will say that I had some of the best gigs whilst on tour with Miles Kane. Birmingham O2 Academy has been my favourite gig to date, I was completely unknown but I think word had spread about me supporting and then walking on early the venue was full; it was a trip that I never wanted to come down from. I don’t think I heard any stories, but I learnt a lot from Tom Clarke of The Enemy because I’d been working with him before I toured with The Enemy. He’s a nice guy and loves music and took a big interest in my songwriting, we had a good laugh and working with him helped me with my craft. The music business is just a business you learn from everyday, it goes on and on and it’s exciting and frustrating. The one thing I’ve learnt from it all is you only get out of it what you put in. In other words, you have to get off your arse and go out there and do stuff for yourself and make a record, play to people etc. It all spirals into something else and you’ve got to play each show like it’s your last and writing only improves the more you do it. Eventually you meet the people you are meant to be with and they get you to the places you need to be. But, it takes time – a lot of time – and you can’t rush or be impatient. Just enjoy the ride!

 

MusicDash: What’s next for you after the release of your album? Any tours on the cards?

 

Alistair: Well the album won’t be released for a little while, but there will be another release which involves Saturday Shoppers from the album. There’s going to be an EP with 3 tracks on it, two of which aren’t on the album. I don’t believe in trying to sell a song over and over, people need value for money and as an artist you owe it to people to give them more material. I will be playing gigs too, me and my band are rehearsing and getting everything right before we go out on the road. It must be right! All I will say like I say everywhere is keep an eye on my Facebook  for info regarding releases and gigs. Coming very soon!

Check out a teaser for Alistair’s single ‘Saturday Shoppers’ here.

Article by Amy Eskenazi

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Photo by Tom van Schelven

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Are 5SOS the new Green Day?

Pop, Rock

18th July 2015

5 Seconds of Summer’s new song, ‘She’s Kinda Hot’, has sparked already growing comparisons to pop punk big names such as Blink-182 and Green Day. Some fans of the Australian pop (punk?) band have declared that 5SOS are “the new Green Day”, or at least the Green Day of their generation, and, as with any useless debate about a band’s genre, these fans have received some serious backlash from “proper” pop punk fans on the interweb. So, the question remains, are these cute Australian teeny boppers – that toured with One Direction and who, let’s face it, are predominantly famous because they’re extremely good looking – the new Green Day? Surprisingly, they might be.

The 5SOS boys obviously look up to the pop punk legends of their childhood – it seems that at least one member of the band is wearing a piece of Green Day or Blink merchandise at every show they play, as if to convey a “hey, thanks you guys for letting us steal your riffs, we love you” kind of message. Their latest attempt at releasing a song that could compare to their heroes falls short with ‘She’s Kinda Hot’; the attitude is there, and it’s catchy, sure, but the lyrics and general craftsmanship needs some work before it can come close to seriously being able to compare it to Billie Joe Armstrong’s songwriting.

But so what? 5sos have been a band for four years. When Green Day were only that far into their career, they had released 39/Smooth which, let’s be honest, isn’t all that great. It was good, especially for a band who were only 18 at the time, and showed promise for the brilliance that was to come. By the time Blink were four years into their career they had released Cheshire Cat, and while so far 5sos have yet to release a song as good as ‘Carousel’ or ‘M+M’s’, their songs aren’t much worse than either of their heroes’ first tries.

I’m not saying 5sos are going to go on to release albums that could compare to Dookie or Enema of the State, but I am saying that that they could. It’s a bit extreme to claim that they’re the new Green Day – for starters, I don’t think anyone could be the new Green Day, because then there’d be no point in having Green Day, and I don’t want a world without Green Day. No one wants a new Green Day, either; peoples’ tastes have changed. Green Day came at a time where the young were desperate for some rebellion, and continued to capitalise on this need in the Bush days with American Idiot. Both Green Day and Blink-182 created the music that started pop punk and inspired every good, and every shitty, pop punk band that fed the masses’ need for catchy, young, but damn good songs that bridged the gap between careless pop and too-extreme-for-some punk. Now, with a weakening music industry and a growth of pop music popularity, people (even those that aren’t taken in by Luke Hemmings’ gorgeous hair) have latched onto the band that bridges the now evident gap between careless pop and too-extreme-for-some pop punk.

Let 5SOS be the band that does this. You can’t expect a band who are mostly 19 to release the next ‘Basket Case’ (but they sure do seem to be trying – “my shrink is telling me that I’ve got crazy dreams, she’s also saying I’ve got low self esteem”. It’s like the PG version of “I went to a shrink to analyse my dreams…I went to a whore, he said my life’s a bore”. Cheeky. Maybe 5sos are the new PG Green Day.) Give 5SOS some time to grow, improve their songwriting, and, maybe one day, they’ll be comparable to Green Day. For now, don’t jump to conclusions. They’re not there yet, but just because they’ve got a bit too much pop in their pop punk for your liking doesn’t mean they don’t have potential. Green Day’s kids will probably like it.

Article by Amy Eskenazi

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