I’ve been trying to think of something profound to say about 2020 as an introduction to this post, a wrap up of the rest of my month-by-month album reviews of the year, something I started during the first lockdown, and in synergy to how this pandemic has gone; those posts started with much fluster, meandered, and has now come back with renewed enthusiasm, and a new string (strain) to its bow. The new strings in this post are simply a more rushed approach to getting these album reviews done, or simply sharing what albums I enjoyed listening to each month, much like the UK governments approach to getting the Pfizer vaccine approved, or quickly hashing out a last minute trade deal with the EU.Continue reading “Album Reviews: Wrap Up of 2020, June – December”
Back in May when I wrote the first part to this I wouldn’t have believed that I would be writing a second part several months later. Time is a weird thing, and amiss of any live music, festivals and any significant trips away, apart from visiting the Motherland for a few weeks, the months have rolled into one and gone by in a blur. I’ve learnt to accept the situation and know that I cannot control what will happen, counting my blessings each day that the people close to me are safe, and that I’ve not lost anyone during this time. Having worked in music and live events since University, their absence has been hard to come to terms with, and with the Goverment response to this, asking people like myself to retrain, has been somewhat anger-inducing, to say the least. Finally we are now seeing some socially distanced shows happening, and being able to mark them into the diary. It’s great to see a venue that I’ve worked at for the past few years, The O2 Arena, having their first show back on the 5th of December.Continue reading “Feature: Top 10 Music-Related Things to Watch During Lockdown, pt. 2”
Here we go again! As I continue to look back through my albums of the year, month by month. This time I’ll take a look at April, which saw the return of The Strokes after seven years, the wonderful collaboration between Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes, amongst fantastic new albums from Enter Shikari, Fiona Apple and The Used. April once again saw an abundance of new music, and as always it was hard to pin down what my top five albums were. This list could have easily included Thundercats ‘It Is What It is’, and new releases from R.A The Rugged Man and Dance Gavin Dance, but alas I can only pick five, and these are the beautiful albums that I have chosen.Continue reading “Album Reviews: My Top 5 Albums Released in April”
Having already looked at my albums of the month for January and February, I now move onto March. The first two months of the year brought us some great music, and March continued in the same vein. Just like my previous posts, I’ll start with a quick update on the state of the world back then; it had imploded. Speaking of someone who lives in the UK, our Government started a shit show of a plan to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as we were shown numerous graphs of how to ‘flatten the curve’, and Boris Johnson reassured the nation by stating that “many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time”. He then set out plans to do absolutely nothing for weeks… Eventually, we were all ordered to stay at home, which led to a new outbreak which swept across the nation; boredom. Time was spent binge-watching the latest Netflix series, baking numerous amounts of banana bread, and attempting to learn new skills, as we began to settle into the ‘new normal’.Continue reading “Album Reviews: My Top 5 Albums Released in March”
Continuing to look back at some of my favourite albums released earlier this year, this time I’ll take a look at the month of February. A month where everything seemed normal, it was the calm before the storm, as the full impact of COVID-19 lurked around the corner. Donald Trump was being impeached, Parasite won Best Picture at the Oscars, Storm Denis hit the UK, and the world was still in self-destruct mode. But alas, there was new music. This month saw the return of The Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne, Tame Impala coming back after five years, and a blisttering second album from Liverpudlian band Loathe, not to mention new albums from The Amity Affliction, Grimes, Green Day, and King Krule, just to name a few.
What feels like an eternity ago, when COVID-19 was a distant viral illness beginning to spread throughout Asia, when Harry and Meghan’s decision to step down from royal duties ‘split the nation’, when we were all left realing from the heartbraking scenes of the Australian bushfires, before many other tragic events, including the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter; new music was released, which was a brief respite from the tsunami of bad news and conflicts brought in with the start of a new decade, 2020. Whilst it’s not hard to understate that there are more important things in life than music, music can provide an escape from reality, and provide an outlet to release negative emotions, as well as provide joy and something to look forward to, especially in times such as these. Little did we know, that January was just the start of things to come, and these albums are fresh from the context of now, providing a brief respite as they did then, and now.
Last night, Fever 333 performed a live demonstration to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement, with all proceeds of the livestream going towards the Black Lives Matter and the Minnesota Freedom Fund. Further to the performance, the band shared the below message:
Like many, I’ve been following the news of the shocking and appaling murder of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by police in Minneapolis, USA. The consequential outrage of his killing has not only sparked protests there, but spread to other cities in the United States too and across the world, with demostrations in Auckland, Berlin, London, and more. George Floyd’s death, and the circumstances surrounding it, is one of many examples of police brutality and racism towards the black community in America. As things began to boil up over the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and Breanna Taylor in Louisevill, and the consequent investigation (or the lack of), things have now boiled over to the point where enough is enough, and things need to change. The worldwide response shows that this sort of racist behaviour isn’t just succluded to America, the insututional day-to-day injustices and the things we don’t see, are happening all over.
The current situation with COVID-19 has left the world in lockdown, with venues closed and tours cancelled or postponed, a lot of artists have been forced to find new and innovative ways to stay connected wth their fans, such as live streaming performances from their home, going back through the archives and releasing footage of previous shows, or hosting Q&A’s and listening parties. Like many, I’ve had the extra time on my hands to watch a lot of these performances, and found it interesting to see the various ways in which bands and artists are approaching these difficult times.
Now in its third year Mad Cool Festival has already delivered some stunning line-ups, with the likes of The Who, The Prodigy, Foo Fighters and Green Day all featuring in past editions of the Madrid-based festival. This year was perhaps one of the most stacked line-ups to date, not only in the small history of the festival, but also compared to other festivals around Europe. Spanning across seven different stages this years edition featured some amazing acts, from Tame Impala and Arctic Monkeys, to Depeche Mode and Pearl Jam. But where most of the attention was drawn to the headline acts, and I guess understandably so, this year also featured a bunch of fantastic up-and-coming bands too. Both local and international artists took to the two smaller stages, called the ‘Mondo Sonoro Stage’ and the ‘Thunder Bitch Stage’, and it was here where I had the pleasure of discovering these five new (to me) bands.