Archive for the ‘Discussion’ Category

A belated return to the world of blog posting here at Riot on the Radio is sparked by the much-discussed acceptance speech made by Alex Turner at last week’s Brits ceremony for British Album of the Year.

With accusations flying round of Turner being “pretentious” and a “pompous tool” I would like take this opportunity to defend the enigmatic Arctic Monkeys‘ frontman.

First and foremost, Alex Turner hails from High Green, Sheffield. Since when has anyone from Yorkshire ever been accused of being pretentious? Belligerent, stubborn and opinionated maybe but pretentious… Lest we forget this is a breed of human that refers to what a southern softy may label a “roll” as a “breadcake”, the second syllable of which is drawn out longer than a five-day match of test cricket.

Secondly, so what if Turner didn’t conform to stereotype and deliver the inevitably dull, automated thank you message that characterised most of the night’s winning acts. Was it not refreshing to hear an unrehearsed lyric-worthy reel hailing the resilience of rock music? More to the point, Turner comically alluded to what most will interpret as any non-rock ‘n’ roll genre as “sludge”. For that he deserves a slap on the back not round the face! Let’s face it – those most critical of Turner are most likely to be the sort who listen/acclaim to the kind of Black Treacle tosh that typifies 21st century chart music. 

Thirdly and finally, so maybe he did go on about 20 seconds too long but Turner isn’t a stand-up comedian with a born sense of timing. Such a mishap is inevitable for an off-the-cuff speech. Leeway has to be granted to the boy, whom with humour and humility, famously accepted the 2006 Mercury Prize with the opening line, “Someone call 999, Richard Hawley’s been robbed!”

No. Alex Turner deserves praise not persecution. In Turner’s embodiment we have arguably this generation’s only true musical genius. With David Bowie collecting the Best Male Solo on the night, I would expect nothing less than Turner to one day go on to receive the lifetime achievement award; following in the footsteps of Weller and co.

Rock ‘n’ roll is in rude health ladies and gentleman with Alex Turner at the helm. As Alex points out, Britain’s best-loved genre is once again primed to “smash through the glass ceiling looking better than ever. Yeah that rock ‘n’ roll. It seems like it’s fading away sometimes but it will never die.”

Amen.

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Jack White (né John Anthony Gillis, 9/7/1975)

Apologies – cheap, age-old tactic to grab your attention in the title – Jack White is OF COURSE the latter of the two suggestions! This article is not an argumentative piece but a commendation of White’s ever-growing musical messiah-ness. It is also an article with little structure, so please forgive the forthcoming messiness.

White, a powder-faced peculiarity born in Detroit, is a natural talent to behold. Lyrics literally seep from his rosy lips, beautifully in sync with his bluesy inventions. Thus far, Jack is the ghostly character whom has written 10 albums in the last 13 years, producing & contributing towards countless others. His utter ingenuity literally pales others into significance. How can such a music-orientated man sleep when his left-brain is constantly ticking? 

White ranks alongside, if not at the top of, a talented pile of contemporary songwriters including Dave Grohl, Alex Turner, Thom Yorke et al – this generation’s Weller, Strummer, Dylan and Cash. Like Grohl [Nirvana/Them Crooked Vultures] and Turner [Last Shadow Puppets], White has mastered the art of multi-tasking himself with side projects The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. Oh, have I so far failed to mention his breakthrough act THE WHITE STRIPES, a six-album partnership he forged with ‘sister’ and ex-wife Meg White, whose surname Jack admirably adopted?

The Fly (music magazine) recently awarded Blunderbuss, White’s debut solo record, a 3.5/5 star rating: a filthy insult from what some claim is a ‘shit-rag’ itself. Get real or otherwise get retailed next to Andrex and other bum-wipes!

Also recently, I read a funny snippet in The Guide (The Guardian newspaper’s weekend pullout). On the back page was a factfile reading as follows:

Name: Jack Anthony White

Famous for: Dum dum dum dum der der der

Despite everything, The White Stripes are still synonymous with that one opening bassline to Seven Nation Army.

Thankfully, Blunderbuss has been Jack’s opportunity to finally show the world a figment of his current conscience, post break-up with Karen Elson“I won’t let love disrupt, corrupt or interrupt me” Jack states firmly on first single Love Interruption, I believe him. Sixteen Saltines retains the White Stripes’ ginormous pomp whilst I’m Shaking brilliantly irritates with its cheeky buzzing bee riff. In terms of Blunderbuss though, the aforementioned couple are anomaliesHip (Eponymous) Poor Boy is a more typical cute tale featuring beautiful keys. 

Blunderbuss is misnamed. It’s no stonker but my word is it a charmer.

Jack White (III) we salute you! Thankyou for everything you have so far impressed upon us, continue to do so forever more. 

Any thought on Alabama Shakes‘ debut performance on Later Live with Jools

Quite an individual style I thought… To me they looked like a group of misfits who had converged only because of music. Lead singer Brittany Howard is a male version of Lenny Kravitz. Bassist Zac Cockrell looks like a Magic Number who’s recently returned from a shopping spree at H&M, or simply – Zak Dingle off Emmerdale. Meanwhile, the woolly hat perched upon drummer Steve Johnson’s scalp makes him look like a small-time bandit.

On Hold On, Brittany Howard’s gob has no limits to its aperture! The rubbery thing just keeps stretching to the point where you could shove a baseball down there. Or any other sized ball or object of equivalent dimensions. Her voice has such power and soul. Combined with guitarist Heath Fogg’s (what a name, incidentally)  jazzy, groovy and bluesy twangs, the Shakes are a unique recipe

The Guardian spoke to the Shakes a few weeks back, see here for full interview.  Candidates for 2012’s best breakthrough?

‘I bring a little bit of that punk with me. The energy, man; I can still thrash. I can’t play the guitar very well but I can fake it’ – Brittany Howard.

Lonely Boy, the new single from The Black Keys has gone viral [or at least microbial], as smartly predicted in advance by Ethan, author of Letters From The Wasteland. The video features a Village People-style cameo from an uncuffed and unnamed bloke outside a motel lobby. Resemblance to Dave Benson-Phillips perhaps, anyone?

 

Previously, the blues-rock pairing were probably best known in the UK for their Jools Holland performances of Tighten Up, Next Girl and Howlin’ For You.

To label the duo from Ohio as understudies of the Kings of Leon would be a touch flippant. Dan Auerbach‘s guitar breeds a raw sound backed in emphatic style by Patrick Carney’s clattering drums. Underlying humour in their videos also deserves recognition, and is reminiscent of New York indie trio We Are Scientists.

The Keys have been plying their trade for over 10 years now, producing 6 studio albums in that period. Brothers, their most commercially successful record to date reached #29 and silver status here. El Camino their hotly-anticipated next effort will premiere in shops on 6th December. It looks certain to be the long-awaited Gold on the Ceiling for the Americans. The forthcoming winter could well be a Hell of a Season for them.

The only question remains, at what number will El Camino break into the Top 10 UK albums charts?

Tragically, this week of Deal or No Deal? has been dubbed Bankenstein’s Monsters. Even more tragically, I am writing a post about it.

Words cannot explain watching ‘wacky scientist’ Noel Edmonds marvel at the show’s special new addition: Dr Pettigrew’s fantastic brains firing catapult. It’s hard to suppress a wry grin when a comical bolt of graphical lightning strikes every time the banker rings. The only real surprise is the omission of the ‘pilgrims’ from the costume drama. Some wisecrack could have at least afforded them a bunch of pumpkin suits. Still, first contestant Garry’s partner has teeth scary enough.

 

What clichés and howlers did the Channel 4 producers miss?