Archive for the ‘News’ 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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Tickets to catch The Killers at some point on their November arena tour of the UK have gone on sale this morning. Word has it that websites were typically jammed soon after 9AM this morning, (the time of their release). The American act fronted by Moorman Brandon Flowers have already announced a second show at Birmingham’s LG arena, to satisfy the unlucky ones.

Mitt Romney, also a publically confirmed Mormon, recently voiced his liking of The Killers. When quizzed about this, bassist Mark Stoermer gave the deadpan response, “he’s, I guess, a guy and he listens to music and happens to like us, that’s fine”. Genius! He was also wise to steer clear of political persuasion, in fact denying any at all. “We’re not really a political band. And we don’t necessarily have all the same views, but none of us are very politically active anyway”.

Killers’ new album Battle Born is released on September 15th. Will it be a fourth straight UK number 1 record for the Nevada band, Flowers’ fifth? Almost certainly. Battle Born is a return following a four year drought for fans. During this time Killers took an 18 month hiatus and Flowers unleashed Flamingo, his solo debut, on the world. Below is Battle Born’s first single Runaways. Pulsing with their familiar throb, the chorus wallops you round the chops with the force of double-decker bus. “Blonde hair blowing in the summer wind, a blue-eyed girl playing in the sand” cooes Flower in a Morrissey-esque opening line.

 

Speaking to the NME about Battle Born, the Olympics & other topics, Killers had this to say:

Flowers: “we’re taking what we’ve acquired from playing all these shows on the road, that experience and that fire… and we’ve applied it to song-writing, I don’t think we’ve ever done that. You never know what you’re gonna get when you get in the [studio] room, we spent more time in the room on this one than we spent on any other one, hopefully it doesn’t sound like it!”

Stoermer: “so far on every record we’ve always gone and tried to make a big sound… I guess we hope to mature”

(On recording) Dave Koening: “it’s got more guitars but not necessarily on every song, it’s a lot more diverse, it’s got some rock songs, some ballads. everyday was different depending on what we were doing, if it was a day of singing I would probably watch basketball”

So, in short, there’s a lot to look forward to. Including the unnamed support acts accompanying them on the arena tour. Hopefully this winter will also bring another killer Christmas tune to add to their stocking. Last year’s Cowboy’s Christmas Ball sure was a festive treat.

Are you human or are you dancer? Me for one, I’m dancer.

Don’t you just love it when you rediscover a band?

Perhaps it is a song lyric dropped into general chit chat that sparks a memory. Perhaps a trivial everyday sound or tone makes the association. More often, and conventionally, a rustle through the old record collection helps revive the hidden gems.

One, I’m not sure which, of the above instances facilitated my recent unearthing of Editors‘ albums. Signed to Kitchenware Records, a truly independent Tyneside label, the Birmingham-based band have achieved platinum status. A true success! 

Their debut The Back Room (2005) signalled their Lights, Camera, Munich arrival on the music scene, earning them a Mercury nomination. 2007’s follow-up An End Has A Start furthered their chart success, rocking in as a #1 album. Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors [below] reached #7 in the singles chart.

 

Third album In This Light and On This Evening consolidated their commercial glory, again entering [and briefly residing] as a #1 album. Spawned from this sleeve was the excellent synth powerhouse Papillon.

Though Tom Smith‘s vocals do echo a la Ian Curtis, there is in my opinion little substance in comparisons with Joy Division. Nor for that matter do Editors even faintly remind me of Echo & The Bunnymen, one of their supposed influences. Moreover, only Interpol, a contemporary outfit, sound at all similar.

Anyroad, it’s knocking on three years since Editors’ last release and they have slowly slipped out of the public consciousness. Earlier this year the news broke that Editors and lead guitarist Chris Urbanowicz had parted musical paths. Editors will continue, we are assured, as a three-piece, their 4th record is hotly-awaited later this year.

Ever wondered why French music persistently fails to cross the “English” Channel, swamp our shores and pervade our playlists? Strange, non? Especially given that the Irish Sea continually fails to drown the wails of Jedward, Westlife, B*Witched & co. Neither did the North Sea successfully submerge the Barbie Girl antics of Aqua. The mighty Atlantic Ocean rarely proves an insurmountable obstacle for the hordes of American acts. Mysteriously though, the 21 mile stretch from Dover to Calais is some kind of Bermuda Triangle for the tricolor-waving troops of French bands…

This next post aims to change that fact, beginning with an introduction to a most eccentric act called Dionysos that I shall label the French Bellowhead.

Hopefully this post will help the English & others unearth French bands from across the Channel, or what the French call la manche [the sleeve]!

Merci et aurevoir.

Liebster Blog Award

Posted: May 6, 2012 in News
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Posted twice this week into my occasionally-opened blogbox was the prestigious accolade known as the Liebster Blog Award. Who Liebster is, I have no idea – all I can deduce is that it is German for “boyfriend” or “sweetheart” or “favourite”. Make what you want of it, the award has proliferated through the blogosphere like wildfire.

Muchos gracias to Kaja from Anomnom and Olga from Rock Britain for judging me a worthy recipient of said award. Kaja comments on all things musical and hip whilst Olga, under the pseudonym rockmelody, promotes all rock bands from our Isles. 

Apparently… “The Liebster Blog Award is meant to be given to a blog that is a favorite of yours, and one that is up-and-coming, typically with about 200 followers or less.”

As with such awards – there are certain conditions of acceptance. These regulations, just like Chinese whispers, become more cloudy and distorted the more the award changes hands. In fact the phenomenon is also quite like a gene mutating over thousands/millions of years of evolutionary time. 

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them.

2. Copy and paste the award logo.

3. Nominate five other bloggers you would like to pass the award on to.

4. Tell your readers ten random facts about you.

Thus far I have fulfilled half of the requirements. So, without further ado, on to the third criterion. As a small time blogger, I barely have enough blogs to recommend. From my small circle though, come these inspired selections:

1. Kicking Sport – spoof sporting snippets and stories. Parodies, satire & irony all punched into one. See Ashley Young still airborne.

2. Popped Music – regular new release alerts: videos, singles & albums. Very current. Very cool. See Video Alert: Arctic Monkeys – You And I.

3. Ramblings Of A Music Man – Stevo’s musical mindchild always entertains, featuring reviews, hidden gems, anecdotes and warming endorsements of independent music. See Review: Paul Weller – Sonik Kicks.

4. Take Them On – informed analysis of an eclectic range of music videos from Graphic Designer Olivia Lor. Written in French, Take Them On is sharp, snappy and fun for me to decipher in my broken Franglais! See Spiritualized – Hey Jane.

5. Work It Media – a London-based PR, marketing company that takes care of press ‘stuff’ for the likes of Casiokids, Devin, Klaxons, Pulled Apart By Horses, The Drums & The Futureheads – to name just a few. An insightful snapshot of happenings within the music industry. See Devin announces debut album & new video.

Right that’s it, I’m done. Forget the ten facts – I’m rebellious. Until next time.