Out with the old, in with the new..

Well, from A Day To Remember to a year to remember (its a joke, right?), 2013 is coming to an end and its time to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new. That said, I think we can get away with a quick look back on the year that’s past, before we get started on the new one.

For me, the most significant thing about the last year has been the number of bands running Pledgemusic campaigns for their album releases. From Bring Me The Horizon‘s critically acclaimed ‘Sempiternal’ to indie stars Hard-Fi and a whole hoarde of newer artists, it seems like the livelihood of musicians will be based around ‘extra’ items – VIP passes, merchandise and even live streaming rather than the traditional model of create and album, sell album, profit that has gone on for so long..

Anyway, let’s end on a cheerful note, shall we? One album I’m definitely looking forward to next year is You Me At Six‘s ‘Cavalier Youth’, which is out on January 27th. If you haven’t had a listen already, here’s a little snippet for you:

See you guys in the new year..

RC xx

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One Man Mosh Pits: Hawk Eyes

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So last night I saw the incredible Hawk Eyes at The Black Heart in Camden. It’s got to be one of my favourite pub venues, with an upstairs area that always fills up to give you the feeling of a really packed out gig.
To make it even better, last night we were in prime position to watch the one man moshpit unfold in front of the stage. There’s something very brave about being the only person to jump around in a crowd, but it was as fascinating to watch the solo guy as it was to watch the energetic performance from the Leeds foursome.
If you haven’t checked out Hawk Eyes before, they’re an experimental (don’t let that put you off..) metal band, who play fast and heavy. I highly suggest you go check them out.
Have a great weekend guys,
RC xx

Sunday Comment: Movie Soundtracks

Well seeing as its a Sunday and supposedly a day of rest (which is a complete lie.. I had tons to do today!) I thought I’d settle in and watch a film. After getting into a discussion about Bjork with some friends yesterday, I picked Suckerpunch, on the grounds that the soundtrack had been the only time that said friend had actually enjoyed her music. (Personally, I’m a huge fan).

Anyway, the film and soundtrack discussion made me think – how many films are memorable simply for their soundtracks? How many films are greatly enhanced by their soundtracks?

Here’s five of my favourite film soundtracks (ignore how ‘uncool’ some of them might be):

* Suckerpunch – Bjork ‘Army of Me’

Great song, inspirational message, great placement within the film.

* The Matrix – Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Deftones

Probably one that’s more for the industrial fans. At least the first film is good too? I’m not sure about the other two..

* Benny and Joon – The Proclaimers ‘500 Miles’

Because I’m the least ‘cool’ person you’ll ever meet.

* Resident Evil – Basically the whole soundtrack

I was never a huge fan of the films, as zombies basically terrify me, but I’ll admit the soundtracks were immense..

* The Crow – The Cure, Nine Inch Nails and Violent Femmes? 

Enough said.

 

Anyone have other favourites? Let me know!

RC xx

Sunday Comment: I Don’t Really Drink..

I don’t really drink. . .‘ was once a commonly used phrase from myself. It meant, at the time, that I didn’t actually drink at all. For many years, up until the age of nearly 21 in fact, I didn’t drink. Not one drop. It was part of who I was, I was a person that didn’t drink.

It isolated me a bit from my friendship group. Back in my teens, there were parties I wasn’t invited to, because naturally it was assumed that I wouldn’t enjoy it with everyone drinking around me. It was incidents like that this lead me to hide the fact that I was a non-drinker as much as possible.

When I first started Uni, I didn’t tell my friends about my not drinking. I made excuses, I tried to avoid times when they would be drinking. It seemed to be working, but eventually I was outed. They were surprisingly cool about the whole thing, but I always wondered what they really thought.

Had there been some kind of straight-edge movement in South West Surrey, I probably would’ve been part of it. As it happened, my first encounter with someone who identified as straight-edge was an unfortunate one. It was a My Chemical Romance gig in Portsmouth, and I can’t have been more than 16 / 17.

I was drinking a glass of water from a bottle, clearly marked. Seeing a quite sweaty looking boy stood in front of me, I offered him some. He then proceeded to lecture me about the dangers of alcohol, proudly proclaiming how he’d been ‘edge’ for barely a few months.

My response that I’d never drunk alcohol, and that what I was offering him was nothing but water went unnoticed. Later, he attempted to hit on my sister by offering her a slip of paper with his MySpace address on it. Well, it was a good few years ago..

I’m not saying that he was in any way representative of the straight-edge membership. I feel though, that it did very little but explain why people were wary of someone who doesn’t drink. They feel judged for their own drinking. Its a weird situation to go to a bar and drink with someone who isn’t also becoming intoxicated. And if you’re not going to a bar on a Friday night, then where are you going?

My movement into becoming a drinker was accepted without question. It’s almost as if the friends felt it was inevitable. I’ve since tried to quite again, albeit for short periods of time, only to be met with the question ‘why?’.

I’m sure many non-drinkers could provide a hundred answers to that, but shouldn’t the only reasonable one be ‘because I’m choosing to’? It feels like there’s more judgement towards those who inflict this ‘social stigma’ of not drinking than those who take the opposite approach and poison themselves on a regular basis.

Is it so ingrained in our culture that to not drink is the equivalent of making yourself a social pariah? With such an emphasis on healthy living these days, it seems like a change in attitude might be timely..

RC xx

Sunday Comment: Oh Camden..

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Growing up on the outskirts of London, I always had a fascination with the city. The bright lights, the tall buildings, the people. I’ve been going to gigs here since I was barely 11. By 16 I was old enough to be allowed into the city by myself. I would head up on weekends, hang around Oxford Steet, Leicester Square and, of course, Camden.

Back then Camden was the place to be if you were in any way part of the alternative scene of South East England. All the bands would play the pubs or venues along the main high street, The Purple Turtle, The Electric Ballroom, The Underworld. We’d plan out outfits in advance, smearing on eyeliner and white face powder.

Every goth inspired girl would have a flower from Black Rose. We could spend hours longing after the too-expensive corsets, compromising by buying fishnets and nail varnish instead. Then we’d head to the food alley for cheap noodles and sit out by the quays, trying to pass for locals, but so obviously just tourists. It didn’t matter. Just being there made us feel like the coolest people in the world.

The town had started to change even before the fire. Chain stores like Punky Fish (which I believe was once a single stall like the rest) popped up. The punks who were always out on the bridge started to disappear as the tourists increased. As online shopping grew, there was less of a need for the alternative stores. For the price of a London travelcard, we could get a t-shirt from Attitude Clothing.

Then the fire happened.

Black Rose, once such an iconic store would decrease until it was just another window to pass by. The increase in rent for the stalls would drive out many of the independents. Instead we were left with shops that sold the same clothes under different names.

I walked round the market yesterday, taking it all in. There’s very little left of the things I loved about the place. Save for a couple of vintage finds, there’s nothing there that I couldn’t buy online for less. Most shops fit into a category of either cheap dresses, rock  / London / art t-shirts or prints, with a handful of furniture stores thrown in. Then there’s your standard second-hand books, drug paraphernalia and general tourist stores.

Its nice that the fronts of the high street shops have survived (see the Doc Martens for example), but there’s very little left behind it of the real sense of Camden..

RC xx

Sunday Comment: Band Breakups

It’s been a bad week for breakups (not for me, I had no-one to breakup with in the first place!). For bands, I mean. My Chemical Romance and Attack Attack (the UK band) have both called it a day. It’s pretty weird timing, what with the return of Fall Out Boy not that long ago.

I’ve spoken before about band breakups – the reasons, the wasted talent, but its a weird one for MCR. They’ve been successful, been adored by thousands. Its possible that this is more a sign of a hiatus, where at least one band member attempts a solo career, an acting career, an art career? Still, while we wait and see, let’s remember the good times:

RC xx

Hello :)

So I don’t know if you noticed, but I accidentally scheduled two posts for yesterday, instead of one for today! Silly me..
It got me thinking though. I have a lot going on and I’d rather focus on giving you guys great content than be writing up something in a rush that isn’t that great, just for the sake of posting. That’s why I’m shifting the blog from a daily to a 4 times-a-weekly.
I’ll be posting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, plus a weekend post and it’ll be the best content so far (hopefully!).
Anyway, lots of love
RC xx

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Sunday Comment: Bullying (Plus new video from Escape The Fate)

When I’m looking for music to post about on here, I always try to find something with personal relevance. It could be that I’ve had a really good experience seeing the band live, or have a specific memory associated with them. In this case though, its that I can completely relate to the content.

Escape The Fate‘s new video ‘Ungrateful’ focuses on the cycle of bullying, from school, to home, to workplaces and how it impacts on the lives of those who experience it. (I warn you now, the graphics are pretty shocking).

I was unfortunate enough to experience bullying in school first-hand. It wasn’t pleasant (obviously). In fact, its had a huge effect on the rest of my life so far. It took years for me to get back the person that I was before it started. And I had it lightly compared to some others.

I watched friends slowly becoming shadows of the happy, confident people they once were. There are people I grew up with, that I was close friends with, that simply dropped out of school and effectively disappeared. Sometimes I search Facebook for them, in the hope that I’ll see them smiling, living their lives somewhere else. But they never turn up.

I don’t solely blame the people who took things out on me. As a friend told me once ‘round here, bullying is pretty much generic‘. It seems like a flippant statement for something which ruins lives, but its true. The people in my school year who were bullies were picked on by kids in the year above. They were picked on by kids in the year above them. It went on and on.

I wish there was a simple solution to it, but what needs to change the most is people’s attitudes. It’s not right for this to happen, but it does. So why is no-one talking about it..?
Anyway, here’s the music video for you:

RC xx

Happy Birthday Kurt Cobain

I was going to write about things to buy today, like I usually do on Wednesday. Today though, its the birthday of one of my favourite musicians, taken far too long before his time: Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain, the frontman of Seattle grunge trio (and hugely influential band) Nirvana would’ve been 46 today. I can’t think of a better example to remind people of what a loss his tragic suicide at 27 was than this cover of ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’, a traditional folk song.

I guess the lesson we can all take from this, is to seek help if you have a problem. Call the Samaritans (or your country’s equivalent). Don’t deprive the world of what you have to offer it.

Happy birthday Kurt Cobain. 19 years on, you are still greatly missed.

RC xx

Comment: Aiden Splitting Up After Next Album

Its slightly old news by this point anyway, but last week Wil Francis of Aiden announced that the band would be splitting up after their next album.

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It’s always sad to watch a good band go. I’ve seen many in my time – Hell is for Heroes, Reuben, Hundred Reasons, to name a few..

Having never been in a band, its hard to imagine the pressures that go on in the member’s heads. You start out young, enthusiastic. It’s what you’ve always wanted to do. You play, people like it. You play more, more people like it. Maybe you sell a few demo CDs.

Then one night you’re playing and some guy turns up. He’s from a label. They’ve heard you guys play, you sound pretty good. He hands over a card.

You keep in touch. You write. You send over some tracks to the guy. You sign, you record an album.

The label puts it out and you wait for the money to roll in. The fame, the women, everything you dreamed of. You imagine your band’s name in lights above an arena, hordes of crowds chanting for you.

The money trickles in slowly. That’s fine, its the first album they say. The next one will do better. Or the next one.

You tour more, you write more. Your band is getting better and better. It feels so close, like you’re heading for something you never quite reach. The money’s never quite enough to live on. It was fine when you were younger, you were barely at home, didn’t have rent to make or bills to pay.

Now your friends have houses, wives, kids. They’ve settled and you haven’t, you’re still out there chasing the dream. People wonder why you’re still doing it. The scene you grew up in is gone. The bands either got too big and moved on, or never big at all and fizzled out. The records don’t sell like they used to. Even the shows aren’t as full, the fans have gone on to the next big thing – another group of teens that think they’ll own the world. You don’t know whether to envy them or pity them..

 

RC xx