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8TRACKS: The Return of the Mixtape

9 Jun


When iPods happened, most of us rejoiced. After all, if you’re old enough to remember the noise your bag made as the twenty five CDs you’d stuffed into it clanked together, then you’re old enough to be pleased that you no longer have to carry them all around. Access to your entire music collection on the go can only be a good thing – not to mention the fact that my CDs always seemed slightly fragile in my personal disc player – and iPods were so shiny and new that it was almost impossible not to like them.

Fast forward a little bit, though, and it seemed that the rise of the iPod had led to the fall of the mix tape.

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In the Roundhouse over the Sea: Neutral Milk Hotel, 21/05/14

22 May


Warning: this is pretty long. And while it’s technically sort of about the Neutral Milk Hotel concert at the Roundhouse last night, it’s also sort of not really about that and about the band as a whole. So if you’re looking for a proper gig review, that’s probably not what this is.

Now you know, let’s continue.

Last night, I went to see Neutral Milk Hotel at the Roundhouse and let me tell you, it was an experience. So much so, that it’s difficult to find the words to describe it. I know, I know – that’s one of the worst things that a journalist can say, particularly as, you know, it’s our entire job to find words to describe things. So with that in mind, I’m going to do the best I can. But if not… I’m sure you’ve all had concerts like this before. You’ll know what I mean.

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THREE AND A HALF HOUR CONCERT: Waiting too long for The Cure?

2 Apr

When it comes to a professional critical review of a concert, it can be difficult to get it right.

Reviews are always going to be subjective. If you’re a huge fan of a band then chances are, you’re going to enjoy seeing them live no matter what, and you’re going to be even happier to hear the b-sides. On the other hand, if you’ve only heard them once or twice and your mate had a spare ticket, you’re going to be less pleased to barely recognise any of the songs – and that’s not taking into consideration that it could be a band like My Bloody Valentine. Not for the faint-hearted, that one.

But neither of those perspectives would be wrong.

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‘Call Me Maybe’ Remixes: Are we still picking up?

5 Jul

It’s getting to the point where if you’ve heard one ‘Call Me Maybe’ cover, you probably feel like you’ve heard them all. After Enter Shikari and Ben Howard have both done their own cover versions and there’s also an interesting mash-up with Third Eye Blind, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the last thing you want to hear is another musician’s take on what is, at this point, an incredibly overplayed and overused song.

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RECORD TIME: Record Store Day 2012

19 Apr

“Record shops are as important as the records themselves.” Whatever your personal thoughts on Noel Gallagher, there’s no denying the truth of a statement like that. Record Store Day is becoming more and more of a necessity for shops to stay afloat, particularly with the rise of iTunes and similar online shops. 

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EMI: Thanks for the Memories

20 Nov

EMI is no longer. Split into two and sold to both Sony and Universal, the “last truly British record company” is now extinct. Its history, however, will endure on vinyl and digitally. The company released some great records.  Forget the obvious for a moment (we’ll come back to those) and just think fondly about Art Brut, about The Decemberists’ “The Crane Wife”. About Gorillaz, and about REM’s earlier work.

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Breaking News: Bob Dylan cover album may not actually be the end of the world

3 Nov

When finding out that Miley Cyrus and Ke$ha are among a recently announced list of artists to contribute to a charity Bob Dylan tribute album (yes, the obvious joke is that we thought Amnesty International were against torture?), the instinctive response for most people is a negative one. Excluding those rare few who are genuine fans of both Bob Dylan and Ms Cyrus – if, in fact, such people exist – it’s fair to say that neither fanbase is going to experience a reaction of pure, unadulterated joy. Fans of Dylan are those who usually exude a sense of their own superiority, categorising Bob Dylan as ‘real’ music and turning up their noses at the so-called mainstream, particularly Miley’s brand of Disney pop. And Miley’s own fans, those oft-reviled ‘teenies’, aren’t likely to have any kind of interest in the strains of Dylan’s folk-rock music that they probably associate with their father.
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