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ARTICLE: Another Step Forward for the Misunderstood Misfits of ‘Emo’…

[Editor’s note: Our “Article” feature is for opinion pieces designed to provoke debate. Please feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comment section below. Anything you want to get off your chest? Why not submit an Article of your own!]

So, the new My Chemical Romance single is out, and has their most ridiculous title to date, the brilliantly non-sensical ‘Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)’. And following on from the epic, sprawling and, arguably, darkly misguided The Black Parade, the only thing I could think when I first saw the trailer to the new album was, “Where is this going?”

At this point I guess I should make it clear that I’m a big My Chem fan and have been following the band since just before the release of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, their second album (first for a major label). Saying that kind of feels like an admission, like revealing “I’m an alcoholic”, and I still don’t know why, but thats a conversation for another time.

Back to ‘Na Na Na’. It’s the lead single from the band’s fourth full length effort, the fairly absurdly titled Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, and judging by the trailer and promo stuff released, it’s another concept album, albeit a slightly more upbeat one (depending on your point of view).

Upbeat is how I’d go about describing ‘Na Na Na’ as well. Starting where The Black Parade‘s ‘Teenagers’ left off, the track has a glam rock feel to it mixed with the slightly more punk sound that was promised by their take on Dylan’s ‘Desolation Row’ used on the Watchmen movie soundtrack.

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Features

ARTICLE: The Death of the Festival Headliner?

So, another year of festivals completed. Having attended Reading along with a host of smaller local festivals, and having read about and seen the TV coverage of Glastonbury, I was left with the feeling that maybe the notion of the true ‘headliner’ at such events has had its day – either that or maybe this just wasn’t the year for it.

I’ll start with Reading as thats the biggest festival I attended this year, with the three headliners being Guns ‘n’ Roses, Arcade Fire and Blink-182.

On first inspection, only one of these leapt out a bona fide show stopper, which to me is what being headliner is all about; something that will draw people in whether the casual music listener or the die-hard fan, and that was Guns ‘n’ Roses. And, despite all the stories surrounding the band that really should be known as ‘Axl & Co’, things had seemed promising, with reports of a very talented group of musicians playing a bunch of undeniably classic songs, along with some stuff from the recent album Chinese Democracy.

Sadly when the band eventually hit the stage (an hour and half late – thanks Axl!), though the music was there, it was one of the most heartless displays of rock ‘n’ roll I have ever witnessed. This was just compounded by the crowd’s reaction; hearing 80,000 people boo is quite a sound, and sadly many, myself included, were left majorly dissatisfied by the Friday headliners.

So, I thought to myself, that wasn’t so good, but Blink-182 should be a fun, upbeat crowd-pleaser on Sunday.

Maybe I came to this show with rose-tinted specs having attended my first Reading festival in 2000 with the express purpose of seeing Blink, but I don’t think my disappointment can be put down solely to fanciful memories.

While bassist Mark and drummer Travis were both on fine form, the band and the show were let down disastrously by Tom De Longe. Whether he was actually out of his tree, or just acting it, was unclear. And it really didn’t matter, as either way his performance was abysmal. It felt like watching a member of an under-rehearsed teenage band playing their first show. Maybe this was intended as charm to remind us they were a ‘punk’ band in their heyday, but if it was, it sadly didn’t work.

So another headliner and another disappointment.

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Features

ARTICLE: Do You MP3?

Hi guys, I have a question for you: Do You MP3?

The other day I was performing some long overdue maintenance on my PC when it occurred to me that the 70-80GB worth of MP3s I have on my hard drive haven’t been touched now for quite some time. A quick peruse of my programs showed that Winamp (my long-time MP3 program of choice) wasn’t even installed on my latest OS install, something I had done some months previous.

I wondered at that point what I should do with them. Should I leave them on one of my drives taking up valuable space that could be used for more useful data like educational videos [Editor’s note: “educational vids” indeed… ahem], or should I pop them into offline storage? Another thought occurred – would it really be a big deal if I deleted them altogether?

It was the fierce protection of my MP3 collection that got me making backups in the first place, a process that I have long gotten out of the habit of, and this leads me to the nub of the matter:

Is the humble MP3 already a dying format? We’ve all been there – I’m sure if many of us went up into our lofts and garages we would find VHS cassettes or (if you’re an early adopter) Betamax tapes, we’ll find old C90s, minidiscs, and maybe even the odd 8-track. Do any of us still have the devices on which to play them? I would say in most cases probably not, so why do we hold onto them? Is it the aesthetic value? Is it habit or is it a strange notion of duty for all the pleasure they gave us?

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Features Reviews

FEATURE: Tomorrow’s Sounds Today

Hi everyone, welcome to another edition of Tomorrow’s Sounds Today! For those new to the series, this is our collection of the best from the “What’s New” section of Spotify presented to you for your digestion on a fortnightly basis.

We have some real crackers for you this week, including some unusual choices showcasing our commitment to musical diversity. As usual we’ll present our top picks with a little breakdown for you, but please also take a look at the playlist linked at the end of the post for some little extras and teasers for you!

Wavves – King Of The Beach
– If you have already listened to the Best Coast album we did a review on last week then you are in for a complete treat with this piece. An epic work of positive, pulsing guitar rock that wouldn’t be out of place on a soundtrack for that drive to the beach for a surf weekend. Tones of other genre bands come out in all the tracks but at no point do they feel like they are lending too heavily from other peoples work. Turn this one up loud and feel the summer.

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Features

FEATURE: “What Statement?” – A Profile of Alien8 Records

Article by Richard Capener.

In my day, I say in an old man’s voice, there was a teenage ‘war’ around Gloucester: the individuals snobbily referred to as ‘chavs’ verses the punks and grebos. Verbal abuse and muggings ensued on both sides and blah blah blah.

Moral:

Musical communities, usually based on the clothes people wear and cliques, seem silly to me, who opts for a “Lets create whatever the hell we want, respect it and lend each other a helping hand” kinda mentality: communities defined by genre borders augment segregation.

What if a community was defined by its differences? What if viewpoints shifted from class ethics, clothes and cliques to what each individual believes to be music?

Montreal based label Alien8 Recordings “was founded in 1996 by Sean O’Hara and Gary Worsley, under whose operation the label continues to this day,” (www.alien8recordings.com/info). While their original focus was Montreal’s vangard, they’ve more or less dipped into every genre. And my oh my, I’m going to babble on for bit about some of their releases.

Far from the structureless jibberjabber (not that it’s bad – more on this later) most experimental communities offer, the last five years have seen Alien8 put out rock and roll. More or less. Take Anthologie Des 3 Perchoirs, the debut by the now defunct Duchess Says, and its rather indescribable track, AEAE (open.spotify.com/track/5MujNpEpKEfRrVBAfS7Bre). It’s made all the more exciting because the band believed, “Their goal was to insure a faithful representation of the message of the Duchess (or spiritual budgie) through a precise artistic dialog”. I don’t know what it means either but budgie-message sure makes for good tunage.

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Features

FEATURE: Does Britain Really Have the X-Factor Talent?

Image courtesy of The Daily Goss.

And first, the news! So recently it was announced that John and Edward, fronted by aging buffoon Louis Walsh are to release a second god awful travesty. Yes my friends. It is regrettably true that those two Irish pillocks (affectionately?) shortened to JedWard, have surpassed all logic and reason with their release of their personal answer to the Nuclear Bomb, a cover version of Blink 182’s ‘All the Small Things’ (along side their new debut album). For those that may not know, John and Edward are 18 year old twins, who earned their reputation for covering poor renditions of tunes like the ‘Ghostbusters Theme Tune’ and ‘Vanilla Ice’s Under Pressure’ during last year’s series of X-Factor. The main problem was that they were at the time subject of much entertainment, because they simply weren’t good enough. How they made it into the knockout stages was a mystery to many. Nevertheless, they battled through the rounds with their out of sync jumping and cringingly tuneless vocal musings. Surprisingly, they made it to the 6th knockout round of the competition. Thing is, these boys need no encouragement. It’s not really a fair plan to expose them to the public in this way to be the subject of mockery. Whilst the novelty of watching these boys progress through the rounds bastardising tune after tune was admittingly entertaining at first, their sheer lack of quality soon became tiresome. To the point where, for many weeks, they were booed, live in front of an audience of millions. And now, as previously mentioned, they have landed a large record deal, 2 singles and an album. On what grounds? Success?

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News

NEWS: Cage Against The Machine

Last year, a Facebook group got Rage Against The Machine to Christmas UK number 1.   It even got Rage themselves to put on a free gig for us all.

This year, it’s Cage Against The Machine. A new Facebook campaign has been started to get John Cage’s famous avant-garde work 4’33” – notable for it’s 4-and-a-half minutes of pure silence – to christmas number one this year.

Feel free to make as many ‘Silent Night’ puns as you see fit, and make sure you sign up for your email reminder to buy the single in 6 months time!

We like this one; lets hear silence at the top spot this Christmas.

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News Playlists

LIVE: 2000 Trees Festival, or "I Guess I’ll Need A Second Match"

2000 Trees

Ok, so it’s not Glastonbury, but over the last three years 2000 Trees has grown to become quite a well respected little festival. It’s fourth outing kicks off tomorrow, with early entry for some lucky ticket-holders today.

Held every year at Upcote Farm near Cheltenham, 2000 Trees was started by a group of friends as a reaction to the spiralling costs of the mainstream festivals and the desire to create a more ethical alternative.

2000 Trees is one of the more environmentally-friendly festivals, winning a ‘Greener Festival Award’ for its efforts. Electricity is produced from locally sourced bio-fuel, there is onsite recycling, food and drink is locally sourced where possible and there are travel incentives for car sharing and using local transport.

Musically the festival has no restrictions, offering music from various genres including rock, metal, indie, folk and pop, but with an emphasis on promoting home grown talent. The organizers even hold a Battle of the Bands each year to give local bands a chance to win a slot on the main stage.

This year’s line-up is headlined by Frank Turner, Metronomy, The Subways and Bombay Bicycle Club with other acts including Kill It Kid, 65Daysofstatic, Maybeshewill, Tubelord, And So I Watch You From Afar, David Goo, Jim Lockey & the Solemn Sun, and Spotisfaction favourite Men Diamler.

Following a successful day at the festival last year, where we discovered the awesomeness that is Imperial Leisure, Thom and myself are heading there for the entire weekend this year so look for some reviews from us next week (or whenever we recover).

[Kevin]

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News

INTRO: Ben Hawling

Hi, hows it goin’?

Whatever you’re doing, wherever you are, I hope that the latest Spotisfaction playlist is filling your ears and softly soaring through your atmosphere.

My name is Ben Hawling and I will be flooding the Spotisfaction pages with regular reviews and the occasional rant. These reviews will consist of both album and gig reviews, plus a few band profiles every so often in an effort to keep our collective Spotisfaction fingers on the pulse of what’s hot, musically. I will also be conducting a weekly “Band back catalogue appreciation” feature (yeah, working on a better name as we speak), where I rummage through the back catalogue of a different band each week so that a whole host of new fans can be introduced to fine music. This will also allow the more loyal fans to reminisce, and their appreciation be born all over again.
Based in the glorious Cheltenham town, I am a resident reviewer for the visionary Cheltenham Underground imprint, so I will be posting regular nuggets of local talent. I will also give the heads up of any mind-blowingly awesome artists that play at the Cheltenham Underground showcase nights, and where you can find them (in a non-stalker way…….well, maybe).

The reason behind my involvement with the Spotisfaction blog is purely because I long to be part of something that is groundbreaking, and that thrives on delivering music in all it’s forms to those who may not have access to it. But on a more personal level, it is down to the enjoyment and appreciation of the mixtape itself. Spotisfaction allows the 15 year-old me, sat alone in my bedroom, to finally share all the mixtapes that I compiled from odd tapes and CDs. Just as the mixtapes got me through the drudge of school, I hope that the playlists and discussion that you will find on Spotisfaction carry you through the harshness of modern day life and on to a higher plain, wherever that may be.

If there’s any albums/gigs/bands that you want me to review or take a look at, please feel free to contact me on twitter (@benchs25) or via my email address, ben@spotisfaction.com.

We are all part of something spectacular, and most importantly, real. Let’s embrace it!

Thank you,

Ben Hawling

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News

INTRO: James TAE

Hey guys, and welcome to my Spotisfaction blog. I will be contributing reviews, articles, features, general stuff intended for debate.

I’m very pleased to be here and helping to grow the size and scope of the site. I was really very impressed with what Dave and Thom had achieved here, keeping it growing, gaining momentum and keeping an interested following. The growth of Spotify has really been phenomenal, and when Facebook was tied in and the social, collaborative nature of Spotify went through the roof, and all via an interface and technology which was almost perfectly realised, I had to contact the boys. I could see where this could go: there was the potential to be one of the first sites to provide music news, reviews and blogs where all its content was linked to instantly listenable, legal material. I really think that this, right here, could be a first. I haven’t encountered another independent internet blog that ties all of its content to an entirely free, entirely legal and legitimate music streaming service.

I’m unbelievably enthusiastic about the potential, but only if you’ll stick with us, continue to listen, to read, to contribute. That last one is the most important. Spotisfaction’s raison d’etre is its collaborative nature. We don’t just want you to provide playlists, we want your news, your reviews, your opinions, your ideas for features. We want to try to create a community driven, Spotify enhanced musical encyclopaedia of a blog. Spotipedia? Blogify? No, Spotisfaction.


[continued…]

The Spotisfaction playlists won’t stop, and please don’t stop submitting them, because we still intend these to be the most frequently posted things on the site. It’s just that we’ll supplement these with an archive of album and artist reviews, news posts, and general blogs like this one.

A little about me I guess. Well, I recently applied to be on the news team at Latitude festival, and I had to describe myself in 50 words. Here are my 50 words:

“I am a passionate musician, editor and blogger. I have a wide taste in music and have stewarded at many festivals with Oxfam for 5 years including Glastonbury , Reading , and WOMAD. I work in digital editorial, and also help to run an online music blog, contributing reviews, articles and featurettes.”

Living and working in central London, I keep myself involved in as much as possible and will be trying to review as much as I can. I also review for
CueTracks.net, a company that allows unsigned bands to have their music reviewed by people working in the industry. Expect a diverse (I trust) list of reviews and playlists – my previous submissions have been Dubstep, Acoustic and Metal mixes. I have a blog on Piracy that I think will be posted in the next couple of days to give you all to chew on while I disappear to Glastonbury on Saturday. I’ll be reviewing Glasto for you all next week and you can continue to follow me and my other goings on via Twitter: http://twitter.com/James_TAE

Please keep the submissions coming, be it playlists, news, reviews or ideas for features. You can email them all to me at
james@spotisfaction.com or submit them through the site as normal.

Cheers
[James TAE]