Category: Features

Silver Rose’s Influential Albums

Features, Music February 23, 2017

Originally published and still available on Born Music 13/12/16

Upon listening to the sun-soaked sound of SILVER ROSE, it is nearly impossible to ignore the rose-tinted homage that the delectable brand of rock pays to decades gone by. The music is the passionate love affair of songwriter and musician Carla Sariñana, who – over the past decade – has been writing songs and playing bass in her band Ruido Rosa, before turning her sights on Los Angeles.

“I just wanted to make my own songs and start a shoegaze or psychedelic band,” says Sariñana. “I wanted to stop depending on other people and be able to finish a song by myself and listen to it and feel the things I’ve felt with other records and songs I love. I wanted to make songs I loved listening to over and over again.”

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Introducing: Lewis Fieldhouse

Features, Music, Uncategorized February 23, 2017

Originally published and still available on Born Music 2/12/16.

The past few years have been ones of discovery for LEWIS FIELDHOUSE. In 2013, the London-based singer-songwriter set off on a creative journey, one that began in his hometown and took him all the way to California before coming full circle, seeing him return a man with a new perspective on life, his work, and what he intended to do.

“[My time in California’s Central Valley] was absolutely vital to me as the musician I am now. I went out there to try and push myself musically, try to network more and just see what connections I could make, but it didn’t really go to plan,” says Fieldhouse. “I was dumped in the first week of my trip by a girl that I had fallen quite hard for, but actually, that opened the floodgates on something I think I had been depressed about for a while.” His mother had recently been ill due to cancer. “I’d been distracting myself, not dealing with the enormity of it. I think being so far from home really forced me to look myself in the eye and say ‘What the hell does this mean?’”

Fieldhouse spent six weeks in Central Valley trying to make sense of what was happening in his personal life, and this time spent in reflection also led him to question where he was going musically. “I’d recently released an EP and even though I was pleased with it, I knew it wasn’t really where I wanted to be going.” His moment of epiphany occurred unexpectedly one afternoon at a music festival in Los Angeles. “I was in Echo Park and ‘Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings’ by Father John Misty came on through the PA (he wasn’t even playing there). It hit me over the head like a hammer and that’s when I knew where my direction lay.”

In the coming months, Fieldhouse would begin to construct the beginnings of a sound clearly influenced by Misty’s dusty rock and narrative-weaving lyrics, a development which culminated in the creation of his persona, Theodor Washington. “I’d say Theodor is more of an idealised version of myself that I can look up to, some sort of fearless warrior that transcends human airs and graces, a purer version of myself. He helped me to get out of bed in California when I was at my lowest,” explains Fieldhouse. “The persona allows me to be more honest about my life and to not be so caught up in the vast arch of a life story, but rather to focus on what is happening in front of me. I was on the trip of a lifetime; I needed to go out and make something of it, otherwise, I’d have ended up hating myself. He doesn’t just help me make music, he helps me live better.”

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Angela Carter and her Bloody Chamber

Articles, Features, Opinion March 29, 2016

Originally published and still available on ZUSTERSCHAP for their “Revolutionary Women” theme (20/03/16).

Unfortunately, I am unable to recall the exact moment that Angela Carter entered my life; one moment she was not there, the next she was. Perhaps it is a testament to both her work and my need for it that her words slipped in and permeated my psyche so seamlessly; there was a thirst and a void that needed filling, and the clout of her fiction sated me.

Whilst the pivotal moment may have passed me by, I can recount a day when –aged 18 and trapped in an awkward induction to first-year university – a lecturer passed back copies of the work would be analysing that day. Flicking through the sheets, I recognised Carter’s three variants of ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ namely ‘The Werewolf,’ ‘Wolf Alice,’ and ‘The Company Of Wolves’. Those unfamiliar with Carter can be forgiven of her solely as a re-interpreter of fairy tales; over her approximate thirty years of publication she wrote nine novels, seven works of short fiction, three poetry collections and three plays as well as children’s books, radio, TV and theoretical writing, whilst also adapting her own work for film. To call her prolific would be an understatement, yet decades on, it is these fairy tales that most strongly persevere.

The Bloody Chamber was – and still is – a shock to the system for the uninitiated, after all in what other capacity does one expect to encounter fantastical interspecies paedophilia or sadist murder in the medium of short story? To describe it as a bonding experience is apt; the discomfort was palpable throughout the lecture hall that day. First came the awkward silence and shifty glances, followed by second-guessing and audible disgust. Accordingly, at the time of publication, a great number of readers would dismiss The Bloody Chamber as scandalous smut for the deviant and block Carter from their minds. I am confident that many in the lecture hall that day did just that, but dig past the surface and you will find such a complex web of sex, social constructs and femininity that you must pause to give Carter’s work the respect it deserves.

As previously stated, The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter’s most famous and widely read work – is a fantastical re-working of familiar fairy tales. Often wrongly they are branded solely as feminist fiction with an ‘adult’ twist (as the American edition once wrongly described), and whilst there are many markings that dictate it to be so, to presume it as Carter’s primary aim is uncouth. She has never (to my own knowledge) declared her intention as intrinsically feminist, but rather to subvert the societal conformities of gender that are reinforced time and again in fairy tale narrative – we all remember the character functions of the princess as a reward, the damsel in distress, the object. Yet female sexual empowerment and ownership permeates its pages.

Read the rest of the article over on ZUSTERSCHAP!

Unsigned City: Birmingham

Features, Music November 26, 2014

Originally published and still available on Gigslutz (19/11/14).

Promoting unsigned artists is something we at Gigslutz feel extremely passionate about, with our regular ‘Unsigned Act Of The Week’ and ‘Ones To Watch’ features, as well as a wealth of reviews and premieres. Celebrating new artists, or even people who’ve been making music for years but not got the recognition they deserve, is something we pride ourselves on and feel is an integral part of what the world of music should be about. We therefore thought it would be a great idea to focus on the array of unsigned artists in different cities around the country and spread the word about the huge amount of talent that is out there! 

– Mari Lane, Assistant Editor & Unsigned Artists Editor

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This week, Kayleigh takes a look at the unsigned scene in Birmingham… 

YOUTH MAN: Like your music coated with menace? If so, look no further than Youth Man and the pummeling punch that this trio’s noise exudes. From early 2012, the band’s aural and visual assault have torn through a swathe of inoffensive ‘indie’ rock of the city, standing out like a sore thumb for all the best of reasons. Fronted by Kaila Whyte – an impressive guitarist and committed vocalist – their raucous recent single ‘Joy’ is the best place to start. Sporting scathing lyrics and the riotous energy that their live sets are renowned for, this is blood and spit music. Be ready for it.

Read the rest of this article (feat. Table Scraps, UUOO and more) over on Gigslutz, along with more of my writing.

What You Should Probably Know About Your App Data, But Probably Don’t

Articles, Content Writing, Features, Opinion October 26, 2014

Originally published and still available on Dataconomy (14/10/14).

Can you imagine a world without smartphones? In this day and age, the answer is a resounding ‘no’. One of the reasons for this is how profoundly we rely on apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to name but a few. These apps connect us with friends, family or even strangers, be they across the globe or around the corner via a variety of novelty mediums.

To tap into such services, users must first sign up. The pesky asterisk deems your full name, email, date of birth as compulsory information, but also often gender, a ZIP/postal code, address, phone number and – if you are using a subscription service – bank card details. This is easily enough information to create a sketchy profile on any individual –  and that is before you start using their service. When that begins, you will be, whether you realise it or not, voluntarily offering the company snippets into your day to day life, primarily intended for people you actually know.

Facebook is a prime example; as a website and app that boasts approximately 1.28bn users (as of June 2014), it has developed from an idea into a corporate giant. Of that total, 802 million people log into Facebook daily with 556m accessing Facebook via their smartphone or tablet and 189m of those being “mobile only” users. Every 60 seconds, 510 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated and 136,000 photos are uploaded.

Interestingly, however, each time you log into Facebook, share content, or publish a Tweet, the information you offer is being processed, logged and recorded. How do you think “Trending Topics” are created, or recommendations on who to follow next are so accurate?  Such information reveals what users find popular (or unpopular), and – as most free apps are fuelled by advertising – offers you similar content in an attempt to urge you to part from the cash in your wallet.

Read the rest of this article over on Dataconomy.

Read more of my Dataconomy articles here.

SCENE THIS? – Antonio Paul… On Australia

Features, Music, New Music September 17, 2014

Originally published and still available on CLAMOUR (14/09/14).

The land Down Under may only be a hemisphere away, but when it comes to music it could easily be an entire world apart. It is a rare stroke of luck that throws an Australian artist into the hubbub above the equator, most recently the likes of psychedelic hippies Tame Impala and Pond, singer-songwriters such as Gotye and electronic experimentalists Jagwa Ma.

It is evident that up in the North we have only begun to scratch the surface of the densely rich musical habitat that is Australia (and New Zealand, but we’ll save that for a later date). Keen to know more, CLAMOUR asked eclectic indie duo Antonio Paul to shed some light on the scene and what makes them tick as a band.

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‘The Australian music scene is divided up into the separate capital cities of Australia, the Melbourne and Sydney scenes being the most influential and prominent due to their higher population and providing the most opportunities for musicians.’ Marc Antonio reveals. Despite being situated on the West Coast of Australia – at opposing ends of the epicentre of all of the action – the band have cooked up a flurry of excitement over the past few years with a succession of EPs, the most recent of which being Modern Daze, an effort which sees them gathering exposure in the U.S and now too, the UK. Building on the sound of its predecessors, the EP of five songs combines the classic sound of the band’s alternative pop with a new experimentality most potent in the understated dub elements of the title track. ‘Funnily enough the dub feel was unintentional. I left the demo of the song open so we could write the guitar part in the studio, but a prominent guitar track didn’t seem to fit in with the style, so we emphasised on the powerful drum track and underlining bass groove’.

What results is a foreshadowing of a maturing progression of sound that proves exciting in a bland environment of ‘oh, there’s that sound again’ pop. It is also very addictive, and Antonio Paul are not an act that intend to be pigeon-holed any time in the near future. ‘We are always expanding our sound by disregarding limitations and going against perceived genres and expectations’ says Antonio. ‘ [It is] a trait that could be our biggest downfall, but it’s the very thing that keeps us interested and motivated. Our songs are stories and in order to give life to the stories we have to consider the best genre or sound to deliver the message in’.

Such a variety of taste in regards to genre is exactly what the pair have rounded up for their playlist showcasing the best of Australian music. Comprised of the energetic I Heart Hiroshima, the delicate folk of The Middle EastThe Jezabels’ howling euphoria to name but a few, musicians of Australia prove to be an eclectic and talented bunch. It begs the question then, why do so few Australian musicians make it onto the UK and U.S airwaves?

‘I was talking about this the other day with my girlfriend,’ says Antonio. ‘I mean, the Australian sound is a combination of UK, American and a dash of French. In Australia we are extremely trend dictated – we go through bands and artists at a fast pace – but I personally feel that in the UK your artists tend to have a sense of timelessness and prestige about them.’ Perhaps it is the fickle nature of the Australian charts that seldom allows Aussie artists any career longevity and, as a result, fails to nurture them into marketable talent overseas. A shame then, given the isle is a hot bed of diverse creativity as showcased below.

‘My favourite band of all time is Death Cab for Cutie, and I think we sound nothing like them, which make me sad,’ laughs Antonio. ‘I’ve always wished we were one if the those “real” bands that has a musically intellectual alternative sound and a moody/mysterious persona, but i feel ultimately you’ve just got to be your authentic self and follow whatever comes naturally.’

View Antonio Paul’s playlist of the best new music in Oz plus their opinions on each over at CLAMOUR.

Interview: The Scenes

Features, Music, Q+A September 12, 2014

Originally published and still available on Gigslutz (10/09/14).

The Scenes are a Finnish rock band with an eclectic collection of songs tucked into their repertoire. A swift run down their Soundcloud drags the listener through the rowdy, yet cinematic clamour of ‘City Of White Blankets’, the meandering ‘Anorexia Is Boring’ and densely experimental tracks such as ‘Hunters’. This is a band that is hard to pin down – but Gigslutz tried. Guitarist Miki Liukkonen took a pit-stop to answer some of our questions.

Hello there! Where do we find The Scenes today?

I’m not really sure what that question means, but here we are in Finland, working on our third album and getting ready for our next lengthy tour in UK.

You are a Finnish band, but you are about to go on a UK wide tour supporting punk legends The Specials. How did that come about?

X-Ray Touring Agency, who we are working with, asked if we’d like to tour with The Specials and we said “yes”.

Are you nervous about touring with such an iconic band?

Yes.

You’ve also recently supported Bo Ningen and played festivals such as The Great Escape, Live At Leeds, Dot To Dot and Liverpool Sound City, building up an impressive live reputation. What can newbies expect from your live show?

We always strive to give our best, but that’s really what everybody is saying about their live performances. But I mean, our shows are always so full of energy that it’s almost repressive, not only for the audience, but to us also. Every show must be played like it’s your last, and one day, I think, if things go in right direction, that is what will happen.

Have you had any unusual touring experiences?

No, all our touring experiences have been ridiculously normal, drinking and breaking stuff (well, not always). It would be much more unusual if we didn’t do anything but sit in our tour bus, solving Sudokus.

Your music is rather diverse. ‘Hunters’ and single ‘Anorexia Is Boring’ are very different, so what inspires your sound?

Art in general, everything that’s good. In particular me, Konsta (singer) and Matias (bassist) are crazy about films, painting, novels, poetry. It’s just creativity that inspires. To be honest it’s much harder to find any bands that I can consider as ‘art’, that make music that makes you think ‘Wow, that’s something I haven’t heard/thought before, this is something new’. The first thing you got to do if you want to achieve anything that could be described as ‘meaningful’ is to never think that you have achieved anything, and always try and find something new. Reiteration and habit are the worst enemies that artists can have.

Read more of the interview over at Gigslutz.

See more of my Gigslutz posts here

Treasure Hunter feat. Sara Thomas

Fashion, Features, Vintage August 20, 2014

Originally written for, published by and still available at Old Tat (19/08/14).

Many of us dream of a free spirited existence that allows us to indulge in our most passionate loves, but for vintage hoarder Sara Thomas, that dream is a reality. As the one-woman powerhouse behind vintage brand WAISTE, Thomas has nourished her hobby into a flourishing and ever-expanding business.

‘People always asked me where I got my clothing from and always seemed to sigh when I said it was vintage,’ says Thomas. ‘I seem to have a knack for finding great pieces, so I thought why not turn the talent into a career!’ It is this aptitude for discovering unique morsels of vintage that has seen WAISTE gather such an impassioned and rapid following, one that has seen the label garner over 20,000 Instagram followers* and having their wares donned by high-calibre models of the moment Cara Delevinge and Georgia May Jagger.

The popularity of WAISTE extends to Thomas’ own internet presence largely in thanks to her personal fashion blog, also monikered as WAISTE. ‘All my social media is interconnected and I love being able to showcase WAISTE in my outfits on my blog. I basically just wanted somewhere to document my outfits, as I usually ended up forgetting everything I wear and it all went from there really’.

What began as a desire to dress differently evolved into an unquenchable thirst for the old and quirky (‘I was always asking my Mum and Nana if I could go up the loft and dress up in their old clothes!’) and rummaging through discarded items in charity shops in a bid to authentically channel classic and bohemian fashion icons such as Marianne Faithful, Janis Joplin, Jane Birkin, Mary-Kate Olsen and one Stevie Nicks. ‘I’ve gone from wearing every print I could find to look as crazy as possible to toning down my whole wardrobe,’ says Thomas, who now prefers key pieces such as smock, midi and maxi dresses and kimonos. ‘I remember a lot of bad outfits, but luckily Instagram wasn’t around at the time to have any evidence of them!’

‘People always asked me where I got my clothing from and always seemed to sigh when I said it was vintage,’ says Thomas. ‘I seem to have a knack for finding great pieces, so I thought why not turn the talent into a career!’ It is this aptitude for discovering unique morsels of vintage that has seen WAISTE gather such an impassioned and rapid following, one that has seen the label garner over 20,000 Instagram followers* and having their wares donned by high-calibre models of the moment Cara Delevinge and Georgia May Jagger.

The popularity of WAISTE extends to Thomas’ own internet presence largely in thanks to her personal fashion blog, also monikered as WAISTE. ‘All my social media is interconnected and I love being able to showcase WAISTE in my outfits on my blog. I basically just wanted somewhere to document my outfits, as I usually ended up forgetting everything I wear and it all went from there really’.

What began as a desire to dress differently evolved into an unquenchable thirst for the old and quirky (‘I was always asking my Mum and Nana if I could go up the loft and dress up in their old clothes!’) and rummaging through discarded items in charity shops in a bid to authentically channel classic and bohemian fashion icons such as Marianne Faithful, Janis Joplin, Jane Birkin, Mary-Kate Olsen and one Stevie Nicks. ‘I’ve gone from wearing every print I could find to look as crazy as possible to toning down my whole wardrobe,’ says Thomas, who now prefers key pieces such as smock, midi and maxi dresses and kimonos. ‘I remember a lot of bad outfits, but luckily Instagram wasn’t around at the time to have any evidence of them!’

*stats correct at time of publication.

Read the rest of the feature over on Old Tat.

Vintage goodies: http://www.waiste.co.uk

Sara’s fashion blog: http://waiste.blogspot.co.uk

Images of Sara Thomas: © Sara Thomas

Interview: NIGHTS

Features, Music, Q+A August 13, 2014

Originally published and still available on Gigslutz (12/08/14).

Nights are a Newport four-piece with a penchant for minimalist indie with a touch of funk. Made up of  Mikee Gregory, Anthony J. Smith, Gareth Pearson and John Miles, the band are about to unleash their new single ‘Hey Love Hello’ via Necessary Records on September 15th. Before the hubbub begins, Gigslutz took a pit-stop with Mikee to get the low-down on this elusive foursome.

Hi Nights! What have you been up to lately?

We have been stuck in the studio preparing our production for our recent Club NME gig at KOKO, whilst writing a few new tracks in between which we are about to record in our newly refurbished studio.

How did the KOKO gig go?

We obviously wanted to step up our game drastically, so we went to work on making it a full production. We had enough in the budget to bring in some great crew and used a friend of ours and all round great FOH guy, Simon Baxter, who really made the sound something quite special. We also wanted to invest a lot of time in the lighting production, so we hired one of the best guys we know, Jordon Cooper from Moth Lights, who we had seen recently doing lights for our friends Skindred.

With all these factors coming together, along with a lot of practice and preparation and the addition of a violin on our new single ‘Hey Love Hello’, the show went off without a hitch. We were looked after extremely well by KOKO and really made the evening and event one to remember. A lot of friends turned up to support us, so to share that great show with some of your closest friends really makes it something special.

You unveiled the video for your latest track ‘Hey Love Hello’ a few weeks ago featuring alt-model Carlos Costa and his girlfriend having a 3 minute canoodle on London Bridge. Was that your idea, and if so, what made you choose it?

To be totally honest about the video, we weren’t 100% sold on the idea from the directors Robbie Knox and Ryan Prout at first, but after talks with them and amongst ourselves we came to the conclusion that what we wanted to create was something simple and elegant to match the song. We chatted for a few days about how we would do it, who we would use, where and how it would be shot. We wanted it to be classy with an edge, so the black and white was our classy and the edge of the video was the fact it was all in reverse.

We are friends with Carlos and Jenna and we wanted a couple kissing who really meant it, who live it and who love each other. You can’t make two actors do that, we had to have it real and Carlos and Jenna were the perfect couple. We asked them, they agreed to do it, we shot it and it worked beautifully. Some people love it and some people don’t like it but either way we had people chatting about it and to us that’s the main reason for doing a video.

‘Hey Love Hello’ mixes catchy melodies and funky guitars to create chilled-out indie pop. What influences your sound and how do you approach creating your music?

Firstly, writing a song always seems to fall from nowhere and slap you in the face. I hear something by mistake and tend to scramble for my phone and hum or sing it in to my voice recorder. With the help of Gareth I find the chords and progressions I need and we start playing around with different chords, bass lines and melodies until we are left with the bits that stick. We all end up working together in the end, however, that’s just my preference for writing songs. It works differently for each of us.

When creating our music we go with whatever we want to do, we have recently been writing slow soul songs and songs that seem to be driven by Talking Heads and then other songs that are in 3⁄4 and swing. Next week we will be doing minimal house. We believe that good music is just good music and that people should not be confined by the gates of genre. Exploring music is the best part of writing.

With all this in mind ‘Hey Love Hello’ was a song that we wanted to be extremely simple and elegant but with a strong groove and melody. Antony plays one note throughout the whole song and sounds horrible without hearing the song, but we felt it worked at the time and still feel that now. It was a little bit of a challenge if anything.

Do you find it difficult to combine everyone’s musical preferences within the band?

Everyone in the band has their own style and choice of listening music, however, Nights has a very distinguished vision. We know what’s right for the band and so some songs we write may not even be used in a Nights set, but we are writing music to help us explore it and not to just be confined by the band. Having four perceptions looking in on one project is a great thing, it’s just managing it correctly and we all understand what Nights is about so it makes decisions easier.

Read more of the interview over at Gigslutz.

See more of my Gigslutz posts here.