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I’ve heard quite a bit about Merchandise through the grapevine, and word is that this mope-rock trio are pretty much the second coming of The Smiths. Well, not entirely (maybe more related to Joy Division or Echo and the Bunnymen in my personal opinion) but I can definitely see where they are coming from, Morrissey-esque vocals and reverb-lathered drums definitely echo something of the early rattlers on Meat is Murder or The World Won’t Listen.
But Merchandise, who sprung out of the Tampa DIY hardcore scene, are a little bit different – I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the band have a grim quirk to them that’s pretty infectious. It’s 80’s miserablism but with a modern twist.
The stand out track to me on Totale Night has to be Anxieties Door, mainly because it’s such a throw back to a real 80’s –dystopian indie pop classic. Programmed dance beats, catchy guitar riffs smothered in reverb and plaintive crooning from front man Cox. A lot of bands do this sort of thing, diminished recording quality to show that their record obviously harks back to a time of early digital recording, but when it’s done wrong it’s sort of like filming in black and white, what’s the point? But Merchandise does it right. The track is so long and eerie that you just sort of get lost in it, and that’s a beautiful quality for a track to possess.
The title track of the record is also a decent tune, coming in at a massive 9 minutes and 20 seconds; it sort of runs along the same vein as Anxieties Door, only a lot weirder. But it’s asking quite a lot to be listened to through to the end – it’s not particularly catchy, shrill and caked in white noise. However I’d say at about the 4-minute mark you get it, and something about the spooky, psychedelic atmosphere really works. And it’s sure to be a hit with the music buffs who will really appreciate all the audio geekery used to create such a commendable level of sonic weirdness.
But the slower songs on the record tend to drag a little bit, which is a shame because I really do love this LP. ‘Winters Dream’ could do with being about 3 minutes shorter. And ‘I’ll Be Gone’ gets a tad repetitious and could probably do with the same. But these two extremely Smithsy tracks are good nonetheless. If you’re miserable and mopey I bet they get about 10 times better.
So overall, psychedelic, melancholy and strangely beautiful – Totale Night is a great LP. Not a classic though. But I get what Merchandise are doing and I really like it.
I reckon I’d give the guys a solid 7/10.
Based in Blackburn, Lancashire, The Dark Rooms have slowly but surely been gathering buzz through word of mouth and some eye-catching support gigs. Sharing the bill with their musical their musical forefathers Heaven 17, has brought the band to a larger audience and with that more confidence.
The question is, do they have the songs to warrant the hype. Bringing to mind the slick jangly guitar of 80s indie, along with the heavily accented vocals in Lets Go Home showcases a band with fresh but not entirely original ideas. Saturated by the North West’s musical tradition of creativity breaking out of the industrial landscapes, The Dark Rooms pay homage to their influences and reward listeners with endlessly catchy tunes.
Written by Talkshow Host
What better way to celebrate Robert Trujillo’s 10 year Metallica-versary than to take you through our take on the best Metallica songs of all time!
Rob has been with Metallica for 10 years and boy how does time fly! The California based metal icons have themselves been going since 1981 after James Hetfield responded to a local ad placed in a paper by Lars Ulrich.
With 30 years of music, 9 albums, and 37 singles under their belts and too many great songs to have on this list, we’ve decided to split it down in to decades! So let’s start where it all began – in the 1980s.
Top 5 Metallica Songs of the 1980s
There is not much doubt that the 1980s were the years of Metallica: Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets are all masterpieces of the metal genre and still today set the bar. Metallica’s first ever gig was on 14th March 1982 at Radio City in Anaheim, California.
Did you know The Call of Ktulu off of Ride The Lightning was intentionally misspelled because the band did not want to actually call upon the mythical creature by spelling out its name?
4: Creeping Death
3: Master of Puppets
2: Seek and Destroy
We chose One due to the unbelievable music video and message behind the track – not forgetting the rifftastic fast sections with the lyrics:
“Darkness imprisoning me, All that I see, Absolute horror… I cannot live, I cannot die, Trapped in myself, Body my holding cell”
Top 5 Metallica Songs of the 1990s
1990 saw the album which helped to entice a large portion of the mainstream in to Metallica: The Black Album (Metallica). Released in 1991, it has sold over 30 million copies… not bad guys.
Can you believe it that in 1989 Metallica were nominated a grammy for best hard rock/heavy metal performance, but lost to Jethro Tull! Not to worry though – they won it in 1991!
4: Sad but True
3: The Unforgiven
2: Nothing Else Matters
1: Enter Sandman
Potentially the catchiest lyrics to a rock/metal song ever? The best music video of the 90s? The best rock/metal song ever made? Quite possibly.
Released in 1991, it was eventually decided to be the opening track from Metallica (The Black Album). Originally it was supposed to be Holier Than Thou, until Lars Ulrich interjected. Thanks Lars!
Top 5 Metallica Songs of the 2000s
The less said about St Anger the better… Whilst it did contain Frantic-tic-tic-tock and St Anger, it is really best being left forgotten. After St Anger a lot of fans were questioning whether Metallica still had it in them to write quality material… enter Death Magnetic.
Due to their influence on music, Metallica were elected into the rock and roll hall of fame in 2009. About damn time!
4: The Unforgiven III
3: The End of the Line
2: All Nightmare Long
1: The Day That Never Comes
The Day That Never Comes has one of the most recognisable riffs since their earlier work, along with some kick ass lyrics – what else do you expect from Metallica though? It was their lead single from Death Magnetic, originally called Casper before it was given its full title.
The Day That Never Comes spent a total of nine weeks at #1 on Hot Mainstream Rock Chart.
Covers / Extra Songs
Metallica have produced many awesome covers over the years, including So What, but in 1991, Hetfield blew his voice doing a cover and it had to be completely retrained.
Whisky in the Jar, So What & Am I Evil rank up there with the best of the rest. What’s your favourite cover? Please let us know below!
Ours is So What (In no way suitable for work!):
SERI is a hip-hop / soul / pop musician hailing from London. His new song called Cleopatra (no it’s nothing to do with that old girl band!) is out now.
SERI is releasing his EP in the coming months, and as his first music video Cleopatra is a very good debut.
Looking at the video, the track involves SERI’s romance with a lady – going by the name (or title) of Cleopatra. Whilst I can’t help of thinking about ‘that girl band’, hopefully SERI can help the world to move on and get people singing “She’s my Cleoppatraaaa”: A very catchy and well produced chorus.
Listen below and have a listen to the debut music video of SERI:
We The Undersigned (WTU) is the world’s first extradimensional band – a rag-tag crew of reggaefunk adventurers from another dimension of sound and colour. Featuring a plethora of musicians, singers and rappers – including the riotous Blowback Horns! They astound crowds with their colourful, high octane shows and their powerful STANKH music – a mixture of many influences including reggae, funk, jazz, afrobeat, rock and rap.
WTU has made a name for themselves as pioneers of musical creativity and synthesis; and harbingers of a revolutionary mindset of political, spiritual and personal liberation.
The band has supported such legendary artists as Toots and the Maytals (twice), the Skatalites, the Apples, Youngblood Brass Band. We have also played with the wonderful Dawn Penn as her backing band to great acclaim.
For 2013, they play around the UK and Europe to promote their second ‘do-it-yourself’ style recorded EP ‘Activation of the Groove’, which is available on www.wetheundersigned.co.uk, iTunes, Amazon and all other common online distribution sites. Live on stage, We The Undersigned will represent the STANKH at festivals such as Positive Vibrations, Vol. 1 (Kazimier Garden, Liverpool), Methusala Festival (Lancashire) and One Love Festival (Essex).
“There is no way that you can listen to We The Undersigned and not bob your head or tap your feet along. Go on… try!”
As the winners of Musician of the Month for May, why not check out some of We, The Undersigned’s music above. The track Archetype is especially funky and recommended highly by The Music Mag and they’re the type of band you just have to go and see live.
Richie Ashwin, based in the South East of the UK, has been building a name for himself within the Briitsh R&B scene.
His latest song ‘Hold Your Breath’ is indeed a breath of fresh air: soulful and full of emotion, with well thought out lyrics “mascara tears on your pillowcase, sambuca taste on your tongue… hold your breath there will be better days”. It’s obvious that heartbreak plays deep in to the tone of the song, and that’s shared with the listener in volumes! Take a listen here:
To listen to more of Richie Ashwin check out his facebook here.
Fearless Vampire Killers are one of the hottest bands in the UK at the moment. They were featured in The Music Mag before they broke in to the mainstream, and they have been kind enough to get back in touch and offer some advice for unsigned bands.
There are so many bands out just starting out, what advice would you give to them?
Think about this every minute of every day. Being amazing is the lowest point of entry and if you don’t then someone else will. More importantly enjoy yourself.
With gigging around work and other commitments in the early stages, what area would you suggest a band to focus on?
Playing regularly is the most important thing for sure. But not just playing anywhere. Make sure you’re making an effort to play in front of the right audience. Think who you’re appealing to and go find them! We spent years playing in Youth centres.
How have the FVK gone about getting heard?
Years and years of hard work. Sorry to burst the bubble but that’s the only way. We’ve been a band for 5 years. Nothing happens quickly and people will often try to capitalise on your ignorance. So be clever, work hard and find really good people to do it with.
Is social media important to stay connected with fans?
Absolutely essential. People live on the internet. Where are we now? No brainer.
Your look is brilliant, but how can other bands stand out from the crowd?
I always think just be true to yourself. You don’t need to go the whole hog. But it is really really important to not look like you’re just Jim the local handy man. You need to be an icon.
Do you have any advice with contacting labels?
I wouldn’t get too pre-occupied with that in the early stages. We founded our own one. Labels don’t throw money away. You’ll need to be a safe bet before they invest. So build your own thing.
Thank you for talking to us, anything else you’d like to add?
None of this is easy. But take it from me, every little victory is the most satisfying feeling ever. Be smart, work hard and for god sake be nice. If you’re a cunt people will talk.
To see more of the Fearless Vampire Killers, check out their facebook page.
I went to Rough Trade East for Record Store Day, and I was lucky enough to see The Strypes while I was there. Right now, this up and coming blues rock band are most notable for their ages (between 15 and 17). Many are sceptical because at the moment most of their back catalogue consists of covers, however I am pleased to say that any naysayers who have seen them play live will have been proved utterly and completely wrong. I cannot begin to describe how epic these teenagers were, and although their age is a bit of a novelty factor at first, once they start to play that thought is forced out of your mind by their immense talent.
They are impressively tight and oh so confident on stage. Most notable was lead guitarist Josh McClorey, whose fingers moved like they had minds of their own. Another surprise was to see lead singer Ross Farrelly play so proficiently on the harmonica. On stage they look like Princes of Mod in their button-up suits and with Farrelly in Ray Bans, which would seem a bit arrogant but, well, he’s bloody earned the right in my eyes. Altogether their set was mesmerising and explosive, with their own material blending in unnoticeably with the covers. It’s easy to be doubtful about The Strypes when you read about them as two dimensional youths-who-can-play-instruments, but in the flesh it’s a completely different story.
The Strypes performing Blue Collar Jane
The Strypes ‘Blue Collar Jane’ EP is out now on iTunes. Download it here
Calling all unsigned musicians!
As an unsigned artist, leading online fashion retailer boohoo.com knows how keen you are to have your music heard by a wider audience. That’s why they’ve launched a competition offering you the chance to have your tunes featured on boohoo’s TV channel and product videos!
The competition is open to all unsigned songwriters, DJs, music producers, bands and artists, and is a fantastic opportunity to show off your great music to a large audience of fashion-savvy listeners.
In addition, the artist whose track is chosen by boohoo as their favourite each month will win £50!
Entering the competition is simple. Just follow these easy steps:
1: Click the Banner to visit the competition page of the boohoo website:
2: Enter a link to where your music can be heard – this might be on SoundCloud, Mixcloud, YouTube etc.
3: Tell us your name and email address.
4: Provide a short description of you and your music.
That’s it – best of luck!
Dates for this year’s Open Mic UK singing competition have been announced, and with over 9,000 entrants last year, the 2013 competition is set to be the biggest yet! The search for the UK’s best singers, singer-songwriters, rappers and vocalists starts this August!
Open Mic UK is one of the largest national music competitions for singers and solo artists in the UK and is brought to you by Future Music, who’ve helped develop such acts as; Birdy, Jahmene Douglas and Lucy Spraggan.
FOR A LIST OF AUDITION VENUES GO TO: www.openmicuk.co.uk/singing-auditions
Those who make it through auditions will go on to perform in live showcases in front of a professional judging panel and packed out audience in some of the UK’s most prestigious live music venues. Acts talented enough to reach the Grand Final will perform within the UK’s most recognised live music venue, The O2 in London.
Events coordinator Chris Grayston can’t wait to see the class of 2013, “every year the bar is raised and the quality gets higher and higher, we’re really looking forward to seeing fresh talent from across the country. This is a great chance to let the country see your talent.”
Judging panels are made up of music industry specialists, A&R, vocal coaches and guest celebrities. Gracing the judging panel in previous years have been BBC Radio DJ’s Annie Nightingale and Ras Kwame, Kiss FM’s Charlie Hedges and Mark Hill, an Ivor Novello award winner. All are hopefully set to make another appearance for the 2013 competition!
There are plenty of opportunities for acts that enter Open Mic UK to win prizes throughout the competition with over £50,000 worth of prizes up for grabs, including recording studio time and music development classes, plus a main prize of £5,000 cash to the overall winner! The winning act will be crowned in front of a packed out crowd within The O2 in London!
Along the way to playing within The O2 acts get the chance to play in some of the most prestigious live music venues across the country including the Birmingham NEC, Sheffield City Hall and the Portsmouth Guildhall.
All ages are welcome to enter as Open Mic UK is divided into age categories; Under 16, 16-20, and 21 and over. It’s all about finding an act that has the ability to become a professional recording artist, be it singers, vocal performers, groups or acoustic singer/songwriters.
Previous winner Birdy continues to go from strength-to-strength having been signed to Warner Music. Since winning Open Mic UK aged 12, Birdy has had number one records in France, Holland, Belgium and Australia and enjoyed a UK top 20 hit with her spine-tingling version of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love.
So, if you think you’ve got what it takes to follow in her footsteps, enter now and get on the mic for Open Mic UK 2013!