Saturday, 28 April 2012

how original is The Voice?

it's a Saturday night and I am home infront of the telly.

it may be time to admit that my life has slowed to a worrying pace as i join my girlfriend, and probably the rest of the nation, watching BBC's The Voice. 

yes, dire times indeed, but at least it fuels my mind for blog fodder.

you'll be relieved to know that I haven't been tuning in every week, but there have been a number of weeks when I have caught the 'blind' auditions and found it to be an interesting alternative to the standard X-factor format (although I can hardly claim to be an expert on it), it wasn't quite reinventing the wheel but the real difference that stood it apart was the fact that some contestants were able to choose between mentors if chosen by more than one of the judges, and that these judges could only fill ten slots on their team, meaning, Jessie J, Tom Jones and the other one from The Script were all playing their own games to out-psych their competition and also bide their time to pick a strong team.

the very concept of The Voice was the strength of an individual's voice, so presumably everyone was vetted and there is no need for 'novelty' acts to fill the airtime, and anything that places Cassius Henry back in the public eye is alright by me (hey, can we maybe get Aaron Soul making a comeback next year?)

the real challenge would be to see how the mentoring and the representing of theses teams played out and whether this show would continue to pique my interest.

singing against each other in a boxing ring didn't sound bad if only the show wasn't on so long for me to not even bother tuning in when I noticed a repeat on BBC3 that dragged on for an hour and a half. and so, the live shows.

oh, hang on, this seems familiar.

like I said, i'm no expert, but isn't this what happens on the X-factor?

oh, and the result show is tomorrow.

I must admit I care a lot less now.

celebrities mentoring contestants as we yet again search for another new reality tv star...

oh hang on, this really does seem familiar.

other than the new spin on the selection process, it appears that the BBC is pretty much pulling the same shtick that it did ten years ago with Fame Academy only this time we have, Jessie J, Tom Jones and the one from The Script working full-time instead of Ronan Keating and Mariah Carey casually dropping by to offer advice

yeah, the beeb found something real special when they picked up The Voice

and maybe we'll have found someone really special by the time the show runs its course

although if the contestants were told that they have the chance of becoming the next Alex Parks, maybe, just maybe, they wouldn't have bothered


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

glassworks review roundup: march

it was last September that I was bemoaning the fact that any activity that was bringing new music my way via glasswerk had all but dried up as I posted the last couple of live reviews

so I finally took it upon myself to knock out a couple of reviews, both of which i have some personal investment in.

first up was the debut EP from a fledgling North London record label, that just so happens to be run by a couple of Enfield lads that I have crossed paths with a number of times, from their time performing together in Those Handsome Animals, and also separately in Retro Crooks and The Waterloos in the golden age of Enfield's live music scene.

but that is all in the past now, and they are now concentrating their efforts on sniffing out new talent as Njord and releasing limited edition cassettes with a lo-fi feel.

Connecticut born solo artist, Gift Lions, has the honour of kicking off their release schedule with 5 tracks that shimmer and glow with a nostalgic warmth, but you better move fast if you want to covet the physical format, as only 100 copies of the cassette release are in existence

Gift Lions review here

the second was a look at the latest single to be released by Akira The Don, who I have never shied away from heaping praise upon.

We Won't Be Broke Forever Baby, has long been a personal favourite of mine, teased out at occasional live performances long before being committed to record, featuring on the sophomore effort, The Life Equation and gaining itself a single release

Akira The Don review here

and with these two recent reviews under my belt I gathered up a bunch of contact details from promo CDs and sent out the feelers to see if anyone out there would like to send some new music my way

and some people did, I was rather disappointed with the bland Burning Shapes, rather more impressed with the subtle hip-hop head-nodder from Niko (which, due to technical difficulties, had to be reposted in April) and also gave the seal of approval to the debut album from film makers and art-collective turned musicians, Breton.

The press release may have been full of hot air in order to push the band's high-brow and artistic nature to anyone that would listen, but when the music was allowed to speak for itself it showed a highly diverse and post-modern collection of songs that may look set to infiltrate the public consciousness via car commercials if any advert executives spot this bands crossover potential, but don't hold that against them

Breton review here