Saturday, 19 May 2012

Akira The Don - Unkillable Thunderchrist

Starting a mixtape with an accapella rap is certainly making a statement.

And what a statement, the beat drops and inside of 60 seconds we have already witnessed a dozen or more pop-culture references, including Salvador Dali, the Farrelley Brothers, Charlie Sheen and the 2012 olympic stadium, and chances are there may have even been a fair number that I haven't even picked up on.

It is this richness of reference points, combined with an honesty and wit that has seen welsh rapper Akira The Don blazing his own unique trail with every release.

Unkillable Thunderchrist is a ridiculously over-inflated title for the rappers 27th mixtape, which comes a year after the release of the second album proper, yet with suitable scope and a magnificent pomp, it hardly seems inappropriate given Akira's larger than life character and tendency to put the world to rights through the power of song. 

In terms of content (though not quality) it certainly is a mixed bag, from the self-explanatory Wu Tang riffing D.R.E.A.M (debt rules everything around me), onto Lemmings, sampling the classic computer game of the same name while broaching recent issues such as the mis-handling of the possible fuel crisis and the sinister Kony 2012 propaganda, right through to more personal experiences like watching Terminator underage, school's sex education and the exuberance of time mis-spent after a move to London.

Fans of rap prefixed with the term 'gangsta' may turn up their nose at a droll cover version of Justin Beiber's Baby, delivered over an elevator style Muzak track, but with an array of guest raps provided by collaborators old and new, there should be plenty more besides for those that are still immune to rampant Bieber Fever.

Indeed, it is the 7 minute opus, Give Me Something (11:11), at the heart of the mixtape that features Akira The Don solely on production duties and is instead headed up by Manchester MC, Envy, that is the absolute highlight of this release. A moving tribute to her late mother, recounting both the hardships and the happy memories that flood back as a simple drum beat kicks over a delicate guitar sample.

Although this is followed by the aforementioned Baby cover.

You have been warned.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Lois and The Love: Live @ The Macbeth

Intimate Hoxton bolthole, The Macbeth, is hosting the second date of a three gig residency by up and coming London band, Lois and The Love, and considering the sizeable crowd that has turned out for the second gig in as many weeks, there surely must be something about this band, whose buzz has been steadily building as they work towards the release of their debut EP later this summer.

Already with a number of London gigs under their belt, the band stepped up their game as they infiltrated the blogosphere in February with single Rabbit Hole, a Juliet Lewis and the Licks-esque romper stomper of a track that certainly kicks out the jams.

So any expectations are definitely delivered on when witnessing Lois and The Love doing their thing live, 'their thing' incidentally is a rock and roll spectacle, shot through with a blues-rock stomp and a down to earth garage band vibe, but it is no wonder that practising in garages or rehearsal rooms couldn't contain them, once you have feasted your eyes on the snake-hipped onstage cavorting of Lois herself.

All of the energy and immediacy of the live performance is heightened as their energetic lead pulses across the stage, yelping and wailing like a woman possessed, and putting in a frenetic vocal performance, and it is this exuberance of self-confidence that the band exudes that makes the atmosphere in a venue this size absolutely electric.

Watching them make short work of the fans assembled today, I recognise a flair that I have seen before, it is the appeal of a new band that you have found, a band you may have simply stumbled upon, but that tick all of the right boxes.

Perhaps others at this gig are experiencing them for the first time after deciding to stick their head into a free gig to see what the fuss is about, or perhaps it will be catching them on one of the smaller stages of a festival over the summer, but whatever the circumstances, I recognise that Lois and The Love deliver a performance that is as enjoyable for the crowd as it is for the band.

And that certainly bodes well for the future.


the third and final free gig at The Macbeth is this coming Wednesday 16th May

Friday, 4 May 2012

Coldplay's Chris Martin admits ten year tinnitus torment

back in February, during tinnitus awareness week, i ran a post concerning our nation's coverage of the problem that i, among with many other people are afflicted with, and the fact that the tinnitus angle of the story is swiftly swept aside as the red tops prefer to focus on the celebrity angle

but what should turn up on the front cover of the daily mirror today

Chris Martin's agony and anguish caused by his own tinnitus problem 

yes, it is finally real news now that the Coldplay frontman has voiced the fact that he has been suffering from tinnitus for the past ten years

he now lends his voice to a new campaign called Loud Music for a rebranded RNID (now Action on Hearing) alongside Plan B and Gary Numan and this news blitz has resulted in coverage on BBC, ITV and Sky news programmes and seen far more people discussing the condition on twitter today

and all of this welcome attention can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned

i have suffered with tinnitus myself for a number of years, and sadly it is all too often the case, as it was for me and it is for other sufferers, that it only ever becomes a problem that you care about when it is too late and the damage is already done

the hardest part to understand is why Chris Martin has not stepped forward a moment sooner in the past to make the larger public far more aware of a serious problem that affects music fans the world over, but it is better late than never and now I hope that with the support of high-profile touring artists will see a far more visible attempt to carry on spreading this awareness at the gigs, venues and festivals that will be housing Coldplay and Plan B this summer and beyond.

for more information on tinnitus and how to protect your hearing, visit and