Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Fall Out Boy: Save Rock And Roll

Seeking Susan Boyle has been a one man band since its inception, but no longer...

introducing herself with a review of Fall Out Boy's comeback album is Nelly da Conceição Estrela, who caught my eye with her work over at her own blog, student-journalist and who i'm proud to welcome to the fold.

This may be a little biased seeing as I am the biggest Fall Out Boy fangirl ever since my best friend made me listen to ‘Dance, Dance’ off their 2005 album ‘From Under The Cork Tree’.

I saw Fall Out Boy perform for the first time at the O2 Arena in March of 2009 and it was magic for my little teenage heart. It was a wonderful night and I’ll never forget how I felt like I was part of one big family as we all sung the lyrics to ‘Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner’ in complete unison.

The 4-piece band from Illinois, Chicago went on to have an impromptu hiatus from 2010 until early February this year. To the delight of many die-hard fans (myself included), they had secretly recorded a whole album (insert squeals here), titled an ambitious ‘Save Rock And Roll’. Although, I feel that it’s a satirical device, the album title is fitting.

A music video was released four days after their comeback was announced, starring 2 Chainz, a popular hip-hop artist. Hardly rock and roll, but I applaud the boys for putting out creative feelers and trying to do something different.

The polar worlds of hip-hop/rap and rock have collided before; does anybody remember the music video of Korn’s ‘Twisted Transistor’ featuring rappers Lil jon, Xzibit, Snoop Dogg and David Banner? To my disgust, a small group of so-called ‘fans’ were exercising their right to free speech and making albeit racist remarks at the collaboration on the YouTube comments for the single ‘My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light Em Up)’.


There were some people who made genuine comments on the album, referring to the repeated usage of technology instead of what they call ‘real instruments’. To some degree, I’ll recognise that some of the songs are severely lacking in the raw essence we saw in ‘Infinity on High’ (2007) and ‘Take This To Your Grave’ (2003).

As a drummer, I found myself to be disappointed in the beats and found them to be a little too edited and saturated to connect with. Having said that, I do really like the clap sample intro from ‘My Songs’ (which went platinum in the U.S.) and the intro to ‘Rat a Tat’, which features Courtney Love. The star-studded album also features the likes of Elton John, Big Sean and Foxes, an up-and-coming British singer and songwriter.

As a fangirl, I was psyched for this album and I still find myself grooving to it. I have to respect that this album was produced with 100% heart and that Fall Out Boy are trying to shed their negative sell-out ‘emo’ phase and trying to please no one but themselves with their music.

And that takes a lot of cojones, especially in this wonderful, weird digital age.

words by Nelly da Conceição Estrela

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Losers, live at Proud Camden: 11th July 2013

Everything must change.

Evolve or face extinction.

And so it is with Losers.

What brought me to be stood inside a hot, sticky Camden venue on a balmy July evening was the promise of witnessing the live incarnation of the second album from Eddy TM's band, the Xfm stalwart and all round nice guy trading decks for a bass guitar, and a curiosity and passion for anything this guy touches had not prepared me for what came next.

'Beautiful Losers' the debut album was reconstructed beats, a dance-rock hybrid tailor made for Eddy's longstanding Remix show, practically filtering his playlist for influences.

I knew what I wanted, I wanted to dance.

And as the amps were all turned up to 11, I had to put my expectations aside.

Opener 'Acrobatica', was a heaving, unrelenting beast of a industrial rock track, being played by a industrial rock band as if they were facing oblivion and could only ward off the end of the Earth with use of an extremely loud P.A system.

I was shocked.

I presumed that the guitars would subside into some oozing electro-samples and squelches, I presumed wrong, the guitars did not subside, and as the set progressed I realised that I was watching an adept band and not just some meandering side-project.

What I was witnessing was a band purpose built to slot into the middle of any major UK festival, the type of band you stumble across on an unspecified stage, a band that commands attention with their stage presence, absolute passion and unquestionable skill set, capturing imaginations with their blend of Nine Inch Nails and UNKLE swallowing Placebo's Brian Molko whole.

A handful of the tracks offered up dip their toes into the dance arena, but rather than mourning the lack of hands in the air moments, instead I swooned at the fine crafted set that built to rapturous crescendos and euphoric highs.

Losers have evolved, from a collaborative remix project, to releasing a guest-laced album, and now taking up the mantle of a uniquely enigmatic tech-rock act that play is if they have scores to settle.

With so many bands resting on their laurels, lapping up airplay, selling their souls and watching the money roll in, Losers once again cast themselves as the outsiders, choosing to embrace change, facing a turning point and embracing it whole-heartedly.

If the music industry is really in decline, expect Losers to adapt and survive by any means necessary.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Matthew Herbert: The End of Silence

It is entirely possible that The End Of Silence is not music.

And under this reasoning, it is probable that this is not a review.

This is a war report.

Live from the centre of the conflict here in Libya, imagine the broadcaster, facing, talking to the camera, explaining the situation, and the forces both for Gadafi and opposed, and imagine the moment of horror caught on camera, imagine the shock and the surprise as a bomb is dropped from a pro-Gadafi aircraft.

And now imagine that same moment, imagine reliving it over and over again.

Imagine that you don't have to imagine.

Because the new project from Matthew Herbert is a sound sample of an attack in 2011, a simple 10 second clip repeated over and over in a unique fashion, it has been pulled apart, stretched, crunched, and who knows what else Herbert has done to it, but once he was finished, he turned it over to his four piece band who, somehow, 'play' that 10 second recorded by photographer Sebastian Meyer for 40 minutes.

The fact that more time must be spent explaining this release than can be spent actually reviewing it is part of The End Of Silence's subjective nature as a piece of art, for myself, I found the listening experience to be immersive and harrowing, as ambient sound plays out across three parts, each time building an atmospheric and entrancing groove, and each time I'm anticipating the bomb drop, anticipating the screech and the horror and the noise.

And then it's gone.

But the fact that it will be repeated, the fact that it could happen again at anytime, it means that this goes beyond music, it is art, it makes you feel, makes you feel fear, makes you wonder if this is what life in a war zone must feel like.

Not everyone will feel the same way, not everyone will like this.

And that is truly art.