Posts Tagged ‘music’

Written for PORTSMOUTH NEWS.

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Lissie (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Wire)

Removing electricity from rock to leave behind only the voices and guitars, beckons assumptions that only a raw, atmospheric gloom will remain. On her acoustic tour, Lissie backs this up at least to begin with, during the profane ‘Shameless’ – its erratic rhythm built from knocking on the wood of her guitar.

Her chaotic movement escalate from tapping to stomping during ‘Further Away’, and while ‘Sun Keeps Risin’’ might normally be peacefully layered, its lost volume is compensated for by impressive belting. It is all a great twist on the country singer’s repertoire.

However, the the mood quickly takes a turn. Proposing a toast, wine aloft, Lissie seems to be the friendliest soloist around. With a beaming grin, she tells fans how she holds the UK dear, having found her international break here. Now an independent musician, she feels that she has a “cozy old friendship” with everyone.

The fans clearly agree when they are drawn in to discuss roast dinner and Lissie’s nastiest tour story of her guitar smelling unusual. Brilliantly, tonight feels as much like a performance as it does a Sunday evening family get-together.


 

Yesterday, The Guardian posted a compilation of their music team’s advertisement earworms that the newspaper’s writers can never be forgotten, for better or for worse. I could not resist contributing an opinion of my own.

Enter: ‘Twenty Four Toasters from Scunthorpe’. This was an extremely irritating advertisement for Mobil and their ‘premier card’. What really does not help is not only how I can’t forget it, but how my family will not let me forget it. When this emerged on UK television in 1993, I was just three years old, so why should I care?

Well, the damage wasn’t done by remembering that era, but by how I used to sing along to it every time that it was on. My family, whether parents, grandparents or cousins, seem to take great pleasure in reminding me of this. With emphasis on the “BAH!” at the end, although my voice at the time functioned better as a dog whistle than it did human communication.

The music is derived from 1960s Gene Pitney hit ‘Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa’, which was a message to his now ex-partner, stating that he had found a new woman: “something happened to me, while I was driving home and I’m not the same anymore”. What was once a reluctant apology on the complexity and potential upset in romance, now sought to ram Mobil’s card scheme down everyone’s throats. If these were the words of Mobil’s nutcase and his abrasive screeching, erratic high kicks and overactive eyebrows, then that might also have made perfect sense. If his sanity had plummeted so low as to be so excited about toasters (to the point that he is going to buy twenty-four of them for his family), I doubt that anybody, whether Pitney or a ballistic businessman, could find their way home. Perhaps that is how he accumulated so many ‘premier points’. He’s been driving around the same roundabout for about the last week.

I don’t know that anybody has yet envisioned Pitney’s exploits with his new woman to be quite so wild. Diamond rings might make sense, and the double beds might not be too out of the question. However, drills and toasters might be a bit of an acquired and painful taste. Perhaps that is why the woman behind the till is so terrified.

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Uh-oh. This isn’t why night pay was invented…

I haven’t been on Solent Music in a while. I should check it out. It’s a great site based around the music scene of Southampton. Now… if I just type in http://solentmusic.wordpress.com/

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Great. Hang on. Hey, I know him.

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I had forgotten that Southampton Solent University had written about me, until they decided to share an example of my work yesterday – a review of Flaming Lips’ 7 SKIES H3. Solent Music have taken great pleasure in posting me praising the Popular Music Journalism degree. Expect it to be taken down when I go public with how little fun I’m having on my Masters. It’s just as well that there are too many students for anyone to make a speech at the graduation ceremony. Be afraid.

I hadn’t seen this post before. As you nicked my review, I’m nicking your interview back! Consider yourself Nicked. Hurr. Nicked.

Where are you from?
I’m from Portsmouth.

What’s your favourite music?
This isn’t fair! Recently my MP3 player has almost exclusively looped David Bowie, Pulp, Outkast, Sigur Ros and Rammstein, though I am always open to the weird and wonderful. Also, special credit has to be given to Radiohead, who I still love, despite expecting to be sick of them by the time I had written 99 pages on them for my dissertation.

Why did you choose the course?
Music journalism is a career choice that has interested me since school, and have pushed towards ever since, beginning by choosing to study Music and English Language at college for this very reason. Popular Music Journalism really was an amalgamation of everything that I was interested in. Despite the hardships of the course, my aspirations are exactly the same as when the course began.

Best bits about the course?
There was a great emphasis on multimedia, teaching students how to use audio and visual recording equipment, editing and creating websites. Optional units allowed me to delve deeper into music scenes and genres than I had first expected, studying film soundtracks and avant-garde music. The worlds of both music and journalism are ever changing, so these focuses were indispensable. I began the course aspiring just to stare at a screen and type about whatever was in the charts, and then learned there was a lot more to the industry, and how I could pursue it.

What work experience did you undertake during your time at university?
I was selected to accompany music students to Abbey Road Studios, to cover their recording session, and enjoyed listening in on the Skyfall soundtrack being recorded. I also worked at the press department at Bestival, helping to write and research for free paper The Bestival Bugle. There I got to meet some notable figures from the biggest music publications in the UK, and was attacked by four people dressed as ‘security ostriches’. I kept myself together and received a quote that I will forever treasure: “Wow! Quite some journalist this one!”.

What was the best thing you did during your time at SSU?
I think that I’m most proud of my final project – producing a daily podcast during the university’s annual week-long industry event, SMILEfest. Being at the reins of such a massive project with a cast and crew of over 50 people was tricky, and I’m still not sure how I managed it! It also gave me the opportunity to meet and interview several professionals from across the music industry who visited the university during the festivities.