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After about an eighteen month recording process and a near universally-acclaimed EP, Haim have finally released their debut studio album, ‘Days Are Gone’. Unlike their blues-oriented live shows, the studio version of the band sound more like Pat Benatar drenched in ‘90s pop/R&B harmonies and ‘80s synths. It’s a testament to these glossy touches to ‘Days Are Gone’, then, that post-production was the most painstaking wait for Alana, Este and Danielle. Picking holes in this record is difficult. Its production is slick (thanks to Arctic Monkeys’ right-hand man James Ford and Ludwig Göransson), and songwriting and melody take priority over…

27th October, we lost one of music’s greatest individuals, a man who helped shape rock music for nearly fifty years. He was one of the faces of the alternative rock scene in 1970s. Ladies and gentlemen – Lou Reed. Reed was born on March 2 1942 in Brooklyn, NY. He learned to play guitar by listening to the radio and developed an interest in rock and roll and rhythm and blues. He played guitar in numerous high school bands. After graduating from Syracuse University in 1964, he moved to New York City and worked as an in-house songwriter for Pickwick…

Photo by Lawson Official, Facebook Dates: 28th September/16th October Locations: Rhyl Pavilion Theatre/O2 Apollo, Manchester I am one of those annoying people that flicks through channels until finding something I like to watch on TV, particularly music channels. I’ll watch a music video that I like and when it’s finished I’ll channel flick until I find another song. It was purely by chance that I discovered Lawson’s song ‘Brokenhearted’, featuring B.o.B.. Liking what I heard I ended up channel surfing so I could watch it again. I spent hours watching their music videos on YouTube. This is what happens when…

Miley Cyrus. Do we really need an introduction? It’s been impossible to escape her these past few months, as she celebrated her emergence from the Disney cocoon with aplomb: twerking, licking hammers, and proving to everyone her Hannah Montana days are long over. Bangerz, Cyrus’ fifth album, is the culmination of the past few months’ publicity. This is her first “adult” album, and she’s determined to make it work and prove her mettle. But does she succeed? On the whole, yes. Vocally, she can’t be faulted. Her voice sets her apart from her peers. Even the copious amounts of vocal…

BBC 6 Music recently broadcast the third annual John Peel Lecture, where a musician presents a view on the current state of the music industry and music-related media. In 2011, it was Pete Townshend. Last year, Billy Bragg. This year’s luminary was Charlotte Church. She described the music industry as having a “culture of demeaning women”. Current pop stars such as Miley Cyrus and Rihanna have been criticised for their sexual imagery. Church called it “a male dominated industry with juvenile perspective on gender and sexuality”. Ms Church related how the industry seems to have roles specifically for women, mainly…

Lately I’ve found myself listening to the radio on the drive to work, perhaps because my CDs have started to skip. For some stupid reason I automatically find myself tuning into Radio One despite the fact that I hate the majority of the music on it and the competitions in between the songs make Radio Four sound appealing. One night however, after working until 2am, I was driving home from work to the sound of an unfamiliar Radio One DJ. From what I can remember it was a show featuring the kind of bands that all the cool DJs knew…

NB: Article penned in September 2012. Does anyone remember the Brit Awards ceremony in circa 2003, when Coldplay performed? No? Well then I will remind you, at the risk of showing my age. Amid the inevitable arpeggio Coldplay introduction that becomes the infectious riff/predictable loop (delete as appropriate), the broadcaster’s cameras focussed on Chris Martin’s spidery hand. On it was written the statement ‘MAKE TRADE FAIR’. This was a reflection on the Fair Trade movement that began in the last decade and has since come –largely- to fruition. Calendars (not those calendars), recipe books, new food ingredient legislation and of…

It’s twenty years since Nirvana released their second studio album, Nevermind and a nineties revival is said to be imminent. How very fly. We at Seren have a soft spot for this decade and celebrate with our annual nineties night every February. The nineties decade was famous for three pops; sugary musical pop, Push Pops and –my personal favourite by a long shot- Britpop. The nineties saw an unstoppable rise of anthemic guitar bands, particularly emerging from London and Manchester- or as it became known in this musical movement, Madchester.  I never understood why London Britpop acts did not adopt…

Please note the time of going to press: February 2012. The Brontës- a sisterhood of gothic writers.   The daughters of a solemn Irish reverend, the three sisters grew up at the family home based in Haworth, Yorkshire, although the extended family remained on the Emerald Isle. The Brontës wrote in a time before women could vote and many worked as scullery maids who would be fortunate to earn £6 a year. The educated trio of sisters attended a school for the children of less wealthy clergy members and their love and ability for writing began as a childhood game.…

Kaya Festival kicks off in Bangor this weekend, a month back Becki got the chance to talk to organiser Thabani to find out a little bit more. What inspired you to start up your own festival? I’m a musician myself, so it’s something I am passionate about. I’ve been going to festivals for years, and thought I could add something to the market by creating Kaya, a world music festival with good vibes in a beautiful part of the world. What made you choose Bangor as the location for Kaya? I’ve been coming to Bangor for years for student gigs…

My love affair with Wildlife began when I was given a bootleg copy of Arcade Fire’s Suburbs before its release. I quite happily bopped along for a good month or so before it was pointed out to me that half the songs on the album weren’t actually Arcade Fire, sparking a deep investigation (ie Google) into the origin of the majestic songs on that album. For someone who considers himself to be a bit of a dab hand when it comes to music… well it was a bit embarrassing. However, in my ignorance I had stumbled upon Strike Hard, Young…

Here at Seren we like Jake Bugg. Avid readers of these music pages will remember we gave his debut album 5 Serens back in October, and it sounds as good now as it did then. It seems that it isn’t just Seren that likes Jake Bugg though – its everybody. This can probably be attributed more to the sycophantic overplay of ‘Lightning Bolt’ by Radio 1 than the universal appeal of his album, and this in turn has generated an… interesting following at his live shows. I’m not quite sure what the crowd at the Manchester Academy was expecting;…

Enter Shikari formed in 2003 in the southern town of St.Albans. Extremely quickly, they gathered a large and dedicated fan base. Well known for their unique sound, energetic shows and eccentric behaviour, they have become one of the UK’s most successful recent exports. On the back of an incredibly successful album launch, with the band being nominated for numerous awards, it’s easy to forget they’re just humans like me or you, but I managed to catch up with Rob Rolfe, drummer of the band since their inception,  just as he was buying some gloves… Hi Rob, how are you?…

It shocked music critics almost as much as when he ditched folk for electric. In 2009, the shop shelves and online stores were suddenly boasting a seemingly unannounced (there was very little publicity about it, for certain) Christmas Album entitled Christmas in the Heart. By Bob Dylan. (Sic!) I remember waking up to this news in October three years ago. “What is he like?” was my natural reaction. In retrospect, it seems silly to have been so surprised. How can his fans or, at least, listeners, expect anything but the unexpected from Bob? This is a man whose eccentricities endear his…

1. Stefan Wilson suggests… ∆ (Alt+J) – An Awesome Wave After starting in fairly low-key circumstances in 2007, ∆ have gone from strength to strength. An Awesome Wavecombines so many genres of music, it’s impossible to categorise it into a single one. Perhaps an umbrella title of ‘Alternative’ works, but I feel this does it a great injustice. There are stand-out tracks, such as ‘Breezeblocks’, ‘Dissolve me’ and ‘Bloodflood’, but such is the quality of the entire album, even the weaker tracks do not let you down. In addition to rave reviews, the band recently won the Mercury prize. A definite highlight…

Before his recent gig in Bangor University’s PJ Hall, Frank Turner took some time out to talk to Joe Russell. Here’s what he had to say: So, how was the main tour? Good, yeah. I mean, tonight’s day two of the solo leg so I’m still changing gear but prior to now the tour’s been amazing. The vibe was to do venues that weren’t Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Bristol and obvious cities. It’s been good to play in different places. You last came to Bangor two years ago… Yeah, the last time I came here I played in a guy called Ian’s kitchen…

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