Browsing: Music

The second album by post-rock duo Gespenst, Dogma is a hypnotic, initially alluring album full of the darkness of the night that tapers in quality towards the end. Opening in a minimalist style, the first track ‘Grace’ introduces layer upon layer of electronic sounds in a tasteful and expertly mastered way, keeping you on tenterhooks as to when and where the next sound will appear. Listen to this one with high quality headphones for the full effect. You’ll want to take them off again for the eponymous track of the album, though, and turn the volume up to 11 for…

Get registered and get paid. That was the message given by John Hywel Morris, the Welsh representative for PRSforMusic, who spoke at the Careers in Music conference hosted by Bangor University on Friday 17th October. Topics included securing royalties for music, the future of music formats and the best avenues for making a living from your music. For musicians who have written their own work, be that singers performing their own songs around Bangor’s pubs, bands that have produced CDs or composers who have published their own musical material, PRSforMusic, which has around 3,500 members in Wales, claims back the…

17th century – Bantu people from Angola and the Congo are taken to Bahia to work on sugar plantations as slaves. They take with them their rhythms and dances. An early form of samba develops. Late 19th century – Emancipated slaves migrate to Rio de Janeiro, a cosmopolitan city where samba comes into contact with other African, European and Brazilian musics. It gradually develops into the sound we know today. Mid 20th century – Samba music becomes a globally-recognised symbol of Brazil and Carnival. Comprising of drums, shakers, bells and whistles, with guitars, trombones and voices sometimes added to the…

Dozens of drummers braved a blustery Bangor on Saturday afternoon to bring the sounds of samba to the street. Part of the annual Black History Month, which takes place every October, the organisers of the 40-minute-long extravaganza at the Clock Tower chose to make this year’s event a celebration of the drum, recognising its central role in Black History and its contribution to musical styles all around the world, including samba. Bangor University students and local residents had rehearsed for two weeks in order to perform on Saturday. They were joined by two established samba drumming bands: Batala Bangor and…

If you have an iTunes account, you may have discovered this surprisingly turn up in your library. That is because it was available exclusively for free to all 500 million iTunes users at the launch of the Apple Watch and iPhone 6. What kind of band would attempt this? U2, of course. I will admit that I do like U2. Their work in the 80s is still held in high regard today, especially ‘The Joshua Tree’, as is their early 90s album ‘Achtung Baby’. That for me was for their last great album. Sure ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’…

Ed Sheeran first burst onto the UK music scene in 2011 with his album ‘+’, pronounced Plus, which became a hit with songs like ‘The A Team’, ‘Lego House’, ‘Drunk’, and ‘Give Me Love’. His fan base grew rapidly and, by collaborating with artists like Taylor Swift and writing songs for the UK band One Direction, he was soon well-known in the States too. It wasn’t until two years later though that we heard anything new from Ed, when ‘The Hobbit’ director Peter Jackson asked him if he would write and perform a song for the film. ‘I See Fire’…

“One day we will return, no matter how much it hurts. And it hurts.” Last year, Manic Street Preachers ended their “hiatus”, to look for a better word, with ‘Rewind the Film’; a stark contrast to the more rocky, grumpy and rebellious sounds associated with ‘Generation Terrorists’ and ‘The Holy Bible’. Their latest offering ‘Futurology’ is, to put it in their words, “Post, Punk, Disco, Rock”. Recorded in Berlin, ‘Futurology’ features several avant-garde German references, including bands such as Kraftwerk. There is also certainly a Russian influence behind this album. For example, ‘Mayakovsky’ refers to the poet, actor and playwright…

Tommy Ramone, the original drummer and the last surviving member of the American rock band the Ramones has passed away at the age of 65. According to Variety, he had been undergoing treatment for bile duct cancer and died in hospice care on 11th July. Erdelyi Tamás was born on 29th January 1949 (though he claimed he was born in 1952) in Budapest to a Jewish family, who immigrated to the United States in the 50s, arriving in Forest Hills, NY. In the mid-60s, he met guitarist John Cummings at high school and they both became part of a four-piece…

30 years today, “The Boss” released his seventh studio album which would become one of his most commercially and critically successful along with his breakthrough album ‘Born to Run’. He became a global icon. Springsteen’s previous album ‘Nebraska’, a series of recorded home demos, was a far more dark and acoustic piece with bleak themes of isolation and pessimism; it was described as “one of the most challenging albums ever released by a major star on a major record label”. By contrast, ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ was a return to the confines of stadium rock. The title track is a…

Ah Eurovision Song Contest, you were here again. Every year the thought of this camp spectacle fills the people of Europe with extreme euphoria, extreme dread or extreme nonchalance. There are those who love it beyond belief; those who at the mere mention of the word Eurovision are hit with bursts of extreme anger, mumbling something about political voting and then there are those who will happily sit through the spectacle on a Saturday night, murmuring opinions at the TV or their Twitter feed without much more feeling than they’d give an episode of Britain’s Got Talent. I personally fit…

It is a World Cup year and musicians will want to cash in on the opportunity by releasing a song to show their support. So, here are some of the best and worst (blimey, there were a fair few to choose from) World Cup songs. The Best… New Order – World in Motion (1990) ‘World in Motion’ was recorded for Italia 90, written by New Order and Keith Allen. This was very much of its time, but a stark contrast to New Order’s work from a decade before as Joy Division. This lifted the mood of the nation prior…

Coldplay are not the type of band that whips fans into frenzy over an album release. They don’t play fun pop earworms or even divisive music that rides its controversy to stardom. That’s never been a problem though–understatement is the backbone of their music. Besides, they’ve never been lacking for fans who’d rather listen to their music in the car on their way to work than in a sold-out arena. So there is no reason to get excited over their latest album, ‘Ghost Stories’. But even without hype or controversy, even without any context on which to predict its quality,…

My most recent obsession (and the the only reason I have survived my exams this year) is angry female rappers. Especially Iggy Azalea. Born Amethyst Amelia Kelly, the 23-year-old rapper originally from Sydney, Australia, first arrived on the American rap scene in 2011 and made a name for herself  with her controversial viral videos for songs ‘Pu$$y’ and ‘Two Times’. She was the first female and non-american rapper to appear in XXL magazine’s annual “Top Ten Freshmen” issue. ‘The New Classic’ is her debut studio album. The rapper’s mission is to “make people question and redefine old ideals” and through…

When you think of past works by Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, you think of the success of ‘Brothers’ and ‘El Camino’. They had the unquestionable appearance of rock albums. In contrast, their eighth studio album ‘Turn Blue’ looks more psychedelic. Honestly, look at the cover! ‘Tighten Up’ has long been considered their most popular single, along with as the Grammy-winning ‘Lonely Boy.’ Personally, my own personal favourite track is ‘Little Black Submarines’ – an underrated masterpiece. Believe it or not, Turn Blue was announced back in March via Twitter by Mike Tyson (yeah, the retired boxer!). This included the…

Photo by Hettie Beales-Cox On 13th March Bangor’s student radio, Storm FM, along with Bar Uno, hosted yet another successful Band Night. The evening began with second-year student, Adam Williams. Let’s say he was the ‘calm before the storm’. His solo performance with guitar as accompaniment was perfect. He has such a unique voice that overpowering instrumentation would have ruined it. His entire set left a sense of mellowness to the atmosphere in Bar Uno. Next up was a slightly more upbeat band, What The Dickens?. Being veterans of the Band Night scene, they clearly had the audience’s attention. They…

As we approach the 20th anniversary since the tragic death of Kurt Cobain, our resident American and Seattle-native Wyatt gives us a lesson into grunge music and its legacy today. Punk music is like particle physics—observation fundamentally changes it. It’s rare for a punk band to enter the mainstream without adjusting its music; for example, by incorporating pop influences to sound more like the music on the radio, or polishing the genre’s trademark roughness to appeal to a wider audience. That’s why it was so impressive when a few bands from Seattle rose to stardom in the 90s without compromising…

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