Say hello to Wildside Riot, the latest rock band to emerge from the UK’s underground scene, unleashing their debut video and single, Wildside Riot.
Fronted by veteran rocker Rocky Shades, formerly of 80s glam metal band Wrathchild, these boys have be taught by the best. Having done some small circuits in Nottingham and Birmingham earlier this year, the band have just unveiled their new website and are looking at setting off on tour later this year.
Check out their video, see what they’re about, and if you want more you can find it here: http://www.wildsideriot.com/
Nordic Britain: A new Viking age?
This is something that’s greatly interested me for a while. I myself enjoy the Scandinavian music scene and have liked bands from that region for some years, so I’m intrigued as to why it’s suddenly so popular. So I wrote a little something to try and process these thoughts and the recent fascination behind Scandinavian music.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: All the views expressed herein are personal opinions, and do not reflect any work from musical artists or individuals. They are not intended to cause offense.
PHOTOS: All photos are copyrighted to their original owners. Neither myself, nor anybody else who runs Let The Music Do The Talking own them unless otherwise stated.
The last 18 months appear to have given way to a rising popularity of rock and metal from northern Europe. Could it be that Scandinavia is the new home of rock ‘n’ roll revival, or are we suffering from a modern day raping and pillaging?
On reflection of the last two years it seems that 2009 was the beginning of a rebirth of an almost lost music scene, in which many an ‘80s throwback began worming its way back into the mainstream rock scene. Call it what you will – glam metal, hair metal, sleaze rock, cock rock – they’re all adjectives used to describe the genre and the sub culture it created, something that Scandinavian bands have been recently reviving, and the origins of which are likely to have come from the Sunset Strip some time around when most these new age “glammies” were born.
What some describe as “the decade of decadence” the 1980s was really the parent of this scene’s founding, where hairspray, makeup, and shoes taller than the Empire State Building were the common dress of the day. Although the initial “glam rock” phenomenon really started sometime in the ‘70s, with bands like New York Dolls and KISS first donning the platforms and lipstick to shock patriarchal heterosexual audiences, the image and music style didn’t really take off until the new decade, where it started to become a big trend. There then came a huge surge of bands with teased hair and shiny spandex, screeching into microphones about promiscuous sex, parties, drink and drugs.
Nowadays it all seems like such a cliché, but I remember chatting with Richard at an after party at Lincoln’s Tokyo, the drummer for Los Angeles based group Vintage Trouble. He grew up on the Hollywood glam scene and shared some of his memories and experiences with myself and a friend. He more or less told us that back then it was a way of life. It was new, exciting, and had that perfect rebellious streak to it that appealed to teenagers and young adults. You couldn’t walk the streets without some young band thrusting a flyer at you to get you to go and see their show. The streets were littered with posters, flyers, probably a beer can or two. It does sound cliché, it really does, but back then I guess this was how it was, no stereotypes about it. It was new and fun.
The glam rock scene began to die out towards the end of the decade, and was especially flaky in the early ‘90s when grunge became the more appealing musical genre, and teenagers were all about angst and anarchy instead of having fun and partying. Music looked as if it was taking a deeper, more cynical edge to life, lyrically expressing inner demons and social problems of the time. The days when all people cared about was fucking bitches and jacking up and trying to find the next big community party had almost died. There were more important things going on than worrying about the hangover from your boozed up weekend, and musicians seemed to prefer to reflect this in their art. That’s not to say it was all doom and gloom, and grunge and other genres that came from that decade (dance and trance to name but two) are still influential and exciting musical sounds even to this day. But when the ‘90s really hit, “glam” rock was almost long gone, and became a lost artifact from once upon a time.
So what has this got to do with Scandinavia? Anyone familiar with a world map knows Los Angeles is at almost opposite ends of the earth to the colder regions.
Scandinavia has always had a thriving alternative music scene, even in the bleakest of years. Bands like Hardcore Superstar and Backyard Babies, who started their careers in the carnage of the 1990s, had a substantial amount of success in their shared home country of Sweden. Entering into another new decade, the ’00s, provided them with Swedish Grammy nominations, and Backyard Babies managing to collect awards for “Best Hard Rock Act” in 2002 and a “Best Album” award for their 2003 release Stockholm Syndrome. We can’t forget the heavier metal bands either, like Finntroll, Turisas and Dimmu Borgir who all started their musical careers in the late ’90s too, hailing from neighbouring countries Norway and Finland. It was also in the early ’00s that popular present day bands like Crashdïet and Reckless Love began banding together, and would eventually be selling out tour dates and bombarding the European rock charts with their tunes. It seems that while the UK was attracted to techno laser lights like a moth to a flame, the Scandinavians were keeping the dying spirit of rock ‘n’ roll alive all through the dry season.
But how did all this end up becoming such a popular scene in the UK in recent years? Was it always there? Maybe I was just unaware of it until I started discovering more and more bands, and it was perhaps coincidence they were all snus sucking Scandos (and that is not an insult, snus is probably one of the best things I’ve ever put into my mouth). But part of me also questions if it has something to do with the foreign exotic? No matter where in the world you live, there’s always an attraction for that foreign element, something a little different to your own culture. Sexy accents, interesting customs and beautiful countries, and maybe the UK just wasn’t providing the kind of music we lusted for. But if it were that, why should it matter? Music is music, there to be enjoyed, and the origins of it should not reflect its enjoyment.
But then of course, the younger bands who presently are in their late 20s or early 30s are likely to have grown up listening to the very music that once glittered in Hollywood, and want to carry their passion for it into their own records. There is something about its style that is truly captivating, or so I believe, which is why maybe so many modern day bands appear to be reviving it in their own careers. And although the costume differs somewhat these days from the early “glam” look, it’s still a term very much used to describe a lot of the influences and music. With the exception of the heavy metal bands, of course.
Although slow we may be, we seem to have caught the rock revival bug. Opening up our doors and giving long standing bands their much overdue credit – Finntroll, Turisas, and Dimmu Borgir have all accessed a new lease of life – we’ve also paved the way for up and coming bands to showcase their talent with our lust for sleaze culture. But why are they all Scandinavian? Is it really the new home of rock ‘n’ roll or are we getting a twenty-first century incursion?
I was talking about this exact topic with a friend who I met last year, and he laughed and told me he thinks it’s just coincidence they happen to all be from neighbouring countries. I’m also inclined to think this scene hasn’t only just started to grow, I think it’s always been there. For example, if you use older bands like Hardcore Superstar, they’ve been touring successfully in the UK for a number of years. Maybe it hasn’t anything to do with a new teenage “phase”. Maybe the interest has always been there, and maybe it’s just because my circle of friends and acquaintances are all into that music so the intake seems larger than it really is. The only thing I can conclude that’s perhaps really changed is the media’s acknowledgment and coverage of hard rock groups.
And if media culture is becoming increasingly more open to varying musical genres, then has it made it any easier for newer bands to break out of Europe? Houston, Dynazty, Sister… more Scandinavian bands who have been slowly marching our way wafting their new releases under our noses. And to be honest, they smell pretty good. But a conversation Mark and I had with Joel suggests otherwise. I remember him telling us they’d found it difficult getting the right agents and promoters to get themselves over here, and that it’s still a really tough business. Although Dynazty, in my opinion, are first class and more people need to give them the time of day.
So perhaps the glam metal, and rock and metal scenes in general, never really died after all, not in the Nordic countries anyway. And after speaking to people working in the music industry, both in performance and business, is doesn’t really seem we’re getting invaded at all. Rather, the media and fans are simply accepting more music from Scandinavia because it appeals to what we want to be hearing, and that perhaps the scene was always there, just in the wings waiting for something interesting to come along.
So, I guess we can all be safe in the knowledge there’ll be no burning sacrifices to Thor any time soon.
Arctic Monkeys - Suck it and See.
Never has an album title been so fitting as to what I am about to do!
Rarely do I delve into the forays of indie rock, usually because indie bands of today rarely stand out. Run of the mill Indie usually, and regularly results from sucking emotion out of a pop-rock band, but like all genres, it does have those artists who break out into chart popularity, one of these bands- of course- is Arctic Monkeys, and based upon their previous successes, a new record will have the fans buzzing with anticipation.
Let us now, then, take a look at Suck it and See. (yes, that IS the album cover! ^ ^ ^) The band’s latest offering is immediately apparent as a more laid back effort than previous records. Musically, its fairly linear and what you would expect- It’s Sunday driving music for the first four tracks, getting a little heavier for the standout track, and the tempo creeping up briefly thereafter in places. The songs also have moments in arrangement which occasionally creep up on you, granting you something that you weren’t expecting.
However, frankly- it doesn’t save this album from being bland. Painfully so in places. Obscure song titles and nonsense “I Am The Walrus” style lyrics cannot keep the ship afloat either; the songs largely just melt into one another. Tonally it’s hit and miss, and in the sections where the drums are more prominent, the other instruments fall by the wayside, not in the “allowing focus” way, but in the “drowned out” way. They seem to be relying on a lot of reverb effects on both vocal and guitar, perhaps to try and mask the fact that this record has precious little atmosphere of its own. And I’m not a fan of the genre, but I don’t think that because you are an Indie band, there is an automatic licence to sing in a monotone drawl. Aside from the cliched “oooOOO“‘s, the vocals flatline for the duration. Seriously.
Standout Track:- Dont Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair- This song, as aforementioned, stands out because of its darker departure from the typical indie jinglyjanglyjanglyjangly. The feel is almost a dirty blues rock groove. It’s also probably the only song that you’ll remember the title of. Lyrically, it’s… well:
“Break a mirror, roll the dice.
Run with scissors, through a chip pan fire-fight
Go into business with a Grizzly Bear…
But just don’t sit down ‘cause I’ve moved your chair”
I see this as just trying to sound clever. but it’s a damnsight better than some of the rest.
In Conclusion:- There is a bit of “suck” on this album but not a lot to “see” I’m afraid. I don’t think it will grant them the same attention as previous hits such as “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” “Brianstorm” and “Fluorescent Adolescent” et al- simply because there is a lack of lustre, an absence of energy. This record seems to be the equivalent of the dry heaving breaths after an initially triumphant and dramatic sprint; the type where you find it difficult to articulate because of the the head rush you’ve had and the burning in your breadbasket.
Now, without another word on the subject of this, I shall be spending the next while listening to some of The Vines, Franz Ferdinand, and Stereophonics before I fall out with Indie altogether.
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Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders - Red Light Fever
Got to admit, I really didn’t expect to like this album, I love Foo Fighters and Taylor Hawkins is a famously great guy but that didn’t mean his solo project would be good, I was completely wrong, and so unbelievably happy to be.
Not Bad Luck was a fantastic intro to the album! The bass was funky, just followed by an outburst of energy, one of the best intros to an album I’ve heard in a long time! Taylor’s vocals are delicious, very raw and uplifting, the lyrics are encouraging and interesting (everyone’s a stranger in the end/you can be a loner and a friend).
Way Down is also brilliant, Taylor Hawkins seems to be speaking directly at you with his gorgeous husky vocals, the lyrics are fantastic, the sound is completely raw rock and roll, so rare and beautiful.
Hell to Pay is a very emotional song, with stunning guitar riffs and mellow, thoughtful vocals.
Throughout the album, it feels as if Taylor is speaking right at you, like he’s sat down in front of you and is genuinely questioning you and giving you life lessons. The music is very raw, very down-to-earth and very rock and roll. Not what you’d expect at-all, and I think that’s what has made it that little bit better, it’s very personal but it’s not boring or slow, just brilliant. My heart is pumping so hard writing this, because I just cannot convey how much you need to hear this album!
The album is also -very- American. But not in the way that Britney Spears is, more the way that Bruce Springsteen is; catchy, wholesome and uplifting, such a lovely breath of fresh air.
I really don’t know what I can write here now other than you absolutely -have- to hear this album! It’s fantastic from beginning to end, there’s not one even dull song on this album, it’s just consistently brilliant, even if you’re not a Foo Fighters or even a rock fan, give it a listen! It’s absolutely perfect.
Stand Out Tracks:
- Not Bad Luck
- Way Down
- Hell to Pay
- Hole in My Shoe
- Don’t Have to Speak
Just an intro…
Written by music enthusiasts for music enthusiasts.
This blog will be written by four girls, (Caris, Sarah-Louise, Laura W and Laura C) and we’ll be writing gig, album and band reviews, flashback articles and much, much more!
If you’re an unsigned band and are touring across the U.K drop us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and one (or more!) of us will try and come along and do a write up on you.
We’re also going to do shout-outs to unknown bands so if you would like us to give your music a listen, e-mail us at the aforementioned address with links to your music and we’ll give you a shout-out regardless of where you are in the world.
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