Archive for February, 2012

Your New Antique – Review

Posted: February 27, 2012 in Music
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Your New Antique are a Huddersfield based four piece that I have been following for the last few months. They are a band I was instantly impressed by so I thought I would voice my opinions in hope of gaining them even more fans.

Your New Antique are releasing “Sirens” as a single on the 31st of March on the label The Animal Farm (http://www.theanimalfarm.co.uk/) and embarking on a UK tour in April. A second single is to follow in June along with another UK tour. For tour dates check their website (http://www.yournewantique.co.uk).

The three tracks I am about to review are all available to listen to here http://soundcloud.com/yournewantique and all three are well worth a listen.

Sirens

I am pleased “Sirens” is going to be the first single because I heard a demo version of it months ago and fell in love with it. This track has been stuck in my head since first hearing it, the chorus is truly catchy. I am a man who has spent what seems to be a large proportion of my life refusing to dance in public and even feeling ashamed when I allow myself to dance in solitude. Having said that, while listening to this song repeatedly, for the purpose of writing this section of the review, I found myself unable to control my urge to bounce and jig around in my chair. This is high praise indeed as I have trained my body not to do this for the last twenty odd years. The reason I feel like this is a combination of lots of very good elements within the song.

From the very beginning the drums are punchy and prominent with lots of fills and runs, very difficult not to nod your head along with. The moody bass line works really well and provides an interesting contrast with the higher pitched lead guitar. The guitar parts are uplifting and that combined with the darkness of the lyrics and bass produces an outcome that really appeals to me. I love Morrissey, because I love how he combines jolly music with depressing lyrics, and obviously Your New Antique are nothing like Morrissey but it’s that mix of light and shade which works so well.

“Sirens” is lyrically and musically clever. The lead singer’s vocal rises and falls perfectly with the music and almost feels like an extra instrument within the track rather than a separate entity. I’ve noticed a hint of Ian Curtis in his vocal which again I regard as very high praise. I also feel that swearing when used properly can really add to a song and their use of just one swear word is really well placed and used effectively.

To sum up, this is a track I could never tire of and I am excited to see how well it does once released. This song is clever and exciting and I hope it gets the recognition it deserves.

Open Your Eyes

An uplifting track with the same excellent qualities of “Sirens” but “Open Your Eyes” feels heavier and more up-tempo. The use of the backing vocal really adds to the chorus. I feel this one is probably a real crowd pleaser when played live. Your New Antique are clearly fine musicians and there are many fine elements to this track but I would be repeating myself if I praised the instrumentation and vocals in each track.

Chemistry

Everything about this track is really impressive especially the drums which are frantic and complex. One particular lyric sticks out for me, “if you’re going to be sensible then why should I”. When I first heard it I thought it was a very clever lyric and it has stuck with me, I find myself singing in over and over in my head. I am particularly looking forward to seeing this played live at the Parish in Huddersfield on the 31st of March.

I am confident that Your New Antique are a band with a bright future ahead of them. I am very much looking forward to seeing them live and I will also review that gig. They are talented musicians and I look forward to hearing what they create for future releases.


My lovely girlfriend treated me to tickets to this gig and I am so glad she did. I genuinely think this was the best gig I have ever been to in my life!

The Apollo was already my favourite live music venue before this gig. I have been to some really good gigs there in the past (including The Pogues and Bombay Bicycle Club) but The Black Keys topped them both. I love this venue for many reasons. The first is that it is in Manchester a place which I love dearly and spend time there regularly despite living an hour drive away. I also love its location within Manchester, you can park up in the centre then it is just a short taxi ride away and after the gig when the taxi queue seems endless there are buses heading into the centre. We prefer to walk back into the centre as it is only a 10-15 minute walk. The main reason I adore this venue however is the place itself. Every time I have been there always seems to be a great buzz and atmosphere about the place. For me though it is the little details that endear me to the place, for example the floor in the standing area is sloped down towards the stage meaning wherever you stand the chances are you have a good view (unless your stood behind someone a great deal taller than you are.)

The support band for this gig was Band of Skulls. As they were a band I considered to be fairly well-known I was presuming that a band of this calibre would only add to the gig which I was already anticipating was going to be a good one. They were really well received and seemed to have a good following. From the crowd reaction I gather that they went down really well and were a good choice for support act, I didn’t agree though. I didn’t hate them but I didn’t like them either. In my opinion they were tedious and repetitive. I didn’t feel like they were great songwriters or musicians (with the exception of the drummer who was clearly very good). I found myself frequently bored and checking my watch to see how close to the end of their set it was. My opinions clearly were not shared by the majority of the audience I suppose I must be either very picky or I have already been through, and then drifted out of, youth culture, which I don’t mind so much but I am only 26. I find myself preferring older music more than modern-day music and I think this is why I am such a fan of The Black Keys.

For me The Black Keys have developed a very unique sound, their music has a very 60’s bluesy feel but at the same time manages to sound modern and maybe even ahead of its time. They came on stage in a very quiet and modest manner and throughout the whole gig they seemed to be very modest and genuinely nice people. They simply got on with things; they didn’t stop between songs to preach to us or to regale us with their thoughts or stories as so many bands do. The only time they spoke was either to give a quick introduction to the next song or to thank the audience for their applause. I was deeply impressed that a band of this stature, with such gifted musicians, were so grounded, polite, gracious and likeable.

Whilst their shy demeanour didn’t suit a band of that stature their live show certainly did. The combination of Dan’s voice and unbelievable guitar playing combined with Patrick’s effort and skill on the drums made for a really powerful live performance either with or without the backing musicians. In my opinion they were better without the backing band for the four songs they played just as a two piece, but the backing definitely added something to the better known and newer songs. My favourite song on the latest album is “Little Black Submarines”. Before the gig I was excited to see them play it but their performance of it was far better than my expectation and the whole audience went mad for it.  Another personal highlight was when they played “Chop and Change”. This is a song I had never heard before but I have since found out it is from the soundtrack to the Twilight Eclipse movie. Even though I have no interest in anything Twilight related I instantly fell for that song. Once they had finished playing it you could hear people all around saying things along the lines of “that was GOOD” and lots of nodding in agreement. The whole structure of the set was perfect; all the songs followed on seamlessly there were not drastic dips or peaks from one song to another. They started with “Howlin’ for you” and ended the main set with “Lonely Boy” before the encore which finished with “I Got Mine”

I also wanted to mention the lighting as it was the best I had ever seen. I may be wrong to say this but for some reason I am under the impression that lots of live acts use lighting set to timers and volume and note responses (this could all be boswollocks that I have invented in my brain box but I’m convinced so I’m going to carry on as if this is fact). The lighting technician was a genius that night; he wasn’t just stood keeping an eye on the desk he was playing it like it was an instrument. He was in manual control of every light on the stage and he seemed to be controlling the lighting on instinct, and he was incredibly good at it. There were a few surprises as well as far as lighting is concerned. Near the end of the first set a huge glitter ball was lowered down and looked really impressive with all the different coloured lights bouncing off it, and at the very end of the encore The Black Keys was up in lights at the back of the stage. On reflection (that’s not a glitter ball based pun) this was definitely the best gig I have ever attended and also the first I have ever managed to take home an official set list from.

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I am fully aware that I am by no means the first person to flag up this depressing situation and, as I see it, the start of real music and creativity slowly slipping away into death. Thanks to Simon Cowell the music industry has been overrun by people who are nothing more than quite good karaoke singers! Creativity, individualism and true artistic talent are no longer seen as money-making qualities, the truly talented are struggling to get signed to labels and get their ideas and products any kind of real platform. “I have written this song myself, I think it is truly unique, never been done before and could become the basis of popular culture! the hallmark of a generation like punk and Britpop used to be”………………….”hmmm that’s ok I suppose but have you considered taking a well-known song by any of the well-known Irish boy bands and singing it in exactly the same way as they did, you will make more money and be far more famous!” But of course none of those Irish boy bands originally sang or wrote those songs, they copied them from someone else and sang them in the same way the original artist did, and the cycle of chart success repeats.
 
As things are at the moment writing and playing your own music limits your success within the industry. When I think that Olly Murs and that little c*nt Justin Bieber have already made millions and that Simon Cowell has more money and power than Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton and twice as much money as David Bowie I don’t wanna live on this planet anymore. I am regularly told that I’m just being a grumpy purist and that people like Leona Lewis are talented and I agree she is talented……at karaoke, “but the judges loved her and they know talent when they hear it” do they? Really? Or are they all purely profit driven, self-promoting and self-serving charlatans? Do you not think they will back anyone they think they can turn into a sob story or a rag to riches story just so they can make money from them? they would ass lick anyone if they could see the smallest profit margin in them…… I don’t just mean Louis Walsh either, I don’t know what he gets up to in his private life…..but I’ve heard rumours.

My Cowell based aggression is high at the moment because I recently went to see Turin Brakes. Turin Brakes are fantastic singers, songwriters, guitarists and musicians. Their live performance was just as good as the recordings and some songs I actually thought were better live than on their records. Turin Brakes don’t need auto-tune because they are such good performers that you can just stick that on a record and the quality is more than good enough. Surely they should be a record label’s dream signing and be household names but they along with other quality acts have to live in the shadows of Peter Andre and Cher Lloyd! Oh and speaking of Cher Lloyd she has actually been signed by a label, can this be right? People are paying her to make music and they are promoting it for her so as many people can hear it as possible! I’m sure I must have this the wrong way round, they must surely be paying her not to make music right? Please? The only contract I would ever give Cher Lloyd to sign would be one legally binding her not to speak, sing or reproduce for the good of the nation.

This Xfactor domination of the industry annoys me all the more because I am a huge fan of a band called The Exhibition. (http://the-exhibition.co.uk/ ) These are talented lads who have been influenced by bands like The Smiths and Joy Division but yet have still managed to create something unique. I have been aware of them for a good few years now and if any band has the talent and creativity to deserve a contract on a big label then it has to be The Exhibition. I consider every song they have produced to date to be of the highest quality both lyrically and musically, they are clearly talented and intelligent musicians. This comes across in their music in the same way that by listening to 50 Cents music you can tell he is a terrible human being. Having said that they have to release and part finance all their music on the small independent label Of National Importance (http://ofnationalimportancerecords.co.uk/) which works well for both parties. However, when you think that Jedward have the backing of a big label and most people would rather sick themselves to death than spend any time even thinking about Jedward then surely the world has taken a wrong turn somewhere.

Whilst looking at the Radio1 playlist I have come to realise that parallel universes do exist but unfortunately I seem to be living in the parallel universe not the original one. In the original universe, with things how they should be, the most talented, creative artists that push boundaries the furthest are the most highly rewarded. Ian Curtis is still alive and worshipped like the god and genius that he is. People don’t criticise Radiohead albums until they have listened to it at least ten times and they are in a position to appreciate what they are doing and why they are such pioneers. Nick Cave is a household name and everyone has a deep appreciation for how beautiful, simultaneously dark and clever his lyrics and music are. More importantly though Peter Andre is only taken seriously by his own reflection and Jedward are kept locked away from the public like a test virus in a lab.

Proof if proof be need be