Wednesday, 19 December 2012

I Hate... The end of one year and the start of another / "Why let all those dark afternoons go to waste?" - Morrissey

Nothing happens in music throughout December and January. There's no point in buying a music magazine until at least February as December is nothing but lists of "best", "worsts" and summaries, whilst January is full of hot air about who or what is going to be super duper exciting in 2013. Snore.

So I'm really enjoying how empty my working life feels right now... 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

DIGITAL WORDS / Bruno Mars "Unorthodox Jukebox" Album Review

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Just two worthwhile things have come out of the last two series of The X Factor. Last year, it was Bruno Mars performing ‘Runaway Baby’. And this year, it was Bruno Mars airing his latest single ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’. Each performance was distinctly different; the former a cheeky, Motown routine with immaculate choreography, and the latter a testosterone driven ’80s ska stormer. The only link between them was the faultless precision with which each track was delivered with neither a step nor note out of place.

It’s this diversity that’s been the crux of criticism for Mars’ sophomore LP. The way in which he is able to bounce between Elton John-esque piano ballads (‘When I Was Your Man’) and Michael Jackson Off The Wall-era disco funk, with added sex drive (‘Treasure’), whilst also finding the time to have a go at flirty reggae jaunts (‘Show Me’) and ominous pounding paranoid freak outs (‘Money Make Her Smile’), for some, curiously, this is a bad thing. The ten tracks that make up Unorthodox Jukebox are entirely individual; there’s no track melting into track here or mistaking one number for another. And it’s beyond me how this could possibly be perceived as anything but a good thing. Correct me if I'm wrong (which I'm not) but didn't the best selling album of all time become such by being consciously constructed as an LP made up of nine disconnected genre-defying hits?

I’m not saying Unorthodox Jukebox is this generation’s Thriller, but it certainly follows the ambitious mould set out by Michael Jackson in 1982. Meticulous attention has been lavished on each track to ensure a nothing less than delectable assortment of pop perfection was the final product. Like Thriller, every song, when taken on its own merit, simply works. Even ‘Gorilla’, an ode to cocaine and alcohol fuelled animal sex, makes sense on this album and is not to be skipped. Whilst the massively successful Doo-Wops And Hooligans was patchy and erratic at best, Unorthodox Jukebox is convincingly diverse with its individual parts woven together by Bruno Mars’ malleable vocals and admirable ambition.

-Kate Allen

Written for NOTION

Sunday, 9 December 2012

PRINTED WORDS / ICONIC Issue #9


The new issue of ICONIC is out now. 

Order yourself a copy HERE

£4.25 is an extremely reasonable price for literally thousands of words written by yours truly about Michael Jackson's diet and exercise regimes, his various attempts at creating a successful range of fragrances and why, if I had a time machine, I would travel back to Wembley Stadium on 16th July 1988. 

Other really good stuff inside includes exclusive interviews with Michael Bush, Philip Treacy and Jonathan Moffatt. 

And you don't need me to tell you but the front cover features the best pair of sunglasses ever donned by Michael Jackson. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

DIGITAL WORDS / Splashh Live Review


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Live Review: Splashh @ The 100 Club, 03/12/2012


2012 has been the year of Splashh. In less than a year they formed and established themselves as the foremost purveyors of ‘90s psych revival – a movement won’t be fading away anytime soon. Tonight, their packed out show at the legendary 100 Club feels like the final and fitting huzzah for the hard working and not-so-slacker quartet.

Despite their set falling foul of persistent technical problems (the drummer can hear too much guitar, whilst the bassist can’t hear any) such setbacks do little to hinder proceedings, as proven by the fervent mosh inspired by Splashh’s high octane take on grunge. Stage right of The 100 Club is where one goes to get loose on a Monday night, evidently.

The band’s polite introduction of, “Hi, we’re Splashh,” seems rather redundant in front of a crowd who are driven as crazy by B-sides like ‘So Young’ as they are by ‘All I Wanna Do’ – arguably, the best single of the year.

Just as the audience’s energy never falters, neither does the band’s. Amongst a selection of new material, which, on first listen, sounds a little baggier than their previous releases, they mercilessly thrash out the indie scuzz delights of ‘Headspins’, ‘Vacation’ and ‘Washed Up’. Sasha Carlson’s visceral vocals give grit to every track; whilst Jacob Moore’s powerhouse drumming provides Splashh with an on point and controlled edge.

Polishing off this celebratory gig is an extended, hypnotic version of ‘Need It’ (arguably, the second best single of the year) which has quickly become their signature closer. Yet as masterful as their performance is tonight, some signs of being at ease or interaction between band members wouldn’t go amiss, rather than remaining in concentrated isolation on their individual roles. Guys – you rock. We want to see you enjoying it as much as we do.

-Kate Allen

Written for Notion

Saturday, 1 December 2012

I Hate... My Moral Fibre / "They ain't friends if they robbin' me"

I wish that my moral integrity wouldn't prevent me from stealing the articles below from my place of work.