Lupa J #2 - Quiet Here

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Sydney’s Lupa J (neé Imogen Jones) returns with a J added to her name (since I first featured her here just over a year ago), presumably to avoid an identity clash and a stunning new track “Quiet Life”.

What follows is a stark, organic beauty that immediately captures your attention with flourishing instrumentation and otherworldly atmosphere, where the seventeen year old's breath-taking vocal compliments skittering electronics and striking string sections.

Just to think, when I was seventeen I was pretty much sat playing adventure games on my PC every day (that was NOT a waste of a childhood).

THANDI #2 - Home

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I was bedazzled by my introduction to London songstress THANDI back in March, her debut track "Star Crossed", a strikingly beautiful, minimalistic pop track all about heartache. 

Fast forward to June and I'm back smitten with "Home", the title track to Thandi's debut EP (released last week and available for you to stream in full here). The simple way to describe the track is once again beautiful. "Home" is beguiling, a gentle kind of magic that creeps slowly into your conscious amongst hand-claps, haunting rhythms and pure, ethereal vocal tone.

The entrancing video sums it up nicely, one you cannot take your eyes off. 


Nightjacket - New Music "Introducing"

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Thanks to Robin at Breaking More Waves for this one, Nightjacket are a band who sounded like 'my sort of band' pretty much straight away. I have a few defined sounds I like, if you've followed this blog for any length of time you've probably worked that out, be it beautiful melancholy or fuzzy, dreamy, hazy alt-rock.

The LA quintet fit into the latter category, (although there is a certainly lament and longing in the dazzling vocal of Holland Belle), they instantly pull me in with "It's Alright", one of two tracks I've (currently) heard from their debut six track EP Eternal Phase (released last week and available via Bandcamp on digital/vinyl), where chugging guitars sweep through tight percussion and smooth, smouldering vocal. The second track "The Right Way To Fall" is slower and just as good with chiming guitarscapes weaving an intoxicating tapestry across beautifully enduring, more-ish vocals.

I try not to get too excited on debut EP's but Nightjaket have already crafted a sound that is effortless and instantly eases your burden, just two songs in and I'm smitten. That's one EP then please.

White Fever #3 - The Killing Kind

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HOT! I'm talking about the weather of course although I could quite as easily be talking about the latest video from London based quartet White Fever. “The Killing Kind” is the last track taken from the London based quartet’s debut EP Beating of Wings which came out towards the end of last year (and is available via Bandcamp). It’s the perfect thing to lose yourself in on a day like today, where it’s frankly too hot to get involved with anything past sipping cold drinks, eating ice creams and sitting listening to awesome tunes.

I’ve already introduced the cinematic sound of the band here twice and “The Killing Kind” is no different, swarming with brooding, bristling intent around a tapestry of rich, glistening guitarscapes and tight drums before reaching a powerful climax around Ida’s beautifully soaring vocals. Both dreamy and psychedelic, it’s a track let’s in just the right amount of light, the video is great too. It fully deserves its elevation from last EP track to a single in its own right (The release includes two b-sides: "Don’t Blame It On Me" and a cover of The Beatles’ song "Because").

I’ve also included a stream to a wonderful cover of “Be My Baby” from the same release, melting hearts (as if you need any help with that today) as Ida’s swooning vocal floats a top of languid, chiming instrumentation. Gorgeous.

Mammút #2 – Blood Burst

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Something I requested on my last Mammút post has come true, a London show. Unfortunately it's a Wednesday, an evening when I'm always looking after my Children so I cannot make it, I'll have to cope with their wonderful debut English language EP River's End instead. The second video taken from it "Blood Burst", is a track which sums up the intoxicating atmospheric energy of the Icelandic quintet and their live show. 

“Blood Burst” rushes and soars around shimmering, seething melody and beautifully hypnotic vocals, bringing together controlled aggression, otherworldly undertones and strong emotions. I'm sold (although you can keep all that icky stuff in the video away from me please, I've just got clean after Glastonbury!). 

Anyway, that London show for those of you whom can go - Wednesday 2nd September at the Sebright Arms - tickets.

Lowki - New Music "Introducing"

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Yikes. The day after Glastonbury. I need a couple of days to fully recover before I start any kind of review - if you follow my Twitter, you'll have some idea of what I was up to! In the meantime I'll do a few quick posts on some tracks I've missed whilst singing along to Lionel Richie and drinking my body weight in Big Apple Cider.

"F.A.C.E" is the debut track from London's Lowki, a track which immediately catapults the quartet to the blogosphere with it's sparse, brooding atmosphere and beautifully melancholic vocal. The fusion of hauntingly manipulated backing vocals, spacious, eerie electronic pads and gorgeously hypnotic mood is absolute liquid gold and is sure to find instant familiarity with fans of Låpsley. I doubt this is the last you'll be hearing of Lowki...

Seapony #10 - Let Go

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Coming hot on the heels of the brilliant "Saw The Light" Seattle’s finest Seapony return with the equally invigorating "Let Go", a slice of indie-pop so bright and uplifting that it should come with a disclaimer.

There’s chugging bass riffs, bright keys, chiming guitars and Jen’s dreamy vocals, basically everything you want and expect from the band all wrapped up within three perfect, pop-tastic minutes.

Seapony’s third album A Vision is released July 31st. Pre-Order via Bandcamp.

 

Male dominated music festivals. Why?

I don't often do analysis/opinion pieces on this blog for the simple reason that they are time consuming and I'm not here to critique, I prefer to have this blog as little more than a journal of my music taste. The question of male-dominated music festivals however is an area that has perked my interest and I couldn’t help myself, so I’m making an exception. 

I'm going to start this by saying I'm not going to pretend to know the answers and I'm certainly not (here at least) going to offer any more than the facts and a few personal opinions from the analysis that I will explain below.

The Question:

You should probably read this piece before you carry on. From The Guardian: Glastonbury, Reading or Creamfields? Which 2015 festival has the fewest female artists?

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/jun/23/glastonbury-reading-creamfields-2015-festival-female-artists-charts-lineups-male?CMP=twt_gu

It's a topic that you've read time and time again this year. Why are music festivals so male dominated? Glastonbury 2015 is 86% male, the now infamous line-up poster of Reading and Leeds (95% male between the two) is shown to the left.

Why is this? Is it, as you read time and time again, that the supply chain is to blame for the male dominated music world portrayed by the press, festival organisers and so on? Are 85% of bands out there really male? Will people really not listen to a band and buy a festival ticket if there are girls in the line-up? The short answer is I don’t know (well I do know that the last one is bollocks) but I’m going to do some simple analysis to try and determine if there is any truth in the claims (on a very small, subjective scale). I’m going to test one question. Is the supply chain (that is musical acts submitted to music publications) really 85% male?

How am I going to find that out? Well, I'm fortunate enough to receive plenty of music submissions from artists and bands who'd like to be featured in music publications like this one and ideally much bigger than this blog, a mere drop in the infinite ocean. It does mean however that I have access to (a small percentage of) the supply chain.

What I'm going to do is work backwards. I'm only going to head back seven days because of time constraints. I’m doing this on an afternoon off work when I should be packing for Glastonbury. The period I’ve chosen is from Tuesday June 23rd (cut-off 3pm and back until Wednesday June 17th). I will then tally up the submissions that I received from male artists, mixed sex and female only artists. If no-one is telling fibs you'd expect the results to be simple, a music journalist’s inbox is heaving with male only acts.

The Hypothesis:

Based on what the powers that be are telling me, I expect to see the results confirm that circa 85% of artists submitting music are male.

The Procedure:

It’s not glamorous or pretty but it is as accurate a way as I can think of. I will load up every email I’ve received in the past week and log the number of males and female in the artists submitted.

The following assumptions and rules have been made.

  • If I received follow-up emails about the same act over the same period I have ignored it (if I noticed it, a few may have slipped through the net).

  • If an artist didn’t state the band during their submission I have included the band/artist at face value. I.e. A solo artist as one person. If the band are unknown, I have ignored them.

  • To my knowledge no emails were completely deleted during the analysis period. If any were, they have obviously been ignored.

  • I have ignored remixes and tracks featuring other artists from this analysis.

  • I have ignored any emails that were not submissions for artists. I.e. festival announcements or plugs for compilations albums, competitions etc.

The Results.

See the attached pictures and spreadsheets below for my results.

The Conclusion.

The results from a very small cross section of artists submitting music for just one calendar week out of a year (and not a particularly busy one) tend to support the theory that there are many more men (78%) submitting music than women, but, and of those submitted to just my blog over the same period, only 60% of the artists were wholly male. Both figures are below the 85% quoted beforehand and many percentages of musician splits at UK music festival's in 2015. 

The most striking thing about the results to me is the number of ‘ones’ in the female page. Just eight acts had more than two females in them out of 425 (1.9%). In comparison there were 131 acts with more than two male members (30.8%).

What does that mean? As a bunch of numbers by themselves, absolutely nothing. The supply chain is not the same as the output of blogs, websites etc. The so called ‘tastemakers’ (I bloody hate that term) are the people who act as ‘gatekeepers’ (yep, I hate that one too) and turn music submissions into news that perhaps then generates publicity for artists etc. The next exercise then is maybe to go through publications and do a similar analysis. Robin at Breaking More Waves has already done mine. In the last month, I featured 71% female acts. I doubt that trend would follow across the board. This is a small blog that is nothing more than an expression of an individual’s taste, I tend to favour melodic, melancholic, dark, brooding, haunting, beautiful music and I tend to think the female voice can express emotion better. That’s my own personal opinion anyway.

Whilst my results go a little way to supporting the original hypothesis, the percentage of submissions received were male only is 60% of artists, therefore, you’ve every expectation that the profile of acts publicised on blogs and lining up at festivals were of a similar cross section. I’m not quite sure why that isn’t the case.

How can that change? Well in my opinion talking about it is a start and promoting music that you enjoy is another. Why aren’t festivals like Glastonbury, which sell out before any line-up announcement is made, not more diverse already? I really don’t know, it is a question that is rightly being raised. Hopefully, if people keep asking it, we’ll find an answer together.

Another point worth noting on a purely blog functionality point and nothing to do with this post is that in just one week (well not quite one week) I received 425 unique, purely music based (that’s ignoring the dreaded follow-up email) submissions. That’s about the same number of posts I make in a year. Basic math therefore tells you you’ve got a 1/52 chance of me picking up on your email (and that’s ignoring all the posts I source from other sources). I wish I could change that but I simply cannot, not whilst a day continues to have 24 hours!

Right, that's enough for one today - I'm off to check if any mice have made a home in my tent!.