Archive for October, 2009

Cowell Makes A Stand!

Posted in Features on 2009/10/31 by sturgeonmusic

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It’s that time of the week again, what most of the nation now waits for every Saturday evening – X Factor. This week, it’s Rock and Jamie could be set to storm through to victory, however he is not a favorite to win. It was revealed earlier in the week than ‘Jedward’ received the most votes in last weeks Sunday showdown – to much rage which thus caused many protests.

As we know the talent competition was set up in order to find talented singers from everyday lives, and many have had great success after the show ended. John & Edward are perhaps the most controversial contestants to ever grace the shows stage, however the public seem to be attracted to their quirky, entertaining style. Though (and I say this with a lot of respect) whilst they are entertaining on stage, they don’t hit the mark with what the core idea of the show is.

The public want a superstar outcome from the show, and Simon Cowell himself has spoken out about this popular subject. He stated to The Mirror “I’m praying John and Edward don’t win but there are reports they might be in the lead. You have to live with a public vote.”

Part of me thinks the public like pissing him off, there’s something entertaining in itself when Simon Cowell is proved wrong. But with all this in mind its very hard to call this year – and I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of writing about the show itself. But right now its possibly the biggest thing going in the media – but Jamie has my vote!

It’s Close To Midnight…

Posted in Features on 2009/10/30 by sturgeonmusic

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Halloween is almost upon us all again, and as always this year seems it might be bigger than the last. Toys and costumes are in the shops even earlier, and student unions all across the country are planning their latest celebrations.

For this, today’s feature is about one of the best music videos of all time. Something so revolutionary, so ahead of the times that it has been held as legendary since its release. Yes of course its Thriller, the 14 minute epic standing tall above all other attempts, released on December 2nd 1983.

Its hard to find a person that hasn’t seen this video, either short or long versions. Although his career cannot be surpassed to any others, this video had a distinct effect on his mid-career success. I’m not expecting to be the only person dressed as one of the Zombies from the video tonight either, and no matter how overly used as a costume people look and think of how amazing the original product was.

The directing by John Landis was also something special, the plot for the video itself is the typical Halloween style setting, a couple venturing into a graveyard and you can think of the rest. Not to mention the choreography, possibly the most famous group dance of all time?

So anyway, here’s the video! I could go on and on about why this video was held in such high regard, but I’ll let the video speak for itself. R.I.P. Michael Jackson.

The Definition Of Awesome!

Posted in Features on 2009/10/29 by sturgeonmusic

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Don’t take today’s blog post as an attack on the modern music industry, but oh my – what’s happened?! Where have all the cheesy power ballads, long hair and guitar solo’s (on top of mountains) gone?

Well this all died along with the 80’s, but me and my housemate today discovered why this era of music production was so popular, and now so legendary. Bands such as Boston, Journey and Whitesnake created some of the best Power Ballads you can find. Song’s full of emotion, love and let’s be honest – awful editing and fashion!

However, this kind of song writing and career is the focus for today’s post. Few artists within the charts nowadays have such a clearly defined sound, these bands didn’t know such a thing as an auto tuner – something that is so overly used these day’s its become a bit tiresome.

I’ll say again that this isn’t an attack on modern music, I have tones in my iTunes collection – but nothing really gives me the buzz and satisfaction of a good Power Ballad. As my house mate stated – “I listen to 4 bars of one and I just want to listen to more and more!”.

Thinking about it, I’m sure everyone loves something from the 80’s. But combining the raw rock sound with everything that was so cheesy about this era in musical history just does something – something that few others have since been able to replicate. Power Ballads? – Definitely good times!

‘Back To Budokan’ – In Style!

Posted in Music Reviews on 2009/10/28 by sturgeonmusic

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Possibly my favorite band of all time gave me a real treat today. Their reunion CD came through the post and was on my iTunes within minutes! If you haven’t heard me banging on about them before, its Mr. Big – with their latest album ‘Back To Budokan’.

The band are certainly a powerful 4 piece, Billy Sheehan on Bass, Paul Gilbert on Guitar, Pat Torpey on Drums and Eric Martin on vocal. Combined they create a sound most bands cannot create, combining powerful Guitar/Bass trade offs with your typical fun loving 80’s rock lyrics. And this latest effort will not disappoint their very loyal fan base.

The 2 CD set contains their entire 2 and a half hour set at the Budokan in Japan, and additionally 2 brand new studio tracks.If you haven’t heard of them before, I strongly suggest you give them a listen both as a band and individually as solo musicians. A lot of time has passed since their break up in 2002, but they seem fresher than ever in their live performance. With this album you can tell how the band have matured, and it serves as a great starting point for younger generations to get involved in their music.

The band have released their entire back-catalog on iTunes now as part of their reunion, and I really hope it pays off for them. Whilst they aren’t the popular auto-tuned RnB love song, their sound is certainly something special – this could be the start of something good for the legends returning!

Wii Pub Nights!

Posted in Features on 2009/10/26 by sturgeonmusic

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Think about it, sooner or later someone was going to combine these two past times! And its a great idea, instead of having a karaoke night, why not get the Wii out and get everyone involved?

Its featured on the new Wii advert (featuring Ant & Dec!), and whilst I was surprised at first I then got to thinking that it really is a great idea. Not only for the pub-goers but the pub owners themselves, what a way to make a profit!  I’m sure you have all at some point played the sports games with your friends, so picture that in a social environment like a pub and you’ve a great night out for then you’re not in the mood for something heavy.

I also read an article on this idea featured on the Guardians website, and it seems to be attracting a lot of attention. Not sure what we will all have to do to get one of these nights going at our locals but still…. Wii pub nights? – “Im In!”

‘Dark Matter Dimensions’

Posted in Music Reviews on 2009/10/26 by sturgeonmusic

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Scar Symmetry’s latest album brings back all of their most popular elements that the fan’s of their music love, whilst at the same time growing with new style and techniques. The band have had over a year to work on this new material, but does it match this time scale?

In short, yes it does! You really get a sense with this album that the band have really thought about their image, and the sound they want to project. If you’re not familiar with their sound – think of Dream Theater on acid with Queen like vocal harmonies and chorus’s that get stuck in your head more than Alexandra Burke’s new single.

The strange song titles are still going strong, ‘The Consciousness Eaters’ being my favorite on the record. Though its true that every track keeps you wanting more, just when you might start to wonder if the songs going to build up, they hit you with a riff from another universe. Bass, Keyboard’s and Guitar’s flurry a billion notes through your speakers and all you can really do is listen in amazement.

This is a great effort from Scar Symmetry that is highly accessible to those of you that haven’t listened before, and another treat for their loyal fans. With tours lined up alongside the album itself, expect to hear an awful lot more about this band as the months pass – though its not one for TMF!

Is It Art? – The Great Debate

Posted in Features on 2009/10/21 by sturgeonmusic

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I have been thinking a lot lately about Graffiti and Street Art – is it vandalism or art? The topic came to mind during one of my lectures (its the basis for one of my photo projects), and it sure is a fiery one.

There’s almost too much information on the internet about the debate, however I did discover some interesting news from my hometown of Reading. Graffiti artist’s are facing some tough times as the local council are taking their clean up plans into action, as many designs can be seen on the side of buildings as far as the skyline itself. Too many it looks awful and ‘degrading’ of the towns popularity, though I don’t see it this way…

I take into account that firstly climbing up a 20 story abandoned office block is a feet in itself, but then I realize that the people ‘tagging’ the building must be incredibly dedicated to what they do. ‘Tagging’ refers to when street artists simply spray their name or mark onto a public building, almost as if its their zone. As stated before many people view this as defacing a public building, but I think Banksy hits the mark with the following quote –

“Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place.”

I think this is a debate that will rage on for many years to come, and its all down to personal opinion. Nothing is better than seeing a well crafted piece of art framed or on a canvas in an exhibition, but I don’t think seeing art on the side of a building is any less worthy of praise. Sure there’s a difference between ‘Joe Was Ere!’ and the likes of Banksy, but should Graffiti be outlawed to the extent it is today? If anything its some food for thought!