For editor Mary's coverage of SXSW 2013, go here.
For TGTF team coverage of Liverpool Sound City 2013, go here.
For TGTF team coverage of the Great Escape 2013, go here.
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Is there any point to the BRITs? Granted, it gives a certain demographic of London teenager the opportunity to sting Daddy for the eye-watering £70 ticket price, no doubt getting stuffed with half-term pizza and fructose syrup before spending three hours squealing loudly at microscopic effigies of their latest tabloid-endorsed musical crushes. But beyond that, does any vestige of musical credibility remain within the unhallowed, chart-obsessed recesses of the BRIT Award psyche?
A swift perusal of the nominations, released yesterday, would indicate: maybe, actually. The usual mega-selling suspects are there: Emeli Sandé, Mumford and Sons, Robbie Williams, Olly Murs. But look a little deeper and could there just be enough respect for the breakthrough, even the underground, so that beyond the face paint and lasers, there’s a bedrock of credibility?
Step forward Richard Hawley, the most unlikely of the entire nomination list, proving that the BRITs aren’t immune to a decent bit of ‘70s-throwback guitar action and heart-on-the-sleeve balladry from a bequiffed Yorkshireman. Plan B also deserves a shout for his unflinching portrayal of council estate life in ‘Ill Manors’, which still deserves to make more of an impact than it has.
Jessie Ware gathers two nods, a fine result for her this early in her career, single-handedly making 2011’s Critic’s Choice Award for her namesake Jessie J look ever more ridiculous. The more listeners turned on to her coolly urban soul, the better. Paloma Faith is also up for two gongs – British Female Solo is fair enough, but British Album of the Year for ‘Fall to Grace’, for a collection significantly worse than her début, is deeply suspect. British Group unoriginally throws up two previous Mercury Prize winners: unlikely media darlings alt-J, and minimalist electro-songsters the xx; Muse are nominated for the ninth (and tenth) time, with Mumford and One Direction predictably making up the numbers. A rum collection, if ever there was one, and despite the disparate yet singular talents of each, hardly a state-of-the-nation statement.
The British Single category is too depressing to analyse deeply. Suffice to say a more turgid collection of middle-of-the-road dross it’s difficult to conceive. Any list containing the execrable ‘Mama Do the Hump’ by Rizzle Kicks deserves to be encased in concrete and dropped into a very deep hole. Thankfully each of the British Breakthrough nominees have something to commend them, though surely Jake Bugg is the most extraordinary of the lot; his compellingly grizzled, world-weary, yet uplifting take on vintage blues in his debut album means he should have no problem in lifting the spotted statue next month.
Ironically, there’s far less to complain about the International (read: American) nominees. Perhaps it’s because we expect the USA to do bigness well, it’s difficult to complain about someone like Bruce Springsteen being nominated, although one wonders just how much pride of place a BRIT award would take on the dashboard of his pickup truck.
As always, it’s good to see producers, the guys behind the desk who really make the music, getting their opportunity to shine, although it seems somewhat unfair that Damon Albarn should be sharing their limelight – hasn’t he had enough of it by now? If the Albarn effect can be resisted, Paul Epworth should walk away with this one, although personally I prefer listening to his sister’s output to his. And what of Amy Winehouse and The Rolling Stones, both nominated, neither deservedly? Stop it, BRITs! Pick people who are more alive!
The 2013 BRITs take place on Wednesday the 20th of February at London’s O2 Arena. TGTF will be reporting, either from the event itself, or from somewhere else in London more interesting. Watch this space.
Who should win the British Brits, I reckon?
Male Solo: Richard Hawley
Female Solo: Jessie Ware
Breakthrough: Jake Bugg
Group: One Direction
Single: Alex Clare – ‘Too Close’
Album: Plan B – ‘Ill Manors’
Producer: Paul Epworth
Full list of nominees after the jump.
Continue reading The 2013 BRIT Awards – The Nominees
Since its inception date, ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’ was always going to be an inevitably two-sided mirror. In the instances where it falters musically, its eminence is reinforced by the tragic, yet melancholic legacy of Amy Winehouse. In many ways, ‘Lioness’ cannot be recognised as an album, but rather an assorted jumble of trimmings. With former assistants Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson at the reins, the pair has hoisted Amy’s past, unheard recordings and delicately mastered them onto a bed of original music. Documenting exactly a third of Winehouse’s 27-year lifespan, the record does not instantly stun the listener, but is instantly notorious. The mere ability to listen to her inimitable voice is priceless, and ‘Lioness’, although flawed in several ways, truly portrays the astounding uniqueness that made Winehouse the luminary that she is perceived as today.
Admittedly, the first few tracks are the strongest. Opener ‘Our Day Will Come’ serves as a blissful reminiscence of Winehouse’s youthful climb to stardom in true ‘Frank’-style. However, in songs such as ‘The Girl From Ipanema’, ‘Lioness’ falls prey to revealing a more lounge-orientated Winehouse than the soulful jazz figure we remember, and the result is a complete misconception of her true vocal prowess. Sadly, it is these features of the compilation that fail to encapsulate Amy’s true nature: a romantic, indisputable musical icon.
But the listener must understand that this is, indeed, a posthumous album; one that delves into the past 9 years of an exceptionally-gifted, but deeply troubled young singer. There are no morals to be learned from the record, nor should there be any. ‘Lioness’ simply epitomises the life, legacy and loss of one of British music’s most recognisable talents.
‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’, the posthumous release of Amy Winehouse, is available now from Island.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 25th July 2011 at 6:00 pm
In remembrance of Amy Winehouse and in deference to her untimely passing this past Saturday, here’s a video of her performing ‘Valerie’ for BBC Sessions. RIP Amy, you will be missed.
We introduced a few weeks ago MTV’s hunt to find “The Greatest Album Ever“. It raised a fair few questions, and a lot of angry responses from you guys as you listed your favourite bands who weren’t included.
Rather unsurprisingly, Michael Jackson topped the poll, having announced his sensational run of London shows between the announcement of the show and the results. Almost one in three of all votes went to the crazy American. In a shock move, Craig David was number 2 in the poll, and has been deemed more popular than Radiohead and Nirvana, receiving more votes than the Oxford based quintet and Seattle grungers combined. Surely that’s got to be some kind of mistake?
Over forty thousand votes were cast, which gives a pretty good perspective of what people think. Many in the comments of the previous post asked about some pretty seminal albums, however it should be noted that these are the best albums since 1981 – when MTV began, so many classics (Pink Floyd, Smiths, Who etc) aren’t eligible for the list. However, as Thom so rightly commented…. no Libertines? Crazy, no?
Speaking of wacko Jacko’s win, Trevor Nelson commented
I don’t think there’ll ever be another album like it ever in the history of music. There will never be a marriage of producer and artist and song writing and pop sensibility – it just won’t happen again. And also, due to the way people buy records now, there’ll never be an album that sells as many copies – and that’s the thing that will keep it at number one.
Interestingly, Zane Lowe didn’t agree with Craig David’s high ranking, commenting
The guy was hugely successful and there’s no denying that album is a great listen from start to finish as a pop record. It probably stands up as the greatest British urban pop record of the last twenty years. Still no one’s really topped it – apart from Winehouse. Should it be number two in The Greatest Album of all time? No, in my opinion, but I’m not going to begrudge anyone’s success, and if his fans voted for it then what’s encouraging for me is that they still consider that record to be an important part of their lives and that’s what music is.
After the jump: the complete list of albums
Continue reading MTV’s Greatest Album Ever: Results
By Phil Singer
on Wednesday, 11th March 2009 at 2:56 pm
Just about every muso will be drooling, begging and stealing over these shows. The legendary Island Records are celebrating their 50th birthday this year, and to celebrate they’re holding a week long series of shows at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire, each night playing host to some of their most famous artists, past and present.
Tickets for all the shows below go on sale on Friday morning (13th March) at 9am.
Tuesday 26th May 2009 – Sly & Robbie & the Compass Point All Stars
Wednesday 27th May 2009 – The Fratellis
Thursday 28th May 2009 – Cat Stevens / Yusuf
Friday 29th May 2009 – Paul Weller (pictured top)
Saturday 30th May 2009 – Keane / Tom Tom Club
Sunday 31st May 2009 – Amy Winehouse (pictured top right)
To find tickets, we suggest you try using Needtickets. Needtickets.com offers you the most comprehensive ticket service in the UK. With one click you can search every nationwide online ticket agent and as a result you can find tickets for any live music event that can be booked online. Every ticket is 100% guaranteed as Needtickets.com only offers links to official agents.