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By Mary Chang
on Sunday, 1st December 2013 at 6:00 pm
In this era of bands wanting to make mini-films ’cause they’re epic (or they think they’re epic), it’s no surprise Kings of Leon have put their hat in the ring with the promo for ‘Beautiful War’. Stereogum dares to compare it to the video for Guns ‘n’ Roses’ ‘November Rain’. The shock! The horror! Or maybe not? (I’ve included it below so you non-’90s kids can decide this for yourselves.)
By Mary Chang
on Saturday, 10th August 2013 at 10:00 am
Kings of Leon‘s new video for ‘Supersoaker’ sadly doesn’t employ any water pistols like its song title suggests but instead makes you feel like you’re stuck inside a blueberry-tinged filter in Instagram. Watch the video below.
Read John’s thought on the Southern rockers’ return here. New Kings of Leon album ‘Mechanical Bull’ is out on the 23rd of September.
My memories of Kings Of Leon vary from the grand spankingly brilliant, with me and my Dad driving round our island paradise of Guernsey, screeching at the top of our lungs, that we were CHARMERS, until our voices were as broken as a goat (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggP2_5kPZts).
Then came the ominous cloud of ‘Only by the Night’, and the band that was OUR (and every other music critic) band, became every Tom, Dick and Harry’s band. They were thrust onto the Radio 1 A-list and you couldn’t go into a nightclub without hearing some garishly mixed ‘Sex on Fire’ megamix. KOL were no longer that cool band, adored by musos in the UK. They became a dirty word. Then came Reading 2009, a moment where I thought the Followills would cast off the shackles of stardom and flourish.
Instead, they pulled a naughty boy tantrum and stropped off, throwing their toys (and guitar, ouch) well out of the pram and into the onlooking crowd. The follow-up to their 2009 behemoth, ‘Come Around Sundown’ was as underwhelming as underwhelm-ment goes. Their attempt to return to the roots of their early success saw them drop to the dreary depths of a song about returning home, ‘Back Down South’. It smacked of desperation.
So imagine my joy when my ears were welcomed to the sound of a “supersoaker, red white and blew ‘em all away”. They ere back, they’re firing on all cylinders and there’s hope. Album ‘Mechanical Bull’ is set for release soon and in ‘Supersoaker’, they don’t have an automatic chart marauder, but instead they have returned to their routes, with a genuine sense of sincerity. It may not be the wanton disregard of ‘Four Kicks’, but it’s certainly a sign of brighter prospects for any Kings of Leon purists, who had long since abandoned the church of Followill.
The ‘Supersoaker’ single from Kings of Leon is out now; stream the song below. Their next album ‘Mechanical Bull’ is out on the 23rd of September.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 7th November 2012 at 9:00 am
Guess all those rehab issues have been sorted. Kings of Leon have announced a series of English arena dates for summer 2013. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday (9 November) at 9 AM, but Gigs and Tours is running a presale starting tomorrow (Thursday 8 November) at 9 AM for their email subscribers.
All these dates are conveniently on weeknights, leading us to believe they will be a fixture on the summer festival circuit next year.
Wednesday 12th June 2013 – London O2 Arena
Thursday 13th June 2013 – London O2 Arena
Monday 24th June 2013 – Manchester Arena
Tuesday 25th June 2013 – Manchester Arena
Tuesday 9th July 2013 – Birmingham LG Arena
Wednesday 10th July 2013 – Birmingham LG Arena
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 1st October 2012 at 6:00 pm
Letchworth’s Blonde Louis have been hard at work behind the scenes on a four-part video series that I was informed about just days ago. The Cover Story series will consist of stripped down songs, some new by the band and and some incredible cover versions of other artists’ masterpieces.
First up is a gorgeously filmed cover version of Kings of Leon‘s ‘Pyro’. Watch it below.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 9th May 2012 at 11:00 am
‘You Are the Quarry’ had been called Morrissey‘s comeback album in May 2004 after the much-maligned ‘Maladjusted’ released in 1997. Things were looking good for the Mozzer; the album was his highest charting album ever in America. Fast forward a couple months and I’m flipping through cable channels to find something interesting to watch and I hear a couple bars of something familiar. I look more closely at the television. It’s the new MTV teen reality show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, and during what I’m guessing was supposed to be a tender moment, what do I hear in the background but ‘First of the Gang to Die’.
Sadly, I don’t have a YouTube video to go along with this; the video above is taken from the film for Who Put the M in Manchester?, filmed live at the MEN in 2004 (I’ve played my DVD of this so many times, my DVD skips, I think I broke it). But in my research for this piece, I also learned it was used in an episode of Date My Mom, such that a boy and the coed his mother chose as his date can disappear into the sunset. By limo. We have no way of knowing if Steven Patrick Morrissey himself approved the usage of this song, but it’s hard to believe he would allow the song, about a kid in a Latino gang who becomes a martyr by being the first in his group of friends to die, to be used in either context. While it is a pop song, it’s not really a song about sunny days and going out on dates.
It seems not surprising that the E4 reality drama Made in Chelsea, essentially the UK’s answer to Laguna Beach with well-heeled rich kids from a posh area of London, also uses current ‘hot’ songs in their shows. I won’t list every artist, but a quick glance at the tracklisting for the first episode of the first series for Made in Chelsea lists tunes form some pretty impressive stars that we’ve written about before: Adele, Dragonette, Morning Parade, Muse, the Script, Tinie Tempah (erroneously credited as ‘Tinie T’) and Two Door Cinema Club (twice!). Either the producers have been reading up on the music blogosphere or consulting with people in the know on ‘what’s hot’ (more likely the latter).
That said, what role – or what rights – do artists have in permitting (or not permitting) the use of their songs on television. The use of Noz’s ‘First of the Gang to Die’ and the Made in Chelsea soundtracks came into my mind when I read that Australian singer/songwriter Gotye, recent Saturday Night Live performer and pretty much world pop sensation, was complaining that his mega hit ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ was no longer his. Specifically, this had to do with its usage in the American pop tv sensation Glee. You know, that show where famous songs are redone by teen actors and generally speaking, the original versions of the song gain quite a lot of publicity, while the young people of the world get confused about music history. Goyte’s quandary? “I wasn’t sure whether something so mainstream was right for my music and whether it reflected on my music in my bad way. But I think I realised that the song’s so popular, it’s kind of out of my hands, so when something like Glee comes along, why would I say no?”
The man subsequently whinged on the success of the song, saying, “sometimes I feel like I’m a bit sick of it. My inbox, on any given day, has at least five covers or parodies or remixes of it and there’s only so many times you can listen to the one song.” I don’t know about you, but I can’t even begin to count on both hands how many bands I’ve met over the last 3 years that would love to be a similar position of ‘discomfort’. I guess success – and the happiness you get from success – is a fickle thing; maybe when you have it and realise it’s not so great, you want to bash it and everything that comes with it. Careful though: Goyte had to give his permission to the producers of Glee to use ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ in one of their episodes. He could have easily put the kibosh on the matter entirely by blocking its use on the popular American tv show; there are probably others, but most notably Kings of Leon and Foo Fighters have refused the Fox tv programme permission. Dave Grohl’s response to the invitation: “It’s every band’s right, you shouldn’t have to do fucking Glee. And then the guy who created Glee is so offended that we’re not, like, begging to be on his f**king show… f**k that guy for thinking anybody and everybody should want to do Glee.”
While I agree with Grohl on this – I personally can’t stand the show and how it repurposes already great music, only to redo them in charmless, overblown, unworthy imitations – there seems to be no right or wrong answer for an artist or band considering allowing commercial use of their songs. Some bands still and will always feel that allowing such permission debases the artistic value of their hard work and inspiration. However, maybe the gold standard yet groan worthy rule of PR applies here: “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” As much as Goyte might complain that the song he wrote no longer belongs to him, ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ is still #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the third week running. Suffering for one’s art? Maybe not so much.