Review of ‘We Need Medicine’ by ‘The Fratellis’

My album of the 2013 has to be ‘We Need Medicine’ by The Fratellis; a fantastic come back album released in October that got an immense reaction from fans of the band! It’s been brilliant to see an older band make such a good return to the spotlight and when I was lucky enough to get a chance to interview lead singer Jon Fratelli, he described how overjoyed as well as humbly surprised he was to have received such a positive response. The band have suggested on their website that ‘Seven Nights Seven Days’ was the headlining song for the album, a song that really tests the boundaries between a deep satirical tone and an upbeat tune to create great results.

I also adore ‘Jeannie nitro’ as well as the title song ‘We Need Medicine’, both of which are a little more light hearted than ‘Seven Nights Seven Days’ with kooky libertines-esque tunes! Although some people would disagree, I feel the new songs perfectly retain the folky rock and roll style of the band whilst adding a refreshing twist of maturity from a slightly more grown up band. I recently saw the album performed live and was not disappointed, I’d recommend both the band and the new songs to anyone interested in some fantastically fun music! 

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Top 10 most annoying Christmas songs of all time.

Aside from the hundreds of tracks that inspire festive cheer, there are those inevitable beauties that get on everybody’s nerves, playing in every shop or cafe you walk into until you never want to hear them again! This is a countdown of our top ten most annoying Christmas songs of all time, with lyrics like ‘christmas comes this time every year’ beautifully pointing out the obvious with delectable grammar, and the painfully cheesy tunes by the likes of Madonna and Andy Williams!

10. All i want for christmas is you – Mariah Carey Perhaps not too bad but just so, so much cheese!

9. Stay another day – East 17
This track is featured on the list purely for the video… we will never understand why eskimo men in sunglasses are spinning around in space… for those who haven’t seen it – youtube!

8. Little saint nick – The Beach Boys
The lyrical genius behind this is astounding… Without it we may have expected Christmas in July next year!

7. Mary’s boy child – Boney M
Again not too awful but really out of date!

6. Baby it’s cold outside – Tom jones and Cerys Matthews
Couldn’t possibly be more obvious or repetitive (clearly a theme here)… basically just Tom and Cerys having an argument about whether or not she should go home!

5. It’s the most wonderful time of the year – Andy Williams
Repetitive to the EXTREME! This ancient beauty is the soundtrack to ever supermarket advert ever played in December.

4. Driving home for christmas – Chris Rea
Who would actually write a song about their car journey, even at Christmas? Not in the top three but severely tedious!

3. 8 days of christmas – Destiny’s Child
The pedantic amongst us would complain simply that they forget the last four days of Christmas, but in addition, despite the refreshing change… the odd half rapping style of this song is a little unusual.

2. Last Christmas – Wham
The ultimate overplayed track with rather depressing lyrics! Not what you want to hear at the most cheerful time of the year.

1. Santa Baby – Madonna
As if there aren’t enough versions of this classic! With Madonna’s high pitched excitably festive tones this has to be our number one annoying Christmas song for 2013!!

Review of ‘Where the heaven are we?’ by Swim Deep.

I’ve always had great respect for a band who are intensely influenced by other musicians yet use this influence to create music that is entirely their own, unique. Swim Deep are a prime example of this, showing strong similarities to the melodies of The Cure and The Smiths, particularly in this fantastic new album. My top track has to be ‘The Sea’, perfectly melodramatic and light to draw out the last few weeks of summer.

King City, Francisco and Honey are amount my other favorites on the album but what I really love about it is how it fits together as a body of work, there are few albums that I can listen to in one sitting again and again, but this one is brilliant for relaxing on a quiet afternoon or evening with a cheeky glass of wine!
Overall I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in Cure-esque slightly alternative tunes or simply looking for a good light hearted indie album.

Review of Lorde’s first album.

At just seventeen years old, Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor, known as ‘Lorde’ is a fantastic emerging female artist who is really starting to get a lot of attention. She was signed by her record company at the age of twelve and since releasing her first EP The Love Club, on 22 November 2012, has experienced massive success building up to her debut album ‘Pure Heroine’ that we first heard at the end of September this year!

Fans have said that despite ‘Royals’ being played everywhere at the moment, her other songs are ‘as good, if not better!’ and have mentioned how she has a similar tone to ‘Birdy’ with ‘catchy melodies and a waspish voice’ although potentially a stronger voice than ‘Birdy’ attached to more upbeat tracks that ‘almost have a tick in them that stays with you long after listening’.

Personally, my favorite track from the album is ‘Ribs’ which I feel has a great depth to it and stands out as a little different, building up from slow ballad-like vocals to strong electronic beats in the chorus.

Interview with Jon Fratelli of ‘The Fratellis’

‘The Fratellis’ have enjoyed a summer of festivals and I was interested to find out which had been their favorite, Jon had a very definitive answer, telling me in his thick Scottish accent that ‘Arenal Sound’ in Castellon, Spain absolutely ‘blew us away’ and ‘made us feel just like ‘The Rolling Stones’’, especially as it was one they agreed to do on a whim and had no idea what to expect. We went on to discuss what really makes a festival or gig, agreeing that there is just ‘an invisible force’ that you can never put your finger on.

 

When I asked about the new album (‘We Need Medicine’ – out 7th October), I was surprised to hear it has not been long in the making, Jon explained the band ended their hiatus with the sole intention of playing gigs, he said they were shocked at the positive response to their reformation – ‘we were surprised to find people didn’t leave for drinks or bathroom breaks when we played new songs at summer festivals’, so agreed to produce a new album.

One of the things that most impressed me whilst talking to Jon was his desire to create songs and albums that he was happy with, ‘I would rather everyone else hated it but I was happy with it, instead of producing something I regretted’.

 

Talking about the new single ‘Seven Days, Seven Nights’, I was delighted to hear that Jon feels it really ‘represents the new album’ as well as being ‘one of two or three songs on the album with real life meaning’. He commented that his musical and outside influences have remained the same since he was fifteen, although when I asked how much he feels their style has changed since their first album, he commented ‘time naturally dictates change in style despite continuous influences’.

 

Jon hopes to start recording another album after their seven week tour this autumn. He pointed out that the perfect time to record an album is straight after a tour, high on the adrenaline and excitement it creates. I enquired as to how long he hopes to continue making music for and his very profound answer was ‘as long as we are allowed to’, I would hate to outlive our glory, I’d rather quit while we are ahead’.

I found it brilliant to talk to a musician with such strong morals for making music rather than being completely steered by the music industry. It seems to me ‘The Fratellis’ are really keeping alive the true reason for the existence of music – for the enjoyment of both the audience and the band.

 

Wanting to end with a fun question, I finally asked Jon what he would have liked to be if he had not become a musician, to which he replied with complete sincerity ‘all I ever wanted to do was make music with my friends’. However, at the last minute he added ‘but I  always thought being a pilot would be a great adventure’.

Review of ‘Girl Talk’ by Kate Nash

‘All rise, brothers and sisters, because Kate Nash is back and she has things to say!’ – For me the tagline of NME’s review of ‘Girl Talk’ really epitomises the album. Critics have torn this album to pieces; calling it ‘a grunge-infused jam with a screw-you screech of a chorus’ but I completely disagree and would describe it as the perfect infusion of deep intimacy and feminist fierceness! Kate Nash’s first albums were the more lighthearted soundtrack to my childhood, but her new found punk attitude and bass guitar skills only make me feel as if she has grown up with me – finding a strong voice and making her opinions heard.

The best song of the album absolutely has to be ‘Sister’ which is not only pure brilliance but perfectly combines the contrasting gentleness and fury that the album is made up of, starting more slowly and quietly with an emotion infused chorus. My other top tracks I’d recommend to anyone have to be ‘3AM’ and ‘OMYGOD’ but overall I am absolutely in love with her new album, definitely my favorite of 2013 and hope she continues to do what she’s doing!

Review of Feminist society film meeting.

Underwire Film Festival/Visit from Chloe Trayner

Last Thursday, the lovely Chloe Trayner (producer of ‘Underwire’) came to talk at rhul about the London based film festival; she brought along a fantastic showcase of last years films to give us a taste of what to expect, as well as answering our questions.
‘Underwire’ is a festival celebrating and discussing short films made by up and coming female film makers; as well as various screenings, the week long event includes panel discussions (one of which femsoc are hoping to attend on the 23rd).
The festival is run almost entirely by women, after being founded in 2010 by Gabriella Apicella and Gemma Mitchell, it focuses on the fact that women still make up a small minority of film creatives and aims to help create a ‘more balanced industry’. Short films are nominated for female directors, screenwriters, cinematographers and editors and entries compete to win career based prizes – membership to organisations like ‘Directors UK’ or editorial suite time and training.

Chloe’s showcase of films included a huge variety, everything from music videos to a dramatic experimental piece called ‘Stormhouse’ which included no speech. It was really interesting to see such variation and refreshing that the festival is so inclusive, it seemed to give women a huge amount of creative space and chance to experiment with their ideas and create any type of film they desire to. This resulted in some striking pieces, a lot of which focused on feminist or feminine issues or points; pregnancy, women’s career choices, prejudice both against genders and nationalities. They all stayed with you after hearing Chloe talk and really made you think which just shows how the festival is achieving it’s aims by giving women creative space at the same time as spreading knowledge and thought about significant topics.

As well as the inspiring nature of the films we were shown, it was massively inspirational to talk to a woman like Chloe who has done so much with her career by such a young age. Her success is extremely encouraging especially to students studying film and media but also generally to girls with strong career aspirations, reminding us all that if we push ourselves hard enough we can achieve a huge amount.

Overall, it’s fantastic to see people creating events and organisations to begin to tackle the issue of gender bias in the film industry and really giving people a good starting point in their career. Hopefully this mentality and motivation will emerge in other industries.