Friday 12 October 2018

Head to Head Challenge - #1 - 5 Songs to Change a lifetime. Metallica Vs Jimmy Eat World

Here at A Life Of Music Rocks HQ we often get into music related debates between ourselves, whether it be hypothetical banter about the best fake band names or whether it be serious discussions about each others musical taste.
Whilst we all have eclectic tastes, we don't all like the same bands - and often have conflicting views.
In a bid to settle a debate a challenge was set - create a playlist of 5 Songs to change the mind of your opponent.

In the Red corner Chris, our resident Metal Head, who's music tastes ranges from Neneh Cherry to Metallica, and everything in between - if it be Chemical Brothers or Katy Perry, there is no genre left untouched in his playlist. Chris has often jokes at our tastes in the "pop-punk" genre.

Over in the Blue corner is Richard, who'd like to tell you his genre is 90's & 00's pop-punk, but the fact is his music genre is everything. Brought up on Queen, Elton John, the Animals, Spice Girls, Sex Pistols, Eminem, Pavarotti and so much more! His music taste is eclectic, but he's more than happy to admit he doesn't like The Beatles or Metallica.
In his word's "my problem is that I feel some bands are one dimensional, they churn out the same song over and over and their fans fall for it every time, this led to the debate with Mr Foxon. Maybe I am just saying every song sounds the same to wind him up or maybe it's because every song I hear from Metallica on the radio merges into one..."

On a recent discussion around Jimmy Eat World tour Richard and Chris came to blows about if Jimmy Eat World were actually good. Richard claiming that Jimmy Eat World are class live and a really good act, whilst Chris branding them Soulless Pap, boring, no better than One Direction, and a great band if you want to drive 29mph.  With that, Richard hit back at Chris and Metallica, from here the gauntlet was set.

Richard to create a playlist on 5 Jimmy Eat World songs.
Chris to create a playlist on 5 Metallica songs.
Avoiding the obvious singles and major albums the two got to work to musically challenge 30+years of ingrained taste & opinions.

First, Richard listens to Chris' 5 Metallica songs

Sooo where to begin, well this little experiment has come about as I can't hold my tongue and enjoy throwing controversial thoughts out there, especially towards Mr Foxon, who as we all know has a deep love for all things metal. Thinking logically I am just going to blitz through in the order he made the playlist.

The first 'song' is King Nothing, and to be totally honest it is a whole load of nothing, it is the stereotypical Metallica song, repetitive guitar riffs, gravelly voice and angry lyrics (at least I assume they are angry, certainly sound it). I had to check several times the name of the song as I was convinced it was enter sandman even at the end of the song there is a very quiet vocal which says of to never never land... At this point I was thinking this is shit and is totally going to ruin my usually enjoyable drive home and he'll it's even a Friday. 

Now as I am writing this, after having the initial listen, I am kind of thinking Mr Foxon has made his playlist tactically and chose a shite song to begin with to soften my attitude towards the next track. Well he didn't need to, it was a live recording of No Leaf Clover, it is I am sad to say decent, certainly get into my massive playlist for long journeys. 

The fact it is a live version and is flawless helps draw me but the main selling point is that it is done in a style that I just didn't believe Metallica capable of, it's my opinion now that they just release the same songs to the singles chart for there fans who are radio listeners, and not the Natty White Dreadlock guys who go all out for the album's.

Next up was Fade to Black, no word of a lie it actually starts with a guitar being picked and no distort, are we sure this is really Metallica?? Where is the heavy necked, gripped strumming and distort turned up to 11. This is a really chilled song, even when the distort strumming kicks in at the 2 minute mark it's a chilled song, vocally is impressive to, there is still the undertone of gruffness but it doesn't make me want to hide behind the sofa until the bad man is gone. I can be totally honest and say this is a top song, well played Mr Foxon!

Oh wait hang on here comes the tricky 4th a track called Creeping Death, back to the one dimensional hard thrash angry voice. This song just reminds me that we are all individuals and you have to respect everyone's personal taste, even if your personal taste is crap. Nothing more to say on this one.

Last song, getting close to home by this point, with my usual taste in music I can be through a full album in the 30 minute commute, jesus Mr Foxon could you have picked longer songs??? Anyway back onto point, last song - Die, Die My Darling. Best song out of the 5, it's fast but still with the metal features. I am going to call it a twisted metal, turns out in further research it's a Misfits cover, explains a lot but go to say it is an awesome cover. 

Misfits do it better though hahaha!

Conclusion - 3 very good surprises and 2 standard Metallica. Has Mr Foxon chose those 3 as they are different to everything else or are there lots of hidden gems in the 10 albums they have churned out? Maybe I should spend some time listening to them to find out, time is tight though especially as Pinky and Perky are constantly bombarding me with new music that I just 'have to listen to', what I do know though is that this is a great idea and I think we should do it again!!!

Over to Chris and Richard's 5 Jimmy Eat World songs

Before today, I described Jimmy Eat World as the musical equivalent of finding fluff in your pocket. They don't make me feel anything, a beige band, inoffensive and quite boring. Let’s see if the lad can change my mind.

First song, Believe In What You Want. This isn't going to make a fan of me. Lyrically, I'm guessing it's a moan about people who follow trends rather than, well, Believing What They Want. I like that, the song, musically isn't something I could get into, there are bands that do this kind of thing better. That said, I wouldn't switch it off.

Now, this is more like it! Second song, Blister. It’s a bit Emo, but that works for them. It’s loud and it’s catchy. I bet this song is great live. Yeah. Enjoying this, I'll add this to a playlist for driving. Reminds me of bands like Thrice or Alexisonfire, just without the growling and screaming. Ok, I'm awake. Ace!

Third song, Polaris. Great song title and I really like the album cover. First thing I notice is the production value, they must have had more money for this album. Bit of a brit-pop vibe with the music, with a different vocal approach. Still sounds like the same band, so I appreciate that, change is good. Yep, like this one too, very atmospheric.

Haven't I heard this one before? Like, wasn't this the 2nd track I listened to? Track 4 is Big Casino. It is very similar, I'm getting a Billy Talent vibe, which isn't a bad thing. I do feel like I have heard it many times before, though. Nothing special, but it's a decent track that was probably on an American teen flick.

I have definitely heard this song before. I think its on the same album as The Middle. It sounds like that ‘Salt, Sweat, Sugar’ song, that was Jimmy Eat World wasn't it? Its called The Authority Song. I'm not into this one as much. I just feel there are bands (Weezer, Alien Ant Farm, Incubus) who do this kind of thing better

This has changed my mind a bit, all their songs don't sound the same, and they are a pretty decent band. The thing I noticed most though, is the lyrics. This band are great at lyrics, I will listen to more for that reason alone. I'm very glad I took the time and gave them a chance. So thanks for that, Ricky.

So there it is, we so easily cast judgements on bands from 1 or 2 overplayed songs, sometimes it just takes a little steer to the right songs, from a fan, to introduce you to something you would previously blown off.
I have to say, listening to both playlists gave me a new insight into 2 totally different but often criticized bands. And I'm loving some of the tracks! Check them out, hope you enjoyed the read!

Thats it from us 3 this week!

Much love Michael, Richard & Chris


Tuesday 9 October 2018

October's new music

We get a lot of music sent to us, some good, some not so much - each to their own in taste. We just share what we personally like, keeping true to our own tastes, rather than sharing for the sake of sharing.

So what's on the agenda, let's start with Scottish duo Pyro, since we came across these fellas at Gentle Giant Music Festival and I've been tracking their tracks, and we keep getting a real treat on each one. They are a Grungy, Indie duo with a unique set up and a talent for catchy lyrics.
There's been quiet a lot of singles dropped this year and I'm certain that this duo are destined for more than we see. The quality and originality in their music I'd expect to see higher play counts, which is frustrating, you all need to get on them!

Anyway I got a sneak peak at their latest track "Don't Hold Back" which is released later this week. Carrying much of tones and lyrical story telling that follows from their last track "Regret Or Forget" and "Too Far Gone", this new track has an added layer of upbeat and slightly faster tempo. Really like the build up straight from the start! They are really good live to, so if you're in Scotland or see Pyro billed elsewhere, get down and support them.

If you can't wait to hear them check out their back catalogue on Spotify, new single link to follow later in week.

Other tracks we're diggin this month are from Manchester, and that's indie rock quartet The Covasettes  and their track 'Top Drawer' which is reaching a rather phenomenal number of plays.
We got another sneak peak from these guys on their latest track 'Wild', which is out on 12 October.

The single is a clean and well produced track, for a band with only a few singles on Spotify they really are shining through and, I believe, on the brink of something big!
The track starts with a high pitched rift and memorable chorus, leading to some nice bridges and tempo changes - I'm wondering where these guys have come from, what's their background.
Just 2 listens and I'm wondering how come I haven't heard these guys sooner! Already wondering when / where I can get to see them!

Check them out and I'll drop the Spotify link when singles released.

Final track for today is Derby Alt Rock Grunge band Marvin's Revenge with 'Overlook'. This is a pretty nice chilled out track, with an almost Stone Roses feel to it, actually much better than their first EP (which is also pretty good, but much less redined)

At times their sounds is familiar, but frustratingly I can't put my finger on why.
I enjoy of well the lead guitar and bassists work so well together, the rifts bounce off each other in perfect symmetry.

I got some other submissions, check them out in this months playlist here : Playlist

The New Consistent (almost sounds like Mike Skinner meets Synth pop, wasn't my cuppa but you may find something you like)

Stiofan (unique sound, ballads, meets rap, meets pianos - vocals are just a little too close for my liking, but check it out you might like)

Strawberry Mountain (these were a little up my street. Get ready for some synth, spacey, pedal fx's, dreamy alternative elecro-pop. I oddly like their sound - it's a nice relaxing tone. I'm not sure where it sits in my mind. I need to do some more listening)

So that's what we've been checking out this week, more to follow through-out the month.


Tuesday 2 October 2018

False Heads...False Heads... & co

Quick heads up... This started as a short review of False Heads 2 gigs 28th September Manchester and 29th in Preston. It is a long read, but hopefully it will give you all you need to know about this trio (and their support)...

28th September
Normally after landing in from another country, be it work, an energetic holiday or relaxed holiday, all I wanna do is crash out under the duvet and pretend this world doesn't exist, until Monday morning.

Well if there is anyone who's energy is enough to pull you out of a JetLagged stupor, two days in a row, it's Luke, Jake & Barney aka False Heads. Now regular readers and followers will know these guys are one of our top hitters to see. Heck, I think this is the 4th gig this year we've been to see them.. and I'm about to tell you why, again.

I'd been awake 36hours and spent a week partying in the big apple. I'd managed to get a few hours shut eye before my phone went off, several times, it was Richard excited and wanting to do the usual pre-gig phone call. I missed it for another hour sleep (sorry, again).
Waking up, chucked on my FH tee and went out to pick up Richard for the gig.

I'm not sure legally I should have been driving, my head was fuzzy and felt like marshmallow man, but ahh nothing a little Weekend Debt and carpool karaoke couldn't clear tho.
...Tell me it's over, tell me I'm not ready.... bite your tongue, you clench ya jaw...

Anyway, 5pm few Jack Daniels down and were on the way to Manchester. I'm wondering if I can hold out till 10pm when the lads hit the stage at Jimmy's NQ Manchester. We have a few support acts at this sold out event, of which I have no clue about... I didn't do any homework.

Holding a few spare tickets I gave a them away on twitter, for a pint, and one of the lads who got a ticket recommended Manalishi the first support act.  Got to say these guys we're pretty good, it's early and the venue is getting packed pretty quickly, Manalishi are a borderline heavy grunge alternative band, eerily a little too vocally similar to Kurt Cobain at times. They have a raw energy that did just what they were supposed to, and warmed up the venue, they were a nice support act!

Gotta be honest I didn't even know there was a 2nd support, so given Jimmy's was now full we opted to move to the front whilst the obligatory cig break/bar run happened.
Then we got a pleasant surprise, local band called Dirty Laces came on - now when you think Manchester band, what comes to mind? Surely, It has to be, right? Well yea, following a similar image and even stage presence, these lads were like a young Oasis. It was a pleasure, they are a tight band and kinda took the oasis britpop with some hard rock / blues rifts they are an alt act you need you check out!
Key track I noted was ''In Time'

We're getting merry and a little deaf, but Dirty Laces exit to a pretty loud crowd, break down their equipment and False Heads begin to set up. It's being streamed live by Show Stream, I gave the camera guy a nudge and made sure his camera had enough swing... I could see tonight was going to crazy!

Only a few more days left and it's a sold out event, Luke won't be holding back and there is some lovely new material to showcase!

The lads start and from the outset we're hit with that hardcore punk indie crack rock False Heads are becoming renowned for. They're hitting major radio stations and getting a lot of noise from their latest track Yellow, and the available now EP, Less Is Better.

From the outset the chemistry between the lads is locked in, it's crazy, well orchestrated.
Each time I see them I see something new, it's like when you watch a film over again and see a scene in more detail.

The depth of sounds, tempo switches and more over their ability to take one of their tracks and rework it for a live audience, slowing it down at times or inserting minor changes really show off the skills and tightness of the trio.

The tour was a showcase of their new EP, but we were also given a number of new unreleased tracks. Once again I'd love to give you more on those, but, well I was pretty much immersed in the gig and not taking notes. Want exclusive listens? buy a ticket :P

Genuinely though I was loving the new sounds, they seem to pick up on some of those higher toned rifts leaking into HELP YOURSELF.
If you haven't seen anything about a False Heads gig and haven't seen our previous posts. You're basically given a thorough thrashing of pure punk attitude entertainment accompanied by this mashed-genre live music

Luke does what he does and embellished the front man role more than anyone else does now-a-days... If it's the obligatory on your knees guitar solo or climbing and jumping off things, he does it. Even a little into the crowd action this time!

I'm pretty sure if this was a sell out crowd at Madison Square Garden he'd likely be smashing a guitar every track and ensuring that no amp was left unturned! Pure rock and roll. But don't let that take away from the music talents, this is, as I said, a well orchestrated act!

Jake spends much of the time providing that Interpol-esq, Carlos Denglar, cool, calm, collected bass playing. Often coming in for some face to face guitar strumming with Luke, the two work together well. Almost good cop bad cop routine, a nice Ying and Yang going on. That's not take anything away from Jake's performance! That guys working hard, getting hot, sweaty and providing that sweet sweet bass-line!

And in the back, Barney, holding it all together, smashing those drums like they were the face of that M'Fcker that just pissed on ya chips.
To be fair, Barney shares much of front man responsibilties too, providing contrasting falsetto vocals and does much of the Inbetween song talking and thanking, whilst Luke tunes the his guitar (very quickly tbh)

Collectively, 3 different characters, and I mean pretty different from their presence on and off stage, their music interests and more (check out our interview earlier, links still on spotlight).
And as I said before, it comes together in such chemistry.

Also gotta give a nod to their mate/roadie, who I didn't catch the name of, but does a lot of mid-gig support/fixing of the slighty smashed set.

This is a sold out Jimmy's, towards the end of a European tour, the lads a likely tired and well done in. But it's a stellar performance, high octane and somehow not bone breaking?!

I noted when I listened to Wrap Up when the EP dropped on my door, that it felt almost written for Luke to do his signature ending to gigs:

And that energy is what took me from flat out exhausted to full blown excited.

Also, ha, check out this picture.
What sums up a False Heads gig more than this?! 

You know, I've gone on a lot about Sold Out Manchester...

29th September
The next night the lads played The Ferret in Preston, an event which sadly wasn't sold out, much to the contrary... It was later billed as a free event.
Still buzzing from the night before, still not really timezoned in, I headed up to preston and met up with colleague, friend and fellow blogger Johnny (I'm sure he will be telling you some more details from Preston's gig over at Mixing Up The Medicine so check that space and blog)

The gig was much less busy, maybe quarter capacity at best. Which you could easily allow the lads a more relaxed less buzzed gig.
Nah, nope, ha! There was as much energy beeming from the lads tonight as last night. Albiet less to climb on, that didn't stop Luke almost breaking an amp!

Day 2 was a replica of the previous night, (see above) I'm not going to repeat too much. More new material and more fuck-yeah entertainment.

Being strictly audience participation tonight I didn't take many pics. I did however record some of the treat we got at the end, which I won't be sharing (apologies).

So what was the ending this time? Well even though it was a quiet venue, it didn't stop 'one more song' chant starting. And that's what we got, and it wasn't just another re-run. This was an very exclusive listen to some new material never played, so new there were no lyrics. My god, what a gig to be at. Polar opposite of the previous night, yet equally mesmerising.

I applaud you fellas, and, I, again, remind you, pick up this EP, listen to their previous EPs and follow these lads. They are, they have to be, the next big thing! They are leading a re-generation of the British independent punk/post-punk movement.

Fucking, False Heads, everyone!

That all said, I want to touch on the support acts over at Preston, firstly Salt The Snail dropped out, I was gutted, they sound amazing and I hear entertainment factor is 90s WWF... WMCYW?

However, as equally bizarre, All Hail Hyena, yep, they came out with sermon style lyric books, action figures on stage, roses, Jackie Chan DVD (*edit* VHS, proper old school), florescent paint and wearing Pajamas... That said these guys can sing and are a tight act, not to be taken serious lyrics, and they kinda take themselves not seriously but can really play tho. I'd like to hear some serious tracks too. Check out track Way Ho! It sums up their funky, fun attitude.

If you've stuck out this far, thank you, if you skimmed and looked at the pics and video, thank you also 😂. Check out the bands and support them.

Finally, Out, Mx

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