This year’s been the best one so far in PearShaped’s short existence. We’ve had more writers than ever writing better articles than we’ve ever had before. The Editor’s been giving her impressions of the year already, and as President, I’d like to give my take on the year, and to celebrate some of my favourites. Forgive me any glaring omissions, it’s hard to hear the rabble from atop my ivory tower.
Having spoken last month on the beauty of discovering new genres, the focus of this month’s Spotlight is delightful for a slightly different reason. The blurring of genre lines is becoming a welcome frequency in contemporary music. Most critically acclaimed artists in the last decade have failed to adhere to the conventional understandings of their respective genres. In many instances, the artists (more…)
Adele – Make You Feel My Love
Originally by Bob Dylan
I expect many from the younger generation would be surprised to discover that this track from Adele is actually a cover of a Bob Dylan song from 1997. Adele successfully reworked the cheesy track to make it a powerful and emotional piano ballad that had Mums everywhere weeping over her beautiful vocals.
Ellie Goulding – Tessellate
1. Taylor Swift – 1989
No, I haven’t gone crazy. And no, I’m not an insane Taylor Swift fan girl – at least, I wasn’t prior to the release of 1989. But she really has done something different here. Yes, she has always been incredibly gifted at writing stupidly catchy songs that perfectly describe the lives of every upper-middle class white girl in North America, but she has honed the skill to perfection (more…)
It took a while to get over the weirdness of Grandmaster Flash appearing in South West England. There was just something so incongruous about that juxtaposition to me. Looking at his tour dates though, he’s appearing at spurious provincial venues all over the country, so I guess I should just get over it and realise that the Grand Master walks among us mere mortals.
I arrived at the Phoenix just as (more…)
My sincerest apologies to any avid followers of this Listening Post, for the very large delay that has accompanied this fortnight’s installment. New music never sleeps, neither do essay deadlines, and as a result, more recently, neither do I. Excuses aside and apologies hopefully accepted, the beginning of December has been an absolute joy, musically and otherwise, in terms of new releases, new discoveries, (more…)
Here’s a statistic I’ve just made up: 30% of undergraduates at the University of Exeter (academic year: 2014-2015) have had a lunch in The Ram marred by an intrusive showing of the Anaconda music video on Sub TV. I have no empirical backing for this claim, just a hunch; although it could have just been me who’s experienced this problem – it did really ruin my curly fries. In all seriousness though, (more…)
What is your philosophy as a band?
That would be Platonic, Aristotelian, and Cartesian.
What was the inspiration behind your name?
[Laughs] We did a random Wikipedia search for a fake band name and basically went for the first thing that jumped up. Easy really!
You’ve played in several venues, including last year’s Calverstock festival, and soon you’ll be at the Exeter Phoenix. Of all your performances, (more…)
What music inspired you most when you were growing up? Did you always know you wanted to be a musician?
My dad was a working musician while I was growing up, so I guess I was influenced by him to pick up a guitar. As a baby, I would sleep through his rehearsals and when I wasn’t well, I remember sitting with him watching a Simon & Garfunkel concert video which I loved! James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, (more…)
As a long time Tom DeLonge connoisseur and vocal impersonator, I was looking forward to the first record that his supergroup, Angels & Airwaves, would put out after a few years of musical inactivity. Although DeLonge seems to break out in hives at the insinuation that Angels & Airwaves is a band (“the brand, not the band” … “Angels & Airwaves is a multimedia project”) – I am going to review them (more…)
Jermaine (J.) Cole returns after last year’s Born Sinner with his third studio album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Cole has always been very interesting with the way he makes releases; Born Sinner’s release date was moved up a week, to compete with Kanye West, purposely being released on the same day as Yeezus. Cole always manages to be charmingly self-confident.
2014 Forest Hills Drive starts mellow (more…)
The city of Exeter missed out on a night of quality music last Tuesday at the Cavern. What the Mahatma Music Christmas Party lacked in audience participants, it made up for in merriment and catchy tunes when Native People and Kahai took to the stage.
There were a few nervous-looking Mahatma people about, and a couple of confused-looking others when I arrived at a near-empty Cavern 15 minutes before (more…)
Rounding off an incredibly successful year which saw the London quartet score Best Breakthrough at the BRIT Awards and see sales of their debut album soar past the $2m mark, Bastille have returned with gusto with the third installment of their mixtape series, VS: Other People’s Heart Ache Pt. III.
Probably intended as a stop-gap to keep over-eager fans at bay while they work on the follow-up LP to (more…)
I feel like I should have known what I was getting myself in for when I said I would review a Christmas offering from what are, in my mind, a notoriously odd band. If you need proof further than my opinion, then how about their song titles (Avocado, Baby and There Are Listed Buildings are two of my favourites). Oh, and the fact that every band member uses Campesinos! as their last name. Yes, with the (more…)
The Smashing Pumpkins are famous for complex narratives, grungy tones, and a heavy dose of guitars. They’ve had a bumpy past as a band, seeing mighty highs, dismal lows, raging arguments, breakups, and revivals in their lifetime as a band. Since their reunion in 2005 they have produced nothing but drab albums that have done nothing but disappoint and confuse their fans, and things didn’t look any more (more…)
There’s a lot to be said for meticulous presentation, rehearsal, and performance. It conveys the whole package, yet the audience always knows that it is, for better or worse, an act. A scripted, predestined journey that would happen irrespective of the place, the time, or the predilections of the audience. It’s not inherently a bad thing, but Beans On Toast at the Exeter Phoenix has shown an alternative (more…)
Admittedly, I approached this event with some degree of scepticism. 2014’s breakthrough DnB powerhouse act, Sigma, was due to hit the Lemmy on the same night that Hold It Down, Our House, Beats & Bass, and Thick As Thieves were due to return to the Phoenix. Could Exeter really sustain two large-capacity dance music events on the same night? The answer appears to have been an emphatic yes, a vindication (more…)
Like the Hackneyed adage regarding London buses, events at University seem to have a habit of coming all at once. Already committed to reviewing Sigma, I was horrified when a slew of 21sts/Christmas parties emerged on my Facebook calendar (disclaimer: I am not trying to make myself sound popular – I am a massive square). My experience of Friday 5th December then took on a rather Oneiric quality, as (more…)
As an avid Bombay Bicycle Club fan, I can proudly say that this was the fourth time I had ventured to see the band live. I had all the hesitations that one has when they’re preparing to see their favourite band live. Would they live up to my expectations? Would their set be a little bit stale? Would my review me too biased? (Possibly.) Fortunately, there was nothing to worry about. The entire night, (more…)
It’s been over three years since Raekwon first promised A Better Tomorrow was on its way. Back then, it was an unnamed project; nonetheless, the appetites were suitably wetted for a release from the group frequently acknowledged as one of the most influential of the past twenty years.
Then it all turned rather sour, mixed messages galore. Cries of “Will they? Won’t they?” were echoed by RZA, GZA, (more…)
Recently impressed by the uber-talented Marion Cotillard’s newly released single, Snapshot In LA, I realised that I’d let Zooey Deschanel’s musical ventures with She & Him slip by. Previously undetected by my admittedly broken radar, her latest album with She & Him, Classics, has just been released. What is it about great actresses and insisting on finding new ways into my mind?
In 2006, Deschanel (more…)
‘How many members are there in Take That?’ is likely to become the toughest pub quiz question in existence. Before answers are even written Robbie will be back, pledging allegiance to Gary and Friends for the third time. Has Jason Orange left forever or will he be just as flaky? And more pressingly, who will be next? Will there even be a Take That next year or will there only be a Gary?
While all (more…)
The idea of combining McFly with Busted is one that used to only exist in fantasies. But now that it’s real, will it be everything that we expected? After a long build up, McBusted’s self-titled debut album is finally here. Lead single, Air Guitar, is iconic of the band’s sound. Remember all that 90s and early 00s rock you used to love? McBusted restore it in 2014 – something many of us never considered (more…)
AC/DC are back in the headlines, and happily, it’s no longer something akin to “AC/DC DRUMMER CHARGED FOR DRUG POSESSION AND MAKING DEATH THREATS”, but instead on the age-defying talents of lead vocalist, Brian Johnson, bassist, Cliff Williams, guitarist, Angus Young, and aforementioned bad-boy, Phil Rudd. Due to Malcolm Young’s ill health, his nephew Stevie Young – who has stepped in for his uncle (more…)
Sam England, a nineteen year-old folk musician and student at the University of Exeter, is debuting his first studio EP: Equilibria. Equilibria is a five-track release whose particular themes I’ll unpack later, but it’s clear from the outset that we’re dealing with a traditionally ‘folky’ milieu. The album artwork shows a flock of birds shedding away from a tree, a typically British depiction of the (more…)