Sunday, 26 December 2010

Get Lippy

This is a perfect accompaniment to the family arguing and chocolate bingeing that usually befalls Boxing day. I've been dying for Elbow to come back after the mass success of last album Seldom Seen Kid; Guy Garvey's voice does wonders to make the cold winter months that little bit cosier. If this is any kind of barometer for how the new album is shaping up, then we can only really expect good things.

Elbow are set to perform a couple of dates at the massive O2 arena in the new year, and about time too! After all the years of hard toiling, the Mancunian band definitely deserve all the success they've accrued in recent years. Now, if they could just add a certain festival slot to their lineup..

Build a Rocket Boys! is out on 7th March. (Eeeee!)

The man never stops working. Ever.

Merry Christmas and all that.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Whilst I'm feeling political, I may as well show you what's destined to be the underdog in the fight for Christmas number one this year. No I'm not talking about that ghastly X Factor song or the inspired yet frankly bizarre Cage Against the Machine (although as I understand it profits from that are going to charity, so if you're buying it then good on you). I'm talking about a ska song. I know, I'm as shocked as you are. Not just any ska song though, an anti-Condem ska song. Wonders truly never cease. If you're as intrigued as I was when I first heard about it then check it out and see what you make of it:

Well, as far as Christmas songs go, this is definitely, errm, perky. No sleighbells, East 17 or Noddy Holder (thank God). A Scrooge's heaven. But there is some method behind the madness. This song, in my eyes, encapsulates the essence of what the student movement has been about. Of course, if you only know what you've seen on the front page of the Daily Mail then you may take a different perspective, but having been on the frontline so to speak, I saw an entirely different atmosphere to the protests. This wasn't a group of thugs intent on destroying Whitehall, this wasn't (initially) a riot, this was a mass celebration of solidarity. Former students, current students and even schoolchildren united, even though the impending tuition fee rise would not affect 2/3s of the groups marching there. There were also members of unions and even grandparents there, all showing the country that they actually care about what happens to the next generation.

I don't want to get too political here as this is a music blog first and foremost, but what I saw was beautiful. I of course condemn completely the subsequent violence that a small minority of people carried out, but I cannot stress enough that this was the minority.

What struck me most however, was that amongst the chanting and the witty banners there was almost a carnival vibe to it all. The lovely folks at SOAS even brought their band to play to the protesters, playing to their hearts content and being met with dancing in the streets. At times it felt more like a party than a protest, but the message of direct action never seemed to be lost. No matter how many kettles they were corralled in, they fought back by staging more protests, more university occupations, more lobbying of their MP's. And ok, so we lost, but for me this was about more than just the fight for the future of education; it was about awakening a whole new generation of people to the unifying power of politics, that's got to be worth something right?

So I think this song strikes just about the right tone of it all. It's clever and has an air of tongue in cheek at times (maybe that's just me though, I can never take brass seriously for some reason, I blame the circus), but more importantly it's something we can all sing along to. Maybe at the next protest eh?

Liar Liar is out from tomorrow on iTunes.
Who said protest songs were dead in 2010?

Incase you missed me raving about how great this young woman's Leftfield debut was at this year's Glastonbury festival, I thought I might as well remind you in the form of her new song Emily Davidson Blues.

It's songs like this that give me hope that there will be a new wave of protest songs to coincide with the resurgence of interest in political issues. Anything that gets people into both music and the state of their country's affairs can only be a good thing to me; this song manages to do both simultaneously with its catchy chorus and thoroughly articulate lyrics. Very impressed.

Grace Petrie is supporting Billy Bragg at his gig at The Troxy on Thursday, if you live in London and have a spare 20 quid I'd definitely check it out. With Billy Bragg you always know that he'll put on a decent, passionate performance, but it's nice to know that the support act is just as ballsy.