2017: THE YEAR OF THE YOUTHQUAKE?

by Bradley Allsop

Youth voter turnout has long been a topic of debate, controversy and worry in British politics. Always below the national average, it has plunged even more than other age-groups’ dovetailing turnout in recent decades, sparking expressions of concern (although comparatively little policy change) from political parties. This seemed to have changed last June, with sites such as Yougov and NME reporting large increases in the youth vote for the 2017 general election, with the figures suggesting the largest rise in youth turnout in British political history.

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THE CULTURAL IS POLITICAL – THE REUNIFICATION OF LEFTISM AND CULTURE

by Chris Jarvis

Culture and politics are inseparable. Culture is more than mere entertainment, more than escapism. Culture is central to how we understand the world, build our value sets and perceive our fellow people. It stirs human emotion in unique ways, pulling different levers in the brain. Sometimes overtly, sometimes with subtlety, the dominant cultural practices, institutions, icons and outputs are used to reinforce the dominant political system and defend the status quo. Establishment weaponise culture as a means of influence.

But this isn’t the sole preserve of the political right.

Looking through history, many of the most important moments of popular revolt have an accompanying soundtrack. The resistance to the Vietnam War had the protest folk singers. Rage Against the Machine were agitators of the US anti-globalisation movement. Riot Grrrl acts built feminist infrastructure, led pro-choice campaigns and brought ‘the personal is political’ sentiments to the fore of a cultural phenomenon. And so on, and so on.

This isn’t coincidental.Continue Reading

THE CORPORATE UNDERGROUND

by Mike Vinti

The lines between the underground and mainstream music worlds have been blurring for a while now. As with the majority of issues facing the music industry these days, this is largely because of the internet. While it’s been an undeniably positive force on music itself, allowing fans and artists to connect more easily as well as opening whole new worlds of music to potential fans, it’s also made underground music more marketable.

This may not sound like a bad thing, and to a large extent it isn’t. While it would be great if musicians could live off credibility alone, in the ruthless world of capitalism in which we live, you need to be stacking that P if you want to survive. Where this increased marketability becomes less positive however is when corporations start getting involved.Continue Reading

A NEW WAVE: FEMINIST PUNK

by Mike Vinti

Feminism has been in the news a lot recently. Whether it’s Femen’s brand of topless demonstrations, protests at the premier of the film Suffragette or straw-man attacks on the movement in the Spectator, for a movement that’s been active for some decades now, its seems that 2015 was the year the cause really broke into mainstream circles.

Pop music in particular has been significantly influenced  by feminism this year. Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj established themselves as sex positive feminists and two of the biggest musicians on the planet, bands like Catfish & the Bottlemen are publicly derided for the kind of indie-lad-band antics that would have been celebrated in the NME five years ago and Whirr pretty much just wrecked their career by slinging misogynistic insults at the trans-fronted, feminist punk band G.L.O.S.S on Twitter. Two years ago we had ‘Blurred Lines’ – now we have clearly defined boundaries of consent.

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THE NME WITHIN: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE RADICAL MUSIC PRESS?

by Jack Brindelli

With the formerly radical New Musical Express projected to become a free hand-out for corporate partners like Top Shop, former writer Paul Wellings talks Rock Against Racism, Jeremy Corbyn and Monty Python with Jack Brindelli and the Norwich Radical.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT MUSIC

by Mike Vinti.

If 2014 was the year of anything it was the year popular music started to be taken seriously. Services such as Spotify, and the dawn of Smartphones, means that music is more a part of our lives than ever before; a trend that’s influencing the way we engage with it both in terms of platform and as an art-form. It’s easy to view music as a compliment to life, a melodic enhancer to otherwise mundane activities and there’s nothing particularly wrong with treating it as such — I can’t force you to like Death Grips. Music can and should bring pleasure, but as we listen to more and more of it, its messages and intentions are being ignored.

For years now, debate has raged about the messages and politics in TV, Cinema and in Literature, hell, even music videos have had their fifteen minutes of ‘long read’ blog coverage, yet music itself has gone largely ignored. The reason for this, as a friend of mine noted recently, is because of music’s ubiquity — it’s everywhere, all the time. It soundtracks our walks home and our work, our free time and our periods of most intense concentration — as I write this, I am, totally unsurprisingly, listening to music.

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