Content Warning: Racial slurs, homophobia
by Chris Jarvis
A few minutes’ walk from the dreaming spires for which the city is famed lies East Oxford’s Cowley Road – the hub where ‘kids of the multiculture’ grow up. An area undergoing rapid gentrification, it still retains its working class heritage, ethnic diversity, and unique character under the strains of the expansionist middle classes settling, with students and university professors increasingly filling the nearby terraces.
Cowley Road is home to the O2 Academy. Previously the Zodiac, the venue is emblematic of other changes in the area – a corporate takeover of a formerly independent music venue. Across the road sit branches of Subway and Costa, but a little further down is the Truck Store – the pivot of the local independent music scene. Here, at Oxford’s O2 Academy, Manchester-born Sonic Boom Six get set to tear up the stage on a Friday evening. Continue Reading
by Chris Jarvis
On Friday it was revealed that this year’s Christmas Number One was Clean Bandit with Rockabye, their names forever written into the record books, joining some truly excellent pieces of music that have shared the top spot over the years. The Beatles scored a hat-trick in the 1960s. Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ beat Wizzard’s festive effort in 1973. Queen managed it twice, with Bohemian Rhapsody, some 16 years apart. We’ve had Spice Girls, The Human League, and Elvis Presley – all deserving the accolade.Continue Reading
by Candice Nembhard
Grime’s re-emergence into mainstream channels of music should be viewed as nothing less than a testament to the masses of hungry music listeners searching for an angry energy tandem with their feelings of creative distrust with the music industry complex. Whether you see its re-surfacing as positive or negative; its influence has grown so much so, we are willing to finally give it long overdue credibility.
by Mike Vinti
Are you hungover and full of existential dread? Do you have a crippling fear that life will never be the same? Have you said the phrase ‘let’s face it, we’re fucked’ in the last 24 hours? If you have, then boy, do we have just the songs for you.Continue Reading
by Chris Jarvis
Anniversaries are strange things. Almost exclusively, they consist of rose-tinted, uncritical and nostalgic assessments of whatever they seek to commemorate. 2016, forty years since the ‘birth’ of punk, appears no different. Expect Union Jacks, safety pins galore and excessive images of John Lydon in BBC sanctioned documentaries. Expect descriptions of how important Malcolm Mclaren was to punk’s success, claims that New Rose was without contention the first punk rock single and a neat lineage where pub rock became punk – a very British phenomenon.
Inadequate as such histories are, they are demonstrative of the problem we have with understanding punk as a cultural occurrence. Debate rages amongst fans about whether punk was ever grassroots, whether it was ever political, whether any of the anti-establishment ethos was ever genuine, or instead fabricated by an astute record industry seeking to find the new zeitgeist. Adherents to either theory will read selectively into the evidence and ignore anything which would disprove their dogma.Continue Reading
By Chris Jarvis
For most, Norfolk boys Shock ! Hazard will appear as something of an antilogy. Their sound and aesthetics are clearly rooted in and influenced by early heavy metal pioneers like Led Zeppelin and the less flamboyant hair metallers of the 1980s – thumping riffs, extended guitar solos and screeching vocals galore. More than anything, this sound and this scene has been known for its bone-headed hedonism, its sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll attitude, and the carefree and unrestricted antics of its participants; hardly the place you go to find revolutionary calls to action or heavily politicised lyricism. Putting aside the question as to whether participation in a counter-culture is an inherently political act for a minute, unlike other musical movements, from punk to folk to hip-hip, this straight-up, hard hitting, in your face rock and roll, has made its name in part for being almost overtly apolitical.
by Armando Razo
In 1981, news anchor for NBC, Tom Snyder, asked the only band that matters why did they decided to be introduced as a “news giving group” instead of a “Rock & Roll music group” to which Joe Strummer, eloquently replied: “Too many songs have been written about love already, subject’s covered… The news is news, right? So it’s not boring, I mean… it’s what’s happening now”. So what’s happening now? It’s 2016 and we have sources of information everywhere, some of which are important, some irrelevant. Some true, some false. Some will endure the test of time and some will be instantly forgotten. But, do we really know what’s happening now?
by Chris Jarvis
There are a few bands whose influence flutters through generations, transcends time and knows no geographical borders. Joy Division, Metallica, Kraftwerk, David Bowie. In the punk scene, the influence of The Clash is far greater than even their seminal contemporaries such as The Damned, Ramones and Sex Pistols. In fact, save perhaps for later acts Operation Ivy, Minor Threat and Refused, the level of impact they have had on music goes unrivalled. Talking to Dasko of Serbian punk rock band Red Union for our series Music That Matters, it is evident that The Clash’s rebel rousing of the late 70s has made its way into the hearts of this Novi Sad band.
by Mike Vinti
Earlier this week it was announced that Virgin Money will be putting out a series of credit cards bearing classic Sex Pistols iconography. The reaction to this has been pretty much universally horrified, as well it should — but really, what did everyone expect?
From the start the Sex Pistols were more about the image than integrity, they swapped Glen Matlock, the band’s only songwriter, for Sid Vicious because Matlock wasn’t punk enough; they let Malcolm McLaren run the show so long as they got paid, and last time anyone even thought about Johnny Rotten was when he did those fucking butter adverts. Virgin Records was the home of the ‘Pistols following their split from EMI and released the bands only studio album to date, the only thing shocking about the new credit cards is the fact it took them 30 years to come up with the idea.
Now this isn’t to say that the Sex Pistols are without merit. Or that you shouldn’t be disgusted by the prospect of some yuppie Richard-Branson-wannabe popping into his local branch of ‘Champagne and Fromage’ to buy some brie with his new ‘Anarchy for the UK’ credit card. But can we please let go of the idea that punk begins and ends with Johnny Rotten and co?Continue Reading