The VPME Track(s) Of The Day – Best Girl Athlete – In Your Head & Baby Come Home

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Wow ! Not sure what we were doing in 2015 that ensured we somehow contrived to completely miss out on Best Girl Athlete‘s debut album ‘Carve Every Word’. An album which was apparently nominated for the Scottish Alternative Music Award. However her most recent releases, the evocative cinematic ‘Baby Come Home’ which recalls Laura Marling and Lana Del Rey and the wistful bedsit poetry colliding with Stax Records on the magnificent ‘In Your Head’ ensured we have now remedied the lack of Best Girl Athlete’s music in our lives.

Based on what we’ve heard so far, it’s obvious to anybody but a near clinical cretin, that Katie Buchan aka Best Girl Athlete is one of the most exciting young singer songwriters to emerge in recent years. Her song writing is underpinned with the unique ability that all great songwriters have – to be able to discern beauty in the darkness, to discover poetry in the minutiae of everyday life and to make the personal, universal. Factor in her exquisite ear for timeless melody and it really is quite remarkable that somebody who has just turned 18 and is about to start Uni is blessed with such talent and insight.

Both tracks featured are from her forthcoming self-titled album that arrives on October 2nd, 2017 via Fitlike Records and based on what we’ve heard so far she seems to have a musical gift so big you could probably see it from space.

Convinced ?  Well if you’re wavering (and you really shouldn’t be)  here’s another tune, this time from her 2015 album.

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Best Girl Athlete- The VPME COM Track Of The Day

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Owen Jones: Brexit is a Tory mess. Labour has now shown it can clear it up | Owen Jones

At last a genuine alternative to chaos is emerging – but never forget who it was who plunged Britain into the mire in the first place

“We’re clearing up Labour’s mess”: that was the Tory refrain deployed against the electorate until its ears bled. But it was based on a cynical rewriting of history. Labour had not caused the global financial system to implode. The Tories had backed every penny of their opponent’s public investment until the end of 2008, despite their later, shamelessly dishonest narrative that overspending had caused the country’s woes. If Labour committed a crime, it was a failure to properly regulate the banks in an era in which the party was too in thrall to market ideology.

Related: Calls for ‘flexible’ Brexit talks rejected as Barnier expresses frustration

For those of us who fear a destructive and disorderly Tory Brexit, a genuine alternative is at last emerging

Continue reading…

GIITTV: The Fresh & Onlys – Wolf Lie Down (Sinderlyn)

 

California’s Fresh & Onlys have long since moved on from their wailing garage rock beginnings (the extraordinary ‘Fog Machine‘ is still a favourite at Russell Towers), and now specialise in run-of-the-mill indie rock with dark, sleazy garnishes that don’t quite convince. Wolf Lie Down is their sixth album and despite being bookended by two very wonderful songs indeed, it’s not an album that has me looking forward to their seventh.

It all starts so well with the title track, a chugging slice of fuzzed-up surf rock with enigmatic, sinister lyrics (“I wake up on the floor with a man in my room“) and a catchy na-na-na chorus; and it all ends so well with the lovely, melancholy country/psych of ‘Black Widow‘. If this was a two-track EP, I’d be hailing it was one of the releases of the year. Unfortunately it’s an eight-track album and the stuff in between is unremarkable in the extreme.

One of a Kind‘ would make a decent 3-minute pop song but for some reason it’s dragged out to over 6 minutes; ‘Walking Blues‘ is a pleasant piece of indie-pop whose opening line – “I’ll sing the blues, but you won’t believe me” – sums up the unconvincing nature of the band’s performance; ‘Dancing Chair‘ takes a shot at early Bunnymen and misses by miles; ‘Becomings‘ starts off promisingly with a Waitsian junkyard shuffle but, like most of the songs here, loses any appeal it might’ve had thanks to Tim Cohen’s rather naff lyrics and overly mannered vocal stylings.

Throughout, singer and band come across like they don’t really believe in what they’re doing. Frankly, neither do I.

 

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The VPME Video of The Week – Samantha Urbani – Hints And Implications

It seems an age ago that Brooklyn collective Friends were beguiling the blogosphere with their fusion of indie art pop and mutant funk grooves. They made the “BBC’s Sound Of” list and won the “UK Blog Sound” vote back in 2012. Big things beckoned, even if the band didn’t seem particularly comfortable or enamoured with being labelled a ‘buzz band.’  They toured including a memorable show at The Kazimier (click here) and then … well, the band retreated, things went quiet and eventually they disbanded in 2013.

The good news is, after a number of musical collaborations with former partner Dev Hynes in the intervening years, and much-teasing about new material Friends lead singer Samantha Urbani is back, having recently released her debut solo EP ‘Policies of Power.’ And not unlike Friends, it consists of a collection of tunes which nimbly straddle a number of styles without being particularly constrained by them. There are infusions of R’n’B, electronic flourishes, 80’s soul pop, growling guitar licks and lyrics that pull no punches which all add up to a hugely impressive EP as well as showcasing Urbani’s sublime vocals and her unerring ability to pretty much make any style her own. However, it’s the sparkling soaring melody of today’s video of the week, ‘Hint’s and Implications’ that demonstrates Urbani truly hits the musical sweet spot when she goes directly for the jugular and embraces a fuller more dramatic new wave pop sound.

The video was originally conceived as being based on a surrealist inescapable nightmare inspired by ‘A Dream Within A Dream’ Samantha’s favourite Egar Allan Poe poem, but as it came together the visuals started to relate to the sound rather than the concept. Pulling in the EP’s art work and influenced by the fulgent vivid colours in Lush’s ‘De-luxe’ video* ‘Hints And Implications’ looks retro yet futuristic a kind of Tron-like world fused with the birth control geisha girl ad that ran throughout Bladerunner. And of course, as we’ve already mentioned, it’s a damn fine tune.

Listen / buy EP here:  http://ift.tt/2wi149P

Buy Limited Ed. Vinyl here: http://ift.tt/2tDGaNN

Nb. * LUSH Video –  This was actually the second video for DeLuxe which Miki Bereyni talks about to us HERE

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GIITTV: I’m in Love – What’s That Song? The Replacements’ Pleased to Meet Me at 30

“The Replacements represent the complete antithesis of all my dreams for the future of pop. And yet, I can’t help myself. I love them so much it hurts.” (Simon Reynolds, Melody Maker, 1987)

 

Back in the late 80s, if Simon Reynolds loved it, then I usually bought it. And when I finally got round to buying Pleased to Meet Me in 1988, I felt just like he did. In so many ways it was everything I hated, still hate in fact, and I had no idea that the legendary Jim Dickinson produced it (had no idea who Jim Dickinson even was), had never heard of Alex Chilton, had no idea what the skyway was or what the hell ‘shooting dirty pool’ meant, hated anything that had even the slightest whiff of Americana about it, not that the term had been invented then, and of course hadn’t heard any of the band’s previous records; and yet the album’s mood swings – from giddy, dancing-on-tables drunkenness to morning-after melancholy – touched a nerve in a way that few other bands ever have. As an apprentice depressive (not that I knew it at the time), living for a year in a creaking 1930s time capsule of a house in a mining town in Northern France, with my landlady’s mentally disturbed son locked in a room just across the landing, and some mysterious, unseen hand keeping the cellar constantly filled with cheap vin de table and beer (mysterious and unseen, only because the delivery guy showed up before midday which was when I used to get out of bed), meeting Pleased to Meet Me was pure fate.

I won’t go on about the myths, legends and facts around its recording for they have been adequately and frequently detailed elsewhere, most entertainingly and thoroughly in Bob Mehr’s superb 2016 book Trouble Boys: The True Story of The Replacements, a tome that makes Hammer of the Gods seem like Mills & Boon; suffice to say it’s a story of excess, self-sabotage and reluctant genius that just makes me love them even more than I did 30 years ago. No, let’s talk about why I fell so hard for the album back then and why I still listen to it at least once a week.

I bloody loved ‘IOU’ of course, that gleeful opening riff, “Exile on Main Street at 78rpm” as Paul Westerberg described it, very probably a fuck-you to sacked guitarist Bob Stinson who thought the band were going soft – they responded with their loudest, punk-est song in years.

Despite not knowing who he was (I’ve more than rectified that since) I loved ‘Alex Chilton’, and after all who couldn’t love a song whose chorus – “I’m in love – what’s that song?” masterfully articulates the sheer joy of finding a new band to get all excited about?

I really loved ‘I Don’t Know’, the wilfully dumb call-&-response anthem with that line – “One foot in the door/the other one in the gutter” – neatly summing up the band’s bizarre status of simultaneously being the hippest band in the US at the time and being persona non grata at most of its gig venues and radio stations.

I even loved ‘Nightclub Jitters’, even though it was basically jazz and I fucking hated jazz (I’ve rectified that one too).

And oh god did I love ‘The Ledge’, that spine-tingling tale of a young man finally getting people’s attention by throwing himself off a building (“I’m the boy they can’t ignore/For the first time in my life I’m sure”), Westerberg’s harrowing vocal delivery (famously he got it right first time; just as well as he was too wrung out for further takes) perfectly offset by the band’s spidery, almost gothic rock arrangement.

I loved the two ‘pop’ songs – the meaty beaty ‘Never Mind’ (its title later filched by a band who couldn’t hold a candle to the ‘Mats) and the cutely romantic ‘Valentine’ (though only in the Replacements’ universe would a line like “If you were a pill, I’d take a handful at my will” qualify as ‘romantic’).

I also loved the generally reviled ‘Shooting Dirty Pool’, a hard-rockin’ (yuck…but I still love it) tale of unwelcoming gig venues, especially the bit where some redneck says “Why don’t you get a haircut sister?” and then the bottles start flying, even though it was so far away from my personal experience it may as well have been sung in Serbo-Croat for all I could relate to it.

Naturally, given that well-stocked cellar and my leisure activities at that time (at that time…ha) I absolutely ADORED ‘Red Red Wine’, the greatest drinking anthem ever written, and, I am convinced, the reason I hardly ever touch white or rose to this day. How could you, after so often yelling along to words like “As long as it is red, you can set ‘em up until we’re dead…I didn’t come here to fight, just as long as it ain’t white”?

I loved tender acoustic ballad ‘Skyway’, even though I’ve always hated tender acoustic ballads; it’s just that Westerberg is so bloody good at them whilst also sounding faintly guilty that he’s performing them, as he damn well should.

And of course I loved the closer, and arguably the band’s finest moment, ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’. 3 minutes and 21 seconds of pure guitar pop genius from that strangely affecting opening line – “I’ll write you a letter tomorrow/Tonight I can’t hold a pen” – to the joyous climax, with soaring strings, Alex Chilton’s guitar and some of Memphis’ finest horn players carrying these shambolic drunken arseholes to such a lofty peak of empathic, heart-stirring greatness it still brings a lump to my throat even today.

And yet Pleased to Meet Me remains a rock & roll footnote rather than a touchstone. The band didn’t help themselves of course, pissing off pretty much everyone who came near them, turning down Scott Litt as producer (he went off and produced REM’s Green instead, and we all know what happened then), refusing to make videos, releasing ‘The Ledge’ as a single just as a teenage suicide panic broke out…and so on. But fuck it – if Pleased to Meet Me is a failure, it’s a glorious one.

And 30 years later, I still can’t help myself. I still love them so much it hurts.

 

 

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GIITTV: Video Of The Week #46: Beaches – Arrow

Melbourne’s Beaches have revealed ‘Arrow’, the third single from their upcoming double album Second Of Spring released on the 8th of September. ‘Arrow’ is a scorching garage-rock song a blizzard of chiming psych riffs and propelling baselines, intertwined by bittersweet harmonies with outsider lyrics that are just tantalisingly out of reach. But far from being too ephemeral, Beaches sound is sleek, powerful and impenetrable, this peerless tune is soaked in attitude it gives you I’d imagine a similar sensation of abandon, escape and self-determination as hurtling out to the edge of the city in a convertible with the roof down. These girls knock compatriots King Gizzard out of the ball park with their marriage of classic influences, girl gang spirit, and infectious sound. And it’s utterly thrilling.

The third eye visuals of the accompanying video also hark back to the era of the Nuggets compilation “Arrow“, filmed by Beaches’ own Antonia Sellbach. It features footage from abstract animated videos Antonia made as a project in art school, paired with brief glimpses of the band. “We appear on the margins as shadows and silhouettes, always secondary to the onslaught of shape, colour, and forms in flux,” says Antonia.
A super-group of sorts, Beaches comprise several musicians who had been playing in different bands for years, as well as those who had never been in bands before. They have three guitarists creating a powerful wall of sound, with Ali McCann and Alison Bolger (Panel Of Judges, Sleepy Township, etc.) on rhythm guitar, and Love of Diagrams’ Antonia Sellbach on lead guitar. The rhythm section is made up of Gill Tucker on bass (who plays with Scott and Charlene’s Wedding) and Karla Way on drums.

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GIITTV: Ron Pope – Work (Brooklyn Basement Records)

To paraphrase Mario Balotelli, “Why is it always me?”

Why am I the one who gets handed albums which I find unfeasibly difficult to review given my wholesale ignorance of the genre in question? Or is our Albums Editor a genius, placing writers out of their comfort zones in order to elicit objectivity and a fresh perspective rather than merely pandering to an artist? (Note: our Albums Editor is not a genius).

Simply entitled Work, this is the 13th release by Ron Pope in a decade which indicates one of two things. Either, he has an awful lot to say for himself or there is very little quality control going on within his circle of associates. I have been quick to champion the cause of folk/country musicians on account of the fact the world is already choc full of ’em and rarely, if ever, do they speak to me. I grew up in the countryside and if someone penned a concept album around the health benefits of fresh root vegetables then I might be willing to take a punt but 60 seconds into Work and I already know we’re not going to stray into new territory. So, instead of a paint-by-numbers assessment, here is my open letter to Mr Ron Pope Esq.

Dear Ron,

You don’t know me and I don’t know you, well actually I kinda do know you as I’ve listened to all ten tracks on Work and you don’t appear to be very happy do you? Christ knows why, you have clearly tapped into that Country/Americana genre perfectly, and with over a billion Spotify and YouTube streams I reckon you may have a bob or two secreted away under the mattress by now.

So why don’t you try something radical and shake the whole genre up? Sure we all enjoy a bar room hoedown once in a while and ‘Bad For Your Health’ is a great wakener for young farmers the world over although ‘Let’s Get Stoned’ is a little route one don’t you think? Personally, if that’s all you have to say to the world then perhaps you should be stoned…and I’m not talking about the herbal sense.

Seriously Ron, you spend over four minutes lamenting “Someday we’re all gonna die/God willing, today ain’t the day” and I wonder how long you stroked that fabulously bushy beard of yours for before settling on that morbid pronouncement. Take your title track as a further example, “I wanted to work to live/ no not just live to work” and by now I am praying for you to spend a drunken night out with Sleaford Mods in the benign hope they may change your rather redundant vocabulary forever. I appreciate people love you, but then the North Koreans probably idolize Kim Jong-un, so why not push back the boundaries of your chosen genre, be daring, challenge convention and write the occasional ditty about root vegetables and the social impact of the Colorado beetle.

One website, whilst reviewing the album, posed the question “Is Work perfect?” to which the response from me is “Have you been mistakenly using Pritt Stick rather than Vicks Sinex cos if this is your idea of perfection then the world must be a very simple place for you”.

So thank you Mr Pope, thank you for taking the trouble to wheel out yet another piece of Americana which says nothing to anyone who wasn’t born within a stones-throw of a pedal steel guitar. People will claim to connect with you, that you offer a vision of a world they will never inhabit or to find an excuse to delve back into their Kenny Rogers collection. That’s fine, it’s their prerogative, just as mine is to shine a searchlight on those who are doing little to advance the cause of popular music. I admire your independence, your work ethic and your beard but I am no longer prepared to act as an apologist for those who could try harder and achieve more.

Kind regards

Dean Mason

Work is out now on Brooklyn Basement Records

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Digital Inspiration Technology Blog Get Email Alerts When New Employees Join a Company

Most people use LinkedIn to get email alerts for new job postings that match their interests but did you know that LinkedIn can also help track new hires made by a company? You can easily keep an eye on new employees joining your own company or a competitor.

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Also see: The Best Email Alerts Services

How to Set People Search Alerts on LinkedIn

Similar to job alerts, you can set up people alerts in LinkedIn and they will send you an email when new employees join the tracked company. You can track new hires by the parent company (e.g., Amazon) or limit your employee searches to a regional office of that company (e.g., Amazon India or Amazon’s Bangalore office).

To get started, open the LinkedIn website, click the search box, type the name of the parent company and choose the “people search” option from the autocomplete list (see screenshot above).

On the search results page, expand the Locations section and check the regions that you would like to track. You can select the country name, city,  geographic region or even make multiple selections.

Next click the “Create Search Alert” button and LinkedIn will send you a weekly email listing all the profiles that have joined the specified company in that week.

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The service obviously depends on the employee joining the company and he would have to update their existing profile for LinkedIn to know that they have made the move.