GIITTV: Video Of The Week #30: Monkoora – Bocx

Monkoora aka Scottish artist Julie Fern Crawford just released her awesome new EP ‘Nuclear BB’ last week, and it’s rammed full of brightly imaginative playful off the wall femme-tronica, that’s at times brutal, at times funny, at others skewed attitude is bold, dynamic and artistically exciting. Lyrically exploring sexual politics and identity, existentialist philosophy and desire, standout track ‘Bocx’ is a miniature personal diatribe on a jumbled up, unjust, materialistic, ‘fucked up world’.

Monkoora gleefully mashes together elements of psychedelia, hip-hop, chiptune and rave, she blends rusty saws, autoharps, whistles and detuned ukuleles with crisp, lucid beats and multi-layered vocal harmonies distorted vocoder hooks. It’s the sound of breaking conventions of pop down and rebuilding it with your bare hands, it’s the sound of wanting progress but watching it take ‘fucking ages’, chewing up and spitting out the strictures and expectations of roles and spitting them out. We have the premiere of the video, watch it above.

2016 was a big year – she composed the music for four short ‘Survivor’ films for the charity Rape Crisis, produced a short video for BBC The Social, and was nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ at the 2016 Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs). Her debut show at Glasgow’s Old Hairdressers was accompanied by art from I’ll Be Your Mirror and Kris Kesiak, and since then, she has supported Let’s Eat Grandma, Shield Patterns, DJ Rebecca Vasmant, and played at the Havana Glasgow Film Festival.


3rd June – Hidden Door festival
7th June – Hug and Pint (with Kite Base – Ayse Hassan from Savages’ new side project, tbc)
12th August – Clamjamfry festival

More TBA

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GIITTV: Honeyblood – The Crescent, York, 24/04/2017

Honeyblood have just stolen a march on Jeremy Corbyn. No sooner had the Labour leader announced that were his party to win the next general election they would introduce four new bank holidays, the Scots duo have gone and reconstructed the entire working week. Monday is now officially the new weekend.

It is suddenly Saturday night all over again in The Crescent as the community venue is transformed into one big non-stop party; it is hot, very sticky, and the place has become one sweltering mass of cheerful humanity. And it is all down to Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers.

Since last seeing Honeyblood almost two years ago now, Tweeddale and Myers have clearly placed their collective foot firmly on the creative and dynamic gas for they are barely recognisable from the unit who appeared in that tent at Deer Shed Festival.  In the interim, they may well have released their second album, Babes Never Die – where they jettisoned the low-fi template of its self-titled predecessor for a much tougher, more independent spirit – but it is the huge spurt in their individual and joint belief where the changes are surely felt most.

Launching straight into the friendship-gone-bad karma of ‘Justine, Misery Queen’ and arriving some 13 songs later at the rattling valedictory salute of ‘Killer Bangs’, Honeyblood career through the complexities of human relationships with a smiling defiance smeared across their face and an undeniable strength in their heart.  

We get the new record in its entirety. You really don’t want to get far too close to ‘Ready For The Magic’ for fear of catching its highly contagious strain of pop-punk fever. And whilst the dreamy somnambulism of ‘Walking At Midnight’ does offer a chance to draw breath, the rest of this powerful set is peppered with fierce, full-blooded, foot-to-the-floor belters, fit-to-bursting at their melodic little seams. And, hell, if all of that isn’t quite enough, just to add to the celebratory party atmosphere we even get the chance to wish Cat’s cousin Julia a communal ‘Happy Birthday’.

Photos: Simon Godley

More photos from Honeyblood at The Crescent in York can be found right HERE

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GIITTV: Join the #SaveWomanbyStreet march this Saturday in Cardiff!

This Saturday, organisers of the Save Womanby Street campaign are encouraging people to take to the streets to preserve the beating heart of the Welsh capital’s music scene. Following news of the closure of Four Bars at the start of the year, the threat to the Full Moon club and other businesses that come from a proposed Wetherspoons hotel and proposed adjacent potential property developments to Clwb Ifor Bach (including other factors such as gentrification and austerity that make the environment tough for live venues) a petition was started that’s reached around 8,000 signatures and the support of the likes of Frank Turner and Gruff Rhys.

Since then a positive campaign has been waged by the folks behind Save Womanby Street mobilising, venues, music fans, promoters and musicians around a very worthy cause of preserving the music quarter of Cardiff. They have been encouraging concerned residents to send letters to their councilors and now they seek to gather representatives from all political parties, urging them to make commitments to enshrine the streets value in the cities music offering and in the long term looking for a wider strategy for music culture in Cardiff and Wales. Speaking as a music fan, writer and promoter the existence of these venues and businesses is crucial to the viability of a vibrant and diverse music scene and nightlife in this city, and vital to musicians who are just starting out.So I personally urge you to join in support of the march if you can this Saturday!

Meeting on Womanby Street from 4pm and begin the march at 5pm. There will be gigs, there will be events, they will celebrate the street across the weekend.

Save Womanby Street organisers are urging you to join them to add weight to the cause this weekend “On Saturday 29th April, we will be marching on Cardiff City Hall to demand protections for our live music venues. Womanby Street is the beating heart of live music in south Wales. If this street doesn’t exist, your next favourite band wouldn’t either.

We ask all Cardiff venues, bands, music lovers to join us on Saturday to march in solidarity and celebrate this wonderful place. Womanby Street is under attack, we ask for you all to step up and join us.”

For more information go here:

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The Oldspeak Journal Biologist: “We’re losing them right now, we’re losing them really quickly, much more quickly than I think any of us ever could have imagined.”- Coral Reefs Rapidly Dying Worldwide


Fish swim around bleached coral in the Great Barrier Reef in a photo taken on November 29, 2012. Rising oceanic acidity due to accelerated climate change has been killing the Reef and its inhabitants. (Photo: Robert Linsdell)

Oldspeak: “Species, ecosystems, glaciers, sea ice and humans themselves continue to absorb and pay for this human experiment of industrialization gone horribly awry. Many are paying with their very existence…Thanks to ACD, Earth has lost approximately half of all its coral reefs in just the last three decades. A quarter of all marine species depend on reefs. Reefs provide the sole source of protein for more than one billion people, and they are now vanishing before our eyes.”-Dahr Jamail

“Dahr Jamail is back with another devastating climate dispatch. Bearing witness to horrific realities here and now, and those to come. Climactic changes in general are happening decades faster than expected and with increasing severity around the globe. As Glaciologist Jeffrey Kargel obeserved; In general, drastically changing conditions do not help civilisation, which thrives on stability.” Civilization also depends on other species and rich biodiversity for survival, biodiversity that is rapidly being lost. Scientists have observed “Human survival, for urban and rural communities, depends on other life on Earth, climate change is impelling a universal redistribution of life on Earth.” Vast, ancient incubators of  most of the world’s biodiversity, oceans & forests, are dying as I type. As these and other essential life-support systems continue to destabilize & collapse while irreplaceable resources like water and arable land are depleted, human survival & that of much of life on Earth becomes that much less likely. Earth’s 6th mass extinction proceeds apace. We are not immune. Read it and weep.” -OSJ

By Dahr Jamail @ Truthout:

I’ve been writing these climate dispatches every month for over three years, and each successive dispatch becomes more difficult to write than the last, as the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) become increasingly severe.

Species, ecosystems, glaciers, sea ice and humans themselves continue to absorb and pay for this human experiment of industrialization gone horribly awry. Many are paying with their very existence.

Two months ago, I spent some time researching and writing in Australia. I visited the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), where I reveled in the majesty of intact towering coral structures flourishing with marine life. Yet I was also devastated during this visit — again and again, I happened upon bleached out and silently dead areas of barren coral wasteland, which not long ago teemed with living beings. Roughly 20 percent of the coral on the outer reef were already bleached, and on their way towards death.

While snorkeling on the reef during the last afternoon I was there, the signal from the boat to return was given. It was late afternoon, and time to head back to land. I took several long deep breaths, supersaturated my lungs with sea air, and dove down 30 feet to the coral. I swam alongside mostly intact coral structures in all their brilliant colors, teeming with fish. Having interviewed and snorkeled with GBR experts all day, I was preparing to break the story of this year’s GBR bleaching event. I knew the reef was likely on its way out of existence, stunning as that may seem, given that the GBR is the single largest coral ecosystem on the planet, spanning 1,400 miles and easily visible from space. Coral reefs can rebuild from bleaching events, but typically need 10-15 years between events in order to recover. This was the second mass bleaching event in the last two years, and there was no sign of a let up.

I swam with the coral, taking the scene into my soul, staying down until my lungs burned for air. I swam longer, holding my hands out towards the coral, feeling it, knowing this was most likely to be my farewell to the brilliant corals of the dying Great Barrier Reef.

Swimming up to the surface a deep gasp refilled my lungs. I peeled off my mask and wiped my tears, then began my swim back to the boat.

Several weeks later Eyewitness News in Australia reported on scientists giving the GBR a “terminal prognosis” unless ACD is slowed dramatically. By April, scientists were in shock, realizing that two-thirds of the entire reef was now bleached out. Some of them declared the GBR had reached a “terminal stage,” describing the situation as “unprecedented.”

Thanks to ACD, Earth has lost approximately half of all its coral reefs in just the last three decades. A quarter of all marine species depend on reefs. Reefs provide the sole source of protein for more than one billion people, and they are now vanishing before our eyes.

Scientists are now speculating that an era of terminal global coral bleaching might have already arrived, decades earlier than previously expected. The recent bleaching events are so severe, there is no analog in the thousands of years of ancient coral cores scientists use to study past bleaching events.

“This isn’t something that’s going to happen 100 years from now. We’re losing them right now,” marine biologist Julia Baum of Canada’s University of Victoria told the AP. “We’re losing them really quickly, much more quickly than I think any of us ever could have imagined.”

Meanwhile, the World Meteorological Organization released its annual State of Global Climate report, stating that record-breaking ACD impacts have pushed the planet into “uncharted territory.”

“Earth is a planet in upheaval due to human-caused changes in the atmosphere,” glaciologist Jeffrey Kargel told The Guardian of the report. “In general, drastically changing conditions do not help civilisation, which thrives on stability.”

As the reefs are dying, ice is rapidly melting away in the globe’s northernmost regions. Arctic sea ice has set a low record for the third year in a row, and March data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center showed that that month was the sixth in a row of near-record or record-low sea ice extents.

To add a startling layer of context for all of this, a report titled “Future climate forcing potentially without precedent in the last 420 million years” was published in the journal Nature Communications. The study found that if fossil-fuel use continues unchecked, the atmosphere could revert “to values of CO2 not seen since the early Eocene (50 million years ago)” by the middle of the 21st century.

Dana Royer, a paleoclimate researcher and coauthor of the study, told Climate Central, “The early Eocene was much warmer than today: global mean surface temperature was at least 10°C (18°F) warmer than today. There was little-to-no permanent ice. Palms and crocodiles inhabited the Canadian Arctic.”


The rapidly changing climate is already taking a palpable toll on human health. In February, scientists warned that increasingly severe droughts across the US over the next three decades may double the size of epidemics of the West Nile Virus. “We thought epidemics would coincide with the most ideal temperatures for (virus) transmission,” Marm Kilpatrick, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said in a statement released to the media.

“Instead, we found that the severity of drought was far more important nationally.”

study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has warned that ACD will damage the US’s ability to maintain agricultural productivity, as rising temperatures and increasing droughts that plague areas where US food is grown are only going to increase. The study has warned that, without changes, US agricultural productivity will, by 2050, fall back to 1980 levels (for a population that was 114 million less than today’s).

Another recent study showed, distressingly, that as the planet warms, some mammals might actually shrink in size. The study provided evidence that the amount those mammals shrink is directly related to how warm the planet becomes.

In the Arctic, signs of major shifting are afoot. Botanists studying the area have warned that ACD has taken root within the plants on which many Indigenous communities depend. Botanists, along with Indigenous peoples in Nunavik, have noted that Labrador tea, which they rely upon to treat ailments like skin problems, coughs and colds, is far weaker now than it used to be, hence, far less medicinal.

Another man pointed out that, “Willows used to be stubby and sort of short, like knee high. They can now be eight feet tall, and are growing like wildfires for the last 10 to 15 years, maybe longer.” He also noted that ponds are drying up, along with the ducks who used to use them. Instead, he said, pelicans and snakes are appearing. “Before, they never existed here,” he said. Native people living in the Arctic are also noting that tree rings are wider, because the growing season is now longer.

Meanwhile, down in Australia, more than 1,000 kilometers of mangrove forests “died of thirst” during a single month from extreme conditions, including record high temperatures, driven largely by ACD.

Speaking of forests in trouble, scientists have warned that the Amazon jungle is facing a possible death spiral due to the deadly trifecta of industry, agriculture and ACD impacts.

A recent study, titled “Biodiversity redistribution under climate change: Impacts on ecosystems and human well-being,” has shown that ACD is literally reshuffling the areas and ranges of plants and animals around the planet, with profound consequences for humanity. “Human survival, for urban and rural communities, depends on other life on Earth,” the scientists wrote in their study that was published in the journal Science. “Climate change is impelling a universal redistribution of life on Earth.”

Positive feedback loops are one of the most important things to understand about abrupt ACD. The most well-known example of one of these is the melting Arctic sea ice. Intact sea ice reflects most solar heating back into space. As the ice melts, more of the ocean absorbs that heat, which melts more of the ice, which causes more heating, and on it goes.

In Canada, a recent scientific study has unearthed another climate feedback loop — this one coming in the form of vast expanses of farmland being exposed by melting snow and ice over longer amounts of time that then make a larger contribution to greenhouse gases and ACD. According to the study, the thawing of previously frozen cropland is burping nitrous oxide into the atmosphere at rates much greater than previously thought, which means that agriculture’s role in generating greenhouse gases has been greatly underestimated.

On a similar note, recent research has shown that ACD could thaw far more permafrost than was previously expected. The study showed that more than 40 percent of Earth’s frozen tundra could unfreeze if global temperatures continue trending upward.


This month, the signs of how rapidly ACD is progressing in the watery realms are glaring and painful.

A report published in March shows that, according to the UN, the world is facing the widest and deepest humanitarian crisis since the end of WWII, as 20 million people face starvation and famine in Somalia, Nigeria, Yemen and South Sudan, with no end in sight.

Underscoring this crisis, another report from this spring has provided evidence that the Middle East and North Africa risk becoming uninhabitable within a few decades, due to lack of accessible fresh water, which has already fallen by two-thirds over the last 40 years.

The 22 countries impacted by this growing water crisis are home to nearly 400 million people, who are also impacted by lack of adequate water for agriculture and food production for their populations that are continuing to grow rapidly.

According to the report, per capita availability of fresh water across this region is already 10 times less than that of the world average, and ACD-driven higher temperatures may shorten growing seasons across the region by 18 days. At current trends, this would reduce agricultural yields another 27 percent — meaning a decrease of 55 percent by 2100, despite rising populations.

Meanwhile, conditions in the ocean are looking increasingly grim.

An algae bloom the size of Mexico in the Arabian Sea reminded people there of a 2008 bloom that killed 50 tons of fish that were starved of oxygen. The fish that inhabit the Gulf of Arabia sustain 120 million people.

As mentioned in the beginning of the dispatch, the Great Barrier Reef is struggling to survive amidst yet another major coral bleaching event. “We didn’t expect to see this level of destruction to the Great Barrier Reef for another 30 years,” Terry Hughes, director of an Australian government-funded center for coral reef studies at James Cook University told the New York Times. “In the north, I saw hundreds of reefs — literally two-thirds of the reefs were dying and are now dead.”

Even the once-pristine Maldives are seeing their coral succumbing to mass bleaching.

And there are no signs of this disturbing trend slowing down. A study published in March revealed that Earth’s oceans are now warming 13 percent faster than they were in 1990, and the rate is accelerating. Another report showed that the rate of oceanic warming has nearly doubled over two decades, and the heat being added to them is reaching into even deeper waters.

Earlier this month, a report revealed that approximately one-third of the Arctic Ocean is, in an astonishingly rapid transition, becoming more like the Atlantic Ocean as warm waters streaming into the Arctic are altering both its productivity and chemistry.

Yet another issue besetting the Arctic due to runaway ACD is ocean acidification, according to another recently published study on the subject. It’s quite simple actually: As increasing amounts of sea ice melt, an increasing amount of ocean is exposed to the CO2-loaded atmosphere. More CO2 is therefore absorbed into the once-pristine waters, thus increasing their acidification, with dire consequences to the biome.

NOAA reported in February that sea ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic had shrunk to record lows, and it became clear that ACD was on pace to wipe out an Ice Age remnant, Canada’s Laurentide Ice Sheet. It is worth noting that this has not happened in 2.6 million years.

In early April more than 400 icebergs drifted into North Atlantic shipping lanes, an unusually large swarm for that time of year. These kinds of numbers are usually not seen until late May, and the average number of icebergs for the time of year this occurred is around 80. The massive flotilla of icebergs was released thanks to the melting of the Jakobshavn, the largest glacier in Greenland. Scientists reported recently that Jakobshavn is now even more vulnerable to ice losses than previously believed.

Scientists also pointed out that the dramatic melting of the Arctic sea ice is already affecting weather patterns around the world by generating more extreme weather events.


In an astonishingly short period of time, Peru has gone from experiencing record wildfires to record flooding. “We’ve rarely seen this kind of rapid and quick change in climatic conditions,” Peru’s Civil Defense Institute member Juber Ruiz told The Guardian.

The wildfires burned furiously from September through November, as the Peruvian Amazon experienced its driest period in two decades, and more than 100,000 acres of rainforest and farm land burned. Then, in January, the droughts gave way to record-setting rains, which killed dozens and destroyed more than 12,000 homes as more than 175 districts around the country had to declare a state of emergency.

In March, in the US, a wildfire near Boulder, Colorado signaled an early kick-off to wildfire season when it forced the evacuation of 1,000 people.

At the time of this writing, wildfires across the US were already off to a furious start, with more than 2 million acres having burned. That number of acres burned is approximately 10 times the average for the time of year it was tabulated, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.


recently published study, led by climate scientist Michal Mann, has shown that the ACD-fueled jet stream is linked to extreme weather events like massive floods and intense heatwaves. Jet streams are fast-flowing major air currents in the atmosphere that have a major impact on climate and weather patterns. The study showed that greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere is slowing down planetary atmospheric waves, resulting in regional summer climate extremes, examples of which include the deadly 2003 European heat wave, extensive wildfires across Siberia in 2010, and record-breaking flooding in Pakistan in 2010.

Looking at the Canadian north, another recent study has revealed a massive thawing area of permafrost covering 52,000 square miles (an area the size of Alabama), where expansive areas of permafrost are literally disintegrating before the eyes of the scientists studying them. As they disintegrate, they are releasing massive amounts of stored carbon into the atmosphere. The study, carried out by researchers with the Northwest Territories Geological Survey found that the permafrost collapse is intensifying and causing landslides into rivers and lakes that can eventually lead to the choking off of life far downstream. Similarly expansive Arctic landscape changes are already evident across huge areas of Alaska, Siberia and Scandinavia, and scientists already estimate that there is twice as much carbon in the world’s permafrost as there is already in the atmosphere.

Another major study released recently has predicted that ACD will bring air temperatures to Vancouver, Canada similar to — and even exceeding — those in San Diego, California, “in the coming decades.” The study predicts that daytime temperatures in metro-Vancouver will increase 6C by the 2080s, and the city will have to transform itself with requisite air conditioning, melted ski slopes and infrastructure to deal with new sewage problems.

Melting permafrost has created a formation in the Siberian Arctic known as the “doorway to hell,” a giant half-mile-long and 282-foot-deep crater that continues to grow in area and depth. Scientists, worried about what this means for the future of permafrost across the Arctic, are studying the crater, which continues to grow with each successive year and release more and more stored carbon as it does.

Very early spring in the US saw heat spreading across Colorado and other locations, with that phenomenon contributing to increased wildfire risk. The untimely heat extended from the Central US to the Desert Southwest. There, cities like Phoenix experienced summer-like heat long before they used to reach those temperature levels.

Other temperature anomalies continued: The science news service reported that even without an El Niño warming ocean waters this year, Earth warmed to its second hottest temperature ever during February, second only to — you guessed it — last year. Earth also experienced its second hottest winter in the history of record keeping. It is worth noting that in the past, Earth did not approach record warm temperatures without an active El Niño — but this year it did just that, and on every single continent.

Thus far, 2017 is in the running to be one of the hottest years on record — following three consecutive years of record-breaking temperatures — due to the highest volume of heat-trapping gases filling Earth’s atmosphere in all of the past 4 to 15 million years, coupled with a dramatic warming of Pacific Ocean surface waters. These forces, and this warming, are obviously continuing into 2017.

How will the US government respond to these clear and terrifying trends?

Denial and Reality

As usual in the Trump era of US politics, there is no shortage of news on the ACD-denial front.

In March, during this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), multiple seminars attempted to make the case that more CO2 in the atmosphere is actually a good thing. One of the presenters told a reporter from Breitbart, “The Earth is in a far better place today” because of increased CO2 levels.

Meanwhile, Trump has been active in reversing Obama’s ACD policy legacy, meager as that was to begin with. Trump called Obama’s ACD policies “stupid,” and has gone on to scrap funding for ACD research, slash the EPA’s budget by 31 percent, appoint an oil and gas man (Scott Pruitt) as the head of that embattled agency, promote coal, and reverse Obama’s plan to close heavily polluting power plants.

Trump’s anti-ACD-mitigation efforts are on track to ensure the US misses its (non-binding) Paris Climate Agreement target of emissions reductions, with one analyst pegging the target shortfall at more than one billion metric tons of CO2.

The corporate media has consistently maintained complicity in active ACD denial. According to a study by Media Matters, the major networks spent a grand total of 50 minutes on ACD coverage during the entirety of 2016. That pathetic amount was a 66 percent drop in coverage from 2015.

Meanwhile, geoengineering advocates are entering the Trump administration, and bringing with them their plans to spray sun-reflecting chemicals into the atmosphere. Advocates of geoengineering argue for planetary-scale manipulations of Earth systems in order to cool the Earth. Most scientists oppose the philosophy and practice of geoengineering, given the high likelihood of unintended consequences that will ultimately only intensify the impacts of ACD.

Back in the real world, in an example of how topsy-turvy things have become, 17 Republican lawmakers have backed a resolution urging action on ACD, and Trump’s Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis has cited ACD as a national security challenge.

To close out this month’s dispatch on a sobering note, consider the results of a recent study published in Nature Geoscience: For the second year in a row, CO2 in the atmosphere — the primary driver of ACD — is now rising at the fastest rate ever recorded.




via The Oldspeak Journal

GIITTV: Gallops – Bronze Mystic [Blood & Biscuits]

Just a year after the release of their debut album Yours Sincerely Dr Hardcore in 2012, Wrexham noiseniks Gallops split up. Three years later, almost to the day, they decided that the band still had more to do, and announced their return. Their time away has not been waster. Where Dr Hardcore was brittle and spiky and in debt to math rock experimentalism, Bronze Mystic feels weightier, more sure-footed and muscular.

Sonically the main shift has been from an angular, more guitar-focused sound to something with more of an electronic sheen. Mark Huckridge from the band puts some of this down to a house move. Apparently he now lives next to a car park where the “throbbing sub-bass of boy racers has helped inform the rhythmic ideas for the record”. This much is apparent from the start: ‘Shakma’ has real swagger throbbing away behind the plucked guitar and flickering electronics. The relative isolation of Wrexham from the bigger music scenes of the north means they’ve been free to experiment without much of an outside influence. This has led to the retro-futuristic sci fi and video game sounds of the likes of ‘Pale Force’ and ‘Graverobber’ giving the band more of an individual feel. Where their previous record felt like it fitted somewhat with a lot of instrumental, math rock bands, Bronze Mystic stands Gallops in a much more unique position. The album has more to do with Battles‘ more interesting moments than Foals‘ early work, whereas previously it felt like they were starting from the latter and straining for the former.

It’s an exciting development, and where most bands would struggle to deliver on such praise, Gallops exceed expectations. The album is packed with energy and ideas, the slow build of ‘Meta’ a highlight of an album full of them. Placid moments of Blade Runner-style soundscapes are intercut with jagged sparks of synth and thumping bass. There’s a lot to admire here, but just as importantly, a lot that you can dance to as well. And live they can deliver in spades, so don’t miss them. You’ll be hearing a lot more from Gallops if their newfound enthusiasm is anything to go on.


Bronze Mystic is released on 21 April on Blood & Biscuits.

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Owen Jones: Labour has a real Brexit alternative. Now it must get the message to voters | Owen Jones

The party will ensure that workers, consumers and the environment are protected. There will be no blank cheque for a reckless Tory Brexit

Labour will rip up Theresa May’s Brexit plan but respect the referendum result. The benefits of the single market and the customs union will be on the table. EU nationals will be protected from day one. Human beings won’t be bargaining chips. The great repeal bill will be scrapped; Labour will introduce a EU rights and protections bill instead. All workers’, consumers’ and environmental rights will be protected. Much of the country craves unity: Labour will offer it. A “Brexit that brings people together,” not a “reckless Tory Brexit”. MPs will get a final say. If they reject the deal, Labour will return to the negotiating table.

These are Labour’s key lines on Brexit, unveiled today by Keir Starmer. They now have to be repeated ad infinitum: preferably in a pithier, snappier form than above. What the Tories get – particularly under the ruthlessly effective Lynton Crosby – is message discipline. If you want a message to cut through, you have to repeat it, over and over and over and over again, until your opponents are pleading with you to shut up. If you don’t define yourself, you’ll be defined by your opposition. We all know Tory lines off by heart – clearing up Labour’s mess, long-term economic plan, that kind of thing – as do voters, who often repeat them verbatim on the doorstep. The Tories clearly define both themselves and their opposition.

Continue reading…

GIITTV: EXCLUSIVE: Sisteray ‘Queen’s English’ Video Premiere

‘Queen’s English’ is taken from ’15 Minutes’, the new recording project from Londoners Sisteray. A brutish anti-brexit guitar song, with an urgent guitar pop sound that hints at the likes of the Smiths and the Jam: at once retro and yet fresh with their attitude. Both the song and video sum up the frustration and anger at a system that doffs its cap to the idiots in charge, we have the premiere below.

The band’s new recording project entitled ’15 Minutes’ is out now on Vallace records, takes its inspiration from the famous Andy Warhol quote, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”. Produced and mixed by Rory Attwell (Test Icicles, The Vaccines, Palma Violets) at Lightship 95, East London, at exactly ‘15 minutes’ of music over 5 songs.

Guitarist Connolly adds, ‘Now more than ever, people seem to be given 15 minutes and 15 minutes only. It’s not an album and it’s not a single. It’s simply a statement about the times we are living in.’

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GIITTV: OPINION: Styles over Substance

Boy bands and girl groups have been splitting up almost as long as boy bands and girl groups have been around. As the dust settles, when the fans’ weeping and gnashing of teeth subside, the popularity and commercial success of a now splintered band ensures a ready-made audience (or market – to be more mercenary about it) for any individual member that wishes to continue making music.

We know that great artists can and have come from pop bands. Michael Jackson, George Michael and Beyoncé all started their careers in bands. No one would dispute their contribution to modern music. Even if someone doesn’t enjoy acclaim straight away, critical attitudes can change given time. When Justin Timberlake first started releasing music as a solo artist universal acclaim didn’t just fall into his lap. Once presented with knowledge that his creative partnership with Timbaland was so collaborative, hats were doffed in Timberlake’s direction.

That said, creative input is not a necessary factor when judging the work of a girl or boy band. A succession of assured and varied pop singles can do wonders for critical acclaim – just ask Girls Aloud or Sugababes (versions 2 and 3, mostly). Good will is extended to former members of these groups, should any more of them emerge with solo projects. One Direction, while having had a similar birth to Girls Aloud, have never been afforded the same recognition. But being huge, especially in America, means that music press and pop commentators are eager to find out what they would do next.

Zayn Malik jumped ship before the split happened and was first out of the traps with Pillowtalk – a thoroughly modern r’n’b song, with all the detail and high production standards of a Drake or The Weeknd single. After that, Niall Horan brought out the acoustic This Town  in the slipstream of Ed Sheeran. Louis Tomlinson was next, providing vocals for a Steve Aoki club tune. So far, so unremarkable.

Two weeks ago Harry Styles released his debut single – Sign of the Times. Details emerged in March that his forthcoming album would include nods to David Bowie and Queen. While that has yet to be heard, all we have to judge him on is two songs – the single and the bluesy, country-tinged Ever Since New York, which he performed on Saturday Night Live at the weekend.

With six credited writers and two producers it’s difficult to give Styles the kudos (if any is on offer) for Sign of the Times. While some of us know that great things can come from pop stars working with great writers, holders of more militant anti-pop sentiment are only too happy to point out that this is music created by committee and that anyone who likes it is falling for marketing. These charges are all true. This is a product manufactured to do a job and it does that job. Whereas most music is contrived, Sign of the Times feels a touch calculated. Two of the six credited writers also turn their hand to producing and were drafted in to engineer the song to exact specifications. These men – Jeff Bhasker and Tyler Johnson – have worked with a dazzling array of clients; Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Drake, Leona Lewis, Alicia Keys, Robin Thicke, Mary J Blige, Lana Del Rey, Pink, Taylor Swift, Dido, One Republic and John Legend. Jeff Bhasker has five Grammys sitting on his mantelpiece.

Given those artists as markers for the kind of song that Styles might release, it’s refreshing to note that it doesn’t very much sound like one might expect. If you’ve not heard it, it’s well over 5 minutes long, begins for all the world like Stereophonics attempting an Embrace piano ballad but happily, it builds from there to a stout-hearted rock ballad that has had people citing Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Oasis and Meatloaf. Most interestingly it has a few magnificent touches that prevent it from plodding the whole way through. It’s not something a One Direction fan would expect. But defying expectations is one of this song’s strengths. It tries hard to be epic and almost achieves that.

On the downside, lyrically it is poor. It spans the range from trite to peculiar. We’re supposed to be comforted by lines like “Everything’ll be all right“, “We don’t talk enough“, “We gotta get away from here” and other useless advice. The falsetto sections seem strangely fixated by bullets. It’s here that the writers really should have made more effort. Pair this with all the touchstones of ‘70s rock – massed choirs, strings, double-tracked vocals, pre-chorus drum fills – and all indications are that Sign of the Times is nothing more than a well studied pastiche. It does build rather well and depending on how generous you are, it does a reasonable job displaying some dynamism in the top line vocal.

But Sign of the Times hasn’t been released in a vacuum. The timing of this release creates a context within which it can be assessed. The charts of 2017 have been deluged with Ed Sheeran songs and tropical house tracks. If you don’t know what that is – it’s a sort of chill out genre with syncopated and exotic percussion, Balearic guitar, and (eugh) pan-pipe. Even some of Sheeran’s recent songs have been infected by that sound. The Top 40 has not been this homogenous since the 1950s – so much so that when Steps re-emerged with their disco-tastic Scared of the Dark in March it was greeted with joy in many quarters. Sign of the Times has been attracting praise purely because it doesn’t sound like everything else around at the moment.

There’s also been a backlash against Styles. Early reports of his immanent debut contained references to David Bowie. An emotive proposition given that Bowie’s status has almost now been elevated to god-like since his passing, last year. There may be vague stylistic similarities but no one is seriously thinking that this guy could follow in Bowie’s footsteps. For comparison, someone like Lady Gaga was much closer to being the new David Bowie for about two years at the turn of the decade. And that suggestion didn’t happen after just one song. In essence, and to be generous almost to the point of apologetic, Harry Styles hasn’t paid his dues yet.

On top of that, it can feel pretty galling to any emerging or struggling artist to see the likes of Styles being handed a successful solo career on a plate. He didn’t have to write his own song, he’s had oceans of coverage, a spot on Saturday Night Live and the controversial comparison to Mr Bowie to attract listeners who would not normally be interested in music from a one-time boy band member. Then again, for well over 50 years careers, coverage and stardom have landed at the feet of a multitude of individuals and bands that may not have necessarily worked for it. You can either take this as part of the reality of the music industry or continue to bemoan that fact and in the process become an old grouch. Choosing the first option allows you to be unencumbered by the idea of authenticity and perhaps even – shock horror – enjoy some of pop music’s riches.

In one sense, Harry could be framed as the next step in the approximation process that went The Beatles – Oasis – Embrace; a spot that has been occupied by Robbie Williams at various times over the last two decades but never quite had this much classicism piled on top. Sign of the Times is a sort-of 7th generation photocopy of Hey Jude; a tick box exercise for every aspect of an epic rock ballad.

He’s got lucky, though. Our standards have dropped and the bar has been set low. Right now, ears are ready for it more than they have been in a long time. He’s taking advantage of that and it’s hard not hope for a new, interesting, male pop star when we’ve had precious few in recent years. Harry Styles might just have what it takes.

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