Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

By Ethan.

Having listened to Ed Sheeran’s stratospherically popular ‘Multiply’, I felt disappointed by the lack of subtlety and depth in his lyrics. I was hoping that, perhaps, its success has been down to his song-writing skills. It hasn’t. Instead, its fame is accredited to the guitar playing which takes funkiness to a new, unbearable level. Or it’s the cringe-worthy lyrics: “See the flames inside my eyes / It burns so bright I wanna feel your love”, Ed sings, as my toes curl and my teeth clench. It was at that moment that Neutral Milk Hotel walked in; lead singer Jeff Mangum’s peculiar, offensive orchestration reeled me in before I was looking further into the strange, lyrically adventurous and engaging world of ‘In The Aeroplane Over The Sea’.

The album’s opening track, King of Carrot Flowers Part 1, is intricately intertwined into Part 2, and that sublimely escalates into Part 3. As the opener settles down with chords being held on the organ, it ends and they are carried through to the second part. Following this, the layering of the track builds up thrillingly into part three; the brass family enters (trombone and flugelhorn feature), and it is at that point that my musical knowledge begins to let me down – is it the singing saw that enters? The euphonium? It’s obscure instruments like these that make it such a fun piece of music, it’s where the imagination runs wild.

The image below was on the reverse of the album’s insert in the copy of the vinyl record that I own. There isn’t an explanation as to what it is – it is simply there. I don’t want to delve into it excessively, but I certainly feel that it bears significance in the context of the album. The marching band that it depicts is a reflection of the wild and scintillating music that we hear, as they play their instruments, which is so perfectly shown in the bridge between the three parts of King of Carrot Flowers. One almost feels that the band, in this image, could be playing the bridge between parts two and three.

 

 

It would be difficult for me to pick out what, exactly, it is that causes In The Aeroplane Over The Sea to let the listener’s imagination run wild. Perhaps it’s the range of strange instruments (not musical instruments, but nonetheless, instruments) that have been used in the process of recording it. For example, what we hear quite frequently is the shortwave radio: a strange choice, to say the least. It could even be the song’s simple chord progressions or Mangum’s unconventional, and at times strained, style of singing.

In ‘Holland, 1945’, Mangum explains how a girl who he loved is “Now…  a little boy in Spain playing pianos filled with flames”, and it’s bizarre images like these that are so engaging. As listeners, we can work out that the song is most likely about Anne Frank and Jews living under Nazi oppression. However, that is all that we can decipher with relative ease from this song; the rest is open to interpretation. We are left to wonder what it is that is being described (which Sheeran’s music so desperately lacks), and it is from this that the album gains its timeless status.

What is also so attractive about Mangum’s style of song-writing is its morbidness. Also in ‘Holland, 1945’ is his description of how he is saddened by seeing “the world agree that they’d rather see their faces fill with flies”, and in ‘Oh Comely’ we see him exhibit his curiosity of unborn babies.  Perhaps it’s best, in that case, that it is Sheeran’s voice, not Mangum’s, that we hear in the charts.

By Ethan.

Last week, I listened to My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’  for the first time.

I’ve lately been reconsidering the importance of thought-provocation in music, that music doesn’t need to make you think to be good. If you’re searching for something to indulge in that makes you think, read some philosophy or an opinionated newspaper article. However, Loveless does make me think. It isn’t political, rebellious, nor is it made to serve the purpose of causing the listener to have of one specific train of thought. As David Byrne said:

“With music, you often don’t have to translate it. It just affects you, and you don’t know why.”

Perhaps it’s the underlying, droning buzz of each track amongst the layers upon layers of guitars that triggered such an emotional response. Perhaps it’s lead singer Bilinda Butcher’s mellow and seemingly underwhelming vocals, or even the layers of guitar, as well as their FX pedals turned all the way up, that do what this album does: it makes me feel anxious.

The following is a list of thoughts I had within the first couple of minutes of the album:

  • “Huh? My socks are odd?! Oh, wait, no they’re not. Ha. Phew.”
  • Did I put too much wax in my hair today…?”
  • “Oh, damn! I forgot to text —–! Hopefully he won’t think I hate him.”

 

I tend to think of myself as an anxious person regardless, it probably shows in my disjointed style of writing and the list that I’ve provided you with above, but Loveless makes me feel anxious in a peculiar way. At first, its melancholy and mellow sound causes the listener to feel, at a point, removed from today’s world. I didn’t get that sense because I listened to it on my own in my bedroom, but because of its distinctive sound that made me feel so comfortably numb. I was no longer thinking about what I was doing for the rest of the day, or what I was doing tomorrow. It didn’t make me think about how I’d like my football team to line up in our next game, or my social arrangements, or the Labour party’s leadership elections either; it disconnected me from the thoughts of today’s world.

This made me feel anxious because it reminded me of everything else: those cringe-worthy awkward things I said at about eleven or twelve years old, a Bar Mitzvah present I’d half-forgotten existed, and that time that I lost a game and was a sore loser about it. The cliché that is so often told regarding adolescence is that it is a period where, as time passes by, those embarrassing comments one made a year or two beforehand begin to become increasingly infrequent. What was punishing in listening to this was the unfriendly, and hopefully false, reminder that even at fifteen years old I still manage to blurt out cringe-worthy comments.

As my sense of musical taste has progressed so rapidly over the last months and years, I’ve been valuing originality increasingly – which is why Loveless couldn’t have strolled into my life at a more perfect time. My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and The Mary Chain were the pinnacle of the Shoegaze era, and it’s Shoegaze’s vocals that evoke anxiety. Specifically, the seemingly underwhelming vocals: an underwhelming ‘hello’ is an anxious hello. The vocals that are at times unintelligible: they evoke anxiety because they are unintelligible, which results in uncertainty; the partner in crime of anxiety. The breathy, intimate vocals: what could make an adolescent more anxious than an intimate, breathy voice that that speaks words that are difficult to decipher?

Reminiscing over the past inevitably led me to thinking about the future: what if I continue to say awkward things in social situations? What if my chemistry grades don’t pick up? What if…? This passage of thoughts underpins exactly what this album did: it gave me a friendly reminder that I am an anxious person.

This album is not as depressing as I’ve depicted it, though; certain aspects of it are wonderfully uplifting. The sensation of removing myself from today’s thoughts is profound: the headache of arrangements and, at times utterly pointless, recycled thoughts like ‘who will win the Labour leadership election?’ were relieved after far too long.

By Ethan.

Halo

“Every time I get away you
find a way to reel me back in. 
Tell me that you love me
hold me tight so we can always be friends.”

The rate at which Cage have progressed in terms of maturity and sophistication over the course of three albums is astonishing; in an interview with a vlogger, lead singer Matt Schulz said (on Melophobia) “I don’t know if we’ve found our voice, but I definitely think we’ve found some elements that are very important to unlocking creativity.” At another point in the interview, the topic of the identity of the band is brought up, it is pointed out that after three albums the band doesn’t entirely feel confident that they themselves know who they are, and what their voice is. This highlights Cage’s speedy advance in maturity, as after one or two albums the following and media of any ordinary band would typically feel that their identity is firmly in place. Typically, after one record, a band rises to the surface and they’ve found their voice, perhaps it is tweaked by the second; but Cage display a range of different voices that doesn’t fully portray their true voice after their third.

Matt Schulz said Melophobia is the fear of music. Putting aside the fact that it isn’t officially recognised as a word, what thoughts are being provoked, and how are they represented? This isn’t a soothing album that you’d listen to after a long day, much of it is hard on the ear, certainly not easy-listening. Opening track Spiderhead paints a punchy, vigorous image of a state of mind in distress. “Either I’m in heaven, or I’m in hell, Am I losing my mind, yeah, (‘Cause I can’t tell) I’ve been waiting for answers for way too long, Seems I’m always waiting around,” it’s a mind in a state of an adolescent-like conflict that doesn’t know what it wants or feels most confident with.

The Cigarette Daydreams video is another example of how far Cage have matured, take In One Ear from the début self-titled album, ‘childish’ or ‘immature’ would be harsh, but it’s quite honestly something I could have directed at eleven or twelve years old. However, Cigarette Daydreams is (slightly overly-artsy) evidence proving their progression; it is a real story that complements the song made up of beautiful images, and if one were to pause the video at almost any point in the song, a dramatic frame is produced. The below album cover is a representation of a confused and disturbed mind, one that perhaps has a fear of music, and has a likeness to the one I described before that is portrayed in Spiderhead.

‘Cigarette Daydreams’, like its video, tells a story. Since it is a story, I’d suggest taking a look at the lyrics at length, but I’ve selected:

“Funny how it seems like yesterday
As I recall you were looking out of place
Gathered up your things and slipped away
No time at all I followed you into the hall
Cigarette daydream
You were only seventeen
So sweet with a mean streak
Nearly brought me to my knees”

Above is a loving description of a girl, the rest of the song and its video describes what happens to the relationship between the singer and that girl, and what role cigarettes plays in it. The second part of that lyric leaves the reader to fill in the holes, we don’t know exactly what happened when she was seventeen, but it wasn’t sweet like she was, until this happened and she grew into a new identity. In the video this female character is starkly seen, literally, burning herself. Towards the end, she sets fire to a body in a car boot, which is clearly her own- she has found a new identity and viciously destroys the memory of her previous self.

Track no.7, Black Widow, is similar to Cigarette Daydreams in the sense that it vividly describes a girl whilst leaving gaps for the listener’s imagination to fill.

“I can’t take it no more girl
I can’t take this abuse
Every time that you walk in the room girl
I’m hypnotized by the way that you move”

I’d like to focus on ‘this abuse’, one of those gaps left for the listener to fondle with that could mean a range of different emotions and explain different backgrounds, could Schulz be explaining this girl’s sensual movements and what he feels when he sees her? Later on in the song he calls himself an animal, because he is so easily moved by the presence she possesses, so that leads us to one conclusion as to why she’s abusing him; she doesn’t give him any freedom when she walks in to the room and he can’t control himself, he is wholly controlled by her presence when they are in the same room.

The term ‘Black Widow’ means someone who portrays the relationship between themselves and their spouse as something else, to make the spouse appear harmful or spiteful, which is portrayed in the song with the punchy brass and explosive ornaments. Musically, Black Widow epitomises the whole album, a wide range of techniques and colours are explored and follows a polyphonic style. Schulz’s voice is also expressed to its fullest, displaying falsetto in parts whilst caressing the track in other parts with his deeper, mellow undertones.

What dimension does Come A Little Closer add to the album? It’s a wailing cry compared to something more musically complex like Black Widow, but that doesn’t tell the story in its entirety. It finishes with the melancholy, and admittedly over-dramatic:

“Ten thousand people stand alone now
And in the evening the sun sets
Tomorrow it will rise
Time flies by, they all sang along”

It puts a rich, majestic biblical twist on the track, and album on the whole; bass guitar accompanies those lyrics, which emphasises the purity of that message. This message isn’t pleasant, however, because even though it mentions people singing by the sunrise, they are not together: they are alone, perhaps it is a prophetical warning of how detrimental it can be when one thinks irrationally and does not look at situations with a range of perspective, hence the lyric “come a little closer then you’ll see”. 

I mentioned the artsy music video for Cigarette Daydreams, so if you’d like to take a look for your own verdict:

I also mentioned Cage’s significant maturity appreciation, highlighted by the step between each album. If you’d like to take a look at my post on that album…:

https://juvenilehearing.com/2014/02/01/cage-the-elephant-thank-you-happy-birthday/

Ethan.

By Ethan.

Dearest Readers,

Following the arrival of Charles in JH, I offer my taking on the top ten albums from 2001-2011.

The Strokes – Is This It – 2001

Between you and I, this is quite possibly the single greatest album in my collection. An album that has had an indisputable influence on 21st century alternative rock, producing tracks such as New York City Cops, Is This It, The Modern Age, Barely Legal. It’s NME’s greatest album of 2001 and was one of very few albums in its history to receive a 10/10, it has not only influenced the future generations of that genre, but has taken a pivotal influence in terms of what the western world thinks of New York, drugs and growing up in a rich family.

“I didn’t take no shortcuts
I spent the money that I saved up”

Those lyrics above aren’t poetic, they’re not immediately beautiful; but what Julian Casablancas is saying, on his behalf as well as the rest of the band, is that he isn’t just the money that comes from his dad. The background info is that his Dad is the head of the famous Elite Models, and despite all being known for their New York essence, The Strokes met in a wealthy private school in Switzerland- all of them came from considerably wealthy backgrounds.

Here’s a link to my favourite video from Is This It: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knU9gRUWCno

Cold War Kids – Robbers and Cowards – 2006

It’s a story that could have been written seventy years ago; it tells the age-old problems America has had within its society. It’s the telling of many a tale about crime, religion and alcohol whilst smelling of the USA Steinbeck tells of. As well as giving his own perspective, Nathan Willett has lived the life of Tom Joad in Grapes of Wrath as well as empathising with the robber.

“I reach for the hat and take all the cash and slide it into my ragged coat sleeve
And leave in its place a note to explain all of the reasons the spirit has lead me to leave
If there was a worthy cause for to give to may I be so bold as to say,”The givers not knowing where their money’s going is as sinful  as throwing away”

Favourite Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrrGKR8Xii4

Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – 2006

Arguably as influential as Is This It, Arctic Monkeys used their think-they’re-so-cool spirit of a couple of GCSE students, and smothered it with their experiences of life on a Sheffield council estate. It further uncovered many truths about what effect drugs and sex has on the juveniles (!) of today, whilst unashamedly shaming police of Britain.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeQAZsyucbQ

LCD Sound system-  Sound Of Silver – 2007

Here is a link to the full-length post I’ve written on this exact album: https://juvenilehearing.com/2013/09/08/sound-of-silver-lcd-soundsystem/

The synopsis of the above is that Sound of Silver is a concoction of indie-electro with grungy lyrics. But I don’t want to give too much away, I’d secretly rather you opened that link.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwoLACv_srQ

Bombay Bicycle Club – I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose – 2009

https://juvenilehearing.com/2014/07/16/why-listening-to-the-same-album-over-and-over-isnt-always-a-bad-thing/

Again, I highly recommend opening the link above. However, since then I have been to see them live- in the last ever Earl’s Court gig before it was closed down (the tickets said ‘under 16s must be accompanied by an adult’, so who could I go with over 16? Charlie. Charles and I went together.) No doubt amongst the greatest gigs of my life, and all that was topped off by the special guest appearance of David Gilmour.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8owZRixRBs

XX- XX – 2009

Link to previous, full length post (Where I mention a mate in Gatwick Airport with a mate…) https://juvenilehearing.com/2014/10/13/the-first-album-i-ever-bought/

‘XX’ was not only the first album I ever bought, but who did I buy it with? Yep. I don’t need to say it. That man.

“See what I’ve done
That bridge is on fire
Back to where I’ve been
I’m froze by desire
No need to leave”

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PElhV8z7I6

Cage The Elephant – Thank You Happy Birthday – 2011

Previous post: https://juvenilehearing.com/2014/02/01/cage-the-elephant-thank-you-happy-birthday/

This is the one that stands out for being testosterone-madness filled, poetic and beautiful but manic and angry. The quote of a lyric below comes from a song called ‘Sell Yourself’, and listen to that along with ‘Sabertooth Tiger’ and hopefully you’ll see that there is a handful of anger in there, a sprinkling of aggression.

“Don’t talk about me, let’s talk about you
I know your type, I know exactly what you want to do
And if the money’s right, you think I’ll just agree?
So sad to see you torn apart by all your selfish greed”

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZBmcSBoRAE

Yuck – Yuck – 2011

This is one of my far older posts, but still… https://juvenilehearing.com/2012/10/28/yuck/

Super-indie, sort-of-grunge, but very brilliant, very perceptive and ultimately musically talented. Yuck are more about love, drugs and loss, whereas perhaps, Metronomy are the loooove. It’s a comforting reception to the being-dumped, the feeling very down.

“Did you see the fire brigade?
Steed heavy and filled with rage
Through the city, dissolve my fire
After dinner, I was burning with desire
They can never burn out my love for you”

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_OH0VtalqU

Metronomy – English Riviera -2011

Link to full-length post on https://juvenilehearing.com/2012/12/03/metronomy/

Hopefully this, in contrast to Cage the Elephant, will highlight the variation in style between these ten. English Riviera is the love album; I mean I love all these albums but I’m pretty sure every single song on this album has some reference to love, sex, or love. Or sex. It’s not what you’ll hear from Cage, nor from Arctic Monkeys or Cold War kids. It completes the circle where each album has, hopefully, given you something to listen to; if you didn’t like Yuck then hopefully you’ve taken something from the Strokes or Cold War Kids.

“I know I’m willing babe
To go the whole way
We could never be alone
When you go you’re all I’m thinking of
With love I’ll get you anyway”

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P2w_hq8YTk

P.S: for whatever reason, some of these links won’t open upon clicking on them, so in that case you’ll have to copy and paste them into the URL bar. Sorry.

Ethan

Please Welcome…

Posted: January 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

As I’m sure you lot have seen, Roseby and I have parted our ways in terms of Blogging (as mentioned, there was no argument between us), but we agreed that I will continue writing. I do, however, still feel that JH would benefit very much from a second writer, and after tireless hours of research and sleepless nights considering my candidates, I’ve gone for who I believe will lead Juvenile Hearing, and this nation, forward. He goes by the name of Charlie Jameson.

Charles and I have known each other since the tender age of six, and quite frankly, is the only person I would consider to be in the Roseby-bracket in terms of a music taste.

As he puts it himself,

“Hello kind readers,

As you may be wondering who this mysterious ‘Charlie Jameson’ is, Ethan and I felt it would be appropriate for me to give a short piece of information on who I am and my thoughts on music in general.

Well as Ethan said Earlier we me each other in a small Independent school in North London . Both Ethan and I left that school years ago, yet still our friendship has stayed strong ever since then.

Although it sounds very corny, music has always been a very big part of my life. With my father being an avid record collector, I have been hearing obscure types of music from a very young age.

These are some of my favourite artists, followed by my favourite album of theirs.

-Stan Getz ,(‘Getz and Gilberto’)

-Aphex Twin, ( ‘Syro’)

– Nas  (‘It was written’, or ‘Illmatic’)

– Daft Punk  (‘Homework’)

– The Clash –  (‘Combat Rock’)

– Joy Division  (‘Closer’)

– Simon and Garfunkel –  (‘Bridge  over troubled water’)

– Bob Dylan- (‘The freewheelin’)

(oh and I have a guilty pleasure for Enya)

 

Any way I will be posting as regularly as possible.

Charles.”

News

Posted: December 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

Yo

News coming tomorrow

Be excited

Roseby’s Farewell

Posted: October 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

Hey y’all,

Using your fabulous inference skills you’ve probably already guessed the nature of this post: I’m leaving Juvenile Hearing.

Please don’t cry! I may be gone, but Ethan will still be here, manning the fort with his excellent posts, sometimes about the most obscure bands, that will have you frothing at the mouth until you break your computer by pressing our ‘archive’ button repeatedly.

Think about it this way, nothing lasts forever; in order to grow creatively, spiritually, and amazingly, I have to follow my heart, wherever it may land me. Ethan and I are still sound as a pound, so don’t think that my leaving is anything to do with bad blood at the JH HQ. This is the time for me to go and sort out my teen angst, sometimes pretentious music tastes, and flaky blogging frequency elsewhere. I would like to thank all of our supporters for their endless love and inspiration. I quote my favourite My Chemical Romance piece of wisdom when I say: ‘You may be gone, but out here in the desert, your shadow lives on without you’

‘This is doctor death defy, signing off’,

Roseby.