Indie Music Hour with DJ HotJack

A regular journey around the music scene

Sorry I deserted you! Anyone still following?

Wow – is it really 9 months since I updated the blog?

My humble apologies. Life got busy with Uni, socialising and other stuff.

Throw a comment next to this post if you are still following this blog and I’ll start throwing out some new recommendations. I have tons of Spotify playlists I can also share 🙂

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May 30, 2010 Posted by | indie music, Music Scene News, Spotify Playlists, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Riddle of Indie

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When I DJ, I have that eternal battle of deciding what is indie and what isn’t or, more specifically, what is suitable material for an indie music venue and what isn’t. To relate it to my blog and podcast, I always fully appreciated I was setting myself up for a flaming by calling them Indie Music Hour. I’m sure much of the material I highlight or play wouldn’t in a million years pass the indie test with a lot of people.

I have been chided a few times by club owners for playing something that isn’t within their definition of acceptability. For example, I have in the past played Johnny Cash’s cover of NiNs ‘Hurt’ and have also played GnR covering ‘Live And Let Die’ or ‘Sympathy For The Devil’. This constant questioning of whether something is right for the audience is part and parcel of being a DJ. After all, without an audience we are without any function or point.

However, it isn’t always a good thing to get too hung up on labelling everything or passing moral judgement on everything. A while ago I came to the conclusion that people should embrace what they like, regardless of what others thought of it. In fact, I told a friend recently to avoid censoring what he scrobbled to lastfm. When people ask about my music taste I always say “I like what I like”. It’s all I can say as there is no pattern. To prove i’m not embarrassed about that I’ll let you into a secret. I listen to a lot of stuff that could be classed as indie or alt rock etc but I’m also crazy about things that stretch from Chopin to Perry Como.

And ultimately that is how music should be. Listen to whatever makes you feel something. I’m a pretty reserved guy but music is the one thing that can transcend barriers and give us real internal experiences. Personally, I detest Lily Allen and Kate Nash but, if they do it for ya, knock yerself out! So, taking all that into account, why didn’t I just call the blog and podcast Music I Like?

I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to wanting to associate myself with the indie movement and here’s my rationale. I’d describe myself as a music lover rather than someone who just enjoys listening to music. Hopefully you will agree there is a difference. I don’t passively listen to music by letting radio stations etc dictate what I hear every day and I reject the diet of fluff I am fed by the major networks. I have no interest in hearing what Beyonce or Britney or Cascada are releasing next. That’s not to say I don’t occasionally stumble across a track I enjoy that is decidedly corporate and mainstream though. I just reserve the right to pick and choose.

The reason I wrote this is that I was prompted to once again consider the issue by an interesting post on another blog HERE

I’d really love to hear other views too. I think I can fairly confidently say there is no right or wrong answer to this one.

August 3, 2009 Posted by | indie music | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Radio GaGa?

fearne

I read a very interesting post on another blog HERE – have a read yourselves and you will also see my reply to the post in the same place. If not, I have copied it below.

I agree – well said.

However, as The Jam said: “the public gets what the public wants.” Let’s be honest here – the country is teeming with brain-dead couch potatoes who don’t want to think for themselves or make an effort to discover new things. They are quite happy to let the likes of Chris Moyles and Scott Mills dictate what they should find funny, cool or clever.

Things only survive as long as there are markets for the product being sustained. As long as people tune in and zone out there will be a constant procession of vacuous ‘entertainers’ on mainstream radio.

However, the tide is turning and a split is increasingly developing between those who are hungry to experience fresh new music and those who are happy to sit back and accept the muck they are fed. Let the latter group keep their Coldplay, Keane and Lady GaGa gigs whilst we get on with finding stuff that excites us.

As for musicians, things have potentially never been better in terms of opportunities to promote themselves in creative and cost-effective ways. I share your dismay with Radio 1 but I think we are very far away from the death of talented musicians having creative outlets.

What are your thoughts? The article in question deals with Radio 1 in the UK (hence the pic of Fearne Cotton – it’s all relevant, honest!) but really the same type of discussions are probably going on around the world. What is the music scene like in your country? Is it difficult to find worthwhile radio stations? Is music struggling because of this or are we in an exciting age of creation and self-promotion?

Have your say 🙂

July 26, 2009 Posted by | indie music, Music Scene News, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Music Scene News – 25th July Round-Up

latest news

A couple of movie soundtrack snippets. Apparently the excellent Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) is involved with the soundtrack for the Spike Jonze adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are and Daft Punk, who did the musical score for Tron Legacy, may also be responsible for the soundtrack. Geeky – but whatevs.

I kinda liked what Be Your Own Pet did but I also felt it could only ever be a temporary stop-off for Jemima Pearl. It felt very ‘young’ and I was pretty sure she could progress beyond that type of music. Well, we should all find out how she’s grown soon as her solo album is due in October.

Weezer are apparently close to finishing their 7th album. Have they still got what it takes after an attempt to stick to radio-friendly ‘hits’ with the Red Album?

Lake Tahoe sounds nice around now. Wanderlust festival is up and running and features the likes of Broken Social Scene, Andrew Bird, Jenny Lewis, Amanda Palmer and Spoon. Hmm, Andrew Bird, Jenny Lewis and Amanda Palmer – I have an idea for a new supergroup!

Glastonbury might only just be over for this year but registration for next year has already opened. Not that it comes with any meaningful guarantees.

July 25, 2009 Posted by | Music Scene News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Album Review – Welcome To The Walkalone by The Rumble Strips

Welcome to the Walkalone by The Rumble Strips

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2007 was a good year for The Rumble Strips. They were hailed by the UK music press as the next big thing (usually a curse) and their debut offerings were generally very well received. I remember them being termed as modern-day Dexy’s Midnight Runners and found that a little strange. I guess their style was kinda ska – a lot of the instrumentation and tempo reminded me of two-tone.

Fast forward to 2009 and I eagerly settle down to listen to the nemesis of many a promising band – the difficult second album. I notice that Mark Ronson has produced it and groan inwardly. Sure, it worked out for him and Amy Winehouse but it seems to me that he has already tried to replicate that sixties vibe too many times already. Anyway, I tried to keep an open mind and hit ‘play’. The first couple of tracks washed over me mostly but then I really got into track 3, Not The Only Person. It took me until track 9, Dem Girls, before I mustered up any further enthusiasm.

All the way throughout the album, something was bothering me. How the hell had they ended up sounding like The Last Shadow Puppets? A little research provided me with the answer. TLSPs arranger Owen Pallett was involved. This time my sigh wasn’t so inward. And here’s where I have a pet rant. Why is there such a clamber to sound like Scott Walker? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Scott Walker albums but it’s been done and, whilst people were quite forgiving of Last Shadow Puppets due to the novelty factor, it’s becoming tiresome already with so many bands queuing up to capture that string-laden orchestral soundscape of the sixties.

By the end of the album I began to wonder whether I had imagined how The Rumble Strips sounded two years earlier so I threw on a couple of their old tracks and, thankfully, my memory seems to be working well enough. I’ve already been accused of being stuck in the past by saying I prefer the work of The Smiths to Morrissey’s recent solo efforts and I know I am giving further ammunition to this charge by saying that 2009 Rumble Strips are a pale shadow of what that 2007 potential could have morphed into but that is exactly how I see it.

A disappointing 6/10 from me.

July 24, 2009 Posted by | Album Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unsigned Artist Alert – Steal the Prize

STP

When I’m told that an album will take me for a journey, I tend to become a little cynical. When I’m told the album is a concept album I become even more so. However, I’m an ass and Steal the Prize have just proven that.

I was contacted by Ben Delaurentis who is the band vocalist/guitarist and I duly settled down to listen to the album, titled I Want To Talk To God. I had been told to expect psychedelia but, seeing as LSD is hard to come by in my neck of the woods right now, I decided to tackle it straight.

Let me firstly say that this is a killer album. It truly is. I was thinking about how instantly ‘right’ it felt and how easily I understood. That is, I understood from my perspective. Without wanting to disappear too far up my own anal cavity, it spoke something to me. Naturally we are all different and our meandering minds take us to very different places so I would hazard a guess that what this album says to people will vary greatly. I mentioned the music somehow feeling right – even though I hadn’t heard it before – and the last time I recall sensing that was when I heard my first Black Keys album. That isn’t to say the two bands are actually all that similar but then they aren’t miles apart either. That might make sense after you’ve heard both. Or it might not.

I promise I haven’t actually smoked or swallowed anything that has altered my consciousness but I am aware a lot of what I have written so far does suggest my state of mind was altered. It was. For others that might also be the case or perhaps I’m just in a highly suggestive mood. I’ll leave you all to make up your own minds on that. Please do make up your minds though and listen to it. You will find a link at the end of this post to a free download of the whole album. I would echo what Ben told me originally – that it should be listened to in one sitting and starting with the first track and following the intended sequence.

For me personally, the album was about one core theme. It’d be easy to focus on religious elements but I think it goes far beyond that. I’m agnostic and what I took from the album was the theme of existentialism. The introspection that comes from beginning to question our very being and the world around us. How did we get here … what is the purpose to our lives … what happens when our bodies give up … all that kinda heavy shit. Some of us, me included, spend more time than is healthy pondering this kinda thing whereas others glide through life blissfully unaware of their impact on others and without giving a thought to what tomorrow might hold in store for them.

Anyways, that was probably the most personal review I’ve written and likely tells you as much about me as it does about Steal the Prize but, regardless, I strongly urge you to check them out.

From their lastfm page :

“Steal the Prize is a versatile rock band from Lynchburg, VA with the passion to let the world in on their moments experienced through open-minded oneness as a band and community. Musically, the band draws influences from The Beatles & Led Zeppelin while still remaining able to create new feelings and ideas. Nothing is off limits for Steal the Prize, as they use a wide variety of instruments and ingenuity to channel their souls into every possible sound.

In 2002 Ben Delaurentis & Adam Rodgers met through middle school and started writing and playing music. Delaurentis & Rodgers added Mark Cullen in 2004 and early in 2007 the band formed into the current state by adding the fourth member, Jon Fies.

Currently the band is unsigned, and has released a full length album called “I Want to Talk to God” and two EPs, the first entitled “Vanity Isn’t Fair,” and the second titled “Tourists.”

Find them on myspace

Download the full album, I Want to Talk to God, here

Please leave some comments for the band here or contact them via their myspace page.

July 24, 2009 Posted by | Album Reviews, Unsigned Artists | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Music Vidz

I’ve decided to throw up a few vidz every now and then for your viewing pleasure.

So, Indie Music Hour now has album reviews, podcasts, unsigned artist features and music vidz – can you afford not to have this in your life? Subscribe now!

July 23, 2009 Posted by | Music Vidz | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Music Vidz – Despite What You’ve Been Told by Two Gallants

Thanks to BBQ for putting me onto these guys. This is lush.

July 23, 2009 Posted by | Music Vidz | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Music Vidz – What’s A Girl To Do? by Bat For Lashes

Great vid and great song.

July 23, 2009 Posted by | Music Vidz | , , , , , , | 2 Comments