Album Review: Welcome The Worms – Bleached

Bleached’s latest album ‘Welcome The Worms’ reminisces a fair bit on the 1990s pop-punk, pop-rock scene. It successfully includes elements of pop, but at the same time it  has the opportunity to be an alternative unique piece. Bleached hailing from California have previously released their album ‘Ride Your Heart’, an album which is harmoniously entertaining with its bits of rebellion in terms of how the actual songs are like.

In comparison to ‘Ride Your Heart’ this album is more mature and perhaps even darker. It has more of a direction. It’s great to see bands growing and shaping into something much stronger, and this is what Bleached seem to be doing. The band have been selling out gigs with this new album, so it’s clear that they are on their way to ultimate success.

Watch and find out more about ‘Welcome The Worms’ by Bleached.

Stuff That Matters: Cuba’s Underground Alternative Scene

In the last couple of weeks we saw the Rolling Stones make history by visiting Cuba and doing a free concert there. The Rolling Stones are known as one of the earlier figures of  Rock’n’Roll, alongside Chuck Berry.

Undeniably, the Rolling Stones were most importantly culprits for the start of the British Invasion with their clean haircuts, elegant suits, and their charming ways. They were also rebels. Rock’n’roll in its earlier days (even before the Rolling Stones) had the reputation of being somehow an anarchist and rebellious music genre, believe it or not, it was a taboo to rock out. Think about it, rock is the parent of punk and metal. These are sub-genres which are known for their dark and rebellious nature. The seeds of evil.

People in the earlier days of Rock’n’Roll feared the genre, because it made its listeners think outside of the box, eventually residing to some kind of anarchistic nature that youngsters over the centuries have been identified to be. It is true that many of us enjoy the sweet sound of Rock’n’Roll because it feeds our identities, ideas, and personalities. However, the sweet sound of Rock’n’Roll is banned by the Cuban authorities, it is illegal to rock out. Cuba is indeed a country ran by the idea of communism, or better yet known as ‘Castrismo’ (referencing Fidel Castro’s own unique approach to communism). It sticks to the basic principles that all communist nations stick to; everyone is equal.

Equality is a funny thing, because nobody is equal. Something as ‘taboo’ as Rock’n’Roll will eventually corrupt people from this ‘equality’ idea that Fidel Castro certainly has always had in mind. Freedom of speech is denied, unless you’re praising the Fidel Castro regime. That got me wondering, are there people around the Island who are anarchists? Surely there must be some resent towards this. Through research I found, Gorki Águila, a Cuban punk rocker. He recently gave an interview to The Guardian complaining about how despite the fact that the Cuban government is now allowing the nation to open its horizons a little by letting Barack Obama and the Rolling Stones visit the country, the local artists such as Gorki and his punk band ‘Porno Para Ricardo’ are still being rejected and thrown straight into prison for speaking against the government.

In many countries around the world, we have musicians insult their politicians and whatnot and not thrown into jail (unless they are physically a threat to these people). Freedom of speech, Cuba, you’ve got to get one of those.

Learn more about this unknown underground alternative scene that exists in Cuba. It is evidence that no matter how much freedom of speech you try taking away from people they will still blast back at you, and they will ROCK’N’ROLL!

Jeff Buckley: Cursed or Lucky?

Jeff Buckley: Cursed or Lucky?

It is no doubt that Jeff Buckley’s career was short lived, but eternally impactful. Despite that recently there’s been posthumous songs that have been dug up, (the recently released album ‘You and I’), his first and only album ‘Grace’ remains engraved into our lives. Jeff’s sweeping and melancholic vocals cast some kind of dazzling spell on his listeners, and that might just be the reason why his music never gets boring. He might’ve had the most astounding vocals that toppled from the heavens, and for this we might even consider him lucky for making history with his only album ‘Grace’, but his ending was rather ill-fated.

Jeff Buckley was definitely handed down the gift of becoming a memorable artist. His father was Tim Buckley, not much of a father to him, and therefore Jeff avoided any chance of being compared to his father. It’s understandable, but I doubt that Tim Buckley was ever an actual shadow on Jeff’s music career. However, it must’ve been the absence of Tim that aggravated Jeff’s tortured soul further, and you can hear this echoing in his music. It’s not only this personal battle that Jeff had to face during his upbringing, not at all, in fact a lot of his music comes from personal experiences with friends, lovers, and himself. He is indeed a mysterious man from what we can see, rarely would he get too deep into his personal life during interviews, even if he were asked about. Who knows what Jeff was really like, what his final thoughts were as he drowned in the Mississippi river with his boots sinking him down to his death.

He had a bright future ahead of him, and he left us when he was in his prime. Such a cliffhanger, because there was this notion present that Jeff would release more astounding hits. It was this that made his story bittersweet and unlucky. Today all we have is his music, his legacy. His beautiful words ascend from the heavens, and like tear drops they fall softly, inspiring and fulfilling those who search for art with meaning. There is so much interest for Jeff, because he slipped away from us far too fast. Imagine if Jeff would have lived onto today successfully; what would his music be like? In some way it must’ve been sheer fate that such a dreadful tragedy would occur to somebody as talented as Jeff, especially at such an early and primal point in his rapidly ascending career. There were all these preconceived expectations after he seduced us with his debut ‘Grace’, but that was all there was, and perhaps his departing from earth meant something for his music. Jeff was always stressing the fact that it wasn’t about him nor his heritage, it was about the music, only the music. Perhaps, as an audience we were becoming more obsessed with Jeff himself and his father, rather than his music. His death left us pondering his legacy, his lyrics and his saintly vocals, which have covered our world with sublime beauty ever since. But we still question what it was really all about…

“I don’t want my reputation to take me over, I just want to be judged on my songs. I want people to come and see me because they want to, not because fashion dictates it.” -Jeff Buckley

 

 

Black Sabbath Over The Years

Black Sabbath Over The Years

Black Sabbath are popularly assumed as the fathers of heavy metal due to their innovative, loud and murky sound that eventually became an identity for them. Having started out in an industrial town such as Birmingham in the 60s, the boys didn’t have much of a future to aspire, however, the formation of the band took them away from that bleak future. It was their 1970 self-titled debut album that gave birth to the heavy metal that Sabbath are widely known for. They were since then recognised as innovators in music, and hit instant fame soon after.

The band’s success was inevitable, but their drug abuse rapidly broke them apart. Ozzy’s reckless behaviour lead to the rest of the band getting frustrated in 1979, and thus firing him. For the band it must’ve been a relief, but fans didn’t take the news very well. Ozzy was the main attraction for many Sabbath fans, and thus the band instantly needed to find some kind of new replacement. The band had managed to get a hold of Ronnie James Dio, a rock god in his own right. This lead to one of the band’s most highly regarded records of all time, ‘Heaven or Hell’. Dio’s vocals were sharp and high, enough to cling into those murky and loud riffs that Black Sabbath were known for. Certainly, Dio was the right guy to replace Ozzy, but that’s arguable for many Sabbath fans. This line-up only lasted for a certain amount of time, having Tony Iommi at some point leave to be with Jethro Hull. However, one thing lead to another, and fast-foward into ’13’, their latest album.

’13’, released in 2013, has been a very strong comeback for the band, something which in my opinion is historic. It totally wraps up the band’s career, as we are back again with Ozzy being the lead singer. It was a very mature record for the band to produce, because it wasn’t them stating that “God Is Dead”, like they typically would in their hay days,  instead it was them inquiring, “God Is Dead?”. Tony’s lyrics had clearly grown into something so philosophical and beautiful, and so did the rest of the band. It was clear that this album marked a milestone in the band’s career, especially if you were lucky enough to see this album surface up after having witnessed the band’s earlier days when they were still trying to make it. It was a bewildering experience for many of us to come across ’13’ at this time, because even though there was a significant reminiscence of Black Sabbath’s musical career, nobody expected the band to actually  get back together. Not only did Black Sabbath’s generation have a second chance in discover the band once again, but there was the opportunity for a new generation to discover and experience their music as well. Black Sabbath’s comeback album was received very warmly. Would it be a bit of a stretch to ask for another one?

What is the real meaning of the Rolling Stone’s trip to Cuba?

What is the real meaning of the Rolling Stone’s trip to Cuba?

Recently the globally acclaimed British rock band have performed a free concert in the Cuban capital, Havana. The uproar of it goes further than the history and present politics of socialist Cuba. In fact, it is somehow an indicator of Cuba’s shifting atmosphere, and what the future may have in store for the nation in the following years. The Rolling Stones are somehow representative of this transition process that Cuba has just started to undergo.

It was in the year 1959 that Fidel Castro took control of Cuba and eventually in 1961 he turned Cuba into a communist state. For years Cuba was closed off from globalisation, and thus things such as pop culture varied vastly in Cuba when compared to other nations that were rapidly growing and developing at the time. Part of the regime rejected capitalistic ideals, and thus rock was forbidden. The regime’s take on rock was that it would corrupt its people, because essentially people would suddenly begin to think outside the box, something which the communist regime didn’t desire. They wanted to isolate their people so much, that they didn’t want them to create such strong personalities that rock music could perhaps provide them with. Around the same time, the Rolling Stones were having their own revolution. It wasn’t only the Rolling Stones that were becoming part of this rebellious rock’N’roll, it was also the Beatles, and so Castro certainly didn’t want his people listening to music that could in essence open his people’s minds. Rock was banned. However, this has never stopped people from craving it… wanting to know what rock is really all about.

Flashback into the current years, where many Cubans are faced with this reality. The Rolling Stones are coming to town! For FREE! For many this is a fantasy becoming a reality, but others are not satisfied. Punk rock singer of Cuban band ‘Porno para Ricardo’, Gorki Águila, has shown some scepticism towards the Rolling Stone’s visit to Cuba, “If I could speak to them, I would tell them they are disrespecting the rights of artists in this country who are not able to express ourselves,” Gorki tells the Guardian.

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Gorki Águila and his band Porno para Ricardo have been banned from doing any concerts in Cuba

Gorki has been arrested countless amounts of times due to his opinions and music that certainly do not keep Castro happy. “The tyrants here are trying to portray an image of Cuba as an island of happy people. If the Rolling Stones don’t talk about what is going on here [in terms of human rights violations], then they are indirectly serving as collaborators with the Cuban tyranny.” Gorki says.

There’s definitely two perspectives of looking at the Rolling Stone’s trip to Cuba. However, it certainly does serve as an advocate for change. This in general symbolises the beginning of a new era where the people of Cuba get the freedom to follow their dreams, express their opinions… and ROCK OUT!

Stuff That Matters: GRUNGE

New on ‘Stuff That Matters’, GRUNGE! I know what you’re thinking… Kurt Cobain… Smells Like- THAT’S THE ONLY SONG YOU KNOW! There’s more than just Kurt to the grunge scene, you might even be surprised.

It wasn’t Kurt who made us notice the alternative sub-genre, grunge, it was actually Mark Arm from Green River and Mudhoney. He even said that he gathered the term from the Australian music scene back then who were already describing their own music as grunge. There’s apparently more to grunge than its dissonant harmonies and distorted guitars, according to Marc Jacobs, grunge could be big in fashion, and so it was in the mid-90s. However, there remains this question of whether grunge is dead… is it?