Film Review: ‘Whitney’

Since her premature death in 2012, Whitney Houston’s life has been the subject of films, articles, books and television shows but this documentary directed by Kevin MacDonald is the first to gain the cooperation of Whitney’s family. Despite a strong first half eventually this film falls into speculation, cheap gossip and outrageous accusations about her personal life and eventual death.

Continue reading “Film Review: ‘Whitney’”

Why the TRNSMT ‘Golden Circle’ and All Exploitative ‘VIP’ Standing Areas Must Go

At TRNSMT festival on Sunday in Glasgow I witnessed one of the most depressing sights in my twenty-plus years of concert going. As the headline act, The Killers, took to the stage there was a huge expanse of empty space in a ‘golden circle’ section at the front of the stage, while tens of thousands of people who had paid good money to see the show were fenced off and squashed behind a barrier. From our stand point it looked like there was essentially two festivals: one for the rich and one for everyone else. Continue reading “Why the TRNSMT ‘Golden Circle’ and All Exploitative ‘VIP’ Standing Areas Must Go”

Album Review: Florence & The Machine – High As Hope

A few years back Florence became one of only a handful of women to ever headline Glastonbury festival. Within moments of her set beginning it was clear she belonged up there. She has the songs, the voice and the charisma to headline anywhere. It shouldn’t have taken a rock legend’s broken leg to give her a chance to take an opportunity she had already earned and then some.

In an era where women are struggling to even get on festival bills AT ALL, let alone headline, we need Florence and the Machine more than ever. We need her at her epic, show-stopping best. If Florence is up there that might convince more festivals to book more women and inspire the next generation of women to aim for the same heights.

So it is hugely disappointing to see major publications like the Guardian and Pitchfork call out festivals for not having gender equal bills while simultaneously giving some major releases by women in 2018 overtly critical reviews. This has happened to Chvrches and now Florence. Media attention and critical praise isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to festival bills but we’re kidding ourselves if we say it has no effect. When we need these artists to be celebrated, promoted and supported they are met with indifference and even sneering hatred by the media. What’s even more baffling is that the quality of music produced by these artists remains excellent and worthy of praise.

On her new album High As Hope Florence deals with a ‘dangerous’ period in her life, turning inwards to contemplate her own failings, the trouble with love, drugs, the world as a whole. Musically it is a little less baroque and dramatic than before, but the album still stuns with its big hearted whoosh of pianos and lush soundscapes. Continue reading “Album Review: Florence & The Machine – High As Hope”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – Touch Your Woman

The cover of Dolly’s ninth album Touch Your Woman was markedly different from the childhood portrait of her previous release Coat of Many Colors. On this 1972 release she is pictured wearing a glamorous outfit, reclining amongst a lot of seductive throw pillows. Ok so this might have been pretty tame for the seventies but country music was still conservative so it was significant to have an album with such a suggestive title. In terms of content, the album continues to explore problematic relationships and the difficulties of marriage in a mature and refreshingly honest way. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Touch Your Woman”

Music Book Club: Linda Ronstadt’s ‘Simple Dreams’

In 1965 aged just 20 Linda Ronstadt left behind her Arizona home and headed off to Los Angeles in the hope of becoming a success on the folk music scene. The night she left her father took gave her a gift of a Martin acoustic guitar and told her what his Mexican father had once said to him: “Ahora que tienes guitarra, nunca tendras hambre” (Now you own a guitar you will never go hungry). Those words would prove true. Ronstadt’s long and illustrious career is explored in Simple Dreams, her excellent self-penned memoir which takes us from the deserts of her childhood, to her chart success and beyond. Continue reading “Music Book Club: Linda Ronstadt’s ‘Simple Dreams’”

Download ‘Dead Horses – Live From The Vinyl Emergency Podcast’ & Raise Money for a Worthy Cause

I wrote a little about the excellent podcast Vinyl Emergency last year when they released their first ‘Live From…’ E.P. featuring the awesome Lydia Loveless. Each podcast episode includes an interview with an artist or someone in the music industry where they discuss their relationship with vinyl as a format, as well as their careers in general. Some of the previous guests include Lilly Hiatt, Rosanne Cash and an interesting recent episode featured the head of Discogs vinyl community. The latest instalment is a chat with duo Dead Horses, who have also released this short but sweet live E.P. recorded during their Vinyl Emergency interview. Continue reading “Download ‘Dead Horses – Live From The Vinyl Emergency Podcast’ & Raise Money for a Worthy Cause”

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