I’ve been trying to think of something profound to say about 2020 as an introduction to this post, a wrap up of the rest of my month-by-month album reviews of the year, something I started during the first lockdown, and in synergy to how this pandemic has gone; those posts started with much fluster, meandered, and has now come back with renewed enthusiasm, and a new string (strain) to its bow. The new strings in this post are simply a more rushed approach to getting these album reviews done, or simply sharing what albums I enjoyed listening to each month, much like the UK governments approach to getting the Pfizer vaccine approved, or quickly hashing out a last minute trade deal with the EU.Continue reading “Album Reviews: Wrap Up of 2020, June – December”
By the time May came around, each month had started to blur into one, and a feeling of doom and gloom lay rife in the air, as everything that we had looked forward to slowly withered away and was being cancelled, or rescheduled for what would be either the first or second time of many more. Completing a Netflix series had become the norm and no longer an accomplishment, and having walked the 5 mile radius surrounding my London flat a good ten times over, it all started to feel like a Deja Vu. New lockdown hobbies and interests started to fade, and the constant battle to stay motivated was a fortnightly crisis. Even new music wasn’t quite hitting the mark, and some of the albums in this post were listened to retrospectively.Continue reading “Album Reviews: My Top 5 Albums Released in May”
Back in May when I wrote the first part to this I wouldn’t have believed that I would be writing a second part several months later. Time is a weird thing, and amiss of any live music, festivals and any significant trips away, apart from visiting the Motherland for a few weeks, the months have rolled into one and gone by in a blur. I’ve learnt to accept the situation and know that I cannot control what will happen, counting my blessings each day that the people close to me are safe, and that I’ve not lost anyone during this time. Having worked in music and live events since University, their absence has been hard to come to terms with, and with the Goverment response to this, asking people like myself to retrain, has been somewhat anger-inducing, to say the least. Finally we are now seeing some socially distanced shows happening, and being able to mark them into the diary. It’s great to see a venue that I’ve worked at for the past few years, The O2 Arena, having their first show back on the 5th of December.Continue reading “Feature: Top 10 Music-Related Things to Watch During Lockdown, pt. 2”
Here we go again! As I continue to look back through my albums of the year, month by month. This time I’ll take a look at April, which saw the return of The Strokes after seven years, the wonderful collaboration between Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes, amongst fantastic new albums from Enter Shikari, Fiona Apple and The Used. April once again saw an abundance of new music, and as always it was hard to pin down what my top five albums were. This list could have easily included Thundercats ‘It Is What It is’, and new releases from R.A The Rugged Man and Dance Gavin Dance, but alas I can only pick five, and these are the beautiful albums that I have chosen.Continue reading “Album Reviews: My Top 5 Albums Released in April”
Next up in my series ‘Origins of European Hip-Hop’, I’ll take a look at a fragmented and divided hip-hop scene in Germany. Whilst in both France and Italy artists had ideological differences, and both scenes had significant political impacts, no scene in Europe had the kind of political backdrop and contrast of musicians than that in Germany. From Nationalist movements to Turkish rebellion, this post will piece together the development of hip-hop in a country still feeling the effects of the Second World War.Continue reading “Origins of European Hip-Hop: Deutscher Hip-Hop”
As I continue to take a look back at the dissertation I wrote a few years ago on the developement and impact of hip-hop in Europe, I now move onto my second country, Italy. In the last post I looked into Francophone Rap, a budding hip-hop scene in France, which produced artists such as MC Solaar and IAM, and the film ‘La Haine’. Not too far away though in the Southern regions of Europe, an entirely different hip-hop scene was beginning to emerge, one that would have a big political impact.Continue reading “Origins of European Hip-Hop: Rap Italiano”
Having already looked at my albums of the month for January and February, I now move onto March. The first two months of the year brought us some great music, and March continued in the same vein. Just like my previous posts, I’ll start with a quick update on the state of the world back then; it had imploded. Speaking of someone who lives in the UK, our Government started a shit show of a plan to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as we were shown numerous graphs of how to ‘flatten the curve’, and Boris Johnson reassured the nation by stating that “many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time”. He then set out plans to do absolutely nothing for weeks… Eventually, we were all ordered to stay at home, which led to a new outbreak which swept across the nation; boredom. Time was spent binge-watching the latest Netflix series, baking numerous amounts of banana bread, and attempting to learn new skills, as we began to settle into the ‘new normal’.Continue reading “Album Reviews: My Top 5 Albums Released in March”
After looking through some of my old work, I stumbled across the disseration that I wrote for my final project at university back in 2016, and decided to give it another read. Lockdown boredom may have reached new heights, and brought me to an educational read which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. Perhaps as it brought back the memories of writing it, which with the benefit of time and rose-tinted glasses seemed great, but the sleepless nights and Red Bull driven researching weren’t. Whilst I’ve ditched the Red Bull, and seem to be sleeping fine, going back down memory lane and the same rabbit holes as I orginally had, seem like the perfect distraction to another stressful time, as we are in now. As you may have ascertained from the title of this post, my disseration was about European hip-hop, in particular the development and impact of the genre in France, Italy and Germany during the 1980s and 1990s. In that, I waffled on about Globalisation, Americanisation and the history of hip-hop, but I’ll save you from the academic jargon, and dive right into the various scenes themselves.
Continuing to look back at some of my favourite albums released earlier this year, this time I’ll take a look at the month of February. A month where everything seemed normal, it was the calm before the storm, as the full impact of COVID-19 lurked around the corner. Donald Trump was being impeached, Parasite won Best Picture at the Oscars, Storm Denis hit the UK, and the world was still in self-destruct mode. But alas, there was new music. This month saw the return of The Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne, Tame Impala coming back after five years, and a blisttering second album from Liverpudlian band Loathe, not to mention new albums from The Amity Affliction, Grimes, Green Day, and King Krule, just to name a few.
What feels like an eternity ago, when COVID-19 was a distant viral illness beginning to spread throughout Asia, when Harry and Meghan’s decision to step down from royal duties ‘split the nation’, when we were all left realing from the heartbraking scenes of the Australian bushfires, before many other tragic events, including the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter; new music was released, which was a brief respite from the tsunami of bad news and conflicts brought in with the start of a new decade, 2020. Whilst it’s not hard to understate that there are more important things in life than music, music can provide an escape from reality, and provide an outlet to release negative emotions, as well as provide joy and something to look forward to, especially in times such as these. Little did we know, that January was just the start of things to come, and these albums are fresh from the context of now, providing a brief respite as they did then, and now.