Tallinn Music Week in pictures

I’m currently recovering in bed after a crazy weekend in Tallinn, Estonia. My full article will be posted on the Q Magazine website this week, but for now, here are a few highlights summed up in picture form…

Day 1: Arrived at the hotel, picked up my pass, headed to the nearest bar (obvs)

Tallinn Music WeekChecked out local authentic music by award-winning girls choir Ellerhein

Girls ChoirListened to some light hearted indie-rock melodies by Junk Riot 

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Day 2: Pussy Riot spoke about how protesting remains their priority

Took to the streets of Tallinn for some sightseeing in the medieval old town

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A lot of the time, it felt like a hipsters paradise…

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So I felt it was only right to try and look like one, selfie ‘n all

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Saw plenty of bands 

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Visited the local beer hall with some lad, lad, lads. Hashtag banterrrr, hashtag ladzontour…

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Day 3: Plenty of water was consumed the next morning

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A man played the trombone on a roof (as ya do)…

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Souvenirs were bought

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Things got a little homoerotic in the Depeche Mode bar 

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Day 3: My hungover/tired/ugly mug before flying home. Bye bye Tallinn!

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Girls Allowed: Women in contemporary music @Shoreditch House

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East London Fawcett (ELF) & Cremer St Salon hosted an event at Shoreditch House to discuss the inequality women face in the music industry.

Panelists included singer-songwriter Little Boots, BBC broadcaster Ruth Barnes, head of classical music at Southbank Centre Gillian Moore, chief executive of Sound and Music Susanna Eastburn and producer and director Deborah Coughlin.

The discussion opened with some interesting stats read by Deborah, she said: “Among UK British festivals, only 34 per cent of acts last year at Glastonbury were female, 21 per cent at Bestival and 17 per cent at Reading and Leeds.”

Perhaps a surprising education was the fact that no matter the musical genre, whether it’s jazz, pop or classical, they’re all as discriminatory towards women as the other. Gillian Moore was also quick to point out: “Only 29 per cent of UK orchestra players in 2012 were women.”

Pop star and independent record label owner of On Repeat Records, Victoria Hesketh, shared stories of becoming part of the music machine and conforming to be a lust-worthy commodity form for men to goggle at on stage.

One of the most shocking but perhaps noteworthy and identifiable problems raised during the discussion, was the point that men refuse to shift from their dominating positions of power. Presenter Ruth Barnes said: “We’ve just go to wait for them all to die off.”

It’s fairly obvious that these women won’t rest until something’s done to change the restrictions women are facing. But what needs to happen in order to change the male dominated industry?

Women need to feel liberated to move away from their ‘traditional’ roles, where it should be possible to work in any area of the business they feel fit. The general consensus from the night is that they should be equal to men in the industry, they’re not fighting for domination by any means, but just a voice, job title and salary that’s matched fairly. Whatever happens, the event has given us a real reality check and it’s obvious that current goings-on cannot continue.

The East London Fawcett Group is the UK’s leading campaign for equality between men and women. They hold free talks, parties, arts events, sporting activities and much more. To get involved or see what they’re all about check out their website for more information:http://eastlondonfawcett.org.uk/ & Cremer St Salon organises pop-up feminist events which showcase and promote female creative talent across East London including concerts, performances, talks and film screenings. For more information or to join the mailing list contact:
gabriela.calalesina@gmail.com

Guest Column: Q Magazine

Arctic Monkeys

I wrote a little column for Q Magazine this week, about why rock music is now outselling pop in the UK album charts. So without further ado here’s what I wrote:

Why Is Rock Outselling Pop? 

It’s an age when bands like Bastille are categorised as “rock” (they’re probably more synth-pop) and music genres are becoming increasingly blurred and arguably meaningless. Still, the pushing of the boundaries of rock music has achieved something, as for the first time in three years it’s beaten pop to become the UK’s bestselling album genre, according to music industry statistics from the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI).

Led by the likes of Jake Bugg and Arctic Monkeys, along with Bastille, rock music generated a third (33.8 percent) of all UK album sales in 2013, compared with 31 percent for pop – the highest share in five years. So why has rock music seen a recent resurgence in popularity once more?

Firstly there’s volume. Out of the top 10,000 best-selling albums in 2013, over 4,000 – 40 percent – were classified as rock, and those involved in those releases are pleased that the “rock community” has upped its game to push their artists into the charts. “The industry has helped young blood push through, which in turn has seen a huge increase in album sales for these acts,” suggests Spinefarm (part of the Universal Music Group) press officer Lailah O’Donnell. “Hopefully with this resurgence of rock music in the charts we will also see some real rock stars!”

The revival of vinyl’s popularity has also been seen as a factor in the swing back towards rock, as the format has long been popular with both artists and fans in the genre.

However, it could just be fashion. Music is simply cyclical argues HMV’s managing director of digital, James Coughlan. “Indie/rock bands ‎were always going to come back fighting,” he tells Q. “The kind of which we haven’t seen in the UK since 2007/2008, when the likes of The Killers, The Kooks and Razorlight led the way for bands that followed. It’s a cycle that we see at least once a decade and I believe will always be in motion, it just so happens we’re seeing it surface once again.”

Best schedule those “death of rock” pieces for three years time then… or simply enjoy the music. Long live rock’n’roll.

New Band Wednesday 19/02/2014

turbogeist

Who: Turbogeist

Weirdo punk rockers Turbogeist will strike a chord with outsiders and the socially immoral dregs of society.

Ever since stumbling across these guys support Pure Love at XOYO in Shoreditch, I knew they’d be worth watching out for in the future. So now it seems like their time has finally come, as their debut album is due for release later this year.

I’ll definitely be checking them out when they support Radkey on their UK tour:

February

24 Birmingham, Hare & Hounds

25 Nottingham, Rock City Basement

26 Leeds, Cockpit

28 Glasgow, King Tuts Wah Wah Hut

March

01 Newcastle, Cluny 2

03 Manchester, Night And Day

04 Bristol, Louisiana

05 London, 100 Club

Tickets are available here: http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/Radkey-tickets/artist/1768195

decade-band-2013

Who: Decade

Playing the Vans UK Warped Tour earlier this year and releasing their debut album Good Luck it seems there’s no stopping the Decade lads.

Probably one of my favourite songs of 2014 so far, Callous is both catchy and feisty enough to contend with the big guns of rock. Plus their charming good looks don’t go amiss either (just saying).

Villains

Who: Villains 

After supporting the likes of Blitz Kids, Bury Tomorrow and Enter Shikari, Villains are set to light up the music scene, with the release of their self-titled debut album.

The video for The Fall “addresses the point of taking punches and how you comeback from them. We’ve been screwed over enough times by people in the industry and we’ve even been taken to court by ex-members,” they told me in a recent interview.

You’ll be able to see the full version of my interview with Villains published in the next couple of days, keep yourselves posted for some more gossip!

Make sure you check back every week for ‘New Band Wednesday’.

New ‘Band’ Wednesday…(kind of)

Brody Dalle

Ok, so it’s not technically a new band release this week. However, I thought Brody Dalle deserved a feature of her own. 

Yesterday she released her new track Meet The Foetus / Oh The Joy from her upcoming solo album.

It’s no wonder her music has taken a slicker approach from her previous projects, as the album is produced by Alain Johannes (Arctic Monkeys, Mark Lanegan and Them Crooked Vultures).

It may take a few listens, but I promise, once you’re in you’ll be hooked. If the opening riff doesn’t grab your attention then the epic climax will.

She’ll be playing a string of intimate shows at the end of the month, make sure you catch her there – if you can get a ticket that is!

24 February London, UK Hoxton Bar & Kitchen 
27 February Berlin, Germany Magnet 
12 August Budapest, Hungary Sziget
17 August Biddinghuizen, Holland Lowlands Festival

What Will the Music Industry Look Like in 10 Years?

Last week I was lucky enough to talk to the chairman of HMV and the owner of Sister Ray (an independent music store owner in Soho), about their views of the music industry and where it’s heading.

Check out the video below:

Personally I think people will convert to using more streaming services like Spotify. I also think that vinyl will continue to be bought by ‘hardcore’ music fans.

But where do you see the music industry heading? Comment below and share your thoughts.

New Band Wednesday 5/02/2014

If you’re all for noise, intensity and raw attitude then look no further than my pick of the top three new bands to check out this week.

brawley

Who: Brawlers

Ex-members of Dinosaur Pile-Up, Leftover Crack, Castrovalva and Martyr Defiled create something inevitably awesome.

Leeds based punk-rockers have made an all-star dream-team, who go by the name of Brawlers. Forming in 2013 the band have been quick to establish themselves in the rock/punk scene, having already supported the likes of Gnarwolves on their UK tour.

Their debut single Instagram Famous is a hard hitting 2-minute 2-seconds sound of tongue and cheek punk-rock madness.

Brawlers’ EP, I Am A Worthless Piece Of Shit (charming), is due for release on March 5th via Alcopop Records.

Pins Band

Who: PINS

Girls will want to be them, boys will fancy them.

Do we really need another girl band in our lives right now? Well if they come in the form of PINS then yes, yes we do. They’re directly intimidating and intensely feisty, so before you get too bored of the ‘Girl Power’ phenomenon, I suggest checking them out.

Maid of Ace

Who: Made Of Ace

Enough spunk and sleaze to become your next punk-rock fix.

Made Of Ace are an all sister punk band with enough potential to sound like a new age Distillers. Except that there’s four of them, which makes for quadruple the fury. The four sisters have been playing for five years and inject some seriously gnarly attitude, that has thrown a curve ball into the punk scene. Plus they actually manage to string together a decent power chord or two…you mean punks can play the guitar? Well these ladies can.

Having already supported the likes of The Vibrators, there’s no doubt Made Of Ace will continue to rise up the the punk-rock ranks.

Make sure you check back every week for ‘New Band Wednesday’.