Ian Watkins: The Ripple Effect
It’s now been over a week since the bomb of the ex-Lostprophets front man’s admission of multiple child sexual offense charges has hit and the resultant shockwave of social media unrest is still blowing across the internet. To sift through the digital dust is to uncover a plethora of reactions and opinions that don’t just relate to the singer/songwriter/cell occupant alone.
Amongst the explicit condemnations of Watkins are many newly formed opinions on Lostprophets as a whole, their music and the fans. The unspoken question before all of these differing responses is ‘will people continue to listen to Lostprophets?’ Many of these answers are bitter aftershocks of Watkins’ disturbing revelation, and their ripples will disrupt areas of the music world and its people.
JB’s ‘Generic Halloween Pun’ Playlist
I do love a good ol’ themed playlist and seeing as tonight I have no viable reason to dress up as something scary, this will be my contribution to the Halloween frivolities.
Mogwai – Kids Will be Skeletons
I’ll go out on a limb to say this is one of the best tracks recorded by Mogwai, I think it’s an amazing listen. It’s not a track to gear you up for a night out, or a track to listen to when you’re feeling sad. It’s just a song you put on and listen to and then at the end say to yourself, ‘That was bloody good.’
Explosions in the Sky – Welcome, Ghosts
This is almost the whole reason why this playlist has been constructed. I love the song and was listening to it when it suddenly struck me it was near to Halloween and that the song could make it into a playlist of scary themed songs. Perfeck!
This is one to listen to with a cup of tea once all the trick or treaters have gone to bed.
Kavinsky - Deadcruiser
If you’re even thinking of going near a car this Halloween, make sure you have the means to play this song out of its speakers. Whether you’re dropping off trick or treaters, going to buy a pumpkin from Budgens or making a speedy getaway from the house you’ve just egged - this song transcends any situation possible.
Imogen Heap – Thriller
If you didn’t know then I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the original performer of this hit sadly passed away not too long ago. BUT don’t cry as all sorts of people have since stepped up and covered many of his hits, and this is one of the very best. Imogen Heap’s unique and interesting vocal style and some delicate piano make this an absolute must to listen to.
(Spoo)Key Lyrics: “It’s close to midnight and something evil’s lurking in the dark.”
Laura Marling – Ghosts
A stupidly easy choice I know. Probably the most well known Marling song and it’s easy to see why. Simple, pretty and kitsch.
Key Lyric: He would stare at empty chairs. Think of the ghosts who once sat there
The Cranberries - Zombie
Right up the top of my all time favourite songs and incredibly apt for this list, the 1994 song ‘Zombie’ isn’t really all about those slow walking flesh craving things we all love to hate, but instead was written about the death of two boys killed in an IRA bombing. The song is sung brilliantly and is accompanied by a quite grungey sounding guitar, unlike other songs recorded by The Cranberries, and this makes is stand out even more.
Key Lyrics: “In your head, in your head, they are crying… “
Patrick Wolf – Pumpkin Soup
Anyone who’s read anything I’ve written before or knows me knows that I’m a little bit obsessed with Patrick Wolf’s music. I think it’s pretty important to emphasise that this is nothing to do with Kate Nash’s song of the same name. Instead this is a beautifully crafted ballad from Mr Wolf back in 2002, found on ‘The Patrick Wolf E.P’. With the backing of a violin and piano, both recorded by Wolf, we’re given a glimpse back into our childhood, when things were simple and beautiful.
Key Lyrics: “You watch as autumn takes its last breath of summer, the pumpkin soup on the table, the late September sun.”
Things That Go Bump in the Night – allSTARS
An incredibly cheesy pop song from 2002, yet also a song which is unashamedly catchy and would go down a treat at any kids disco. Yes it is a kids disco song, but it’s better than nearly all the drivvle churned out today. Try it out…
(Spoo)Key Lyrics: You cannot run and you cannot hide, you’ve got to face it baby things go bump in the night.
John Murphy –’ In the House – In a Heartbeat’ (taken from 28 days later soundtrack)
Without a shadow of a doubt one of the most intensive and brooding pieces of music I’ve ever heard and I absolutely love it. Used in the Danny Boyle film ‘28 Days Later’ for the scene where Cillian Murphy frantically runs around a mansion whilst zombies pick off all the other characters, the song encapsulates a range of emotions and feelings from fear, to anger, to fear, to adrenaline and back to fear all within 4 minutes.
The song was more recently also used in ‘Kick Ass’.
Nerf Herder – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I know this is all a bit 1999 but I still think this theme tune is one of the best! I’m a big fan of Joss Whedon and the theme to his most famous project is very listenable and only short.
The Big If – Monster
‘Monster’ was always going to be a word which crept into this Halloween playlist, and many of you may have instantly had ‘What’s that coming over the hills’ intrusively thrust into your head at seeing the word. However this is not the case, instead what we have is Ryan Key of Yellowcard and his side project. Monster is just one of about 8 songs which have been demoed and put up on the bands playlist and are sounding damned good.
(Spoo)Key Lyrics: “Hello Monster, how have you been? Did you travel very far?”
Bring Me The Horizon – It Was Written in Blood
A current massive guilty pleasure of mine is this northern bunch of lads who do screamo and metal and generally good tunes. Their old album, ‘Suicide Season’ is genuinely one of my favourite albums of last year and the follow up album ‘There is a hell believe me i’ve seen it, there is a heaven let’s keep it a secret’ hasn’t stopped being played by myself over the last month.
It Was Written in Blood is a perfect example of why this band are so damned listenable; catchy guitar rifts and Oli Sykes screaming his lungs out, but in an unexplainable ‘I can’t stop listening’ way.
(Spoo)Key Lyrics: “Like roses, we blossom and die.”
Panic! At the Disco / Marilyn Manson – This is Halloween
Panic! work their magic on the ‘Nightmare before Christmas’ classic theme with great results. Brendan Urie’s vocals are, as per usual, on form and with the full string accompaniment this has the little taste of Disney in it, but yet it also works as a Panic! song. Very apt for obvious reasons, plus the film is awesome.
If Panic! Doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, Marilyn Manson has also covered it and it’s exactly as you can imagine; dirty guitar, no strings, and Manson spitting the words with venom.
(Spoo)Key Lyrics: “This is Halloween, everybody make a scene.”
Lightning Seeds – Ghosts
The first CD I ever got was actually a Lightening Seeds one, and because I’m so aware of this and remember the moment so clearly I’ve always held a little place in my heart for the band. Ghosts is actually a brand new track from the Lightening Seeds and is definitely worthy of being on this list, even if they hadn’t been ‘my first’.
Key Lyric: “All the ghosts inside my room, Are laughing in the evening gloom.”
(+44) – Lycanthrope
I remember how excited I was first time I heard this back in 2006 and fell in love with everything this band did, which wasn’t a big surprise being the massive Blink fan I was. One of the most up-tempo songs and chosen as the opening to the album this shows off Mark’s voice and Travis’ incredible drumming ability.
Key Lyric: “And I still feel you looking over my shoulder, Your sinking guilt and approaching nightmare.”
Queens of the Stone Age – A Song for the Dead
Taken from the incredible ‘Songs for the Deaf’ this is textbook QOTSA, with the crunch of guitar we’re all too familiar with kicking the song off, it isn’t soon before vocalist Josh Homme completes the happy relationship between guitar and voice all in preparation for the killer guitar solo.
Paramore – Misguided Ghosts
I wouldn’t normally plump for a Paramore song on a playlist I wanted people to check out, but this is quite a long way away from the comfort zone of the American pop rockers. With just an incredibly mellow acoustic guitar, Hayley Williams shows she really can hold a tune and the end result is a calming and stunning piece of music.
Key Lyric: ‘We are just, Misguided ghosts, Travelling endlessly’
30 Seconds to Mars - The Kill
One of their catchier releases off ‘A Beautiful Lie’, ‘The Kill’ possesses a fantastically powerful chorus, interesting guitar work, a wide vocal range and an amazing video which parodies The Shining, all of which make this a shoe-in for my Halloween playlist.
The song that got me into this band and possibly one of their best.
Went to watch Minus the Bear tonight based on my love of the 2002 album ‘Highly Refined Pirates’, an album that’s accompanied me for a good 8 years and never failed to disappoint.
The band sounded fantastic, it’s almost like watching clockwork as they all work perfectly together and whilst it was a real treat to hear a few tracks I love plus a few of the newer ones I quite like, there was something a bit ‘off’ with the whole event.
My friend who came with me summed it up perfectly when he said in reference to the ape-like blokes in front of us drunkenly shouting random noises and complaining about the songs, “It’s like they thought they were coming to see the Klaxons.”
Sadly the band also picked up on the poor vibe throughout the venue but luckily a few dedicated fans at the front managed to lift the mood towards the end and help the band finish on a high….
…Until lead singer Jake Snider said ‘Imagine what it could have been like if it was like this the whole time.’
Am I Wry? No - Mew
Mew brings me back to the days when I was obsessed with rock bands like Brand New, Circa Survive, and Cursive. Those were the days where I would rock out and revel in the coalescence of shoegaze guitars, bass, progressive drums, and borderline emo lyrics. Mew and other bands like them will always have a play in my heart and iPod.
“I know you and I know you’re not afraid.”
OneRepublic - Native
I’m really pleased that this album is as excellent as it is. I was a hugely unexpectant fan of previous 2009 release 'Waking Up' but it forced its way into my life a few years ago, becoming my album of choice in the evenings as I tried to drift off to sleep.
Native has picked up from where 'Waking Up' left off and whilst isn't groundbreaking, it's still really bloody good!
My favourite track at the moment is 'I Lived', due to the fact I particularly like some of the lyrics, they’re incredibly uplifting and take a view on life I passionately agree with;
"Hoping you take that jump,
But don’t fear the fall.
Hope when the water rises,
You built a wall.
Hoping the crowd screams out,
Screaming your name.
Hope if everybody runs,
You chose to stay.
Hope that you fall in love,
And it hurts so bad.
The only way you can know,
Is give it all you have.
And I hope that you don’t suffer,
But take the pain.
Hope when the moment comes,
I, I did it all.
I, I did it all.
I owned every second,
That this world could give,
I saw so many places,
And things that I did,
Of every broken bone,
I swear I lived.”
There is another verse and interlude and all sorts of lovely electronic drum fills but I think you get the picture…!
-N.B - Here’s a link to that post I wrote in January 2010 about previous album ‘Waking Up’.
“Don’t Swallow the Cap” by The National // Trouble Will Find Me (Out 5.21.13 via 4AD)
The National are one of the best bands in the world. It seems like an easy fact to process in my brain at this point. I cannot remember ever being disappointed in the band’s creative output, live shows, or general all around solid vibe. “Trouble Will Find Me” is set to drop in a little over a month, but the band was good enough to release a second single today over at Youtube, for the track “Don’t Swallow the Cap”. Once again, the song finds the band pushing a driving beat as orchestral flourishes swell up around Matt Berninger’s soulful croon. It’s familiar territory, but it’s also a sound that the band does better than everyone else. A melancholic confessional that somehow leaves you feeling oddly triumphant in your normalcy. Berninger is a brilliant lyricist and it’s on full display here. Just press play. It’s a stunning track.
Hurts - Evelyn
For some reason this great song has been in my head all day long and it’s only now I’ve finally got round to listening to it.
And it was worth the wait.
This takes me back too…fucking loved this band.
I remember the first time I saw this video - I was hooked!
Spent a lot of money buying all their special edition merch and traveled to London twice to see them.
Great live band who at one stage really were huge…I thought they’d be around a hell of a lot longer than they were too.
**I know they are ‘still around’ as was pointed out, but what I meant was as in ‘in the public eye’ because I can tell you now that the majority of people I know who did at once stage like this band wouldn’t even know they brought out ‘Vices and Virtues’ yet alone are still actually a performing act!
I said I was going to listen to a certain group of bands over the next few weeks pretty exclusively but a slight confession is that certain bands like All-American Rejects and Jimmy Eat World never really left my playlists of choice and I would often listen to the odd track here and there.
BUT Fall Out Boy I’d somehow convinced myself were a bit shit and that I was never really a big fan. That, however, is actually one big silly lie. The truth is I used to love that band…I remember walking to and from lectures every day listening to ‘From Under the Cork Tree’ and I remember how excited I was to see them live.
I stand by my judgement that their later music was definitely lacking something and never did it for me as much as their older stuff. ‘Folie a Deux’ and parts of ‘Inifinity on High’ all blur into one big generic piece of blahhhh…
But ‘Take This to Your Grave’ is one pretty damned good piece of poppunk.
Anways - I realised I’m waffling about not much so I’ll get to my point.
I hope their new album is fresh and exciting but I have serious doubts as to whether it will be…which would be a real shame.
Also their new single samples Plan B?! Did not see that coming!
Jimmy Eat World - Invented
God I really enjoyed listening through this, Futures and Bleed American in their entirety today.
I’m not going to stop on this current binge of my 2005/2006 music taste.
Bring on Fall Out Boy, Panic!, AAR, MCR, Sum 41, CIWWAF, The Academy Is and whoever else I can think of!