ALBUM REVIEW: Dan Auerbach- Waiting On a Song

By Brogan McKeown (@leopardprintdream

Black Key’s front man, Dan Auerbach, has released his second solo album since his debut, Keep It Hid, in 2009. Auerbach’s new album, Waiting on A Song is an album written, it seems, for one purpose; time travel. The songs and the sounds are undeniably influenced by past stars and it sounds like something you would have heard if you had been at Woodstock. 

Waiting on a Song
is a very satisfying mixture of sounds that are so delightful it’s hard not to feel completely relaxed as you listen. Indie anthem of the year. Many Black Keys’ fans have been anxiously anticipating it’s release and now that it’s finally here, let’s have a look at this 10 track phenomenon. 

The eponymous titled track is one that really gets you involved in this album and being the first song, it couldn’t have had a better position on the track listing. It is a total blast from the past revamped and it just works so well. The song sounds almost like America would sound in the 70s and the music video just totally confirms this feeling. The video is a montage of young kids and the good times they share with each other before they move away- making the song perfect for this. Listening to Waiting on a Song will get you gearing up for a road trip with your friends and spending some quality time with each other. 

Fourth track Shine on Me is a feelgood song that is bound to cheer anyone up. This track immediately starts with a funky, quick guitar riff and you know that it’s going to be a good one. The song is something that would be perfect for a trip and with its catchy chorus which doesn’t say too much, but it doesn’t need to, it’s hard for this to not get stuck in your head. The chorus simply repeats shine on me, but it is very fitting. Other lines such as I’m allergic to the tears contributes to the feelgood nature of the song and really brings it all together.

Livin’ In Sin 
is very similar to Shine on Me as the feelgood feeling is present here. It’s a happy, catchy song and the chorus repeats livin’ in sin and with catchy guitar riffs, you can’t go wrong. Again, this is a song that doesn’t need a long chorus to do the job. The song has a country feel and is bound to be instantly appealing to your ears. 
Never in My Wildest Dreams is a cutesy guitar love song (everyone is a sucker for one of these) that pulls you in straight away. The lyrics are that of a relatable nature making the song just that little bit sweeter: “you’re just too good to touch I can’t discuss it much I get too choked, don’t wanna make a scene”. 

Now, Malibu Man is a song that really stands out. The song begins with a piano sequence that can be likened to that of The Doors. Already, you’re transported to a different decade thanks to the blues sounds and you’re almost waiting for Jim Morrison to start busting out some lyrics. It is a great groove and confirms the time travel feeling.

King of a One Horse Road is a fantastic song with many different influences within it, the 60s influence in it being felt through the chords and riffs. Dan Auerbach has captured something within his song that is just so so clever it’s fantastic- the past. The song is about a struggle and songs of this nature are a very appealing thing to many as we all like a song we can relate to. This song is definitely one of the first you should listen to if you’re going to try out the album. 

Cherrybomb is another worthy mention at it just oozes with groove as Auerbach’s vocals take you on a journey. The song is a classic hit with a little kick of kind of spice that is irresistible. Similarly, Undertow has the same effect. This track begins with a beat that keeps on going and sounds like Auerbach is stomping is foot on the ground (making you want to as well).

Waiting on a Song is so clever; it is delicious. The album is a total blast from the past that will have you transported somewhere to the 60s and 70s within seconds. If someone had told me this album was from these decades, I’d have believed them. It’s so authentic it’ll make everyone want more. However, it does have a modern twist on it that justifies its place in the 21st century (and some awards too). Dan Auerbach has done a remarkable job.

9.5/10


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Album Review: The Charlatans – Different Days

By Brogan McKeown (Link 2 Site)

Different Days by The Charlatans is a musical treat that is bound to make you wish you were abroad with a cold beer in hand with the sun beating down on you. The album really is a zesty flow of sounds, many with an almost soothing melody- bound to be very pleasing to your ears.

This is the band’s 13th studio album and is a sequel to their previous album, Modern Nature. 13 is said to be an unlucky number, but not for The Charlatans. The album was self-produced in the band’s studio in Crewe, an English town and is full of famous names which is enough to get everyone waiting in anticipation for its release including Paul Weller, Johnny Marr, and Kurt Wagner, pretty much making any fan of music screech in glee.

Still going strong, and with the resurgence of 90s music, the band has really captured the hearts of their die hard fans and news ones alike. Different Days is like stepping into a time machine. A particular highlight has to be the eponymous track Different Days which is full to the brim with character. While the track bares a lot of pressure considering its self-titled nature, it manages to wonderfully set the tone for the album very early on and with an appearance from Johnny Marr, a guitar playing icon, it’s no surprise to have such a powerful rock sound fuelling every second of the track

Two tracks later, The Charlatans show they’re still capable of giving off major 90s vibes on Plastic Machinery. The song breeds an almost dream-like sound transporting you to a different place as your ears take it all in. With lines like “our love is just like a dream to me” the euphoria is projected and the song becomes very catchy, very quickly. Groovy and psychedelic, it makes for some easy listening though that should not be viewed as an insult. While they’ve been around for a long time, The Charlatans still show no sign of fatigue as Plastic Machinery is so appealing and so revivifying that it will remind you of why love this band in the first place.

Over Again is a track with a  lot of different sounds going on. When the song starts, straight away, you’re taken back to the 90s with the familiar sounding electronic drum heard in many club songs during that period. Then the song goes into a more wavy, indie sound as lead singer, Tim Burgess, begins to sing with a jumpy melody that soon goes into short guitar strums as the song picks up right before the chorus. As the chorus begins, the music quickly turns into an 80s synth pop sound which is so pleasing that it is hard not to love this song. While the abundance of different sounds on display would have you worried that it would be over encumbered, this track manages to shake off any doubts and will have you listening to it, well, over and over again.

Image result for the charlatans 2017

Considering it’s a title you wouldn’t be surprised to hear in that decade, Spinning Out is unapologetically 90s: despite starting off with a classic piano, the track breaks out into an unapologetic ballad that portrays the longing of its protagonist. “Trying to get back there again with you” is one to fill you with nostalgia and one to relate to also. Like many of the lyrics in this album, this one has been used to evoke a feeling and to stand out in your brain.

Interestingly, the song features icon, Paul Weller, and is another song on the album that takes the band away from their comfort zone. However, this does not fail them as it is a great piece of music. Weller and The Charlatans may have seemed like an unlikely duo but the song is unlikely to disappoint.

The Charlatans have brought something to this album that many artists fail to do and that’s really engaging with their fans and providing them with something new but also something very true to their sound. The album features many different sounds from decades before it; the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s with the 90s being the most prominent influence. Different Days is so refreshing and this really is incredible for a band that has been in the industry for so long. The Charlatans prove it’s possible to keep on producing such fantastic albums; an art which you just cannot lose. With incredible melodies, synth, and guitar- the album is a groovy cocktail for your ears to get drunk on.

If you’re looking for an exhilarating trip back to the 90s. Listen no further.

9/10


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LOOKING BACK AT…THE CLASH by THE CLASH

By Brogan McKeown 

Punk legends The Clash released their iconic self-titled debut album 40 years ago on the 8th of April, 1977. Many fans of The Clash will agree, it’s hard to believe that this album was released 40 years ago, especially as we are still talking about it today.

Iconic is the right word for their self-titled debut album as it has done so much for music since it’s release, and is ranked as one of the greatest punk albums of all time for this very reason. 40 years on, people are still being influenced by this album. The famous indie band The Libertines have spoken of their admiration for The Clash and how influential they have been for their career. Therefore, the impact The Clash’s self-titled album has had is huge.

The Clash contributed to the growing punk scene, or ‘American New Wave’ which was making its way over from America in the 70s to become a new British wave of the genre. The punk revolution was a crazy time and The Clash seemed to fit in well due to their noisy tracks and their rebellious attitude. Like other punk bands, The Clash spoke for a generation of people who were sick and tired of the way things were and wanted change. Punk was a way for people to come together and voice their opinions and also have a bloody great time doing it. The Clash also had other influences in their music such as ska and reggae which showed them as musicians who had a lot of potential to stay relevant. The Clash broke down the walls between the genres and presented another way for them to break the rules.

5 young boys, Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon and Terry Chimes, created the majority of their first album in an 18-story block of flats. This album is inspirational, due to the massive influence this album has on young people who dream of being musicians. This album tells young people, or anyone wanting to make music, that you can do it no matter where you’re from. The Clash are an example of a band who came from nothing but managed to chase that dream- admirable.

Now, onto the songs! Let’s highlight the most important songs from this album that are still popular today. The whole album is so promising that many are not surprised The Clash ended up as popular as they were. They gave the public an album that they could sing along to, they gave people a platform to sing about what was wrong in the world and let out their frustrations through music. The songs on this album are very short- which is fine as it is effective. The Clash didn’t need to make their songs any longer to be able to get their point across. The album is one quick jumpy song to another which makes it a very interesting listen.

Let’s start with the opening song, Janie Jones, which is written about the owner of a brothel…

 

The song immediately goes into short, aggressive bursts of guitar that tell you, straight away, that this band has a big punk influence. Lead singer Joe Strummer hits out with the first lyric “he’s in love with rock’n’roll woah” which is an immediate crowd pleaser as the line is repeated throughout the song promising a chant for fans at their gigs. This song is what The Clash are all about. Short snappy lines complimented by powerful guitar strums to give off a jumpy rhythm.

The next song is White Riot.Counting us in with 1,2,3,4 then shoving crazy guitar at us is, again, great for a gig environment.In this song, you can hear the similarities between the aforementioned Libertines and The Clash and exactly where they would have got their influence from. This song is the classic punk and indie song that is due to make you want to jump up and down, going crazy, not caring who is watching. You can imagine many punks jumping around with their leather jackets on. However, this song would have had an indie influence- you can almost hear a ska influence there too.

 

Another song to mention is Career Opportunites. This song is a message to the young people who find themselves unemployed and going nowhere. The Clash were very in tune with the times they were living in throughout their whole career- a very punk thing to do. Songs such as I’m So Bored with the USA from this album also show how in tune and fed up they were with the world at this time. Career Opportunities would have been one for people to dance to and relate to giving people that platform to let out their frustrations.

Last but not least, there’s Police & Thieves which makes for a great listen due to its catchy guitar rhythm and many different stages of the song. The beginning immediately goes into a nice drum beat with short bursts of a guitar to start revving people up. Strummer’s singing compliments a very reggae sounding song and the repetitiveness of “oh yeah” makes it a catchy listen, making it easy to sing along to and get a feel for.

The song highlights all of the genres that I’ve mentioned above which influence The Clash. This song is so important as it fits so much into it. The Clash amaze fans due to their many different influences making them whole and able to appeal to many different people.Being the longest song, there was a lot of room for experimentation and the song is a success. Good on ’em.

That’s only some of the songs as well! This album is iconic as it paved the way for the band’s success and classic songs such as Rock the Casbah and London Calling. The music world is grateful that these young lads, with a dream, recorded their first album. Thank you for influencing even more musicians after you to create brilliant music.

There has been a lot of debate around whether the band can be called a ‘punk’ band due to their ska and reggae influences in a lot of their songs. The mainstream understanding of being punk is going against the system and doing whatever the hell you want. The Clash did just that with their different sounds and they weren’t going to stay tied down to just one. They didn’t care what anyone thought of that, they were going to do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted- that is punk.


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