Friday, 29 June 2012

Beats: The Elijah – I Loved I Hated I Destroyed I Created review



The Elijah are a 5 piece progressive metal band from Shropshire in England. I’d not heard of them before this album came through my door so I was unsure what to find.

What did I find?

The album starts off with an eerie synthesised atmosphere in the song In Misery along with some light drumming. This builds up into a nice orchestral background and some slow, progressive death metal vocals. It’s amazing that such vocals can carry such atmosphere. The song dies down into just the synths and drums with some clean vocals which are really nice but a tad sombre before building up with more heaviness and death metal vocals. This switching between clean and death metal vocals and sometimes even duets that work really well continues throughout the song and really works with the atmosphere in the background.

The second track, I Loved starts off with pianos and a strum of guitar with similar drumming to the first track along with clean vocals. I can’t help but think he sounds so sad. Maybe it’s a good thing, it’s full of emotion. The wrong emotion though. This guy could easily sing in a more upbeat manner but he may as well be singing Engelbert Humperdinck’s Eurovision entry. The music in this track is pretty much exactly the same as the first, there doesn’t seem to be any variation.

Now this is more like it, In Fear starts off incredibly brutal yet orchestral. This is what I wanted. Just a little change. Death metal vocals start it off before the clean singing kicks in. The issue is that I don’t like the clean vocals on this track; as they fade out he kind of croaks and it almost sounds like air escaping from a dinghy. The guitars on this track are way more noticeable which is definitely a good thing but again with the drums, they’re the same in every track so far.

The rest of the album is exactly the same all of the way through bar a couple of instrumental tracks and don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad thing but I have a big issue with bands who have less variation than a plate full of plain cocktail sausages; granted, they’re really fucking good cocktail sausages but I really think that The Elijah could do a lot more with the incredible musical and vocal talent they have.

I do really fucking love this album though; it’s beautiful yet brutal and I think it would sound even better on vinyl (please release it on vinyl).

If you like heavy yet beautifully orchestral music, you will love this. Even if you’re not into death metal style vocals I think you could enjoy this album purely for the music – if you’re doing something while listening to it, you barely notice the vocals which can be a really nice thing. You can just choose to switch them off.

The ElijahI Loved I Hated I Destroyed I Created is out on Monday 2nd July on Small Town Records.


Nate

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Beats: Dead Belgian – Love & Death: The Songs of Jacques Brel



 "Beautiful & an idiot at the same time" - Sums me up!

Dead Belgian are a Liverpool-based band playing the music of Jacques Brel.  They began life in 2007, inspired to share Brel’s music with all who would listen.  Each member brought their own influences to the band, from European folk to progressive rock, stripping the songs to their bare bones and fattening them up again using a ramshackle drum kit, ukulele, guitar, accordion, saxophone, mandolin, clarinet and flute.

The album opens up with a wonderfully cheerful rendition of Madeleine. It really is wonderful… you find yourself immediately jigging along to the sound of the accordion and the saxophone. The vocalist is very talented and makes even the French language sound beautiful… the one language and accent I usually can’t stand.

The second song is in English, it’s probably my favourite on the album; It’s called Au Suivant and it’s sombre as fuck which is hardly surprising considering that the song seems to be about child prostitution. It really is quite powerful.

The last song I want to talk about is Le Moribond. It’s quite depressing in some parts but also upbeat and catchy. Musically, there’s not as much going on as most other songs but it really does the trick.

All in all, this is a wonderful album. Sometimes it’s very cheery and upbeat, other times it’s quite sombre and depressing. There’s a good mix.

These guys (and girl) are all incredibly talented and they’ve really done well in bringing the music of Jacques Brel back to life.

I’ve not seen them live yet but I hope to in the near future although, I do wonder how they will do it as each person plays multiple instruments. I hope they draft in session musicians instead of using a backing track. 

Dead BelgianLove & Death: The Songs of Jacques Brel is out on Monday 2nd July through any decent online retailer at the very least.

Go buy it if you like French sounding folk music that will make you smile yet cry. There’s something for everyone here.


Nate

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Blogging: The Anti-social Element

I've noticed that several people have unfollowed me on twitter lately. Probably for a few reasons that include:

1) I've been quite depressed lately.
            Well, my Doctor says I might be depressed but what does he know? I, personally just think I'm a bit miserable. You can't blame me for this. Maybe I shouldn't convey my feelings on a social networking site but sometimes I can't help it. I'm only human. Things aren't going well in most areas of my life right now. Fair play to people who can pretend to be happy all the time; I'd  quite like to be one of those people but I'm not. I don't blame you for unfollowing me for this reason though, I'm a miserable bastard mostly.

2) I tweet a lot.
            Yes, I tweet a lot. I clog up your newsfeeds. People don't like this. I got twitter originally because people said I update my facebook status too much. I then grew to like it and started tweeting even more. I tweet about music mainly. Each day I like to dedicate to a different genre of music and tweet the albums I'm listening to. In case you didn't notice, my blog doesn't just cover the topic of beer, it covers music and food too. I hashtag the genre and the day to try and get people involved. I don't appreciate being unfollowed by tweeting about what I love - even if it is a lot - and trying to get people involved. For being social.

3) I swear a lot.
            To put it elegantly, I don't give a fuck. I like to use the whole of the English language. I don't care why swearing is socially unacceptable. At least I don't use the C word. Also, I'm not racist.

 4) People think I'm arrogant.
             I think you mean awesome.

5)  I post song lyrics a lot.
             Yes, I do. Funnily enough, I like music. My favourite part of music is lyrical content so of course I'm going to post lyrics, even if they're lyrics I can't relate to like Wu-Tang Clan lyrics. I can honestly say that I have never grabbed the clip and hit anyone with 16 shots or more for that matter.

6) I like Carling.
           People unfollow me because I like Carling. Probably. This is not a serious point. I just don't like odd numbers.


I guess people unfollowing me just started to annoy me a bit. I'd rather people tell me that they don't like the shit I'm tweeting/how I tweet said shit/the frequence of tweeting shit instead of just unfollowing me.


The funny thing about this blog post is that said people I'm pissed off at for unfollowing me probably won't even see this...

Another ridiculous blog-post by Nate Dawg

Nate
http://www.twitter.com/NateDawg27 [Don't unfollow]

Monday, 25 June 2012

Booze: Nate Dawg vs. Craft Beer


I like beer. I like real ale. I like macro-lagers. I like craft beer. I like keg beer. I like cask ale. I like bottled beer. I like canned beer. I like beer.

The issue I have is that craft beer is full of shit.

Here are some of my feelings towards craft beer:

1)      Barrel Ageing
 
Don’t get me wrong I like some barrel aged beers but now it seems that every fucker is doing it and it’s no longer niche. Brewdog Paradox is great. I’ve had paradox poured from a wooden barrel, it’s beautiful but the issue is that everyone’s copying that kind of thing and making it so limited that nobody will ever get to fucking drink it anyway. Another thing is the price of them. I appreciate that it can’t be cheap to buy old whisk(e)y casks but Brewdog just released Tokyo* Rising Sun which is a barrel aged version of the first ever batch of Tokyo*. Sounds cool, right? Well my issue is that this is beer that they apparently literally forgot they had sitting in the barrel only to discover it 4 years later. Sounds cool, right? Yeah, it is if you want to spend £25 on a bottle of beer that was probably meant to be sold 3 years ago at half the fucking price. It probably tastes like vinegar, I don’t know as I’ve not seen any reports on it nor will I ever buy a bottle. Everyone’s doing it. It’s not special.

Nate Dawg’s Verdict: Barrel ageing is now boring and too expensive for everyone. You need to find something else like ageing it inside a rotting whale’s stomach… Whales are big enough to hold a decent batch that everyone can have a bottle of.

2)      One-Time-Only Beers

“Hey, guess what? We just brewed such an amazing beer. It’s so amazing that there’s only actually one keg in existence and it’s going to be at <insert bar name> here tomorrow night, come along!”

This is a really good idea. No, really; it’s fucking genius. Only allow the people who live in said town or have money for private helicopters or stupidly expensive on the day train fares drink your absolutely amazing beer.

Seriously. I’m not rich. I can’t afford to just jump on a train purely to get one beer (and literally only one, they probably don’t even let people have more than one third – I wouldn’t know as I never get to fucking go.)

Nate Dawg’s Verdict: Do it all you like. These one time only beers are actually a great idea – just give me some fucking notice so I can get to the goddamn bar.

3)      High ABV Beers

“Oh look. This is high percentage. Anything under 5.6% is weak and is for girls. We’ve made this one so bitter that we hope girls don’t like it. If guys don’t like it, they’re a CAMRA member.”

Nate Dawg’s Verdict: Low percentage beers can be flavoursome too.

4)      Low(er) ABV Beers

“Oh dear. We’re terribly sorry for what we said about beers under 5.6% being for girls and CAMRA members so we’re going to make it up to you and brew a flavoursome beer at 3% to prove that we are all round awesome. LOOK MUM, ARE YOU PROUD OF US?”
  
Nate Dawg’s Verdict: Christ. Stop trying so hard to prove yourself. People like your beers but you’re just trying to prove that you’re not horrible and totally against people who like weaker beers. Yes, you have to cater to the whole market but don’t make such a big deal out of it. Also, when brewers who generally don't brew low(er) ABV beers decide to brew one, they usually turn out to be really unbalanced and not too pleasant.

5)      Exporting Beer

“We just shipped off our first pallet of beer to <insert country here> today” – Cool. Good for you.

One thing, though: When I asked you about getting some of your beers in Norwich and when I’ve spoken to local landlords who have enquired about buying some of your beer for their wonderful pubs you told them that Norwich is too fucking far. Yeah, Norwich is too far? You’re sending beer to Sweden for fuck’s sake.

Sort out potential customers in your own country before trying to conquer the world.

Nate Dawg’s Verdict: I respect that some brewers are still only small and can’t deliver everything by hand but there are distribution companies around and it can’t be that expensive to arrange, surely? I know that a local pub/micro-brewery owner has a deal with another fairly national brewer who has the means to distribute beers so that he can get his beers to places other than Norfolk – It’s a straight up trade-off too, beer for beer! I also know another local brewer who will happily just shove a cask of ale in the boot of his car to take to a pub if he happens to be going that way. There are ways to nationalise your beers without needing a 20,000 barrel operation.

6)      Beer Snobbery

I fucking hate snobs, I really do. In any scenario – whether it’s clothing snobs who won’t shop at Primark because their clothes don’t have tiny fucking penguin for a logo or supermarket snobs who will only shop at Waitrose because that twat Delia Smith endorses it.

Beer snobs are probably even worse.

I’m happy to call myself a beer geek, as are many others but what some people may not realise (or realise and choose not to acknowledge) is that they’re straight up snobs.

I will recommend people beers until the cows come home but I would never have a go at someone for drinking a beer that they like which is something that has happened to me frequently. Obviously in this instance I am talking about my love for what you’d call “Macro-lager” but indeed it has happened with good quality lager too.

Even now that I have developed what can only really be called a reputation as a beer geek who loves Carling, people try to convince me not to drink it. Deal with it. I'm not waterboarding you, shouting "DRINK CARLING!" in your face. Fuck you.

Nate Dawg’s Verdict: Fuck you, beer snobs. There’s really no need for it. By all means, try to influence someone to drink a beer that you like and you think they might like but telling someone not to drink <insert beer here> because it’s shit is wrong. Sort it out.


I love craft beer but Christ Almighty, it makes me angry sometimes. 

I'd be interested to know your opinions.

Nate

Friday, 22 June 2012

Beats: Eurovision Part Two

I’ll admit, I enjoyed reviewing part one of the Eurovision album, you can read it here if you missed it:


It also destroyed my soul, however, as most of the songs were so goddamn depressing. I’m hoping this isn’t the case with Disc Two.

Let’s find out...

Israel: Izabo – Time
Wow. This is funky, really funky! I want to dance to it. The lead singer has quite an awesome voice but I really  hate the backing singers in the chorus.

Iceland: Greta Salome & Jonsi – Never Forget
This track has a really nice atmosphere about it. Piano, violins, big drums and a bit of synth. Greta & Jonsi are really talented singers and have a great chemistry and really work well together. I really like this song. Yeah, it’s a love song but it doesn’t sound depressing. Top marks, Iceland.

Italy: Nina Zilli – L’Amore E Femmina (Out of Love)
Imagine an Italian version of Amy Winehouse. Well, that. I like it. My only issue, however, is that half the song is in English and the other half Italian... I can’t deal with that. Stick to one language please.

Lithuania: Donny Montell – Love Is Blind
Remember back on disc one where everyone had the same backing track? Well that. Yet again but then half way through the song the music changes to an electronic drum beat then some funky guitars which could be good but I really don’t like his singing voice, he sounds like he’s struggling.

Latvia: Anmary – Beautiful Song
Sounds funky and eastern European almost. The drums sound programmed and do not match the music. She has a really weird voice that I don’t like and it’s not because of her accent. I don’t like it but it’s catchy.

Moldova: Pasha Parfeny – Lautar
Very funky! It’s really upbeat and is making me smile. I really like this song! It’s making me smile! It’s sunny! Now, where’s my cocktail?

Monenegro: Rambo Amadeus – Euro Neuro
This is hilarious hip-hop in a Serbian accent! It’s amazing. This guy is phenomenal. It gets a bit funky half way through. I like this because it’s making me laugh! Amazing.

F.Y.R. Macedonia: Kaliopi – Crno E Belo
Again with the fucking pianos and sadness. I don’t understand what she’s singing but I bet it’s depressing. And It sounded like she just sang “lager”. Then it gets more upbeat with some electric guitars but she still sounds depressing but then she sounds like she’s cheering up. Stick to one emotion. She is a good singer though so I’ll give her that.

Malta: Kurt Calleja – This Is The Night
Dance music... straight up dance/club music and unsurprisingly the song is about love but it doesn’t sound depressing. I am not ashamed to say that I genuinely like this song. I would dance very badly to it in a club.

The Netherlands: Joan Franka – You and Me
Wow. Just wow. This is decent folk/country music. Awesome acoustic music and a really talented singer. I really fucking like this!

Norway: Tooji – Stay
This is club music at it’s best. Beefy beats. That’s about it though. Also, he sounds like a woman.

Portugal: Filipa Sousas – Vida Minha
This is Mediterranean music but not fast enough for me to enjoy it. Slow and depressing but then half way through come some dance beats which really don’t work. Stop confusing my ears.

Romania: Mandinga - Zaleilah
It starts off sounding what I can only describe as Romanian but that continues in a dance music fashion. I really hate the singer because she drags out notes for waaaaaaaaay too long.

Serbia: Zeljko Joksimovic – Nije Ljubav Stvar
Violins and pianos. It sounds so sad. This guy is a good singer but he should really cheer the fuck up.

Russia: Buranovskiye Babushki (Buranovo Grannies) – Party For Everybody
It’s a bunch of grannies singing about the fact that everybody should have a party. This is pure fucking Eurovision. How could anyone possibly hate this?

Sweden: Loreen – Euphoria
                It’s dance music. The kind that I imagine is in every single nightclub in Sweden. I don’t feel even slightly euphoric or even dizzy though so I kinda feel cheated.

Slovenia: Eva Boto – Verjamem
                It sounds so fucking sad. Like a lot of Eurovision songs, it seems. I’m not happy anymore.

Slovakia: Max Jason Mai – Don’t Close Your Eyes
He’s going for the heavy rock sound and I quite like it. Some good guitar-work and all round quite good, musically. I don’t mind his voice either. It’s actually quite refreshing to hear something that slightly resembles rock music.

San Marino: Valentina Monetta – The Social Network Song (Oh Oh – Uh – Oh Oh)
You’re singing about social networking. Fuck off. The fact that you had to change the lyrics of your song because Mark Zuckerberg was going to sue you because it was originally called the Facebook song is hilarious but still, fuck off. I don’t want to hear anyone sing about social networking ever.

Turkey: Can Bonomo – Love Me Back
This is awesome. I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s slightly pirate-y. Is there even such a thing as a Turkish pirate? Yeah, he’s singing about being a sailor but he’s actually a pirate. I don’t care. It’s cool.

Ukraine: Gaitana – Be My Guest
Trumpets and violins that don’t work together start off before it goes into a dance song. I’m not sure I’m into this one at all. No. I don’t like this.


To summarise disc two: It’s much, much better than disc one. It’s not all totally fucking depressing. Most of these songs are actually quite fun. And someone sings about social networking.

My favourite track on this would probably be The Netherlands’ Joan Franka.

So, that’s the end of Eurovision 2012. I’m quite disappointed that I didn’t have more bad things to say about the second disc but I suppose really, I expected it to be terrible.

That’s the thing with Eurovision. Everyone automatically expects every song to be terrible because it’s Eurovision.

What was your favourite track?

If you like Eurovision, I’d highly recommend buying the album.

Nate

Beats: Eurovision 2012 album – Part one


Image from: http://www.eurovisionshop.tv/en/product/media/43/434/official-2-cd-esc-2012

Ahh, Eurovision. The one time of year where loads of countries in Europe enter musical artists into a contest to see who has the best music in Europe as voted for by the people of Europe.

When I first got the press release asking if I fancy reviewing this because it’ll be “fun”, I said no. I said “I’m sorry but I don’t think my readers want to read about Eurovision” but after conveying this on twitter and facebook, I had quite a few people saying I should do it. So I did.

I realised that this could actually be quite a fun experiment... to test whether every county enters complete and utter shit.

This is disc one:

Albania: Rona Nishilu – Suus
Nice Orchestral backing music but I simply cannot deal with her voice. She sounds like she’s putting way too much effort into it but getting nothing out of it.

Austria: Trackshittaz – Woki Mit Deim Popo 
This is what Eurovision is all about. A hilarious European rap group. I haven’t a clue what the hell they’re rapping about but judging by the name Trackshittaz they’re not taking things too seriously! Actually quite cool electronic backing music and skilled rappers. I tried translating the name of the track from German but it doesn’t work. I can only presume Popo is police.

Azerbaijan: Sabrina Babayeva – When The Music Dies
Wow. The host country has actually made an effort in picking someone who can sing. Sabrina Babayeva is a decent enough singer, has some great backing music yet again but I don’t like the “Oh-oh”s in the background and I don’t like the song.

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Maya Sar – Korake Ti Znam
Well, I like this woman’s voice. The problem I’m having is that this is the third song on the album that has pretty much the same bloody backing track. If this continues, I’ll be pissed off.

Belgium: Iris – Would You
Oh shit. She’s gone for the same backing music yet again but with some effortless acoustic guitars. Christ almighty. The song is so depressing as well. She almost reminds me of Vanessa Carlton. I dunno, I suppose it’s a good enough pop song.

Bulgaria: Sofi Marinova – Love Unlimited
A dance track that sounds like someone has made it on EJay. You know EJay, right? It’s the ‘fun’ music creation software that you used to get free with PC magazines years ago. The vocals don’t match the music, though. The vocals need to be more electronic and upbeat. A lot faster too.

Belarus: Litesound – We Are The Heroes
I’m going to lose a lot of respect for saying this but fuck it... I actually like this track because it’s so catchy. Also, it’s funny when they sing “Winners” because it sounds like “Wieners”.

Switzerland: Sinplus – Unbreakable
When I read the name Sinplus, I automatically though it was going to be a woman especially considering the title of the song is Unbreakable. This is actually half-decent though. He’s a fairly decent singer with alright music in the background.

Cyprus: Ivi Adamou – La La Love
YES! THIS IS EUROVISION ALL OVER! It’s a cheesy pop song. Admittedly it’s not my sort of thing but it’s Eurovision’s sort of thing. It’s complete euro-pop. This is what’s necessary after listening to so many goddamn depressing songs. It’s upbeat and catchy. La La Love. Fuck yes!

Germany: Roman Lob – Standing Still
Another love song. What a surprise. German pop music I’ve usually found to be a lot more cheerful but not this. I don’t care if you’re standing still or whatever. Don’t just stand still, fucking dance.

Denmark: Soluna Samay – Should’ve Known Better
Musically it’s way too simple. She’s an alright singer. I’m running out of things to say about any of these songs. Another depressing one.

Estonia: Ott Lepland – Kuula
Slow pianos? Check. Slow, depressing singer? Check. Just like most of the songs I’ve heard so far? Check. He’s not even a good singer.

Spain: Pastora Soler – Quedate Conmigo (Stay With Me)
Seriously, Spain? You can do better than this. Even if it is a cheesy pop song like most of your entries. I’m not enjoying this.

Finland: Pernilla – Nar Jag Blundar
                It’s not Lordi.

France: Anggun – Echo (You and I)
I never thought I’d say this but France has a decent enough dance entry. Starting with a rather hilarious guy saying “Boom boom” a few times. The female vocalist seems to be switching between singing in French and English which I’m not comfortable with. Stick to one language please.

United Kingdom: Engelbert Humperdinck – Love Will Set You Free
Go away Engelbert. Go away BBC voters. Granted it’s better than most of our recent entries but still. Go away. I don’t like it. You’re old. Why can’t we have a musical artist who sounds like they actually give a shit? We’ll never win. Also, he’s basically saying that not everyone will find love therefore they’ll have a shit life. Fuck off.

Georgia: Anri Jokhadze – I’m A Joker
Well I thought this was just going to be some kind of opera prick but that goes into a weird dance beat vibe. This guy is hilarious. He really is a joker. Or just a joke. I can’t figure out which. I like it though. Well done, Georgia.

 Greece: Eleftheria Eleftheriou – Aphrodisiac
At first, it sounds like Eastern European folk music but then it goes into a dance type thing. I suppose this is what Eurovision needs to be yet again. I can never take this kind of music seriously. At least it’s not depressing.

Croatia: Nina Badric – Nebo
                Acoustic guitars, violins and a horrible echo on the mic. I don’t like it.

Hungary: Compact Disco – Sound of our Hearts
Electronic but depressing. Not even good electronic, yet again. I suppose the guy can sing. Just stop being depressing.

Ireland: Jedward – Waterline
                It’s Jedward. Fuck off.



To summarise disc one: Most songs sound exactly the same, Lordi aren't playing for Finland and Jedward are playing for Ireland.

My favourite track on the first disc has to be Austria's entry, Trackshittaz. Just because it's hilarious.

What was your favourite track?

Stay tuned for disc two...

Nate
http://www.twitter.com/NateDawg27