Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Who The Fuck Is Biggie Smalls?!

I was just wondering what people's reactions would be if I pretended I didn't know Notorious B.I.G. was dead, when somebody very close to me - naming no names - made it evident that they don't actually know who B.I.G. was/is in the first place. I don't know whether it's just me being a little ignorant or not, but I was kind of under the impression that everybody knows about Biggie Smalls. If not, I feel like you probably should know, because he's got to be in the top ten of most important rap artists to have ever lived - he's in mine at least.
Born Christopher Wallace in New York City, he spent some time as a crack dealer before making a demo tape that caught the attention of some producers, as it does, and making his way into the hip hop scene. West Coast (California) hip hop was bigger at the time, but Biggie did a lot for East Coast hip hop and, as a result, ended up part of the fighting between the two sides, and ultimately was killed in a drive-by shooting. The murderer and motive are still unknown, but a lot of people suggest it was due to the fighting, which also resulted in Tupac Shakur's death (you may just have heard of him . . .).
As does tend to happen in hip hop, Biggie collaborated with a lot of people in his time, notably Puff Daddy, Lil Kim and Snoop Dogg amongst others - some while alive, some in remastered versions of songs after he died.
"How will I know if I like him?" I hear you ask. Conveniently enough, I've included links to some of my favourite Biggie Smalls songs here. Maybe it's not a very original-sounding selection, but they're some of his more popular songs for a reason:


Nasty Girl (feat. Puff Daddy, Avery Storm, Nelly & Jagged Edge)

Big Poppa

Mo Money Mo Problems (feat. Mase & Puff Daddy)

Suicidal Thoughts

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Look, A Band - If You Like To Dance

I do like to dance, normally, I'll admit, but the band name sounds like a bit of a challenge. Are you saying I'll want to dance more when I listen to you? 'Cause that's a challenge, my friend.
Although I'm only one and a half minutes into Sleep, the first song on the soundcloud of these guys - who are apparently based in Manchester (best place to be) and influenced, amongst other things, by 'the wicked ways of women' (I'll choose to take that in the amusing way). I'd say that If You Like To Dance are rising to said challenge reasonably well. I was expecting rock or pop punk or something from the band name, but I suppose this sort of electronic, dancier music is more obvious. It's quite effectively summed up in their Facebook bio - "the sound of two lads with guitars and a laptop". I have only ever heard about thirty seconds of Bloc Party in my lifetime, but so far they've got a similar kind of shouting vocals and slightly frantic feel to the music that makes you imagine training montages or people free-running. Surprisingly enough, Bloc Party are indeed listed as one of their other influences. Who'd have known?

Skin And Bone (above), which they've apparently gotten played on Radio One, is my favourite track so far. It sounds a little bit more melancholy, but melancholy can sound great in a song if you do it right.
They sound a little bit samey at the moment, and perhaps aren't quite my kind of thing, but if you're into alternative dance stuff (had to Wikipedia that), it's definitely worth your time to give them a listen

Looking At Bands

Yeah, I'm back to that. I did want looking at smaller, newer bands to be a bigger part of what I write about, but then obviously I got kind of distracted and all my writing devices died.
However, now I'm back at it, or hope to at least start on it. I'll be working through the bands that have followed me/I'm following on Twitter. This is not a request for you to follow me in return for a post about you, I hate when people do that, it's just where I find the bands usually. However, if you do have some music and want me to write about it (which might take a while because about 60% of the people I follow are bands but I will try) even though this is obviously not a famous blog, you can contact me on twitter (@izzybombizzee) or comment here or email me or something. Yes, do that.

Friday, 3 January 2014

I Will Fight Every Last One Of You (A Punk Playlist)

I blame Pax Am Days for this. I got Save Rock And Roll for Christmas off one of my aunts, but in a bizarre stroke of genius, she got me the Pax Am Days re-release version. Normal Fall Out Boy is pop punk, but in Pax, they're so amazingly punk that I have trouble not sitting there quietly screaming whenever I listen to it. It reminded me that, if I'm anything, I'd like to consider myself at least a little bit punk. My tastes may stray to other things, but punk always calls me back eventually. Of course, there may be some of you out there who scoff at what I consider punk - consider that your elitist categorising and pigeon-holing of music is really not punk, and therefore I win. You're just a servant of The Man.
In this spirit, I have created a bit of a punk playlist that I wrote in that cool way people do on tumblr. Some of it's 'proper' punk, some of it's hardcore, some of it's pop punk, some of it might be a little bit metal if it suits. It is, as the title is supposed to suggest, get you up, about and motivated. Please don't necessarily fight anyone. If need be, crumble them to dust with your words, but don't get me for inciting violence. There's fighting The Man and then there's being an arse.

My Chemical Romance - Give 'Em Hell, Kid
Fall Out Boy - We Were Doomed From The Start (The King Is Dead)
Green Day - Letterbomb
All Time Low feat. Vic Fuentes - A Love Like War
Good Charlotte - Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous
Leathermouth - Murder Was The Case That They Gave Me
The Story So Far - The Glass
Blink-182 - The Rock Show
Black Flag - Rise Above
Ramones - My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down
The Used - Put Me Out

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Don Broco?

I'm sure I'll have mentioned it before, but I have a kind of stubbornness with listening to new music. Sometimes I will go out looking for new things - which is part of the purpose of this blog - but at other times I'm very happy to just listen to the same ten or so albums on repeat all day. When Don Broco first appeared, about a year or two ago, the suddenness with which they started being mentioned everywhere I turned (everywhere being two music channels, one music magazine and a few twitter accounts) was unsettling and I decided, in a very childish way, to never listen to them because they were obviously shit, even though I'd never heard them at all, and this guy I met over the summer told me several times over the course of a fortnight that I really 'had to listen to this band Don Broco'.
I don't remember when - obviously it wasn't voluntary - but at some point a few months ago, I heard Don Broco's song 'You Wanna Know'. Jesus H. Christ, I love that song. I've posted it on here, I know, but seriously, you need to listen to it. It's so catchy, and I really like all the things they do with the guitars, and Rob Damiani (lead singer) has a pretty interesting but still powerful singing voice.

I know you were dancing to that, you dirty liars.
That song is so fucking brilliant that, really, I suppose it's high time (especially now I have a laptop and therefore better access to the internet) that I gave the rest of their music a go. If they wrote that song, it's got to be fairly good, hasn't it?
From the moment I press play on their 2012 album Priorities, I'm getting very good vibes. The opening track (also called Priorities) is just the kind of guitar-heavy (but not too much so) music that sounds amazing, but makes you crave to hear it live because you can just tell it would sound even better. That's continued in the next track, the quite sexy-sounding Hold On.
In a way, I'm struggling to find something to say about their music that isn't "fucking hell, this is sexy music". It's the vocals, the guitars, the rhythm . . . essentially the music as a whole. The intense need I have to hear this music live is so much that I might cry - it's something about the way the choruses just seem to explode out of each song. I could have watched these guys at Leeds festival, I'm going to punch myself in the face.
It's hard to pick favourite songs at the moment, but the more aggressive edge to Fancy Dress stands out to me, and I the more melancholy sound that emerges in You Got It Girl. I really liked Yeah Man, but the acoustic version is outstanding.
Their first work, Big Fat Smile, is also awesome, if a little less polished than Priorities. The differences are subtle and hard to put your finger on, but listening to the two records back to back, you can hear where they've smoothed down the edges a little and adjusted, and they've done it well.

I've finally listened to Don Broco, and I - you also, I reckon, if you've listened to the tracks I linked - am really glad that I have. When the concussion from where I slapped myself in the forehead when I realised exactly what I missed at Leeds, I will be looking up when they're next playing near me, because they're at least six or seven times better than I originally thought they would be, and they're so worth listening to that there is really nothing more that can be said on the matter. Go and listen to them now.
(Sadly, from what I can see, Don Broco don't have any upcoming tour dates, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong)

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Santa Says Listen To Hip Hop

I really don't know why, but at the moment I'm feeling quite into my hip hop. I'm not about to claim to be some kind of expert, but I've been listening to more, and hip hop is a pretty good genre. Don't get me wrong, there are some crap artists out there whose entire back catalogue is one big rhyming overcompensation for their lack of balls; you know, "I shoot everyone I see, I shot my mum, real men act like arseholes for no reason, I can't deal with my problems in a reasonable way". But who even likes them? The best artists play with words in such a clever way that you cry (that has happened to me, although I was inebriated at the time), and they'll talk about different things. Admittedly, there may still be some of that 'patting myself on the back' stuff, but it's in a much more amusing and - I think - almost satyrical way. Here are some songs I think you should listen to. Oh, and there also might be a bit of RnB, because that's also good too.

Chance The Rapper - Juice
Warren G & Nate Dogg - Regulators
Luniz - I Got Five On It
Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa & Twista - Cocoa Butter Kisses
Biggie Smalls, P Diddy, Jagged Edge, Nelly, Avery Storm - Nasty Girl
Snoop Dogg - Who Am I (What's My Name)
Coolio - Gangster's Paradise
De La Soul - A Rollerskating Jam Named Saturdays
Jay Z & UGK - Big Pimpin'
Gorillaz - Rock The House
Eminem - Just Lose It
Eminem vs. Survivor - Without Me
Fifty Cent - P.I.M.P.
Jay Z & Kanye West _ Niggas In Paris
Chance The Rapper, Nate Fox & Lili K - Pusha Man