I don’t think any solo artist that has left their former band will ever quite eclipse the high point of their work. Damon Albarn’s solo career will never take precedent over Blur or Gorillaz, Jarvis Cocker will never quite escape the alluring pull of Pulp, and Morrissey will never be able to topple his rebellious classics that he performed with The Smiths. But I Am Not a Dog on a Chain could be the album we remember this misguided solo journey with.
Frank Turner may be the nicest man alive. Any other artist in the position of having to cancel the rest of their live shows would issue an apology and be done with it. Head into their homes, crack open a bottle of wine and start writing up the next feeble album. But not Turner, whose consistency as a musician is matched only by the ethics of the person behind his sauntering, well versed songs. A newcomer to his work, I steered my way through his discography as fast as I could in preparation for his live show, which he streamed last night alongside a fundraiser to help out those in need.
The rising worry of pandemics spreading across the globe and the self-isolation many of us find ourselves in has led to a few issues outside of the general fear we may possess. What is there to do with all of this free time? The events over the next few months that we were looking forward to are looking less and less likely. Concerts, live events, cinemas and pubs are all closing and, for the next few months, people will be wondering what exactly they can do with themselves.
But fear not, because for every depressing, dangerous situation, there is always a glimmer of light. A small shroud of hope among a sea of frighteningly upsetting events. We’ve listed some of our highlights below, events, ideas and plans you may not have thought of, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
It’s been quite the year so far, hasn’t it? Feels a bit weird to be saying that in the middle of March but it has been a bit headstrong so far. A debilitating virus swirling globally, panic on the streets and social media alongside political misgivings, economic decline and climate decimation. We’re the doomed generation, and to compensate for that, here are ten songs that capture this bleak year so far. As expected, there were more than ten songs to hit up for this list, but I’ve made a nifty little list below for those that didn’t make the final cut.
Everyone has their favourite Beatles album. Most would say Revolver, a few outliers might say Abbey Road, and unconventional idiots like me would say Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely-Hearts Club Band or Magical Mystery Tour. Finding myself more and more inundated with the acid trip era of The Beatles, I’ll admit that right now, their best album is Magical Mystery Tour.Already I can tell people are going to judge me for that, but hear me out. It’s not only the most tonally consistent album The Beatles ever released but also an album that perfectly encapsulates the era of its release. A whole time period condensed into one album.
If Pulp were the working-class flagbearers for Britpop, and Oasis were the over glorified, Blair supporting shit-peddlers that they most certainly are, where does that leave Blur? You’d be unsurprised to hear that they toil in the middle, and there’s no greater experience of such a theory than throughout the two-hour live show, Parklive. A pun on possibly their most popular song, Parklive is a live concert piece that sees Blur perform to thousands upon thousands of idiots as they bounce up and down throughout their 2012 Hyde Park set.
An unashamed Britpop fanboy, I find myself defending a genre that I still haven’t gotten the most out of. Blur, Suede, Stereophonics, even the likes of Radiohead and Black Grape, I still haven’t given them the time of day. Too busy riding the high of Pulp and mocking Oasis from time to time, I haven’t had the opportunity to experience what Britpop truly has to offer. Where else is there to start than with The Great Escape? Anywhere else would’ve been better to be fair, but this was the album I chose for myself at complete random in the spur of the moment. There’s no better way to do it.
When former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker announced his latest musical endeavour, Jarv Is, I was somewhat sceptical. Friends and family are no stranger my ardent love for the work Cocker puts out on an impromptu level, from his glory days in Pulp to his magnificent solo career and collaborations with Chilly Gonzalez and Daniel Knox. He’s a musician that has done the rounds of just about every genre you can think of, and in an accomplished career spanning back ever since the late 1970s, it would be about now that any other artist would run out of fuel, the tank would read empty and the farewell tour would begin. But no, Cocker still has what it takes, and the proof is found within House Music All Night Long, the latest single from his upcoming album, Beyond the Pale.
When I dived into the debut album from Black Grape, I really didn’t know what to expect. I was riding on the high of knowing that Shaun Ryder had sung Dare, and I felt that was convincing enough to listen to an entire album’s worth of his work. Blending Madchester melodies with the rise of Britpop, Black Grape’s first album, It’s Great When You’re Straight Yeah, is nothing short of brilliant.
As I broaden my musical horizons by listening solely to artists I vaguely know the name of, I find it odd that I’d put off Gorillaz for so long. Created by the fluffy haired, starry eyed Damon Albarn of Britpop’s Blur fame, it seemed right up my street. A project that transcended music itself and delved into animation and performance art, it couldn’t have come from anyone else but Albarn. Perhaps their most popular and successful album, Demon Days released in the not so distant year of 2005, and it certainly shows.