Crack in the RoadCrack in the Road http://www.crackintheroad.com Sat, 31 Jan 2015 19:18:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Feature: The BBC 6 Music Festival Line-Up is Problematic http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30778-feature-bbc-6-music-festival-line-problematic http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30778-feature-bbc-6-music-festival-line-problematic#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 16:39:56 +0000 http://www.crackintheroad.com/?p=30778 Being from the North East, and being so heavily invested in music, particular that of an ‘emerging’ nature, can occasionally be a frustrating experience. Fewer and fewer artists deem Newcastle and the surrounding area as worthy of stopping off at on UK tours. Unless they’re arena fillers, they’re likely to favour the south of England, […]

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Being from the North East, and being so heavily invested in music, particular that of an ‘emerging’ nature, can occasionally be a frustrating experience. Fewer and fewer artists deem Newcastle and the surrounding area as worthy of stopping off at on UK tours. Unless they’re arena fillers, they’re likely to favour the south of England, or indeed skip the North East entirely and head straight for Glasgow. It was partly this grievance that fuelled my delight when I found out that the BBC’s 6Music Festival 2015 would be happening in Tyneside, only its second appearance, having been colossally successful in Manchester last year.

Even upon finding out the full line-up, my initial elation carried on for a few hours afterwards – the likes of festival favourites The War on Drugs, the newly reformed Sleater Kinney and the recently Mercury nominated Kate Tempest seemed like a unmissable billing. Yet there was something about the line-up that seemed rather off, and in truth it took me to thinking back to an article from Slate a couple of weeks back for me to make the connection; an undeniable and embarrassingly obvious dominance of male performers.

Sitting down earlier today and going through the entire line-up, revealed the sheer scale of the imbalance. By my estimations, there will be a staggering 110 male performers at the BBC 6Music Festival 2015, compared to 14 female performers, being out numbered almost eight to one.

Just let that sink in for a second.

If your initial reaction is along the lines of ‘well, a greater proportion of popular musicians are male’, essentially attempting to contend the supply and demand argument, then you are, I’m afraid, entirely missing the point. Several weeks back, I posted on Facebook the image taken from Slate of the Coachella line-up made up only of female fronted acts, and the several comments it did receive were horrifically worrying. Suggesting that ‘it’s just the way the industry is’ verges upon ignorant, and completely dismissive of any agency within society to aid the opportunities offered to individuals. Again, I reiterate, this is not a question of ‘will these acts sells tickets’, it runs far far deeper than that.

Let us remember for a second that this is not your average ‘cram them in, booze them up, rake in the money’ 21st century music festival, which sadly seem to have become standard procedure (this sort of imbalance still wouldn’t be excusable even if it was). This is a festival organised and supported by the BBC, a corporation that most likely, YOU support; there are just as many female tax payers as there are male however as mentioned earlier, this is invariably beside the point. For them to be supporting and corroborating on this primitive concept that male performers are inherently favoured, goes beyond being disappointing. It’s quite frankly offensive.

Is this really the sort of message we want to send to women? That your chances of being stood up on that stage are stacked almost 80% against you, when compared to the men around you?

For a institution like the BBC to support this is immensely discouraging. One would hope that given that they presumably have fewer immediate financial concerns than your average music event, they’d deem it worthy to take some form of stand against this underlying sexism. At no point am I suggesting implementation of splits that must exist on festival line-ups, more that this continually repetitive structure is stopped being treated as the norm. I’m not even intending to hint at a boycott of these events, however to not identify, discuss and attempt to tackle these issues is failing a significant proportion of our society.

And yes, it is indicative across all avenues of music. Not a single female artist features amongst the nominees for Best British Album, whilst the Best Group category sees 17 men nominated, compared to 1 woman (Grace Chatto, Clean Bandit). Despite often being heralded for its diversity, a study prior to 2010 found that male Glastonbury headliners outnumber women almost 20:1 (78 vs 4).

So what does lie at the core? Well, it’s impossible to pin point it to a singular specific element. Too many people (read, men) are still dismissive of the music tastes of young women, and this is replicated within the dominance of men within music journalism, broadcasting, production and performance. Bjork’s recent Pitchfork interview sheds some slight on these issues.

Whilst there have been positive steps taken in recent years to address this disproportion, we’re clearly still a long way off. What strikes me as a recurring theme is the refusal of festival organisers, venue bookers and promoters to bear any form of responsibility whatsoever. We cannot continue passing the buck, it’s a self-fulfilling circle that we need to break from. It’s not an issue that will change over night, it takes a concerted effort at both ends; in the grassroots stage of encouraging participation within music, and at the other end of the spectrum – showcasing female performers on the biggest stages, in front of the largest audiences.

This isn’t intended purely as a slight at 6Music, and I don’t mean to do disservice to their efforts in recent years, doing a brilliant job in bringing more women to the airwaves both in the form of presenters and performers, hence my surprise and dismay at this billing. It’s more a call to not simply consume, but to question, particularly in instances relating to public ownership and portrayal.

My thoughts are perhaps incoherent, and it’s certainly time that I stopped writing and took a backseat. We’ve silenced women within music for far too long, it’s time to level the platforms.

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New: KOPPS – Dumb http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30727-new-kopps-dumb http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30727-new-kopps-dumb#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 23:18:34 +0000 http://www.crackintheroad.com/?p=30727 NY’s KOPPS follow on with their string of massive, unadulterated pop with latest single Dumb, which may be their most over-the-top yet. It’s a brazen, satirical look at the idea of music, media and fame and while this sound isn’t for everyone, it’s earworm of a chorus coupled with the confidence of a Lady Gaga […]

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NY’s KOPPS follow on with their string of massive, unadulterated pop with latest single Dumb, which may be their most over-the-top yet. It’s a brazen, satirical look at the idea of music, media and fame and while this sound isn’t for everyone, it’s earworm of a chorus coupled with the confidence of a Lady Gaga hit make it hard to ignore. Check it out below:

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A DISSEXTION OF X WORLD http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30747-disextion-x-world http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30747-disextion-x-world#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 23:21:15 +0000 http://www.crackintheroad.com/?p=30747 Just shy of a year after releasing “Catch,” Allie X has debuted the accompanying music video. (If by chance you aren’t familiar with the artist catch up here and then come back.) In that time I’ve had the pleasure of anxiously awaiting for future tracks, dancing endlessly to them in my kitchen, telling my besties […]

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Just shy of a year after releasing “Catch,” Allie X has debuted the accompanying music video. (If by chance you aren’t familiar with the artist catch up here and then come back.) In that time I’ve had the pleasure of anxiously awaiting for future tracks, dancing endlessly to them in my kitchen, telling my besties that I’m their bitch and they’re mine, too, as well as getting to pick the brain of the artist herself. Our conversations always end up on the topic of self-reflection, identity, the complexities of existence, and the delicate balance of opposites. At times I find myself acting like her therapist with my prodding questions that never have anything to do with music, per se, and at other times I realize the things she tells me are things I tell myself. I don’t want to overstate our dynamic, but there’s certainly a kindred spirit. Maybe its because she’s a Leo Sun and deep down I’m a Leo Moon, or maybe its because we share a fondness for intellectual thought while still appreciating the fun in superficiality? It’s the latter that first diverted our talks from stale interview to thoughtful conversation.

It turns out that Allie X’s ride-or-die track, “Bitch,” is less of a Lana Del Rey romance and more of an ode to identity—more specifically, Carl Jung’s theory of the “shadow self.” It’s this kind of reference that made me look at the video for “Catch” not as a trippy music video, but an introduction to X World. With that in mind I’m proposing a “disseXtion” of the different elements of this Jérémie Saindon directed video. What do they mean beyond the literal? Obviously, like Rorschach’s inkblot test, all answers are right so long as they’re taken as personal projections of one’s own experiences.

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BODIES: I think it’s important to note that they’re all appear sexless, in that they have no obvious markings of sex, and because they’re naked they have no manifested gender either. In this I see someone (all people) struggling to escape the different identities of his/her past. Most of us, over time have gone through different phases of life where we adapted to fit into our surroundings or searched for our true identity by mimicking others until something felt comfortable, felt right. The first time I talked with Allie she said “I feel like I’ve been 5 different people in my life and I’ll probably be 5 different more as life goes on.”

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COUCH: This scene, visually, reminds me of my friend Andrew Lyman’s photo (here) from his “Alone Together” series (here). I think the scene is a pretty straightforward representation of self-reflection. I’m still trying to decipher the oral passing of the eye. What I do know is that the singular eye or All Seeing Eye has historically been symbolic of universal knowledge.

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ANATOMY: This scene is a physical way of expressing introspection, as well as an invitation to look into the artist. What makes us tick? Why do we do the things we do? These questions exist on a functional, physiological basis, as well as a mental, and psychological one.

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BROKEN MIRROR: Followed after the anatomy scene of Allie, this scene represents of the mental introspection I mentioned above. Using a mirror for self-evaluation is nothing new, but the floating “x” is. Allie frequently mentions that she wants her fans to “find their own X.” That “X” it seems exists inside oneself. There’s even a wizard to teach you!

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SHADOW: In this scene we see Jung’s “shadow self.” As images of  Allie and a cloaked version of herself flicker back and forth the symbiosis of each becomes clear. They exist one and the same.

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BUTTERFLY: The final scene sees the birth of a butterfly straight from the artist’s mouth. For me this represents the birth of an artist, and also the birth of a new person, a new identity. A beautiful one at that.

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, its clear that for Alexandra Hughes this identity, Allie X, is her most important, yet. While I write this I’m listening to her track “Sanctuary” and realizing that, like “Bitch,” despite its talk of another it’s most likely an anthem to herself. Because who better to find comfort in than yourself?

 

 

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New: TĀLĀ x How To Dress Well – The One http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30740-new-tala-x-dress-well-one http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30740-new-tala-x-dress-well-one#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:03:05 +0000 http://www.crackintheroad.com/?p=30740 The How To Dress Well album from last year was comfortably amongst my favourite LPs of 2014, whilst both of TĀLĀ’s EP releases marked her out as one of the most exciting prospects for this year, so this collaboration is pretty much a dream come true. Offering up two different versions of the same song, both […]

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The How To Dress Well album from last year was comfortably amongst my favourite LPs of 2014, whilst both of TĀLĀ’s EP releases marked her out as one of the most exciting prospects for this year, so this collaboration is pretty much a dream come true. Offering up two different versions of the same song, both have the frenetic urgency of TĀLĀ, mixed with the silky composure of HTDW. Check them out below and go buy some Adidas clothes while you’re at it or something.

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New: flor – ocean http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30737-new-flor-ocean http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30737-new-flor-ocean#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 16:41:58 +0000 http://www.crackintheroad.com/?p=30737 Oregon quartet flor show a darker, more sinister side on their newest offering, ocean. Having gained numerous plaudits for their two uplifting earlier tracks, get behind this and heart, ocean finds them in a more introspective mood, whilst maintaining the killer songwriting instincts that makes them such an exciting prospect. With an EP expected next […]

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Oregon quartet flor show a darker, more sinister side on their newest offering, ocean. Having gained numerous plaudits for their two uplifting earlier tracks, get behind this and heart, ocean finds them in a more introspective mood, whilst maintaining the killer songwriting instincts that makes them such an exciting prospect. With an EP expected next month, 2015 is shaping up pretty well for flor. Check it out below.

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EU Premiere: Matt Woods – In The Dark http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30731-premiere-matt-woods-dark http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30731-premiere-matt-woods-dark#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 16:07:26 +0000 http://www.crackintheroad.com/?p=30731 Having an artist describe their own music can be understandably difficult. Just how do you begin to put into words the emotions that led you to pen those lyrics, or to compose those melodies… it’s nigh on impossible. That said, emerging artist Matt Woods manages to succinctly summarise his newest offering, In The Dark, as […]

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Having an artist describe their own music can be understandably difficult. Just how do you begin to put into words the emotions that led you to pen those lyrics, or to compose those melodies… it’s nigh on impossible. That said, emerging artist Matt Woods manages to succinctly summarise his newest offering, In The Dark, as “an intimate moment, when you feel really close to someone… about how just as soon as it happens it has gone. It’s sort of pleading with that someone to not wake you up from this brief moment.” It’s this sentiment of pleading that echoes strongest; laying emotion bare, in an manner that is relatable and conveyed excellently through his stunning vocal. A new leaf if you will, and certainly a new chapter in his musical journey, it’s quite possibly the beginning of something brilliant. Check it out below.

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Premiere: Pink Gloves – 80s Girls http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30723-premiere-pink-gloves-80s-girls http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30723-premiere-pink-gloves-80s-girls#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:12:51 +0000 http://www.crackintheroad.com/?p=30723 The project of Prague’s Petr Pliska, Pink Gloves drifts in somewhere between the resplendent, atmospheric pop of Washed Out, and the nighttime inspired Kavinsky led Drive soundtrack. Whilst hinting at late 70s disco inspirations, there’s an melancholia and underlying sense of sadness to new single 80s Girls, his follow up to online hit, Fading Stars. It’s […]

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The project of Prague’s Petr Pliska, Pink Gloves drifts in somewhere between the resplendent, atmospheric pop of Washed Out, and the nighttime inspired Kavinsky led Drive soundtrack. Whilst hinting at late 70s disco inspirations, there’s an melancholia and underlying sense of sadness to new single 80s Girls, his follow up to online hit, Fading Stars. It’s a song of lust, yet ultimately unfulfillment; simultaneously cinematic yet daringly intimate. Check it out below.

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Introducing: Anteros http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30713-introducing-anteros http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30713-introducing-anteros#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 17:15:51 +0000 http://www.crackintheroad.com/?p=30713 The newest addition to the Duly Noted Records roster, Anteros join the likes of Black Honey, Osca, The Night VI and Paperwhite, on one of the UK’s most exciting labels for emerging artists. Their self-titled debut outing, is a bold first step, hinting at epic, festival ready pop, not too far from the likes of […]

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The newest addition to the Duly Noted Records roster, Anteros join the likes of Black Honey, Osca, The Night VI and Paperwhite, on one of the UK’s most exciting labels for emerging artists. Their self-titled debut outing, is a bold first step, hinting at epic, festival ready pop, not too far from the likes of Kodaline, or dare I say it, even Coldplay. Check it out below.

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Video: Tobias Jesso Jr. – How Could You Babe http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30709-video-tobias-jesso-jr-babe http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30709-video-tobias-jesso-jr-babe#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:12:41 +0000 http://www.crackintheroad.com/?p=30709 Eternal heartbreaker Tobias Jesso Jr. channels some real Dylan spirit on his latest track, How Could You Babe, lifted from his forthcoming album, Goon, out 16 March. Less stripped back than the sound that gained him numerous plaudits in 2014, it’s a far and away the closest he’s come to a radio friendly single thus […]

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Eternal heartbreaker Tobias Jesso Jr. channels some real Dylan spirit on his latest track, How Could You Babe, lifted from his forthcoming album, Goon, out 16 March. Less stripped back than the sound that gained him numerous plaudits in 2014, it’s a far and away the closest he’s come to a radio friendly single thus far. Check it out below.

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Premiere: SKYES – Quarks http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30704-premiere-skyes-quarks http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/30704-premiere-skyes-quarks#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 13:38:43 +0000 http://www.crackintheroad.com/?p=30704 In recent years, we’ve seen Brooklyn’s music scene move away from the scuzzy, indie rock and roll that defined it in the early 00′s, instead replaced by slicker, more experimental electro-pop. At the centre of this modern movement are enigmatic four piece SKYES, who having made a considerable impression last year, with their two initial […]

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In recent years, we’ve seen Brooklyn’s music scene move away from the scuzzy, indie rock and roll that defined it in the early 00′s, instead replaced by slicker, more experimental electro-pop. At the centre of this modern movement are enigmatic four piece SKYES, who having made a considerable impression last year, with their two initial singles, A Girl Named Jake and Burden, are setting their stall out in 2015 with new single, Quarks, lifted from an EP out later in the year. Dramatic and audacious in nature, it’s a bold composition, finding focus in the vocals of lead singer Dallin Knightly, it sits somewhere between the anthemic pop of Paramore and the fluorescent harmonies of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool. Building to a mighty finale, it’s ambitious and an undisputed  statement of intent. Check out Quarks below alongside previous single, A Girl Named Jake, and keep up with the quartet on Facebook.

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