Sheep Can’t Talk Peace With Wolves (Short Story)

“Anger is an acid that can do more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured” – Mark Twain

The searing sunlight broke through the thin and devastated curtains. He couldn’t get rid of them though. They were Anna’s curtains. One of the only reminders of her that he still possessed. He couldn’t stand to stay in the same house with constant reminders of his failure to protect her. To protect them both. Every day he asked himself the same question: why? Why was he still here perusing a pair of curtains that did nothing but remind him of what he lost? Of what was taken from him. And every day he answered his own question instantly. He perused these curtains because they reminded him of what kept him going for the past year – revenge.

He thought it ridiculous how oft vengeance was talked about as a poison: he saw it as a sustenance – the only thing that kept their faces in his head day and night, night and day. (more…)

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The Birth (and Death) of the Popular Music Counterculture

‘Counterculture’ may be a term only coined in the sixties, but its reach stretches back into the movement of 18th century Romanticism, and its foundation in the poetry of William Wordsworth. In truth, it’s always been about the poetry. From the writing of Bob Dylan in the folk revival of the sixties, flanked by the likes of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, to Patti Smith; laying down the groundwork of punk in the 1970’s. A lack of poetry then is perhaps to blame for the lack of an emergent counter-culture in recent decades; although it may be the most lyrical of musical mediums, rap music, which seeks to lay the path for a future resurgence.

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William S. Burroughs & Jack Kerouac

The point of a counter-culture is that exists on the fringes. When it becomes populist then naturally it becomes a culture to be countered: such is the ebb and flow of the music industry over the past sixty years. The beat generation was the first counter-culture to boast popular music as one of its facets, and the first to emerge since the Bohemian movement of mid-19th century Europe. Encompassing the likes of painter Jackson Pollock, author William S. Burroughs and poet Allen Ginsberg, the scene emerged in response to the clean-cut and wholesome, but tepid state of being eminent in post-war America, and folk-revivalism in the heart of Greenwich Village was an essential aspect of the movement. (more…)

An Introduction To The Music Of David Bowie.

David Bowie was one of the greatest musicians of the last 50 years. He produced some of the most iconic music of his era, but also some of the most innovative and challenging. A cultural chameleon; he became quickly bored with one style and leapt headfirst into another. He pioneered glam rock, punk rock, ambient music and new wave and tried his hand at soul, drum & bass and disco along the way. His music came with a cast of characters, from the infamous Ziggy Stardust and Major Tom to the more obscure Nathan Adler and *ahem* Jareth the Goblin King (hey, it was the 80s!)

Bowie’s music can be hard to pin down and, with such a formidable catalogue, it’s hard to work out where to even begin. In the wake of a death which touched music fans across the globe, it’s time to understand the hype: here are some suggestions on where to start. (more…)

12 Albums To Get Excited For This September…

2016 has been a landmark year for music. Just about every seminal artist of the last decade seems to be releasing music: Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Death Grips and Radiohead included. It’s also been filled with even greater icons from pop music history: David Bowie, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan have all released new material, some of it great. As the release bill for September began to emerge however, it became apparent that the train wasn’t slowing down for Autumn: here are twelve releases that may make September a memorable month for music in a year bursting at the seams with it:

1. MY WOMAN (Angel Olsen)

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Awful, immoral people who listen to early leaks of albums (no names mentioned) will be aware of what a stunner this third LP from St. Louis singer-songwriter Angel Olsen is. Her deeply overlooked 2014 release Burn Your Fire For No  Witnesses transpired to be just the opening of proceeding’s for Olsen, who unleashed a headstrong new direction on lead single ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’, whilst maturing and mastering haunting melodies on extended cuts like ‘Sister’ and ‘Woman’: a fine record indeed.

You can pre-order the vinyl of MY WOMAN here

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An Introduction To The Music of Nina Simone.

Nina Simone is a unique voice in the annuls of soul history. Trained as a classical pianist in segregated North Carolina, and retaining a desire to perform such material while upholding one of the most acclaimed vocal jazz careers of the sixties. Her war-like persona is almost as famous as her music; but her passion radiates through her deep, expressive voice and a catalogue of fantastic material – containing some of the most iconic ballads ever laid to wax. For a woman whose best work was recorded more than half a century ago, Simone’s talent still stands tall and touches deeply to this day. Here’s my guide on where to start.

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Her 1958 debut album Little Girl Blue was unusually quick to tap the essence of Simone’s talent. It’s a jazzier record than some of her later big band efforts but is also in many places a more stripped back one, focussing on the strength of her voice and the delicacy of her classically trained piano. ‘Plain Gold Ring’ sees her performing a Doors-esque dirge 10 years before Jim Morrison would, and her first classic ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’ sees Simone at her melodic best; piano chords falling like jackhammers.

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