MUSIC, CULTURE, ARTS AND MORE
on e Year I n Lockdown How The Music World Began To Bloom Again
FREE / MAY 2021
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We lcom e Note we bsite
pring has finally sprung and with it we bring our May edition of LDN. This edition we have lots to reflect upon and lots to do, jam packed with music, culture and activities to keep you occupied. From gaming, to film and TV to even small businesses. Our main feature this month is celebrating all the good things to come out of this extraordinarily tough year. If you're looking for new artists and new music head to our album review and our BIMM Introducing sections. Wonderfully designed by the lovely Anna Runa-Umbrasko, with some help and great advice given by the fantastic Dani Willgress and published by our favourite Prog nerd Jo Kendall, what more could you need? So kick back, pop the kettle on and settle in for the April edition of LDN. I promise you won't be disappointed. - LDN E ditor E m i ly Cli ff
conte nts 4 BI M M i ntroduci ng: ari an na 6 covi d: a year i n revi ew - chariti es, activism, livestreams, pop quizzes an d more 14 movi es & tv: brooklyn 15 gam i ng: blossom season an d th e ai rsh i p 16 bi m m alum n i risi ng: roisi n o'hagan 18 album revi ews 22 th e powe r of duos 24 bi m m i ntroduci ng: tonyy 26 se lf-care sun day: small busi n esses you'll love
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: DANI WILLGRESS / MODEL: ROISIN O’HAGAN @LDNMUSICMAG / LDNMAGAZINE.COM
Ari An na London-based Italian pop singer Ari Anna has been studying at BIMM London for three years as a songwriter. Coinciding with Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Anna released her new single ‘Lost Again’, which explores her own struggles with the illness, gives strength to those also struggling and shows how important it is to express your feelings. Words by Conor Sharkey Glackin
‘Lost Again’ is a very personal and honest track. What do you want listeners to take away from hearing it? I wrote it two years ago when I still was affected by my own eating disorder. It’s a sad ballad, but what I really wanted to say to the audience is that we can get out of that dark place. I had eating disorder problems for eight years, a long time, but it was possible to get out of that – something that I didn’t believe before. Everyone is looking at the mirror, saying, “Oh my God, maybe I should lose weight”. Society doesn’t talk about it because there’s a pressure on us all to look slim. We have to talk about it. We have to just
to realise that, yeah, I’ve been suffering from eating disorders, and it’s not that big of a deal, people do have problems. When I started talking to a lot of people [who were also suffering], that made me really aware of what was happening. So, just being aware of what was happening, helped me to get out of my problem.” Do you think that speaks to the power of songwriting and the importance of expressing your emotions, despite how daunting that may seem? “I never thought that writing down my feelings could really help, but since I wrote the song I
in the kitchen and even if that made me a bit mad I knew that it was about taking care of me. Also, I’ve been going to the same psychologist for eight years now. She would help me by saying, “you know, you can get out of this, you really can”. My way was to talk about my problems to address them with either my mum or my psychologist. Everybody had to dig into me to understand what was happening.” Lyrics such as, ‘In time I’ll learn to win’ evoke an idea of positivity in that, despite the circumstances people find themselves in, they can always turn it around. How hard is
not about looking as good as the models that we
see in magazines; it’s just about feeling good.
feel good with ourselves. It’s not about looking as good as the models that we see in magazines; it’s just about feeling good.” You said that when you wrote the song, your eating disorder magically started to ‘disappear’. Why do you think that is? “That was a weird thing. I came to BIMM three years ago, and I remember we had a piece of homework to write a song. I started writing it, then I had the meeting with Pete Smith, [producer of Sting, Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder]. I wrote 10 tracks and when he heard [‘Lost Again’], he was like, “Wait a second, what is this?” I finally took a moment
started keeping a journal so that I’m writing every morning, just to know how I feel, and that really helps me. It’s a powerful tool. You don’t have to be ashamed of how you feel.” The song is described as “a guiding light for those who suffer”, did you have your own guiding light to overcome your own struggles? “Yeah, my mum was the first person that realised what was happening. Without me knowing, she made the whole family aware of what I was going through. That helped me. I knew that my brother was checking what I was doing
it to maintain this thought, especially when going through a rough time? “I have to be honest; I didn’t have eating problems for about a year and a half since I wrote the song. In the past three or four weeks, I really don’t know why I went down again, into kind of similar path to what happened. That was
bi m m i ntroduci ng / 5 a surprise, I thought it was over, and the thing is, it happened again. The thing is now, I can relate differently. I can see the problems in a different way. It’s not always easy, I was scared to go back on the same path, but I know how to deal with that. It happened again, and I wasn’t prepared for that. I wanted to give all these positive messages despite the fact that I fell down again. It’s not that it’s
completely over, but I know for sure that if you get good help, you can see it in a different way.” What can we expect to hear on your new, as yet untitled, album which is out in June? “It’s very difficult to describe as a genre, of course I love pop music, but it’s kind of alternative. In the album you can hear all the influences that I had in my ears such as pop and rock. It’s two years of work in in one album, and you can feel all the different influences. Still in the alternative pop mood, but very, very different songs, one from the other, different producers, different arrangements. I would say positive messages are the main focus of the album. “ For people who want to gain insight or seek guidance on eating disorders, what can they do? “Honestly, there are plenty of resources online. It’s just a matter of searching for eating disorders, you can find hundreds of organisations beateating disorders.org. uk, most of them are free. When you feel sad, you can just give them a call, and someone is there to help you.” ‘Lost Again’ is out now on all digital streaming platforms. Follow Ari Anna on Instagram @ari.anna.music
lockdown A Year In Review ...and how music began to bloom again Edited by Emily Cliff Contributors: Olly Childs, Floor Jansen, Giulia Lombardo, Bethan McConnell, Doug Phillips, Thomas-Bradey Riseley, X
here’s something about being trapped indoors for a year that makes us stop and smell the roses. Previously unimaginable events were deeply saddening, horrific and life-changing. But during lockdown and a year of Covid some good things did happen, not least half the population becoming Michelin star chefs, baking award-winning banana breads. Here at LDN we thought we’d take the positive route and highlight how we came together as a society. We’ve learned and adapted our behaviours and in general tried to become better people. From losing ourselves in literature, art and music to seeing our heroes support charities and fans, to even dancing in the living room to old Glastonbury sets, this year was a big and important one for our culture, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come.
a year i n revi ew / 7
I KEY WORKER APPRECIATION We all know the phrase ‘not all heroes wear capes’ right? This year that has been proven one million times over. We often forget that the very building blocks and foundations of this country are built on our teachers, doctors and nurses. Most parents really felt for the teaching staff this year and just how much they do to help mould and shape the future generations of this country. Most realised that school isn’t just colouring or learning to count in french, its reading, writing and keeping a routine to help prepare the younger generation for a scary working world. We can’t forget the magnificent NHS too. They carried this entire pandemic on their shoulders and kept us alive and healthy. Captain Sir Tom Moore, a brilliant advocate for the NHS died this year, he sparked so much joy, inspiration and captured the hearts of many. 100 years young he really is a hero. ec
BANDCAMP FRIDAYS In March last year, Bandcamp announced that they would be launching a new way of supporting artists who were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. On the first Friday of every month, the online platform waived their seller fees, meaning that artists would receive 100% of the profits of their sales. As tours and festivals were cancelled, merchandising was one of the main ways that artists could make a living. In December of 2020, the company announced that more than $20 million had gone directly into the pockets of artists and labels, as a result of their new scheme. The campaign meant that many artists opened Bandcamp accounts if they didn’t already have one, thus promoting the site and supporting artists who were suffering financially. BM
SAY THEIR NAMES
t has almost been a year since the peak of the 2020 Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement where we saw the unjust murders of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many more. It has only been a week since we got justice for the murder of George Floyd but there is still so much to be done. Police brutality has always been a problem since the establishment of the police force in 1844, during slavery. 148 years later Rodney King’s encounter caused the 1992 riots, burning L.A. to the ground. 28 years later, we arrived at the death of George Floyd, where once again nothing has changed. In both situations, the unjust attacks on POC were caught on camera and shared to social media. Without social media, the movements would not have gained as much support and outcry. This forced the western world to start conversations about the treatment of POC. Peaceful protests were held to demonstrate the urgency for change however, they were combated by performative activists, looters, and rioters who used the ‘clout’ of the movement for personal gain. This type of ignorance is harmful, it sends the wrong message to the right people. The 2020 movement was viewed as violent and irrational despite it’s core values: educating ignorance and criticising the police for failing to protect; their abuse of power is used to oppress and manipulate the marginalised. The “All-LivesMatter” hashtag used in retaliation to “BlackLives-Matter” will always be a problem. All lives should matter, however, with the existence of minority groups who are betrayed by the legal system, it’s clear “all-lives” do not matter. The goal is to make “All-Lives-Matter” and to advocate for change. The best way to confront these issues is education. The more we learn, the less part of the problem we will be. x
8 / a year i n revi ew
EMBRACING THE THRIFTY LIFESTYLE This year has thrown us all into some sticky situations. Due to restrictions in many countries, students left to return home for Easter and didn’t see most of their belongings and possessions for five months. This gave us all the idea of minimalist living. When we didn’t have access to our possessions or our favorite t-shirt we learned that in the end We don’t need hundreds of belongings to live a full and happy life. ec
LEARNING NEW HOBBIES The best part about having free time on our hands is that we get to pick up new skills and hobbies as a way to pass time. Some of us took to starting DIY projects turning our houses into a new episode of ‘Homes Under The Hammer’ and some of us took to baking, Might I add baking so much we baked the nation into a flour shortage. Creative hobbies have kept us all going this year. ec
Vintage Market in Brick Lane
MINDFULNESS AND WELLBEING This year has seen us go through pretty much all emotions. We have had some unbelievable highs as well as some tragic lows, so mindfulness and mental wellbeing has never been more important or necessary. One of the best things to come out of the lockdowns this year has to be the new found respect and appreciation for mental wellbeing. Meditation apps and podcasts have never been more popular, and more people are taking the time to assess and understand where they are mentally and what to do to help. In a ‘normal’ world everyone is so busy, and they are often trying to distract themselves from what is really going on. This year has given us time to stop, reflect and improve ourselves, hopefully moving forward to a more inclusive society. ec
HOW LOCKDOWN HAS HELPED TO COPE WITH SOCIAL ANXIETY
s someone who struggles with adjusting to unfamiliar social settings, lockdown one could’ve been considered a dream. Meeting new people isn’t the hard part, it is adjusting to the social nuances of meeting new people while also taking in a foreign setting is more often than not overwhelming. Being locked-down levelled the playing field. Those who don’t struggle with the sensory overload of nightclubs have had to embrace the sociability of the online community. People with anxiety, myself included, didn’t have to conform to the societal norms of regular socialising and could have a thriving social life within the comfort of my home. I ran weekly Dungeons and Dragons sessions as well as starting a book-club style album-club on my Discord server, I even branched out to the occasional Zoom Quiz. At home we played countless games of Catan, invented several card games and even did a Come Dine With Me. Despite the unfolding crises surrounding us at the time I was relaxed, comfortable and came out my shell much more than I would’ve done in a normal world. Getting to let people know me better has helped make me more excited to assimilate to normal society and ‘go out’ again. TBR
Declan McKenna’s livestream gig at London’s Lafayette
GIGS FIGHTING BACK
espite worldwide touring and festivals being put on hold, there have still been ways that we have been able to watch live performances. We have had Declan McKenna’s performance at London’s Lafayette, Gorillaz live from Kong, and Porij live from Pirate Studios in Manchester. Venues have adapted for artists who want to stream their shows, with more and more musicians moving to the digital world. PRS (Performing Rights Society) announced earlier this year that artists are now required to have a license for online streaming, another cost for musicians who are suffering financially. In December, a London promoter was able to
host a socially distanced show, for King No One at Colours in Hoxton. Closeup Promotions hosted their socially distanced event at the 300 capacity venue, with spaced-out tables. Although fewer tickets had to be sold to ensure that social distancing rules were followed, the show was still a success. It was held at the time where the UK government stated that the purchase of alcohol had to be bought with a ‘substantial meal’, so ticket holders could eat burgers and nachos whilst watching the show. Other livestreamed shows this year included Black Country, New Road at The Elizabeth Centre, Maxmo Park at Newcastle Riverside and Shame at Elecric Brixton. bm
SPORTS GOING RETRO
emember when your team won the 1999 sports cup final? Oh, they lost? Fear not! Thanks to lockdown and the cancellation of professional sport you can re-live the events which brought tears of joy or sadness on TV! Football is never short of coverage, but notable events including the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final, 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup Final and the full rerun of the 2020 Netball Nations Cup are back and just as good as before. tbr
Goalkeeper Lido Vieri in a match between AC Milan and Inter Milan
ATTENDING A MATCH AS A CARDBOARD CUTOUT
Australian NRL fan cardboard cut-outs
fter Lockdown, sport was making a comeback. An alternative to fans being in attendance they had the opportunity to have their face printed on a cardboard cutout. South Korean team FC Seoul were fined £50,000 for using sex dolls to fill the World Cup Stadium. Other fans had the choice of which picture was used for the cutout and it quickly went from a sweet and inclusive having celebrities and fictional characters in the stands. tbr
a year i n revi ew / 10
THE PUB QUIZ GOES DIGITAL As is the British way, a mere global pandemic would never risk something as vital to English culture as the pub quiz. It seemed like an instant snap reaction to being locked in doors for some time. Now, highly esteemed organisers managed to arrange pub-less pub quizzes via zoom to distract and entertain the British public. This, combined with the newly implemented Thursday night ‘Clap for Our Carers’, provided a much-needed warm sense of community for us to get through the uncharted waters of early COVID-19. dp
BBC SHOWS EXCLUSIVE PERFORMANCES FROM GLASTONBURY Glastonbury Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, due to take place from the 25th to the 28th of June. Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift were just some of the amazing artists that were supposed to be headlining the event, which takes place on Somerset’s Worthy Farm. However, as the festival couldn’t go ahead, the organisers broadcast a wide range of performances from previous festivals across
BBC TV and radio. The footage included of some of the festival’s biggest ever performers, including the likes of Beyoncé, Adele and never before seen footage of David Bowie’s performance. Their pop-up channel on BBC iPlayer also allowed online viewers to watch more than 60 historic performances on demand, making the festival inclusive and available for everyone. bm
12 / a year i n revi ew
CHARITIES SAVING LIVE MUSIC
o quote Catfish And The Bottlemen’s frontman Van McCan “Live music, what the kids want”. However, the live music scene has been facing the threat of extinction due venues having to close. Without too much support from the government, the live music sector has been on the decline but thanks to Music Venue Trust there is hope for the future. The Music Venue Trust was set up in 2014 and has spent its time supporting live venues up and down the country, since the closing of venues, the Music Venue Trust has set up an incentive to help keep the live scene afloat, with things such as the hashtag #saveourvenues as well as the Grassroot Music Venue Crisis Fund. With the help of donations from the general public the Music Venue Trust has saved a multitude of small venues such as Rossi Bar in Brighton. Though there are still venues in danger of closing their doors for good, it’s great to see the fans of these venues and the public sparing whatever money they have to save these venues, in this age of modernity where not caring is quote on quote ‘cool’, it warms the heart to see that people do care. oc
MUSICIANS CHIP IN TO HELP GLOBAL COVID-19 RELIEF N iall Horan is just one of the musicians to have done their part to relieve the struggles of the hard-hit music industry during the pandemic. With his one night only livestream in the Royal Albert Hall, he has raised close to £2 million for We Need Crew, a UK fund supporting live music touring staff through the crisis. However, it doesn’t stop there. Respectively, Louis Tomlinson and Lady Gaga also held live-streams to raise and gather donations for multiple charities. One of the main reasons we actually have COVID vaccines is America’s sweetheart Dolly Parton. She donated $1 million to support the breakthrough of the Moderna-vaccine and funded several research papers. Taylor Swift, one of the world’s biggest popstars, recently donated £36,400 to a mother of five whose husband passed away due to the virus. Even though the number of donations is unknown, Ariana Grande has also donated to multiple charities and transferred financial relief to multiple fans. Harry Styles released a t-shirt in his merch store, in effort to raise funds for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Fund. Last, but certainly not least, Rihanna has donated over $5 million towards multiple organizations across the world. fj
he real MVP of the lockdown falls lightly on the shoulders of the gaming world. Everyone’s inner 12-year-old came out in full swing, with the opportunity to get paid just to play video games by livestreaming and testing out new games made staying in not that bad after all. With the rise of community based games such as Among Us, we were able to stay in touch with friends and do what we do best with our mates…lie to their faces, Among Us really
‘Mamma Mia’ (Prime Video) Mood: Why do we think ‘Mamma Mia’ is a great movie to watch in quarantine? Simply because it is. Being transported to Greece in the middle of a pandemic, with an uplifting soundtrack by ABBA. How can that not make you feel better?
‘Soul’ (Disney+) Mood: it’s time acknowledge your existential crisis. A journey into life, exciting and scary at the same time. Soul makes you think, when you are stuck at home, how you have lived your life so far? And are you living it to the fullest?
brought the Sherlock Holmes in us out. The biggest event that happened however, was the release of the next gen: PS5 and Xbox Series X, both a showcase of what gaming truly can be as well as bringing us one step closer to the future of gaming. OC
‘Rebecca’ (Netflix) Mood: honestly, we all need a good drama to watch without being involved in it. We are all bored, we all get it, it’s okay. So, what better way to investigate on an intricate mystery, where nothing seems to be as it seems. gl
espite the restrictions that came into effect in March, artists all around the globe still managed to put out some of the best music that has been released in years. Straight off the bat we had Childish Gambino’s fourth album ‘3.15.20’, a musical showcase of banger after banger. Dua Lipa released not one, not two, but three versions of the same album ‘Future Nostalgia’, cash grab or not it was a phenomenal album that brought disco back from the dead. Now no one knows if she had planned it or if she struck with the quarantine boredom, but Taylor Swift just dropped two hit albums, ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’ breaking into the world of alternative music like it was nothing. The indie world saw some great releases as well, The Vaccines front man Justin Young started a side project with fellow bandmate Timothy Lanham; ‘Halloweens’ released their debut album. ‘Morning Kiss At The Acropolis’, was a songwriting masterclass, perfectly blending the get up and dance-esque instrumentation with that head in hands regretful feeling in the lyrics. OC
14 / movi es & TV
Words by Giulia Lombardo
In a world where feminism is at the forefront of the news, we need to acknowledge ‘Brooklyn’. The story of an Irish girl, Eilis, who in the early 1950s departs for New York to escape from a life without career prospects.
eaving her mother and a sister for a secure job and hope for a better future, hers is a timeless story like so many and is deeply present. As she leaves with a heart and mind full of emotions, she is afraid being away from her family for the first time, the excitement of the unknown and the hope of a future in a place where she will soon feel at home again. In New York, she hardly settles down and fights with an irrepressible nostalgia until, she meets an Italian boy, named Tony. When the death of her only sister forces her to return home, her heart splits in two. Eilis faces one of the most incredible and complicated dilemmas that characterise our ever-changing modern world: finding a way to match the place we came from with the one we dream of. ‘Brooklyn’ simply focuses on Eilis, her choices and the ability to gain courage from the natural obstacles placed on the path of life. No inhumanly evil characters are in this film: it is simply just a story, intricately
normal. If anything, she comes from another world like any of us. It is the story of a migrant and her impact with a society that even if it is only slightly different from her native country. When compared to the current phenomenon of immigration and its conflict between two options of the future (which she will resolve by making the most honest choice). She is sacrificing a comfortable and safe future in the name of a love and a life to build up from scratch.
gam i ng / 15
Blossom Season an d Th e Ai rsh i p Edited by Mio Farrenden
akura season has once again hit us in the New Horizons universe, and no one is mad about it. Having blossom trees every few steps instead of regular trees adds a way nicer aesthetic to my island than before. In fact, it is almost comparable to the beauty of the snow in winter. Most importantly, though, with new additions to the island always comes new DIYs and new inspiration. Floating around your island, similar to the snow in winter, will be little blossom petals - pink truly is this games colour! When you catch these with your net you will later be able to use them in heaps of DIY projects. If it is sakura we’re talking about then you can be sure that the projects will be equally beautiful and cute. I personally only have two of the DIYs at the moment but it has already resulted in the cutest little picnic area. Keep an eye out for sakura DIYs in bottles on the beach, in your villagers homes, and, of course, floating in the sky!
Among Us T
he new Among Us map, called the Airship, is just one amazing parts of the update. The new ship is not just considerably larger in size or more labyrinth-based, it also comes with an array of new mechanics. Firstly, the little characters sometimes have hands! Where were they before? When you climb up ladders, another one of the new additions, their strangely large hands pop out and climb up. Another is the levitating platform. This one can be slightly frustrating as only one person is allowed on at a time and the platform will stay at whatever side it was left at. If you want to know the rest of them then you’re just going to have to ask your friends for a game because we’ve got more to tell! Like we’ve already said, the map is just one new addition. There are also some really cool new hats and skins to play with. We recommend pairing the little heart hat with the cyborg skin, it really gets the other players contemplating your moral standing!
Roisin O’Hagan 16 / bi m m alum n i risi ng
‘Girls Like Me’
“I decided because he
wanted a reply so badly, I’d reply by song.”
Words and Photography by Dani Willgress
ike many female musicians, Roisin O’Hagan was met with an inbox full of inappropriate messages when promoting herself online. This time she’s decided to respond, in the form of her upcoming single ‘Girls Like Me’. Girls Like Me stems from a uncomfortable online encounter with a man in O’Hagan’s instagram message requests. She had replied to none none of the earlier messages leading to him continuing his thread asking inappropriate things of her and ending it by calling her a rude name. “I decided because he wanted a reply so badly, I’d reply by song.” She explains she wrote the song the same day in about an hour pouring out everything she was thinking and feeling and decided to call him out, for example the lyrics ‘Creepy isn’t cool, you didn’t get taught this in school’. The song is a good balance of being light hearted and tongue in cheek, appropriate for taking on such a potentially heavy topic. Driven by the heightening of conversations after the tragic murder of Sarah Everard, O’Hagan’s new single ‘Girls
Like Me’ is her way of sharing her own voice on the topic of women’s safety and treatment, adding fuel to the movement in her own way. “I think this year with the whole conversation of female safety, it has made me look back on situations like that and made me feel angry. I’m the sort of person who likes to stand up against what I think is wrong. It’s just occurred to me there were so many times especially as a young female in music that certain situations were wrong and I think there is a lot of scope for conversations about that now.” Focusing specifically online it is clear that many people seem to feel powerful hiding behind a screen making people feel uncomfortable. O’Hagan adds to this idea with a line in Girls Like Me which is ‘Calling names behind a screen there’s one thing left to say’ which then proceeds in the chorus calling the man out on his inappropriate behaviour. “There’s nothing inherently wrong with trying to meet or befriend someone online but if something is clearly unwanted think about how your friend, your daughter, mum, anyone would feel if they were telling you someone had done something like that to them, that they got all these unwanted messages and off the back of it they were the one called the B**** for not replying.” It would be very interesting to know the response of the guy the song is about if he heard the song knowing it was about it, maybe it would change his ways but that might be a bit optimistic. Girls Like Me is out 30th April 2021. In the meantime, follow O’Hagan on instagram @ rosey_roisin
Alum n i Risi ng
Navigating social media as an artist is tough. Being a female artist on social media is even tougher. BIMM London graduate and country-pop singer-songwriter Roisin O’Hagan tells us about her own experience - and how it shaped her latest song.
album revi ews Edited by Doug Phillips
ki ngs of leon When You See Yourself
Eighteen years after releasing their sensational debut album, ‘Youth And Young Manhood’, the Followill brothers, who you might know as Kings of Leon, evidently haven’t forgotten how to make music. The problem is, they also haven’t learnt how to make original music. There are a number of pleasant surprises, however the surprise becomes something more familiar as the wrapping rips off - a bit like if a younger sibling gifted you a sweater you’d thought you’d lost but now the sweater has paint marks and grass stains on it. I’m talking about the third track, ‘100,000 People’ that opens much like an Australian psychedelic tune with crisply produced warping monotonic keys playing lightly alongside a deliberate guitar riff. This mellow scene is then obliterated by Caleb’s dreary ‘Use Somebody’ vocals. In fact, the album is littered with reworks of ‘Use Somebody’ or - sing it with your chest - ‘Sex on Fire’. This isn’t to say that ‘When You See Yourself’ is a bad or even mediocre album, but that the band are more Ramones than Beatles - churning out what they know rather than experimenting with any kind of new sound. It’s fine. No one is angry, it is just a tad uninspired. joh n ny fry
lana de l rey
Chemtrails Over The Country Club
“Listening to The White Stripes when they were white hot”, this one lyric awoke dormant memories of my childhood leaving me wrapped up in a blanket of nostalgia. This is exactly what Lana Del Rey was trying to capture on the opening track, ‘White Dress’ for her seventh album, ‘Chemtrails Over The Country Club’. The album is the follow up to the critically acclaimed ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell!’ and while it isn’t too much of an improvement to the aforementioned album, Lana does take similar ideas, instrumentally with tracks like ‘Tulsa Jesus Freak’, which has each instrument coming in and out of the spotlight without outshining one another. The standout song on the album is ‘Dark But Just a Game’. Here, Lana is discussing the darker side of fame, however, what makes the song shine is the parallel modulation between the minor verse and the major chorus, this technique is what puts the song into perspective, the idea that we think fame would be great, but the reality is very far removed from that. olly ch ilds
ALBUM REVI EWS / 19
ocean wisdom Stay Sane
xi u xi u OH NO Melancholic noise pop duo Xiu Xiu return with their highly anticipated ‘Girl With a Basket of Fruit’ follow up. ‘OH NO’ is their first album made up completely of vocal duets featuring the likes of Sharon Van Etten, Chelsea Wolfe, Liars and more. Incredibly produced, it features a return of the painful whispered vocal performance from Jamie Stewart, typically from the ‘Fabulous Muscles’ era. Lyrical themes of intense loneliness and isolation juxtaposed with the everpresent counter vocals, makes for Xiu Xiu’s most personal and introspective album yet. Beautiful film-score style production includes the characteristic distorted snares and booming kick drums Xiu Xiu fans are used to with far less harsh noise and brutal vocal samples. While the gloss paint has been pulled over ‘OH NO’, it’s still a classic, bizarre Xiu Xiu release. Make sure you’re sitting down when listening because it’s not for the faint of heart. Thomas-Bradey Riseley
With collaborations from the likes of Fatboy Slim, Dizzee Rascal, Method Man and Freddie Gibbs, Camden rapper Ocean Wisdom has made an undeniable splash with his unique blend of grime, American hip-hop and melodic RnB. This exciting and promising display is continued, yet streamlined with his newest studio record, ‘Stay Sane’. Less star-studded than his previous projects, ‘Stay Sane’ leaves more room for Ocean to flourish and really shine on the mic. It’s been claimed that he is technically a faster rapper than the ‘Rap God’, Eminem, yet it’s encouraging to see that he doesn’t overuse his rapid capabilities and instead is actively seeking more devices to add to his creative arsenal such as, new flows, singing and vocal harmonies. ‘Shorty Gud’, ‘Good Girl’ and ‘Drilly Rucksack’ are among some of the most effective demonstrations of Ocean’s creative potential found in the impactful and layered, ‘Stay Sane’. doug ph illips
black hon ey Written & Directed
Black Honey are back with their sophomore release ‘Written & Directed’, a confrontational and dynamic record giving you the energy you need to survive the last leg of lockdown. You can see how popular the album is just by the band’s Spotify page, where their most streamed tracks are all singles from this new release. Created in homage to his work, ‘Written & Directed’ could easily pass as a soundtrack for an upcoming Tarantino blockbuster, with ‘Beaches’ and ‘I Like the Way You Die’ delivering powerful percussion and vivacious vocals from Izzy Baxter Phillips. Slower tracks like ‘Fire’ and ‘Gabrielle’ provide a contrastingly calm and gentle listen, a welldeserved rest break at the end of the album. bethan mccon n ell
Canadian pop star Justin Bieber released his sixth album, ‘Justice’ in March, bringing Instagram and Twitter into another meltdown. However, the ‘Beliebers’ might be on their own with this one. The album opens with Martin Luther King Jr talking about justice and injustice, whether it actually brings something to the album or if it’s just Bieber wanting to be political is not clear, but it was certainly unexpected. What is less surprising is the number of collaborations on the album coming in at eight. From his past releases we know his major hits have mostly been collabs, but on this album, the Benny Blanco partnership, ‘Lonely’ is the one song that could potentially follow suit. ‘Justice’ doesn’t seem to tell us anything, its purpose is unclear, which is ironic as Justin seemed to have found his purpose in life. Even though it’s not a special album, it’s a safe bet that it’ll do well among the fans, seeing that ‘Bieber Fever’ is still very much alive.
m egan hofman
justi n bi e be r Justice
ge n esis owusu
ALBUM REVI EWS / 21
Smiling With No Teeth
Genesis Owusu’s debut album displays the competence and stylistic assertion of a seasoned music legend. Throughout the near-hour runtime of the funky, alternative hip-hop lined ‘Smiling with No Teeth’, the listener is repeatedly barraged with fresh, exciting concepts, seemingly uninfluenced by whatever is currently being celebrated in the modern music environment. Perhaps because the Ghanaian-Australian vocalist seems to have directed his attention to the past to influence his own brand of hip-hop. Funk, punk, electronic and psychedelic genres are fused with a vague, unplaceable yet vital hiphop attitude, the result being a glitchy, soulful and angsty record that is tirelessly innovative and inspiring. Genesis’ rapping voice can be rude and unapologetic as seen in ‘Whip Cracker’, yet he can quite comfortably repurpose his voice for a gentler, emotive singing tone like in ‘Easy’ and the title track, the former of which also sees a calm and melodic rapping style from Genesis, demonstrating that not even his voice can be pinned down or predicted. doug ph illips
JM E, Frisco, Shorty, Capo Le e Norf Face
rob zom bi e
The Lunar Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy From the Hellbilly’s seventh debut record, it’s clear that the horror-obsessed heavy metal icon hasn’t lost an ounce of what made him such an exciting and ear-catching emergence in rock music back in 1998. Rob Zombie’s classic metal staples, like his growling radio-effect vocals, commanding guitar riffs and painfully heavy drum grooves are in full effect on this album; yet they never feel overplayed or tired. Each track manages to rearrange the formulae just enough for a fresh, smirk-inducing metal experience. Although the songs on this project aren’t exactly unique, a fun, light-hearted approach to production makes each track on this mad, rule-less album hit differently each time and always keeps you guessing. doug ph illips
JME, Frisco, Shorty, and Capo Lee are here to give what all grime fans are desperate for, collaborations among the greats. ‘Norf Face’ is the brand-new joint project consisted of nine explosive singles that bring the four giants together to prove that grime is not a dying genre. Last month, the group shocked fans by announcing that they were working on something new, along with the release of their first single, “Baitest Sound”. Its menacing, Skepta-produced beat draws you in like an old-school Grime track. Throughout the project, Capo Lee makes sure not to fall behind, despite sharing the same breath as Grime’s greats. Each rapper tackles the instrumentals with their very own individual styles and catchphrases, showcasing why they’re the best at what they do. ‘Norf Face’ is the ideal project to listen to as summer approaches, it gives a glimpse of the grime sets we can hope to attend once lockdown is lifted. Each rapper has a musical legacy to uphold, and they keep delivering year after year. jade dadalica
Above: The fake siblings that set a template for modern blues-punk, The White Stripes. Left: John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the power of two.
The power of Duos
Words by Olly Childs
aft Punk and The White Stripes. Both of these acts have at least one thing in common – and if you’ve read the headline then you’ll know that it’s the fact that they’re partnerships, like Lennon and McCartney and Morrissey and Marr. Each respective pair may have been around at different times but the music they made and wrote will be forever timeless, but why? Why is it that music written by two people resonates so well? One angle you could take is that the music they made is just that iconic, from the intricacies of The Beatles’ later works to simplicity of The White Stripes, each of these partnerships were pioneers in their respective genres. Now is it fate that each new wave of popular music took the partnership of two to man the helm? While there might be other writing partnerships, none are as iconic. Is that not what we want out of life, something iconic to take us out the mundane
cycle? It’s as the saying goes “two heads are better than one”. However, an interesting observation to make is that none of these duos are together anymore. While sad as that maybe, it serves as a reminder of our own mortality and how nothing lasts forever; we have to enjoy it while we have it. To take a different angle to answer why duos really pique our interest, that would be the human condition. A quick philosophy lesson; the human condition is set characteristics and/ or key elements that make up human existence, while these aren’t the definitive answer to life, it does relate to the duality of duos: how two personalities blend. One aspect of the human condition is the condition of love. Traditionally love is shared between two people, so one could argue that our attraction to duos in music isn’t so much that we enjoy the music, but the fact it is written into our nature for the desire for companionship, to form our own duo.
opi n ion pi ece / 23 From a scrappy rock band to electronic maestros - Daft Punk. RIP.
Words: Gery Hristrova
y y Ton
In 2021, the UK rap and grime scene is more popular than ever, inspiring people from every part of the globe. BIMM London’s Anthony Soltvedt, also known as Tonyy, is a new artist making a name. The Cardiff-based rapper just self-released his first solo album ‘Synesthesia’. “This is a very healing album for me” he says as talks about his new project, inspirations, hopes and dreams. Words by Gery Hristrova
bi m m i ntroduci ng / 25 "I n school I was too shy to say that I wante d to make m usic, but de e p down I always kn ew I wante d to pursue a care e r as a rappe r." Tell us a little bit about yourself. My name is Anthony Soltvedt. I was born in Wales to a family of Somalian mother and Norwegian father. It’s definitely a bit of an abstract, diverse mix. I’ve been making music since the age of 13. I was in youth club studios and bands and I’ve always had this thing on the back of my mind that I really need to make music. That idea kept me up at night.” When did you know you wanted to become an artist? “When I was 12, I used to steal, not exactly steal… [laughs] let’s start over again. When I was 12, I used to take my sister’s laptop and watch YouTube videos, mainly UK rap and any music that I could find. I told myself that this was something I could do, this is something that I want to pursue in life. At that age, I was enjoying it, but I didn’t know why. As time progressed, it was everything I wanted to be. In school, when they’re asking me what I wanted to do once I graduated, I was too shy and embarrassed to tell them that I wanted to make music, because some people didn’t look at it as a real career. However, I always knew I wanted to pursue a career as a rapper.” Why did you choose the name ‘Synesthesia’ for your first album? “The title has a really personal meaning. Everyone from my family, from my mother to my sisters, have their own mental issues. I just asked myself, ‘What was my thing?’ It didn’t [kind of] make sense when it came around, but I remember just looking at musicrelated illnesses and ‘synesthesia’ came up. The concept of synesthesia is being able to see sound and see the colours of it. I think the project is very colourful and there’re a lot of different moments on it. So it fitted perfectly.” How long did it take you to record the album? “I started working on it in 2019. I went to Berlin and I stayed there with my friend for two months. It was very inspiring. We made some music together. We performed a lot and we shot a music video. It was like a joint enterprise. But, then I went back to UK and I felt low and down, because I was in heaven in Berlin. [There] I was doing anything I wanted and then I’vestarted working away at it. The project was written and it was finished by March 2020, but I couldn’t make it mixed and mastered, because of the lockdown and all the studios being shut. So I let go of it but it was finished musically since October 2020. However, then we had to make the graphic design.
I’m not a very visual person, I like music and writing. To me, the graphics were just waiting. But, everything came out when it was supposed to come out.” Is this the first time using your music to talk about the struggles that you faced over the years? “I guess, when I’m doing features, I can’t be crying on the microphone or really expressing myself to the fullest. Rap music is all about being competitive and showing what you can do. But with this project that I’ve made I was able to create exactly what I wanted. It’s mine, I’m in control. I never even spoke about creating a song that should sound on a certain way. I don’t want to be crying over anyone else’s song. I wanted people to relate to my music and show them that side of me, the more personal one. I want my songs to touch as many people as they can.” Why did you decide to feature another artist [Andrew Ogun] in your song ‘Bugs Life’? “Originally, he wasn’t on the song. We had a rule, the first of our individual projects should have no features. We have to hold it on our own. But what he did on that outro of the song, where it was originally me, while we’re getting the song through the process of creation, our engineer suggested to change a part of the track. So, we switched my part with his [Ogun]. We definitely broke the rule but the track sounds great. Ogun added a little bit of flavour to it. Even though there’s only one real feature I like to think that there are many other voices on the project. For example, on ‘Adele’ you have my niece on the background, on ‘X’ you have that heavy sample, or I used my voice but pitched on the track ‘Vulnerable’.” What this album means to you and are there any hidden messages that you’re trying to send with your music? “It’s an introduction to my career. It’s a very healing album to me.I truly love it. I just wanted to be able to make personal music. Songs that people can enjoy. I didn’t want to be making sad songs, people to cry to. One of the singles, ‘Vulnerable’, you can see how the title speaks for itself. But, once you listen to the song, you can dance and move to it. It tells you that you can still ‘move’ on the vibe of the song, even if you don’t feel great. I want everyone to be happy and do whatever they came on this Earth to do. On the same way like me, when I started making music. The simpler you make my life, the better it is.” Synesthesia is out now. Find Tonyy on Spotify.
Small Businesses You'll Love
26 / se lf-care
Self-care is all about treating yourself, and having that one day a week when you can kick back and have a day completely dedicated to you and looking after your mental wellbeing. With the high street on the brink and no shops but essential ones open there has not been a better time to start shopping small. Words by Emily Cliff A special self-care box from Peace and Willow
ere at LDN’s Self-Care section we are all about the skincare and the baths, it’s a fundamental part of our SelfCare routines, if you want to make this week extra special then head to Peace and Willow on Etsy. Peace and Willow has a wonderful range of self-care boxes which include everything you need to have a wonderful Self-Care day From face and eye masks, to calming teas and bath bombs this shop has it all. Even though we are counting down the days until we can finally go to shops and socialise with friends again, if your favourite bakery got hit hard by the pandemic and you are looking for a sweet fix delivered straight to your door. Postbox Bakes is a
Delicious cakes from Postbox Bakes on Etsy
business that sells brownies, blondies cookies and all things sweet straight to your door in a box that even fits through your letterbox. Uniquely, this brand even sells a share box of fresh brownie trimmings with a dipping sauce so you know nothing is going to waste. When the high street is closed and small businesses are getting hit hard it has never been more important to show our support. You don’t have to spend a lot and most of these small businesses have things in their shop under £20. The perfect way to treat yourself and to help out someone else is by supporting a small business in lockdown. We hope you check out some of these amazing businesses and have the best possible Self-Care Day.
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SAFE AND SOUND music and culture, curated by creative women
Music, arts, culture and more in this free magazine made by media students from BIMM Institute, London, and beyond. In this issue we look at...
Published on May 11, 2021
Music, arts, culture and more in this free magazine made by media students from BIMM Institute, London, and beyond. In this issue we look at...