Introducing Shaun: The latest single from PLAY DEAD

Today, the latest single from up and coming band PLAY DEAD titled Shaun was put out to listeners. It’s a rather vibrant track, laced with a lightheartedness that imitates the carefree feeling of spending a Saturday down the pub. Maintaining high energy and a punchy sound throughout, it’s in keeping with PLAY DEAD’s signature upbeat punk style. 

It tells the rather entertaining story of Shaun,  boyfriend of bassist Ollie Clarke’s Nan who’s often described as ‘a gentle giant’. It’s clear to see he’s a man with a somewhat social buoyancy, who like the rest of us enjoys a nice pint and a pie (as well as a bit of Coldplay). However, his short temper has led to some rather intriguing incidents. The most notable taking place in Brixton, when a short fuse resulted in what could only be described as a classic pub brawl. PLAY DEAD’s latest song deems Saturday night alright for fighting. 

With a playful narrative that loosely mimics The Streets and nods to influences such as IDLES, PLAY DEAD maintain flexibility within their sonic style. They not only efficiently captured the comedy and charisma of Shaun lyrically but also through the dynamic instrumentation. Their brazen attitude and desire to make a (well-received) noise has allowed them to tell a fast-paced tale and also to gather the attention of other music lovers.

It’s admirable how much the band has achieved so far. Being only sixteen and producing such a high standard of music leads us to believe that they have an exciting future ahead of them. Make sure you have a listen to their previous release, Whitstable, which is another song bounding with liveliness and charm.  

Recently, a fan favourite and major influence on this budding band, The Streets released their latest album titled  ‘None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive.’ Before digging into their twelve new tracks and maybe your pie of choice be sure to give PLAY DEAD a listen. Their new track could leave a taste in your mouth that tops Steak and Ale.

Listen to Shaun here:

Check out our latest posts on Instagram here:

Check out our latest posts here:


Introducing Document: The Post-Punk Powerhouse Taking Manchester’s Music Scene By Storm

Recently we have been drawn into the dark and brooding world of Document, a post-punk band whose sound is particularly potent and full of atmosphere.

Back in March, they released their first EP: A Camera Wanders All Night. Made up of 5 well-refined songs that each have a dark and twisted tale to tell, sonically resonating perfectly with the modern revival of punk.

The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, for example, is a robust display of character-focused lyricism that is extremely well-developed. It combines perfectly with the aura of the instrumentation, generating a rather cinematic and extremely enticing storyline. There’s an underlying feeling of nostalgia hidden within Document’s music, hints of influences and ideas that shape their songs into something truly meaningful.

The vocals play a rather important role in each track, acting as the narrative’s vessel. The delivery is somewhat poetic; it’s consuming and rather admirable how well the style and emotional undertones complement the instrumentation. The guitars are absolute, with riffs that ring in your ears, tearing away at any predetermined ideas of what each song might hold. In addition, the drums and bass work perfectly to deepen their tracks, creating layers of drama and soulfulness.

There’s something particularly intriguing about the band’s musical mystique, their ability to spark emotiveness in such an infectiously powerful way is what really caught our eye. Every song is an experience, reaffirming the idea of their sonic maturity.

Document are a powerhouse fronting the resurgence of the post-punk scene, leaving us to wonder what exciting prospects the future may hold – they most certainly are a band to watch. Their next gig is at The Soup Kitchen in Manchester, an intimate 200 capacity venue right in the heart of the city. It’s great to see it sold out so make sure you watch out for future dates!

For fans of The Murder Capital, IDLES, Joy Division, and Shame.

Listen to A Camera Wanders All Night here:

Check out our latest Instagram posts here:


The Music Industry might want to buckle itself in, it’s in for a bumpy ride

Think back to a time when you were in a hot and crowded room, drenched in the familiar odour of inexpensive beer from a stranger’s cup and beads of sweat that slowly edged down your back. Remember the way that your T-shirt stuck to you as you bounced up and down in unison with the rest of the room, with your fellow music fanatics, not a single frown to be seen. Reminisce about that blissful buzz, that now very distant but beguiling buzz that rang around the room as the music rang in your ears. Every day I find myself and many others waking up and wishing that that feeling of unmitigated joy had followed all of us into 2020.  

2020 has instead overseen the injurious introduction of the world with the COVID-19 crisis. At this point, the ever embittering coronavirus is an ordeal of astronomical magnitude that we’re collectively, all too familiar with. The pandemic has taken its toll physically, mentally (not to mention economically) on pretty much every last one of us, and just when we thought it had ever so slightly loosened its unrelenting grip on our lives I am reluctant to tell you that now it poses a new threat; it threatens to cull culture. 

 Given the transmission of the virus is heightened by the gathering of large groups, music venues up and down the country have been forced to shut their doors to dwindle the rate of infection. From March the 16th, mass gatherings involving more than 500 people have been banned by the UK government to ensure the safety and to maintain the health of the population. World-renowned music festivals such as Glastonbury which was due to celebrate the momentous occasion of its 50th birthday this year have also been postponed to 2021. Glastonbury organisers Michael and Emily Eavis fear that if the festival was unable to go ahead in 2021, they could be at imminent risk of bankruptcy. So what I want to ask is, if even the most distinguished organisations and events in the music business are potentially at risk, how do smaller establishments in the industry plan to keep their heads above water during these tumultuous times?

 Reportedly, there are 556 grassroots music venues in the UK at direct risk of permanent closure. Not a minor temporary closure, a permanent one. In recent years, the rise of streaming giants such as Spotify and Apple Music has already put these smaller cultural hubs at considerable risk. Streaming has become us music lover’s predominant form of musical consumption and with the unfair payment of artists by these huge companies,  less known and upcoming musicians have become heavily reliant on touring and playing gigs to generate adequate revenue to live off. Of late, the untimely entrance of the world health crisis has undoubtedly exacerbated what was already a difficult situation for many upcoming artists.

Recently, the sense of despondency in the music industry has only escalated. Unfortunately, whilst social distancing can somewhat successfully be carried out in places like pubs, restaurants, and shops it would be simply impossible to aptly apply the same rules and regulations to a concert venue where everybody is stood shoulder to shoulder. Due to this, music venues are unable to open their doors until the risk of contracting corona virus has drastically decreased or preferably, been entirely eliminated. This is an unfortunate reality as, according to the Music Venue Trust, the live music industry in the UK produces £5.2 billion for the UK economy and a further £2.7 billion in export revenue, however, 90% of venues and festivals are currently facing the petrifying prospect of permanent closure due to the loss in business throughout the lockdown. 

Nevertheless, all is not lost. We can be reunited with our fellow music fanatics and that euphoric buzz that we’re so desperately holding out for once again. The Music Venue Trust has made an urgent plea for as many people as humanly possible to donate to save grassroots music venues up and down the country. In total, they need £50 million to ensure the security of the grassroots music sector and to protect the thousands upon thousands of jobs involved in the industry. We must act now before something that is integral to our culture is gone for good.

Live music is something practically intrinsic to my life and indisputably the lives of many others, it helps everyday people to forget the inevitable stress, annoyance, and upset of everyday life, even if just for an hour or two. It’s something that despite the political disputes, prejudice, and discrimination that continues beyond the walls of a concert venue, brings human beings closer together. Music is a fundamental part of our society, of our culture, because it helps us to forget the shitshow that is being performed daily, by our world leaders, by the people who are supposed to have our best interests at heart but simultaneously fail to protect the most vulnerable people in society. Music stays with us through the rough and the smooth which is why the industry can’t afford to fail, we owe it to ourselves to refuse it’s collapse because ultimately, our well being is more dependent on that buzz than we realise.

Relevant links to places where you can donate to support music venues and artists through the pandemic are included below:


Televised Mind – The Latest Single From Fontaines D.C.

This evening we welcomed the release of Fontaines D.C.’s latest single, televised mind. It’s the third single from their second album, ‘A Hero’s Death’, which is set to be released at the end of July. It’s yet another valuable addition to the band’s musical collective.

The music video was also released earlier this evening.

From start to finish, the instrumentation is captivating. Forcing a grip upon the listener’s attention. The track is full of movement, driven by the excellent use of dynamics. The introduction of the drums, bass, and guitar riffs all at once, for example, is a powerful maneuver (and one that Fontaines D.C. have mastered). The vocals are particularly melodic, further enticing the approval of those who listen.

Recently the band shared how The Prodigy and The Brian Jonestown Massacre were great influences in the creation of the track, more specifically their use of chord progressions that create a ‘droning, hypnotic feel’. As a result, the melodic structure of Televised Mind feels a lot more experimental in comparison to their previous songs.

Of course, you can’t go without touching on the pungent lyricism present. The track homes in on the sobering idea of fading originality and the desire of acceptance. We see a use of repetition within the lyrics creating a realistic reflection on the indoctrination present in modern-day society. It’s like a walk through the city, looking at each individual walking past and seeing them for what they really are, a televised mind. After all, we’ve all fallen victim to the pressures of forced ideology.

‘This song is about the echo chamber and how personality gets stripped away by surrounding approval. People’s opinions get reinforced by constant agreement, and we’re robbed of our ability to feel wrong.’

– GRIAN CHATTEN (Frontman of fontaines d.c.)

The release has further increased the anticipation and excitement regarding the release of ‘A Hero’s Death’ as it presents a broader collection of sonic influences, leaving fans wondering what else the band might be hiding up their sleeves.

Overall, Televised Mind is a track ridden with reality. It’s a reminder of the hidden issues present in all of our lives, and reaffirms the notion that we must strive towards individuality and staying true to ourselves.

Tickets for their UK tour go on sale on Thursday, we’d highly recommend heading down to your nearest venue to catch them live.


A Hero’s Death – The Latest Single From Fontaines D.C.

On the 5th of May, Dublin band Fontaines D.C released their latest single, A Hero’s Death. The track has already received an unprecedented amount of praise whilst fuelling a frenzy of interest and anticipation for their next studio album (A Hero’s Death) which will be released on the 31st of July.

A Hero’s Death is soaked in repetitive mantras, all of which share the same familiar sense of realness that Fontaines D.C. portray so effectively. There’s an air of demand created in the delivery of the lyrics as the track acts as a harsh reality check. It depicts what lead singer Grian Chatten describes as the ‘principles for self-prescribed happiness’ and is certainly further proof of the group’s ability to provoke meaning and independence in the music they create.

The sheer power of this single is impossible to ignore and shows us the band delving into a new territory of sound whilst still maintaining the humbled familiarity of their musical makeup. From the guitar to the vocals, this single has generated a presence of its own due to its explicit form and sonic maturity.

Accompanied by the gritty stance of the instrumentation, the backing vocals are especially prominent within the single, providing a vital layer of melancholic graciousness that is present from start to finish. In addition, the movement created by the drums and bass combined displays their post-punk style perfectly, acting as the backbone of this musically righteous track.

The release has proven rather topical, with lyrics such as ‘life ain’t always empty’ and ‘look forward to a brighter future’ providing a reminder to all that there’s more to life than the current endeavours and the need to remain vigilant, no matter what. It is this ability to connect with the masses that has allowed Fontaines D.C. to create such a storm, they are a band that embraces vulnerability, allowing for a personal relationship between themselves and their listeners.

Watch the music video starring Aiden Gillen here:

Listen to A Hero’s Death Here:

You can pre-order A Hero’s Death on all formats (as well as merch bundles) from https://shop.fontainesdc.com/


How The Stone Roses Influenced A Generation

Altrincham, 1980s. In a dark rainy ghost town, two students at a local grammar school start a partnership that’ll last them most of their young adult life. They don’t know it yet, but Ian Brown and John Squire, playing bass and guitar respectively for a Clash-inspired rock band, will later become part of a cultural movement whose effects are still felt today. 

The Stone Roses formed in the autumn of 1983 – but it wasn’t until 1987 that they completed their classic and most prominent lineup, with Alan “Reni” Wren on drums and Gary “Mani” Mounfield on bass. In May 1988, the band played a high-profile gig at Manchester’s International II alongside James, to raise funds for a campaign against Clause 28 (among the audience was a 16-year-old Liam Gallagher, who was later inspired to start a band himself). Also in the audience was A&R executive Roddy McKenna, who signed an eight-album deal with The Stone Roses later that year. 

Though they had gained some traction with the singles “Elephant Stone” and “Made of Stone”, it wasn’t until the release of their seminal album “The Stone Roses” that cemented their positions as pioneers of the Madchester genre. Full of fantastic melodies reminiscent of neo-psychedelia and chiming guitars, with Brown’s beautifully written lyrics of arrogance and longing, the album sold four million copies worldwide. Although it was slightly ignored in the first stages of release, in later years The Stone Roses was quickly revered as one of the greatest albums of all time. 

The Stone Roses contributed towards the burgeoning rave culture at that time, particularly centred in their hometown of Manchester. With the growing popularity of the Haçienda nightclub and other acts such as Happy Mondays and 808 State, the Madchester scene was in full swing, and it became possibly the most prominent of The Stone Roses’ associated genres. Fool’s Gold and Waterfall were frequently heard on the dancefloor, among the acid house anthems and club-oriented pop.

Their scope of influence was inescapable – Reni arguably helped popularise the fishing/bucket hat style synonymous with the era. The band influenced countless other artists, most notably Oasis – Noel Gallagher famously said, “when I heard Sally Cinnamon for the first time, I knew what my destiny was”. The association between both bands might have contributed towards the modern-day indie revival hailing them as being staples of an indie kid’s vinyl collection (regardless of how truly indie you consider them). 

The peak of The Stone Roses’ fame might have occured during the so-called Second Summer of Love – spanning over two or three years depending on who you ask – which was an acid-soaked era preaching love, acceptance, and many many drugs. It culminated in their legendary gig at Spike Island, Widnes, which was described as “Woodstock for the E generation”. Despite the following rapid succession of chart hits, The Stone Roses cancelled their upcoming American tour, and issued a statement saying, “America doesn’t deserve us yet”. It would be their last public statement for the next four years. 

The Madchester scene began to fade after the other central act, Happy Mondays, split after leading their record label into bankruptcy. Media fascination dwindled: bands that had previously been part of the scene evolved into indie rock or britpop (The Charlatans being notable examples of this). The Stone Roses spent most of 1992-93 travelling in Europe, before starting to work on their second album. 

December 1994 saw the release of The Second Coming, to mixed reviews – music journalist Simon Reynolds attributed this to “the resentment that the Roses, divorced from the cultural moment that gave them meaning, were now just another band”. It featured bluesy retro-psychedelic grooves and 70s-style extended guitar riffs, but none of the jangle pop sparkle and cultural drive that preceded it. Following the cancellation of their Glastonbury 1995 performance, and John Squire’s eventual departure in 1996, the band were left with nowhere to go, and dissolved later that year.

These days, you’re more likely to hear The Stone Roses playing in the local nightclub on indie night, than anywhere near a stage. They reformed in 2011 and performed a series of concerts together over the next eight years, before disbanding again in late 2019. But retrospectively they are, more often than not, regarded as one of the greatest British bands ever. In conclusion: The Stone Roses are amazing and their songs are timeless, it’s never gonna be uncool to call them your favourite.

-By Amy Warburton


The New Abnormal- The Latest Release From The Strokes

Released 19 years on from their pioneering debut album, The Strokes’ sixth instalment, The New Abnormal, provides a contemporary and refreshing sound whilst reinstituting familiar qualities that we know and love. The album is composed of nine songs with some resembling more closely the earlier work of the band and others creeping into more ingenious and experimental territory.

It is worth noting that the contextual references vary from track to track, covering everything from personal experience to perhaps the state of the topical political landscape. ‘Bad Decisions’, an early release from the album, briefly graced this landscape when publicly played for the first time in February at a rally for Democrat and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. This seems a fitting yet unsurprising debut as frontman Casablancas has frequently been known to express his apparent scepticism and disillusionment with the functionality of Capitalism. In our opinion, the opening track on The New Abnormal ‘The Adults are Talking’ takes on a seemingly insubordinate tone, a somewhat direct denunciation of the corrupt and immoral businessmen or politicians at the helm of our society. However, other tracks seem to take a more personal, reflective tone and something that perhaps a listener can relate to.

The instrumentation of The New Abnormal is ambitious, prominent use of synths accentuates the new wave influences present whilst contrasting the traditional garage rock stature of their earlier albums. However, an air of familiarity is secured by the development of riffs that are reminiscent of their more ‘traditional’ style. Each instrument present has been skillfully adapted to create an air of depth and atmosphere throughout each track. There is an interesting variety in valence created by the diversity in the tone of synths especially and there are many examples of manipulated dynamics throughout. From the thumping percussion of ‘Not The Same Anymore’ to the falsettos Casablancas delivers so effortlessly in ‘Eternal Summer’, there’s a clear sense of instrumental maturity present. Overall, the sounds of The New Abnormal resonate and it’s impossible to ignore the musical development and production that has taken place.

The New Abnormal has proven a truly valuable addition to The Strokes’ musical collective. Their highly anticipated and long-awaited 6th album has tactfully displayed the gradual development of the band’s sound and also proved Casablancas to be a genuinely successful lyricist as well as renowned riff writer.

Listen to The New Abnormal here:

Transmission Blog’s 2020 Roundup

Piecing together our musical roundup this year has been by no means an orthodox task. Perhaps the strangest year for music in the industry’s history, we’ve missed out on music in its rawest form with the cancellations of festivals and concerts all over the world. That being said, music as ever still maintains its seminal characteristic, it has, without doubt, continued to be a force pulling us all together in our absolute darkest of hours. Last year for me, induced a need to crack open the Specials as throughout lockdown, whilst feeling (absurdly) obliged to make use of my daily walk as if it was some kind of liberty I took pre-covid, it did appear as if we were all living in a ghost town. But have courage, the end is in sight, live music though ravaged by covid-19 much like the rest of the entertainment industry will make its return- we just have to hang in there for a little while longer. 

Aside from all the doom and gloom and me whinging about missing gigs (yes my family are incontestably bored of hearing about it) there were still successes in 2020 which I must dignify a round of applause. However, you must bear with me whilst I try and keep this entertaining for you, after all, this isn’t the music industry’s 2020 honours ceremony, my name isn’t the Queen and I don’t hand out MBE’s though if I could, there are a few artists I would have in mind. I must offer my condolences to those artists, however, as Craig David was handed that one, I heard the Duke of Edinburgh is a big fan.

Nevertheless, there were plenty of other awards to be won, in September, the Mercury Prize went to Michael Kiwanuka for his musically cohesive, self-titled, third album KIWANUKA. The album saw him confidently come into his own, resolutely regain his Ugandan identity and defy record producers who suggested that he alter his stage name to make it ‘easier’ to pronounce, which would supposedly help to sell more records. As it turns out, Michael Kiwanuka didn’t need any “help”,  rather, his refusal to conceal his cultural heritage and instead, his decision to amplify it with an instrumentally resplendent album that featured graceful yet consequential melodies is what secured his success. All of this combined with unique and mesmerisingly melodious vocals makes KIWANUKA a celebration of culture, an artistic and musical triumph, and a well-deserved winner of the 2020 Mercury Prize. My steadfast enthusiasm, though unshakeable, cannot deny the other nominees, however, who consisted of the wonderful Laura Marling for her album Song For Our Daughter, the acclaimed grime artist, and game-changing Glastonbury headliner, Stormzy, for the album Heavy Is The Head and alternative rock intellects, Sports Team, for their striking yet sensational debut album, Deep Down Happy, amongst others. 

An album that particularly stood out amongst this year’s nominees was Dua Lipa’s second studio album, Future Nostalgia which possessed the perfect blend of retro references and pop princess anthems making for a high spirited piece that certainly lightened up what felt like an endless national lockdown. Future Nostalgia included hit tracks Break My Heart and Physical but our personal favourite was Don’t Start Now which features a confident and carefree storyline with Dua declaring that bad ex-boyfriend a thing of the past and a thing she’s moved on so much from that ‘it’s scary.’ Dua Lipa’s third studio album certainly served up some of the joy that we needed to power through 2020 and it also deservedly put her at third in the UK album charts last year. Just pipping Dua Lipa to the post, runner up in last year’s album charts, went to Harry Styles for his free-spirited album, Fine Line. The album was certainly captivating due to its inherent charm and magnetism with the hit single, Golden, offering a glorious sense of expansion. Nevertheless, the best selling album of 2020 went to the witty yet wacky Lewis Capaldi, who when he wasn’t having the nation in stitches was fabricating the heartfelt album Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent. Despite only acquiring two stars from NME and three stars from The Guardian, Capaldi certainly won over the heart of the nation with his idiosyncratic ballads that truly captured the apparent flimsiness of love but also the hurt of heartbreak. Call Lewis Capaldi the male Adele if you like, because it’s certainly a fitting description.

More favoured by critics, however, was Women In Music Part III by the sisterly trio, Haim. With four stars from Rolling Stone and five from NME, the album was a stellar effort to address the prevalent issue of sexism in the music industry. It indisputably stood out from the Haim sisters’ previous releases seeing as it generally underpinned more serious topics and sustained a consistently sombre undertone. This is unsurprising, as each of the sisters found themselves under fire from new difficulties that life was rather aggressively throwing in their direction. Danielle’s boyfriend was diagnosed with cancer, Alana was bereaved by the death of a close friend and Este continued to struggle with depression as a result of her Type 1 Diabetes. Their success is wholly deserved and their formidable work ethic, even through a time of deep distress, a true inspiration to other musicians. They confront sensitive issues so personal to them with such flair and they defiantly record events where they have all been denied the respect they deserve due to their gender with clarity and strength. Women in Music Pt III makes for a truly wonderful yet thought-provoking listen, utterly deserving of the praise it has received.

Some of Transmission’s favourite albums of 2020  included The New Abnormal by The Strokes (be sure to go and read our review if you haven’t already), Foolish Loving Spaces by Blossoms but especially A Hero’s Death by Fontaines D.C.

 A Hero’s Death is the second installment from Fontaines and features unarguably some of their best tracks including I Don’t Belong, Televised Mind, and Living in America. The album features the ever sullen and distinguished voice of lead singer Grian Chatten who’s voice often mirrors Joy Division’s Ian Curtis in the best way possible (just with an Irish twist). It’s difficult to describe this album in a way that doesn’t make it sound dark and gloomy, but that’s exactly what it is, the entire album is laced with this unremitting darkness but simultaneously a sense of anger and frustration. It is this wonderfully orchestrated depth combined with these intense and almost hypnotic guitar riffs that make their music so alluring.

Yet, to not end on such a solemn note, we will leave you with a few messages of positivity for the year ahead- I am aware we are already well into 2021, this post was a long time coming, so apologies and allow me to rephrase. To not end on such a solemn note, we will leave you with a few messages of positivity in mid-January. Whilst 2020 was probably universally one of the most arduous years in many of our lifetimes, especially if you’re a musician, there was some great music released last year, and whilst that seems like a microscopic drop in a monumentally ginormous great big gargantuan ocean, music has superpowers and it can put the world to rights even if it’s just for the duration of a three-minute single. Nevertheless, before you know it, live music will return and the world will be put to rights for the length of an entire concert, it sounds utterly ludicrous as we’re currently on a full-scale lockdown (or lockdown season 3 as I like to call it) but the end is somewhat faintly within sight and when that time comes you’ll be able to discuss your new favourite album or anything for that matter, with a friend in person, not over zoom or facetime. Honestly, the chance would be a fine thing. I assure you there will be plenty of albums to discuss in 2021 however, a new special from Royal Blood is on the cards or perhaps a debut album from Inhaler, either way, there are things to look forward to and with a bit of luck and a bit of the old AstraZeneca, I’ll be sat here in 2022, writing our 2021 round-up after attending a few much-missed gigs. 

It’s time for the music industry to face the music (and it’s wrongdoings)

 I have classed myself a feminist for as long as I can remember, I grew up frustrated with my female classmates who shied away from the label for it had been twisted and given a misleading radical connotation. It baffled me. What confused me even further was that my reward for seeking to discuss issues I was passionate about was being labelled bossy and opinionated. Surely being unafraid to discuss a situation that makes you unhappy and that is altogether downright immoral was a positive trait. Instead, I received the opposite impression, which left me questioning. Was I destined to be viewed negatively by others for having a voice and being unafraid to use it?

 Throughout lockdown, like many others suffering from bored as a shit syndrome, I devoured anything on Netflix that even brushed on interesting. Once I had finally finished waging my profound dislike for Tiger King’s Carole Baskin, I stumbled across Taylor Swift’s documentary titled Miss Americana. Now, I’ll admit I’ve never been Swift’s biggest fan, in fact reasonably far from it; don’t get me wrong after watching all 85 minutes you’re still especially unlikely to catch me red-handed in the act of discreetly tapping my foot to Shake it Off or throwing cushions or crockery at the wall to We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. Nonetheless, what I did find was a newfound respect for a woman who can only be described as severely misunderstood, a mere chess piece tactfully used as part of a much bigger game. On the contrary, the confinement of the patriarchy is not an amusing little game like charades or monopoly (although I would argue the latter even in speed mode is truly the stuff of nightmares). 

Before watching Miss Americana, I had spent years of disliking the unattainable image that Swift put out to the world. I was skeptical because, to me, her unnaturally thin stature and exclusive group of supermodel friends portrayed her as an advocate for low self-esteem in young girls and women and the glorification of unhealthy eating habits or disorders. In the eyes of a budding feminist such as myself and undoubtedly many others, it looked like her women backing women facade was limited to beautiful women who had graced the covers of Vogue. Together, the Swift Squad (as it was then known) fed into society’s patriarchal ideas of the perfect woman, she was the “perfect” woman who refused to discuss politics and social issues but maintained her tiny waist and glossy blonde locks. What I should’ve guessed and what I ultimately failed to, was that behind this facade was a woman who was being pigeonholed by powerful men in the music industry and by the cruelty of cowardly bullies online. Taylor Swift had been playing the role that men wanted her to play, she became the puppet whose strings were being pulled by a society designed by white men, for white men. Naturally, this left me wondering, how many other women in the music and entertainment industry had suffered the same fate as Swift due to these sexist ideals?

 What I discovered as I dug deeper and deeper was that Swift’s tale was not an anomalous case, she was part of a hidden trend, part of a much wider issue that has been swept under the rug for decades. In recent years, our attention has been focused on the film industry. The conviction of Harvey Weinstein and the rise of the #MeToo movement had public condemnation centered around Hollywood and the movie-making scene whereas issues of the same foul and repulsive nature in the music industry went undetected and utterly unnoticed. The fact is that so many female artists have been subjected to beyond stomach-turning scrutiny and even worse, appalling instances of sexual assault or inappropriateness. 

Despite the pop music industry accumulating a total of £4 billion per year, it’s an industry in which late-night drinking and parties are the norms. However, what should not become part of the norm is women continually being on the receiving end of their male bosses or clients crossing workplace boundaries simply because the atmosphere is more informal and events often occur outside of typical office hours. According to Lara Baker, events manager at the Association of Independent Music (AIM), it’s not uncommon at all for people’s concept of formality to go out of the window when the lights in the room are low with a few glasses on board. In her words, “A woman will be in a taxi with her boss or a client after a gig and he’ll suddenly start kissing or groping her and she’s expected not to mind. It’s not easy for her to speak out when it involves a colleague or a client and her reputation is at stake.” 

To put a name to a face, world-renowned musician Lady Gaga openly revealed that she in the past has suffered from PTSD as a result of being a victim of sexual assault, aged only 19 at the hands of an unnamed producer. Absurdly, this unnamed man is allowed the privilege of keeping his name hidden, despite his indefensible acts of cruelty he is held unaccountable and allowed the liberty to live his life as a free individual. On the contrary, a woman has to bear the burden of these acts of violence for the rest of her life, these horrible events have to traumatically play out in a woman’s head over and over and over again. It is wrong. It is so very wrong, but the fact remains, it is still happening. 

Ultimately, to name a powerful perpetrator of sexual violence or indiscretion is dangerous for a young woman or a woman of any age for that matter. We at any point could find our careers under fire, our reputation ruined at the click of one’s fingers. Strangely, this idea of a woman’s reputation at stake takes me right back to secondary school English as if a woman is suddenly dubbed un-womanly or undesirable for refusing a powerful man in an Elizabeth Bennett-esque fashion. Or in other words, this age-old idea (and an ongoing idea at that) that to fit the bill we must be seen and not heard, or rather to be heard only when we are asked or told to speak. 

To this day, the concept that women, to be successful or desirable need to be fancied by men, remains widely undertaken. The fact that all of this is culturally accepted or challenged at the expense of women’s careers in the 21st century can only be indicative of the lack of progress we have made as a society and in the music industry. Women’s success is still often not based on her talent, hard graft, or resilience but rather on something as superficial as dress size. In previous years, female pop artists have shared their stories of lamentable criticism within the industry. Notably, in a law-suit filed by Kesha against the now infamous record producer, Dr. Luke, described some of the hideous name-calling that had been inflicted on her. Some of the insults involved him describing her as ‘a fat fucking refrigerator.’  Kesha has since battled head-on with an eating disorder. 

What makes all of this even more disturbing, is that unfortunately, none of these events even shock me. Of course, it breaks my heart but, it’s not like there’s anything astonishingly new about all of this. Kesha is simply part of a long list of female artists including the likes of Adele, Rihanna, Selena Gomez (I could continue) who have been the subject of objectification in the media, by their managers or online. To do this day, women are often still expected to adhere to patriarchal ideals if they want to make it in the industry. If your best friend, your sister or your daughter’s dream is to become a musician how do you tell her that the first step to success or to making it big is to suppress her values, her strength and her voice? Well maybe, like most of us you would say nothing, I guess that that’s what most of us would do, but unfortunately, this is the reality for many women striving to succeed as an artist.

 Although Taylor will never see this, consider this article my re-evaluation of her character. I’m sorry that I didn’t read between the lines and I feel awful that she was made to feel so small and to compromise her voice and values. I mean I still can’t say that I listen to her music, to be totally honest I think I’m far too much of a grumpy and sceptical teenager for Swift’s gladdened pop songs but I solemnly swear I’ll review my opinion in a few years. Maybe. Possibly. Okay, probably not. Nevertheless, I hope that other women that want to freely pursue their passion for music aren’t shoved in a box as Taylor was, she truly deserved better. All of us women deserve better and it’s not just up to women to make it better either, it requires men to address their bias, to rethink their misconceptions about how women should look, think or act in order for this to get better.

It’s clear to me that this pigeonholing can’t go on and we shouldn’t have to continue to compromise ourselves to succeed (except for maybe sacrificing the excess hours of binge watching Netflix shows, my god it’s a cruel world). Begrudgingly, I’ll allow my strong mindedness to continue to be classed as bossy if it means that one day, women aren’t treated like objects that powerful men in record labels have a monopoly on- see I did say that that game had bad connotations. It’s tremendously evident to me, as it should be to you,  that this is an issue that has gone on for too long, it’s too urgent for people to continue to shove their head’s in the sand. We need answers, we need solutions and we need them immanently. I think now is the time for the music industry to face the music.

Blossoms – Rough Trade East

On the 1st of February we were lucky enough to have seen Blossoms perform an intimate acoustic set live at Rough Trade East in London. The show commemorated the release of the band’s latest album, Foolish Loving Spaces. The band treated us to the new album (bar My Vacant Days) and even took a request at the end, finishing the set with a crowd favourite: There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls). From the excitement in the queue to the appreciation from the band when signing our albums, the evening was overall pretty incredible!

The show was especially relaxed and the interaction with the crowd further illuminated the friendly, down to earth nature of the band. It was also great seeing their tour manager, Wolfie, getting involved on stage by playing percussion! Looking around mid-performance, it was clear to see how much love there already is for this new album.

The signing process was particularly memorable due to the chattiness of the band (as well as Joe’s infectious laugh). It was heartwarming to see the genuine appreciation they have for their fans.

As third albums go, Blossoms have created something spectacular. It’s an incredible display of their talent and cultivates the genre-bending versatility of the band. We’re looking forward to the tour and can’t wait to see where this new album will take them.

Photos taken by Olivia Green

Have a listen to the album here: