A Table Is For Dancing On

My Life In Music

Muse announce new album and tour!

It doesn’t feel that long ago when my boyfriend and I were curled up on the sofa watching Muse play the festivals on the telly last summer, or it could have been the summer before. Vito that. It doesn’t seem that long ago when my boyfriend was curled up on the sofa watching Muse on the telly; I was up dancing with my can of beer in one hand and the remote control in the other increasing the volume to a ‘live music friendly’ level. It was during this period that my boyfriend confessed he had never seen Muse live. Shocked I was not, but I did feel pity for him. Having experienced Muse live for the first time on the Absolution tour at the Manchester Evening News Arena many years ago and 3 times following that, they quickly became one of the most mesmerising live bands I have known and I felt a sense of responsibility to ensure that he had the chance to experience Muse live too. I wanted to be the one to introduce him to that experience so I promised him, “the next time Muse come to Manchester I will treat you to a ticket”.

A few days ago I was innocently trawling through facebook and I came across a link to the XFM website. I saw the photograph of Matt Bellamy at his piano and this image triggered goosebumps all over my body. Muse were to release a new album, finally! Titled The 2nd Law and due for release 17th September 2012 in the UK, I couldn’t think of anything more exciting. But then it happened. Only days later, XFM announced that Muse would be touring the new album. My emotions: butterflies, excitement and anticipation. I cannot wait for my boyfriend to experience one of the most incredible live bands ever, and yes I will keep my promise; Muse tickets are on me. What a lyrical and musical genius Matt Bellamy is.

The 2nd Law is due for release on 17th September. As far as I am aware of, Muse gig tickets go on sale on Thurs 14th June at 10am (I’m sorry if that’s wrong!), and they play the Manchester Arena on Thursday 1st November 2012. I advise you attend!

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Album Review: Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It

My brother recommended this album to me. He described the album as “beautiful, harrowing, evocative and spell-bounding”; all adjectives that when used to describe a piece of music, I could not ignore.

The album is all of these things and more. I fell into a dream when listening to this captivating album. I fell deep into Mike Hadreas’ (aka Perfume Genius) subconscious and memories, feeling the emotions that his lyrical poetry and mesmerising, unique voice embodies. Opening the record with Awol Marine, the vocals are haunting, yet the piece of music has a soothing and calming effect, almost lullaby-like and sets the tone appropriately for the rest of the album.

A track that stood out on this album is Normal Song (track 2). It’s lyrics are filled with true, tangible emotions. Although the music for this song is pretty and sweet, for me it is the lyrics that demand the listener’s attention. With poetry that reads, “take my hand when you are scared and I will pray if you go back out there“, I couldn’t help but be compelled to do what Hadreas was pleading for me to do. It was as though he was speaking to me, the listener.

The song Dark Parts (track 6) is more up-tempo with the pianists fingers moving from key to key at a faster pace, accompanied by a strong and definite drum beat. This creates more energy that adds to the strength of the album. However, the change in pace of the music does not allow the lyrics to suffer, which are just as beautiful and filled with emotion as the slower, balladesque songs. The song ends with slow piano and poetry that reads, “I will take the dark parts of your heart into my heart“. It’s as if Hadreas needed the message of the song to be emphasised and this was executed beautifully.

After experiencing this album in one sitting from beginning to end, which is the only way to experience this album (the word ‘listening’ does not describe it strongly enough), I felt the record had emotionally touched me, to the point where I could physically feel it in my chest. I had accompanied Hadreas on his journey and identified and empathised with him. I long for Perfume Genius to tour again because if a CD can conjour up such strong emotions, I can only imagine the effect that a live rendition will have on me. A beautiful album, lyrically, musically and emotionally.

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My favourite songs that XFM Manchester have played today

The Stone Roses – She Bangs the Drums (1989). Taken from the album ‘The Stone Roses’

Feeder – Buck Rogers (2001). Taken from the album ‘Echo Park’

PulpCommon People (1995). Taken from the album ‘Different Class’

Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next (1998). Taken form the album ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’

Two Door Cinema Club – What You Know (2011). Taken form the album ‘Tourist History’

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Songs I have heard today

The Cure Friday I’m in Love (1992)

I was walking to the dentist this morning and I knew that I needed to listen to one of my ‘happy songs’ on my i-pod. The Cure, Friday I’m in Love is one of my happy songs and it didn’t let me down today. From the initial iconic guitar riff that introduces the song, it just lifted my mood. I could feel those happy, excited butterflies in my stomach and a massive smile took over my face. I wanted to sing/shout the lyrics out loud whilst dancing, which I would have done had I been at home and not out on the streets (I don’t think anyone would have appreciated that!).

It is the music itself, as oppose to the lyrics, that makes this a happy song for me. I also think that the video adds to this perception of the song as it silly and childlike from the beginning, including clowns and a rocking horse and takes on a theatrical element. The song also reminds me of my indie clubbing days where I would dance and sing like crazy to this song! It is my memories that make this song for me.

Editors – Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors (2007). Taken form the album ‘An End Has a Start’

I’m sitting on the bus daydreaming, but as soon as I hear the initial drum beat of ‘dum dum dum dum dum dum’, I immediately recognise the song. This song holds personal connotations for me because I have to literally walk past smokers outside the hospital doors everyday and the song always comes to mind. It was only when I started working at the hospitals that this song held meaning for me and I could really identify with the lyrics. I could understand why ‘the saddest thing I’ve ever seen is smokers outside the hospital doors’, as they’re there for one reason; they themselves, or their loved ones, are sick or dying and this is their way of coping with the situation.

Although the music and melody are captivating and has incredible energy, I cannot help but be engrossed and totally involved with the lyrics of this song and they do move me emotionally. With lyrics like ‘say goodbye to everyone you have ever known, you are not going to see them ever again’, how can you not stop and pay attention? Beautiful song.

Pulp – Common People (1995)

This is one of my original happy songs! It just came on XFM and I got really excited. I was first introduced to this song in an indie club in Manchester called 5th Avenue, and it helped influence my indie taste in music today. Such a feel good song that I have to sing/shout/dance to. I adore it!

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New Albums to Look Out For This Year

Please note that I will be adding to this list as and when I become aware of release dates. All of the albums listed here will be recommended by myself :-).

The Vaccines – The Vaccines Come of Age. Released 3rd September

Muse – The 2nd Law. Released 17th September

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Songs I’ve listened to today

Manic Street PreachersAustralia (1996)

This came on good old XFM radio station. I love XFM because it’ll play a few new tunes then throw in some classics too. This will not be an isolated incident whereby I choose to talk about the Manics, as they are one of my favourite bands ever. Australia is taken from the Manics’ fourth studio album, Everything Must Go (1996). Australia came on the radio this morning when the sun was blazing through the window and I couldn’t help but smile. I recognised the song immediately from the initial drum beats and the distinctive sound of James Dean Bradfield’s electric guitar. So appropriate for a sunny morning, I just had to sing along and do a little dance. Definitely a feel-good happy song.

Ben HowardOnly Love (2012)

Again, XFM introduced me to this song and I am in love with it. The melody along with Ben’s compelling voice makes for a beautiful record. It reminds me somewhat of Ray Lamontage, which is definitely a compliment, and in certain parts of the song I can even make comparisons with Damien Rice. I’m excited to heard some more of Ben Howard’s music.

The White StripesI can tell that we are gonna be friends (2002)

I heard this song whilst watching the film Napoleon Dynamite. I must admit, I am well acquainted with this song as I think it has been used in other films but I wasn’t sure who sang it. It was only during the end credits of the film that I noted it was The White Stripes. Of course it was. I don’t really want to analyse the use of the song in the film, but rather intend to talk about just the song. It is such a simple, sweet song, filled with hope and optimism that childhood holds, that people can identify with. Again, it just put a smile on my face. The guitar riff is repetitive but it works fantastically, adding to the simplicity of the song with the iconic White Stripes basic drum beat in the background that does not over power the song. A very unexpected happy addition to my song list today.

Cyndi LauperTime after time (1984)

Again, this song was heard during the Napoleon Dynamite film. I remember the first time I ever heard this song, which was during the film Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion. I think it was my introduction to Cyndi Lauper and I am so happy that I discovered her. Such a timeless song, even though it embodies that 80’s sound. Every time I hear it I feel the need to imitate Romy and Michelle’s dance (don’t worry, this never happens). Beautiful lyrics and true emotions felt.

Backstreet BoysLarger than life (1999)

I was a proper, hardcore Backstreet Boys fan during my teenage years, especially during the time when the album Millennium was released. Hearing this song transported me back to those care-free days when I was 14 years old and had an obsession with Nick Carter. I still feel that excitement now when I hear Backstreet Boys songs from this era. Appropriately used in the film Napoleon Dynamite, this is a good, solid pop song and it made a happy addition to my day.

The Vaccines – No Hope (2012) BRAND NEW TRACK ALERT!

This song just popped up on the radio (XFM of course) without me expecting it at all. I didn’t even realise The Vaccines had new material at the moment. Well, obviously, this is the first time that I have heard this new track. Upon first impressions, it has the distinctive Vaccines sound that their first album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?, embodied. However the lead singer’s, Justin Long, vocals sound different. Possibly his vocals have been ‘less-worked-on’, compared to the tracks on the first album. The song itself has a slight Strokes feel to it, yet I cannot pin point why. Overall, a good tune. XFM played this song twice in 9 minutes as listeners were so excited by it. The single is due out on 9th July, with the new album to follow on 3rd September entitled The Vaccines Come of Age.

PatternsBlood (2012) NEW ARTIST ALERT!

Again, I’m just innocently listening to XFM and I hear this fantastic song from an up-and-coming band. The sound is so fresh that I literally got goosebumps whilst listening to it. Patterns are a Manchester band (well done once again Manchester!) and I’m so excited about them. The song has a haunting quality to it  but it really works due to a compelling and beautiful melody. Upon first listen I made the comparison between this band and White Lies. However, when revisiting the track, I could definitely hear a Stone Roses influence there. I can’t wait to hear this song again, think this may be on repeat. According to XFM, the song is due for release on 9th July. Would definitely recommend you give it a listen. Apparently Patterns are due to play at Dot to Dot festival and Bestival this year.

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