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Monday, 21 December 2015

Paying for all this

I don't blog here to make money. I do it to raise awareness of my own work and the work of others and to share thoughts and interests with the world a little.
Occasionally I try to be insightful, but mostly stay off politics despite it being a personal passion of mine. there are political blogs everywhere, I try and stick mostly to the arts and entertainment, therefore.
This is why my blog does not swim with ad's like some I could mention.
I took the choice when I set it up to limit ads to a sidebar and between individual posts, Never between the text of a post as is so common these days. Trying to read some sites is like negotiating a minefield of advertisements, particularity on the phone or a tablet. They slow down the loading speed and detract from the blog itself as a rule. And every now and again you can click on an ad just trying to scroll to the next interesting bit of the accrual blog your reading.
I know why people set up their sites like this. Indeed, from one perspective it makes perfect sense. Sit authors get a cut  of advertising clicks, if you set up your blog to be swamped with ads, all the more chance people will click on things, half the time without realising they are doing so. And that is  without the auto ad's that you get on some sites.
It detracts from the internet experience, and as the experience I am trying to give is 'listen to this, read this, enjoy this.' it seems counterproductive, and so I keep the ads as discreet and none invasive as I possibly can.
So why have ads at all? you are probably asking. Well firstly I don't really have a choice, Google runs the blog and they will post ad's regardless, and sites without ad's count lower on their algorithms, as the point is to reach people blocking all ad's is, therefore, counterproductive.
Also, it is a revenue stream, all be it a very small one, which all helps add to my chances of making a living with my writing. Slim though they may be.
When I say a small one I mean just that. in the last year, I have made about £8.50 on ads. Even with my growing readership the ad revenue is very small. Not that I care a great deal, as I don't blog to make money, but it all helps.
Anyway, basically this is a small request, if you like my blog, enjoy the reviews, find some of the waffle interesting. Then please, every now and again, click on an ad. you don;t have to read it , or pay it any mind , but it will contribute in a small way to the time I spend on the blog being profitable. Which in turn would allow me to invest more time in the blog.
So click on an ad when you're feeling generous :)

Friday, 18 December 2015

When we were seventeen by Waiting for Wednesday Album review

Having subjected everyone to my 'music journalism' in my last post. I had no real intention of ever doing so again as I don't claim to know much about music beyond what I like. I will admit what I like is a very long eclectic list, but I can't play, can't sing and would not know how to write a lyric if I tried. This may not matter a great deal to music industry journalists whom the same description may fit. but it matters to me if I am going to offer my opinion on my blog about someone's hard work and talent.
I can talk about writers, I am one.
It doesn't mean my opinion is of particular worth but at least, I have a leg to stand on, even if its a wooden leg carved from a broom handle, but people who read my work, at least, may have an opinion of my work on which to ascribe a value to my opinion.
When it comes to music I can only talk about what I like. Beyond that, it's all conjecture as to the worth of anything I say.

Anyway all that on one side, and the reasons I will not be venturing into music journalism here very often. I do however get to see a lot of the west Yorkshire music scene, and get to see a few bands live on a regular basis, normally because I am in Bradford or the surrounding area to see friends and catch Nervous 'Orse play, a band who's members are all friends of mine, somewhere on the spectrum between nodding acquaintances and lifelong friends depending on which member we are talking of. the bonus of these friendships is I get to meet and listen to other musicians , those wonderful people of strange talents which were probably gains at the crossroads at midnight in negotiations with the devil. (I speak as one of the musically talentless who would therefore rather believe in some nefarious deals with Lucifer over hard work, practise and passion be getting music wonder.)

One of the bands I have caught the most is Waiting for Wednesday. A wonderfully talented duo of Laura Shackleton and Anna Watkins. Playing as support for, and on numerous occasion been supported by Nervous Orse., or just generally on the same bill ( Often higher up the bill than the 'Orse) I think the first time was at a small pub music festival a couple of summers ago.

They both sing while Laura plays guitar, their vocals complimenting each other with the kind of harmony's that seem effortlessly entwined. Anna's deeper huskier voice melodiously mixed with Laura's lighter but equally powerful voice.

They remind me of First Aid Kit both lyrically and with those harmonies. The same  haunting twilight to their lyrics that draws you in to listen .

their new album gifted me something else on top of the live experience in the way of drums and other instruments on the backing track to and new depth to their recordings.

anyway, enough waffling on, follow the link and listen for yourself. Go on give it a good listen before you read any further. turn the volume up and take a seat for a moment. Give your ears a treat and your soul a moment of humanity

so anyway. In a review, I should really tell you what I think. That is sort of the point of a review after all.
It is, to use a vernacular I seldom write in, but as I come from the same part of the world I shall for once . Blooming marvellous.

the ladies are taking a break from playing live for a while, which I would say is sad if it was not because they are expecting the patter of the next generations feet in a few months. So it's going to be a while before I get to listen to them live. However, this album ( and the previous one ) will fill the void I am sure. I suspect it will play at lot in the background as I write . Much like the might 'Orse.

So there you go , go buy the album , and indeed their other ones . Invest in some glorious west Yorkshire musical muses work , your ears and your soul will love you for it.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Where This Now Finds Us , by Nervous 'Orse album review

Normally, in between random musings, occasional fiction and whatever else occurs to me, I review books on here by Indie authors. This being because as an Indie author myself I know how hard it can be to get reviews, and I like to think I know a modicum about good literature when I read it, what makes a good novel and  what I can worthily recommend to other. That and to be frank it gives me something to write about apart from the random musings, short fiction and 'begging letters' trying to encourage people to read my own work :).
I also occasionally review other things but generally shy away from reviewing music for two reasons.
Firstly, because music taste is a very ecliptic thing and I am particularity ecliptic when it comes to my own. I have broad and occasionally odd tastes in music.
Secondly, because while I have talents in other areas I have the musical ability of a  misshapen carrot after it's been attacked by a rabid rabbit.
This is a sad thing in my opinion because I love music and musicians. It is not for want of trying either, I have two guitars in the house and occasionally twang away at them. I even took lessons way back in middle school, but like many things to become proficient at an instrument, let alone vaguely talented takes a lot of commitment, practise and work. Also importantly  a basic degree of natural talent, the latter of which I lack.
As I said, however, I love and respect musicians both as people and for the talents they have.
I am also somewhat blessed to have known a few over the years.
Among them, a couple of friends that I have known for more than half my life are Dave and Jon, two of the founding members of a group of Bradford musicians going under the name of Nervous 'Orse.
As find a pair of individuals as you are ever likely to meet, and through them, I have been equally blessed to meet Danny and Jake the two other members of the mighty 'Orse. And finally I have been blessed to witness their group grow collectively over the last year or so, from playing small gigs at local Bradford watering holes to opening the Indie stage at the Bingley festival this summer, (sadly I missed the festival gig, but I hope to catch the next one.)
Living in Middlesbrough means a 140-mile round trip to see the band at local gigs, so I don';t get to see them as often as I would like, but every time is a pleasure, and the band group tighter and just plain better every time I see them play.
As well as been blessed to know these musicians I am blessed to know Emily, the wife of Dave and quite possibly the 'fifth Orseman', or the gaffer as they call her. Because Emily is known to work hard to get them gig's radio exposure and everything else that comes from been manager of the band, right down to working the concession stand and been chief cheerleader on the dance floor. She also encouraged me to write a review of the bands début Album.
She can be very forceful when it comes to asking fro reviews, for a start she smiles at you, in a way that suggests that not writing a review will cause that smile to go away. This would be a bad thing obviously. I am not sure why but I get the impression the band would agree that Emily not smiling is a bad thing .....   they fear her , I can see it in their eyes. She drives them to rehearse because to not do so would incur a frown ....
So anyway with the mild and utterly undeserved character assassination of 'the gaffer' out of the way and because I would have review it anyway, there follows the review of Where This Now Finds Us, the debut Album of Nervous 'Orse. on +Widemouth records But first , listen to them yourself ... ( go on take 3 minutes and twenty-four seconds out of your life to experience a little pleasure )

Dead is the new alive by Nervous 'Orse

Back ?  good , did you enjoy it , of course, you did.
That is the first single from the album, wasn't its good :)

Okay, serious review time.

Nervous 'Orse are collectively Dave McKinley on acoustic guitar, Jon Smith on electric , Danny Sapko on bass and Jacob Riley on drums. A familiar set up for a band. Two guitars, bass and drums is not an original set up let's face it. It's as tried and trusted as a formula as you can get in music. But the band are more than four instrument players, the band actually has eight instruments in use on ever track, the other four been the vocal cords of the band members,
While Dave may be lead vocalist on most tracks he is not alone on any of them, it is the collective harmonies of the four voices that really sets them apart as a band. Each of them not only can sing but does sing, and any of them could take the lead vocal on a track, and indeed do.
The harmonies of the voices are reminiscent of something you rarely get in modern bands, the kind of harmonies you got from the beach boys, but that doesn't make them sound less fresh and new.
indeed, that's the secret of the band , they are both fresh and new, and yet achingly familiar at the same time. Even if you have never heard them before you'll find yourself drawn in as to an old friend in a new guise.
This is music at its best, tunes that stay in the mind, lyrics that catch you singing along as they hook you in. Simple songs that have depth, all the same, that ache with emotion and wisdom the way the best songs do.
You'll print your own memories on them because that's what we all do with good music. But that's just it, this is an album on which you will imprint memories because that's the kind of music the might 'Orse make. Music for memories
Good memories that will be all the better for the music
Memories of smiles and laughter and the joy of life.
Another friend of mine said of them recently ( and I paraphrase only slightly )
"You and your kind are what makes life worth living for us all"
A sentiment that I find hard to decry.

So there you are.
A fine début album that you should listen to, buy , play and most importantly make memories with, and find yourself humming to when one of the songs gets stuck in your head first thing in a morning, Which will make your day a day of smiles and joy. Because that what good music does and this is damn fine music.

A final note, I shall never make a music journalist, any more than a musician. So I shall leave that to the professionals in future. Just as I do the music .

Buy it here , your inner self will love you for doing so...
Wide mouth records