Apple Music

As you probably know, Apple have recently laid down the gauntlet to Spotify and other music streaming services, with Apple Music. On this app you can download any music you want onto your phone. I don’t know about you, but I jumped at the chance to get my 3 month free trial on this app. What stuck out to me was the fact you could immediately turn off the ‘automatic renewal’ of it, meaning you wouldn’t even have to worry about it in 3 months time, unless you want to continue your membership.

It allows you to explore new music for free, and perhaps even rediscover old artists that you haven’t listened to in a while. This is possible with the ‘For You’ section of it. It also has ready made playlists for activities such as working out, chilling out and even for holidaying. 

There is a  ‘follow’ option, where you can follow and connect with your favourite artists. This means you will see when artists are releasing new content, where to get tickets for their tours, or even simply just see what they have been doing with their day.

For me, Apple Music has allowed me to discover artists that are going to be at a festival I will be attending in August this year, discover other bands/artists of the genres I like, and allowed me to listen more to the sorts of genres I wouldn’t have even considered listening to a few weeks ago. Some of the tracks I have found include:

1. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

Released: 1967

Possibly being one of Van Morrison’s most well known songs worldwide, this song is an absolute classic. Listening to it is a big nostalgia trip for me, because it’s been in my life since virtually the day I was born.

2. Hollywood (feat. Penguin Prison) – RAC

Released: 2012

This song is new to me, I came across this track listening to the ‘alternative’ radio on apple music. I had never really listened to this before, so hearing this song then made me have a look at the full album, Strangers which was released in 2014. This band are an electronic genre which is something I would never usually listen to, so it was nice to discover something different to listen to.

3. James Bay – If You Ever Want To Be In Love

Released: 2015

James Bay has probably been the Sam Smith of 2015. He has released big hits such as Let it Go and Hold Back the River, and his fanbase is ever increasing. Over the year he has played festivals such as Glastonbury, Radio 1s Big Weekend and even T in the Park.

As for the song, I discovered this track after downloading the full album Chaos and the Calm on Apple Music. Unlike Let it Go which is quite slow and calming, If You Ever Want To Be In Love gives across an almost rock feel. Although this isn’t one of the major tracks off the album, it definitely fits well amongst other tracks included, and in some ways after listening to this album, I believe it could be seen that James Bay has really done something for everyone.

After they released the iPhone, apple knocked many dominant mobile phone companies around at the time completely out of the industry, and they’re now one of the leading mobile phone companies in the world. Will Apple Music do the same? Or is £9.99 a month still too much for people to be paying when it’s available for free if you really want to get it?

The Balcony – Catfish and the Bottlemen

Release Date: 12th September 2014

Rating: 8/10

Let’s go way back to August 2013, Catfish and the Bottlemen were seen performing on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds festival. Almost 2 years on and they’re still growing, playing at numerous festivals in the upcoming weeks, having a sold out UK tour, and apparently also having lots more content which they are planning on releasing in the coming months.

Influenced by the likes of The Beatles and Oasis, Catfish and the Bottlemen are a four piece, fronted by Van McCann, formed in Llandudno in 2007. Their debut album ‘The Balcony’, was released in September 2014, and reached number 10 in the UK charts.

Homesick, their first single was released in 2013. It was written by Van, evidently talking about the strain of being away from his girlfriend whilst he was touring.  Then there is ‘Kathleen’, inevitably the bands most popular/well known song, hitting number 11 in the UK Indie Chart. The band also have become close friends with actor Ewan McGregor, he featured in the music video for ‘Hourglass’ another of the 11 songs on this album, it’s one of the slower more acoustic ones.  ‘The Balcony’ also consists of other songs such as ’26’, ‘fallout’ and ‘Rango’ which was written about Van trying to win back an ex-girlfriend, are we seeing a trend here? Many of the songs were written when Van was still in his teens. Van has even said many of the songs on the album are ‘from all over the place really’.

The song ‘Kathleen’ uses lyrics such as “I gotta give it to you, you give me problems when you are not in the mood.”, the lyrics in ‘Homesick’ include, “I said, ‘i’m only looking out for you,’ she said, ‘it’s obvious that’s a lie'”. These are all lyrics you can almost hear the large crowds at their concerts singing along with. Catfish and the Bottlemen have evidently written lyrics that an audience will love, and also enable them relate to the mood of which the band are portraying especially when performing them live.

Tyrants is the final song on the album, and they have clearly put their all into this track. Not only is it the last song, but it is also the longest of all 11 tracks on the album at a length of 4 minutes and 41 seconds. It starts off quite slowly and then gets louder with the use of guitars and banging of drums, giving the song a dramatic opening. The song gets  increasingly  louder and more intense over the duration, until the end when it just completely cuts off. This leaves you wanting more, and I certainly can’t wait to hear more from this band.

The Resurgence of Vinyl

In 2014 the sales of vinyl hit an 18 year high, and sales were predicted to rise again by a massive 70% in 2015. Predictions were correct, and this was made particularly clear in April 2015, when it was announced there would be an official vinyl chart.

In the 1990s, swathes of people sacrificially got rid of their vinyl records and turntables, instead replacing them with booooring old CDs and CD players. Over 20 years on and we are now able to digitally download music off websites such as iTunes, Spotify, and even Amazon!

Even in the last 10 years, technology has come miles, and even still, is evolving. This meant that the likelihood of vinyl ever coming back into fashion, seemed worlds away from happening, but the record buying public clearly had other ideas.

Before 1898, the only music that had really existed was sheet music, but vinyl came around because people wanted a way they could listen to music that was pre-recorded. The 78 RPM 10-inch record, only able to hold around 3 minutes of music on each side, was the first to come about for around the first 50 years. After, in 1948, came the 33 (LP) – introduced by Columbia Records, and able to hold around 60 minutes of music altogether. These were popular up until 1990 when CDs became popular enough to take over. Finally, came the 45. This was made to hold singles, such as Michael Jacksons Thriller, the best-selling single of the 80s, with 37 weeks at number 1.

Since the rise in vinyl sales, bands such as Oasis and The Smiths have even re-mastered their albums, and re-released them on vinyl. Furthermore, new bands such as Catfish and The Bottlemen, Royal Blood and Arctic Monkeys have been releasing their albums on vinyl as well as on CD, as they’re aware that people enjoy listening to music in different ways.

Arctic Monkeys’ AM (released in 2013) is the best-selling vinyl album of the decade, while Bowie’s Life on Mars is the best-selling single. The fact AM is number one for this decade just goes to show that vinyl is making its comeback, because the fan base of Arctic Monkeys are primarily the younger generation.

I was born in the late 90s, which meant I grew up through the 2000s, listening to CDs rather than vinyl. Over the last few years my love for music has grown, and the thought of listening to an album on vinyl appeals to me far more than listening to a CD. I got my first turntable in March 2014, and I now have a collection of over 60 vinyls, and have since bought an even better turntable. I have a mixture of original vinyl such as Elvis Presley, Carole King, and Fleetwood Mac.

I also buy new vinyl such as Definitely Maybe (re-mastered) by Oasis, and Chasing Yesterday by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The old ones in comparison to the new ones sound far more crackly, however neither mean the music sound as digital as a CD or iPod would.

I asked a number of people what they found appealing about listening to vinyl. The general consensus was that they liked the crackly, old, vintage sound. I gathered some quotes from people which you can see below:

“Just the vintage aspect. It’s kinda like a blast from the past. Additionally, most vinyl are of the genre of music i enjoy. Additionally, vinyls are collectable.” (16, Plymouth)

“I like that I can see them spinning and it feels more satisfying to listen to them after putting them on the player, they are bigger and I can appreciate the album layout more when they are big. They make the music seem less digital and more real” (18, Plymouth)

“The general look and sound of a vinyl is so much more authentic than a CD, gives the music a much more personal feel” (22, Plymouth)

As you can see from these comments, younger people predominantly listen to vinyl because they like the look and how a vinyl sounds, they also like that they are vintage which fits in with the sorts of things people enjoy in the day and age we live in.

Vinyl is making a massive comeback. Many people, even from the younger generation are beginning to realise the beauty of vinyl, and how accessible it actually is. Stores such as HMV and Urban Outfitters are getting more and more vinyl in their store, while charity shops, car boot sales, and websites such as eBay are constantly selling on second hand vinyl, which is even more popular than it would’ve been even 2 years  ago.

everything music.