Sunday, 28 February 2016


Kesha's legal battle with Sony seems to finally be getting the attention it deserves (if you need to catch up, I wrote about the situation here). Unfortunately, it's not for the best of reasons; a New York judge has ruled that Kesha can not be released from her contract with Sony Music, a contract which keeps her tied to Dr Luke, the man she has filed a sexual assault lawsuit against.

What kind of message does it  send out when a woman is legally forced to choose between not working or working with a man who has sexually and psychologically abused her? Kesha is just another in a long line of women who have been told that their word is just not enough.

Fellow artists have been speaking out Twitter to defend Kesha, including Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Lily Allen, Kelly Clarkson, Halsey, Grimes and Bethany Cosentino (Best Coast), as well as actors Reese Witherspoon, Anne Hathaway and Lena Dunham, using the hashtag #FreeKesha. Taylor Swift has donated $250, 000 to help towards any of Kesha's "financial needs", while Adele publicly voiced her support for Kesha in her BRIT Awards acceptance speech.

Adele's support, in particular, potentially carries a lot of weight, given that she's Sony's biggest selling artist and won every award she was nominated for.

Some have tried to defend the judge's decision, as Dr Luke's legal team have stated that Kesha does not have to work directly with him; however, she would still be contracted to his label, meaning he would essentially still be in control of her career and possible financial stability. Would you want your abuser to still have that control over you? Sadly, this is also reflective of many domestic abuse scenarios.

The judge herself declared her decision to be the "commercially reasonable thing", given how much Dr Luke has invested in Kesha's career so far. Yes, the judge really did place money and financial gain above the safety and wellbeing of a woman.

Fans and supporters of Kesha are currently planning protests outside Sony's headquarters. Hopefully this case will stay in the news, as this is about so much more than a pop star fighting for their creative freedom; it's about how the American legal system regularly hurts women by not protecting them from the men who have abused them.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Charli XCX Launches Record Label

Charli XCX announced yesterday that she has started up her own record label, called Vroom Vroom Recordings. She's already signed two new acts, RIVRS and CuckooLander.

Charli has described Vroom Vroom Recordings as an "experimental pop label", combining her love of "bubblegum pop with mystery and darkness."

The label's first release will be a surprise new EP from Charli herself, appropriately titled Vroom Vroom, which will be availble from this Friday.

As well as launching this record label and finishing her third full-length album, Charli will also now be hosting her own fortnightly Beats 1 radio show, with the first show airing at 8pm on February 26th (UK time).

After seeing Charli's documentary, The F-Word and Me, back in November, I'm excited to see what comes out of Vroom Vroom Recordings. For now, you can hear some sample songs here.

Marina and the Diamonds + Shura - Manchester Academy 3

Manchester-born Shura opened the night, with her spacey, electro-synth sound. While her music doesn't share much in common with that of Marina, it's clear they both share a similar experimental and creative approach to the music they make. She played well and seemed to have gained quite a few new fans by the end of her set, definitely someone worth keeping an eye on.

Throughout the whole Neon Nature tour, Marina has divided her set into three "acts", one for each album.

During The Family Jewels era, Marina sat down at her keyboard to play Obsessions, a performance delivered with enough emotion to give the packed out Academy a sense of intimacy. Hollywood rounded off the first act perfectly, getting the crowd jumping and shouting along, before the transition into Electra Heart.

I thought the crowd had been excited before, but it was nothing compared to the reaction Marina's second album got. It's clearly an album that means a lot to many of her fans. Bubblegum Bitch and Primadonna (complete with an appearance from Marilyn!) were definitely among the most fun moments of the night.

The Froot act is, understandably, the longest of the three, and the one that Marina seems the happiest to be performing. For this final part of the Neon Nature tour, she has also added a captivating cover of Cyndi Lauper's True Colours into the set list.

Marina's always-impressive vocals were stunning tonight, and the set list was perfect. As the Froot era comes to an end, it's exciting to wait and see what direction she'll take next.

The Tuts + Baby Brave + Gurgles - Eagle Inn, Salford

This was my first time at The Eagle Inn, and I was taken aback at how tiny it is! I liked it; I'm not cool enough to have ever been to a house show, and this is the closest I might get to that experience, so I embraced it.

The first band on tonight's line-up was Gurgles, a three-piece who play synthy psych-rock and honestly don't sound like any other band I've listened to.

Wrexham-based Baby Brave were up next, another band I hadn't heard before tonight. I fell in love with their dreamy, jangly noise-pop immediately; it was bright and swirly and filled the room effortlessly. Oyonnax was my favourite song, closely followed by Alone in Tokyo (though that might change once I listen to them more!)... so much so, that I just have to include the video for it:
I was excited to find out the next day that they're in Manchester again, in April with Colour Me Wednesday.

There's always an air of excitement when The Tuts take to the stage, this time going straight into Tut Tut Tut, a high energy song that sets the pace for the rest of the bands set. This was quickly followed up with their live staple, Dump Your Boyfriend, with everyone seeming to be enjoying themselves by the end of.

Tonight was even more exciting though, as it was our first chance to hear some of the songs from their forthcoming debut album, which sounds like it's going to be amazing and you should go Pledge on now.

Between songs, the girls talked about the stories behind some of their songs, like 1982 which is about their "cunt" of  a manager they briefly worked with last year.

Once again, The Tuts put on a great show. They've now gone off to record their album, so keep your eyes peeled for when they hit the road again!

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Going to Gigs Alone When You Have Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety has you torn between wanting to get in as soon as the doors open and secure a spot right at the front and contemplating waiting in your car until five minutes before the first band come on.

Social Anxiety has you rapidly switching between the excitement and anticipation of waiting for a band you love to come on stage, to almost-paralysing fear and a strong urge to leave (or at least go hide in a toilet cubicle for a while).

Social Anxiety means hoping you see someone you vaguely know while also hoping that you don't because what would you even say? How do I carry on a conversation when it feels like my stomach is being slowly squeezed in barbed wire and my heart is racing?

Social Anxiety means that even if you've met the band you're seeing a few times already, you sometimes have even more to worry about. What if they think I'm a weirdo for coming to so many gigs on my own? If I go say hi, will I just like a stalker? And again, how do people even speak to each other?

Seeing a band you love onstage means everything. You feel excited, you feel happy. It's the best feeling in the world. So you keep putting yourself through all of the above. Maybe one day it will get easier.