Posts Tagged ‘commercial’

17th September 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Manchester’s Dirty Laces have been away for a while, and not through choice. The pandemic skittled most bands and brought an abrupt halt not only to gigs, but working in general, since most bands don’t live together and when it comes to music-making, it’s simply not always feasible to work remotely, tossing audio files back and forth virtually. I shan’t labour this too hard, but what was The Great Pause for some was The Great Anxietor for many – whether it be because of having no work or being furloughed on reduced pay, or working and home schooling at the same time, or simply dealing with isolation, fear of the virus, or being cooped up with people who weren’t people to be cooped up with, so many of us had something to keep us awake at night and which probably hasn’t fully left us yet.

For many, emerging out of the other side of it all, we’ve found that we’re not the same as before, and there’s some re-evaluation has taken place, albeit not necessarily on a conscious level. Good, I say. Life’s too short to expend what little life you have on pintless crap and people who give nothing in exchange for taking everything.

Recorded in the fallout of the pandemic in solitary rural Wales, ‘Midnight Mile’, essentially speaks of that re-evaluation and the realisation that it’s time to dump the fucking rubbish: the band say the song is about ‘Escaping toxic people, toxic habits, embracing happiness and learning how to ‘free your mind and bathe in love’. It might sound a bit hippie for a band born out of punky garage rock – but ultimately, when you boil it down, punks and hippes alike share the aesthetic of sticking it to the man and people who suck.

This outing is a hybrid of garage and grunge and brings a stadium rock swagger and a dash of industrial and calls to mind Headswim and Filter – it kicks in instantly with a nagging riff and chunky bass. It’s not just the drawling vocal that sounds more American than Mancunian: the production is pretty slick, rendering the gritty, emotionally dense, sincere performance radio-friendly and digestible for a more commercial market – and the big chorus absolutely seals its broad appeal. It’s better than Headswim, but not quite as good as Filter.

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Dirty Laces Artwork

30th April 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

I had something of what you might call an epiphany of sorts last night. I was cooking dinner, and as is standard, had put the TV on. I usually have it on mute and watch the news with subtitles while listening to a CD, but instead, while chopping veg for a healthy stir-fry, I had a music channel playing 80s hits, and it was good – mostly the early 80s, with some ABC and Aha (‘The Sun Always Shines in TV’ for change) before plummeting into the shit of Bros and Brother Beyond just before I served, at which point it went off. But it was during this unashamed nostalgiafest that I realised that for my daughter, who’s 9, the 80s are further in the past than the 60s were when I was her age. And that at her age, I had no interest in the 60s because it was so far back in history it was tinny, trebly, scratchy, dated, sepiatone or black and white. It was historical relics and I never got why my parents rated anything 60s. I still don’t really have much interest in the main.

But chowing my chow mein, I came to realise that things have changed, largely, one assumes, on account of the Internet. Now, we have truly hit peak postmodern in the sense that the historical is now part of the present, and everything and anything goes. The 60s likely feel a lot less distant and alien to a nine-year-old than to someone like me in their mid-40s, because they’re simply so much more accommodating.

And so it is that 23-year-old singer/songwriter Bethany Ferrie takes in a wide range of influences, from the likes of Fleetwood Mac to Lewis Capaldi, Kings of Leon to Taylor Swift. And also, I’m reminded that no longer is anyone purist in their allegiance to rock, pop, or folk. For those under thirty who can extricate themselves from the mundane bilge of R1 mediocrity, whereby music is so much wallpaper, music is music, and there are only two kinds – good and bad. There’s perhaps a certain naivete in the idea that all of these things sit together, but Bethany demonstrates an admirable songwriting prowess with her new single, ‘Bones’. The piano-led song is low-key, but layered, melodic yet heartfelt. It’s also one of those songs that has a slow, contemplative start, before bursting into a cinematic chorus, aided by some reverby production that really does the scope of the song justice.

Is it alternative? Is it niche? No. Is it commercial? In terms of R1 circa 2004 when Keane’s ‘Something Only We Know’ and playlists were wall-to-wall Coldplay, yes and no. ‘Bones’ isn’t dreary, drab, or manufactured, but does have clear commercial potential.

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Final Cover