Wednesday, 11 May 2011


The neglect of music is, for me, a bit of a cyclical thing. It just happens. Usually around springtime, for a lengthy duration, I subconsciously starve myself of new bands, anticipated LPs and singles that emerge around me. Perhaps you suffer it too? For it does happen with music. For the love of it, you just leave it alone.

Nonetheless, my negligence is both unjustifiable and uncanny. I say unjustifiable because there really is no explanation for letting all the contemporary talent whizz passed my ears whilst I snooze. Having said that, I cannot and will not comprehend the oft-heard claim that music, namely rock, is dead – you’re just not looking hard enough! I say uncanny because I am a bit of a music critic (apparently). So scratch uncanny, I meant downright daft.

For instance, I recently got a laptop and it was not until a fortnight later that I realised that I don't actually have any of my music on it. No Johnny Cash, no Beatles, no Biffy Clyro, no Laura Marling – zilch. In fashion terms, that could be a faux pas. But fear not – despite my ignorance I have been saved and saved again.

My first saviour came in the form of my DAB radio, the choice of station being XFM. The radio is a marvellous thing in its own right. Most stations are potent enough to have your ears within the first 30 seconds whilst not being as condescending as to snatch your imagination from you. You might say I was avenging the radio and slowly killing that damned video star instead. So XFM fast became my daily fix, hitting all the right spots, and I think a few times I even felt my soul rejoicing again (okay that’s cheesy).

But a problem arises when you start listening to the radio in the same manner you might dissect a frog or scrutinise a Michelangelo painting – one tends to use every ounce of concentration. At this point, you might be thinking that I have no life. You might be visualising me sitting on a chair with my ears, or even eyes, pressed to the radio whilst night turns to day and day to night. This is not true. I do other things whilst listening like...washing up. And ironing.

Anyway, there is only one word to describe how I listened to XFM – religiously. And when that happens, you start to realise – as brilliant as the music is – there is only so much you can take of Mumford and Sons or White Lies in the stretch of a few hours. It’s also difficult to avoid the feeling that The Wombats are spurting out new releases every other day.

It all becomes very trying when you can predict the next song queued due to there only being a select few on the station’s playlist. You would be forgiven for mistaking the tiresome track repetition for a technical glitch or something. However, I am not about to totally disparage XFM, because it did momentarily pull me out of a music-less slumber. So let’s revel in some of those XFM-approved tunes for a while, because here is some great music that I don’t think I’ll be shaking off anytime soon. These guys need no introduction:

So inevitably, XFM and I decided to take a break. We felt suffocated to the point that we needed time and space apart. But this time, I was rescued by the music reviewer in me!

I had always wondered where I might source that highly inspirational, exceptionally innovative, unsigned stuff. Despite the fact that it makes my day when an acquaintance introduces me to some understated and underrated band I instantly adore, I admit that I do envy them their bragging rights.

Well now I am glad to have come across a wealthy refuge harbouring those very bands and artists I crave. It’s with all the indie music webzines who get their pick of who they consider worthy of showcasing. This is one perk I’m truly fond of, and will continue to be, when reviewing music for online publications.

Allow me to share with you some of my greatest music revelations to date as a result of exercising the meagre influence I have as a music hack. This is a quite a diverse range of sounds from lo-fi mellow indie to raging screamo:

All this and Justin Lee Collins’s return to XFM = pure bliss!

Parisha Vaja

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