His word is his bond – Negan shows who is boss

Like many of the other comments on The Walking Dead’s seventh season opening episode, I too found it the most shocking. For me this episode showcased one of the best things that the writers do – take what you think you know and turn it around.

The drawing out of the big reveal set out by last season’s finale was left just the right length for me. Not only did it keep me on the edge of my seat, anxious, it also succeeded in putting me into as close to Rick’s frame of mind as it could. I don’t think I’ve ever been as anxious and upset and angry during one episode ever before. Of any TV show. The base of my spine was aching by the end from being that anxious while watching.

I’ve seen people writing about how the show was “too much” or that it had “jumped the shark”. What a load of bull. Negan is an evil bastard and will do anything to ensure his followers do exactly what he commands. He takes no shit and leads by example. The world of the Walking Dead has always been a brutal one and I think some people have become too comfortable in Rick leading the way and being the big boss man. I’m so glad a character like Negan has come into it to truly push our heroes to their emotional and physical limits.

Day out at Sea Life Centre Birmingham

Tip: Check your cereal boxes for “Buy One Get One Free” offers.

My good lady and I had a great day out at the Sea Life Centre Birmingham yesterday. It had been at least a couple of years since we’d last been and so it made a nice change. Plus we had a “buy one get one free” voucher from a cereal box, which is always nice.

Stood behind the family in front I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the Dad. He was forking out £71.80 for himself, his wife and his two or three kids. I almost tapped him on the shoulder to advise him to go next door and buy two boxes of Frosties. Thereby getting two adult entries for the cost of two cereal boxes. But I figured the Sea Life Centre could do some good with the extra.

I was impressed with the array of sea creatures throughout the building, with the underwater tunnel at the end being of particular stand out. All of the talks we saw, including the Oceanic Adventures; Asian Short-clawed otters; and the behind the scenes tour were all great and very informative.

This was also the first time I’d seen Gentoo penguins up close. They were very cool and very inquisitive with the human faces pushed up against the glass.

The route throughout the Sea Life Centre was just right – not too long and not too short. I think we got there at about 1pm and left and about 4:45pm after the last talk. So you could easily do this in a morning or an afternoon. It pretty much moves around the building in one direction with many rooms containing multiple displays. Of course you can always go back through to look at any creatures again – we did, multiple times.

The only draw back was the lack of a cafe in the building, but that isn’t really a deal-breaker for me.

If you’re in Birmingham and have a morning or afternoon free, do consider the Sea Life Centre.

Some Facts I Remember Learning

The difference between Sharks and Rays is that Sharks have gills on the side of their head; Rays’ are on the bottom of their body.

The Mantis Shrimp’s hit is so strong, that if humans had the equivalent power, we could hit a ball into space.

Some breeds of fish can change sex, for instance when one of a breeding pair is removed.

Interview With Droid Bishop

Droid Bishop is a well known and respected name within the synthwave scene. He has music on SoundCloud that spans back several years, which you should definitely go and check out.

This month I was lucky enough to be able to send him some questions to answer and with Bishop-like precision, he got the answers straight back to me.

The Interview

Please tell us about yourself in as many or as little words as you like.
I am Droid Bishop. I live & make music in Los Angeles. This city at night is the best place and time to exist.
Growing up, who were your heroes in music?
My childhood musical heroes (who are still my heroes) include, Michael Jackson, Metallica, Queen, The Misfits, Daft Punk, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, Django Reinhardt, Tupac, and many many more.
Growing up, who were your heroes outside of music?
Arnold Swarzenegger, Bruce Lee, Jamie Thomas, Harrison Ford, Marty McFly, Ferris Bueller , Zack Morris
What was the first album you remember buying?
Michael Jackson “Dangerous” on cassette
Was there any defining moment in your life when you knew that you wanted to write, record and perform music?
I’ve been playing music since I was 7 years old, but after discovering Metallica’s early albums I knew that was it for me.
Who is your biggest influence in how you approach what you do today?
Daft Punk, Tycho, Todd Terje, Power Glove, Com Truise, Aphex Twin
What is the proudest moment of your career so far?
Receiving messages from fan’s letting me know that my music makes their life better. That is what music/art should be about.
What is your favourite Book?
The Alchemist
What is your favourite Album?
I don’t know if I can answer that, but a few top choices would be: Michael Jackson “Thriller” , Metallica “Master of Puppets” , Daft Punk “Discovery”, Steely Dan “The Royal Scam”
What is your favourite Film?
Die Hard
What is your favourite TV Show?
Do you have a favourite film/tv/musical soundtrack?
At the moment, “It Follows” film score. Also, “Back To The Future”
Are there any new albums you are binge listening to at the moment?
Not at the moment. I’m working on new music, so I tend to block everything else out while I’m in that process.
You’re walking somewhere and your mp3 player has only a little battery left; You’ve only got time for one more song. What song do you play?
Probably an unreleased demo of Droid Bishop song that i’m working on.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Take it easy on the drugs & alcohol.
If you could ask any person – living or passed – any question, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would ask Freddie Mercury if we could make a song together.
Your stage name must be a reference to Bishop from Aliens. What made you use him for your name?
I had made a song many many years ago, titled ” Android Bishop” after the character from Aliens. I love that movie and so I just dropped the “A” for Droid and thought it would fit with my Sci Fi synth wave style.
Could you tell us a joke?
Knock Knock.
Who’s there?
…Go fuck ya self

Thank You Droid Bishop

A big thank you to Droid Bishop for taking the time to answer those questions, and so quickly to. Not bad for a human…

Please head over to Droid Bishop’s Bandcamp page and pick yourself up some of the greatest synthwave music there is.

Integrity by JME

Two years ago, If you’d have told me that one of my favourite ever albums would end up being a rap album, i’d have probably laughed. However that is just what Integrity by JME has become.

I should mention early on that I don’t really have any knowledge of rap music in general; only what I’ve picked up over my past 12 months or so of listening to it. But it really has grown on me, and JME’s latest album was a real gateway drug.

Some of the cleverest lyrics I’ve ever heard

The first thing that stood out to me about JME was his interesting ways of writing and forming rhymes. He has a real talent for writing with clever, and sometimes even humorous, lines. The album’s second track, “96 Fuckries” has one of my favourite verses in:

I roll with Aaron and Aaron
Frequently I get stopped by the gammon
Because my whip looks like it should be owned by Jeremy Clarkson or Richard Hammond
Feds pull me like I’m a drug baron
Chatting bare shit, can’t understand ’em
In the stereo I got Krept & Konan
In the boot I got my creps and my Canon
I don’t own a BlackBerry
Ask for my pin and get slapped heavy
Call me a rude kid or a maniac but beats?
I ain’t sharing ’em like Teddy

from 96 Fuckries by JME

from 96 Fuckries by JME

Just to point out one of the cleverest parts of that song above, specifically in the last two lines: “Call me a rude kid or a maniac but beats? I ain’t sharing ’em like Teddy”. A mate at work explained to me: Teddy Sheringham is a football player (I aint “Sheringham” liked Teddy). Get it? Such clever word play and the album Integrity is littered with clever word play like that.

For example, in one of the album’s later songs “Don’t @ Me”, featured guest – and JME’s brother – Skepta raps the following:

Hi hater
Why you wanna diss man online then say “hi” later
I already said don’t waste my time
Now I’ve gotta tell ’em don’t waste my data
I don’t wanna write a diss track for an MC
Nah, I don’t wanna waste my paper

from Don’t @ Me

from Don’t @ Me

In fact every line on this album is expertly written and performed by both JME and the guests featured throughout.

Wide range of talented guest artists

“Integrity” also has featured a host of other great rappers from the same grime scene. Jammer; D Double E; Big Narstie; Skepta and Giggs to name a few.

Arguably the album’s biggest song was the one that Giggs features on – “Man Don’t Care“. I say featured, but I think the split is pretty much 50/50 between the two of them. I actually heard JME speak in an interview recently about how “Man Don’t Care” came to be finished. I find it interesting hearing about how great songs and albums came to be.

Skepta, as mentioned before, is actually featured on two of the album’s songs, “Don’t @ me”, as mentioned above, and “Amen”. And he kills it on both.

Big Narstie is always great to listen to, whether giving advice as Uncle Pain or killing it on Fire in the booth. On “Integrity” he features on the track “Break You Down” and he doesn’t disappoint. He gives it the gusto that any fan of Narstie’s would expect from him.

I can lip-sync Integrity

The closing song, which is also the title track, “Integrity” is my favourite song on the album. This song is as great an introduction as any to JME’s music – you’ll be introduced to his skill as a writer, rapper, producer and his ability to weave his sense of humour through his lyrics. The guy absolutely nails it on every song I hear him on and I’ve heard the song “Integrity” so many times now that I can almost lip-sync it perfectly.


Interview with Roslyn Moore

This week I am excited to share an interview I did with one of my favourite lady performers at the moment – Roslyn Moore. You should be listening to her music, specifically her awesome album, “Hazy (A Desert Opera)“. I wrote a review of the album recently and can’t recommend it enough.

Roslyn is part of a genre of music known as “Sadcore” and works often with another favourite of mine, “Scarlett Taylor” who I interviewed last month.

Without further ado let’s chat with Roslyn Moore.

The Interview

Please tell us about yourself in as many or as little words as you like.
I’m a bit out there. The more people I come in contact with, the more I realise how differently I seem to view the world than the average person.
Growing up, who were your heroes in music?
I don’t have a specific name to give. Everyone in music was inspiring to me. I always admired anyone who was able to express themselves openly through music. It’s not an easy thing to put yourself out there and be exposed in that way.
Growing up, who were your heroes outside of music?
Because I always felt so unsure of myself, I really admired people who were just the opposite. People who are unapologetically themselves. So many people live their lives based on what other people perceive of them.
Was there any defining moment in your life when you knew that you wanted to write, record and perform music?
I can’t say there was one defining moment. I’ve always been drawn towards music and wanting to make music, but I was always kind of shy about singing and putting myself out there. I never felt I was good enough. As time went on I just stopped caring as much about how I may come across to other people, and started living for myself. I never really had much of a desire to actually get out there and perform, but now that I’ve been able to create music I feel connected with, I’m much more excited to get out there and bring it to life!
Where do you get your creative energy from?
I draw a lot from my personal experiences and how I view the world. I also get a lot of inspiration from films I like.
What is the proudest moment of your career so far?
Performing at the Whiskey a Go-Go in Hollywood, CA and seeing my name on Hollywood Blvd. It was so cool.
What is your favourite Book?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
What is your favourite Album?
This is such a hard one to answer! I can’t say I have one overall all time favorite album, but rather I go through different phases where I will binge listen to one album and it will be my favorite for that period of time and then I’ll move on from it.
What is your favourite Film?
Another hard one to answer! I love film nearly as much (if not as much) as I do music! So it’s hard to pick one favorite, but I really love Quentin Tarantino’s films. I’d say in general his are my favorite. But I have many favorites!
What is your favourite TV Show?
I don’t want a lot of TV and when I do it’s usually just on Netflix. I’ll watch as much as I can of one show and then move on to the next. I just finished Breaking Bad and I’m now finishing up Narcos. Really love both!
Do you have a favourite film/tv/musical soundtrack?
I can’t say I have a favorite soundtrack, but I do really love and enjoy music in film and television. It has such a large effect on the overall feel of the moment and adds so so much. I can’t wait to have my music accompany film or tv like that.
Are there any new albums you are binge listening to at the moment?
Lately I’ve been binging on Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I’m loving it. It was the perfect soundtrack to my recent trip to California.
You’re walking somewhere and your mp3 player has only a little battery left; You’ve only got time for one more song. What song do you play?
Asking all the hard questions! It would probably depend on the day, but off the top of my head I would pick Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd
What advice would you give to your younger self?
You are good enough to follow your dreams. Don’t put them off.

A Big Thank you

Thank you so much to Roslyn for taking the time to answer those questions. I always love to learn more about the person behind the music and Roslyn did not disappoint. At the time I contacted her she was actually mid-way into her tour, so I appreciate her fitting this interview into her schedule.

Take a listen to Roslyn’s music over on SoundCloud right this instant. That’s an order.

Everlasting Road by LOCK

About a month ago I shared an awesome song by LOCK called “Click”. I have been listening to this song quite a lot and had become a big LOCK fan based on it. So when I heard about their new E.P. “Everlasting Road“, I was well up for it.

The title song opens with a seductive, twangy, reverbed electric guitar. The vocals are just as seductive and leads into the explosive wall of sound that is the chorus. I can’t tell you how much this song rocks. The second song on this two-track E.P. is just as great, but with a slower tempo and calmer delivery.

Because I’d listened to “Click” over and over again, I kind of expected a similar sound with their E.P. When I heard it, I was taken back, and it has only got me more excited about their debut album. Each of their initial releases have had such an interesting diversity, and have been so expertly done, that for me it only points to a great debut album to come.

You can buy Everlasting Road on iTunes now.