I can’t hear the music with all of this tweeting going on.

Stephen Fry, the Queen of Spain and Darth Vader. What have they all got in common? They’re all on the social networking, Avis related phenomenon Twitter. Since it’s invention and launch in 2006, it’s become something of a celebrity and artist staking ground. But what exact impact has Twitter had on modern day music?

Speaking on Absolute Radio in July 2009, David Cameron was quoted saying that “too many twits make a twat”. A sophisticated and witty comment from our now national leader and brain behind the braun of our United Kingdom. Our Prime minister may not be an avid user of the popular mini blogging site, but you don’t have to go far to find many famous and slightly less famous users of Twitter. Across the great Atlantic ocean, out American Cousins deity and no-wrong-doer Barack Obama has a Twitter account. Well, at least you have an Eton graduation and a jaunty haircut, eh David?

Clearly, Twitter has become something of a sieve of information and leaks from the inner circle of celebrity and arts for the average man and woman to sort through. Speculation, scandal and ultimate success can spawn from just 140 characters. What about musicians, then?  How does Twitter effect them? Not very well, in many cases. Technology is a beautiful, useful and ever needed thing in this cognitive period of time, but it has its drawbacks. Let’s face it, with great technology, comes stupendously hated computer hackers.

One of the famous, and recent cases, is the 2010 Reading and Leeds Festival headline saga. Just a few weeks before Guns ‘n’ Roses were set to headline the Festival, Axl Roses’ Twitter account was hacked. The anonymous tyrant Tweeted that the Axl and his fellow bandanna wearing rockers had cancelled their headline slot at Reading and Leeds Festival. A story that was later deemed untrue by the delayed and predictably abysmal performance which saw Axl change outfit every song. Another case is the Hayley Williams flashing photo leak. Was it photoshopped? Was it really being sent to her boyfriend? Was it as good as everyone had hoped it would be? Again, just like the Guns ‘n’ Roses scenario, it was proven to be falsifiable by the Paramore front woman, who quickly responded to the hack and deleted the original post.

On a more seriously and legal issue, Hole crazy lady Courtney Love was sued over liability reasons by fashion designer Simorangkir, in which Love was accused of pursing an ‘obsessional and delusional crusade’ in the way Love went about her Twitter business. This was after Love, the widow of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, purposely targeted nasty and malicious comments at the designer on the social networking site. Love again showing that controversy is her ‘style’, but not in a way we as a general public find it entertaining, or that interesting. More just stupid, petty and vindictive, if anything.

Nothing that really gives a solid thumbs up for Twitters effect on the music industry, does it? Unless you count an annoying has been playing at a festival Nirvana made their own years before and a fake tit flash a victory. Don’t despair, however. Twitter brought us the much wanted and anticipated birth of the Twitter feud. Also known as the cyber attack, internet scuffle, or online fisticuffs.

On the dry, no holds bard field of play, Twitter takes no prisoners in this battle. The likes of Ryan Jarman of The Cribs and rapper Professor Green have been two of the most recent scrappers on Twitter. Jarman accused Green of trying to hook up with the guitarists girlfriend, Kate Nash, through their respective tour managers. In typical satirical style, Green tweeted Jarman saying “Pretty sure I didn’t try hitting on your girlfriend”. All of a sudden, the exposure of Twitter to musicians makes perfect sense. This is the kind of situation average people are determined all the time. Even in the celebrity world, artists can argue over such things as this.

Or, if you’re more of a sociologist, we see a classical institutional Twitter bitching session between Oxfordshire math rock hipsters Foals, declaring their thoughts and opinions on Welsh Emo rockers Lostprophets. Foals frontman, Yannis Philippakis, likened the Welsh six piece to a “bony old chihuahua pissing on its own leg”. The hilarious scrap was sparked after Ian Watkins had tweeted “I’ve got some news. Foals are fucking shit” days before. Yet another comedic example of Twitters influence on our rising, and already risen, musicians.

What else is to it? Yeah, it’s true. Twitter brings a good ninety-something percentage of complete lies and scandalous legality issues that brakes into mainstream news quicker than Shaun Ryder can swear after stubbing his toe. But where else can you see feuds and  fights where the opponents are hiding behind the safety of the computer screen? Where else can millions of people witness Liam Gallagher extensively call someone a ‘wanker’ in 140 characters? Forget that Twitter can be informative, controversial and another notch on mainstream cultures bedpost. Every so often, it can be funny. Exactly what everyone can enjoy and relate to. There’s nothing better than watching someone humiliate themselves or others in a micro sentence.

Twitter can distract us from the music, but it can also remind us that artists are, and always have been, hatful, and yet lovable, human beings. Subtle, spontaneous and witty comments are three very appropriate words that define us as British people. We pride ourselves on our sense of humour. Having said that, maybe Cameron’s words actually ring a word of truth for a change. Remember, Twitter can be a dangerous playground, and “too many twits make a twat”.

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They can be inspiring, meaningful, or just plain offensive. Band names, the entity of a group.

Each band chooses a name for a very specific reason, whether that is to leave a social mark on your target audience, to contrast your labeling with your music, or even to cause a sense of dire panic and fear to the public. So, what are the best and the worst band names?

Behold… The Arctopus. Unimaginative, corse, cliche avant-garde metal. Looking at their name, the clanking bells of the anti-climax chime without anything obscuring the horrendous nature of the name, and the band. Behold… one of the worst band names, and bands, remarkably still on the underground music scene today.

 A History Of Apple Pie. Cute and adorable, although a bit weird. Yeah, put nicely I think for this band. Some might say that a little bit of individuality in a band name is a good idea, others not so sure. As for the band? Feedback wrangling, snare beating British indie-pop if I ever I heard it.

Death From Above 1979. One album, one split, and one incredible Reading Festival reunion. Secret to the Canadian duo’s success? Bloody good band name. Rock and roll has never sounded so over done but so, so right. Definitely a good road to go down if you want to form a punk rock outfit. Reference a life stage and stick a really good year on the end of it.

 

One Direction. You really can’t get more annoying. Acne ridden, suede wearing boy bands that point and throw their arms every which way, and managing to not take anyones eye out. We want beehive beards and sweat under saggy man breasts with broken guitars and a really fucking long set list full of songs no one knows. One direction? Yeah, straight into the bargain bin at WHSmith. Cliche name, to say the least.

Anaal Nathrakh. Jesus. Extreme metal bands never really got the concept of subtlety when it came to decided on a band name. Napalm Death know what I’m talking about. It’s almost like Anaal Nathrakh picked their name purely because it sounds a bit metal. Well, lets give them the benefit of the doubt and say all the good names were taken.

Suuns. Looks like you need to be tripping out and covered in candle wax and End Of The Road Festival to be able to pronounce it properly. All in all, a very simple name. But it looks good, sounds good, and suits the tripster, electro-folk quartet to a tee. From Canadian Zero’s, to indie stars. No pun intended.

 Hoobastank. Never really quite caught on. The American rockers tried choosing something that no one really knew what it was or what it did. Sadly, it kinda back fired and got people researching what a Hoobastank was instead of actually listening to their music. I still haven’t found out where the word originated from. Sounds a little bit like a Cockney commenting on the leaky sewage pipe down his street.

 

Cerebral Ballzy. Taken from a drunken pizza mishap and a simple Americanism, thus the greatest, and worst band name ever came into popular passing. Everything about it is punk. The phonetics, the spelling and testicular reference. We salut you lads.


Amy Winehouse. Another reckless member of the ‘stupid’ club.

Popular British music has taken a massive tear in it’s seam following the untimely passing of Jazz diva Amy Winehouse in July. Questions need answering on how her, and so many others, have found themselves teetering at their end at the young and promising age of 27.

Back in August 1938, no one could have predicted the dark and unruly trend that the death of popular blues singer and guitarist Robert Johnson would start. After drinking a bottle of whisky fatally laced with Strychnine, Johnson’s fame, talent and genius bled through the pages of history, and his legacy became limited to just 27 short years. Time after time, this has happened again and again. Amy Jade Winehouse, of Southgate, London, is the newest member of the slated 27 club.

It’s still a hard thing to swallow, for many of her fans, let alone her family and friends. The last, bitter years of her life were spent ingesting class-A drugs and binging on alcohol week after week, and only finding a limited amount of time to present herself in the recording studio to produce her third album. 2006’s Back to Black was a global sensation, and a mark of her talent and genius. When reading certain newspaper articles on Winehouse and her passing, it’s easy to forget exactly why she is famous. Not for her drug taking or heavy drinking. She’s famous for the exact same reason every member of the 27 club is famous. Because she was brilliant.

Her sassy and rebellious image stuck a middle finger up at the conformist nature pushed upon many popular artists, and made herself recognizable and relatable to her public fan base. She always kept close to family, too. Even when the money was pouring out of every nook and cranny, and fans were chasing her from Camden to Soho, she only moved to Camden, London, so she could reside close to her routes.

The story sounds typical then. So conventional and plays so close to the inevitably unravelling seams of the definition of the 27 club. Simple, deprived and indifferent background, but propelled into the burning spotlight by natural talent. Perhaps a deterministic view to say that this has happened and will happen again, but it seems likely. Brilliance has always walked with the fingers of demise creeping over it’s shoulder, but it still never makes much sense. Even after giving you a simplified version, no one ever quite grasps how much of a social loss each member of this stupid club has been, let alone the loss their families have suffered. Especially Amy.

Vodka bottles, cigarette packets and cans of lager were just a select few of trophies left outside her Camden home following her death. Outweighing the album sleeves, singles and items representing her talent and actual career. Says a lot about Amy, in truth. To many she’ll just be a big haired, tattooed junkie jazz singer who died at her apparent ‘prime’, as they use the world loosely, after stumbling and stuttering through her last over priced concerts leaving a mark of disappointment. And you know what, that’s why we loved her.

Her reckless persona and appetite for self destruction, laced on to her architectural hair raising voice, she redefined Jazz as a popular genre. She looked just as sweet and beautiful with a roll up at her lips as she did with a microphone instead. With a fusion of Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and her own unique voice, her influence is just as memorable as the mess she spilt on the floor and finger prints on every tabloid newspaper in England.

Yesterday, the 14th of September, on what would have been her 28th birthday, her previously unreleased cover of “Body and Soul” duet with Tony Bennet was released. The first line Bennet throats out of the speakers is “My heart is sad and lonely”. Even at this time after her death, Bennet says what most of the British public is thinking. Seems fitting, in a way. In her 27 short years she spent on this planet, we witnessed every bit of body, and every single melodic and harmonious fraction of Amy’s soul she had to give. Yeah, she’s been enrolled in that ‘stupid’ club. But she’s also got a photo hung high in the music hall of frame.

We say goodbye to a person who had given so much, and yet had so much more to give. Tragic and heartbreaking, but so fitting with her story. She’ll never be forgotten, but there’s a big gap on every radio station in the UK. She’ll be looking back on the chaos she’s created with the time she had, and she’ll be smiling. And in my opinion, that’s just the way she would have wanted it.