The music industry is a fickle old business. Both within the industry itself and through the fans who support it by purchasing the music. For instance, one day you will hyped to be the next big thing after a favourable review in a cool paper, or you get some exposure on the radio or something. It all goes a bit bananas and everyone loves you. Then you get to release some records and they live up to the hype and riding on that success you suddenly are the Next Big Thing. Then you have to go away and produce something new, and everyone forgets who you are.
Take Razorlight for instance. Back in 2002 when lead singer Johnny Borrell formed the band, he was already kind of well known having supported and been part of the scene that clustered around The Libertines. Razorlight’s first gig ever, was supporting much under rated American rock band The Von Bondies (check out ‘C’mon C’mon’ from 2004 album ‘Pawn Shoppe Heart’).
I was once in a band, our first gig ever was in the school music room supporting another school band who did covers of Queen songs. 8 people saw my band. Eight. So for Johnny and Razorlight they kind of already had a crowd of people who thought that they were cool. They were also managed by an NME journalist so that probably helped. My band was managed by my brother and that was only because he knew a bloke who had the keys to a church hall.
Anyway I’m probably sounding bitter here. Razorlight in 2003 were subject of one of the biggest signing wars of recent times, every label wanted them because they were a sure-fire success waiting to happen. Their demos were already being played on XFM (indie station in London only at the time). Their records didn’t disappoint, the debut album ‘Up All Night’ released in 2004 went to number 3 in the charts, and let’s be honest here, it is a great record. It spawned at least four decent singles from it, in particular ‘Stumble and Fall’ and ‘Golden Touch’ both brilliant singles that you probably don’t play anywhere near enough.
mp3 : Razorlight – Golden Touch
After that Razorlight got bigger still when the release the single ‘America’ from their second album ‘Razorlight’. With the success Borrell’S mouth got bigger, he got the movie star girlfriend (Kirsten Dunst), then the press and the public fell out of love with them. For me it was the moment when Borrell was in some magazine with his top off, not strictly a bad thing, it’s not like he was the singer in Ultrasound or anything, but he was wearing WHITE JEANS, that rock n roll imagery he tried so hard to conjured up, just slipped away, no one in their right mind wears white jeans, let alone be photographed wearing them.
They released a third album ‘Slipway Fires’ in 2008 it says here that it got to number 5 in the charts, yet I don’t know a single person who owns a copy or will admit to buying it (it was critically panned). Borrell released a solo album last year which sold less than 1000 copies, so in around 6 years he has gone from being one of the country’s biggest rock stars to selling less records that Darius Danesh; Christ, I reckon I could record an album and sell more than a 1000 copies of it.
Razorlight never split, they are back back back according to their website. In 2005 and 2006 I’m pretty sure they headlined every festival going, playing to millions. This year they headline the Plymouth Volkfest. I live in Devon about 30 miles from Plymouth and have never heard of Volksfest.
Next up something that should have been posted when I was picking CDs out of a big box – the day the CD player broke, I picked out ‘Your Smile’ by Octopus and it refused to work, so I picked out another record – it was ‘Push Push’ by dubby electronica act Rockers Hifi, that also refused to work so I knew the thing was buggered. However I did track down ‘Push Push’ and had forgotten what a good record it was – so here is the skinny on Rockers HiFi.
They were formed in Birmingham in 1992 and started out life as Original Rockers but changed the name a bit later on. They were perhaps best known for two songs, the aforementioned ‘Push Push’ which was a relatively big dancefloor smash in the 90’s and the song ‘What A Life’ which featured in the film The Basketball Diaries (starring Leo DiCaprio – well worth a viewing). They kind of fell into the trip hop genre largely because it was popular at the time.
Original Rockers were forced to change their name and the two guys behind the band decided to add an MC and formed Rockers Hifi, that is when ‘Push Push’ came to into being. It is a mish mash of sounds a bit like Tackhead in places but very much like Tricky and Massive Attack and easy to see why it was lumped in the Trip Hop category though.
mp3 : Rockers Hifi – Push Push
Finally, something a bit lively to wake you all up – Radkey.
I’ve mentioned Radkey before, they are one of a great bunch of new shouty punk bands that are around (Iceage, Metz, Cerebal Balzy, The Big Ups to name some more). They hail from Missouri and feature, three brothers with the surname Radke – the singer is Dee and his biography says this
“He hates milk and not only because of his lactose intolerance. It’s the kind of hate that comes from deep down inside, the kind of hatred you would hold towards someone that has wronged you in an unmentionable way. He does have a soft spot in his heart for cheese though”.
I mean what is not to love about that. They are also fans of the Kansas City Royals baseball team and that people is also my baseball team of choice. So there is a lot to love about Radkey. They are all under the age of 20 as well – I refer you to my earlier comments on Joey Bada$$. The brothers all had a shared love of the Ramones, the Misfits and The Who so formed a band, one that plays punk with a creeping nudge towards hardcore. The vocals are something interesting, there is a slight croon to Dee’s voice – like he should be in a Las Vegas casino but formed a punk band instead. The bands second EP Devil Fruit I think sounds like The Stooges and Black Sabbath, pretty simple and effective riff and roll territory but bloody ace with it.
mp3 : Radkey – Romance Dawns
JC adds : well, that buggers up my forthcoming piece about Razorlight!! And I’m with S-WC on their debut being more than half-decent.
oh and here’s a ps tune to the posting:-
mp3 : The Von Bondies – C’Mon C’Mon