What do you think of when you think about The Darkness? Falsetto-laden pomp rock with a generous smattering of dick jokes? Catsuits and behind-the-scenes calamity? A series of insanely dizzying highs followed by an increasing series of troubling lows? Since their debut 'Permission To Land' sold 1.5 million copies in the UK, earning them a Reading and Leeds headline spot after just one album, stories have circulated of in-fighting, lineup changes, stints in rehab and financial trouble, after frontman Justin Hawkins, in October 2014, attempted to sell his old catsuits on eBay.
In terms of how music gets released, 2013 was a game changer, and it all started with a little video dropped onto Vevo on David Bowie’s 66th birthday. ‘Where Are We Now?’ stunned not only the singer’s fans but just about everyone else who’d assumed the Thin White Duke had retired or wouldn’t be releasing any new music anytime soon. The announcement there and then that 'The Next Day' was coming and coming soon whetted our appetites in ways that had not been whetted since the digital dawn, and, witnessing the kerfuffle it created, it inevitably inspired music’s biggest players into action.
There's definitely been more written about the Radiohead song of the same name over the years, but for me it was another early '90s single called ‘Creep’ that really impacted my life at the time. The video seemed glued to MTV, and featured three proto-feminist tomboys wearing the kind of silk gowns I'd see wee ladies in Glasgow hairdressers’ chairs sporting in a far less alluring way. TLC were a trio who appeared real proof of my mother's constant advice that you have to make the best of what you’re given.
Proving that classical and pop music can be comfortable bedfellows, violinist John Metcalfe has spent a career bringing his traditional training to innovative new grounds. Recently he was a member of Manchester post-punk mainstays The Durutti Column, while previous to that he helped set up Factory Classical – a new strand of the legendary Factory Records label with head honcho Tony Wilson. Now, Metcalfe is readying to release a new LP – 'The Appearance Of Colour' (out on Real World on June 8) – and to tee it up he's shared a collaboration with Bat For Lashes' Natasha Khan.
This week marks a decade since the first ever YouTube upload. I'd ask where the time has gone but let's face it, the answer's probably 'on YouTube'. The web's go-to place for procrastination, it's amazing how many hours can slip away from you as you hop from viral video to viral video. Over the decade, there's been no shortage of music-themed viral videos.