Jake Bugg Catchy, insightful and as quotable as Oscar Wilde, it is hard to dislike Jake Bugg and his music. The boy needs no introductions. But, if his music has somehow eluded you to this point (and if indeed this is the case, I envy you, because listening to him for the first time really is an eye-opening experience), allow me to give you a quick rundown.
Perhaps Nottingham’s finest export since the collapse of the mining industry, Jake’s indie-folk inspired debut album took the country by storm late last year, reaching Number One in the charts. Born and bred in the Clifton housing estates (not too far from University Park Campus) in February 1994, he started playing guitar at 12, which after several years of graft culminated in a slot on the BBC’s ‘Introducing’ stage at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival, and as a result of this performance he was signed by Mercury. From then on, aside from having a chart-topping album, he has since played Glastonbury and the Reading + Leeds Festivals, and made multiple appearances on various TV shows and radio stations, ranging from ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’ to ‘Later… with Jools Holland’. Boasting amongst his fans the likes of The Stone Roses and Noel Gallagher- make no mistake, Jake Bugg is a force to be reckoned with.
His music has often drawn comparisons with Bob Dylan, and although the young man denies these associations, the way in which both artists are able to tell a story in their songs whilst simultaneously capturing the underlying feeling of being a youth in the era and situation in which they are writing is an uncanny similarity. ‘Seen it All’ is one such song, Jake sings:‘One Friday night I took a pill or maybe two/ Down at the car park I saw everyone I knew/ And before the night had started we had planned to crash a party’ It is clear that Jake’s urban upbringing is inextricably linked with his music; to the point that a picture of youth is effortlessly portrayed in his lyrics; anyone who has been a teenager can’t help but crack a smile at the nonchalant way in which Jake describes his various antics.
However, perhaps more important than the celebration of youthful exuberance is the frank insight that his lyrics offer into the mindset of those brought up, as Jake was, in housing estates up and down the country. As he writes in ‘Trouble Town’, people there are ‘stuck in speed bump city/ where the only thing that’s pretty/ is the thought of getting out’, or in ‘Two Fingers’ where the only way of escaping boredom is to ‘Skin up a fat one and hide from the Feds’. Such an awareness of these issues has branded him a ‘street-raised observer’ in the eyes of the Rolling Stone. And I would agree with this. Although as he further admits in ‘Two Fingers’, he has ‘got out’ of the housing projects, he assures his old friends that, telling them that he is ‘here to stay’, essentially, in spite of the fame, he is still Jenny from the block. Equally as impressive as Jake’s music though is his artistic integrity. What perhaps sums his attitude up best is the oft-quoted statement that he made during an interview with Newsbeat at the Brit Awards (in which he was nominated for ‘British Breakthrough Act’): ‘I don’t really need an award to inspire me to keep writing music and playing my songs’. Add this to the digs he repeatedly throws at One Direction and other manufactured boy-bands that produce ‘meaningless’ music, and it is clear that Jake really, well, just does not give a damn about the machinations of Celebrity Culture, and is content to focus on creating quality music.
Such a level-headed approach is admirable in one so young; already he has expertly avoided both spiralling down the sinkhole that so many boys from housing projects unfortunately become a victim of, and has astutely realised the contrived and unrewarding life offered by the Simon Cowells of this world in return for fame. And this is before we take into account his musical accomplishments. Jake Bugg is destined for great things. With a second-album release projected by the end of 2013, his musical odyssey is one that is definitely worth following.
We Show Up On RadaR The music of We Show Up On RadaR is something beautifully put together, with the quirky clinks of a keyboard and an uplifting poppy charm that won’t struggle to make you smile. The debut album Sadness Defeated, written and performed by the man behind the name Andy Wright, is a collection of gorgeous glistening tracks with the feel of childlike innocence, often contrasted with more the melancholic topics of heartache and death. They feel like fairy-tales and fables for grown-ups, full of emotion, hope and comfort. Songs such as ‘The Anchors in Your Heart’ are a shoulder to burrow into, others like Thank You Mr Johnston are full of reflection and sadness. A single from the album Hands Up If You Are Lost is accompanied by a video in keeping with the feel of the album, puppets in a woodland setting, toadstools, fairy lights and with the moon shining down. The song has gentle verses and a powerful wave of a chorus. Sadness Defeated is an album full of sugary delights, stunning melodies and a bespoke outlook on life. Through this gorgeous album WSUOR explores the delicate fragility of love and emotion through the innocence of child-like imagination.
By Dan Hatton and Kamiah Overaa