it's nice to wake up to snow, on a Friday and not just any Friday - *payday*. accompanied by the knowledge that i now have no more work till 6th Dec, as well as 2 or 3 day weeks until w/c 10th Jan...aaah, good feeling indeeeeed.
p.s. the castle looks unbelievable in the snow, very Hogwarts-like
hibernation mode has fully kicked in. it's much harder to get motivated in the mornings...and in the evenings...and in the afternoons. it's pretty much dark all the time - all i can think about is gingerbread lattes and getting home to sit in my pj's with the heating on full blast, watching christmas movies! trying to have a quiet november and save some $$ for the holidays - even just to have some chill time before december starts would be nice.
been doing some pilates reformer sessions and they are amazing - really feeling the benefits and hoping to add an early morning session to my weekly routine in Jan. if you're in the Edinburgh area & interested in getting stronger, more flexible/toned & generally more in tune with your body, please check out http://www.debbierobbinspilates.com/ and get along to a class!
watched the goonies on saturday night - forget how good 80s movies are. next up is the breakfast club & ferris buellers day off :)
So, I think it’s good. And I’m hoping it will be a grower. I’m sure that I will grow to really like it, just possibly not love it. It completely pains me to say that as I was WILLING this record to be amazing. I wanted it to smack me in the face with its greatness and shake things up a little. But sadly, it was not to be.
I definitely like it but it’s just not as outstanding for me as Youth & Young Manhood & Aha Shake Heartbreak (and to a certain extent, Because of the Times). I remember the first time I heard KOL. March 2005 and I went on my travels to New Zealand & Iceland, determined to broaden my horizons as well as give myself a bit of a music education, so I armed myself with a whole bunch of records from my brother and a friend who shares my musical taste…I listened to it all; Panic At The Disco, The Black Keys, Jimmy Eat World, Queens of the Stone Age, The Cure, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Modest Mouse, Pixies, Fleetwood Mac, Beastie Boys, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Be Your Own Pet, Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap, Wolfmother, Arcade Fire, Joni Mitchell to name but a few…new stuff, old stuff – everything I could lay my ears on! But the standout band that I immediately fell for was Kings of Leon. I instantly loved the raw-ness and unpolished sound (they had only just released their 2nd album at this point). It was like nothing I’d heard before. The odd lyric that I could make out was perfect, and due to the fact that I only had copies of CD’s (so no album covers) and very limited internet, I had NO CLUE what the band even looked like. I genuinely thought they were older, hillbilly rocker types – roughly aged about 45! It was like I’d heard the songs before – they all seemed oddly familiar, like covers of old classic bluesy rock songs, but they were actually original tracks. Weird…but exciting! It was so good to discover music that gave me a proper kick to the stones like that.
When I got back from travelling, they were just starting a tour to promote the 3rd record so another fixated friend and I made a point in getting tickets. At this stage, they were still playing relatively small venues and the Glasgow Carling Academy was pretty intimate. So much so, we ended up about 3 rows from the front when it all kicked off. The second they stepped out on the stage I was enthralled and my eyes were glued to them while they sped through the set. The long hair, vacant expressions, ‘bratty’ attitudes & insignificant outfits were in full force. Zero banter with the crowd but they didn’t need it – they were too cool for school and didn’t give a flying fcuk, but they had the crowd in the palm of their hands. I was well and truly hooked!
3rd album came out not long after the show and it was slightly more anthem-y and arena-rock sounding but I still loved it – I started to read more and more about them & their ‘story’ and interviews with KOL would crop up regularly in the likes of NME. It was great to get an insight into this mysterious and interesting band but at the same time, I would feel a mix of disappointment along with the excitement. As if their edge was slowly wearing away. It’s like Kate Moss – I love the fact that she never does interviews or press. She’s a complete mystery. Therefore she maintains her mystique, her cool, her edge. I’d love to find out more about her – she’s so intriguing. BUT – I secretly hope that she never lets the wall down. Personally I believe that’s why the celebrities of the past were so much damn cooler. We knew nothing about them – there were barely any videos, photos or interviews. But I guess that’s a sign of the times and technology. Which is another story altogether! Anyhoo, back to KOL. They were now a common mention between festival go-ers and folks that were into their music but to the average person, a blank look would still ensue whenever the name came up and I couldn’t help but like it when it did.
The older quotes and interviews I came across definitely gave the impression that they deliberately TRIED to make music and act in a way that record labels & the majority of people would hate. They specifically sang so no one could make the words out and sing along. They didn’t print any words on their 1st album cover because it seemed they couldn’t care less if anyone learned the lyrics to sing along or not. They were a big F YOU to the entire industry and I LOVED it! But over time, the more I continued to read/hear, the more it was apparent that they had changed their tune. They said the reason they hid behind the hair & incoherent singing was because they were afraid people would laugh. They were embarrassed about the words and the songs, and didn’t have enough confidence to be themselves. Until now. They wanted to get big. The band wanted their names out there and they wanted arena tours. They wanted anthems, an entire crowd singing their songs back to them. They’d toured with Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan & U2 and it was as if the more the saw, the more they realised that they could have that too and why not? By the sounds of it, all of a sudden they were hungry to be noticed, to be somebodies, get recognised, make shitloads of money and why the fk shouldn’t they have it? And fair play to them. They worked hard (evidently, judging by the constant touring and annual album releases), so they totally deserved it. Half of me admired a band that knew they were so full of good shit that they wanted to let the world hear it NOW and wouldn’t pause for a second until it happened. The other half wanted them to just disappear for a few years and stay under the radar until they had another belter to deliver to the world!
It seems that even the band themselves weren’t confident about the direction they wanted to go in and how they wanted to be perceived. Before BOTT, they were still underground, still raw and still unpredictable. Afterwards, they were stereotyped and pigeonholed so much that they didn’t like it and immediately resented their new crop of fans and it was apparent in all the gigs, festivals, interviews etc that they did that year. The boys seemed unsettled and unhappy and it showed. Fast forward a year, they took some time out and got their personal lives back on the straight and narrow. No more drugs, groupies, orgies. Long term girlfriends/wives, bringing them along on tour and clean living (well..kindof). They were settled. On an even keel. Living well. And then boom - Only By the Night came out and they were instantly mainstream. It was as if they’d made a conscious decision to just go down the route they’d initially been trying to stay away from and see what happened. And they got HUGE! Their music (I felt) reflected their current lives…more mature, less attitude, lots of playing it safe. And now everyone knew who KOL were. Everyone heard Sex On Fire/Use Somebody on the radio, told their friends to get involved and then they all decided that this was the new ‘it’ band on the scene. And that’s when the shine started to come off for me. I’m always going to be a huge fan of the band and I’m not going to be a music snob and stop liking them or start to diss them because it’s not ‘cool’ to like them anymore. But it was definitely at this point that my ‘excitement’ for KOL waned…
The airplay was constant. They won Grammy’s and Brits and performed on countless shows. They toured like crazy, did all the festivals and Nathan even joined Twitter. Everyone ‘liked’ them on Facebook - they were everywhere! And fully accessible.
I remember seeing them at a festival that summer – we mostly ended up amongst a crowd of genuine long-time fans and the banter/energy was flowing. We just danced the whole time. But there were a few folks just sitting around, not too interested and giving us funny looks while the band ripped through the likes of ‘Trani’, ‘Slow Night, So Long’ & ‘Wasted Time’. The opening of ‘Fans’ started and one girl got up and all of a sudden started going crazy. She had her hands in the air and shouted “yess, it’s Homegrown”…emmm actually it’s not – that’s a line in the song. But it was a sign that radio fans were multiplying, and fast.
After nearly a year of the above, they announced that in June 2010 they’d be doing a huge headlining gig in Hyde Park prior to the 5th record release and the line up was spectacular – I got a ticket as soon as it was announced. Although I don’t regret going for a second as the show was awesome, I was shocked at the crowd and response to the bands/music in general. No one sang or danced or made much noise for The Whigs, The Drums or The Black Keys. Now these bands are all excellent (in my opinion) and ones that KOL specifically picked out to warm up their fans. Is it not only right to get involved? KOL took the stage eventually and the crowd got excited for the first 5 minutes. It quickly died down and stayed that way until SOF came on. Right before, Caleb actually said the words “don’t worry, I’ll give you what you want” before he proceeded to break into the opening chords. They know fine well they have this new, shallow, plastic following - mainly due to the 2 (again, in my opinion) weakest songs on OBTN. I was disappointed in these ‘newbie’ fans, to say the least. If you’re gonna jump on a bandwagon, at least do it with some energy and some respect! Act like you actually LIKE the band you shelled out your pennies to see! I don’t mean to single any one person out or ‘typecast’ the newer breed of KOL fans but the majority of them seem to be the type of people that are exactly those that the band detest. Or at least did at the start. Too scared to like or listen to anything remotely different from the norm until it’s deemed ‘cool’, therefore it’s OK. Pathetic.
Again, I’m veering off subject but it simply grinds my gears. Stand out from the crowd – be an individual! Get some style & get some personality – get out there and discover music for yourself. Listen to what you genuinely like – not just because your tattooed, barbour-ed up mate told you it was good.
I have read before that the bands fans are generally very hardcore. Each and every one of them seems to believe that the Kings are their own little ‘personal’ discovery and tend not to act positively towards anyone that has caught on to the ‘KOL show’ at any point past album 2! I understand this, as I think I felt an element of this myself but I’m not as close minded as some and tried not to be too precious about the fact that they were becoming more and more well-known.
But why is it that when something I desperately love is discovered by the ‘rest’ of the world, I feel disappointed? I always get the feeling that something is over and even slightly cheapened when the Facebook community plaster it all over their walls. I just get the impression they don’t fully appreciate things and just see the tip of the iceberg. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I need to get over myself and appreciate that the group have worked solidly for years to get where they are. Maybe I need to channel my inner chav, trowel on the fake tan/nails and spending hours in front of the mirror making my hair look ‘naturally’ messy. Maybe I need to start listening to Scouting For Girls and the Hoosiers…ok, too far. But the point is, indie kids are ten a penny these days. Go to any gig, anywhere and they commune in their hundreds – all trying to be SO different and special. So much so that they end up looking identical to the person next to them!
I even feel that the lyrics have been ‘dumbed down’ and become really radio-friendly. Lines such as “behind the fringe of a whisky high, mutilating cat-like eyes”, “rise and shine all you gold-diggin' mothers” and “this thumbnail-sized heart is black as coal” have been replaced with things like “I got no money but I want you so” and “we’re gonna celebrate, we’re gonna gather round, like it’s your birthday”…it’s just not as biting, not as cryptic. Kind of boring, about nothing and you learn the words without even listening. Is it pointless wishing they would try to recapture the raw energy and genius words from the earlier years? Is it even possible? Maybe inspiration and original lyrics can only happen at the start, when you’ve put your whole life into the songs…anything after this will always seem more rushed and not quite up to scratch. Is it only possible to write genuine stuff if you’re living it? What happens when there is no longer any struggle in your life? If everything’s perfect? Can you make good music if you aren’t mid-break up or surrounded by drama? Is it tortured artist syndrome? Who knows…
I don’t know what direction the band see themselves going in next. It’ll be really interesting to watch them and see how they develop, see what they come up. Although I’ve clearly just ranted about my mixed feelings on the last 2 records, I’ll still be waiting with baited breath.
..the kol music influences show on iplayer is like a walk down nostalgia lane..think i may go fill up my itunes with some more my morning jacket, talking heads & the pixies. still piecing back my face after thursdays black keys show at the o2 in glasgow. they just get better & better - hope they support in murrayfield :D this time they were even joined on stage by 2 other guys for the Brothers stuff AND had a discoball..fancy! a far cry from the raw, dirty liquid rooms gig, the same day that i saw them sitting in economy on the flight from nyc many years ago!