Leicester post-rockers Maybeshewill just played their last ever show at KOKO in London, supported by worriedaboutsatan and You Slut! [who reformed especially for the show].
I couldn’t make it. Sadly that means I will never see them play live. It’s understandable, seeing as I live on the opposite side of the world. I honestly think that I will miss the band though.
Like I mentioned in my review of their final album, I discovered Maybeshewill through a sampler attached to Rock Sound magazine. The song had a risqué title, and being a teenage boy, I was terrified that my parents would stumble upon the song that I had ripped to the family computer. I wonder what would have been worse – my mum finding a file named “The Paris Hilton Sex Tape”, or the also rudely named “C.N.T.R.C.K.T” from the same album?
I think Maybeshewill were the band that I joined Bandcamp for, so that I could purchase their live album Live At The Y Theatre. It included a link to download the video of the show, but I never actually downloaded it because the file size was 2 gigabytes, and my bloody flatmates always used up the internet bandwidth allowance, meaning that the download was nigh on impossible on the capped speeds once we had exceeded our limits. I’ll upgrade to unlimited internet someday…
As well as loving the band for their music, I also admire them for their DIY ethic. They started their own record label/collective, Robot Needs Home, to launch their own debut EP. I don’t think they ever anticipated growing to the size they are now.
This blogpost from guitarist John Helps aligned so well with my ideals about authenticity, resourcefulness and community. In the liner notes of Not For Want Of Trying they write “this record was performed, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Maybeshewill at various locations throughout 2007. It cost us nothing. DIY FTW”. They proceed to thank friends and family who helped them with the process, stating that “we owe more to these people than we owe to the bank”, and “this record is as much yours as it is ours”. There seems to be more integrity in any artistic project when it is independently run, because the artist needn’t compromise their values to appease any external figures. I try to run my blog by those principles, and consider my work a success, despite never having spent any money on it.
The band’s final album, Fair Youth, was released just as I started this blog. I enthusiastically reviewed it, and although it was not my best piece of writing (being among my first), it taught me a lot about what it takes to write for a music blog (including don’t let your dad leave comments that people will laugh about on the internet!). I stand by what I wrote back then – it is a good album, and one the band can be proud to leave as a parting gift.
Maybeshewill will always be important to me. They were one of the bands that started me on a journey of discovering post-rock. They showed me that music can be exciting without vocals. They combined electronica, samples and brilliant musicianship. They made brilliant music using an indie model.
To quote one of their song titles : “Our History Will Be What We Make of It”. Maybeshewill made a legacy worth remembering
It’s time to look back and remember some of the highlights on the year just been. Here are some of the best concerts, albums and films I saw/heard in 2014.
The year went by so fast. I was pretty busy with university assignments so didn’t always have time to write reviews. I’m sure I’ve forgotten loads of things that deserve mentioning, but here is what I do remember.
Although it wasn’t technically 2014, it was a year ago that my friend Sam and I flew to Sydney to see The Roots play at the Horden Pavilion. I was disappointed that Questlove hid his glorious afro underneath a beanie, but the show was still awesome. “Captain” Kirk, the guitarist, threw his sweaty towel into the crowd. I caught it and gave it to Sam. He keeps it as a treasured memento to remind him of the gig. We also went to the Broadway show of the Lion King and it was too good for words. I bought a CD of the songs of the show. The Australian cast I saw live were better than the recorded version, but I still listen to the CD more than anything else.
I was fortunate enough to tick three bands off my bucket list this year. I saw Nine Inch Nails in Christchurch co-headlining with Queens of the Stoneage. They were incredible. I even got to chat to Trent Reznor at the airport the following day. It was also great to catch up with school friends in Christchurch that I don’t get to see often.
I finally got to see Biffy Clyro live at the Powerstation. I was buzzing for days afterwards. I managed to get a guitar pick and an annotated copy of the set list as well. I also saw Jimmy Eat World at the same venue. I was considering going to Soundwave in Australia to see these two bands at the beginning of the year but couldn’t afford it, so I was rapt when they each got announced to play in NZ.
The Beards were a comedy band that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was nice catching up with my friend Jason from Melbourne, who was working as their follically gifted merch guy. Another funny gig was internet sensation and rapper Ur Boy Bangs, with local hardcore band Declaration AD opening. It was pretty hilarious, but surprisingly fun.
Other live acts that stood out this year include post-rock masters Jakob, pop starlet Ellie Goulding, and modern hardcore band La Dispute.
I’m seeing Shihad in a few days and I’m sure that will also be worthy of this list. I’ve seen them at least ten times in the past and they’ve never disappointed. I’m looking forward to seeing them play material from the new album, FVEY.
The gigs that I’m looking most forward to in 2015 so far include Frank Turner, Gary Clark Jr, and Foo Fighters.
Albums and EPs
There have been some great new music releases this year. Here’s some that stood out for me, categorised by genre but not in any particular order.
I’ve listened to it at least once every day since it arrived in the post. Sublime electro-prog-rock arisen from the ashes of Cog.
Biffy Clyro – Similarities (B-sides album)
It goes without saying that any release from my fave band will get a mention.
Queens of the Stoneage – … Like Clockwork and Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways were both major disappointments. Both bands are of high calibre and had lots of hype around the new albums, but the music just wasn’t good enough to make me want to listen to the albums more than once.
I only wrote two film reviews this year, but I saw plenty of great movies that deserve a mention
Housebound was by far the stand out film of the year for me. A Kiwi comedy/horror that strikes the perfect balance. The Dark Horse was another NZ film that impressed. Forget The Hobbit, New Zealand can produce some quality films without the need to sell out to Hollywood.
The follow-up to one of my fave movies came out in July. The Raid 2 was just as violent and intense as its predecessor, but with more varied and imaginative fight scenes. The sequel was pretty long, with a more complex plot. Fingers crossed for The Raid 3 in years to come!
The trailer was bad enough to put me off wanting to watch it, but Gone Girl was gripping, albeit unsettling. This was one that surpassed expectations. It also featured a soundtrack written by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, which earns it bonus marks in my book.
2013’s The Wolverine, was abysmal, but the X-Men franchise redeemed themselves with Days Of The Future Past. I was left with plenty of unanswered questions, but it was a clever way to tie in the two timelines.
Another sci-fi that I enjoyed was Snowpiercer, a futuristic dystopian film set on a train that contains the last of earth’s population. It was incredible right until the end, when it lost momentum in the last scene.
I enjoyed Frozen, although as a trainee early childhood teacher went a bit insane because of children singing “Let It Go” non-stop. Lego Movie was fun as well, but Big Hero 6 was my favourite children’s animated film.
The major let down was Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. It was long. It was grand. But it didn’t come together in a satisfying way. I fail to understand why people rated it so highly.
I’ve been blessed to have such a good year. Since launching Will Not Fade earlier this year I’ve had people from all over the world read my reviews. One review featured at Stereofox.com. I’ve had bands ask me to review their music and I’ve gained media passes to attend events. I really enjoy doing this and I plan to continue what I’m doing.
Please let me know what you think. What did you enjoy reading? Are there bands or films you want to see me write about? Did I inspire you to listen to a new band, or watch another film? Do you have any other suggestions?
My first introduction to Maybeshewill was via a sampler that came attached to a Rock Sound magazine. I had ripped the CD to my family’s computer before quickly renaming the song, originally titled “The Paris Hilton Sex Tape”. The song had nothing to do with a hotel heiress or any publicity stunt of hers (as far as I’m aware), but I certainly wasn’t going to risk my parents discovering a file with a name like that on our computer.
Despite the songs naughty name, I loved everything about it. A perfect blend of live instrumentation and electronica with dynamics that made the track stand above bland offerings of similar bands like Explosions in the Sky. This was not a song intended to be background noise that adds to the atmosphere, this song demanded your attention.
That song was from the band’s debut, Not for Want of Trying. Six years later I find myself excitedly ripping open the bands fourth studio release, Fair Youth and dropping a needle onto the record to see how it compares.
Uplifting is the word that jumps to mind when I try to describe Fair Youth. The reason for this could be that the guitars have taken a back seat to the keys. Don’t worry, the guitars aren’t absent – riffing and rocking remains present- but the crunching distortion has been surpassed by soaring swells and harmonies.
It leaves me feeling slightly uneasy when a band I adore begins to “mature”, but in this case I’m able to cope with change. All things mellow with age, but this is offset by the fact that the band’s collective talent has grown. Maybeshewill have managed to go bigger without losing their indie credentials (the record was shipped to me from the guitarists’ spare room in Leicester).
Everything sounds more professional. Electronic elements are more prominent now, but the sampling that stood out on previous albums is missing. I wouldn’t say this is a bad thing, because the sampling sometimes detracted from old songs. The production has noticeably improved and the record sounds grander with the addition of brass and strings section. It’s the subtle touches that make the difference, like an angelic choir adding harmony to the final track.
Fair Youth is a brighter, happier sounding record from Maybeshewill. The album sounds like hope and aspirations and kittens. It balances well on the instrumental spectrum, melodic enough to sit in the background, but still engaging enough to be a satisfying listen. This is one of the times I’m happy to say growth and change of direction for a band can be a good thing.
It is hard to keep abreast of what is worth listening to in the rapidly growing genre of instrumental music. Maybeshewill is one of the bands worth listening to.