A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: ROYAL BLOOD “TYPHOONS”
When Royal Blood exploded onto the UK scene in 2014 they went straight to #1. Two boys from Brighton with a fierce sound and undeniable indie-rock riffs. So what do they sound like seven years later? The unusual aspect of the duo is that it consists of just a bass player/singer, Mike Kerr, and drummer Ben Thatcher. Through Kerr’s virtuosity and use of multiple amps, the band is able to create a huge sound. But this initial flourish of minimalist virtuosity turned slightly predictable and the sophomore album was, well, sophomoric. So it is great to see the band back with a prodigal sound on their third album Typhoons. The irresistible hooks and the catchy anthems are still there, but there are more layers now, like vocals and synths. About the new record, lead singer Kerr says it was like “seeing in colour for the first time.” The video is spot on. Shot in an unapologetically grey post-pandemic London, it made me want to join the tribe.
#royalblood #typhoon @royalblood
Check the band out on Howard Stern around 4:40mins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0AlyFVnde4
AD OF THE WEEK: BARILLA PASTA
It’s schmalzy and sentimental, but it had me from the get-go. I love the idea of an ad explaining exactly what is great about the product without having to say a word. The choice of song is a little on the nose, but it does the job as a series of vignettes takes over the narrative and builds a simple truth: rustling up a nice meal for someone might be the best way to express our true feelings. Solid work from Publicis Italy for Barilla, the iconic pasta brand.
SPOTIFY’S DANIEL EK JOINS FORCES WITH ARSENAL LEGENDS IN BID TO BUY CLUB
The Spotify owner Daniel Ek is preparing a bid to buy Arsenal with assistance from the club’s former players Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira.
Swedish billionaire Daniel Ek says he is “very serious” about a takeover bid at Arsenal – a club he has supported since a child; current owners the Kroenkes insist they will not sell the Premier League club.
BEGGARS GROUP AND NINJA TUNE TO BECOME CARBON NEUTRAL IN 2021
Ahead of this year’s Earth Day – and at the start of the Turn Up The Volume week from Music Declares Emergency – Beggars Group and Ninja Tune have announced plans to become carbon neutral companies by the end of 2021.
Both record labels say that they are focussing their efforts to reduce carbon emissions on areas of their businesses where they can have the greatest environmental impacts. This includes switching to renewable energy systems in their London offices and encouraging pressing plants to do the same, reducing the impact of freight operations, and minimising business travel.
Beggars Group – comprising the 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, XL Recordings and Young labels – has been working towards its carbon neutral target for the last six months, led by its first Head Of Sustainability, Will Hutton. “We’ve worked hard to make sure the pathway we have established is science-based and built on rigorous analysis of available data”, he says. The company also plans to reduce its total emissions by 46% by 2030.
BRIAN ENO LAUNCHES EARTHPERCENT, A CLIMATE CHANGE INITIATIVE FOR THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
Brian Eno has launched EarthPercent: an initiative to undertake the music industry’s environmental footprint.
The British pioneer put the action plan into place with aims to raise $100 million from the industry collectively by 2030. The money will support the ‘most impactful organisations addressing the climate emergency’, according to EarthPercent’s website.
“We want to encourage artists and music-related organisations to pledge a small percentage of their income to EarthPercent. This percentage can be collected at source and diverted to EarthPercent where it will be directed to the most impactful organisations dealing with climate change,” it reads.
“NO SIGN” 5,000 PERSON BARCELONA CONCERT CAUSED COVID INFECTIONS.
Researchers in Spain have said there is “no sign” that a recent 5,000 person concert caused a higher level of COVID transmission among attendees.
Concert-goers were required to produce a negative COVID test on the day of the event and wear masks throughout, but no social distancing was required.
Six people who attended the concert last month tested positive for COVID within 14 days of attending the gig. However, researchers found this rate of infection among attendees was half the rate people of the same age became infected in Barcelona during this period.
They also deduced that four of these people were infected elsewhere, leading them to conclude that the concert was not responsible for causing transmission. “There is no sign that suggests transmission took place during the event,” infectious disease specialist Doctor Josep Maria Llibre told a news conference on Tuesday.
AIAIAI AND NINJA TUNE LAUNCH HEADPHONES MADE OF RECYCLED VINYL
Headphone manufacturer AIAIAI and UK independent label Ninja Tune have teamed up on a new pair of headphones made from the imprint’s own recycled vinyl. The headphones feature Bluetooth 5.0 and are based on the existing TMA-2 model that is popular among DJs and producers. The headphones come with both on-ear and over-ear vegan leather cushions and last for up to 20 hours of use.
Of the new collab Ninja Tune’s Senior Designer Joe Durnan said: “For Ninja tune as a label, we are keen to not only celebrate the past but also mark our intentions going forward both sonically and ethically. We are keenly aware of the need to explore more ecological and earth-positive means of manufacturing. To continue to exist as an industry we need to place these topics at the forefront of discussions and decisions.”
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Research and reporting by Rose Farman-Farma
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash