This Week In Music: 18th May 2023
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: BLANCO WHITE “WHO’S GONNA LOVE YOU NOW?”
What is Blanco White looking for? Josh Edwards (born 21 July 1991), known professionally as Blanco White, is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist from London, England. He has released just one studio album, On the Other Side and 3 EP’s since being signed to Yucatan records in 2016. He now has a new EP ‘Time Can Prove You Wrong’ which is popping up regularly on YouTube and helping to promote a tour that will see him play in the US and in Europe. His sound is British folk, with a very slight hint of flamenco in the way he plays his acoustic guitar, an echo from his days as a guitar student in Cadiz and later in Bolivia. The track “Who’s Gonna Love You Now” is stripped down, only a few chords with a subtle change as it wanders into the chorus like a child falling into its mother’s arms. The songs that are beautifully orchestrated, blissfully short, and entirely memorable. With these new recordings, Blanco White is taking another step towards a larger audience, but is that what this enigmatic and reluctant troubadour wants?
AD OF THE WEEK: APPLE “CHASE”
Apple shows off what an iPhone can do in another instalment of ‘Shot on iPhone’ with the help of Park Pictures. Having just shot a video on my iPhone 14 I have to say that the quality blows my mind – and because it is so good, your creativity is literally unleashed because you know it is going to look (and sound) spectacular when you are done. Nothing we did not already know, but the ad does a solid job of getting consumers to understand how far the creative and technical boundaries can be pushed. You really can film these scenes with an iPhone – so why not get out on the back of a truck and film something? Or shoot a movie with stunts using the hand-held device? Of course, you need the budget, actors, location, make up, costumes, but if you have them, you don’t necessarily need a big camera. Nice work from Park Pictures, London.
SWEDEN WINS EUROVISION SONG CONTEST IN LIVERPOOL WITH LOREEN
Sweden has won the 67th Eurovision song contest in a helter skelter show that spanned chintzy Europop, anti-war protest and a continent’s support for Ukraine.
The Swedish singer-songwriter Loreen started the night as runaway favourite but faced a late challenge from Finland’s wildly popular Käärijä, a fan favourite inside the raucous Liverpool Arena.
Her win means Sweden equals Ireland’s record seven Eurovision wins. Loreen, 39, becomes the first woman to win the contest twice, after her anthemic 2012 hit Euphoria.
One of the most political Eurovision grand finals in years was drawn into sharper focus as Russian bombs fell during the show on the home town of the Ukrainian act, Tvorchi.
It came down to a nail-biting finale as Finland was awarded a huge 376 points, enough that it leapfrogged Sweden at the top of the table to huge cheers in Liverpool.
A stadium held its breath as Graham Norton, this year’s host, announced that Sweden had secured more than 243 votes and therefore won the 2023 contest.
Broadcast from the UK for the first time in 25 years, it was a night of gravity-defying vocals, shameless cheese-pop, achingly sincere balladry and, of course, moments of downright weirdness.
KEANU REEVES’ ROCK BAND DOGSTAR TO REUNITE FOR FIRST PERFORMANCE IN OVER 20 YEARS
Keanu Reeves is teaming back up with his former bandmates to revive their rock group Dogstar. The actor plays bass in the band, alongside drummer Rob Mailhouse and guitarist and vocalist Bret Domrose.
Formed in Los Angeles in the mid-90s, the alternative rock band was active until the early 2000s. The group released one EP, Quattro Formaggi, in 1996, along with two albums, 1996’s Our Little Visionary and 1999’s Happy Ending.
In its early years, Dogstar opened for a David Bowie concert in Hollywood and for Bon Jovi’s tour throughout Australia and New Zealand. The band eventually disbanded in October 2002, following a final performance in Japan.
Dogstar will now reunite for its first live show in over two decades, slated to take place at Napa Valley’s BottleRock music festival on May 27, where they’ll be debuting music from their forthcoming new album.
WORLD’S FIRST BIODEGRADABLE VINYL MADE USING BACTERIA PRESSED BY NON-PROFIT
The world’s first biodegradable vinyl made using bacteria has been pressed by Bye Bye Plastic, the non-profit run by Canadian DJ and producer BLOND:ISH aka Vivie-ann Bakos.
Engineered using the naturally occurring bioplastic PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) — which decomposes in any environment, including the ocean — the 14-track vinyl compilation has been made in collaboration with the collective Evolution Music and ‘green’ pressing plant Deep Grooves. It will be released on BLOND:ISH’s own ABRACADABRA label on 7th October.
The ‘#PlasticFreeParty‘ LP has been curated in partnership with Chambord and includes tracks from BLOND:ISH, Chambord, Shiba San & Millad, Vander & Deer Jade, Elif & Gespona, Theo Meier and more.
The Bye Bye Plastic foundation launched in 2018 and is committed to removing single-use plastics from the music industry through various initiatives and campaigns.
To pre-order the vinyl for #PlasticFreeParty, pick up a copy from Bandcamp here and find out more via the Bye Bye Plastic website here. You can listen to the compilation below.
xMEMS LAUNCH THE FIRST “ALL-SILICON, SOLID-STATE FIDELITY MICRO SPEAKERS”
xMEMS are “reinventing sound” with the first-ever all-silicon headphones.
The US audio start-up have patented their own true MEMS micro-speakers using groundbreaking microelectromechanical systems technology (MEMS). High-quality MEMS microphones are widely used in smartphones, laptops and other consumer electronics but most speakers are still formed from mechanical voice coils.
xMEMS’ “all-silicon, solid-state fidelity micro speakers” promise to “deliver a new level of performance, size, energy efficiency and uniformity not possible with traditional voice coil or hybrid MEMS approaches.” Lower power consumption, “precise, higher fidelity, high-res audio” and increased comfort are among some of the main benefits.
The company has created three versions of its micro-speakers that can be used for earphones, in-ear-monitors (IEMs), digital hearing aids and wearables. Cowell is “the world’s smallest MEMS micro speaker”, Montara Plus is “the world’s highest sensitivity MEMS microspeaker” while and Skyline DynamicVent is aimed at earbuds and digital hearing aids.
Find out more about xMEMS here.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional research and reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf