Category Archives: Music

Shattering the glass ceiling – the rise and rise of Wet Leg

ALREADY one of the most exciting bands ever to emanate from Isle of Wight shores, Wet Leg have exploded into the global conscience during the past six months, with the release of deliciously irreverent singles Chaise Longue and Wet Dream  accumulating more than 2.5 million views on YouTube to date.

The enthrallingly offbeat Wet Leg – fronted by effortlessly cool duo Hester Chambers and Rhian Teasdale – have also been streamed across music platforms more than six million times, with third and fourth single releases confirmed within the past 24 hours to unbridled acclaim.

Kureen has spoken to the band, festival organisers and others within the industry as we basked in the reflected glory of the journey, starting with an interview we conducted shortly after their rousing Sunday afternoon Big Top set at the Isle of Wight Festival in September.

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The big interview

Kureen: You’ve exploded onto the music scene this year, but how  were the early days of Wet Leg?

Rhian: Our first gig was actually at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2019 on a much smaller stage. About 15 of our friends happened to be there. It’s funny to come back two years later on a bigger stage with so many people watching.

 

Kureen: Debut single, Chaise Longue, was recently released on vinyl, how did the limited edition run go?

Rhian: It was available on pre-order and sold out on the first morning of being available. I don’t know how many copies they produced though…

Hester: Maybe it was only 20 copies! They’re going to release some more, originally it was going to be limited but we were surprised by how well they sold.

Wet Leg performing on the Big Top stage at the IW Festival.

Maybe it was only 20 copies! They’re going to release some more, originally it was going to be limited but we were surprised by how well they sold.

 

Kureen: Were you both born on the Isle of Wight?

Rhian: Neither of us were born on the Island, but I moved here when I was eight and I always say I’m from the Isle of Wight as I don’t feel like I’m from Liverpool.

Hester: I was a baby when I moved here, so I feel like a fully-fledged Islander!

 

Kureen: I’ve seen you both performing in various bands in recent years, when did you form Wet Leg?

Rhian: I was doing solo stuff and at one of the first hurdles I cried two songs into my set, I wasn’t enjoying it. I asked Hester if she’d like to finish the run of shows I’d been booked for and we started playing together.

We decided to have fun making music that was a bit silly and I think we’ve achieved that.

Rhian: I went to a gig at the ‘100 Club’ in London the other day to see a band called Honeyglaze and the lady signing me in asked “are you in Wet Leg?” It was the first time that’s ever happened!

 

Kureen: Do you get anxious before you go on stage?

Rhian: It varies depending on how we’re feeling that day, when we played at the Green Man Festival we thought there would be nobody there, and (the tent)  was full.

Hester: When we saw how many people had come to see us I had a bit of a breakdown. It does feel weird having gone from doing shows with small crowds to these unexpected stages now.

Rhian: We didn’t expect any of this when we started Wet Leg, we just thought it would be small, sweaty shows and hopefully a few people would listen. It was really fun playing Big Top today.

Hester: It was surreal; I’ve only ever been on the audience side of that tent before today.

 

Kureen: Do you focus on the faces in the audience when you’re on the big stages?

Hester: I can’t look at anyone, just in case they look angry!

 

Kureen: Can you reveal how you came up with the name ‘Wet Leg’ or is it a guarded secret?

Hester: We made a really long list of names, some sounded cool.

We then got a bit busy with the emoji keyboard, which it turns out is a really good way to find band names – you can close your eyes and do it with two or more and see what comes along.

Rhian (pulls out phone to show some examples): Cry Donut, Factory Book, Angel Love, Alien Pumpkin… So there are endless possibilities and when you’re on social media you can use the emojis with your posts.

Kureen: I’m stealing Alien Pumpkin.

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Relentless rise from obscurity to stardom…

Subsequent to the interview, Wet Leg, who will be touring Europe and the US for the remainder of 2021, featured on the November 1st edition of BBC Two’s Later… With Jools Holland and have been named by Amazon Music as one of their Artists to Watch 2022, as well as featuring on VEVO DSCVR.

The band have also been announced as ambassadors for 2022’s Independent Venue Week, the annual event which celebrates music spaces around the country.

The great and good of the music industry have been fulsome in their praise of the duo, with musician, Iggy Pop, telling The Guardian:

“When I heard Chaise Longue by Wet Leg I got really excited: it’s cheeky, with a wicked groove, but it’s the vocals – they’re almost metronomic.

“You could ask 100 people to sing it and it wouldn’t sound the same.”

DJ and Festival curator Rob da Bank at the 2021 IW Festival.

Speaking exclusively to Kureen, Radio One DJ and Bestival founder, Rob da Bank waxed lyrical about Wet Leg’s unabated ascent.

He said: “The Isle of Wight has a special place in my musical heart for lots of reasons and every time an Island band gets recognition it’s exciting.

“This year (that has been) happening for a few acts, but Wet Leg have shone brighter than all. I know Rhian from the Plastic Mermaids choir days and as soon as I heard her sing I was struck by her incredible voice.

“Obviously the girls are also annoyingly very witty, clever with videos and their image, and know how to write a very, very catchy song. One of my top tips for 2022 for sure!”

John Giddings at IW Festival 2014

Isle of Wight Festival organiser and promoter, John Giddings, is another to rave about the band.

Giddings was the driving force behind the IW Festival being resurrected in 2002, more than 30 years after it had last been held.

“It is great to see emerging talent from the Island,” he told Kureen.

“The girls are great and well deserving of their success.

“They went down a storm this year – and we have booked them for 2023 higher up the bill.

“One of the great things about promoting the festival is that it gives us a chance to help local talent, (Wet Leg) will go far”

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Influence on/with other local musicians

Meanwhile, Isle of Wight based musicians have expressed their own delight at the success of a band from these shores, hoping it may blaze a trail for other Island acts to follow in their footsteps.

Beth Brookfield, an 18-year-old singer/songwriter from the Island, has found herself inspired by the success of Wet Leg and other female-fronted bands from the area in the past couple of years.

Beth Brookfield is one of numerous local musicians inspired by Wet Leg’s recent success.

Beth told Kureen: “The music industry has seen a rise recently in successful women fronted bands from the Isle of Wight making a statement such as Lauran Hibberd, Coach Party, and now Wet Leg.

“As an artist from the Island myself, and having gone to the same music college as Wet Leg, their success is so motivating and shows that Island bands are being noticed.

“I have found myself singing the hook ‘Baby do you want to come home with me? I’ve got Buffalo ‘66 on DVD’  from their song ‘Wet Dream’ over and over again!

“I played the Isle of Wight Festival this year, which was just incredible but I aspire to play the Big Top soon just like Wet Leg did this year.”

Tom Farren, a founding member of Plastic Mermaids, a band with whom both Rhian and Hester have been affiliated, believes the success of Wet Leg is no accident.

He said: “What seems like overnight success is actually two brilliant musicians making incredible music for a very long time in different forms.

“I was very fortunate to be involved musically with them both.

“They deserve everything that’s happening and “I’ll be watching from the sidelines with a sandwich and a beer”.

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So far, so good – but what next?

Wet Leg recently announced details of a UK headline tour, where they will perform at nine different venues in April next year, including Bristol’s Trinity Centre, the O2 Institute in Birmingham and Scala in London.

Before then, a relentless schedule sees them spending January to March touring both the UK and Europe. They recently confirmed they will be supporting rockers, Idles, during their travels.

On Monday November 29, Wet Leg’s third single ‘Too Late Now’ was selected as Radio One’s Hottest Record in the World on DJ Clare Amfo’s evening show. 

This accolade was followed by the duo’s announcement of a self-titled debut LP, which will hit the shelves on April 8.

The New York Times is among the latest titles of note to add to the growing list of admirers, stating:

“They’re one of those new bands whose sound and aesthetic seem to have arrived fully formed, promising exciting – if totally unpredictable – things to come.”

Further tour dates, this time in North America, have also been confirmed for Spring 2022.

In the meantime, both ‘Too Late Now’ and another single, ‘Oh No’, have been made available to the public, with the Wet Leg juggernaut gaining ever more momentum.

Two genuinely talented and hard working musicians, who more than paid their dues, have risen to a prominent position within the industry they love, here’s hoping this is only the start of their domination of global airwaves.

Read more: Wet Leg earmarked for mainstream success after debut single

To find out more visit: www.wetlegband.com

Additional image credit: Hollie Fernando Photography and Domino Records.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Listen to band’s first new single for 37 years!

A band, which belatedly found success after being discovered by a New York record label in 2020, is set for its first new single in 37 years.

Cassie rehearsing in the 1980s.

Formed on the Isle of Wight in 1978, power-poppers Cassie split in 1985.

The original line-up consisted of guitarist Nigel Hayles, lead vocalist Debbie Barker (now Coles), bassist Eric Biggs and drummer Hugh Kim Lewis.

Recently the band has been collaborating with former Pumphouse Gang & The Choir guitarist, Phil Oswald, writing and recording two brand new songs in the UK and in Istanbul, Turkey.

The new single, Don’t Let the Music Stop, is due to be released digitally today (Wednesday).

The four-piece were initially managed by Wilf Pine, former manager of Black Sabbath, who arranged an original signing to AKA Records and their only single release, Change My Image, in 1982, which became instantly obscure on release before the band went their separate ways in 1985.

That seemed to be that.

Decades passed and, astonishingly, among a backdrop of bratty bubble-gum-power pop resurgence, New York’s Reminder Records stumbled upon Change My Image, contacting the band about the prospect of re-releasing the track to a wider audience.

It flew off shelves in England, Japan and the US.

Reminder Records were keen to release more of the band’s original material, but it was assumed it had all been destroyed in a fire at Hugh’s house.

Thankfully, Debbie delved into her attic and discovered music tapes from numerous recording studios in the early 1980s.

These long-lost tracks were subsequently released on Christmas Eve, 2020 as new chapters continue to be written for a band basking in the light of belated success.

Don’t Let the Music Stop is available to purchase at www.reminderrecords.com and across all streaming platforms.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Where are they now? Exclusive interview with band Cassie

IT MAY have taken 38 years, but a band is belatedly enjoying the fruits of an ode to rebellious youth first released in 1982.

The amazing story of four-piece Cassie, whose single Change My Image was re-released earlier this year by New York label Reminder Records, offers hope to aspiring artists persevering in difficult times.

Almost four decades ago, London based A.K.A Records released the single to little fanfare. The label’s demise shortly afterwards appearing to extinguish lingering hopes of widespread acclaim.

Guitarist Nigel Hayles died in 2002, but the three remaining band members — Barnet based singer/songwriter Debbie Coles, bassist Eric Biggs who lives in Ryde and drummer Hugh Kim Lewis who divides his time between Southsea and Köycegiz, Turkey —  shared their thoughts regarding the recent release and what the future may hold.

How did Cassie form?

Hugh: Cassie were known as Flirt at the time and I was in another band, I left to join the guys in around 1980.

Debbie: I met Nigel via his pirate radio station, Radio Cathy, around 1976. I started as a backing singer with the band — then known as Blackdog — and progressed to lead vocals and writing songs.

Hugh Kim Lewis, who played drums in Cassie.

When A.K.A Records went bust, did you think that was the beginning of the end for Cassie?

Debbie: Not really. We didn’t have any input into the release of the single or what happened afterwards, so we carried on. There were no big bust ups either, things just sort of fizzled out.

Hugh: We did write other stuff and featured on the IW compilation album Feet on the Street in 1984.

Do you look back on that period from 1978 to 1985 with fond memories?

Eric: Yes, there are so many stories, and I remember the buzz of hearing one of our songs on the radio for the first time.

Hugh: I remember us signing our first recording contract with Video Records in an office in Portsmouth. Another standout moment was meeting Lulu in De Lane Lea Recording studios in Wembley.

Then there was the time I got so drunk playing a gig at the Royal Sandrock Inn in Niton that I needed to run to the loo in between songs — hopefully nobody noticed!

Debbie: The first time our demo was played on Radio Victory in Portsmouth and the band getting so much interest were amazing moments.

There were regular gigs at the Buddle Inn in Niton, where we built up a local following with a combination of covers and original material. The crowd chanting requests for our original tracks and singing along to them was really special and has stayed with me.

Cassie rehearsing in the 1980s.

Nigel is sadly no longer with us. Would he have enjoyed the belated acclaim the band is receiving?

Hugh: Nigel would have loved what’s going on now. He was a key member whose enthusiasm for what we did was always fantastic — he was the heart and soul of the band.

Debbie: Nigel was a really talented musician with a wicked sense of humour. He was the founder and beating heart of the band, and was the one who kept the peace when things got heated —which was fairly often.

It’s sad he isn’t here to share in this, he would have loved it, but he lives on through his distinctive guitar riffs that make up the Cassie sound and will always be a key part of the band.

Who wrote the song Change My Image?

Eric: Debbie, but we all played our part.

Hugh: Debbie usually wrote the lyrics, the rest of us would work on the music.

Debbie: I came up with the tune and lyrics, with the band working out their own parts.

Singer Debbie Barker during a 1980s gig.

When/how did you first get wind of the single being re-released by Reminder Records?

Hugh: In December last year the record company phoned me and expressed an interest in re-releasing the single.

Debbie: Hugh then called me at work and asked if I was sitting down — I was worried it was bad news! In actual fact, it was the best and most surprising news ever. I couldn’t believe it at first, I still can’t really.

Did the song stand out for you at the time as one the best you’d written as a band?

Eric: Yes, but not necessarily the best we ever wrote.

Hugh: I agree, it was a good song but we wrote other good songs as well.

Debbie: It is a great song and still very relevant, but just one of many equally great power pop tracks we produced.

Cassie bass guitarist Eric Biggs.

Have you all remained in contact since the band split in 1985?

Eric: I only reconnected after seeing an article online last week.

Hugh: I never lost contact with Debbie, and our families have spent time together over the years. We like visiting them in London, and they have been out for a holiday to our house in Turkey. I hadn’t seen Eric for ten years, and it’s great to be in contact with him again.

Debbie: I last saw Eric at Nigel’s funeral. It is great to be back in touch with him.

Is there a chance of a reunion for Cassie?

Eric: Maybe.

Hugh: I’d be up for it, it would be great fun to play together again.

Debbie: You never know!

Jeremy Thompson of record label Reminder Records said Change My Image is proving popular, with orders from all over the world, including Japan and Europe.

Limited edition heavyweight import pressings may still be available by contacting AAA Records through Facebook or phoning them on 07530 690442.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interview with Robin Hill Woodland sessions star Katie Melua

AS PART of Robin Hill’s recent Woodland sessions, Dominic Kureen was given the opportunity to speak to Katie Melua, the Georgia born musician who moved to the UK when she was eight years of age.

Is this your first time on the Isle of Wight?

It is performing wise, but I came to Bestival about a decade ago – it was fabulous and I loved it – and I came to the Island in my late teens and had my first lobster here!

The first time I heard your music was (first album) Call Off The Search, which thrust you into the spotlight, how did you cope with that as such a young age?

I wanted to focus on the music and develop as an artist and musician, but what I’ve found since the emergence of social media is everyone has to deal with some level of fame nowadays to some extent.

I was 19 (when the album was released) and removed some of the responsibility and egoism from it by saying to myself it was the songs people were in love with. That helped me slightly disassociate with it.

You released Album No.8 late last year, it received a positive reception across Europe, what was the inspiration behind it?

It’s the first album I made since parting ways with my long-term collaborator Mike Batt, who was a real mentor to me when I started out.

It was the first time I got into lyric writing quite intensely. Also, it was around that time I ended up divorcing my husband of seven years, so the songs couldn’t not have spoken of that.

I always wonder what songs are capable of and how much they can transform you, and they really did help. It was very healing for both myself and my ex-partner.

I’ve noticed from my own experience that a heightened sense of emotion makes it easier to write, have you experienced similar?

I think when you’re feeling emotional about something it takes over your being, rather than being worried if (the music) is any good.

That lack of choice when you’re immersed in emotion possibly helps the creative process.

I used to see you on panel shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks, but not so much in recent years – was it a conscious effort to step away from them?

I think I did Never Mind the Buzzcocks twice when I was 19 and in my early 20s, but I’d love to do those shows again.

How has the pandemic has affected you personally?

We had to mix my last record virtually and we were going to do a European tour and play the Royal Albert Hall in London which had to be cancelled.

All the promos were done virtually, which meant I got to stay at home and learn to cook and work on my guitar chops which was quite good actually.

I’ve seen you perform over the years with the likes of Jamie Cullum, is there anyone now you’d like to play with?

I’m so honoured to be playing with Simon Goff (at Robin Hill) today. He’s a magnificent artist who comes from a scene in Berlin and has just released a beautiful album (called Vale).

Katie Melua performed at Robin Hill for the first time as part of the Woodland sessions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will you get the chance after the gig to check out Robin Hill again?

I’d love to, we’re leaving tomorrow but I hope to get the chance to take a look around before we head off.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Tupac & Michael Jackson Holograms among 2019 IW Festival headliners!

Isle of Wight Festival insiders have revealed that there will be two posthumous headliners on the bill in 2019.

2/3, but the Hendrix hologram was a little too pricey at £3.2m per hour.

Hip-hop royalty Tupac Shakur and the former “King of Pop”, Michael Jackson, will be beamed onto the main stage during Friday and Saturday night using cutting edge projection technology borrowed from Ryde Academy.

Continue reading

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Festive 15 – music to save lives

Award winning music journalist, Dr Jonathan O’Shea, kindly agreed to share his top 15 tracks of 2015 with Kureen – let us know your thoughts in the comment section below the article. 

Chemical Brothers

The Festive Fifteen, my favourite tracks of the year, has become an accidental annual tradition (I think this is the seventh one) and was initially inspired by John Peel’s Festive 50. Like pointless paper crowns, turkey incineration and being derisive about sprouts, this is one seasonal routine which is set to continue ad infinitum.

Between Christmas and the New Year, I like to pore over the music that’s been pumped into the ether over the past twelve months and somehow make sense of it all by pointlessly ranking it. Then I present it to the world in classic chart countdown style: 15 to 1 (not to be confused with William G Stewart’s bad-ass 90s game show).

So here’s the Festive Fifteen ’15;

15. What Went Down – Foals

Pulsing, persistent beat and increasingly frenzied lyrics from the inappropriately-named indie rockers.

14. Leaving the City – Joanna Newsom

The planet’s most unique and oblique pop-harpist takes a leap into new, questing territory, with a less sparse, more densely developed sound than usual.

13. Mr Noah – Panda Bear

Some pretty weird-ass stuff here, about a dog being bitten on his leg…? Sounds like it was recorded on a demonically distorted hurdy-gurdy in 2048 and sent back in time through a subterranean vortex.

12. Go – Chemical Brothers ft. Q-Tip

Begins amid frantic bongos and slashing light-sabres (honestly); Q-Tip’s muscular rap provides the backbone for a Daft Punk-style synth-a-thon.

11. Go Out Blur

The kind of swaggering anthem Damon & co relentlessly pumped out in their prime.

10. Singularity – New Order

One of the darker tracks from Music Complete focuses on dissatisfaction with everyday inertia and mourns the loss of ex-bandmate Ian Curtis.

9. Tutti Frutti – New Order ft. Elly Jackson

Could easily be filed under ‘90s nostalgia, but a beguiling duet with La Roux’s Elly Jackson elevates this playful track to something more airily uplifting.

8. Detroit – Gaz Coombes

Probably the finest moment of the ex-Supergrass frontman’s solo career. A tale of longing for home while in a distant land: effortlessly melodic, with a soul-stirring arrangement.

7. City – Spring King

Breathless stomper; designed to thrash about in the dark to. Repeat: “Who am I? What does it matter?”

6. Strange Combinations Teleman

Gently insistent and mildly hypnotic stuff. Perhaps the strangest combination here is the electro beat and mild-mannered vocal style, but it works wonderfully.

5. Borders – M.I.A

Controversial subject matter – the refugee crisis and a ‘f*ck the system’ message – delivered in typically laconic style. Sure, it’s a little lyrically banal, but at least she seems to stand for something.

4. Bodies – Farao

Totally irresistible combination of plaintive Scandinavian vocalist and inexorable rhythms.

3. Swords (Matahdatah Scroll 01 “Broader Than A Border”) – M.I.A.

Opens with the rhythmic clashing of swords and a pulsing beat which underpins a culture-clash classic. Check out the genuinely awesome M.I.A-directed double video for this new track and 2013’s ‘Warriors’.

2. Dreams – Beck

Reminiscent of his upbeat ‘Guero’-era danceable demi-anthems, this track – devoted to the restorative power of dreams – is thickly layered with catchy aural confections…it’s surely the funksome highpoint of Beck’s meandering later career.

1. Don’t Breathe Out – Roots Manuva.

soul-stirring sample of portly baritone Barry White’s ‘Honey Please, Can’t Ya See’ forms the unlikely bedrock of this gloriously gospel-tinged track. The Walrus of Love’s slightly sickly love letter morphs into something altogether more mystical and compelling under the spell of Stockwell’s philosophical wordsmith.

Fin.

Written by Jonathan O'Shea

A keen student of sport, music and life. Can generally be found educating small people, bitterly damning Aston Villa's latest attempts at football, or writing nonsense about ephemera.

Top 15 Countdown: Female Rappers

Welcome to the first of a regular series on Kureen called the Top 15 Countdown. This week we look at the 15 greatest female rappers ever to spit bars.

15. Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes

Despite enjoying a successful solo career and three No. 1 hits as a member of TLC, Lopes’s personal life was marred by her rocky relationship with American football player Andre Rison, and in 1994 she was arrested for burning down his home. Lopes died in a car accident on April 25, 2002, in Honduras at the peak of her powers.

14. Yo-Yo

Yo-Yo (born Yolanda Whitaker) is among the most sophisticated and unpredictable female rappers of all-time. Despite refraining from an overtly feminist tack, she dealt with issues of sexual restraint and self-worth in young women.

13. Rapsody

With her polished and distinct style, Rapsody’s wordplay and flow are virtually unparalleled in both delivery and execution. Still only 27 years old, the North Carolina resident remains one of the most promising forces on the contemporary hip-hop landscape.

12. The Lady of Rage

Though she had made more than a dozen appearances on soundtracks as well as albums from her Death Row Records cohorts from 1988 onwards, the Lady of Rage didn’t release an album until 1997; the explosive Necessary Roughness was worth the wait.

11. Foxy Brown

Diminutive Brooklyn-based MC, model and actress whose brash style helped mould a generation of sexually-activated female rappers. First hit the scene in 1989, aged just 15.

10. Salt-N-Pepa

All-female rap crew from Queens whose assertive rhymes, topped with a dollop of feminism, earned them worldwide success. The group, consisting of Cheryl James, Sandra Denton and Deidra Roper, was formed in 1985, peaking a year later with the release of seminal album Push It.

9. Bahamadia

Philadelphia rapper whose unique monotone delivery and crafty rhymes wooed critics in the 1990’s, Bahamadia rose to prominence on the hip-hop scene as the female protégée of Gang Starr’s Guru, and lent her smooth-flowing lyrics to a variety of projects during the latter part of the decade.

8. Eve

Former member of the Ruff Ryders crew, her photogenic looks and impudent rhymes, Eve was number 48 on VH1’s “50 Greatest Women of the Video Era” list. Another female rapper to seamlessly transition into acting.

7. Da Brat

Chicago-based spitfire who burst onto the mid-’90’s hip-hop scene with her bold, defiant delivery.  Her debut album, Funkdafied, sold one million copies, making her the first female solo rap act to go platinum.

6. Missy Elliott

Individualistic female MC who altered the hip-hop landscape with her eclectic, innovative, sexually charged rhymes, buoyed by Timbaland beats. Recent Bestival headline set was a noteworthy example of effectively keeping a large audience on a short leash.

5. Lil’ Kim

Fiercest, most provocative, and most infamous female rapper of the late-1990s, Kim lost steam as her career entered the 21st Century, but her legacy remains pivotal in the evolution of female hip-hop.

4. Nicki Minaj

First stepping into the spotlight as an affiliate of Lil Wayne, the quirky, cool Minaj went from mix-tape queen to bona fide superstar with a string of successful releases. Regular surgeries have rendered her barely identifiable in a physical sense when placed alongside the Minaj of the late 2000’s, but her rap game remains tight.

3. Queen Latifah

One of the first politically conscious female rappers, selling nearly two million records worldwide as she feuded with Foxy Brown. She later became better known for a successful acting career and talk show.

2. MC Lyte

Trailblazer who came to the fore in the late 1980’s, becoming the first solo female rapper to release a full album with 1988’s critically acclaimed Lyte as a Rock. MC Lyte has long been considered one of hip-hop’s pioneer feminists.

1. Lauryn Hill

Singer, actress, songwriter, rapper and producer best known for being a member of the Fugees and for her brilliant solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Has become a virtual recluse in recent years, distancing herself from the music industry excepting the occasional low-key venue.

 Agree with the list? Think we missed someone out? Let us know in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Festival Season 2016: Who’s playing where this summer?

With the UK music festival season rapidly approaching, there are now more choices than ever before for the weekend raver. Dom Kureen takes a look at some of the most notable events and how they’re shaping up so far.

June

The London African Gospel Choir will be headlining at MondoMix Photo by Adam Gasson / Commonwealth Secretariat
The London African Gospel Choir will be headlining at MondoMix
Photo by Adam Gasson / Commonwealth Secretariat

Mondomix

Venue: Calbourne Water Mill, Isle of Wight
Dates: 3-5 June
Weekend camping price: £55

Headline acts
London African Gospel Choir, 7suns, Arhai, Soothsayers

Mondomix website

Isle of Wight Festival

Venue: Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight
Dates: 9-12 June
Weekend camping price: £208.20

Headline acts
The Who, Queen + Adam Lambert, Stereophonics, Faithless

Isle of Wight Festival website
Kureen 2014 Isle of Wight Festival review 

Download Festival

Venue: Donington Park, Leicestershire
Dates: 10-12 June
Weekend camping price: £195

Headline acts
Rammstein, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Korn, Nightwish

Download website

Glastonbury Festival

Venue: Worthy Farm, Pilton.
Dates: 22-26 June
Weekend camping price: £228

Headline acts
Adele, Coldplay, Muse, LCD Soundsystem

Glastonbury website
Kureen 2014 Glastonbury review

Blissfields

Venue: Woodmancott, Hampshire
Dates: 30 June – 2 July
Weekend camping price: £95+

Headline acts
Dizzee Rascal, Everything, Everything, Roni Size

Blissfields website

July

Fatboy Slim spearheads a sparkling Camp Bestival lineup in August
Fatboy Slim spearheads a sparkling Camp Bestival lineup in August

Love Supreme jazz festival

Venue: Glynde, East Sussex.
Dates: 1-3 July
Weekend camping price: £145

Headline acts
Grace Jones, Burt Bacharach, Lianne le havas

Love Supreme website

British Summer Time

Venue: Hyde Park, London
Dates: 2nd, 3rd, 9th July
Weekend camping price: £184

Headline acts
Florence & the Machine, Mumford & Sons, Take That

BST Website

Cornbury

Venue: Great Tew, Oxfordshire
Dates: 8-10 July
Weekend camping price: £200

Headline acts
Jamie Cullum, Bryan Ferry, James Morrison

Cornbury website

T in the Park

Venue: Auchterader, Perthshire, Scotland
Dates: 8-10 July
Weekend camping price: £205

Headline acts
Stone Roses, Disclosure, The 1975

T in the Park website

Latitude 

Venue: Beccles, Suffolk
Dates: 14-17 July
Weekend camping price: £192.50

Headline acts
The Maccabees, New Order, the National

Latitude website

Secret Garden Party

Venue: Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
Dates: 21-24 July
Weekend camping price: £180

Headline acts
Primal Scream, Caribou, Lissie

SGP website 

Leefest

Venue: Secret location near Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Dates: 28-30 July
Weekend camping price: £89+

Headline acts
Lianna la Havas, Roots Manuva, Little Simz

Leefest website

Camp Bestival

Venue: Lulworth, Dorset
Dates: 28-31 July
Weekend camping price: £197.50

Headline acts
Fatboy Slim, Tears for Fears, Jess Glynne

Camp Bestival website

WOMAD

Venue: Malmesbury, Wiltshire
Dates: 28-31 July
Weekend camping price: £175+

Headline acts
Sidestepper, This is the Kit, Tettish

WOMAD website

August

The Flaming Lips will grace Wilderness festival in August
The Flaming Lips will grace Wilderness festival in August

Wilderness

Venue: Great Tew, Oxfordshire
Dates: 4-7 August
Weekend camping price: £164

Headline acts
Robert Plant, the Flaming Lips, Crystal Fighters

Wilderness website

BoomTown Fair

Venue: Ovington, Hampshire
Dates: 11-14 August
Weekend camping price: £170

Headline acts
Madness, Damian Marley, Leftfield

BoomTown Fair website

Green Man

Venue: Crickhowell, Powys, Wales
Dates: 18-21 August
Weekend camping price: £175

Headline acts
James Blake, Belle & Sebastian, Wild Beasts

Green Man website

V Festival

Venue: Weston-under-Lizard, Staffordshire + Chelmsford, Essex
Dates: 20-21 August
Weekend camping price: £189

Headline acts
Rihanna, Sia, Justin Bieber

V Website

Creamfields

Venue: Daresbury, Cheshire
Dates: 25-28 August
Weekend camping price: £200

Headline acts
Fatboy Slim, Tiesto, Above & Beyond

Creamfields website

Shambala 

Venue: Secret location nr Market Harbourough, Northamptonshire
Dates: 25-28 August
Weekend camping price: £109+

Headline acts
Sister Sledge, TBC

Shambala website 

Reading/Leeds 

Venues: Reading, Berkshire + Wothersome, West Yorkshire
Dates: 26-28 August
Weekend camping price: £205

Headline acts
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foals, Disclosure

Reading/Leeds website

Victorious

Venue: Southsea, Hampshire
Dates: 27-28 August
Weekend price: £50+

Headline acts
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Manic Street Preachers, Will Young

Victorious website

September

Robert Smith of The Cure: Great hair, better eye-liner
Robert Smith of The Cure: Great hair, better eye-liner

No.6

Venue: Portmeirion, Gwynedd, Wales
Dates: 1-4 September
Weekend camping price: £195

Headline acts
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Hot Chip, Bastille

No.6 website

Bestival

Venue: Robin Hill park, Downhill, Isle of Wight
Dates: 8-11 September
Weekend camping price: £218

Headline acts
The Cure, Major Lazer, Hot Chip

Bestival website

Let us know if you’re going to any festivals this summer, and who you’re looking forward to seeing in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Festival season 2015: Who’s playing where this summer?

With the UK music festival season rapidly approaching, there are now more choices than ever before for the weekend raver. Dom Kureen takes a look at some of the most notable events and how they’re shaping up so far.

June

Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac will kick off festival season on the Isle of Wight.

 

Isle of Wight Festival

Venue: Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight
Dates: 11-14 June
Weekend camping price: £208

Headline acts
Fleetwood Mac, Blur, The Black Keys, The Prodigy, Max.Lyrical.

Isle of Wight Festival website
Kureen 2014 Isle of Wight Festival review 

Download Festival

Venue: Donington Park, Leicestershire
Dates: 12-14 June
Weekend camping price: £215

Headline acts
Muse, Slipknot, Kiss, Faith No More, Motley Crue

Download website

Glastonbury Festival

Venue: Worthy Farm, Pilton.
Dates: 24-28 June
Weekend camping price: £225

Headline acts
Kanye West, Lionel Richie, Foo Fighters

Glastonbury website
Kureen 2014 Glastonbury review

Wireless 10

Venue: Finsbury Park, London
Date: 28 June
Day ticket price: £76.45

Headline acts
Drake, Rita Ora, Chance the Rapper, Katy B, Public Enemy

Wireless 10 website

July

Drake
Drake goes Wireless in July

Wireless Festival

Venue: Finsbury Park, London.
Dates: 3-5 July
Weekend camping price: £209.50

Headline acts
Drake, Jesse J, Avicii, Mary J Blige, David Guetta

Wireless Festival website

T2015

Venue: Strathallan castle, Perthshire, Scotland
Dates: 10-12 July
Weekend camping price: £194

Headline acts
Kasabian, Sam Smith, The Libertines, Kasabian, The Prodigy

T2015 website

Latitude Festival

Venue: Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk
Dates: 16-19 July
Weekend camping price: £200.50

Headline acts
Portishead, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Alt-J, Alan Davies, Jon Richardson 

Latitude website

Love Box

Venue: Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, London.
Dates: 17-18 July
Weekend camping price: £93.50

Headline acts
Snoop Dogg, Rudimental, Bonobo, Jessie Ware, Cypress Hill

Love Box website

Secret Garden Party

Venue: Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton
Dates: 23-26 July
Weekend camping price: £190.50

Headline acts
Jungle, Public Service Broadcasting, Palma Violets, Menace Beach

Secret Garden Party website

August

Sam Smith
Sam Smith: Far too clean looking for the festival crowd

 

Boomtown Fair

Venue: Matterley Estate, Winchester, Hampshire
Dates: August 13-16
Weekend camping price: £155

Headline acts
Stephen Marley, Gogol Bordello, Flogging Molly

Boomtown Fair website

V Festival

Venues: Weston Park, Staffordshire / Hylands Park, Chelmsford
Dates: August 22-23
Weekend camping price: £189

Headline acts
Calvin Harris, Stereophonics, Sam Smith, Tom Jones

V Festival website

Reading and Leeds Festival

Venues: Richfield Avenue, Reading / Braham Park, Leeds
Dates: August 28-30
Weekend camping price: £205

Headline acts
Mumford and Sons, The Libertines, Limp Bizkit, Metallica

Reading Festival website
Leeds Festival website

Creamfields

Venue: Alex James’s Farm, Kingham, The Cotswolds
Dates: August 28-30
Weekend camping price: £154.50

Headline acts
Paloma Faith, Grandmaster Flash, Groove Armada

Creamfields website

September

Chemical Brothers
The Chemical Brothers sent in the clowns last summer

 

Festival No.6

Venue: Portmeirion, Wales
Dates: September 3-6
Weekend camping price: £170

Headline acts
Grace Jones, Belle & Sebastian, Ghost Poet

Festival No.6 website

Bestival

Venue: Robin Hill, Isle of Wight
Dates: September 10-13
Weekend camping price: £195

Headline acts
Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Duran Duran

Bestival website
Kureen 2014: 10 local acts you won’t want to miss

OnBlackheath

Venue: Blackheath, London
Dates: September 12-13
Weekend price: £89

Headline acts
Manic Street Preachers, Elbow, Madness

OnBlackheath website

Let us know which festival catches your eye, in the meantime here’s ‘Never going back again’ from the legendary Fleetwood Mac.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

101 great albums. No.7: Funkadelic – Maggot Brain

Maggot Brain, released under the Westbound label in July of 1970, provided a creative zenith for trailblazing all black rock band Funkadelic’s output, and was followed by a series of increasingly commercially appealing LP’s.

The imaginatively titled cut retains a raw, fervent energy that perfectly epitomises a period when psychedelics were regularly associated with mainstream artists. To coin a phrase; the way out stuff is way fucking out there.

The instrumental title track transitions through a slew of unsettling sections, with the late Eddie Hazel’s 10+ minute guitar soliloquy a spiralling model of traditional blues filtered through a hallucinogenic lens, effectively transporting listeners into a realm more commonly synonymous with the names Hendrix, Page, and Clapton.

Far from peaking too soon, the album continues to effuse through various hypnotic phases: “Super Stupid” shares an overview of low budget junkie-ism, flanked by strains reminiscent of embryonic Black Sabbath.

Funkadelic

Hit It And Quit It is a funk canticle exuding potency from the keys of pianist Bernie Worrell, who decadently dispenses with convention until the chorus kicks in.

Can You Get to That is a slightly more conventional pop tune that showed Funkadelic had a serious side, in spite of their penchant for the surreal, particularly when it came to social commentary (the track also featured Isaac Hayes’ female backing vocalists, giving it a further veneer of classic soul.)

Another stand-out, Wars of Armageddon (Sampled a decade ago by Optimo on the Psyche Out mix) is a knock-out-drag-down, knuckle dusting death match between the world’s best rhythm section and paranoid crowd scenes.

Maggot Brain remains a volatile recording to this day, bursting at the seams with larger than life virility; apt for a band going by the moniker Funkadelic.

Regrettably this is a release that has been overlooked by large sections of contemporary funk fans, rarely mentioned within a hundred breaths of other artists of the era such as James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield.

Despite that admission, Maggot Brain is indisputably an album worthy of a place in the collection of any advocate of the genre.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.