Liam Mícheál Ó Conaire

Sundara Karma - Freshbloom

Returning to the homestead after graduating was always a terrifying prospect. Thankfully however, the post-Uni blues have been kept at bay by a thriving local music scene that Reading and the wider Berkshire area deserves to be proud of.

Standing out amongst the crowd are Reading foursome Sundara Karma, whose psychedelic, sun-drenched melodies provide a much-needed tonic for the impending winter blues. In particular, debut track ‘Freshbloom’ best demonstrates their youthful sound, complemented by the sort of hazy 90’s riffs that have had such a popular resurgence lately.  

Having received recent national radio airplay, performed at Reading & Leeds and supported B-Town rockers Swim Deep on several of their tour dates; the future for Sundara Karma most definitely looks bright and shiny.

Check out the 90’s tinged DIY video for ‘Freshbloom’ above….

Emosh Home Movie Montage #4

I couldn’t help myself! Here’s another little video I put together celebrating what a cracking summer has just gone. It’s the final summer before the post-education Wilderness Years & it will undoubtedly be one to remember for a long time! So before I turn old & bitter, here’s to remembering the sunny good times!

Goodbye Student Radio

As my time at the University of Surrey came to an end last month, I was very aware the most important aspect of student life I would miss most wasn’t the 2nd floor of the library or indeed the student discount at Topman, it’s the creative and inspiring environment of student radio. Being involved with GU2 Radio has definitely been the most rewarding aspect of Uni life and so I put together this little video to celebrate the group who shaped my final year at Surrey. 

**BRAND NEW TUNE**

Major Lazer - You’re No Good (feat. Santigold, Vybz Kartel, Danielle Haim & Yasmin)


Major Lazer has brought together the golden equation of Santigold, Vybz Kartel, Yasmin and Danielle Haim for this newly leaked track from the upcoming album ‘Free The Universe’ (released on the 16th of April).

And the result? An absolute smash of a tune. Try and only play it once…I dare you.

This has been my little baby of a project for the past week and it’s all in the name of Comic Relief!

http://my.rednoseday.com/sponsor/GU2Radio

**Hot Off The Press**

Shystie - Control It feat. Azealia Banks

Bastille - Falling

Bastille feel like the band of the moment right now after recently gracing Radio 1’s Live Lounge and being championed by the video giant, Vevo as one of their artists of 2013. With a headline tour on the way in March to accompany the release of their debut album, Bad Blood, things couldn’t look sunnier for the quartet. The critical acclaim these guys have been receiving does not go unfounded though, as singles Overjoyed, Flaws & Pompeii have proved, winning people’s hearts slowly but surely over the past year.

It was around this time last year that Bastille first made waves with the release of their mixtape, Other People’s Heartache Pt. 1, and what an introduction it was. Unexpected cover versions of classic tracks from City High, Rose Royce & Corona provided a pretty diverse display of the group’s musical interests and even included teasing hints of their own future releases. Falling is arguably the shining star of Other People’s Heartache Pt. 1. with its haunting mash-up of Bastille’s original tracks ‘Overjoyed’ & ‘Laura Palmer’ and references to The Breakfast Club & Twin Peaks.

Like any new mate, it’s also always nice to find out they’re into the same things as you & Bastille made a cracking first impression with the inspired cover versions, anthology of pop culture references and hints of their own imminent brilliance throughout Other People’s Heartache Pt. 1.

Anthony Hamilton & Elayna Boynton - Freedom

Undoubtedly the standout track from Tarantino’s latest bloody cinema smash, Django Unchained. The big man QT has a knack for perfectly complementing his films with a memorable soundtrack and the Django Unchained OST is unlikely to buck that trend with stellar tunes like this keeping the magic of the movies alive long after the credits roll.

Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch - Sweet Nothing

After teaming up for a chart-topping remix of Flo’s ‘Spectrum’, Calvin and Florence couldn’t resist collaborating again in time for the release of Calvin’s third studio album, 18 Months, and aren’t we glad they did?

'Sweet Nothing' is sure to set dance floors alight once again with Florence’s impressive vocals soaring over Calvin’s impeccable beats. The best thing about this pairing is how genuine it sounds as both artists straddle genres without selling themselves out.

And the video? A beautiful piece of film. Just released today the accompanying video for ‘Sweet Nothing' has the perfect amount of storyline, sleazy men and androgyny from Flo to put it in the running for best video of the year. Reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys' 'When The Sun Goes Down’, the video for ‘Sweet Nothing' complements the song perfectly and rightly so, as a song as infectious as this deserves a video to match. 

Guinness Appreciation Society

Whilst I’m usually keen to review music or discuss radio-related things I feel it is about time I expressed an appreciation for a pint of the black stuff, Guinness. I’m not talking the drink specifically, although when the time arises a pint of Guinness is an appropriate thirst-quencher (usually around March 17th and not during an evening of ‘pub golf’), but I believe the real genius of Guinness lies in it’s advertising.

 

More often that not, advertising is a nuisance, a plague on precious TV-viewing time and, at worst, can induce deep feelings of rage, ‘Go Compare’ anyone? But since it’s earliest days, the marketing team behind Guinness have managed to strike the perfect balance between intelligent humour, memorable visuals and slogans that won’t have you cringing in pain.

One of the earliest images to be linked to Guinness was the cartoon of a toucan balancing a pint of Guinness on its beak. I understand that the toucan is hardly the most logical animal to represent a drink that hails from the soggy shores of Ireland, a country not famed for it’s exotic birdlife. However, would we really have preferred a traditional Irish advertisement depicting a loveable little man in a green suit riding a pot of gold and dousing himself in Guinness? This is the major success of Guinness advertising as it doesn’t settle for cheap ideas or rely on stereotypes to push its profile. Instead, campaigns like the toucan create an entire idea from scratch and have been so successful it now feels strange not to associate toucans with Guinness.

 

Since the 30’s the toucan played a pivotal role in the advertising campaign for Guinness and things only got better with the introduction of motion picture advertisements, allowing the guys behind Guinness to push their imagination further than ever before. What comes to mind when you think of televised Guinness adverts? Let’s all be honest it’s the horses isn’t it? An advert that can rightfully be called iconic and often the voted the best advert ever made. The advert in question is ‘Surfer’, launched in 1999; it depicts a group of surfers waiting for the perfect wave and when it arrives the wave crest transforms into a horde of stampeding horses. If you haven’t seen it before, a) what cave are you from?, and b) have a look at it here.

So how does surfing relate to Guinness? Well it’s all about the wait. Relating the wait for an appropriate surfing wave to the time it takes for a pint of Guinness to settle is perfect in its subtle blatancy. The use of such a wanky oxymoron sums up the success of Guinness advertising as it creates an impressive piece of cinematic iconography and effectively follows it with “that’s a bit like Guinness isn’t it?”. Guinness advertising is not about promoting the taste or the price or exploiting its Irish origins, it is about creating powerful imagery and promoting Guinness by association. As drinks go, a stout like Guinness may not seem cool to anyone under the age of 65 but the allure of Guinness is all thanks to the intrigue and excitement of the advertising that doesn’t bend over backwards to tell you how super-dooper the drink is.

 

‘Surfer’ is not the only unforgettable advert created by Guinness either. In recent years Guinness has created some of the most well known adverts ever made and not one of them relies on how the ‘black stuff’ tastes. The Guinness adverts of the 80’s centred on the slogan ‘Not Everything In Black And White Makes Sense’, which gave way to some of the kookier ideas (such as this), whereas the 90’s focus on the idea of ‘Good Things Come To Those Who Wait’ created iconic adverts like ‘Surfer’ and ‘Anticipation’.

Guinness even excels at creating seasonal advertising, with a Christmas advert that airs annually on Irish television, posing a serious threat to Santa and his Coca Cola van for the ‘Most Sentimental Christmas Advert’ award. The last few years have seen Guinness take on a more international approach by promoting the worldwide appeal of Guinness with masterpieces such as ‘Tipping Point’, and the most recent campaign since 2009 has dedicated a world-recognised day to the man who founded Guinness, known as Arthur’s Day.

 

With such memorable pieces of film constantly being made, Guinness’ largest battle has surely been to always outdo itself. Yet, it doesn’t look like they will be disappointing TV viewers anytime soon as it continues to produce adverts that tell a story and don’t spoon-feed the audience with the benefits of Guinness. I remember giving a presentation about Guinness for a GCSE English assessment when I was 14. Not the most conventional of topics for a 14-year-old I’ll admit but that proves the strength of the marketing behind Guinness nonetheless as the memorable images and clever storylines feel relevant to people of all ages. Guinness advertising has never been about alcohol or pub culture, it’s always been about celebrating and marking those celebrations with others. 2012 continues that idea with the tagline of ‘Paint The Town Black’, bringing a Mediterranean village together, covered in paint, to celebrate Arthur’s Day. With the imagination of Guinness still going strong, I look forward to seeing what 2013 brings.