Remember when music used to mean something.
Those days in the second half of last century when singers actually used their songs to get a point across about something they felt strongly about.
They didn’t just want to make a quick mint and put their feet up in their penthouse surrounded by gold discs and a thoroughly odious crowd of grovelling sycophants. From their formation in 2008, Falkirk band The Media Whores have created music which falls firmly in the former camp – songs which are catchy and pleasing to the ear to be sure, but which also get straight to the point about issues the band care deeply about.
New album Dangerous Minds, their third LP and a follow-up to Pornophonica (2013), is their most political release to date and in its dozen tracks it takes guitar-powered potshots at everything from fracking to death, big business to body image, the police force to sweeping social welfare reforms.
The band, Craig Anderson (vocals/guitar), Jim MacKellar (guitar/vocals), Doogie Mackie (bass/vocals) and Andy Russell (drums/vocals), are a socially conscientious outfit and no mistake, having played charity gigs aplenty – including a rocking gig at Baristas Coffee House, in Grahams Road, Falkirk to raise awareness for Falkirk Foodbank.
Local causes are always close to their collective heart and they will be back playing at Baristas on Saturday with fellow unrepentant punk rockers Shatterhand to raise funds for the Fierce Valley Roller Girls roller derby team from 7pm.
Dangerous Minds will be released on September 16 on CD and digital downloads, but the band kindly dropped a preview copy off at The Falkirk Herald this week, along with the background low down on the songs contained within.
Computer Love Affair opens the album in fine style and details the frightening ease with which we can enter into “relationships” with people through the power of the Internet.
The lads take a dig at the hand that feeds them with Can’t Say Whore (On The Radio).
“That song has been fuelled by frustration,” the band admitted. “We’ve had some resistance from the DJ gatekeepers on mainstream radio, which subsequently forced the band underground – not a bad place to be.
“Mainstream radio play the same 20 manufactured insipid pop songs, beamed out from hypocrisy central, on sickening repeat. The DJ community are quite happy to popularise misogyny and sexual exploitation of women but won’t play a song by ‘The Media Whores’, which, ironically, has no sexual connotation whatsoever.”
Frack Off makes the band’s feelings on the greed-fuelled process of hydraulic fracturing quite clear.
Like Frack Off, Zombies of Mayfair continues the band’s fight against feeble politicians and faceless corporations who put profit above everything,
“This is about the disgusting self interest in the business community of central London and the insular nature of conservative Britain. Big business ‘wants to own the machine and it wants to own the vaccine’ – generating wealth from the sickness, exclusion and misery of the vast majority of this ‘great’ Britain.”
From the political to the intensely personal, March of the Angels deals with the deaths of band members’ friends and relatives.
The police, as an organisation, get a real beating in Raking It In, while the business community takes another knee to the family jewels with Chinese Whispers.
Featuring a riff Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi would love and a hard-hitting spoken word section, Do You Think I Am Lying? deals with the relatively recent Social Welfare reforms and the conceit that everyone who is on benefits is “at it”.
The human condition itself lurches into the spotlight in You Can’t Win, with “the great Scottish tradition of levelling the playing field by being negative and detrimental about life choices of others”.
Vinyl Head is an attempt to summarise the punk ethos – namechecking The Clash, The Jam and the Beatie Boys, while Black Widow deals with everything from Thatcher’s Britain to the NHS and Skinny fires a broadside at Kate Moss and her meal-missing supermodel mates.
“Skinny is a commentary on the perverse representation of size in popular culture and how the media reinforces and perpetuates false body imagery in people.”
Certainly the lines “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” and “she’s made to feel inferior in a photoshop world” get the point across and nail the target the band is aiming at.
The Media Whores will be holding an unofficial launch for Dangerous Minds at The Shindig Festival in Stirling’s Old Town Jail on Saturday, September 10.
Visit www.facebook.com/themediawhores for more information on the band and www.fvrg.co.uk for Saturday’s Bruised Band Night at Baristas with Shatterhand.
Listening to Dangerous Minds while ironing – don’t judge – my favourite track was the A minor key stomper Black Widow, which had enough pure power to stop me thinking about Scarlett Johansson as the lithe Avenger and start picturing a venomous Maggie Thatcher. There’s some bitchin’ guitar throughout, especially on Chinese Whispers and the spooky 60s reverb of Zombies of Mayfair. My favourite line comes in You Can’t Win – “If you’re having a beer before the sun comes up then you’re an alki/If you don’t take a drink with us you’re no fun at all”. My top chorus is contained within Vinyl Head, but I can’t really go into too much detail about it. I also loved the nod to The Beatles’ Twist and Shout on Raking It In. Great album.