Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝙄𝙣𝙫𝙞𝙨𝙞𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝙂𝙞𝙧𝙡 - 𝙑𝙞𝙭 20
Charles goes wireless…
I am speaking to you through a website. I am not with you in person. Or AM I…? No. I am not - your paranoia can rest easy for now. My words are not printed in a newspaper or magazine. You cannot see me, you cannot hear me. If you’ve got this far, your literacy skills are probably beyond the average these days. If it were not for a humble internet connection, I could not be with you now. So I AM with you…? No, not in person. I saw you looking over your shoulder… The internet has brought us rather a lot of good things. It has also brought us a rather large chunk of bad things. But we won’t be going into those, because, well, why sully the tone? We always look back on “the good old days” with such fondness and many of us resent the newer eras that stomp their loud shoes with increasing frequency, but for the most part modernity has done a lot of good. It has mainly brought choice to the fore. We used to watch television. Many still do, but maybe as a sideline to the many YouTube videos and Netflix shows that see us through life. We can now choose what we want to watch, and when we want to watch it. In terms of YouTube, we can go into detail like never before. It almost feels tailored towards each of us, because various clever “algorithms” make it so. Before the internet we had newspapers and magazines. We had television. But what was before television? Well, something that truly brought the world together. In a way, the earliest version of the internet. Something that gave us news, “talk shows”, interviews, plays, music and more. Most of this was live, and if one’s reception was good enough, one could “tune in” to many different areas of the world. You’ve probably guessed by now: radio. SO simple compared to what we have these days, but in a way, very similar.
In the old days there was not as much stuff around, so had we been given a choice of what we “consume”, it would have been doable. These days however, choice can be a hindrance. There is just too much to choose from… Over the decades, we have seen the rise and fall of so many of “the latest thing”. We all remember the Compact Disc, but it was really only properly around for most of us for less than 20 years. It doesn’t come close to the impact of vinyl records. Essentially the CD had about as much impact as the cassette tape - maybe even less. And cassette gave us the choice to make our own “mixtapes” - now THERE”S fondness. A playlist really doesn’t have the same appeal. Playlists can be cold and lacking in the human element. The CD died because of the internet. And that too is evidently the fate of television. But there is one thing that seems to ride on high, year after year. Television didn’t trump and trounce radio. They learnt to live in harmony. Which is nice. Radio simply remains as popular as ever, because most people do not WANT choice. At a time where we have 100 million songs to choose from, I think I’d rather just sit in silence than attempt to work through it all. Enjoyment is not supposed to feel like a chore. I think this is the same reason that TV is still around - if not as popular as in the past. And so, radio brings the warmth of a voice we know and love, with music we love but maybe never knew. It is the personal aspect of it. Like a friend. THEY do the slog work, “so you don’t have to”. It seems the future truly is wireless, as it were.
Mm-hm…? So why are you talking about this…? Well, I thought you’d never ask! Mainstream radio can frankly be just as exhilarating as stirring a tepid cup of tea, staring at the fat blobs on the surface, and wondering where they come from. So we need to delve a little deeper. Ugh. So more choice. Never fear! EYE am here. I will slash the choice before your very eyes. An English chap called Gary Mills has been presenting a radio show for quite some time now. Syndicated to oh-so many stations across Britain, the show includes a monthly summary of our weekly NAS Top 20 Chart. It is called The Vix Essentials. Gary is not only a member of the New Artists Spotlight, but also a proud promoter of unsigned music. In his own words: “the best music you’ve never heard”. But it goes far beyond music. Presenting a show is not as easy as it sounds. As with most things in life, if something looks easy, it is one of two things. Either it is genuinely easy, or it is done bloody well. Have you ever tried creating and presenting an hour-long show, month after month after month…? I thought not. And do most people do this? They do not. Therefore it is not easy. So Gary evidently falls in to the “done bloody well” category. The trick is making it sound natural and unplanned. To achieve warmth and fondness with charm and wit. It has got to feel like they are talking to YOU. It has to feel personal. This is why my own mother feels like certain presenters on BBC Radio 2 are her friends. Her chums. But my favourite thing about Gary Mills is his humour. His infectious laugh that occasionally almost turns into dribbling hysterics. He is having just as much fun as we are! Or at least it FEELS that way.
Now why the name? The Vix Essentials… Hmm… Well, he too is an artist in his own right. He is the main man in the band Vix 20. At the New Artist Spotlight, we are all too familiar with The Vix Essentials, but I think Gary, CJ and Co. just don’t get the attention they deserve as artists. All hail Vix 20 with the almighty sound of their latest single, Invisible Girl! Bring on the upbeat nature of Mr. Mills and Co. as we go back to the 90s, via the Noughties, and end up right back where we started. The instant influences I picked up were The Boo Radleys, Blur, Ash and a personal underrated favourite of mine: The Hoosiers (Not to get mixed up with Hozier). I also hear a bit of Robbie Williams in there somewhere. The song is ridden with Mills’ charm and top-notch professionalism. As well as what can maybe now be called “a retro sound”, we can also go back even further, to ELO and Supertramp at times…! But there is something so ever-present and NOW about Vix 20’s sound. It could be the fabulous mixing, but I suspect it’s the eager and even sprightly vivaciousness in Gary’s character. What I might call Garacter. I suspect Gary was put on this planet to make us feel good. And he does.
The band is in perfect sync as we bounce from chord to chord. Guitars tightly slam from one to the next. The OWgan makes a big feature in taking a running jump face-first into the wall, just to say “hi” to the guitars. How’s that for eager?? One thing that keeps Invisible Girl in motion is its sneakily unusual chord changes - I’m a big fan of the unusual, as long as it doesn’t jar on the ears. Being the professionals, Vix 20 doesn’t jar. The song flows. It progresses. It builds. It packs so many punches. I saw you looking over your shoulder again… This is fine British pop. It genuinely POPS! Make sure to get an earful of it, and DO tune in to Gary’s fabulous monthly show (link below).
Video killed the radio star…? I think not.
Listen to 𝙄𝙣𝙫𝙞𝙨𝙞𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝙂𝙞𝙧𝙡 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
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