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๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ - this week: Nightmares - Billy Lowry

Welcome all to ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ, 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 ๐™‰๐™š๐™ฌ ๐˜ผ๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ฉ๐™ก๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ playlists.

๐™‰๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ๐™ข๐™–๐™ง๐™š๐™จ - ๐˜ฝ๐™ž๐™ก๐™ก๐™ฎ ๐™‡๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™ง๐™ฎ

Charles gives you the genuine articleโ€ฆ

Youโ€™re probably assuming I am going to blether on about dreams, gradually segueing into nightmares. But I will do no such thing. Not even going to touch on the subject.

I had a dream once. I dreamt that I was normal. Just a completely bland, average, middle-of-the-road human being. It was an absolute nightmare. Sorry, I said I wouldnโ€™t, so I wonโ€™t. I am going to talk about something dear to my heart. Mad people. Lunatics. The crazy. The certifiable. Call them what you will. Dwellers of the funny farm. Just about any term that is sure to offend at least one person. There is a difference between meaning offence and someone taking offence. And there is an assumption that I care. Let me rephrase that. If I wanted to offend someone, they probably deserved it, and there would be no ambiguity. If I didn't mean to offend them, I don't care if they might have misconstrued my meaning in some weird warped way. Et voilร .

We're all mad - some of the time. We all dream. The most impossible things happen in dreams, yet we think nothing of it. This is comatose madness. Madness has a simple definition. To never awaken from the dream. The temporary dream becomes a permanent nightmare. Sorry, I said I wouldnโ€™t, so I wonโ€™t. This fondness of mine though, is a โ€œtypeโ€ that โ€normalโ€ people might perhaps see as โ€œoff their rockerโ€. I see them as, at most, โ€œweirdosโ€. And I absolutely love them - providing itโ€™s genuine. The type that visited the funny farm once, out of curiosity, but after no reply when having knocked on the door, they instead simply went a-wandering. I speak not of the unhinged, but of the eccentrics. Eccentricity for me, really is the spice of life. The spark to the fuel. The shooting star in an otherwise dark sky. The salt to the caramel. The pink socks to the office suit. The Einstein to the science. The art to the machine.

I mentioned it having to be genuine. The worst thing is a fake eccentric. A standard person (absolutely nothing wrong with that) pretending to be โ€œweirdโ€. It is awful. Just embarrassing. And besides, we canโ€™t ALL be eccentric, or there would be no contrast. Sometimes, for example, there is peace in the norm. Eccentricity can be exhausting. Many people want to be eccentric like people want to be artists, or want to be famous. There are downsides to being all these things. Eccentrics often donโ€™t fit in. Artists canโ€™t switch off. Fame? Well, that I would imagine to be a nightmare most of the time. Particularly these days. Everyone watching your every move - and having a strong opinion on it. Just dreadful. So. If itโ€™s not genuine for you to be eccentric, or it seems like effort, just donโ€™t. Youโ€™re probably better off without it. The last thing we need is another bore energetically saying โ€œIโ€™m crazy, me. Completely bonkers, thatโ€™s what I amโ€. Ugh. Sigh of sighs. Dull, dull, dull. I cringe at even the thought of it. Eccentricity is a willingness to be different, while at the same time having an honest openness to be oneself. This is the difference between a show-off and an eccentric. An eccentric would be exactly the same if there were no one around to witness their peculiarities. It is entirely natural and unintentional. BUT!! Eccentrics do often like to please. They like an audience. They like admiration and praise. They like fans. Well, theyโ€™re only human after all.

The word โ€˜eccentricโ€™ comes from the Greek, โ€˜ekkentrosโ€™, with โ€˜ekโ€™ meaning โ€˜out ofโ€™, and โ€˜kentronโ€™ meaning โ€˜centreโ€™. Hence we say โ€œout of the normโ€, or โ€œa sideways way of thinkingโ€. Does this therefore mean that all far-right and far-left politicians are eccentric? No. No, it therefore does not. Just look at them. In fact, just look at ALL politicians. Most of them are about as eccentric as a thick slice of wholemeal bread. While eccentrics thankfully remain free to walk this Earth without supervision or straitjacket, I wonder if this should be the case for politiciansโ€ฆ Eccentrics make life fun, while politicians sap the fun out of just about everything.

And where would we be without eccentricity in music, hm? Why, it would all be like the charts nowadays. Dry depressing derivative dross. Have you noticed that most of your favourite artists on the New Artist Spotlight are different? Ones that donโ€™t just stand out in terms of quality, but also in being ek the kentron? This is no surprise to me. Weโ€™re bored. We crave newness. We need something we didnโ€™t expect. Not all the time, though - this is important. Or it all just gets a little too much. The relentlessness can cause exhaustion and fatigue to kick in. But we need a firework to snap us out of the routine, every once in a while. Think of it like Christmas. Or if you donโ€™t celebrate Christmas, think of it as a birthday. Or if you donโ€™t like birthdays because it makes you feel old, think of it as a Sunday. Or if you work on Sundays, you REALLY need a break! My point is, that something special will only remain special if there is contrast. Or it is simply not special anymore. So, when I was listening to Fridayโ€™s new releases, I was bowled over by the sheer number of songs from artists in the NAS community. I even mixed 3 of them! I mean, we had some NAS superstar legends such as Eleanor Collides, Wilko Wilkes, Elion Melody and Amaury Laurent Bernier, but we also had what might become world-famous superstar legends of the future, such as Vida, Go Birch, Malhar Sompura and Forge Hounds. And there were many more. I liked a lot. I loved a few. But the one that wrenched my shoulder out of joint so as to pick a fight with me, was none of the above names. It was Phoenix-based Billy Lowry with his brand new single, Nightmares.

The man is insane. In a good way. And he knows it. But he isnโ€™t fake or arrogant. Quite the opposite. He is the genuine article, but my word, he is so humble, self-effacing and unassuming. And just so approachable! A thoroughly lovely chap, eager to please, and lost in his own world - sensible, as itโ€™s almost certainly better than being found in THIS one. He doesnโ€™t care about fitting in or being like everyone else. And this goes for his music too. A private soul with a heart of art.

Upon hearing the work of Lowry for the first time, one might think it to be rough around the edges, or even chaotic at times. Almost slapdash. But this is so far from the truth - which you will realise soon enough. He is a bit of a perfectionist, and knows EXACTLY how he wants it to sound in the end. It is all intentional. And in being so in control of his sound, he NEEDS to play everything himself - I understand this. Which he does, just brilliantly. He is not classically trained, he has no music degree (though did study music theory and piano), and his โ€œday-jobโ€ has nothing to do with music. Yet he has the passion, and he has the skills. Skills that come from simply playing all the time throughout his life. Experience teaches you everything. Unlike YouTube. Billyโ€™s not Googling โ€œhow to write a catchy pop song like all the other hits of these daysโ€. Because he wants to make a Billy Lowry song! And so he did. And here it is. Pure frenetic Billy Lowry. Like no one else but Billy Lowry. Oh, and a bit of Dave Grohl. Ahem. Billy is a massive Foo Fighters fan, as am I. But I am going to tell you a rather fascinating, curious story that Billy would probably never bring to light himself, for fear of seeming arrogant - thoroughly lovely chap, you see. This little story will bring him closer to the Foo Family than I ever wasโ€ฆ

Billy was an early adopter of Instant Messenger. You remember? Instant typed conversation with anyone, anywhere in the world? It was an incredible advance over email. Basically like WhatsApp or one of a million messaging services today. At some point between 1996 and 1998, when Billy was around 12-ish years old, he was chatting with someone who went under the name โ€˜foofighter@***.comโ€™. From their conversation, it seemed quite plausible that this could have been a member of the band, or even Grohl himself. They would chat about various tracks and music in general. Billy shared a few of his songs with this mystery person. But one song stood out to the faceless typer. It was the riff they really went for. Billy then said he was happy for them to use the riff. Five years later, All My Life was released. Possibly the ultimate quintessential riff-driven Foo Fighters song. One of the greatest rock riffs of all time, Iโ€™m sure few would deny. It was Billyโ€™s riff, from the age of 12 or so. And he still has the original tape to this day. So what does this tell us? Essentially nothing. Could be a complete coincidence. But then again, it could be that our very own Billy Lowry ostensibly wrote the main hook of All My Life, and therefore kinda wrote one of the greatest rock songs of all time! One thing is for sure, thoughโ€ฆ We will never know.

So did Billy do what they always do these days? Did he sue their bottoms off? No. Billy doesnโ€™t do what people do, remember? He simply wrote and released a new song, complete with essence of Foo, towards the end. For he wrote it years before they did! At least he has proof of THAT. He could therefore release the song, guilt-free. I think itโ€™s a pretty cool, sophisticated way of fighting. Just shrug it off and do your own thang. There are only a foo fighters like this left in the world.

The incredible artwork for the single was done by Cris Kirkwood, the bassist of the band Meat Puppets and close friend of Billy. For those of you who donโ€™t know them, they were the guest stars for Nirvanaโ€™s famous MTV Unplugged show. And as Iโ€™m sure most of you know, the drummer of Nirvana was Dave Grohl. It really is a small worldโ€ฆ

Oh, the music? Whatโ€™s it like? Well, youโ€™ll just have to press play and find out, wonโ€™t you. Brackets, itโ€™s utterly thrilling!

I must add that all this information I had to coax out of Billy. He ainโ€™t no show-off. Heโ€™s an eccentric. As genuine as this very article. I was so proud and honoured to have been chosen to mix, master, round off and polish his expertise, in order to get it to how he heard it in his head. And speaking of his headโ€ฆ Letโ€™s hope this chapโ€™s mental state remains just unhinged enough. Or he will turn into a sheep. BAAHHH. Sorry, I fell off my rocker again.

(and please leave off the โ€œyou canโ€™t say โ€˜madโ€™, โ€˜crazyโ€™, โ€˜normalโ€™, โ€˜theโ€™ or โ€˜ekโ€™ nowadaysโ€œ - itโ€™s incredibly tedious and tiresome)

Ekkentrosโ€ฆ? Itโ€™s all Greek to me.

Listen to ๐™‰๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ๐™ข๐™–๐™ง๐™š๐™จ on the ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ Spotify playlist HERE!

Listen to ๐™‰๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ๐™ข๐™–๐™ง๐™š๐™จ on the ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ Apple Music playlist HERE!

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Check out Cris Kirkwood's artwork HERE!

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