Montreal’s mysterious band, Seoul

Seoul looks to share their dream pop music, not the intimate details of their personal lives


The radio sucks – and, it’s your fault!

Mainstream radio has changed with the new millenium, but there may be hope for music yet

Once upon a time, the radio was the deity of all public services. Sweet sounding tunes were mobilized into portable stereos through the revolutionary discovery of wireless connection. It was the greatest thing that could have happened to the progressive movement of music at the time. From barbershops to hair salons, music aficionados were gathered across state boundaries with a communal love for celebrating big moments in music. For decades, those who did not have access to vinyl, CDs or cassettes, the gift of “free” music was as good as it got. To your parents, the term “radio” evokes a nostalgia-fueled trip down memory lane to the “good old days.” Evenings spent glued to a set, case in hand, waiting for the right moment to rip the next track on a fresh tape. Oh! The glory that came from executing a playlist with a perfectly timed flip side. Quite simply, it was groundbreaking.

Flash forward a couple decades, to the present day. Who even listens to the radio? We’re talking traditional, FM/AM fine-tuned stations separated by disturbingly loud hissing sounds of white noise. Unless you are one of those blessed students who happens to have a car, or takes the occasional (awkward) rideshare, you can probably relate. The mainstream radio is dead and has been since the 2000s, as we have ceded our ears to the dreaded Billboard’s hot 100. Not to throw any shade to mainstream enthusiasts but, quite frankly, no one needs to hear Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” 12 times a day, perhaps not even once a day, or ever. Yes, there are different channels which you can get your music from, but they all share the same infuriating traits. They are as follows:

1.      Play only extremely popular synthetic tracks that appeal to everyone and their mother.

2.      Play them again, and again, and again.

3.      Insert completely unrelated dialogue about rumours surrounding controversial artist.

4.      Repeat.

This pattern has time and time again been a hot conversation topic for many modern day musical philosophers: “why don’t they just play good music that we like?” And to that, the only answer provided is that, as long as there are people who will listen to the top 100, there will be people who play it. However, there is hope for wireless music! With the glorious invention of the Internet, iPods and MP3s, selection has become the birthright of every music buff. The increasing speed of uploads and downloads in recent years has opened up a virtual paradigm of musical bliss. Here, selectivity is highly praised, and exploration is encouraged. From Soundcloud and 8tracks, to Spotify and the many dark holes of YouTube, music that pleases your strange palate is readily available at the click of a button. Trust, in a couple of years, the radio will be so far removed from today’s state that it will be as obsolete as Katy Perry’s last single.


We think Fink is fantastic

The band aims to top their previous albums with Hard Believer

Fink is a three-piece band from Brighton, United Kingdom, that formed in London in the ‘90s. The trio is composed of frontman Fin Greenall  ̶  a Bristol born singer-songwriter  ̶ accompanied by Guy Whittaker on bass and Tim Thornton on drums. The band’s genre is an ingenious blend of contemporary folk with a surge of blues and dub. Back in the early 2000s, Ninja Tune Records picked up the trio as the label’s first band in the folk category. Soon after their debut album, Biscuits for Breakfast (2006), they hit the ground running. Unlike most contemporary bands, Fink’s beginnings resembled a kicked-back jam-sesh turned into something truly special.

“I was a trip hop kinda electronica guy for many years,” Greenall said. “The boys were in a myriad of pop, metal and indie – our paths crossed when I changed direction and needed some mates for the ride. Five studio albums, two live albums later, world tours, and a lot of bus time….happy days.”

After collaborating with the likes of John Legend, Amy Winehouse and Phillip Phillips, and over 300 live shows, it’s a wonder that Fink has stayed under the radar. Greenall told The Concordian about their collaborations in the past couple of years, and about how exciting it is for the songwriters to come together despite their backgrounds.

“John [Legend] is awesome. Our work on the ‘12 Years a Slave’ soundtrack was extremely epic. It’s a pleasure to work with pure talent of any genre. For example, I really also loved working with Phillip Phillips for his record too. Amy was sensational, but totally raw,” he explained.

They’ve built an incredible presence, which has been paying off in the past couple of years.They’ve entered British charts with recent albums Perfect Darkness (2011) and Hard Believer (2014).

When asked what their vision was for Fink before all the touring, Greenall replied: “pretty much what we’re doing now. Writing music we like, recording in fancy studios and living the dream, then touring the world and living the nightmare.” Touring has become part of the band’s repertoire but they are still “in it for the music,” Greenall added, and rejoice every time they release something new.

That’s exactly what you will find on their new album released this summer — it’s a breath of fresh air. Stylistically, Hard Believer is different from previous records as it features a more mature ensemble.

“The new record is bigger, more ambitious, maybe more international,” Greenall explained. The record was made “in response to the live shows and the tours,” and was meant to show the aptitudes of each of the members, and to demonstrate their new confidence. We can hear it, loud and clear.

Greenall started off as a DJ in the club scene in London, putting on a strictly electronic show. After ten years of “shopping for records, hangovers, and synthesizers,” Greenall finally had enough and wanted something new. “It took a few lost albums, and a lot of artistic soul searching to turn into the very thing I was antithesis [of] for so many years,” he explains. The current sound of the band resonates well with the indie crowd, but is interesting in comparison to the previous discography of the group.

Hard Believer is an interesting name, just like the music it holds. It represents the challenge to their faith that the band members faced in the past years. Greenall said that “it’s talking about not needing proof.” That you have to “just do it, just believe in yourself and get it done.” Despite the difficulty of tackling new ground, the aim of the record was “to make a better record than the last one.” Greenall clarified: “It’s the focus of every record, track, song and gig.”

The recording process for the new album began backstage in London, Brighton and Amsterdam, in “too many places to remember.” Once they had the demo down, they took to LA for 17 days of intense recording.

Fink will start their North American tour at the end of this month. The band loves that people want to see them live and are filled with joy when they see their music cross seas. “The live thing is just how you do it. If you don’t gig, you don’t grow artistically or professionally.”

Fink performed in Montreal two years ago to promote their last album, Perfect Darkness, to a small and intimate crowd at La Sala Rossa. This year, the venue has been upscaled a couple clicks. Fink explains that the band has no idea what they’re going to play when they go onstage for a show. “Every night is different for us and [the audience], so hopefully it will be Hard Believer heavy with a few of the oldies that we’ve just toured in the festival set,” Greenall said.

Greenall ends the interview by adding jubilantly, “that and a shit load of lights that we’re shipping over!”

If rare displays of seasoned talent interest you or you are looking for something new, head over to Café Campus on Sept. 29 for a little perspective.


Top 10 One-Hit Wonders from the ‘90s/2000s

Grab your Walkmans, crack open that old yearbook and prepare for a not so glamorous trip down memory lane. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the finest list of nostalgia-fueled one-hit wonders from the ‘90s and 2000s. Whether you were five or 15 when these tracks came out, we’re sure you will recognize these hits, whether you’d like to remember them or not.

10.  “I’m Too Sexy” – Right said Fred (1992)

We kick off the list with the all-time favourite British pop group of, well, no one ever. This track got so many bad ratings it placed 19th on Blender’s 50 Worst Songs Ever list. The over zealous narcissistic track must have been doing something right though; it held second place in the UK charts for six weeks.

9. “Baby Got Back” – Sir Mix-a-lot (1992)

Moving swiftly from the all time worst to one of the greatest hip hop songs of all time according to VH1, we give you everyone’s favourite “big butts” song. This track was the second best selling song after Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” in 1992. You other brothers can’t deny, that you’ve definitely sang this one well into present day. Classic.

8. “Whoomp! (There It Is)” – Tag Team (1993)

This next one stuck at number two on the US charts for seven weeks. Even after it disappeared off the charts, it became the go-to sporting event theme chant, featured in one too many football movies after its release. The Miami group Tag Team is definitely worth remembering.

7. “What Is Love” – Haddaway (1993)

Ranking second in the UK and in Germany and at number one for weeks on the international charts, this eurodance single is definitely a karaoke favorite. Featuring sampled vocals from Zero-G DataFile, safe to say most of us still have the tune stuck in our heads.

6. “Macarena” – Los Del Rio (1995)

This Spanish track was actually released in 1994, but did not receive recognition internationally until it broke onto the charts one year later. The song ranks number seven on Billboard’s All Time Top 100, and reasonably so: we all know the dance, no lying.

5. “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” – Eiffel 65 (1999)

From strange dances to strange Italian blue men, we bring you one of the most prominent songs of our generation’s youth. The song went as far to receive a Grammy for Best Dance Recording several years later in 2001.

4. “Thong Song” – Sisqo (1999)

Earning four Grammy nominations, the “Thong Song” remains one of the most controversial of its time. Encouraging thongs peeking over pants, Sisqo set the standard for thong pride. This song remained number 2 on Billboard’s Top 100 for that same year.

3. “Crazy” – Gnarls Barkley(2006)

This collaboration between Cee Lo Green and producer Danger Mouse rocked the charts internationally, almost topping the list at number two in 2006. After endless plays on the radio, the song disappeared just as quickly as the collaboration. Although both Cee Lo and Danger Mouse have stuck around,Gnarls Barkley is long gone.

2. “Here In Your Arms” – Hellogoodbye (2006)

Hellogoodbye was the epitome of cheesy pop in the mid 2000s. This synth based track was so popular it was later remixed by Daft Punk in a cover titled, “Digital Love”.

1.”This Is Why I’m Hot” – Mims (2007)

Topping the charts at number one on the US Billboard hot 100 is none other than rap one-hit wonder extraordinaire, Mims. This R&B track featured samples from artists like Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg (before he became Snoop Lion), and Mobb Deep. Soon after its release, it was remixed several different ways by other R&B artists.

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