THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN: Honey’s Dead.

20 08 2016

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“I can’t get enough of you
God gave me strength and I gave it to you
I’ve got sticks in my spine but what can I do
I can never never never get enough of you.”

 

I’m probably a rubbish fan of The Jesus And Mary Chain because for as long as I can remember, Darklands and Psychocandy have been the two records I have constantly played and always related to. The amount of sentimental value I hold towards those two records is beyond an explanation. There’s one person who understands it, and will only ever understand it. I don’t know what I would do without those two records, and them. However, there is obviously more to TJAMC than just these two records- I own them, I just never gave them as much attention as I should. I’m going to start with Honey’s Dead.

Honey’s Dead opens with Reverence, a song that held a wealth of controversy in it due to its lyrics. If you’re searching to be offended, you’ll be offended. Sure the lyrics are dark but you’re not going to get sunshine and rainbows with TJAMC are you? I wouldn’t want to ever hear that, from anyone. Their songs like Nick Cave, touched on themes of lust and love in a way I want to hear and can relate to regardless of how brooding and heavy it may sound. The title of the record references the end of the sound they were known for previously, but I’ve learnt from each record is that they all sound completely different. I always toy with what my favourite record by them is, and right now I’m in favour of Darklands. Tomorrow it could easily be Honey’s Dead. I love the artwork to Honey’s Dead and how beautifully morose the front cover is. Even if I wasn’t aware of TJAMC the cover alone would lure me in.

I love the way Jim conveys such desperation and pleading in his voice in a lot of the songs. It’s done in a way that not many can do without sounding so clingy and overbearing. He does it in a way that releases this sense of pain that smacks you right in the gut. At times it overwhelms you because of how strong and intense it is, but nothing else can come close to it. I picked this up especially on Reverence and Teenage Lust.

There are a couple of songs on Honey’s Dead that have the same sentimental value to me as the likes of You Trip Me Up and April Skies have. Good For My Soul and I Can’t Get Enough are the kind of love songs I can relate to, and fully appreciate. The lyrics to both are extremely open and show this vulnerable side to the band that I have always adored, and I think that’s what drew my to them in the first place. Honey’s Dead is not that much of heavy record, but the weight is in the vocals and to an extent maybe that could be said for their previous records. It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Or so they say.  Besides, I just find this from Good For Soul to be one of the most beautiful lines I’ve ever heard: “She can take the world on another journey into her soul.” When you adore someone greatly, you’ll see yourself in this song.

Sundown is one of those songs you play when everything seems a bit wrong and tormented. The sorrow in William’s voice is heavy and easy to empathise with, and it will make you want to leave where you are in the search of something better for your soul. Sooner or later, we are pushed to do so. Maybe it isn’t so much about having guts but enough patience to see it through. It’s the longest song on Honey’s Dead and I find it to be the one I like to hit repeat on before I carry on with the remainder of the record.

There’s a handful of bands I love that I thought I always had a solid favourite song and record by, and I always thought that The Jesus And Mary Chain were one of them. But after delving into Honey’s Dead more, I’ve realised it isn’t the case/ Maybe I’ll never be able to choose, maybe I don’t even need to. I’m content with them being one of the most important bands to me and a band that have been a massive lifeline for me.





TALL JUAN: The Shacklewell Arms. 27th July 2016.

30 07 2016

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When a singer you adore plays a venue you absolutely love for free, it doesn’t matter that you have to be up at stupid o’clock the next day to go to work. Nothing matters when you’re completely immersed in music and your surroundings.

A few months ago I saw Juan play The Lock Tavern and Shacklewell Arms the night after, both shows were insane and with a full band. This time, it was just Juan and his guitar. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew it would be something that would stay on my mind for some time. If you’ve ever seen one of Tall Juan’s shows, you’ll see just how much he puts into it and how everything that watches him just ends up being besotted with him. He’s got this beautiful and endearing personality that just draws you in, and makes you love his music even more. His music is Rockabilly clashing with the Ramones.

His set is fast, brutally fast. His songs are played with such urgency and a passion that is highly addictive. He takes you back to when Punk first emerged, and you can’t help but think Joey Ramones soul is buried inside of Juan. Somehow. He makes his acoustic guitar sound like a ferocious weapon but at the same time makes you want to dance, or just through your body round in an unconventional manner.

He played a couple of covers in his set, and ended with his brilliant cover of I Wanna Be Your Dog. He nails the opening to the song in a way that The Stooges didn’t, and makes you question if you still like the original or not (you do, of course you do but this is something else.) He blasts his way through Commando by the Ramones but from a personal view there’s one cover he does that just made my night. Last year when I first wrote about Juan, I mentioned my love for his take on Chinese Rock by the Ramones and any chance I get to talk about Juan or to Juan, I always mention it. So on Wednesday evening, just before he ripped into his perfect version of Chinese Rock, he dedicated it to me. Sure I felt like I won the lottery but I was also super proud of my friend on stage making all these people feel good and getting them to move about. His love for the Ramones is obvious, it’s obvious in everyone who loves that band. And just like Juan, I first heard them when I was 7/8 years ago- it stays with you and their music influences you in so many ways. To see someone like Juan emulate in a way, all that Joey Ramone was is such a lovely thing to see- he makes you believe in music again. There’s no one else that’s quite like Juan, and this passion he has for making music and playing shows is nothing short of admirable.

I always feel much better after I’ve been to one of his shows, it’s like a kickstart to the gut. I’d highly recommend seeing him wherever and whenever you can. His music is for those who like to put on some headphones and zone out from the world for a while. I like to listen to him on my way to work because I can’t deal with how rude some people are in London at the moment, it’s the ideal way to block it all out. I’m just not cut out for a busy place and Juan’s music is that perfect escape. His shows are exactly the same.

I’ve said it many times before about Juan- he’s the Punk hero we need. Punk isn’t dead, far from it. It’s in people like Juan. It’s still there, and always will be.

Once you’ve listened to his music, shall we all just pack up our stuff and run off to Far Rockaway?





WOMEN OF THE NIGHT.

21 07 2016

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Sometimes you just know a band is going to be great just by simply going on the name of their band. How could anyone not love the name Women Of The Night? Sure it’ll bring up some questionable and not so questionable results when searching for the name, but hey- put the safety search thing on if you’re a prude!

Women Of The Night are a decadent and beautifully sleazy band from New York. Think of Nick Cave meets New York Dolls. If your record collection looks even a little like mine, then you’ll probably love these guys. They’re for those days when it is too hot to do a thing, and you just want to laze about in your room with the window open-listening to the world go by at a pace you don’t ever want to be part of. Their songs are gentle in all the right places and they are powerful enough to make you want to dance in a manner that would probably get you arrested- which obviously is a good thing (to an extent, I know.)

Their first EVER release is Most Magazines and it sounds like everything I love and grew up with. From Lou Reed to The Modern Lovers- the influences are obvious to those who love this kind of music, but for those who flirt between genres (and that’s always the best way to be) it’s easy to pick up on different sounds such as early Bowie, maybe some hints of early Rolling Stones. There’s this gorgeous filth in Jords voice. It’s a typical 70s New York sound, and I think that’s why with first listen I just fell hopelessly and carelessly in love with their music. Sometimes I hear something, and it becomes pretty clear that I’m going to cherish it, and the band manage to capture everything I love about music. They capture everything I look for in music. Women Of The Night are one of those bands that just drag out this feeling, and it is always appreciated.

Most Magazines may only be 6 tracks (smack that repeat button when you’re done) but in those 6 tracks you get a real feel for their sound, and I think it is pretty apparent that they’re not a band that are going to keep making the same song over and over. You just know when you find something like that, and songs like Small Numbers which is wonderfully eerie just make you realise that this band are on to something. It’s like The Doors meets Rowland S. Howard. The songs are romantic and dark. And as someone who can only relate this side of romance, I can’t but feel that Women Of The Night are nothing short of perfect. They’re that band you find when you’re looking for something new, but you don’t know what you want. It’s like, trying to find something to eat and finding a great new pizza to try. Pizza and music. There’s always a solid comparison there. Always.

Sometimes when you hear a band, you can almost imagine in your head what their live shows would be like. Maybe that’s just me, mind. I always like to imagine their live shows in my head as I listen to them. I’ve got my own image in my mind of what Women Of The Night shows are like, and until I see it for myself one day, I’m keeping it etched there.

You can stream/purchase Most Magazines right here: https://womenofthenight.bandcamp.com/

Play it loud and seduce your neighbours.

 





ICE COLD SLUSH.

10 07 2016

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There are times where living in London just pisses me off, and there are other times where I don’t think I could live anywhere else. Of course I’ll leave- I’m Northern, and I feel a bit dirty for calling London home. But for all its faults, it’s a bloody brilliant place. For the music alone, I love it. Every so often a band emerges from this city and blows people away. The same people latch onto them, which causes other bands to not get a look in. Sometimes you just have to ignore everyone else, and find something of your own. Don’t take advice, that’s my advice…wait….

ICE COLD SLUSH have a name which brings back a really horrible memory of me begging my mum to buy me a blue slush puppy, and I drank it so fast I threw up. Blue sick. All over me. It took a long time for me to have one ever again. Painful memory aside, Ice Cold Slush thankfully don’t leave me throwing up over myself. They have this sound that’s every part distorted with hints of obscure Garage rock bands you didn’t even know existed. They’ve got a real basement band feel about them. They’re a band that you evidently need to see live. As I’m pretty much in no state to sit/stand/lay for long periods of time at the moment (an everlasting back problem that is making me grouchy and the painkillers I have aren’t doing a thing is just an added bonus) I’d urge YOU to go see them. I have every feeling that their live shows will be rowdy and just a thrilling thing to be part of. Most of their clips on their soundcloud page are live recordings, and that alone just sets the tone for how they are, for how excellent they are. Their sound is nothing short of perfect and it reminds me of so many bands I’ve loved before from Bikini Kill to Vivian Girls. A real lo-fi sound that’ll make you want to either join their band, or start your own.

Ice Cold Slush are three buddies from London who make a lot of noise. The kind of noise a teen would play to irk a parent or for an adult to escape the world from. Actually, irrespective of age, we all want to escape sometimes. Their name automatically makes you think of the summer, the pleasant side of it. But after listening to them, their sound resembles that murky, sticky feeling of being somewhere too hot. Covered in sweat that belongs to you and whoever else. Basically, they sound like a great time. They instantly make you feel as if you’re in a tiny venue covered in drinks and sweat. If you leave a gig, and this doesn’t happen or you’re not injured in some way- then you’ve not had a good time. Allow yourself to get smacked a few times and lob a drink over yourself if you must.

The band will be releasing their debut EP on 5th August, and will be playing a few dates in support of the release:

14.07.16 – Birds Nest, London
30.07.16 – Oakford Social Club, Reading
28.08.16 – Shacklewell Arms, London
29.08.16 – Vinyl Deptford, London

But if you don’t live in London or Reading, you’ll just have to make do with a couple of live recordings:





CROCODILES: Telepathic Lover.

5 07 2016
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photo by Jimmy Fontaine

“Telepathic lover, am I under your control?”

 

This is going to be painfully biased. When it comes to Crocodiles, I can only form a biased opinion because it is blatantly obvious how much I love and adore them, as people and the music they make. I can tell you now that Dreamless is my favourite record of the year, I’ve been playing it solidly for the past few months. It makes my disdain for people being oblivious to personal space on public transport easier to get my head around. It makes living in an overwhelming city easier to deal with, at times. When I heard Dreamless, Telepathic Lover was the song I instantly connected with based on the lyrics. The more I listen to it, the more I can relate to it.

Many have said that Telepathic Lover is different to what Crocs have done previously, and to an extent that is true. But this song is as gentle as All My Hate, Screaming Chrome, She Splits Me Up and Blue. Brandon’s voice is nothing short of gorgeous on this song, and goes so well with Charlie’s tame guitar playing. For the most part what drew me to them was how loud and brutal they were. Neon Jesus grabbed me in a way that no other song did at that time. My first heartbreak was soothed by their debut record, and from then on I learnt how to not take everything to heart- there are worse problems, and breakups make you who you are-tougher. That said, I’ll cry at anything to do with cute animals. I can’t stop myself.

Telepathic Lover opens with my favourite lyric of the year, “Telepathic lover, please don’t look into my mind. Telepathic lover, you won’t like what you find.” I can reel off lyrics from Ash & Ice by The Kills and claim they were written for me, but this line is easily the one I can fully identify with. There’s so much truth in it. Having someone who knows every thought in your head before you try blurt it out is massively terrifying, but also comforting because if they stick around- then you know it’s worth more than anything else in the world. These are the ones you cling to and love for life. I’m into lyrics/ words in general in a huge way. As someone who is 80% useless most of the time with their own, I take a lot from others- mainly bands/singers. I’ve heard a lot of myself in the music that Brandon and Charlie make, and Telepathic Lover is by no means an exception. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to Dreamless, and I find myself constantly going back to Telepathic Lover. We’ve all met/had someone who is a telepathic lover- keep them. Makes life less daunting.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played Telepathic Lover, but each time I, as cliched as it sounds, find something else to adore. From Martin Thulin’s (he also produced this record, along with Boys) captivating playing on the keys, another lyric to love, the way Brandon sings certain parts of the song, Charlie’s effortlessly cool guitar playing- there’s always something there in the song for me to keep going back to. Something new to love about the song. The whole record is made up of beautiful songs like Telepathic Lover, and I think that’s why Dreamless is going to be one of the finest records we will hear all year. It is made up of gentle and tough songs. If you’ve never listening to Crocs before, you’ve got until October to go back and listen to their previous five in time for record number six. What else are you going to do? Or maybe work your way backwards. Start with Dreamless in October, then go back . It’s up to you. Dreamless picks up where Boys left off, and it’s a great place to be in. They seem to put a record out nearly every year, and for me that commends more respect than most.

There is something still ferocious in their music, but it’s kind of like a Nick Cave kind of thing here- dark lyrics, gentle voice and hypnotic sounds. Crocodiles thankfully don’t have a set sound. They don’t have anything typical about them, and I’m so glad Telepathic Lover has been chosen as the single because it shows them exactly for who they are- if you expect their music to always sound like this, you’ll be proven wrong but you will constantly be blown away by how bloody brilliant they are.

You don’t have to take my biased opinion on board, I’m just glad I can finally unleash how I feel about this song onto any poor soul who may read this.

You can stream the single here: http://www.stereogum.com/1885271/crocodiles-telepathic-lover-stereogum-premiere/mp3s/

Dreamless is out 21st October on Zoo Music.

 





NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS: The Boatman’s Call.

26 06 2016

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“Through every word that I speak
And every thing I know
There is hand that protects me
And I do love her so.”

 

Where I described everything about love, lust and all in between on Let Love In- I seemed to have reserved some of that for The Boatman’s Call. A record that pours out devotion and desire. Two things you need to keep anything alive. The Boatman’s Call is a record that I’d not given that much attention to. I love Nick Cave, that’s so obvious. And for the most part I do find myself swayed to anything pre- Murder Ballads. I’d found it hard to love anything as much as the records pre-1997, but obvious that’s a really lame stance to take and this is me rectifying it to myself. This doesn’t mean I don’t like or haven’t listened to anything after, far from it. I just have more of a connection with older records. Hey, if I can learn to like olives then I’m pretty sure I can do this.

Going back on my words, The Boatman’s Call is as great as Let Love In. The Boatman’s Call opens with the greatest love song of all time- Into My Arms. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like this song or has never quoted it at someone they love. Or even thought of the song when in the presence of the person they love. It’s just a stunning declaration of unconditional love, and when you feel that way about someone or something you cling onto it. Fight off anyone who ever tries to take it from you. It’s the kind of love song that’s part Ted Hughes, part Poe; “But I believe in love. And I know that you do too. And I believe in some kind of path. That we can walk down, me and you.” But it is every single part Nick Cave, from beginning to end.

By no means am I religious, and if I was I’d keep those views to myself- but I love the way in which Nick Cave links in religious imagery in his words. Example already above in Into My Arms- but the rest of this record, and others have heavy religious imagery flowing throughout them. It’s the way he does it that makes you curious and wonder if there is anything there. Maybe there is. There probably is, so believe in whatever the hell you want and just be kind to each other. That’s how it should be. I love this line from Brompton Oratory: “No God up in the sky, no devil beneath the sea.  Could do the job that you did, baby. Of bringing me to my knees.” I had another in mind, but this one just etched its way into my brain.

Where Into My Arms describes wanting to protect and to forever love the one you want, Are You The One That I’ve Been Waiting For? just sums up finding someone that you’re evidently meant to be with, and the realisation hits you. With nothing or no one getting in the way of it. Things take time, and Are You The One just describes all of the waiting so perfectly. Again, I wish I could write something like this. “I think of you in motion and just how close you are getting. And how every little thing anticipates you. All down my veins my heart-strings call, are you the one that I’ve been waiting for?”

The Boatman’s Call is the record that shifts Nick away from his more rowdy and loud sound, although it’s clear he has still flirted with that sound more often than not. The songs on The Boatman’s Call are gentle, loving and dark. Have I just described myself? Every single time I listen to him, I just find new words to love, a different verse to be taken aback by. Everything he does and has ever done just sums up what I’m feeling at a certain point. The vast majority of his songs hold such sentimental value, I don’t even know how to use my own words.

As I listen to Idiot Prayer, I can’t help but revert to being 9/10 years old and carrying this anger towards my dad for dying. Does the anger fade? A little. Do you get over it? No, you develop ways to hide your feelings. Anyway, irrespective of my inability to know what to do, I’ve found something in this verse: “If you’re in Heaven then you’ll forgive me, dear. Because that’s what they do up there. If you’re in Hell, then what can I say, you probably deserved in anyway. I guess I’m gonna find out any day. For we’ll meet again, and there’ll be Hell to pay.” He didn’t deserve it, for the record. It’s just a lyric. I think it’s taken me 21 years to find something to relate to regarding this.

Far From Me is such a painful song, that’s full of loss and torment. There’s parts of it that can reduce the toughest to tears. It’s hard to listen to, but I reckon most can identify and find comfort in: “You told me you’d stick by me. Through the thick and through the thin. Those were your very words, my fair-weather friend.” There’s other parts of the song that are equally as brutal as this, but I think that one just speaks for itself. It’s a brilliant “fuck you”, and lord knows that there are some worthy of it.

The record ends with Green Eyes, which the opening line is taken from the gorgeous Sonnet 18 by Louise Labé (read her work) : “Kiss me again, rekiss me and kiss me.” A stunning way to close the record, and is easily one of the best songs on The Boatman’s Call. Those green eyes….

Although The Boatman’s Call sees Nick taking himself away from previous sounds, that atmosphere in his lyrics are still there. They’ve always been there and I highly doubt that they will ever go away. If anything, as stripped back The Boatman’s Call is, it just shows how powerful a write he is- in every single way. He can take you to this world that makes you feel so safe, and so at ease with how you feel. It’s one of those records you play, and you realise again and again why you love him, and why words are so important. This record says all you want and wish to say- he just got there first.





NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS: Let Love In.

25 06 2016

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“Our love-lines grew hopelessly tangled
And the bells from the chapel went jingle-jangle.”

 

I’ve always had this idea that every word that drips from Nick Cave’s mouth or every word he has written down just sums up what love is, and how love should be. It’s not typical. Who wants typical anyway? His words can make anyone feel uneasy but his words can be this gorgeous wave of comfort, and makes you feel less alone for wanting the things he sings about. It’s obvious how much I bloody idolise him, and there are certain records by him and the Bad Seeds that mean more to me than most. I’d happily work my way through every record and write about them, but I feel I’d never stop and I’d just bore the poor soul who reads this. Instead, I’ll just go back and forth between them all occasionally. Today, I’ve chosen Let Love In. Their eighth record, and probably my favourite.

The cover to Let Love In is one I remember seeing in the music magazines my uncle used to buy every week. I remember seeing a bare-chested Nick Cave look upwards. I always wondered what he was looking up to. A woman? Some form of God? A Goddess? Something bigger than all of us? A vacuum of nothing? Anything. It could be anything. I change my mind with every listen.

The records opens with Do You Love Me? The lyrics to this just sum up everything love should be and how a person that you’re insanely in love with should make you feel. If you don’t feel it, walk away. If you feel it, keep it until you leave this planet and walk into another one when you take your last breath. This song just sums up the possession of love and lust, and how they fall into each other. With no explanation, it just happens. But you need both to keep the other going. Both must always be there. There are many lyrics by Nick Cave that I could easily cast as his greatest, and for the most part it is hard to settle on one. But, at the moment I am solidly declaring this to be my utter favourite: “She was given to me to put things right. And I stacked all my accomplishments beside her.  Still I seemed so obsolete and small. I found God and all His devils insider her.” This just goes beyond being about love, it’s truly something else.

Thirsty Dog is easily another great song on the record, and I love this part of the song: “I’m sorry it’s just rotten luck. I’m sorry I’ve forgotten how to fuck. It’s just that I think my heart and soul are kind of famished.” This could be in my list of Nick Cave songs I’d never tire of listening to. It’s one of those songs that has different parts that you notice with each listen, and you pick different lines from it to absolutely adore and cherish. It’s like looking at someone you love and discovering new parts of them to love. If you’re not going to love something hard, then what is the point?

Let Love In is one of those records that make everything in your brain click. It shifts any doubt or any nagging feeling that may have gripped you. It’s the pure essence of love in all ways. It’s entirely dark and extremely romantic in all the right ways. It’s one of those records that just stays with you. The more I play it, the more I try to figure out what it is that I love so much about it. I doubt I’ll ever give one, solid reason as to why I love it so much. I guess it’s because in some respects, it says all I wish I could. If I ever wrote anything like this, I’d burn all my notebooks and declare I’m done. It captures so much in under an hour. I’m currently listening to the record, and a storm has just started. The perfect record to listen to as the heavens open.

Everything about Let Love In captures the things many steered away from, and still steer away from. It isn’t a light-hearted record in the slightest, and if anyone else even tried to make something like this it just wouldn’t sound right. Only Nick Cave can capture these feelings and unleash them like a lovable tyrant. This beautiful dark side is how it should be. I don’t know if love can be functioning if it is any another way. But that’s just my take on it.

There’s also tales of loss on the record, and they are told in such a haunting and frail way. The thing I love the most about Nick is that, although he’s quite sadistic with some of his words- he’s never been afraid to be open with his words. Some of his songs are truly vulnerable and honest, you just instantly relate to them. Take Ain’t Gonna Rain Anymore- this touches on the loss of a lover, and the way Nick delves into this is truly hypnotising. “Now the storm has passed over me, I’m left to drift on a dead calm sea. And watch her forever through the cracks in the beams. Nailed across the doorways of the bedrooms of my dreams.” You can find good in the bad at times, and these words show that entirely. So beautifully written. It’s also in Nobody’s Baby Now: “And though I’ve tried to lay her ghost down. She’s moving through me, even now. I don’t know why and I don’t know how. But she’s nobody’s baby now.” I’ll just add that to the list of songs I wish I wrote.

Let Love In is one of those records that just stay with you. Even if you heard it for the first time in 1994, you still remember hearing it. It takes you back. I was only 8/9 years old when it came out, so I found this record when I was about 15/16. It stayed with me. It’s always will me, and that alone just makes it my favourite Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds record, for purely sentimental reasons. As always.








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