AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS.

8 07 2018

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I’ve waited far too long to write about the best Punk band around, Amyl And The Sniffers. A band that deserve all the praise imaginable. A band that have been sent to rip open your guts and tear your eardrums. Sounds vicious, but when you listen to them- you’ll understand why.

Amyl And The Sniffers are such an incredible band, and in the time they’ve been putting music out into the world they have truly showed themselves to have the real essence of Punk about them. They have songs that rarely hit over the 2 minute mark. Big Attraction & Giddy Up came out this year, and the record doesn’t even hit 20 minutes. Their songs are as fast as the Ramones with the obnoxious smuttiness that the Sex Pistols had. I absolutely love this band, and they’re just so brilliantly cool. They make you want to sack everything off and start a band, and live outside of society for the rest of time. The release that came out in May is basically two of their EPs put together, and both are a punch in the kisser. The songs are amazing regardless of how you hear them.

The snarl in Amy’s voice is something that stays with you. She yells the lyrics, and my god you better listen.  Dec and Bryce keep up the aggression via guitar and drums. Then Gus comes along with his slick bass playing skills. You can’t pick your favourite, that’d just be stupid. You can pick your favourite moments in the songs though. I love the punchy sound in Balaclava Lover Boogie that Dec produces with his guitar, and they all just play this vital role in making it such a rowdy song.

Sadly, I’ve yet to see the band play live. I can’t help but feel that their live shows would be something that just sticks with you because on record they have this power to just make you feel like it is you and them. They have this way of making you feel like you’re in a dive bar with them covered in various fluids and whatnot. All in the name of Punk. All in the name of Music. I honestly can’t give you a band to put them against in terms of who they are for fans of. They’re for those who want something off kilter and something that they haven’t heard before. Something loud to take away how much of a drag daily life can be. There is something so soothing and relatable about the song Caltex Cowgirl (which does hit the 3 minute or so mark) and it just takes you somewhere nothing else has done.

One of my favourite songs by them is Stole My Pushbike. I love the fury in Amy’s voice. I love how she can make something like having her bike being stolen sound like one of the worst crimes a person could commit. In one minute she absolutely rips apart the culprit that took her bike. Bryce, Dec and Gus with their sounds make it seem like they are part of the gang that are going to fuck you up once Amy finds you. But to be honest, Amy will handle herself. Her buddies will be there just to make sure you can’t steal anything ever again. It’s a great song to let any frustration out to.

If you’ve ended up going through something recently that has left you battered and damaged- this is the band for you. I couldn’t stop listening to them before, but now it’s become a ritualistic listen that tames parts of my mind certain things can’t touch. I guess that’s just how powerful music is you know?  Amyl And The Sniffers are band to really invest in and to become obsessed with, and to play as loud as possible.

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GYMSHORTS.

14 06 2018

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Any band that sing about needing a burrito are probably going to be great, right? Gymshorts live up to the sheer joy and greatness that is found in a burrito (don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like Mexican food, seriously.) Gymshorts are all you could possibly want from a Punk band, or a band in general. I’m on my dinner break, so I am going to use my time wisely to write about these 4 exceptionally talented folk.

They’ve recently come off tour with another great band-La Luz. Imagine seeing them together. That’d just be something else for sure. Gymshorts play with this 90s Riot Grrrl aggression mixed with this brutal and charismatic lo-fi sound.  They are fronted by Sarah, who pretty much melts your face with how powerful her voice is and how she pretty much annihilates you with her guitar. Her vocals are equally as loud as her guitar- nothing is overpowered or compromised, and it’s an absolute joy to listen to. They just make you want to throw away your adult responsibilities and just follow them on tour and be completely immersed in the music and live shows. It’s a kick in the gut and it feels so good. So good.

I think they may only have two records out so far, Wet Willy and No Backsies. Both are meant to be played loud to the point where you’re going to be deaf for a couple of days. They’ve got this raw and grand sound that is such a pleasure to hear and something I’ve not heard in a long time. They basically take all the parts of music that I love, and rip it up to make something completely out of this world. They truly are an exceptional band, and they just make you want to throw a whole bunch of shit around, and be irresponsible. Sometimes we need music to bring this out of us, and Gymshorts do this so well.

No Backsies was released first, and it’s got this proper ferocious feel to it that makes you feel like an angry dog is biting at your ankle. You don’t care for the blood that is drawn; it is the sheer rush that spurs you on. I think this is the louder record out of the two, and it definitely cemented their raw and rough sound. They consistently make you feel like you are in their rehearsal space where nothing is held back and everything just comes tumbling out. No hang ups at all. Both records are nothing short of being effortlessly brilliant. And fuck it, I hate the word but Gymshorts are definitely cool. They make you wish you were in a band as cool as them.

They’ve got a real Punk attitude in their sound and the way in which Sarah carries her voice. The distorted and almost shouty vocals are really what lures you in. Sometimes when a singer tries to do this, they really fuck it up but Sarah has this way of not making it come across as forced. It’s definitely not forced, and that’s what keeps you listening to them.

They can sing about burritos all day long and I wouldn’t get tired. There aren’t enough songs about them, thank god Gymshorts have done it. I love Punk and I love Mexican food, so it’s no surprise that I am in love with Gymshorts music. Sure it may not be to everyone’s taste, but they really are an incredible band who sure know how to play.

The new record, Knock Knock should be out this year, and the song above (Breathin On Me) pretty much shows just how exciting the new record is going to be. It’ll be released via Wallflower / Burger Records. Bachelor Records will also be releasing it in Europe. Buy the music and of course, play it loud.

 

*photo by Casey Joseph





ANNA CALVI: Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy.

6 06 2018

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Time is precious. Time can be cruel. Time can be kind. Over time, good things can happen. This is apt for the new Anna Calvi single, Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy. She is someone I have idolised since I first heard Jezebel in 2010. I was hooked on her voice. She reminded me of the ones I had loved (and still love) before her- Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and PJ Harvey. Now she’s back and I can’t pretend to even try hide my sheer joy about this.

Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy toys with everything that is supposed to be “normal.” But the thing is, nothing is normal. Nothing has to be how it always has been. It’s important to challenge ideas, ideals and people. What’s the point if we live in a world of repetition and blandness? This song 100% shows us just why Anna is a genius. I may lob that around a lot, but my god she totally is. The love I felt when I heard here back in 2010 has come rushing back. It feels like falling in love at a billion miles an hour with no concept of time and space. It’s the best feeling. This song evokes all kinds of happiness and questions. It totally messes with how society views sexuality, gender and everything else. Freedom cannot be dictated, and Anna expresses this so beautifully here. I cannot wait for the tour and her new record.

The song oozes private moments that you share with the one you love. Those proper intimate moments that nothing and no one can interrupt or take from you. It’s these moments that become sacred and vital for the soul to be comforted. It’s a modern love song that messes with what you’ve come to expect from love, lust and passion. It’s such a fantastic song that needs to be played all the time and as loud as you can handle, and allow the song to take you over like an outer-body experience. I’m happy to keep listening to this over and over until her new record, Hunter comes out.

There’s something about this record, and song that Anna has said which resonates with me a hell of a lot, “I’m fighting against feeling an outsider and trying to find a place that feels like home.” This is such a beautiful and relatable quote, and I think it sums up her music completely. She’s unlike anyone else and she pushes and tests us with her charming way with words. Her words provide comfort and safety, but at the same time she takes you away from all that you know and challenges you. I simply adore this about her and her music. Her words are powerful and poetic. She is a walking, talking, singing, breathing masterpiece. I really cannot do her music justice by writing words about her. I really can’t. From about the 2 minute 45 second mark in the song, she hits this note. This note will shatter you and make you feel so alive. Her voice is so powerful, and she can be harsh and delicate at once.

She has the darkness of Poe and the romantic side of Rimbaud. She isn’t afraid to show fragility and feel vulnerable with her music and words. She does it in a way that evidently isn’t forced. None of it is an act- it’s all her, and that is exactly why you connect with her. If you feel like I do about her music, or even about another musician- you’ll know that these feelings are something to treasure and adore.

Hunter will be released on 31st August 2018 via Domino. Next February she will be playing a massive show at the Roundhouse in London on 7th February. But if you cannot wait until then (understandable!) you can see Anna and her amazing band in September/October:

SEPTEMBER
27th Belfast, Empire
28th Dublin, Tivoli Theatre
30th Glasgow, St Luke’s

OCTOBER
1st Manchester, Ritz
3rd Newcastle, Boiler Shop
4th Birmingam, Town Hall
5th Brighton, All Saints Church
6th Bristol, SWX





COURTNEY BARNETT: Tell Me How You Really Feel.

20 05 2018

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Anyone who has a favourite band or singer knows the exact importance of what music means to them. We take the songs and make them our own. They save our lives, they give us courage and become a source of comfort when there isn’t much else. Their words become like religious scriptures, and can give us something to believe in. If that’s what you’re into.

Tell Me How You Really Feel is the new record by Courtney Barnett and it’s worth noting that this is her best work, so far. The lyrics are beautifully close to the bone and the music is gloriously loud and unapologetically in your face. Her voice is stronger and when needed, Courtney pulls out this incredible aggression that makes you feel 10 feet tall. It’s a record of brutal honesty and fearless vulnerabilities. Courtney is a mind blowing song writer, and those of us who are obsessed with her truly fawn over her brilliant way with words.

 

The artwork to this record is an up-close photo of Courtney. There’s something really personable about this shot and it is something that filters through the whole record. There’s a song on the record called Crippling Self-Doubt and a General Lack of Confidence which the title alone is relatable. The song takes you deep into your mind and makes you really connect with Courtney’s wordplay. It’s a record that should top every list and win every award possible based on her writing alone.

Hopefulessness has a line that will resonate with anyone that hears it, “Your vulnerability is stronger than it seems. Y’know it’s okay to have a bad day.” It feels like a mantra that you can echo to yourself when it all seems a bit too much. It’s okay to have days where you feel terrible, and the thought of being around people is just too much. All you want is to be in the safety of your room and shut the world out. This happens. It can happen to anyone, and it is nothing to ever be ashamed about. The way in which Courtney delivers this vital lyric is so humbling, and makes you so proud to be a fan of hers.

I’ve been a fan of Courtney since I first heard the I’ve Got a Friend Called Emily Ferris EP back in 2012. I know I’ve said it loads now, but it was the words that got me. Then it became the way she fearlessly and ferociously played the guitar. I honestly believe that she is most certainly going to be someone that inspires many to pick up an instruments and write songs about what, and who is around them. The fact that she is so easy to relate to provides a cloak of security that well need at times. You can find it anywhere, or sometimes- it’ll find you.

Sometimes I can call out what my favourite song is with first listen, but over the weekend I’ve listened to nothing but Tell Me How You Really Feel and no part of me can choose a song that stands out the most. I can’t possibly let you know which songs stands out for me because every song is a stroke of genius. Everything about Courtney and her band on this record is a true masterpiece.  There is a moment on Nameless, Faceless that if you’ve seen any live clips of Courtney singing this, you’ll notice her voice becomes more gravely than on record. The way she sings, “I hold my keys, between my fingers” on the record is quite tame, but when she plays this live it is like she is releasing a wealth of fury. We’ve all walked home clutching our keys between our fingers, and it’s really sad that this is something we can relate to. It really shouldn’t be like this.

Tell Me How You Really Feel has songs that show Courtney using her way with words to mock an internet troll to adding reassurance to those going through a tough time. There are moments where you truly connect with how fragile a person can be and there are moments where Courtney makes you feel brave. I don’t know if she knows it, but she’s a bloody genius. Musically and lyrically- she’s a genius. There’s no one else quite like her, and no other record is going to move you like this. It is really nothing short of exceptional and relatable.

Buy it. Play it loud, and tell someone how you really feel.

 

 

 





METRO VERLAINE: Band On The Wall 11/05/2018.

16 05 2018

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On Friday evening, my girlfriend and I went to see one of the best bands from France. In fact, they are probably one of the best bands I have ever seen. Metro Verlaine make music for the dark romantics, music for those who love the eerie side of music. When you see them play, you will immediately be drawn in and hooked forever. A 30 minute set wasn’t enough, and quite frankly- they should have played for another hour!

Metro Verlaine consist of four band members, but during live shows they have my generation’s greatest guitarist- Charlie Rowell (from Crocodiles) who has produced their debut record, Cut-Up. The record is nothing short of phenomenal and brings together everything I love about music. There are resemblances to The Cure and Joy Division. They are definitely influenced by English bands that posses a dark sound but they make it their own.

Raphaëlle  is easily one of the best singers you will ever see. She has such a powerful and amazing voice. She made us feel like we weren’t in a tiny room, she made us feel as if we were in a stadium or in a cathedral. She has such a grand voice, and although you get hints of it on record- it really gets you in the gut during their live shows.

I absolutely adored how the drummer doesn’t use a full kit (think Bobby G when he was in The Jesus And Mary Chain) but makes this incredible noise regardless. He’s louder than most, and I loved that so much. Something that is worth paying attention to with Metro Verlaine is just how effortlessly together they are and how in tune they are with each other. I’m not sure how long they have known each other prior to starting the band, but when you watch them on stage you pick up on this incredible bond. Most of the time they don’t need to say anything to each other, a simple look says it all. Sure I hate the word but the band are just so cool. Maybe it’s because they are French and they have this class to their sound and style that makes you wish you were like them. If I could sing, I’d want the power and range that Raphaëlle possess. I sincerely hope she becomes someone who singers to come cite her as an influence because she’s truly something else. She dances on stage so freely and takes that deep into the crowd. All you can do is watch on in awe.

Cut-Up is a mighty fine record and to hear these songs in a live setting makes you appreciate the record even more. Of course they are criminally underrated, but in time they’ll probably take over the world. They’ve already taken over mine.

Something I really loved about them is their love for Manchester. They are vocal about this and their song, Manchester is a beautiful ode to the greatest city in the world. Everyone on stage plays such a vital role in making the crowd move, each of them leave you wishing you were as cool as them. The only downside was the venue cutting their set way too short. They played for just under half an hour; they could have easily headlined and/or played for another hour or so. Even if they didn’t have enough songs to play for hours, I’d be happy to hear it all on repeat.

Metro Verlaine are the coolest band you’ll hear. They make music to get lost in, and to also find parts of yourself in. Sure you may not understand what they are singing about at times, but who cares?! The music and vocals are enough to keep you hooked for eternity.

VIVA METRO VERLAINE! JE T’AIME!





CORPORATIONPOP: Meet Me By The Viaduct.

18 03 2018

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I have a few days left in London, then it is off to the place that’s always felt like home. Manchester. Home to some of the best music and poets. Home. It will soon be my home. I’ve wanted to move there since I finished university. Things got in the way. I’ve properly been trying for nearly 2 years now to move there, and now it is happening. I should be scared, I should be nervous. I’m excited. There’s no better person to write about to cement my move than corporationpop aka Elise Hadgraft.

Her words remind me of a Sunday evening, dreading the working week. Her humour and observations are absolutely brilliant. Her voice/accent truly make these songs a joy to listen to. I listen to her words and her way with words, and it gives off this homely feel to it. You feel as if you’re sat down with your best mate in the pub/working men’s club drinking lukewarm beer or sat at home nursing a good cup of teas. Her words are comforting yet uncomfortable. Bleach evokes this. Then you have the beautiful observations of Stockport in the effortlessly brilliant Seven Miles South.

I’m not someone who can always write without being biased, so everything I’m writing about the new corporationpop release is obviously going to be one-sided, but then you listen to songs like Ted Hughes and it is so obvious how amazing Elise is. She’s got this incredible way with words, and you cannot help be in awe of her. The way she writes, the way she presents her words are so full of real life and raw references. References that are so wonderfully Northern. It makes you feel so at home and more aware of what it around you.

Meet Me By The Viaduct is such a fantastic EP that makes the mind wander. You may never get to the place where Elise is, but that’s okay. Maybe you’re watching her watching the world go by and creating it all here- as corporationpop. This EP is the perfect imagery of Northern life, and it is fantastic. I won’t do the North/South divide here- it doesn’t need to be done. It’s obvious what is better! Something I absolutely adore about this EP is the way that Elise says her words. The way she can effortlessly (I know I say it a lot- sorry!) put you where she is, and her way of doing so goes beyond being just words.

It is such a powerful body of work, and her words should be studied by kids at school. Honestly, she has this greatness to her that should be explored by all and learnt. Imagine being in school and having something like Elise’s words being shown to you, and you get to express what they mean to you. I’m pretty sure more kids would be turned on to poetry. And maybe they would turn off their phones.

I love the bitterness in Ted Hughes and how it comes across. I love how these words feel like something expressed after someone has just pissed you off too much you have to write a song about them, but in a way that holds a lot of wit, wisdom and a nice chunk of disdain.

This is the second corporationpop release but by no means does it play into to the “difficult second album” myth. If anything, it totally squashes it. In just 4 songs, you are taken to a place that feels like Corrie circa the 60s mixed with bus stop musings and observations.

I truly haven’t done Meet Me By The Viaduct any justice, so it’s probably best if you pre-order it here: https://oddboxrecords.bandcamp.com/album/meet-me-by-the-viaduct and find out for yourself.

Meet Me By The Viaduct will be released on 20th April via Odd Box Records.





L.A. WITCH: L.A. Witch

8 09 2017

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Just so you know, this is going to be hugely biased. I have been waiting YEARS to finally do this and I honestly couldn’t be happier about it. This is my version of Christmas and my birthday all in one. I am so excited to play this record and to write about it. Note: I wrote most of this on the train into work this morning at 7:20am.

What you need to know about L.A Witch is not only are they one of the greatest bands ever (there’s proof, just go to their shows) they are also one of the most hard-working bands around. They never ever seem to have any time off. Whilst touring can be hectic and tiring, L.A. Witch always put their all into their shows and each show is played with sheer devotion to what they do. And what do they do? They blow our minds, of course!

If like me you are obsessed and in love with their music, you’ll know pretty much every song on their debut record. From dodgy YouTube recordings, to the demos and to seeing their live shows- these songs are familiar but at the same time, absolutely brand new. On record, these songs are louder and the drums. Oh lord, the drums!

Sade has a voice unlike no other. She sounds like she’s been catapulted into us from the future with a nod to Ronnie Spector (who is probably the most underrated singer followed by Aaliyah.) Sade is a phenomenal vocalist but her guitar skills are equally as fantastic. She makes you want to pick up a guitar and annihilate everything in your way. There’s so much determination in what she does, in what they all do. A band entirely focused and it truly shines through on this record. Drive Your Car is her moment on the record. She just destroys it. The goosebumps are prominent. Play it loud.

Next up, I want to write about Irita. The best bassist you’ll ever know. She’s got this slick tone and when you see them live, you find yourself totally taken by how she gets in this zone. The music takes her where she takes you. Does she do this on record? Damn right she does! For me, You Love Nothing is her strong moment on the record but to be honest, it’s every single song for all of them. This is a band that know what they want to do, go with them.

On this record, each of them sound louder than before. There are times on the record where you try to work out which sound is moving you the most. That’s why we need to talk about Ellie. The coolest drummer around. I love when you can hear, on record, the drums ruling over slightly. However, this doesn’t happen on this record. It happens for all of them at the right time. Perfection exists and it is on this record. Ellie is such a brilliant drummer to watch and she truly, truly shows this on record. Get Lost has ALWAYS been a favourite of mine, and Ellie’s drumming on this song is insane. The speed picks up near the end of the track and it’s this ferociously glorious sound that makes you feel so alive. Record of the year. I was always going to say it.

I’ve been a huge fan for so long and to finally here the songs I’ve adored come together like this is just amazing. Every little detail justifies why they are the best band around. L.A. Witch will make you want to get in a car and just take off. Anywhere. Just far. They make you want to hit the West Coast, and never want to leave. Laze about at the beach, in skate parks, record stores- whatever you so desire. It is such a beautifully intense record that will just ease the mind, body and soul. It’ll take you somewhere, trust me. If Heaven had a sound, it would probably be this record. It is loud in all the right places, it is eerie, it makes you feel like you’re lurking in a graveyard and it’ll make you want to make your own noise. It’s a beast of a record, and as far as debut records go- this is just simply up there with the greats. Only a fool would find fault in it. LA. Witch just make you wish you could join their band. That’s all there is to it. They just make you want to join in and go along for the ride. They’re the ones taking the wheel though. I’m cool with being the passenger.

I could go on forever about this record and how brilliant it is, and how it means everything to me to finally hear it. Hopefully when you’ve played it you will see what I mean.

The band is currently on tour in Europe with some UK dates in the next few weeks. Buy the record, come to the shows. Have the time of your life.

L.A. Witch- thank you. You should be immensely proud of this record.