SAMANTHA URBANI: Policies Of Power.

19 08 2017

samantha-urbani-hints-and-implications

 

I first got obsessed with Samantha Urbani’s voice when I heard I’m His Girl by Friends. Her voice was like nothing else around. The band were like nothing else. Then it ended, and I was hoping I would still be hearing Samantha’s voice somehow.

About two years ago Samantha put out a song called 1 2 3 4. I was again, obsessed with it. I was playing it all the time. I was hoping something would come from it. I waited and waited. The wait ended yesterday.

Samantha released the debut EP yesterday called Policies Of Power. The cover of the EP is striking. Samantha is just the beautiful person with such a gorgeous voice that moves you. There’s a message to this EP, and with all the shit going on in the world- it’s needed. 1 2 3 4 sounds a little different now on the EP, but it’s still perfect. Samantha’s voice on this version of 1 2 3 4 reminds me so much of Solange. Both of them are extremely talented people who I admire so much. I just imagined what it would be like if they made a record together. They could do live shows. Imagine hearing Losing You then all of a sudden it goes into 1 2 3 4. I’d be a mess. I’d lose it. Anyway. Back to the record.

If you want to know what the best EP of the year is, it’s probably going to be this one. It’s got this 80s New York underground club scene feel to it. Samantha has made a body of art here, and this collection of songs make you feel utterly free and content with who you are. We need more of that. It is such a feel good record. It’s just absolutely perfect.

There is so much compassion, passion and love in this record. You can easily feel the thought and care that has gone into this EP. These 5 songs cannot be lumped into any genre you want to throw Samantha’s way. There is something so curious and inviting about this EP, and it is such a solid piece of art. In some respects, it’s a Pop record. It can easily go against most of the records that have come out this year and come out on top. It’s got everything going for it, and it was truly worth the wait. Also, Sade’s (the greatest singer of all time. ALL.TIME) sax player on Smooth Operator, Stuart Matthewman plays sax on Time Time Time. It’s a phenomenal song. The whole EP is just 5 phenomenal songs.

Samantha is someone I’ve admired for so long. Everything about Samantha just leaves you in awe. Samantha’s voice is so distinctive and it is so soothing. I’ve heard people compare Samantha’s music to early Madonna. I can see it, and every part of me would love to hear Samantha sing Borderline (I’m not a Madonna fan really but we’re both part Italian, so I have to. Oh and Borderline is one of the best songs of all time.) Samantha’s voice takes you on a journey but it is up to you where you go. Go Deeper is the one to lose yourself in. It’s just over 6 minutes long, and it is such a wonderful song.

I really cannot praise Samantha and Policies Of Power enough. Sometimes you need something or someone to move you in a way you’ve been seeking, and this is exactly what Policies Of Power does- and then some!





LANA DEL REY: Lust For Life.

21 07 2017

Image result for lana del rey lust for life

 

“Sometimes it feels like I’ve got a war in my mind
I want to get off but I keep riding the ride.”

 

I need to apologies for dismissing most of what Lana’s done since Born To Die. It’s my own fault; I didn’t really connect with the music like I thought I would. I remember ages ago finding her music and watching her home videos of Video Games and Blue Jeans. I was blown away. I was in awe of this voice that sounded like it came from another planet. For some stupid reason, I bailed. And I am entirely sorry. So here I am, about to write about Lust For Life because it is truly one of the most beautiful records I’ve heard in a long time.

I spent my morning journey to work listening to Lust For Life. The record opens with Love. When she put this song out, I was in awe. I felt like…I can’t even put into words how gorgeous that song is. It came out at a time where there was so much hate in the world, and she gave us this song to cling to. A song to play as loud as possible and ignore every evil thing in the world. There is so much hope in her voice now. You kind of picture her smiling as she sings these new songs, and to know she’s happy (happier) is a wonderful thing. Her smile on the cover of the record is just beautiful. To see her that happy is just a brilliant thing.

The title song with The Weeknd is this stunning body of vulnerability and openness that every relationship should contain. If this song doesn’t make you immediately think of the person you’re in love with, then you probably don’t love them. Or words to that extremity. I think most of us want Lana and Abel to do a full record together, and tour. And just make music together for the rest of time. Their voices are so perfect together. They are delicate and careful, and this emotion that comes out is just stunning.

Two weeks ago my Nonna in Italy died. These two weeks have been tough. I feel utterly shit, and I’ve not really felt anything other than complete sadness and emptiness. Grief it seems, hits me in a physical way. I’ve had migraines, headaches and constant stomach aches for the past two weeks. I’ve got my mind sort of, but my body is being a dick. Lust For Life is the record I have needed to extend a hand to get me out of this rut. I’ll get out when I’m ready. Music will be what I use, it always is. It always will be. There are certain songs on this record that are so fucking important. The most important song on the record is the last song, Get Free. Get Free is the best song to end this record on. You get this this comforting feeling from Lana that it is all going to be okay. Sure we all feel like shit from time to time. Some can manage it very well; others like me have to rely on medication. Medication and music.

13 Beaches and Cherry are nothing short of stunning. Sure there are “sad” moments on this record, but the way that Lana projects this sadness now is in a way that isn’t as intense. I love intense, and for me that’s a real strength of an artist for them to pour out such emotions. However, 13 Beaches is so painful but so fucking beautiful. It has this weight to it that leaves you in awe of her voice and her words. It starts off real sad but then hope fills. That’s the general feeling of the record- there is sadness, sure, but Lana overcomes it and lets it all go. We can all learn from this. Things take time. You just have to work at it.

For me, the reason why Lust For Life is such a phenomenal record is because it shows this side of Lana that has let go of something that she was known for and made something still as dark and not so much intense. Don’t get me wrong, there is still that Lana sound- but it comes from the music this time. Cherry has drumming that is akin to Born To Die. It’s such a strong song. I don’t mean this in a hipster bullshit slang way. I mean it in a way that it’ll make you feel tough.

It is so easy to ignore the good in the world when there is so much shit happening, but music is our glue. Lust For Life is this missing piece. I can’t see how anyone wouldn’t love this record. It is so gorgeous, gentle and full of love. Even the sad-ish songs have this wealth of love within them. It is such a hopeful record that has projected Lana in an even more relatable way. I just want to play this record over and over, and do nothing. It’s the kind of record that you create moments with that you’ll treasure forever. Moments you’ll create by yourself or with the one that you love.

Lust For Life is not only the finest record of the summer; it’s probably up there in best records of the year. Only a fool would try picking fault with this record. It’s everything you’d want and more.

Waste your summer days to this record. Do nothing, do something, and do whatever the hell you want to this record. Think of the one you love. Play it to the one you love and close off the world. Hold them close, and shut your eyes. Go to the place where only you two can go and let Lana be your soundtrack.

The song Change has a line that immediately made me think of People Have The Power by Patti Smith, “Change is a powerful thing. People are powerful beings.” The record is full of hopeful lines like this, and for me that’s what makes Lust For Life a gorgeous work of art that isn’t just a source of comfort; it is also a beacon of hope. And that is why music will always be the most powerful thing we can expose ourselves to.





PINS: Bad Thing EP.

24 03 2017

d8cb3c19-1aba-4933-9f7e-09346f83d76b

 

In some ways, I guess I could just say this blog is dedicated to the same bands over and over. That probably makes me boring, but I don’t care. It’s not my fault that a solid few I love put out excellent music that deserves being written about. I’ve been writing about PINS for a long time now, and every time I write about them it is as if I find something new to love about them. Everything they put out seems a step above what they previously did. They have a really strong sound, and aren’t afraid to be different and more importantly, create a sound that is so important.

As part of the Bad Thing EP, PINS have worked with the King of Punk. The Godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop on the lead track Aggrophobe. The partially spoken word track captures why we love him- his voice. Speaking or singing, Iggy has such a distinctive voice and with Faith’s voice merging with his on the hook, you kind of want Iggy to be a permanent member of PINS. It’s such a brilliant song, and the video to it is equally great.

Bad Thing is a handful of songs that show perfectly just how great PINS are and how their sound and beautifully evolved. I need to touch on their stunning cover of Dead Souls by Joy Division. Not many people can work a cover and add something to it. I think if someone is going to cover a song, they should do something that makes it theirs. That makes you believe it is their song and doesn’t belong to someone else. They’ve done it beautifully with Dead Souls. When I first heard PINS a part of me heard familiar hints of Joy Division in their sound, and I’m so happy they chose this as the Joy Division song to cover. It’s one of their best ones, and PINS make it their own but still leave parts of Joy Division within the song. It is 4 minutes and 35 seconds of ethereal darkness. It’s comforting and sacred. For me, PINS are made up of 5 excellent musicians who are the best at what they do. If you’ve seen them live, they’ve probably all left you wishing you could play an instrument. I firmly stand by Sophie being one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen.

After spending my morning at work listening to Bad Thing, I’m pretty much set on In Nightmares being my favourite song. Faith’s voice is gorgeous on this song. There are a number of songs by PINS where her voice just sounds so haunting yet angelic, In Nightmares is easily one of them (Everyone Says is another, from their last record) In Nightmares is the song you go back to and play constantly. Irrespective of your mood, it’ll make you feel like you’ve got a safety net and well, we all need that at times and sometimes it takes form in the shape of music.

All Hail is a song they have already been putting in their shows, and it is so good to see. It’s got this wonderful gang-like feel to it as they sing, “All hail.” It’s like a protective circle around the band and those who love their music. PINS are one of those bands you wish you could join. You’d start a band if you could, but you know you wouldn’t be able to get a sound like this. There is something familiar about their sound, which makes you know it is them but there is something else that lies within their sound that makes you unsure if it is a band from decades and decades ago, or if this is really a band from 2017 making this ideal sound.

To be honest, PINS have got the ideal sound. But that’s just my opinion. For me their sound is everything I want from music and from a band. I love their lyrics but I also love watching their live shows. I’ve seen them at pretty much every London show they’ve done. They’re playing up the road from my house next month, and I’m so excited about it. They are a band that you have just got to see live. Each show they’ve done that I’ve seen just shows how much they have grown. Not just on record, but on a stage too. The confidence is properly there now, and I am so proud of them.

Bad Thing is out now, but limited copies are available.





GARBAGE:Strange Little Birds.

11 06 2016

600x441xgarbage_js_100316-png-pagespeed-ic-uepix-3oi6

“Every broken thing can’t be fixed.
And all those fragile things we are,
They find their voice, they find their power.”

Some feelings we have can be replicated by others things, and other people. In a way I guess that can make us question the legitimacy of it- but that depends on the feeling and who/what made you first feel it. Feelings are hard to wrap our heads and hearts around, and like most, I use music as some kind of means to get into whatever is going on. It, for the most part helps. But there’s one feeling that can only come from one thing in particular. I’ll never feel it from anyone else. That feeling is when your favourite band, the band that dragged you through hell and back for over 20 years come back with a new record. Each Garbage record has matched a point in my life where only their music would do. Only their music would be the thing that got me through. I’m aware I sound like an oversensitive idiot- but I’m trying to state the importance of them, but do I really need to? They’ve been around for over 20 years and they’re still here, so that speaks more than my words ever could. Yesterday Strange Little Birds came out, and yet again, they’ve managed to make a record that fits comfortingly into what’s going on inside. I’ve read a few reviews where they have said that Strange Little Birds sounds a bit like their first record, but to be honest, it could be a really loud Acid House record and I’d still love it- because it’s them. I’m an unconditional fan for life.

Sometimes: A song that oozes destruction is always the perfect way to start a record. It starts with an intense piano intro which is followed by what resembles a rumble of thunder. Then Shirley’s voice kicks in and the words hit hard. It is such a haunting and dark song, and in a way that’s been what I’ve clung onto- Shirley isn’t afraid to speak of insecurities and ugly feelings we are always told to cast aside. There are many ways in which this band are my absolute heroes/heroine, and it’s their honesty that does it. I challenge anyone to not relate to: “Sometimes I feel like I vanished in thin air.
Sometimes I feel I’m not here.”

Empty: Firstly, please play this as loud as you can and secondly, this is the one that captures their first record in 2016. Like a lot of Garbage fans, their first record changed my life. I was just approaching 10 years of age, my dad wasn’t doing so good (he died a few weeks after their first record came out, and I saved up for a tape copy of it with my pocket money) and this record, as young as I was became everything to me. As I got older, I related to the songs more. And to hear something that takes me back 21 years is messing with my head big time but you carry on, you have to. What I get from Empty is being able to not relate to everyone who has to pour their lives on to social media in order to seek validation of others. Maybe they are the ones that are empty. We all are in a way, there’s always something missing. I think the lyric I love the most is this: “So I work at staying patient. Good things come to those that wait, or so they say.” However, I’m not entirely sure what I’m waiting for.

Blackout: The bass on this is one of the best moments for me on the record. It’s got this deep, swirling sound which is like Warpaint meets The Cure. It’s dark, intense and spins you off into a dream. With it being over 6 minutes long, it’s just bloody ideal. It’s an intense ride that feels like a telling off to the self. It’s the perfect way to get back at anyone or anything that’s pissed you off. I guess with how Shirley sings this and the gorgeous menacing lyrics will make some link this to the likes of Stupid Girl. I see it, I really do but the sound on Blackout is so big and so powerful, you in a way, forget all that’s come before Strange Little Birds. What I’m getting from this record so far is that Garbage don’t sound completely like a band who have been around for 2 decades here, they sound like a brand new band who are here to show us how it is done. They’ve got more power, bite and determination than a lot of newer bands, and that alone just deepens my love for them. I love the sheer attitude in this song that comes out from all of them. Perfect.

If I Lost You: This song is painfully open and hugely vulnerable. That’s what drew me towards Garbage years and years ago. The openness and carefree honesty always touched me. Maybe it’s for the good or bad that I’ve never been jealous of the person I’ve been in a relationship with, but the lyrics to If I Lost You are so easy to relate to, you imagine going through it. Or, you can imagine how the other person feels. I’m swaying towards the latter and it brings out a change of ways. I just think this is line is one of the most powerful on the record: “Are you so strong, or is the weakness in me?” We’ve all felt that way- friendship, relationship, all felt it.

Night Drive Loneliness: I love songs that give off a feeling that you can only get when you listen to them at a certain part of the day/night. There are a few bands I love that I can only listen to at night time because of the mood they create. I’ve never really felt that way with Garbage until now. Night Drive Loneliness would probably sound better if I could drive and if it was dark out. Instead, I’m at my desk in my room at 2:15pm and it’s raining. Again. Maybe that’s my version of a night drive. This is my escape. I love how this song captures the desire to escape everything and everyone so beautifully. A feeling that doesn’t always leave, and I think if we didn’t want to escape every now and then we’d have robotic tendencies and be blank humans. Or maybe you can go the other way with this song. Maybe it’s feeling lonely when surrounded by a load of people. Maybe it’s a touch of both. Take it however you want, and make it your own.

Even Though Our Love Is Doomed: This one hits close to the bone for many reasons. Maybe all love is doomed to an extent, but me personally, I’d rather go towards something that could be doomed than not have every single part of me challenged. Basically, love should feel like a Nick Cave song. Even Though Our Love Is Doomed is such a beautiful reassurance that, even though some of us have difficulty with it- we can still love, and it can be warped and twisted but it’s still love. We all find someone who makes us feel this way and you can’t rush it. Maybe you’ll find it now, maybe you already have or maybe it’ll just take time. This vulnerable kind of love is the kind that is good for the soul. The last minute and a half of the song has this huge build up that evokes SUCH urgency. It’s one of the most important Garbage songs ever. Cling tightly onto this one.

Magnetized: Unlike the song before, this one is not a love song of sorts. It’s a lust song. It’s about being hooked on someone without the falling in love part. We’ve all been there. It’s about 2 souls clashing who are polar opposites and sometimes it works out. Maybe love develops but with this one, just being hypnotised by the person is a safer bet than falling in love. Such a simple line, but I adore this: “Get so close that it hurts.” Sometimes you just have to let something like this in and let it hurt you. Go into the unknown and just see what happens. Life would be a bore, a dull ache if we didn’t step into the unknown every so often.

We Never Tell: The heavens have now opened in London, and I can’t think of a better record to play as the rain falls harder and harder. I just went to check on my housemate’s cat to make sure she’s okay. She’s gently napping, so I gave her a kiss on the head. This means nothing to the outsider, but show affection where and when you can. We Never Tell is a great song and I love the lyrics. I really love the line: “We’re on the outside always looking in. You don’t trust humans and I feel the same.” I would take the trust of animals over people any day, and when you find people who get that- that’s when you know. Mutual understanding goes a hell of a long way, especially as people seem to be getting colder. Hey I can’t look after myself but I’m pretty sure I could look after a dog, no problem. We Never Tell is a great “fuck you” to those you want to prove wrong or to those you want to shut up.

So We Can Stay Alive: Gentle vocals but aggressive lyrics and ferocious guitar courtesy of Duke. This is one of the angsty songs I’ve heard in a long time. Sometimes you just need something to bring out that dormant rage that others beg you to tone down. Don’t let nobody in this world make you tone down whatever you feel. Don’t let anyone try tame or change you. Speak up don’t shut up. Call the fuckers out on what they’re doing wrong. I love how rowdy this song is, in all the right places. The guitar kicks in to back up Shirley’s gentle voice. But that gentle voice is unleashing a fury that will make you run. But you better listen up, chump! You can try break a person but they will eventually get their own back when you least expect it. The weak can find strength, in time. In their own time, they get there.

Teaching Little Fingers To Play: I’m trying my best to not make any references to old songs, but for me this sounds like the aftermath of Medication. Of course that self-destructive feeling stays but then something kicks in and you realise you’ve got to do certain things on your own. For me, Teaching Little Fingers To Play has that same fragility as Medication but without wanting to destroy oneself. Instead, this focuses on being able to pick oneself back together again without anyone around. We’re always told we need to have others around to fix us, but sometimes you can do certain things on your own. You can get tough in your own way. This is less co-dependant and more dependent on nobody but yourself. It’s a kick up the arse, in a way. “Nothing ever stays the same.
Youth and beauty don’t remain.”
Gorgeously accurate.

Amends: The last one on the record, sadly. Just play it again. That’s all you can do. A wave of sadness always hits when you reach the end of a record. Me being utterly sentimental, it does bring on a hint of sadness. You don’t want it to end. You want that first moment you listened to keep coming back. Over and over. But fortunately, I get that feeling every time I listen to Garbage. Amends is a beautiful song that deals with any kind of loss you’ve had with a friend, lover, whatever. Sometimes we forgive, sometimes we forget, sometimes we physically cannot do either. The hurt and rawness of being hurt in this song is very close to the bone and my god, you feel the hurt. There’s a part in the song that sums up perfectly how anyone has ever felt. It’s not a nice way to feel, but we’ve all been there: “There is nothing you could say to cause more hurt, or cause me shame. Than all the things that I have thought about myself.”  We are all capable of hurting ourselves more than we can hurt another person, and sometimes it easier to break our own hearts than someone else’s. There’s this dignified rage in this song that is so eloquently put together, and you know what? It’s the perfect ending to the record because it feels like healing. With a lot of their records, the last song on each one does feel like healing. They’ve done it all over again here with Amends.

On Monday I’m seeing them again at the Troxy which is about half hour from my house (thankfully.) It’s one of my favourite venues. There’s still some tickets left. Garbage are the band that have helped in some way make me alright with whoever it is I am. I keep a handful of uncertainty because I’ll never be fully settled with it. If it wasn’t them, I wouldn’t have this inner toughness that I reserve for certain things. Certain things I thought would ruin me in some way. Certain things that make me get a little braver each time. The got me through the pains and torment of school and the uneasy ride of adulthood. There will never ever be a time where I don’t turn to their music for some form of comfort and for that I am truly, truly grateful and forever in debt to them.





THE KILLS-Ash & Ice.

9 06 2016

2016thekills_heartofadog_1804162

“We were dancing to a beat of our own, flying with our speakers blown.”

 

For the past week I’ve been constantly listening to Ash & Ice by The Kills. Today I can finally listen to it properly on my record player which I carried up a hill to get home in this ridiculous heat. I wouldn’t mind, but having a knackered disk in my back isn’t too much fun. It’s alright, now I’m seated and playing it as loud as I can. I can associate every record by The Kills with certain points in my life, and since Blood Pressures came out until last Friday it defined certain moments, feelings and people. I fell so heavily in love with that record and to take myself away from it so I could give in to Ash & Ice I thought, would be really hard. I was wrong. Ash & Ice is now defining whatever is going on now- good, bad, average and brilliant. It’s a chaotic safety net.

As I helplessly love this record so, I’ll go through each song. It might be safer for you to just go buy the record and listen to it rather than subject yourself to my ramblings about it.

Doing It To Death: I remember hearing this a couple months ago now, and just playing it over and over again. Something about it just made me realise yet again, why I adore this band. Why they are easily one of the most important bands in my life. There’s something about Jamie and Alison that leaves constantly wanting more and more. I love the line, “Baby lately, the plans we’re making are the shape of things that never come.” It’s a gut feeling that I reckon most feel, but not many want to actually face it. Fuck it. Face it, and carry on.

Heart Of A Dog: Like the above, this ended up being on repeat constantly when I heard it. Every line in this song is apt and if I could every word to this tattooed on my body- I probably would. “It’s life or death why I chew through the chain” is a line that’s just so raw and brutal. I know what it’s like to have parts wander off but for the heart always be loyal. You go back to what you needed in time. It takes time, but you get there. You just need to let it out sometimes, I guess.

Hard Habit To Break: I LOVE the intro to this so much. I think it’s most definitely one of my favourites off the record. Sometimes you’re the bad that someone else wants or needs, and they can take that bad and make it good. In time. I’m pretty sure that this will be amazing to see live, and I’ve seen clips of this where Alison just lets rip and flails her body in ways that if you or I tried to do- we’d end up in hospital. Worth the attempt, right? Pretty cool way to end up in A&E. I love the line “Maybe when the lights fade, maybe it’s my (your/our) mistake.” There’s only so much blame a person can carry before they realise others have played their part too.

Bitter Fruit: At first I just really loved the song. Then I paid close attention to the lyrics and some weird revelation hit me. I can’t decide which lyrics I love the most. It’s between “I gotta save my soul from the bad in you” and “I could pray, but can’t you see the kind of things I pray for are cursing me.” Both are pretty tough lyrics, and easy to identify with. That’s what I love about their songs, they just paint emotions in a way that I never ever could. They take every feeling imaginable and make it something to be proud of- even if it is a truly ugly feeling.

Days Of Why And How: In some ways this reminds me of Rodeo Town, Wait and Baby Says. It’s got that soothing feel to it. I think it has some of the best lyrics on the record: “When I hear your name, it’s a like a freight train. Shake shake shake shake shaking me, off my tracks.” I don’t know if that lyric is for good or bad, but it’s so gorgeous and powerful. I could listen to it forever and not get tired. An impending fear mixed with devotion. That’s just how it goes sometimes.

Let It Drop: I don’t really have much of an opinion on this one, and I think it’s because it’s the one I’ve not really listened to that much. Jamie and Alison have this sound that makes them stand out from everyone else, and I think Let It Drops experiments with this in a really great way. It sounds like they’ve massively pushed themselves with this song, and I think it’ll be one that I end up loving as much as the rest- I just need to stop being attached to other songs on the record to let this one in. However, the line “You’re giving me reasons to turn my teardrops into death threats” is just a gorgeous piece of poetry.

Now, if you have the vinyl copy this is where we take it over to side B.

Hum For Your Buzz: This has that brutal but Blues feel that caused me to first fall heart first in love with them 13 years ago. 13 years ago I heard The Kills and it changed everything for me. Every single time they bring out something new, I just fall more in love with them and I remember exactly what it was that drew me in the first place. Hum For Your Buzz has a beautiful feel of vulnerability surrounding it, and their fearless approach to writing lyrics will always be something I admire and love. “I am a vision you looked for so long at your door sweetheart.” That’s my solid favourite from the song. Subject to change, as ever.

Siberian Nights: The only way to listen to this song is to have to obnoxiously loud. Everything about this just makes you feel like you can overpower any feeling of love or lust a person may have towards you. It’s bold but endearing in its own way. I love the lyric, “I can make you come in threes, I’m halfway to my knees. Am I too close for comfort?” It’s the right kind of filth. The whole song is full of lines that make you feel a bit braver than you are. I guess with lines like “For the tyrants in a rut, I got a love” makes it for us underdogs. I couldn’t imagine getting tired of listening to this song. You pick up different things to love with each listen, and I love their vocals together on this. Check the guitar Jamie uses on this also.

That Love: The Last Goodbye from Blood Pressures probably broke your heart, right? Well, you’re not getting off lightly this time. I read the lyrics to this before I heard it. I’m not sure which is more heartbreaking. However, it’s a song I needed. It’s a song I probably won’t go back and listen to on repeat. It’s a heavy song, emotionally and I think it’ll be a mountain of strength for those who need some form of courage. We all need to be brave at times, there’s no right or wrong time for you to be brave. You just have to do it. I’m not going to pick a line from this, it’s too difficult. Maybe it’s obvious which ones will mean the most. You can’t feel bad for the rest of time.

Impossible Tracks: I adore how menacing this one sounds. It’s got that thumping sound of Future Starts Slow on it, and again, it’s one you need to play insanely loud. “Oh you get what you give, I don’t regret what I did. Well if a real live liar can set you on fire, then don’t you settle for it?” It’s real mean this song, and it makes you feel so tough when you listen to it. I also love the line, “And we hold our smiles inside like we’re holding back the tide.” If I could write something as rebellious as that, I’d be pretty happy. I think this is definitely one of my favourites off the record.

Black Tar: The line, “London’s bloodthirsty” is enough for me to know that I am mad about this song. The imagery in the words is just nothing short of stunning, and it’s just a realisation of why I bloody love The Kills! I’ve never ever doubt my love for them, and I never could. There are just consistently mind-blowing and their lyrics have always been such a huge part of who I am- whoever that may be. Some things you don’t figure out, even when you’re 29. This song makes you want to get in a car, and drive off into the night without looking back.

Echo Home: This has the gentle tones of Baby Says but there is so much sadness in this song. It’s pretty tough to listen to. I’d rather have That Love on repeat than this one because there’s so much overwhelming sadness in it. Every word in this song is just truly gorgeous, and for me this is the one that holds the most weight. It’s the one you play when you miss something/someone that’s been gone for some time. Have hope, because sometimes if the universe doesn’t totally hate you- it all comes back to you again. For me, it’s the line: “And if I take a turn for the worst and I call you on the phone, will you echo home when I call? Won’t you echo back and make it alright.” I know I’m too sensitive for my own good at times, but this line has this wealth of honesty and fragility to it that just breaks your heart. I just adore every single word on this song, and the way Jamie and Alison’s voices fit so perfectly on this song so so much.

Whirling Eye: And now we reach the end of the record with one of the most rowdy songs on the record. I think they’ve saved this one until last so the listener realises they’ve not had enough, and goes back to the start again. The whole song feels like a whirlwind. It sends you into some immense spin that no one can pull you out of. It’s so hypnotic. Alison’s voice on Whirling Eye has this insane urgency to it that makes you feel like you’ve probably joined a cult. If those two are the leaders, sign me up now. It’s definitely a song to make you feel like a total rebel to and it’ll make you want to ditch everyday life and hit the dusty road as fast as you can. Who cares where you go, just get there.

I could have easily summed this all up with saying this is the best record I’ve heard all year or just condensed my love for it. But the thing is, The Kills pull something out of me that nothing else ever has. They hit you with this urgency and this need to get whatever it is inside you all the way out. They have no filter when it comes to doing so, so why should you or I?

 

I will always have a soft spot for Keep On Your Mean Side, No Wow, Midnight Boom and Blood Pressures but with Ash & Ice, I feel like something completely different. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s that feeling of an old friend coming back home, it had been a few years since Blood Pressures and to finally have something new is just a truly great feeling. They could create their own version of the phonebook and I would still be madly in love with it. Sure there are many bands that I feel a connection with, but with The Kills it is this secret connection in my brain bound by their songs that creates this. This doesn’t always happen, and when you feel it, you cling onto it. It’s your own way of getting through the day and slowly, but surely, finding some self-acceptance. Ash & Ice means a lot for a lot of reasons- none of which will be mentioned but all I know is that it is bloody great to have them back.





KATE JACKSON AND THE WRONG MOVES: UK TOUR JUNE 2016.

7 06 2016

kate-jackson-39d76e67

“4:34 I’m a new romantic soul.”

 

When I was at university I managed to pass off going to gigs all the time and skipping lectures as part of my degree. Sure having a degree in Music Journalism & Broadcasting can give you a passion for words and music, but it gives you a great free pass to not getting up for a 9am lecture when you’ve been to a gig the night before. Whilst at university, I struggled a fair bit with homesickness. I didn’t understand because I really hated where I lived. There was nothing for me on the Isle of Man, so I left for 3 years to do a course that would in some way, help me do something with my life. I found a few bands to cling on from 2006 to 2009 whilst there. One band in particular that got me through bouts of homesickness and general “I can’t cope” feelings were The Long Blondes. Someone To Drive You Home became a soundtrack to every single day. Certain songs on certain days were played more often than others. I never saw them live, but I did meet all of them bar Kate at a signing at Virgin Megastore in Manchester. I sat behind Screech on the train down, and he recognised me when he signed my CD. Never once did I think the band would split, and I stand by them splitting up to hurt more than a break-up. I have my reasons for this way of thinking, but music is my everything. Fast forward a few years, and I finally get to see Kate play her debut record, British Road Movies.

Out of the 3 dates they played last week, I made two of them. If I had the funds I would have gone to all 3. You don’t grow out of wanting to see bands/singers you really love at any given opportunity. If you’ve heard British Road Movies you’ll be aware of the love of motorways and service stations that Kate has in the songs. For me, that was a huge part of my love for The Long Blondes. I grew up where there were no motorways or service stations-then all of a sudden, I was surrounded by them. I’m that sad I actually do have a Top 3 service stations list. I’m always open to visiting more.

Both shows showed that not only does Kate have the most incredible voice, but her band are nothing short of amazing. Her guitarist, Reuben, plays with this insane fury that reminds me exactly of Bernard Butler mixed with Johnny Thunders. In short, he basically leaves you wishing you could play guitar like him. He thrashes it about in such a gorgeous fashion. Her drummer, Shannon,  thumps the hell out of the intro to Metropolis (second song in the set) right after the quiet tones of set opener, Velvet Sofa From Number 26. The set starts quietly, and this dramatic and intense pause occurs. This is greeted with the most rowdy drum intro I’ve heard in a long, long time. You can’t help but stand to attention but yell along “This city pulls me to pieces.”

On a personal level, Stranded and 16 Years are the songs that really do it for me. When I saw her show on Friday, I’ll admit that me and my best pal did have our share of a few drinks and enabled me to sing a long thus ruining my voice even more so (I’ve been poorly, but I’m getting better now) but her show on Sunday, I stood at the front and took it all in. I was really lucky because I went to both shows with two people I absolutely adore, and sometimes you just need someone with you who “gets” it. I can’t really explain what it is about Stranded and 16 Years that mean a lot. I guess it is certain lines in the songs that mean a lot. From Stranded I’d take “In another dimension, you’re here with me” and from 16 Year I’d probably take either “You were my release” or perhaps “I could have helped if you asked me to.” Her lyrics are gentle, thoughtful and so easy to connect with. I think this is why I’ve always held her as highly as Morrissey in my mind. I’m massively into lyrics, and people like Kate justify this love of words.

Aside from songs off British Road Movies, the band play 2 new songs- The Westerlies and Future City. Both are exceptional, and real stand out moments in the set. I’m pretty sure the recorded versions of these will be brilliant.

Kate has this wonderful presence about her stage, and I was fully expecting to witness a difference between London and Sheffield crowds- there truly wasn’t. She doesn’t draw in crowds of obnoxiously drunk louts who yell obscenities at the end of every song or during any silent moments. Both crowds were there because quite simply, we just bloody well love her. I always think live shows should take you some place else compared to where the actual record takes you. I think it’s because you can actually see the songs coming alive in front of you, and certain parts of songs become more clearer and you just go off some place else. It’s a sacred feeling, and one that was very much alive at her London and Sheffield shows.

And you know, they do say to never meet your heroes but after her show in London my friend pretty much dragged me/shoved me in the direction of Kate. And with a hug, I managed to blurt out what I wanted to say to her. Words get you through and the songs become, and save your life.





KRISTIN KONTROL-(Don’t) Wannabe.

5 05 2016

kristin-kontrol-5-640x427

 

 

Everyone needs that one song they play when they just need a few minutes to themselves, to just shut everything off for a little while. I’ve got a bunch of songs that I do this to, and it’s never ending. Does that say something about me? Probably. Who cares. Anyway. In a few weeks Kristin is releasing her debut record as Kristin Kontrol. You’ve heard X-Communicate and Show Me, right? If you haven’t, go listen to them. Again. And again. Even if you have, just listen to them. X-Communicate has this insane feel to it that would make ANYBODY move. You can unleash some serious dance moves to it, don’t hold back. Same with Show Me.

(Don’t) Wannabe has this perfect moment of bliss almost immediately in the song, which carries on throughout. It just feels like a huge euphoric moment and I think that’s what makes it’s one of best songs I’ve heard all year. I’ve not heard the record yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of the best and I’m not being biased (I could be, but it’s alright.) X-Communicate is easily my favourite song of the year, but there is something about (Don’t) Wannabe that shows exactly why I love Kristin as a songwriter, not just as singer/musician. I fully stand by my statement from years ago when I said she’s the Patti Smith of my generation. What do I mean by that? Well, if you read her lyrics, they fall as gentle poetry that just soothes the soul and makes everything alright- exactly like Patti. Her newest single is a body of vulnerability that anyone can relate to. It is so easy to relate to her music irrespective of how she makes it, she’s just got this rare way with words. It doesn’t come around too often but when it does, you really connect with it. Kristin Kontrol sounds like the name of a superhero, and with songs like this- it’s fair to assume she probably is.

I love (Don’t) Wannabe because it’s got the strength of a power ballad mixed with the sadness of Say Hello, Wave Goodbye by Soft Cell. It is just a gorgeous song and the courage and honesty in the lyrics and in Kristin’s voice just makes it nothing short of powerful yet heartbreaking. Let it break your heart, gently. It’s alright. The truthfulness in this song will seep into you, and once it gets there nothing else will feel, or sound the same.