SAMANTHA URBANI: Policies Of Power.

19 08 2017

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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!





LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS.

19 08 2017

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If you’re looking for a band that make you feel like you’ve lost in a bar brawl, and your front teeth have gone flying- then Lumpy And The Dumpers are the band for you.

Every song feels like a punch to the gut and face. You feel like you’ve been smacked about within the first 10 seconds of their music. It doesn’t matter which song you first listen you, you’ll be left feeling like you’ve had the beat downs of ALL beat downs, in the history of beat downs.

There is something really beautiful about a band that has such a loud and gnarly sound. To most, it’s is probably really obnoxious and they won’t no part of it. I do. I really, really do. I love how aggressive their sound is and how they virtually have no presence online. There’s a mystery but it’s not some kind of gimmick at all. It’s probably just how they are. Lumpy And The Dumpers have this quick sound that is in the likes of Black Flag, but there’s something else in them which is unlike anything else. They have this unfiltered sound which feels like a bunch of people crossing the line without a care in the world. Sometimes you just have to go there, and they go there better than most.

With only a couple of songs hitting over the 3 minute mark, Lumpy And The Dumpers sound like a bunch of people who have picked up some instruments and gone, “Fuck it!” and made something that is utterly for them. There’s nothing about saving the world or falling in love here. There is nothing delicate or soppy. It is pure noise at its best. The only way to enjoy this band is loud. Loud so maybe your annoying housemates and neighbours can enjoy it.

They sound like the kind of band who probably will leave the crowd damaged in all ways at their live shows. Maybe they’ll leave disturbed by what they have seen or maybe they’ll leave with a bloody nose. Either way, I reckon they are the kind of band that once you see them- you won’t forget them. They are band to just lose your shit to, and there aren’t enough new bands around doing this. Lumpy And The Dumpers make the kind of music that beckons those who are a bit fed up and bored of their surroundings. That’s probably why they appeal to me.

Last year they released the brilliantly named record, Huff My Sack. It’s 9 songs that’ll just leave you bewildered but you’ll keep playing it. Why? Because it’s brilliant. Just have it on loop for as long as you need. Learn the words, scream along, play it loud and throw your body around in whatever way you desire.

Oh, and they put out a tour tape a month or so ago called Music To Hump A Trashcan To. Again, best named record of the year.





TYLER, THE CREATOR: Flower Boy.

27 07 2017

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“20/20, 20/20 vision
Cupid hit me, cupid hit me with precision
I wonder if you look both ways
When you cross my mind.”

 

For me, Tyler is my favourite rapper around. He’s more than just a rapper though. He’s this wild creation that can unleash anything he sets his mind to and make it the most inspiring body of art. If all you’ve ever taken from his lyrics is that he is some deranged devil worshipper, then you’ve not paid attention. On his new record, Flower Boy he has gone in an otherworldly direction. Records like Goblin were brutal and laced with dark humour. Flower Boy is somewhat the opposite. It is a body of songs that are sung more than rapped. More instrumental sounds than previous. It’s like a journey through his head- you’re standing in the shadows watching Tyler. In awe. This side Tyler shows on Flower Boy is endearing as it is powerful, and shows that he isn’t just a “rapper.” He’s something more. He’s rare and brave. Fearless and focused. More than he has been before.

Flower Boy is a fantastic record, and if you’re into end of year lists I am sure it’ll be in the top 3 and maybe (and rightfully so) it’ll be someone’s top choice. I know it’s mine, for sure. Flower Boy was highly anticipated. I started putting down my thoughts about this record into my second listen last Friday when it came out. I changed my mind on putting anything out there on the day. I wanted to really listen to this record and see what happened after listening to it almost on a loop solid for a week. My opinion is still the same, and I’m pretty confident that this record has took a massive dump on anything else that may come out this year.

What I really adore about this record is how it feels like a burst of colour. There is so much energy and life within this record. Tyler has truly made something that makes the listener feel good. He’s made something that is easy to relate to. One thing that keeps cropping up is his lyrical content this time. Some are saying he’s come out on a few songs or whatever. Who cares? I don’t care what Tyler’s sexuality is- it’s none of mine or anyone’s business. All I care about is the music.

14 songs in 46 minutes. Those 46 minutes allow you to be taken on this journey where Tyler exposes his vulnerabilities in such a gorgeous way. This is wonderfully done on the opener, Foreword. It is also apparent on November and See You Again. These two songs are the ones I keep going back to. I just love his raw honesty in general, but these two songs show a side that not many probably expected. Then again, you probably shouldn’t expect anything from Tyler- he’ll more than likely do what you least expect and that’s what makes him standout above the rest.

Flower Boy goes beyond being just a Hip Hop record. It’s in its own league. You can’t define this by labelling it lazily- that’s just disrespectful. You can truly hear how much has gone into this record, and how Tyler has carefully crafted this masterpiece. He’s one of those who really cannot do anything wrong. I mean sure he has said some questionable things. I admire his determination and his passion. I love how he has made the most exciting record of the year and wasn’t scared to step aside from the sounds on Goblin, Wolf and Cherry Bomb. Each record sounds like a gradual step to where he is now. And where is he now? Top of the world.

I have no idea what sounds have influenced Tyler on Flower Boy. What I get from it is someone who has taken time out. Took in what they’ve seen in the world and allowed the universe to be the source of inspiration. It’s a record that is so easy to have on repeat constantly and not get tired of. One week in, and I really don’t want to listen to anything else.





LANA DEL REY: Lust For Life.

21 07 2017

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“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.





FLOWERS OF EVIL: City Of Fear.

13 07 2017

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A couple years back, a super group formed in New York City. Flowers Of Evil erupted and tore up eardrums, and limbs alike. Made up of Young Boys lead guy, David and also Brandon and Charlie from Crocodiles it’s pretty obvious that Flowers Of Evil are going to end up putting one of the best records of the year, right? Their first release was brilliantly loud and pleasantly dangerous. Where have they headed with City Of Fear?

City Of Fear is a real Hardcore Punk record. It can easily stand up against the greats, and wouldn’t look out of place next to a Black Flag record. It’s got this effortless raw and brutal sound that so many try to perfect, but it just sounds overdone. Flowers Of Evil make it look so easy and they make it sound exactly like it should. This record is a collection of songs that need to be played in a sweaty dive bar with everyone yelling the words back at the band as David screams them in your face. There is this glorious urgency in the songs that makes you wish you could do this. The alternative is okay- playing it as loud as you can without a care in the world.

It’s nice to allow yourself to be exposed to gentle sounds but sometimes you just need something obnoxiously loud to satisfy what certain parts of you need. If I could, I’d go on about my favourite song on City Of Fear but it’s pretty tough to pick one. Each song comes in just under 2 and a half minutes- the perfect amount of time to get a point across. The lyrics on every song are extremely poignant, especially with how society can be and certain world leaders being absolute shitheads. You need an escape. Every day music is my escape. We’re all getting away from something.

David’s snarl on these songs is brilliant. He has this demeanour that comes through wonderfully on these songs, and it probably makes him on of the most underrated singers/frontman of our generation. City Of Fear is an excellent portrayal of the world we currently live in, and the way in which Flowers Of Evil have exposed it make it much easier to digest.

I know I said I couldn’t pick one particular song, but I’m really into Sedation Vacation. I love how furiously quick it is, and will just make you want to rip shit up. MAN also has David’s infamous snarl on it that like pretty much the whole record, again, will make you just want to destroy stuff.

Play the record loud and throw stuff out of your bedroom window. Unleash that fury you’re carrying around. I love the rage and beautifully deafening sounds on City Of Fear. It sounds real nice right after playing their first record. These 14 songs deserve to rule the rest of your year. The colossal sound on this record is something that just makes you want to pick up a guitar and make a mass amount of noise. Sure 14 songs don’t feel enough, but just go back to the start and let yourself get utterly immersed in the record all over again.

There’s really no point in trying to compare Flowers Of Evil or this record to anything or anyone, it’s totally pointless. The songs truly speak for themselves and must be played as loud as possible. They’re worth losing your hearing over.

You can buy City Of Evil via the Deranged Records bandcamp page: https://derangedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/city-of-fear





LITTLE DEATH MACHINE: Midnight Blue.

12 06 2017

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There are some bands that just make you really, really care about music. Some bands that get beautifully under your skin and take over the noise in your head. These are the bands we cling to, but the grip isn’t needed to be too tight because the love you have for them is going nowhere.

Little Death Machine have been an obsession of mine for a few years now, and every single time they put something new out- I just have to write about it. With everything they have released so far, it sounds like a step up from what has come before.

Their new single, Midnight Blue is what would happen if Trent Reznor and Brian Molko got together with a hint of Cold Cave. So for me, it is nothing short of perfect. Daniel’s voice on this is as strong as ever and it’s one of those songs that are just made to be yelled back to the band.

The wonderfully menacing and creepy sound in Midnight Blue is exceptional, and it is matched brilliantly with the video. I’ve always loved how Little Death Machine have this really eerie and dangerous sound. It’s like something or someone is lurking. Waiting and waiting for you. You may never know who or what it is. But maybe one day it will get you. Maybe you’ll be aware, maybe you won’t. Midnight Blue will be playing as it happens.

There’s this brilliant build up after the 2 and half minute mark where everything just hits you. Followed by a brief instrumental where it goes slightly tame, then Daniel’s vocals kick in again and this wave of unsteadiness hits you. A lot of bands try to get this eerie feeling within their music, and some just take it too far. Little Death Machine do it in a way that is nothing short of effortless, and of course leave you wanting more.

In my biased opinion, it is really one of the best things Little Death Machine have done. I remember hearing Hit Me ages ago and being in awe of this brutal sound. To hear them go from that to what they have created with Midnight Blue is just wonderful. They are really one of the best bands around.

Little Death Machine are having a single launch for Midnight Blue next Monday (19th June) at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington. You can get yourself a ticket here: https://www.musicglue.com/little-death-machine/events/39803950-236e-0135-a8e7-4661067ffba2





DUSTY MUSH: Cheap Entertainment.

4 06 2017

Dusty Mush – Cheap Entertainment

 

Last week, one of the finest bands from France released their new record. Dusty Mush are an obsession of mine, and in an ideal world they would be everyone’s obsession. There’s time.

Cheap Entertainment consists of 10 songs that were designed for you to laze about to, to walk round your streets out of sheer boredom and frustration. They unleash all those daily frustrations in 10 solid songs with only one tipping over the 3 minute mark. Like a wealth of great bands, they don’t need to create long ass songs to make a point. They do it instantly and with this passionate fury that makes you want to leave your bland daily life behind in order to find something that has meaning.

As far as debut records go, I don’t think Dusty Mush could have made a stronger record than this. It is beautifully loud and feels like a pleasurable riot to the ears. The songs will stir a fight within you that will make you want to flail your limbs about and completely let go. You’ll zone out unapologetically to this record. As you blast out Cheap Entertainment, you cannot help but block out the world. And I guess right now, a lot of us need that.

The delightful screams in More & More will project your own annoyances at the world and possibly your surroundings. It’s a record for those who have had enough and can see all the faults. We don’t broadcast them out loud, we hold it close and bands like Dusty Mush allow us to let them go. We all need music like this. The world needs a band like Dusty Mush.

Unfortunately I never got chance to see any of their recent shows in the UK which I’m sad about, but hopefully there will be some more coming up soon. What I adore about Dusty Mush is that, like a lot of bands I am crazy about, they sound like a band that just need to be seen live in order for us to really get a sense of what they are about. The record actually does sound like something someone has recorded at one of their shows. It has this brilliant raw sound to it, and that’s something that is to be muchly appreciated and respected. As a debut record, I really cannot praise it enough. From start to finish the songs are designed to blow out your eardrums and to blow your mind.

Dusty Mush are the kind of band you’d want to be in. You can easily hear the fun, love and passion that has gone into making this record. You can really let go to this record, and sure 10 songs may not feel enough (great bands like this will always leave you wanting more) but it is one of those records that you can play on repeat and not grow tired of it. For me, it is most definitely one of the best records of the year. It’s a record that is just a solid body of fun songs that you can, like I said earlier, laze about to or you can just play and zone out.

Everything about Dusty Mush and this record captures what I love about music. It is half an hour of fuzzed out songs with wonderfully distorted vocals. The perfect mix, and a sheer pleasure to listen to and indulge in.

I hope they come back to the UK soon because these songs are just made to be performed live.

Cheap Entertainment is out now on Howlin’ Banana Records/Stolen Body Records.

Buy it and play it loud.