L.A. WITCH: The Lexington, 18th February 2017.

20 02 2017

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If you’re a fan of the phenomenal L.A. Witch you’ll have seen that some low life decided to steal some of their gear after their show in Bristol last week. For some, they may have just packed up, cancelled the tour and headed home. Not L.A. Witch. They’re doing this tour until the very end and putting their all into every single show. The kindness and love from fellow fans and musicians has been overwhelming and just beautiful to see. I don’t think I’ve seen a bunch of people rally round like this, and it’s just a wonderful thing to see. For every shitty situation, there’s always some good. It’s the kindness of others that gets you through in instances like this.

I saw their first ever show in London in November at the Shacklewell Arms. A bunch of us crammed into a small, sweaty room to finally witness one of the best bands around. I’ve been going on and on about their music for 3 or 4 years now, and to have finally seen them last November was just a real highlight for me. To see them on Saturday? Oh man, it towers over that show for sure.

Their show at The Lexington was nothing short of divine. You could tell that they were playing with slight caution at the start, especially Sade as she was borrowing a guitar and pedals. However, the nerves slipped away with ease as she held that guitar as if it was her own. The way they played had no indication of what had happened a few nights before, but I noticed there was something about them this time that really hit me. They played with this unbelievable force and passion that made you just want to jump on stage and join in. They made you want to be part of their gang. It must be said that Ellie is a fantastic drummer and the way she basically annihilates the drums during Kill My Baby and Ain’t Comin’ Home is insane. For the most part she makes you wish you could play the drums, but for the remainder you just stare in awe of her beating the shit out of the drum kit.

Hearing songs like Good Guys and You Love Nothing was so great, especially as I don’t think Good Guys is really played much, or maybe at all. Heart Of Darkness closes the set. Irita really owns the set with her bass on Drive Your Car, and Sade rips into the song, Brian with this fury that is so wonderfully captivating.

As I gazed upon the stage, no part of me could think of a band that they reminded me of. I really cannot think of anyone or anything I have heard before, and I was instantly shot back in time to when I first heard them in 2013. It just smacks you blissfully in the face. I love being able to hear songs like Get Lost live because these early songs are the ones that had me hooked completely. Get Lost is a real highlight of the set because at the end, they just really let rip. It’s such a raucous song and they just do it so perfectly well in their set.  I guess part of me really loves them so much because if I had any musical talent, I’d want to sound like L.A. Witch. I stood with my eyes closed a lot and swayed during a few of their songs, just letting the music take me wherever. I’m having a really shit time at the moment, and I just wanted to hear something that would take me out of my mind and body. They most certainly did that, and for that hour or so- nothing in the world, nothing in my head mattered. I remember vividly closing my eyes during Ain’t Comin’ Home and just being covered in goose bumps. Most definitely one of the best shows I’ve been to in a long time and easily one of the best bands I’ve ever seen live.

Each song is played with this way of just leaving you stunned, there is simply no denying just how great this band is and with their debut record FINALLY coming out this summer- I think everyone is finally going to realise just how brilliant they are and I have every ounce of faith that their debut record is probably going to get played to death by me, easily.

I managed to get the set list from the show, so if you’re interested they played:

Intro

You Love Nothing

Kill My Baby Tonight

Brian

Untitled

Ain’t Comin’ Home

Sleep

Feel Alright

Drive Your Car

Baby In Blue

Get Lost

Encore:

Good Guys

Heart Of Darkness.

 





THE UNDERGROUND YOUTH: What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This?

14 02 2017

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This week The Underground Youth release their eighth record, What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This? If there was a prize for best album title, it would easily claim first prize. With such a bold statement as its name, can it live up to it? Can it hold the weight? Oh come on, of course they do. This might come from a biased view point, but it is accurate all the same. Every song on this record has its own way to make you label it as your favourite song on the record. Each song is going to move you, push and pull you in all ways imaginable.

For me their new record seems to tower over their previous seven, and I know it is such a failed clichéd thing to say but if you go back and listen to each record and you then listen to this, you will see how they/mainly Craig’s remarkable way with words has really grown. The capture the essence of their base (Berlin via Manchester) in their songs, and they make you just want to sack everything off and move. I for one, am trying to do that because the city I’m currently in has ruined me in ways I didn’t think I could. Daily panic attacks are a given, my own reflection is a piss poor outline of myself. I try to avoid looking. My auntie gave me some dear advice on Sunday when I went home. She said, “Music will get you through.” I’m hoping she’s right because I don’t really have much else. It’s what I have when no one else is around and I don’t like to burden anyone anyway.

Anyway, let’s move on because I sound like a proper whiney twat.

The Underground Youth are going on a pretty extensive tour to promote this record. They’re playing right near my house in a few weeks, and I’m going to try my best to make it. I’ve never seen them live before, even though I spend a lot of time listening to their music. I’ve wondered how their live show would be. I hope they make it as dark and as eerie as possible. I sadly missed their show at The Lexington. Me and my panic attacks. I’m pretty sure it was one hell of a show, and it was at one of my favourite venues too. The new record seems to be one of those that you’ve just GOT to see live. It has all these intense elements to it that make you intrigued into how they will unleash these songs openly on stage.

For me, I really hope they play The Outsider on this tour as it shows a side to them that will lure the meekest of people in. Once they get in, that’s it. I love the distorted vocals and how it has a very subtle Shoegaze feel to it. I rarely pay attention to labels that are given to bands as it can just hinder/harm your take on them. I’ve read how The Underground Youth have been labelled over the period of their career, and I’ve not really picked up on any specific sound and I think that is part of the charm. The fact that you don’t know what it is or what era you think they are from makes it all the more better. This record could easily have happened circa Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ Kick Against The Pricks or Outside Your Room by Slowdive. That’s what it sounds like- something that may have already happened but also something so brilliantly new and brutally fascinating.

Your Sweet Love is a big highlight for me. I love the sheer intensity of it, and again, it is one I really hope they play live because there is no denying how electrifying the atmosphere will be once they indulge magically into this (just over) 6 minute symphonic blissful sound. There’s no telling where this song will take you, it’s just wonderfully captivating. The whole record is, and I don’t think any part of me will grow tired of obsessing over it and finding new songs, new pieces of the songs to love and cherish dearly. The record ends with the moving Incapable Of Love. It is the perfect song to end this glorious record on, and it really cements the title of the record. The record feels like a novel- not a piece of music. I hope anyone who hears this record picks up on that. It feels like something a write you love from way back has written and it’s been brought to life through music. Think Schopenhauer meets Henry Miller. A mixture of these two worlds and put together in the most perfect way possible.

It is truly everything I want from a record. Like all great bands, The Underground Youth have this effortless way of creating a new sound with each record and eight records in, they’ve again surpassed themselves. They do it every single time, and I love them for it.

Buy the record tomorrow and come out to see them at one of their shows!





THE MOONLANDINGZ (ft.REBECCA TAYLOR): The Strangle Of Anna.

7 02 2017

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I blame the fragility of my mind for my current inability to love the things I once held dear to me- I’m working on it, and today for the first time in a long time, I felt something towards music. Something to make me want to write about music. The past couple of months, I’ve done it because I thought I had to. I didn’t want to, I don’t re-read anything I’ve ever written. From the things I write here to what’s in my notebook that goes everywhere with me. Once I’ve finished something, I just let it go. Sometimes to never be seen- but that’s just my notebooks. Today, something stirred as I listened to the new song by The Moonlandingz.

The Strangle Of Anna features the wonderful Rebecca from Slow Club. Her vocals over the heavy drums make you feel as if you’re back in the age of The Velvet Underground & Nico. It’s All Tomorrows Parties with a slight, ever so slight touch on Heroin. Basically, the first record by The Velvet Underground & Nico. Now, if you’ve not read up about the song you’d probably just dismiss it and think “Done before, not a fan.” Don’t be small minded. Listen to the words, take the song in and realise what The Moonlandingz are about.

The song is brilliantly written from the view a girl whose boyfriend is in a generic Indie band that acts like they worship Lou Reed but could probably only name one song and has never sat through Metal Machine Music. You know the type. They’re at every gig you and I go to. They stand draping their arm over their girlfriend because she so badly wants to be with the lad in the band. He wears sunglasses inside because he wants to look mysterious. Mate, you’re a knob. SUNglasses. The hint is in the name. Doofus. They’re the type that’ll talk all the way through a gig. What are they talking about? Some wanky coffee shop that only sells rye bread and avocados. They cling onto their awful craft beer, pretending to enjoy it when deep down, they’d probably prefer a cup of tea or a can of Tizer. How awful are his band? Oh you know the type.

The frontman, Johnny Rocket (Lias from Fat White Family if you’ve been nodding off) is easily the best frontman of my generation. I’ve yet to see Fat Whites live (every single time it has clashed with something. I try not to think about it. My uncle and auntie have seen them loads- I live through them) and as the character Johnny Rocket, you find yourself in awe. You see him as an unconventional superhero. The Moonlandingz are one of the most exciting bands around, and are made up of super talented folks who want to trip the hell out of the listener. They’re off on tour next month. I desperately want to travel up to Sheffield to see them. Mainly because I’m running out of Henderson’s Relish. Fully aware I can order it online, but you know, I just bloody love Sheffield. Or maybe their show in Liverpool. There’s something massively exciting about travelling to a gig, and staying overnight somewhere. I think I just want to get out of London so badly, maybe that’s why.

I’ve found it really hard to enjoy things at the moment and whilst I know I’m getting worse, it feels pretty damn good to know that I can still love a piece of music like this and have this urge to write about it. It gave me goose bumps from the second I heard it, and with every listen I find myself wanting to just over how gorgeous this song is. Sure it’s a dig at those wanky types who irritate us, but my god they have done it better than anyone else could. It echoes the greatest band ever, The Velvet Underground in all the right places. It does something to you. It’s all in Johnny/Lias and Rebecca’s vocals. They work so well together, and I am content with playing this over and over again until I fall into a relaxing slumber.

Here are the tour dates for the next month or so. Please go see them and dress accordingly and liberally:

March:

22nd Newcastle Cluny

23rd Glasgow Stereo

24th Dublin Whelans

25th Liverpool Invisible Wind Factory

28th Birmingham Hare & Hounds

29th Nottingham Rescue Rooms

30th Manchester Gorilla

April:

1st Sheffield Leadmill

2nd Bristol Thekla

3rd Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms

4th London Village Underground





BEAT DEGENERATION.

24 01 2017

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In my biased opinion, Italy is the home to some great music. It’s obviously the best country in the world, is home to the best football team in the world (Juventus) and the best goalkeeper in the world, aside from my brother (Gigi Buffon!) There’s one band in particular that reinforce my belief that Italy is the home to some bloody brilliant music- Beat Degeneration.

Beat Degeneration have a beautiful sound that’ll catapult you headfirst back to the 90s. There’s hints of Slowdive in their sound, a strong Shoegaze sound is present but don’t be a dismissive fool about it. Their sound oozes heat. They make you feel like you’re relaxing on a beach in Puglia or wandering around a damp, and dreary London. They take you, they bloody take you. They take your mind, and up away you go. It’s a lucid trip and you didn’t touch a thing.

They’ve got this way of getting you to drown out daily noise and to just get yourself focusing on them. They grip you tightly, but in a non-threatening way. They sway you, nurture you and soothe your soul with their gorgeous sound. You can’t help but feel as if you’re not stuck indoors on a freezing cold January night. Where they take you is far more exciting than where you are.

Last year they released the brilliant Dream Machine which you can pick up as a free download here: https://beatdegeneration.bandcamp.com/releases Get a copy and play as loud as your ears can stand. It’s the perfect record to escape to, it’s also perfect to do nothing to. As far as debut records go, Dream Machine is just great. It was written and produced by frontman, Guido Giorgi. The band now consists of Manuel (“Gerry”) on the drums and Piero on bass. Like a lot of bands I’ve written about, Beat Degeneration strike me as a band that you’ve just got to see live. On record they have this beautiful energy and ability to take you some place unknown to others, I’m pretty sure their live shows will be the right kind of wild and chaotic. Something to unleash your daily frustrations to.

The record ends with the 7 minute wonder, Nowhere (A Land Where I Belong) and it shows a different side to Beat Degeneration. Sure you’d think with a name like that they’re just a bunch of snotty nosed kids making noise, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. Nowhere shows you exactly what Beat Degeneration are capable of, and that’s blowing whatever is left of your mind. Nowhere is the perfect song to close the record with. It’s gentle and easy on the mind. There are a few moments on this record where you feel like you just want to go to some sweaty basement dive bar and be covered in beer and sweat. But there are tender moments like this where you just want to be. Nowhere is the song you play through headphones and just let yourself drift off. Either to sleep or to a clear place in your mind, just go. Drift away freely and think of nothing. Allow yourself to have these moments.

I really hope they play some UK shows soon after doing a number of dates around Europe last year. I’m pretty sure their shows will be captivating and freeing. They’re not a band to go see live and not move to. Even the most rigid would find it hard to not move a little bit to the sounds of Beat Degeneration. I’ve played the record in full a few times now, and I’ve gone back to it to play in a different order, but with every intention of ending on Nowhere.

The songs are great. Really strong songs that deserve to be heard as loud as you can stand. They’re your new favourite band.

FORZA BEAT DEGENERATION!





THE PSYCHOCANDIES.

23 01 2017

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A sinful sound echoes in your ears as you listen to The Psychocandies. The name lured me in. I thought of The Jesus And Mary Chain. The only thing The Psychocandies has in common with TJAMC is that both of them make beautiful noise. The Pyschocandies may remind you a little of Psychocandy- it’s the reverb and the distorted vocals. It’s my weakness.

I don’t know much about The Psychocandies. I read that it’s just one person, but it doesn’t matter. I think they’re from France. They make you think you’re loitering in dark alleys in Paris on a damp evening. Watching the rain fall under a flickering street light. They’re the romanticised version of the city. They’re the soundtrack to what’s going on in your head, they pour out from your nightmares. It never sounded so good.

There’s quite a lot to delve in with regards to their back catalogue. The most recent came out possibly in the summer of last year? The songs sound like they could be the soundtrack to your nightmares. There’s a brilliant decadent sound that flows through. They make you feel as if something is chasing you, or maybe you’re the one doing the hunting and the haunting. The hypnotic grooves but you in a trance, especially on the From The Depths release.

The songs on this record are loud, brilliantly intrusive (not in a bad way) and set the mind off. Everything is heightened on this record, especially on You Got No Soul (the alt version). It’s a really, really in your face kind of song. If you play it as loud as you can stand, you’ll probably end up deaf for about half hour- then you’ll find yourself doing it again. And again. I think if you were to go to one of their shows, you’d leave partially deaf. That’s not always a bad thing.

The Psychocandies will give you the shakes, you’ll go hot and cold. You won’t settle when you listen to them- you’ll be on edge. They’ll plague your mind in the most glorious way imaginable. It’s the kind of music I’d want to make- I’d want to make people feel uneasy but in a way that’s not scary or threatening. There would be something to lure the listener in, and that’s exactly what they do. They keep you guessing, wondering what’s going to hit you next. Any remotely decent band can do this, and The Psychocandies do it in a way that leave you wanting more, and more. They remind me of The Vacant Lots in that way you know. For me, The Vacant Lots are up there with some of the greatest bands of all time and after seeing them live, I realised it was the sheer intensity of the sound that made me a fan years ago. That’s how I’m heading with The Psychocandies. There is something so effortlessly intense about them, so dark and so full of curiosity for the listener.

You can spend way too long try to dissect your reasons for loving something, but sometimes when you do this it makes you love the band even more. Does that make sense? You keep listening to them, over and over. As you listen, you find new things to love and appreciate about them. You hear a new noise within them. That new noise just fires you up and makes you hear things differently. It all sounds bigger. As I listen to The Psychocandies, I can’t really pin point where the sound takes me. I know it’s desolate and I know it’s dark, and for me that’s entirely comforting.

There’s something about this secluded and sacred sound that makes you connect more than you thought you could.





MACHIINE: The Shacklewell Arms, 20th January 2017.

20 01 2017

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I’m fairly sure I have just witnessed one of the best live bands around and have probably been to a gig that might end up being my best of the year. I’ve got others lined up, but this one is staying etched upon my brain. I can’t unsee any of it and nor do I want to.

Made up of members from The Underground Youth, Peace And Love Barbershop Muhammad Ali and PINS- Machiine just ripped a hole right through the Shacklewell Arms with no apologies. They completely and utterly destroyed the place with their destructive and rambunctious sound. The kind of sound that makes you want to make your own noise.

I have seen many great shows at this venue and I can honestly say I’ve not seen anything like this before. They blitz through their debut Teaser EP with also a phenomenal cover of Garland Jeffreys track, Wild In The Streets. I remember hearing that song when I was super young on MTV and it stuck with me. To hear a band like Machiine turn it into a brilliantly smutty affair was great, they made it theirs and more.

Craig and Mark prowl on the stage and circle the floor. The stage is too small to hold all seven of them. Each band member plays as if they have been in Machiine for decades and decades, they don’t sound brand new- but their sound is so unique. I think also, not knowing what to expect truly made this show what it was- sensational. That’s the only word. I’ve left wanting to start my own band but I have no musical talent, so I’ll just write about it instead. I can happily say that this is one of the most in your face and most rowdy shows I’ve been to. It was the right kind of confrontational and the way Mark and Craig are with each other is brilliant. Mark has this impish grin on his face as they rip through What Bad Boys Do whereas Craig leaves you in awe wondering where he goes when he performs the songs. Each band member takes you on their own journey. Ola bangs the drums and shakes the tambourine as if her life depends on it, and keeps the steady pace and groove of the sounds. Honestly, if you weren’t there- you messed up. You missed out.

I hope this is only just the start, a taster of what is to come because there is sincerely nothing stopping Machiine from not only being YOUR favourite band, but a band that rule the airwaves and the world. Give them the world, save us all. The crowd did seem a little reserved but maybe they just didn’t know what to expect, but trust me when they come your way and into town- go see them. Don’t pay attention to the crowd, just do whatever the hell you want.

 





DRAB MAJESTY: The Demonstration,

20 01 2017

 

 

If I could name any band as having the “perfect” sound, I’d probably have a solid five. Perhaps. My idea of a perfect sound and yours are totally different. My idea of it is probably shit compared to someone else, but that’s fine. How awful it would be if we all liked the same thing. I’ve already called I See You by The xx as my favourite record of the year, but I’ve got another that creeps up closely.

Drab Majesty are on the Dias label. This label is a big deal, to me. They are the home to some of the bands that I quite simply, couldn’t do without. The main one being Them Are Us Too. Easily one of the best bands to emerge in a long, long time and Cash is never far from my thoughts. Drab Majesty have released their new record, The Demonstration today. With so much hurt and bleakness in the world, having a band like Drab Majesty make it easier. There’s something comforting about this sound, and sure some may declare this as nothing short of miserable- I can’t see it. I really, really can’t. Tonight I’m going to my first gig in a long time because my panic attacks are getting worse but I’m doing my best today to keep myself as calm as possible- The Demonstration is the perfect record to do this to. It’s an easy listening and my god it is good for the soul.

A bit of background on the band: Initially this was Deb’s solo project, but they are now a duo. This is their first record as a duo and it is braver than the first release. The Demonstration echoes influences of bands such as Them Are Us Too, Cold Cave and that early Depeche Mode sound. Heavy on the synths, even heavier on the imagery and feeling they give you. I’ve read some pieces on the band where they have named The Cure as a band they can hear in their music. To an extent I can hear this, but if anything it just holds the weight of records like Pornography and Seventeen Seconds. For me, that’s a solid sound to carry but Drab Majesty are their own band with their own sound, which is beautifully put together on this record.

They are currently on tour with my beloved Cold Cave. For now, there’s only one UK date and that’s in London in March. Drab Majesty are playing a load of shows across Europe in March and April. Including a show at Superbudda in Torino, which is a bloody great arts/creative space in one of the best cities you’ll ever go to.

Drab Majesty create this dark, wonderfully sinister yet gentle world with their music. The Demonstration is easy on the ears and rules the mind upon its first listen. It’s a record that when you listen to it, you’ll be left wanting to listen to it with more intense ears. Then you slowly find yourself relaxing more and more. It’s the perfect sound all over. I’m currently obsessing over Forget Tomorrow, but trust me the whole record is a grand piece of art. They take all you have known before then unleash you into a different universe on this record. The Demonstration is a gorgeous and elegant record from start to finish. Dot In The Sky and Not Just A Name may deserve your attention more than most, but trust me the whole record is absolutely fantastic and even if like me, you’re not into making lists, just hold this closely as one of the finest records that you will hear all year. It is perfect for the dark, cold days. It is perfect for sitting alone in your room whilst being comforted by Deb’s soothing voice. It’s just perfect, simple as.