THE CRAMPS: A Date With Elvis

15 09 2017

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Prior to this record being released, The Cramps put out numerous compilations and live records. Maybe I’ll go back and write about them, but for now I am sticking with studio albums. Now we’re on record number three. Three is the magic number, and although I said I could never pick a favourite record by The Cramps- I’m pretty sure that this one is my favourite. So here we go.

This record is just phenomenal. It’s got all the classics. I’ve got a copy on vinyl that my girlfriend got me this Christmas just passed. It was probably one of the best things I’ve ever been given (she’s also got me a record by The Mummies which massively blew my mind! I think she got me it because I told her there was no way she would ever find a copy.) A Date With Elvis came out in 1986. A really good year for records. And you know, some of us were born in that year! A Date With Elvis only has Ivy, Lux and Nick on- again, three is the magic number. Of course the likes of Bryan and Kid Congo Powers are missed here, but the content of this record is nothing short of genius. There is something about Lux’s voice on this record that sounds super strong. The strongest it has ever been, and the way the three of them had put this record together is just amazing. It’s a record I am constantly playing. I don’t care if it annoys my housemates and neighbours- everyone has THAT one record they just need to put on after a tiresome day. This is my one.

The brilliantly named Kizmiaz (say it slowly) is my favourite on the record. I love how it is slightly slower than a typical song by The Cramps and Lux’s voice isn’t as deep here. There’s a different tone on this song, and I just adore it. I could play it over and over, and fall back in love with it all over again. The whole record has some greatly named songs on such as The Hot Pearl Snatch, What’s Inside A Girl? and Can Your Pussy Do The Dog? Read into the songs however you want, but the humour is subtle but the genius is obvious all over.

People Ain’t No Good may sound pessimistic, but it’s a great song. Lux, Ivy and Nick just make it fun. Their second record had that Horror film to it, but A Date With Elvis has this really laid-back atmosphere to it. The songs won’t make you jump out of your skin, instead you’ll just want to throw a party and play this record on repeat. Although a party consisting only songs by The Cramps would probably guarantee my attendance, and I’m not a fan of parties!

We all have records by bands we love that justify why we love them so much. Sometimes it may just be a song, but for me this record totally explains and shows why I love them so much. It’s one of those records you cannot help but go back to. If I was telling someone who hadn’t listened to The Cramps before where to start, I’d say this one. Then I’d shock them with Psychedelic Jungle. Just to see if they can handle it.

Writing this has just made me want to go home and blast this record out. I’m pretty sure that’s how I’ll spend my evening. Then I will delve deeply into record number four and see what kind of world that takes me to.

Like all records by The Cramps, this one needs to be played loud. And often,

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THE CRAMPS: Psychedelic Jungle

15 09 2017
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With a line up change, I guess anyone would question a little if The Cramps could maintain the magic and weirdness they created with their first record. Of course they could, and did. Exit Bryan Gregory, enter Kid Congo Powers.

Psychedelic Jungle is a brilliant record. We all know that. The smut and filth levels are upped here and by no means is it for shock value. It’s just how it is. Gloriously perverse. Others still try and do this but they just sound like creeps. Certain bands have done it since and have kept with the similar tone as The Cramps but others, like I said, are just creepy.

Caveman has this aggressive sound to it. It sounds like a motorbike chase at times. The whole record is one wild ride that you never want to end. It’s got the perfect mix of filth and strange. You have to really listen to pick up on specific references. But hey, if your mind is wired to head that way anyway, you’ll have smirked instantly within the first note.
This is such a great record to lose your mind to. Sure they made some records that make you want to dance but this is one to just lose your mind to. Yeah there are songs that will make you move such as The Crusher. But maybe don’t take the song so literally. Unless you’re a zombie perhaps. This song would fit perfectly in some 70s Horror B-Movie. You know the kind. Don’t be a snob, those films are great! In fact, the whole record feels like it is a handbook for ghouls, vampires and zombies.

For me, The Cramps are that ultimate band. They were just consecutively amazing and always brought out mind blowing and ear bending records. The influence they had and evidently still there. Bands like this don’t come around all too often and sorry to be that person but, they don’t make them like this anymore! The more I write about them and the more I listen to Lux’s earth shaking and hip swaying voice, the more I miss him. The more I miss The Cramps. I could say we need another record as insane as this but do we? This wasn’t the blueprint, it was perfection the second they released it. The haunting werewolf like cries on Primitive is one of the most enticing moments on the record. This song stays with you all damn day.

I love how The Cramps made the artwork to their records fit with what was going on in the record. Sure you can dance to their records, but if you take some time and look at the artwork as you play the record in full, you may see the theme of the record. You may truly feel what’s going on in the record and pick up on the stories being told. It’s genius and totally mind blowing.
I could easily say that this is their greatest records, hell I could say that about all of them to be honest. And you know, it’d be pretty difficult to actually pick a favourite- right? They are one of those bands that blow you away each time, and the thing is, they still do it now. Going back and listening to this record solidly was nothing short of fun. I loved being able to hear new things with each listen and to pick up on different reasons (and new) as to why I just absolutely adore this band.

Maybe behind the filth and sleaze are tips on how to survive the end of the world but hey- Don’t Eat Stuff Off The Sidewalk!





THE CRAMPS: Songs The Lord Taught Us.

13 09 2017

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I had an idea earlier today to listen to every studio album by The Cramps and write about them. I’ve done this with several bands in the past, and it’s only right that I do this for the most important band of all time- The Cramps. An iconic, timeless and just brilliant band. What they did for music and us weirdos is priceless. Let’s go back to 1980.

Although their first release was the EP, Gravest Hits in 1979 The Cramps released their first full length LP in 1980. Songs the Lord Taught Us consists of 13 brain shattering, life changing, and limb flailing songs. These songs were made to creep out anyone who hear Lux’s voice. His voice is Halloween all over. It’s creepy, utterly spooky and something you cannot tear yourself away from. Although they made music that some may have turned their noses up at, it is their live performances that probably had the raw shock value. When you listen to The Cramps for the first time, it stays with you.

The Cramps are that kind of band who within the first listen, the first note make you instantly realise that they are going to rule your mind. Their music will be something you constantly turn to. Ivy and Lux were the most perfect couple. Everything they did was a reflection of them, and although I never a show- we have dodgy YouTube recordings that somewhat capture the atmosphere slightly. Ivy had this demeanour on stage that made you idolise her. Lux was all kinds of outrageous, and that is why we adore them so. Songs The Lord Taught Us was an in depth look into the journey that The Cramps would take their fans on.

One thing I’ve realised from being a massive fan of the band is that there is no such thing as casually listening to them. There is no such thing as just listening to a few songs and being content with that. Far from it. Songs The Lord Taught Us and the rest of their records are addictive. You play one- you end up spending your day listening to all of them. And probably more than once too.

There are a couple of covers on the record, and the one that obviously stands out is Fever. Lux manages to really take this song somewhere else. Fever has been covered by so many, and the most notable is probably Peggy Lee’s version. Her version is lustful and seductive. The Cramps take the lust and the seductive tones, and turn it into something gloriously smutty. Hey, if you’re going to cover a song- you might as well do whatever you want to it. The Cramps created something truly remarkable with their first record, and this went on with everything they did. Nothing they did could be repeated. A band that were consistently great and managed to keep their fans hooked for decades with all they did. There’s no denying at all just how influential they were and still are. Songs The Lord Taught Us was just a small taste of what was to come.

Brian and Ivy made their guitars sound like weapons, Nick’s drumming was a glorious thump to the head and Lux just stole you away. If we were going to talk about the greatest frontman of all time, I’d probably say that Lux was up there. The way he moved, the way he managed to make the universe feel as if it was quaking with his voice. He just had something about him. They all did, and for it to come across so prominently on their first full length record is nothing short of fascinating and straight up incredible.

What I love about this record is that you can imagine bands you love listening to this, and wanting to start a band. It’s got something about it that just drives you on. It’s got something about it that leaves you in awe of how fantastic this debut (full length) record is.

Their songs are wonderfully smutty, filthy and humorous. I guess the Lord taught them well.





L.A. WITCH: L.A. Witch

8 09 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





THE GUN CLUB: Fire Of Love.

3 09 2017

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At the end of August 1981, a band called The Gun Club released a record that was unlike anything else. Nothing before or after has ever come close to it. A genre-bending record that still towers over most to this day. It was made to be played loud and obsessively. In short, it is in top end of the best records I have ever heard and will ever hear.

Last week I was feeling pretty shitty so I did what I normally do- bought a record. I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for. I had my hands on Repeater by Fugazi but then my hands latched onto a live record by The Gun Club. This was difficult, and I know I should have just bought both. I opted for The Gun Club but I will return to rightfully purchase some Fugazi.

Fire Of Love is easily one of the greatest records ever made. It’s this brilliant mix of rockabilly and punk undertones. It’s everything I want from a record. It’s perverse, obnoxious, loud, eccentric and utterly wild. Jeffrey Lee Pierce was a great frontman, and Fire Of Love was just a brief taste of how wonderful he was.

The record opens with Sex Beat and it is such a powerful start to the record. It immediately locks you in. A tight grip round your lugholes. Once you hear this record, that’s it. It’s got this kick to it that makes you forget all you have heard before. When you hear something new, you find yourself comparing it to this record. Seek for the things that give you the kind of kick Fire Of Love gives you, and you’ll be alright.

I spent a lot of last week really studying this record. I wanted to see how it felt with every listen. I wanted to pick up on all that was going on in the record with every listen. I spent my journeys to and from work listening to it. I occasionally listened to it at work and any other chance I got. It’s a record that you can get lost in. You can immerse yourself in it as you travel to work, you can find another world in it as you lay on your bed listening to it, you can fall in love to it. You can do whatever the hell you want to this record- and it will wonderfully heighten everything you think and feel. It’s simply, a perfect record that continues to stand the test of time. Time is a mere obstacle in comparison to this record.

Fire Of Love is one of those records that some lost teen hears in their formative years and picks up a guitar, and changes the world. This is such a powerful record. It’s got this feel to it that still leaves you amazed with every listen. From the fury in She’s Like Heroin To Me and the sheer force within Fire Spirit. It’s timeless. As clichéd as it sounds, it truly is a timeless record. It may only be 40 minutes long but each song takes you away from where you are.

When you listen to this record, you can easily pick up on bands that have since been influenced by this record and The Gun Club in general. Bands like this are rare. Fire Of Love is THAT record that stays with you for your whole life. It’s that record that you can easily remember first hearing, where you were, what you were wearing and what you were doing. It’s a defining moment- for the band and for those that have heard the record.

Fire Of Love is made up of 11 songs that will change your life, enhance your record collection and blow your mind. When you listen to it, you’ll probably hear how it has influenced bands you love. For them, it is probably THAT record that made them realise they had to start a band. It’s got that sound to it that makes you want to make your own sound, your own noise.

Stick your headphones in and go for a walk playing this. You’ll probably feel about 10 feet tall as you wander round listening to it. Jack On Fire will be the one that makes you feel tough and unstoppable.





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.