RECORDS OF 2013.

21 12 2013

I thought I had 10 solid records to list as my favourite this year. My utter favourite has not changed; that was the only one I was 100% sure on. I change my mind a lot, about most things. What I like today, I may dislike tomorrow. Or in 10 minutes. It keeps things interesting to an extent, then it just gets confusing. I don’t like order or structure. Music is my favourite sound. People bragging about how much they drank the night before is my least favourite. If only there was a mute button for conversation.

With it being close to the end of the year, everyone thinks their opinion is better than other people’s when talking about their favourite record, songs, books etc of the year that has passed. My opinion isn’t made for counting or even worth acknowledging. To the one person who’ll read this; I hope you own at least one of the records I mention here. Of course, you don’t have to own it but you know..buy yourself something nice. Anyway. This isn’t in order, but the last record I mention is my favourite of the year.

Dirty Beaches- Love Is The Devil/Drifters. Anything Alex does always blows me away. He’s someone who, when you listen to his music, you can tell is truly in an untouchable zone when he makes music. You can sense that nothing distracted him in the process, and when you listen to his music nothing distracts you from that intimate moment you have listening to his music. To an extent music is pretty voyeuristic. We are listening in on other people’s thoughts and feelings. They know someone is listening; they just don’t know who. I’ve read vile criticism of this record from those who wanted Badlands part 2. It’s rally unfair to Alex because he’s one of the most passionate musicians out there; and to assume he’s going to make the same record over and over is just wrong. Same goes for many more, I know. But Alex’s music just stands out. I finally got to see him live this year, and watching him felt like you were witnessing someone unleash every demon that their body posses. It was a truly beautiful show. I interviewed him, and although it was done via email I could easily sense just how much music means to him. He’s not someone who’s had success come easy to him, and that hunger is firmly within him to keep making music. When I heard the song, Love Is The Devil it just broke my heart because it had this raw beauty to it, but pain also. It was overwhelming at times to listen to this record because of the rawness of it. The honesty in this record just makes you proud to be a fan of his music. Alex’s music makes you want to everything behind and fall in love with a gloomy European city that has history of romantic and haunting literature, with locals telling stories in dingy cafes.

Ezra Furman- Day Of The Dog. The hot pink cover did it for me. Ezra is an incredible song-writer; Day Of The Dog showcases this better than before. The songs are full of lust, self-doubt, hate (directed at the self and others) and is done in a way that doesn’t seem like it is self-pitying bullshit. So far from it. The philosophical lyrics with the delightful sax playing just makes this record a pleasure to listen to. For me, Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell is a brilliant “fuck you” and is the perfect soundtrack to those pissed off moods we are all prone to. Ezra has this way of touching on dark subjects in a way that disguises just how dark the feeling is. It’s the kind of music you speed off into the sunset too, where night-time is all you crave. His song-writing skills are enviable. He’s not afraid to pour his heart out for all to hear; for me that’s what makes this record wonderful.

Deptford Goth- Life After Defo. For the most part, what I listen to is some kind of take on Garage rock. However, sometimes something in music happens and I just fall for it. I have no idea what genre Deptford Goth’s music falls into. I don’t really care. There’s only two kinds of music for me- music I listen to and music I don’t listen to. Why waste your time on pointless sub-genres that feed those pretentious idiots out there. Deptford Goth’s debut record is one I have played constantly on train/tube journeys as everything is dark and the odd flickering street-light is all I see. I’ve walked country roads listening to this when I was living at my mum’s- when the evenings were light. His music fits the night-time perfectly. His gentle voice makes you feel as if you have something like a best friend walking with you to guide you through anything and everything. This is the kind of music that just stays locked in the heart. I’ve tried listening to Life After Defo when it is light out, but when you start to feel tired when on a long journey as the day fades- his music becomes so apt. I advise getting on a train just as it’s getting dark, head into your nearest city and walk around listening to this record. It just makes everything feel alright and secure.

SISU-Blood Tears. Fronted by Dum Dum Girls’ drummer Sandra (she’s also the best drummer I’ve ever seen live) SISU make hypnotic music to lose your mind to. Blood Tears has an eerie feel to it, as if it should be in some insanely fucked up horror film. Th best songs usually have this feel to them don’t they. Yet Sandra’s delicate voice makes you feel at ease. It’s the kind of record you play when the sky is covered in a haunting mist; the sounds will direct you where you want to go. You get lost in the beautiful moments that Blood Tears creates. Blood Tears posses this attitude that makes you think you can pretty much take anything and anyone on. Think, Garbage’s debut record- that kind of powerful. Dominant but not obnoxious in the slightest. It’s a powerful record that pretty much merges everything I love and adore about music.

PINS-Girls Like Us. Debut record of the year; no questions about it. This ferocious and dark debut record from the finest band in Manchester is one I’ve been playing on constant repeat since it came out. Every song is addictive. My love for PINS started last year when I heard the anthemic LuvU4Lyf. If you’ve seen PINS live, you will know just how pleasurable this song is to witness live. It is like a battle cry for hearts that are full of love; all bouts of lust have faded, and it has become something tougher. Speaking of tough, Girls Like Us has a gang-like feel to it. All too often I’ve seen PINS be described as a “girl band.” If only people defined music by what it sounds like rather than the gender of those making it. PINS are pretty much the most exciting band in the UK and I honestly cannot praise this record enough. It is, in my mind, a debut masterpiece. I’m so excited about how their sound is going to grow; I just bloody adore them. You get that, right?!

POP. 1280-Imps Of Perversion. The only person I know who really loves this band aside from myself is my uncle. We both share a mutual love for all things weird and loud. POP.1280 are one of the best bands on the brilliant Sacred Bones label. You see, Sacred Bones have never released a shit record. Some labels do have questionable moments; but Sacred Bones do take risks, and they do it in a way that means the listener is going to experience some of the best music imaginable. By no means are POP.1280 easy to listen to. This isn’t a record to woo a lover to or to play to your Gran at a family gathering. Oh no. Imps Of Perversion is a collective of perverse songs that you should play in your bedroom as loud as you want to. Feel as free as you want. Let the music fuck you up and over. It’ll go through your bones, smash your skull and leave you wondering why this isn’t played on commercial radio. Let them have your noise; you’ve got your own. Imps Of Perversion is as noisy and as brutal as it gets. This is one record I’d love to have witnessed the recording process for. It is brilliantly weird and wired.

The Long Wives- A Collection Of Demonstrations And Demons. I’ve been writing about Brandy for some time now, and since accidentally finding her music there’s not been a day where I’ve not listened to her haunting voice. Her voice is scary and powerful. Her songs show that she is one of the best song-writers around; the way she tells stories enables you to feel the fury she feels in her songs. This is her debut record, but it’s pretty much a collection of old songs and demos on there. It does have my favourite, Judas Hex on. It’s one of my favourite songs by Brandy, but to pin point what it is that I love about her music would take an eternity; I simply cannot justify my love for her music. If I ever had the money and was okay with being on a plane for 8 hours, I’d fly to LA and hang out with her in a graveyard and discuss life in general with her. She’s like a stripped back version of Zola Jesus; by this I mean her music makes you think. And I mean REALLY think about everything around you. Her music to me, is romantic and can cure the heart of any illness that is surrounding it. Her lyrics are vulnerable and the way she sings is just breathtaking. She’s an inspiration for sure.

Willis Earl Beal- Nobody Knows. From one musical genius to another; Willis is the man who is putting some much-needed soul into music right now. He appeals to the loner in me, which as I get older, becomes more and more obvious. I like my own company more than I used to, which  guess is an adjustment to getting older. I hate being in large groups of people, I just really hate it. Willis’ voice has a lot of soul to it, and his debut record had a lot of pain surrounding it. Read his background story, and you’ll see why. Nobody Knows has bouts of hope and strength in it. His song with the gorgeous Chan Marshall (Cat Power) just makes you feel as if everything is going to be alright again. It also makes you want them to make a full length record together. Followed by a tour is dingy, intimate venues. I can picture it now. Perfectly. Nobody Knows is the perfect middle finger to those who think most fall victim to that “second record” beast. It is obvious for the most part that it is a myth. Willis stamps all over it. His voice is extremely powerful; just look up videos of him singing without any music and you’ll quickly realise that he’s one of the greatest.

Savage Sister-Savage Sister. Savage Sister; with a name like that you’d think they’d be making menacing goth style music. They’re pretty much the opposite of that. They’re as gentle as Youth Lagoon, Beach House and Tamaryn combined. Basically, they are ideal. Their dream-like debut release is just ethereal from start to finish. Of course it is like you are floating amongst the clouds with your eyes shut as everything just passes you by. You don’t need to take notice of anything around you, because with this record, Savage Sister create moments for you that stay lodged in your brain and etched upon your heart forever. This debut release was one I’d been hugely excited for last year, and when I was emailed a copy I was so excited to finally hear it. There is something magical about this band; and they are much more than a sacred listen. Everyone should listen to them because they could possibly be the soundtrack to those memorable moments in your life. Savage Sister make music to float away and dream to. Listen and dream away.

CROCODILES- CRIMES OF PASSION. So this was pretty much an easy one. It was my record of the year before it was released; before I even heard it. I just knew it was going to blow my mind. I heard it a few months before it came out, and I was trembling with excitement as I listened to it. I get the same excitement now when I listen to it. I notice something different about each song with every listen. I initially thought I could pick one song that I loved the most, but I realised this wasn’t going to happen for me. I love She Splits Me Up but I love the lyrics to I Like It In The Dark (“I don’t have the time for a graveyard of the mind that they call shame.”) But I adore the whole romantic feel throughout the record. I was beyond excited to finally meet the band in the summer and to be able to see them live a couple of times; when I interviewed them about this record, I started picking up on different things about it. Songs that influenced by poets such as Baudelaire to Patti Smith. I’ve loved Crocodiles since the start and to hear them go from the likes of Neon Jesus to Marquis De Sade is just amazing. Live they are on a different level. Their fans really feel the music, and know they are part of something unruly and unconventional; that’s why I love them. If I was in a band, I’d want to have the same approach to music as Crocodiles do. There are so many reasons as to why Crimes Of Passion is my record of the year; but for the most part, the meanings are sentimental and close to my heart. VIVA CROCODILES!

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Bands I Fell In Love With In 2013.

13 12 2013

I had a lot of bands in mind with this, but there was one person in particular I was excited to write about here with pure respect and admiration. I read this evening that this person, The Child Of Lov had died. I’m a sentimental person, and for the most part I think it probably does more harm than good. The heart is still torn over Lou Reed’s passing; that’s something I don’t think I’ll ever get my head around. Anyway, this is dedicated t0 The Child Of Lov- with love and honesty, this one is for him.

There have been so many bands and singers that truly blew my mind this year. I don’t like to listen to one style of music, I find that to be pretty dull. I’ve never enjoyed the company of anyone who just listens to one kind of music. Yes my heart is in Punk, but I’m open to all kinds of music (aside from dance, I don’t enjoy dance music.)

I’ve attempted to shorten this to 10 bands/singers that really meant something to me this year. Some I found accidentally, and some found me. You’d have to ask them if it was an accident or not.

VIRALS- I saw them live twice this year, both times supporting Crocodiles. Shaun is an excellent frontman. He doesn’t speak much to the crowd, and I like that. I’m not one for bands talking a lot to the crowd, I’m not really sure why. Virals are a brilliant band who just have this massive thrashing feel to their sound. Their sound is the harsher side of summer. The side where you’re bored with everything and you roam the streets kicking other people’s rubbish along the way as you walk somewhere. Anywhere. So long as it is away from where you are. They were an absolute joy to watch live, one of the few bands that you just couldn’t get tired of watching.

Mikey & The Drags- I adore Garage Rock. I love how for me, it has that same brutality and passion as Punk had. Mikey & The Drags captivate everything that Garage Rock means to me. Their sensual grooves and a bite to their sound that just makes them tower above the rest, they make you wish you were in a band. In my dreams I am, ha. For me, this band are enough to make anyone who doubts the current state of music a firm believer again. Their songs are short (think Ramones) and make you want to thrash your body about- into walls, into people, deep into the music. They’re a band that need to be played louder than most just so they can set your body free.

Frank’s Daughter- Reinforcing my love for duos, Frank’s Daughter are spectacular. They formed in Brooklyn over whisky and wine, so it is no surprise that they were destined to make gorgeous music. Frank’s Daughter make music that is full of nostalgia, but not wanting to hold onto the past. They make you recall certain life events with a small grin on your face- content with moving on in your life and as a person. It is like they are guiding you through, holding your hand through it all when everyone and everything else has turned its back on you.

Savage Sister- I think I first wrote about them this year? All I know is that I adore their ethereal sound that glows in bands such as Tamaryn and Beach House. Savage Sister are that band you play late at night with the lights off. It doesn’t matter what is floating around your head- they just make it alright. Their name may sound a bit aggressive but their sound is anything but. They calm the soul in ways nothing else has really come close to. Savage Sister make music that is the soundtrack to those pleasant dreams that you never want to end. You could live in your head if you want; that way the dreams will never end.

Ancient Times- One guy making his own kind of noise. Another exceptional talent on the exquisite Soft Power Records. This Brighton wonder-kid is truly making his own scene, leaving a trail of baffled yet mesmerised listeners in his path. I likened George’s vocals to Morrissey’s this year when I wrote about him. I guess this would put small-minded buffoons off him, but I’m sure there are more that are attracted to this, fortunately! His vulnerable voice is what did it for me. When you can hear every word sung with pure emotion, that’s when you know you have found something truly special. Again, I hope 2014 is just as good to him as 2013 has been. He really does deserve it.

Roses- Another band from LA that cause me to occasionally be bored with England are Roses. However, Roses have that 80s Manchester feel to their music. Romance mixed with cynicism, best way to be at times. Maybe most of the time. When I listen to them, I try to figure out why I love them, but I just can’t. I think that’s part of why I love them. Roses have something about them that just makes you want to keep on listening. They make you forget all the bands you are currently into, and you just cast all your attention over to them. Although they are from LA, they don’t posses a “typical” LA sound, and for me, I think is part of the attraction. Roses are a band I’m excited to hear more from next year and beyond.

Girl Tears- Again, another excellent band from the Westcoast that blew my mind this year. I said they sounded like the Ramones and The Cramps having it off with each other. I still stand by that. They smack you in the face with their rambunctious and infectious sound, whilst freaking you out at the same time. Some bands try to do this, but they seem to be lacking something. I don’t know what, I just write about music I love. I stay away from music I don’t like. There’s no point wasting thousands of words on something I don’t like. Girl Tears aren’t afraid to be different, and their sound is so natural and bold. They make you want to throw stuff about. Throw your limbs about if you want, just to be safe. Yeah they are brutal but in a way that isn’t too “shocking.” They’re just a loud band that are extremely talented. Easily one of my favourites this year, no doubt.

The #1s- Playing with a sense of urgency that makes the listeners ears prick up immediately, The #1s are an exceptional band who are just a joy to listen to. When you listen to them, you straight away pick up on just how exciting they must be to see live. Their songs are fast and punchy. Hit repeat so it never ends; creating new moments each time. You scream the words back them until you feel your throat is beaten and scratched. They make music that is easy to relate to- for all those everyday frustrations that you just need to pour out of yourself; The #1s do it for you in a way you wish you could. Maybe one day you will, but for now you’ve got bands like this doing it for you. But hey, one day we must stop being lazy with our emotions.

Woman’s Hour- With all the brutal sounds I seem to enjoy listening to, I must balance it out. Woman’s Hour are another exciting band on Luv Luv Luv Records (listen to Only Real- he’s exceptional too.)Woman’s Hour are an exceptionally delicate band. They are fragile with their words and sounds. They carefully craft music that can break and mend the heart. They of course, do something to the soul too. Fiona’s voice is like Jessie Ware met Sade and went into the afterlife to bring Aaliyah back to us. Everything about them is so precious, and I think it is obvious that 2014 is going to be very good to them.

The Child Of Lov-  It’s hard to write about someone who’s music really blew you away, only to find out you’ll never hear anything from them again. The Child Of Lov made music to loosen your limbs to. He had that genius quality to his music that is found in the likes of Burial, Jai Paul and Kindness. He was just a joy to listen to. It’s hard to get your head around something like this. I listen to Fly, and it’s hard to imagine that nothing like this is going to come from him again. Of course what we have is beautiful, and of course notion of what could have been does come kicking in. We’ve got the music. It may only be one record, but it was one record that truly blew my mind this year. He had an alluring mystery to his music. You were (and still are) left with a sense of wonder and thousands of questions when you listen to his music. Obviously other questions now arise, but like I said- at least we have the music. He’s at peace now, and I guess that’s something we can take comfort in.





10 Songs I Became Obsessed With In 2013.

12 12 2013

It’s the time of year where everyone voices their opinion on what was good and what was shit about this year, musically. Most do it all the time anyway and these lists are of course, boring. As someone who isn’t exactly thrilling, I might as well add to the boring lists much like I did last year. And probably the year before that. I’ve not got an impressive memory so I’ll start with songs that where out this year that I really liked. And by that I mean constantly playing them until I wished to never hear them again. I still play them. Music doesn’t bore me. Well, music I like doesn’t bore me.

For the past week I’ve been ill. Some kind of cold/flu thing. I missed the Peace gig last Saturday. That was pretty shit. But I was sensible, and I suppose it was for the best. A constant earache which is causing headaches and a constant feel of tiredness/exhaustion. Never mind. I’m here to write about what matters to me- music. Let’s see if I can write this without wanting to change my mind every 5 minutes. This will be in no order, aside from the last song I mention because that will be my favourite of the year.  Here we go:

Say Lou Lou- Feels Like We Only Go Backwards. Elektra and Miranda’s cover of this Tame Impala song is beautiful. Yes I could have mentioned Beloved or Better In The Dark. I chose this cover because they did it in a way that makes you feel as if they wrote it. I play this song most evenings on the tube home from work. Resting my head against the window and all I see are street lights. Everything is lit up perfectly, and this song evokes solitude. A state of bliss yet frustrations of never being able to get ahead. Something I think most can relate to. I finally saw Say Lou Lou live the day after my birthday in November, and it was such a magical thing to be part of. Their voices are angelic but can portray pain in a way most spend their life trying to figure out. There is something wonderfully charming about them. Something which you cannot get out of your head, and I’m just fine with that.

Deptford Goth- Bloody Lip. Pretty much everything I just said above about Say Lou Lou can be said for Daniel. His debut record, Life After Defo was one of the best to have come out this year. It was just a step ahead of everything I’ve been listening to, but also quite different from the bands I’ve been listening to. His music is ideal to listen to late at night when nobody else is around. Whether you’re laying in bed searching for answers or on the late train home with nothing much to occupy you. His music soothes the soul. His gentle voice offers reassurance for those times when you aren’t so sure. (I wanted to pick Union but that came out in 2012.)

Cold Cave- People Are Poison. After waiting years, I finally got to see Cold Cave this year. Seeing Wes and Amy live was a brilliant experience. I wasn’t really sure which Cold Cave song I wanted to pick. Originally I wanted to go with A Little Death To Laugh, but after listening to People Are Poison a few more times- I made my choice, of course I am likely to want to change my mind but for now I’m sticking with People Are Poison. Cold Cave are a band that have meant a lot to me for a long time, and Wes’ words have been my crutch for even longer (listen to American Nightmare) and he just has this brilliant way of unleashing fury and the like in a way that seems less daunting to carry around.

Ezra Furman- Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell. I just love Ezra. He’s the kind of person you’d want to be in a band with, tour the world with. Get lost on the motorway with him and write an album’s worth of songs whilst waiting for help. The sax on this song is awesome. My girlfriend has a saxophone, but I doubt she’d want me to try play along to this song. Or any song. I fully appreciate that. I’d probably cause the windows to shake and break. I just love the opening line; “I’m a runaway dog and I’m kicking up dust. In a Chevy Express with a hood full of rust.” For me, that opening line is on par with Search And Destroy by The Stooges; “I’m a street walkin’ cheetah with a heart full of napalm.” They DO make them like they used to, you just got to dig a bit deeper to find it.

PINS-Girls Like Us. Easily could mention every song off their debut record which finally came out this year. PINS are amazing live, anyone who’s seen them knows exactly how fascinating they are to watch. I chose Girls Like Us because it feels like a pleasurable punch to the face. I was going to go with To You, but there’s something about Girls Like Us which has an anthemic feel to it. It pumps you up and makes you feel as if you are part of something that makes you tougher than you initially thought you were. I just think PINS are one of the most exciting bands to come out of England in a very long time. Quite frankly, they are Manchester’s finest.

LOOM- I Get A Taste. There aren’t many bands around who posses the same energy that The Jesus And Mary Chain had. Not many are willing to express this rage and the like in that kind of way. It’s too much for them, they physically cannot do it. At least we have a band who are willing to do that. I remember liking their Facebook page and they virtually no one aware of who they are. Thankfully people are starting to listen, and they are seeing just how exciting they really are. They are beyond brutal and I think if you don’t feel as if you’ve been beaten up after you’ve listened to them, you’re not doing it right. I’ve yet to see them live, something always gets in the way of me doing so. Pretty such people will leave their shows with bloody faces and ripped clothes. Just as it should be!

Autumns- Who Would Have Thought. Soft Power Records are pretty much my favourite record label. They’ve been behind the best releases this year, and have exposed me to some truly great music over the past year and a bit. Out of all of their releases, Autumns has been one that’s stuck out the most. Autumns is just one guy making a lot of noise. He’s Derry’s answer to Dirty Beaches. He plays with this admirable passion that just leaves you stunned. He makes you want to pick up a guitar and make your own scene- to hell with what anyone else thinks or says. Who Would Have Thought really shows how brilliant he is, and how fearless he is with his music. He’s someone who is constantly leaving me in awe with what he does. I sincerely hope 2014 is just as amazing for him as 2013 was. He really does deserve it.

Royal Chant- Did You Pay Cash For That Panic Attack? Okay so this was recorded last year, but the video came out in January, so we’ll go with the date of the video. I love Royal Chant. I think Mark is an exceptional song-writer. Mainly because he manages to write the songs I wish I could. They’re good guys with big hearts, and I’ve vowed to not leave their side when they come to the UK. Did You Pay Cash is a tidal wave of unapologetic angst. They’re (pardon my language) fucking brilliant. I don’t know what I’d do without them. I went with this song because it immediately meant a lot to me. You can’t put a price on that nor are there words good enough to express it. They know though. They know.

Dum Dum Girls-Lost Boys And Girls Club. I’m just going to call Too True as being the best record of 2014. Nothing else needs to be released next year. It’s ALL about Too True. Lost Boys And Girls Club is not like previous Dum Dum Girls songs, and that’s why I’m a huge fan. Every record and EP they’ve put out has always been different from the last. Dee Dee isn’t afraid to experiment with sounds and be brutally honest with her words. Coming Down remains one of the few songs to truly pick me up when everything is just wrong. Dum Dum Girls make music to get lost in, and to also find yourself in. I love this song because it stays with that dream like/hazy feel that is always present in their songs. Dee Dee’s delicate voice is like a reassurance, a call to safety. It just takes you to where you want to be. Lost Boys And Girls Club feels like the ending of a party and you’re watching the sun rise on your own, but you feel alright in doing so. I could quite happily write a thousand plus words about why I love this song. I think all reasoning will come to life when I finally see the band on Saturday. You have no idea how excited I am about seeing them.

CROCODILES- ME AND MY MACHINE GUN. This was tough. At first I thought I wanted to go with I Like It In The Dark. Then I toyed with Teardrop Guitar. Then my mind flirted with She Splits Me Up. Basically, this was tough. I didn’t know which Crocodiles song to go with. This year I got to see them live twice and I got to hang out with Charlie and Brandon before one of their shows for an interview. I had waited since early 2009 to see them live, and to see them twice this year just really did make my year. Crimes Of Passion is an incredible record. It’s one I play every single day on the way to work and on the journey home too. There’s something about it that just blows my mind with every listen. I went with Me And My Machine Gun because it just captures everything I love about Crocodiles. “On the battlefield, search for something I can feel. Just so I can shoot him up. He may be tough but he’s no match for me and my machine. We don’t take no shit from anyone.”  The machine gun can be your loved one, anything you want really. This is a gorgeous song to see live, especially the instrumental at the end. It just catapults you into a different world. Everything about Crocodiles is all I want from a band, and from music.

Maybe I won’t change my mind. I think this is a pretty solid list. However, there are some bands that blew my mind this year and they deserve a mention:

Brown Brogues

Feathers

Virals

Troumaca

Evol

Roses

Savage Sister

Little Death Machine

L.A Witch

Mikey & The Drags.

(PS Dirty Beaches will be mentioned on my record of the year..soon!)