MARVELOUS MARK

19 10 2017

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Something about the boring everyday lives we lead probably means we seek out something that has meaning. Or we just accept it. I don’t know. Maybe it’s one of those things that probably don’t matter as much as it could/should. Anyway, I’m all for escapism in all ways possible. There’s nothing better than finding a band that take you away from everything that’s going on for a few hours. By accident, I’ve found a singer that does exactly that.

Marvelous Mark is essentially a one-man band. One person who makes an exquisite amount of noise that can drown out all the things that irritate you. Besides, he’s someone you need to listen to quite loudly to really appreciate how great he is. Mark reminds me slightly of Wavves. He’s got that sense of boredom but yearning for something more in his songs, and I think a lot can relate to that. He just makes you want to pack everything in, and go on a trip somewhere. Just you and the road. Take a friend/lover if you want. Someone to talk about the music with.

I think he had a record come out this Summer and possibly at the start of the year. What’s really great about Mark is that his music just instantly makes you feel better. I’m not saying I’m magically cured of feeling less anxious/depressed (I’m on medication, I’m not just claiming to be it because an online quiz said I was!) but my brain isn’t going as fast and I don’t feel as sick as I normally do. Each symptom is different, and most days are tough. I like to find new music to make me feel better and to make life easier. It helps. Even though right now, I just want to lie in bed and stay there for a while. Mark’s music makes you feel like you’re on a sun-kissed beach in L.A just watching everything around you and taking in as much as you can stand. I love that he can create this beautiful warm sound in his music. He takes away the harshness of the world with his music, his words and his beautiful voice. He makes you wish you join his band and see the world like him.

Mark’s released his music on the effortlessly brilliant (and partly responsible for my [pay-day treats) Drunken Sailor Records. This seems like the perfect place for him to release his music as both are as passionate as each other about giving us some insanely great music. The more I listen to Mark, the more I just want to try deafen myself with his fuzzy sounding guitar style and rowdy vocals. But sadly, I can’t do that. When 4pm hits- then I probably will.

His music is truly worth delving into. Don’t start so loud and eventually build yourself up to go louder with the next listen. By the third song you listen to by Mark, you’ll probably be making your neighbours houses shake. Wake up the neighbourhood, disturb the peace- do whatever you want!

You can listen to most of Mark’s music right here:

https://marvelousmark.bandcamp.com/

 

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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.





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





PINS: Bad Thing EP.

24 03 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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.