…vs My Brain

9 05 2017

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With it being Mental Health Awareness Week, I guess now is a good a time as any to ramble on about my past year. In fact, it was probably longer than a year- I just put off dealing with whatever my brain was telling me, and not telling me.

Last October I think I pretty much had my very own breakdown. It was at 2/3am. I remember sitting on my bed in some weird position crying, having a panic attack after panic attack. I was at war with my head. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t switch off. Nothing maintained my attention. I was starting to worry about myself. Prior, I just didn’t care. I went to the doctor and after a few minutes I was told to do a self-referral for treatment. I put this off for a few weeks, then stopped being a stubborn dick and did it.

Now I care more than I did. I went to the doctor a second time earlier this year, as my referral for CBT was going to be some time- the second stage of it. I made no improvements with the first lot. Labelled as having severe anxiety and mild depression. Labels are for foodstuffs- I’m not for consumption. Things shouldn’t define a person, just like their actions always shouldn’t. In this case, I wasn’t going to let this be something that ruled who I was and my life- enough was enough. I went to my doctor. She looked at me and asked how she could help. I cried. I broke down like a child and cried. I said “I can’t cope.” Finally admitting to myself that I couldn’t hack whatever was going on in my head.

As someone who can’t take paracetamol without assuming the worse, I had to resign myself to the fact that at this stage- I probably needed something other than talking. I agreed to take medication. Since starting the medication in late February, I am pretty sure that every side effect I had (I had them all) has been worth it. I’d rather have continuous dry mouth than have another fucking panic attack. The side effects have virtually gone. I do have days where I get this really bad pain in my stomach or the occasional headache, but I’d take that over how I was and what I was putting myself through. Or rather, what my brain was putting me through. I had my assessment for my second stage of CBT. I was being asked questions that weren’t relevant and being asked to focus on things that I really don’t need to. I felt as if I had to say what they wanted, and I didn’t want to be made to bring things up that don’t need to be. So I discharged myself. I decided rather than waste their time (and mine) I would give up my place for someone else who needs it more than me. I tried, and for me, that’s the main thing. But it just wasn’t for me.

Everyone bangs on about it, but support is key. I’ve got a handful of people that I know have my back and are there for me. Just like I am there for them. It also helps having a girlfriend who has a similar shit sleeping pattern so I have someone at 1am when I can’t sleep and everything seems too much. She’s my rock, and I try my hardest to be hers.

Music has been a massive help for me. We went to see Banks in March, and for me I think that was the point where I solidly felt okay. At one point going to gigs was just overwhelming. Going to work was overwhelming. Not because I hate my job or anything like that- far from it. But the effort of having to get out of bed and the overwhelming feeling of being on a packed train. My brain was slowly failing me. Or maybe I was failing myself for not taking better care. Music has been my other rock. Certain songs (which I’ll link below) have played a massive part in my brain healing and keeping me calm. I go the gym during the week after work to allow myself to take care of my body as well as my mind.

My bad days now don’t feel near as half as bad as they once were. I don’t have to fake being alright because I genuinely feel just fine at the moment. I’m not thinking long-term because that shit is scary. If I can get through one day without feeling terrible, I’m fine. My last panic attack was on the 2nd March. It’s been two months. I still feel a little shitty at times and certain things at the moment are fucking tough but, you can’t control everything.

I am not brave, I am not tough. All I did was reach breaking point. All I did was let myself get worse before I realised something needed to be done.

I’m alright. I’m happy with that. I’m alright.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





“Between the cities, between the thrills. There’s something inside you, it doesn’t sleep well.”

22 12 2016

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“It won’t last forever
Or maybe it will.”

 

A few months ago I went to the doctor because I felt like shit. Shit is the only word I can use, I guess. Although I don’t think it covers it. I told him everything I felt and he said “depression and anxiety.” You can’t even make it sound good. You know, at least if you have a cold your voice gets a bit husky and suddenly people want you to talk more. But anxiety and depression? You might as well say you’ve got something not mentioning. For me, I’m conflicted. Part of me is sort of glad I know what’s wrong with me but the other part wants it gone. I’ve been told it gets better but right now, no part of me sees that. I have more bad days than good.

Last Friday I had 5 panic attacks in under 2 and a bit hours. I’d have much preferred someone to have punched me in the face for 2 hours. It would have hurt less. The aftermath of a panic attack for me is equally as bad as having one. I get a migraine straight away but with a normal migraine, the  pain is less tense and the nausea that comes with it I can sort of tame. After a panic attack, the migraine just doesn’t go. It’s a constant stabbing sensation in my head and the feeling of being sick stays. It’s debilitating and exhausting.
The thing with depression and anxiety is that no one sees it. No one can see someone is mentally unwell. They don’t see someone who has to set an alarm half an hour before they need to be up so they actually get up and go to work. They don’t see how everyday small things can set a person off. And that’s okay. Imagine if we could see it. It would be useful but as someone who hates any form of attention, I’d probably be worse. Most days I just want to stay in bed. I don’t want to see or speak to anyone. It used to be passed off by others as me being “difficult” or “unsociable.” I’m neither of these things. Although sometimes you do just want to tell people to piss off don’t you. But I think that’s just human nature.
There are parts of you that feel, “what if no one believes me?” I’m stuck with that constantly. I feel because I can force a smile at times and laugh- maybe I don’t have these things. Maybe it’s not real. It comes and goes. I don’t always feel shit, but I do and I think that’s okay. I’ve learnt to try find a safe space wherever I am. As I live in a stupidly big city, it’s hard to find any form of peace. For me, the gym is my safe space. I used to go because I hated being fat and hated my body. I still do, but now it’s to keep my mind clear as best as I can. Going to gigs used to be my safety net but the last gig I went to, I had a panic attack and had to leave. This was a month ago and since, I’ve missed a handful of gigs because I can’t set my mind free.
Like some, music is my safety net. Certain bands/singers voices and music take away how overbearing and how overwhelming this feeling is. Certain bands have become my safety net, my safe space for when I can’t physically get somewhere.
From the rowdiness of Melvins to the calming sounds of Beach House, certain songs take whatever is happening away. But not all the time. Sometimes it’s just no use- and that’s okay.
I’ve chosen a couple of songs that have been vital in calming me down and being my crutch whenever I’ve needed. The songs that store my sanity but as yet, don’t have the power to keep everything at bay. But that’s fine. I’ve experienced understanding and a lack of understanding through all this. I’ve started CBT and apparently that will work. As someone who has a dislike for things like that, it’s tough. My mind is open. Ironically, I had 2 panic attacks whilst on my way to my first session so that was a great experience. Maybe it will help, maybe it won’t. I don’t know- nobody does. And that’s okay.
Anyway, enough of the self-indulgent bullshit. Have some songs:

 

 





An Interview with 2:54.

17 03 2016

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Last February I finally got to interview a band I had been wanting to talk to for quite some time. A band that hold a wealth of importance to me. Besides, any band that references the Melvins in their name is bound to be great, right? I’ve written about 2:54 many times. There is something about their music that just makes me want to write about it. When I listen to their music, I notice things I hadn’t previously done or certain emotions come out. They’ve always struck me as a band you listen to in the dead of night, through headphones whilst the world sleeps. If any band or singer can give you that, then you’ve found something to treasure for life. In an ideal world, I would have typed this interview straight away. I didn’t. I lost my dictaphone, moved house, and thought it was lost forever until I found it in a box under my bed whilst looking for something else. Sometimes I am a world class tool.

I started off by asking Colette and Hannah how their music should be listened to. As I mentioned above, I set the scene for myself- but is that how they want their fans to take in their music? What are the perfect surroundings to listen to their music, or just music in general?

Colette: “All my favourite music I listen to on the move. Train journeys, in the tour van. That’s what you want from a band or record you love, you want it to be transported. And I like that feeling of motion as you listen to it.”

This led onto my fixation of finding bands that are ideal to listen to at night (maybe that’s why I love going to gigs) and I asked them, what it is like to play during the day at festivals like SXSW (who put them on at 2:54 in the afternoon.)

Colette: “It is one of those things that absolutely changes the atmosphere. You can see people more and you definitely do feel more exposed. You can feel more self-conscious than you would normally but then those kind of challenges are exciting even if they are scary. It’s what being in a band is all about, it toughens you up a bit. And at festivals, not everyone is there to see you so there’s that dynamic as well.”

The first time I saw 2:54 live was at the Union Chapel, and I saw them again at St Pancras Old Church. St Pancras was more intimate and was just after The Other I came out, and I’m pretty sure they did most of the record. They came onto the stage with Tender Shoots playing out of the PA and it was so captivating as it echoed through. It felt like something was calling out to us. I’ve seen a few gigs in churches, and it is something I do enjoy. It feels sacred yet strange. What changes when you play in a church? I’m not religious, but the respectful side of me wouldn’t start yelling a string of swear words in there. Obviously 2:54 haven’t got the mouth of a sailor on stage, but you still have to be a like cautious I suppose.

Colette: “We were playing on the graves, which I found a little unnerving (St Pancras.) At the Union Chapel we had a sound monitor that we couldn’t go above.”

Hannah: “And you can’t have too much reverb! In churches, you can’t play too loud as the building can start to crumble.”

I’ve been to a fair amount of gigs in this country at various venues. I sometimes think I’ve worked out which venue is my favourite, but then I go to a gig at a new venue and I fall in love with it. I think it might be impossible for me to pick one place as my favourite venue. Is there any way a band could pick their favourite place to play? What does a venue need in order for a band to feel that they have just set foot into their favourite venue? Some may regard the sound, so may think of certain shows they have played there that gives it sentimental value. When a band based in London are asked this question, you automatically think “Bet they say Brixton Academy!” Fortunately this time, this wasn’t the case.

Colette: “For me, the Brudenell Club in Leeds. It has all my favourite kind of elements. It definitely has that social club vibe that we grew up on. It has that faded glamour, the layout and it’s so warm and welcoming.”

I guess that’s the North all over!

When I listen to a band I always seem to make a beeline for the lyrics first. Some people connect with a sound more than words (and there are some that I feel this way about also) but for the most part- it’s the lyrics. I did my dissertation at university about Punk and Poetry and it seems that sparked it all off again. Words are powerful, and when you find a band or singer that can make your mind expand on all that you see, feel and think- that’s when you know you’ve found something. I remember hearing Orion from The Other I and immediately thinking about when I first heard Siouxsie And The Banshees for the first time. It was dark, otherworldly and magical. I’ve always felt that 2:54’s lyrics are exceptionally sacred. You have to listen very closely to pick up on golden lines that will stay in your head for an age. Easy Undercover once summed up how crap I was being to someone once (more than once) and Blindfold helped me get out of a job that was making me ill. You make these connections and use it as armour. Their first record came out when I was living at home, and I used to take long walks listening to it. The darkness of the songs fit perfectly as I walked through quiet streets cloaked with fog. It fit the songs perfectly, and it killed time. So of course, I had to ask them what their favourite songs/lyrics were to The Other I.

Colette: “Blindfold and Glory Days. It was really cathartic writing Blindfold. And I love that it has a dance melody, a pop melody almost. And the lyrics are full of loads of questions, and anxiety really. I like that all of my favourite songs from the 60s have that- that melancholy.”

Prior to the tour last February, 2:54 did an interview with Rookie magazine (http://www.rookiemag.com/2015/01/theme-song-254/) and there’s a part towards the end of the interview where Colette mentions Horses by Patti Smith (she also mentions her and Hannah’s love for At The Drive-In and The Distillers which is bloody great!) Horses is probably THE most important record of all time, but that’s just my opinion. When I first heard it, I knew I had found something and someone who was going to change my life. I have my records on a few shelves in my room, and Horses is the first one I see every day. It’s a knowing nod on how to get on through life. Horses was the record that spurred on my love for music and poetry. There are moments on Horses that define greatness. Greatness that no other could compare to, greatness that will never happen again. I watched her play the record in full last November and I have never felt that way during and after a show before. It did something, something that stuck with me- much like hearing Horses for the first time. I don’t know many people who hold this amount of love for Patti, and I had to fit it in somehow after reading the Rookie interview. I asked Colette if how Patti writes is an influence.

Colette: “The poetry and the Punk elements- there’s a fearlessness about it that gets me every time. Such a strong sense of self that is completely seductive. I just find her the whole package, and when you first find out about her- it always seems to be at the right time. I first found out about her when I was supposed to be revising for my exams, and my friend had mentioned Horses to me and I just sat there. I was struck by it.”

I think anyone who has listened to Patti, or to Horses can really understand where Colette is coming from. When you listen to Patti you are in awe of what you’re hearing, and it just stays with you. Her live shows are out of this world- and whatever she sets out to do and to make the people feel, she does it. Live shows are a huge thing for me. I love going to gigs and there is nothing better than making sure I am at work well before 9am so I can bring on a panic attack whilst trying to buy tickets. This was shown in all its glory 2 weeks ago when trying to buy tickets to see The Kills. I failed. We don’t talk about it because it makes me and my friend sad. Next time, right? After the anxious feelings pass when you’ve bought tickets, the day slowly comes around where you get to see the band in question. I always want to know what bands want fans to take from their shows- do they want them to go start a band, if anything? Whenever I’ve seen 2:54 I’ve always left wishing I could drum like Alex or play the guitar like Hannah. Anyone I’ve dragged to see them has always said the same thing. There are a handful of bands that I’ve seen that always make me wish I was musically talented, 2:54 are one of them.

Hannah: “We want people to hopefully connect to the performance. We very much do feel like a tight gang on stage and we like being able to share that.”

Colette: “Growing up when we went to gigs, we always wanted to emulate that unifying feeling. I hope for connection, any potential connection is what I hope for.”

As generic as it is to ask- I asked the band who their influences were (not just settling for music based influences.) When I listen to them I can pick up on sounds from bands I love such as Garbage, Sleep and elements of Fugazi. Colette’s voice is gentle but tough when needs to be (like Shirley Manson) Alex’s drumming always takes me back to hearing Fugazi for the first time and the heaviness in Hannah’s guitar playing reminds me of Sleep and Rowland S Howard, but who influences them?

Colette: “I think it is the need to get something out of you – a release.” I think this one line sums up 2:54. The urgency in their songs- the words, the music. It all comes alive when you see them on stage and what better influence to have than that. The need to pull something out of you, and cast it into the unknown. It’s powerful, terrifying and inspiring. You don’t always need a list of bands, singers or writers to be cited as an influence- sometimes it is just the urgency to get it out there and I think that’s the most powerful influence anything can have over us.

I chose to end the interview with a question that, if I was asked would probably cause a mental block but is fine to ask others (especially if they are musicians.)

With a knowing nod, after asking what the favourite line from any song is, Colette answered with the always fitting and forever apt “Jesus died for somebodies sins but not mine.”

 

*At the end of the interview we shared what the first records we bought were. Colette’s was Pearl Jam which led on to a discussion about the Now compilations. There was one that had Enigma (the monk song!) and Enya. Those were the days. And if you must know, the first one I bought was Always & Forever by Eternal. From Woolworths. On cassette.





2:54- Scarlet.

30 12 2015

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Sometimes I like to go back to a song I love, dissect it and fall back in love with it. Four years ago I first heard Scarlet by 2:54, and what I heard reinforced my love for them after hearing one of their early demos, On A Wire a year or so before. Some bands you just fall in love with on first listen and what happens afterwards needs no explanation. In this case, I feel the need to try explain what it is about Scarlet that resonated with me four years ago and how it still means something.

What drew me to 2:54 about 5 years ago was the music. It had tame hints of Noothgrush and Sleep. The darkness of Melvins and the hypnotic sounds of Siouxsie. Colette’s voice reminded me of hearing Patti Smith and Garbage for the first time. The sound coming out of Hannah’s guitar took me back to hearing Seventeen Seconds by The Cure many years ago. I was being thrown back but into something completely new, and it turns out that they would become more than just another band to me.

I found 2:54’s music by accident, like most bands I’ve come to love. Their debut record was released at a time in my life where everything was a bit bleak and I was unsure of my affections until it was too late. I found parts of me in their songs that I tried to explain but in the end, I lost. What I lost was bigger than me, and there’s a wealth of blame on my shoulders that for some reason, keeps me going. Our fuck ups makes us human. Easy Undercover had a few lines that hit me in the face, sometimes a song acts as a mirror and that’s what happened. It was pointed out to me, and when I hear “If you go, you’ll never know” I am right back there. I no longer mind because music is greater than an emotion.

Scarlet was their first big song, and the video emulated everything I loved about A Forest by The Cure. The video has this gorgeous yet haunting feel to it. You felt like you had entered somewhere you probably shouldn’t and the song made you feel as if you had fallen for someone who was bad for you, but you went along with it any way. I can relate to being the bad one, or at least I used to. We all have it in us, and sometimes it slips out. Good can overrule though, if you let it. With this song you feel as if, and stay with me on this, that it isn’t really a song at all. I know most songs do tell a story and the like, but Colette (I’m assuming she did the lyrics) has created a world in this song. A world that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into the depths of the underworld and partaking in some kind of forbidden love/lust affair. Without sounding like a right dick, it does have a real Goth feeling about it. I mean in the true meaning of the world- not wearing black clothes reciting dark poetry to waken the mind. Maybe it’s just me but this song takes me to a place and not a person. The images in my mind are the Gothic buildings that are found in Brussels etc. Cold but inviting buildings that tower over us. As we step in, this forbidden love(r) greats us.

I could be massively wrong with how I’m interpreting the song, but I get the same images and feelings constantly. You find this person who gets into your veins and bones. They bring you to life, but you’re fully aware of the bad. You want the bad and torment. Or maybe you want to be the tormentor bringing this feeling. Try both and make up your mind. Neither make you bad. As you swirl, dive and float in this underworld that this song creates in your mind you can’t help but let it fully take you over. In some respects, the whole record makes you feel like this. Scarlet was the song that turned a lot on to 2:54 and really- there couldn’t have been a better choice. Each song on their first record seems to float around it. You listen to any song after Scarlet and it all fits perfectly.

I’ve only seen them perform Scarlet live a few times, and my memory is taking me back to Manchester earlier this year. At the end of the song the band went into this instrumental that just blew my mind. It was like when Warpaint really let go to Elephants and everyone goes bananas. It was such a highlight for me because it showed just how vital each member of 2:54 are. At this point, words weren’t needed. The thrashing of instruments fully showcased how brilliant they are. Of course I would happily go to every show they ever do (money isn’t my friend) just to experience this moment on a loop and to see how others react to it. It’s a real feel good experience that just leaves you wishing you could do that.

Back slightly to what I said about the song seeming like a story. It reads like a poem. The kind of poem you can pick apart and use lines to express any lustful feeling. It has innocence to it, but the darker side of it is what should lure you in. The words are made up of curious phrases and I think that’s what set my mind off when I first heard the song. It’s a grand sounding song. Everything fits perfectly with the lyrics, and the video really does add to the mood of the song. Whether you watch the video, see it live or listen to it, there are so many elements to this song that can move you. The song is perfect to listen to in the cold weather whilst going for a walk with a threatening grey sky above you. The inevitable downpour doesn’t phase you, you’re too busy getting lost in what you can hear.

If a song can do this much in such a short amount of time, I’m pretty sure that when I go back and listen to it in 20 years or so I’ll still get the same feelings and images. There’s much more I could say about this song but I am now risking sounding like a total loon by going on about it as much as this. I guess, in short, I just really adore this song.





2:54-South.

1 10 2015

As I sit in bed feeling sorry for myself as I’m ill, I thought I’d write about a song that I’ve pretty much had on repeat for a year, nearly. It is also to make up for the fact I’ve lost my dictaphone with my 2:54 interview on. If I can’t find it within a week, I’ll just be massively disappointed in myself. Useless. In my defense, I have moved house so it could be anywhere.

South by 2:54 is my favourite song by them. I thought I always had a firm favourite (Got A Hold) but it turns out, I was wrong. I guess lyrically I’d probably call Blindfold because the lyrics are easy to relate to. But for me, South is a song that feels like a hug from the person you adore the most. It feels like you’re being wrapped around something reassuring and comforting. The lyrics are quite sad, and I think last year I probably said the line “Got nowhere to put misshapen love” was the best I’d heard. You can take your over the top and complex prose, but I’d rather settle for a lyric like that. The simplicity of it can break your heart or make you feel like you’ve been finally healed. I love the uncertainty in the line, “Am I doing it wrong? Am I doing it right?” It’s such a simple line but the way in which it is sung that just gets you right in the heart.

I’ve tried to fathom what I love the most about the song. Is it Colette’s voice? Is it Hannah’s guitar or the way Alex makes the drums feel like a soothing wave hitting you? Is it the lyrics? It’s all and more, I can’t pick just one reason. The intro feels like rain hitting a window, but the drums come in and it feels like waves crashing around you. Something I’ve always adored about 2:54 is, you know the cover to their first record? Well, what I love that from their music I always feel like I am in that place. I feel like I am stood watching waves hit the rocks in the freezing cold with nothing surrounding me. Lost and found at the same time.

I’ve always felt 2:54 a band to listen to with nobody else around and at night. Turns out I was wrong because I can listen to them anytime, anywhere. But the ideal setting for them is late at night when all is dark and still. They create something eerie in your mind, and I think it is partly to do with Colette’s voice. I honestly think 2:54 are terribly underrated, but that’s a different matter entirely. Colette has this power in her voice that is found in the likes of Patti and Shirley Manson. She can make her voice sound gentle (Tender Shoots) or she can add something quite ferocious to it (Sugar.) I don’t know of anyone else who can do that. I don’t think they realise how great they are.

South is the perfect song to have on repeat as you go for a long walk. Just wandering around trying to clear your head or to just be alone for a while.Maybe I carry for too many feelings, but I think South is so special to me because it feels like an outlet. I don’t know what their meaning behind the song is or what place they were in when they wrote it, but I know where it takes me and how it makes me feel. You can listen to this on a crisp autumn evening as the sun sinks down or on a misty morning when you feel as if you’re the only person left; it can be purely self-indulgent or a journey of discovery. I’d always aim for the latter but, whatever gets you through.

At times I have felt that 2:54’s music is a reflection/stepping outside of the self to look in. Maybe I’m going too deep with this, but songs like South hit you in the gut and stir everything inside. In some parts of the song, Colette’s voice sounds quite woeful and I think this stands out towards the end where it is just her voice, then the guitar comes back in. I guess that’s probably why I feel a lot towards this song.

In their live shows this is definitely a highlight for me. I love songs that last over 5 minutes, and South slowly creeps in. There are other glorious moments in their live sets, but as I’ve only seen them tour The Other I (I was living on the Isle of Man during the start of their career so I was a distant fan, I suppose) I can only use this as reference. That said, the jam at the end of Creeping is mind-blowing. They are a band that I would urge anyone to go see. I don’t think they realise how great they are, and I don’t think Hannah is fully aware of how brilliant a guitarist she is. She towers over most, she makes it look effortless but you know a lot is going on. South is a song that shows us what 2:54 are about. The lyrics are dark and brooding at times, the music is complex and takes you someplace and the vocals ease you. They ease you into the unknown, and that’s what I love about 2:54. They take you gently into the unknown and everything around you just falls away.

I don’t know what anyone else thinks about South but for me it just evokes a sense of freedom. When love is misshapen, what do you do? The sensible answer is to probably walk away from it. There’s a handful of songs I play when things just seem a bit too much for my head to take in, and South is one of those that ease this uncertainty. South like I’ve mentioned feels like you’ve found a source of comfort and maybe it is all down to the vocals, maybe. But go deeper into it and every element of the song is a wealth of reassurance. It is one of the rare moments where the drums don’t make you feel as if you’re being smacked in the face. The drums on South make you feel as if you’re gliding in the sky like a bird, heading South.

I’ve a million and one other things I could say about the song, and maybe I’ll re-read this and disagree with what I’ve written, but it’s a song I’m hugely in love with and grateful for.





BRAIN TRAPS.

22 09 2015

Sometimes you’ve just got listen to music that shatters your brain and makes you feel as if someone is stood up in your face screaming muffled words at you. More often than not, this is pretty much what I listen to and I guess it’ll cause my hearing to be questionable in later life.

Brain Traps are a mighty fan band from Cologne. I’ve never been to Cologne, but I’m going to assume it’s a nice place. Does all the music sound like that there? I sincerely hope it does. Brain Traps are great for many reasons, and for me I just love the way they make you feel as if someone has grabbed you by the head and is shaking you repeatedly. There’s no venom just pure fury, and I love this kind of music. It doesn’t make you feel loved, it makes you feel as if you’ve gone a few rounds with a heavyweight boxer and lost spectacularly.

Their fuzzy sound with hints of reverb will speak to those who are clinging .onto something as great as Psychocandy and the likes. This is different, and is a different wave of heavy. I’ve said it about many bands before that I’ve written about, but Brain Traps are the kind of band I’d want to sound like. They are noisy fuckers who are the ideal band to play one of those dodgy basement venues that have next to no lighting and make you sweat buckets before you get in the venue.

I have no idea what kind of comparisons have been thrown at Brain Traps, and I really can’t think of any (I’m not that lazy) but they just merge all the kinds of music I love into one and make their own kind of noise. The kind of noise that your parents wouldn’t really approve of, but would probably listen when no one is around. Ah man, life is too short to act like you don’t want a bit of rowdy music in your life.

Brain Traps do sound like a bunch of naughty school kids who have snuck into the music room at school and have gone a bit mental. There’s a fair deal of experimenting in their music, and in all its chaotic glory- it works. It’s loud in all the right places and is the right side of confrontational.

Their songs are really short but as proven by the likes of Ramones and Girl Tears, you don’t need to do a 10 minute symphony to get your point across. Brain Traps are an excellent band who will make the most uncomfortable and awkward person feel alright in their own skin. They unleash what you can’t, and they do it in a way you wish you could. They’re just perfect for any mood, and I really hope they play in the UK soon because I get the impression that their live shows are what really makes them. Some bands just come alive during their shows, and I reckon that Brain Traps are one of those bands. The kind that leave you smelling of everyone’s drinks and sweat after the show because you got a bit carried away and threw your body around with everybody else in the venue.

The kids are alright, they’ve got Brain Traps.

Listen and purchase: https://braintraps.bandcamp.com/





2:54: Manchester/London February 2015

5 02 2015

 

 

Seeing a band you adore live is a great feeling. Sometimes, well for the most part, it seems to be a sort of release and a purely cathartic experience. That’s what music should be about and when you see it performed in front of you it becomes heightened and more important.

2:54 have just finished a 3 day tour in the UK. I did 2 out of 3 dates and I won’t lie, I wish I did all 3. If you’ve seen them live you will know how addictive it can be. You leave wishing to be in that moment solidly for the rest of time. You want to tell the words back to Sugar. You want to lose yourself during No Better Prize. You air drum along to Creeping. These moments become you. Don’t part from them.

Manchester was the first show. There is something really special about seeing bands in Manchester. The venue was idyllic and the crowd were a beautiful lot. Manchester crowds aren’t afraid to move. The last time I saw 2:54 was a month or so before when they did a secret show at the Shacklewell Arms to about 50 people. This show however, was dark and loud. Euphoric filled moments. Alex’s intense drumming. Rich’s brutal bass playing. Hannah’s inspiring guitar playing. Colette’s delicate but powerful voice. You will not find a better constructed band. With no need to talk in between songs, this band have gorgeous stage presence. In short, they make you want to start a band.

Last night they played historic Camden venue, Dingwalls. This show had a real Punk vibe about it. You can find this if you look hard enough. Colette said there was a strong Punk feel to the show last night, and she wasn’t wrong. Bodies were moving in time and some off beat. The music was rightfully being felt in all the right places.

I’ve loved them since I heard Creeping a few years ago. If I could find the word to describe how it made me feel and how it hit me, I would. It all comes to life when you see them live.
A strong sense of pride. The band I adore are nothing short of excellent and are making the kind of music that really moves you.

I interviewed Colette and Hannah in Manchester( I will type it up soon) and it felt like I was talking to two friends. Their bond is so pure and lovely to witness. You know how some people can communicate without saying a word? That’s them. I don’t think any other band has a bond as strong as that. Quite simply, the sisters are the most gracious and kind individuals I’ve met in a long time. Their music may be heavy and intense but personality wise they are just wonderful people. If you go see them, talk to them afterwards. Tell them I sent you!

And now it is all over. America is getting them next. Is it too late to have a Kickstarter page to find me to go out there? I’m too much of a wuss to get on a plane for 8 hours anyway!
Their on stage presence just makes you want to start a band. I think I spent most of the time staring at Alex and being in awe of how great a drummer he is. He makes you want to do exactly what he does. He truly is phenomenal and I hope if anyone ever made a list of the best drummers around he would be the top choice. But please know that during each song, all band members truly do shine but during some songs you take notice of a certain band member. No Better Prize sees you staring at awe at Hannah’s guitar skills. This song is a real intimate part of the show- it’s just Hannah and Colette on stage playing this. They perform it with such power, you don’t realise that there are other people in the room. Sure Hannah nails it during the end of Scarlet, but there is something extremely fragile and poignant about this song and how they do it live.Speaking of Scarlet, that’s the one where you really focus on Rich and how great a bass player he is. He moves furiously and plays with such purpose, making you wish you could play like that. Scarlet is the song that everyone goes nuts to, and I reckon it’s the bass that sets us all off. How could it not?! Blindfold is a personal song, whoever you are you will feel this song. You’ll see yourself in it and for this reason and how Colette sings it makes it her moment. Of course she’s got a brilliant voice, but there is really something about Blindfold that really makes you connect with the song. That’s the job of the singer, and she does it perfectly. Colette’s voice reminds me of singers I love such as Shirley Manson and Patti Smith. She can sound so delicate in one song but can flip to being dominant. Regardless, you pay attention and you listen. Alex Robins. Where do you begin on his drumming. After much thought I think I’ll go with Creeping. Inititally I was going with Crest because it’s so brutal and is one of the louder tracks on the record. But, I’ll stick with Creeping. He smacks the cymbal like a wave crashing crumbling and faded rocks. His drumming on Creeping sends the song swirling all around you and no part of you feels like you are where you are. Put all of these factors together from each of them, and you truly do have, hand on heart, the perfect/ideal band.

When I listen to 2:54, I just want to sit and write about what their music does and it all it stirrs inside of you. When I see them live I wish to cast real life aside and do something other than what I have to do every day. There is truly something special about them and I feel for anyone who has yet to see it, or who has yet to listen to them or has disregarded them. They’re easy to write about because they are just everything I love about music and why I probably won’t be satisfied until I’ve made some kind of career out of writing about music. 9-5 doesn’t sit well with me, it makes me feel uncomfortable. I don’t adapt to routine.

Music should do something to you that a person can’t. It should take you to a place that no mode of transport can drag you too. It’s a wave of emotions and moments of realisation. If you’re feeling lost, go to a gig. Go to a record store. Go into the unknown and be transported towards something else. Something you have probably been looking for. I recommend you start with 2:54. Listen to them on the move, in your room. Go to their shows and allow yourself to feel something so gloriously sacred.
 

*Note: This was written at 9 this morning on the train to work in about 20 minutes, 2:54 make it so easy to write about music and all it means to a person.