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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Albums Of 2011-Part 5.

30 10 2011

I have no idea if this is even part 5. Probably my last one about albums of this year. Unless I wake up in the middle of the night and think of more albums and this just takes over my life- and ruins it. I clearly have too much free time. I need to start my job ASAP so I can save whatever is left of my sanity. I think months of a shit sleep pattern has destroyed any ounce of sanity I had left. It’s fine. Makes life more interesting, I’m a boring soul you see. I’ve not written this in any order, I basically just threw a list of albums down on a bit of paper in my lyric book because I’ve lost my other notebooks. There’s no structure to this- or to anything I do. It’s okay, because nobody knows that this is exists. Probably the safest option. I’ve wasted words on this toss introduction.

Dum Dum Girls-Only In Dreams: It’s no surprise that I have big love for Dum Dum Girls. They mix my favourite styles of music and create this indescribable sound that owns a large fraction of my ears and heart. They merge lo-fi, garage rock and 60s girl groups sound to make this euphoric feel. I love Dum Dum Girls for so many reasons, I can’t possibly list them all. I’d be here all day and night- for weeks, months. I wouldn’t shut up, and I rant too much anyway. I Will Be was a fantastic debut album, it justshook me to the very core. It was simply divine and is still one of my favourite records. What I love about their second record is that it still maintains that raw and unpolished sound that makes you want to just close your eyes and listen over and over again. I’m probably not the only one who adores Coming Down. It’s over 6 minutes long and it is the most enthralling song that Dum Dum Girls have done (so far) when Dee Dee hits that note, you know the one I mean, buggering hell…it just goes through you. You shiver and your body becomes entirely covered in goose bumps. Coming Down moves you in a way no other song this year will. It’s just so beautiful, it means so much to me. I honestly wish I could put it into words how much Dum Dum Girls mean to me, I really really do. I’ve not felt like this over a record in a long time, it fucking hit me like a truck when I played this album. It just catapulted me into something I have yet to come back from. I’ve realised I won’t be coming back from it any time soon. I’m okay with that, I really am. Basically, this band mean the world to me and this record is easily one of the most important records in my life. I honestly have no idea what I’d do without it. I don’t care if it makes me sound soppy, it’s really changed a lot of things for me personally.

Cat’s Eyes-Cat’s Eyes: Sticking with my love for 60s girl groups, Cat’s Eyes are another duo that warmed my wee heart this year. Those who thought that The Horrors were just 5 rowdy lads who made a lot of noise were proven wrong with Skying this year. Before that, Faris teamed up with the everso talented Rachel Zeffira and formed Cat’s Eyes. Gonna blow your mind- they performed I Know It’s Over at the Vatican. You need to watch the video to it, it’ll move you in a weird way. It’s quite eerie, I loved it. Then again, I love anything a bit creepy. Faris is a huge fan of 60s girl groups, and this is so evident in this record. They’ve captured that fascinating Wall Of Sound feel on this record. Rachel’s Soprano tone goes so well with this sound. It’s just such a bloody glorious record. I also think, even though awards aren’t important, it should’ve been nominated for a Mercury Prize- and won too, but hey. Whatever. If you’re expecting it to sound like a record by The Horrors, then you will be surprised. I was going to say it sounds vintage, but I fucking hate the concept of vintage. Why do you want to wear the cardigan of someone who probably spilt soup on it and died in it? I don’t get it. Anyway, the record has so much going on- but not in a way that just makes your brain turn to mush. It’s soulful in a way, you really feel this music. It’s an underrated album, and it shows that Faris isn’t this screaming fellow that many make him out to be. If anything, it shows how much of a genius the guy is. Rachel’s voice is so angelic and pure, it really delves deep into your soul as you listen to it. A flawless record. There are songs on it that will break your heart. Tracks like I’m Not Stupid and the track dedicated to Charles HaddoN (Ou Est Le Swimming Pool) The Lull will break you. I still can’t listen to The Lull at all. Also, check out their EP Broken Glass which was released a few months before their full length record.

The Drums-Portamento: Alright, here’s the thing- this whole myth that the second album can be a bitch to make needs to seriously be considered because this year, a few second albums have dropped and have been bloody amazing. The Drums are one of the many bands that have released their second album this year. Is it perfect? Ah…go on then, yes it bloody well is. I love that they mix a surfer pop feel to their music. Think Beach Boys meets The Smiths with a touch of Orange Juice (the Scottish band silly!) Jonny has such a delicate voice that just oozes innocence and so much purity in it too. What I adore about their lyrics is that that are so heartbreaking and honest. I don’t want to hear about the joys of seeing a puppy in the street or how brightly the sun is in the sky- I can see that anytime. I want to hear lyrics that make my heart ache or my thoughts to go towards something I’ve not thought about in a long time. Music can make you lose yourself and also discover things about yourself. It can open you up and cause you to sort shit out once and for all. I get that from The rums. They make you feel at ease with how you feel about yourself and others. The lyrical content on this album is much darker than last year’s awesome debut record. They have so much charisma on stage and on record. There’s nothing else around like it. I love the single, Money.I can relate to being broke and wanting to buy someone something. Maybe I should stop being so caring and kind? Anyway, Portamento is again, another brilliant work of art by The Drums. Oh and next time you’re out- make sure you dance like Jonny.

Florence And The Machine-Ceremonials: I simply cannot write about this record without wanting to have a massive fangirl moment. Good job nobody’s about really. Let’s be honest, we all knew Flo was going to create an AMAZING album. But did we expect it to be as big as this? Come on now Flo, stop blowing my mind. My heart cannot take it. Ceremonials is the perfect follow up to 2009’s Lungs. Ceremonials is the album that you will crawl to at 2am when the demons fill your head and you cannot sleep. You will play this record and those demons will slowly escape you as you listen to every song- they creep away as you give yourself over to this record. I’ve been so bloody excited about Ceremonials. Now I’m excited for a tour. I think I need to curb my excitement don’t I. It’s alright, I need something to keep me going. If Ceremonials doesn’t move you, then you clearly don’t have a heart. This record just…I can’t even put it into words. My review of it was over a thousands words and it was all over the place. I lose my mind when I listen to Florence, and I think Ceremonials has blown whatever was left of my mind. Seriously. I honestly cannot deal with how amazing this record is. I love how dark it is, how creepy it is. You feel yourself being possessed by something truly amazing as you listen to it. Tracks like Breaking Down just make you cave in. I won’t lie, I’ve cried listening to this. I’ve cried to it because it is so perfect. I cannot get my head around it. When I heard Seven Devils, I felt this weird sensation go from my heart to…lord only knows where. It just woke up something inside. What I love about this record is how euphorically dark it is- but at the same time it makes you want to just throw your hands up and embrace freedom. Like, all that bad shit in your life- fuck it, just let it go. You don’t need it. You really don’t. Let it go and listen to Ceremonials. There are songs that make you picture a demon trying to crawl into your head, and you just fight it off- because this record makes you feel/believe you can. Oh you can, we all can. I know I’m going to get far too emotionally attached to this record. Lungs was my life for so long, it was my crutch. I think Ceremonials is going to just be the only thing I listen to for a long long time. I’ve got 5 copies of Lungs. Pretty sure I’m going to need 5 copies of Ceremonials too. Songs like Lover To Lover have this amazing soulful feel. I said it befoe, it reminds me of Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through The Grapevine and has such an Aretha Franklin feel to it. So Motown, so bloody good. You cannot deny that Florence has such a powerful and soulful voice. If it doesn’t cause your heart to beat double time and skip along the way- where the hell is your heart?! On Monday, go out and buy this album. Then come home and play it so bloody loud. Disturb the peace, cause a friggin’ riot. Make everyone on your street hear this record. Play it over and over until you fall asleep. Just play it so loud. Have some kind of revelation whilst listening to it. Have a damn epiphany to it. You probably will. Album of the year? Oh you know it. You can’t deny it. I love this record like I should probably love a person, I’m not ashamed of my love (it’s more than love, I know) for Florence. I’ve been a fan since 2007 and to see her do all she has, and make records like this- it’s just amazing. So inspiring. Everything about this record is what I want. It’s dark, intense, romantic, eerie, haunting, chilling, devilish, beautiful. Anything anyone says about this record (in a good way) is not enough to describe just how vital this record is and how perfect is. If I end up doing a track by track review of this- I’m saying sorry now. I honestly think Ceremonials is going to take over my life. I AM NOT EVEN SORRY. 🙂

If I end up adding more to this list and posting more albums that have blown my mind this year, I am going to throw my laptop out the window so I cant write anymore. Or, I’ll just go to sleep. Maybe both. I’ve mentioned 20 albums. That’s more than enough, right?!

 

 

 





Albums Of 2011-Part 4.

29 10 2011

I’m starting to think I’ve stupidly create more work for myself, but then again- I’ve got sod all else to do but write so I’ll stop whinging and carry on. This year, a lot of dark, menacing records have come out. I’m going to mention a few of my favourites in this next piece. As much I love music that makes me feel like I’ve collapsed into some kind of trance like state; I adore anything that is dark, bold, cruel and brutal. Maybe it makes up for the fact that I’m stupidly laid back and a semi decent person (I don’t want to say I’m a good/gentle person because I’ll sound like an egotistical twerp.) Right, pointless introduction out of the way.

Anna Calvi-Anna Calvi: I’ve been a fan of Anna Calvi since 2009, so I’ve been waiting for this debut record for a long time. When I first heard her voice, I immediately felt exactly how I felt when I first heard Florence in 2007. That massive dark, grand sound with such a powerful voice just shattered my soul and caused a riot. I had to find anything and everything to do with Anna’s music. Her cover of Jezebel is mind-blowing. The drums at the start followed by the echoes of JEZEBEL!!! It’s so haunting. What I cherish the most about Anna Calvi’s music is how it makes you feel like you are in some warped kind of film. It fucks with your mind and rules your body. Think David Lynch but with a more romantic feel to it. Her music is like being chased through a dark forest, stumbling over scattered twigs and stones. You run and run, but sooner or later whatever is chasing you will probably get you. It’s okay. Her music is so bold and atmospheric. This is music to take a walk in the dark as the fog rules the night sky and you cannot see where you are going. Walking into the unknown whilst listening to something so beautiful yet sinister at the same time. It’s so spooky and eerie. Her voice, when whispered into your ear, causes your body to just shake. You tremble and just turn to mush. Then her huge powerful voice kicks in and your jaw drops. Her guitar playing, oh shit. She is a beast on the guitar. Her music makes you feel like you are on a film set, lurking in the shadows- standing where you shouldn’t be. Seeing things you shouldn’t be seeing. It’s an incredible record and as far as debut records go- Anna really did raise the bar at the start of the year with this one.

CocknBullKid-Adulthood: Another debut album I had been waiting so long for. Worth the wait? Of course. I’ve been a huge fan of Anita’s work for years. I remember first hearing On My Own and just being in awe of her. She was offering something that was so badly needed in the music industry. She cites Morrissey as one of her influences, and it is so clear in her music. She has these wonderful dark lyrics that are cleverly hidden over a cheery beat. I adore Adulthood so much. It touches on the angst and fury of growing up. They say being a teenager is hard- they don’t tell you that being an adult is even harder. This album lets you embrace all the mistakes you may have made in your life. It allows you to be a mess and in a vulnerable state. All of these things are totally okay to feel. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you HAVE to be secure or stable. People’s high expectations can cause tremendously low self esteem. It’s probably the reason why we sometimes do the things that we do. Hold Onto Your Misery has some gorgeous lyrics, a particular favourite of mine is: “A little cynicism will do you good.”  I had the pleasure of interviewing her last Halloween, it was one of the best interviews I’ve done- she’s just a fantastic person who is so charming, smart and passionate about what is doing. Oh and she’s a fan of Seinfeld, that itself makes her amazing. I remember when Anita was starting out and stupid publications (also ignorant too) were calling her a Grime artist just because of the colour of her skin. The same happened with Santigold when she started out, people were quick to assume she was a rapper just because she’s black. Skin colour doesn’t play a part in the music an artist creates. Fuck, your skin colour isn’t important at all. What I love about Anita is that her lyrics are honest and vulnerable. She doesn’t used pretentious vocabulary in order to make you feel what she is saying. As it comes from the heart, you feel it in yours.

Kurt Vile-Smoke Ring For My Halo: Sticking with dark albums, Kurt Vile put out an exquisite and haunting album this year. Smoke Ring For My Halo has got to be one of the most underrated albums of the year. It just oozes a fuck load of fragilty. The lyrics shoot right into your heart and just make you fall over through sheer pain of feeling every word he sings to you. Baby’s Arms is one of the most gorgeous love songs. It isn’t your traditional love songs though. It’s basically Kurt saying he can’t stand anything or anyone- but the person he loves. We’ve all felt that way. You just feel so disappointed in the world and you want to turn your back on it. Then you fall into the arms and eyes of the one that you adore, and nothing else matters. To some it sounds a bit too much and sickly, but the way Kurt does it is almost in a Tom Waits kind of way. Kurt has this distinctive deep tone that reminds you of artists such as Lou Reeds. He has a bluesy and traditional rock & roll feel to his music. It’s an album that will make you want to throw some clothes and books in the back of car, and make you just drive off somewhere. Pretty much how Blood Pressures by The Kills should make you feel. Just drive on a dusty, desolate road and off into the unknown. Who knows where you’ll end up, the journey will change your life. Kurt Vile is an astounding artist who just tugs and tugs at your heartstrings with his music, but it doesn’t feel forced. It’s a natural thing, and that is why it is easy to embrace this record. It’s exceptional.

Dirty Beaches-Badlands: CANADA! If you were a woman, I would kiss you. Canada, this year you’ve given us some treats. The Weeknd, Feist’s new album and of course- Dirty Beaches. Badlands is a gritty, creepy, passionate record. Lord Knows Best was one of the songs at the start of the year to have truly gripped my heart and kept a secure place there throughout the year. Everything about Badlands is everything I want in a record. Take the track Horses, it sounds like a 60s garage rock track. It’s so amazing. I love this record because it does something to your brain. A lot of records I have loved this year are ones that you play by yourself with no interruptions; Badlands is one of them. I find listening to music a private thing. I wouldn’t ask a bunch of people to come round and listen to the new record by..I don’t know with me. Mainly because everyone I know hates the stuff I listen to. I’m fine with it to be honest. Badlands sends you off into a different place entirely. You feel like you are in the 60s, then you feel you’re back in 2011. It fucks your brain up, seriously but you love it. It is done in a good way- trust me, that can happen. It has a lo-fi feel to it mixed with hints of garage rock. It just merges everything I love into one. This record just makes you want to drink some Whiskey (I’ve never tried Whiskey) and listen to this album whilst sat in a huge, comfy chair. First listen I fell in love with this record- many more listens later, I’m still in love. A solid record that you should probably open your heart and ears to.

 

 





Albums Of 2011-Part 2.

29 10 2011

I’ve spent my morning writing songs. One of which is about being with someone who you then discover is a murderer. Lack of sleep may have brought this on. Maybe I should stop listening to Charles Manson’s music? I’ve had to make a list of the albums I want to write about. I’ve only got 20 and I’m pretty sure I’ve missed some out, or I’ll end up disliking one or two of the ones I’ll end up mentioning. Hopefully I won’t, but I do like to make life difficult for myself sometimes. I’ve not had much sleep so this is again, going to be some kind of strange rant.

This year, again, duos have seem to have blown my mind with their records from The Kills (already mentioned) to Uh Huh Her. Unintentionally this part is going to be about a few albums that duos have put out that I loved (and still do) far too much (maybe.) I’ll start before I get carried away AGAIN!

Uh Huh Her-Nocturnes: Not because I’m a bit (a lot) in love with them, but because it is actually a fucking amazing second album. When I heard Common Reaction I instantly fell in love with it, a perfect debut album. I honestly didn’t expect their second album to be as good- or even better than their first. It’s less synthy (not even a word but I don’t care!) than their debut. It’s got a more raw sound, the lyrics are a lot darker. I’m borderline obsessed with Another Case. Mainly the video. For obvious reasons 😉 But it’s quite a menacing song in a way, I don’t know. I probably think Bambi is a menace right now due to lack of sleep. Personally I feel that Leisha and Camila should be massive, like the whole world should know about them; their music is so euphoric. You put their records on, and you just want to fail your limbs about and call it dancing. You just want to emerse yourself in it over and over again. The lyrics are gorgeous and the actual music just makes you want to throw your body around in mental ways. I adore the song Disdain far too much. I love how their voices merge together in such a beautiful way. You have Camila’s strong voice that is tamed with Leisha’s delicate tones. This is what you want in a duo. This is why duos in my mind, are so brilliant. They put more work into their sound, there’s more chemistry. I just love this album a hell of a lot.

Big Deal-Lights Out: My love for this duo is ridiculous. What I adore about them is how fragile and utterly vulnerable their music is. The way they sing just absolutely rips you apart so badly. You can be the most stable person ever, but if you listen to tracks like Talk or Chair, you will want to just weep. You will want to cry and you will feel so sad. I know a lot try to avoid feeling sad, but Big Deal do it in such a delicate and careful way. It’s just their voices and guitars. They are a brilliant duo who well and truly tug at your heartstrings. Talk, for me is the most heartbreaking song I’ve heard in a long time. It’s on a par with The Last Goodbye by The Kills. The line, “All I wanna do is talk, but seeing you fucks me up.” It just makes you ache everywhere. You feel it in your heart and it sinks so deep into the pit of your tummy. It cripples you with such strong emotion. It is an emotionally charged album that will easily break the hardest of hearts. The sheer vulnerabilty in their music makes them easy to fall in love with and relate to. There’s sod all wrong with being a delicate person. You can be fragile but unafraid of the world- you can be that person. This album is a stunning debut, and honestly if they are making music like this on their debut record- they are more than likely going to blow you away with their next records. It’s so full of raw emotion that most of us try to shy away from. The slightly distorted electric guitar mixed with the acoustic guitar is just perfect. Truly, truly stunning.

Cults-Cults: One of  my greatest loves in music is 1960s girl groups such as The Shirelles, The Girlfriends etc. I love the big drum sound and angelic voices that just ooze so much feeling. I love how it can make you want to dance but if you pay attention to the lyrics, it’d just destroy you. I love how they can mask the pain of love and relationships with an amazing sound- such as the Wall Of Sound. I just think it’s genius, truly wonderful. What I love about Cults is that they have managed to do this. They’ve done it, an it doesn’t seem intentional at all. It’s just like, how they are. A lot of bands seem to want to have a specific sound and relate to certain kins of people. The music that Cults create isn’t like that at all. They’ve got this lovely Pop sound that is quite soulful. If you didn’t know they were from now, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was from the 60s. Songs such as You Know What I Mean just pour out so much- I don’t know what. There’s just a lot going on. I remember playing the record in full and just being amazed as to what I was hearing. The drums just blew me away. I have a thing for drums, the louder and more agressive they sound- the more I’ll probably enjoy it. The drums are bold in their music, but the soft vocals ease it and just make you feel the music even more. I adore Never Saw The Point a hell of a lot. I think I went through a stage where all I did was just play this song over and over. The line, “I never saw the point in trying, ’cause I would only let you down.” is just one of the many in this song that I felt a lot. Towards things and people, but now it’s alright and none of it matters anymore 🙂 If you want a record that is going to make you want to just get lost in the world and its surroundings, then you more than likely need this one. And if you don’t want that? Well, you still need the record.

Summer Camp-Welcome To Condale: I don’t think there’s anything I can say about this record or the band that I haven’t said already. It’s bloody obvious how much this band mean to me. I do think my love for this record is spirling way out of control. You all know my love for I Want You, song of the year no doubt. It’s just a brilliant piece of 80s influenced music. Don’t let the 80s influence out you off. Unlike a lot of bands, Summer Camp actually do it in a way that doesn’t leave you with an awful headache. Think, eating too many Freddo bars in one go- that horrible sickly feeling you get. Go with that…..Summer Camp don’t make you feel that way at all. Elizabeth and Jeremy have easily created the best debut album this year. Deny that, and I’ll make you eat Freddo bars until puke fills your face. I clearly won’t, I’m just trying to create some dramatic tension between us. I know that a lot of amazing albums have been released this year, but I reckon Welcome To Condale is going to be one of the few that in like 10 years time- I am still going to be going on about. Oh don’t get me started on I Want You, I’ll probably be on my deathbed asking to hear it then try to dance to it. The album is just amazing, start to finish- it is an instant work of art. If it doesn’t blow you away, then you’re daft. I’m joking, slightly. We’re all allowed our own opinion but seriously, if you can’t love this record GET OUT. You can sense the love, time, effort, passion and work that went into the record. That alone makes it stand out from a lot of records around.





Albums Of 2011-Part 1.

29 10 2011

I’m getting this out of the way now because it means I can edit this to high heaven and pretend I never missed a record out. I’ll change my mind and probably lose sleep over this. I don’t sleep, so that’s bullshit isn’t it. This year, musically, has been awesome. Aside from music, it’s been fucking awful. But that’s just my personal perspective. I don’t like to moan and bitch about shit I can’t do anything about because it just frustrates me. If I could make people I care for and love alright, I would. But I can’t. That itself has made this year borderline SHIT. Also, if I wake up on my birthday this year and I am not a Superhero, I will be pissed off. I’m aiming to be Psylocke or Wolverine. My obsession has been spiriling out of control for a long time. The older I get, the more convinced I am that I am a Superhero. Fuck it, maybe we all are. Deep down.

I suppose  I better get on with this seeing as I have no chance of sleeping. This isn’t going to be in order. I dislike order, I welcome chaos.

Originally I was going to list 10 albums and bang on about them, but I thought better of it. Instead, I’m going to ramble on about as many albums as I can in different parts, because it gives me the ability to rant more.

The Horrors-Skying: If it possible to love an album likea child, then that’s how I feel about this record. What pissed me off the most about this was people who thought that The Horrors sounded like fucking Simple Minds on this record or that the band only started with Primary Colours. Piss off you uneducated shitstain of life (I’ve drank wine, potty mouth ahoy!) The Horrors started in 2005/2006. There was an EP, then Strange House came out. Their debut LP was beyond stunning. It was full of agressive garage rock sounds that just shattered your skull and shook your weary bones. If you dismissed this record and judged them by how they looked- then I hope you feel foolish and stupid. You missed out on something well and truly wonderful. Right, so Skying. Skying is perfect. Everything about this record is mind-blowing and earth-shattering. It’s like looking into the eyes of someone you adore (and they adore you too) and feeling so at peace, that nothing can touch you. The build up in Endless Blue is so good. It is full of euphoric sounds that make you feel you are entering another dimension. A lot judge The Horrors as being a dark, depressing band. Those that do this are obviously missing the point. Skying is pretty upbeat and just so ethereal. It gives you something no other band could. It makes you feel so open and hopeful. It is a truly wonderful album and easily the band’s best. Although I still hold Strange House so dear to my heart. You cannot expect a band to keep making the same record over and over. This is why I love Horrors, they are not afraid to push boundaries and make music that sounds so unreal, you have to slap yourself a few times because you cannot believe what you are hearing. Best British band? Damn right they are.

The Kills-Blood Pressures: I have no idea how I’m going to do this without becoming a mess. This album kept me sane, there’s no doubt about it. The album was released when I was not at my best, maybe I never am. Maybe that’s what keeps me going. Blood Pressures kept that part of me going that didn’t want to keep going. Every track on this record means the world to me. I adore every single song. I’ve loved Alison and Jamie since the very start. I own every record, and every single one has given me the same feeling. The feeling that, you know, it’s totally okay to be a shaking wreck or a bit mean. It’s okay to like the dark side, it is okay to question everything and everyone. It’s okay to be by yourself. The record just made me feel okay. Did it change things for me? In short, yes. I have played this record whilst making journeys that broke my heart. I’ve played this record when I didn’t know what to do with myself; when I had frustration and fury fidgeting in my mind. It’s basically my crutch. It kept me going and gave me some strength to carry on. Every single song is just perfect. Alison’s voice on The Last Goodbye breaks my heart every single time I play it. The line, “How can I rely on my heart, if I break it, with my own two hands.” Is EASILY my favourite lyric of the year. If I was ever asked to use a lyric to describe me, I’d probably us that. The beautiful Baby Says has the same vibe as a song by the Velvet Underground. It’s perfect. The Kills aren’t a band that you can casually stick on in the background. They are a band that make you fucking feel something so raw inside. It makes you feel like that, you just have to get up and do something. I don’t know what. They just give you this energy that makes you fight everything off until the bloody and bitter end. It’s soulful, it’s blusey, it’s punk, it’s raw. It is everything.

Zola Jesus-Conatus: When I played Stridulum II for the very first time last year, I nearly gave myself third degree burns because I was cooking as I was playing it. My attention was all on Nika’s delicate and haunting voice. Conatus basically had the same effect. I played it and I couldn’t focus on anything. I could’ve been looking at something mesmirising, but I would’nt be able to focus. All my thoughts and energy would be on the record. Conatus,to me, is just a wonderful work of fragile art. It shows just how vulnerable the human soul can be. All too many times we are told to be strong and to just deal with it. You know what? Sometimes you can’t be strong, sometimes you just have to let go and lose yourself. Personally, I think that shows greater strength. Nika is only 22 years old, and she is making works of art that someone like Chris Corner or Lou Reed would make. Her music makes you see everything in a different light, that’s why I love her. Her music is dark and intense- two things that I love about music. If it dark and makes me feel creeped out; I will fall in love with it. There’s something so enigmatic and captivating about her music, it is truly divine. She makes you feel things you probably should be afraid to feel, but isn’t that what music should be about?

The Weeknd-House Of Balloons: I have no idea if I am impressed easily or not. I guess with music it is hard to move me. With people? There’s been very few who have amazed me, I could give you names; but I’m not that kind of person. I heard of The Weeknd last 2010. What You Need was the track I remember listening to on YouTube. I’m a huge fan of R&B, but the good stuff. Think artists such as Jodeci, Aaliyah, SWV, Ginuwine- that kind of feel you know? Along comes The Weeknd and I feel like I’ve been taken into a different universe. When Timbaland and Missy produced Aaliyah’s second record, One In A Million they made this sound that was so futeristic and powerful. You were unsure if anything could be like this again. Move on well over a decade, and you still question if a sound can be created like that again; that makes you feel so strange inside. It makes you turn to jelly and you love it. The Weeknd’s music is just mind-blowing. He’s done this all by himself, the last installment in his trilogy is due soon. I’m so excited about it. Thursday is an amazing mixtape, but House Of Balloons just blew me away. What did it for me was his sample of Siouxsie’s Happy House. As someone who has a massive obsession with Siouxise, I was unsure about this. I had nothing to fear at all. House Of Ballons/Glass Table Girls became one of my favourite tracks of the year. The album is just in a different league of its own. The Weeknd is on a different level, no doubt. This is how R&B should be sounding. Fuck it, it’s how music should be sounding. It should be pushing the listener and making you feel things so deep inside of you that you don’t know what to do with yourself.

I know I rarely sleep, but I’m going to try sleep and think of more albums to continue with tomorrow. I’ll probably be pissed off if this disturbs my slumber and I turn my laptop on at 4am with the urge to write. It happens a lot, I just learn to fight it.