ANNA CALVI: Ghost Rider (Suicide cover.)

6 09 2018

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This is something I should have written ages ago but you know, better late than never. If you’ve ever read any of what I’ve written, you’ll have seen a lot about Anna CalvI. There are so many reasons as to why I pretty much idolise her- the main one being how she is just effortlessly cool. However, another reason is that covered a song I really love by one of the greatest bands of all time.

A while ago Anna covered Ghost Rider by Suicide. If you’ve heard the original, you’ll know just how brilliant it is. It’s this ferocious song that just rips right through you like a motorbike zig zagging on the road. Swerving in an out of traffic. Flirting with danger. How could anyone ever cover this song? How could anyone cover this song and still make it as amazing as the original? Could anyone? Of course. Anna Calvi’s cover of Ghost Rider is this wild and raw version of a song that, you never thought anyone could ever take on. You didn’t think anyone could take this song on. Alan Vega and Martin Rev made music that was so out there, so ahead of its time and so gritty. What has Anna done with this song? Pull up a chair. Here we go.

Her recorded version of this is around the 2.40 mark. There’s a live clip that I’ve obsessed over today that’s about 6 minutes. Irrespective of the duration, Anna makes this song sound like someone coming for your soul. The heart is throwaway here. The soul is what she wants between her teeth with the remains of you dripping off her guitar. That’s the beautiful feeling that Anna gives you with her music, and my god she enhances this with her take on Ghost Rider. The way she uses her guitar as a machine gun on this song is insane. It makes me want to throw stuff, break stuff and just go bananas. The intro to this song has always been something that covers me in goose bumps, but Anna does it in a way that just makes you turn to jelly. Her voice is almost like a whisper, then she lets out those yelps that just grip you. I love how Anna and Colette from TwoFiftyFour both have vocals that can be really delicate then can be straight up loud and powerful in such a beautiful way. It reminds of Shirley Manson. These three have such distinctive vocals, and I’m pretty sure all three of them could take on a song by Suicide and turn it into a masterpiece all over again. I’d love to hear Shirley take on Dream Baby Dream and Colette take on Johnny. Imagine!

Suicide had this sound that just made them really standout, and to take on their songs you better be tough and fearless with it. Anna takes on Ghost Rider and makes you feel like Suicide have covered it. She makes it her own and turns it into this monster emerging from the depths of a lake or a forest, and will eventually rise to give chase. Suicide make it sound like a smutty New York alleyway encounter. If this doesn’t appeal to you, then why on earth not. I love music that has this unclean feel, and Suicide always gave me that. I loved how their music always made (and still does) me feel like nothing else has. It is unlike anything I’ve ever heard, and that’s why I adore Anna’s version of Ghost Rider. Time and time again she makes me feel like I’m finding her music for the first time. For a band or singer to have this ability is something we should never take for granted.

The way how Anna sings Ghost Rider is so different to how it was sang by Alan Vega. Alan’s vocals are quite clear and prominent. Anna takes the song, sings it softly but you can hear this urgent breathing coming out as she sings. It sounds like she is being chased as she sings this or maybe she’s the one doing the chasing. I’m going to go with the latter. It’s like she is running after someone, telling them this tale and every time those yelps come out of her and her guitar just turns into this electrifying force, you feel as if she has caught up with you and done whatever she wants with you. She rips you soul from within and takes over it by the end of the song. Her songs have always felt like a film to me, so cinematic and Suicide have always done this too, I feel. I can totally see why she took this song on. It’s like it was made for her to cover. She goes beyond doing the song justice. As someone who is pretty much obsessed with Suicide, I am utterly in awe of Anna’s cover of this incredible song. It was one of the first songs I heard by Suicide, so it holds a bit of sentimental value to me. To hear a singer I absolutely adore take on a song by a band I am forever in awe of, and make it their own. To make them take this song someplace else and make you forget it is a cover just blows my mind.

We live in a world now where Alan Vega is no longer with us, and it’s something that’s pretty hard to take in. When he died, the loss really hit me. When I listen to Anna’s cover of Ghost Rider it eases the loss and longing for a band that are no more because she just makes it something else. She turned it into her own masterpiece.

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ANNA CALVI: Hunter.

31 08 2018

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Of all the records that have come out this year, and will come out this year, I am so sure that none are going to have such a hold on me as Hunter by Anna Calvi does. With one listen, I was hooked. It’s as cinematic masterpiece. Multiple listens, and my queer heart could burst with sheer joy at this beautiful masterpiece. Without sounding clichéd, this is Anna’s best record to date. Nothing can shadow this glorious piece of art. The songs are vulnerable and show sides to human nature that most would shy away from. The only way for me to get my thoughts down about this record is to just go in track by track. It’s going to be really long, but I’m not sorry for that at all. It deserves more than just words from a fan like me. It’s a perfect record that will just blow your mind in ways you didn’t think were possible.

If you’re going to stick with this, then get comfortable. Maybe play the record as you read this. Ready?

As A Man: The intro to this sets the mood of the whole record. The way it starts so intense and moody, then all of a sudden Anna’s voice comes in and possess you. She can do vocals that soothe you but she can also be utterly brutal with how bold she makes her voice. She reminds me of Shirley Manson. She isn’t afraid to show all emotions and voice them in a way that has a grip on you. The video to As A Man was released yesterday, and it is again, another work of art. I think this is such an important song, well the whole record is, because it touches on gender and sexuality, and society’s take on it all. I can truly connect with so much Anna says on this record, and this song truly shows the strength in her vocals and her lyrics. It’s so powerful and so important.

Hunter: This is the second song to be released off the record, and the video captures every emotion in this song possible. It fucks with gender, it fucks with society and it challenges you. That’s how it should be. Nothing is ever how it should be, and having these thoughts and feelings expressed in this way by Anna is beautiful. Her vocals on Hunter are so gentle. You almost feel like this is a lullaby for those who are free in who they are and those who are on the edge of doing so. It is such a gorgeous song that explores everything to do with love, lust, passion and all that it entails. You shut your eyes whilst listening to this and you can imagine someone, or yourself, freely exploring the world around them and who they are. Again, it is such an important song and the video does the song justice. The video really does expose the song to its very core and is so stripped back and open. Like I’ve mentioned already, it’s a work of art.

Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy: Sometimes when a band or singer have a lead single from their new record, it can get overlooked because it doesn’t seem new anymore. However, Anna has not fallen for this on the record. Hearing this song on the record with the previous and others following fits so well. I feel like this record is the journey of someone exploring freedom, feelings, sexuality and gender. This song is such an important part of the record, and it’s just an important song in general. Let people be fragile irrespective of their gender, it shouldn’t be that one gender can be tough but the others have to be weaker. It doesn’t work like that. I love the romanticism in this song, and it is something that has always been obvious in Anna’s music. She’s like Nick Cave in that she takes her views on love etc., and portrays them in a way that is unconventional to some but me personally, it is what I truly connect with. I still can’t get enough of this song.

Indies Or Paradise: Back to my Nick Cave reference quickly, this song has the same eeriness that Stagger Lee has. It’s got that raw darkness and massive sound to it. It’s one of my favourites, although I can’t possibly pick one for sure. I love how it’s such a dirty feeling song. It’s got this sweat-soaked smuttiness to it that I absolutely adore. It feels like stepping into something you normally wouldn’t and she exposes these strange feelings of lust and passion in such a grand way. Then she just annihilates the guitar after the two minute mark, then she almost whispers the words and you feel like she is behind you whispering in your ear. It’s insane- I love how this song has so much to offer the listener. There’s the heavy drums and the intense guitar, but all along it is Anna’s voice and lyrics that make it. It’s her words. Her words are like my favourite poets (think Rimbaud and Poe) and her voice is such a joy to listen to. Play this to your lover.

Swimming Pool: We’re now at the halfway mark of the record, and this is the song that could easily be performed without music, and delivered as a poem. The song makes you feel as if you are by the sea on a clear summer’s night. The sky is pitch black and the stars are the only source of light. Beside you is the one you love. The only one you’ll ever love, your backbone, your soulmate, your universe. It’s such a gentle and ethereal song. With this record, Anna really shows us how phenomenal she is as a guitarist. I mean, if you’re a fan you know this already but she’s gone next level on this. She’s always been on a different level to anything else I’ve ever heard before, and this song is such a beautiful and soothing song. It just oozes reassurance and unconditional admiration, and love. It is such a beautiful song that gently wraps itself around you, and cautiously tugs at your heartstrings. The lyrics are just beautiful, and Anna’s voice on this song is nothing short of magnificent.

Alpha: There are two songs on this record that I am ridiculously excited to write about. Obviously I’m excited to write about the whole record, but two songs this morning in particular stuck with me when I heard them. I really really hope Alpha is released as a single because the video to this would be wild. It’d just be the wildest and insane video. The way Anna toys with gender on this song is wonderful. She questions so much on this song, and does it in a way that makes you do exactly the same. I love how powerful this song is, it’s easily one of the most powerful songs on the record, and you’d think it’d be the most vulnerable given the amount of questioning, but it’s definitely the toughest song on the wrong. I love how she basically roars out, “I divide and conquer” towards the end of the song, and just launches into such a powerful guitar break that is probably going to be amazing to see live.

Chain: This is another one I hope Anna releases as a single because the video would be so amazing. Chain massively toys with sexuality and gender, and I just love it. I love how obvious it is, but not in a clichéd way. I love how Anna sings: “I’ll be the boy you be the girl I’ll be the girl you be the boy I’ll be the girl.” So simplistic, but there’s something about it that just oozes the beauty in being free of labels. I adore how open the song is, and you can take it in whatever way you want. It’s definitely one of those songs that make you feel fearless and like you can take anything, and anyone one. There’s another line in the song that I love, “And in the golden light the sun began to set on her red lips and her words.” It is such a captivating line, and I think it might be my favourite lyric on Hunter. There’s so much in that line, and it’s sung so beautifully. The whole song is just out of this world. Anna’s voice is unlike anything else I’ve ever heard. Its part operatic, part punk and one of a kind.

Wish: Five minutes and sixteen seconds of euphoric joy. This is the other song I have been so excited to write about. I nearly got run over on the way home from work listening to this, its fine. I was totally engrossed in the song. I love how it has this dramatic build up, and the way Anna sings on this song is so intense. I love the line, “My mind is free…” There is something so magical about this line and the urgency in Anna’s voice throughout this song just leaves me in awe. It’s definitely a song that’ll make everyone go nuts when she plays it live. It’s got something about it that just screams urgency, need and the intense desire to be heard. I just love it so much, I don’t think my words can do this song justice. There are so many reasons as to why this is such a great song, but the main one is just how it goes off from the 3 and a half minute mark, then it calms down. It’s like a storm erupting and how it becomes tame towards the end is like the calmness after a thunderous downpour. It’s a song to play loud so your neighbours and beyond get into it. It’s a song I could happily talk someone’s ears off about. I’m obsessed with it.

Away: The more I read Anna’s lyrics, the more I am certain she is a poet. She’s not just a singer or musician. She’s a poet who gets to the very heart of you. She delves deep into the soul and is unafraid to expose human vulnerabilities. I have so much love and respect for her, and this record is just an exceptional piece of art. Away is a gentle song, and it is one of the quieter moments on the record. Imagine being in the studio as this was recorded. It’s the kind of song that would just reduce you to tears. If I saw her sing this live, I’d just cry. I’m not ashamed, I’d breakdown but it’d be a moment I was happy to be in. There is something really special about this song, and I hope it isn’t overlooked by anyone who listens to it, because these quiet moments show just how strong Anna’s voice is and how she can make herself sound fragile even when her voice is the most powerful thing you’ll hear.

Eden: I don’t want this record to end, but Eden is a gorgeous song to end on. There is so much innocence in this song, and it really comes to life in this line: “On your bed so small, with your heroes on the wall. In the fading light.” I love how this makes you think of the innocence of a pure and unfiltered love you have for your person. I love how it has this beautiful wonder about it, and how having such intimate moments like this cause you to pick up on details such as photos of people you admire are on the wall, and your love stares upon them as you are lying close together in this small space. It is just so beautiful. So beautiful. Like I said, I don’t want this record to end but this song is the perfect ending to such a magnetising record. For me, this song expresses the journey of falling in love and always being in love with that one person. It’s such a personal, intimate song that really hits you in the gut. I hope she’s super proud of this song because she captures something so pure here.

I’ve been a fan of Anna since I first heard her cover of Jezebel, I think. I was hooked and I knew I had found a singer I could connect with. I knew I had found someone who I would always connect with and couldn’t wait to hear more of. I’ve used Anna’s music as a crutch and an escape route many times, but Hunter doesn’t feel like an escape route. It feels like a form of security and place of acceptance, and I hope it gets to those who need it. I hope it gets to those who are questioning themselves, and they find their way in this record and become fearless hunters. I know she’ll never see this but, Anna- this is the best record I’ve heard in a long time, and I have so much love for this record and I cannot thank you enough for creating something I can identify with that I’ve not really felt before. Grazie x





ANNA CALVI: Hunter

31 07 2018

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There is so much I can write about Anna Calvi and still never feel it is enough. She is one of those artists that creates continuous masterpieces and for me, is just up there with my holy trinity- Nick Cave, Patti Smith and Leonard Cohen. She paints the world in a way that is so relatable. In a way that is full of passion, eeriness, brutal truths and seductive poetry. She is someone you’d want to be in the presence of constantly singing these glorious songs and annihilating her guitar right before you. I’ve loved her for so long, and she blows my mind every single time I hear her voice and every single time I read her lyrics, which give off the same darkness and rawness that is found in Poe. She’s out of this world, and she’s shown this again on her new song, Hunter.

What I adore about Anna is that she challenges all that is expected, she goes against what is boringly typical. She is fascinating to listen to, and I just have to see her on her tour in October because I’ve been waiting years and years to see her. I want to be right at the front, and gaze in awe at her as she unleashes hell with her voice and guitar.

Hunter starts with the wonderful line, “I dress myself in leather.” Straight away you know something is going to happen in this song that you’ve not felt or heard before. It is has a brilliant sinister feel to it, but the softness of her voice in this song balances out the fear. I’ve always found such comfort in Anna’s music. We always search for something or someone to relate to in music, and I remember when I first heard Jezebel in 2010. It was over for me. I get goosebumps now just thinking about it. She has this sacred feel to her music, and for me, she is all I want from a singer and a songwriter. I know that Nick Cave is the one person I’d love to sit down and talk about their words and music with, but my god she is joint first with him.

Hunter explores what is constantly ignored or deemed as inappropriate. Anna challenges this lame norms: “I wanted simplicity, I wanted something quietly brave, quietly defiant. I wanted there to be intimacy. I wanted to find a place between beauty and ugliness.” There is so much beauty and intimacy in her music, and Hunter truly captures her ability to do so in all its glory. I’m so excited for her new record (which is also called Hunter) and for the journey she takes us all on with these songs. Hunter allows you to feel as if you’ve stepped into something you haven’t experienced before. She shows you this form of freedom that others try to steer us away from. If you cannot be free in your mind, sexuality and gender- what’s the point?

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Hunter is a wonderfully tender song that you cannot help but connect with. With this song, Anna eases any doubts in a persons mind to explore and find out who they are. It is a safety net. To sum it all up perfectly, Anna says: “Hunter is about exploring one’s pleasure in all possible ways, free from any shame. It’s about finding a safe space where this is welcomed and supported.” Wherever this safe space may be, never let anyone take it from you.

Hunter will be released on 31st August via Domino Record co.





ANNA CALVI: Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy.

6 06 2018

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Time is precious. Time can be cruel. Time can be kind. Over time, good things can happen. This is apt for the new Anna Calvi single, Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy. She is someone I have idolised since I first heard Jezebel in 2010. I was hooked on her voice. She reminded me of the ones I had loved (and still love) before her- Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and PJ Harvey. Now she’s back and I can’t pretend to even try hide my sheer joy about this.

Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy toys with everything that is supposed to be “normal.” But the thing is, nothing is normal. Nothing has to be how it always has been. It’s important to challenge ideas, ideals and people. What’s the point if we live in a world of repetition and blandness? This song 100% shows us just why Anna is a genius. I may lob that around a lot, but my god she totally is. The love I felt when I heard here back in 2010 has come rushing back. It feels like falling in love at a billion miles an hour with no concept of time and space. It’s the best feeling. This song evokes all kinds of happiness and questions. It totally messes with how society views sexuality, gender and everything else. Freedom cannot be dictated, and Anna expresses this so beautifully here. I cannot wait for the tour and her new record.

The song oozes private moments that you share with the one you love. Those proper intimate moments that nothing and no one can interrupt or take from you. It’s these moments that become sacred and vital for the soul to be comforted. It’s a modern love song that messes with what you’ve come to expect from love, lust and passion. It’s such a fantastic song that needs to be played all the time and as loud as you can handle, and allow the song to take you over like an outer-body experience. I’m happy to keep listening to this over and over until her new record, Hunter comes out.

There’s something about this record, and song that Anna has said which resonates with me a hell of a lot, “I’m fighting against feeling an outsider and trying to find a place that feels like home.” This is such a beautiful and relatable quote, and I think it sums up her music completely. She’s unlike anyone else and she pushes and tests us with her charming way with words. Her words provide comfort and safety, but at the same time she takes you away from all that you know and challenges you. I simply adore this about her and her music. Her words are powerful and poetic. She is a walking, talking, singing, breathing masterpiece. I really cannot do her music justice by writing words about her. I really can’t. From about the 2 minute 45 second mark in the song, she hits this note. This note will shatter you and make you feel so alive. Her voice is so powerful, and she can be harsh and delicate at once.

She has the darkness of Poe and the romantic side of Rimbaud. She isn’t afraid to show fragility and feel vulnerable with her music and words. She does it in a way that evidently isn’t forced. None of it is an act- it’s all her, and that is exactly why you connect with her. If you feel like I do about her music, or even about another musician- you’ll know that these feelings are something to treasure and adore.

Hunter will be released on 31st August 2018 via Domino. Next February she will be playing a massive show at the Roundhouse in London on 7th February. But if you cannot wait until then (understandable!) you can see Anna and her amazing band in September/October:

SEPTEMBER
27th Belfast, Empire
28th Dublin, Tivoli Theatre
30th Glasgow, St Luke’s

OCTOBER
1st Manchester, Ritz
3rd Newcastle, Boiler Shop
4th Birmingam, Town Hall
5th Brighton, All Saints Church
6th Bristol, SWX





“I’m the fury in your head, I’m the fury in your bed. I’m the ghost in the back of your head.”

18 09 2012

I was walking home from my morning ritual of slowly killing myself at the gym (it needs to pay off one day) and it began to rain. I already looked a mess, so what harm would a bit of rain do?

Everything in that moment seemed alright. Maybe it was the songs I listened to. Or maybe I knew I was going home, and I was going to nap. Sure it was a really shit nap, but I was going to be asleep. I like being asleep because I’m no trouble to anyone. I’ve gone back 10 years, I feel 15 again. It’ll pass. It must do.

Everything positive has something negative. Everything negative has something positive. Everything seems to be balanced, but you always find yourself leaning towards one side. Or maybe you are being pulled towards a side you cannot stand. Yet you must go there. Rock bottom is a lesson for us all. Does it exist? Is it just an idle threat to make us feel worse than we already do? You always think you’ve hit your lowest point, you think you cannot get any lower. Like things cannot get worse, but can they? They get better. They also can get worse. See, it is all balanced out.

So you close your eyes around 2am hoping sleep comes. It comes eventually. When you sleep, do you dream? Do you doubt yourself in dreams too? You don’t always get what you want- dreaming or awake. I hate that I function better when I am tired. When I am tired, certain things make more sense. When I’m awake, I think I usually want to sleep and watch Disney films.

Sometimes we make ourselves out to be awful. Maybe it is from past abandonment, maybe we’re not sure of ourselves, maybe we’re not truly awful. We’ve all got our faults, we shouldn’t let them rule us.

As I’m not one for ever listening to myself, have some songs that made dragging myself home in the rain a lot less awful.





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.

 

 





Anna Calvi.

25 08 2011

When I first heard Anna Calvi’s music in 2008 I was instantly in awe of what I heard. She makes the kind of music that causes your head to jolt back and your jaw drop. I suppose it’s not the most attractive physical attribute to attain in public, which is why it’s safer to just listen at home with no one around.

I remember hearing Blackout and her cover of Jezebel in 2009; I was enthralled with the big drums and the romantic sound of her voice. What made me fall in love so quickly with her music was how dark, intense and dominant it was. I loved how her music made me feel I was wandering through a creepy and devilish film set, like a “film noir” or even something distinctly twisted such as a David Lynch film. For me, her music feels like a mini-movie, a dramatisation. Her music is so intense; it makes you feel on constant edge (in a good way) as you listen to it.

When you watch live clips of her or even actually see her live you are drawn to have passionately she performs on stage and her presence. She doesn’t have to say anything to the audience; you are just immediately captured by her music. That’s just how it should be.

As I listen to her album, I find it breathtaking and inspiring that something so grand can be someone’s debut album. This is why I regard it to be the best debut this year and quite possibly the only debut album to cause such emotions since Florence’s debut, Lungs back in 2009.

It is easy to compare the tow due to them both having powerful voices that hurl you into a different world. But that is the only comparison.

I love how there are slight twinges of vengeance in Anna’s voice, a monster of a feeling takes over as you listen to songs such as Desire. “It’s just the Devil taking my hand to the fire” I love the way she puts across the feelings that desire causes us to feel and the things it makes us do. Sometimes when you desire something or someone it just causes you to do daft things. However, I don’t need to feel this way to do daft things.

She’s toured with the likes of Interpol, Nick Cave and Kaki King- all this and she’s only one album into her career.

Her music has a ritualistic chant feel mixed with heavy drums, it’s a sound that many have tried to create and at times failed. They just get it wrong. They let certain parts take over and no talent comes out.

This doesn’t happen with Anna Calvi’s music. Maybe I am slightly biased due to her also having Italian genes. It’s the best gene to have I reckon, again- being biased but still. Anyway, her music. Her music is just perfect. She has a strong, big voice that just throws you. With a lot of female singers they seem to warble to show how strong their voice is, but when they do this they lose the power they could potentially posses. Anna doesn’t do this, it just sounds so effortlessly grand. When you listen to songs such a Suzanne and I, her voice is so, and I hate to bloody say it, but it’s so seductive. You could just sit playing her album with someone you are fond of- but to be honest; I’d just keep my attention on the music and not the other person. That’s just how I am, it explains a lot. I refuse to change though. Music is more constant than a person really.

First We Kiss is so poetic and dark. The album has quite an old fashioned feel to it. You could imagine music like this being played during the Victorian era when they had parties that were so decadent and never discussed to the outside world.

The build-up in First We Kiss is so gripping, the whole album is. It has a hold of you, but you don’t want to loosen the grip. You want to keep it as tight as possible until you gasp for air, but even then you want to keep hold onto it. It just takes over you- your body and soul. Her music just owns every part of you. It makes you feel you are in the scenarios she creates with her music.

Aside from having one of the best voices I have ever heard, Anna Calvi is a fantastic guitar player. When you watch her play she makes it seem so effortless. I cannot put into words just how beautiful the sound it. It sounds so viciously haunting. It really comes across on the track, The Devil.

What I love about her music is that you can tell that no specific genre or singer has influenced her music. Yes she has the dark lyrics and feel to her music with comparison to Nick Cave. However, she has this soul-gripping voice like Edith Piaf. I cannot and will not throw her music into any genre/sub-genre at all, it’d be impossible to do so, and that is exactly what makes an artist like Anna Calvi so good and much needed in music right now.

In an ideal world, music like this would take over. But an ideal world will never exist, that’s why you can lose yourself in music like this. Her music just moves you and inspires you in ways you didn’t think music could right now. Her voice is so much stronger and a billion times more soulful than what is being (unfortunately) played on certain radio stations. It’s why I don’t listen to them. In a few weeks the winner of the Mercury Music Prize will be announced. By rights, Anna Calvi should win. Not because I love her music but looking at the list (bar PJ Harvey of course) she is the only one that is doing something different. She is the only one creating music so dark and atmospheric right now, and it is something that needs to be recognised. Guaranteed if she was to win, she’d be one of the few that are actually remembered in years to come. But, awards aren’t everything nor are the important. All that matters is that singers like Anna Calvi exist.