…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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BANKS: Albert Hall, Manchester. 10th March 2017.

11 03 2017

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One of the best feelings you can experience is waiting years and years to see a band or singer you adore. Not only do you adore them, but they’ve undoubtedly saved your life and made it easy for you to face those days where getting out of bed seems damn near impossible. You’re not brave, but the music and words give you this strength that you never thought you could possess. You don’t know what to do with this strength, but when no one else is around at 3am when you wake yourself up from having a panic attack, the music keeps you safe. The music keeps you sane. You have a small support network but those people aren’t close by. You cling to what you can, when you can.

Since 2013 I’ve been obsessed with Banks. Her words got me through something that in some ways, I put myself through a few years before. A situation I was too immature and fucked up to handle. The songs on Goddess made me see how badly I had hurt someone I loved and adored. Fast forward a few years, and we’re together. The songs don’t hurt as much. We’ve both healed. Time can heal. Goddess is built on songs that ooze hurt and pain, but they give you strength. The Altar is a body of work that shows honesty and vulnerability in a way that again, gives strength. That’s what Banks embodies- strength and love for yourself. Her songs are a form of healing and clarity.

Her set opens with the chilling Poltergeist. Using two microphones to distort the vocals, Banks has this stage presence that hits you right away. The way she focuses on the dance routine during this song is nothing short of hypnotising. Your eyes are hooked on every mood she and her dancers make, and the songs suddenly take on a whole new meaning. Banks moves like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Her moves are so delicate and well thought out. She reminds me so much of Aaliyah with the way she carries herself and glides across the stage.

There are so many stand out moments from the show last night that made me realise that her songs are more than just words and music. To see them come to life like this was mind blowing. Every part of me just wanted to sing a long, but all I could do was gaze in awe. The person I’ve been using as a crutch for so long was right there. One of the most beautiful points of the show was her asking everyone to put their phones away, and she performed a fragile version of Better. This song performed this way just changed everything. It took the song elsewhere, and you just connected in a completely different way. Mother Earth was the song I feel broke and fixed hearts and minds. Lyrically, it is probably one of the best songs Banks has written so far. The way she is so open and so pure when she performs this song just melts your heart. I knew it would be the song to break me and make me cry, it just has this power but in the best way imaginable. You just feel when you hear it that you can possibly take anything on and that she is right there with you going through it all. She gives you so much hope with this song, and I cannot thank her enough for it.

This Is What It Feels Like is one of the songs I was massively looking forward to. It was one of the first songs I heard from her, and she dedicated it to all those who had been there from the start. The way she choreographed her hands as she sang This Is What It Feels Like is so captivating. Drowning also left me hypnotised. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the stage and it was sung with such determination and power. Beggin’ For Thread was just absolutely one of my favourite songs from the set, and it just made me so happy to see this song come to life like this. Her dancers add this eerie feeling to the whole set that just lures you in, deep into this world in the most comforting way.

A large part of the show was songs from The Altar which was easily one of the best and most underrated records of last year. Since September I’ve played it religiously. It’s been a record that has eased me out of a state after I’ve had a panic attack, and her voice just soothes my head. Trainwreck is performed with such attitude as is Gemini Feed and of course, Fuck With Myself. The way she performs these songs just gives you this belief that you’re as tough as her. Weaker Girl is again, another mind blowing performance. The way everyone shouts “I’ma need a bad motherfucker like me” is incredible. Every song is just screamed back at her, it makes you feel like you’re in an arena not an old church in the middle of Manchester. She has the crowd right where they should be, and none of us want to ever leave.

Judas and Haunt again bring out this bold and brave side. Judas especially is performed with this venom that makes you feel the hurt she’s experienced from whoever or whatever has hurt her. I know I’ve said it countless of times before about her, but when she does this you just truly connect to the music. She’s so easy to connect with and to feel, and believe in every single word. I don’t even know what I did before I had her music.

The set ends with 27 Hours followed by This Is Not About Us. Of course there are other songs I would have loved to have heard but that’s just for my own personal sentimental value. The set was nothing short of perfect, and if anything, I’d have just wanted her to stay on stage for hours. Her dancers, her band, and her stage presence- just everything felt like something that came purely from the heart and soul. Wherever she goes when she performs these songs, she takes you with her.

It didn’t end just there. Before we went to the show, I wrote a letter to give her. The letter consisted of me telling her how much her music has helped and healed. How it still does, and how it gets me through my own hell. I handed the letter to her, and as we hugged, I had to tell her something I had needed to say for so long. I told her that she had saved my life. A bold and big statement that is entirely the truth. This was more than just a concert. It did something that no other show has ever done to me. I’ll keep its meaning close to me and go to it when it all seems too much. There is so much more I could say about the show last night, but if you were there or if you’ve seen her live- then you’ll understand exactly what it is that her music and her presence does.





BANKS: The Altar.

18 01 2017

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“And I’m chugging along in a train.
And I’m heading the wrong way, and I’m a trainwreck”

 

Since it came out, I have religiously, ritualistically and obsessively listened to The Altar by Banks every single day. I listen at work- her voice can sometimes tame my panic attacks. Not always. But after I’ve had one, her voice provides this level of security that I guess, I need. Her lyrics have always been a massive thing for me. She has this brutal honesty that is so fragile- it can break the person listening. Goddess came out in 2014, prior to that a couple of EPs. Everything she’s released has been nothing short of ahead of its time. She’s ahead of us all. There’s no one quite like her. She’s my kind of strange. The kind that delves into what others want to distant themselves from. Her words are gut wrenching, heart breaking and truthful. It is okay to have these feelings, it is okay to explore and expose how you feel. Music is a safety net. Goddess was my safety net when it came out. The Altar is exactly the same. There’s something about her that draws you in. I don’t have the words for it, but my god she’s out of this world.

I try to avoid doing track by track reviews, but some records bring it out of you. Sorry!

Gemini Feed: I’m sorry now for going on about how important the lyrics are and how with this record she takes it darker. I love the attitude she has on the chorus, “And to think you’d get me to the altar.”  She finally sees what a piece of work this asshat is and lets them know they have no chance. As if she’d want that kind of forever, that commitment with them. I love the line, “If you would have let me grow, you could have kept my love.” When someone hides you away or doesn’t let you be the person you are, they lose you and rightfully so. If they saw you for what you could be, maybe they’d still have you. Tough luck, right?!

Fuck With Myself: The song is equally as strange and as brave as the video. This shows Banks really go for it with respect to her exploring her sound. This is the sound of someone really pushing themselves but still holding onto what they are known for- their honest lyrics. She’s not going to let someone fuck her over again, she knows her worth and if you can’t see it, then you don’t deserve her.

Lovesick: One of her most pure songs of love and adoration. The way she expresses how much she loves, wants and adores this person is so beautiful. This has this beautiful and gentle feel to it like Fuck ‘Em Only We Know has. I think the line, “I knew your love before I kissed you” is one of the most unconditional declarations of desire and love I’ve ever heard. I could quite happily write an essay on this song and probably that one line, but I think the song explains itself. It’s so exposed in a way that just leaves you in awe.

Mind Games: Mind Games is brutal. It’s exceptionally harsh to the core. You can sense the hurt and betrayal in her voice. It possess a wealth of hurt that makes you flinch slightly at certain lines. The way she sings, “Do you see me now?” I think we can all relate to where we leave something, and someone else realises what they are losing (maybe) and you wonder if they ever noticed the times you tried and the times that were trying. This used to be such a hard song to listen to, but lyrically it’s one of her finest.

Trainwreck: Today she released the video to it. I really thought she couldn’t push herself further than she did with the Fuck With Myself video, but Trainwreck is on a different level. It’s easily my favourite off The Altar. I can’t count how many times I play it a day and how many times I’ve played it since September. I can’t pick out specific lines, I really can’t. It just perfectly expresses the demises of something that’s beyond repair and a person that’s beyond fucked up. The music and the lyrics fit so perfectly together. It’s a brilliantly produced record, and this song in particular shows how great the production is. This is the one I am most looking forward to seeing live in March.

This Is Not About Us: It wasn’t until recently that I paid this song the attention that it really deserves. I changed my mind on it because I read the lyrics before going back and listening to it. It picks up perfectly on relationship issues some have and that sometimes the issues aren’t you and the person, it’s something entirely differently and Banks goes into it in a way that some would rather shy away from than confront.

Weaker Girl: The way in which she sings the word “motherfucker” is one of my favourite moments on the record. This is easily one of the strongest songs on the record, obviously I love every song but this one is so tough and you know that although she exposes this vulnerable side- she’s tough too, and that side isn’t to be messed with. It’s the kind of song that’ll be nothing short of euphoric when she plays it live (I hope she does.)

Mother Earth: She released The Altar the day after I saw The Kills in Manchester. I remember listening to this song first, and the high I was on from seeing them and meeting Alison ended as soon as I listened to this. I don’t think I even played it in full. This is one of the most open songs on the record. Songs like Someone New and Under The Table from her first record are painful but beautiful. Mother Earth is exactly the same.  This song shows how strong her voice is, how brilliant a writer she is. Her voice cracks at the right parts- the parts that need emphasising. It’s such a haunting song, and at times it is tough, really tough to listen to but the words are just wonderful.

Judas: This is one of the harsher songs on the record and you can really hear the disappointment in her voice, it’s like she’s singing it through gritted teeth in some parts. The way she projects hurt and betrayal is so beautifully executed. For me it’s all in this line, “Reminiscing all the backwards ways you made me stay. Begging me for thread, I think you need to change your brain.” I love how she references to exceptional songs from Goddess, and maybe these three songs are about one person in particular. That’s how you’re left thinking.

Haunt: This is another really open song, lyrically. The words are so full of hurt and such heavy sadness but she writes about it in a way that’s reassuring. I think it’s because she freely and easily calls the person out for hurting her. She’s openly saying it would have been better if the person cheated because that kind of hurt is easier to get her head around. Instead, this person is just a shitfest and they repeatedly haunt her, as she knows waiting for them just isn’t worth it anymore.

Poltergeist: Banks manages to really portray her hurt and anger in a way that is done purely through her voice. It’s not what she says, but how she says it. She effortlessly let’s her hurt out in her songs that makes you connect in all ways possible. She does it so well on Poltergeist and it is one of her most cleverly written songs, especially in the way she calls this person out. I think with this one she’s exposing Industry type idiots. The ones who just want something and don’t know how to deal with being challenged. Banks isn’t someone to mess with, and she expresses that so elegantly on this one. I love the line, You mistaking all my mistakes for my crooked nature.”

To The Hilt: This one is on the same level as Under The Table and Someone New. It’s got this wealth of sadness to it that just breaks you. The sense of loss in this song is overwhelming. It’s an overwhelming song. When you listen to this through headphones, you can really pick up on her voice and she makes you feel as if you’re the one that she’s lost. There’s nothing worse than losing the one person that no matter what, believes in you. Trust me. But sometimes, years have to pass before you get them back and you get them back in a better way. Personally speaking. To The Hilt is one of the best songs Banks has written so far. It’s the ones that are the toughest to listen to that are the best because she really hits you in the gut with her words, and her vocals on this are so brave and so powerful. It’s truly one of the best things she’s done so far. It slowly builds and builds, and when it gets there- she gets you. She has you gripped.

27 Hours: There are three songs on this record that I play more than others- Lovesick, Trainwreck and this one, 27 Hours. This is perfect to end the record on because it has you playing it all over again. Maybe that was her intention, but this song again is another that shows how strong her voice is and how far she’s come since her EPs and probably Goddess was just a hint of what she’s about. It shows how destructive a person is, and the other person isn’t budging and she can’t work out why; “How can you not walk away after everything I’ve done?” It feels like she’s stuck in destroying things and can’t get out of the vicious cycle of doing so and is unsure how another person can stick with her for doing so. By no means does it feel like a love song, but maybe it is. Banks isn’t conventional and her kind of love songs are dark. Very dark and they’re the best ones. They are the ones that are easier to connect with.

The Altar is a body of unfiltered confessions, declarations and a comfort blanket. Her voice has gotten stronger, her writing cuts even deeper and is braver. She’s not afraid to be so open and vulnerable. She allows us to be fragile with her on the songs; this is a powerful connection and is truly a phenomenal record.





“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:

 

 





LYRICS OF 2014.

11 01 2015

Are we over the “New year, new me” bullshit yet? Are we all aware that you can change whenever you want, you don’t need to wait for midnight on the 1st January to do so? And the gym is open beyond January… Alright, I’ll go back to the past 12 months.

Everybody likes to inflict their “ALBUMS OF *insert year*” upon anyone towards the end of the year. Some mention records that nobody probably listened to just to seem “cool” or they slag off good ones just because they did well. It’s all a bit daft, and the only person’s view of a record that really does matter is probably the fans who love the band. I could be wrong, I most likely am but I’m not someone who aims to ever be right. I don’t care enough, so with that..I decided to put together my list of lyrics of the past year. Lyrics that I listen to intensely and cause me to play the same song about 20 times in a short amount of time and not wanting to listen to anything else for a while. They could be lyrics that someone else thinks is shit, but what does that matter? It’s obvious who I’m going to write about because it is those who have put out records last year that I will probably still play all the time. I judge a year by the music not what happens in my life, I’ve again, probably got it all wrong but it’s things like that,that sort of stop me from getting on a plane and fucking off without saying a word. Oh and I’ve not got much ££££ to do so anyway. Maybe one day I’ll grow a backbone. Until then….

D’Angelo- The Charade. Towards the end of the year, the King of Soul FINALLY, after 14 years, put a record out. Black Messiah was not just one of the best records of the year but it was the most important. The whole message behind it stood for something bigger than those who were patiently waiting for a new D’Angelo record could imagine. Everywhere went nuts when it came out, and it is was beautiful. There are so many wonderful lyrics on Black Messiah, but this one from The Charade is one that really hit me. It sums up the brutality that was happening (and still is) in America. “Degradation so loud that you can’t hear the sound of our cries.” If anything can sum up the events and injustice, it is probably that one. You can tell from any D’Angelo song that he’s someone who watches and takes note of human behavior in all its ways. Black Messiah was full of hope and pain. It brought a sense of unity and a bit of peace that was much needed. Again proving that Music is one of the most powerful tools there is.

Morrissey- Earth Is The Loneliest Place. I probably would have gone for Kick The Bride Down The Aisle or Staircase At The University, but there is something about Earth Is The Loneliest Place that I couldn’t ignore. For those that hate Morrissey, there’s a load more of us that love him. Love conquers all, right? Morrissey’s lyrics are a huge part of my life and a load of others. The way he writes is something else, he gets to the very core of you and you feel as if he’s writing the songs about you. Is he saving your life or is he just able to put it all across better than you could? Personally, I think it is both. For me it is the line, “And humans are not really very humane. And earth is the loneliest planet of all.” Some lyrics just speak for themselves really. We have all seen how cruel humans can be, and we have all felt lonely. You can feel lonely anywhere, and our planet earth is a prime example of that. But if you are feeling lonely, go to a record store. Just like Penny Lane says in Almost Famous.

Band Practice-Magic! Last year one of the finest duos around and New York’s finest, Band Practice released their debut record. Make Nice is full of songs that make you feel like you’re part Tina Belcher/part Patti Smith. All music should aspire to that, the world would be a better place for sure. My favourite song off the record is Band Practice Theme Song, but this lyric from Magic! is my favourite : “When I walk inside my door , the world seems safe and it offers more.” We all know daily life can be a drag, a real pain in the behind and sometimes as soon as you step outside, you wish you hadn’t. If you’ve never experienced that, then you’ve never taken three tubes to work and had several items and body parts shoved in your face. It’s not even 8am and you’ve had enough. Songs like this a real comfort and stop you from punching yourself in the face out of sheer despair, or you know..punching someone else because all they are doing is glaring at their phone gormlessley and not watching where they are going.

BANKS- Fuck ‘Em Only We Know. Goddess was one of the best debut records to come out last year, and Banks I feel, is the only R&B singer that comes close to Aaliyah. When Aaliyah died, she left a huge void and she’s irreplaceable. Most are, and we dispose of singers so easily, but Aaliyah was so rare. Bans has that gentle feel to her music that Aaliyah created. Fuck ’em reminds me of a song that would have sounded amazing on Aaliyah’s last record, there’s something about this song. Something really special. Banks, like all great songwriters is someone you can tell watches others. Whether it be strangers or people she knows, she takes their story and turns it into a work of art. I adore this lyric: “Even addicted to your grumpy face. I know exactly just how many kisses fit between your eyes.”
It’s such an observant and adoring lyric. If you’ve felt like that, then you’ve experienced real love.

Julian Casablancas & The Voidz- Human Sadness.  I love the way Julian sings in that tired, fed-up and frustrated way. He makes you really feel what he is saying. Sure on the Tyranny record it’s hard to make out what he’s singing, but when you read the lyrics, you see another person who is massively observant and is paying close attention to how people behave. Human Sadness is an intense song, and many would say that this is one of the best songs Julian has ever done, and they’re not wrong and is evident in the lyric: “Understanding is more important than love. If not money will always trump justice.” If you’ve seen how corrupt the world can be, you’ll have seen that those with money will always outweigh most things, Julian’s picks up on how unfair it is yet it is something that may possibly never change.

Warpaint-Disco//Very. Warpaint are an easy band to write about. I don’t know what it is about them, but they are one of the few bands that when I listen to them, I just want to write down every thought and feeling that they bring to life. When music is this magical, you really cannot let it go. Disco//Very is unlike most of their songs. You know that drop during Undertow? Well, all of Disco//Very is that moment for about 3 minutes. It’s bloody euphoric, and I adore this lyric : “Only in the sound of the voices I scream.” That line is a kick to the soul, it smacks you and you just feel..as sickeningly clichéd as it sounds, it just makes you feel alive. If you’ve seen them perform this live, you will see that nobody stands still. It’s got that wonderful mystical Warpaint feel surrounding it, and you can’t help but play it over and over. It’s delightfully infectious.

Nadine Shah-Stealing Cars. If her voice doesn’t move you, then go see someone about that. Her voice is bold and gloriously powerful. I remember hearing Runaway and just being in awe of this stunning voice, Nadine is something else. What I love about Nadine is the strength in her voice, the only other singer who is as strong as her has to be Anna Calvi. Both singers can break your heart and terrify you in the next breath. That’s what makes them powerful and bloody brilliant. “Check your pulse when I speak.” Take that line how you want, but when you listen and I mean really listen to Nadine sing it, you feel as if she’s talking right to you. Nadine is such a brilliant songwriter and I firmly believe her new record is going to be one of the best ones to come out this year.

Dum Dum Girls- Too True To Be Good. Dee Dee is an underrated songwriter. She’s as powerful as Patti, and she sings in such a clear way and with such purpose. Much like Patti. Too True was in my Top 3 records of 2014, and again is one I’ve not grown tired of. You never grow tired of your favourite bands do you. Too True To Be Good is lyrically my favourite off the record, and I love Dee Dee’s voice throughout the song. When I first heard it, I became hooked on the lyric: “It’s hard to outrun a devil from behind.” Dee Dee’s lyrics are outbursts of truths and sources of comfort, you can hear it in all its glory in songs like Coming Down. She just knows how to phrase something in a way that hits you in the gut. There’s nobody else like her.

2:54- South. When 2:54 FINALLY released The Other I, it felt like my birthday and Christmas had come at once. The Other I was released 2 days before my birthday so I wasn’t far off. I immediately fell in love with the record and I was so proud of the sound they had created on the record. It was still eerie like their debut, but it had something else. Something I’m still trying to find the words to describe, but I’m yet to get there. My favourite song off The Other I changes by the day. I seem to flirt between South and Pyro. Pyro’s got this brilliant attitude to it, but South has this lyric : “Got nowhere to, nowhere to put misshapen love.” It’s obvious how much I adore this band (I’m using my work holiday to go see them on tour) and this lyric just made me adore them even more. You know how sometimes a band you really love, and you don’t think they can amaze you anymore? Turns out they always can….

2:54-Blindfold. The drumming on this just proves why Alex Robins is one of the best around, and the video to this is beautifully shot. It captures London in all its beauty. I saw them play this at Union Chapel and they made a powerful anthem sound like a haunting chant. It was just beautiful. None of this has really been written in order, but my favourite lyric of 2014 has to be “Everybody says I’ve got to say what’s on my mind. But how do I say, that am I really losing my way. Every day.” If you pick apart 2:54’s lyrics, they read like chilling poetry that would cause Poe to freak out slightly. Colette is a brilliant songwriter absolutely brilliant and the way in which Hannah writes the music just goes so well with Colette’s words. It’s got to be a sister thing because nobody else comes close. There are so many reasons as to why I regard 2:54 so highly. Partly because they are genuine and lovely people, partly because their music takes you some place else and partly because they’re unlike anyone else. Their music is spooky but euphoric. It’s not too late to get a ticket for their tour next month….





BANKS-Goddess.

9 09 2014

 

“But I’m so tired of eating
All of my misspoken words.”

 

After waiting for what seems like an eternity or something equally dramatic, the gorgeous Banks has FINALLY released her debut record. Anyone who has heard her EPs knows just how bloody great she is, and how she manages to make you long for a full length record in just one song. Goddess is a record for those who have ripped hearts out, had their hear ripped out, those in love, in shame, in doubt and in pain. In short, it is one of the best records to come out this year.

In some songs Banks is longing for the love of the one who holds all her affections, but in others she is the one wanting to leave romance behind. She’s a storyteller, and she has this ability to really rip you apart with her honest words. Songs such as Change show the harshness of love and how manipulating it can sometimes be but opposite to this are songs like Waiting Game which echoes a desire to be loved. Personally, I feel You Should Know Where I’m Coming From to be the best song on Goddess, but I’m likely to change my mind.

Goddess isn’t a record for those who are tough; it is for those who have recently been hurt and if you can get through Someone New without crying then you are a stronger person than me (although it doesn’t take much.) There is so much that needs to be said about this record, but I really have no idea how to get the words out. It is one of those records where you just have to really REALLY listen to it. Take in every single word that Banks sings, and how she sings them. She sings these songs as if they were made for you. Her lyrics at times are sad, but not in a “woe is me” kind of way, but in a way that just stops you in your tracks and throws you back to a time where you felt that way.

One of the best things about Banks is that she is unlike anyone else, but if you’re someone is keen on comparisons, then basically Banks has an Aaliyah like quality to her voice. It is delicate and extremely powerful in the right places. She can break you and mend you with her songs, and that is what makes her not only believable but accessible too. Goddess is a mighty fine debut record, and one I’ll probably never grow tired of listening to.

Banks sings about love and relationships in a way most would shy away from. She’s not afraid to exploit the ugliness of them and the beauty of them. The good, the bad and everything in between she unleashes, and she does it in such an elegant way that makes you become addicted (there’s probably a better word) to her voice. Goddess is the kind of record you play when you stumble home at 2am and are unsure about everything around you. Banks’ voice will ease you into a peaceful slumber and you’ll wake with a clear head.

I don’t know what it is exactly I love about her music, but I’m guessing is it the sheer honesty and detail in her lyrics. Take the song, Fuck ‘Em Only We Know- the lyrics to it are full of detail and love, “I know exactly just how many kisses fit between your eyes.” That’s modern romance in all its glowing glory. And back to You Should Know…the line “If I told you solitude fits me like a glove, would you let me out?” is probably my favourite on Goddess.

In all its seductive and haunting glory, Goddess is one of the most impressive records I’ve heard in a long time. It doesn’t feel like a debut record, and I think that’s what makes it effortlessly brilliant and memorable. It is one of those records that her fans are going to cling harder onto than they did with her EPs, and why? Because the song cut into the heart and soul a little deeper. Her songs are bold, beautiful and vulnerable, and that is why Goddess doesn’t feel like someone’s first record. Some say perfection doesn’t exist but they’ve probably not heard Goddess yet.





BANKS.

24 07 2014

 

 

 

“Don’t tell me listen to your song because it isn’t the same.”

 

There are some singers that when you hear them, you can’t really believe someone can sound so perfect. Alright so “perfect” doesn’t exist, but you know what I mean. There are singers that just hit you in the gut wth how pure their voice is and how honest their words are. Some singers just have this gift of sounding so ethereal effortlessly. Examples of this are Sade, Aaliyah and Jessie Ware. From Sade we got Aaliyah and since Aaliyah died no female singer has really come close to what she did aside from Jessie Ware. They all have this delicate voice that just makes everything alright, even if their songs can be heartbreaking.

This leads me onto Banks. In an ideal world I would have written about her last year, but it didn’t feel right because I had no idea what I wanted to say. I didn’t know what I could say. After listening to Beggin’ For A Thread non-stop over the past two days, I think I have some understanding of what it is I want to say. Well, type if you’re going to be like that.

I’ve seen people call her the female version of The Weeknd. That’s just lazy. Using a person’s gender to describe them/what they do is pretty shit isn’t it? There’s more to a person than to what they have between their legs. In the grand scheme of things, gender is irrelevant. Be who you want. I’m ranting. Sorry. Anyway, Banks isn’t the female version of whoever. She’s a brilliant singer who hasn’t released her debut record yet, and when it comes out it will probably blow our minds. I’m expecting it to, fully. I never expect anything, but I firmly believe it is going to be a brilliant record. It’s out in September, and she’s touring the UK in October (I think.) I’m all for someone taking me to see her. We don’t have to stand next to each other, I’m alright with that.

The thing with Banks is that she can pretty much sum up every feeling you’ve had when you’ve come out of a relationship, when you’re leaning towards one and when you’re in one. Basically, she’s like Dear Deirdre but with a lot more sense and class. Her vocals on Brain are dark and brilliant- think a more R&B version of a Zola Jesus song, she’s got this haunting feel to her music that just keeps you coming back for more. I think as soon as you hear one song by Banks, you become addicted. Like pizza. Pizza is all I have, sorry. I’m Italian. Her voice is so smooth and flawless, like the skin complexion we strive to have. I really don’t know why all of this sounds so weird. I don’t know what’s happened. Let’s blame the heat.

Her song, Change is the perfect song for those who are in a fucked up relationship. Banks calls the person out on their “Daddy issues” which is wonderfully done. Her sarcasm in this song is brilliant. If anyone else did it, it would sound a bit bitchy and trashy. But Banks has this superb and classy way of calling you out on your faults, just listen to Goddess, a prime example of it. She doesn’t need to be awfully over the top or pretentious with her words. She gets to the point in a real and raw way. Her lyrics aren’t all “woe is me” they are brilliant “fuck you’s” at times, and you can’t help but fall totally and madly in love with her. Before I Ever Met You will really hit you in the gut, for reasons up to you. There is something about it that will just leave you in awe. It is likely to be her honesty and the way she sings certain parts in the song- it is almost as if she is stood in front of you, and calling you out on all of the times you’ve messed up. Basically, Banks won’t stand for your shit.

Banks has this way of effortlessly (sorry for repeating the word) portraying hurt in a way that makes you BELIEVE it is all going to be alright. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had your heart ripped out, because the person that did it was a twat anyway. She’s got a real refreshing attitude in her music that makes her believable. To be believable is to be honest, and her lyrics are brutal and to the core.

I’ve not read too much about Banks, and I’m not one for caring about what “Music Journalists” say about bands/singers, everyone has an opinion but I’m glad that so many are believing in Banks and see just how talented she is. She’s got something about her that is gracious, raw and pure. She’s everything that music needs, she’s not afraid to be honest with her lyrics, and she portrays the feelings we try to cover. She exposes the feelings that we try to cover or the feelings of someone we know is hiding. She’s got something about her that goes beyond words, and singers like this don’t come around often.

I’ve mentioned artists like Deptford Goth and Burial as being ones I can only listen to when it’s dark out, because it just feels like they were created for the nighttime. In some respects, I really feel that way about Banks but to be honest, I can listen to her anytime, any place.  I don’t care. She’s just a real, raw talent that is just going to blow everyone away when her record comes out in September.

Her music just has this beautiful depth and soul to it that just stuns you. When a singer or a band can leave you speechless like that, you know you’ve found something that is really going to last.  The eerie atmosphere in her music completes it all, and is part of the reason why she is easy to get hooked onto. I really can’t praise her enough at all.