“Your eyes consume me, they always have. Before you knew me, I dreamed of them.”

14 08 2012

The music can do the talking, and I will loathe myself for doing this. Anyway.

This is for the eyes and ears of one. One that will more than likely not see this, and if they do..they may not get that it is for them. At least there is always the “delete” option. That’ll happen, that I know. Tame your honesty. Use other people’s words. Gentle…gentle.

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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?!

 

 

 





Rachel Zeffira.

24 08 2011

Whatever I say about Rachel Zeffira’s voice does not do it justice. Personally, if someone cannot hear how stunning her voice is-then they’re just daft. She posses a voice most wish they could. It is so delicate and angelic. Her voice is like hearing an Angel sing.

Seeing how she has such a gentle voice, it’d be silly for her to sing a song by a band such as, say….My Bloody Valentine, right? I mean how can someone with such a pure voice take on a song by a band that have quite a raw and dark sound. Well, she’s done it. Rachel has covered one of my favourite songs by My Bloody Valentine, To Here Knows When as part of her solo project which is soon to be released.

Who thought a Soprano trained singer could take on a song by My Bloody Valentine. As most of you know, she is in Cat’s Eyes with Faris Badwan from The Horrors. The music Cat’s Eyes make is just wonderful. Think 60s girl group/Wall of Sound. It’s just perfect.

Rachel Zeffira has one of the most angelic voices I have ever heard. I’m not a massive fan of Opera, but I could quite happily listen to her music all day.

She has a voice that makes you smile from the inside out. It’s just so beautiful, she leaves you in sheer awe.

 





Faris Badwan.

16 08 2011

Everyone has their own take on what makes a great front-man/woman. It can be how they can control a crowd to how they are in interviews. There are various reasons as to what makes them great- everyone’s take on it is different.

Of course I regard Morrissey and Jim Reid (The Jesus And Mary Chain) to be the greatest front-men ever. However, there is someone else I hold as highly as these two.

This person towers of the mic stand, you are instantly attracted to him- in whatever way, that’s up to you. You look at him and you are amazed that someone so young can control a crowd in a way many spend years trying to do. Usually dressed head to toe in black, to some- they may be scared of him. But that’s only because people are small-minded twats aren’t they. Those that love the band he fronts know that he is a work of art. He is a genius. So are his band mates.

The man in question is non other than Faris Badwan from The Horrors. Since Morrissey and Jim Reid I honestly don’t think I have ever been so captivated by a front man. He paces the stage like lion, he owns the stage. He doesn’t have to succumb to meaningless talk with the audience to control them. He has this presence that just draws you in.

Watching early performances of The Horrors, Faris goes mental during songs such as Gloves and Death at the Chapel- watching these early performances you find it hard to believe that in a few years time, he will look all majestic and peaceful singing Sea Within A Sea.

It isn’t just with live performances that Faris grips you, it’s the interviews he does. Whether he’s talking about The Horrors, Cat’s Eyes or his artwork- you can just sense the passion he feels towards what he does. He doesn’t have to be all smiles and leaping around for you to see just how much he loves what he does. It comes out with the words he uses to describe it all.

One thing that I have always found fascinating about Faris is his love for girl groups. The real sense of girl groups such as The Girlfriends and The Ronettes. He incorporates these influences into The Horrors music and of course, with Rachel Zeffira in Cat’s Eyes.

The sincerity when he talks about what he does and his love for it is greater than most. Why? Well, because those that don’t care as much always feel the need to justify and explain what they do, why they do it and who they do it for.

Surely, if you love something….have a passion for something- you never need to justify it because the true meaning is in you, in your heart.

Constantly Fairs has been compared to the likes of Kevin Shields and Jim Reid, especially since Primary Colours and even more so with Skying. In some respects you can see these comparisons, from how he stands on stage to how he sings but to be honest- that’s all there is. Jim Reid never looked as majestic as a lion whilst pacing up and down the stage. It’s just lazy journalism comparing Faris to these two.

Also, why should he or anyone be compared to others? Especially when they are doing something different.

Although I dislike the station a hell of a lot, having The Horrors be placed on the Radio 1 play list is a bloody good achievement. If you listen (and I feel sorry for you if you do) to Radio 1, you are constantly exposed to the same songs every hour. There is nothing different; every single song is the same.

To have song such as Still Life being play listed doesn’t just help The Horrors, but it gives hope to bands that are doing something different the chance to be heard by the masses.

Maybe those that get into The Horrors will not love Strange House. They may just dismiss it as noise. It isn’t noise, it’s Garage Rock.

What I love about The Horrors is that their music makes you feel like you are listening to them in the 60s. You know, when music actually meant something. Stood for something. To have a band like The Horrors make the music that they make now is just beyond.

Many have regarded Faris as being “difficult” in interviews, but they’re missing the point. He’s not someone you are going to get pointless information out of such as “favourite kind of dog.” He’s a musician; therefore he will talk about his music, and only music. That’s how it should be. Not just with him, but all musicians. We do not need to know about their personal lives, it is highly irrelevant. We aren’t their close friends or family- therefore, it isn’t our business.

Last year Faris joined The Vaccines on stage at Chazzstock (memorial gig for Charlie Haddon from Ou Est Le Swimming Pool) and although he was only on stage for two songs, his presence was indescribable. I couldn’t believe he was stood right in front of me.

This October, I’m finally seeing The Horrors live (The Kills are also joining them, I cannot contain my excitement about this) since the EP before Strange House I have loved The Horrors, that’s 2006 I have been a massive fan. I’ve waited too long to see them, so to see one of my favourite bands live this year is a big deal.

I wish I saw them during the Strange House era- to see Faris climb over speakers, cover the crowd in black paint, launch himself at the crowd- it would’ve been such a good atmosphere. Something a lot of bands lack. However, to be able to hear tracks from Primary Colours (hopefully) and Skying will make up for it.

I’m all for listening to whatever you want, but if you listen to Sea Within A Sea or Endless Blue and still dislike The Horrors, then you should probably get yourself a new record collection.

I firmly believe in 10, 20 years from now people will name The Horrors as one of the greatest bands to have come from the UK and will also name Faris Badwan to be one of the greatest front-men ever.





Girl Groups In The 1960s.

14 08 2011

I love girl groups. No, not in the Girls Aloud wanky kind of music- but the true essence of girl groups. The Girlfriends, The Supremes, The Shangri-Las, The Ronettes etc. The kind that sing songs about heartbreak over heavy drums. They sing songs that make your own heart, even if it isn’t broken- break. The sheer sadness and pain in the songs just makes you want to drink whiskey and cry your heart out.

I must say, I have never drank whiskey (Theresa from Warpaint told me to never drink it) but the level of sadness is so severe, it would drive you to it.

The Shangri-Las have influenced so many bands from the Vivian Girls to The Horrors. If you listen to He Cried by The Shangri-Las then listen to Who Can Say by The Horrors, you can hear the influence so clearly.

When The Shangri-Las first played together, they performed without a name. As they hailed from New York, they named themselves after a restaurant in Queens. Pretty cool way to name yourself; I wonder if they had free food for life.Their early work was heavily produced by Shadow Morton which had the essence of the Wall of Sound. Big drums, big sound. It didn’t matter if anyone was copying someone else- it was just a brilliant movement in music that still, even if it isn’t as obvious, influences so many.

The Shangri-Las toured with many bands, one being the Iguanas which of course had a member in the group that later became one of the greatest front men ever- Iggy Pop.

Staying with the Punk feel, the group have influenced so many from the Punk era including New York Dolls who covered part of Give Him A Great Big Kiss in their song, Looking For A Kiss. The Shangri-Las have even played the most legendary venues of all time-CBGBs.

If you listen to What’s A Girl To Do by Bat For Lashes, the atmospheric drum sound is highly influenced by The Shangri-Las. More recently, Hollie Cook covered Remember (Walking In The Sand) and you cannot mention any 60s girl group without mentioning the truly wonderful, Amy Winehouse. To write her in the past tense does not seem right. It will never seem right. So I will just leave it at that.

The Ronettes, the band who defined Wall of Sound are undoubtedly one of the greatest girl groups ever. Like The Shangri-Las, they had sisters in the group. This gave a feel of unity in the music, a true sisterhood.

In 1963, the girls auditioned for Phil Spector. Regardless of what he did in his personal life, you cannot deny that he is quite possibly the greatest record producer of all time. After all, he did create the Wall of Sound. Be My Baby catapulted The Ronettes into superstardom; it was also the first song Cher ever sang on- as a backup singer.

Baby, I Love You was the follow-up to Be My Baby. Again, to mention Punk- Baby, I Love You was covered by the Ramones. I also saw Faris Badwan from The Horrors join The Vaccines on stage last year at Koko in London as part of the tribute night to Charlie Haddon from Ou Est Le Swimming Pool. To see Faris on stage singing this just blew my mind. To hear one of my favourite songs of all time being sung by one of the best front men in music right now, well, it was an honour.

The Ronettes released a Christmas album, and after the release came Walking In The Rain. Since Be My Baby, this was their greatest success in the charts.

Of all the girl groups that emerged in the 60s, the one girl group that I adored the most was The Girlfriends. Although they had only one hit, My One and Only Jimmy Boy, they just as good as The Shangri-Las, The Ronettes etc.

It’s an utter shame that they only released just the one song- if they had more songs, there is no doubt that they would’ve been equally as influential as the other groups, but regardless- they are still just as important.

My love for 60s girl groups has been with me all my life. As a result, I feel it has influenced the kind of music I listen. I love music that has a lot of feelings and I love anything with a massive drum sound in it. Anything from Florence And The Machine to The Raveonettes, I just love anything with an atmospheric sound.

Current girl groups such as the Vivian Girls. Dum Dum Girls, The Like are influenced by the sounds created in 60s from girl groups.

However, it isn’t just girl groups that are influenced by them- bands such as The Horrors and The Drums are highly influenced too. If you listen to Glasvegas- especially their latest album, you can get a feel that sound too. Yes, they have a female drummer- but that isn’t the point. I must say though, anyone who can drum like that whilst standing up is extremely musically gifted aren’t they.

Cat’s Eyes carry the true feel of the girl group in their music. They are a duo consisting of Faris Badwan and Rachel Zeffira. Their album that as released this year is truly gorgeous. It made me want to raid a market full of vinyl searching for girl groups. It also made me feel I was in the 60s not 2011. The track, Over You felt like a song that could’ve easily been sung by The Shangri-Las. I’m Not Stupid creates the same feel of sadness these girl bands did. Really heartbreaking, insanely breathtaking.

Vivian Girls are a group I just adore. I love the way they dress, I love their songs. I just love everything about them. Yes, I fancy them and yes the dream girl would be one that dresses like them. However, I’m not shallow. With my face, I can’t be. I love the feel you get from their music.

Like most of the girl groups from the 60s, Vivian Girls are from New York. This leads me to believe that the vast majority of music from New York is actually the best thing ever. You don’t believe me? Listen to Ramones, New York Dolls,The Strokes, Vivian Girls, Mos Def- I’ll stop right there because I will just reel off a load of bands and bore you even more.

Fun fact for you, Ali who used to be in Vivian Girls now drums for Best Coast. If you listen to Best Coast, you can easily here the girl group influence in the music. Bethany has such a beautiful and soulful voice.

Totally shitting on my theory that all good music comes from New York, Dum Dum Girls hail from Los Angeles (alright, a lot of good music comes from NYC and LA!) They cite The Ronettes as one of their influences. They have this atmospheric sound surrounding them especially in songs such as Bhang, Bhang, I’m A Burnout and He Gets Me High.

They’ve just created this whole sound that makes you ant to jump in a car and drive off to escape how mundane real life is. That’s what good music does; it provides comfort and also an escape. Lord knows we all need it at times.

The last band I am going to mention involves me taking you all the way back to New York. Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin met whilst at University in 2010, fast forward to June 7th this year and they released their debut album. The band, of course is, Cults.

When I first heard them late last year I was transfixed. I just couldn’t get my head around what I heard. I bought the album the day it came out and it instantly became the best debut album of this year. Nothing and no one can top it this year. Yes, I have also placed it in my albums of the year also. It is has such a 60s feel to it. My favourite track off the album, Never Saw The Point is so painfully gorgeous. Like most of the album tracks, it posses a haunting feel to it- but Madeline’s voices are so angelic and stunning, it works so well. I’d imagine they are my age, maybe a bit younger. So to hear a band so young (I’m nearly 25, most days I feel about 50) create such a sound is truly wonderful.

If I was to ever start a band, which won’t ever happen because I cannot play an instrument, I’d want it to create the same vibe you get from The Velvet Underground, Townes Van Zandt, Warpaint, The Kills and Cults. Dare I mention all in the same sentence? Yes, yes I bloody well do.

As I listen to Cults’ first album, I cannot help but think how their future albums will sound. Will they still have this big sound? Will they take a completely different direction? I have no idea, but I’m excited for it.

I just love their music a daft amount. I think my summer would’ve been even more boring if it wasn’t for their album.

So there you have it. If any decade played a vital role within music- it was the 60s. Whether it was the girl groups or the psychedelic sounds, it is all highly influential and something that will never happen again. It shouldn’t happen again because it is that vital yet extremely rare.

From this, all I know I was born in the wrong era. I’ve always believed that but listening to music then- and listening to music now, I feel more for what was created rather than what is current.

Here are some more girl groups you need in your collection :

The Crystals.

The Chiffons.

The Exciters.

The Cookies.

The Shirelles.