SAMANTHA URBANI: Policies Of Power.

19 08 2017

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I first got obsessed with Samantha Urbani’s voice when I heard I’m His Girl by Friends. Her voice was like nothing else around. The band were like nothing else. Then it ended, and I was hoping I would still be hearing Samantha’s voice somehow.

About two years ago Samantha put out a song called 1 2 3 4. I was again, obsessed with it. I was playing it all the time. I was hoping something would come from it. I waited and waited. The wait ended yesterday.

Samantha released the debut EP yesterday called Policies Of Power. The cover of the EP is striking. Samantha is just the beautiful person with such a gorgeous voice that moves you. There’s a message to this EP, and with all the shit going on in the world- it’s needed. 1 2 3 4 sounds a little different now on the EP, but it’s still perfect. Samantha’s voice on this version of 1 2 3 4 reminds me so much of Solange. Both of them are extremely talented people who I admire so much. I just imagined what it would be like if they made a record together. They could do live shows. Imagine hearing Losing You then all of a sudden it goes into 1 2 3 4. I’d be a mess. I’d lose it. Anyway. Back to the record.

If you want to know what the best EP of the year is, it’s probably going to be this one. It’s got this 80s New York underground club scene feel to it. Samantha has made a body of art here, and this collection of songs make you feel utterly free and content with who you are. We need more of that. It is such a feel good record. It’s just absolutely perfect.

There is so much compassion, passion and love in this record. You can easily feel the thought and care that has gone into this EP. These 5 songs cannot be lumped into any genre you want to throw Samantha’s way. There is something so curious and inviting about this EP, and it is such a solid piece of art. In some respects, it’s a Pop record. It can easily go against most of the records that have come out this year and come out on top. It’s got everything going for it, and it was truly worth the wait. Also, Sade’s (the greatest singer of all time. ALL.TIME) sax player on Smooth Operator, Stuart Matthewman plays sax on Time Time Time. It’s a phenomenal song. The whole EP is just 5 phenomenal songs.

Samantha is someone I’ve admired for so long. Everything about Samantha just leaves you in awe. Samantha’s voice is so distinctive and it is so soothing. I’ve heard people compare Samantha’s music to early Madonna. I can see it, and every part of me would love to hear Samantha sing Borderline (I’m not a Madonna fan really but we’re both part Italian, so I have to. Oh and Borderline is one of the best songs of all time.) Samantha’s voice takes you on a journey but it is up to you where you go. Go Deeper is the one to lose yourself in. It’s just over 6 minutes long, and it is such a wonderful song.

I really cannot praise Samantha and Policies Of Power enough. Sometimes you need something or someone to move you in a way you’ve been seeking, and this is exactly what Policies Of Power does- and then some!





PINS: Bad Thing EP.

24 03 2017

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In some ways, I guess I could just say this blog is dedicated to the same bands over and over. That probably makes me boring, but I don’t care. It’s not my fault that a solid few I love put out excellent music that deserves being written about. I’ve been writing about PINS for a long time now, and every time I write about them it is as if I find something new to love about them. Everything they put out seems a step above what they previously did. They have a really strong sound, and aren’t afraid to be different and more importantly, create a sound that is so important.

As part of the Bad Thing EP, PINS have worked with the King of Punk. The Godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop on the lead track Aggrophobe. The partially spoken word track captures why we love him- his voice. Speaking or singing, Iggy has such a distinctive voice and with Faith’s voice merging with his on the hook, you kind of want Iggy to be a permanent member of PINS. It’s such a brilliant song, and the video to it is equally great.

Bad Thing is a handful of songs that show perfectly just how great PINS are and how their sound and beautifully evolved. I need to touch on their stunning cover of Dead Souls by Joy Division. Not many people can work a cover and add something to it. I think if someone is going to cover a song, they should do something that makes it theirs. That makes you believe it is their song and doesn’t belong to someone else. They’ve done it beautifully with Dead Souls. When I first heard PINS a part of me heard familiar hints of Joy Division in their sound, and I’m so happy they chose this as the Joy Division song to cover. It’s one of their best ones, and PINS make it their own but still leave parts of Joy Division within the song. It is 4 minutes and 35 seconds of ethereal darkness. It’s comforting and sacred. For me, PINS are made up of 5 excellent musicians who are the best at what they do. If you’ve seen them live, they’ve probably all left you wishing you could play an instrument. I firmly stand by Sophie being one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen.

After spending my morning at work listening to Bad Thing, I’m pretty much set on In Nightmares being my favourite song. Faith’s voice is gorgeous on this song. There are a number of songs by PINS where her voice just sounds so haunting yet angelic, In Nightmares is easily one of them (Everyone Says is another, from their last record) In Nightmares is the song you go back to and play constantly. Irrespective of your mood, it’ll make you feel like you’ve got a safety net and well, we all need that at times and sometimes it takes form in the shape of music.

All Hail is a song they have already been putting in their shows, and it is so good to see. It’s got this wonderful gang-like feel to it as they sing, “All hail.” It’s like a protective circle around the band and those who love their music. PINS are one of those bands you wish you could join. You’d start a band if you could, but you know you wouldn’t be able to get a sound like this. There is something familiar about their sound, which makes you know it is them but there is something else that lies within their sound that makes you unsure if it is a band from decades and decades ago, or if this is really a band from 2017 making this ideal sound.

To be honest, PINS have got the ideal sound. But that’s just my opinion. For me their sound is everything I want from music and from a band. I love their lyrics but I also love watching their live shows. I’ve seen them at pretty much every London show they’ve done. They’re playing up the road from my house next month, and I’m so excited about it. They are a band that you have just got to see live. Each show they’ve done that I’ve seen just shows how much they have grown. Not just on record, but on a stage too. The confidence is properly there now, and I am so proud of them.

Bad Thing is out now, but limited copies are available.





LITTLE DEATH MACHINE-Dreaming In Monochrome

7 02 2016

 

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Music should be one of those things that takes the listener and musician out of their comfort zone. Sure we’d all like to stick to what we know, but sometimes we don’t. Owning a record that could make for uncomfortable but necessary listening is something I look for more often than not. I like loud/dark music because it’s the opposite of whatever I am. For the most part. It doesn’t have to be angry music, but it must have point to it. I want music that can be terrifying and vital at the same time. I’m pretty sure that’s what drew me to Little Death Machine ages ago. I was immediately hooked on Daniels’ powerful and raging voice. It’s loud, dark and of course, partially terrifying.

On 7th March, Little Death Machine will be releasing their debut EP, Dreaming In Monochrome. Finally, it is happening. An EP will undoubtedly make me want a full length record, but as I listen to the EP right now, I can tell that whenever they put out a full length record it will still have that subtle Little Death Machine sound that drew me in ages ago. When I listen to them I think of bands I love such as Cold Cave, Bauhaus and Nine Inch Nails. There’s hints of very early Bjork in this EP, and that alone is good enough. It’s got a wonderful creepy edge to it. Night After Night After Night would sound perfect in a really sinister Thriller film- it would be played when tensions are high and something terrible is about to happen. If this EP doesn’t give you the creeps (in the right way) then you’ve been listening to it wrong.

The lead single off the EP, Healthy is a perfect taster for what is to come from this remarkable EP. All too often I bang on about bands I listen to that make me wish I could play an instrument and make my own noise. Are Little Death Machine one of those bands? Of course they are. They bring out something that is missing in people in general and in music. They’re like a kick in the teeth and a way of self-realisation. Some bands you just listen to, and immediately get. There are some bands that, although I’m a fan of them- it took a while for me to get them. With LDM, it is instant. It was instant the first time and I knew I had to write about them. There are a handful of bands that when I listen to, I just have to write about them. It’s a good job that this is my outlet because if I had to speak to a friend about music, I’d be left alone to talk to a wall. I’m sorry for rambling, but this EP is one of the finest things we will hear all year.

Aside from every song being extremely passionate and beautifully put together, I want to talk about how the EP is going to be released. A lot of care, time and thought has evidently gone into the music but it has also gone into how it is to be presented to us fans. As mentioned, the EP is out on 7th March via Glasstone Records. Limited to only 100, the package consists of: a USB containing the songs with live videos, a screenprint which has been printed by the band and also a tote bag. I think as it comes with live videos, which were filmed at the hugely missed Power Lunches, of the songs, it will make the listener feel the songs in a different way. A live performance can change everything, and can make you hear things differently. Perhaps how it is meant to sound, and I think putting the EP out like this has to be massively respected.

Little Death Machine have played with bands such as Psychic TV and God Damn, and in the midst of all this have created a sound that is so out of this world and so courageously out there, you can’t fault it. They merge all kinds of weird and wonderful sounds together, and as a result have created one of the most impressive EPs I’ve heard in a while.

You can pre-order Dreaming In Monochrome here: http://littledeathmachine.com/product/dreaming-in-monochrome-e-p-deluxe-package/





BAD GRAMMAR-You’re Welcome (EP)

15 07 2015

They say everything good comes to an end, but in reality most things come to an end. From TV shows to life in general, it all ends. If you’re not aware by now, the brilliantly noisy duo Bad Grammar are no more. They’ve got a few more shows left before it is all done, and being the wonderful people they are they have just put out a 4 track EP full of new songs that they’ve been playing live.

The EP pretty much shows how good they are and it pretty much justifies missing them. A band like Bad Grammar aren’t common. They made their own noise and by god did they do it well. Whenever I saw them live, they always seemed to play a little bit louder. The day after a Bad Grammar gig was always fun because my hearing would be worse than usual. Still, it’s alright to go a day without listening to anyone.

Ben and Lucy are exceptional musicians, and I sincerely hope in 10/15 years time some kid stumbles across their music and starts a band. Inspired by the fury, power and rebellion in the music. Bad Grammar are a band that came alive during their shows. A band that you were immediately hooked on seeing after the first time. I first saw them well over a year ago supporting PINS at the Old Blue Last. I was blown away by their obvious talent. I’ve lost count on how many of their shows I’ve been to, and I think it’s all going to be a bit boring without them around.

You’re Welcome is a powerhouse of 4 songs made to melt your face and make your body somewhat tremble in a glorious fashion. The songs are a swift punch in the belly, and made for you to scream along to.

You can download the EP for free here: https://badgrammar.bandcamp.com/ Death Stare is the one to play as loud as you possibly can. It won’t piss off your neighbours, if it does then just ignore them. Unless they are over the age of 70, then just respect their wishes.

If you live in London and you’ve never seen Bad Grammar live, head down to The Old Queens Head on Essex Road tomorrow night and came say TTFN to Ben and Lucy. It’s a free show, so you’ve got no excuse. I pretty much live in my Bad Grammar shirt. It’s covered in holes, but I won’t be placing it to the back of the drawer just yet. The songs on You’re Welcome are insanely heavy and are just a prime example as to why I love their music. They will be missed, but music is probably (going against my opening sentence) one of the few things that never ends. It will always be there.