ZIG ZAGS: Soup Kitchen, Manchester 21st May 2019.

22 05 2019

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Last night I got the chance to see one of the loudest bands ever. There’s only a couple of bands that have left me partially deaf after a show, and Zig Zags are one of them. They are LA’s nosiest band for sure.

They played my favourite venue here, the Soup Kitchen. The only bad thing about this show was that there was hardly anyone there. I’m disheartened about this because Zig Zags are a brilliant live band. However, although the turnout was poor that didn’t stop them and maybe subconsciously they decided to play louder than usual? I don’t know, but I do know this- it was one of the standout shows I’ve been to this year. It was their first time in Manchester, and I really hope it isn’t their last because they are a band that you’ve just GOT to see live. There’s something about them that just spurs you on.

They recently released their new record, They’ll Never Take Us Alive. I wanted to write a review about the record but, I kind of wanted to see their show first before taking it on. I wanted to see how it’d come across in a live environment because it has such a big sound. So, this is part live review/part record review/part me just going on about how great they are. I don’t know where any of this will go, but it’s out of pure admiration.

 

 

The new record is full of anthems, and I as I watched them in awe last night I couldn’t help but feel that their songs would be perfect in a stadium. They have this wonderful, grand sound but it isn’t overpowering. They are amazing musicians, and I swear Dane is one of the greatest drummers of our time. Although the venue wasn’t full, last night he played as if it was a huge fucking stadium and for me- that just sold it. The way they played last night just cemented my respect for them.

Zig Zags remind me of the Misfits mixed with the Melvins and Sleep; with a hint of Noothgrush. Basically, a perfect sound On record, sure you can hear loud they are but when you see them live, something else happens. The songs are heightened and they have this bigger feel to them. Considering they played a small venue, they made it sound like you were somewhere quadruple the size of where you were. For me, that shows you just how great a band is.

With three records into their career, each one is a step bigger and louder. They evolve in a brilliant way, and I really hope I get to see them live again because this was some show! I don’t think there’s a band around right now that are like this, and I just love how they can just annihilate your eardrums in the most beautiful way possible. They’ll Never Take Us Alive is definitely one of this year’s most out there records, and one that oozes fearlessness and this ferocious energy that you just cannot get enough of.

 

 

Zig Zags are the best at what they do, and not only do their records prove this- but their live shows do too. I’m pretty much going to live in the two shirts I bought last night!

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CROCODILES. Soup Kitchen, Manchester 17th May 2019.

21 05 2019

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How do you write about a band that you have seen 11 times live without repeating yourself? Who cares! Friday night was my 11th time seeing my buddies, Crocodiles and they played my absolute favourite venue in Manchester- the Soup Kitchen. It’s a sweaty and dark basement venue; just how it should be.

End of April 2009, Crocodiles released their debut record. A record I bought by accident on the day it came out and since then, I’ve just fallen in love with everything they’ve done since. Every record has blown me away, and every show has done the same.

However, there is something truly special about their shows in Manchester that stand out. This was my 3rd time seeing them in Manchester, and I just love how you can see how much this beautiful city means to Brandon and Charlie. There was even a nod to local hero, Pete Shelley with their Buzzcocks cover which I’m sure he would have been proud of.

I stood directly in front of Charlie, and was in awe of his pedal set-up. It’s a piece of art, and he swings his guitar around like a machine gun whilst looking like a young Scott Walker. Brandon and Charlie have this way of just changing how you feel about their music when you see them live, and it is always a wonderful thing to witness. They are just of the most talented people I’ve ever met, and they just put their all into their shows.

 

You can’t help but shift your eyes across the stage to watch them all annihilate the stage. Brandon sings with this passion that is just astounding, and Charlie matches it with his effortlessly cool way of using his guitar as a weapon. As cliched as it is, they are just the coolest cats around, and it just shines through perfectly in their songs and their live shows.

The energy in the crowd is typical of a Manchester crowd, and just an absolute pleasure to be part of. The love that Crocodiles have for this city is just admirable, and something us fans here truly treasure. They feed off the crowd, and this crowd were reciprocating it. 10 years in, and they are still making music to lose your shit to. Songs like I Wanna Kill and Marquis De Sade, and new songs such as Exit My Head come more alive. I can’t ever get enough of hearing I Wanna Kill, and the crowd are the same. It’s one of those songs that just do something to you, and once you hear it. It’s an anthem.

Crocodiles are a band that you just don’t ever get tired of listening to, and watching. They have this way of just making you forget the real world for the time they are on stage. They make you want to start a band, they make you want to always be in the moment of being at a live show. As a fan, this is what I absolutely adore about music and how powerful it is. Also, Brandon and I had Bad Brains shirts on which anyone else would regard as a wardrobe clash. However for this, it’s just two people who love one of the best bands ever!

There’s a good balance of songs from all of their records, and sure I’d want them to play all of them but hey- that’s too much, I know! This was my first time seeing them on my own, and as someone who suffers with depression and anxiety I full on prepared myself to have some form of panic attack. I was wrong, I just felt totally safe at this show. Trivial I know, but small things like this help. Anyway, smushy stuff aside- it was just a brilliant show.

 

They are a band that just need to be seen live. Their live shows allow you to see even moreso just how fantastic they are. If I could, I’d see them on every tour at every date. But shows like Friday’s in Manchester are treasured dearly.

Crocodiles new record, Love Is Here is out now and they have 2 more UK dates left before a couple of shows in Paris this week.

 





DR CHAN: The Peer Hat, Manchester 3rd May 2019.

3 05 2019

 

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It’s obvious how much I love French Garage Rock Gods, Dr Chan. Any chance to write about them or tell someone about them, I’ll do it. You know when you hear something, and you can’t help but think, “Yep, this is the band for me.” Well, that’s what I got from them a couple of years ago when my obsession began.

I last saw Dr Chan live last year in London at the Lock Tavern. It was the last show I attended before I left that city and moved to Manchester. A move that I should have done years and years ago. It was the last show I went to, and it was the perfect way to leave that city. The room was packed and full of love; it was just a brilliant show. Last night, there was no more than 10 of us watching them. I don’t even think it got to double figures. I felt bad for the band because I know just how brilliant they are, and how they are the best at what they do. It didn’t dishearten the band though, they still played as if the room was full.

They blazed through songs from Southside Suicide and Squire. I’m pretty sure that these are my most played records. I love how they just take you somewhere with their music, and give you that opportunity to zone out and forget everything. Yesterday I had a pretty stressful day, but as soon as Dr Chan hit the stage- I was calm again.

I really loved hearing the songs off their most recent record, Squire, last night. Growing Up is probably my favourite off that record and it’s an absolute joy to see live. They play with this effortlessly cool stance, and you can tell how much they love doing it. When you get that from a band, you know that you have found something really beautiful. It’s just an absolute pleasure to watch them.

Dr Chan make the kind of music that I’d want to make. It’s a raw Garage Rock sound, and they are unafraid to really push their sound. For instance, their record Southside Suicide sounds nothing like Squire- but you still know it is them. They have a distinct sound, but aren’t afraid to change it up. They do this so well in their live shows, and as sad as I am that not many of us were there last night, I’m just happy that they played a show here in Manchester. They’re playing the Shacklewell Arms in London tonight I think, and if I still lived there- I’d have been right at the front again.

There’s a handful of bands I love that I would happily go see live every night, and Dr Chan are easily one of them. On record they are brilliant, but something remarkable happens during their live shows. They transform songs like The Sinner and Bloody No$e into something else live, and it’s just a pleasure to watch.

For me, I can easily say that Dr Chan are one of the best bands I’ve seen live and are most certainly one of my favourite bands in general. I love how they can take you to the streets of Paris or make you feel like you’re hanging out at a skatepark. They’ve got something about them that comforts you within the lyrics (this is really apparent on the Squire record) and the music alone just does something to you. Alexin is a great song-writer, and to see the growth into their new record is just astounding.

I can’t tell you enough just how great they are. My only advice is, listen to them and if you see that they are playing a venue near you- go see them!





THE COATHANGERS: Soup Kitchen, Manchester 29th April 2019.

30 04 2019

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The Coathangers have been around for a hell of a long time, and it is no surprise that they are one of the best bands around- live and on record. Last night they played one of Manchester’s best venues, the Soup Kitchen. It was the perfect venue for this band. In a dark and sweaty basement was a lot of noise brewing and it was sublime.

The band are made up of three exceptional musicians who swap instruments for a couple of songs during the set- this alone sets them apart from others, and shows just how effortlessly brilliant they are. If you are wanting a solid Garage Rock sound mixed with something to straight up blow your mind, then you need to see The Coathangers live. There is something about their live shows that leaves you wanting more and more.

Something I really love about The Coathangers is that some of their songs have a relaxed feel to it, like Warpaint but then you’ve got those heavier songs like Crimson Telephone (which is amazing live) reminds me of LA Witch. What I’m getting at is, The Coathangers are a band that you’ve just got to invest in. Buy the records, go to their shows. There is something about their live shows that have a Bikini Kill feel to it- rowdy, inspiring and wonderful.

Personally, my favourite song to hear last night was Perfume. I just really, really love that song and it was just perfect to see live.

Hey Buddy is sung by Stephanie who whilst singing, is beating the shit out of the drums. I have massive respect for anyone who can drum and sing at the same time. Stephanie does it in a way that makes you wish you could do it. It’s again, another brilliant moment in their set. They just make you wish you could play like them. They truly are a phenomenal band, who just make you wish you could follow them on tour.

Meredith is such a mesmerising bass player. She’s got this effortlessly cool way of executing brutal basslines, especially on Stranger Danger. She just annihilates it. Julia is also hypnotic, she can sing soft and she can really hit you in the gut with her vocals. It is perfectly evened out with Stephanie’s vocals. Their vocals are opposite, and they work so well but it all comes together in unison on F The NRA, which is one of their most important songs. It’s a real gnarly Punk song that needs to be played and heard as loudly as possible. I love how hardly anyone had their phones out to record songs or take photos, everyone was just in the moment and it was truly beautiful to see.

With their sixth record released in March, it is safe to say that The Coathangers are exceptional, hard-working and one of the most exciting bands around. They play songs from most of their records, and everyone goes nuts for it. There is no denying how talented they are, and how loved they are. They are truly one of the most exciting bands around, and can still make you feel like you’re discovering them for the first time with every single listen.

It was an absolute honour and pleasure to finally see them live last night, and I doubt it’ll be my last time.

VIVA THE COATHANGERS!





THE UNDERGROUND YOUTH: Montage Images Of Lust & Fear.

15 04 2019

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The Underground Youth are such an incredibly underrated band, and with each record they have this ability to just shock you with their sound. A sound that is in no other band you’ve listened to, a sound that you cannot get enough of. The Underground Youth have yet again, put out another exquisite record. A record that pierces right through your heart and soul. A record that must be played obsessively.

Montage Images Of Lust & Fear is not only a great name for a record, but it totally sums up the atmosphere on this record. I’ve been a fan of The Underground Youth for a stupid amount of time, and I remember seeing them live a couple of years ago, and I was just in awe of their set. Easily one of the most impressive bands I’ve ever seen live, and I cannot wait to see them again next week at my favourite venue in Manchester but before then- I’m going to go on about their new record.

 

9 songs. 43 minutes. What can you get from a record in that amount of time? What do you expect from a record in that amount of time? Well, with this record think Rowland S. Howard’s Teenage Snuff Film meets Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ Let Love In record. Craig’s vocals have never ever sounded better. I absolutely love the bones of this record, and I adore how you can hear so much growth in this record. The Underground Youth are one of the hardest working bands around, and always seem to be on tour. So when you listen to this record, you cannot help but think of how these songs are going to sound live. I’m already obsessed with Craig’s vocals on Last Exit To Nowhere. It’s the second song on the record, and it just blitzes its way right on through you. It doesn’t calm down after that. The Death Of The Author is a gorgeous and eerie song that sends shivers right through you.

I love how drums can give a record or a song a mood, or create an atmosphere that just spooks you. Olya’s one of the best drummers around- she has this effortlessly cool way of just beating the shit out of the drums and letting every beat shatter through your body. You move to her beat, and the way she does this is something I’ve never seen before. She gives so much tension in the way she plays, and it is the kind of tension that you crave from music. It’s the kind of tension that makes you love the band you’re obsessed with even more than you already are. In short, she’s incredible. The Underground Youth are incredible, but you probably already know that.

Montage Images Of Lust & Fear is a record that will scare the shit out of you, but will also be a record that you cannot get enough of. It’s a record that consumes you in the best way imaginable. The atmosphere on this record makes you wish you could make something like this, but let’s be honest- no one can do it like The Underground Youth. I love the romanticism in their music. It’s not the conventional and boring type, it’s something beyond anything you’ve ever known. I’ve been listening to The Underground Youth for a long time now, and with every record they blow my mind but this record has something else. It’s heavier, it’s darker and keeps you right on the edge. You can’t help but wonder what is going to happen next on the songs. You don’t know what part of the song is going to rip right through you.

Although it is a heavy record, one song in particular is on the gentle side. Too Innocent To Be True is such a beautiful and timid song. There is this wonderful gentleness to Craig’s vocals on this, and I hope they play this song on their tour because I think it’ll show a side to the band that doesn’t get shown often. It’s a mellow moment, and it fits so perfectly on the record. The bass on this song carries you away, and you just float on with it.

Blind I and Blind II feel like they could be some creepy thriller film, set in black and white. There’s something really magical about how Blind I flows right into Blind II. Blind I feels like the build up and eruption of something really bad happening, and Blind II is like the aftermath of it. Play the songs right after each other, and hopefully you’ll see what I mean. Blind II reminds me a little bit of Ghost Rider by Suicide, which is always a good thing. The song feels like a chase, and the way Craig quiets down on this song, when they do this live I’m pretty sure the crowds will go nuts especially when it picks up again. It’s probably my favourite song on the record at the moment. It’ll change though, because a record this fantastic isn’t made for you to just have one solid favourite. Every song is there to be adored and obsessed over. Each song will get their turn, I promise.

 

Of course I’d love more songs on this record because I just love The Underground Youth a hell of lot but with just 9 songs, they again blow your mind. Play the songs as loud as you want, listen to it over and over. Every listen will give you something new to love about the band and this record.

Montage Images Of Lust & Fear is a truly remarkable record, and for me, has left a lasting impact. It’s an absolute pleasure to listen to and just fall in love with.





PINKY PINKY.

26 03 2019

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I’ve said it countless times that Los Angeles produces so much great music. So many bands I love come from the westcoast, and they are all to blame for my fantasy to run away there, lounge about on the beach and listen to music I love. Then at night-time, head to a basement bar and listen to even more music. Spend the rest of my days like that- my idea of bliss. Anyway, let’s talk about Pinky Pinky.

Pinky Pinky are three best friends who make the kind of music to make you dance like an idiot to. They make you forget your troubles, and they just have this gorgeous carefree sound that once you hear, it leaves you addicted. You don’t just listen to them once and carry on with your day. Oh no! You become entirely consumed with what they give you. They have absolutely perfected a sound that is so ethereal but nothing to mess with. It’s a one of a kind sound, and it’s one that when you hear it, you know you’ve been in need of it for a hell of a long time.

They’ve been best friends forever, and this unity they have really comes out in their sound. You really get a sense of their passion for music, and the way they work together. The music just makes you feel good, and maybe it’s because they are unleashing their insecurities and anxious feelings. For me, that’s a good thing. The less of us that feel alone, the better. Music is a safety net for so many of us, and you can add Pinky Pinky in there as a band who truly make you feel comforted.

 

They’ve got a couple of EPs already released, and their debut record is due out this year (June, I think) and going by the single, Do Me Dirty (Charlie), I think it is pretty obvious that it is going to be a flawless record and will be the soundtrack to the summer for so many of us.

For three people, they make a lot of noise. The kind of noise you get lost in and want to be part of. I’m pretty sure that their live shows are as great as their records. I can imagine the songs really coming alive, and you being able to take more from the songs. Hot Tears is one of my favourite song of theirs right now. I love the heaviness in it, and I’m pretty sure this is one song in particular that becomes totally different live. It’s got such a raw Bluesy feel to it, and it’s something I hope the band dive into further on. It’s such a great song and a brilliant sound, but they also have this way of hitting you with smoother, and more delicate songs. Everything about Pinky Pinky’s music is worthy of your time and attention. They’re truly doing something we’ve not heard before, I can’t get enough of it.

There’s no one else you can compare Pinky Pinky too, so obviously there’s no point in even trying to do so. Their earlier songs have this raw Bluesy sound, but it’s mixed with that 60s Wall of Sound feel. They pretty much take everything I love about music, and make something totally unreal. They’re just a brilliant band, and exceptional musicians.

If you’re wanting to check out their live shows, they are heading to the UK soon:

May 17 – Glasgow, Scotland @ Mono*
May 18 – Edinburgh, UK @ Sneaky Petes*
May 20 – Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen*
May 21 – Birmingham, UK @ Sunflower Lounge*
May 22 – London, UK @ Seabright Arms
May 24 – Manchester, UK @ Dot to Dot Festival
May 25 – Bristol, UK @ Dot to Dot Festival
May 26 – Nottingham, UK @ Dot to Dot Festival

*17th May to 21st May are dates with The Nude Party.

Their debut EP is a dream. I’ve had it on repeat this evening, and I cannot get enough of it. They have a song called Hot Under The Habit which is going up there in my favourite songs by them. Sure I love them all, but this one is right on up there. I love the gnarly guitar, and I love how it has this real raw feel to it. You blast it out loud, and it just moves you. This is the song I keep on going back to. This is my one, I’ve decided. It’s a brilliant EP, and I’d be happy to have it on repeat for the foreseeable. It’s so, so good!

Anyway, I’ve rambled enough. Listen to them, and come see Pinky Pinky on tour!





WALLOWS: Nothing Happens.

23 03 2019

 

Wallows record

“It’s not a crime if you take what’s given
It’s just a crime if you’re payin’ for it
What’s the fun if you know what’s comin’?”

 

A debut record holds so much weight for a band- they can either fuck it up, or make you listen. Listen obsessively or disregard after one listen. Wallows truly have nothing at all to worry about with their debut record, Nothing Happens. It’s a record that’ll make you feel like everything is alright amongst that inner chaos that boils inside of you. It’ll be that friend you need when everyone else has turned their light off and gone to bed. It’ll be everything you need to get you through.

The record opens with the gorgeous, Only Friend. Dylan’s vocals on this song remind me so much of Julian Casablancas. They both have this beautiful, relaxed sound in their voice that just eases you and makes you hold onto the lyrics even more. I love how as this song fades, it goes gently into Treacherous Doctor which is one of the many moments where Braeden and Dylan’s vocals are in sync of each other, and just show us how great they are as singers. Each song flows gently and effortlessly into the next. The way in which Treacherous Doctor has this powerful instrumental moment which is delicately eased into the Sidelines.

 

Nothing Happens has been the only thing I’ve been listening to solidly since yesterday. It’s 38 minutes of sheer joy and genius. It is such a beautifully put together record, and although they’ve been a band for a number of years now- there is definitely a grown sound in this debut record. It is such a joy to listen to, and the way in which it takes you away from where you are and into their world, I really cannot praise it enough. Are You Bored Yet? is great to hear on this record, and how it slots between Sidelines and Scrawny. There is something about their songwriting that just really hits you. Are You Bored Yet? and Scrawny are two of my favourite songs of the year, and lyrically too. I really don’t have the words to do those two songs justice with how great they are.

As someone who is prone to panic attacks and the like, I seek comfort in music. I take the tablets because I have to. But for me, music is the one thing I rely on the most to ease me out of certain places. I’ve taken a lot of comfort from this record, and it is songs like What You Like and Do Not Wait that really ease the mind and body. But, let’s not dwell on that side. You just need to know about how great this record.

I think some have probably made the comparisons to The Strokes. Normally I shy away from comparisons and the like, but for me, Nothing Happens has something about it that Is This It had when I first heard it. There’s this wonderful laid-back sound on this record that is found on Is This It. But, the bands aren’t the same. Wallows make you feel like you’re in this blissed-out summer mood, and I think Ice Cold Pool probably has my favourite chorus. Just throwing that one out there. I adore Braeden’s vocals so much on this song, and it’s definitely my favourite song that he sings on, on this record.

Now to turn my focus on Cole; Worlds Apart is his moment. I’d say Scrawny is too, but I’m going with Worlds Apart, because I just love how he keeps up the pace of the song, and gives it this brilliant rhythm. It’s a sad song, but there is something so innocent about it, and what I love so much about Wallows is that they keep you guessing on what decade they are from. Worlds Apart has a 60s psychedelic feel to it, but songs like Scrawny sound like they from now.

What You Like is again another one of the songs I keep obsessively going back to. I just love everything about this song. I love the vocals, I love the production, I adore the lyrics a hell of a lot and the sound is just perfect. It’s another song where Cole’s drumming just leaves you in awe. Something you cannot help but treasure about this record is how well produced it is. Not in an over-produced way, far from it. You just hear that Wallows know exactly what they want their record to sound like, and how they want the record to flow. It flows perfectly. I know I’ve already mentioned it, but the way in which each song flows into the other is just brilliant. I can’t help but really focus on that. John Congleton has truly produced a phenomenal record here.

 

Everything I love about music is in this record. I loved the excitement surrounding the release of this record, and finally being able to listen to it. Listening to it over and over again, it just makes me love Wallows all over again. It’s such a brilliant record, and every single song fits perfectly. The record ends on Do Not Wait- a 6 and a half-minute masterpiece. If you’re looking for a band that’ll surprise you with their sound, and never give you anything typical- then Wallows are for you, Nothing Happens is the record for you. Do Not Wait is a wonderful song to end the record on, and it’s definitely a song that you turn to. Just listen to it closely, and you’ll get what I mean. Dylan’s outro on this is another stand-out moment on this record. For me, they all shine on this record- but this song just shows us all how bloody brilliant they all are.

Start to finish, Nothing Happens is an effortlessly brilliant record. Obviously as a huge fan of the band I’m going to say this, but in all honestly- it’s one of the best debut records I’ve heard in a long time. Listen to the record, and just fall into a state of escapism. Just be. Let the songs carry you. Cling to them if you want; you won’t be alone in that, trust me.