TEEN CREEPS: Birthmarks

18 04 2018

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There are some excellent things to have come from Belgium, and Teen Creeps are most certainly up there as being one of the greats. Their snarling Garage Rock sound is nothing short of addictive, and I’m going to use the last 20 minutes of my dinner break to tell you why.

Birthmarks is their latest release, and I’m fairly sure it is their first full length record. It consists of 9 songs that have been created to just melt your brain and make you do things others would question. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. The record opens with the brilliant, Sidenote which consists of the gnarling roar of “I wanna be the last thing on your mind.” A simple but massively effective lyric that is perfect on the opening of the record. It is like a ritualistic call to come listen and invest in this record. Birthmarks have an effortlessly obscure sound that may remind some listeners (musically, not vocally) or early Placebo. There is something about the guitars that hurls you way back to hearing Placebo for the first time. Again, this is by no means a bad thing. For someone like me, it’s bloody great.

 

Teen Creeps are an exceptional band, and to finally have a record that really shows us what they are made of and how powerful they are is super cool. How I feel about them is how I feel about Küken. I’ve written about them loads because their take on Garage Rock and Punk is mind-blowing. Teen Creeps in some way are a little tamer, but lyrically Teen Creeps have this real urgency and rawness to their words. They are sung as if their lives depend on it, and when a band can do that it makes you really cling on harder to what you hear.

The record has been out for nearly two weeks now, and I can confidently tell you that it is one of the most brutal and loud records you’ll hear all year. It’s got everything you’d want from a proper angsty record. The loudness is so powerful, and it really does grip you. It’s like a loving chokehold (I have no idea if such thing exists, but let’s pretend it does for argument’s sake!)

Mercury is one of their softer songs, and I use that word as loosely as I possibly can. It is one of the quieter moments on the record, but it does pick up perfectly. Then it leads effortlessly timed into Will which is one of my favourites on the record. But, as usual, I will change my mind after my next listen. I’ve mainly listened to this record solidly the past few days to really get a feel for the record. It is a record that you connect with. Maybe it’s because you’ve got some rage to get out, or maybe you just love hearing something so wonderfully loud.

Good Intensions is over 5 minutes of pure bliss. I guess we’re all feeling better now the sun has made a guest appearance, and this is the perfect song to gaze off into the sunset too. It’s got something really special, and (stay with me on this) romantic feel to it. It reminds me of the early Shoegaze sound found in bands like Lush and Slowdive. It’s a beautifully crafted song. I think it’s probably now my joint favourite. I told you I’d change my mind! But I won’t change my mind on this being one of the most exciting records I’ve heard so far.

Teen Creeps are touring the record close to home and in Holland, so maybe treat yourself to a weekend away or a well-earned holiday to see this excellent three-piece band from Ghent.

Birthmarks is out now on PIAS Belgium. You can buy the record from any decent record store, kids! And if they don’t have it, make them order you a copy right now!

Play loud. Play often and let this fantastic debut record blow your mind.

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FREEZ.

10 03 2018

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I’m not counting the days or anything, but I am leaving London for good soon. FINALLY. I can’t wait to not work just to pay rent, which is what I do now and it is no way to live. Anyway, with that aside it is important I find a band to pack to. A band to let my mind drift off rather than sort my life out. I’ve packed my books away already. Three big boxes full. I need a band that can make such a dull task less boring and less irritating. I give you the finest band from Northern Italy, and that band is Freez.

Freez are an incredible band from Schio which is in the Vicenza province. They are 4 friends who make music that send your mind and body off into a whirl. They are easily one of the best bands from Italy right now. I massive rate this band and also Beat Degeneration (who I’ve already written about.) Freez have this brilliant and effortlessly cool sound. There’s nobody else quite like them, and what I really love about their sound is that it just makes you happy right away. The lyrics at times may ooze the boredom of every day life but nothing is ever perfect, and they create the perfect balance of this. Their sound isn’t heavy but there is definitely some Punk undertones in their sound. They do make you feel like hanging out at the beach doing nothing all day, and that’s something I really enjoy getting from music.

The vocals are distorted in all the right places and are mixed beautifully with a relaxed guitar sound. It’s such a clichéd and annoying thing to say, but they really do have a blissed out sound. Freez do have a real summer feel to their music, and it is such a joy to listen to. Freez have perfected this surfer rock sound in a way that would make those who have tried to do so, quite envious of them.

They are most certainly a band that come alive at their shows. A band that you just have to see live in order to really appreciate how great they are. I have no idea when or if they’ll come to the UK but at the moment they are on tour in southern Italy and heading to France.

Routine was released last February and it is such a great record. It has everything you could possibly want from a band who make this style of music, but at the same time they definitely aren’t shy with experimenting with different sounds, and to really push themselves. The cassette was a limited release and came in three colours (white, peach and surf green.) Although there are only 5 songs, it is more than enough to make you fall in love with their music. Freez make music for you to waste your day to. Well, personally I don’t see it as wasting a day but others might. Some days you just need to do a whole load of nothing, and Freez are the band to do nothing to. Witch is my favourite song from the Routine tape. I love the urgency in it and how ferocious it is. It’s probably their heaviest song so far and it is one that I find myself constantly playing over and over again.

There is really no point in me naming bands that you could possibly compare Freez to- that just strips away the effort and passion they put into their music. They are such a young band who really do have such a promising future. I absolutely adore their sound and I love how they just fuse together a surfer rock sound mixed with everything in between to make something of their own. If you feel like going on holiday this month, then head to southern Italy to see them or France if you feel like it.

In my biased opinion, Freez are amazing. I cannot wait to hear more from them.





CRAWLER.

21 02 2018

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10 years ago I started this blog. I started it whilst in my second year at University. I’m not sure if I knew I would stick at this, or if I’d just let it fade away. Everyone has something that keeps them sane. Keeps them busy. Some draw, some play music. I write about it. 10 years is a long time. It’s not out of habit, it’s never forced. It’s been one thing I have solidly relied on, and I’m pretty happy to “celebrate” this by writing about South Korea’s finest band- Crawler.

I know nothing about them, but it doesn’t matter. What I do know is that they make brilliant music that allows you to escape time and place. We always need that, and at the right time- a band will find you that will guide you away.

Their last release, Why Did You Sleep Last Night? consists of 6 mind-blowing songs that deserve to be played as loud as humanly possible. But, if like me you are aware of your surroundings- you’ll keep noise to a minimum. Sort of. The songs will make you want to break stuff, it’ll make you want to do a whole bunch of crazy shit. Do it. Do whatever the hell you want and let Crawler be the soundtrack to it all.

Crawler make effortlessly wild music that will just make you feel, as awfully clichéd as it sounds, alive. They will give you that kick you’ve been seeking for far too long. If you’re feeling disheartened about something or someone, then they will fix you right up. They’ll unleash every ounce of fury inside of you. Songs like Phantom and Baby Doll will make you feel good. They’ll make you feel free.

Something I really love about Crawler is that they really do have such a strong Punk feel to their sound, and they really do make you want to check out their shows and just totally soak up their music and what they are about. They give off that same feeling that bands like Dusty Mush and Dr Chan do. It’s like they have all created their own little scene, and all we can do is lovingly observe it all. Which I am totally fine with. They just make you want to get lost in the music and fall into a different time and place. If music can make you feel, and do this- then surely it is one of the most powerful forces we have, right? There’s no disputing just how powerful music is.

Crawler are such a huge joy to listen to, and like all the music I write about- they have a sound that I am always looking for. A sound that I absolutely idolise and cannot get enough of. Like I mentioned earlier, I know nothing about them but I do know that they are nothing short of brilliant.

You know what to do- buy the music and play it as loud as you can handle!





FLESH PANTHERS.

11 02 2018

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There is nothing better than easing the dullness of Sunday by listening to some obnoxiously loud music. Music that makes you feel like something has stomped on your bones, music that makes you want to quit that 9-5 (other hours are available if you wish) and music that just makes you want to do anything other than what you need to. I’m going away on Tuesday, and I’d rather listen to music than pack. I’d probably want to go to sleep more. That’s usually the case.

Flesh Panthers are Chicago’s finest band. They sound as if they have crawled out from wooden crates in dark alleyways to come out and bring some much needed rowdiness to basement bars and desolate streets. They sound as if they lurk until they find their targets to pounce upon and unleash their powerful and loud sounds. Like as panther hunting its prey, of course.

They have a wealth of songs to really get lost in. I think their last release may have been in 2016, which was the Willows Weep record. It’s a really great record that sounds like everything I want from a Garage Rock/Punk band. There’s the right amount of distortion and a brilliant amount of hypnotising guitar grooves. The drums will have you moving your body in all kinds of ways- especially the song Tuff Enuff. It’s one of their tame songs, and it makes you think of summer. It has this really cool and laid-back sound that makes you want to just laze about. It’s pretty comforting considering outside it’s either snowing or raining, again. It’s got this tropical feel to it, and I think at the moment it could be my favourite song by them, but as I delve into their earlier songs such as Bleed Black Leather- I can’t help but want to stay there. However, there’s this slight shift in sound in each record of theirs which shows just how strong they are as a band. Nervous Breakdown is such as fantastic song to let all your frustrations out to. It’s got this proper raw Punk sound going all the way through it. It makes you want to throw stuff around. It makes you want to drive far (but if like me, you can’t drive- maybe take the bus) and they make you want to make your own kind of noise.

I love how the bass has this fuzzy-like sound which goes so well with everything else that is going on. To really get the bass to come alive like this, play it through headphones and it will be the bass that leaves you in a trance. A proper feel good trance that only Flesh Panthers can put you in, and they probably don’t have any intention of dragging you out of it. I mean, why would you want to when it sounds and feels this good.

I can’t possibly pick which record is my favourite but if you are new to them, start from their first release and work on up to now. Some bands you can just start wherever, but there are some bands that you have to go on the journey with. Flesh Panthers are one of those bands, and it’s because you can truly hear how they have developed their sound and have earned their right to be one of the best bands to come out of Chicago in a long time.

They have got such a strong collection of songs and records, and they just make you want to play it all constantly and as loud as you can stand. Edge of the Knife is definitely a song that needs to be played loud as does VooDoo Shang-a-Lang.

A new record by Flesh Panthers should be coming out this year, and I cannot wait for it!





LOS TONES.

2 02 2018

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It can be utterly criminal at times when a band you love are hardly written about. You look for past articles written about them, and you find virtually next to nothing. Maybe the odd review of a record that’s only a couple hundred words long- nothing to make you believe that someone else loves them as much as you do. Sometimes you need to take matters into your own hands. I’m going to do that with Sydney’s finest, Los Tones.

Los Tones catapult you way back in time. They make you feel like you’ve discovered The Standells, The Vagrants and The Gruesomes for the first time. They are a combination of everything amazing about Garage Rock and modern day lo-fi sounds. They’re the kind of band you play on a lazy day doing a whole load of nothing. I’m pretty sure that if you played them to someone who was around when The Standalls first came out they wouldn’t thing that Los Tones are from now.

Los Tones have a solid catalogue of music to really feast upon. It’s totally fine to over indulge in their music and shut the world off for a few days to soak it all in. With their two records and a few singles, they have definitely developed a sound that is soaked in wonderful reverb and murky vocals to get lost in. The songs are loud in all the right places. Songs like Cry have this amazing part where it just goes off, and the only reaction you can have is to just turn it up as loud as you can. Bands that can do this are great. They let loose and just go for it. This exciting energy that just bursts from their music is so good. It’s beyond being ‘so good.’ That’s a weak ass description on my part- sorry!

You can’t really compare their two records. Psychotropic came out in 2014 and What Happened came out last year. In the years past between these two records, you can hear a steady growth but you can definitely hear in both that Los Tones are a band that know exactly how they want to sound and how to make it work. There is something really beautiful about this, and both records are just out of this world. Their music is appealing to any and everyone. No need for snobs or pretentious wankers here- Los Tones has this brilliant laid-back sound that just eases the mind, body and soul. Even when some of the songs are more rowdy than others, they still have this blissful relaxed glow to them. You can easily zone out to their music, especially on songs like Ordinary Man but at the same time you can lose yourself in the likes of the glorious Battery Acid. There is something for everyone, and I’m sure your Grandma would enjoy them too.

Los Tones have such a raw and urgent. It’s almost as if they HAVE to get these songs out of their system and to create this beautiful music. They are everything I want from a band. They have every element that I just adore about music. If you’ve got no plans this weekend, spend it by listening to Los Tones. If you do have plans, maybe you should cancel them and just listen to Los Tones instead and allow yourself to be transported into a time and place that only they can take you. They’ll be your escape route and your cure for boredom.

Los Tones make you wish you could join their band or be in a band that tours the world with them. They’ve got this mesmerising energy to their music that makes you want to constantly hear it and be around it.

Some bands you just fall in love with instantly- Los Tones are one of those bands, easily.

You know what to do:

https://los-tones.bandcamp.com/music

 





WATER TRASH

1 02 2018

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In an ideal world, everyone would get paid to do something they love. In an ideal world, I’d be paid to write about music. Nothing too over the top. Just enough to pay my rent, maybe get a dog, buy my girlfriend presents without a care and to live off food that isn’t soup. Or pasta. Being Italian, I should be okay with pasta, right? In moderation. Not because your bank account is crying at you to leave a city you have no reason to be in. I’m only working to pay my rent at the moment- that alone just fucks my head up and has set me back with this bastarding anxiety and depression I have, and cannot shake. But hey, enough of that. A slight vent from a frustrated soul. I’ll write about a band that eases the mind and mood slightly.

Ready?

Water Trash has got it going on. They’ve got this exquisite laid-back sound that makes you forget all your troubles. Every song feels like it has come from the heart, and I think that’s what makes you relate to the songs, and what allows you to let the music just take you away. It’s powerful in all the right ways, and it is done in a beautifully subtle way. I know for the most part I do like music that makes me want to flail my limbs around in a small, sweaty dive bar. Water Trash does give me that same feeling, but the only difference is that they make you feel like you’re the only one. What I mean is, if you were to catch them play live- you’d feel as if it was just you in the room. Irrespective of size, they’d make you feel it was only you in the room. Like when the person you’re besotted with looks at you and when you look at them. That’s one of the best feelings in the world, and when music can evoke this grand and gorgeous feelings- that’s when you know you have found something to truly treasure when everything else seems painfully unruly and bland.

Their debut record from last summer is stunning. It’s got a beautiful summer feel to it. Something we all need when it is bloody freezing outside. They just take you somewhere really tranquil and serene. They add the perfect amount of calm to the mind, body and soul. For me they have that similar relaxed feel that is in the likes of Warpaint and Beach House. Two bands I absolutely adore who can calm any chaotic mind right down. For me, I feel that Water Trash have got this tight sound and I think it stems from them knowing each other since they were around 12 years old. They are growing together, and you can really hear that on their debut record, which sounds effortlessly timeless.

One of the louder moments on the record is a song called Elevator which has this heavy guitar sound that reminds me of the hook in Undone-The Sweater Song by Weezer. It’s laid-back then it just gloriously smacks you right in the choppers. I love when a band spring that kind of surprise on me. I think that’s when you know just how great a band is; no matter how many times you listen to the song it still has the ability to hit you. It’s such an amazing feeling.

Water Trash is such an exciting band to listen to, and you can really pick up on how much dedication and care has gone into their music. They’re the kind of band that you just cannot get enough over.

You can buy/stream their glorious sounds here:

https://watertrashpa.bandcamp.com/releases

 





LOVERS CLUB: Empty Ballroom Blues

31 01 2018

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One of the most exciting bands to emerge from London, Lovers Club has just released their phenomenal EP Empty Ballroom Blues. It excels everything they have done to date, and it truly shows how great they are and undoubtedly, 2018 will be their year.

There is only one criticism of the EP-it’s not long enough. I want, I need more songs. This is a band that leaves you needing more. The need is greater than the want here. Everyone seems to follow certain “buzz” bands without giving a thought to those who are making something worth listening to. Lovers Club are that band. They are massively underrated and effortlessly cool. Alec’s vocals are nothing short of eerie and gripping. They make you feel like you are being chased down a dark alleyway with no hope of survival. They fill you with this dark excitement that takes you back to hearing The Cramps and The Mummies for the first time. That might just be me, but it’s alright. Lovers Club have this sound that makes you just want to totally immerse yourself in all that they do and hope they never ever call it quits. It’s a beautifully creepy sound that takes you over in the best way imaginable.

The opener, Empty Ballroom Blues truly sets the tone for the EP. It has this grand sound to it that is found in bands that have been at it for decades, but Lovers Club have this magnetic confidence in their sound that just makes you feel and believe that this is a band who have been around for decades. It’s a proper established and powerful sound that as I’ve said, just leaves you wanting more. Needing more. Alec’s guitar skills remind you of part Poison Ivy and part Johnny Thunders. The band has this raw Rock N Roll feel to their sound that is lacking in music right now. Are they are saviours? If you want them to be.

The Barge is just under 2 minutes and again, it isn’t enough. But it is taster of what Lovers Club is capable of and what is to come. It feels completely right to just keep on hitting repeat with this EP. Nothing can touch it. I truly feel that this is going to be one of my favourite things I hear all year, and will most definitely be one of my most played. The Barge has this brilliant distorted sound to it. It feels like it could have been in a Vincent Price film- it’s got this brutality to it that comes through effortlessly in Alec’s voice. Everything about this song just goes so well together. When the chorus kicks in, you can really hear just how great Alec, Oliver and Matt are. Towards the end the song has this energy to it that makes you think it’ll go on forever. It makes you want it to go on forever. Then it ends making room for the closer, Dark Country.

Dark Country is a heavy song. It carries something quite sinister to it, and I think that’s why I really love this one. I love the whole EP but Dark Country has this really heavy feel to it which just oozes a shade of evilness that makes you want to be part of it all. The whole EP feels as if it was made for a Horror film. The atmosphere they create in their music is something which I absolutely adore, and I really cannot wait to see and hear what they do this year because they really are the best new band around. Sure it is a biased opinion, but I’m not going to waste anyone’s time by writing in a negative manner. That’s just pointless. I love finding new bands and writing about how much I love their music, and how exciting they are. Lovers Club are one of those bands that make me want to keep writing about music- and recently that love has been fading. It’s back again. I think. I hope.

Anyway, you can buy/listen to the EP right here: https://loversclub.bandcamp.com/album/empty-ballroom-blues-ep

They are playing a few dates in London over the next couple of months at:

23rd February- The Black Heart

1st March- The Lock Tavern

See you at the front!