THE VOIDZ: Virtue.

12 10 2018

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“Everything I say is everything you wanna hear
My heart is broken through my dreams

I don’t wanna be a puppet that the ghost of my young self still controls
Jackets are the eyes to the soul.”

 

If you’re looking for a group of musicians who have come together to create something weird and mind-bending, then obviously you need to listen to Virtue by The Voidz. Fronted by my constant obsession, Julian Casablancas- The Voidz are nothing like The Strokes so don’t even bother carrying that assumption round. The Voidz are from outer space via New York City/LA.

Virtue has been floating around since March, so with me being stupidly late to the party. Here is my take on one of the most exciting records of the year.

Something I really love and respect about the band is that they are so care-free with their sound. I love how you can truly hear how daring they are, and on this record they go beyond what they gave us with Tyranny. This incredible futuristic sound on Virtue is like nothing else I’ve heard. For me, its songs like Pyramids of Bones that really push every single boundary possible. It’s like the Misfits head butted a kraut rock band, then created a soundtrack to a video game-  resulting in this masterpiece. The lyrics are great, and Julian’s voice has honestly never sounded so good. I love how you can tell they all push each other to go further with their sound. Being so fearless pays off, and you can’t help but wish you could have been in the studio with them when they made this insane record.

I love how at times, this record feels like Julian is delivering a sermon and the band are echoing his truths with some of the most amazing sounds you’ll ever hear. I know some have regarded The Voidz as being too much or too strange, but fuck that! These songs are unlike anything and everything you’ve heard. Also, Jeramy Gritter is one of the best guitarists we’ll see in our lifetime. The Voidz aren’t a band; they’re a gang. A gang of buddies, musicians who are here to blow your mind with their genius ways.

Permanent High School reels off the strain and frustration of high school, and how it can easily find its way into adulthood. Certain aspects just don’t go. When you hear Jules sing about it all, you find the stress of it all easing off. ALieNNatioN is such a hypnotic song, it’s the perfect song to listen to if you’re looking to zone out, or feel like you’ve taken something you probably shouldn’t have. It eases you in, and you slip into such a calming state. You won’t nod off though. The musicianship on the record is nothing short of brilliant, and ALieNNatioN is truly one of those songs that make you really see how incredible a band is.

I love hearing bands like this, and seeing how fearless they are. The Voidz are a band that don’t fall into any genre at all. They just make you feel good, and also leave you in awe of how exceedingly great they are. I’ve always loved Jules’ way with words, and on this record he really is showing us some of his best work.

The record consists of 15 songs and lasts a little under an hour. For me, I could listen to double this. On repeat. Constantly. Like I mentioned earlier, it does feel like someone is giving us all life lessons with mind-blowing and mind-bending sounds echoing it all.

Is it a record to play loud? You know, I’m not sure. I think with this one and it’s probably because Jules is someone I have looked up to since Is This It, but for me this is a sacred listening kind of record. The songs are gentle but also wonderfully rebellious with hints of Punk throughout. The attitude and essence of Punk is so obvious here, and it’s probably one of the reasons why I love this record. I loved Tyranny, but there is something about Virtue that towers above it slightly.

Next month, The Voidz are coming back to the UK for some shows. I guess this means birthday month for me this year is going to be pretty great again!

If you’re looking for a record that messes with all genres but at the same time, sticks a middle finger up at all and what society and the world expects of us/you- then Virtue is the record for you.

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SEXTILE: 3.

17 09 2018

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I’m fully aware that Sextile have been a constant feature here recently, but they are THAT good and deserve all the attention possible. Besides, I’m still wanting to go back to Saturday night so I can re-live their show all over again.

3 is their new EP which came out on Friday. It’s made up of five songs to lose your mind to. The songs are dark, synth-filled and all kinds of creepy. Brady’s vocals on this one is pretty incredible. He’s someone with such a powerful voice that makes you just hang on to every word that comes out of his mouth. The way he uses his voice reminds of Wes Eisold. It takes a lot for me to say that because I pretty much idolise Cold Cave/Wes, but there is something about Sextile that makes me feel like I did when I first heard Cold Cave 9 years ago.

The EP opens up with the stunning, Disco and it then rips right into Drop You which is probably my favourite. Well, it’s my favourite today. I’ll probably change my mind in a few hours or so, but I just love this raw Industrial feel. It feels like night-time on the mean streets of Berlin in the 70s or lurking in basement bars in New York. It’s got a real sordid feel to it, and I love that about Sextile. I love music that has this unconventional darkness and some what smuttiness to it. Sextile are such an exciting band, and the best of them truly comes out on Drop You. It’s a song that holds so much within it, and seeing it live just blew my mind.

Paradox is a hypnotic song with early Depeche Mode flowing throughout it. It’s not a gentle song by no means. Their songs aren’t gentle- they are brutal and hold a wealth of fight within them. It’s the kind of song you play as you approach a fist fight or a scrap in a bar. It’s got rage, it’s got power and it’s such an exciting song to listen to. It’s the type of song that just sparks up wild images for your take on what the video should be like to this song if you were to re-create it. There is most certainly something about Sextile that just HAS to be heard and they are a band that stick with you. You’ll remember the first time you heard them, the first time you saw one of their shows- the vital moments stick with you.

Spun is a brilliant song. The guitar on this is so aggressive and it goes so well with Melissa’s drumming and Brady’s commanding vocals. I know I said I’d change my mind within hours as to what my favourite song is, but Spun is definitely up there. I love the sheer uregency  in Brady’s vocals. Like I said earlier, he has such a commanding voice and they both have such an amazing presence on stage too. This song is the one that could set the tamest of the tame free. It could make the calmest person you know just go apeshit.

Hazing closes the EP, and although it’s a fantastic song; it’ll make you want more and more. Thankfully they have enough records to keep you satisfied for now, but it’s definitely a song that shows them for all they are. Call them Post-Punk, call them Industrial or whatever- but genres don’t count here at all. There is something super special about Sextile, and it’s what lures you in. They’ll have you hooked in no time.

A lot of the bands I listen to from Los Angeles sound like you could listen to them on the beach doing a whole load of nothing. Sextile are the polar opposite. They make you want to wander round the city streets late at night in search of something that the daytime cannot give you.

If they are playing a show near you, go see them. Part of the attraction is the relationship between them and the crowd. It’s utterly cult-like, so be well prepared to be initiated.





SEXTILE.

14 08 2018

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I thought I had written about Sextile but I clearly hadn’t. I’ve been a fan of them for a couple of years now, so better late than never to write about them. They are touring the UK in September along with a new EP coming out, but I’m just going to focus on their music to date and try put across my love for them in a somewhat coherent manner.

They’ve had a few line-up changes, but now it’s just Brady and Melissa. I’m always in awe of duos because I feel they work a bit harder than most, and when they make this much noise- I can’t help but be impressed. There’s a real rugged industrial feel to their music, and if you’re a fan of my biggest loves, Cold Cave, then you’ll adore Sextile. Or you’re probably smart and love them already.

What I love about Sextile is that they make me feel like I am listening to Seventeen Seconds by The Cure all over again. If you’ve read anything I’ve written before, you probably know that I’m always looking for music that makes me feel like I’m listening to Seventeen Seconds all over again. Sextile do it in such an incredibly eerie way. They’ll freak you out with their wonderful synth based sounds. This is the kind of music you’d find in some real dark and twisted thriller. You know, when someone really creepy is chasing someone through a forest or down a desolate street. It’ll give you the chills, and you won’t be able to stop listening.

I love how they make their drums sound like Bobby Gillespie when he was in The Jesus And Mary Chain- simple but genius. They’re an effortlessly brilliant band that have something about them that just makes you want to cast daily responsibilities aside and follow them on tour. Sure the set may be the same, but imagine having that constant feeling of seeing a band you love every single night on stage. There’s no better feeling, if you’re a music obsessive like me. One Of These which is taken from 2017’s release, Albeit Living is one of the best openers I’ve heard for a record in a long time. It’s a probably smack in the belly, and like I mentioned- the drums on it is just like The Jesus And Mary Chain’s Psychocandy era. As well as Seventeen Seconds, Psychocandy is another record I use as reference for how a new band I’m listening to make me feel. If they have that urgency and eeriness to their sound like those two, I’ll probably love them.

I’m currently playing them loud enough to drown out the car alarm that keeps going off across the road, and it’s a pretty solid distraction. Maybe my neighbours would get into Sextile too, but its 10:30pm and I’m not that much of an asshole to cause a disturbance. But the person with the car alarm, that’s a different story. It’s been going on since 3 this morning. Anyway, enough of that.

I’m pretty sure they’ll get the Cold Cave, Nine Inch Nails and Drab Majesty comparisons lobbed at them. They’d be in good company (I’m being biased but still) but Sextile have something about them that gives them a brilliant distinctive sound. Part of you feels like you’ve gone way back in time, and another part of you feels like you’ve headed deep into the future because this is totally unlike anything else you’ve heard before. I love how Sextile can create such a dark and creepy atmosphere with their music. It feels so natural, and it is something to absolutely treasure.

For me, I’d say the best time to listen to Sextile when it’s dark out. Allow yourself to feel a little on edge and unsure, then go full pelt into the music. Don’t hold nothing back. Sextile will take you on this journey into what you didn’t think you were ready for, but you totally needed. I love the sordid and animalistic sound they have, and I’m pretty sure in a live setting it’ll just be out of this world.

Sextile do have a new EP coming out in September, and I think it is the first where it is just Melissa and Brady. It was recorded in their home- imagine being their neighbour! That’d be ridiculously cool. They used a LinnDrum on this record, and it sounds so, so good.

You can pre-order it here: https://sextile.bandcamp.com/album/3 and it will be released via Felte Records. Buy the EP and come see them on tour!





GLAARE: To Deaf And Day.

4 11 2017

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There are a handful of bands that make a massive impact with their debut record, and it leaves you wondering how you’ve got this far without them. How music could have got this far without them, and how on earth can they create perfection instantly. These thoughts and more come trickling in as I listen to the absolutely gorgeous debut record by GLAARE. To Deaf And Day is magnificent and it is one of those records that makes me want to head out to L.A. and obsessively go to all of their shows. Spend my days listening to their music and being in a state of bliss. Sounds ideal. In my head, I’m doing that right now.

GLAARE are a 3-piece from Los Angeles, and their music makes you think you are listening to a band from Berlin in the 70s with their glorious Goth sound. They’ve been labelled by many as being Goth. Sure, but if you don’t give a shit about genre (I’m with you) then you’ll probably just call them amazing and other praise-like descriptions. Their sound is so freeing and so wonderfully romantic. Rachael’s voice is absolutely haunting and comforting. The way she can sing over such eerie sounds and relax the mind is nothing short of admirable and powerful. Some have resembled her voice to Zola Jesus. I’m a MASSIVE fan of Zola Jesus (true story: I nearly set my kitchen on fire whilst listening to Stridulum because I wasn’t paying attention to the cooker.) Rachael’s voice is lighter and the power in her voice is different to Nika’s. Both possess voices that I wish I had, and voices that are just incredibly underrated. Imagine if they did a song together! I’d be in heaven.

To Deaf And Day is one of the best moments in music this year, no contest. Everything about this record gives me that same feeling I got when I heard Seventeen Seconds by The Cure for the first time. I always look for music that will give me that feeling of hearing that record for the first time, and GLAARE have done exactly that, and more. To Deaf And Day is meant to be heard in a setting that will not have any interruptions. I recommend drawing the curtains, turn off the light, hit play and shut your eyes. I think this is how I’ll fall asleep tonight.

For me, this record is the kind of record I’d never ever shut up about. I think it is going to be one of the records I continue to play probably every single day for the rest of the year, and beyond. It is effortlessly beautifully. It is elegant and timeless. A true testament to how great this record is comes out on the song Isky which is 5 minutes and 44 seconds of euphoria and beauty. Every song on this record shows how brilliant they all are, but there is something about Isky that really hammers it home how great they all are. Right after Isky is the one I’ll probably keep on a loop- Suffer. Again, there is something about Rachael’s voice here that just makes me feel at ease. We are then hit with the possibly most heavy sounding song on the record- Surrender/Control. This is such a strong song (I don’t mean it in an annoying hipster sense, I mean actual weight of the song) and it feels like you’re watching everything around you just fall to the ground and crumble as you listen to this song. Maybe if/when the world ends this is the song that will be playing.

For sheer sentimental value, the opener My Love Grows In Darkness is probably my favourite. The lyrics are gorgeous, and possibly lyrically, one of my favourites this year.

There is no denying just how phenomenal this record is. It may be their debut record but it feels like something a band with decades of records would make. Everything about To Deaf And Day defines perfection. It has this glorious darkness to it that will comfort anyone and become their safety net. It just oozes this heavenly sound that simply makes it one of the best records I’ve heard in a long, long time.





L.A. WITCH: L.A. Witch

8 09 2017

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Just so you know, this is going to be hugely biased. I have been waiting YEARS to finally do this and I honestly couldn’t be happier about it. This is my version of Christmas and my birthday all in one. I am so excited to play this record and to write about it. Note: I wrote most of this on the train into work this morning at 7:20am.

What you need to know about L.A Witch is not only are they one of the greatest bands ever (there’s proof, just go to their shows) they are also one of the most hard-working bands around. They never ever seem to have any time off. Whilst touring can be hectic and tiring, L.A. Witch always put their all into their shows and each show is played with sheer devotion to what they do. And what do they do? They blow our minds, of course!

If like me you are obsessed and in love with their music, you’ll know pretty much every song on their debut record. From dodgy YouTube recordings, to the demos and to seeing their live shows- these songs are familiar but at the same time, absolutely brand new. On record, these songs are louder and the drums. Oh lord, the drums!

Sade has a voice unlike no other. She sounds like she’s been catapulted into us from the future with a nod to Ronnie Spector (who is probably the most underrated singer followed by Aaliyah.) Sade is a phenomenal vocalist but her guitar skills are equally as fantastic. She makes you want to pick up a guitar and annihilate everything in your way. There’s so much determination in what she does, in what they all do. A band entirely focused and it truly shines through on this record. Drive Your Car is her moment on the record. She just destroys it. The goosebumps are prominent. Play it loud.

Next up, I want to write about Irita. The best bassist you’ll ever know. She’s got this slick tone and when you see them live, you find yourself totally taken by how she gets in this zone. The music takes her where she takes you. Does she do this on record? Damn right she does! For me, You Love Nothing is her strong moment on the record but to be honest, it’s every single song for all of them. This is a band that know what they want to do, go with them.

On this record, each of them sound louder than before. There are times on the record where you try to work out which sound is moving you the most. That’s why we need to talk about Ellie. The coolest drummer around. I love when you can hear, on record, the drums ruling over slightly. However, this doesn’t happen on this record. It happens for all of them at the right time. Perfection exists and it is on this record. Ellie is such a brilliant drummer to watch and she truly, truly shows this on record. Get Lost has ALWAYS been a favourite of mine, and Ellie’s drumming on this song is insane. The speed picks up near the end of the track and it’s this ferociously glorious sound that makes you feel so alive. Record of the year. I was always going to say it.

I’ve been a huge fan for so long and to finally here the songs I’ve adored come together like this is just amazing. Every little detail justifies why they are the best band around. L.A. Witch will make you want to get in a car and just take off. Anywhere. Just far. They make you want to hit the West Coast, and never want to leave. Laze about at the beach, in skate parks, record stores- whatever you so desire. It is such a beautifully intense record that will just ease the mind, body and soul. It’ll take you somewhere, trust me. If Heaven had a sound, it would probably be this record. It is loud in all the right places, it is eerie, it makes you feel like you’re lurking in a graveyard and it’ll make you want to make your own noise. It’s a beast of a record, and as far as debut records go- this is just simply up there with the greats. Only a fool would find fault in it. LA. Witch just make you wish you could join their band. That’s all there is to it. They just make you want to join in and go along for the ride. They’re the ones taking the wheel though. I’m cool with being the passenger.

I could go on forever about this record and how brilliant it is, and how it means everything to me to finally hear it. Hopefully when you’ve played it you will see what I mean.

The band is currently on tour in Europe with some UK dates in the next few weeks. Buy the record, come to the shows. Have the time of your life.

L.A. Witch- thank you. You should be immensely proud of this record.





THE GUN CLUB: Fire Of Love.

3 09 2017

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At the end of August 1981, a band called The Gun Club released a record that was unlike anything else. Nothing before or after has ever come close to it. A genre-bending record that still towers over most to this day. It was made to be played loud and obsessively. In short, it is in top end of the best records I have ever heard and will ever hear.

Last week I was feeling pretty shitty so I did what I normally do- bought a record. I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for. I had my hands on Repeater by Fugazi but then my hands latched onto a live record by The Gun Club. This was difficult, and I know I should have just bought both. I opted for The Gun Club but I will return to rightfully purchase some Fugazi.

Fire Of Love is easily one of the greatest records ever made. It’s this brilliant mix of rockabilly and punk undertones. It’s everything I want from a record. It’s perverse, obnoxious, loud, eccentric and utterly wild. Jeffrey Lee Pierce was a great frontman, and Fire Of Love was just a brief taste of how wonderful he was.

The record opens with Sex Beat and it is such a powerful start to the record. It immediately locks you in. A tight grip round your lugholes. Once you hear this record, that’s it. It’s got this kick to it that makes you forget all you have heard before. When you hear something new, you find yourself comparing it to this record. Seek for the things that give you the kind of kick Fire Of Love gives you, and you’ll be alright.

I spent a lot of last week really studying this record. I wanted to see how it felt with every listen. I wanted to pick up on all that was going on in the record with every listen. I spent my journeys to and from work listening to it. I occasionally listened to it at work and any other chance I got. It’s a record that you can get lost in. You can immerse yourself in it as you travel to work, you can find another world in it as you lay on your bed listening to it, you can fall in love to it. You can do whatever the hell you want to this record- and it will wonderfully heighten everything you think and feel. It’s simply, a perfect record that continues to stand the test of time. Time is a mere obstacle in comparison to this record.

Fire Of Love is one of those records that some lost teen hears in their formative years and picks up a guitar, and changes the world. This is such a powerful record. It’s got this feel to it that still leaves you amazed with every listen. From the fury in She’s Like Heroin To Me and the sheer force within Fire Spirit. It’s timeless. As clichéd as it sounds, it truly is a timeless record. It may only be 40 minutes long but each song takes you away from where you are.

When you listen to this record, you can easily pick up on bands that have since been influenced by this record and The Gun Club in general. Bands like this are rare. Fire Of Love is THAT record that stays with you for your whole life. It’s that record that you can easily remember first hearing, where you were, what you were wearing and what you were doing. It’s a defining moment- for the band and for those that have heard the record.

Fire Of Love is made up of 11 songs that will change your life, enhance your record collection and blow your mind. When you listen to it, you’ll probably hear how it has influenced bands you love. For them, it is probably THAT record that made them realise they had to start a band. It’s got that sound to it that makes you want to make your own sound, your own noise.

Stick your headphones in and go for a walk playing this. You’ll probably feel about 10 feet tall as you wander round listening to it. Jack On Fire will be the one that makes you feel tough and unstoppable.





Ho99o9: United States Of Horror.

6 05 2017

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With a smack to the face and a kick in the shins, a bloody nose. Broken bones. Grazed knuckles. Aching joints. That’s what the debut record from Ho99o9 will bring you. Pain, anguish, destruction, pleasurable noise, decadence, truth, brutal and brave truth. A riot. They’re not just a Hip Hop group, but man, they have made the best Hip Hop record in a long time. As far as debut records go, this one is going to be ringing in your ears even when they release their fifth one. It’s got this level of greatness to it that comes from sheer determination, and boy- they have it!

When I first heard Ho99o9 in 2014/early 2015, I was instantly moved by their attitude and how they really had this strong Punk sound that we so desperately needed. Ho99o9 were and still a band that we urgently need. They speak to everyone irrespective of race, age, sexuality, background. None of it matters, it never should matter. Their songs are to be played as loud as possible, and for every word to be yelled and learnt. Keep up the pace.

At the moment, Street Power is my favourite song on the record but I’m fully expecting that to change. 17 songs in 46 minutes. 17 songs that will blow your mind, blow your eardrums and leave you wanting more. 17 songs that shape our frustrations at the world and the things we see. The things we can change, and the things that are out of our hands, for now. No band has been this brave in a long time. United State of Horror is a body of work that oozes blood, sweat and rage. It’s the perfect record to expand your thoughts to and see things for how they are.

For just two people to make this much noise and to have such an incredible force within their debut record is just amazing. They take the sounds of two genres and make something really out there and unlike anything else. Sure they’ve had the Death Grips, Bad Brains and Black Flag comparisons but there is something else within them that is totally unlike anything else. Songs like Splash and Knuckle Up really show this, and for me, I’m just really in awe of Eaddy and theOGM. Just two people with such truth and rawness to their sound. It’s like exposing a wound. People will turn away but are still intrigued at the gore and guts. There’s gore and a whole lot of guts in their songs. How can you not be moved even slightly by them?!

I spent most of yesterday listening to the record at work, and I just intensely focused on the lyrics. Today I’m trying to take in every detail within the music. The way they make you feel like an electric shock is flowing through you. This isn’t a band that should be labelled as “not suitable for…” forget that. They are a band for EVERYONE. They hold something so important within them, and it isn’t something that needs ignoring.

Again, they are one of those bands that you’ve got to see live. I’ve yet to, but how they are on record will easily be shown in a different light during their live shows. They just have something in their music that needs to be in a live setting. Venue size doesn’t matter, the more that hear them- the better. Songs like Sub-Zer0 and War Is Hell just need to be seen live, you get that immediately from them. I think I’ve move on to Sub-Zer0 being my favourite right now.

From their EPs to this debut full length record, in just a few years Ho99o9 have created their own movement on their own terms. The finest thing to have come from New Jersey via L.A in a long time. Well, ever really. United States of Horror is a record that deserves your complete and utter attention. It’s easily one of the best records of the year, and the rage within it will feed into your soul. It’ll find its way deep inside of you, and will never leave.

You know what to do- play loud. Learn the words, throw your body around to the songs, go to the shows and let Ho99o9 completely and utterly take you over.