DRUGGY PIZZA.

28 12 2015

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A few weeks ago, my favourite new band of the year Peace And Love Barbershop Muhammad Ali (PALBMA if you’re lazy) released a split record with the equally great Druggy Pizza. I’ve already ranted about how much I love Peace And Love Barbershop Muhammad Ali, so now it is the turn of Druggy Pizza to be subjected to my affections.

Firstly, I know nothing about Druggy Pizza and secondly, they have pizza in their name-that’s possibly why I immediately decided I would love them regardless. Their release a couple weeks back is a split release but it would be pretty dickish of me to compare the two. I won’t do that. Nothing good comes from that.

I could be wrong but I think Druggy Pizza have been signed to the excellent Bristol based label Stolen Body Records. Their back catalogue of releases is really worth checking out, just so you know. Druggy Pizza have a hazy and woozy feel to their sound. You feel like you’ve taken something you probably shouldn’t have and gone some place you normally wouldn’t when you listen to them. You feel like you’ve entered some real dark and sordid world where if you leave, then try to return- the place wouldn’t be there any longer. Everything about their sound is distorted and most would find this hard to digest. You feel like this is the soundtrack to a murder scene in a horror film. Almost as if you’ve walked in on someone doing something they really shouldn’t be doing and you cannot tear yourself away from it. This is the kind of music that makes me glad I have this shitty blog to write about music rather than subjecting a friend to my thoughts because I’d have to shut up wouldn’t I.

If you’re familiar with the band Pop.1280 then you will instantly get what Druggy Pizza are doing. This sound is messed up in the best way possible and I reckon the best time to listen to them is around 3am when you should be asleep. For the most part now I don’t have any trouble sleeping. A few years ago it was pretty shit and all I would do was try find music to get me through it until I could sleep. This was the kind of music I’d be looking for. I guess because the world is asleep at that time, so you kind of feel like you’ve stepped on something sacred. That’s how I feel about Druggy Pizza, and like I mentioned, I know nothing about them. All I know is that I love their music. That’s enough, right?

Their split record shows a band that aren’t afraid to be wonderfully weird and to mess about with insane sounds. If you want something polished and careful, then these guys aren’t for you. Druggy Pizza features Cédric from the equally strange French band Dusty Mush. I’m well overdue writing about them too, but I’ll rectify that soon enough. Druggy Pizza is a leap into the unknown and when you come out of it, you;’ll probably feel a bit out of sorts. Like Pigs In A Slot is the song that will make you feel as if your body is being thrown around and punched. You’ll feel slightly confused and bruised, and you will never want it to end.

Hopefully there will be more to come from Druggy Pizza, but in the meantime you can purchase the split record here:  https://stolenbodyrecords.co.uk/product/palbmadruggy-pizza-split-3/

 

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GAL PALS.

28 12 2015

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To be stuck in the past can be a terrible thing, unless it is musically. It’s alright to be stuck in 1970 wishing Iggy Pop was crowd surfing above you whilst smearing peanut butter on his torso. It’s better than living with a bunch of “if only I did this….” Give me Iggy Pop’s destructive antics any day.

In the throes of boredom and needing something new to listen to, I found Gal Pals. They remind me of very early Dum Dum Girls mixed with Ronnie Spector’s angelic voice. In short, they’re my ideal band. A drum and guitar combo- that’s a sure fire mix for a good time. They’ve got a real summertime glow to their sound. The kind of band you’d play on a road trip in mid July just as the air con in your car breaks and you want to slap the person who is driving because they should have double checked it was okay before you set off. You stick on some Gal Pals and you forget all your grievances.

Gal Pals have played with a bunch of bands I love from Girl Tears to Crocodiles to The Babies. Like a lot of bands I’ve written about, they strike me as one of those bands you need to see live to really get into the music. You get the impression that it is all played with an urgency in their live shows, and they are also another band I can use to justify my love for duos. With most still cramming in their end of year list and even though they are redundant part of me is hoping that some place Velvet Rut by Gal Pals in there. It is one of the most cheerful and feel good records of the year. Sure there are songs on the record that can catapult your mood to heartbreak but for the most part the songs just take you on a daydream to the beach, even if it’s awfully cold outside. Any band that can change your mood and make you feel like you’re going some place else whilst listening to their sounds is alright by me. As I mentioned previously they do sound like early Dum Dum Girls, and this is probably due to that 60s Wall of Sound feel. Although there’s only two of them, they have a big sound. A sound that has a gang-like feel to it. At best it is boisterous and is quite rebellious in the right places.

As I take advantage of being home alone for the next few hours, I’m playing Gal Pals as loud as I can to really experience what is in their music. For two people, they make a lot of noise and I think that is probably why I like them. If it is noisy, I’ll probably enjoy. Loud music I can deal with, loud people I cannot. Gal Pals make the kind of music that makes you want to dance around to on your own, take a road trip, take a mind trip into the unknown. You can get away to their music, which is always a good thing. Daily life can be mundane, and it is important to find things that give us a break from all of that. Songs like Dumbhead can make hopeless (or helpless) romantics go easy on themselves and feel alright in their own skin.

I have no idea what kind of sound has dominated the airwaves this year but I know there is always a place for a band like Gal Pals. One can only hope they find their way to the UK soon so we can dance awkwardly to their songs and as we make our journeys home, wish we could start our own band. The artwork to the record, I feel sums up how their music makes the listener feel when blasting it out.

You can listen to their earlier sounds here: http://galpals.bandcamp.com/





TALL JUAN.

22 12 2015

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With everyone ramming their opinions at everyone else with regards to what is the best song/video/record of the year, I’ve decided to stay on the prowl with finding something new to listen to. I know at this time of year I’ve written about my favourite records of the year (if you want to know, it is Boys by Crocodile closely followed by Carly Rae Jepsen.) But this year, I don’t really care for it. I’ve spent this year seeing bands I love and buying records instead of food. Records last longer. I’ve found record labels that have ended up funding my habit of buying records and I’ve adopted All Ages Records in Camden as my second home. I hate lists so god knows why I wasted so much time on making them previously. Give me chaos but organisation is a bag of shite.

Tall Juan is someone you need to get to know. Are you bored of life? Are you sick of being forced to enjoy Christmas? It’s alright, get into Tall Juan and you’ll be okay. He’s a one-man version of the Ramones and that’s probably why I am absolutely in love with him. His handsome looks and belly-flipping vocals will make everyone regardless of age, gender and sexuality swoon.

Juan was born and raised in Buenos Aires and is currently based in New York. His sound is part Ramones part something we’ve never ever heard before. Some people just have this ability to create something so beautifully immediately and he’s one of those who has this ability. He makes you want to pogo but at the same time, when you listen to the lyrics you just want to have a little cry. I’d opt for dancing. Next month he is FINALLY embarking on a tour of the UK/Europe. He’s doing TWO dates in London in two venues I love (The Lock Tavern and The Shacklewell Arms.) I’ll do my best to get to both, but I’ll for sure be at the one on the 21st January. You get the feeling from his music that he’s one you need to see live in order to really get into the music. I’m not saying on record something is lacking-far from it. But he plays with such urgency you can’t help but think that this NEEDS to be seen live in order to really appreciate it.

Juan seems like the kind of person you could walk round discussing everything the Ramones ever did whilst eating pizza. That’s an ideal conversation for me. He makes the kind of music I wish I could so therefore he makes the kind of music I really really love. He incorporates everything I love about music and everything I look for in music, and has created something we should all get behind. He’s got a solid following in New York (and probably in the States in general) but now it is time we all got turned onto his sound. Play his music loud and do whatever you feel like doing. I could happily write thousands and thousands of words about why I really love his music, but it pretty much speaks for itself. He’s an incredible musician and he makes you feel as if you’re taking some crazy trip with him through his music.

His UK January dates are as follows:

20th Brighton,UK – The Green Doors
21st London,UK -The Lock Tavern
22nd London,UK -The Shacklewell Arms

You can listen to his music here:

https://talljuan.bandcamp.com His cover of Chinese Rocks is excellent. Pretty sure Joey Ramone would be into it.

 





FLESH RAG-S/T 7″

4 12 2015

 

 

 

Canada as I’ve mentioned before is the home to some great music, but for me there is one band that have massively blown me away with their appealing rage and passion. I discovered Flesh Rag a few months ago whilst in All Ages Records. A brilliant record store in Camden that stocks some of the best music around. It’s ran by guys who know their stuff and are just a pleasure to talk to. I’ve spent many lunch breaks in there forgoing buying something to eat because I’d rather my ears fed than my belly full. I was immediately hooked by Flesh Rag because they reminded me so much of Dead Boys, who I highly regard as one of the greatest bands ever.

Their new 3 track EP consists of songs that do not reach the 3 minute mark but that does not matter. The fury and urgency are put across in a way that doesn’t require any more time. The songs are for the hopeless, helpless and those who are fed up. To feel these emotions all you need to do is put the news on and see how the government are bending us all over and having their way with us, without any say so. I mean Flesh Rag aren’t really political, but it’s easy to apply songs that stir something in you like this and apply it to what you see on the TV etc. If you’re not fed up and you’re all okay with it all, then you’re just part of the problem.

I got home when I bought it this week and played it pretty loud. Nobody was home and I doubt the neighbours were home. I played it and off I went to Punk paradise. I was front row at their show in my mind. Bodies covered in sweat moving around in timely and untimely fashion. What I get from the music of Flesh Rag is that it is made for a live show. The day they come to England will be a bloody great day, but until then I live with the images in my mind that I have created. The power of music greater than we know, and that’s one of the many reasons as to why I adore the music that Flesh Rag make.

I wasn’t born when Punk first came around, but it’s always been the one style of music that owned my heart more than anything or anyone else could. I remember falling in love with the Ramones for the first time, I remember hearing Horses for the first time, I remember hearing the Sex Pistols and knowing that this was IT. Flesh Rag have brought up these feelings that I got the first time with those I’ve mentioned, and more. I feel like I’ve gone back to the 70s and been thrown into a world of chaos and fury. As someone who cannot settle into a daily routine, Flesh Rag are the perfect band to help me adjust. I’d take better care if I knew how. Panic attacks bring on migraines and migraines bring on panic attacks- music is the thing that eases it all out. Unless it’s a really bad migraine and all I can do is just sleep. You sometimes find yourself delving into thoughts and feelings when a band hits you in the gut for the first time, and with Flesh Rag I know that feeling is going to happen each time I listen to them. I’m pretty sure I got the last copy of the 7″ from AAR, so I’m sorry if you were looking for it- but to know that there’s a place for these guys makes it all worth it. Their music is the opposite of how I am, and I think that again, is part of my attraction to their music.

Matt’s gritty snarl on It Ain’t Enough is one of my favourite music based moments of the year. You can keep what the mainstream radio shoves down your neck and shove it up your you know where- I’d take a band like Flesh Rag over them any day. The sheer grittiness in the vocals and the angst in the drums, bass and guitar makes you want to start your own kind of noise. Some are adamant that Punk is dead. But for me, Punk is an attitude, a way of being not just the music. Bands like Flesh Rag are keeping it alive. Ignore all that “Pop-Punk” shit, that’s nothing. You need bands like Flesh Rag. Let them help you get through daily life by creating music for you to lob your limbs about to, sweat it out and throw your body into a wall as if your possessed. I’m fairly sure anyone who has seen their live shows are super lucky, so I’ll wait my turn. Live in my mind until it happens.

There have been many great records released this year, but as far as 7″ EPs go- Flesh Rag undoubtedly are the winners this year for the best release.

The self titled 7″ is out now on It’s Trash Records, and details for picking up a copy/streaming the release are here:

https://fleshrag.bandcamp.com/





CHEAP RIOT.

21 10 2015

Do you ever listen to a band, and proceed to question what you’re doing with your life? Or what you aren’t doing? We plan our mental escape routes through things that we can’t touch such as music and films. I listen to certain bands, and I’m filled with this urge to pack up my records and go somewhere else. Certain places are romanticised in music. I guess real life shows how ugly it is. For me, London is at its best at night. Then again, anything and anyone looks half decent in the dark. For the most part I do love London. I just don’t like how cold some of the people can be. I know we’re all trying to get to and from work like everyone else, but just be fucking nice you know? Have some manners.

Cheap Riot are a band to make you get rid of your mundane tasks and to just go somewhere else. We all know that somewhere else is always better. My mum and stepdad are currently in Turin, and the photos make me see how soulless London is in comparison. Anyway, I’m projecting. I’m just annoyed that in a few weeks I’m 29, then next year I’m 30 and what have I done? Nothing. A lazy escapist with no sense of bravery. It’s alright, because the world clearly needs another idiot with a music blog (sarcasm.) Cheap Riot bring out this frustration and sorry, you’re getting the brunt of it. All sense of hopelessness and feeling bored just come out of their music. It’s the kind of music to do a load of nothing to whilst roaming the streets with office workers looking at you like you’re scum, “Get a job.” Whatever. (I have a job, I really like my job and it feels weird to feel that way at times.)

Cheap Riot have proper short Punk-ish songs. Declaring themselves as “part-time Punks” should not deter you. It lured me in, I wanted to see if they were what they said they were. Punk can be seen as quite redundant. There’s nothing more offensive than the style of music called “pop-punk.” Fortunately, Cheap Riot aren’t pop-punk and I doubt they are part-time Punks. Sure they sound like all the bands I love, but if I hated them I wouldn’t listen to them or write about them. Their snotty and bratty sound is a tamer take on the likes of Dead Boys and Black Flag, but the aggression is there. You can’t tame this kind of aggression and these Parisian guitar slinging noise makers are where it is at. Maybe Lester Bangs wouldn’t spit out his drink out over these guys, but I love them. I love how they are unapologetically loud and at times woeful in their songs. They could sing in obscure dialect and I’d still be moved by their music.

As mentioned previously I do love songs that last over 5 minutes, but sometimes I just want a 2 minute track and being made to feel like I’m being smacked in the face (fully aware that there are people who would gladly smack me in the mush, but you get my point.)

Friday sees the release of their debut record, Ballroom Portraits. It is loud, it is passionate and it is a record that makes you wholeheartedly believe in this band. It is instant love with Cheap Riot and I hope they hope on the Eurostar and play some shows over here. Again they are a band that I reckon you need to see live to really get their sound. Everyone needs a new band to fall hopelessly in love with, and for me Cheap Riot are exactly that band. They make you want to find some like-minded folks and make your own noise.

You can stream the record here: http://cheapriot.bandcamp.com/album/ballroom-portraits

You can buy it from Friday.





GIRLS NAMES- Arms Around A Vision.

8 10 2015

With it finally getting colder, it’s important to find music that makes it easier to deal with dark mornings that make you question why you’re leaving the house. I like my job, so for me it’s just the effort of having to deal with rude people on the tube every morning. Stop pushing people out the way and PLEASE brush your teeth before you leave the house, or have a mint. Coffee breath just makes me want to vomit. Awful. Gentle rage aside, I’m now going to write about a band who I love (obviously) and why their new record is (again,obviously) a stroke of genius.

Girls Names are one of those bands that managed to merge everything I love and look for in music into one. They sound like Mark E Smith in a fight with Edwyn Collins, with a bit of Josef K thrown in. For me it is music heaven. I’m not really sure what anyone else thinks, but I’m not fussed. Arms Around A Vision is a record that much like what I’ve written about recently, doesn’t make me feel like I am in 2015. Which let’s be honest, isn’t really a bad thing. Everything now revolves around how many people “know” you via social media sites rather than who actually gives a fuck about you. We’re all deathly scared of being lonely or being unlike our peers that we try too hard to be like them and losing any sense of a personality we once had. In short, Girls Names make me forget how awful everything is and how I feel like I am always on the outside looking in. I’ve never felt part of anything or like I “belonged.” This isn’t in a “woe is me” way. It’s just my interests don’t revolve around being drunk or taking a photo of myself whilst making everyone believe I am having a nice time. I’m sat in bed, listening to a band I love. Occasionally I look out the window, and I can see the lights of planes above my house. For me, that’s a nice time. I’m a bore to most. To myself? It doesn’t matter. Girls Names have this power in their new record to make you see things for how they are and taking you away from it.

Arms Around A Vision is made up of brilliant moments that show you exactly how great Girls Names are. I’m fully aware that’s a mundane statement. but it is entirely true. It’s a record to really gush about. It’s a record to fall in love with, and tell all your pals about. It’s like meeting someone who changes your life in a way no one else will understand, but you still want to tell everyone about. You get that instantly with the record, and records like that are hard to find. Some may struggle to “get” this record and dismiss it for what it isn’t. But as someone who absolutely adores this magnificent Belfast band, it is fair to say that it is a massive music highlight of the year. The songs make you feel like you’re in dark pub watching characters go about their business as you tuck into a stale bag of crisps. This is a record to listen to as you let the day pass you by. It’s a record to vent your frustrations out to. Sometimes I struggle with writing about music because the words don’t seem to want to come out, but Arms Around A Vision has triggered something.

What I love about Girls Names is their poetic and industrial atmosphere in their music. It feels like a grey day, for some that’s an insult but it’s so far from that. It is one of those records that you have to listen to when it is either night-time or the sky is a menacing grey. It’s the kind of record that sounds mighty fine now as it would in the 70s/80s. It’s got the guts of Punk and twinges of others. It’s like Suicide messed around with The Fall. I’m sure they’ve had every comparison under the sun lobbed at them, but I’m just mentioning bands I love and picking up on possible influences. It’s a hypnotic record from start to finish. Each song follows the other in a careful manner, and this effortlessly brilliant record should be high on everyone’s lists come the end of the year. I don’t like lists, but it’d be in my top 5 easily. It feels like you’ve been gripped by some unknown yet magnetic force. It doesn’t let you go, like a chokehold and as you gasp for air you start to struggle less and fall under the spell of Girls Names. Stunning.

I’ve been listening to Arms Around A Vision most evenings for the past week, and I’m trying to pick a song out as my favourite. It’s impossible. Each song fits perfectly into the other, creating something quite poetic in the mind. It has this haunting feeling of The Cure’s Seventeen Seconds. That’s a record I’ve used a reference for so many. What I mean is, if a record or song moves me in the same way that Seventeen Seconds does, then I know I’ve found something I’ll be listening to for a long long time. Girls Names have easily created something influential with this record. They make you want to make your own noise, on your own terms. The dark and eerie atmosphere on this record is heavenly and it is quite easy to shut everything off around you and just play this over and over. Lose your mind over this record.

UK tour starts next week:

15/10 – Liverpool – The Shipping Forecast
16/10 – Leeds – Beacons Festival Headrow House
17/10 – Leicester – The Musician Pub
18/10 – Bristol – START THE BUS
19/10 – London – The 100 Club
21/10 – Brighton – The Hope & Ruin

Followed by European dates. If I had the £££ I’d LOVE to see them in Brussels. I adore Brussels and I’m pretty sure they are a band that would sound perfect there.

Arms Around A Vision is out now. Buy it.





COKE WEED-Mary Weaver.

7 10 2015

Everyone has their own take on what makes a band great or what makes a band mean the world to them. I enjoy hearing why someone loves a band or a song. I’d rather discuss the ins and outs of a song with someone than hear about their political stance. It’s too personal and it can make people turn into arseholes.

Mary Weaver has a David Bowie feel to it. By that, I mean a lot of songs sound like Let’s Dance. I’ve never been into Bowie, but I can appreciate certain songs. Does that mean I hate this record? Not at all. If I hated it, I wouldn’t write about it. Coke Weed not only have a brilliant name that provides questionable search results, but they’re so underrated it hurts. Their sound is part elegant, part rebellion. They have this way of transporting you to and from where you are, and making you feel as if you are anywhere but where you are. Mary Weaver is made up of laid-back grooves mixed with blissed-out vocals. Everything about Mary Weaver feels like a summertime road trip. It’s still a bit warm here in London, I guess that means the world is going to end soon. The seasons are fucked up. Run to the hills, hide underground. I don’t know.

If I could dissect every song and tell you about them, I would. I used to do that. I know. Sorry, but I don’t want to bore you anymore than I have. I’m always looking for bands that sound a bit like The Cramps or Fugazi with a bit of Captain Beefheart. I basically want unlistenable noise. Coke Weed are nothing like that. They are the calmer part of my brain that loves the likes of Beach House etc. Where does Mary Weaver leave us? Is it the best thing Coke Weed have done? I don’t want to be that person and be utterly lazy, but it truly is their best record to date. Next one, and I’ll probably say the same. The thing is, when a band improves each time it isn’t a band thing. Prime example, I love The Kills and Crocodiles and they are two bands that ALWAYS sound better with each record. Every record sounds different, and that’s part of the charm. I don’t want to keep hearing the same sound. I hate routine and order, so for the bands I’m into to always sound different, that’s something I can really get behind. It makes them believable, you can sense the passion and the love for what they are doing.

Coke Weed have made a truly exceptional record here, and for me The Chill is my personal favourite. It’s one of my favourite songs I’ve heard all year. I love All The Shades and the depth of the lyrics. The record requires a lot of attention, but only with the second listen or so. First listen is all about falling in love with it. It’s an instant love. Then it becomes clear with the lyrics and how they are sung that this is a record with high importance. New Jive is one of the many key moments of the record. It’s the rebel of the record. For the most part Mary Weaver is a laid back work of art, but New Jive has this feel to it that The Stooges would be into. You can hear many influences in the record, and I can hear bands I love flowing in and out of certain songs. They’ve done it in an excellent way, and some bands are clear rip-offs of what has come before, but with Coke Weed it is subtle influences, and it just sounds so perfect.

If you want, you can sit back and dream away to this record. You can play it sky high and turn your neighbours onto it. The last 3 tracks on the record are again moments that stick out. For the most part you can listen to this record in any order, but the last 3 have to be played in order. You’ll know when you’ve heard it, trust me. It will sound out of place if you play them in a different order. I know I said I hated order and routine, but this is okay.

Mary Weaver is out on Friday, and you can stream it over the next few days here:

http://www.self-titledmag.com/2015/10/06/stream-coke-weeds-new-album-and-read-the-stories-behind-their-art-rock-songs/