FLOWERS OF EVIL: City Of Fear.

13 07 2017

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A couple years back, a super group formed in New York City. Flowers Of Evil erupted and tore up eardrums, and limbs alike. Made up of Young Boys lead guy, David and also Brandon and Charlie from Crocodiles it’s pretty obvious that Flowers Of Evil are going to end up putting one of the best records of the year, right? Their first release was brilliantly loud and pleasantly dangerous. Where have they headed with City Of Fear?

City Of Fear is a real Hardcore Punk record. It can easily stand up against the greats, and wouldn’t look out of place next to a Black Flag record. It’s got this effortless raw and brutal sound that so many try to perfect, but it just sounds overdone. Flowers Of Evil make it look so easy and they make it sound exactly like it should. This record is a collection of songs that need to be played in a sweaty dive bar with everyone yelling the words back at the band as David screams them in your face. There is this glorious urgency in the songs that makes you wish you could do this. The alternative is okay- playing it as loud as you can without a care in the world.

It’s nice to allow yourself to be exposed to gentle sounds but sometimes you just need something obnoxiously loud to satisfy what certain parts of you need. If I could, I’d go on about my favourite song on City Of Fear but it’s pretty tough to pick one. Each song comes in just under 2 and a half minutes- the perfect amount of time to get a point across. The lyrics on every song are extremely poignant, especially with how society can be and certain world leaders being absolute shitheads. You need an escape. Every day music is my escape. We’re all getting away from something.

David’s snarl on these songs is brilliant. He has this demeanour that comes through wonderfully on these songs, and it probably makes him on of the most underrated singers/frontman of our generation. City Of Fear is an excellent portrayal of the world we currently live in, and the way in which Flowers Of Evil have exposed it make it much easier to digest.

I know I said I couldn’t pick one particular song, but I’m really into Sedation Vacation. I love how furiously quick it is, and will just make you want to rip shit up. MAN also has David’s infamous snarl on it that like pretty much the whole record, again, will make you just want to destroy stuff.

Play the record loud and throw stuff out of your bedroom window. Unleash that fury you’re carrying around. I love the rage and beautifully deafening sounds on City Of Fear. It sounds real nice right after playing their first record. These 14 songs deserve to rule the rest of your year. The colossal sound on this record is something that just makes you want to pick up a guitar and make a mass amount of noise. Sure 14 songs don’t feel enough, but just go back to the start and let yourself get utterly immersed in the record all over again.

There’s really no point in trying to compare Flowers Of Evil or this record to anything or anyone, it’s totally pointless. The songs truly speak for themselves and must be played as loud as possible. They’re worth losing your hearing over.

You can buy City Of Evil via the Deranged Records bandcamp page: https://derangedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/city-of-fear

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KRAUT.

17 12 2016

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Last week I went to my favourite record shop (in London.) It’s about 15 minutes from my work, so when I go I plan my dinner break carefully around it but I’d rather buy records than food anyway. Blasting in the shop was a sound that seemed familiar but unlike anything I had heard before. It was raw, loud and beautifully obnoxious. Sometimes at 12:30pm you need to hear something that feels like a smack to the face. Become totally enamoured by it.

I went to the record shop to pick up my uncle’s present, but I ended up buying something for myself also. It happens, I guess. But if it makes Christmas shopping easier- then so be it. The band that was being blasted out in the shop was Kraut. I’d never heard their music before, but as I was listening to them I could reel off the bands in my head that resembled them in some way. Kraut were one of the first hardcore bands and are responsible, quite possibly, for a lot of bands I love and listen to.

An Adjustment To Society was the record that I picked up last week, and for a week solid I have been playing it over and over. I play it irrespective of my mood. I’ve found every single song to be a real masterpiece and each song is you guessed it, a punch to the gut. The songs are deafening and full of an enviable fury that you wish you could unleash. We live vicariously through the bands and songs we love. However, the songs on An Adjustment To Society are equally as important now as they were in 1982. From disdain and despair felt towards to those in power and the way society is, never has a band like Kraut been so vital. What they started I feel is still being lived out by others bands, but Kraut started it. They were the blueprint- and are not to be tampered with.

Only one song on An Adjustment To Society creeps up to the 3 and a half minute mark, the rest make their point in a little over 2 minutes. Their sound didn’t require the urge to go on and on. All it required was the urge to be heard, and for anyone who listened to fully take on board what these guys where saying. Their songs were a middle finger to everything around them; they made their own rules and that is worth admiring. Also, as if being one of the first hardcore bands wasn’t enough- Kraut were also the first independent band to be played on MTV. That’s right, MTV used to play music videos rather than shitty TV programmes about who got drunk and got pregnant. It used to be the home of music videos. Not really sure what the M stands for now to be honest.

Not all great music must hold a message but a fair but of it does. With Kraut, what they stood for included everyone- mainly those who were pissed off at their circumstance, and I think that is something that is so apt for most of us right now. Their music was made to be played loud and to share daily frustrations to. The frustrations can come from what you see happening around you to an underlying frustration you carry inside your head to do with yourself. None of these frustrations are petty or less significant than anybody else’s. I may be entirely late in finding out about Kraut and I’m not going to act like I am their biggest fan ever, but I know this much- I know what they stood for, I know how important they were and still are. I know the best education I received came from record shops and not textbooks.

Everyone has their own take on what makes a band great or what makes a band important to them. It can come the lyrics, the sound and all in-between. Kraut had something else. They had something about them that just made your ears prick up and listen. They didn’t tame anything in the mind or body. They fuelled the rage towards all that was happening around them, and that just makes An Adjustment To Society as essential now as it was in ’82.





TOMMY RAMONE

12 07 2014

 

 

Punk hasn’t and will not ever die. There will never ever be a style of Music that is as influential and as great as Punk. There will never ever be a band as great and as influential as the Ramones. You can keep your Beatles, and your Led Zeppelins. I’m aware it means something to others, but to me they meant nothing. Their songs and sounds didn’t speak to me. Ramones however, they did more than just speak to me. They were the backbone to a genre of Music that I simply can’t do without, and could never imagine not listening to.

Sure you get people who claim that Punk is just noise. But they probably listened to one song and that was it. Until recently  I pretty much turned my nose up at the Sex Pistols. I thought I didn’t get it, but I sat and listened to them for a view hours and loved how obnoxious young Johnny Rotten sounded. In my heart of hearts though, it is New York that is the REAL home of Punk and I fail to see how anyone could question that.

At only 62 years old, Tommy Ramone, the last original member of the Ramones has died. He was probably the finest drummer my ears have ever been exposed to. He kept up the fast and furious pace of the signature Ramones sound. He made it look so effortless, he made you want to pick up some drumsticks and drum your itty bitty heart out.

I’ve got a copy of Leave Home on vinyl, and when I play it when I visit my family I find myself staring at the cover. Taking in their poses and how all they did was done with purpose. No doubt it was done with a lot of blood, sweat and arguments but nothing good comes easy. If you aren’t willing to struggle, then just give up. Ramones taught me to not give up. I’ve read Mickey Leigh’s book about his brother Joey (I Slept With Joey Ramone) many times to know that for me, Joey is my hero. Tommy added something to the Ramones that the others didn’t, and they knew it. He added a form of stability that kept them together. When he left the band in 78, he went on to produce a few more of their records so the real sound of the Ramones was always there. He was a brilliant drummer and producer.

If it wasn’t for the Ramones, most of the bands that I listen to and love wouldn’t have formed. They wouldn’t have wanted to make their own scene, their own noise. Ramones made it easier for me to feel alright in the skin I’m in. It’s perfectly fine to not think like others, it’s alright to have your own interests and to hang out by yourself. It’s normal to get angry at what you see happening in the world. It’s alright to just be how you are. The minute you change for someone, you stop being yourself.

62 is no age, and cancer is a bastard.

Although there are no more original members of the Ramones around, we will always have the music. That will never go, and all they stood for is around in your favourite band. When your favourite singer towers over the mic stand, that’s Joey Ramone coming through. When your favourite drummer goes nuts and just blows your mind with how fast they play, that’s their Tommy Ramone inside of them. When you see your favourite bassist yelling out “1-2-3-4” and the music kicks in, that’s their Dee Dee Ramone coming out. And when your favourite guitarist stands playing with a wealth of fury yet looking effortlessly cool, that’s their inner Johnny Ramone shining.

Ramones placed something in their fans that they will always carry round with them, and that’s why Punk won’t ever die. It just goes some place else.