TALL JUAN: Olden Goldies.

3 05 2017

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For the past few years I have been obsessed with Far Rockaway resident, Tall Juan. I found his music by accident and it’s probably been one of the best musical finds of mine. I’ve seen him at every London show he’s done, and next month he’s playing The Lock Tavern again- for free!

On Friday, his full length debut record is coming out. I’ve been waiting for this record for so long, and I really cannot wait to go out and get myself a copy. Play it to death, and just keep buying it. His style is Ritchie Valens meets Joey Ramone. He’s everything I want from a musician, but his live shows are something else. Again, I cannot wait to see him next month and to see these new songs performed live. He has this hyperactivity to his music and he brings this so well to his live shows. You can’t help but think when you listen to him, that his music is the kind that really comes alive in a live setting. The kind of music that has a firm home in dingy venues where you leave covered in other people’s beer and sweat.

His record kicks off with a tighter version of I Don’t Know What To Do. This new version is just as great as the previous version.  I always felt from his music that they are the perfect songs to play when you need your mind to wander or if you’re wandering around doing nothing- his music is the perfect friend to bring along. His voice is so strong on his record, and I am just so happy for him. He seems to be doing a show every night, and he’s just one of the hardest working people I know.

From trading emails back and forth with him over the years, to seeing his first UK show and to now hearing his first record- I’m just so massively proud of him. Prior to Olden Goldies I’ve said that his music makes you feel like you are strolling around New York City in the late 70s trying to find something to do and before you know it- you’ve stumbled in on a Ramones show. He just takes you back and time and brings you back to now in such a beautiful way.

The record consists of 15 tracks that aren’t really longer than 3 and a half minutes. They all sound like perfect Punk songs to fit your mood. You can play them whilst you laze about at home, at beach, travelling to work, whilst you’re at work- anywhere, everywhere. You’ll find a home in these songs and you’ll find a best friend in Juan’s music and words. It’s hard to write about this record without going on about how proud I am of him, but I know how hard he works and how hard he has worked on this record, and it truly shows. He has a distinctive sound, and it’s a sound that comes right from the soul and is just nothing short of brilliant.

As I listen to the songs, I can easily pick out the ones he’s put in his live shows and to hear the final version of them is awesome. You get to hear the transition of the song and experience the finished product. Parecida A Vos is always my favourite song to see him do live because of the way he annihilates the ending. He unleashes something that makes everyone in the crowd go nuts, and we love him for it. The Olden Goldies version of It’s True sounds tougher than the first version. It’s produced here in such a clean way but still has that distinctive sound of his, it’s just so easy to love. The same goes with Why Not? Although I’ve heard the songs before, hearing them this way and on a full length record makes it all feel new again.

His cover of Mac De Marco’s Another Juan (original is Another One) and of course, Time Bomb by the Ramones are excellent moments on the record, and he makes you believe they are his songs. He makes them his own, and if you’re going to cover a song- making it your own is crucial. The record ends with Take Your Time, and this is easily the moment on the record where you stick your headphones on and play it a little louder than usual, just so you can pick up on the emotion in his voice. His voice is so good at projecting raw emotion and each song is played with this beautiful urgency.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m just so proud of him and this record. It’s probably going to be my favourite record of the year. I have to be biased with this because I just bloody love him and I love this record. Every song is wonderful, the production is great and you can tell just how much time, work and effort has gone into making it.

Olden Goldies is out this Friday (5th May) on BUFU Records.





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.





THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: The Velvet Underground

24 09 2016

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“If I could make the world as pure and strange as what I see,
I’d put you in the mirror,
I put in front of me.”

When I first started writing about music, I seemed to have one band on my mind all the time- The Velvet Underground, and it’s pretty obvious. They’ve been a band I have always fallen back on. A band that I listen to pretty much every single day. And if I’m not listening to them, I’m listening to Lou Reed. I think one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done was not go see him when he played back home, on the Isle of Man. Add that to a list of my poor decisions. I’ve made some good ones. I’ve made more good than bad. The Velvet Underground have always felt like a band that I couldn’t believe existed. What I mean by this is, I find it hard to believe a band so great could ever have been around. What on earth did we ever do to deserve such a perfect band?

I like to go through old records and write about them, there’s no reason behind it and sometimes I find it easier to do this than write about a current band. A few years ago I went and wrote about every single record by The Cure. Every single one. It was partly down to me not being able to sleep/scared to go to sleep and having nothing to do, but also because I love The Cure. I’ve covered The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed a lot, but I’ve never written about their 1969 self-titled release. It’s a Saturday night, I have a migraine that’s slowly fading- what else is there to do?

This record is my favourite by them. It always has been and if I ever sat down and listed my favourite records of all time, I am fairly sure that this would be in my top 5, probably top 3. I remember for a long time I was obsessed with playing Pale Blue Eyes. The person that it reminded me of didn’t have pale blue eyes. She’s got beautiful green eyes. But you find meaning wherever you can. It was a song I couldn’t listen to for a time, but then it all fixed and I was back to being obsessed with the song again. If I could sing and I was in a band, I’d cover this at every show. The lyrics are the kind I wish I could write, but nothing I or anyone else does can come close to it. It’s sad. Utterly sad but so beautiful.

Candy Says is another that holds a wealth of sadness, but the sadness it mixed with vulnerability. It’s a song that no matter what, I’ve always been able to relate to.  Regardless of how I am feeling, it’s just been a song that I’ve always gone back to and found a home in. it just says everything I probably don’t have the guts to say. I’ve always had a place reserved for this line, “What do you think I’d see if I could walk away from me?”  Nothing really matters when you listen to this song, or the whole record really.

This is a record that I have always played in order. What I usually do is play something in order the first few times, then after that it’s in whatever order I feel like. With this record I’ve always had to play it in the exact order from start to finish. There’s no reason behind it, but it doesn’t feel right I suppose, to play it any other way. It doesn’t just sum up my ideas of New York, but it sums up how I feel about music and what I look for in a record. I want something that has sort of smutty yet clever lyrics, something that’ll make me think, something that will be some form of escape and encouragement. A record that just takes me up and away. There’s no comedown from this record, and that’s why it is easily one of the greatest records of all time. It’s got this thing about it that I mentioned about The Velvet Underground in general, like you can’t believe something like this actually exists and you can hold this piece of perfection in your hands and have it echoing in your ears whenever you wish.

I don’t think there will ever come a time where Lou’s words aren’t important to me, and with this record I fell more in love with his song writing and his captivating way with words. I have no idea how much thought he ever put into how he put words together, but he always made it seem so effortless. They’re the ones that tower about the rest like Nick Cave, Patti Smith, and Morrissey. They’re the ones I’ve always gone to and will always go to. I don’t know how well this record was received when it came out and I’ve never really paid any attention to what anyone thinks of it now, but I just know that for me, it’s my favourite record by the band. I love how gentle it is and how tender the lyrics are. I’m Set Free is one of those songs you play when everything seems a bit uneasy and you have no idea what you’re supposed to do. It has this instant ethereal build up to it, and you can feel your heart race as it builds and builds. It’s a song that will make everything make more sense. It’s a solution to any problem. I’ll always advocate listening to The Velvet Underground as a solution to all problems.

Some records just stay with you. You may not remember when you first heard it, but the feeling you first got is always there. Every single time you go back to it is like hearing the band for the first time. I’ve always felt that way about The Velvet Underground. It’s a feeling that hits you in the stomach, takes over your mind and owns your heart.





WOMEN OF THE NIGHT.

21 07 2016

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Sometimes you just know a band is going to be great just by simply going on the name of their band. How could anyone not love the name Women Of The Night? Sure it’ll bring up some questionable and not so questionable results when searching for the name, but hey- put the safety search thing on if you’re a prude!

Women Of The Night are a decadent and beautifully sleazy band from New York. Think of Nick Cave meets New York Dolls. If your record collection looks even a little like mine, then you’ll probably love these guys. They’re for those days when it is too hot to do a thing, and you just want to laze about in your room with the window open-listening to the world go by at a pace you don’t ever want to be part of. Their songs are gentle in all the right places and they are powerful enough to make you want to dance in a manner that would probably get you arrested- which obviously is a good thing (to an extent, I know.)

Their first EVER release is Most Magazines and it sounds like everything I love and grew up with. From Lou Reed to The Modern Lovers- the influences are obvious to those who love this kind of music, but for those who flirt between genres (and that’s always the best way to be) it’s easy to pick up on different sounds such as early Bowie, maybe some hints of early Rolling Stones. There’s this gorgeous filth in Jords voice. It’s a typical 70s New York sound, and I think that’s why with first listen I just fell hopelessly and carelessly in love with their music. Sometimes I hear something, and it becomes pretty clear that I’m going to cherish it, and the band manage to capture everything I love about music. They capture everything I look for in music. Women Of The Night are one of those bands that just drag out this feeling, and it is always appreciated.

Most Magazines may only be 6 tracks (smack that repeat button when you’re done) but in those 6 tracks you get a real feel for their sound, and I think it is pretty apparent that they’re not a band that are going to keep making the same song over and over. You just know when you find something like that, and songs like Small Numbers which is wonderfully eerie just make you realise that this band are on to something. It’s like The Doors meets Rowland S. Howard. The songs are romantic and dark. And as someone who can only relate this side of romance, I can’t but feel that Women Of The Night are nothing short of perfect. They’re that band you find when you’re looking for something new, but you don’t know what you want. It’s like, trying to find something to eat and finding a great new pizza to try. Pizza and music. There’s always a solid comparison there. Always.

Sometimes when you hear a band, you can almost imagine in your head what their live shows would be like. Maybe that’s just me, mind. I always like to imagine their live shows in my head as I listen to them. I’ve got my own image in my mind of what Women Of The Night shows are like, and until I see it for myself one day, I’m keeping it etched there.

You can stream/purchase Most Magazines right here: https://womenofthenight.bandcamp.com/

Play it loud and seduce your neighbours.

 





POP.1280-Paradise

5 04 2016

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About two weeks or so ago Willis Earl Beal wrote something so important regarding music writers and how certain publications rating systems and the like are fucked, how they force feed readers to like what they like and expect them to hate them when they turn their back on them. What I’ve noticed is too many music writers are passionate about hating a band rather than praising one they love. It made me think about review records and if there’s really any point. I don’t review something in the hopes someone agrees with me, I do it because I hope someone goes and buys the record regardless of what I write. I could never ever write about a band or singer I didn’t like. I’ve been told by some place I was going to write for- they told me they never gave full marks for a review so I wasn’t allowed to praise something I loved too much. I pride myself on having better morals than being a semi-decent writer. Needless to say, I didn’t write for them. Which is probably why I’ll never make a living out of this. You accept it after nearly 10 years. So, with all of this said I’m going to write about why Pop.1280 have yet again released another mind-bending and mind-blowing record. I know of one other person who digs this band as much as I do(my uncle.)

Pop.1280 make music that is hard to stomach at times. When I first heard them I had this feeling that they would become something of an obsession. I loved how loud and frightening their sound was- and still is. Decades ago, kids used Punk to piss off their folks. I sincerely hope some kid is out there blasting out these guys to piss theirs off, and their neighbours. The thing that I love the most about Pop.1280 is that with every release, they get a little more terrifying. This is the kind of music you play when you want to scare someone shitless. Personally, I’d be tempted to use their music to try use it in a more romantic setting. Their music sounds like falling in love anyway- tormenting and chaotic. Have I been doing it wrong? No. My mind and god knows what else is wired differently. Paradise sounds like a nightmare, probably, to those who’ve never delved into this murky world that Pop.1280 have been building for years. It’s a world that makes you shudder, ache and think. Paradise just reinforces my love for them and if anything, has got me pretty excited for their London show in a few weeks.

9 songs in 39 minutes. 9 songs that are set to fry your brain, make your eyes go funny and make you question your surroundings. Something I’ve admired for some time about Pop.1280 is their ability to make you feel as if you’re trapped. Trapped in the hell of your own mind, in the midst of others- anywhere. They create this atmosphere that makes you feel as if you’re the last person left on Earth and everyone else has disappeared. It’s creepy. Really fucking creepy, and it isn’t for people who dream of sunshine and rainbows. I don’t know what kind of person latches onto a band like this. I have, and I guess you can draw up your own conclusion about it. I initially started writing about this record last week, but I stopped myself from writing because I realised quite quickly that this isn’t a record you casually listen to. I’ve taken it in. Or maybe this record has taken me in, chewed me up and spat me out. Do what you want, Pop.1280. This sinister feel to the record (and like their previous ones) has got me ready to see them live in a few weeks. I’ve never seen them before, and I’m really hoping it sounds equally terrifying live.

Phantom Freighter is the second track on the record, and in some ways it sounds like someone losing their mind. In general, Pop.1280 seem to capture the sound of madness really well. Phantom Freighter is a tension-filled track that makes your heart beat quicker than it probably should. It keeps you on edge, and I think that’s pretty much a solid for Pop.1280’s music overall.

Paradise will make you delve into some dark and lonesome emotions, and that’s perfectly fine. You shouldn’t always feel comfortable or secure when listening to music. Nobody should want predictable. For me, the fact that a band like Pop.1280 exist and can still make people feel a little uneasy like The Birthday Party did gives me hope. Not sure what kind of hope, mind. I’m pretty sure Paradise justifies why Pop.1280 are one of the best bands on Sacred Bones (pretty much all bands/musicians on that label are great) but it also shows why they are one of the best bands around. They’ve still got that raw and unpredictable sound that was on The Horror and Imps Of Perversion, and I think it is something that they will always be able to really put into their sound.

Sometimes you don’t need the news or a horror film to scare you shitless- just listen to Pop.1280 if you want some kind of kick.

 

 

 

 





MILK DICK.

7 01 2016

 

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Being off work sicks means being painfully bored. I live in London- if I’m not at work, I should be out doing stuff. Alas, it hurts to move. I had to go to the shop earlier and it felt like I had ran 12 marathons. It’s not even a 5 minute walk from my house. I’ve learnt that being sick doesn’t really bother me, it’s the having nothing to do that does. I’m hoping I feel well enough to go to work tomorrow because I’m tired of my own company and I want to use my brain. I’ve spent most of the afternoon asleep so now I’m using my time wisely to find some bands to go on about.

Milk Dick. A name that will probably bring up questionable results when you look for them- add “band” after their name when looking them up if you like to veer on the side of caution. If not, then enter as you wish.

Milk Dick are 3 pals from Brooklyn who make music that seems to fit anyone who is bored, unsure of what they’re supposed to be doing and those who aren’t really that fond of being an adult. In short, I guess they’re for everyone. That’s music all over- it should be inclusive. Milk Dick have a slight Punk feel to their sound. The songs for the most part are pretty fast and short. Sometimes you want songs that last a little longer than a minute and a half, but some bands just make it work. Milk Dick are one of those bands.

Their most recent release came out in April last year. Romantic Superstore is a beautifully angst-filled record that teeters on being a pissed off teen to someone in their 20s who has stopped caring about feeling constantly uncomfortable.

I’ve gone through their releases on their bandcamp page, and I think I’m settling with Bathroom Door as being my favourite song of theirs. I like the woeful sound and the reassurance in some of the lyrics. The lyrics hit on vulnerabilities we all face, and sometimes the ones we unknowingly cause.  I guess it’s about someone slowly losing it and losing a relationship in the process. It’s sad, but don’t let that put you off, perhaps Rhythm Rock is more your thing.

I think their slightly morose sound is what makes them likable and endearing. Some may get annoyed by it, but this kind of stuff is relateable for the most part. They’re a band that probably sound more rowdy on stage. You can imagine the drummer going a bit wild and the guitar being flung around in a rowdy manner. They need to be played quite loud, and you probably would be right in assuming that their live shows make them play a little quicker. Their songs are created with a wealth of passion and urgency, and that’s part of the charm that they have.

Milk Dick may have a name that most would turn their nose up at, but don’t be such an assclown. They’re one of the finest bands in Brooklyn right now. They’re made for dingy bars that have dodgy air conditioning and no security. Go see them, put your life in their hands (for an hour or so) and chant MILK DICK! at them. I think they’d like that.

Listen up:

http://milkdick.bandcamp.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





RICHARD HELL

5 01 2016

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“I know it’s hard for you to face the fact Max Factor failed your face
And that your social life’s misshapen ‘cuz you feel so out of place.”

Many will argue what defines Punk and what is Punk. Is it still alive or did it die a quick but painful death? Everyone has their own take on it. Some think it is putting a safety pin through their ear but some may regard it being a state of mind. I’m with the latter. For me it is something that goes beyond three chords and ripped jeans. Music always goes beyond what is expected, and Punk did just that. It still does that.

I can’t remember how old I was but I’d imagine I was in my teens when I first heard of Richard Hell. I heard Marquee Moon by Television and was fully aware that I was listening to something I could never be turned off from. Of course I was born too late to experience the Punk movement when it started, but I realised quite quickly that this wasn’t something I was going to let go of nor was I going to take this music lightly. I delved into the bands that Richard Hell had been involved with, but more importantly I seemed to care about what he had to say rather than what band he was in.

Over the past few years I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading his poetry, his reviews, his essays, his thoughts, his autobiography- really anything he wrote, I would track down and read religiously. The only person I’ve had this urge to really indulge in all they do is Patti Smith. For me, they are people with great minds who make you think. I’ll take someone who makes me question everything and everyone over someone who doesn’t, easily. I’m currently nearing the end of Massive Pissed Love, it’s a collection of his work from 2000-2014. I find everything he writes to be utterly captivating and it sets my mind off. He talks about topics most would shy away from and he’s not afraid to voice his opinion. From his thoughts on art to sex, he makes you think. What most would shun as a “taboo” he just gives it to you without a second thought. That is Punk.

The best way to learn anything is to experience it, but I still regard Patti Smith, Morrissey and Joey Ramone as the best teachers I ever had. They held my attention more than any teacher ever could. Richard Hell is up there too. There have been a handful of writers that really got me into poetry and lured me into always having a notebook with me in case I felt the need to unleash pathetic words onto a page. Words no one will ever see. What Richard Hell taught me was to really go from the heart and not be too cautious with where it takes me. Having a careful tongue isn’t fun. It’s alright to cross the line at times and it’s a fucking great thing to question everything around you.

Richard Hell was (and probably still is) my vision of a rebel. The way he was on stage, his words, his look- everything about him oozed something different to everyone else. You couldn’t help but really fall in love with him. I’ve read his autobiography a few times, and with each read I find something new to love and admire about him. In the 80s he pretty much stopped making music and focused on his writing. Sure I’d love a new record by Richard but he writes so beautifully that it doesn’t seem to matter. The music he did made still sounds timeless and his words still resonate with you. He was part of the ULTIMATE super group- The Heartbreakers (featuring the greatest guitarist, Johnny Thunders) and on stage or off, he had this way of just getting under your skin in the best way imaginable.

I didn’t really go into this with any idea with what I wanted to get at, I guess I just wanted to unleash my respect for the guy somehow. I’ve spent years being in awe of his way with words. He doesn’t complicate things in order for you to see things how he does. He has this Rimbaud quality to his work that can be easy to miss but when you get right into the heart of it, you can pick up the influences. But then, you go a bit deeper and realise that there is nobody else quite like him. Sure you can pick up on who has possibly influenced him, but it slowly fades away because Richard Hell is something else. He is truly something else.

His song lyrics read like perfect poetry. The kind of poetry kids should be studying in schools to free and expand their mind. If I was an English teacher, I’d be fighting for the curriculum to have his work along with Patti Smith. Punk taught me nearly everything I know. Sure I don’t know much, but there’s always the time to learn more. I learnt very early on that I always felt like an outsider and where I was, wasn’t where I should be. I never felt part of anything, but I’ll take being part of the Blank Generation any day.