THE MURDER CAPITAL: When I Have Fears.

16 08 2019

Image result for the murder capital when i have fears

 

Some find beauty in things like flowers, sickly sweet gestures and the like. Others want the less conventional type. I’m with them. Within this darker side of beauty is this vulnerability and honesty that is found nowhere else. It makes us curious, and it can heal. I don’t want to get too personal, but I recently lost a friend. They took their own life and of course those left behind are constantly thinking “What if I did this…what if I said…” anything, everything runs through your mind. Every fucking day. It is so permanent, it is so final. There’s no comfort, so all you can do is think about them. What used to never touch you can cause you to cry at a drop of a hat. I’m too sensitive, but I won’t change that. Music has been something I’ve always leaned on, but the past few weeks I’ve not really paid much attention, I’ve not wanted to listen to anything at all let alone write about it. That was until, today.

The Murder Capital are one of the most brutally honest bands around. They are fearless, exposed and powerful with their music. What they have done with When I Have Fears is something truly special. It’s a record that gives you comfort, it will be scary and you feel every single word beautifully poured out in this hypnotising record. Is it the record of the year? Well, if you’re into making lists then it definitely is. I can just give you the straight up fact that it is. These Dublin lads show us how to be brutal in the most beautiful way possible, and James’ vocals will tear you apart but will also make you feel less alone, and vulgar.

 

 

When I Have Fears is a security blanket. It is safe yet unsafe. It will break you, then fix you. You’ll heal, then fall apart again. It is every emotion physically and mentally possible. James unleashes these hard-hitting lyrics in ways no one else could do. He spews them out as if he is ridding his body of venom and I am completely in love with it. I love the sheer passion that The Murder Capital have, and for me, with this record they have truly let us in on things others are afraid to dive into.

More Is Less is one of those songs that you just know will electrify their live shows. The way in which the line, “If I gave you what you wanted, you’d never be full” is brimming with this exceptional rage that just makes you feel so connected to the band. There is absolutely no denying just how phenomenal The Murder Capital are, and with this record they have done something that you don’t get from a lot of debut records. This is a band that WILL be heard- you simply cannot silence a band like this, and why on earth would you even want to?

There is something mournful about this record, and maybe it could be down to personal loss within the band whilst recording- either way, there is so much comfort in this record. For me, it couldn’t have come at a better time. We sometimes need something bigger than us to cope, for me it is music. For me it The Murder Capital. As the rain pours from the grey sky here in Manchester today, I can’t think of a better place to completely and utterly devote myself to listening to this record to. When I Have Fears is the kind of record I could write about constantly. It’s also a record I know I am going to find new things to be in awe of and fall in love with every single time I listen to (which will obviously be daily.)

Although I have made no comparisons here, I’d like to add that When I Have Fears reminds me of discovering The Birthday Party for the first time, and to then become further obsessed with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. Poetic darkness and eternal wonder in the lyrics and music- it’s something I cannot get enough of. Every song on this record is easy to be obsessed with. I cannot get enough of Feeling Fades. Don’t Cling To Life is easy to just cherish and lose yourself in. Love, Love, Love closes the record and just makes you want to start the record all over again. Make it never-ending. Just keep this phenomenal record on repeat.

 

 

When I Have Fears captures every feeling we are conditioned to ignore or be scared of. The Murder Capital bring you in to feel every ugly feeling possible, and to own it. Let them break your heart and fix you with every listen.

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GHUM: The Castle Hotel, Manchester. 15th July 2019.

15 07 2019

ghum

 

Of all the gigs I’ve ever been to, the show tonight was the hottest and most sweatiest. A tiny venue with no air con but who cares? One of the most exciting bands around played here tonight, and it was something truly special.

Their debut EP came out a couple of weeks ago, and it is one of the most remarkable and gorgeous records of the year. It is a euphoric dream of a record, and has the most intense sounds and ethereal feelings within the songs. It is perfect; so how does it come across live?  Divine. Absolutely divine.

Before I get into their more known songs, they played a new one called California which I am obsessed with! I wish it was on The Coldest Fire, but it definitely proves that they are pretty much the best band around in this country. For me, I got the same feeling I did when I first heard TwoFiftyFour and Warpaint years and years ago. They have that same dark yet euphoric feel to their sound.

 

 

Their live show is something else. This was their first time that they had played Manchester, and it honestly felt like a band that were “coming home” in a way. Everyone was just having the best time, even if it felt like we were in a sauna. For a band that have put out their debut EP, they just make you feel like they’ve been around forever. They are so sure of their sound, and that just makes them even more inspiring.

I loved finally seeing 1000 Men and Saturn. These are two songs I’ve had on repeat more than usual, and the live versions of these songs are truly mind-blowing. GHUM are band that you cannot help but fall in love with from your very first listen. They have something about them that just sucks you in, and nothing else comes close to it. They have this colossal sound and presence that you know means that this will probably be one of the last times they play such a small venue. They played the best venue in the world over the weekend, The Shacklewell Arms and honestly, it is the best venue for a band like this. But tonight at The Castle Hotel was something else. It isn’t a big venue, and it has a proper intimate feel to it. A rare treat to have such a band play here, and I think it has the potential to be one of those shows that in decades from now, you’ll be gloating that you were there. Like when the Sex Pistols played the Lesser Free Trade Hall.

The sheer passion in the way they play and deliver these songs is truly astounding and hugely inspiring- they are effortlessly haunting with their sound, and you just want it to consume you. Everything about GHUM just leaves you in awe. You cannot help but feel that you were part of something really special tonight. I hope it is one of those shows that this city talks about for years to come. The crowd were equally as perfect. It’s been known that Manchester crowds are the best, and tonight they really did prove that theory correct.

I think Get Up was the song that really got everyone going. I love how the song vocally is delicate, then the hook comes in and just smacks you in the face. There’s honestly no reason as to why GHUM won’t become massive and win over thousands, and thousands more fans. They are a band that have you hooked immediately and tonight, they fully exposed that notion in ways I’ve never seen a band do before.

 

 

For me, this show is one that will stick with me. When they play bigger venues, this show will still go down as being one of my favourites. The venue may have been a sweat-fest, but it didn’t matter because we were in the presence of one of the best bands around who will undoubtedly go and take over the world.





ISSUE: Cross The Line.

14 07 2019

issue cover

 

 

If you’re looking for a band that sound like KRAUT mixed with VOID, then you’ll find it in Paris’s finest Punk band, ISSUE. One of the greatest guitarists of all time are in the band also (Charlie from Crocodiles, of course!) Cross The Line, their debut record, came out on Friday and let me tell you, it’s obnoxiously loud and really cleanses the soul.

Cross The Line is a proper rowdy record. Every single song, all nine of them, will blow your mind and eardrums in 16 quick minutes. The record is over far too soon, but there is no harm in playing it all over again, and again. And again. It’s record to trash shit to, it’s a record to just go completely wild to. It’s everything you want from a raw Punk record. Play it as loud as you can, then try a bit louder. Only a couple of the songs are over the 2 minute mark- how it should be done with this kind of music. The songs are full of this rambunctious energy that makes you want to just play it so loud, and throw shit out of the window. I mean, maybe don’t do that but you get what I mean. They have this ability to make you feel like you are right at their show taking it all in with elbows hitting you in the face and lukewarm beer being thrown about.

 

 

This is definitely one of the most enjoyable and out-there Punk records I’ve heard in a long time, and it just makes you feel like you’re experiencing bands like KRAUT for the first time. As soon as I heard this record, I automatically likened it to An Adjustment To Society by KRAUT (which is one of the greatest records ever made.) The same level of excellence is there, and I can’t get enough of it. By no means am I comparing the bands in a lazy way. I’m just holding them up as highly as each other because they are fucking incredible.

25 and Spit Mask are currently my favourite songs on the record, but my mind does change quite a bit. I’ve found that the record sounds best if you play it in order but the thing is, when you play it in no particular order you still get that “OH SHIT!” feel- like it’s hitting you for the first time. There is so much to love about this record. The production is perfect; the sound is something that’s been well thought out and you can definitely hear how much effort has gone into creating something so powerful. Mirror is a song that is meant to be play a hell of a lot, and definitely at a deafening volume. It’s a record that makes you want to start your own Punk band or just immerse yourself in as much live music as possible.

In terms of touring, I have no idea where they are going but if someone could get them to the UK that would be really much appreciated by me. They definitely have a sound that is made to be heard live. I love how the songs feel like an animal that’s been trapped for years, and is now being released into the wild. It has this brilliant untameable sound that I adore so much. In the best way possible, this record is so chaotic and brutal. I can’t get enough of it, and songs like  I Surrender just annihilate your eardrums in the most perfect way.

 

 

Cross The Line is out now via Third Coming Records; and the record artwork is by Nicky Rat.





HAXON.

13 07 2019

 

HAXON

 

 

When I left London early last year, I know I was going to miss something in particular. I wasn’t going to miss the city at all, but I was going to miss my favourite venue ever- The Shacklewell Arms. I’ve seen some of the best gigs of my life there. I’ve seen TwoFiftyFour play to about 10 of us for an acoustic show, I’ve seen L.A Witch and Tall Juan’s first ever UK shows there. But I’ve missed out. I’ve missed out on seeing a whole bunch of bands, and I’m going to write about one of the most exciting London based bands around (aside from GHUM who are playing The Shack tonight, but I’m seeing them on Monday so it’s alright!) HAXON. Remember the name. HAXON make music to terrify you. Ready?

HAXON have members of bands I LOVE (Lovers Club and Night Shades.) If you’re looking for the coolest band around, then look no further than HAXON. They played The Shack last night, which is a venue made for bands like this. They sound like The Cramps mixed with Screaming Lord Sutch and The Birthday Party. Basically, fucking weird and absolutely off the wall in the best way imaginable. The kind of music you’d hear in a Vincent Price film. Perfect. They are a band that just need to be played really loud so you terrify your neighbours, In my apartment block, we’ve got some really annoying neighbours so for me, HAXON are the ideal band to use to drown out their noise.

 

 

If you’re looking for a band to blow you away and to leave you covered in goose bumps, and I don’t mean goose bumps just for the reason of them being brilliant. I mean for them scaring you- then you need HAXON in your life. You need to just play them, and go crazy to the songs. The songs sound like a mad-man rambling, and I love that. I love how possessed Alec’s vocals are. He’s easily one of my favourite singers of late, and with HAXON he really pushes his vocals and gives us something that is so insane and powerful. The songs will make you move in all kinds of ways. It’s just perfect.

 

Their debut EP, Haxoff, came out in May. It consists of 5 songs that will leave you salivating for more, and more. If you have seen them live, then I can only assume that it was one of the best shows you’ve ever been to. However, if anyone would like to bring them up here to Manchester- I’d really appreciate that! The EP is nothing short of stunning. It sounds like nothing else, and I truly mean that. I know I mentioned The Cramps, The Birthday Party and Screaming Lord Sutch earlier, but this EP is truly something else.  There is something about it that will freak you out, but at the same time you’ll just be beautifully overwhelmed by what you are hearing. Sometimes I’ll hear a band, and think “this is why I still write about music, this is why I love music.” For me, I can happily add Haxon to that list. With just one EP they have definitely left their mark, and I do hope that there is a lot more to come from them because 5 songs just isn’t enough.

I’m A Tree is like a drunken rambling, and I absolutely love it. I love how manic and ferocious it is. I love how it twists and turns, then slides into Lucky John which has the same tone to it. It’s just an excellent EP that will make you want to make your own noise, it’ll make you want to down a bottle of Bourbon in a saloon bar and cause a fight. It’s got this infectious rage to it, that I just cannot get enough of. It’s everything I want from music, and more. They should be hugely proud of what they have created here, because it is out of this world.

 

 

It’s a real sleazy and seductive EP that’ll make you feel a bit dirty and in the need of a shower after listening- and that’s always a great thing. Honestly, if you get the chance to see them, please go. Let the music take you over, let it freak you the hell out and let it put everything you’ve ever known to shame.

 





WOMEN OF THE NIGHT: Pastel Colors.

11 07 2019

 

Some time ago, I wrote about the New York band, Women Of The Night. Obviously if you look the band name up, you might get something suspicious but it’s okay. You’ve probably got worse on your internet history.

Pastel Colors is a body of work that is to be played almost religiously and without any distractions. It is an ethereal and beautifully sordid record. It is gentle and it makes you feel like Jim Morrison has come back to make a Post-Punk kind of record. It is such a effortlessly cool record that just makes you want to sit in the dark, with your headphones in and just slip into a different world. Alternatively, it also makes you want to wander the streets late at night and take everything in that’s around you.

I love the song White Lighter which reminds me slightly of The Velvet Underground. Jords has something about him that reminds you of Jim Morrison and Lou Reed. It’s that snarl in his voice and delivery of the songs that make you feel like you’ve headed back in time. They mix everything I love about music, and create something that you just can’t get enough of.

 

 

It is such a soulful record that makes you completely lose yourself in every word, every song. As someone who has been a fan for some time now, I love hearing how they’ve developed their sound and created something truly magical on Pastel Colors. It’s got that seedy alleyway sound that you just want to be completely immersed in. I love the unconventional romantic tones in the songs (think Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen) and how they are unafraid to be so stripped back with the lyrics. Songs like Brighton Beach give you this cloak of comfort that you freely wrap yourself in.

I have no idea what genre you’d put them in, but why do they need one? This record goes beyond- it cannot be restricted in any way. I love how this record appears to the loner in us all, and makes it romantic. There’s nothing wrong with this  at all, and sometimes it does the soul good to be alone. Pastel Colors is the ideal record to just take time out to.  Quiet Nights is a beautiful example of this. The vocals and the relaxed guitar sounds just soothe the mind. It is almost like a lullaby for the mind. I’d say it makes me want to take a nap, but I could take a nap anywhere at any time. Solitude can be bliss, and Pastel Colors is one blissful record.

You feel like you’re living these songs out with them, and to be this connected to the songs is something to truly admire. They do it with so much ease. Regular Day exposes how mundane everyday life can sometimes be, and there’s slight humour in the lyrics. I guess it’s only funny if you can relate, mind!

 

 

I think one of the main things that I adore about this record is the dark mood in the songs, but also hints of hope and love. These 13 songs are just gorgeous, and it is entirely criminal that Women Of The Night are massive. I’m also desperate for them to tour the UK. I’m a fan of music that gives us an escape route; something to just get lost in, you know? Women Of the Night do it in a way that is beautifully addictive. You can’t leave it alone. Then again, why would you want to?

 

 





GHUM: The Coldest Fire EP.

28 06 2019

 

 

I want to start this by saying I am going to compare my excitement for this record to when I first heard TwoFiftyFour. Anyone who knows me, or has read anything I’ve ever written knows that this band are massively important to me for so many reasons. It’s that kind of excitement that a kid gets on their birthday; it hits you right in the gut. GHUM are quite possibly, for me, the most exciting band around right now. They have this utterly gorgeous moody sound that you just get lost in, and you know what? It doesn’t matter if you don’t get found.

The EP starts with the powerful Saturn. The bass is what gets you on this, with the drums merging into it. Then the guitar comes in with this infectious riff. Then we are hit with the ethereal vocals. It’s the perfect way to open up this EP. I love the spookiness in this, and it just makes you immediately want more. It has you hooked. GHUM are the kind of band that once you listen to; that’s it. Nothing can touch them. This is how I felt, and still feel about TwoFiftyFour. It’s that heavy sound mixed with something really eerie. I love the sheer intensity GHUM’s music, and I honestly cannot wait to see them next month here in Manchester.

 

 

1000 Men is THE song. It’s so big and so intense. It’s the lyrics, it’s the vocals, it’s the hypnotising sound that just gets you. With this song, you can really imagine it being used in a film or something you know. It’s got that bite to it that just makes you pull really weird faces because you’re all, “Did they just do that? Did the vocals really make that sound? Did the drums really just…holy shit!!” That’s basically how it is when you listen to this one. It’s a beauty. It’s my favourite. I cannot narrow down why, but I just love how it’s got a really deep sound to it. I’ve seen GHUM be compared to Warpaint (which is pretty damn cool!0 and I hear it on this one. It’s like Warpaint meets Melvins. Basically, two bands I am obsessed with. I’m fine with this. The more I listen to this song, the more I can feel my obsession for this band grow. I cannot wait to hear this live, I really can’t. This is the one I’m really excited for. I feel I could write an essay on this song.

I haven’t touched on Get Up because you should know that one by now. The EP ends with In My Head. It’s beautiful, of course. What else would you expect! This record just leaves you wanting more. Four songs isn’t enough, of course but whatever comes next is again just going to blow us all away. In My Head has some really hard-hitting lyrics, and I think it is one of those songs that you play alone. In fact, this is the kind of record that you play through headphones with no one else around. That’s exactly what I’m doing now (I got to work early so I could write this up.) You can hear all different layers in this song; it’s got vulnerability in all the right places and it has this magnetic intensity in the vocals. I honestly cannot praise this record and band enough, but I clearly will try! In My Head has that chilling sound to it that has the potential to spook you- but once you get over that (and you will, immediately!) you can truly hear something really mind-blowing.

The Coldest Fire is nothing short of perfection. With just four songs, GHUM have fully exposed their sound in a way most would hope to do with their debut full length record. They are a band that need to be heard. Whether it’s on your way to work, or laying wide awake at 4am because sleep doesn’t want to be your friend- they are band that will just reinforce every single reason as to why you love music, and why we need bands like GHUM.

 

 

The Coldest Fire is out right now, via Everything Sucks Music. GHUM are also playing a few shows next month. They’re playing London’s finest venue, The Shacklewell Arms on the 13th July, and are playing all over the UK including The Castle here in Manchester on the 15th. They are also playing The Waiting Room in London in October.

Buy the EP right NOW, learn the songs, fall in love with them and come see them on tour.

 





WALLOWS: Manchester Academy 2. 7th June 2019.

7 06 2019

 

wallows

 

The crowd at tonight’s show consisted of mainly teenage girls. As soon as Wallows stepped on the stage, the venue was deafened with screams that could rival a One Direction concert. There would have been a time where this would have annoyed me, but tonight it was beautiful to hear. A couple of hundred kids in this room watching a really great band. A lot of them were with their parents, and it may have been their first ever show. A pretty cool first gig if you ask me. I was stood behind a dad and her daughter. The dad was wearing a t shirt of The Smiths (which alone is great!) and was singing and dancing along with his kid. It was a beautiful moment. Some kids would be embarrassed, but there was so much love there. It was beautiful.

Nothing Happens is the band’s first full length record. It is made up of songs that sound like The Smiths meets The Cure and dives right into The Strokes. Personally, I love it. Three bands I love, and Wallows have created a sound that is equal parts L.A. and 80s Manchester via New York and the South of England. Maybe that’s why this crowd were absolutely brilliant. There’s something about Manchester, and given it was Wallows first time playing here- it most certainly was a night to cherish. Manchester crowds never disappoint, and they created such beautiful moments tonight.

 

 

The set opened with Do Not Wait which is by far my favourite song off Nothing Happens, and probably my favourite Wallows song. I love the depth in the lyrics, and I love the angelic yet grand sound in the song. Dylan’s vocals on this one are something else, and he truly does it justice live. To have them open with such a big song was great, and it only got better.

Songs like These Days, Pictures of Girls and Are You Bored Yet? are probably sung louder by the crowd than the band- but everyone is just so taken with it. There is something about Wallows that makes it so easy to fall in love with their sound. I loved how the crowd sang Clairo’s part on Are You Bored Yet? Braeden and Dylan share vocals throughout the set, and their voices compliment each others so well. When they need to be gentle, they truly hit you with the fragility in the tone. But when they need to ramp it up and be rough with their tone, they deliver it effortlessly.

With only one full length record and an EP to date, they had no problem selling out shows. This show was originally at the Deaf Institute but got upgraded. To be honest, they could have easily sold out The Ritz or the main Academy next door. That’s for next time though, and there definitely will be a next time.

Wallows give you more than a show. They are the best at what they do, and let it be known that Cole is one of the best drummers around. The band have got a lot of soul, and a lot of heart in their music. Their lyrics are relatable and their songs are just blissed out gems that you can’t help but continually to fall in love with.

The set closes with Scrawny. This song has my favourite line of the year, “I can still have wisdom and look like a child.” I can wholeheartedly relate to this, and it’s such a great song. To see it live just gave me a new appreciation for it. I cannot wait to see them again. I really can’t. My only downer is that they didn’t play Uncomfortable, but hey- the show was just perfect and the set just showed us why they are not only a great band and musicians, but also one of the most exciting performers around. They all have this beautiful energy, and create this atmosphere that you cannot help but soak up.

 

 

I hope kids that were at this show end up starting their own bands or something, and use this show as their blueprint or something. It was perfect. Manchester truly embraced Wallows tonight, not just because it was their first time here but because this is the best city in the world!