AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS.

8 07 2018

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I’ve waited far too long to write about the best Punk band around, Amyl And The Sniffers. A band that deserve all the praise imaginable. A band that have been sent to rip open your guts and tear your eardrums. Sounds vicious, but when you listen to them- you’ll understand why.

Amyl And The Sniffers are such an incredible band, and in the time they’ve been putting music out into the world they have truly showed themselves to have the real essence of Punk about them. They have songs that rarely hit over the 2 minute mark. Big Attraction & Giddy Up came out this year, and the record doesn’t even hit 20 minutes. Their songs are as fast as the Ramones with the obnoxious smuttiness that the Sex Pistols had. I absolutely love this band, and they’re just so brilliantly cool. They make you want to sack everything off and start a band, and live outside of society for the rest of time. The release that came out in May is basically two of their EPs put together, and both are a punch in the kisser. The songs are amazing regardless of how you hear them.

The snarl in Amy’s voice is something that stays with you. She yells the lyrics, and my god you better listen.  Dec and Bryce keep up the aggression via guitar and drums. Then Gus comes along with his slick bass playing skills. You can’t pick your favourite, that’d just be stupid. You can pick your favourite moments in the songs though. I love the punchy sound in Balaclava Lover Boogie that Dec produces with his guitar, and they all just play this vital role in making it such a rowdy song.

Sadly, I’ve yet to see the band play live. I can’t help but feel that their live shows would be something that just sticks with you because on record they have this power to just make you feel like it is you and them. They have this way of making you feel like you’re in a dive bar with them covered in various fluids and whatnot. All in the name of Punk. All in the name of Music. I honestly can’t give you a band to put them against in terms of who they are for fans of. They’re for those who want something off kilter and something that they haven’t heard before. Something loud to take away how much of a drag daily life can be. There is something so soothing and relatable about the song Caltex Cowgirl (which does hit the 3 minute or so mark) and it just takes you somewhere nothing else has done.

One of my favourite songs by them is Stole My Pushbike. I love the fury in Amy’s voice. I love how she can make something like having her bike being stolen sound like one of the worst crimes a person could commit. In one minute she absolutely rips apart the culprit that took her bike. Bryce, Dec and Gus with their sounds make it seem like they are part of the gang that are going to fuck you up once Amy finds you. But to be honest, Amy will handle herself. Her buddies will be there just to make sure you can’t steal anything ever again. It’s a great song to let any frustration out to.

If you’ve ended up going through something recently that has left you battered and damaged- this is the band for you. I couldn’t stop listening to them before, but now it’s become a ritualistic listen that tames parts of my mind certain things can’t touch. I guess that’s just how powerful music is you know?  Amyl And The Sniffers are band to really invest in and to become obsessed with, and to play as loud as possible.

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GYMSHORTS.

14 06 2018

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Any band that sing about needing a burrito are probably going to be great, right? Gymshorts live up to the sheer joy and greatness that is found in a burrito (don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like Mexican food, seriously.) Gymshorts are all you could possibly want from a Punk band, or a band in general. I’m on my dinner break, so I am going to use my time wisely to write about these 4 exceptionally talented folk.

They’ve recently come off tour with another great band-La Luz. Imagine seeing them together. That’d just be something else for sure. Gymshorts play with this 90s Riot Grrrl aggression mixed with this brutal and charismatic lo-fi sound.  They are fronted by Sarah, who pretty much melts your face with how powerful her voice is and how she pretty much annihilates you with her guitar. Her vocals are equally as loud as her guitar- nothing is overpowered or compromised, and it’s an absolute joy to listen to. They just make you want to throw away your adult responsibilities and just follow them on tour and be completely immersed in the music and live shows. It’s a kick in the gut and it feels so good. So good.

I think they may only have two records out so far, Wet Willy and No Backsies. Both are meant to be played loud to the point where you’re going to be deaf for a couple of days. They’ve got this raw and grand sound that is such a pleasure to hear and something I’ve not heard in a long time. They basically take all the parts of music that I love, and rip it up to make something completely out of this world. They truly are an exceptional band, and they just make you want to throw a whole bunch of shit around, and be irresponsible. Sometimes we need music to bring this out of us, and Gymshorts do this so well.

No Backsies was released first, and it’s got this proper ferocious feel to it that makes you feel like an angry dog is biting at your ankle. You don’t care for the blood that is drawn; it is the sheer rush that spurs you on. I think this is the louder record out of the two, and it definitely cemented their raw and rough sound. They consistently make you feel like you are in their rehearsal space where nothing is held back and everything just comes tumbling out. No hang ups at all. Both records are nothing short of being effortlessly brilliant. And fuck it, I hate the word but Gymshorts are definitely cool. They make you wish you were in a band as cool as them.

They’ve got a real Punk attitude in their sound and the way in which Sarah carries her voice. The distorted and almost shouty vocals are really what lures you in. Sometimes when a singer tries to do this, they really fuck it up but Sarah has this way of not making it come across as forced. It’s definitely not forced, and that’s what keeps you listening to them.

They can sing about burritos all day long and I wouldn’t get tired. There aren’t enough songs about them, thank god Gymshorts have done it. I love Punk and I love Mexican food, so it’s no surprise that I am in love with Gymshorts music. Sure it may not be to everyone’s taste, but they really are an incredible band who sure know how to play.

The new record, Knock Knock should be out this year, and the song above (Breathin On Me) pretty much shows just how exciting the new record is going to be. It’ll be released via Wallflower / Burger Records. Bachelor Records will also be releasing it in Europe. Buy the music and of course, play it loud.

 

*photo by Casey Joseph





WIRE: Pink Flag.

12 06 2018

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In 1977, Wire released one of the most influential and important records of all time. I should probably say it’s one of the best Punk records of all time too, but it goes beyond that. Way beyond. It’s 35 minutes of mind-blowing and euphoric songs that make you want to pick up a guitar, make some noise then trash the stage as you leave. It’s a riot in your ears, and it has never sounded or felt so good.

Wire are a band that held English Punk in their hands and squashed it to turn it into something else. They kept the aggression and the snarling sounds, and made it go beyond it being just Punk. Pink Flag is a defining record and you can’t believe something so fantastic was a debut record. It sounds like something from a band well into their career. It’s all well and good me going on about how amazing this record is now, but when it came out in 1977, it was pretty much overlooked. Which is just absolutely criminal. A record like Pink Flag doesn’t hit us all that often. It’s a record that once you hear it, that’s it- life changed for ever.

Lowdown is my favourite off Pink Flag, and I love that I can hear how bands like Fugazi and Black Flag have been influenced by this record, and probably this song. There is something about it that reminds me of Waiting Room by Fugazi. I think it’s all down to the vocals. Ian MacKaye has definitely taken notes from Pink Flag and who can blame him.

The songs are short but by no means sweet. They have a brilliant rage to them that makes you listen to them with how they are played- with urgency. Like I said, they just make you want to take a battered guitar and make a load of noise. It’s a record that you can lean on and let it unleash any fury or demons you may have. It’s a record that becomes more than a safety net and best friend. For me, the production is exceptional. It is above and beyond whatever else it was up against back in ’77.

Pink Flag is a record full of songs that in their absolute glory, smack you right in the chops and do not care for how much damage they cause. I know I said it goes beyond being a Punk record, but bloody hell it is such an amazing Punk record. I love how every song just feels like something you have never heard before, even if you’ve been listening to the record for decades and decades. However loud you want to play it, every song will have you moving about without a care. 106 Beats That is THE song that will definitely have you moving in all sorts of ways, and sure the songs aren’t that long but they don’t need to be. They’re just insanely brilliant and effortlessly cool.

Pink Flag has been cited by many as being an important record, and a record that you simply must own. I can’t help but think what it would have been like to have heard this record for the first time back in 1977. Imagine hearing the riff of Strange for the first time, and just being left with your jaw wide open in awe of how brilliant it is. Colin’s voice grips you and makes you feel like he’s taking you under his wing to join the cult of Wire. Imagine…just imagine first hearing this record all those years ago and having this feeling just absolutely take you over. Holy shit!

To sum up, Wire are one of the greatest bands of all time and Pink Flag- regardless when you hear it for the first time, will change your life and improve your record collection. What they did with this record, they have done all throughout their career and that’s why Punk will never ever die.





ICEAGE: Beyondless.

25 05 2018

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When a band hits the four record mark, you’re probably safe in calling them all various terms for “great.” I cannot praise Iceage enough, and Beyondless is a statement of how brilliant they really are. There is something about them that throws you back in time but also hurls you full pelt into the future. It’s a raucous record that takes pleasure in corrupting every single part of you.

Allow me to explain why this record is one of 2018’s finest moments.

Beyondless is a record that shows just how much they have grown, and in four records they have truly left a lasting impression. New Brigade was such a phenomenal record, and of course it can’t be replicated but the thing about Iceage is that they have no intention of creating the same sound over and over. For me, it is their ability to just mess with your mind completely which has me hooked. Elias is a hypnotising frontman who gives off hints of Nick Cave circa The Birthday Party. He’s not as loud as Nick was back then, but he’s got this drawl to his voice that is quite similar. It is moving, it is romantic and it is something you cannot get enough of. We need more singers like this. Unafraid to be this way and to just unleash hell on record and on stage. He’s backed by incredible musicians who can compete beautifully with his energy. It is like they all encourage each other to be louder, to sound more sinister and to really push themselves.

Under The Sun is a really strong example of how much they have evolved, and how in just four and a half minutes, they can make you feel as if you’re having an outer body experience. It’s one of those songs you’ll probably keep going back to, then we go right into the heart of the record on the song The Day The Music Dies. I love how Elias vocals sound exhausted- this isn’t a diss at all. I’d not bother writing about the record if I had anything bad to say. I mean it in a Julian Casablancas way, and we all know how exceptional he is. There is something in Iceage’s music that has a dreamy feel to it but also quite eerie. Part of you wants to allow yourself to escape with them, but the other part is totally freaked out about what you’re hearing.

It’s a gloriously smutty record that has so much soul and emotion to it. There are standout songs on the record, sure. But it’s hard to really pick them out because it’s such a brilliant record. I wish I could pick certain songs out for you to go on about, and why they are so great but honestly- listen to the record. Plead The Fifth is one of those songs that throw your emotions about and send you off into a whirl. I can’t get enough of this record, and  it really does make the four-year wait for a new record totally worth it. Going back to Plead The Fifth real quick, it’s got a feel of The Passenger by Iggy Pop.

I think it is pretty fair to say that Elias is a poet. He’s beyond just a singer- he’s got something else, and his something else makes his way with words utterly divine and captivating. Iceage are a band I hope that in decades to come, are cited as being highly influential. The absolute urgency in Catch It is so magnificent, and the way Elias sings this song makes you cling on to every single word. Dan smashes the shit out of the drums on this one, and his fury is beautifully worked with Jakob and Johan unleashing a riot. The constant crashing sound leads up to the euphoric ending of the song. It becomes uncontrollable, and I’m pretty sure in their live shows that this will be the song that makes us all lose our minds. The song brings you down, then launches you up real high and catapults you off into the unknown. It’s over five minutes of greatness.

If you’re into making lists, then this record should probably be at the top. Play it loud at every single chance you get and go to one of their upcoming shows. I think they’re over in the UK in September.

Beyondless is a masterpiece and truly shows us all how fantastic Iceage are, but hey- we knew that anyway!





METRO VERLAINE: Band On The Wall 11/05/2018.

16 05 2018

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On Friday evening, my girlfriend and I went to see one of the best bands from France. In fact, they are probably one of the best bands I have ever seen. Metro Verlaine make music for the dark romantics, music for those who love the eerie side of music. When you see them play, you will immediately be drawn in and hooked forever. A 30 minute set wasn’t enough, and quite frankly- they should have played for another hour!

Metro Verlaine consist of four band members, but during live shows they have my generation’s greatest guitarist- Charlie Rowell (from Crocodiles) who has produced their debut record, Cut-Up. The record is nothing short of phenomenal and brings together everything I love about music. There are resemblances to The Cure and Joy Division. They are definitely influenced by English bands that posses a dark sound but they make it their own.

Raphaëlle  is easily one of the best singers you will ever see. She has such a powerful and amazing voice. She made us feel like we weren’t in a tiny room, she made us feel as if we were in a stadium or in a cathedral. She has such a grand voice, and although you get hints of it on record- it really gets you in the gut during their live shows.

I absolutely adored how the drummer doesn’t use a full kit (think Bobby G when he was in The Jesus And Mary Chain) but makes this incredible noise regardless. He’s louder than most, and I loved that so much. Something that is worth paying attention to with Metro Verlaine is just how effortlessly together they are and how in tune they are with each other. I’m not sure how long they have known each other prior to starting the band, but when you watch them on stage you pick up on this incredible bond. Most of the time they don’t need to say anything to each other, a simple look says it all. Sure I hate the word but the band are just so cool. Maybe it’s because they are French and they have this class to their sound and style that makes you wish you were like them. If I could sing, I’d want the power and range that Raphaëlle possess. I sincerely hope she becomes someone who singers to come cite her as an influence because she’s truly something else. She dances on stage so freely and takes that deep into the crowd. All you can do is watch on in awe.

Cut-Up is a mighty fine record and to hear these songs in a live setting makes you appreciate the record even more. Of course they are criminally underrated, but in time they’ll probably take over the world. They’ve already taken over mine.

Something I really loved about them is their love for Manchester. They are vocal about this and their song, Manchester is a beautiful ode to the greatest city in the world. Everyone on stage plays such a vital role in making the crowd move, each of them leave you wishing you were as cool as them. The only downside was the venue cutting their set way too short. They played for just under half an hour; they could have easily headlined and/or played for another hour or so. Even if they didn’t have enough songs to play for hours, I’d be happy to hear it all on repeat.

Metro Verlaine are the coolest band you’ll hear. They make music to get lost in, and to also find parts of yourself in. Sure you may not understand what they are singing about at times, but who cares?! The music and vocals are enough to keep you hooked for eternity.

VIVA METRO VERLAINE! JE T’AIME!





TEEN CREEPS: Birthmarks

18 04 2018

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There are some excellent things to have come from Belgium, and Teen Creeps are most certainly up there as being one of the greats. Their snarling Garage Rock sound is nothing short of addictive, and I’m going to use the last 20 minutes of my dinner break to tell you why.

Birthmarks is their latest release, and I’m fairly sure it is their first full length record. It consists of 9 songs that have been created to just melt your brain and make you do things others would question. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. The record opens with the brilliant, Sidenote which consists of the gnarling roar of “I wanna be the last thing on your mind.” A simple but massively effective lyric that is perfect on the opening of the record. It is like a ritualistic call to come listen and invest in this record. Birthmarks have an effortlessly obscure sound that may remind some listeners (musically, not vocally) or early Placebo. There is something about the guitars that hurls you way back to hearing Placebo for the first time. Again, this is by no means a bad thing. For someone like me, it’s bloody great.

 

Teen Creeps are an exceptional band, and to finally have a record that really shows us what they are made of and how powerful they are is super cool. How I feel about them is how I feel about Küken. I’ve written about them loads because their take on Garage Rock and Punk is mind-blowing. Teen Creeps in some way are a little tamer, but lyrically Teen Creeps have this real urgency and rawness to their words. They are sung as if their lives depend on it, and when a band can do that it makes you really cling on harder to what you hear.

The record has been out for nearly two weeks now, and I can confidently tell you that it is one of the most brutal and loud records you’ll hear all year. It’s got everything you’d want from a proper angsty record. The loudness is so powerful, and it really does grip you. It’s like a loving chokehold (I have no idea if such thing exists, but let’s pretend it does for argument’s sake!)

Mercury is one of their softer songs, and I use that word as loosely as I possibly can. It is one of the quieter moments on the record, but it does pick up perfectly. Then it leads effortlessly timed into Will which is one of my favourites on the record. But, as usual, I will change my mind after my next listen. I’ve mainly listened to this record solidly the past few days to really get a feel for the record. It is a record that you connect with. Maybe it’s because you’ve got some rage to get out, or maybe you just love hearing something so wonderfully loud.

Good Intensions is over 5 minutes of pure bliss. I guess we’re all feeling better now the sun has made a guest appearance, and this is the perfect song to gaze off into the sunset too. It’s got something really special, and (stay with me on this) romantic feel to it. It reminds me of the early Shoegaze sound found in bands like Lush and Slowdive. It’s a beautifully crafted song. I think it’s probably now my joint favourite. I told you I’d change my mind! But I won’t change my mind on this being one of the most exciting records I’ve heard so far.

Teen Creeps are touring the record close to home and in Holland, so maybe treat yourself to a weekend away or a well-earned holiday to see this excellent three-piece band from Ghent.

Birthmarks is out now on PIAS Belgium. You can buy the record from any decent record store, kids! And if they don’t have it, make them order you a copy right now!

Play loud. Play often and let this fantastic debut record blow your mind.





METRO VERLAINE: Cut-Up.

16 03 2018

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France is home to some of my favourite musicians such as Dusty Mush and Dr Chan. It was the home to one of the greats, Serge Gainsbourg. The king of song-writing. It is also home to one of the best new (ish) bands around- Metro Verlaine.

Their record Cut-Up came out today, and I have been waiting for a long time to hear this record. It is produced by the wonderful human that is Charlie from Crocodiles. You can hear his influence slightly in this record, and it is a brilliant thing. The record is loud in all the right places and it is perfectly created.

It is truly an exceptional record that just doesn’t get old. Everything about Cut-Up is so effortlessly powerful and just mind-blowing.

For me, it is always about the build up to a record that summons my interest. I’ve watched their progress with this record on various social media platforms, and it really does look like the band and Charlie had such fun making this record. That comes through on the songs, even on songs like Hate- which is really great and brutal. I feel a lot of love for the song Manchester. Probably because I’m moving there next week!

Some of the songs are sung in French, and for the most part I don’t know what’s going on. But I don’t care! It sounds so beautiful. The vocals are full of this determination and passion, and the way it comes through with everything that’s going on in the songs is amazing. I truly cannot get enough of this record. I love how I can hear influences from bands I love, and bands that Metro Verlaine love in the songs. At times you can hear the heaviness of Joy Division. At times you can pick up on the eeriness of The Cure and there is something about The Stone Roses that flows throughout. I think it’s the connection between them all, and this steady rhythm that flows through the record.

I really hope Metro Verlaine tour this record, and bring it to the UK. There is something really special about this record that makes you want to experience it in a live setting. I think the song Ballade Sauvage is one of the songs that just HAS to be witnessed live. There is something so passionately dark about this song. It’s got this ethereal build up within it and it takes over the mind, soul and body. And whatever else you’ve got for the taking. Crocodile is a song that I can’t wait to see live too. It’s got this really raw feel to it, and you feel like you’re being smacked in the face over and over. But it feels good. You want them to keep doing it over and over again. Until your body and soul feel exhausted. You’re just a sucker for the music, man!

It’s a record you can enjoy in any setting. You can blast it as loud as possible whilst at home, you can have it ringing in your ears as you wander the streets. However loud you want to play it and wherever you want to play it, it’ll just make you feel good. It’s such a fantastic record, and with each listen there is definitely more and more to love about it. Cut-Up is a record that I know I am going to keep going back to. It sounds like something from the past but also something from the future that we are unaware of yet.

It has such a special and unique feel to it. It’s loud in all the right places, it has tender moments when needed. It’s like a sleepy Sunday afternoon- you just don’t want this record to ever end.