DRAB MAJESTY: Modern Mirror.

14 06 2019

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One of the most exciting duos around, Drab Majesty are releasing a new record in July. A record that will reinforce our love for them, and get us excited over their UK tour in September. Deb Demure and Mona D make exquisite music together, and I’m going to explore that with my take on Modern Mirror.

The record opens with the haunting yet angelic A Dialogue. The song is highly atmospheric, and I cannot help but feel this could be a song that they open their sets with. It’s got something about it that is stoic and something that just grabs you. It starts with these strong vocals, then it all comes together and it is this huge sound. The kind of sound that you’d probably hear at the end of the night in a dingy, dark club as you make your way outside. There is something euphoric yet final about it. It’s the perfect song to start the record with.

 

 

 

Drab Majesty have been a band I have leant on for some time, like Cold Cave. There is something about the lyrics and the way the music eases any ugly feelings, and lord knows I’ve been at my worst recently. Music is powerful, and music can heal. It can be that thing that just holds you together, and I hold Drab Majesty so highly- purely because of what they mean to me. It goes beyond being a band that evoke escapism; they have something about them that just makes me fall in love with them every single time I listen to them.

The Other Side is 6 minutes of sheer heaven, and it makes you wish you were wandering the streets of L.A. taking this song in, and ignoring the world for a while. There’s a lot of Garage Rock bands I love that come from L.A. but Drab Majesty are on the other spectrum of the music I love, and it’s this dark and intense sound. Some may call it “Goth” or “Darkwave” but I really don’t have a name for it. All I know is that their lyrics, and songs are so powerful and so wonderful to get lost in.

Only a couple of songs on this record are under 5 minutes long, which I adore. I love songs that last over the 5 minute mark and have intense and euphoric build-ups. Drab Majesty are pros at this, and knowing that they will be playing my favourite venue in Manchester (Soup Kitchen) in a few months, just makes me super happy. It’s the perfect venue for them and I cannot wait to hear the new record here.

There’s this devotion and passion in these new songs that shows how they aren’t afraid of experimenting with new sounds and pushing their sound further. Careless and The Demonstration are two perfect records, and with their third they do something beyond what they’ve done before. The best way to experience this record is to listen to Careless, then The Demonstration; then allow yourself to immerse yourself in all that Modern Mirror is. You’ll hear this subtle growth, but the beautiful darkness is there. Ellipsis and Dolls in The Dark are for me, their biggest sounding songs on the record. They take you somewhere new on these songs, somewhere no other record or song ever has. If you’ve never listened to Drab Majesty before, please invest in their previous two records in time for the release of this gorgeous record that is, Modern Mirror.

Modern Mirror may only be 8 songs long (as a massive fan, I could quite happily listen to triple the amount!) but it is a record to truly cherish and keep close. It’s the kind of record that’ll keep nightmares at bay, and allow you to soak up the darkness in order to be less afraid. I needed this record more than I thought I did. There’s something about it that is so soothing, and I think a huge part of this is Deb’s voice. It is so comforting and easy to just fall in love with. The songs tell a story, and that just makes you connect even more so with this stunning record.

Modern Mirror shows us exactly why Drab Majesty are one of the best bands around. Their sound is heavy, eerie and sublime. There’s no denying just how phenomenal the new record is. Buy the record when it comes out in July, and please come see them on tour.

 

 

Modern Mirror will be released on 12th July via Dais Records.

Tour dates are:

18th Sept – Dingwalls, LONDON

19th Sept – Soup Kitchen, MANCHESTER

21st Sept – Wharf Chambers, LEEDS

22nd Sept – Clwb Ilfor Bach, CARDIFF

They will be joined by the equally beautiful, SRSQ.

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URF.

29 05 2019

 

Supporting Crocodiles a few weeks ago were local band, URF. Manchester is known for having brilliant music scene. It’s something to be massively proud of, and another reason as to why I love this city.

URF capture the doom and gloom of daily life, but don’t let that put you off. They do it in a way that is so intricate and articulate; it’s sheer poetry. They have this effortlessly cool Shoegaze sound that will just blow you away. On record they’ve got something that reels you in, but when you see them live something switches. Their live shows are something else. There’s something really mysterious and industrial-like in their sound. They have a song called Night Driving which is one of their greatest, if not best song to date. That’s just my opinion, mind. I love how intense it is, and also has quite delicate moments within it. They take you for a ride on all their songs, but this one in particular takes you further.

 

 

For me, they are the kind of band that after hearing once- you’re hooked. I love bands like that, and I love this really intense atmosphere they have. Each of them create this mood, and it’s just a pleasure to listen to. For The Ride shows us just how powerful Abbi’s voice is, and I can honestly say that her vocals live are even stronger than on record. For The Ride has this euphoric build-up, and the instrumental part of this song will leave you covered in goosebumps. It’s the kind of song that leaves you in awe, and completely taken aback that something can be this great. It’s a beautiful song, and that instrumental part is just perfect.

Now we’re going to get into their new song, Solitude.

Solitude is a heavy word. It’s something most would shy away from. There’s nothing wrong with being alone, and experiencing it is probably good for the soul because if you can’t tolerate your own company- who will? There’s nothing more peaceful and powerful than listening to music on your own. Just taking everything in, and grasping everything a song or record gives you. Solitude isn’t a dirty word. URF have created something really amazing with their new single, and it captures being alone perfectly.

There are dark moments in the song, sure. But it is beautifully done, and it leaves you wanting more and more. The instrumental will have the same effect on you also, and maybe that’ll take you to a different zone. Music that can elevate you or just take you out of where you are mentally is so powerful, and I adore that URF have done this again. They are so hypnotic and bold; it’s a sound that I cannot and will not ever get tired of.

Solitude is the kind of song you’d hear on a Scandinavian detective drama (either whilst a detective loses his mind or something brutal happens) but don’t let that put you off. I’m basically getting at, URF have made something here which shits you up but is also ethereal. Seventeen Seconds by The Cure- that’s the same level that this song is on. Of course all their songs are, but Solitude in particular is on that level.

 

URF are nothing short of incredible. They’ve supported the likes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Crocodiles and Estrons. They will also be playing the Manchester Psych Fest this year. They are also playing their own show at YES on 15th June!

Buy their music, go to their shows and wear your URF shirt with pride, like me.

I can’t praise them enough. They’re just such an exciting band, and are making something that really hasn’t been done before. You can throw in all the comparisons all you want, but it won’t stick because URF have something. It’s something that goes beyond words, but will evoke all kinds of feelings. Get lost in the music, it’s all you can do.





THE UNDERGROUND YOUTH: Montage Images Of Lust & Fear.

15 04 2019

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The Underground Youth are such an incredibly underrated band, and with each record they have this ability to just shock you with their sound. A sound that is in no other band you’ve listened to, a sound that you cannot get enough of. The Underground Youth have yet again, put out another exquisite record. A record that pierces right through your heart and soul. A record that must be played obsessively.

Montage Images Of Lust & Fear is not only a great name for a record, but it totally sums up the atmosphere on this record. I’ve been a fan of The Underground Youth for a stupid amount of time, and I remember seeing them live a couple of years ago, and I was just in awe of their set. Easily one of the most impressive bands I’ve ever seen live, and I cannot wait to see them again next week at my favourite venue in Manchester but before then- I’m going to go on about their new record.

 

9 songs. 43 minutes. What can you get from a record in that amount of time? What do you expect from a record in that amount of time? Well, with this record think Rowland S. Howard’s Teenage Snuff Film meets Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ Let Love In record. Craig’s vocals have never ever sounded better. I absolutely love the bones of this record, and I adore how you can hear so much growth in this record. The Underground Youth are one of the hardest working bands around, and always seem to be on tour. So when you listen to this record, you cannot help but think of how these songs are going to sound live. I’m already obsessed with Craig’s vocals on Last Exit To Nowhere. It’s the second song on the record, and it just blitzes its way right on through you. It doesn’t calm down after that. The Death Of The Author is a gorgeous and eerie song that sends shivers right through you.

I love how drums can give a record or a song a mood, or create an atmosphere that just spooks you. Olya’s one of the best drummers around- she has this effortlessly cool way of just beating the shit out of the drums and letting every beat shatter through your body. You move to her beat, and the way she does this is something I’ve never seen before. She gives so much tension in the way she plays, and it is the kind of tension that you crave from music. It’s the kind of tension that makes you love the band you’re obsessed with even more than you already are. In short, she’s incredible. The Underground Youth are incredible, but you probably already know that.

Montage Images Of Lust & Fear is a record that will scare the shit out of you, but will also be a record that you cannot get enough of. It’s a record that consumes you in the best way imaginable. The atmosphere on this record makes you wish you could make something like this, but let’s be honest- no one can do it like The Underground Youth. I love the romanticism in their music. It’s not the conventional and boring type, it’s something beyond anything you’ve ever known. I’ve been listening to The Underground Youth for a long time now, and with every record they blow my mind but this record has something else. It’s heavier, it’s darker and keeps you right on the edge. You can’t help but wonder what is going to happen next on the songs. You don’t know what part of the song is going to rip right through you.

Although it is a heavy record, one song in particular is on the gentle side. Too Innocent To Be True is such a beautiful and timid song. There is this wonderful gentleness to Craig’s vocals on this, and I hope they play this song on their tour because I think it’ll show a side to the band that doesn’t get shown often. It’s a mellow moment, and it fits so perfectly on the record. The bass on this song carries you away, and you just float on with it.

Blind I and Blind II feel like they could be some creepy thriller film, set in black and white. There’s something really magical about how Blind I flows right into Blind II. Blind I feels like the build up and eruption of something really bad happening, and Blind II is like the aftermath of it. Play the songs right after each other, and hopefully you’ll see what I mean. Blind II reminds me a little bit of Ghost Rider by Suicide, which is always a good thing. The song feels like a chase, and the way Craig quiets down on this song, when they do this live I’m pretty sure the crowds will go nuts especially when it picks up again. It’s probably my favourite song on the record at the moment. It’ll change though, because a record this fantastic isn’t made for you to just have one solid favourite. Every song is there to be adored and obsessed over. Each song will get their turn, I promise.

 

Of course I’d love more songs on this record because I just love The Underground Youth a hell of lot but with just 9 songs, they again blow your mind. Play the songs as loud as you want, listen to it over and over. Every listen will give you something new to love about the band and this record.

Montage Images Of Lust & Fear is a truly remarkable record, and for me, has left a lasting impact. It’s an absolute pleasure to listen to and just fall in love with.





STONY SUGARSKULL.

11 03 2019

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Berlin is home to many brilliant bands. The ones I love have a raw and eerie feel to them. I really thought I had written about Stony Sugarskull before, but I checked thoroughly to see that I stupidly hadn’t. I used to make lists on my phone or bits of paper of bands I needed to write about, but as of late I’ve got sloppy with it. I’ll redeem myself now.

Stony Sugarskull make dreamy yet dark music. Music that makes you feel like you’re in a haunting place like The Cure’s Seventeen Seconds. If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written, you’ll know that I compare a lot of music to that record. If a band or record can make me feel how that record does, I’ll fall in love with it. I’ve already headed that way with Stony Sugarskull. They make me feel like I’m watching a Nordic tv thriller or something. They fill you will grey and black imagery. You don’t see bright colours, and I love that about them. I love how they create this almost smoky effect with their music. It’s as if everything is in a haze, and you’re slipping in and out of a dream.

Monika’s vocals are so ethereal and they evoke all sorts of images in your mind. Her voice is gentle in all the right places, but she can make it gnarly when she needs to. The only person I can liken her voice to is Sade from my beloved LA Witch. I love the calmness in Monika’s voice, and she’s such a great guitarist too. You can really tell that she has such a strong vision with Stony Sugarskull. I think this project has only been going a couple of years or so, but you can definitely hear someone who has studied and worked at they do. The sound is so strong and so unlike anything else. There are elements of 60s Rock ‘n’ Roll but there’s something else lurking within; I’m not entirely sure what it is, and because I’m questioning it, it makes me listen more than I already do. When you find something that gives you this constant wonder, I think that’s when you know you’ve found something you’re going to love for a hell of a long time.

For me, its songs like Party Girl and Skunk Ghosts that really standout. They’re the ones I keep  going back to, in like a ritualistic listen. When you can become obsessed like this with the music, that’s when you know you’ve found something you’ll treasure for a hell of a long time. I just adore the darkness and chilling feel in the music. I love how it can terrify you and can then soothe you in the same breath. This conflict is what keeps you with them. Butterflies has this haunting feel to it, but Monika’s voice is so calming you can’t get freaked out by it, it just heals the parts of you that other songs can’t quite get to. It’s got the vulnerable feel to it like Fade Into You by Mazzy Star (that song never fails to instantly make me sob.)

Stony Sugarskull make you feel like you’ve discovered My Bloody Valentine for the first time. Their sound is out there, completely and beautifully unusual- and just a sheer revelation. I can’t believe I hadn’t written about them before, but after years of listening, the love for them grew. Maybe that had to happen first. I love everything about this band. I love the trippy feel they have, I love how the drums and the guitar reverb come together to make this delicate but whole sound. I love how the vocals are intertwined with it all to create this perfect sound that makes you feel like that this is what’s been missing from you for years.

I honestly cannot express my love for this band any more than I have, or maybe I can. We’ll have to wait and see, but I’m sure I can. I’m super excited to hear more from them, and to be taken on a whole new trip with these beautiful sounds.





HOORSEES.

6 03 2019

HOORSEES BAND

 

One band I have written about tons of times is Dr Chan. I love their flawless Garage Rock sound. I love how they just make brilliant songs that never get old. Every listen is like listening to them for the first time. A huge part of my love for Dr Chan, and now Hoorsees is due to my love for Alexin’s voice. He has such a distinctive voice, and is of course, a brilliant musician. Dr Chan and Hoorsees are made up of excellent musicians, and its fairly obvious that France is consistent in giving us some amazing music.

Hoorsees have been around for a few years, and their songs are just an absolute joy to listen to. The music takes you off into this Shoegazey kind of dreamland. It’s just wonderful to listen to. Especially on songs like Bad Words. Then you have Pitfall which again sounds like My Bloody Valentine but with less reverb. Hoorsees have such a strong sound, and it’s a sound that you cannot get enough of. They send you off into a whirl with their gorgeous sound. You don’t want to come down from this at all.

Their debut record is due out this year sometime, and going by what they’ve released so far- I’m pretty sure we are in for a treat. Hoorsees are a band that once you listen to, you just fall instantly in love with them. Bands like this are rare, but are a real pleasure to find. By no means am I making any comparisons between Alexin’s two bands, but one thing they sure have in common is that they make music that just makes you feel good. When you hear something that just grips you, and you cannot find the words to fully explain it- I think that is when you know you’ve found something you’re going to love for years and years to come. Whilst we are in an age where everything seems so throwaway, it’s bloody good to have bands like Hoorsees who give you something to hold on to.

I love listening to a band, finding out where they are from and feeling like I am in their city or wherever taking everything in. Hoorsees make you feel like you are wandering around the city with a load of nothing to do, just killing time. They have a relaxed sound, but also one that is very defined. I’m going to go back to their song Pitfall quickly. I really love this song, and how there’s this pleading, almost romantic desperation in the vocals. Call it passion, call it art. Call it what you want, but it’s so great to hear. I love the strength in the vocals and the way they are married up with this 90s reverb sound.

Hoorsees also give you that notion of clinging onto your youth/childhood. Given that the world is probably going to shit, this is something we are probably doing more than ever. The closer on their Youth EP, Wasted Youth, definitely gives you this feeling. It is also something that is quite apparent on their new single, Boyhood.

Boyhood is the perfect song to eases you into their debut record. It shows a lot of growth from their Youth EP which came out nearly two years ago. Hoorsees are made up of brilliant musicians who really hit you in the gut with their music. They’re a really great band to listen to through headphones, and just zone out from everything to. The create this escapism in their music that is just so good, and so beautiful.

Play ’em loud in your ear. Wander round your city, and just give yourself some time- and self-care.

 





PURPLE HEART PARADE: Lonestar EP.

11 09 2018

 

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If two bands I idolise collided and created a record together, it would sound like the new Purple Heart Parade record, Lonestar. They sound like The Stone Roses and Beach House all in one. Although my biggest love is Punk, hearing something this laid back and nothing short of ethereal is just beautiful. I’m going to do my best to explain why this is such a gorgeous record, and what makes it so wonderful.

Manchester is home to some of the best music that this country has produced. There’s this underlying sound within Manchester bands that give them this distinctive style. It’s something no other city could ever replicate, even though I am sure they try. I don’t blame them. In March this year, I finally got my shit together and moved to Manchester after waiting for a hell of a long time. Being able to call this beautiful city home makes me so happy. Listening to bands that come from this city is just as great. What Purple Heart Parade have done with this record is create the most daring and atmospheric record of the year. It just makes you feel really good. We all need something to take us away from real life for a bit, and Purple Heart Parade take you on this euphoric journey into another dimension. Everything you want is there, and more.

Lonestar is made up of four songs. Four songs that will rip right through you. Four songs that’ll make you feel ten feet tall. Four songs that will feel like a massive bear hug. It’s such a gentle and soothing record. I want to talk about the song, Butterfly House quickly. This song is just over six minutes long, and it is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. When I listen to this, I feel just like I did when I first heard Beach House many years ago. There’s this glow to this  song that just makes you so happy. The instrumental moments on this record in general just make you realise that everyone in this band is a genius, easily. Everything about this band is effortlessly cool and so slick.

The most important song of all on this record is Mission Hills. The bands explanation of the song puts it perfectly: “The song is about emotional distance in a relationship but also the loss of a close friend, a victim of the tragic Manchester Arena attack. The band don’t just capture the sound of their hometown but also carry a part of it with them in a very personal way.” I don’t know of anyone who lives here that doesn’t think of the Arena attack every day. It’s always at the back of my mind, some days it’s right at the front. It is such a stunning song, and although it oozes sadness you feel like you are watching a bunch of shooting stars soar right across the night sky as if they are sending you secret messages. You can take what you wish from it. It’s such an important song, and as I listen to it I can feel a lump forming in my throat. It’s just such a delicate and beautiful song. It may make you sad to listen to it, but my god it is a work of art.

Lonestar and The Room make you feel like you have fallen into a deep slumber. Everything around you feels like a dream. You have no worries and no fears. All is okay. There is a heavy feel of reassurance in this record that makes you feel okay, like it’s all going to be okay. It is such an emotional record, and Peter’s vocals are so relaxing. Purple Heart Parade just make you feel at ease with all that’s around you. For a band to give you this much comfort is a thing to treasure. It’s obvious that Purple Heart Parade are one of the best bands around. They’re the Kings of Manchester, that much is clear too.

My praise for this record isn’t enough, so please go out and buy it- and listen to it religiously.

#Bemoremartyn.

 





BEAT DEGENERATION.

24 01 2017

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In my biased opinion, Italy is the home to some great music. It’s obviously the best country in the world, is home to the best football team in the world (Juventus) and the best goalkeeper in the world, aside from my brother (Gigi Buffon!) There’s one band in particular that reinforce my belief that Italy is the home to some bloody brilliant music- Beat Degeneration.

Beat Degeneration have a beautiful sound that’ll catapult you headfirst back to the 90s. There’s hints of Slowdive in their sound, a strong Shoegaze sound is present but don’t be a dismissive fool about it. Their sound oozes heat. They make you feel like you’re relaxing on a beach in Puglia or wandering around a damp, and dreary London. They take you, they bloody take you. They take your mind, and up away you go. It’s a lucid trip and you didn’t touch a thing.

They’ve got this way of getting you to drown out daily noise and to just get yourself focusing on them. They grip you tightly, but in a non-threatening way. They sway you, nurture you and soothe your soul with their gorgeous sound. You can’t help but feel as if you’re not stuck indoors on a freezing cold January night. Where they take you is far more exciting than where you are.

Last year they released the brilliant Dream Machine which you can pick up as a free download here: https://beatdegeneration.bandcamp.com/releases Get a copy and play as loud as your ears can stand. It’s the perfect record to escape to, it’s also perfect to do nothing to. As far as debut records go, Dream Machine is just great. It was written and produced by frontman, Guido Giorgi. The band now consists of Manuel (“Gerry”) on the drums and Piero on bass. Like a lot of bands I’ve written about, Beat Degeneration strike me as a band that you’ve just got to see live. On record they have this beautiful energy and ability to take you some place unknown to others, I’m pretty sure their live shows will be the right kind of wild and chaotic. Something to unleash your daily frustrations to.

The record ends with the 7 minute wonder, Nowhere (A Land Where I Belong) and it shows a different side to Beat Degeneration. Sure you’d think with a name like that they’re just a bunch of snotty nosed kids making noise, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. Nowhere shows you exactly what Beat Degeneration are capable of, and that’s blowing whatever is left of your mind. Nowhere is the perfect song to close the record with. It’s gentle and easy on the mind. There are a few moments on this record where you feel like you just want to go to some sweaty basement dive bar and be covered in beer and sweat. But there are tender moments like this where you just want to be. Nowhere is the song you play through headphones and just let yourself drift off. Either to sleep or to a clear place in your mind, just go. Drift away freely and think of nothing. Allow yourself to have these moments.

I really hope they play some UK shows soon after doing a number of dates around Europe last year. I’m pretty sure their shows will be captivating and freeing. They’re not a band to go see live and not move to. Even the most rigid would find it hard to not move a little bit to the sounds of Beat Degeneration. I’ve played the record in full a few times now, and I’ve gone back to it to play in a different order, but with every intention of ending on Nowhere.

The songs are great. Really strong songs that deserve to be heard as loud as you can stand. They’re your new favourite band.

FORZA BEAT DEGENERATION!