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.

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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

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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!





THE PSYCHOCANDIES.

23 01 2017

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A sinful sound echoes in your ears as you listen to The Psychocandies. The name lured me in. I thought of The Jesus And Mary Chain. The only thing The Psychocandies has in common with TJAMC is that both of them make beautiful noise. The Pyschocandies may remind you a little of Psychocandy- it’s the reverb and the distorted vocals. It’s my weakness.

I don’t know much about The Psychocandies. I read that it’s just one person, but it doesn’t matter. I think they’re from France. They make you think you’re loitering in dark alleys in Paris on a damp evening. Watching the rain fall under a flickering street light. They’re the romanticised version of the city. They’re the soundtrack to what’s going on in your head, they pour out from your nightmares. It never sounded so good.

There’s quite a lot to delve in with regards to their back catalogue. The most recent came out possibly in the summer of last year? The songs sound like they could be the soundtrack to your nightmares. There’s a brilliant decadent sound that flows through. They make you feel as if something is chasing you, or maybe you’re the one doing the hunting and the haunting. The hypnotic grooves but you in a trance, especially on the From The Depths release.

The songs on this record are loud, brilliantly intrusive (not in a bad way) and set the mind off. Everything is heightened on this record, especially on You Got No Soul (the alt version). It’s a really, really in your face kind of song. If you play it as loud as you can stand, you’ll probably end up deaf for about half hour- then you’ll find yourself doing it again. And again. I think if you were to go to one of their shows, you’d leave partially deaf. That’s not always a bad thing.

The Psychocandies will give you the shakes, you’ll go hot and cold. You won’t settle when you listen to them- you’ll be on edge. They’ll plague your mind in the most glorious way imaginable. It’s the kind of music I’d want to make- I’d want to make people feel uneasy but in a way that’s not scary or threatening. There would be something to lure the listener in, and that’s exactly what they do. They keep you guessing, wondering what’s going to hit you next. Any remotely decent band can do this, and The Psychocandies do it in a way that leave you wanting more, and more. They remind me of The Vacant Lots in that way you know. For me, The Vacant Lots are up there with some of the greatest bands of all time and after seeing them live, I realised it was the sheer intensity of the sound that made me a fan years ago. That’s how I’m heading with The Psychocandies. There is something so effortlessly intense about them, so dark and so full of curiosity for the listener.

You can spend way too long try to dissect your reasons for loving something, but sometimes when you do this it makes you love the band even more. Does that make sense? You keep listening to them, over and over. As you listen, you find new things to love and appreciate about them. You hear a new noise within them. That new noise just fires you up and makes you hear things differently. It all sounds bigger. As I listen to The Psychocandies, I can’t really pin point where the sound takes me. I know it’s desolate and I know it’s dark, and for me that’s entirely comforting.

There’s something about this secluded and sacred sound that makes you connect more than you thought you could.





SAVAGE SISTER.

9 05 2013

 

Amidst my daily emails of job rejections and doctors in Ghana asking me to transfer money to them (it’s spam, I don’t have ties to any doctors) I was sent something I actually wanted to read. Another band has got in touch; every time this happens I question why me they ask. I’m just someone who really loves music and writes as a fan. I think I answered my own question there. Anyway, moving on.

Savage Sister are like that dream you once had and continuously try force yourself to have again and again. You force yourself to remember certain parts as you are drifting in and out of sleep. Their dreamy vibe will appeal to those who adore the likes of Tamaryn. They just make music that is so pure and entirely perfect for the soul. You could listen to Savage Sister, and be having the worst day imaginable but there is something about this duo that just fills your bones up with so much hope. We need more music to do this. I guess this is why you could regard listening to the likes of Savage Sister as a sacred experience.

I know people who find new music and daren’t share it with others- as if they own the band. What a silly way to be. You see, as I listen to Savage Sister, whilst it remains feeling quite sacred, I truly want others to listen to them and feel the same way I do. Michael and Chloe make music that just fills you up with such positive energy and so much love. They sway your body so gently (in a Warpaint kind of way) and soothe your soul. Their music comes from a place that is pure and heavenly; I cannot thank them enough for emailing me.

They have a light take on the Shoegaze style; meaning they aren’t too heavy and the bass doesn’t rupture your eardrums. They mix it with a generous dose of dreamy vocals and enlightening guitar strums. They honestly take you to some place wonderfully magical. I remember when I first heard Tamaryn and Warpaint; I continuously searched for that feeling ever since. In this case, it found me.

The glorious Tiger Lamp (which you can listen to here: http://savagesister.bandcamp.com/track/tiger-lamp-2) is a song you should play as the sun goes down, and you are left alone with nothing but whatever is going on in your head. It projects clarity back into your life and gently guides you where you need to go. Tiger Lamp is everything I love about music. I simply cannot put it into words, all I know is that I feel a sheer sense of joy as I listen to Savage Sister’s music.

The Chicago based duo are set to release their debut record in June, and going by what I have heard so far I think it is going to be one of the best things to happen this year. Favourite new duo? For sure. If I was musically inclined, this is the kind of music I’d make. I love how they place the listener in a dream-like state. Sometimes it is the best way to be. The vocals conjure up a trance-like being. To find fault in them would be entirely foolish, as would ignoring them. A glorious band who evidently make music from the heart and with so much soul.