THE LONG WIVES-Where I Put The Gun.

17 07 2015

“So tell me all your secrets,
And I’ll tell you where I put the gun.”

There are some bands and singers I will never grow tired of listening to and writing about, some more than others. I have a handful of bands/singers that when I listen to them, I just get this urge to write some over the top rant about why I love it. I guess it’s because if I did it to a person they would tell me to shut up and go away. Nobody needs to hear it. So I write it instead because it just needs to come out.

The Long Wives aka Brandy St John is in my list of “Greatest singers/musicians of all time.” I don’t have a solid list, but she’s in my top 5. Her music is dark poetry for the soul. Her music is that hint of hope when you feel other wise helpless. Her voice is so powerful in a non confrontational way.

When you listen to her music, you can’t help but think of one person you know who would really love her. Whether or not you and that person still peak is a different matter, but you think of them. Foolishly or not. It’s there. Brandy’s words and voice can tear open wounds and heal them in a way that doesn’t leave you flinching at the thought of being in pain.

Where I Put The Gun is dark and menacing, but there’s this fragility in Brandy’s voice that makes you just connect. Like two destined lovers who have been pulled apart and drawn together more times than they should. You can’t leave her music alone. Where I Put The Gun is the kind of song you’d play as you hit the open road on your own. Not looking back on anything or anyone.You can torment yourself with the past or you can put it to use. Brandy’s music makes you aim to do the latter. Her voice has this gorgeous healing/soothing way of just making you forget all the bad and ugly around you. She just carries you off on this eerie journey that you can’t imagine not being part of.

This dark sound is entirely comforting, and I’m pretty sure my music collection would look dull without her. If someone put Poe’s words to music this is how it would sound. Although Judas Hex is my favourite song by her, Where I Put The Gun has this equally woeful feel to it that as bizarre as it may sound to some, it is comforting and can fight off any feeling or loneliness. You can sense she puts her all into her music, and when I listen to her I just have this urge to launch myself into some intricate ramble about how her music makes me feel and why I love it so. But words fail me at times. There are no words to describe how beautiful her music is and how bloody brilliant she is. She’s everything I want from a singer.She is the opposite of what we expected from sun-kissed bands from the West Coast. She’s the hunter stalking her pray up in the hills, just watching and waiting for nightfall. Her words are full of feelings most of us would rather not acknowledge. I’d rather be terrified of how I feel than to not feel anything at all. What Brandy pulls out of you is brutally raw, and for that I am so thankful.

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6 Years.

21 02 2014

“If you ever get lonely, just got to the record store and visit your friends.”

Six years ago in a classroom at University I set up this blog as part of an Online Journalism module I had to take. As someone who cares far too much about writing and music, I decided to keep at this for longer than I probably should have. There have been times where I am supposed to have done something “important” but decided to write about a band instead. I’ll always do that, and I don’t see anything wrong with it.

Over the past six years I have done the ridiculous (met Patti Smith) and the relatively sane (standard record reviews.) I don’t find writing about music I love exhausting, but Writer’s Block can sometimes smack me in the face leaving me feeling entirely frustrated and annoyed with my abilities, or in that case- a lack of. Everyone has something that they truly care about, something that forces them to wake up in the morning and to keep going.

I decided to keep this blog up because I was annoyed with typical Music Journalists who seem to enjoy slagging off bands in their writing. Sure I dislike boring bands such as Coldplay, Mumford & Sons and the dull sounds of that guy with the poor quiff, Bastille but I’m not going to waste my time writing a thousand words as to why I dislike them. I’d rather write about a band/singer/song/record that has truly moved me because it makes me feel like I’ve done something worthwhile I guess. My words won’t change the world, they won’t make someone else go out and buy a record and they won’t make a band I love become huge. They’re just words. Words some will skim over. Words that may not go read. Words that most won’t agree with. But seeking approval is the worst thing a person can do to themselves because they will lose sight of who they are.

Maybe I’ve got another year in this or maybe I’ll be 90 years old dribbling on the keyboard writing about “that time I saw….” I have no idea. All I know is that you cannot put a price on doing what you love. I’ve never received money for writing about a band.

I wish I could name every single band that has sent me their music, but I can’t. I’ve got a rubbish memory, but everything I’m sent gets written about.

However, I would like to specially thank the following for being exceptionally generous with their music and time:

-Royal Chant

-Savage Sister

-Soft Power Records

-Nita Keeler

-Little Death Machine

-Autumns

-Hana Piranha

-Birdeatsbaby

-The #1s

-The Creeping Ivies

-L.A Witch

-The Long Wives

There’s many more, but as I’ve mentioned I don’t really have the best memory.

Any email or comment left about anything I’ve written means a hell of a lot. I remember when I posted my Warpaint interview and reading the emails I got sent-I felt proud and that maybe someone got the point I was trying to make.

Thank you! xx

The Smiths debut record came out 30 years ago. There’s no other reason really.





RECORDS OF 2013.

21 12 2013

I thought I had 10 solid records to list as my favourite this year. My utter favourite has not changed; that was the only one I was 100% sure on. I change my mind a lot, about most things. What I like today, I may dislike tomorrow. Or in 10 minutes. It keeps things interesting to an extent, then it just gets confusing. I don’t like order or structure. Music is my favourite sound. People bragging about how much they drank the night before is my least favourite. If only there was a mute button for conversation.

With it being close to the end of the year, everyone thinks their opinion is better than other people’s when talking about their favourite record, songs, books etc of the year that has passed. My opinion isn’t made for counting or even worth acknowledging. To the one person who’ll read this; I hope you own at least one of the records I mention here. Of course, you don’t have to own it but you know..buy yourself something nice. Anyway. This isn’t in order, but the last record I mention is my favourite of the year.

Dirty Beaches- Love Is The Devil/Drifters. Anything Alex does always blows me away. He’s someone who, when you listen to his music, you can tell is truly in an untouchable zone when he makes music. You can sense that nothing distracted him in the process, and when you listen to his music nothing distracts you from that intimate moment you have listening to his music. To an extent music is pretty voyeuristic. We are listening in on other people’s thoughts and feelings. They know someone is listening; they just don’t know who. I’ve read vile criticism of this record from those who wanted Badlands part 2. It’s rally unfair to Alex because he’s one of the most passionate musicians out there; and to assume he’s going to make the same record over and over is just wrong. Same goes for many more, I know. But Alex’s music just stands out. I finally got to see him live this year, and watching him felt like you were witnessing someone unleash every demon that their body posses. It was a truly beautiful show. I interviewed him, and although it was done via email I could easily sense just how much music means to him. He’s not someone who’s had success come easy to him, and that hunger is firmly within him to keep making music. When I heard the song, Love Is The Devil it just broke my heart because it had this raw beauty to it, but pain also. It was overwhelming at times to listen to this record because of the rawness of it. The honesty in this record just makes you proud to be a fan of his music. Alex’s music makes you want to everything behind and fall in love with a gloomy European city that has history of romantic and haunting literature, with locals telling stories in dingy cafes.

Ezra Furman- Day Of The Dog. The hot pink cover did it for me. Ezra is an incredible song-writer; Day Of The Dog showcases this better than before. The songs are full of lust, self-doubt, hate (directed at the self and others) and is done in a way that doesn’t seem like it is self-pitying bullshit. So far from it. The philosophical lyrics with the delightful sax playing just makes this record a pleasure to listen to. For me, Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell is a brilliant “fuck you” and is the perfect soundtrack to those pissed off moods we are all prone to. Ezra has this way of touching on dark subjects in a way that disguises just how dark the feeling is. It’s the kind of music you speed off into the sunset too, where night-time is all you crave. His song-writing skills are enviable. He’s not afraid to pour his heart out for all to hear; for me that’s what makes this record wonderful.

Deptford Goth- Life After Defo. For the most part, what I listen to is some kind of take on Garage rock. However, sometimes something in music happens and I just fall for it. I have no idea what genre Deptford Goth’s music falls into. I don’t really care. There’s only two kinds of music for me- music I listen to and music I don’t listen to. Why waste your time on pointless sub-genres that feed those pretentious idiots out there. Deptford Goth’s debut record is one I have played constantly on train/tube journeys as everything is dark and the odd flickering street-light is all I see. I’ve walked country roads listening to this when I was living at my mum’s- when the evenings were light. His music fits the night-time perfectly. His gentle voice makes you feel as if you have something like a best friend walking with you to guide you through anything and everything. This is the kind of music that just stays locked in the heart. I’ve tried listening to Life After Defo when it is light out, but when you start to feel tired when on a long journey as the day fades- his music becomes so apt. I advise getting on a train just as it’s getting dark, head into your nearest city and walk around listening to this record. It just makes everything feel alright and secure.

SISU-Blood Tears. Fronted by Dum Dum Girls’ drummer Sandra (she’s also the best drummer I’ve ever seen live) SISU make hypnotic music to lose your mind to. Blood Tears has an eerie feel to it, as if it should be in some insanely fucked up horror film. Th best songs usually have this feel to them don’t they. Yet Sandra’s delicate voice makes you feel at ease. It’s the kind of record you play when the sky is covered in a haunting mist; the sounds will direct you where you want to go. You get lost in the beautiful moments that Blood Tears creates. Blood Tears posses this attitude that makes you think you can pretty much take anything and anyone on. Think, Garbage’s debut record- that kind of powerful. Dominant but not obnoxious in the slightest. It’s a powerful record that pretty much merges everything I love and adore about music.

PINS-Girls Like Us. Debut record of the year; no questions about it. This ferocious and dark debut record from the finest band in Manchester is one I’ve been playing on constant repeat since it came out. Every song is addictive. My love for PINS started last year when I heard the anthemic LuvU4Lyf. If you’ve seen PINS live, you will know just how pleasurable this song is to witness live. It is like a battle cry for hearts that are full of love; all bouts of lust have faded, and it has become something tougher. Speaking of tough, Girls Like Us has a gang-like feel to it. All too often I’ve seen PINS be described as a “girl band.” If only people defined music by what it sounds like rather than the gender of those making it. PINS are pretty much the most exciting band in the UK and I honestly cannot praise this record enough. It is, in my mind, a debut masterpiece. I’m so excited about how their sound is going to grow; I just bloody adore them. You get that, right?!

POP. 1280-Imps Of Perversion. The only person I know who really loves this band aside from myself is my uncle. We both share a mutual love for all things weird and loud. POP.1280 are one of the best bands on the brilliant Sacred Bones label. You see, Sacred Bones have never released a shit record. Some labels do have questionable moments; but Sacred Bones do take risks, and they do it in a way that means the listener is going to experience some of the best music imaginable. By no means are POP.1280 easy to listen to. This isn’t a record to woo a lover to or to play to your Gran at a family gathering. Oh no. Imps Of Perversion is a collective of perverse songs that you should play in your bedroom as loud as you want to. Feel as free as you want. Let the music fuck you up and over. It’ll go through your bones, smash your skull and leave you wondering why this isn’t played on commercial radio. Let them have your noise; you’ve got your own. Imps Of Perversion is as noisy and as brutal as it gets. This is one record I’d love to have witnessed the recording process for. It is brilliantly weird and wired.

The Long Wives- A Collection Of Demonstrations And Demons. I’ve been writing about Brandy for some time now, and since accidentally finding her music there’s not been a day where I’ve not listened to her haunting voice. Her voice is scary and powerful. Her songs show that she is one of the best song-writers around; the way she tells stories enables you to feel the fury she feels in her songs. This is her debut record, but it’s pretty much a collection of old songs and demos on there. It does have my favourite, Judas Hex on. It’s one of my favourite songs by Brandy, but to pin point what it is that I love about her music would take an eternity; I simply cannot justify my love for her music. If I ever had the money and was okay with being on a plane for 8 hours, I’d fly to LA and hang out with her in a graveyard and discuss life in general with her. She’s like a stripped back version of Zola Jesus; by this I mean her music makes you think. And I mean REALLY think about everything around you. Her music to me, is romantic and can cure the heart of any illness that is surrounding it. Her lyrics are vulnerable and the way she sings is just breathtaking. She’s an inspiration for sure.

Willis Earl Beal- Nobody Knows. From one musical genius to another; Willis is the man who is putting some much-needed soul into music right now. He appeals to the loner in me, which as I get older, becomes more and more obvious. I like my own company more than I used to, which  guess is an adjustment to getting older. I hate being in large groups of people, I just really hate it. Willis’ voice has a lot of soul to it, and his debut record had a lot of pain surrounding it. Read his background story, and you’ll see why. Nobody Knows has bouts of hope and strength in it. His song with the gorgeous Chan Marshall (Cat Power) just makes you feel as if everything is going to be alright again. It also makes you want them to make a full length record together. Followed by a tour is dingy, intimate venues. I can picture it now. Perfectly. Nobody Knows is the perfect middle finger to those who think most fall victim to that “second record” beast. It is obvious for the most part that it is a myth. Willis stamps all over it. His voice is extremely powerful; just look up videos of him singing without any music and you’ll quickly realise that he’s one of the greatest.

Savage Sister-Savage Sister. Savage Sister; with a name like that you’d think they’d be making menacing goth style music. They’re pretty much the opposite of that. They’re as gentle as Youth Lagoon, Beach House and Tamaryn combined. Basically, they are ideal. Their dream-like debut release is just ethereal from start to finish. Of course it is like you are floating amongst the clouds with your eyes shut as everything just passes you by. You don’t need to take notice of anything around you, because with this record, Savage Sister create moments for you that stay lodged in your brain and etched upon your heart forever. This debut release was one I’d been hugely excited for last year, and when I was emailed a copy I was so excited to finally hear it. There is something magical about this band; and they are much more than a sacred listen. Everyone should listen to them because they could possibly be the soundtrack to those memorable moments in your life. Savage Sister make music to float away and dream to. Listen and dream away.

CROCODILES- CRIMES OF PASSION. So this was pretty much an easy one. It was my record of the year before it was released; before I even heard it. I just knew it was going to blow my mind. I heard it a few months before it came out, and I was trembling with excitement as I listened to it. I get the same excitement now when I listen to it. I notice something different about each song with every listen. I initially thought I could pick one song that I loved the most, but I realised this wasn’t going to happen for me. I love She Splits Me Up but I love the lyrics to I Like It In The Dark (“I don’t have the time for a graveyard of the mind that they call shame.”) But I adore the whole romantic feel throughout the record. I was beyond excited to finally meet the band in the summer and to be able to see them live a couple of times; when I interviewed them about this record, I started picking up on different things about it. Songs that influenced by poets such as Baudelaire to Patti Smith. I’ve loved Crocodiles since the start and to hear them go from the likes of Neon Jesus to Marquis De Sade is just amazing. Live they are on a different level. Their fans really feel the music, and know they are part of something unruly and unconventional; that’s why I love them. If I was in a band, I’d want to have the same approach to music as Crocodiles do. There are so many reasons as to why Crimes Of Passion is my record of the year; but for the most part, the meanings are sentimental and close to my heart. VIVA CROCODILES!

In





“What a mess a little time makes to us when time and place collide.”

21 02 2013

Five years ago today I was sat in a room at University in an Online Journalism class. This module basically was for us all to start our own blog. What we did with it after the module ended was our own business I guess. I carried on. I carried on because I found a platform where I could express my love for music in a way I’d never done before. It wasn’t just music, it was life events and situations that also tie in with music. Which made me realise that music is my life, it truly truly is. Everyone has a passion in life, it’s obviously what mine is.

Over the past five years of running this blog I have been fortunate enough to befriend bands (Royal Chant, I’m looking at you..lovingly of course) and I’ve discovered new bands that have just blown my mind. I’ve interviewed bands/singers that have inspired me in many ways (meeting Warpaint was beyond words) and I also made my role model, Shirley Manson cry with a piece I wrote about how important Garbage’s record Bleed Like Me is to me.  Being thanked by Crocodiles for something I wrote about them meant more to me than I ever thought it would. I’ve never been paid to write anything, and as clichéd as it sounds- no amount of money can put a price on any of that, and also how much I love writing about music.

I’m still convinced that the only person who reads this is my mum. I’ll never get why anyone would go out of their way to read one of my rants, but when I get an email or whatever from someone on the other side of the world telling me they connected with something I’ve written; it justifies why I write. I do it for me, but I also do it in the hopes someone who loves music as much as I do doesn’t feel so alone and strange with their love for it.

Take comfort where you can.





The Long Wives-Break You In.

20 02 2013

brandy-st-john

“Marks on your back, speak of sin.”

I’ve resigned myself to the fact (and it isn’t a bad thing at all) that the only solid source of comfort I have is probably found in a song by The Long Wives. I’ve honestly never found a singer who releases so much music as frequently as she does, and I am so thankful for that. It seems she releases something when I am in need of feeling something other than I do; her dark and vulnerable words do something that nothing else has done.

With its glorious religious imagery and vengeful words, Break You In is enough to shatter a tough heart and weaken the strongest of minds. When she sings, “I’ve served my time” I can feel all my frustrations pour out into this song, Maybe 9.30am is far too early to have these deep feelings, but they are there. And maybe some of them have to come out.

What I love about Brandy’s music is that I do not relate it to anyone but myself. I’m not a selfish person, but this is as selfish as I get to be honest. I can relate to every single word she has sung and written down; they remind me of nobody but myself. No other band or singer has ever done that. I usually listen to a song and I can associate it with something or someone. Thankfully with Brandy’s music, I just direct it to myself. Maybe it’s self-indulgent, or maybe it is much-needed. I’m going with the latter.

Her voice always does something overwhelming and incredible to me, as if it is some kind of catharsis. It is a release of sorts, and quite frankly, a much-needed one. Break You In shows just how strong Brandy’s voice is. They was she sings certain words just posses such strength and determination, there’s no way you couldn’t relate to her words. The fury and passion in her words and music just shows she is more than a singer. She’s a poet, a storyteller with words that come strictly from the heart. As awfully clichéd as it is, she is real. She has a raw talent and posses delicate words that make you feel at ease. I’ve never felt at home anywhere, ever. But her words are like home. Comforting and safe yet brutally honest.

To compare this song or any of her music to someone else would be a foolish mistake, and maybe I’ve done that before but songs like this just cement how rare Brandy is. I’d say we need more singers/bands like her, but I don’t want that. I’m just happy one person is making music as honest and as ethereal as this.

You can listen to Break You In here: https://soundcloud.com/thelongwives/break-you-in-the-long-wives

 





THE LONG WIVES-The Hollow Fin.

21 01 2013

brandy-st-john

“Tender words unspoken, turn so cruel on their vine.”

Brandy St.John is probably one of my favourite singers ever. She isn’t as big as most, but she has the same captivating and gentle power that is found in the adored Patti Smith. Brandy St.John’s lyrics expose the darkness that everyone seems to run from. I don’t just listen to her music; I study her words. I study her words as if I am reading poetry. Her lyrics are sheer poetry. In poetry you get Poe. Hidden messages in everything isn’t there. Sometimes. It’s not hidden for I’ve just written it down, and you can see it (if you read this.)

This morning before I went to the gym, I saw that Brandy had put up a new song. She’s a machine. A music making machine that I hope never ever stops. So, I put in my headphones and listened delicately to The Hollow Fin. I stopped what I was doing, and gazed outside as I listened to her beautiful voice. I wish there was a word that was more powerful than the word “beautiful” to describe her voice. Her voice is so hypnotic. I gazed outside and watched the snow fall (I say snow.but it’s trying. Lord knows is it trying.) Every flake that fell to the ground fell with purpose but no destination in particular. The flakes may have wanted to fall straight down, but the swayed with the cold breeze and just flurried about. My thoughts remained fixed.

I took in everything I heard whilst listening to The Hollow Fin. I glanced at the lyrics from time to time, and I thought of every fuck up I have ever done. Every wrong I’ve ever done. I struggled to think of the good. It is so easy to beat ourselves up over things we have no control over. I don’t want to control others, and my self-control is alright. I listened to The Hollow Fin, and my head was at a place calm. My heart however, knew I was stuck. A constant battle that is just eased by musicians like this. Musicians that are not afraid to go so deep and dark. My notebooks are full of poetry like this (with the occasional cheerful poem) but I’d rather point someone in the direction of The Long Wives or whoever than let anyone read what I write down in my tattered notebooks. Spare yourself.

All that The Hollow Fin is, is just Brandy and a guitar. To me it is obviously much more. As her music is so stripped, you become a bit obsessed with her voice and lyrics. I will always be massively in love with her song, Judas Hex and I do believe that The Hollow Fin is going to head the same way. I play Judas Hex a few times a day. I don’t think I could really define why, it’s just something I simply must do. The Hollow Fin has hints of regret and wonder. I’m not familiar with regrets. If I allowed myself to regret I’d be a mess. You have to just let things and people go at times. We’ve all caused hurt and we’ve all been hurt. There are musicians out there that can nurse our hurt and soothe our souls.

My favourite line from the song has to be this: “But love is vicious when it dies.” Anyone who has lost a love may know just how true this is. It doesn’t have to be a romantic kind of love. It can be friendship too. Like I said before, you just have to let some things in life go. You can cling, but you cannot have a firm grip forever.

I do hope The Long Wives comes to the UK soon, I really do. These are songs that you need to see on dimly lit stage. A purely intimate setting.

You can listen to The Hollow Fin here:https://soundcloud.com/#thelongwives/the-hollow-fin-the-long-wives

Let her gentle voice and honest words claim a piece of your heart.





“Waiting for the stars to align, there is a restless rain cloud in my mind. Heavy eyes fixed in the middle of the room.”

5 01 2013

Many have frequently stated that you must suffer for your art. I’m unsure how true this is, or if I even believe it. Surely if you are a good writer or painter, you can place yourself in various positions without having to hit rock bottom. You can empathise with those who are in a dark place rather than torturing yourself on a daily basis.

I write songs/poems. I personally think they are bloody awful. I don’t show them because I don’t want anyone to see how shit they are. However, I do have some stupid dream of having them published in a book one day. I haven’t done anything about it because the fear of rejection plagues me more than I want it to not because I am lazy. Some of what I have written is quite dark, but not because I feel so utterly hopeless and depressed. I know what depression. I’ve seen what it does to people, and I’ve never felt like that. People who say they are depressed but can still go out and function aren’t depressed. You cannot move, you cannot do a thing; that’s depression. My gran had it before I was born, and a bit when I was younger. Friends have battled with it, and there is nothing you can do but watch helplessly hoping one day it leaves them alone so they can go back to being the person they once were. You don’t need to be in love to write about love. Feelings of love and joy can fill you by watching a certain film, listening to a certain song or gazing at a piece of art. It is everywhere. Everything and nothing can be inspiring.

Being able to put yourself in the mind-set of others teaches you to be a more accepting and gentle person. I’ll happily be the first to admit that I am far too sensitive. I know I need to toughen up, but it just will not ever happen. I cannot be cruel to get something I want. I cannot harm someone on purpose; I’d rather just hug everyone instead. I’d like to think one day that being a gentle soul will go in my favour. Until then, I wait. Or just accept it. Same thing I suppose.

I’m drawn to the darker things. Dark songs, creepy literature. It is all fascinating. I’m not religious at all (I believe there’s a spiritual being above us all, but not in a powerful sense) but anything that questions God or whatever in songs really gets my attention. That’s why I love bands like Dum Dum Girls, Crocodiles and The Long Wives. There are religious references, but not in a “I BELIEVE IN GOD AND YOU MUST TOO” kind of way; far from it. I am all for people questioning each other in a non-threatening manner. I’m not religious but that doesn’t mean I’m going to belittle someone who does. We all have our own things to believe in; nobody should ever try to shy someone away from what they believe in. Unless it means promoting hatred and intolerance, then I’ve got an issue with it.

I honestly had no point in writing this. I never do. It’s a cheap outlet I suppose, as always. I just thin we need to stop thinking we must feel low and hopeless in order to achieve something great. You can function being a happy person. But it seems, when you are happy people have an issue with it. Yet when you feel like shit, people may deem you as being draining. You cannot win, so forget them. Yet I know it is hard. You do not need to suffer in order to do something of worth. You justify your own worth, not the objects and people that surround you.

That’ll do for now.