Bands I Fell In Love With In 2013.

13 12 2013

I had a lot of bands in mind with this, but there was one person in particular I was excited to write about here with pure respect and admiration. I read this evening that this person, The Child Of Lov had died. I’m a sentimental person, and for the most part I think it probably does more harm than good. The heart is still torn over Lou Reed’s passing; that’s something I don’t think I’ll ever get my head around. Anyway, this is dedicated t0 The Child Of Lov- with love and honesty, this one is for him.

There have been so many bands and singers that truly blew my mind this year. I don’t like to listen to one style of music, I find that to be pretty dull. I’ve never enjoyed the company of anyone who just listens to one kind of music. Yes my heart is in Punk, but I’m open to all kinds of music (aside from dance, I don’t enjoy dance music.)

I’ve attempted to shorten this to 10 bands/singers that really meant something to me this year. Some I found accidentally, and some found me. You’d have to ask them if it was an accident or not.

VIRALS- I saw them live twice this year, both times supporting Crocodiles. Shaun is an excellent frontman. He doesn’t speak much to the crowd, and I like that. I’m not one for bands talking a lot to the crowd, I’m not really sure why. Virals are a brilliant band who just have this massive thrashing feel to their sound. Their sound is the harsher side of summer. The side where you’re bored with everything and you roam the streets kicking other people’s rubbish along the way as you walk somewhere. Anywhere. So long as it is away from where you are. They were an absolute joy to watch live, one of the few bands that you just couldn’t get tired of watching.

Mikey & The Drags- I adore Garage Rock. I love how for me, it has that same brutality and passion as Punk had. Mikey & The Drags captivate everything that Garage Rock means to me. Their sensual grooves and a bite to their sound that just makes them tower above the rest, they make you wish you were in a band. In my dreams I am, ha. For me, this band are enough to make anyone who doubts the current state of music a firm believer again. Their songs are short (think Ramones) and make you want to thrash your body about- into walls, into people, deep into the music. They’re a band that need to be played louder than most just so they can set your body free.

Frank’s Daughter- Reinforcing my love for duos, Frank’s Daughter are spectacular. They formed in Brooklyn over whisky and wine, so it is no surprise that they were destined to make gorgeous music. Frank’s Daughter make music that is full of nostalgia, but not wanting to hold onto the past. They make you recall certain life events with a small grin on your face- content with moving on in your life and as a person. It is like they are guiding you through, holding your hand through it all when everyone and everything else has turned its back on you.

Savage Sister- I think I first wrote about them this year? All I know is that I adore their ethereal sound that glows in bands such as Tamaryn and Beach House. Savage Sister are that band you play late at night with the lights off. It doesn’t matter what is floating around your head- they just make it alright. Their name may sound a bit aggressive but their sound is anything but. They calm the soul in ways nothing else has really come close to. Savage Sister make music that is the soundtrack to those pleasant dreams that you never want to end. You could live in your head if you want; that way the dreams will never end.

Ancient Times- One guy making his own kind of noise. Another exceptional talent on the exquisite Soft Power Records. This Brighton wonder-kid is truly making his own scene, leaving a trail of baffled yet mesmerised listeners in his path. I likened George’s vocals to Morrissey’s this year when I wrote about him. I guess this would put small-minded buffoons off him, but I’m sure there are more that are attracted to this, fortunately! His vulnerable voice is what did it for me. When you can hear every word sung with pure emotion, that’s when you know you have found something truly special. Again, I hope 2014 is just as good to him as 2013 has been. He really does deserve it.

Roses- Another band from LA that cause me to occasionally be bored with England are Roses. However, Roses have that 80s Manchester feel to their music. Romance mixed with cynicism, best way to be at times. Maybe most of the time. When I listen to them, I try to figure out why I love them, but I just can’t. I think that’s part of why I love them. Roses have something about them that just makes you want to keep on listening. They make you forget all the bands you are currently into, and you just cast all your attention over to them. Although they are from LA, they don’t posses a “typical” LA sound, and for me, I think is part of the attraction. Roses are a band I’m excited to hear more from next year and beyond.

Girl Tears- Again, another excellent band from the Westcoast that blew my mind this year. I said they sounded like the Ramones and The Cramps having it off with each other. I still stand by that. They smack you in the face with their rambunctious and infectious sound, whilst freaking you out at the same time. Some bands try to do this, but they seem to be lacking something. I don’t know what, I just write about music I love. I stay away from music I don’t like. There’s no point wasting thousands of words on something I don’t like. Girl Tears aren’t afraid to be different, and their sound is so natural and bold. They make you want to throw stuff about. Throw your limbs about if you want, just to be safe. Yeah they are brutal but in a way that isn’t too “shocking.” They’re just a loud band that are extremely talented. Easily one of my favourites this year, no doubt.

The #1s- Playing with a sense of urgency that makes the listeners ears prick up immediately, The #1s are an exceptional band who are just a joy to listen to. When you listen to them, you straight away pick up on just how exciting they must be to see live. Their songs are fast and punchy. Hit repeat so it never ends; creating new moments each time. You scream the words back them until you feel your throat is beaten and scratched. They make music that is easy to relate to- for all those everyday frustrations that you just need to pour out of yourself; The #1s do it for you in a way you wish you could. Maybe one day you will, but for now you’ve got bands like this doing it for you. But hey, one day we must stop being lazy with our emotions.

Woman’s Hour- With all the brutal sounds I seem to enjoy listening to, I must balance it out. Woman’s Hour are another exciting band on Luv Luv Luv Records (listen to Only Real- he’s exceptional too.)Woman’s Hour are an exceptionally delicate band. They are fragile with their words and sounds. They carefully craft music that can break and mend the heart. They of course, do something to the soul too. Fiona’s voice is like Jessie Ware met Sade and went into the afterlife to bring Aaliyah back to us. Everything about them is so precious, and I think it is obvious that 2014 is going to be very good to them.

The Child Of Lov-  It’s hard to write about someone who’s music really blew you away, only to find out you’ll never hear anything from them again. The Child Of Lov made music to loosen your limbs to. He had that genius quality to his music that is found in the likes of Burial, Jai Paul and Kindness. He was just a joy to listen to. It’s hard to get your head around something like this. I listen to Fly, and it’s hard to imagine that nothing like this is going to come from him again. Of course what we have is beautiful, and of course notion of what could have been does come kicking in. We’ve got the music. It may only be one record, but it was one record that truly blew my mind this year. He had an alluring mystery to his music. You were (and still are) left with a sense of wonder and thousands of questions when you listen to his music. Obviously other questions now arise, but like I said- at least we have the music. He’s at peace now, and I guess that’s something we can take comfort in.

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“….and if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.”

25 01 2013

records

‘Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don’t have any surface noise. I said, “Listen, mate, *life* has surface noise.” ‘~ John Peel.

There are a few things in life that really piss me off, but they aren’t that important so I let them go. There are things I do not understand, so again, I let them go. For instance, I do not understand why a person would link their Twitter account or Tumblr account to Facebook. Why would you do that? Or, why would you watch a programme and update Facebook or whatever every 5 seconds about it. Don’t get me started on those who did the whole “IT’S SNOWING OUTSIDE” shit. I have eyes, I can see- I also have windows. Cheers Michael Fish. Pointless. These things aren’t really important because it shows how boring our lives have become. I’m not an interesting person. My daily routine consists of going to the gym for 2 hours, come home and look for jobs until I feel my self-worth leave me and I start to hate everything. I then go listen to my records and read a book. I also do a lot of writing. Writing that no one will ever see, because I can handle someone saying “Olivia, that shit you write on your site is awful please stop.” I’ll stop one day, rejoice in that. But if someone read what I wrote in my notebooks and said “Your poetry is WAAAAAAAAANK.” I don’t know how I’d deal with that. It’s probably why I’m too much of a wuss to ever get anything published, let alone read. Sure I’ve shown the odd poem/song to a few but I know they’re only saying it’s alright so they don’t offend me. Racisim, homophobia, any form of discrimination offends me. Telling me I’m crap at something doesn’t mean as much. I’ll toughen up. Lord knows I’m trying. This leads onto something, but I’ve gone round the houses to get there.

I am massively against downloading music. I hate it and I’d like to punch those that do. It’s on a par with those who use Kindles and think it is better than picking up a book. A book, made out of paper that if you drop it..IT DOESN’T BREAK. Imagine breaking someone’s Kindle..oh the sheer joy. Don’t get me started on iPads and whatnot. I’m not a technophobe, I just see how technology is making people more and more stupid; and how they cannot function unless they have some kind of gadget in their hand.

Alright so, I’m against downloading music. Why? Because I want to be able to HOLD the cd/cassette/vinyl in my hand. I want to go into a shop and interact with the staff (you can tell I worked at HMV,right?) I want to wander around for ages and find something I thought I’d never find again. I want to get butterflies in my belly when I find a record I adore. I want all of that, and I don’t want some idiot telling me that record stores are dying out, that we must download. Piss right OFF.

I’ve taken to going to the market in town to buy my records because it is truly my idea of heaven. I go there when I’m having a rough day. I take some money out of my account, and I clutch it in my pocket hoping I find something. I always do. Always. I’ve found Transformer by Lou Reed, a Sarah Vaughan LP and a few 7″ singles by The Jesus And Mary Chain. I’ll never win the lottery, but finding these and more was my equivalent of doing so. There’s something so peaceful (and personal) about going record shopping. I feel the same way about books too. I’m not really someone you want to go book/record shopping with because I can (and do) spend hours just looking; always leaving with something. I remember the first time I went to the market to buy some records, and the old man said to me “We never get any young people in here buying records” and we just had a discussion for about 20 minutes about the beauty of records. I think I’m a 70-year-old trapped in a 26 year old’s body. I was born at the wrong time, and I’ll never fit in. I’ve accepted this as not being a bad thing. I’ve always been like this.

My mum used to play a record with Scott McKenzie and Jefferson Airplane on when I was a baby to get me to sleep. I used to pretend I couldn’t sleep just so I could listen to it. It was the crackling sound at the end of every song that used to make my heart skip a beat. It was the crackling sound that made the imperfections so perfect. You cannot get this from downloading a song, you just can’t. It doesn’t feel personal. It doesn’t feel as if it was made for you.

I’m fortunate enough to be sent a lot of free music. I don’t do this to get free music, so far from it. If I didn’t write about music, I’d have no reason. I really wouldn’t. I get sent free music, but for the most part I go out and buy it on cd/vinyl as soon as its out. I couldn’t call myself a music lover and never buy music. That’d be hypocritical, and just wrong. It’d go against all I believe in, and I don’t like it when someone tries to sway me on things like this. Hate it. I’m not writing this to call out people who download or whatever. I couldn’t care less. It’s just, I know there is percentage of music lovers out there who love spending hours in record shops, holding the record and going home to listen to it.

There’s another thing that irks me a lot about this. People who think it’s alright to leak new records or to just download an album without paying for it. It pisses me off because, these musicians- their music is their LIFE. That’s how they make their money. Would you go to your local shop and steal some milk? No, you wouldn’t. So why is a shop keeper any different to your favourite musician? If they’re your favourite musician, surely you’d want to pay for the music so you could support them. Steal their music= they never make any money which means they never tour and you bitch about never seeing them. Pay for their music=they make a living and you get to see them live. For me, it’s a no brainer. The latter will ALWAYS win.

I adore the fact that so many new bands are putting their music out on cassette. I bought a few last year, and one came in the post this morning (thank you to Bek at Soft Power Records!) and I may not play them as much as I’d play a CD because I don’t want the quality to be ruined. The same goes for my records. I own two records by The Ink Spots that I refuse to play to death. I don’t want the quality to fade. These guys were around in the 30s/40s; the way their records sounds to this digital bollocks is, well, you just cannot compare at all. I will take the crackling imperfections over the over-produced dullness any day.

I have a lot of love reserved for the likes of Sacred Bones, Art Fag, Soft Power Records and Zoo Music because they put out music on tape and vinyl. It appeals to those who spend hours getting lost in record shops. Lost in their own little world and when they find something they’ve been aching to find; well, there’s nothing on earth you can compare it to. Collecting limited edition 7″ singles from your favourite band is so beautiful. When I’m 80, I’ll still be playing them with fond memories. I love going to record shops and buying a record on the day it comes out. I used to miss lessons at college and university to do this. I once did it when I bought Bleed Like Me by Garbage. I got off the bus, my mum got on the bus. “You’re home early.” I told her the truth, she said it was alright. She understands.

Last year the sales of vinyl went up, but sadly that isn’t enough to shut these gadget obsessed fools up is it. I think if you have to explain why its important, then maybe you’re fighting a losing battle. I don’t wish to convert anyone or anything like that; mainly because my words don’t hold that much power nor will anyone read this. I know if anyone does, they’ll just assume I’m a dick. They don’t know me, so I guess they’re pathetic for passing judgement. I haven’t written anything as long as this in a while. It’s a shame so many words have gone to waste, but we all need to unleash our frustrations at times don’t we.

I personally don’t think record shops are going to die out. People are still going to want to physically purchase music. There’s a record shop in Soho that has a record by The Walker Brothers that I’m going to try to get next week/the week after. I’ll be spending my time wisely (I’m using it as a reward for when I’ve handed my CV out to anyone who will take it!) Record shop owners are as passionate about selling you music as the musicians are as making it. My dream has always been to own my own record shop, but I have no money so that’s one I can just kiss goodbye. Music is such an important force. To dumb it down and make people just download music without going to a shop and buying it..it’s just really sad. You can tie it in with how society is fucked, but you don’t need me to tell you that. I’m pretty sure you can work that one out yourself.

I’ll give you some songs from bands that have put out some brilliant tapes/vinyl recently. Go support your local record shop. They need you, and you need them.





VIRALS.

19 01 2013

 

Shaun Hencher. Used to be in a band called Lovvers (they were good, go listen) now he’s on his own as VIRALS.

The EP, Strange Fruit will warm your bones and turn your brain to mush because of how gorgeous and how beautifully rambunctious it is. It is the right level of noisy. It is the right setting of rowdy. It’s the kind of EP you play when you feel hopeless and all sense of hopelessness slips from you as you listen to it. If you know nothing about Shaun’s musical background, you’d probably think “Oh he’s from LA.” So wrong you are. So very wrong. He’s from Worcester. You can make your own mind up if anything good has ever come from there. Personally I believe yes something good has come from there; Shaun Hencher of course.

The EP begins with the wonderful Strange Fruit but I think Summer Girls is the one that may take over hearts. And also thoughts. Although it is an EP, and yes you do want more (just hit repeat) you cannot help but be led straight into a warmer climate in dreams as you listen to this blissful piece of art. At times VIRALS remind you of a tame version of Wavves, but it’s just one person doing all this. One person is making this beautiful sound. I know my heart seems to reside with duos but I could easily reel off a list of solo artists that are just as powerful; VIRALS is one of them for sure.

https://soundcloud.com/#virals-music/summer-girls

A constant summer mood drifts throughout the EP, making you feel at ease with how the outdoors is quite dull and dark. VIRALS is another reason as to why I wish I had the money to go to SXSW this year, there will never come a time where I don’t hate myself for having no money and not being able to go. One day, one day. I don’t care if I’m 80 years old and I have to crawl to the plane; I will go.

You don’t really need me to tell you how brilliant this EP is, anyone who was a fan of Lovvers knows just how much of a genius Shaun is so of course VIRALS is going to be so close to perfection.

Strange Fruit is out now on Zoo Music (http://www.killzoomusic.com/)