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!

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WILLIS EARL BEAL-Nobody Knows.

2 09 2013

 

 

 

Those who struggle with their own reflection and for those who constantly feel uncomfortable in the skin they were placed in; there is an outlet for all of these ugly feelings. Sometimes you are not the one who gets them out, sometimes it is someone else with not just a gift, but a blessing to unleash everything you feel because sometimes, you just physically cannot do it.

At the start of 2012 I wrote about a singer that I accidentally found, proving that sometimes accidents are no bad thing. I became fascinated with Willis Earl Beal’s music because there was nothing about him floating around on the internet. Nobody knew who he was. Nobody knew really where he was. Those that found him were more than likely feeling the same as me; lost. And those that listened to him immediately felt as if they had found some kind of home in his music.

Willis posses the soul of Sam Cooke and the gnarly,raspy drawl of Tom Waits. Willis has soul, and it is infectious. It is the most beautiful thing. Willis had nothing before his debut record was released. He was homeless. He made posters with his number on for people to call just to hear him sing. Willis took it back to how it should have been done, how it always should be done. So what has he done a year on from his debut?

Well, his music is still as raw. His music is still as heartbreaking. Nobody Knows is a phenomenal record, and I sincerely hope this is labelled as a record of the year because it is seriously unlike anything else we’ve had in such a long long time. Chan Marshall (Cat Power) features on Coming Through; with her distinctive voice and Willis’ heartbreaking (it is the only way to describe his voice) just sounds so perfect. I can only hope that this is the start of something musically beautiful between the two. I hope they make a haunting Blues kind of record; enough to make you feel like you’ve experienced the worst kind of pain possible, but tough enough to pull through it.

Whilst his debut, Acousmatic Sorcery seemed to focus on dealing with isolation and despair- Nobody Knows seems to have slightly more positive tones to it. Yet, Willis has a voice that is just made to break your heart mainly because of how much soul is there and how you can tell every single word he is singing means the world to him. And because of this, his words mean everything to you.

I’m too young to have experienced the likes of Howlin’ Wolf first time round, but I can imagine those that were fortunate enough to do so felt like I did the first time I ever heard Willis Earl Beal. Nobody Knows is the kind of record you play when you’re searching for answers that nothing nor no one can seem to give you. Too Dry To Cry is a wonderful example of how strong his voice is. The production on this record is just as raw as Willis’ voice. I think if you listen to his music and you don’t believe him, you’re not listening to it right. I know I’m being entirely biased, but I really cannot understand how anyone could not fall hopelessly and helplessly in love with Willis Earl Beal.

One thing I’ve noticed (amongst many) is that Nobody Knows fits perfectly after Acousmatic Sorcery. Acousmatic Sorcery is the thunderstorm and Nobody Knows is that much-needed sunshine. Nobody Knows is another raw record that serves as a beacon of hope. Sure it may be a bit more positive than his debut, but there are songs on this record that will just bring you to the brink of tears; the song I have in mind that may possibly ruin you is What’s The Deal? It’s a song that resembles being the only person left in a bar and consuming too much alcohol. It is the realisation of being alone, even if you are pathetically told over and over again that you aren’t.

Willis sums up the best and worst feelings a person can have in his music, and that’s what makes him a source of comfort and an ounce of strength for when you really have nothing left. He’s my generation’s Townes Van Zandt, and I am so proud to be a fan of Willis Earl Beal.





Lyrics Of 2012.

5 10 2012

I know the second I publish this I will want to change everything. I hate that I do this, but maybe I’ll write this and not look back on it. I hate looking back on anything I ever write because I always find fault. It is like looking in the mirror the second before you leave the house, and you think “I’m actually going to go outside with this face, and people will see…shit.” But, some things you have to do. Of course I don’t have to do this, but I want to. Mainly because I may be slightly bored. I don’t even know.

Lyrics are hugely important to me. I won’t care for a song unless I feel something for the lyrics. Lyrics can make you feel less alone, less shit and just give you comfort that you cannot get from a person. Yes it is all well and good knowing you are loved and can love; but at 4am when you’re alone and you feel like you’re hitting rock bottom- sometimes all you have is a song. You may turn on the radio and you catch a part of a song that just sums up how you feel. Or you may play your favourite song of all time to just get a piece of mind. So you can fall asleep without anything disturbing your mind.

There are so many songs I could have chosen for this. I know I have missed some out, and that alone pisses me off. I’ve limited myself to ten lyrics, but I know I could easily listen a lot more. These aren’t lyrics that I thought were clever or sounded good. They are lyrics that just mean a lot to me. Okay, so maybe the Swim Deep lyric I chose may not mean a lot- but the innocence behind it means a lot. Oh and they reference Warpaint so obviously I needed to mention it. One of my main issues was choosing which Dum Dum Girls lyric to use. Mine Tonight, Lord Knows and I Got Nothing have all got lyrics that mean a lot to me. All of End Of Daze is so pure and beautiful. But I went with Season In Hell because this specific line just grabbed me a bit more, I guess. I’m writing this listening to End Of Daze, and I’m close to changing my mind… I’ll try to refrain from doing so.

So, in order..here are my favourite lyrics of 2012 (I know it’s October but the world may end on 21st December so I’m just being prepared.)

10.  Swim Deep-King City : “And fuck your romance. I wanna pretend that Jenny Lee Lindberg is my girlfriend.” When I sing this, I always change it to all members of Warpaint. Sometimes I just use Emily Kokal’s name instead. I remember hearing this song for the first time and just being utterly in awe of the dream-like atmosphere they create with their sound. They are truly one of the best bands to have come out of Birmingham in a bloody long time. If their debut record comes out next year, I reckon it’ll easily be one of the best things we hear.

9. Mystery Jets-Someone Purer : “I was gripped with a bit of fear. Worried the one thing that I loved back when I was just a kid, might now never be enough.” Radlands is one of the best records of the year, that is so obvious. The opening of Someone Purer is one of my favourites of the year. Blaine’s delicate voice makes you cling onto every single word right from the start. You tremble and identify with every word. We’re told that, as we get older we should be more sure of ourselves. Thing is, I think someone of us get older and become less sure of ourselves. It is seen as a bad thing, but I don’t believe it is. We’re all works in progress and you cannot progress if you think you are above change and being honest with yourself. You can adapt to your surroundings, but at some point you know you want to be more. You want to see more. Someone Purer echoes adult frustrations through child-like innocence. It is just beautiful.

8. Willis Earl Beal- Monotony : “Could it be malaise? Or am I depressed? Just a life-long phase. I am not indirect, don’t consider me blessed. But don’t consider me cursed, in this chaotic mess. I guess that it could be worse.” Willis Earl Beal is the year’s greatest solo male artist. Sure he’s been around quite some time now, but his debut record came out this year and when I listened to it, Monotony was the song that gripped itself around my heart and head. These lyrics alone just show the sheer genius of Willis. His music hits you right in the soul.

7. Saint Lou Lou-Maybe You : “And if you’ve got an emptiness inside, you should let our worlds recollide.” I’m fairly sure Maybe You is my favourite song of the year. All year I had been waiting for a song to have this hold on me. I have to listen to it about 20 times a day or I just feel a bit sad. The lyrics are quite sad, but the music is so soothing and gentle. Yet, when you truly listen to it- you feel your heart-break. I know nobody ever wants to feel sad. But the sadness you get from listening to Maybe You is the kind of sadness that can be created and cured by the same thing. Music does this a lot, it’s not a bad thing. Sometimes you just have to feel sad; to remind yourself. However, the song also offers some reassurance and any wrong that has been done to you doesn’t have to matter. One person will get you through, even if their eyes are sad.

6. Garbage-Beloved Freak : “People lie and people steal. They misinterpret how you feel. And so we doubt and we conceal.” Garbage are my life so whatever I say about this song, I have more than likely said about their songs a hundred times before. They’re one of the few bands that, when I mention them or if anyone mentions them to me, I just feel instantly better. Not Your Kind Of People was the only record this year that I had truly truly been waiting for. It was all I wanted, and had been wanting for so long. I guess this year everything I wanted/had waited for, had actually happened. Some are music based, but the most important thing wasn’t music based. But I’m not telling you. You don’t need to know. What I love about Garbage is how vulnerable Shirley’s lyrics are. One every record of theirs, they have at least 2 or 3 songs that just ooze vulnerability. Or songs that are for those who aren’t sure and a bit lost. Run Baby Run to Medication to The Trick Is To Keep Breathing to Tell Me Where It Hurts and all in-between. Beloved Freak made me bawl when I first heard it, and I still get teary-eyed when I play it. It is the perfect end to a wonderful record. It just makes you feel less horrendous and allows a small dose of self-acceptance to creep in. Something we all need.

5. Cat Power- Always On My Own : “I want to live my way of living.” Everything I just said above about Garbage, I feel about Cat Power. Sun was another record I had been bursting to hear this year. Highly anticipated and greatly loved from the first listen. I cannot pick a favourite song off Sun, but I can easily pick my favourite lyric. This line is just so utterly perfect and so fucking true. When you have to change your way of living because of your surroundings, it gets you down. It breaks you and ruins you. Then you leave; and you’re happy. Then you come back, and you’re just a shell of who you are. Yet, the only good thing is that the ones you love don’t get to see that. Imagine if they saw you at your lowest. No thanks. Cat Power has always provided comfort for the soul. My love for You Are Free is insane. That record is like a guide for life. I guess most of her songs can be seen as that. I just love her so much.

4. Beach House-Myth : “Can’t keep hanging on to what is dead and gone. If you build yourself a myth, you’d know just what to give. Materialise, or let the ashes fly.” I remember where I was and the day when I first heard Myth. I needed it. I was just about to leave here to try start my life again somewhere else. My life consists of false starts; this eventually would turn into a massive false start, but I had to do it. I’ll probably keep doing it, and I may never get it right. Beach House are good for the soul. Beach House mend you. They put you back together again. They make every part of you feel warm and loved; even if you are without love. They make you feel as if you are in love, even if you’re not with anyone at all. The power in their music constantly leaves me in awe. So delicate and ethereal. For me, Myth is the process of letting go. Let go of the bad, and create something better. It may be make believe for others, but who cares? So long as you believe, nothing else matters. This specific part of the song just means the world to me. You know when something is so personal, no words can actually describe it and all it means to you? That’s how I feel about it, and how I feel about the vast majority of their songs.

3. Metric-Artificial Nocturne : “I’m just as fucked up as they say. I can’t fake the daytime. Found an entrance to escape into the dark. Got false lights for the sun. It’s an artificial nocturne; it’s an outsider’s escape for a broken heart.” Oh Emily Haines. How you manage to unleash a fraction of my thoughts in one verse. You’ve done it again. You always do it. This is another example of a perfect album opener. Hearing this was enough for me to know Synthetica was going to be an incredible record. I’m still going through my phase of playing this song about 5 times before I play the rest of the record. Artificial Nocturne just shows that Emily Haines is more than a song-writer. Her words are poetry. Her words are life, her life, your life, my life- everything. There is something so vital about this song. It provides a lifeline. It gives hope. It makes you feel as if she is projecting all your ugly feelings and making them into something beautiful. We all need that, sometimes we need it more times than we care to acknowledge.

2. Crocodiles- No Black Clouds For Dee Dee : “No more lost girls walking from you. No more sickness sleeping in you. No more
fools spit judgements on you. No more dead birds raining on you.” Quite possibly the best love song of the year. Endless Flowers is probably my favourite full length record of the year. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love them. After FINALLY seeing them live this year, and this song too; my love for them just grew. I didn’t think it could, but it turns out after waiting over 3 years to see a band that mean more than the world to you, causes your love and admiration for them to just explode. I could pick any song off Endless Flowers, but I chose No Black Clouds For Dee Dee because it is such an honest yet simple love song. It just oozes devotion and the urge to look after the one you love. When you listen to this, you cannot help but think of the one you love. The keeper of your heart. Romance and love isn’t expensive gifts and pretentious prose. Romance and love is being totally honest and gentle actions. This song just portrays this in the most beautiful and open way possible. I love everything about this song.

1. Dum Dum Girls- Season In Hell : “A confession’s not a cure. There’s always darkness to endure, on the path to be redeemed.” At first I wanted to go with something from Lord Knows. Then I went to Mine Tonight. I decided on Season In Hell because I just really love this lyric. I cannot tell you how many times I have played End Of Daze since it came in the post last week. It’s on constant repeat. I play it EVERYWHERE. Season In Hell is just perfect. It makes you feel GOOD. The line I chose to use is so true, so apt. Dee Dee is one of my favourite song-writers easily. I personally feel she is my generation’s Patti Smith. Her words are so powerful, even when they seem quite frail and delicate. You take such strength from it because you know someone else has endured the same battle as you. I could quite happily write a thousand more words on this song, this lyric but you just have to listen to it, to fully understand how important it is. The whole song just lifts your spirits. Not everything stays shit forever. You won’t feel like this forever, because nothing in life is permanent. Not even life itself. I love the ending too, “Lift your gaze, it’s the end of daze.” It is just wonderful. There are so many words I could use to describe the lyric I chose, but none are good enough. All I know is that it is my favourite I’ve heard all year, pretty much speaks for itself really.





Willis Earl Beal-Monotony (video.)

4 04 2012

My love for Willis is huge. It is going to spiral out of control, and I refuse to feel bad about it. I don’t know anyone personally who loves this guy. I guess I’ll cling onto that and keep it as sacred listening. The album (Acousmatic Sorcery) is the year’s best debut record. Forget what you’ve heard, this is THE ONE. It is pure, frail, raw and truthful. Everything about it is just so deep and powerful.

Personally, my favourite track off the record is Monotony. The lyrics just really mean a lot to me. Listen to the song, its pretty easy to understand why. The video is as moving as the song. The bouts of vulnerabilty and openess in this track is just utterly comforting- and much needed in music right now. Willis is the saviour.





Willis Earl Beal-Acousmatic Sorcery.

30 03 2012

This is not a record for anyone who feels content and complete with life. This is a record for those that feel like they have lost everything, but are searching for something. This is a record for those who fight even though they are so tired, and sick of everything. And everything. I’m taking back my comment about Lana putting out the best debut record of the year. That’s just a distant memory. I’m not being fickle with this, I just didn’t know Willis was putting out a record this year. So, as he is it is only right that Acousmatic Sorcery is labelled as THE best debut record of the year. By an American artist. You see, 2:54 are set to put out their debut record this year and when that drops I will call it THE best debut record by a UK band. I just love music a hell of a lot, and to call out something as my favourite always gives me a headache and eternal clashing in my heart.

You want the Blues? You want a voice that is so pure and gnarly at times? You’ll find it all in Willis’ debut record. I listen to it, and no part of me can actually believe that this is a debut record. It sounds like something you would find in those town halls that have record stalls up every month. Its one of those records you’d find there, and think “I wish I was around when this came out…how did I live so long without it?!” Then you see it was released in 2012, and you cannot get your heart around it.

He has the pain of Townes Van Zandt and the storytelling and vocals that remind you of a young Tom Waits. It is one of the most vulnerable and spiritual records I’ve heard, and probably will ever hear. You listen to it, and you feel every single word Willis is singing. You feel a bit troubled, you feel a bit weary, you just FEEL. As someone who adores music that conveys raw emotion and takes you to a place that most would run from, I find Acousmatic Sorcery to be so utterly perfect. I never listen to anything to find fault in it. I’m not that kind if person. I listen to music to find certain parts to fall in love with. Whether it be a specific note or the way something is sung- I just look for that one part that makes me glad to still be breathing. I cannot find that in one song here, I find it in every single song.

Every insecurity and trouble you are carrying on your back is being projected in this record for you. You don’t need to hide and cry no more because Willis Earl Beal is singing about it in a way that you wish you could. It’s ONLY his first record, and he’s already got the ability to make you feel like you have heard this before. That you’ve felt this connection before. It is timeless and is just a beautiful work of art.

Sambo Joe From The Rainbow is so stripped back. It is basic and innocent. Some may take this as a diss, but for Willis  is a compliment. When something is so stripped back and just sends you off into another world, you know you have found the singer that has captured your heart for the rest of time.

Ghost Robot feels like a ritualistic chant that makes you want to sing along. Make your own drum out of something and beat it until your hands bleed. Sing along until your lungs ache and your mouth is bone dry. The whole record feels like some kind of spiritual experience. You feel like you are being healed from something, anything, everything as you listen to this. You listen to it and you can feel so much. You’ll feel hurt, you’ll feel happy, you’ll feel pissed off (Ghost Robot will make you want to start a protest.) You’ll just get a huge clarification with all your feelings from this record.

The outsiders of the world will fall in love with this, if they know what’s good for them. You want Gaga to preach about how its okay to be a “freak”? Alright then. You trust in the words of a woman who wears a meat dress, and I’ll go with this pure, rugged, delicate, honest young man who is coming from his heart and hitting right into mine.

Acousmatic Sorcery goes beyond being the truth. It is a record that wonderfully falls into NO genre. If you want to go label it, then that’s your call. I refuse to call it anything but wonderful. It ignites your soul and makes you feel so bloody alive. Swing On Low just moves you like someone experiencing something religious would. I know that seeing him live would probably be such a magical moment. You’d leave with your jaw on the ground and tears falling heavily from your eyes because you cannot believe what you have seen.

I’m pretty much heading that way right now listening to this. I feel I have been searching a hell of a long time to find something like this. For the most part it is just Willis and a guitar tugging at your heartstrings and making you feel okay with how you feel. He echoes your fears and frustrations. He sees the world in a way I wish more of us did. Because if we did, the world would feel much more gentle and welcoming. It is okay to be vulnerable and delicate. Id’ rather be how I am than act like a rock to keep people away. No one is always strong. Fall apart kid, but fix yourself by listening to Willis Earl Beal.

Acousmatic Sorcery proves that music is at its best when it is bare and open. The best songs created are like this. My personal favourite track off the record has to be  Monotony. I feel every single lyric more than I wish to, but I’m glad I do. Things are tough and crap right now, but this record has given me some much-needed hope.  I’ve never felt like I’ve had a home or ever belonged anywhere, I find peace and comfort in music; just like I do in this record. And for these reasons alone, I am calling it out as my favourite debut record of the year.





Willis Earl Beal- Evening’s Kiss (video.)

25 02 2012

Willis is probably the best thing that is going to happen to music this year. If you choose to ignore him now, don’t claim to be a fan in a couple of months time when he is huge, okay? Good. Because people like that annoy me. I don’t need to tell you how amazing Willis is, it is pretty much obvious really. His voice is enough to crush the world’s strongest person. He is what the music industry is. America, you got lucky with this one. What has England got? Well, judging by last week’s Brit Awards it is fair to say FUCK ALL. Oh, but I forgot..we can’t have an opinion on that can we. Bullshit. It was fucking stupid and let’s face it, Kate Bush is beyond awards. She doesn’t need your approval.

So, Willis. You need to listen to his music. The video was illustrated and directed by Willis which just shows how amazing he is. He is a TRUE artist, and you just know he will not be compromising who is in order for you to listen to him. The fact he does it HIS way and is real, that makes him accessible and just a pleasure to listen to. I have every bit of confidence that he will have a longer shelf life than most. Much like one of his inspirations; Tom Waits.





Willis Earl Beal.

18 02 2012

From my own point of view, one of the greatest feelings you can experience is finding a singer or band that just leave you utterly stunned. They leave you feeling like you have heard something so rare. It leaves you just frozen in awe.  They have this mysterious quality about them that just makes you want to know what drives them, influences them- everything from an art perspective. You don’t care what they had for dinner- you want to know what book changed their life or what singer made them want to sing. This is what is important. Save the personal details, I want to know what fuels you.

I know NOTHING about Willis. All I know is that he is just a pure, raw talent. Most will label him as “the black Tom Waits.” Oh look at society paying attention to colour before talent again. Idiots. If he was white, would that even be mentioned? No. Not at all. I live in hope that ONE day, we see the person before their colour or any physical form. We aren’t judged on our skin colour, religion, sexuality etc. I have to live in hope otherwise I’ll just give up. Cannot give up…just yet. However, Willis is okay with being “the black Tom Waits.” Ignore colour, anyone who wants to be an artist like Tom Waits is worthy of your time, and devotion. And I firmly believe that Willis will be just as powerful as Tom. In my mind, he already is.

Willis, I think, may end up being my favourite solo artist this year. Anyone who knows me even slightly knows I have a HUGE fucking love for the Blues. The proper Blues. The kind where you can feel all the troubles coming from the singer. You feel all their pain, urges and struggles. You feel it all because it sounds so raw.

http://soundcloud.com/hotcharity/willis-earl-beal-evenings-kiss

Willis’ record, Acousmatic Sorcery is out in the US at the start of April. I have no idea when or even if it will be released in the UK. I’m willing to pay a stupid amount of money for an imported copy. It’s worth going hungry for. The album was recorded between 2007 and 2009. All good things come to those who wait. So if you have been waiting for some honest Bluesy kind of music, then your wait is now over.

He has, at times a dark and tame voice. Then at other times it is gravely and troublesome. Regardless of how he sings, it always sounds so heartfelt. You know he FEELS every single word he is singing. That’s what we need. He is what the music industry need. You can keep your manufactured, overproduced and dull artists. I’m sticking with the ones that are true to their art, and do the unexpected, just like Willis.

He’s just stunning. If I could praise him more than this, I really would. But..well, he’s one of those singers that let the music do it all. You don’t need to know anything about him- all you need to do is listen to his music. It sums it up perfectly.