VHS DEATH.

11 01 2020

 

VHSDEATH

 

I’ve said it many times before, there is something really special about Bristol. I don’t need to give you names of the bands I love from there- you already know. There is something about the music scene there that is so diverse, so special and just a joy to listen to. It’s just a haven of exceptional talent, which leads me onto VHS Death.

 VHS Death is the solo project of Natalie Wardle (previously of Returning Videotapes) who is based in Bristol. VHS Death is this beautifully haunting project that is full of these dark and eerie Industrial sounds. Natalie’s debut release as VHS Death consists of seven songs that will hit you in the soul and will be swarming round your head for days. Hawkmoth (Death Head) is just shy of seven minutes long, and it is such an incredibly open song. The lyrics are so brutally honest, and the way Natalie speaks and sings them over this heavy Industrial sound will just blow your mind.

 

 

Although the record came out in November, we can say that this song is one of the heaviest and most honest songs we will get this year. It is heavy in many ways, and I know some of us don’t want deep and meaningful- we want music to be an escape, but with this-it brings you into the reality. It’s nothing short of perfect.

 These seven songs on Llorona are brilliant insight into Natalie’s mind, and these songs are just a masterpiece. They are this captivating journey into the world of VHS Death. I love sounds like this. Sure, at heart, I’m a Punk but I love this sound. Bands like Psychic TV, Cold Cave, Drab Majesty- I bloody love them. VHS Death is up there for bands that will move you, for me. Easily. This is all Natalie’s work, and you can truly hear the passion and devotion to this project in the songs.  I adored Returning Videotapes, but VHS Death is a different direction- and that’s what we need. There are bits of the song DMT that remind me a little bit of A Forest by The Cure. It’s the atmospheric background sound that feels like a grey mist clouding your surroundings. It is wonderful, and just a real joy to listen to.

 Each song is so easy to become obsessed with, and I think when you first listen to this record you see it as this eerie and slightly dangerous body of work. But the more you listen and let yourself mentally dissect the songs- you see it as something completely different. There is so much going on but that doesn’t mean it is a difficult listen at all, far from it. You can truly imagine these songs in a live setting and songs like Prey and Nothing are probably the ones that’ll blow us all away when we see a VHS Death show.

 Something that is just beyond incredible is that Natalie will be taking this project to LA in October as part of the Deathwave Records Festival. If I had a hell of a lot of money, I’d fly Business Class and go out there for it. I say Business Class because I want to be able to sleep in a bed and forget the fact I am up in the sky and cannot roam round freely or get off at the next stop. Maybe one day.

 

 

Broken Glass is a heavenly seven minute euphoric delight, and after it we a treated to the gentle and ethereal Elara. These two songs together are something to really treasure. The way they flow into each other really shows how exceptional Natalie is, and how with just one record as VHS Death has made something you want more and more of. I really cannot wait to see what happens next with this project.

 You can stay up to date with all the VHS Death information you need here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/VHSxDEATH





THE LONG WIVES: Feel It All Wrong.

19 12 2019

Image result for the long wives

 

“Someday we’ll be brand new again
Someday we’ll be reborn.”

 

If there’s one person I vow to always write about, it will always be The Long Wives aka Brandy St.John. Her music means the world to me. Beyond the world. I remember when I first discovered her music many years ago, and I get that same feeling every time I listen to her. She seems to release a song just when I need it, and right now I do.

This time of year has now become a time of year I loathe. With the loss of my Grandma 4 months ago, everything and anything has felt wrong. I’ve been in a whirlwind of feelings I’m not sure of what to do with, but I have them so there’s that. Brandy St.John recently released the gorgeous and haunting Feel It All Wrong, and I can honestly say it is one of her most moving songs to date. She has this way with words that just makes you feel a little less alone, and a little less ashamed of what you carry on your shoulders.

The power she has in her has always left me in awe, and on this song it’s the combination of lyrics that hit you in the soul and her voice combined that really hit you. Brandy has this way with words that would make most envious, she has this gorgeous way of just putting you in these scenarios and really testing your strength by accepting your weaknesses. For me, that’s the sign of someone who goes above and beyond a musician. She is truly something else; I think she’s a superhero.

 

 

There are many parts to this song that I cherish, but this section of lyrics will break and mend your heart:

“I am the child again
and I feel it all wrong
Don’t spend your nights
Lost in the years it was all wrong
All that you’ve known is broken will, broken bone
Don’t give your nights to those who will steal it all before you go on.”

There is something about the above that you just connect to. I hope one day she puts her lyrics into a book because they truly read like poetry. I’d probably buy every copy to be honest. Whilst I’ve resigned myself to the fact that she may never tour the UK, we’ve got songs like this to carry us through.

For me, there is quite simply no one else like her and there never will be. Artists like Brandy are rare and so vital. Her music has been and continues to be such a huge part of my life because there is such beauty and hope in her words. I have no idea if anyone has tried to label her music but to be honest, I highly doubt you could. It’s out of this world- just like Patti Smith, Nick Cave and Townes Van Zandt.

Once you’ve listened to Feel It All Wrong, I encourage you to go and listen to her previous work. The darkness in the sound and the beauty in all she creates on this song, and the rest of her work stays with you and personally- it’s artists like Brandy that reinforce my love for music and writing about it. She is truly one of a kind.





HATE MOSS.

2 12 2019

HATEMOSS

 

There is so much that I love about Hate Moss that I have no idea where to begin. The name of the band alone should make you love them. This Brazilian/Italian duo are based in London, and I think if I still lived in London, they would be THAT band that I constantly go see. They have something about them that just makes you really want to invest in them. As far as duos go, they’re up there with the best of them. They take elements of bands I love and make something of their own which is beautifully dark and creepy.

I think the best time to listen to Hate Moss is, well, all the time! But aside from that, listening to them in the dark when nothing and no one is around is an ideal setting. I’ve got a few bands that I listen to like this, and there’s something so sacred about listening to music in this vulnerable setting. I guess in a way, it makes you really soak up everything that’s going on in a more heightened manner.

 

 

Hate Moss don’t make sounds for those wanting sickly delicate emotions and thoughts. They’re for those who aren’t afraid to stay on the edge of something that could probably terrify someone else. Their songs have this euphoric glow to them, and it is really brought to life on songs such as The Time Your Remake which is 8 minutes of sheer heaven. Their synth-based sounds remind me of the likes of Drab Majesty and my all-time love, Cold Cave. They give you this atmosphere that gets you right in the gut.

Hate Moss totally stop you in your tracks when you listen to them. You simply can’t do anything when you listen to them apart from just that- listen to them. The vocals will send shivers right through you, and the music alone will increase everything you could possibly feel when listening to them. Two people are doing this- just two people. The incredible thing is that they don’t have that many songs, but every song feels like this ethereal cloak of darkness that you want to constantly cover you. They are such a special band, and you can really hear where they want to go when you stop and listen to their music.

Songs like Evil and Honey were made for you to just play really, loud. They’re the kind of songs you can see yourself screaming back at the band. Sometimes you just find a band or a song that you absolutely cling to, and these songs because your everything for that specific moment in your life.

 

 

I could quite happily switch off from the world and listen to Hate Moss on a loop. I could also sleep for a few days because I am so tired. But anyway, Hate Moss have something about them that just makes you feel like their live shows are really something else. This duo really knows how to get the listener right in the gut, and with just a handful of songs- they have mastered this perfectly.





FANTAZMAZ: Better In My Head.

1 12 2019

fantamaz

 

This isn’t going to be long, because I’m not well and I’m not happy that I had to pass on seeing Amyl & The Sniffers tonight. I saw them earlier in the year, and I was SO excited about seeing them tonight. But it’s not meant to be. Instead, I made myself pizza and watched a film. I’m mad at myself for getting ill. I eat vegetables, I take vitamins and I do my best to look after myself (and the planet by not eating animals!) but it happens. I just wish it happened earlier or not at all! Anyway, you’re not here for that and neither am I.

Fantazmaz have just one song out, and that one song is powerful enough to write about. With the world evidently on its tits at the moment and lies being spat at us by pretty much every politician, it’s pretty easy to cling onto bands or a song that let out our frustrations, and Fantazmaz do exactly that. They are fronted by Thamila who has such fury in her vocals, and just reels you in immediately. I can only liken her to Amy from Amyl & The Sniffers, and I mean that because when I first heard Amy I thought “OH SHIT! WHAT IS THIS!?” And I was hooked, Thamila has done exactly the same. Raf and Chokis keep this fury up with their guitar and bass, then you have Edgar on the drums and it feels like he is the one sort of pushing the band to be louder and unapologetically ferocious. They may just have one song for now, but this one song is enough to make you really believe in this band.

 

 

I love how this song feels like you’re escaping everything around you and opting for living in your head. I wouldn’t recommend living in mine, but when you can create a world to escape from it gives you this comfort and to be honest, we all need that. It is such a vital Punk song, and once you hear it- it really stays with you. You have the chorus repeating in your head like a mantra, and it’s a pretty cool one to take on.

You can stream/buy the song on their Bandcamp page, and you can keep up to date with the band right here. I cannot wait to hear more from them because two minutes and nineteen seconds just isn’t enough!

Play it loud!





BANKS: O2 Ritz, Manchester. 1st November 2019.

2 11 2019

BANKS

 

Last night was only my third time seeing BANKS, but to see her perform the songs from her new record III was a completely different experience from the past two shows.

Her voice is stronger than ever, her confidence has grown, and she is easily one of the best performers you’ll ever see. I can safely say this morning that my voice is a bit fucked. I sang my little heart out last night, something which I rarely do. I guess I felt I needed to get everything out. Her music is soothing, it is healing and just makes everything alright. She’s is nothing short of phenomenal.

 She opens her set with Til Now, which is a powerful anthem. It’s a solid ‘fuck you’ and BANKS does this so well. On stage all she needs is Derek, Ben, Nadine and Allison. Nadine and Alison, along with BANKS move in ways that make you feel like you are at something that is more than just a concert. There is something so ethereal and magical about watching the three of them move together. Of course, I lose my mind when Stroke starts. I told my girlfriend we should have brought red bandanas or something to recreate the moves but luckily, we improvised (nearly smacking each other!) During the set I was stood near a guy who was absolutely having the time of his life; moving in ways we all should at shows and screaming every word back at Jillian. That’s how you do it. I think I spent more time watching him! Something I love seeing at BANKS’ shows is just how passionate her fans are. Everyone just screams the words back, as if we have been waiting our whole lives to just get this all out. She is a phenomenal writer, and like I mentioned above her vocals have become even stronger.

 

 

There are so many perfect moments during the show, but for me it came from the most tender and vulnerable part- when she recited her poem, Ode To The Grey Zone, that’s when it all fell into place for me. I was one of them who filmed the whole thing- I just had to. It is such a gorgeous and vulnerable piece of art, and it is something that is so comforting. I needed it. There are so many highlights from her new record that came to life last night. One of the most important ones was If We Were Made Of Water. Did I expect to hear it? Hell no. I lost my mind. It is such a strong song, and on record her vocals on this are insane but when you witness it live, you take on a different meaning. That’s what I love about Jillian- when you see her perform these songs after religiously playing them at home, they really do take on a different meaning. They become a bigger part of you, and that’s the part you cling to. Always.

 Seeing everyone lose their mind to Gimme was brilliant. I think this, and Underdog are the ones that caused me and my girlfriend to absolutely ruin our voice and wake up with sore throats this morning. Completely worth it. Drowning and Waiting Game were as always, a joy to witness. I love that she’s switched up the set, and even though I wanted to see This Is What It Feels Like again- seeing If We Were Made Of Water just completed it all for me. Poltergeist was ridiculous. I love the choreography to this. I think for me, the best part of the show choreography wise was Contaminated. It is such a heartbreaking song, but when you see it performed it takes on a new life almost. The way it is performed is so heartbreaking, and you feel slightly voyeuristic watching it- seeing something so fragile. But even in BANKS’ tender moments, there is so much strength and I love that about her so much. Alaska caused everyone to lose their mind as did Underdog. The whole set was a delight, and I’m just so excited to watch her keep evolving as a performer and writer. She truly is a Goddess. Also, the songs playing before she came on stage made me love her even more. My girlfriend, who is a huge Lil’ Kim fan left her place in the drinks queue to run up to me and recite the lyrics. I fucking love her. Before BANKS came on stage Where My Girls At by 702 was playing- pretty sure I was treating everyone to a nice rendition of that. She played so much Missy too, which is a given!

As someone who has been a fan right from the start, seeing Jillian grow and become the performer she is now is truly beautiful. The chapter of III is her showing us how she has grown and blossomed into this confident performer. I’ve always loved how you can see how much she loves playing shows on her face. When she performs Beggin’ For Thread, and hands the mic to the crowd this beautiful smile takes her over and the dimples shows us just how much it means to her. Maybe because she sees how much it means to us too. Seeing Godless and Propaganda live were out of this world too. Definitely a highlight for sure.

With just three records she has become this vital part of music, and so many people’s lives. I loved seeing so many people from our LGBTQ+  community in the crowd. It felt like home, it felt like a safe space and given the state of the world right now- this is what we need. Her music is a safety net, her shows make you feel like you finally belong and being who you are is enough. The world puts us down enough, we don’t need to do it to ourselves.

 

 

Last night was the first night of the UK/EU III tour; so, if you are lucky enough to be going, you are in for a real treat. If you’ve never seen BANKS live before, prepare to have your mind blown. If you’ve seen her before, you’ll truly see how she has grown, and you’ll just be so proud of her.





BAD BANGS.

30 10 2019

 

BADBANGS

 

Bad Bangs are an exceptional Garage Rock band from Melbourne. Their songs are made to make you move, maybe get a little emotional, a little drunk if you want and just have a good time to them. Their debut EP, Grow It Out came out last year and they recently released a new song called Too Much.

They may not have much about them online, but there’s enough to get you hooked good and proper. They have this Bluesy feel to their music, and they remind me a little of the Goddesses that are, L.A. Witch. They have something spooky about them, something really powerful and just captivating. Bad Bangs make the kind of music to lose your shit to, and their song Time is definitely one to go all out on. That instrumental towards the end is so grand and just exceptional. You can really imagine them going nuts to this live.

I really love that you can hear this DIY sound coming right through. All the songs are written (and sung) by Shelby. She’s got such a distinctive voice; it’s distorted in all the right places and it is so strong. She has so much power in her vocals, and her lyrics are just so relatable. You connect so easily with their songs, and this is part of the appeal. The band currently has Ben on bass and Tim on drums. On the EP, Monica Ireland was the drummer. That’s just a little bit of trivia for you.

 

 

Moody is their sun-kissed anthem. This is the song you waste your day to, and just take time out for yourself. Treat it as self-care if you want, but it’s the song that you absolutely soak up and let it take over your soul. This lo-fi sound is something I can’t get enough of, they really put their all into what they do, and you can sense that from the jump on this EP and it is apparent on their new song too. You can’t help but feel that their live shows are totally wild and inspiring. For now, I think Other Side might be my favourite from the EP, but Moody is truly something else. All I know is that with just one EP they’ve made a huge impression.

During the summer they released Crush which again, is another sun-kissed anthem. They have this stunning way of just making you feel like you’ve escaped to the beach and away from all of life’s troubles. The song is delicate in all the right places, but there’s this slight aggression on the guitar that compliments the vocals so well. Shelby is an incredible guitarist, and the way she and Tim sound together is so good. Mix that with Ben’s bass and you’ve got a dream sound on your hands. They truly are such an exciting band, and once you start listening to them- that’s it.

Bad Bangs have such a slick sound, and they sound like a band who have been doing this for decades. They have such a refreshing sound, and this is the kind of sound that just takes over your heart and soul, and whatever else you are willing to allow music take from you. Although there’s an EP and a couple of other songs, Bad Brains have really made their mark. I love how they have this classic lo-fi sound mixed with Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound feel; then they add something of their own that’s not been heard before, and it just makes you fall instantly in love with what you’re hearing.

 

 

I really hope we get to hear more from them, and somehow, they make it over to the UK and play some shows. Bands like this don’t come around often, and what Bad Bangs are doing is something remarkable. They take everything I adore about music and make something to just blow your mind in the most euphoric way imaginable.

These three musicians are nothing short of enthralling, and I hope they get you hooked on their sound like I am. Play loud!





VIVIAN GIRLS: Memory

28 09 2019

 

VG Memory

 

A week has passed since the new record by Vivian Girls came out. When they announced they were reuniting and putting out a new record in July this year, I felt the same excitement a kid at Christmas gets. This was my kind of Christmas. I finally listened to the record in full today, on repeat. I’ve got a lot of thoughts and feelings about the record, every one of them is positive of course. Having a band that you’ve adored for so long come back and come back with this kind of record makes everything a little bit better.

 Memory is a record that us Vivian Girls fans are going to just obsess over. However, if you’ve never listened to their music before; allow yourself to have your mind blown and your soul soothed. Vivian Girls are good for the soul, and they have truly excelled themselves on their fourth record. Every record of theirs has this gorgeous and gentle atmosphere, and Memory keeps that up. The songs are made for lazy days, and to give you some hope when you feel a bit hopeless and alone. They give you this feel of sunshine on your bones even when it is murky outside. They make you feel like you are away from where you are. It really is an exceptional record that was worth the wait. 

It is a hypnotic lo-fi record that if you’re already a fan of the band, just reinforces your love for them. If you’re new to them, it’ll make you feel like you’ve known them all your life. They have kept that same eerie and haunting tone, mixed with sun-kissed sounds that ease you. They have perfected this sound, and they did so just over a decade ago. How they’ve done it now just makes you feel like you aren’t slipping into a wave of nostalgia, no chance. They make you feel as if you have grown with them. Lonely Girl is the song that has swam right into my heart and choked me up. Everything about this song gives the listener comfort and some form of safety.

 

 

At the moment, I will certainly take safety from music because I think it’s what I need. I cannot cope with my Gran’s death at all, and I need something to just take me away from it all for a while- I’m using this record as the most beautiful form of escapism I can find right now. The song feels like a sunset, with gentle waves hitting the rocks on the beach. It is comforting in unconventional ways, and I’ll take that.

I love the heaviness in Sludge. It is just over 2 minutes long, but you cannot help but keep going back to it for when you want a lesser dreamy sound. It feels like something from a film. A film scored by Vivian Girls would definitely have my attention. They have never sounded so good, and it’s not just because we’ve missed them. Ali has been one of my favourite drummers for so long, and on this record, she has developed a more distinctive sound, and that flows so beautifully into Cassie and Katy. They are just the most perfect band, and I’m just so pleased that they have made this record. It was the right time, we really needed it. We’ll always need this band.

If I could drive, this would be the kind of record I would go on long drives to as the sun sets and the road becomes more and more desolate. Cruising into the unknown with Vivian Girls as my guide. It sounds perfect. On the other side of this, they make you feel like you’re on an L.A. beach just watching the world go by. I’m Far Away is again another song to have on repeat. Over and over. The best way to listen to this record is often, and constantly hitting repeat. Play it in order, then play it however you want. Obsess over certain songs, then play another. Go into it however you want once you’ve played it in full- it still flows beautifully. However, I just need to mention that All Your Promises is the one that you should always end your listening on. There is something about it that makes you feel like this is the song that just MUST hear last. It’s got a finality to it that is just so pure; I can’t get enough of it. It is truly a masterpiece. A real Vivian Girls masterpiece. The artwork kind of sets the mood in a way- you feel like you’re in a whirl of hazy sunshine- with the purples and deeper shades of blue leaving you in awe. A late summer’s evening with music for company.

 Aside from the Memory sounding divine, the production on this is out of this world. It is a record that has been made with a lot of love, a lot of care and a lot of thought. They haven’t just made this record for the hell of it. I think they needed to make it as much as we needed the record. It’s a sentimental record, and you just cannot get enough of it. It’s such a light and feel-good record, there are absolutely no fillers- just gorgeous moments to fall in love with, over and over.

 

 

Like I mentioned, if you’ve never listened to Vivian Girls before then dive headfirst into Memory then work your way through their discography in whatever way you want. You can be traditional with It, or you can be a little rebel- it’s all on you. As someone who has been hugely in love with this band for nearly 10 years, I can honestly say that this is their best record.

 It’s s lo-fi gem full of songs to just feel utterly free to. Let go and listen.