MAC MILLER: Good News.

14 01 2020

tout

 

From last Friday, the only song I’ve listened to is Good News by Mac Miller. I won’t declare to be his biggest fan, but I absolutely adored him and his music. I thought he had something about him that just made you feel less alone, and less weird. It’s totally okay to be weird, but I mean in a headspace kind of way. When he released Swimming in 2018 I felt like, and I think most did, that this was HIS record. The record he had always been destined to make. I imagined the tour and how these songs would sound live. I was one of the unlucky ones who never got to a Mac show.

Then he left us. It’s a loss that ripped through so many. Mac wasn’t just a rapper. He was something else, something bigger. His way with words, his soothing voice, his production skills, his mind, his talent- everything. It was just out of this world. After the release of Swimming, I wasn’t sure if we would get anything else. That was until last week when it was announced that Circles will be released this Friday. I’m so excited about it, but I know it’s going to be a tough listen. Good News came out last Friday; initially I found it too painful to listen to. The second I heard his voice, I cried. If you want to understand the power of this song- check out Anthony Fantano’s review on YouTube. He breaks down, and it’s so easy to understand why.

As someone who has a daily battle with depression and anxiety, and with it being worse with the loss of my Grandma recently- I cling onto the songs that really hit me. I sometimes search for them. They’re in the music I love and own already, but something else has been needed. That’s why Good News really hit me in the gut. The essence of it? People only want to know you when you’ve got something good to say. No one wants to hear the bad side, and how you wish you could escape your mind for a little while.

The first verse is so brutally honest and delicate:

“I spent the whole day in my head

Do a little spring cleanin’

I’m always too busy dreamin’

Well, maybe I should wake up instead

A lot of things I regret, but I just say, “I forget”

Why can’t it just be easy?

Why does everybody need me to stay?

Oh, I hate the feeling

When you’re high but you’re underneath the ceiling

Got the cards in my hand, I hate dealing, yeah

Get everything I need then I’m gone, but it ain’t stealing

Can I get a break?

I wish that I could just get out my goddamn way

What is there to say?

There ain’t a better time than today

But maybe I’ll lay down for a little, yeah

Instead of always trying to figure everything out

And all I do is say sorry

Half the time I don’t even know what I’m saying it about.”

 I don’t think there’s anyone in this world that hasn’t related to a single part of this verse. Being tired of being tired and feeling like shit is exhausting; Mac sums it up in the most accurate and beautiful way possible. He does it so simply, he doesn’t need to go overboard or be pretentious with his words. They naturally come out like this, and that is why it is so easy to connect with this song and his words. It’s why we are fucking miss him.

 

 

The song feels like a journey. The ending of the song makes you feel like he has written this from the other side; that he’s got to where he wanted to go to have a clear headspace. Or maybe he’s realising it can get better. The latter makes it more heartbreaking. Although he had been around for ages, Swimming was the record he needed to make and it was going to take him places. But, the universe didn’t work out that way. I feel that Good News is his way of letting us know that in time, it’ll be alright. It’s a really tough listen, even if you’re not a Mac fan you’ll probably still find it a tough listen.

Mac’s voice is so soothing on this. I mean, it always is but there’s something about Good News and Self Care that make you feel he is talking right to you and is letting you know it’ll all be alright. He had that about him. Wise beyond his years.

Good News is a heartbreaking listen, but it is an important one. Maybe it’ll be your crutch. Maybe it’ll get you out of that rut. Maybe, just maybe.





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





MINI SKIRT.

7 01 2020

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Finding information about the band Mini Skirt is impossible without searches bringing up weird images and the like. Fortunately, I’ve got what I need to write about this proper rowdy band. A band that make you feel like you’re listening to Black Flag for the first time. Are you ready to throw things out of the window and trash your living room? Yes? No? It doesn’t matter. Mini Skirt are a brilliant band who have this refreshing angst and humour in their music.

 Mini Skirt formed in Byron Bay (yes, another Australian band that I’m writing about) and although I know basically nothing about the Australian music scene (I know what I like, and what I’m not big on) I can safely say that there are some fucking incredible bands out there. I’ve written about the ones I’ve found and loved, but I know there’s more out there. It’s the turn of Mini Skirt right now, and there’s something about their extremely honest and to the point lyrics that just makes you fall in love with them instantly. They have this charm that makes you feel like you’re hanging out with your best friends; they see the world in a way that may or may not irk some, but they’re telling us what they see and what they see in others. They unleash their disappointments and the like, and the way they express it is done in a way that you wish more would do. Their humour is what lures you in but it’s their evident talent that keeps you there. Completely locked in.

 

 

A band I can liken them to is Viagra Boys- they both have this undeniable charm and wit in their songs, and it is just a real privilege to listen to. Mini Skirt are a band that observe, and I mean really observe. Their song (Untitled) taken from Hello Possums (ten points if you get the reference!) is one of my favourites, and it really captures the way we observe others, ourselves and the world; and how our thoughts can just turn into a bunch of nothingness. Sometimes you just gorm out and your brain focuses on things that probably hold no worth to others, but it matters to you. So, it does matter.

 I’m not entirely sure when the band started, it may have been around 2016 with their Taste EP- which you must listen to! They have such a solid and gnarly sound; they’re just consistently brilliant, and I think that’s why what they do works. Songs like Out Of Place (from 2016) to last year’s Pretty shows just how far they have come, and how their sound has got stronger and the toughness in the lyrics is really coming through. Mini Skirt aren’t afraid to be brutally honest and call out bullshitters. We need more of that, and the way they call out various injustices is brilliant. Dying Majority is a prime example of this and is definitely one of the most vital songs of our time. Listen to it. Listen to it really loud and take in the lyrics. Going back to the Taste EP; it is made up of 6 songs that are the perfect introduction to the band. If you’re going to start here with the band, then you won’t be sorry. Songs like Billy Elliot and Dogs are so effortlessly great, and they have this lo-fi sound that makes you feel like you’re watching them rehearse right in front of you. If only we could be that lucky! It’s such a fantastic EP. They aren’t afraid to call people/society out on their shitty behaviour, and that alone makes them easy to love.

 

 

Mini Skirt are nothing short of exceptional, and I hope they take over the world someday…somehow. I love everything about their sound. I love how they make music for them, and aren’t afraid to be bold and honest, and of course- loud. The snarls in the vocals (especially on Security) to the drums that sound like a riot and everything else, it’s just incredible. They’re made up of some of the best musicians you’ll probably ever hear, and their newest release Pretty shows us that. Go listen to all the music they’ve given us, and you’ll truly hear something that will blow your mind.

 

*photo by Dougal Gorman





DRAGGS.

7 01 2020

DRAGGS

 

So, we know that Kel Mason from Gee Tee is an exceptional musician, right? If you’re a fan of Gee Tee then you’re probably aware of his other project, DRAGGS. DRAGGS are ridiculous. They’re this super lo-fi sounding band that are really creepy. You don’t feel safe when you listen to them, and I’m totally fine with that. I love the heaviness of the sound, and I love how really weird it all is.

 DRAGGS are obscure and everything you want from creepy sounding lo-fi Garage Rock. I’m hooked. I love how distorted it all is, how difficult to listen to it is- I mean this in the best way possible. They aren’t an easy listen, and I love that about them. I love how you have to be really focused to listen to DRAGGS in order to really get the sound. This isn’t a band that you casually listen to, oh no! This is a band that you set time aside for, so you can really hear everything that’s going on. And trust me, there’s a LOT going on.

 

 

The more you listen to DRAGGS, the more obvious it is that Kel is a genius. That’s for another post though, right now I just really want to tell you as many reasons as I can as to why DRAGGS are incredible- but maybe you already know this. If you do, then sorry for wasting your time. Anyway, the thing to really become obsessed with is the production. The production on their records is INSANE. It is pretty much perfect, but there’s this strong DIY feel that just makes you feel like you could do this. Maybe you could. Are YOU the next Kel Mason? Let’s move on quickly.

 DRAGGS sound like you’ve taken Night Nurse during the day and you’re attempting to hold yourself together. There’s this woozy feel to their sound that I’ve not really heard before. Or maybe I have, but with DRAGGS it is something else. You feel like you have zero control over anything, and sometimes that is totally fine. Songs like New Teeth, Slob City and the whole of Slime Street will make you feel odd, but in a good way. This is some of the weirdest music I’ve ever heard, and I adore it. It’s part futuristic, part outer body experience. There’s enough going on here to keep you hooked- I just love how weird and off the wall it all is. It’s something that I know I’ll keep going back to. But like I said, DRAGGS aren’t a band that you just listen to casually. You need to really focus when you listen to them; you might miss something important if not!

 

 

 

Slob City and 3D Funeral are two of DRAGGS releases that were made to purely blow the minds of anyone who listens to them, and they truly succeed in doing this. I absolutely adore the Slime Street release, but to be honest I just find the whole catalogue of music to be nothing short of fantastic. They don’t make for an easy listen, and I’m all for that.





HIDEOUS SUN DEMON.

5 01 2020

HSD

 

Here’s another great Australian band for you; Hideous Sun Demon. A three-piece Garage Punk band from Melbourne via Perth. Three buddies who have an incredible sound that you cannot help but play at a volume that would cause others to complain. The band were recommended to me, and can safely say that I am so glad that they were.

With a number of releases to their name now, Hideous Sun Demon have a solid sound that makes them standout in the most beautiful way possible. I love how their songs are direct insults to those who really get on your tits (Fungle Club is great, and it’s up there as being one of my favourite songs by them.) Last year they released the effortlessly cool Good Time EP, and prior to that was 2018’s Fame Erotic Dream, which is truly worth becoming obsessed with. Like I mentioned about Fungle Club, a lot of the songs on Fame Erotic Dream are exquisite put downs to those who try too hard or are just incessant dickbags that won’t shut the fuck up. The kind that believe all they see on Social Media to be real and probably compare themselves to those who aren’t even worth likening to a piece of dog shit on the street. You know the type. Hideous Sun Demon fully express this wealth of disdain better than most, and they just make you feel comforted that someone else feels this way. Then you just let go of it because someone else has already put it out there.

 

 

Hideous Sun Demon make the kind of music that you’d expect to hear at house parties or in a dive bar really late at night, and you’d make your way home afterwards chanting their songs probably disturbing those lucky enough to fall asleep at a normal hour. They pick up on the things in the world and society that irk them, and the way they want change certain things in their surroundings- this is beautifully put on the song, Can’t Live Like That. The sheer honesty in this song is brutal and it would probably make a lot feel uncomfortable, but it is so well done, and the way the words are like a battle really takes you aback. There’s even a mention of Mark E. Smith which I love. It’s a brilliant song, and it’s a declaration of no longer wanting too much, too soon. It is definitely one of their most emotional and poignant songs for sure.

They are one of the strongest sounding bands around, and I adore how Vin can really hit you in the gut with his vocals. Andy is a brutal drummer- the kind that makes you wish you could play like him. Combine this with Jake’s slick bass skills and Vin’s ferocious guitar sounds; they just make for an exceptional sound. They encourage each other to play a little louder, a little faster and before you know it- your mind has well and truly been blown by them.

When you go back and listen to the likes of their Industry Connections record (when there was four of them) and last year’s Good Time EP, you can truly hear how they are band that aren’t afraid to experiment with sounds, and go beyond what has been done before. They are easily one of the most exciting and interesting bands around, and the Good Time EP is just a taste of what is to come. They’re a good few years into this now, and they are most certainly a band that no matter how many times you listen to them, you feel like it is a brand new discovery every single time. Whether they have four, three or ten members in the band they are just phenomenal at what they do.

 

 

If you want to get into them by starting with last year’s release, that’s fine but honestly- start from their first release (the Meat EP from 2013 is a treat for the ears and soul) to truly hear how they’ve grown and developed this remarkable sound that will leave you wanting more and more.

 

*photo by Alec Thomas