BASIC SHAPES: Clockwork Organs.

2 07 2020

I have too much spare time that I have seem to have filled by playing FIFA as soon as I get home from work. I could be doing other things such as going to bed as soon as I get home (yes, it is acceptable to go to bed at 5.30pm, never question it) but FIFA takes priority. Music has slipped, sort of. I’ve not listened to much as it makes me sad not knowing when I’ll next go to a show. But anyway, there’s a wonderful French band called Basic Shapes that are here to kill your blues. Listen up!

Their newest EP, Clockwork Organs came out last week and it’s a really stunning record. It reminds me a little bit of Richard Hell mixed with The Buzzcocks. Basically, it’s a bloody great record and again just reinforces my love for French Garage Rock bands. There’s this beautiful energy on the songs and I love the urgency in most of the songs, and this is so clear on No Creep. It’s a real rowdy number that just gets you going. The songs are short and to the point; there’s no messing about here. Basic Shapes are here to tell you what they think and feel without taking 10 hours to make their point. We have the time to listen, that’s for certain, but sometimes you just need something that’s punchy and grabs you instantly.

There’s been a lot of great records that have come out so far this year, and I guess some could be cynical in thinking some get overlooked. Bands like The Vacant Lots and Fontaines D.C. (okay this isn’t out yet but whatever!) have put out (or about to) some of the strongest records of the year. Jehnny Beth has put out a glorious solo record that feels like an ethereal out of body experience. Then you’ve got bands like Basic Shapes who just go headfirst into chaos. Burning Flats and Night Train are such great songs, and they just make you crave going to shows so badly. Your bones start to turn to jelly and your mouth turns dry; you get the sweats. You just want to see a show. Badly.

Homeless Walk has slight Reggae hints flowing through it, and I love how this song just messes with everything you’ve heard so far. It’s definitely one of my favourites because it just takes a hard left at what you’ve heard so far. Then they go right into MYOB which is just a rowdy and manic number. It’s such a great record, and even thought they formed in 2018, this record sounds like something from a band that have been at it for years. There’s something about MYOB that reminds me of New York Dolls. It’s part the vocals and part the guitar.

The record ends with the 7-minute delight that is Night Train. This is a euphoric piece of art that just needs to be heard by everyone. Play it to anyone you know. Play it loud. Right in their face. Or maybe do it when social distancing fades away if it ever happens. It is such a tense song and the buildup, the crashing of the drums and the way the guitar sounds like an earthquake is just brilliant. It’s an effortlessly slick song, and the last 3 minutes and 30 seconds make you feel like you’ve stepped into a different universe. It feels like a totally different song, but they do it in such an unbothersome manner. It’s such an incredible listen. The vocals resemble a whisper almost on the last part of the song. You can imagine this being what they end their shows on. When those whispers are eventually taken over by the music, getting louder and louder. More intense with every second, flipping back to how the song started. It is SO GOOD! The whispers turn back into yells, and it is done so perfectly. If you’re someone who doesn’t listen to records in order- start with this one. Then maybe end on it also because it is THAT good.

Clockwork Organs is an impressionable listen and will definitely stick with you. You’ll feel exhausted after you first listen to it because it’ll take all your energy (in a good way) but you’re still ready to keep on going and to keep on listening to this mind-blowing record.





THE VACANT LOTS: Interzone.

26 06 2020

There’s no better feeling than that excitement of a band you absolutely adore releasing a new record. I’ve had a copy of the new record by The Vacant Lots for a couple of months now, and it’s been so difficult to not write about it until now. But it’s worth the wait; the record is astounding and will just blow you away.

If you’re looking for something to securely take you into a different universe, with the safe reassurance that you’ll never be able to leave, then Interzone is the record for you. Songs like Into The Depths and Party’s Over fully show us why TVL are one of the best bands around, and their electrifying sound is something to truly treasure. This is their first release on Fuzz Club Records, and given the amount of exceptional records that Fuzz Club have put out, it’s only right that TVL did so too.

Rescue was our first taste of the record, and it was the perfect way to get us to fall in love with the new sound they have created. It is is such a phenomenal record that oozes tense build-ups, dramatic sounds and hypnotising vocals. The vocals on Rescue are captivating, and Brian’s vocals are so strong on this record. Jared’s guitar on this record again sound like a beast. They both have this effortlessly cool way of creating their own noise, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything better than this!

Interzone crosses all styles and will mess with your head in the best way possible. You will want to hear this record at 3am when everything is quiet and your brain won’t switch off. The comfort of this record will give you everything you need, and more. I strongly advise you to listen to Fracture on your own and through headphones. The same goes for Party’s Over. These two songs are beautiful in all ways imaginable. For me, Party’s Over is my favourite right now on the record and I also love how gentle Brian’s vocals are on Fracture- that’s another reason as to why it is a joy to listen to through headphones. Jared’s guitar on this is tamer than normal, but this more relaxed sound just shows us why they are both exceptional musicians.

The big question. Record number 3- is it their best yet? Yes. A huge YES. I’m obsessed with everything they’ve done, and continue to do but there is something about this record that towers over previous releases. There is something about this record that just feels more sacred, and you know, it could be down to what is going on in the world. There could be many reasons as to why, but I can promise you that this record is so beautiful, so gentle but ferocious in all the right places. The times where Brian’s vocals are gentle and where Jared annihilates the guitar- when these two worlds collide, that’s when it kicks off. That’s when you know you’ve not only found an amazing band but also one of the most exciting (and most vital) records of the year.

The lyrics are poetry, and the music is like a dream. Interzone is such a gorgeous record; it will heal the parts of you that you’ve neglected. It’ll also make your record collection look cooler! Every song on this 8 song masterpiece is a work of art. I love how Station goes into Party’s Over. The way it just gently slides into the last song is so beautiful. You feel like the record is a whole journey into something you can’t quite explain, then as Party’s Over hits, that’s when your body starts to wake up. Maybe your mind too. You come alive again, in a totally different way. The essence of this record feels like rebirth or something. The slick change in style and sound on this record is divine, and it’s something you keep falling in love with on every listen. I’m utterly in love with Party’s Over, and I’m pretty sure I can call it as one of my favourite songs that Jared and Brian have ever done. I love the sorrow in it, I love how it could be a dark song but it can also be full of hope. You can take it however you want, and that’s why I love this song and why this record is a masterpiece. It’s their masterpiece, but to be honest, everything they do is a work of art to me anyway.

None of us know when we will see the bands we love perform live again, but we have the music. We have the new records, and the new music can spur us on. This is what we needed, this is what I needed. Interzone is quite simply, a vital listen.





CLOUD FACTORY: Cloud Factory #1.

20 06 2020

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In a few weeks’ time, the finest Garage Rock band from Toulouse will be releasing their debut EP. The EP is being out by the reliably great, Howlin’ Banana Records who have put out a lot of records that I love, and they’ve done it yet again with Cloud Factory.

The band are made up of formers members of Noir City and Cathedrale; and if you know your French music, you’ll know that this is a pretty cool thing to happen. They’ve com together to create some feel-good music, and right now we need that. There’s a lot of joy in their music, and this carefree sound is really what gets you hooked.

The EP, Cloud Factory #1 is a perfect glimpse into what is to come from this band and how this new sound will blow us all away. It’s a really refreshing listen and the band have so much promise. If live music were something we could indulge in right now, there’s no telling just how great their shows would be. But for now, we wait. Whilst we wait, we can cling onto the EP.

Amnesia opens up the EP and is their current single, but don’t let it make you think it is the highlight of the EP. Oh no! You see, the EP is made up of beautiful moments; and one of my favourites has to be Alice’s vocals on Dead Bodies. For some it’s a pretty morbid name for a song, but her vocals have this Bjork like fragility to it. However, Cloud Factory aren’t a band that you can link another to, they are effortlessly quirky and cool, and it really shines through on this EP. The sound is so new and just a delight to revel in. I know I usually listen to music that’s a bit heavier, but this is such an enjoyable listen. If you’ve got a lot on your mind, you can definitely take a load off whilst listening to this record.

My one gripe? There’s only 5 songs! I want more, but I always want more when it comes to music but like I’ve mentioned, it is such a strong introduction to the band and even if you are familiar with their previous bands, you don’t pick up on that at all on this record. They are exceptional musicians, and I really like the way Ben’s bass sounds alongside Bruno’s drums. Sometimes it can feel like one is competing to be louder than the other, but this doesn’t happen at all on this record. They are all equally heard and enjoyed. There’s a lot of rage on the song No Data, which might be why it’s my favourite for now. I’ll change my mind of course!

Talk Too Much and Try are excellent too, and the joyful noise that Cloud Factory give us with this record and on those two songs in particular is just a delight to listen to. As someone who does tend to sway towards more louder sounds, I can safely say that this EP is a great listen and is the perfect introduction to a band that deserve to be heard, and to be huge. It’s a real feel good record, and ideal for those long summer evenings. Even if we have to stay indoors for now. Also, this record is another that fully backs up my idea that French Garage Rock bands are sublime.

Cloud Factory #1 will be released via Howlin’ Banana Records on 3rd July.





NADU: Determinator II.

19 06 2020

A lot of the music I love and write about comes from the West Coast. I went through a stage a few years ago where I would only listen to music from there and wouldn’t give anything else a chance. Certain places just seem to always give us great music. Something in the water, right?

I’ve had my copy of Nadu’s new record for a few months now, and finally being able to share my thoughts on it is a pretty great feeling. If you’ve never heard his music before, you’re in for a right treat with this record. And if like me, you’ve heard what he’s done before, then you too are in for a treat!

Determinator II consists of 6 pure Garage Rock songs to blow out your eardrums and to shake you right to your core. Nader has done all of this himself, and he could well be the poster child (adult really) for that DIY ethic we all admire and appreciate. Knowing he has done all of this by himself just makes you appreciate the record more and you take in every minor detail too. Nothing goes unnoticed and you can really hear just how much work has gone into this record.

The record opens with the electrifying Survive; the perfect way to open the record and to bring you into Nader’s world. A world that just oozes everything you could possibly love about music, and more. It’s such an anthem of a song, and you just long for the days where we could go to shows and really enjoy music.

Of course with Nader being in L.A and me being in Manchester, there’s no chance I’ll catch a show of his anytime soon but what he does so well with his music is make you feel as if you’re right there at his show. You feel like you’re at a dive bar that’s a little too crammed, and you’re standing too close to people you do not know but nonetheless, you are all having a great time- that’s exactly what the whole record gives you, and this is something I really love about a lot of the bands I write about. When they can give off that feeling, you know you’ve found something genuinely great.

Nader has this great way of creating rambunctious Punk songs that take you deep into the pits of sheer raw energy and by no means do you want to climb out. The songs on this record are colossal. They are made to be played so loud you can feel your face melt and your body quake with every listen. It’s a bloody amazing record, and it picks up perfectly where Determinator left off. I think there’s about a 3-year gap between the records, and you can really hear the growth in Nader’s vocals and musicianship. He knows exactly how he wants to sound and is totally focused on that. You really get this on Determinator II. It’s so apparent. Attraction has quite a Grunge feel to it, especially vocally and the urgency in this song just makes you keep going back to it. This is one to be obsessed with.

I can’t stick with one favourite song on the record. My mind changes with every listen (and I’ve played this a lot!) but I think at the moment I might be taken with Ain’t Easy. He makes the guitar sound like this weapon of destruction, and with a snarl in his voice, this is definitely one of the heavier songs on the record. Determinator II is made up of 6 songs that show us pure talent and obsession with music. It’s got the potential to be one of those records that some kid hears and thinks, “I want to do that!” That’s all we can hope for. Make your own noise and make it loud.

Considering how shitty this year has turned out to be, we are getting a solid list of great music this year. Irrespective of genre, this year has truly given us some great records. From Gaga to The Vacant Lots (next Friday) to L.A. Witch (August!) and Nadu. Find joy where you can, and cling onto it.





L.A. WITCH: I Wanna Lose.

18 06 2020

Find joy wherever you can, and hold onto for however long you wish. For example, L.A. Witch have just put out a brand new song and announced a new record coming in August. That fills me with joy, excitement and sheer happiness. I’ve written about them countless of times, starting from when the band sort of started out. When they announced their first ever UK tour a few years ago, it felt like all my Christmas’ and birthdays had hit me at once, but better. I absolutely LOVE this band, and I will make it known whenever I can.

So, what’s the new song like? Well, if you’ve ever listened to their music you will know just how phenomenal they are and as musicians, they are nothing short of mind-blowing. They are at their peak on this song, and it is a beautiful taster for the new record. I Wanna Lose shows us exactly why L.A. Witch are the best around. This song also shows how great they are as musicians- both individually and together.

You need to play close attention to Irita’s bass on this one. She’s turned it up to beyond 11 and you can sense the determination in her playing on this that she wants to annihilate your eardrums. Let her. Let all three of them totally deafen you with their glorious sound. With Irita’s slick sounds and effortlessly cool tempo, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better bass player around. If you think she’s unreal on record, just wait until you see the band live. Everything you loved about them will become heightened and nothing will ever be the same again. Live music, remember that? Remember going to shows and seeing your favourite bands? We need that. We need it soon. Urgently.

Now let’s get into how Ellie thumps at your chest and ribcage, and skull with the pounding of the drums. How she sends your brain into a different universe, almost ripping you apart from your body and catapulting your soul into space. She comes in right after Sade’s intro and just keeps up the pace for the next 4 minutes, and makes you wonder, “How the hell does she do that?!” She plays like she’s got a point to prove, and you can really sense that hunger in her drumming. And again, like Irita you get this heightened at their live shows. If this is what we are getting from just one song, imagine how the whole record will be. I don’t know if I can wait until August! Honestly, they have never sounded so good and so loud. Take everything you heard by them before and let yourself soak this one up good and proper. From around 2 minutes and 20 seconds or so, Ellie’s drumming builds up and up into this really gnarly Punk sound. I love it so much, and she keeps that going right until the end.

Alright, now it’s Sade’s turn. She has one of the most distinctive voices around, and I love how she makes you feel like your listening to something from decades past but also something really futuristic. As a guitarist, she’s up there with the best of them. To be honest, if you were looking for musicians to create a supergroup, then L.A. Witch would be the band. They are just out of this world. Sade’s guitar on this is heavy, fuzzy and loud. They seem to have cranked the volume up more on this song and I hope the whole record has that feeling. I know people like to compare a bands new record to their last, but with bands like L.A. Witch and with this sound, there is absolutely no way you can do it. The only comparison is that they both are amazing. That’s it really. Her vocals mixed with how brutal Irita has become with her bass and how Ellie too has become more brutal with the drums, compliments everything so beautifully. Layer this with Sade’s guitar and of course, you’ve got one of the best songs you will hear all year.

There you have it. Another declaration of love from me to L.A. Witch. It’ll happen again no doubt before the record comes out. They’re set to tour the UK in November, and I really hope it happens (mainly because I love them, I love their shows, the Manchester show is a few days after my birthday and is at one of my favourite venues in Manchester.)

I Wanna Lose is a song that needs to be played loud. As loud as you can.

Play With Fire is due to be released on 21st August 2020 via the always great, Suicide Squeeze Records. You can pre-order the record here: https://lawitches.bandcamp.com/





JEHNNY BETH: To Love Is To Live.

13 06 2020

Do you remember the first time you heard the voice of a singer where it totally consumed you? Do you remember that feeling that grabbed you? You may not have experienced it yet, or you may have experienced it a few times. It doesn’t matter how many times, but when you find someone who’s voice just grips you completely and their words also have a hold on you, you don’t let it go. You can’t let it go. They don’t let you go. It’s such a beautiful and vulnerable feeling, and that is why I can safely say that Jehnny Beth has one of the most hypnotising voices I have ever heard. Yesterday her debut solo record came out. I’ve not read anyone else’s take on the record, and I hope no one has compared it to the previous records with Savages because this is totally different. This is something I have never ever heard before, and my god it is nothing short of beautiful and poetic honesty.

To Love Is To Live is the name of the record, and it’s a pretty solid mantra to have. The record explores so much around lust, love, sex, intimacy, innocence and decadence. The things most would shy away from, Jehnny confronts it in the most ferocious and wonderful way possible. She has made the record with her partner Johnny Hostile (they have made amazing music in the past together and I urge you to delve into that.) The darkness on this record is so moving, and there is so much hope on the record. Given what we are all going through, we need that hope so badly.

The 11 songs on the record are carefully crafted, and you can hear the sheer dedication on every song. Of course, my favourite right now is her song with Joe from IDLES, titled How Could You but I want to talk about the song Flower first. This song is so sexual in ways you never thought a song could. It is a perfect dedication to a lover, someone who may be far from your reach but there’s that physical side that brings you both together and binds you together. The exploration of sexuality on this song is so vital. The way gender is thrown out of the window (thank god!) and sexuality is explored is just beautiful. For every queer person out there, take and make this song yours. It’s a masterpiece. The trembling in Jehnny’s voice on this really make you connect with the song and put you in her position. If like me you’ve been tuning into her readings from her book, which comes out next month, then you will have heard just how exceptional she is when it comes to describing feelings and thoughts regarding love and relationships, and all forms of intimacy that flow in between. I feel like this record could soundtrack the book.

We Will Sin Together is another glorious masterpiece on the record, and it features the always incredible Stella Mozgawa (one of the best drummers ever) and Romy Madley Croft. It’s the holy trinity of music on this one, and it is such a vulnerable declaration and also offers reassurance that you and the person will head into this together, no matter what. I could say it is one of the highlights on the record, but truth be told, the whole record is a masterpiece and every moment stands out in its own right. Just absolutely perfect. You feel as if with this song, it is just you and Jehnny in the room and she is aiming the song right at you.

What I adore about To Love Is To Live is the production and how raw it sounds. You can hear the care and passion in every single song, and there’s the beautiful raw sound that at times is bold and tall but there are times where the songs are gentle and frail. The balance is beautiful and THAT is how you put out a masterpiece. I honestly don’t feel my words can do this record justice at all. Is anyone else wishing tattoo parlors were open so we could get To Love Is To Live tattooed on them?! I’d get it done in a heartbeat. The Rooms is one of the more tender moments on the record, and Jehnny’s vocals on this are so exposed and so serene. For as long as I’ve loved Savages, I have been in love with Jehnny’s voice, her way with words and all she does. This record fully justifies my love and I absolutely wish I could sit with her, and discuss this record and the way she approaches her art. She’s just out of this world.

There is a strong Punk feel to this record, and the way she is unapologetically herself, unapologetically honest and ferocious on the record just makes you not only fall in love with her even more- but the level of respect just accelerates. I honestly can’t think of a record that has given such a wide range of emotions in a hell of a long time. Heroine is the perfect example of this (and Jehnny, if you see this please know that you truly ARE a heroine.) The romanticism in her words reminds me of Patti Smith to Baudelaire, with hints of Marquis de Sade. There’s this dark poetry on the record that lures you in. I don’t think we are made to get out of it to be honest. Why would you even want to?

How Could You is the loudest song on the record, and it feels like a riot in the ears. Jehnny and Joe’s vocals together is just simply divine. Two of the most powerful and vital vocals in music together, making something that is nothing short of an anthem. My god this is a powerful. I hope, when we can go to gigs together, she brings Joe out at a few shows and does this with him. Can you picture how wild it would be? I hope they make a music video for this, because I reckon it would be a mind-blowing and chaotic piece of art.

For me, this is one of the most incredible records of the decade and one of the most gorgeously put together records I have ever, ever heard. French Countryside shows us another side of Jehnny, and this side is the calming side of dedication and love. The gentle side of love and lust. The whole record oozes intimacy on all levels, and at times lack of it. This is such a heartbreaking song, and you can hear something truly painful in her vocals and that just makes you connect with her so much. I love how Jehnny has this ability to be tough, brave and in your face. But there is another side of her that is so fragile, almost child-like innocence and open. These sides to her are so wonderfully put across on the record, and I honestly cannot put into words how effortless she makes it. Some spend their whole career trying to master it, but Jehnny seems like she always had it in her and unleashed it right away.

The record ends on Human. It is 6 minutes and 2 seconds of important words, that NEED to be heard. It is the perfect way to end the record. The tension is so captivating, and just before we hit the 2-minute mark it smacks you right in the face. This is where she brings everything together and just messes with your head in the best way possible. I’m not going to say too much about this one because I want YOU to listen to it and soak up the song. The whole record oozes power, sensuality, lust, sexuality, decadence and all those glorious experiences that come with it. It’s nothing short of perfect.

Listen to the record in order, take it all in. Let the record take you over. Let it consume every single part of you and beyond. Explore everything and anything, and let this record be your guide.

To Love Is To Live is out right now, and you can pre-order Jehnny’s book here: http://hyperurl.co/CALMJehnnyBeth ffff





THE VACANT LOTS: Fracture

23 05 2020


With every passing day, we get closer to the new record by The Vacant Lots. I’ve already heard it, and I can promise you that it is a perfect record from start to finish. The record is out 26th June, so I’ll write about it closer to the time.

Jared and Brian released the next single from Interzone yesterday. Fracture is a really calming number and it is one of those songs that leaves you in a solid state of bliss with every single listen. What I absolutely adore about TVL is that they have this strong ability to crush your brain with their louder songs, but when they take a more gentle approach like this, they just soothe your soul. That’s what makes them one of my favourite bands, and I’ve noticed that this is something I gravitate to in the music I love from bands I hold very dear to me.

Oh, and one super cool fact for you- the Arp synth used on the song once belonged to one half of the best band ever- Alan Vega from Suicide, and there are moments on the song where you can hear their influence on Jared and Brian. It’s such a beautiful thing.

Who knows what state the world will be in when Interzone is released; all I know is that whatever the situation the record will make it easier. For now, let’s enjoy the glorious sounds of Fracture and let our minds drift off for a while.





GATEWAY DRUGS: PSA.

16 05 2020

 

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A strong contender for the most magical and captivating record of the year is the new record by Gateway Drugs. It is produced by one half of one of the greatest bands ever (and my girlfriend is the only person I know that loves them as much as I do which makes her the coolest yet again!) Sune from The Raveonettes. You can hear his influence throughout this record, and it just makes everything feel right even when it’s all off balance right now.

PSA came out last week, and after playing it a couple of times I think I have soaked it up enough to put something coherent together. I hope! It is a dreamy record; it makes you feel so happy and so at peace with all around you. It’s a feel-good record, and right now we really need this. The past few weeks I have found myself playing a lot of Minor Threat and VOID, so I need something more laid-back to ease everything. Gateway Drugs have made the most euphoric sound you could possibly wish for. Everything from the vocals to that gorgeous reverb sound is perfection. Slumber is THE song of the summer. Maybe when we can all go out and do fun things again, this song may just be your soundtrack. The record makes you want to go on holiday and just take it easy for a few weeks. As someone who has been doing additional hours at work the past couple weeks (I don’t mind at all, I love my job) the idea of going on holiday would be great right now. I’d like to just sit and do nothing, with this record blaring out. But, I can settle for a Saturday night indoors playing it loud enough to soothe my soul. It’s a great record, and to even try pick a favourite moment or song on this record would be impossible.

 

 

Gateway Drugs are in a league of their own. There is a sun-kissed Shoegaze feel that I cannot get enough of; you just want the record to consume every single part of you, and oh boy! It sure does. It is a remarkable record, and you can truly hear the growth in their sound from when their debut came out a few years ago. For me, Sune’s production is nothing short of flawless and he’s truly pulled something out of the band that I really don’t think anyone else could. It is such a divine, heavenly record that is SO GOOD for the soul. It’s soulful record with everything you could possibly want, and more from a record to just make you feel. That’s it; it just makes you FEEL. You cling on to that because it is yours.

I’m Always Around is gorgeous, and Liv’s vocals on this are so delicate and pure. You have it etched in your brain, and the beauty in her vocals on this is definitely a standout moment, even though the whole record consists of them! I think because three of the band are siblings makes you appreciate the tight sound more, and that gives the music an added beauty. I’m in love with Liv’s vocals so much, and I love how everyone has their time to shine on this record. But like I’ve said, it’s a bloody great record and it is difficult to pick out the best moments. The songs I favour right now will keep changing, and that’s when you know you’ve found something truly special. Gateway Drugs may only be 2 record into their career, but PSA makes you feel like you’re listening to a band who are at least 5 records in. It is such a bold and euphoric record; Back Room Lover is musically out there. It’s an effortlessly cool song and it just gives you a strong feeling of Summer. When you listen to this, you can feel that summer breeze hitting the back of your neck as you gaze out to the sun. It’s such a beautiful song.

As I wrap this up, I want to bring to your attention their cover of Psychotic Reaction by the Count Five. Anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with the Count Five, and when I found a copy of Psychotic Reaction in Born Bad Records in Paris- I lost my damn mind! I fucking LOVE that band. I’m a bit dubious when I hear songs I love being covered, but when it done in a way that clearly pays homage to the band or the band make it their own- then I’m sold. Gateway Drugs have evidently made it theirs and beyond. It’s a wild cover, and it is the perfect way to close the record. As far as covers go, this is one to truly fall in love with. They go absolutely apeshit during the last few minutes of the song (it’s 5 and a half minutes long- the original is way shorter!) and it shows us just how strong they are not only as a band, but as musician. I hope that once bands can tour again, Gateway Drugs come to the UK. I hope they play this as their last song so us in the crowd head home in awe of what we have heard. Fully knowing we will never be the same again. Holy shit the last few minutes of this is incredible. If you want to start with this cover as your introduction to the band- then go ahead. I reckon Lester Bangs (greatest Music Writer of all time) would love this cover too.

 

 

I’ve been in a bit of a slump recently when it comes to writing about music, but I can safely say that Gateway Drugs have eased it. PSA is such a remarkable record, and if you’re looking for a record to become obsessed with and to play religiously, then please make it this one.





MODULATOR II : Slivered Hearse.

9 05 2020

 

modulatorii

 

Are you ready to take a psychedelic trip into the unknow? Into the weird and beautiful world of French pioneers Modulator II? They’ve put out one of the most far out records of the year. It’s completely off the wall and it’s a joy to listen to. If you’re looking for something to listen to so you can escape the hell that’s going on, then this is the record for you.

 I’ve been wanting to write this for a couple of weeks now, but I’ve not had the time to properly listen to the record let alone write about it. I’ve been banned from my manager from doing extra hours at work, so I’ve spent my weekend asleep. I treated myself to a walk earlier, it was okay, I guess. Nothing to report. I could sleep for hours, but I’ve got the time and desire to write about this record so here goes!

 Modulator II are no strangers to the strange; neither am I and neither are their fans. They sure know how to make music that messes with your head and makes your body turn to jelly. They move you in ways that you want all music to move you. They don’t leave you feeling completely battered, just a little bit wired and out of your mind. That euphoric glow in their sound has never been so prominent! The record opens with The Big Crunch, and it’s just the perfect way to open a grand record like this.

 

 

If you’ve never listened to them before, then treat this record as your initiation into the unknown. There’s this effortlessly cool and experimental sound going right through the record. I’ve made my feelings known on this band and the band members before (Cédric and Romain are in the equally great band, Dusty Mush who I’ve written about before!) With this record they have truly created something to treasure, and to play loudly.

At the moment I am hugely obsessed with Uncanny Valley; I love the furious drumming and the way the guitars and bass come together to basically riot against the drums to see who can be loudest. I love when a band does this. It’s easy to do this and just be out of control with no meaning, but this band give it all they’ve got, and it sounds like a beautiful noise. I just really love this record and waiting for it so long just makes it sound that much sweeter.

 Of course, it is the kind of record you’d want to hear live, but given what’s going on right now, who knows when this will happen. Like so many I am desperate to go to a show and just feel something but waiting this out and being responsible is what’s needed right now. In time, we will get there. For now, we just play the music as loud as we can and let the music get right into our bones. Bands like Modulator II aren’t afraid to go beyond and to just push the listener, and you get this so clearly on songs like Stopover Commander and Extinction. The whole record is a joy to listen to, and to just soak up.

 

 

Stolen Body Records is the home to some flawless bands, and this record is a mighty fine example of this. Every song on this record is a step up from what you previously heard, and I love that you can hear the band get better in every single song. Stopover Commander is a delightful noisy number that you just cannot get enough of. The last 30 seconds or so of this song are some of my favourite moments on this record. If like me you are obsessed with bands like Sleep, then this song will give you serious Holy Mountain vibes. It’s out of this world and is a record that will definitely be one we talk about in decades to come. I know I will be.

 Silvered Hearse is out RIGHT NOW via Stolen Body Records.





THE FUN STOPPERS.

2 05 2020

 

THEFUNSTOPPERS

 

I’ve had no desire to write anything recently. Work has wiped me out, but I’m glad that I am lucky enough to still have a routine where I can leave the house, and to work. And not be stuck with my own company 24/7. I slept until 4pm today, and I could have stayed asleep for the rest of the day but that’s probably because I’m allowing myself to be lazy and attempt to switch off. A routine is keeping me sane.

 I sometimes struggle to write about bands that are predominantly instrumental but a really great band from Alberta have been in touch called The Fun Stoppers have a really unique sound that I love. We’ve got a mutual love for another great Canadian band, The Gruesomes (of course) and if a band mention them to me- I’m likely to love them. And that’s exactly what has happened here.

 

 

The Fun Stoppers are a duo, but their strong and unique sound makes you think you’re listening to an orchestra of Garage Punk heroes. It’s just two of them here though; Glen and Dale. They are so good at what they do, and all you can do is became utterly enthralled in what you are hearing.

 They haven’t been around long (their Bandcamp page only has songs up from this year) but they have a sound that is really strong. They make you feel like you’re listening to The Beach Boys, The Gruesomes and The Cramps all at once. I thought I’d miss hearing vocals, but you get used to it pretty much right away, and you just enjoy soaking up how great they are as musicians. Glen is a solid guitarist, and you cannot help but end up being obsessed with the sounds he makes. That guitar is a lethal weapon, and you don’t even want to take cover- you don’t want to miss whatever he will do next. Mix this with Dale’s drumming, and you’ve just got the perfect duo. Dale plays like someone who has a point to prove, and that’s what hooks me on bands like this. There’s this passion in the music that you just find yourself gravitating towards. It’s so powerful.

 Their songs don’t really pass the 2-minute mark, and their newest song Sick For You is a proper gnarly one. The vocals have this wonderful snarly sound and the menacing lyrics mixed with the electrifying guitar and demonic drums just make it one of the most exciting songs I’ve heard in a while. I love that fuzziness to it that is found in a lot of songs/bands I love. This song is like a cheap Horror film (this is a compliment) and you can imagine it being featured when someone is about to meet a bloody and gruesome end, but they make it obvious that the blood is so far from being realistic.

 

 

The Fun Stoppers are such an exciting band, and with or without vocals- you cannot help but marvel at their talent. I’m sold on bands that forgo vocals; I think! I love their creepy sound and wild style; I love how you that make you feel like each song is like some weird experiment- are they musicians or mad scientists?! Who knows! Maybe we will never find out, and maybe that’s alright.

 Play them loud and freak out your neighbours!