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!





BAMBARA: Soup Kitchen, Manchester 22nd October 2019.

23 10 2019

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I went to this show as someone who casually listened to Bambara; I left as someone who is now obsessed and in awe of what I witnessed in a room that should have been packed.

I think the best way to describe a Bambara show is wonderfully loud and chaotic. As soon as they ripped into their set, I immediately felt like I was watching The Birthday Party for the first time. They have the same raucous sound that is all over the place in the best way possible. I don’t want my music to sound polished or perfect- I want it to be noisy, all over the place and powerful. I got all of that and more from Bambara’s set. They put their absolute everything into their performance, and honestly, Reid Bateh is quite possibly one of the best performers I’ve ever seen. He absolutely puts all he has into the songs, and in a live setting you can truly see just how much this means to him. It’s like he has to get THIS out. I don’t know what “THIS” is exactly, and maybe it’s something we all have in us, but he gets it out in a way that is beautifully enthralling and terrifying at the same time.

Bambara aren’t a band for those wanting roses and sunshine. They are a band for those seeking something to cling to. They’ve toured with two bands that own my heart- IDLES and METZ. Imagine seeing that! It’d be like witnessing something so sacred, and spiritual. I had a great spot at this show, and maybe it was because it wasn’t sold out. It should have been sold out by the way. I could see everything, and I was so fascinated with drummer, Blaze. His style reminded me so much of one of my favourite drummers- Alex Robins. I loved that Blaze’s stage attire was shorts and cowboy boots- if that doesn’t define cool, then I don’t know what does. His style of drumming is intense and captivating. He’s the kind of drummer that a kid would watch and think, “I want to do that.” He made a 32 year old feel that way (me, by the way.) I love how the band all have this sense of solidarity when they play. It feels like a brotherhood (obviously that’s the case with Reid and Blaze!) and this tight sound they have just makes you completely hooked on every sound they make, and every word that Reid sings.

 

 

Songs like José Tries to Leave, and brand new song Serafina (which I think they had only played once before maybe?) were just magnificent to watch. With this possibly being the second time they performed Serafina, they nailed it perfectly. I love how Reid thrashing the microphone wire like an out of control lion-tamer, and he definitely reminds you of a very young Nick Cave when he was in The Birthday Party. This was probably one of the loudest shows I’ve been to at the Soup Kitchen- it wasn’t as loud as the times I saw The Jesus And Mary Chain (I couldn’t hear properly for 2 days, but I was stood right by the speaker so…it was to be expected!) Although the venue wasn’t packed, but to be honest sometimes it doesn’t matter you know. Sometimes it can feel like the whole world is there, and Bambara definitely made you feel that way. At times it felt intrusive as you witnessed them leave their absolute everything on stage, but bands that do this just have my complete respect. To be that open on stage is something to really appreciate and admire for sure.

I love how bassist, William completely lets go on stage. Sometimes you see bass players who are holding back and seem to be teetering on letting go, but William is unafraid and just makes you wish you were as cool as him. Bryan and Sammy are INCREDIBLE guitarists; they could easily have blown the amps with how loud they were, and take that with how grand Blaze’s drumming is- then you get the general idea of how wild and loud this show was.

There was something about this show that at the end, I felt like I had got what I needed. I felt some kind of release. I’m not sure what of. I mean today is 2 months since my Grandma died and I’m ready to go back to bed and spend the day crying. But last night, that gig gave me that feeling that you get from your favourite band. It was truly special for so many reasons. I urge you to see Bambara whenever and wherever you can. It’s not just a show, it’s an experience. An experience that will stay on your mind until the next time. Over and over.

 

 

Their set ended on Monument, and it was such a high to end on. Of course you wanted more, and you just wanted them to carry on for an eternity but this was just one of the most mesmerising shows I’ve ever been to. Bambara have been around for some time now, and these New York heroes are a band to become majorly obsessed with.

This was my first time seeing the band, and I definitely hope it won’t be my last. Their new record, Stray will be out in February. It’s their fourth record and I reckon it might just be their heaviest to date. I cannot wait to hear it, and can probably call it as one of 2020’s finest records.





THE MURDER CAPITAL: YES (The Pink Room) Manchester. 18th October 2019.

18 10 2019

tmc

 

A very wise person once said, ‘The Murder Capital are one of the best bands you’ll ever see live.’ Not sure who it was, it was probably anyone who has ever been to their show.

Their debut record, When I Have Fears has been my crutch since my Gran died in August. It’s been that something I turn to when I have no idea what is going on and when I’m trying to get a hold of what I’m feeling. I never get hold of it; I never will. The show tonight meant the world to me for this reason, and I honestly don’t think I’m ever going to get over just how incredible it was.

 The Pink Room at YES tonight was completely rammed. It was full of people who were clinging to these songs. The Murder Capital are a band of the people, and my god they are a band to be utterly proud of. James’ is one of the most enthralling front men I’ve ever seen. He’s got the presence that will make him be likened to Nick Cave. The band are just the most captivating and passionate band you’ll see. During songs, James leans over to Damien, Gabriel and Cathal and plants gentle kisses on their heads- it is such a simple moment, but you just know how much it means.

 

 

When I Have Fears is one of the most hard-hitting records of the year. Before they play On Twisted Ground, James announces “This is for everyone who should be here.” I immediately think of my Gran and my friend who took her life in the summer this year. I cry. I cry for many reasons. Some obvious and some not. All reasons I try to grasp every day. I wish I could say this show was a form of healing, but I won’t heal, and I’ve accepted this. What I can say is that this was one of the most emotional, passionate and important shows I’ve ever been to. With just one record, The Murder Capital have created something we expect from bands who are playing huge venues and have numerous of records- but The Murder Capital are different.

 Watching the band, you simply cannot get over just how immense the experience is. The way Diarmuid annihilates his drumkit, and makes you feel like the stage is going to crumble because of the sheer weight of his playing, this merges so perfectly with James’ vocals which can be grand yet delicate. The band are exceptional at creating tender moments on their songs, and the bring it out so well in their live shows. I love when they all completely let go in their heavier songs like More Is Less and Feeling Fades and I love seeing the quieter moments where you can see them take everything in. You can really tell that this isn’t just a band to them, it isn’t just a job. It’s their life. And as a fan, that’s how you feel. They go beyond being just a band; they are just everything. Simple as really, yet it holds a lot.

 Everyone goes apeshite to More Is Less, Green and Blue and set closer, Feeling Fades (stage invasion from the Happy Couple was great, and James launched himself into the crowd!) And the tender moments in songs like Slowdance I and Slowdance II are just so perfect. For Everything is belted out by the band and is also sung back to the band by the crowd even louder. These are the moments that make you realise that you have seen something truly special; this will probably be the last time we see them in such small spaces. They’ve just announced a tour for early next year, and it’s only a matter of time before they start selling shows out in seconds. They are such an important band, and they aren’t afraid to vocalise the issues many want to shy away from.

 Don’t Cling To Live reads as a poem, but when you see this live it becomes an anthem. It is one of those songs that regardless of where you hear it (live or in your room) it changes you. It becomes part of you; it has something that makes it such a gorgeous composition. Seeing it live is truly something else. Seeing The Murder Capital live is truly something else. Once you see them, that’s it. It takes over you. In an ideal world I could be at their shows every single night. They hold so much power in their music; it can break you, then heal you, then break you again. It’s an emotional rollercoaster for sure, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

Aside from being way too close to people who thought talking all the way through the show was appropriate, I can safely say that this was one of the most personal and captivating shows I’ve ever been to. It’s hard to put into words just how exceptional the show was, and I think anyone who has seen them or even just loves the band knows what I mean. There are some bands that just love beyond words, and The Murder Capital are exactly that. There are no words good enough to describe this band and all they mean to me. It was such an intense experience, and although it was over all too quickly it has left a lasting impression that is permanently etched upon my heart.

 Tickets for their tour next year are now on sale. Buy them and go sing your heart out.

*Photo by JustGrayce





HOORSEES: Major League of Pain EP.

16 10 2019

 

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On Friday 18th October, Parisian band Hoorsees will be releasing their EP, Major League of Pain. This EP is made up of 6 songs to comfort you, make you feel alright with feeling low and providing a form of guidance when everything has gone a bit awry.

They are fronted by DR CHAN front man, Alex. If you’ve ever listened to DR CHAN, you will know that they have a real hyperactive Garage Rock sound. Their music makes you want to jump around and get into some light-hearted trouble. The tone in Alex’s vocals with Hoorsees is totally different; it is more mellow and little somber. It just shows us how brilliant he is. It is a totally different sound. Out of respect- no more comparisons.

The sound that Hoorsees have is one that throws you into a world of heartbreak, and every single step that comes with it. There are different stages, different types of heartbreak and Hoorsees delve into this very well and sensitively. The vulnerability in the lyrics especially on Boyhood and TV & Bad Sports just shows us how exceptional this band is, and how being this open is something to really back. Paris is truly home to some incredible bands, and musicians. Hoorsees are most certainly one of them and the beautiful romanticism in this record is so soothing and just a delight to listen to. It is calming in all the right places but will also break your heart. Infectious is such a beautiful song but my god it will rip you apart. It’s got the innocence of a first love to it, but at the same time you can apply the heartache to anything- it doesn’t have to be from a romantic stance. It’s such a beautiful song, and I love the sheer emotion in Alex’s voice on this. It’s a different side to what he can do vocally, and it is a different side to the band. A side I really hope they never leave because they do it so well.

 

There is a glorious distorted feel to the record, and if you’re a fan of music with a lot of heart and a wealth of emotion; you’ll probably love this record. Aside from their demos up on their Bandcamp page, this is their first proper release. The demos and the Major League of Pain EP are totally different, and in the few years that have passed between them, you can really hear a band that are sure of their sound and know exactly what they want.

 

 

I really love how you can feel that these songs are made to be played live. They carry a lot of emotion in them, and the way the vocals and guitars come together to send you off on this journey into their heartache is something to really appreciate and admire. There is something really special about bands from Paris, and France in general, you know. Hoorsees have this really big romantic feel to their sound and that’s what keeps you being drawn back in with every listen. Of course, you want more, but with just 6 songs they take you into their world and what a world it is. It is music to waste the day to, music to watch the world go by, skate to it, absorb in your surroundings- just soak up this blissed-out record.

I think at the moment for me, it’s all about the last track on the record- Horror Sees. I adore the bass on this, and how the drums give you this wave crashing sense. It’s a laid-back EP from start to finish, and I think this is the most relaxing song on the record. It’s one I’d definitely love to see them do live. I know they’ve got a pretty big tour happening in France so if someone could bring them to the UK, I’d really appreciate it!

These 4 friends truly know how to tug at your heartstrings; they gently take you into their secretive world. This lo-fi sounding record is covered in wonderful pop-like melodies that will stick in your head for days. It is a perfect record to just lose yourself in and kill time in a way that means something to you. It’s a laid-back EP with songs to just fit your mood; Merry Grime is the perfect song to capture this. Play this one loud and often.

 If you are lucky enough to live in France, then I urge you to go see them on tour and let me know all about it!

Tour dates are in the poster below:

tourdates

Major League of Pain is released this Friday via Crème Brulée and In Silico Records.





DIE WÄRME.

15 10 2019

 

DW

 

With a drop-in temperature and the sun setting earlier, it is time for music that fits this season and the mood it brings. I don’t mind this at all. The only thing that bothers me is having to wear a coat- however, I am adamant that it isn’t cold enough to wear a coat yet here in Manchester. That will catch up with me, it usually does.

There’s a band from Berlin called Die Wärme (The Warmth, I think?!) and I cannot find anything about them online. I respect any band that can sound this great yet are completely unknown on social media etc. They have a strong Post-Punk sound, and their first (I’m assuming) release is up on their Bandcamp page. It could be their 100th record, I don’t know but I’m going to talk about the one I’ve found online and do my best to write something that makes sense.

 

 

They have a sound that just makes you want to jump around and have a great time, and you don’t care for the fact that you know nothing about them nor can you understand what they are saying. Who cares when it sounds this good! I love this dark sound them have, but there’s something about the bass on this record that reminds me of early Joy Division and very early The Fall. It’s that distinctive sound that is found in a lot of bands since, and it’s by no means a bad thing. The Fall were, and always be the best band of all time. Mark E. Smith forever, and ever dear reader. Forever.

Die Wärme’s singer reminds me of Siouxsie so much, and of course I mean this with sincere love and admiration. Siouxsie is just the best isn’t she, and it is so good to hear new bands still being inspired by someone who truly changed everything. There’s that gorgeous Gothic mixed with Punk sound on this record, and it really does make you feel like Siouxsie has made a German record. That’d be pretty cool! The record only consists of 8 songs, and of course it leaves you begging for more. I can’t help but think that their live shows must be really intense and so energetic. With just 8 songs that blow you away, and they do it in a way that takes you back to the start of bands like The Cure, Siouxsie etc. It just has that sound that moves you, and makes you want to completely lose yourself in what you’re hearing. They’ve mastered the art of captivating the listener; it’s hard to not be moved by this record.

The intensity in the music is heightened by the vocals, and this kind of atmosphere makes you just want to delve deeper into what you’re hearing. It makes you want to go for a walk late at night and the cold air hits your face, and you don’t care for where you go- you just need to go where the music takes you.

At the moment I’m really into Aufzug and Gene from the record. I love the sound and how grand it sounds; this big sound they have is just flawless, and makes you want to fall into a world of bands that have this sound. It is the perfect sound for this time of year; the grey and intense mood they create is something to really treasure.

 

 

I wish I knew more about this band; I wish I knew if we were going to hear more from them but for now let’s just take these 8 songs and appreciate them to the fullest. It’s a remarkable record and is probably one of my favourite finds of the year.





GROSS NET: Gross Net Means Gross Net.

13 10 2019

GN

 

I’ve said countless times that music is a form of escapism for so many, but sometimes you need something to keep you right where you are- even if it is daunting, or terrible. I’ve always admired Gross Net (or Philip if you want to be proper) and how his mind works. He is one of the most expressive souls out there, and he takes you on this futuristic journey every single time. His newest record, Gross Net Means Gross Net is one of the most experimental records I’ve heard in a long time. It’s got this Scandinavian Noir feel to it; it could easily be played in some Thriller TV series as something truly gruesome and barbaric is about to happen. It is a creepy record, and it is nothing short of exceptional. I’m going to do my best to explain why this is one of the most out there records of the year.

There’s been a few years in between this record, and Philip’s last Gross Net record. This is a totally different sound, and as someone who is influenced by what they see- Philip has truly taken the state of the world (mainly the UK) and given us this tense breakdown of the shitshows that are occurring daily. Think a really political version of Einstürzende Neubauten with hints of Psychic TV. Basically, two of the greatest bands ever rolled in one. But, as we know, Philip is his own creation and a bloody genius. What this record gives you is something so eerie and captivating.

 

 

The best time to listen to this record is when it starts to get dark. This is not a daytime listen- this is dead of the night listen. I mean, it’s only 18:47 but it’s pretty dark out now so, and it works. You cannot help but be absolutely consumed by these songs and how remarkable the production is. It is, for me, the best produced record of the year. Shedding Skin is probably one of the most gloriously composed songs of the year. These aren’t just sounds, these are synth-based symphonies that will take over your soul in the most beautiful way. I love everything about Shedding Skin. It’s just over 6 minutes, and the lyrics are sure to hit you in the gut- they are explicit to the core (I mean in an exposing of the soul kind of way) and it isn’t hard to truly connect with this one. You can just imagine it being performed live in a basement bar, almost pitch black with a smoke machine creating this eerie mood, and a tense atmosphere crashing over.

Every song on this record serves the sole purpose to ignite the listener, and to get them to a place where no other piece of music could. The music alone on this record is so spooky and is comforting at the same time. Although there’s a song on the record named after a terrible person (Theresa May) it is actually one of the most gorgeous pieces of music you’ll hear. There is no need for words on this one, you can create your own story to this beautiful instrumental. In a way on this one, you get a glimpse into how Philip’s mind works- you can hear the care and feel the thought in this piece so much. Then it slides into Gentrification which almost feels like it could be played at a rave at 4am somewhere. He can make you flitter between several emotions on this record, and that just makes me admire him even more. He’s easily one of my favourite musicians around (and I think he knows this!)

 I love how the songs can touch on subjects you don’t really hear in modern music (how we’re all prone to consuming too much and not being aware of the consequence, thus turning a blind eye to our future) which can really be felt on Of Late Capitalism. Gentrification leads into Of Late Capitalism in such a succinct way, again it is another moment on the record where you can really pick up on the thought and care that has gone into this perfect record. Philip has massively pushed himself on this record, when you listen to his previous records you can hear something on this record that you haven’t quite heard him do before. It’s a cross between very early Scott Walker meets Suicide (the best duo ever), with hints of the future. It’s such a stunning record to lose yourself in. Dust To Dust is heart-breaking but my god it is the most beautiful song that Philip has ever done. To date, this song is the best thing he has done. Obviously, that’s just my personal view, and maybe I’ll change my mind but lyrically and the composure of this song is nothing short of mind-blowing. It just shows us how much of a genius he is, and how unafraid he is in his approach to creating such powerful music.

 

 

Gross Net Is Gross Net is one of the most thought-provoking records of the year. Sure, Philip will take you to a different world with the sounds, but the lyrics will bring you right back to Earth. This record is made up of 10 songs to truly hit you in the soul. One person, just one person has made this absolutely vital record. It doesn’t tell a story; it tells the truth. It is a truth to really, really listen to.