BEST COAST: Always Tomorrow.

21 02 2020

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For the past decade or so, I have been in love with Best Coast. I think this is the band that may have started my obsession with bands from California and becoming obsessed with the way they made me feel like I was right there rather than where I currently was. Always seeking some form of escapism, and I always find it in music. Best Coast released their new record, Always Tomorrow today and I’m so excited to listen to it and write about why I love it. Maybe it’ll bore you, maybe you’ll feel the same way as me.

 Today in Manchester it has rained pretty much all day. This week has given us the kind of weather that makes you want to stay at home and not go anywhere, even if like me, you love your job- you still don’t want to get out of bed. But that’s probably part of me having depression too but whatever. The sun has again come from Best Coast. This record is totally different; it is not like Crazy For You (the baby) or California Nights, and all in between. The thing I have always adored about Best Coast is the growth. What we got from Crazy For You and the journey from there to here is fucking insane. You feel like you’ve grown with Bethany and Bobb. You feel part of the journey. Always Tomorrow is such a mellow record, lyrically. Musically it is their heaviest and still has that beautiful honesty in the lyrics. I love how Bethany doesn’t need to be over the top with her words- she is so relatable, and personally, I think the band are criminally underrated.

 I’ve got a lot of sentimental value attached to Best Coast. When I met my girlfriend 10 years ago (we’ve not been together that long because back then I was a dick to her) and I would always bang on about Best Coast to her. She loves them too, and during our weird friendship (which was me being too much of an idiot to say how I felt) Our Deal was the song, THE SONG. This is why I feel like I’ve grown up with the band, and songs like Different Light and For The First Time are the songs that make you realise just how far the band have come, and how strong Bethany is. She’s just an exceptional writer, and I love the emotion she pours into the songs. I think For The First Time is a polite fuck you, and I love that.

 

 

Always Tomorrow is full of hope and growth; like I said it’s a heavier record, and it’s still got that typical Best Coast anthemic feel- this is apparent on songs like Graceless Kids. I’d play this stupidly loud right now if it wasn’t 11pm. I think this will be the one that is screamed by Bethany, and by the crowd back to her on tour. There is something so powerful about this song, and honestly, listen to it through headphones so you can soak up every single word. I just love her so much, and her words have got me through a hell of a lot and beyond. Make It Last is one of those songs that just make you feel something other songs haven’t quite done yet. It’s such a perfect song.

 Rollercoaster is one of my favourite songs on the record; I love the slick sound on this record, and I love everything about this song. It is hard to pick a solid favourite, and I know I don’t need to, but I feel like this might be the one I end up going back to. There is something about this record that reminds me slightly of Courtney Barnett, and that’s always a great thing, you know. They’ve both got this beautiful way with words that makes you feel like they are telling your story and spilling out everything you are thinking and feeling.

 This record will tug at your heartstrings and it will stay with you, just like all their records do. Best Coast have been doing this for a decade or so now, and I love how every record is different and a step up from what they did before. I love how well Bethany and Bobb work together, and I love what they create together.

 For when you feel hopeless, hopeful, lost, lonely or found- this record will be such a comfort. Songs like Rollercoaster, Wreckage and Master Of My Own Mind will get you right in the gut, and again are prime moments of growth on this record. Bethany’s voice has never sounded so strong, and you can feel every single word that she sings. She has such a distinctive voice, and I love how her voice and Bobb’s musicianship are just a perfect combination. They are both brilliant musicians, and Bethany’s voice is so soothing.  True is Bethany’s 60s Girl Group moment; it reminds me of the Wall of Sound era. You could imagine Ronnie Spector belting this one out, it is a gorgeous love song. It has this innocence and wonder to it that just makes you really proud of what the band have achieved and make you so proud to be a fan.

 

 

 These 11 songs will be all you need; they will comfort you, and they will be your crutch. It is such a beautifully honest record; just play it loud and let everything out. Let songs like Seeing Red be your release. Then fall into the world that Best Coast have given us for the past 10 years or so. It’s a stunning record, and just what I needed. Even the cover to the record fills you with hope; there’s something about the cover that makes you want to stare at it whilst playing the record. You can also sense the creative urgency on this record and given that it’s their first full length record in 5 years, it’s like they were never gone.

That wonderful lo-fi sound is there, it will always be there, and they do it in their own way. They make their own rules, and it’s just one of the many reasons as to why I love and will always love Best Coast.





KOLOSSUS DÄÄCHT: Lipstick Love.

17 02 2020

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Right out of Germany we have the exquisite KOLOSSUS DÄÄCHT; a tougher than leather Garage Rock band who will be releasing their debut record at the end of March.

 I’ve heard the record, and even though I don’t really like promises- I promise you that this record is going to blow your mind and will burst your eardrums in the most decadent way possible. Germany knows how to do this kind of music, but there’s something about KOLOSSUS DÄÄCHT that stands out. They have this huge sound that you’d probably find in bands who have been doing this for decades, but instead we have been blessed with this fresh new band that will just ruin you in the most magical way possible.

 

 

The name of the record is Lipstick Love, with the first single having the same name. The second single will be Cold Soup, but singles aside- the whole record is killer track after killer track. This record was made to be heard as loud as possible for sure. I love how they make you feel like you’re hanging out with them as they blitz through the songs in some cramped rehearsal space. Of course, in a sweaty, dingy bar is probably the best place to witness what they have to offer.

 There’s this proper Punk sound all through the record, and it’s more prominent on songs like Hypochondria and Do Your Job; there’s a lot of attitude on this record, with singer Clement having this Johnny Rotten like snarl to his voice. It’s a delight to listen to, and there’s no way anyone could listen to this record once and be done with it. It’s the kind of record that finds its way into your system and festers there forever. It’s always there, and you cannot help but crave it. It’s a brilliant debut record, and it’s just a little taste of what is to come.

Some of the songs have a Psychedelic feel to them, and this is really clear on The Armor. Clement’s vocals on this sound like something from a 60s Psych band, but you’ve got Stefan (drums) beating the shit out of the drums in a true Punk style. Dennis has a Johnny Ramone kind of style to his guitar playing and this is beautifully put together with Benedäächt’s bass. The whole Punk feel just smacks you right in the face on A Mess. The record consists of 14 exceptionally produced songs that will just leave you in awe; it is one of the most exciting records of the year, and I can only hope someone brings this band to the UK because I’d love to see them. I love how they make you feel the same way you did when you first heard the likes of The Cramps, The Stooges and the Ramones- they just hit you with this feeling, right in the gut. That’s when you know you’ve found something to truly treasure.

 

 

Lipstick Love is an incredible debut record; these 14 songs will blow your mind. Nothing will sound the same once you’ve heard this record, trust me. It’s a record to completely and utterly fall in love with. When it comes out, take the day off work to do nothing but listen to this record. Take a walk round the park, or head to the beach or wherever and just play this record over and over. Get lost in songs like Bad Cough, Home Alone and Courage. The whole record. Just let it consume you, that’s all you can do.

 The record comes out 28th March via Micro Wave Music.





BAMBARA: Stray.

16 02 2020

 

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My love for Bambara is something else. I practically live in my Bambara shirt, and I still think about their show from last year at the Soup Kitchen. I had no expectations from what I was going to witness, but I knew that from their records I was going to witness something that would blow my mind.

 Stray was released on Valentine’s Day- the perfect date for this record. Stray is made up of dark, deathly and romantic songs that totally justify my belief that Reid Bateh is one of the best songwriters around. For me he possesses that same genius that Nick Cave has. A fearless approach with unconventional romantic tones. Think Rimbaud, think Baudelaire and mix it with William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg- then you’ll get it. My point is this- Reid is an exceptional writer, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if one day, he writes a novel and that novel gets turned into a film with the band creating the score for it. Can you imagine?! It would be insane.

 

 

 

There’s a fair amount of references to death on this record, and you know, it’s something we cannot avoid at all. My enjoyment for things has dipped a bit since losing my Grandma in August, but I’ve found comfort in music. Bambara have reinforced everything I love about music on this record. They just nail everything I love about dark music that is unafraid to expose the things that we try to shy away from. Everything from the production to the order the songs are in on this record is so carefully done, and you can truly hear the growth in the band on Stray. If you’ve seen them live, you’ll know exactly how intense their shows are. Reid is one of the most captivating front men I’ve ever seen. Blaze is up there as one of my favourite drummers of all time and William is so effortlessly laid-back and cool. You wish you could do what each of them do, and not only do they have this presence live but they also have it on record. Stray shows us all why they are one of, if not THE most vital band around.

 I can’t possibly pick a favourite song on this record; it’s one of those records that you go back to and with every listen, something else just blows your mind. The record is like one euphoric story that builds and builds. I adore the intense sounds on this record and maybe it has this feel due to Reid and Blaze being twins and having this bond but with William he adds this feel to the band that sort of calms the storm slightly. The way Blaze annihilates the drums and how Reid has this snarl-like feel to his vocals is beautifully wrapped up in how soothing William unleashes his inspiring bass playing, and beyond. All three of them are exceptional musicians, and for me, they do justify this on all of their records, but Stray takes you some place else. It’s another world, and a world you never ever want to escape from. It is such a comforting and powerful record, and the production is out of this world.

 Ben & Lily is a prime example of Reid’s songwriting, and how brilliant it is. The way the song flows reminds me a bit of The Bad Seeds’ Thirsty Dog. It also sounds like something you’d hear in an old cowboy film- it’s got a great Spaghetti Western feel to it. Play it loud, and maybe have it on repeat for your next few listens. It feels like a short story, but one you don’t want to end. I just adore the places that Bambara take you and how they can just take you on this ride with them; their music is so soothing and comforting. To others maybe it is too ferocious, but that’s where I find comfort the most.

 There is one part of the record from one song in particular that I keep getting drawn to. This is taken from Made For Me: “Lit cigarettes will rain. On a field where horses roam untamed. See you running with them through the flames. Wild flowers in their manes as you lead the stampede my way.” There is something about this that just hits me in the gut. I mean the whole song does, but this part really hits me. I don’t know why, but it’s just so powerful and beautiful. However, if you’re looking for a song to truly break your heart- then listen to Sweat and I mean REALLY listen to it. It’s fucking brutal, and really heavy.

 

 

 

Stray is magnificent, but what else do you expect from a band as powerful as Bambara? Stray is probably going to end up being my most played record of the year. I cannot get enough of it, nor do I want to. I’m happy to have this record on repeat for the foreseeable now. I felt this way about Shadow On Everything, and they’ve done it again with Stray. I feel I could write about this record forever, and ever. Until words become pointless and no longer carry any meaning. An absolute honour to listen to.

 





NICK NUISANCE & THE DELINQUENTS.

27 01 2020

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If you’re looking for some rowdy Punk, then get your ears turned onto Nick Nuisance & The Delinquents. They’re a might fie band from Australia, and they take you way back to when Punk was starting out, and bands were solidifying their sound. Nick Nuisance & The Delinquents are everything you could possibly want from a gloriously rambunctious band.

 Nick’s vocals remind me slightly of Bobby Gillespie. I can’t really pinpoint what it is exactly but maybe it’s that wonderful sleazy tone that really locks you in. It’s incredible and will just blow your mind. They remind me of Primal Scream mixed with New York Dolls, with a Ramones attitude. But there’s something else going on and it defies any genre or band comparison that I or anyone else could put together. They’re worth way more than that, but I just wanted to give a slight indication to you on how great they are. When you listen to them, you’ll get what I mean.

 

 

Last year they released the dreamy Dumb Fuzz record. Five new songs that just made you want to have a good time an escape into your own little world. Talk To No One, Head, the songs on this release are so great and you cannot get enough of them but for when five songs just won’t do- we’ve got other records to fawn over. Cheap Things is another record of theirs that will just blow you away; this one came out in 2017 and the six songs on this release again just show us how amazing the band are. I think this is their most trashy/sleazy Rock ‘n’ Roll record. It’s got this 70s Glam Rock feel to it, that at times I can do without but here it truly works. It’s an exceptional record, and sure six songs aren’t enough, but it is a strong taster of what the band are about.

 Something really impressive to note about Cheap Things is that the band recorded it live to tape in just two days. If this is what we can get in two days from them, imagine what a week could churn out! I’ve got high hopes for this band, and one being that they find their way to the UK and melt our faces and steal our souls at their live shows. I love the sound that they have, and I love how it just sounds so natural to them. There is nothing forced about their sound, and they aren’t afraid to experiment with sounds that some may be cautious of dabbling in. An utterly fearless sound is what they possess, and collectively they are just a real treat to listen to. They are excellent musicians who just make you feel a sense of joy when you listen to them. Their songs go from being house party anthems to songs to waste the day to. Whatever you’re into, or whatever you spend your days doing- Nick Nuisance & The Delinquents are the perfect soundtrack to it.

 

 

Most of their songs don’t really hit over the two and half minute mark, and I guess this is one of the reasons why you just crave more music from them. They are just an absolute pleasure to listen to and when you listen to them, you just imagine yourself either hanging out with them, at their show or just anywhere that’s your happy/safe space. That’s what music should be about and given the state of the world at the moment, we should take that feeling any chance we get.





MAC MILLER: Good News.

14 01 2020

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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.





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

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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.