TWO FIFTY FOUR: The Pickle Factory 29/11/2017

30 11 2017

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Last night was my fifth time seeing Two Fifty Four and it was also one of the best times I’ve seen them. There may have been a few issues with sound but that didn’t stop the band from putting on an incredible show.

Their last show in London was in 2015 at Dingwalls, and to see them play an even more intimate venue like The Pickle Factory (opposite Oval Space-make sure you queue up for the right gig if you go here, we made that mistake!) I’ve seen them play in an old church which is set upon old graves and at the Shacklewell Arms but the show last night was something else. Mainly because of the new songs. The new songs are outstanding live, so I can pretty much say with confidence, that when their new record does come out- it’ll be the record of the year. If it comes out next year, I am calling it now as the best thing to happen in 2018.

There is so much to take in when you see Two Fifty Four play. You don’t know where to cast your gaze as each member of the band is nothing short of excellent musicians. They will leave you wishing you could make noise like this. Certain songs allow certain band members to shine a little more, making you take in even more so just how phenomenal they are.

I always seem to gravitate towards watching Hannah play. She is undoubtedly the best guitarist around. There is no one else around that can make noise like her, there is no one else around that can make you feel that alive with a guitar. The sheer heaviness of the sound reminds me of bands I’ve been obsessed with for so long. We know that Houdini by the Melvins is one of the greatest records ever made, right? Well, Two Fifty Four carry the same heaviness as them. Hopefully you know the link between the Melvins and Two Fifty Four (play A History Of Bad Men if you don’t know, and see what happens at the 2:54 mark. If you aren’t covered in goose bumps, you aren’t human.) What I love so much about Two Fifty Four is their ability to make it look so easy, but we know it isn’t. They are one of the hardest working bands I have ever known and that truly comes through in their music and of course in their live shows.

Colette’s stage presence is magnetising. When she sings without her guitar she unleashes moves that resemble a wild animal hunting its prey- these ferocious moves accompanied with such a powerful voice that can electrify you is just mind-blowing. The only person I have ever seen with a presence like this is from my idol, Shirley Manson. Colette’s voice can be delicate when needed but she can definitely add some boom to it when needed. Her voice shows its strength on songs like In The Mirror and also on the new one, Pieces.

Of all the new songs they played last night, I think Ghosting may be my favourite. The new songs sound like Massive Attack mixed with Sleep. For me, that’s an ideal combination. The songs are delicate but also bloody brutal. Again, that’s another reason as to why I love this band so much. They have this loudness and this brutal sound that just leaves you in awe.

They end their set on Pieces, but the crowd wasn’t having any of that. We wanted one more. Some were yelling “Two more! Three more!” I think we all would have loved them to play both records and their earlier songs like Got A Hold and On A Wire. They ended their set with the wonderful Creeping. It was one of the highlights for sure; another is the little jam at the end of Scarlett. Something takes you over when they do that, and you realise even more just how bloody great Two Fifty Four are.

If you’ve seen Two Fifty Four live before, you’ll know that Alex is the best drummer you’ll probably ever see. The sheer passion that comes through as he beats the shit out of his drum kit is astounding. He makes you wish you could do that, but musicians/bands like Two Fifty Four do not come around often. I think that is why their crowd is so diverse, and why people go to see them because they truly love the band. There is none of this business where people go to see them just so they can say they have. Not at all. People go to see Two Fifty Four because their music really means something to them, because they know that they are a band to be absolutely treasured. They are also criminally underrated.

Every song they play is greeted with enthusiastic and loving cheers by the crowd. There are no obnoxious heckles or people yelling songs out that they want to hear. There is the utmost respect, love and admiration on both parts. There are no drunken fools spilling their overpriced craft beer on you, no one barging past to get to the front and no one talking whilst the band play. For as loud as they are, the atmosphere is tranquil and respectful. As someone who suffers stupidly with panic attacks- this felt like a totally safe space. All you can do is close your eyes and let the music move you.

As I mentioned many times before, bands like Two Fifty Four don’t come around too often. They are a pleasure to listen to and a sheer joy to watch. It was over all too soon, but I am so excited for the new record.

What I always take from their shows is like a kick up the arse to do something I love. Hanging out with Colette and Hannah after the show makes you see the band differently. On stage the band have this bold confidence and presence. Off stage they are taken aback with how adored they are.

Meet your heroes and let their music be your crutch. The world that Two Fifty Four paint with their music is like Ted Hughes crashing into Poe. Dark, eerie and good for the soul, and mind.





An Interview with 2:54.

17 03 2016

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Last February I finally got to interview a band I had been wanting to talk to for quite some time. A band that hold a wealth of importance to me. Besides, any band that references the Melvins in their name is bound to be great, right? I’ve written about 2:54 many times. There is something about their music that just makes me want to write about it. When I listen to their music, I notice things I hadn’t previously done or certain emotions come out. They’ve always struck me as a band you listen to in the dead of night, through headphones whilst the world sleeps. If any band or singer can give you that, then you’ve found something to treasure for life. In an ideal world, I would have typed this interview straight away. I didn’t. I lost my dictaphone, moved house, and thought it was lost forever until I found it in a box under my bed whilst looking for something else. Sometimes I am a world class tool.

I started off by asking Colette and Hannah how their music should be listened to. As I mentioned above, I set the scene for myself- but is that how they want their fans to take in their music? What are the perfect surroundings to listen to their music, or just music in general?

Colette: “All my favourite music I listen to on the move. Train journeys, in the tour van. That’s what you want from a band or record you love, you want it to be transported. And I like that feeling of motion as you listen to it.”

This led onto my fixation of finding bands that are ideal to listen to at night (maybe that’s why I love going to gigs) and I asked them, what it is like to play during the day at festivals like SXSW (who put them on at 2:54 in the afternoon.)

Colette: “It is one of those things that absolutely changes the atmosphere. You can see people more and you definitely do feel more exposed. You can feel more self-conscious than you would normally but then those kind of challenges are exciting even if they are scary. It’s what being in a band is all about, it toughens you up a bit. And at festivals, not everyone is there to see you so there’s that dynamic as well.”

The first time I saw 2:54 live was at the Union Chapel, and I saw them again at St Pancras Old Church. St Pancras was more intimate and was just after The Other I came out, and I’m pretty sure they did most of the record. They came onto the stage with Tender Shoots playing out of the PA and it was so captivating as it echoed through. It felt like something was calling out to us. I’ve seen a few gigs in churches, and it is something I do enjoy. It feels sacred yet strange. What changes when you play in a church? I’m not religious, but the respectful side of me wouldn’t start yelling a string of swear words in there. Obviously 2:54 haven’t got the mouth of a sailor on stage, but you still have to be a like cautious I suppose.

Colette: “We were playing on the graves, which I found a little unnerving (St Pancras.) At the Union Chapel we had a sound monitor that we couldn’t go above.”

Hannah: “And you can’t have too much reverb! In churches, you can’t play too loud as the building can start to crumble.”

I’ve been to a fair amount of gigs in this country at various venues. I sometimes think I’ve worked out which venue is my favourite, but then I go to a gig at a new venue and I fall in love with it. I think it might be impossible for me to pick one place as my favourite venue. Is there any way a band could pick their favourite place to play? What does a venue need in order for a band to feel that they have just set foot into their favourite venue? Some may regard the sound, so may think of certain shows they have played there that gives it sentimental value. When a band based in London are asked this question, you automatically think “Bet they say Brixton Academy!” Fortunately this time, this wasn’t the case.

Colette: “For me, the Brudenell Club in Leeds. It has all my favourite kind of elements. It definitely has that social club vibe that we grew up on. It has that faded glamour, the layout and it’s so warm and welcoming.”

I guess that’s the North all over!

When I listen to a band I always seem to make a beeline for the lyrics first. Some people connect with a sound more than words (and there are some that I feel this way about also) but for the most part- it’s the lyrics. I did my dissertation at university about Punk and Poetry and it seems that sparked it all off again. Words are powerful, and when you find a band or singer that can make your mind expand on all that you see, feel and think- that’s when you know you’ve found something. I remember hearing Orion from The Other I and immediately thinking about when I first heard Siouxsie And The Banshees for the first time. It was dark, otherworldly and magical. I’ve always felt that 2:54’s lyrics are exceptionally sacred. You have to listen very closely to pick up on golden lines that will stay in your head for an age. Easy Undercover once summed up how crap I was being to someone once (more than once) and Blindfold helped me get out of a job that was making me ill. You make these connections and use it as armour. Their first record came out when I was living at home, and I used to take long walks listening to it. The darkness of the songs fit perfectly as I walked through quiet streets cloaked with fog. It fit the songs perfectly, and it killed time. So of course, I had to ask them what their favourite songs/lyrics were to The Other I.

Colette: “Blindfold and Glory Days. It was really cathartic writing Blindfold. And I love that it has a dance melody, a pop melody almost. And the lyrics are full of loads of questions, and anxiety really. I like that all of my favourite songs from the 60s have that- that melancholy.”

Prior to the tour last February, 2:54 did an interview with Rookie magazine (http://www.rookiemag.com/2015/01/theme-song-254/) and there’s a part towards the end of the interview where Colette mentions Horses by Patti Smith (she also mentions her and Hannah’s love for At The Drive-In and The Distillers which is bloody great!) Horses is probably THE most important record of all time, but that’s just my opinion. When I first heard it, I knew I had found something and someone who was going to change my life. I have my records on a few shelves in my room, and Horses is the first one I see every day. It’s a knowing nod on how to get on through life. Horses was the record that spurred on my love for music and poetry. There are moments on Horses that define greatness. Greatness that no other could compare to, greatness that will never happen again. I watched her play the record in full last November and I have never felt that way during and after a show before. It did something, something that stuck with me- much like hearing Horses for the first time. I don’t know many people who hold this amount of love for Patti, and I had to fit it in somehow after reading the Rookie interview. I asked Colette if how Patti writes is an influence.

Colette: “The poetry and the Punk elements- there’s a fearlessness about it that gets me every time. Such a strong sense of self that is completely seductive. I just find her the whole package, and when you first find out about her- it always seems to be at the right time. I first found out about her when I was supposed to be revising for my exams, and my friend had mentioned Horses to me and I just sat there. I was struck by it.”

I think anyone who has listened to Patti, or to Horses can really understand where Colette is coming from. When you listen to Patti you are in awe of what you’re hearing, and it just stays with you. Her live shows are out of this world- and whatever she sets out to do and to make the people feel, she does it. Live shows are a huge thing for me. I love going to gigs and there is nothing better than making sure I am at work well before 9am so I can bring on a panic attack whilst trying to buy tickets. This was shown in all its glory 2 weeks ago when trying to buy tickets to see The Kills. I failed. We don’t talk about it because it makes me and my friend sad. Next time, right? After the anxious feelings pass when you’ve bought tickets, the day slowly comes around where you get to see the band in question. I always want to know what bands want fans to take from their shows- do they want them to go start a band, if anything? Whenever I’ve seen 2:54 I’ve always left wishing I could drum like Alex or play the guitar like Hannah. Anyone I’ve dragged to see them has always said the same thing. There are a handful of bands that I’ve seen that always make me wish I was musically talented, 2:54 are one of them.

Hannah: “We want people to hopefully connect to the performance. We very much do feel like a tight gang on stage and we like being able to share that.”

Colette: “Growing up when we went to gigs, we always wanted to emulate that unifying feeling. I hope for connection, any potential connection is what I hope for.”

As generic as it is to ask- I asked the band who their influences were (not just settling for music based influences.) When I listen to them I can pick up on sounds from bands I love such as Garbage, Sleep and elements of Fugazi. Colette’s voice is gentle but tough when needs to be (like Shirley Manson) Alex’s drumming always takes me back to hearing Fugazi for the first time and the heaviness in Hannah’s guitar playing reminds me of Sleep and Rowland S Howard, but who influences them?

Colette: “I think it is the need to get something out of you – a release.” I think this one line sums up 2:54. The urgency in their songs- the words, the music. It all comes alive when you see them on stage and what better influence to have than that. The need to pull something out of you, and cast it into the unknown. It’s powerful, terrifying and inspiring. You don’t always need a list of bands, singers or writers to be cited as an influence- sometimes it is just the urgency to get it out there and I think that’s the most powerful influence anything can have over us.

I chose to end the interview with a question that, if I was asked would probably cause a mental block but is fine to ask others (especially if they are musicians.)

With a knowing nod, after asking what the favourite line from any song is, Colette answered with the always fitting and forever apt “Jesus died for somebodies sins but not mine.”

 

*At the end of the interview we shared what the first records we bought were. Colette’s was Pearl Jam which led on to a discussion about the Now compilations. There was one that had Enigma (the monk song!) and Enya. Those were the days. And if you must know, the first one I bought was Always & Forever by Eternal. From Woolworths. On cassette.





2:54-South.

1 10 2015

As I sit in bed feeling sorry for myself as I’m ill, I thought I’d write about a song that I’ve pretty much had on repeat for a year, nearly. It is also to make up for the fact I’ve lost my dictaphone with my 2:54 interview on. If I can’t find it within a week, I’ll just be massively disappointed in myself. Useless. In my defense, I have moved house so it could be anywhere.

South by 2:54 is my favourite song by them. I thought I always had a firm favourite (Got A Hold) but it turns out, I was wrong. I guess lyrically I’d probably call Blindfold because the lyrics are easy to relate to. But for me, South is a song that feels like a hug from the person you adore the most. It feels like you’re being wrapped around something reassuring and comforting. The lyrics are quite sad, and I think last year I probably said the line “Got nowhere to put misshapen love” was the best I’d heard. You can take your over the top and complex prose, but I’d rather settle for a lyric like that. The simplicity of it can break your heart or make you feel like you’ve been finally healed. I love the uncertainty in the line, “Am I doing it wrong? Am I doing it right?” It’s such a simple line but the way in which it is sung that just gets you right in the heart.

I’ve tried to fathom what I love the most about the song. Is it Colette’s voice? Is it Hannah’s guitar or the way Alex makes the drums feel like a soothing wave hitting you? Is it the lyrics? It’s all and more, I can’t pick just one reason. The intro feels like rain hitting a window, but the drums come in and it feels like waves crashing around you. Something I’ve always adored about 2:54 is, you know the cover to their first record? Well, what I love that from their music I always feel like I am in that place. I feel like I am stood watching waves hit the rocks in the freezing cold with nothing surrounding me. Lost and found at the same time.

I’ve always felt 2:54 a band to listen to with nobody else around and at night. Turns out I was wrong because I can listen to them anytime, anywhere. But the ideal setting for them is late at night when all is dark and still. They create something eerie in your mind, and I think it is partly to do with Colette’s voice. I honestly think 2:54 are terribly underrated, but that’s a different matter entirely. Colette has this power in her voice that is found in the likes of Patti and Shirley Manson. She can make her voice sound gentle (Tender Shoots) or she can add something quite ferocious to it (Sugar.) I don’t know of anyone else who can do that. I don’t think they realise how great they are.

South is the perfect song to have on repeat as you go for a long walk. Just wandering around trying to clear your head or to just be alone for a while.Maybe I carry for too many feelings, but I think South is so special to me because it feels like an outlet. I don’t know what their meaning behind the song is or what place they were in when they wrote it, but I know where it takes me and how it makes me feel. You can listen to this on a crisp autumn evening as the sun sinks down or on a misty morning when you feel as if you’re the only person left; it can be purely self-indulgent or a journey of discovery. I’d always aim for the latter but, whatever gets you through.

At times I have felt that 2:54’s music is a reflection/stepping outside of the self to look in. Maybe I’m going too deep with this, but songs like South hit you in the gut and stir everything inside. In some parts of the song, Colette’s voice sounds quite woeful and I think this stands out towards the end where it is just her voice, then the guitar comes back in. I guess that’s probably why I feel a lot towards this song.

In their live shows this is definitely a highlight for me. I love songs that last over 5 minutes, and South slowly creeps in. There are other glorious moments in their live sets, but as I’ve only seen them tour The Other I (I was living on the Isle of Man during the start of their career so I was a distant fan, I suppose) I can only use this as reference. That said, the jam at the end of Creeping is mind-blowing. They are a band that I would urge anyone to go see. I don’t think they realise how great they are, and I don’t think Hannah is fully aware of how brilliant a guitarist she is. She towers over most, she makes it look effortless but you know a lot is going on. South is a song that shows us what 2:54 are about. The lyrics are dark and brooding at times, the music is complex and takes you someplace and the vocals ease you. They ease you into the unknown, and that’s what I love about 2:54. They take you gently into the unknown and everything around you just falls away.

I don’t know what anyone else thinks about South but for me it just evokes a sense of freedom. When love is misshapen, what do you do? The sensible answer is to probably walk away from it. There’s a handful of songs I play when things just seem a bit too much for my head to take in, and South is one of those that ease this uncertainty. South like I’ve mentioned feels like you’ve found a source of comfort and maybe it is all down to the vocals, maybe. But go deeper into it and every element of the song is a wealth of reassurance. It is one of the rare moments where the drums don’t make you feel as if you’re being smacked in the face. The drums on South make you feel as if you’re gliding in the sky like a bird, heading South.

I’ve a million and one other things I could say about the song, and maybe I’ll re-read this and disagree with what I’ve written, but it’s a song I’m hugely in love with and grateful for.





SPECTRES.

5 03 2015

 

The best kind of music is the kind that terrifies you. You play it before you go to sleep and before you know it, you are having the most painful and obscure dreams possible.  It terrifies you, but you don’t jolt yourself awake. You want to see where it takes you and how long you can stomach it for.

A large chunk of the records I own have become important to me because of the artwork. The front cover can sometimes define the mood of a record, and Dying by Spectres full backs this idea up, but the beauty is that you must take it your own way. When you stare at the front cover, a load of ideas run through your mind as to what is going on. Is he killing himself in the bath? Is he being killed? How is he feeling? There is terror and mystery. Two things which can sum up Spectres sound.

Dying is a great record. No. It is a phenomenal record. I can’t tell you the ideal situation to listen to it, but you MUST zone everything out and ignore everyone around you when you listen to it.

Ideally this would have been some kind of review of their record, but I must tell you all I possibly can about how they make the listener feel, or maybe just me. Who knows. Last night they played The Lexington. I had every desire to go to the show after work, but I was off sick again with another migraine. Pretty sure they would have cured it.

Spectres are loud, brutal, dark, sinister, cold and creepy. It is everything I want from a band. This Bristol based band remind me of bands I adore such as Sleep and Noothgrush. There’s some kind of doom/sludge thing happening here with distorted sounds a la My Bloody Valentine. Heavy guitars, menacing drums and haunting vocals. Massively sinister, think a slightly calmer version of Pop.1280. They’re my favourite new band, make them yours too.

Their songs feel like really twisted and proper evil horror films. The kind of films that won’t be shown in chain cinemas. Spectres have this brilliant way of demanding your attention without being pricks. A lot of bands want all of your attention, and it comes across quite needy and irritating. Spectres know you’ll turn onto them eventually so they don’t need to plead you. This is the kind of band I love.

I love when you find a band that make you feel as if you’ve gone too far or you’re damaging your ears by listening to them. I don’t want arty farty love songs that mean nothing to me. I want brutally charged songs that would raise a concern with anyone who claims to know me. I want terror to fill my brain as soon as I hit play. They take you away from the horrors (and dullness) of every day life. They take you to some forbidden place, an unconventional meeting place for those who do not wish to be part of what they are constantly sold.

I wish I could have seen them last night as I probably would have more to say, I would have seen first hand what the atmosphere is like. But, I guess a strong band can maintain that tension regardless, I’m 100% sure Spectres can do that, and DO do that.

Everything about Spectres is mesmerising, I cannot pin point one thing that stands out. I’m in love with the artwork, the guitars, the noise, the vocals, the loudness, how a sound like this cannot be tamed. They’ve magically and majestically created the sound to your nightmares, and being “shit your pants” terrified has never sounded so good.

Their record is easily going to be one of the highlights of the year, and a sound like this just doesn’t go away. It gets bigger and louder.





2:54: Manchester/London February 2015

5 02 2015

 

 

Seeing a band you adore live is a great feeling. Sometimes, well for the most part, it seems to be a sort of release and a purely cathartic experience. That’s what music should be about and when you see it performed in front of you it becomes heightened and more important.

2:54 have just finished a 3 day tour in the UK. I did 2 out of 3 dates and I won’t lie, I wish I did all 3. If you’ve seen them live you will know how addictive it can be. You leave wishing to be in that moment solidly for the rest of time. You want to tell the words back to Sugar. You want to lose yourself during No Better Prize. You air drum along to Creeping. These moments become you. Don’t part from them.

Manchester was the first show. There is something really special about seeing bands in Manchester. The venue was idyllic and the crowd were a beautiful lot. Manchester crowds aren’t afraid to move. The last time I saw 2:54 was a month or so before when they did a secret show at the Shacklewell Arms to about 50 people. This show however, was dark and loud. Euphoric filled moments. Alex’s intense drumming. Rich’s brutal bass playing. Hannah’s inspiring guitar playing. Colette’s delicate but powerful voice. You will not find a better constructed band. With no need to talk in between songs, this band have gorgeous stage presence. In short, they make you want to start a band.

Last night they played historic Camden venue, Dingwalls. This show had a real Punk vibe about it. You can find this if you look hard enough. Colette said there was a strong Punk feel to the show last night, and she wasn’t wrong. Bodies were moving in time and some off beat. The music was rightfully being felt in all the right places.

I’ve loved them since I heard Creeping a few years ago. If I could find the word to describe how it made me feel and how it hit me, I would. It all comes to life when you see them live.
A strong sense of pride. The band I adore are nothing short of excellent and are making the kind of music that really moves you.

I interviewed Colette and Hannah in Manchester( I will type it up soon) and it felt like I was talking to two friends. Their bond is so pure and lovely to witness. You know how some people can communicate without saying a word? That’s them. I don’t think any other band has a bond as strong as that. Quite simply, the sisters are the most gracious and kind individuals I’ve met in a long time. Their music may be heavy and intense but personality wise they are just wonderful people. If you go see them, talk to them afterwards. Tell them I sent you!

And now it is all over. America is getting them next. Is it too late to have a Kickstarter page to find me to go out there? I’m too much of a wuss to get on a plane for 8 hours anyway!
Their on stage presence just makes you want to start a band. I think I spent most of the time staring at Alex and being in awe of how great a drummer he is. He makes you want to do exactly what he does. He truly is phenomenal and I hope if anyone ever made a list of the best drummers around he would be the top choice. But please know that during each song, all band members truly do shine but during some songs you take notice of a certain band member. No Better Prize sees you staring at awe at Hannah’s guitar skills. This song is a real intimate part of the show- it’s just Hannah and Colette on stage playing this. They perform it with such power, you don’t realise that there are other people in the room. Sure Hannah nails it during the end of Scarlet, but there is something extremely fragile and poignant about this song and how they do it live.Speaking of Scarlet, that’s the one where you really focus on Rich and how great a bass player he is. He moves furiously and plays with such purpose, making you wish you could play like that. Scarlet is the song that everyone goes nuts to, and I reckon it’s the bass that sets us all off. How could it not?! Blindfold is a personal song, whoever you are you will feel this song. You’ll see yourself in it and for this reason and how Colette sings it makes it her moment. Of course she’s got a brilliant voice, but there is really something about Blindfold that really makes you connect with the song. That’s the job of the singer, and she does it perfectly. Colette’s voice reminds me of singers I love such as Shirley Manson and Patti Smith. She can sound so delicate in one song but can flip to being dominant. Regardless, you pay attention and you listen. Alex Robins. Where do you begin on his drumming. After much thought I think I’ll go with Creeping. Inititally I was going with Crest because it’s so brutal and is one of the louder tracks on the record. But, I’ll stick with Creeping. He smacks the cymbal like a wave crashing crumbling and faded rocks. His drumming on Creeping sends the song swirling all around you and no part of you feels like you are where you are. Put all of these factors together from each of them, and you truly do have, hand on heart, the perfect/ideal band.

When I listen to 2:54, I just want to sit and write about what their music does and it all it stirrs inside of you. When I see them live I wish to cast real life aside and do something other than what I have to do every day. There is truly something special about them and I feel for anyone who has yet to see it, or who has yet to listen to them or has disregarded them. They’re easy to write about because they are just everything I love about music and why I probably won’t be satisfied until I’ve made some kind of career out of writing about music. 9-5 doesn’t sit well with me, it makes me feel uncomfortable. I don’t adapt to routine.

Music should do something to you that a person can’t. It should take you to a place that no mode of transport can drag you too. It’s a wave of emotions and moments of realisation. If you’re feeling lost, go to a gig. Go to a record store. Go into the unknown and be transported towards something else. Something you have probably been looking for. I recommend you start with 2:54. Listen to them on the move, in your room. Go to their shows and allow yourself to feel something so gloriously sacred.
 

*Note: This was written at 9 this morning on the train to work in about 20 minutes, 2:54 make it so easy to write about music and all it means to a person.





2:54- Crest (video.)

12 01 2015

 

 

I think 2:54 look at the weather and think, “Yeah, now we’ll release something..it’s pissing it down outside. It’ll fit the mood.” On this cold, wet and dreary Monday London’s finest (if you want to get particular about this we’ll say Ireland/Bristol’s finest) 2:54 released the video to their new single, Crest which is taken from the best record of 2014, The Other I.

Crest is brilliantly shot and makes you feel you are in the throes of one of their gigs, throwing your body about and yelling the words back. If you’ve ever seen 2:54 live, you’ll probably been left in awe of how each of them are just massively into what they are doing. I know I’ve said it so many times, but Alex is probably the best drummer I’ve ever seen (think he’s wearing a Fugazi shirt in the video which is also excellent.) He gets really into it in the video, and that’s just a little taste of what they’re like live.

Shot in black and white, the video is as moody as their remarkable sound. Crest is one of their heavier songs and is undoubtedly one of the most important moments on The Other Day.

You can watch the video on the Nylon website here: http://www.nylon.com/articles/video-premiere-2-54-crest

If you have holiday to take at work, why not do what I’ve done and go see the band more than once and treat yourself to a night in Manchester, London and Bristol. You won’t find a finer band.

Tour dates are:

02/02-Manchester, Deaf Institute (tickets: http://www.thedeafinstitute.co.uk/event.php?id=568&d=2015-02-02)

03/02-  Bristol, Colston Hall (tickets: http://www.thedeafinstitute.co.uk/event.php?id=568&d=2015-02-02)

04/02- London, Dingwalls (tickets: http://www.dingwalls.com/listings/events/4-feb-15-254-dingwalls/)

And if you live in America, you can catch them at the following dates with the wonderful Honeyblood as support:

27/02 – Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade Venue

28/02- Washington, DC – DC9

01/03- Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s

03/03- Toronto, ON – The Silver Dollar Room

04/03-  Detroit, MI – UFO Factory

05/03-  Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle

06/03-  Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry

08/03-  Seattle, WA – Barboza

09/03- Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios

11/03-  San Francisco, CA – The Rickshaw Stop

12/03-  Los Angeles, CA – The Echoplex

13/03-  San Diego, CA – The Hideout

14/03-  Phoenix, AZ – VIVA PHX Music Festival





LYRICS OF 2014.

11 01 2015

Are we over the “New year, new me” bullshit yet? Are we all aware that you can change whenever you want, you don’t need to wait for midnight on the 1st January to do so? And the gym is open beyond January… Alright, I’ll go back to the past 12 months.

Everybody likes to inflict their “ALBUMS OF *insert year*” upon anyone towards the end of the year. Some mention records that nobody probably listened to just to seem “cool” or they slag off good ones just because they did well. It’s all a bit daft, and the only person’s view of a record that really does matter is probably the fans who love the band. I could be wrong, I most likely am but I’m not someone who aims to ever be right. I don’t care enough, so with that..I decided to put together my list of lyrics of the past year. Lyrics that I listen to intensely and cause me to play the same song about 20 times in a short amount of time and not wanting to listen to anything else for a while. They could be lyrics that someone else thinks is shit, but what does that matter? It’s obvious who I’m going to write about because it is those who have put out records last year that I will probably still play all the time. I judge a year by the music not what happens in my life, I’ve again, probably got it all wrong but it’s things like that,that sort of stop me from getting on a plane and fucking off without saying a word. Oh and I’ve not got much ££££ to do so anyway. Maybe one day I’ll grow a backbone. Until then….

D’Angelo- The Charade. Towards the end of the year, the King of Soul FINALLY, after 14 years, put a record out. Black Messiah was not just one of the best records of the year but it was the most important. The whole message behind it stood for something bigger than those who were patiently waiting for a new D’Angelo record could imagine. Everywhere went nuts when it came out, and it is was beautiful. There are so many wonderful lyrics on Black Messiah, but this one from The Charade is one that really hit me. It sums up the brutality that was happening (and still is) in America. “Degradation so loud that you can’t hear the sound of our cries.” If anything can sum up the events and injustice, it is probably that one. You can tell from any D’Angelo song that he’s someone who watches and takes note of human behavior in all its ways. Black Messiah was full of hope and pain. It brought a sense of unity and a bit of peace that was much needed. Again proving that Music is one of the most powerful tools there is.

Morrissey- Earth Is The Loneliest Place. I probably would have gone for Kick The Bride Down The Aisle or Staircase At The University, but there is something about Earth Is The Loneliest Place that I couldn’t ignore. For those that hate Morrissey, there’s a load more of us that love him. Love conquers all, right? Morrissey’s lyrics are a huge part of my life and a load of others. The way he writes is something else, he gets to the very core of you and you feel as if he’s writing the songs about you. Is he saving your life or is he just able to put it all across better than you could? Personally, I think it is both. For me it is the line, “And humans are not really very humane. And earth is the loneliest planet of all.” Some lyrics just speak for themselves really. We have all seen how cruel humans can be, and we have all felt lonely. You can feel lonely anywhere, and our planet earth is a prime example of that. But if you are feeling lonely, go to a record store. Just like Penny Lane says in Almost Famous.

Band Practice-Magic! Last year one of the finest duos around and New York’s finest, Band Practice released their debut record. Make Nice is full of songs that make you feel like you’re part Tina Belcher/part Patti Smith. All music should aspire to that, the world would be a better place for sure. My favourite song off the record is Band Practice Theme Song, but this lyric from Magic! is my favourite : “When I walk inside my door , the world seems safe and it offers more.” We all know daily life can be a drag, a real pain in the behind and sometimes as soon as you step outside, you wish you hadn’t. If you’ve never experienced that, then you’ve never taken three tubes to work and had several items and body parts shoved in your face. It’s not even 8am and you’ve had enough. Songs like this a real comfort and stop you from punching yourself in the face out of sheer despair, or you know..punching someone else because all they are doing is glaring at their phone gormlessley and not watching where they are going.

BANKS- Fuck ‘Em Only We Know. Goddess was one of the best debut records to come out last year, and Banks I feel, is the only R&B singer that comes close to Aaliyah. When Aaliyah died, she left a huge void and she’s irreplaceable. Most are, and we dispose of singers so easily, but Aaliyah was so rare. Bans has that gentle feel to her music that Aaliyah created. Fuck ’em reminds me of a song that would have sounded amazing on Aaliyah’s last record, there’s something about this song. Something really special. Banks, like all great songwriters is someone you can tell watches others. Whether it be strangers or people she knows, she takes their story and turns it into a work of art. I adore this lyric: “Even addicted to your grumpy face. I know exactly just how many kisses fit between your eyes.”
It’s such an observant and adoring lyric. If you’ve felt like that, then you’ve experienced real love.

Julian Casablancas & The Voidz- Human Sadness.  I love the way Julian sings in that tired, fed-up and frustrated way. He makes you really feel what he is saying. Sure on the Tyranny record it’s hard to make out what he’s singing, but when you read the lyrics, you see another person who is massively observant and is paying close attention to how people behave. Human Sadness is an intense song, and many would say that this is one of the best songs Julian has ever done, and they’re not wrong and is evident in the lyric: “Understanding is more important than love. If not money will always trump justice.” If you’ve seen how corrupt the world can be, you’ll have seen that those with money will always outweigh most things, Julian’s picks up on how unfair it is yet it is something that may possibly never change.

Warpaint-Disco//Very. Warpaint are an easy band to write about. I don’t know what it is about them, but they are one of the few bands that when I listen to them, I just want to write down every thought and feeling that they bring to life. When music is this magical, you really cannot let it go. Disco//Very is unlike most of their songs. You know that drop during Undertow? Well, all of Disco//Very is that moment for about 3 minutes. It’s bloody euphoric, and I adore this lyric : “Only in the sound of the voices I scream.” That line is a kick to the soul, it smacks you and you just feel..as sickeningly clichéd as it sounds, it just makes you feel alive. If you’ve seen them perform this live, you will see that nobody stands still. It’s got that wonderful mystical Warpaint feel surrounding it, and you can’t help but play it over and over. It’s delightfully infectious.

Nadine Shah-Stealing Cars. If her voice doesn’t move you, then go see someone about that. Her voice is bold and gloriously powerful. I remember hearing Runaway and just being in awe of this stunning voice, Nadine is something else. What I love about Nadine is the strength in her voice, the only other singer who is as strong as her has to be Anna Calvi. Both singers can break your heart and terrify you in the next breath. That’s what makes them powerful and bloody brilliant. “Check your pulse when I speak.” Take that line how you want, but when you listen and I mean really listen to Nadine sing it, you feel as if she’s talking right to you. Nadine is such a brilliant songwriter and I firmly believe her new record is going to be one of the best ones to come out this year.

Dum Dum Girls- Too True To Be Good. Dee Dee is an underrated songwriter. She’s as powerful as Patti, and she sings in such a clear way and with such purpose. Much like Patti. Too True was in my Top 3 records of 2014, and again is one I’ve not grown tired of. You never grow tired of your favourite bands do you. Too True To Be Good is lyrically my favourite off the record, and I love Dee Dee’s voice throughout the song. When I first heard it, I became hooked on the lyric: “It’s hard to outrun a devil from behind.” Dee Dee’s lyrics are outbursts of truths and sources of comfort, you can hear it in all its glory in songs like Coming Down. She just knows how to phrase something in a way that hits you in the gut. There’s nobody else like her.

2:54- South. When 2:54 FINALLY released The Other I, it felt like my birthday and Christmas had come at once. The Other I was released 2 days before my birthday so I wasn’t far off. I immediately fell in love with the record and I was so proud of the sound they had created on the record. It was still eerie like their debut, but it had something else. Something I’m still trying to find the words to describe, but I’m yet to get there. My favourite song off The Other I changes by the day. I seem to flirt between South and Pyro. Pyro’s got this brilliant attitude to it, but South has this lyric : “Got nowhere to, nowhere to put misshapen love.” It’s obvious how much I adore this band (I’m using my work holiday to go see them on tour) and this lyric just made me adore them even more. You know how sometimes a band you really love, and you don’t think they can amaze you anymore? Turns out they always can….

2:54-Blindfold. The drumming on this just proves why Alex Robins is one of the best around, and the video to this is beautifully shot. It captures London in all its beauty. I saw them play this at Union Chapel and they made a powerful anthem sound like a haunting chant. It was just beautiful. None of this has really been written in order, but my favourite lyric of 2014 has to be “Everybody says I’ve got to say what’s on my mind. But how do I say, that am I really losing my way. Every day.” If you pick apart 2:54’s lyrics, they read like chilling poetry that would cause Poe to freak out slightly. Colette is a brilliant songwriter absolutely brilliant and the way in which Hannah writes the music just goes so well with Colette’s words. It’s got to be a sister thing because nobody else comes close. There are so many reasons as to why I regard 2:54 so highly. Partly because they are genuine and lovely people, partly because their music takes you some place else and partly because they’re unlike anyone else. Their music is spooky but euphoric. It’s not too late to get a ticket for their tour next month….