We all have a band that we adore seeing live. A band that when we see them, just makes everything better. It gives you this sense of belonging, and finding “home.” Live music is so powerful, and when it is one of the bands you unconditionally love- it means so much more.
Prior to last night’s show, I had seen Beach House twice in London a couple of years ago. I was just in awe of the lighting, the way they sounded and how electric the atmosphere was. I’ve never connected with London, so to see them in my newly adopted home- Manchester, was just a dream come true. Since 2006, Beach House have been a band that have meant the world to me, and have always been the most comforting sound. To see them in such a beautiful venue in the best city in the world, was just perfect.
Albert Hall is one of Manchester’s best venues and just a beautiful building. An old converted church that was just perfect for Beach House. To see the silhouettes of people dancing against the stain glass windows was so moving, and to see a sea of people getting completely and utterly lost in the music was such a thing of beauty. There was a person at the front of the stage wearing a yellow hoodie (I think) and from where I was sitting, I could see exactly how much the music means to him. They were reacting how I have done so many times at shows. This was the first time I had seen Beach House and not cried. Their music is everything to me, and to see someone else react like I do and have done was just so moving. Victoria noticed the person, and she went over to them. It was such a beautiful moment. Victoria has this presence on stage that, although you know she is shy, she has this gorgeous aura about her that is so soothing. To see her be this way towards a fan was such a lovely and touching moment.
Beach House played 18 songs. 18 songs that filled the venue with love and comfort. Songs that mean the world to us all. Beach House have enough records for you to want to see them live all the time, and B-sides to make you even more addicted to them. Their set list last night was just perfect. I could not have dreamed up a better list of songs to hear. I mean sure, classics like Lover Of Mine and Apple Orchard but it’s the rarer songs that really hit you in the gut. The reaction that everyone’s favourite, Myth has is just beautiful. Walk In The Park was the most sentimental song for me. I’ve used that song so many times as a way out of whatever was going on.
The drums on 10 Mile Stereo blew my mind completely. Every time I’ve seen them, this song has always been played and every single time it just moves me. It is such a brilliant song, and to see it live never ever gets old. Alex and Victoria are nothing short of brilliant musicians. Victoria hides behind her hair, but her presence is so big and so wonderful. She doesn’t need to make pointless conversation or behave a certain way in order for you to pay attention. Her voice is so calming. Beach House are a band I listen to after I’ve had a panic attack, so I do listen to them a hell of a lot! There is something so reassuring about Alex’s hypnotic guitar and Victoria’s gentle voice. It feels like you’re being guided towards something your mind can’t always take you to. Beach House take you there, always.
Beach House have always been a band I use as a guide and just a form of security. Their live shows most certainly reinforce all of this. I adored seeing Wishes, Girl of the Year and Norway so much. Norway and Lazuli are two songs that I treat as my crutch at times, and every element of these songs just calms me down. 18 songs don’t feel like enough. It went by so fast, and I just wanted to hear more and more. The lighting wouldn’t make an epileptic feel too great, but it makes the show. The lights are in time to certain moments of the songs. Myth and Lemon Glow for me, really came to life and the lights just made you feel like you were in an abandoned swimming pool, and Beach House just give you this pure and joyous experience that no other band can give you. You feel like you’re floating and unaware of what is happening in the outside world. Music is the perfect escape, and Beach House just fill you with this feeling of freedom that no other band ever has.
Was this one of the best shows I’ve ever been to? Of course it was. I loved how diverse the crowd was, and the amount of love shown for the band. And the way that Beach House reciprocated it, was nothing short of perfect.
Beach House are a band that you just have to see. On record they ease your soul, and their live shows go above and beyond this. With each record they find new ways to captivate you, and for me their live shows do exactly the same every single time.
A few months ago I went to the doctor because I felt like shit. Shit is the only word I can use, I guess. Although I don’t think it covers it. I told him everything I felt and he said “depression and anxiety.” You can’t even make it sound good. You know, at least if you have a cold your voice gets a bit husky and suddenly people want you to talk more. But anxiety and depression? You might as well say you’ve got something not mentioning. For me, I’m conflicted. Part of me is sort of glad I know what’s wrong with me but the other part wants it gone. I’ve been told it gets better but right now, no part of me sees that. I have more bad days than good.
Last Friday I had 5 panic attacks in under 2 and a bit hours. I’d have much preferred someone to have punched me in the face for 2 hours. It would have hurt less. The aftermath of a panic attack for me is equally as bad as having one. I get a migraine straight away but with a normal migraine, the pain is less tense and the nausea that comes with it I can sort of tame. After a panic attack, the migraine just doesn’t go. It’s a constant stabbing sensation in my head and the feeling of being sick stays. It’s debilitating and exhausting.
The thing with depression and anxiety is that no one sees it. No one can see someone is mentally unwell. They don’t see someone who has to set an alarm half an hour before they need to be up so they actually get up and go to work. They don’t see how everyday small things can set a person off. And that’s okay. Imagine if we could see it. It would be useful but as someone who hates any form of attention, I’d probably be worse. Most days I just want to stay in bed. I don’t want to see or speak to anyone. It used to be passed off by others as me being “difficult” or “unsociable.” I’m neither of these things. Although sometimes you do just want to tell people to piss off don’t you. But I think that’s just human nature.
There are parts of you that feel, “what if no one believes me?” I’m stuck with that constantly. I feel because I can force a smile at times and laugh- maybe I don’t have these things. Maybe it’s not real. It comes and goes. I don’t always feel shit, but I do and I think that’s okay. I’ve learnt to try find a safe space wherever I am. As I live in a stupidly big city, it’s hard to find any form of peace. For me, the gym is my safe space. I used to go because I hated being fat and hated my body. I still do, but now it’s to keep my mind clear as best as I can. Going to gigs used to be my safety net but the last gig I went to, I had a panic attack and had to leave. This was a month ago and since, I’ve missed a handful of gigs because I can’t set my mind free.
Like some, music is my safety net. Certain bands/singers voices and music take away how overbearing and how overwhelming this feeling is. Certain bands have become my safety net, my safe space for when I can’t physically get somewhere.
From the rowdiness of Melvins to the calming sounds of Beach House, certain songs take whatever is happening away. But not all the time. Sometimes it’s just no use- and that’s okay.
I’ve chosen a couple of songs that have been vital in calming me down and being my crutch whenever I’ve needed. The songs that store my sanity but as yet, don’t have the power to keep everything at bay. But that’s fine. I’ve experienced understanding and a lack of understanding through all this. I’ve started CBT and apparently that will work. As someone who has a dislike for things like that, it’s tough. My mind is open. Ironically, I had 2 panic attacks whilst on my way to my first session so that was a great experience. Maybe it will help, maybe it won’t. I don’t know- nobody does. And that’s okay.
Anyway, enough of the self-indulgent bullshit. Have some songs:
Beach House are one of those bands that can reduce anyone to floods of tears, regardless of how tough they are. They’re the kind of band you play when you feel out of sorts. I’ve managed to no longer associate them with personal situations as no good can ever come from it, if I did that I probably would never listen to them again. Aside from the chorus to Walk In The Park, I’ve learnt to let go of any personal connection. However they still can make me cry just because I bloody love them.
As I watched them on Friday I came to the realisation that when I die, I reckon my journey to wherever I’m headed will have Beach House playing. Their songs can curb hints of anxiety (as I refuse to go to the doctor about the panic attacks I have, I use music and it helps especially Beach House) and their songs can feel like a massive hug. There is something so special about Victoria’s voice. I remember when they first came out, and some were adamant that they singer was a guy. I guess they weren’t listening properly.
Their live shows for me isn’t just about the music. The visuals hook you in immediately. You make out the shadows of the band, and the darkness and stillness of it all really makes the show spectacular. Each song played is greeted with this loving glow, and it is so obvious just how treasured the band are. Beach House allowed fans to choose the songs played on the tour via their website. I religiously did this as soon as they announced this until late on Friday. I knew the songs I wanted, I kept one as a solid and the others I switched. Most of them were played, and regarding the new songs, I was all about hearing PPP. They played it and I felt like my heart had burst out of my chest and I was being transported elsewhere. I saw them 2 years ago in exactly the same venue, and I don’t think anywhere else would be suited for them.
Walk In The Park was played and I was fully expecting to sob like a child. Fortunately I kept it to a minimum. Probably because I was getting annoyed at the drunk idiots around us who felt the need to talk through it all. Just because it was a Friday and you’ve had a bit of wine doesn’t mean you have to be a massive twat does it? Actually for them, it probably does!
On record Beach House have this soothing quality, and of course they have that during their live shows. However the drums really heighten the importance of the sound. Where Alex and Victoria are delicate, the drums allow them to let go slightly and expose each song in a different way. Although I love rowdy bands such as Dead Boys and Fugazi, bands like Beach House are there to balance it all out. Different parts of us want different things.
Opening with Levitation felt so right, I doubt any other song should have been the opener. It was like an introduction for the journey they were about to take us all on. Five albums into their career and I think it is fair to state that they really are one of the best bands around, although I was probably declaring that when their debut came out. Their music feels like a walk on the beach late at night, on your own. I find them to be a band that I listen to with no one around. I guess it’s because they are so peaceful and for me being around loads of people is anything but peaceful (although I’m fine at gigs!)
Back to what I said at the start where I felt like the band would probably be playing at the end of this life. Beach House are a band that you can face all your fuck ups to and start over. Of course the second you start seeking approval from others you forget who you are, but sometimes you need to see what you’ve done and do what is necessary. Victoria’s words are like a hug for the soul and Alex’s guitar makes you feel as if you’re floating above the clouds- up and away from all you’ve ever known. Their music is a safety net, a form of protection. For them to convey this in their live shows takes guts, and as delicate as their sound is they do it so perfectly well.
I feel this “review” is pretty wanky because I’ve not really talked about the show, but it is one of those things that you need to experience for yourself in order to get what I’m on about. There is just something to special and heavenly about their sound and shows, and I know it is so boring and an utterly clichéd thing to say but it’s the truth. Everything they make you feel on record is grander when you witness it live. Their presence is subtle but powerful. Although they are quite reserved, they allow themselves to get lost in the music in their own way and I think some of the fans react in the same way. I could quite happily go to a Beach House show every night. The words and music just hit you in gut, and once they’ve got to you that’s it. Nothing else really matters. I felt like it was just me and them when I was watching them. My surroundings didn’t matter to me and more than usual I was oblivious to all around me (apart from the drunk idiots.)
I still stand by wanting Victoria to sing me to sleep every night, but until then I’ll cling onto the memories of Friday night. I appreciate the new records even more after hearing them live, and with all their songs I saw them all in a different light after hearing them live. Music means more to you when you see a band you love play the songs you love right before you. You can’t put a price on that experience at all.
“They take the simple things inside you And put nightmares in your hands.”
Beach House make the kind of music that make you feel like you’ve returned home after months and months of being away. They are like your favourite pair of boots, your favourite jacket, you’re comfort blanket. They are a safety net and a great source of security. Victoria’s voice is gentle, calming and reassuring. They are a band that can drag you through all kinds of hell and at no point will they make you feel like giving up. They can reduce you to tears because of how beautiful their sound is and this unknown feeling they drag out of you. You can’t really find the words to describe the feeling, but it is undoubtedly like nothing else you have felt.
I remember seeing Beach House two years ago and it felt like a religious experience. I’m not religious, so maybe that statement is a bit daft but you get my point. Their live shows just reinforce how phenomenal they are. They are a band that give you this delicate ability to see the world in a different way. With all the pain and suffering around us, Beach House ooze compassion, love and devotion- the qualities we all need more of.
As they are on one of the best record labels (Bella Union) it is no surprise that Beach House put out music that fits everything the label is about. As an avid listener of the band (you can say obsessive, that’s okay) I’ve noticed that with Depression Cherry there is less drums on the record. Bloom had songs with grand drums and made your heart skip a crazy amount of beats because you were just in awe of all that was going on, with their fifth record you can tell they are still playing around with sounds and are quite possibly revisiting their earlier work. Foolishly I had ignored their first record, but of course I know just how stunning it is. There’s a tranquil atmosphere in their sound that remains the same in each record. What makes Depression Cherry stand out from the rest of their records? Honestly, I cannot tell you. It just feels like an addition to a family, you instantly love it as much as the others. It just feels like home. Home doesn’t have to be what is common for most. It can be a place or with a person. Depression Cherry sounds like the ideal record right after Bloom. It wouldn’t have fitted anywhere else.
Beach House are a band that I never have to worry about winning me over. I always know that I’m going to hear something truly special and magical when I listen to them. I’ve gone back and listened to their records so many times, and as someone who is constantly fixated by lyrics Beach House are one of the few bands that move me musically. I pay close attention to the patterns, the repetition and movement in the music. The heightened emotions they create in the music is on par with the genius in the lyrics of Patti, Lou and Morrissey. They give you this piece of heaven and hope in their own way. With Beach House, you get this hope in all ways imaginable, It is in the lyrics and music. The music guides you on this trip and the lyrics reassure you that everything is going to be just fine. If you’re feeling low, then Beach House are the band to guide and comfort you. They are also the band who can give you such joy. They’re just so bloody wonderful.
I don’t know if I’ll do a list of my favourite records this year, so I’ll call Depression Cherry now as the most beautiful and ethereal records anyone will hear all year. Beach House have this ability to bring out curiosity in the listener. They fill you with hope and wonder, and the assurance that it will all be okay. Depression Cherry is a map to happiness, and although I have so much sentimental value clinging onto Teen Dream, I am willing to take some away from it and latch it onto Depression Cherry. Their new record is a hug after battling through a shitstorm of a day.
Depression Cherry ends with the hypnotic Days Of Candy. If you’re unsure of what unconditional love is, listen to this song. Just listen to Beach House. Days Of Candy is the perfect way to end such a stunning and gorgeous record. It feels like the sun setting in your mind. It gives you clarity and the ability to go on. We all feel lost and unsure, I don’t think I have ever gone a day without feeling like that, but Beach House are that band who make you feel like someone has your hand or is watching over you to make sure it eventually goes alright. As I have already mentioned about the record, it really does feel like you are being reassured and as if you are putting on your favourite item of clothing. I sometimes wonder how it is possible to love a band as much as this, but there are moments where it just hits me why. Depression Cherry is a reminder for any Beach House fan as to why they are one of the most incredible bands around.
Their gentle and homely sound is good for the soul and can calm any inner storm we may face. Victoria and Alex have yet again created something that in years to come, you and I will listen to and just be transported to a place where nothing and no one can touch us. Depression Cherry is a statement from a band that know exactly how to move their fans and how to lure new ones in. You lapse into a daydream when you listen to Depression Cherry, and you hold onto all that it makes you feel and think. In a world full of people being absorbed by their phones, Beach House are a band that really make you see the world and take in all that is around you.
“And in a while, You start a smile. The earth is wild, We’ve got no time.”
When something happens, I am fortunate enough to be one of those people who just let it go. My teenage years were made up of nagging thoughts that I was sure would haunt me forever; they thankfully leave in time. Those nagging thoughts were replaced with something else. They were replaced with just attempting to take it easy on myself. I have good days and bad days. My own worst critic. It’s alright. But something happened exactly two weeks ago at about 9pm. Something happened that just will not leave me alone. You know who is to blame? Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand. Beach House.
I’ve already written about seeing them two weeks ago in London. I can’t read it because I’ll want to add more and more. This is post-gig something or other. I need a word for it, but it isn’t happening. At first I thought it was just the gig in general that did something to me. Turns out it is one song in particular. One song which I didn’t expect to do anything to me. I was wrong, again. So bloody wrong.
I honestly thought Take Care or Myth would be the songs that would ruin me after the gig (during the gig, we don’t talk about it. They played them after each other. It was like they knew!!) Beach House opened with Wild. I’ve had a soft spot for this song, but over the past few weeks I have learnt that it is more important to me than any other song right now. I wish I knew why, but I think I need to let that go. I have to, because I will just sit and play it over and over trying to work it out. I’m pretty much doing that now as I type. Maybe I’ll get some answers after I’ve written this. Or the obvious will happen; I’ll stay frustrated with this thought and resign myself to the fact that Wild is a gorgeous song.
Victoria’s voice live is as perfect as it is on record. Her voice is equally as delicate and so perfect. People say perfection doesn’t exist, but I think you can make exceptions. Victoria’s voice is an exception. My girlfriend, who came with me to the gig, wasn’t really a Beach House fan- now she is. THANK YOU BEACH HOUSE! Anyway. Victoria’s voice on Wild for some reason holds something different to her voice on other songs. As she sings “Wild in our ways, go on pretending” towards the end of the song, it sounds like a plea. A plea to just cling onto youth and dreams. To cling onto whatever keeps you safe in your thoughts. The drums on this live were stunning. The felt like a gentle rumble within the soul and the way Alex plays the guitar just feels like you are watching the sun rise. Everything about this song is pure. It truly comes to life when you witness it live. I think two weeks ago I had some kind of epiphany but I really cannot work out what it was.
I remember when I bought Bloom when it came out last year. I just played New Year constantly. It was the song I really became obsessed with. Then I started to just playing the whole record over and over. I realised that every Beach House song has always summed up feelings that have no names. Maybe they do have names, but the way in which Beach House project it is much more beautiful. Part of me thought, maybe this feeling happened whilst witnessing Wild live was because I had the one I completely and utterly love next to me. Would I have felt this way if I went with a friend? Probably, because I did feel like it was just me and the band in the room. Sure I was aware that others were there, but that gig was one moment I wish I could relive for the rest of time.
Wild just evokes so much. I was walking home from the gym last night just playing it over and over. The sun was going down, and I was walking down this road that seemed to go on forever. When the drums kicked in, a car went past quite fast with its lights on full beam. It fitted perfectly with the song. Obviously the driver didn’t know I was listening to this song and probably didn’t even see me there. But when you wander around (I do this a lot) listening to music, you create scenes in your head. It didn’t feel like real life, and we all know that real life can be a drag at times. I felt like I was in a daze but at the same time- the full beam lights did something. As did the song.
I’ve not written this for any reason. I don’t think there’s a reason to it. You don’t need to justify everything. However, I am none the wiser as to what Wild did to me 2 weeks ago and what it is still doing to me. Maybe it has given me some hope. I need it. Maybe it has given me some secret form of strength. I don’t know if I need that. Wants and needs are so very different, but sometimes they are exactly the same. Maybe the song is saying its okay to be a bit careless at times and to just carry on. We grow up in our own ways. We don’t need to say “Well, I am *insert age* and know it all.” You know nothing, that’s why you’re alive because you are learning as you go. Make all the mistakes you can and learn. You don’t need to broadcast to all what you have learnt. Keep it to yourself. I advise you to listen to Wild. If it makes you feel like it has made me feel, please let me know. Maybe you have a word for it. Or maybe you just “get it.” I don’t know.
I think Wild is just going to be one of those songs that I will treasure for the rest of my life, and when I hear it everything will be perfect and pure in my mind and soul.
You have to wait for things you want don’t you. Sometimes you have to wait a long time, sometimes it just hits you when you don’t expect it to. Or someone can be really kind and help you. Patience is important. Waiting is an art-form. Could be the other way round. Either way, it still stands.
I cannot tell you how many years I have waited to see Beach House. I had tickets to see them about 2 years ago, but reasons led to me having to sell the tickets and unable to go. At the time I was a bit upset, but looking back- I’m glad it happened. Why see them in Manchester when I could see them in one of the best venues in London!
They opened with Wild. Pretty sure tears came immediately. I knew it would happen. It is like every time I have seen Morrissey live. He walks on stage and tears just fall. Alex and Victoria are delicate performers, but play with all they have. Their drummer (who I cannot remember the name of) is incredible. Watching these three perform was an honour. What made it special was that it was the band’s 20th show in London.
I want to talk about seeing Take Care live. When Teen Dream came out, this was the song that I played over and over. All I seemed to want was to just see this song live. I didn’t care for much else, I just wanted to see this song. Two years ago when my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer (she’s fine now) I showed her this song. When Beach House played the intro to Take Care, I could feel my eyes getting heavier and I felt like no one else was in the room. I was back to two years ago in my mind and I just cried. It didn’t help that they played Myth straight after. The thing is though, it felt like a healing process of sorts. Take Care broke my heart and Myth fixed it instantly.
The extreme strobe lighting kept the band in flickering darkness for the most part, and during certain songs the light resembled sunrise across Victoria’s face. he darkness made it all a bit more personal as you felt as if you were part of a world that no one else was aware of. I don’t think there is a better way to spend a (very) cold Tuesday evening to be honest.
Their set list was unreal. Even though Lover Of Mine wasn’t played, they played quite a bit of earlier songs including Heart Of Chambers. Quite early in their set they played an early track and within 5 seconds of the intro, a girl yelled “I LOVE THIS SONG!” The excitement in her voice was brilliant. I looked at the crowd a few times during songs, and all I saw were faces that looked really happy in that moment. Life can be dull and miserable, but for those 2 hours everyone in that room was in a perfect state of mind (if you excuse some of us crying during certain songs that is!) I could quite happily only ever watch Beach House for the rest of my life. Every feeling they evoked was nothing short of euphoria. Every song felt like some kind of spiritual healing and a lesson. It’s alright to be gentle, it’s okay to be unsure. The answer seems to be found in a Beach House song.
I would quite happily wait a few more years to see Beach House again (Victoria said tonight’s show was their last here for a while) because what you get out of it is the most gorgeous and blissed out feeling imaginable. I knew that seeing Beach House would be incredible, but I didn’t expect it to be this huge. I think it is beyond words how they make you feel when you see them. It’s one thing to fall in love with them on record, but to be in the company of them as they perform the songs that in a way saved you, honestly no words can do it justice.
Beach House fans aren’t dickheads (well, the ones here weren’t) and it was just a lovely environment to be in. They don’t speak to the crowd much, but that’s okay. Everything about this gig exceeded perfection. I developed more understanding and admiration for their song Real Love tonight. And seeing New Year live just blew my mind. Well bollocks to it, the whole thing blew my mind and it was one of the most perfect moments I can recall. They are a sacred band, and those that love them know just how sacred they are. They know just how important they are. I always thought Victoria had a strong voice on record, and that Alex was a brilliant guitarist. But after seeing them live, it’s hard to believe talent like that is real.
Beach House have lyrics for you to use as guidance, and when Victoria said she wished she could speak to us all, and then said “in a way we are” it all made sense. Their music isn’t just music, well, for me it isn’t. For me they are a lifeline and some kind of safety net. They’re not just a band, they are a massive source of comfort.
*Also, Matt Berry (The IT Crowd) was there..I just felt like mentioning that.
If the mind could take a holiday, would you let it or would you let yourself carry on? Bad things happen and good people go unnoticed. Too many people want to be famous, anonymity is no longer sought after. It’s a shame. Everything is shame; especially when you cannot do anything about it. We remember bad news because it lasts longer than anything good. We condition ourselves to cling onto the bad because it’s a sick form of comfort. The good slips through, as does time. As much as I dislike the concept of time I am utterly fascinated by it. Yesterday I had a job interview near Camden, so afterwards I went for a walk around Camden. On my own. It was pissing down with rain and I wandered round listening to music. If it wasn’t so grim outside, I’d have stayed longer. Camden isn’t my favourite place in London, far from it. I’m not really sure where my favourite place is in London. I just love that city. I used to hate it. I’m not sure why I hated it so much. Now? Now I have less positive feelings for the North of England. Maybe it’s a shame, maybe it isn’t. But you see, the North is always tinted with a shade of grey. London isn’t. It has something else, like no other. Or maybe I’m just really pleased with myself that I can use the tube all by myself without getting lost. Proud moment.
I wandered around the city a few times. No one knew me, and I didn’t know them. When I thought I got lost I just went a different way and got to where I wanted to go. Even if I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be there; I still got there. Time, patience and being aware. In a way, I could apply that to life. My life to be exact. Of course I could. I should. I’m going to try. I took great comfort in nobody knowing who I was. Not caring if I bumped into someone I knew. Stopping to talk to a friend in the street is something I’m not a fan of. I’d rather just sit down with them somewhere. Standing in the street to discuss events and emotions seems to informal. Also, you’re in the way of passers-by. If there’s one thing I dislike, it’s me being in the way of someone. Keeping distance is an art-form. I think I’ve gently got to grips with it. It’s not a tight grip; it never is.
It’s that time of year where I hate myself even more for not having a job or money. Christmas doesn’t bother me; it’s not having money to not go to SXSW that really gets to me. As a music obsessive, SXSW is my idea of heaven. I’ve never been to a music festival nor do I ever want to go to one. Stand in a field surrounded by drunken twats that smell of piss listening to the outline of bass rather than an actual song? No thanks. If I wanted that, I’d go to a club. And I don’t like clubs. SXSW seems like a classier affair. Where people actually care about music. No one is there to get so drunk they throw up and pass out. They are there to discover new music in brilliant venues. Bands from all over the world are there. Shit..last year The Jesus And Mary Chain played. I watched a bit of it on the internet and felt a rush of self-hate mixed with love for that band merge as one. I don’t know what I felt, but I just wished I was there. One year, I will go. I just have to. Maybe I should play the lottery, maybe that’d increase my chances.
I haven’t written anything for a while. I don’t know why. I haven’t even written any lyrics or poetry in my notebooks for a long time. I expect too much from myself at times with that. I’m not some literary machine. I never will be. I’ll take inspiration where I can, and when. I’m 100% sure I’d have found a lot at SXSW.
But all is not bad. After waiting for many years, I finally have tickets to see Beach House in 2 weeks in London. Two days after I’m seeing Foals. If there was an award for “Best Girlfriend In The Universe” mine would win. Not only just for this, but for her general being.
So this week will be spent mostly wishing I was at SXSW in small and sweaty venues with bands that would blow my mind. There’s always Record Store Day to look forward to.
Yesterday I saw something that made me yet again realise that strangers are sometimes a lot more friendlier and much more kind than those we know. Sometimes we find it easier to tell someone we do not know that they aren’t alone or are more inclined to make them feel less alone compared to someone we know, or are close to. I’ve tried to work this out, and I have no answer. I have no answer to anything, just my own views. Which may or may not be right; but it should NEVER be about being right because when that becomes the only thing in life that you strive for, or that gives you satisfaction then maybe you need to reevaluate your way of living. Hard to say you’re living if you do that, you’re just existing. It’s a chore, not a pleasure.
This act of kindness I witnessed was something that I wish I took a photo of. It was a beautiful thing to see, mainly because it showed that strangers have a bigger heart than those we know at times. I was walking into Tesco (other supermarkets available, so please use them..got for Sainsburys, that’s a good one. Orange plastic bags and a good vegetarian section.) Outside the shop were two homeless men. I immediately wanted to buy them something to eat and drink. I always give money or food to the homeless. You just have to, you cannot ignore them. You should always help in any way you can. Last year at Pride (London..outside the same Tesco) it was late in the evening, so I went in and bought something to eat. It was the only vegetarian thing they had. Some excuse for pasta, no idea. I was looking around and I saw this man in the doorway, it was raining too. I left my friends for a few seconds and walked up to him and gave him the food I bought. I didn’t touch what I ate, I just gave him it. He tried to refuse, but I told him he had to take it because it was raining. I saw many people ignore him and I wanted him to know that someone was thinking of him. I think of this a lot, mainly because I hope he’s okay and safe.
The two men I saw yesterday were sat outside, and as I got nearer I saw they were both huddled under a leopard print blanket someone must have given them and they were also sharing a pizza that someone had bought for them. Strangers can offer more than we know. We are always told “don’t speak to strangers.” But why? Sometimes those that are the closest to us are the ones that do the most damage, and those who know nothing about us are the ones that can sometimes give us what we need; kindness and hope. I can contradict myself here with two things. I once helped someone who was (and still is) my best friend. We’ve known each other since we were 4 and have fallen out once. Anyway, I was at someone’s house and she was a horrible creature. She bullied everyone, and eventually picked on me because she was a fool. Anyway, she lived right near my best friend and she was being beyond horrible to her. She was riding round on her bike, and I had enough of her being horrible to my friend so (she was wearing a helmet and landed on a lot of grass) I pushed her off her bike when she came back around. My best friend and I ran to her house. I hid, and she told her mum what I did. She was fine with it and we ate pizza. I stuck up for my best friend because that’s what you do. Once, a stranger punched me in the face and nearly ripped my nose ring out. So I guess there are always exceptions. I didn’t retaliate. My hitting someone in a fight would be a comedy moment. I’d lose my balance and just punch myself in the face.
People always say, when you tell them what’s wrong, that someone else always has it worse. I think that does more harm than good. It just makes the person who feels bad, feel more shit than they already do. We need to be more compassionate and less judgemental. Not every homeless person is a junkie. Not every junkie is a bad person. Bad people are everywhere, as are good. It’s just we are exposed to negativity because sad-cases thrive off it. It’s a terrible way to be. Maybe I need to stop seeing the good in everyone, but we all deserve a chance. That’s basically what the point of this is, maybe you took something else from it. I have no idea. Just next time you see someone sleeping rough on the street, it wouldn’t hurt you to buy them a drink or give them some change. The kindness in strangers is needed; kindness in general is. If it was you, you’d want someone to help you in some way right?
With this being my 1000 post, I thought I should try write something of worth. Whether or not it is, well that’s a different subject entirely. It may make sense, it may just wind up being another nonsensical rant, which is usually is. I don’t need telling, I already know. As the end of 2012 approaches (or it may already have depending on your location) you see a lot of people taking to social networking sites declaring how the next year will be THEIR year or they are going to change. It irks me because, you can make whatever change you wish at any point. You announce these things but by the second week of January you hate yourself more than you ever did. Make life easier on yourself, and just carry on as normal. I say this, but I make life hard work for myself at times. It’s a fault, one of many.
I don’t like discussing my weight/how chubby I am because I’m not exactly a fan of myself. I could have easily been like most and said START OF THE YEAR I AM GETTING FIT. Over the past year and a half, I have been working on losing weight. It’s not easy. Fortunately, I really do enjoy going to the gym for a few hours and listening to music. I’d take a book with me but whilst on the treadmill I do look like a panic-stricken bear. When I go there, it doesn’t just get rid of my horrendous fat, but it clears the mind. I currently work at HMV, but it’s only a Christmas job. I love it. I bloody love it. For every grumpy customer, there is one that just makes your day. I’ve held up queues talking to people about bands, I’ve been hugged by customers because I helped them, I’ve had people sing to me then ask “do you have that one?” and the old favourite, “Excuse me..do you work here?” It is a brilliant job and those I’ve worked with are equally as brilliant. It was my third year there, and I think this year was my favourite. It just gives you a sense of pride and self-worth knowing you’ve helped someone. I must add, it is usually the older generation (60+) that are much kinder. Kids today are just rude really. Or maybe it’s the kids over here. I have no idea. Put down your iPads kids, and go take a walk. Use your mind. Come 5th January and I’ll be out of work, and on the Monday I’ll be taking that awful trip to the job centre to sign on. If you’ve never had your soul crushed and your dreams shat on; I suggest you go on the dole. If you want to be treated like dirt and have a wealth of self-hate upon you; go on the dole. My degree is useless, but I have no means of going back to uni. Of course in an ideal world I would have my own record shop, with a healthy selection of books. Later on I’d have my own publishing company. And finally, I’d be able to get a dog. These are hopes and dreams that maybe I’ll one day achieve.
We treat this time of year as a time of reflection. I don’t like thinking about the past, because it can sometimes make you debate what you want your future and present to be. Although, we cannot control the future. I firmly believe if something is going to happen, it will happen. I can relate this to the one I love. Many years ago, maybe something should have happened. Go forward five years and seeing her whilst in London during Pride (oh I know, but this one was alright so…) this year was truly the best thing to have happened. Part of my brain thought, “This could happen..somehow.” Every day since we have been talking, and FINALLY after waiting 5 years, this beautiful and perfect being is my girlfriend. I’m not a happy person naturally, but who is. But I finally know what sincere happiness and what true love is, thanks to her. It was always going to be her- and now it finally is. I’m working on trying to make her buy me a dog. Baby steps, I know. I know. It’s just lovely to be with someone who is full of love and kindness, and wants to change no part of me. Also means I get to spend more time in London too.
This year I have learnt that patience prevails. If you wait, it will happen. With reference to above, I can also link this in to music. Since 2009, I have been a huge fan of Crocodiles. They dragged me through a break-up, showed me a different (and better) world with their music and their lyrics claimed a part of my heart that needed claiming. I missed out on several tours, cue heartbreak and loathing wherever I was living at the time. 4th September they did a free gig at Rough Trade. Oh fate, how I love thee. I was already in London. I think I was staying for a week. I walked past Brandon and Charlie just outside Rough Trade. My stomach flipped. If I was 14 and mental, I may have chased them. Instead, I am a 26-year-old who gets tongue-tied most of the time. Their free gig at Rough Trade was a special moment for me. I paid no attention to anyone in the crowd. I don’t even think 100 hundred people were there. I sang to every song, I swayed and shut my eyes. I opened them, in awe and in shock of being right in front of the band that did more for me than they will ever know. Sadly, I was too much of a wuss to go up to them at the end and talk to them. Next time, I will. I vow to talk to them. About something, or nothing in particular.
My favourite music moment of this year has to be Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls covering Just Like Honey by The Jesus And Mary Chain, just for me. Just for me. A nobody from nowhere. It started as a sweeping statement from myself on Twitter one evening. I was listening to Psychocandy, and just wrote on Twitter something like “Imagine if Dum Dum Girls covered Just Like Honey.” The next day I woke to a reply from Dee Dee telling me to email her. So I did. She replied telling me she would try to do a cover for me. A few months later, she emailed me the cover and wrote “For your ears only xx.” I do not think anyone in this world can understand what this meant to me, and still does. And yes, I did cry. I’ve been a fan for many years of Dum Dum Girls, and for this to happen just blew my mind. If I see them when they come to the UK, I just need to thank Dee Dee face to face for it. That’s all I can do. Their music has made certain events less shite, you know how it is. Coming Down is my go-to song. Rest Of Our Lives describes my love for the one I love. Season In Hell gives me hope and Catholicked brings me back to life.
This has gone on long. I think I’ve said too much, but I have more to say.
I’ve been freelancing for close to 7 years now, and I started this blog in 2008 as part of an Online Journalism module whilst at Uni. I think I was the only one in that class to keep up their blog. There have been times where I thought there was no point in writing. No point at all. There have been times where if, Writer’s Block was a person I would gladly thump it in the gut. But then I hear a song or find a new band, and my love is restarted and I cannot imagine me not writing. I just HAVE to do it. It keeps me going. I have never been paid to write. Never. No one has offered to do so. I’m not about money. I own nothing of worth. Material things mean nothing to me. My Docs have holes in them and I rip jeans more often than I should. I look like a 70s reject. I look like the lovechild of Joey Ramone and Patti Smith; if they ever had a child. I have had more job rejections than I can count, and each one is a kick in the gut. But a motivation to try harder. Although, I don’t know if I can try harder than I do. I’d love to write a book, but god knows what it would be about. Obviously music. I’ve always wanted to follow a band around and write a book about it (Royal Chant I am looking at you, and Warpaint.) The film, Almost Famous is to blame for that goal.
This year (and last) I’ve had many kind words said to me from bands, PR companies and record labels with regard to what I have written about them and their work. You cannot put a price on that. Of course I believe still, that the only person who reads this is my mum but hey. If you’ve got this far, then I’ll buy you a cup of tea one day. I’m easy to find, but please don’t look as you will be disappointed. This part is a thank you to all the bands that have got in touch with me, all the PR companies and record labels. You’ve made writing even more enjoyable. There are stand-out bands and labels I’d mention, but that wouldn’t be fair. You are all brilliant, so thank you.
I will always ALWAYS welcome new music from any genre, so please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) I don’t care if no one bar your mum knows you exist or if you’ve supported some household name on a lengthy tour. Music is music. Send it.
Don’t forget who you are, and do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. Or that your goals are stupid ideas. Freedom comes from the heart, goes up into the mind then is unleashed. Don’t make a prisoner out of yourself. It’s all okay. It’s going to be alright.
You have good years and bad years with music, well life in general. Last year was alright but this year was pretty damn good. I bought more records this year than I did last year. I never have any money, but the money I do have spare goes on music. Rather on stuff I need. Such as clothes, as most of mine are a bit worn out. Or some new boots as my Docs are hanging on for dear life. They’ve been through a lot, but I think I can drag them through hell a bit longer.
This year for all reasons possible was rather good. Ignore all the crisis in the world and how society at times is fucked, then you’re okay. It’s been alright. And there have been some rather wonderful songs to go with it. Now, if this was a list of SONGS THAT MADE OLIVIA HAD A HERNIA WHEN PLAYED IN A VEHICLE, then Call Me Maybe would be my number 1 choice. Quite possibly one of the best pop songs to have been released in a long time. But did it come out last year? I’m not sure. But that song makes me happy, and I don’t even care. We’ve all made our own versions of it. Probably full of smut, but who cares.
So, here’s my list of songs that brought all kinds of joy and various emotions into my ears; and everywhere else. There are so many songs I know I have missed out, but I’ve got a really bad memory and I’ll want to change my mind after writing this. As always.
10. The Creeping Ivies- Ghost Train.Music should have elements that just freak you out. It should make you feel as if spirits are haunting you (I don’t mean a bad glass of whiskey.) It should fill you with sinister vibes that you just cannot shake, but the thing is- part of you doesn’t want to get rid of them. The haunting chills you get from Ghost Train are just stunning. My love for Becca and Duncan is ridiculous. They make me feel I am anywhere but in this time. That’s something that is entirely rare. I have woken up many a mornings where this song is in my head, and stays there for the duration of the day. That’s when I have my good days. The Creeping Ivies just make perfect eerie music that just reinforces my love for music.
9. Swim Deep-King City.I know I could have picked Honey, but King City mentions Jenny Lee Lindberg from Warpaint. That alone makes this song brilliant. It gives you a Summertime feeling, even if we are in the murky depths of November. I remember first hearing it and just being blown away. They have this gentle, euphoric tone to their music that just soothes you. It is like your being swayed. Your worries and troubles mean nothing when you listen to Swim Deep.
8. Jack White-Love Interruption.Anything Jack White does is just a piece of musical heaven. A stroke of genius. He has this way of creating something so insane yet pure. The lyrics to Love Interruption are mighty strange, yet you relate to them. You won’t let love corrupt you in any way, anymore. The music is so simple and stripped back but you can hear such frustration in his voice. A hint of longing just purifies the song. Ruby’s delicate and quivering vocals makes the song a lot more honest and vulnerable than it would be without. It’s just a gorgeous song that sums up everything love should be, and all you won’t let it be.
7. Ellie Goulding-Figure 8.This song pleasantly smacks you in the chops. I wanted to pick Only You, but that’s because I’m obsessed with the drums in it. A tribal feel to it, but I’ve gone with Figure 8 because there is something about this song that makes you feel a bit alive, yet sad at the same time. I think you can take the “And lovers hold on, to everything” in many ways I suppose. In a way, it is like Ellie is telling lovers to hold onto anything and everything. Or maybe she is saying lovers cling onto anything because they do not want to be without. Her second record is nothing like her debut, and that’s why I adore it and why I adore Ellie’s music. She still has such honesty to her songs, and the lyrics are darker; which is probably why I love them.
6. Beach House-New Year.Very nearly picked Wild, but I’ve gone with New Year because it means a lot to me. So does Myth. Myth just breaks my heart. New Year is 5 minutes of hope. In fact, the Bloom record is just a collection of songs that give you hope. It is like Victoria and Alex are giving you life lessons. Words to provide comfort and hope to those who listen. Everything about their music makes you feel as if they are cradling your soul. Soothing and swaying you as you face things you wish you could turn from. It is hard to turn away from some things and some people. Sometimes we can bring ourselves to do so; sometimes we can’t. I make life so difficult for myself (and probably others) but when I listen to Beach House, especially New Year, it is almost as if nothing really matters for that moment. New Year just makes you think about everything in a way you’ve never done before. It opens up your eyes and soul. It heals your heart.
5. Tamaryn-Heavenly Bodies.As Warpaint didn’t release anything this year, I’m declaring Tamaryn responsible for making the most ethereal song of the year, and the most tranquil record of the year also. Heavenly Bodies makes you feel as if you are drifting towards the most perfect and relaxed place possible. It makes you feel alive, even as your eyes become sleepy as you listen to this gorgeous song. You fall in love with everything surrounding it. You notice different layers to Heavenly Bodies as you listen to it through headphones. It is like a magical journey to something so divine as you listen to it. I adore the line, “She’s a fool but time is a thief.” I cannot explain why, but I just do. The song brings out a true sense of inner peace, and guides those gently, who feel slightly lost.
4. Crocodiles-Endless Flowers.The perfect opener to my favourite record of the year. I hold this song, this band and this record very dear to my heart. Their lyrics are romantic. Even when dark, they still have a romantic feel to it. No Black Clouds For Dee Dee is my favourite love song of the year. Yes, it reminds me of the one I love and adore. Endless Flowers is another song that gives you hope. I love the line, “I’ll bide my time swimming in your eyes, on some faraway screen.” It is easy to lose yourself in the one you love, and their eyes. Endless Flowers is a taste of devotion. A wonderful song that makes you wish you could create your own kind of ode to love.
3. Dum Dum Girls-Lord Knows.I’m going to try keep my ramble about this song as brief as I can. Lord Knows offers redemption and comfort in those who have hurt others. “I want to live a pure life” is such a vulnerable line. What I adore about Dee Dee is her vulnerable lyrics. She isn’t afraid to be so open with her words. That takes courage and strength that most shy away from. The intro to the song feels like the sun rising, giving you hope for another day. A chance to be better. The repetition of the chorus is like a chant, a mantra to stop you from hurting those you love. I love love love the line, ” ‘Cause every time you think of me, the black covers what might be.” Lord Knows offers so much solace, much like most of their songs. It is pure and truthful. It oozes out everything you wish you could. I guess next time you mess up, play this song. You’ll be alright. You always are.
2. The Long Wives-Judas Hex.I play this song nearly every day. I listen to The Long Wives a lot. Brandy’s voice is easily one of the best around. Discovering her music this year made everything a bit easier. We all have shit days, and how we get through them should make us tougher. I try to be tough, but I don’t think I have it in me. I don’t see it as a bad thing anymore. I’d rather be sure of how I feel rather than be emotionally numb. Judas Hex is so dark and simple. Just her voice and a guitar. Her voice is so so haunting. It isn’t overpowering at all. You don’t need a grand voice to be heard. Her voice is quietly powerful. I know it sounds like a contradiction, but she has something that no other will ever have. Or has ever had. Judas Hex evokes such devilish imagery in your mind, but they aren’t enough to scare you. You just embrace it, go with it. There’s no harm in it at all. Brandy’s voice lures you in, and once you are there- no part of you can leave. You just don’t want to. She is easily my favourite solo artist of the year. She’s just beautiful in all ways possible.
1. Saint Lou Lou-Maybe You.This song breaks my heart. This song makes me happy. This song is the best song of the year. It is gentle, it is delicate and utterly sad. I do like sad songs, but I don’t like obviously sad songs. Only when you pay close attention to the lyrics do you notice how heartbreaking this song is. What drew me in at first was the music. It felt like being on a bed of water, floating towards a state of bliss. Then I listened very closely to the lyrics and such sadness crept up on me. Since I first heard Maybe You, I have played it every day. I just have to always hear it. I have no idea what their record will sound life, but if it has the same elements as Maybe You (dreamy, blissed-out with shades of sadness) then they will probably become responsible for creating a sound that hasn’t been done before, and is of course, much-needed. I’ve mentioned before in previous posts the line I love the most in this song, but I adore “And if you’ve got an emptiness inside, you should let our worlds recollide.” The song offers reassurance and reconciliation. It’s just beautiful. There’s nothing else I can say about this song that I haven’t already said to anyone who may listen to me.
*I’d also like to add that Inhaler by Foals is bloody brilliant and I reckon their new record will be a massive highlight of 2013.