EZRA FURMAN: Albert Hall, Manchester. 12th November 2019.

13 11 2019

 

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Yesterday was my birthday; it was the first without my Grandma. It was a weird and painful day. Thank god I had my girlfriend and an Ezra Furman show to distract me.

I’ve been a fan of Ezra for so long, and various things I’ve always got in the way of me ever catching a show of his. The main being me having panic attacks. He once played a tiny venue right by my old house on Chatsworth Road in London, of course I couldn’t go because I had a panic attack and was broke. Living just to pay rent and have no life is now a thing of the past, but back then it was pretty much all I did. Last night was special for so many reasons.

 

 

The crowd was full of people who just made the show feel like home. To see the front row absolutely scream the words back to Ezra gave off a sense of hope. They are our future, and maybe they’ll be the ones to fix all the fuck ups that past and present leaders have caused. The crowd was made up of beautiful people from our LGBTQ+ community. People were free to be whoever they wanted, dress however they wanted and to just be free. To truly be free. I sincerely hope Ezra is aware of the power and influence he has, and how he is probably spurring on a younger generation to speak up and fight back.

There were so many moments in the set where you could truly feel and hear the words being screamed by Ezra and being screamed back at Ezra louder than most. I did my very best to hold back tears for many reasons, and to hear certain lines being sung just caused some tears to fall. There’s one line that I have in the back of my mind constantly from his brilliant song (and one of my favourites from Twelve Nudes) My Teeth Hurt. I love the line, “I don’t know how I’m doing lately. Fuck you if you ask.” I didn’t have it in me to scream that line last night, but I have it constantly screaming in my head. If I could personally thank Ezra for writing that line, and that song I truly would. I really cannot put into words just how much that line means to be. It’s a crutch for me.

We all know that Twelve Nudes is probably the best record of the year, and it’s been my safety net since it came out. I love how on the record you can truly hear the fury in Ezra’s voice. The cracks in his voice on the songs occur just as beautifully on stage. You can really feel every single emotion when Ezra does songs like Calm Down, Evening Prayer and Trauma. He played about 22 songs last night, and I’m pretty sure we want Ezra and his band to just stay on stage forever. He’s our hero, he’s our voice. Thank fuck we have people like him. He’s 2 months older than me, but I still idolise him in the same way I idolise Patti Smith and Nick Cave. He’s everything to me, and he is everything to everyone who was at the show last night.

Hearing the new songs live was such a beautiful experience but it is older songs like My Zero (who he dedicated to our Mancunian treasure, Marc Riley), Haunted Head and Love You So Bad were such an honour to see and hear. He created moments on stage that you just wanted to stay in for the rest of time. I have never felt so safe at a show; it felt like home. It felt like we were all witnessing something truly powerful yet utterly sacred. Of course, I wish I had seen him live before, but to see him in a venue that I adore, with my favourite person was most certainly worth waiting for.

Suck The Blood From My Wound opened the show, and it was played with this urgency that made you instantly realise just how vital this show was going to be. It is one of those shows that you know you and all those who were there will be talking about in many years to come. I hope the younger kids there start their own band and get their voices heard. I hope anyone who felt out of place, felt at home at this show. The way which Ezra and everyone screams, “To them we’ll always be freaks” is so powerful. Everyone felt it, as did I. You could tell that from the first song that this was going to be a truly remarkable show, and you could see on Ezra’s face that he knew immediately too. This beautiful city means a lot to Ezra, and the love and respect is hugely reciprocated.

I could write thousands and thousands on my love for Ezra and about the show last night. If you’ve ever seen his show, you’ll know exactly what I mean and how safe it all feels. Ezra is someone who plays shows with everything he has. He leaves it all on stage. He pours his heart out into these songs; sure, you can hear it on record, but to truly witness this live is something else. Twelve Nudes is the Punk record he always wanted and needed to make. It’s the Punk record I always needed. His cover of The Clash’s Police On My Back (which is also a cover) was beautifully done, and I saw one person on the opposite side of my totally lose his shit to it. It was beautiful. The setlist was perfect. Every single song was played with such passion and fury. Every song made you feel like you belonged and that they were for you.

 

 

The show last night was made up of all ages, races, genders and sexuality. It was a freeing and welcoming atmosphere. Also, the person selling the merch was just the sweetest. I just needed to add that.

Given my own personal circumstances, I can say that this is one of the best shows I have ever EVER been to. If you have the chance to see Ezra, go. Go and sing your heart out with him.

“And if it’s not enough to keep the lights on
Let ’em turn the lights off
Broken spirit and a bad cough
Turn ’em off, turn ’em off
And when you’re really at the end of your rope
No, you don’t take the night off
Too many demons to fight off
Cut me off, cut me off.”

Thank you, Ezra. Thank you.





EZRA FURMAN: Twelve Nudes.

5 09 2019

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Ezra Furman has finally made the Punk record that they wanted and needed to make. It is also the Punk record that we all need. Losing my Grandma just under 2 weeks ago, I’ve felt myself lose interest in most things, I have more panic attacks than I can count, I am crying at any given moment and obviously, I cannot cope. I spent some time today really REALLY listening to Twelve Nudes. Bawled my eyes out. It’s a record that sums up everything that is going on in my head, and I’m so grateful that Ezra has made this record. Ezra’s playing Manchester on my birthday. As much as I now no longer care for my birthday (and Christmas) I’m glad I’ll be spending it watching the person who is narrating my every thought. I sure hope my girlfriend is prepared to deal with me at my crying best.
Twelve Nudes opens with Calm Down aka I Should Not Be Alone. The title alone sums up exactly everything right now. The lyrics smack me right in the gut; it’s like a relief that someone else is saying how I feel because it is so exhausting to be honest at times. The sheer fury and passion in Ezra’s voice just makes you want to shout along with them until your throat bleeds. There is something so important about this song, and having it open the record just sets the tone for how fucking truthful and vital this record is.
I have been a huge fan of Ezra’s for so long, and to hear them make this kind of record is truly mind-blowing. I’ve studied Ezra’s records religiously, and I always claimed Day Of The Dog as my favourite (closely followed by Banging Down The Doors, which is a masterpiece) but what Ezra has done with Twelve Nudes is something we all hope for the musicians we love with everything we have- Ezra has made the record of the year, the record of his career and the record for those who really need something bigger than they can comprehend.

I’ve always been in awe of Ezra’s lyrics; they have the storytelling style of Lou Reed mixed with something that really goes beyond music. When I listen to Ezra, I feel okay and safe in my skin- I’ve not had that in a while. We battle with ourselves to be honest at times, and having people like Ezra vocalise these worries, insecurities and fears tames it all slightly. Ezra really hits you in the soul with this record, and they do it prominently on songs like Transition from Nowhere to Nowhere. This song is full of hope and finding comfort in the things that go beyond us. I truly hope Ezra plays this on tour.
The more you listen to this record, the more you see just how much we need this record. In a world that is still full of every ist and phobia, records like this are so crucial because they show us the struggle that so many of us face. You cannot silence a minority, and you can silence those who have been hurt forever. Trauma is a song that is just so heavy in every single way. The music is so rugged and raw; you can truly hear the passion and fury in the music, and of course, in Ezra’s voice. There’s this bbeautiful rasp in Ezra’s voice, and it just makes you really feel every single word that Ezra aims at you. You want to scream every word out just like Ezra as he narrates everything going on in your head.
The sheer tenderness on this record and the urgency in every song just gives you this unconditional feeling of security and comfort. I may be breaking down constantly and crying but this record is almost like medicine. Twelve Nudes is the record that you cling to and refuse to ever let go of. For me, it is one of the most important records of all time- not just for our Queer culture, but for society. There are songs on this record that reach every single part of you, and just pull out the things you’re meant to be afraid of feeling. When you let yourself feel it, you feel a bit freer. Sometimes, that’s just what you need. This record has come from the heart and soul, and you truly feel that in every song.
I could probably write a full-blown essay on this record, but I think the main thing for me to say here is that it is truly one of the most remarkable records I’ve ever heard. It’s a record that I know I’ll never get enough of. It’s a record I will constantly play and keep falling in love with. Ezra has that effect; you cannot help but go back and listen to all their records and finding new things to love about them. Every record Ezra has made has always been so important to me, but with Twelve Nudes, Ezra has gone beyond everything and anything you’d expect. The sheer openness on this record and that proper Punk feel and attitude is beautifully done. It is such a joy to listen to, and to find safety in.

Although I feel utterly lost and empty, I have found something in this record that I quite possibly cannot put into words. Or the words have yet to form. All I know is that I’ll be leaning on this record for a long time, and if by some strange stroke of luck Ezra sees this- thank you. Thank you for speaking up, for creating this record and for being unafraid in your art. Thank you.





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- Scarlet.

30 12 2015

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Sometimes I like to go back to a song I love, dissect it and fall back in love with it. Four years ago I first heard Scarlet by 2:54, and what I heard reinforced my love for them after hearing one of their early demos, On A Wire a year or so before. Some bands you just fall in love with on first listen and what happens afterwards needs no explanation. In this case, I feel the need to try explain what it is about Scarlet that resonated with me four years ago and how it still means something.

What drew me to 2:54 about 5 years ago was the music. It had tame hints of Noothgrush and Sleep. The darkness of Melvins and the hypnotic sounds of Siouxsie. Colette’s voice reminded me of hearing Patti Smith and Garbage for the first time. The sound coming out of Hannah’s guitar took me back to hearing Seventeen Seconds by The Cure many years ago. I was being thrown back but into something completely new, and it turns out that they would become more than just another band to me.

I found 2:54’s music by accident, like most bands I’ve come to love. Their debut record was released at a time in my life where everything was a bit bleak and I was unsure of my affections until it was too late. I found parts of me in their songs that I tried to explain but in the end, I lost. What I lost was bigger than me, and there’s a wealth of blame on my shoulders that for some reason, keeps me going. Our fuck ups makes us human. Easy Undercover had a few lines that hit me in the face, sometimes a song acts as a mirror and that’s what happened. It was pointed out to me, and when I hear “If you go, you’ll never know” I am right back there. I no longer mind because music is greater than an emotion.

Scarlet was their first big song, and the video emulated everything I loved about A Forest by The Cure. The video has this gorgeous yet haunting feel to it. You felt like you had entered somewhere you probably shouldn’t and the song made you feel as if you had fallen for someone who was bad for you, but you went along with it any way. I can relate to being the bad one, or at least I used to. We all have it in us, and sometimes it slips out. Good can overrule though, if you let it. With this song you feel as if, and stay with me on this, that it isn’t really a song at all. I know most songs do tell a story and the like, but Colette (I’m assuming she did the lyrics) has created a world in this song. A world that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into the depths of the underworld and partaking in some kind of forbidden love/lust affair. Without sounding like a right dick, it does have a real Goth feeling about it. I mean in the true meaning of the world- not wearing black clothes reciting dark poetry to waken the mind. Maybe it’s just me but this song takes me to a place and not a person. The images in my mind are the Gothic buildings that are found in Brussels etc. Cold but inviting buildings that tower over us. As we step in, this forbidden love(r) greats us.

I could be massively wrong with how I’m interpreting the song, but I get the same images and feelings constantly. You find this person who gets into your veins and bones. They bring you to life, but you’re fully aware of the bad. You want the bad and torment. Or maybe you want to be the tormentor bringing this feeling. Try both and make up your mind. Neither make you bad. As you swirl, dive and float in this underworld that this song creates in your mind you can’t help but let it fully take you over. In some respects, the whole record makes you feel like this. Scarlet was the song that turned a lot on to 2:54 and really- there couldn’t have been a better choice. Each song on their first record seems to float around it. You listen to any song after Scarlet and it all fits perfectly.

I’ve only seen them perform Scarlet live a few times, and my memory is taking me back to Manchester earlier this year. At the end of the song the band went into this instrumental that just blew my mind. It was like when Warpaint really let go to Elephants and everyone goes bananas. It was such a highlight for me because it showed just how vital each member of 2:54 are. At this point, words weren’t needed. The thrashing of instruments fully showcased how brilliant they are. Of course I would happily go to every show they ever do (money isn’t my friend) just to experience this moment on a loop and to see how others react to it. It’s a real feel good experience that just leaves you wishing you could do that.

Back slightly to what I said about the song seeming like a story. It reads like a poem. The kind of poem you can pick apart and use lines to express any lustful feeling. It has innocence to it, but the darker side of it is what should lure you in. The words are made up of curious phrases and I think that’s what set my mind off when I first heard the song. It’s a grand sounding song. Everything fits perfectly with the lyrics, and the video really does add to the mood of the song. Whether you watch the video, see it live or listen to it, there are so many elements to this song that can move you. The song is perfect to listen to in the cold weather whilst going for a walk with a threatening grey sky above you. The inevitable downpour doesn’t phase you, you’re too busy getting lost in what you can hear.

If a song can do this much in such a short amount of time, I’m pretty sure that when I go back and listen to it in 20 years or so I’ll still get the same feelings and images. There’s much more I could say about this song but I am now risking sounding like a total loon by going on about it as much as this. I guess, in short, I just really adore this song.





BEACH HOUSE. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. 30th October 2015.

2 11 2015

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.





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.





BEACH HOUSE-Depression Cherry

29 08 2015

“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.

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