TABLE SCRAPS. The Castle, Manchester. 04/10/2018

5 10 2018

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Whilst living in London, I missed many chances to see a band I quite frankly adore, and am obsessed with. My missed chances came down to clashes with other plans, public transport being a shithead and my own misgivings- panic attacks. The thought of potentially going out on my own would more often than not cause me to feel like I was, to put it heavily but honestly- dying. I still get that feeling. This week I’ve noticed it happening, but I’m not beating myself up over it. I left a city that was pretty much killing me in all ways possible, and now I’m finally settled in a place I should have been in many years ago. Why is this relevant? It probably isn’t. I’ve been up since 5am. I’ve done my washing, ironed (I know!!) some clothes and to my disgust, drank coffee because I wanted to see if it would help me stay awake. I’m now at work. I start at 8, I’ve got 15 minutes to tell you about why last night’s show was brilliant. Please note: the coffee hasn’t helped at all and I really want to take a nap.

Table Scraps are quite frankly one of the best bands you will ever see. I’m not exaggerating with this one. You want riffs that melt your face? Got it. You want vocals that beautifully burst your eardrums? Got it. You want the bass to sail through you and make you move in ways you didn’t know you could? Best believe you’ve got it. Oh, and you want the drums to sound like some higher being is in the room? Got it, and then some. Table Scraps are three musicians who, in my eyes (and ears) are HUGELY underrated. On record, it is obvious how amazing they are. But when you see them live, it’s totally different. The Castle is a tiny venue. It’s a pub with a small back room, which is basically a sauna. Last night was a sweatfest, and I don’t think it could have been better any other way. Scott is EASILY one of the best guitarists around. In fact, he’s most certainly up there with being one of the best I’ve ever seen. He makes his guitar sound like a machine gun being wielded by a maniac. This is purely down to the way he thrashes his guitar about and gives you this face-melting solos when you least expect it.

Let’s talk about Poppy and her being probably the best drummer you’ll see. There’s a couple of drummers I love hearing, and seeing them play live. I’ve got my list on my mind, and I’ve pushed Poppy to the top because I honestly don’t think I’ll ever witness anything or anyone as great as her again. I know fuck all about playing music, I just love music as a fan and write as one. I don’t know what the technical terms are or whatever, but let’s just go with Poppy being the best drummer around- and most definitely in this country. Again, she treats her drums as a weapon. Every beat is felt in your chest, and you move to the perfect timings. Then we move on to Tim. The tallest bass player I ever did meet. The bassist is the backbone of a band, but with Table Scraps that doesn’t occur. They are all the backbone of the band. I love the way Tim guides and glides us through the songs. He isn’t as manic as Scott is, but don’t let his cool, calm stance fool you. He’s got this subtle way of making you pay close attention to what he is doing. And what is he doing? Making you witness that the bass can be equally as aggressive as the drums and guitar.

Table Scraps annihilate the stage at The Castle, and blow our minds. My personal favourite was I’m A Failure. It’s my favourite song by them, and I was super happy to see it live. This is only the second time they have played Manchester and I sincerely hope it isn’t the last. Just give them a residency at The Castle or Soup Kitchen. But to be honest, they are a band that could easily play a huge arena and win people over. There is something about them, and I rarely say this because I love small venues, but there is something about Table Scraps that makes you want to see them play a huge stadium. Their sound is massive, and it is meant to be heard by us all. I honestly don’t see why they couldn’t sell out a huge venue, and just rip us all to shreds with their brutal sound. I hope one day they get there, because they truly deserve it.

The set ends with the excellent, Motorcycle (Straight To Hell) which sees Scott launch himself into the crowd for a few seconds, and the end of this song is greeted with Scott, Poppy and Tim just going absolutely nuts on stage. It was the perfect ending to one of the best shows I’ve ever been to.

If you ever get the chance to see them, GO. You’ll probably be a bit deaf the morning after but it’s worth it. They are truly one of the most talented, coolest, greatest and best bands around.

Oh, and one last thing- they’ve got a tape out on Burger Records. Do you know how big a deal that is?! HUGE.





TABLE SCRAPS.

28 11 2017

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I always seem to gravitate towards bands that make me feel like I’m being smacked in the face. I don’t really know what that says about me. I don’t want to be punched in the face really. I just want music to give me that brutal force. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Thankfully bands like Table Scraps exist. I should have written about them ages ago. I genuinely thought I had, but I guess I just imagined it.

Table Scraps are one of the most exciting bands around. They don’t fit in with any genre, they don’t sound like anyone else and they are LOUD. I feel that when I listen to them I’m about to lose my hearing. There’s no better band to do this to. They’ve got this beautiful menacing sound. Every snarling song feels like someone is pushing you into a wall and forcing you to move your limbs in a questionable manner. It’s something that goes beyond your standard dancing at gigs.

They have a brilliant sound that makes you unaware of time and place. Sometimes you just need that. You need to cut off your surroundings and give in to the music. I try to do that several times a day. It’s how I keep relatively sane. Live through the music because what you see happening in the world is terrible. I love their song Electricity. It makes me feel like I’m in an arcade playing Tekken and I’ve won every battle so far. Foot Of Our Stairs is one of my favourites. I love how the guitar sounds like a revved up motorbike and the drums sounds like everything just crashing down. They have this sound that feels like machine guns going off. Again, they are one of those bands that make you wish you were in a band.

I know we are all led to believe that London is the home to all things great, but don’t fall victim to that mentality. I’ve lived down here for too long, and sometimes you just need to look elsewhere for that sound you craze. Table Scraps are from Birmingham. You could argue that they don’t have a typical Birmingham sound. However, Birmingham doesn’t have a typical sound. It never has, it never will.

I love how the guitar and bass both have this violent sound. It feels like some kind of electric shock going right through you. Scott and TJ just make you feel like you’re battered and bruised, and that you’re hearing may never be the same again. Why would you want it to be? Poppy is probably up there as one of my favourite drummers. EVER. I’ve got a mental list, and I’m putting her in the Top 3 (Stella from Warpaint, Sophie from PINS and Poppy from Table Scraps- if you must know.) Her drumming style is just something to be adored. The way she brutally beats the shit out of the drum kit is fascinating. I’ve never seen them live but what I get from their music on record, is that on stage they make the songs sound darker and bolder than they already are. I mean, you could wear earplugs- but why ruin the fun?

There are so many reasons why Table Scraps are one of the most fascinating and brilliant bands around, but their music explains it better than I ever could. They are a band to play constantly and loudly. When you think you can handle the volume, turn it up a little more. You’ll pick up on just how great they sound together. There is no band around at the moment that is doing what they do. They are unlike anyone else around, and that alone makes me love them.

You can buy/stream their music right here: https://table-scraps.bandcamp.com/ Start from the beginning just so you can see how their sound has evolved and how they have become one of the most exciting bands around.





BANKS: O2 Institute Birmingham 22nd October 2017

27 10 2017

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Although the gig was about 5 days ago, I have every moment from it stored carefully in my mind. There is something about BANKS that just makes her standout. There is something about her that I’ve not seen in anyone else. That I’ll never see in anyone else. It’s a form of healing but it is also a work of art that cannot be ignored.

I toyed with reviewing the show because I really cannot say anything else about her shows that I hadn’t covered earlier this year. However, it is fairly obvious that with each show she just gets better. Her band and dancers get better each time. Her fans are the best also. If you are ever seeking a dedicated fan base, then just speak to her fans. I’ve loved her since 2014, and I remember that feeling I got. I felt like someone just got me. Someone could pull out everything I was feeling and thinking, and expressing it in a way that I knew I couldn’t. Like I said, healing. The front row of her shows consist of fans who are so passionate and an absolute credit to her. They also make you proud to be a fans of hers. I could easily write an essay about them. If I was in a band, I’d be honoured to have such a solid fan base. They sing every word back to her with such urgency and again, passion in their voice. No one cares if you can sing or not- it doesn’t matter. No song towers over the other with how loud they are. Every single song is sung as if their lives depend on it- and these songs have probably saved their live, and provided a safety net. I’m just speaking for myself, but I reckon it’s a pretty accurate assumption. Fuck With Myself and Gemini Feed are stunning, and the way the crowd yell “There is no fixing to the problem when you’re talking to, an idiot!” during Trainwreck is a brilliant moment too. You can sense how much it means to everyone.

Her set list for her Birmingham show hasn’t really changed from when I saw her a few months ago. A couple of songs were missed a lot (Weaker Girl and 27 Hours) but it#s alright! Her Manchester and London shows did get 27 Hours but they also FINALLY got a live performance of her cover of Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. BANKS fans know how much she loves her and we’ve waited so long for a full version of this song. I didn’t get to see it, but the live clips I’ve seen have been amazing. It shows her voice in a different way and it shows also, how powerful she is.

What I absolutely love about her shows is that it feels like a pure body of art. It is a masterpiece that has so much thought, love and care put into it. The dance routines she has to certain songs make you see and feel the songs differently. The choreography to opener Poltergeist is one of the best things I have EVER seen. The way they move their bodies in a way that looks like they are possessed is so hypnotising. You cannot help but focus on the movements rather than the song at times but like I said, it makes you take the song differently. I love the choreography to Haunt too.

A few weeks ago she put out Underdog. I was hoping she would do this, and she saved it right for the end. The choreography to this is also mind-blowing. They stalk the stage as if they’ve got the devil with them. They move in this wonderful darkness that has a hold of you and doesn’t let you go. The way they move their bodies is just astounding. Pretty sure if any of us did it we’d end up in A&E with a broken back or something! Obviously it would be worth it.

To be a little personal, I cried during Crowded Places. I was doing so well until the last minute or so of the song. I held it together until that last part of the song. I don’t know if it was because of what the song recently got me through or because of how beautiful it was to see everyone sing a long. Everyone sang as if they wrote the song, and it was just gorgeous.

I adored seeing Beggin’ For Thread and This Is What It Feels Like again. There is something about seeing these two songs live for me that just makes me feel like some kind of spiritual/out of body experience has hold of me. She hits this note during This Is What It Feels Like, and my god it just…it’s so powerful and so captivating. I could hear it on a loop for hours and hours and it would still leave me in awe. It’s another moment in her show that shows just how fantastic she truly is. It’s such an ethereal thing to watch and to hear. The crowd really belts out this song to her, especially Beggin’ For Thread. Waiting Game is also effortlessly wonderful, and the choreography to this is just perfect. Once you see BANKS, you cannot stop. You have to find way to cope with waiting to see her again. It is worth the wait. We waited long enough for someone like her to exist, so holding out for a tour seems easy enough, right?

Goddess and The Altar are two of the most captivating records I own and constantly listen to. Her music can ease the rut I get myself into, they can calm me down after a panic attack, they help when the depression wants to kick in and my medication feels like it is doing nothing for me. Her words, her music are my safety net. Her live shows feel like home. Not every band or singer can have this much of a grip on someone, but when we find them- we cling.

The confidence she has on stage is so subtle but you know it is there. Her fans have this outpouring of love for her that you sense she just feeds off, and it is such an amazing thing to see and be part of. There is such diversity in her crowds, and I think that is part of what makes her shows so special. She can connect with anyone and it is so powerful.

Her music will soothe any soul and her live shows will make you feel like you can take on the world. The comedown from her shows isn’t great. All you can think about is when you’ll see her next. But you know, worth the wait. Always.





TROUMACA-The Grace.

19 08 2013

 

In January this year I wrote about a band that instantly blew my mind. I listened to them before I saw a photo of them. When I saw what they looked like, I thought “I’ve seen you before.” Turns out they were once called Scarlet Harlots and were on Orange Unsigned back in 2008. I used to watch it every weekend. I loved them then, and I always wondered what happened to them. Now I know.

Troumaca are easily the best thing to have come out of the Midlands since….well, that’s up for discussion. Whilst most are obsessing over other bands from the Midlands (and rightfully so, most of them are decent) Troumaca are creeping up, and it is only a matter of time before you start listening.

Summer is a season. Summer is a state of mind. Troumaca are a feeling; Troumaca are a state of mind. The Grace embodies this. The Grace is a stunning debut record. It has the ethereal bliss that is found in the likes of Tamaryn and Beach House. However, let it be known that it sounds like nothing else you’ve heard before. A calypso vibe surrounds the whole record. You know when you hear something so wonderful and perfect that words just do not do it justice? That’s The Grace all over. When I heard Lady Colour ages ago, I hoped that the whole record would have the body of this song; I’m so happy that it does. The dreamy state that flows in and out of this record is breathtaking. Troumaca place you in a trance that you never want to snap out of. I don’t know what the come-down is going to be like when the record stops. There is always the repeat button. Always.

What I love about this record is that each song is story, and to an extent they are stories that the band have lived out. Trees is about struggle, Ivory is about death. Some of the songs you can just tell are personal experiences, and even if they aren’t- you still connect to them as if they were made for you. The music throughout the record has a carnival vibe to it, even if the lyrics to some songs are quite sad (Ivory for example.) The Grace is the perfect record to just make your mind feel right. You feel every note and every word deep in your soul. You can tell straight away that Troumaca make music that comes from a deep place. For most when they make music that comes from a place like this, it is usually quite dark. As I said above, Troumaca sound like nothing else which is why they are not like the familiar. What they have to offer the listener is a wealth of bliss. Where else are you going to find that? Looking out the window sometimes does the opposite, music doesn’t.

A lot of music I listen to seems to sound perfect at night. I listen to Troumaca and they sound like a brand new day. Everything about their music evokes change; for the better. Of course you will get those who wish to label them a version of whoever, but I hand on heart, cannot liken them to anyone. All I can tell you is that they make you want to sway like Warpaint do. Troumaca’s sound is like no other.

Sometimes when a band say they are “experimental” we are quick to roll our eyes and be instantly bored before we hear anything. However when you listen to Troumaca, everything just sounds new. Everything sounds in place. The Grace sounds and feels like falling in love. Being content in the silent moments you share with the one you love and loves you back. There are no awkward fillers on The Grace. The tranquility in the songs flow gently in and out of your ears. You feel at ease. Everything that was bugging you ceases. Everything you cannot fix no longer matters. The Grace is made up of beautiful moments that you want to live out over and over. How can you repeat the beauty? Easy; you just keep on hitting repeat.

Troumaca give you that relaxed sensation of staring out at a bed of water as the sun’s rays glisten in your eyes. If you’ve ever listened to the band Poolside then you’ve probably experienced this feeling before. It’s a feeling that we should desire to seek because when you find it and feel it- it is simply beautiful. I cannot tell you which songs are the stand-out tracks, that’s personal opinion. My personal opinion is that The Grace is quite simply one of the best records to come out this year. One of the best debut records of the year. Best UK record? I think it’s fair to say it is. To pass up on a band like Troumaca would be foolish, and nobody wants to be a fool.

The Grace is out next Monday. Buy the record and let your beautiful journey into escapism begin.

 





Heavy Waves.

18 10 2012

I have time to kill before I need to leave for the airport. It’s raining outside and I think the sun wants to make a brief appearance, but the rain clouds are proving to be persistent. Relentless and unforgiving. So I’ve found a band that bring the sun on this otherwise grim Thursday afternoon. I’m not flying anywhere exotic, I doubt I could sit still for longer than an hour. I’m off to see the one I love/adore..how that one happened I have no idea, but it feels good.

Birmingham (or B-Town if you want) is obviously blessing us with amazing bands such as Peace and Swim Deep. There’s another band you can put in there; Heavy Waves.

Heavy Waves are three (I think there’s three of them) chaps from sunny Birmingham..no idea if it is sunny there today but the music that they create makes you think it is always sunshine and FUN up in Birmingham. Heavy Waves make music that makes you want to surf. A lot of the stuff I listen to usually makes me want to lie down and close my eyes, and go somewhere magical. Heavy Waves makes me want to actually do something. I’ve opted for surfing, which is actually quite silly as I cannot swim. Still, we must do silly things in life or learn something new. Maybe both at the same time. Calm down.

I love music that sounds distorted yet relaxing. Heavy Waves have mastered this; I’ve only heard a couple of tracks by them but it is enough for me to believe that next year they’re going to do some amazing things. I won’t do the whole “I TOLD YOU SO” thing when it happens because I’m not like that. I’m not an arrogant/pretentious arsehole. Hell..I don’t even know if anyone will read it. But if they do, I hope you also believe in Heavy Waves as much I do. I hope you fall instantly in love with them much like I have done. I hope, I hope, I hope.

I love their song Edward. It’s the kind of song that just makes you want to get out and do something. Surfing is optional. However, if you live in England and can’t get to beach; I suggest you go outside and find a puddle then use an ironing board as a surf board. Imagination kids, don’t be scared to use it.

You can listen to the glorious and enchanting sounds of Heavy Waves right here : http://soundcloud.com/heavywaves and tell them that you love them. Do it. I’m sure they’d enjoy that.





Swim Deep-King City (Video.)

26 03 2012

Last year, Summer Camp’s I Want You was THE song that made me feel everything intensely. I compared most things to how this song made me feel. I’ve already declared King City as the song to do this to me this year. I listen to it and no part of me is unhappy. I can relate to the lyrics, I mean who wouldn’t want Jenny Lee Lindberg to be their girlfriend?! However, when I’m alone I sing this and throw in all members of Warpaint names around because I love them. A lot. If you must know, I use Emily’s name the most. I’ve just out-creeped myself.

Swim Deep are the band that are going to amaze you this year. Yeah, I’m probably only using King City as what I’m basing this on, but I think I’m right this time. They come from Birmingham. Is that important? You know what, this time IT IS. All too often London is given all the hype and whatnot. Not this time. This year, it’s all about Birmingham and Swim Deep.

I’ll give you the reasons as to why I really love this video :

-The posters of Jenny Lee Lindberg at the start of the video.

-The JD poster.

-Comic store.

-Vinyl.

-Skateboarding in the Bullring.

Everything I love is in this video. Aside from skateboarding. I can’t skateboard. When I was about 6 years old my best friend and I used to get our skateboards and lie on them on our tummy and go down hills. Dangerous? Fuck yes. We were fearless 6 year olds. Nearly ending up under a car wasn’t enough to tame our evident rebellious streak…

This video just oozes summer. Listen to it on a rainy day and you’ll still feel like you’ve got the sun on your back. I’m content with playing this track all day EVERY day this year (and beyond.)

Also, I think “And fuck your romance I wanna pretend, that Jenny Lee Lindberg is my girlfriend” is probably going to be my favourite lyric of the year. Mainly because I can relate. I’ll switch it up every so often by using Alison Mosshart and others in there. Romance never goes my way, EVER. Never has and never will. But King City makes me feel okay with it because I know someone out there feels it too. Thank you Swim Deep! A person you like in real life may reject your affections, but you’ve always got a music crush to fall back on.