IDLES: Manchester Academy. 4th December 2019.

5 12 2019

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I apologise in advance for potentially how erratic and lengthy this will be. Last night’s show went beyond meaning the world to me, and although I may not be able to eloquently put into words what the show meant to me, I know that there is an incredible group of people who fully understand. That group of people are the AF Gang. Thank you.

Prior to the show last night Joe, Lee and Bobo walked past me. I stupidly (or sensibly) used my self-control to not go up to them and spurt out words of love and ask for a photo. I think part of me couldn’t believe it. Not that these real people walked past me, but because I was a couple of hours away from seeing them on stage. It hadn’t sunk in yet; the tickets were last minute (and I owe it to two complete strangers who have hearts of gold.)

Sadly, I didn’t make all the 45s set but what I could hear was truly wonderful and it sounded so energetic. But I did catch all METZ’s set. I think anyone who knows me, knows I love two bands a hell of a lot- METZ and IDLES. I saw METZ earlier this year when they played the Pink Room at YES (USA Nails supported, and again this was a dream line up.) I was blown away and I was left struggling to hear the day after. It was incredible. Second time around in a much bigger venue- they sounded the same. Full of this beautiful rowdiness that just makes you want to pick up a guitar and make a lot of noise. They are one of the best live bands around, and to see everyone else react the same was a beautiful thing too. Songs like Get Off and Acetate were sheer madness, and of course just made me fall in love with them all over again. If you ever get to see them, GO. In any capacity, just go. They’ll shake your bones and shatter your skull in the best way possible.

The main event. The bit where my heart beats faster in a good way, not from having a panic attack. The part where my life probably changes. Where it all kicks in.

IDLES take to the stage and open with Colossus. If you ever want to see a bunch of passionate, beautiful people rush to the front upon hearing the opening chords to an anthem- go to an IDLES show. This was the first time in a very long time where I was in the midst of the crowd. I normally stay back or near the side. I don’t do big venues usually. But I can safely say that I felt so fucking safe at this show. IDLES played 18 songs, and I’m pretty sure we would have begged them to stay longer and play them all again. They are a band that just make me feel so fucking happy and I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. They are a band that say the things I probably can’t, and just voice out my worries and emotions better than I ever could. They are my outlet and my safety net. I have never sung (well, shouted) like this at a show before. This morning my body hurts and my throat hurts in the best way possible. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Every single song is a highlight (we got QUEENS for fucks sake!!!) and I wanted to stay in the moment forever. Is this how someone feels when they see their child for the first time? I think this is probably better. From the crowd chanting IDLES prior to them coming on stage, from Bobo ending up in the crowd to Joe ending up with someone’s shoe on stage- this was truly the best gig I’ve ever, ever been to. Sorry Nick Cave, I think you’ve bene overtaken! The crowd chanting “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” to the mass sing along of Wonderwall and All I Want For Christmas Is You. It was the most loving and precious atmosphere; I just wanted to be immersed in it forever.

This was my first IDLES show and it won’t be my last. There is something about seeing them for the first time that just gives you that kick up the arse that you need. Everything that this band and us fans stand for is something to treasure and to pass on. There were kids at the gigs with their parents, and if it was their first ever gig then everything else in life has a lot to live up to! I loved that during Rottweiler birthday girl, Catherine got on stage to play guitar with them. To see a fellow AF Ganger up on stage with the band and just ripping the stage apart was beautiful. That’s how you do a birthday and close a show.

Slow Savage broke my heart. This was the only moment I cried during the show. There is something about the way Joe shouts, “I’m the worst lover that you’ll ever have” that rips you apart. It’s the sheer openness and vulnerability in their songs that lures you in and wraps itself around your heart. This song is a prime example of it. But there is something else about their shows that will wrap itself around your heart- the strong feeling of unity.

Danny Nedelko is sang like a football chant on the terraces. This song means a hell of a lot to me and so many. It’s a perfect example of what makes this country great- the people who come here to better themselves. Our beautiful immigrants. We love you and you are welcome here. Always.

I feel I am missing key moments from the show, but I’ve had 5 hours sleep and a bit of a migraine brewing. I don’t care. I have never felt so alive as I did last night. The atmosphere was safe and full of love- just how it should be. We got Queens for fucks sake! I’m still delirious over that; incredible. Last night changed something in me. I’m not entirely sure what just yet, but something will emerge I’m sure. It has to. Since losing my Gran 3 months ago, I’ve not had hold of any emotion I have; everything has been a downward spiral in my head but last night I had a glimmer of stability. I have to go with that.

There is also nothing more satisfying and therapeutic than screaming along to their song Mother, and yelling “MOTHER! FUCKER!” with a few thousand people. Nothing can beat that.

Keep fucking going, and love yourself. LOVE.YOURSELF.





HEAVY LUNGS: Measure.

10 10 2019

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Behold! The most astonishing EP from a band from Bristol that you will hear all year! Heavy Lungs have released today, Measure; a 5 track EP with songs to completely shatter your eardrums in the most pleasing way imaginable.

We all know that Danny Nedelko is one of the most charismatic front-men around, and that Heavy Lungs are just one of the most exciting bands around. But what have they done with Measure? How exciting is it? How loud is it? How does it feel to listen to this work of art? Well, I will do my best to ramble gently about this glorious masterpiece.

Ready?

Measure opens with Half Full- it has this exceptionally haunting feel to it. Danny’s voice has this trembling tone to it. You can hear every emotion possible in this, and it just makes you become so enthralled by it. You want to scream along with him, but you can’t. You cannot mimic such a voice. This morning I blasted out Self Worth a LOT. I love how it instantly smacks you in the face. Self worth as a concept is criminally underrated, and to hear a song like this just makes you sort of keep yourself in check. You know things are shit, but somehow you’ll find a way to carry on. I have no idea how I get out of bed most days, but songs like this show the ugly and good side of having emotions. I love this song SO much, and it is definitely got the strongest sound both musically and vocally. If you didn’t know where to start with Heavy Lungs- play this one really loud. You’ll get it. Keep on playing it. Let it hit you in the gut. Let the brutal honesty make you feel sick because you can relate so much. There’s so much power in this song, and even more power in this band. They’re just the best.

T.O.T.B is another face-smacker. Sometimes you just need something to hit you and wake you up. I was playing this at 7am this morning on the way to work, and it really woke me up. It’s such a big record- even if it is only 5 songs. But these 5 songs are the most important songs you’re going to hear all year. This year we’ve had Fontaines D.C. and The Murder Capital give us the most vulnerable and heaviest records- you can definitely put Measure there. It’s everything you’d want from your favourite band. I had a ticket to see their last Manchester show, but I had to bail last minute because my mind decided it was time for a panic attack. I’m trying to fight them off and go to gigs, it’s tough but these things happen. You can’t beat yourself up forever.

 

 

The first single from this EP was (A Bit  of a) Birthday. If like me you’re not big on having attention thrown on you, and your idea of hell is people gawping at you whilst singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to you- then this song will really speak to you. It’s about the waiting for the day to be over so it’s back to normal, the shitty clowns that appear at kids parties, wanting the money instead of the card- it’s got this really snotty Punk sound to it. I love how obnoxious it is- you can imagine some spoilt brat singing this because he just wants everything to be over. I absolutely love it, and the band nail it perfectly. Danny’s vocals on this have so much diversity to it, and I love how he portrays this brilliant bratty attitude on it; the total opposite of him and the band. It’s fucking incredible. The guitar on this is probably my favourite on the EP, Oliver has excelled himself on this one for sure.

What I adore about Measure is that Oliver, Danny, George and James has pushed themselves, and this has caused them to just sound exceptional. Their unified sound just makes you fall in love with them even more on Measure. It is easy to become obsessed with Heavy Lungs- they’ve got everything you could possibly want from a band. The lyrics on this EP to the production is just perfect. George is an absolute monster on the drums and James just brings this soul to the band with his bass-playing. There’s no other band out there quite like them.

Measure is out right now via Balley Records. Buy it and play it until your ears bleed.





LEATHERS: Class Action.

1 10 2019

 

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On my day off today I have done what I set out to do- sleep past noon. I got up at about half past one. A well-earned rest, and I’m still tired. It’s okay, just a few more hours to kill before bedtime is upon me. I cannot wait. Anyway, I need to listen to some music to keep me awake for a little while longer whilst I avoid doing things I should probably be doing.

Bristol is the home to some amazing bands from IDLES to Emily Breeze to Oh, The Guilt and beyond. It’s a place that is just oozing talent of all kinds. It has this solid community and it’s a place that deserves to be praised for all the music it has given us. It is a truly phenomenal place, and there is no shortage of masterpieces coming out of there.

So here we are, another excellent Bristolian band to praise- Leathers. A brilliant duo who make you feel like you are listening to a Gospel version of The Cramps. There’s a lot of soul in this band, and they have something that just makes you want to absolutely play the shit out of this record. Before you know it, you will be chanting along to all the hits such as Bad News and One Track Mind (not a Johnny Thunders cover but still awesome!)

On their new EP, Class Action the band are firmly letting us know that this is the kind of sound that NEEDS to be heard, and it needs to be heard pretty loud. Luckily no one is home and I’m playing it as loud as I want. The more I listen to it, the more I can really appreciate how great they are as musicians. They play with this unified sound that maybe sounds tighter because they are a duo. If there was more of them, it may spoil it and besides, it just reinforces my fondness of duos. Of course, the only downside is that the EP is only four songs long, but you make do, don’t you? You just hit repeat.

 

 

I love that real trashy sound they have. It’s a really raw Garage Rock sound with beautiful notes of Psychobilly. Fully aware I’ve just made the band sound like a wine, but it’s alright! Anyway, the songs are easy to get hold of and learn by heart. You can really imagine their live shows and the crowd going nuts and singing along as loud as they can.

Class Action has a strong DIY feel to it, and I love when you can hear the hard work and passion gone into a record. I love how their song No More reminds me so much of Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer; part of me was hoping for part of the lyrics to pop up. Maybe they’ll do it at a show, that’d be pretty cool right? You know the part that would work, it’s obvious! It’s probably one of my favourites off the EP right now. There’s a level of fury in this one that coms across in such an effortless manner Ed beats the shit out of the drums on this one, and Chris’ voice just keeps you locked in- you find yourself going back to this song the most.

If you’re into trashy Garage Rock, then Leathers are the band for you and Class Action is most certainly the EP for you. Play it loud, play it often!

Class Action is released via KM Records.





OH, THE GUILT: Darkest Days.

21 12 2018

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Bristol is home to many bands. Many phenomenal bands from the likes of Idles to Emily Breeze. There is a scene there that has no boundaries, there is a scene there that we all want to be part of. It feels like a real family unit. You can really sense that everyone is backing each other, irrespective of the genre, there is so much love and respect there.

I’ve written about Oh, The Guilt before and I’m late to the party in writing about Darkest Days. It’s a 7 minute song that deserves to be at the top of any list you make (good ones only, don’t be a dick!) I have a weakness for songs that have intense build-ups and songs that last over 5 minutes. I love the euphoria that smacks you right in the gut, and my god Oh, The Guilt completely and utterly nail this. Everything about this song is the definition of perfect. Single parts come together and just create this utterly divine song. It’s not a song-it’s a blissed out symphony.

How can a song this vital yet precious come alive in the form of a music video? Quite easily. The video to this beautiful song is shot in such a captivating manner. It is so powerful, and do emotional. You find yourself listening to the song, then immediately going back to the video. Then back again to the audio; it’s a song you need to play through headphones to truly pick up on every detail in the song. The drums are phenomenal, they are definitely one of the best moments in music this year. You want to keep it on a loop, and just lose yourself in them. I liken the drums to Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint) on Warpaint’s debut record, The Fool. Everything about Oh, The Guilt reminds you of what you love about music and what makes you fall in love with certain songs, and specific parts in songs.

Elijah, Hannah and Chris have created something truly beautiful with this song. The way Hannah annihilates the drums, and each crash wonderfully echoes into Elijah’s guitar is so captivating. They all come together with this sound that is glued together with Chris’ bass. Each of the create moments in this song that make it a work of art in its most purest way. The video reinforces the sheer beauty in the song, and the video adds more vulnerability to it- which is just absolutely gorgeous.

I’m not going to go on and on like I normally do. I want you to just take some time out of your day, bin off Christmas for a bit and play this song. All 7 minutes and 46 seconds of it. Allow yourself to have this time, and just breathe. And just be. Be whatever the hell you want.





HEAVY LUNGS.

7 11 2018

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There is probably no more exciting place in this country for music at the moment than Bristol. From Oh, The Guilt to Idles- it’s a place full of brutal and beautiful sounds.

Combining all things rowdy with all things beautiful, we have Heavy Lungs. I should have written about them months ago, but this is worth the wait- trust me.

Heavy Lungs go where others daren’t. Danny’s vocals are raspy, hypnotising and delivered with such force. The urgency in his tone marries up completely with everything else that goes on in the music. The guitar fuels him on. The bass backs up the groove. The drums reinforce the importance of everything that is going on. Danny has the voice of someone who HAS to be heard. Oliver and George egg each other on with who can be the loudest, and it’s nothing short of brilliant. James adds some calmness but don’t be fooled- Heavy Lungs are all about being loud, and are unapologetic about it.

They’ve recently announced a tour for next year. They’re playing up here in Manchester at The Castle. A venue that is sweaty and tiny. A place perfect for them, but they could EASILY sell out a way bigger venue- in time though, they will. That is obvious. Quite simply, they aren’t a band to be ignored. But how on earth could you ignore them. See, some may label them as Post Punk, but they’re just Post everything else. What you listened to before doesn’t even compare. They are just such an enjoyable and important band who leave you constantly wanting more. I’m so excited to see them next year, I have every feeling that their live show is going to be absolutely off the wall and most certainly something to remember. Remember when a lot of people declared they were at THAT Sex Pistols show but clearly weren’t? That’s what’ll happen with this tour, and I’m pretty damn sure that it’ll happen at the Manchester show. It’s so obvious.

The five songs on their EP, Abstract Thoughts are designed to burst your eardrums and make you feel something that no other band has, or will for that matter. They have this fiery rage within their songs that makes you want to break stuff but at the same time, change the fucking world. They are loud, and I can only hope that they get louder with each record. Hell, with each song would be the dream.

What I adore about Heavy Lungs is that they just make you want to catch one of their live shows immediately. You don’t care for where- you just want to be completely engulfed in this heavenly sound. 2019 is going to their year for sure. The tours, the new music we are going to be graced with- they are going to truly leave their mark on next year with their shit-kicking boots.

Heavy Lungs may only be young ruffians to most, but they have so much to offer us all and I cannot wait to see and hear what they do next, and beyond. Some bands just instantly make you feel like you’re listening to something truly special and something you must pay close attention to- it’s plain to see that Heavy Lungs do this.

Get a ticket to the tour next year, and say you were there- and mean it!





EMILY BREEZE: Rituals.

11 09 2018

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A few years ago I wrote about a band called Candy Darling. I was in love with their dark and sordid sound. The band ended, and I wasn’t sure if I’d hear Emily Breeze’s beautiful voice ever again. Fortunately, I never have to think about that again. She never left, so I can’t say she’s back. We have new music from her, and if you’re ever wondering what Nick Cave would sound like if he was from Bristol- look no further.

Her single, Rituals, will be out next month and I am going to tell you just why you need to buy it when it comes out. I’m going to try put into words why she, along with Anna Calvi have (are about to) put out two of the best records you’ll hear this year.

I love music that sounds quite eerie and tests everything else that I’ve ever heard. I love musicians that just never stay with one sound. As I listen to Emily, one voice sticks in my mind- Shirley Manson. I’m very precious about comparing anyone to Shirley Manson. She’s my all-time heroine and absolute role model. Her voice has this power and fragility to it. Her voice is so dominant but meek when needed. I’ve never really heard many voices like hers. The only other voice I can hold this highly is Colette Thurlow’s voice (TwoFiftyFour) and now, Emily’s. Her voice reminds me so much of early Garbage songs- think Milk mixed with Queer. Those two songs show Shirley’s voice in a way that just hits you right in the gut- Emily does this also. Her debut record is just amazing. I feel it will be one I constantly go back to and use as roadmap of my mind. The lyrics are divine, the vocals are perfect and the production is out of this world.

I absolutely adore the song, Work. It is this dreamy journey into everything and anything you could possibly imagine. Its real life, but you also feel like you are dreaming. The way she sings, “Dead inside” is so hypnotising. Anyone would just take this as a negative, but Emily makes it sound like the most beautiful thing in the world. It’s a record that you cannot help but worship. It’s a religious experience almost listening to this. She’s already preaching to the converted here, but it is still one of the most magnetising records I have ever heard. I feel like I am walking up and down dingy alleyways in Paris during a misty, rainy evening when I listen to this record. There is something so poetic and romantic about this record. It just oozes everything I love about music, songwriters and poetry. It isn’t just a singer and her words- it is straight up poetry. Her words are so easy to get lost in, and the music puts you in this trance that you don’t want to ever snap out of.

I firmly believe that music should be a form of comfort, escapism and should make you feel less alone, and less fearful of what’s around you. Emily has made a record that does all of this. At times you are on edge, just because you do not expect what she is going to do next. With a voice this beautiful, and this powerful-anything is powerful. She creates this haunting world with her music, and you never want to leave it. You want to stay there and see the world how she does. Heaven’s Gate is a prime example of this. I mean the way she sings, “Drink the Kool-Aid” would sway anyone to get all Jonestown. The way she sounds so menacing but loving is brilliant. It’s a cult-like song, obviously.

It’s a real seductive and captivating record that honestly, you can’t get enough of. You listen to it once, and it just has hold of you. It grips you in this way that makes you want it to never let you go. The whole record sounds like a soundtrack to a film about a serial killer. Everyday A New Line is definitely one of the songs that really give this feeling off, especially the spoken word parts. It’s cinematic record that deserves as much attention as possible. It most certainly sounds like it is made for a film.

The record ends on the wonderfully titled, Love Song For Aileen Wuornos. It’s brutal, it’ll make you think and it is the perfect ending to this masterpiece of a record. If you’re looking for a song that’ll scare you shitless but also have this hold on you- then this is the one. It is an exceptional song that is so twisted and so clever. I love how she’s written this, and if you know anything about Aileen, you’ll probably appreciate just how well Emily has written this and the way she sings this song, my god it’ll cover you in goose bumps and freak you out. As hard as it is to pick a favourite song off this record, this is definitely my favourite lyrically. The way she’s done this is just amazing. Yes some may declare it as being twisted, but for me, it just shows how effortlessly gifted Emily is as a singer and as a writer.

The Queen of Bristol is a month away from releasing something that’ll terrify you, it’ll make your mind work, you may never sleep easily again after hearing this record and it’ll make you go on this spooky journey with her. It’s a brilliant record; it’s a real work of art and you can really pick up on the sheer love, passion, devotion and hard work that has gone into this record by everyone involved. On this record you will hear the best musicians around from Bristol- that alone makes it a phenomenal record. It’s a real seductive record that aims to scare and lure you in, but to what? Well, that’s all on you.





IDLES: Joy As An Act Of Resistance.

4 09 2018

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“If someone talked to you
The way you do to you
I’d put their teeth through
Love yourself.”

 

A band like Idles don’t need me or anyone really, to tell you how amazing they are. What you need to know about them is that they are the most important band in this country. If you’re looking for a band that will unleash all your rage, if you’re looking for a band that’ll expose what makes us all vulnerable- then you NEED Idles. You just need them. It’s all well and good to love a band, but when you get to the point of needing them- don’t ever let that go. Don’t be afraid of it either.

Joy As An Act Of Resistance came out on Friday, but I wanted to listen to the record a few times before I declared my love for it. I wanted to process everything about this record before I delved into this absolutely beautiful, brutal and powerful record. It’s a record everyone needs to hear and pay attention to. The lyrics need to be heard at all costs.

Idles are a band that are incapable of making songs that aren’t important or that do not need to be heard with urgency. Joy is a record that exudes everything I want from a record. You can call it Punk, you can lob this into any genre you want but first and foremost- call it honest. Every song oozes this truth that may make a listener squirm at time but the most part, you’ll see yourself in these beautifully honest songs. Take the song, June for instance. I can’t relate to it, but my god I can pick up on the pain there. That pain hits you right in the heart and just breaks you. The way Joe uses his words on this song are just…I honestly don’t feel like I have the right to touch on this song. All I can do is just admire his fragility in this song and the way he lays out his experience. I’m utterly proud of him, and the band.

There are so many important songs on this record. They all are, but we all know just how vital the song Danny Nedelko is (Danny is the lead singer of Heavy Lungs) which touches on immigration. The chants and the heavy guitar on this song just blow my mind- and I can’t get enough of how brilliant Joe is as a songwriter. He’s obviously one of the greatest frontmen of our generation. He is someone to just be in awe of with his words. I could easily write an essay on brilliant a writer he is. Maybe that’ll happen at some point.

Love Song is probably my favourite. I love the devotion in the lyrics, and how the band make it sound quite sinister. I guess if someone didn’t really know the band, they’d think they were a bunch of stalkers. But really, it’s just an excellent ode to the one you love. I love the way Joe sings, “Look at the card I bought. It says “I love you.” It’s definitely the way Joe sings this line that adds a proper comical value to it.

Before I wrap this up, I need to talk about Samaritans. The song reflects on how the notion of masculinity has become quite toxic. For far too long, men have been programmed to not cry or talk about their feelings. But what’s one of the biggest killers of men? Suicide. We cannot turn a blind eye to this. We cannot keep turning people away who need help- gender should not matter in this. We should all feel like we can talk about what is hurting us. The lyrics may be simple, but this is what makes them hit home. They don’t need to create something over the top to make a point. They do it in their way, and their way makes you bloody well listen. Cry To Me is a song that you need to play almost immediately after. Just read the lyrics, and you’ll understand why. It’s one of the best covers I’ve ever heard.

Joy is a masterpiece. It is a body of work that has songs that just need to be heard. I’m toying constantly with what song I love the most, and I should stop- I know. But I can definitely tell you that Television hits home a lot. My level of self-confidence and self belief is laughable, but this songs makes me feel alright. Just a little, and you know.. I can’t ask for more than that.

We spend far too much time pulling each other apart, this record is a form of reassurance that we aren’t alone. It’s a record that is just so vital. Play it to kids in school so they understand it’s okay to not always be okay. Play it in the workplace to use as a method to encourage people to talk. Play it to your loved ones so neither of you feel alone again. I could tell you to play it loud- but the most important thing to do, is to just listen.

I’m aware that this could have been written better or I could have touched on other things within the record, but that’s probably for others to do who do not have such a personal attachment. It’s a phenomenal record that everyone must hear. Not just because of how brilliant it is, but because of everything it represents.