THE VACANT LOTS: Rescue

24 04 2020

 

American death. Nothing matters anymore. Closed casket wedding”

 

Nothing makes me happier than I band I LOVE release new music. I’ve been super vocal about my love for The Vacant Lots for a number of years now, and I still regard their live show in Hoxton as being one of the best shows I have ever seen; then I saw them play the Moth Club and my mind was just blown. My heart was healed, my soul soothed and all was okay. Basically, I love TVL a hell of a lot and they are a band that I’ll never ever be able to get enough of.

I’ve already heard the new record, but that review will be coming in June shortly before the record comes out. However, they have JUST released a brand new song from the record. I can also announce that TVL have signed with Fuzz Club- which is a huge deal. I’m super proud of Jared and Brian, and having a label like Fuzz Club sign them is proof of their hardwork and passion. Now let’s get into the single!

Rescue is everything you could want from TVL. It’s got the Suicide meets Lou Reed sound with parts from another world thrown in. We all need a rescue right now, and this song just pours out the frustrations of isolation and uncertainty. What I’ve always loved about TVL is that their influences aren’t always from music- the way you can pick up on writers such as Burroughs, Baudelaire etc shines through, and Rescue feels like it could have been placed in one of Jared’s poetry books (if you don’t have a copy, get one! I picked one up from a tour and it’s still something I go back to.)

We all have this feeling inside of us to want to escape, and sometimes we push it down because the fire to do so isn’t quite in us. I feel this quote about the song from the band really does sum up the song beautifully, and perfectly: “The need to escape & the need to fight despite things being fucked up in the world or in your life. The song deals with the conflict of wanting to escape but also feeling the contradictory feeling of wanting to fight (before it’s too late).”

 

 

Sometimes you can’t quite bring yourself to escape, but sometimes something else takes over, and I just love this quote also: “Overall in order to tackle themes like problems in society (macro) we have to overcome a lot of our own internal issues (micro).” TVL have this beautiful way of just giving you comfort when you need it, and they’re releasing this single (and the new record) during a time where everyone is unsure of what’s going. We want out, but we also want it to get better. We want something or someone to rescue us, but I guess the key thing here is to have patience and carry on as best as you can.

TVL aren’t a band that fall into one genre, far from it. Rescue is the kind of song you can play at home as loud as you want, but it’d also sound pretty remarkable in a bar/club. There’s an 80s synth feel to the song, and that’s something you’ll be treated to on the new record.

Their new record, Interzone will be out on 26th June via Fuzz Club. Rescue is the perfect introduction to the new record, and honestly, Jared sums it up perfectly:  “We don’t want to waste people’s time and we want people to play it over and over. Our mantra is ‘is it bulletproof? 8 songs. 30 minutes. It’s about intention and vision.” TVL always give us music that you can become obsessed with and keep on playing and trust me, Interzone is nothing short of exceptional.





MILK DICK.

7 01 2016

 

a1874717711_10

 

 

Being off work sicks means being painfully bored. I live in London- if I’m not at work, I should be out doing stuff. Alas, it hurts to move. I had to go to the shop earlier and it felt like I had ran 12 marathons. It’s not even a 5 minute walk from my house. I’ve learnt that being sick doesn’t really bother me, it’s the having nothing to do that does. I’m hoping I feel well enough to go to work tomorrow because I’m tired of my own company and I want to use my brain. I’ve spent most of the afternoon asleep so now I’m using my time wisely to find some bands to go on about.

Milk Dick. A name that will probably bring up questionable results when you look for them- add “band” after their name when looking them up if you like to veer on the side of caution. If not, then enter as you wish.

Milk Dick are 3 pals from Brooklyn who make music that seems to fit anyone who is bored, unsure of what they’re supposed to be doing and those who aren’t really that fond of being an adult. In short, I guess they’re for everyone. That’s music all over- it should be inclusive. Milk Dick have a slight Punk feel to their sound. The songs for the most part are pretty fast and short. Sometimes you want songs that last a little longer than a minute and a half, but some bands just make it work. Milk Dick are one of those bands.

Their most recent release came out in April last year. Romantic Superstore is a beautifully angst-filled record that teeters on being a pissed off teen to someone in their 20s who has stopped caring about feeling constantly uncomfortable.

I’ve gone through their releases on their bandcamp page, and I think I’m settling with Bathroom Door as being my favourite song of theirs. I like the woeful sound and the reassurance in some of the lyrics. The lyrics hit on vulnerabilities we all face, and sometimes the ones we unknowingly cause.  I guess it’s about someone slowly losing it and losing a relationship in the process. It’s sad, but don’t let that put you off, perhaps Rhythm Rock is more your thing.

I think their slightly morose sound is what makes them likable and endearing. Some may get annoyed by it, but this kind of stuff is relateable for the most part. They’re a band that probably sound more rowdy on stage. You can imagine the drummer going a bit wild and the guitar being flung around in a rowdy manner. They need to be played quite loud, and you probably would be right in assuming that their live shows make them play a little quicker. Their songs are created with a wealth of passion and urgency, and that’s part of the charm that they have.

Milk Dick may have a name that most would turn their nose up at, but don’t be such an assclown. They’re one of the finest bands in Brooklyn right now. They’re made for dingy bars that have dodgy air conditioning and no security. Go see them, put your life in their hands (for an hour or so) and chant MILK DICK! at them. I think they’d like that.

Listen up:

http://milkdick.bandcamp.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





LAZY QUEEN.

16 08 2015

If I wasn’t terrified of flying I’d visit a while bunch of places and take in as much live music as possible. I’d start out in New York and follow a band called Lazy Queen around. So I guess I’ll have to wait until they eventually come to the UK.

Lazy Queen are loud. Real loud and each song sounds like they are out to prove something. I can’t pin point what they’re trying to prove, but they’re easily one of the most exciting bands around and have understandably gained a rep as being an electrifying live band. You can make sense of their sound on record, but you just know that their live shows is where they truly shine.

I’ve got this image in my mind of how their live shows are. Lots of sweat and tired bodies throwing themselves around. There is something brilliantly demonic in their music- a little tamer than bands such as Pop.1280 and Spectres but brutal all the same. Lazy Queen are still a relatively new band but with a sound as strong as theirs, they can easily put others to shame. They only have 4 songs on their bandcamp page, and the 5 minute haunting style of Ants pretty much shows just how brilliant Lazy Queen are.

They’re not a band you write poetically about. I’m not a fan of pretentious descriptions. I don’t want to be told that a song will make me feel like I’m running carefree through a meadow. Fuck that. I want to be told that this is the loudest and most aggressive thing I’ll ever hear. Or something similar. So how will Lazy Queen make you feel? I can’t say, that’s on you.

They take elements of band like The Jesus And Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and Pixies. They take these influences and make something remarkable of their own. In a world full of people talking pointless noise, it’s nice to hear bands like Lazy Queen who have something worth paying attention to. Then again, my idea of socialising is going to buy records and talking to the person in the shop about them.

In a few months Lazy Queen will be releasing a 4 track EP called Drift. If I was to comply a list of EPs I’ve enjoyed this year, I’d probably end up putting Drift in there. Sure I’ve not heard it, but what I have hear from these guys is enough to know that they’re going to do great things and will hopefully gain some cult-like following.

Lazy Queen may be for those who like their music a little loud and a little creepy. Maybe those who value their hearing may shy away from the band, but if you can- go see them live. They’re a band that when you go see them, you stand right by the speakers and pay no mind to the fact that you’re going to be deaf tomorrow and probably for a few days afterwards. It’ll be worth it. If you’ve not left a gig with some kind of injury, then you’ve not had a nice time.

You can listen to their sounds here:

http://lazyqueen.bandcamp.com/





BAND PRACTICE- Make Nice.

10 12 2014

“I don’t know how to make nice
I don’t know where I went wrong
I don’t know how to tell you
So I learned the words to all of your songs.”

 

I’m currently faced with one of the most difficult tasks in life- buying a new coat. I hate all of them and I think the best solution to not be cold is to just not leave the house during Winter. If I need anything, I can just buy it online. But then again, there’s the thing of having a job and having to leave the house to get there. It’s all so difficult. You know what else is difficult? Trying to break in my new Docs. I don’t want to part with my old ones. They’ve been through a lot. I clearly don’t adapt well to change do I.

Writing about a band that I love is usually easy. When it;s a band that I’m pals with, then it feels a bit weird. Then again, if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t write about it so there’s really nothing to worry about.

Yesterday, finally, Band Practice released their debut record Make Nice came out today. If I was going to make a list of brilliant records of 2014, I’d definitely put them in there. But I’m not doing that this year, I’ll do lyrics instead. Anyway. So the record came out today and it’s ridiculous.

Band Practice are Ben and Jeanette (she does The Miscreant magazine. I write for them, she’s awesome as is the magazine. She didn’t tell me to tell you that, I felt like it.) JW’s voice is beautiful.

The songs are everything you thought high school would be. For me, it was nothing like it. There were no crushing crushes, nothing of the sort. I was and always be an average bore. Band Practice have provided songs that will ease anyone out of their awkward stage, or in adulthood- make it easier to deal with.

The 9 track record starts with the awesome Band Practice Theme Song. JW pays a little homage to wonder kids Comfy in the line, “This is my big comfy scarf.” This is the perfect track to open Make Nice with. But I want to talk about my ultimate favourite off the record, Bartending At Silent Barn. It’s full of wonderful self-doubt and I’m pretty sure anyone who listens to it will relate to it a hell of a lot. I adore the line, “Nobody in my head likes me so sometimes I get lonely .” It’s such a sad line, and I’m fairly sure why I love it. I tend to go for lyrics that are quite self-loathing and the like. I love the way JW sings this song, and I feel a bit awkward talking about how she sings! I love how there’s a bit of a fed-up feel to her voice at the start, then a little giggle happens (I think it’s a giggle) and the song just smacks you beautifully in the face. The drums, always the drums isn’t it.

Band Practice have basically put a record out to fit every mood. If you want to sulk in your room, stay in your pjs and never see anybody again- this is the record for you. Ultimately,  you can also flail your limbs about to some of the tracks without a care in the world. Do a mix of all of them, but make sure you don’t overlook the lyrics. The lyrics are gorgeously crafted, and yet again, another band that make me wish I had even a small fraction of musical talent. Alas, I don’t. I just do this instead. Some of the songs will break your heart (Spare Parts) but really, what you’ll adore are the quick-witted lyrics sung by Jeanette and Ben. See, this is why duos are just the best.

Make Nice has been released by the great Chill Mega Chill, and you can buy the tape/download it here:

https://bandbandpracticepractice.bandcamp.com/album/make-nice

Embrace the cute corgis and play as loud as you like. Oh and if you’re fortunate to live in NYC, go their release show this Friday at 603 Upstairs : https://www.facebook.com/events/1526395474274610/?ref=22





TOTAL SLACKER-Slip Away.

6 02 2014

 

 

Typing pretty much hurts; I’ve invested in a kettle bell that weighs a lot. I was feeling pretty optimistic when I bought it this week, now I don’t have that level of optimism anymore. It’s alright, feeling that good is bad for my health. I’ve not dropped it on the floor or on my face (yet) so I must be doing something right. Also, if you’re wondering what Lee from that awful pop band Steps is doing now- he’s on the free poster you get with the purchase of a kettle bell demonstrating how you are meant to use this…thing. I’m standing a good distance away from the TV, windows, anything else that I can break whilst I use it. But like I said, I’m not feeling too optimistic. But if my stomach muscles and biceps are hurting, am I doing it right? I can manage going for a run in the rain without falling over so I like to think I’m developing into a worthwhile member of society. Possibly.

So I wrote about Brooklyn wonder-kids Total Slacker about two years ago. They’re putting out their new record, Slip Away next week and it’s also Valentine’s Day next week..I think Total Slacker knew exactly what they were doing when they thought of a release date. The deviants! So aside from being a typical fan of a band, it is pretty easy to get excited over the new Total Slacker record because it is really bloody good. It’s got a Garage Rock feel to it mixed with something hypnotic (think The Stone Roses’ debut record) flowing all the way through. It’s not a record to get angry to, it’s a record to dream to- closing eyes is optional.

Would If I Could is a song to give chase to. It makes you want to walk/run faster; the fury that oozes out of this song is striking. It pretty much makes you want to give up your mundane life in order to make music like this. Out Of Body Experience pretty much speaks for itself. It’s a haunting record, it’ll creep you out in some parts but for the most part you’ll just feel like you’ve taken something strange. I personally wouldn’t know, but Total Slacker make me feel like I have.

Just under two years ago Total Slacker lost their drummer Terence in a fatal hit and run accident; any other band would probably quit after having to deal with something so painful but Total Slacker kept on, and Zoe (their new drummer) is equally as majestic and as wonderful as Terence was. A band like this just doesn’t quit.

Tucker has this way of sounding really down on life when he sings certain songs, and this is what makes him believable. There’s feeling in his voice, and this is what makes Total Slacker stand out from most bands. A lot of singers are afraid to inject any feeling into how their songs, but if you can’t expose yourself in one of the purest ways imaginable- then why on earth are you even doing it? Total Slacker are a band with a purpose.

With New York covered in snow and the UK being cast underwater, Total Slacker are bringing the laziness of Summer to us all early with Slip Away. If you’re fed up or going through a phase of self-doubt then play this record religiously and ritualistically. Shut the door and close the world off.

I’m sure Slip Away has been reviewed and weak comparisons have been mentioned, but I can’t think of a band to compare them to. I don’t have a reason to do so, and I think it’s disrespectful to the band you’re writing about when you do that. For those whinging about there being no new music and everything sounding the same, then give Total Slacker a listen. For me, Super Big Gulp is probably my favourite track so far off the record but I’ll change my mind. But when it kicks in on this track, it is truly magical. If I was wealthy, I’d pay for them to come to the UK but I’ll have to wait for now I suppose.

With songs about Kennedy’s assassination and fighting your babysitter’s boyfriend, and recorded by a someone (Daniel Schlett) who has worked with a band I really love, The Men- you just know Slip Away is going to be worthy of smacking that repeat button numerous of times.

As a fan rather than just another music writer, I’d like to say I’m really proud of Total Slacker and all they’ve done over the past few years. They’re like the noise around the heart. Play it loud and fall into a trance.

 





Sacred Bones Records.

31 12 2012

sacred-bones-records

 

It isn’t a common thing to find a record label that have such consistency with the quality of music they put out. All too often many labels put out music in the hopes to make a filthy amount of money with no passion or drive behind them. It seems so very rare to find a label that have a vision of what they want to do, and have the passion to do so. Money isn’t the motive, it’s the love for music.

My love (or obsession) for Sacred Bones Records came about in 2009 when they released The Spoils by Zola Jesus. At first I wasn’t aware of the label, but within a few months I was falling in love with all the bands and artists they had on their label. This year, there is no denying that they have easily been responsible for most of the best record of the year from Pop.1280 to The Men. Everything they’ve put out this year whether it be a full length record to a 7″ single has been perfect. I say this year, but it’s clear I mean everything they’ve ever put out.

Sacred Bones Records is the home to brilliantly odd and noisy bands. The creepy vibes of Pop.1280 to the painful (I mean in a good way) tones of the genius that is, Wymond Miles. There is something for everyone on this label. They have ethereal gems, eerie atmospheric sounds and brutal spurts of energy that send you into a frenzy- from the inside out. Everything about this label is everything I love about music. It’s a home for musicians that really care about music. Musicians that make music because they love music. And with this love, you find yourself being equally as passionate to it. If I was in a band (I am musically ungifted) Sacred Bones is, hand on heart, the label I would trust to release any music I had.

A fair amount of the bands on Sacred Bones do sound quite menacing. I think that’s what appealed to me the most. I think it is obvious that Pop.1280 may be one of my favourites. They have that dark Nick Cave feel going on. Every song feels like you are being hunted down by something or someone in a desolate forest. I adore Zola Jesus to bits. I remember playing Stridulum II the day it came out, and cooking my dinner. I nearly set myself and the house on fire because I was in awe of what I was listening to. My attention was elsewhere, somewhere better. That’s always the case. I cannot listen to music and do something else at the same time, my concentration goes somewhere else. I’m not sorry about that. The world Sacred Bones has opened me up to is a world I always want to be part of. Always.

In the space of five years, Sacred Bones have gone from being an unknown indie label to being responsible for putting out mind-blowing music that so many (with exquisite taste) love.

I know many would regard Rough Trade as the most influential record label ever, and to an extent that is so true because without them, we wouldn’t have so many indie labels giving us amazing music. Sacred Bones are a platform for the weird and wonderful.

Next year, I am mainly excited about the new Psychic Ills record. I have a lot of love for them, and if I’m not mistaken the record will be called One Track Mind. Pretty cool name don’t you think. There is no doubt in my mind that Sacred Bones will have another incredible year putting out mind-blowing music that just catapults you into an insane and intense world. They give us music that must be heard through headphones with no one else around. Most of the songs sound like they should be in the scariest film imaginable. But every feeling you get from listening to the music they put out is so intense, you must simply be alone. I’m not saying you must cut people out, but it’s a rare thing to find someone who will love this label as much as you do. If they get it, you’ve probably found a friend for life. Unless they’re a total shit. If that’s the case, carry on listening on your own.

I’ve finally got round to having a fully functioning record player(the one I had for the past 10 years has died, we had a good run), and I vow to next year get as much 7″s from Sacred Bones as my bank account will let me. Which may not be a lot. I am okay with trying.

Sacred Bones are beyond just being a record label. Once you become a fan of one band, you become a fan of every band they have on their label. That’s exactly how it should be. So thank you Sacred Bones, for giving music some meaning and heart.





Friends-Manifest!

6 06 2012

 

Today, I got some wonderful life advice from my Gran as I helped her do her shopping in town (I don’t just read and listen to music ya know! I sometimes go out..sometimes.) She said to me, “Liv..it is important to drink 4 cups of tea a day. 2 or 3 just isn’t enough. 4 is what you need.” I’m going to treasure that. Of course if she switched whiskey for tea I’d have been even more delighted with this advice, but it’s okay. Advice can be found anywhere. Sometimes on the back of a food item or from the mouth of your favourite person in the world. Or from a band, or a piece of literature. It usually comes to you when you least expect it. That’s when good, and also bad things happen. For instance, err..actually, I don’t have a solid example of this so I’ll just talk about this record instead.

I’ve been in love with Friends since last year. I went through a phase (it’s always been there and it will never go) of solidly listening to bands from Brooklyn. Most of the bands I listen to come from Brooklyn or LA. It wasn’t something I was really aware of until recently. I don’t know, I guess it’s because they just make the music that I really want to hear. Music I can really connect with. That’s what it is all about. Connecting to something..a person or a piece of music is just really important, for me. I’m more likely to connect to a band than a person. It’s alright, I’m denouncing my lesbian ways and just no longer caring about that part of my life. I get more joy from listening to music than appreciating someone’s beauty. Where do I sign up to be a Nun? It’s alright, I’ve gone off track again.

Friends. The band, not the shitty programme. Friends have possibly put out the most exciting album of the year. I know all my love for debut album of the year is all for 2:54. However, what Friends do to me is completely different. 2:54 make me want to walk forever and just escape. Friends (if I don’t pay too much attention to the heartbreaking lyrics) just make me want to dance. And yes, by dance I really do mean flail my limbs about. Hitting myself in the face, and probably anyone who is near me. Like most who really love this band, it all started with I’m His Girl. I just heard the first few seconds of it last year, and my mind was instantly blown. My heart was instantly won. They have this wonderful 80s/early 90s feel about them. You know what I mean? Double denim, tie-dye and bumbags (FANNY PACKS if you’re American. Call them fanny packs, makes everyone feel a bit uncomfortable.)

If you’re looking for an album to take on your summer holiday. Whether you’re going to Skegness or the South of France- this album is probably going to be the one you really need to have on constant repeat. They have this brilliant atmosphere going on, that even when you listen to them on a cold, miserable November day- you’d feel as if you were laying on a beach in July. They just fill your bones with heat. What I love about Friends is that they have this sexual energy like Peaches but have a relaxed, dream-pop feel to them. They’re just incredible.

The only downside is that those damn hipster kids are going to love this band. Thing is, they’ll just love them because they want to seem cool. Don’t they know that the term “cool” is highly redundant? Nothing and no one is cool (unless your name is Jamie Hince, Alison Mosshart, Lou Reed..then you are cool.) Sure they’re a band that those kind of kids will like, but if you really want to do the band a favour-love them because you ACTUALLY love the music. Don’t do it because you feel you have to. It’s like when you see someone wear a Ramones t-shirt and they have NO idea who the band are and what they’ve done for music. It’s why I have yet to buy a Ramones t-shirt, because I don’t want anyone to think that of me. Not that I’m one for paying attention to what anyone thinks of me. Most dislike me. It’s alright, I dislike me too. But I really fucking love Friends and I want this album to be so big. But at the same time, I don’t want them to be ruined by immature folks who use their laptop in the park you know? I don’t want that.

Alright, some of the tracks that I really love (okay so I dig the whole record but I have a few that are currently making me really happy.) Ideas On Ghosts is my favourite, EASILY. The music is currently sending my soul to a different place. I think my ghost is possibly writing down these silly words. My body feels like it has experienced something truly strange. But when you pay close attention to the lyrics in these songs you will hear a fair bit of self-doubt, heartbreak and struggle. The music on its own makes you want to have a good time. If you listen to this on your own, through headphones you will pay close attention to the lyrics. You know a band is really fucking good when they can disguise pain through upbeat music. I love music that does that. Pretty sure most of my music collection consists of bands that do this. Freud would love that shit.

Ruins is just over 2 minutes long, but there’s a build-up in this song that is so bloody powerful. There’s a lot of funk and disco influence in this record. You know how I hate the word “sexy.” Well, as much as I hate that word- this record is truly sexy. It makes you want to dance. It makes you want to sit in a park or on the beach just watching everything and everyone pass you by. Maybe it’s the album you will find your summer love to. Or maybe it’s the album that’ll help you get over a love. Maybe it’ll just make you have a decent summer, you probably do it. Even songs such as Sorry, which is quite sad, will still make you want to dance or move about.

I love everything about this record. As far as debut records go, I can imagine this being one someone finds in 10/20 years time in a discount section in a record store (please let them still be around) and they’ll pick it up and think, “You know…I remember this band. This record really did something to me. I’m going to buy it again!” I want that to happen. It’ll probably be me that does that anyway.

So, go support an amazing band from BK! Go support your local record store, and buy Manifest! by Friends.