CAT POWER- Union Chapel. 11th November 2014.

12 11 2014

 

 

There are many ways to celebrate getting old. There is crying into your  pillow, enjoying some whiskey or my favourite- seeing a band/singer you love. An early (day before) birthday present to me was a ticket to see Cat Power last night at one of London’s most gorgeous venues. Union Chapel is down the road from me, which is pretty cool. It is a venue that could make the most horrendous singers sound amazing. But for the likes of Cat Power, it just shows how brilliant they are.

Previous to this show Chan had canceled a few due to being sick, however if I could sing the way she did last night when I’m sick then I’d be bloody happy. She means to me what the likes of Patti, Bobby, Morrissey and Lou mean to me. She’s someone who can put across what I think/feel better than I can. She’s got a beautifully brutal way with words. Her honesty is gorgeous and endearing. How someone couldn’t be a fan of hers, I have no idea.

Her songs for the most part flowed right into each other. She went way back with some of her songs, and for me hearing Great Expectations (second record, Myra Lee) was perfect. I saw her in 2008 and it was around the time Jukebox was released. Her set consisted of songs from that record and The Greatest. To hear some older songs last night was amazing. She started her set on guitar. Just Chan and a guitar. She seemed to be quite nervous and unsure, but as she made her way to the piano, everything fell into place. She came alive and her beautiful sense of humour came out. If Chan ever packs in music,  I sincerely hope she goes into comedy as her sense of humour is wonderful. Her laugh is infectious. When she starts, you go with her.  She’s delicate when she speaks, and when she sings you pick up on the hope and strength in her voice that comes from a dark place. She got through some bad shit, and she’s still around. I know people look up to others far too easily, but hand on heart- she’s one of my idols.

Although it is obvious in her lyrics she’s a fantastic storyteller, it becomes much clearer when she tells stories to the audience ranging from her cracking her head open to creating a single-mum house cleaning device to Instagram blocking her. Her humour always shines through, and she’s someone you really couldn’t tire from listening to. She just leaves you in awe. She really has that Patti Smith quality about her. It is so rare to find, but Chan truly has it.

At the end of the show, she is greeted with  a message from an iPad that reads END. Maybe from an iPad, or maybe from some god telling us all to get out. She played 2 seconds of 3 songs including my beloved Metal Heart. She finds humour in everything, and you know, from all the struggles she has had it was bloody wonderful to see her on that stage smiling and joking. At the piano, she said something along the lines of “I’m just happy to be having fun for one minute.” Moments like this make the setlist seem like a minor thing. She fell in love with piano at Union Chapel, and although she seemed mad at herself for forgetting some notes/songs, she played it beautifully.

If you’ve read about Chan’s shows you’ll see how people said she can be hit or miss. She apologised a lot last night for getting things wrong, but I didn’t care. I don’t think anyone in the room did. All that mattered was that Chan felt well enough to play for just over 2 hours last night. It felt like a real private moment, and one anyone who was there will remember for a long time. For me, I’ll remember the stories she told and not the songs she played. Her presence on stage is hypnotic. She’s a woman who stands for everything the world lacks and needs- peace, love, compassion and freedom. She has the bravery to speak up and to be honest. Her songs are vulnerable which is what makes her so easy to fall in love with. Seeing her in such an open place (I guess you could say vulnerable) last night made the songs carry even more weight. I held back some tears as she softly played I Don’t Blame You.

I’ve probably missed out a bunch of things, but I can safely say this is one of the greatest (sorry…) shows I’ve ever been to. Her music gives you hope and her words are a comfort blanket. The Greatest made me teary eyed and hearing Hate so clearly was something I”ll always treasure. She could sing the phonebook with just a guitar and it would make me cry. She’s powerful and I really don’t think she understands just how inspirational she truly is. Last night’s show is one I’ll remember for a long time, but then again, you don’t really forget seeing your heroes. I think hearing seeing Maybe Not was the moment I let some tears fall. That song along with Metal Heart are my favourites by Chan. I love how open they sound and how safe they make you feel. The lyrics to Maybe Not are so pure and gorgeous, I wish I could write something as brave as that.

Also, one last thing- her friend and guitarist, Nico Turner opened for her. Listen to her music. She’s on the same level as Chan. Her cover of Something In The Way by Nirvana is brilliant.





“I was dreaming in my dreaming, of an aspect bright and fair. And my sleeping it was broken, but my dream it lingered near.”

7 05 2013

I wandered around Soho on Friday afternoon to find a record shop. This record shop has had every single record I’ve ever wished to own. I’ve only ever been in with a friend (she knows the way round and when with another person in a record shop, I do not spend as long in there.) So I wandered around for what seemed forever. I knew I was lost, and I loved every minute of it. I didn’t care that I didn’t know where I was because I knew I’d eventually stumble upon this record shop. I found it eventually. I had to walk up that sex alley to get there. I kept my eyes on the ground for a bit, then realised I was amongst curious tourists who were falling in and out of the shops selling various (and probably questionable) things. I didn’t care, I just wanted to find this record shop.

I walked in and went towards the 7″ singles. For some reason I’ve recently started buying more of these than I have of LPs. Maybe it’s because I now have Psychocandy on record so I no longer seek out looking for much (if I tell myself this then my addiction to buying records will seem less of a problem.) I’ve found a few gems on 7″ from The Walker Brothers to The Shangri-Las. Somehow when you see they are only 50p, you pile the records into your arms like a greedy swine at an all you can eat buffet. I’ll take music over food any day. Even though I’m chubby; I can survive without food but not music.

I must have been in the shop for close to an hour and a half. I realised I had friends to meet. I also realised I forgot the way to Tottenham Court Road station. I went for the fool-proof route: GO THE WAY YOU CAME. Always. If I wasn’t in a hurry, I’d have tried to discover shortcuts and new places to ramble. I was sensible, but the hour and a half I spent in the shop I was anything but. I found Safe As Milk for the extremely pricey £25. I did some maths in my head (never a good sign) and I had about 3 in my hand that came to under £20 but I was desperate for this Captain Beefheart record. I was painfully sensible. I put it back so I could afford to buy my girlfriend and I dinner later on. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t approve of me buying her dinner and I declined anything for myself as I had bought a record. Being sensible is never fun, but sometimes you must do it.

In the end I bought a 7″ of The Jesus And Mary Chain and also a copy of their third record, Automatic. I’ve not played it yet but I’m sure I’ll be doing so soon. TJAMC have become the most important band in my life. They went from being a dormant love to a dominating passion that is uncontrollable. I don’t wish to control it nor do I ever want to tame my love for music.

Something else also happened on that Friday.

I was sat in a pub with a group of people I really cannot be without or be away from.  Turns out that this pain of being away from them is soon to pass as I’m going to FINALLY move to London in about a month. I own nothing and I have nothing so I will want for nothing (except for a job of course.) States of bliss occur in small things. From finding records you’ve been searching for to being in the company of those you love beyond words. Everything felt alright on that Friday. Even when Amy and I got on the tube leaving James behind, only to find we got on the wrong tube and had to pull him off the tube he got on after us so we could get on the right one together. You find happiness in the things and people that matter. Happiness is not going to be found in the form of money. It is in time, in places and in people.

I played Psychocandy on my record player the other day. I stared at the splattered vinyl (the one from Record Store Day) and was just in awe of everything that was happening. The sound was beautiful and the artwork was stunning.

There was no real point in this, but I learnt one thing from typing this up- it is incredibly annoying and a bit difficult to type this when attached to a blood pressure monitoring machine/contraption. More than anything though, it is massively distracting. And with that, I am going to listen to the new Dirty Beaches record(s).

 





“Waiting for the stars to align, there is a restless rain cloud in my mind. Heavy eyes fixed in the middle of the room.”

5 01 2013

Many have frequently stated that you must suffer for your art. I’m unsure how true this is, or if I even believe it. Surely if you are a good writer or painter, you can place yourself in various positions without having to hit rock bottom. You can empathise with those who are in a dark place rather than torturing yourself on a daily basis.

I write songs/poems. I personally think they are bloody awful. I don’t show them because I don’t want anyone to see how shit they are. However, I do have some stupid dream of having them published in a book one day. I haven’t done anything about it because the fear of rejection plagues me more than I want it to not because I am lazy. Some of what I have written is quite dark, but not because I feel so utterly hopeless and depressed. I know what depression. I’ve seen what it does to people, and I’ve never felt like that. People who say they are depressed but can still go out and function aren’t depressed. You cannot move, you cannot do a thing; that’s depression. My gran had it before I was born, and a bit when I was younger. Friends have battled with it, and there is nothing you can do but watch helplessly hoping one day it leaves them alone so they can go back to being the person they once were. You don’t need to be in love to write about love. Feelings of love and joy can fill you by watching a certain film, listening to a certain song or gazing at a piece of art. It is everywhere. Everything and nothing can be inspiring.

Being able to put yourself in the mind-set of others teaches you to be a more accepting and gentle person. I’ll happily be the first to admit that I am far too sensitive. I know I need to toughen up, but it just will not ever happen. I cannot be cruel to get something I want. I cannot harm someone on purpose; I’d rather just hug everyone instead. I’d like to think one day that being a gentle soul will go in my favour. Until then, I wait. Or just accept it. Same thing I suppose.

I’m drawn to the darker things. Dark songs, creepy literature. It is all fascinating. I’m not religious at all (I believe there’s a spiritual being above us all, but not in a powerful sense) but anything that questions God or whatever in songs really gets my attention. That’s why I love bands like Dum Dum Girls, Crocodiles and The Long Wives. There are religious references, but not in a “I BELIEVE IN GOD AND YOU MUST TOO” kind of way; far from it. I am all for people questioning each other in a non-threatening manner. I’m not religious but that doesn’t mean I’m going to belittle someone who does. We all have our own things to believe in; nobody should ever try to shy someone away from what they believe in. Unless it means promoting hatred and intolerance, then I’ve got an issue with it.

I honestly had no point in writing this. I never do. It’s a cheap outlet I suppose, as always. I just thin we need to stop thinking we must feel low and hopeless in order to achieve something great. You can function being a happy person. But it seems, when you are happy people have an issue with it. Yet when you feel like shit, people may deem you as being draining. You cannot win, so forget them. Yet I know it is hard. You do not need to suffer in order to do something of worth. You justify your own worth, not the objects and people that surround you.

That’ll do for now.





“Caresses and distresses all at once.”

17 10 2012

The uncool and the lonely trade nauseating stories about how hard it is; how leaving the house is a chore. How standing up rids them of energy, sitting down zones them out. Some kind of feeling takes them over. The find some kind of identity in the songs that cause others to feel as if their ears are bleeding. They feel like something full of shame. Full of shame, drained of devotion. How you seen it happen? A haunting glare is in their eyes. Maybe you’ve been this person. Maybe you’re getting there. There is always one person you fight to not be anything like that. Their traits make you feel ill. The things they’ve said and done are placed inside of you; you’ve let it go but it doesn’t let you go. It is frustrating because you are someone who doesn’t have a tight grip. But this thing…this THING has got a grip on you. You could call it a death grip, but you know it won’t be the end of you. For you know you’ll rise above it.

I mean, it is fairly easy to get sucked into something you despise, and turning your back on it also exhausts you. Self-exclusion is a sign of strength, but others don’t see it that way. But why should you care how others see it? Do what you want, always.

It is draining stopping yourself being like someone you cannot allow yourself to be. Sometimes someone says, “You’ve got their eyes” or “I’ve seen that look before from….” That shit crushes you, but you carry on. The only person who can stop you from doing anything or being anything is yourself I guess. Comments can put your self-belief in the ground. You seem to caress the bad and shun the bad. Why is that? Because the shit people say about us, that ruins us- is easier to believe. You’ll pull yourself above it at some point. Patience gets you further than anything else. As you get older, you learn that more than before.

Eternal youth starts inside. The lines on your face and the heaviness in your eyes are stories. Tell them how you want, but tell it from the heart.





Lyrics Of 2012.

5 10 2012

I know the second I publish this I will want to change everything. I hate that I do this, but maybe I’ll write this and not look back on it. I hate looking back on anything I ever write because I always find fault. It is like looking in the mirror the second before you leave the house, and you think “I’m actually going to go outside with this face, and people will see…shit.” But, some things you have to do. Of course I don’t have to do this, but I want to. Mainly because I may be slightly bored. I don’t even know.

Lyrics are hugely important to me. I won’t care for a song unless I feel something for the lyrics. Lyrics can make you feel less alone, less shit and just give you comfort that you cannot get from a person. Yes it is all well and good knowing you are loved and can love; but at 4am when you’re alone and you feel like you’re hitting rock bottom- sometimes all you have is a song. You may turn on the radio and you catch a part of a song that just sums up how you feel. Or you may play your favourite song of all time to just get a piece of mind. So you can fall asleep without anything disturbing your mind.

There are so many songs I could have chosen for this. I know I have missed some out, and that alone pisses me off. I’ve limited myself to ten lyrics, but I know I could easily listen a lot more. These aren’t lyrics that I thought were clever or sounded good. They are lyrics that just mean a lot to me. Okay, so maybe the Swim Deep lyric I chose may not mean a lot- but the innocence behind it means a lot. Oh and they reference Warpaint so obviously I needed to mention it. One of my main issues was choosing which Dum Dum Girls lyric to use. Mine Tonight, Lord Knows and I Got Nothing have all got lyrics that mean a lot to me. All of End Of Daze is so pure and beautiful. But I went with Season In Hell because this specific line just grabbed me a bit more, I guess. I’m writing this listening to End Of Daze, and I’m close to changing my mind… I’ll try to refrain from doing so.

So, in order..here are my favourite lyrics of 2012 (I know it’s October but the world may end on 21st December so I’m just being prepared.)

10.  Swim Deep-King City : “And fuck your romance. I wanna pretend that Jenny Lee Lindberg is my girlfriend.” When I sing this, I always change it to all members of Warpaint. Sometimes I just use Emily Kokal’s name instead. I remember hearing this song for the first time and just being utterly in awe of the dream-like atmosphere they create with their sound. They are truly one of the best bands to have come out of Birmingham in a bloody long time. If their debut record comes out next year, I reckon it’ll easily be one of the best things we hear.

9. Mystery Jets-Someone Purer : “I was gripped with a bit of fear. Worried the one thing that I loved back when I was just a kid, might now never be enough.” Radlands is one of the best records of the year, that is so obvious. The opening of Someone Purer is one of my favourites of the year. Blaine’s delicate voice makes you cling onto every single word right from the start. You tremble and identify with every word. We’re told that, as we get older we should be more sure of ourselves. Thing is, I think someone of us get older and become less sure of ourselves. It is seen as a bad thing, but I don’t believe it is. We’re all works in progress and you cannot progress if you think you are above change and being honest with yourself. You can adapt to your surroundings, but at some point you know you want to be more. You want to see more. Someone Purer echoes adult frustrations through child-like innocence. It is just beautiful.

8. Willis Earl Beal- Monotony : “Could it be malaise? Or am I depressed? Just a life-long phase. I am not indirect, don’t consider me blessed. But don’t consider me cursed, in this chaotic mess. I guess that it could be worse.” Willis Earl Beal is the year’s greatest solo male artist. Sure he’s been around quite some time now, but his debut record came out this year and when I listened to it, Monotony was the song that gripped itself around my heart and head. These lyrics alone just show the sheer genius of Willis. His music hits you right in the soul.

7. Saint Lou Lou-Maybe You : “And if you’ve got an emptiness inside, you should let our worlds recollide.” I’m fairly sure Maybe You is my favourite song of the year. All year I had been waiting for a song to have this hold on me. I have to listen to it about 20 times a day or I just feel a bit sad. The lyrics are quite sad, but the music is so soothing and gentle. Yet, when you truly listen to it- you feel your heart-break. I know nobody ever wants to feel sad. But the sadness you get from listening to Maybe You is the kind of sadness that can be created and cured by the same thing. Music does this a lot, it’s not a bad thing. Sometimes you just have to feel sad; to remind yourself. However, the song also offers some reassurance and any wrong that has been done to you doesn’t have to matter. One person will get you through, even if their eyes are sad.

6. Garbage-Beloved Freak : “People lie and people steal. They misinterpret how you feel. And so we doubt and we conceal.” Garbage are my life so whatever I say about this song, I have more than likely said about their songs a hundred times before. They’re one of the few bands that, when I mention them or if anyone mentions them to me, I just feel instantly better. Not Your Kind Of People was the only record this year that I had truly truly been waiting for. It was all I wanted, and had been wanting for so long. I guess this year everything I wanted/had waited for, had actually happened. Some are music based, but the most important thing wasn’t music based. But I’m not telling you. You don’t need to know. What I love about Garbage is how vulnerable Shirley’s lyrics are. One every record of theirs, they have at least 2 or 3 songs that just ooze vulnerability. Or songs that are for those who aren’t sure and a bit lost. Run Baby Run to Medication to The Trick Is To Keep Breathing to Tell Me Where It Hurts and all in-between. Beloved Freak made me bawl when I first heard it, and I still get teary-eyed when I play it. It is the perfect end to a wonderful record. It just makes you feel less horrendous and allows a small dose of self-acceptance to creep in. Something we all need.

5. Cat Power- Always On My Own : “I want to live my way of living.” Everything I just said above about Garbage, I feel about Cat Power. Sun was another record I had been bursting to hear this year. Highly anticipated and greatly loved from the first listen. I cannot pick a favourite song off Sun, but I can easily pick my favourite lyric. This line is just so utterly perfect and so fucking true. When you have to change your way of living because of your surroundings, it gets you down. It breaks you and ruins you. Then you leave; and you’re happy. Then you come back, and you’re just a shell of who you are. Yet, the only good thing is that the ones you love don’t get to see that. Imagine if they saw you at your lowest. No thanks. Cat Power has always provided comfort for the soul. My love for You Are Free is insane. That record is like a guide for life. I guess most of her songs can be seen as that. I just love her so much.

4. Beach House-Myth : “Can’t keep hanging on to what is dead and gone. If you build yourself a myth, you’d know just what to give. Materialise, or let the ashes fly.” I remember where I was and the day when I first heard Myth. I needed it. I was just about to leave here to try start my life again somewhere else. My life consists of false starts; this eventually would turn into a massive false start, but I had to do it. I’ll probably keep doing it, and I may never get it right. Beach House are good for the soul. Beach House mend you. They put you back together again. They make every part of you feel warm and loved; even if you are without love. They make you feel as if you are in love, even if you’re not with anyone at all. The power in their music constantly leaves me in awe. So delicate and ethereal. For me, Myth is the process of letting go. Let go of the bad, and create something better. It may be make believe for others, but who cares? So long as you believe, nothing else matters. This specific part of the song just means the world to me. You know when something is so personal, no words can actually describe it and all it means to you? That’s how I feel about it, and how I feel about the vast majority of their songs.

3. Metric-Artificial Nocturne : “I’m just as fucked up as they say. I can’t fake the daytime. Found an entrance to escape into the dark. Got false lights for the sun. It’s an artificial nocturne; it’s an outsider’s escape for a broken heart.” Oh Emily Haines. How you manage to unleash a fraction of my thoughts in one verse. You’ve done it again. You always do it. This is another example of a perfect album opener. Hearing this was enough for me to know Synthetica was going to be an incredible record. I’m still going through my phase of playing this song about 5 times before I play the rest of the record. Artificial Nocturne just shows that Emily Haines is more than a song-writer. Her words are poetry. Her words are life, her life, your life, my life- everything. There is something so vital about this song. It provides a lifeline. It gives hope. It makes you feel as if she is projecting all your ugly feelings and making them into something beautiful. We all need that, sometimes we need it more times than we care to acknowledge.

2. Crocodiles- No Black Clouds For Dee Dee : “No more lost girls walking from you. No more sickness sleeping in you. No more
fools spit judgements on you. No more dead birds raining on you.” Quite possibly the best love song of the year. Endless Flowers is probably my favourite full length record of the year. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love them. After FINALLY seeing them live this year, and this song too; my love for them just grew. I didn’t think it could, but it turns out after waiting over 3 years to see a band that mean more than the world to you, causes your love and admiration for them to just explode. I could pick any song off Endless Flowers, but I chose No Black Clouds For Dee Dee because it is such an honest yet simple love song. It just oozes devotion and the urge to look after the one you love. When you listen to this, you cannot help but think of the one you love. The keeper of your heart. Romance and love isn’t expensive gifts and pretentious prose. Romance and love is being totally honest and gentle actions. This song just portrays this in the most beautiful and open way possible. I love everything about this song.

1. Dum Dum Girls- Season In Hell : “A confession’s not a cure. There’s always darkness to endure, on the path to be redeemed.” At first I wanted to go with something from Lord Knows. Then I went to Mine Tonight. I decided on Season In Hell because I just really love this lyric. I cannot tell you how many times I have played End Of Daze since it came in the post last week. It’s on constant repeat. I play it EVERYWHERE. Season In Hell is just perfect. It makes you feel GOOD. The line I chose to use is so true, so apt. Dee Dee is one of my favourite song-writers easily. I personally feel she is my generation’s Patti Smith. Her words are so powerful, even when they seem quite frail and delicate. You take such strength from it because you know someone else has endured the same battle as you. I could quite happily write a thousand more words on this song, this lyric but you just have to listen to it, to fully understand how important it is. The whole song just lifts your spirits. Not everything stays shit forever. You won’t feel like this forever, because nothing in life is permanent. Not even life itself. I love the ending too, “Lift your gaze, it’s the end of daze.” It is just wonderful. There are so many words I could use to describe the lyric I chose, but none are good enough. All I know is that it is my favourite I’ve heard all year, pretty much speaks for itself really.





“We can all be free, maybe not in words. Maybe not with a look. But with your mind.”

22 09 2012

The connection you feel to a piece of music, or even a band has the power to be the most powerful connection you will ever know. That moment when you are alone and all you have is a song; that’s when it all takes over. You slip away from reality and fall into the unknown. Crawling out of it isn’t exactly what you want. And you place every desire on hold for a specific moment. These moments mean more to you than you have ever known. Have you ever truly known anything? Everything others give you has the potential to give you an aching heart and a swine of a headache. Push it aside, they’ll say you’re wrong. Deal with it, and they will still say you’re wrong. Ignore the fools. That pat on the back that crave had better come from you and nobody else. As they will not mean it; but you will. You truly will, because you will know you deserve it. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.

Time is precious, so they say. So is patience and your own feelings. A lot of things are delicate but we seem to no longer handle with care. We are disposable with others, and it is frightening how cruel everyone is to each other.

Connection is important. You don’t have to feel like you belong, but you can help by making others feel welcome. Open your heart up for the right ones. The second someone holds what you say to them against you; walk away. Fast. Or run if you want. Just leave them alone. Bad people, bad vibes. You don’t need that. Find it in a song, find the trait you desire and move on. I have no idea where this is coming from. But it’s okay, because it isn’t something one should read. It is simply something one had to write down. I use “one” in the least upper-class way possible, I just didn’t want to use another word. And I like the word “one.” It stands for a lot, and can mean a lot. Even if it is a singular.

We can be alone in heart and mind. Yet, we can be free in heart and mind. Body also.

Find that connection.





Cat Power-Cherokee (video.)

17 09 2012

“Feels like time is on my time. Bury me upside down.”

Chan Marshall isn’t just a singer. The woman is a beautiful voice who makes art that just, well, it is good for the soul. She pours out every emotion you’re probably afraid to feel. She exposes vulnerability in a way that you wish you could. I remember hearing Metal Heart (original version) and just sobbing. I sobbed as if someone had told me someone I loved had died. My heart broke, but pieces were mended because finally- someone got it. Finally someone was unleashing all these ugly feelings for me. Her music isn’t something you play in the background, it is something you feel. You truly connect with her. She breaks your heart and makes you believe in every single word. Much like Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith. She is on that level.

Her new record, Sun is on a par with You Are Free. You Are Free is my favourite record by her. The artwork alone is just stunning. The video to Cherokee is nothing short of wonderful, and was directed by Cat. I hope this brings her new fans who truly appreciate the genius and beauty that is, Cat Power.