FLESH PANTHERS.

11 02 2018

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There is nothing better than easing the dullness of Sunday by listening to some obnoxiously loud music. Music that makes you feel like something has stomped on your bones, music that makes you want to quit that 9-5 (other hours are available if you wish) and music that just makes you want to do anything other than what you need to. I’m going away on Tuesday, and I’d rather listen to music than pack. I’d probably want to go to sleep more. That’s usually the case.

Flesh Panthers are Chicago’s finest band. They sound as if they have crawled out from wooden crates in dark alleyways to come out and bring some much needed rowdiness to basement bars and desolate streets. They sound as if they lurk until they find their targets to pounce upon and unleash their powerful and loud sounds. Like as panther hunting its prey, of course.

They have a wealth of songs to really get lost in. I think their last release may have been in 2016, which was the Willows Weep record. It’s a really great record that sounds like everything I want from a Garage Rock/Punk band. There’s the right amount of distortion and a brilliant amount of hypnotising guitar grooves. The drums will have you moving your body in all kinds of ways- especially the song Tuff Enuff. It’s one of their tame songs, and it makes you think of summer. It has this really cool and laid-back sound that makes you want to just laze about. It’s pretty comforting considering outside it’s either snowing or raining, again. It’s got this tropical feel to it, and I think at the moment it could be my favourite song by them, but as I delve into their earlier songs such as Bleed Black Leather- I can’t help but want to stay there. However, there’s this slight shift in sound in each record of theirs which shows just how strong they are as a band. Nervous Breakdown is such as fantastic song to let all your frustrations out to. It’s got this proper raw Punk sound going all the way through it. It makes you want to throw stuff around. It makes you want to drive far (but if like me, you can’t drive- maybe take the bus) and they make you want to make your own kind of noise.

I love how the bass has this fuzzy-like sound which goes so well with everything else that is going on. To really get the bass to come alive like this, play it through headphones and it will be the bass that leaves you in a trance. A proper feel good trance that only Flesh Panthers can put you in, and they probably don’t have any intention of dragging you out of it. I mean, why would you want to when it sounds and feels this good.

I can’t possibly pick which record is my favourite but if you are new to them, start from their first release and work on up to now. Some bands you can just start wherever, but there are some bands that you have to go on the journey with. Flesh Panthers are one of those bands, and it’s because you can truly hear how they have developed their sound and have earned their right to be one of the best bands to come out of Chicago in a long time.

They have got such a strong collection of songs and records, and they just make you want to play it all constantly and as loud as you can stand. Edge of the Knife is definitely a song that needs to be played loud as does VooDoo Shang-a-Lang.

A new record by Flesh Panthers should be coming out this year, and I cannot wait for it!





POISON BOYS.

18 03 2016

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Today I hobbled down to my favourite record store. I say hobbled because I can’t walk like I normally do as I’ve apparently damaged the discs in my neck which is causing a nice bout of pain in my back. Migraines I can handle, but this? This is starting to piss me off. But it’s fine, it means I can justify buying records a week before pay day. It’s important to always treat yourself. I didn’t know what I was in the mood for, but I knew that as soon as I saw it-I would grab it with both hands. Wait patiently until 5pm so I could go home and play it loud.

I was flicking through some 7″ releases and all of a sudden I saw one that said it was for fans of the Dead Boys and The Stooges. One copy, in my hands- my lucky day. Poison Boys are a pretty new band who sound like a proper smutty 70s Rock & Roll band. They’ve got elements of glam (New York Dolls- Johnny Thunders esque riffs galore) and snotty Punk like Dead Boys. Their debut EP came out a couple of weeks ago, and it consists of 3 songs that were clearly made to be played loudly at a boring house party just to get a reaction out of someone. They’re the kind of songs you play when you’re at a party and you play them in the hopes of the person who takes your fancy/makes you a bit giddy inside will take a hint because you’re a bit of a social misfit. It’s alright. It’s something I would probably do but fully aware it wouldn’t work. So what if they don’t notice? At least you got to hear some great music.

I know it’s boring for me to keep saying but Poison Boys are the kind of band I’d want to sound like. They’re fearless, not afraid to be a little perverse with their words and make you feel like you’ve gone back in time. There’s no other band around that sound quite like them, and the fact that they have taken pieces of bands I love and made something like this on a 3 track release is pretty damn great. I’ve had it on repeat for the past hour or so, and I think I’ve pretty much learnt the words. They need to play a show in the UK. Even if it was in the depths of Grimsby I would find a way to be there, front row so I can flail my limbs about without acknowledging that body shouldn’t be doing it. Who cares about physical pain when music sounds this fucking excellent.

Poison Boys have this glorious and infectious sound that is so so raw- and I know people use that term so often without understanding why they’re using it. Do you remember hearing someone like Iggy Pop or Nick Cave for the first time? Maybe you heard TV Eye or something by The Birthday Party. Maybe it left this uneasy feeling inside of you but you knew you had to keep listening over and over. You knew you had to stick with it because it would turn out to be something really really phenomenal? That’s what you get….that’s what I get from Poison Boys. There’s a sense of danger but not to the point where yo fear what you’re hearing. They lure you in so wonderfully. Where the hell have they been all my life?! In some songs they remind me of The Damned. There’s the brutal energy that is in each song, like a kick in the gut. You want the blood, sweat, violence and tears. You know, sometimes I hear a band and think that Lester Bangs would have loved them- I’m pretty sure Lester would love these guys. For those who are cynics and claim Punk is dead- quiet. It’s a state of mind, a way of doing things- Poison Boys are doing it right. Take note.

If you’re lucky enough to live in the States, go see them when they come to your city. If they ever make it to the UK, I’ll see you there.

You can listen to one of Chicago’s finest bands right here: http://poisonboys.bandcamp.com

Play it loud. Then a bit louder than that.





EZRA FURMAN.

15 10 2013

 

“I came up in the world with a pain in my back,
And I never could run with the wolves in the pack.”

There is something, I guess, quite voyeuristic in a way about enjoying hearing really personal lyrics. I’ve always been fascinated with the way Morrissey manages to make ugly feelings seem comforting or the way Shirley Manson managed to drag me through my teenage years kicking and screaming with her words of encouragement. Patti Smith taught me how to be tough. Lou Reed showed me how to find some comfort in who/what I am. Bob Dylan freed my mind. The Jesus And Mary Chain and Nick Cave defined love in ways no one else really ever has. There’s still this amount of honesty floating around in music. Finding it is tougher than it used to me. With those I mentioned it was always there. Nowadays it is quite hit and miss, but there are of course, exceptions. There’s one guy that’s been on my mind for quite some time now. I had to listen for a while to want to write something of worth. Whether or not it is, well..that’s up to whoever reads it. Numbers don’t mean much. That’s why I write as if I’m the only one reading.

Last week Ezra Furman’s new record came out, Day Of The Dog. It’s the definition of pure Rock & Roll. Some songs have a real 50s vibe to it (The Mall, a Paul Baribeau cover) yet others have a real ferocious feel to them (Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell.) He portrays love, loss and everything that is involved in these two feelings in such a beautiful way. The Mall, even though it isn’t Ezra’s song,  is one of the most heartbreaking and honest songs I’ve heard in a long time. You can really pick up the sadness here, and the sadness is so pure. “I am broken, wide open. Bleeding everywhere.” Sounds like it should be in a Hawthorne Heights song, right? Ezra sings it in a desperate way that makes you listen and really feel it. If anyone else did it, you’d probably tell them to fuck off. He’s got that loveable quality that is in someone who I really admire, Adam Green. He’s not afraid to be brutally honest. He doesn’t need to create pretentious prose in order for you to listen and to connect. Both are just brilliant musicians and lyricists.

As I listen to Day Of The Dog, it makes me glad that I stumble upon most music by accident. If I’ve not been emailed a band/demo, I usually find something by accident. Sometimes accidents are a good thing. Ezra plays with a glorious fury, and I think it is really clear on the song And Maybe God Is A Train. He’s got a Punk style to his words and music; he unleashes the frustrations of daily life out in a way that I wish I could. Pissed off at the government, lack of opportunities, the way people are shit to each other, the dullness of modern life- he just sums it all up in a way that may seem plain, but it hits you hard. You don’t need to sugarcoat situations at all, a great songwriter knows that. I think Ezra knows that. Slacker/Adria is one of the best songs I’ve heard this year, from a brutally honest kind of way. I think it is fair to say that this is probably Day Of The Dog could be the best thing Ezra has done so far.

Ezra is the kind of singer/songwriter those who want to make music should be listening to. He’s got the heart of Punk kid and the soul of a 50s Rock & Roll fanatic. The purity in his music is just magnificent. I’ve not really read any reviews about his music because for the most part, I dislike Music Journalists. The ones who just set up a blog or whatever and slag bands off- piss off. I studied Music Journalism at Uni, and I guess the degree I have serves no purpose, but people like Ezra are the reason as to why I don’t just love music; I need to have music playing. I need to find the next new band/singer that’s going to blow my mind or find an old band that make me realise yet again I was born at the wrong time. I should have been born in ’66 not ’86. I believe if you’re going to write about someone’s music, you should be passionate about it. If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. Don’t write vicious words just to seem cool. Share the bands you love, and do it with love. If a band or singer are going to put their all into their music; you, as a writer of music, should put your all into writing about them.

That’s why I respect and admire Ezra. He puts his all into his music and time and time again creates something beautiful. His voice, his music and his words are just perfect and unlike anything else around. Maybe Ezra is a hopeless romantic like the rest of us, but he words it all in a way that makes the pains of everyday life less daunting to carry around. I think Metric summed it up best on their song Front Row, “He’s not perfect, he’s my hero.”





SAVAGE SISTER-Savage Sister.

25 07 2013

 

 

My neigbour has his TV on loud. Not even my Grandma has her TV on this loud and she doesn’t have fantastic hearing. Whatever. I’ve found something to play loud enough to not just drown him out, but the world too.

I wrote about a band called Savage Sister this year. I likened their style to a band called Tamaryn. You don’t have to know me on a personal level to know that this is the kind of music which I generally swayed towards. Savage Sister have a menacing name, but their sound is anything but that. Their music soothes and relaxes you. Even if you have a dickish neighbour and a car alarm across the street that keeps going off. It’s nothing because I’m listening to a blissed out and hazy masterpiece.

Savage Sister have created a record that is made for sacred listening. Don’t play it at parties because there will always be that obnoxious ass who will slate it and not understand it. Play it when you are alone, as the sun sinks down. Which is what I’m doing now. I’m playing it louder than I normally would because of the twit downstairs; regardless of the volume you play it at- it is so easy to hear just how beautiful this record it, and you can tell it was carefully crafted.

The best kind of music is made out of love and with no fear to go beyond what is familiar, and also what is expected. To make something that is typical may make you a bore. To make something that lacks passion doesn’t make you believable. You cannot connect to things that mean nothing to you. It’s why we fall in love with the right person, eventually. Everything has been wrong, and the right thing just appears. Music works like this also. I was going to try link it in, but I’ve missed a trick there.

Bands like Savage Sister make you want to create music. I have no musical talent, the only thing I can do is write about music that I love. But they make me wish I had some talent. I love the way that, on their record they manage to mix tranquility with the dark sounds found in Shoegaze. They’ve taken everything I love about music and made it into their own. It is inspiring and it is so beautiful.

The way you feel when you hear certain bands for the first time just stays with you forever, it becomes a memory that you find yourself going back to over and over when you listen to new music- just waiting for that feeling. When it doesn’t come it is so disappointing, but when you experience that feeling then it is truly one of the most moving things ever.

I cannot help but write with such passion and admiration for Savage Sister. To put it simply I do it because I know they make music that comes from a place not many go to and they make music with such passion. To write about them with anything but wouldn’t make any sense.

I cannot compare the songs off the self-titled record to anything, but I can compare the feeling I get when I listen to it to a record that means the world to me. I nearly set my kitchen on fire when I played Stridulum II by Zola Jesus a few years ago when it came out; my attention was anywhere but where I was. I was being exposed to something truly beautiful, and it wasn’t as harsh (but still amazing) as The Spoils. It was dark and heavenly. I found something I knew that would last in her music; the same has happened with Savage Sister. But I’m sat down watching the sunset (and writing this of course) as I listen to Savage Sister. This is my definition of bliss.

Normally I would mention certain songs and talk about how stunning they are. I can’t do that with this record as each song just flows perfectly into the other. Everything feels in place and as if it should be there. There is nothing worse than listening to a record that is 60% filler. Savage Sister’s record is a story to the soul. Each song links perfectly into the other. They make you feel like you are on a spiritual journey. It doesn’t matter where you are going and sometimes it doesn’t even matter how you get there. All you need to know is that you will get there.

The dark sound that breezes through the record and the haunting vocals are just magnificent and they just make you feel as if you are in a trance. The daze they place you in is one that you hope you don’t snap out of any time soon. They have this force in their music that is so delicate yet it is strong enough to lure you in, and to just keep you there.

If you feel you are missing something in your life, chances are it could be Savage Sister. If it isn’t, well you’re missing out. All I know is that they are the kind of band I wouldn’t just listen to at 4am when no one is awake and slumber missed me out again. I could (and do) listen to them at any time. They are the perfect soundtrack to everyday life, but to just have them on in the background would be senseless as sooner or later- they will stop you in your tracks and you’ll be left in awe of what you are hearing.

I think I have listened to more new music this year so far than I did last year, and Savage Sister will be one of the few bands I keep close to my heart this year. They offer more than is expected from a band in their music, which is why they are perfect to turn to for guidance or just to feel a sense of comfort. Last year it was Tamaryn that did it. I didn’t just listen to their music- I read their lyrics and used it as some kind of guidance. If a band can’t guide you, then who can.

You can listen to and purchase Savage Sister’s record from their bandcamp page: http://savagesister.bandcamp.com/

The sun’s gone down now, and the record has finished. A perfect ending to a perfect record. And they say perfection doesn’t exist! Fools.