CULTS-High Road.

When I bought Cults debut record back in 2011, I was in awe of how they merged 60s girl groups with a lo-fi sound. They were different from most duos that I love. They didn’t have the ferociousness of The Kills yet they had delicate tones much like Beach House. They combined everything I love about music and made a truly impressionable debut record. Songs like Never Saw The Point and Rave On became the soundtrack to all the ugly feelings I was carrying around yet gave me a hint of courage to throw it all away and to leave a soul-destroying place behind.

Move forward two years and they are about to release their second record, Static. The first single to be taken from it is High Road. The intro to it sounds like something Isaac Hayes would have created. The song would have been perfect in the 70s as a soundtrack to a Blaxploitation film. What I love about Cults is that they do not sound like the same old shit that is floating about. No one in this band is stood with an acoustic guitar looking sorry for themselves on stage. No one is standing looking bored hitting the keys on a synth with glitter scattered on their face just to look “different.” I’m so tired of that crap. I wish it’d go away. Instead of going back and listening to music from the 60s/70s, we have bands like Cults who manage to just stay well away from the dullness of most bands. They add an element of wonder to their music. Their lyrics make you think about everything going on in your life, even if you don’t want to think about it. Madeline and Brian’s vocals together is just beautiful.

High Road is the second beautiful song that the band have put out to introduce us to their new record. It doesn’t stray too much from their debut record. Their debut record didn’t sound like a band who had just released their first, they immediately lured you in with their ability to take you back to a time where music actually had substance, I’m only going by one new song but High Road makes you believe that Static could well be one of the best records this year.

For me High Road easily makes up for their absence over the past few years. Cults have evidently come back with something that is potentially going to be a brilliant piece of music. I love that High Road feels like it could easily have been on a soundtrack from decades ago. Cults are a band that fill you with nostalgia, but it’s up to what you are longing for. I think for the most part, we are all longing for the same thing. I cannot stop playing High Road, and I’m 100% sure that Static is going to be incredible, and I’m just casting my biased opinion aside briefly to make that judgement. With every listen I can hear something else to love and hints at how the band have, as awfully clichéd as it sounds, grown up.

Madeline and Brian both have delicate voices that sound so perfect together. They are a gorgeous duo that aren’t afraid to be utterly vulnerable with their lyrics. This vulnerability is what is missing from a lot of songs, but you’re never going to hear honesty like this blasting out on the airwaves. Most are alright with that, because when you search deeper you do find something beautiful.

Static is released 15th October. Cults, are quite clearly one of New York’s finest bands.

Albums Of 2011-Part 2.

I’ve spent my morning writing songs. One of which is about being with someone who you then discover is a murderer. Lack of sleep may have brought this on. Maybe I should stop listening to Charles Manson’s music? I’ve had to make a list of the albums I want to write about. I’ve only got 20 and I’m pretty sure I’ve missed some out, or I’ll end up disliking one or two of the ones I’ll end up mentioning. Hopefully I won’t, but I do like to make life difficult for myself sometimes. I’ve not had much sleep so this is again, going to be some kind of strange rant.

This year, again, duos have seem to have blown my mind with their records from The Kills (already mentioned) to Uh Huh Her. Unintentionally this part is going to be about a few albums that duos have put out that I loved (and still do) far too much (maybe.) I’ll start before I get carried away AGAIN!

Uh Huh Her-Nocturnes: Not because I’m a bit (a lot) in love with them, but because it is actually a fucking amazing second album. When I heard Common Reaction I instantly fell in love with it, a perfect debut album. I honestly didn’t expect their second album to be as good- or even better than their first. It’s less synthy (not even a word but I don’t care!) than their debut. It’s got a more raw sound, the lyrics are a lot darker. I’m borderline obsessed with Another Case. Mainly the video. For obvious reasons 😉 But it’s quite a menacing song in a way, I don’t know. I probably think Bambi is a menace right now due to lack of sleep. Personally I feel that Leisha and Camila should be massive, like the whole world should know about them; their music is so euphoric. You put their records on, and you just want to fail your limbs about and call it dancing. You just want to emerse yourself in it over and over again. The lyrics are gorgeous and the actual music just makes you want to throw your body around in mental ways. I adore the song Disdain far too much. I love how their voices merge together in such a beautiful way. You have Camila’s strong voice that is tamed with Leisha’s delicate tones. This is what you want in a duo. This is why duos in my mind, are so brilliant. They put more work into their sound, there’s more chemistry. I just love this album a hell of a lot.

Big Deal-Lights Out: My love for this duo is ridiculous. What I adore about them is how fragile and utterly vulnerable their music is. The way they sing just absolutely rips you apart so badly. You can be the most stable person ever, but if you listen to tracks like Talk or Chair, you will want to just weep. You will want to cry and you will feel so sad. I know a lot try to avoid feeling sad, but Big Deal do it in such a delicate and careful way. It’s just their voices and guitars. They are a brilliant duo who well and truly tug at your heartstrings. Talk, for me is the most heartbreaking song I’ve heard in a long time. It’s on a par with The Last Goodbye by The Kills. The line, “All I wanna do is talk, but seeing you fucks me up.” It just makes you ache everywhere. You feel it in your heart and it sinks so deep into the pit of your tummy. It cripples you with such strong emotion. It is an emotionally charged album that will easily break the hardest of hearts. The sheer vulnerabilty in their music makes them easy to fall in love with and relate to. There’s sod all wrong with being a delicate person. You can be fragile but unafraid of the world- you can be that person. This album is a stunning debut, and honestly if they are making music like this on their debut record- they are more than likely going to blow you away with their next records. It’s so full of raw emotion that most of us try to shy away from. The slightly distorted electric guitar mixed with the acoustic guitar is just perfect. Truly, truly stunning.

Cults-Cults: One of  my greatest loves in music is 1960s girl groups such as The Shirelles, The Girlfriends etc. I love the big drum sound and angelic voices that just ooze so much feeling. I love how it can make you want to dance but if you pay attention to the lyrics, it’d just destroy you. I love how they can mask the pain of love and relationships with an amazing sound- such as the Wall Of Sound. I just think it’s genius, truly wonderful. What I love about Cults is that they have managed to do this. They’ve done it, an it doesn’t seem intentional at all. It’s just like, how they are. A lot of bands seem to want to have a specific sound and relate to certain kins of people. The music that Cults create isn’t like that at all. They’ve got this lovely Pop sound that is quite soulful. If you didn’t know they were from now, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was from the 60s. Songs such as You Know What I Mean just pour out so much- I don’t know what. There’s just a lot going on. I remember playing the record in full and just being amazed as to what I was hearing. The drums just blew me away. I have a thing for drums, the louder and more agressive they sound- the more I’ll probably enjoy it. The drums are bold in their music, but the soft vocals ease it and just make you feel the music even more. I adore Never Saw The Point a hell of a lot. I think I went through a stage where all I did was just play this song over and over. The line, “I never saw the point in trying, ’cause I would only let you down.” is just one of the many in this song that I felt a lot. Towards things and people, but now it’s alright and none of it matters anymore 🙂 If you want a record that is going to make you want to just get lost in the world and its surroundings, then you more than likely need this one. And if you don’t want that? Well, you still need the record.

Summer Camp-Welcome To Condale: I don’t think there’s anything I can say about this record or the band that I haven’t said already. It’s bloody obvious how much this band mean to me. I do think my love for this record is spirling way out of control. You all know my love for I Want You, song of the year no doubt. It’s just a brilliant piece of 80s influenced music. Don’t let the 80s influence out you off. Unlike a lot of bands, Summer Camp actually do it in a way that doesn’t leave you with an awful headache. Think, eating too many Freddo bars in one go- that horrible sickly feeling you get. Go with that…..Summer Camp don’t make you feel that way at all. Elizabeth and Jeremy have easily created the best debut album this year. Deny that, and I’ll make you eat Freddo bars until puke fills your face. I clearly won’t, I’m just trying to create some dramatic tension between us. I know that a lot of amazing albums have been released this year, but I reckon Welcome To Condale is going to be one of the few that in like 10 years time- I am still going to be going on about. Oh don’t get me started on I Want You, I’ll probably be on my deathbed asking to hear it then try to dance to it. The album is just amazing, start to finish- it is an instant work of art. If it doesn’t blow you away, then you’re daft. I’m joking, slightly. We’re all allowed our own opinion but seriously, if you can’t love this record GET OUT. You can sense the love, time, effort, passion and work that went into the record. That alone makes it stand out from a lot of records around.

2011- Musically, you weren’t that bad.

I know it’s only August, but I feel I need to write this down now. Was 2011 awful? For music? No. For other things? More than likely. Yes this year was shit due to Gaga putting an album out, Amy Winehouse’s tragic death and ITV still allowing X-Factor to exist. Why it exists, I have no idea. But it is does, for those who don’t know any better.

I’m going to attempt to think of 10 reasons (in NO order because I will want to change my mind if I do that) as to why music this year was not shit. I may rant, I may not be able to think of 10 reasons.

-The Kills : Finally my favourite duo EVER released the flow-up to Midnight Boom. Blood Pressures is probably my favourite album of the year. However, come 7th November and I will say Florence’s album is. The Kills are a band that I will always love. They could (I know they won’t) make the most wankiest record ever, and I would still find something to love about it. Blood Pressures has a bluesy feel to it but still has the same raw vibe No Wow and Keep On Your Mean Side have. The Last Goodbye is the saddest song I’ve heard this year. If a song could break your heart, that would be it. The lyrics to Baby Says are stunning. I just ove how Jamie and Alison’s voices fit together. I think their bond is one of the greatest things ever. Everyone needs a friendship like that. “Send your love on a rampage, give her everything you’ve got. And when you come to hate her, show her more than just a spark” is one of the best lines off the album. However, not just from The Kills but my favourite line from a song that I have heard this year is easily, “How can I rely on my heart if I break it, with my own two hands.” The way Alison’s voice sounds on this is so beautiful but it just tears you up so much. I’m just happy to have another record by The Kills in my collection.

-The Horrors: I still want to slap people who dismiss The Horrors. Just like I want to slap those that think Skying sounds like Simple Minds. I think those that are saying these things are actually deaf. Or just extremely fucking stupid. Skying is the best album put out this year by an English group. I am still in love with the sound they had wth Strange House. But, I love how they have developed with each album. You cannot deny how much of a masterpiece Primary Colours was and still is. They’re just everything a band should be. They don’t justify what they do to anyone. They make music for them. That’s how it should be. They haven’t bought into a gimmick and gotten famous based on that. They are ALL fantastic musicians. Joshua is genius on that guitar. There aren’t enough words for me to describe my love for The Horrors.

-Zola Jesus: Quite simply one of my favourite female musicians ever. Her voice is so haunting. It takes over you and before you know it, you have been thrown into a world that you never thought existed. I love how dark and eerie her music is. I have every faith that her new album, Conatus is going to be nothing short of amazing. I love that her music just blows me away with every listen. I listen to songs such as Trust Me and Run Me Out, and this wave of amazement just takes over me. She has this force within her music that I’ve never heard in anyone before, she’s only 21 years old! I love the build-up in all her songs. It’s like this intense and euphoric takeover. Why didn’t this year suck because of Nika? Well, just listen to Vessel.

-The Weeknd: Of all the artists I found at stupid o’clock in the morning due to not being able to sleep, The Weeknd is hands down, the best thing I have discovered this year on the internet. I love his voice so much. So soulful. I love that he’s sampled Aaliyah’s voice on one of his songs and he’s also sampled Siouxise & The Banshees too. His Mixtapes are utterly mind-blowing. Trust me, you need this guy in your life. Head over to his wesite and get his Mixtapes. You’ll here amazing songs such as THIS TRACK!

-Cults: Okay, so I heard about this duo last year but their debut album came out this year so it’s allowed. What I love about this duo is their 1960s feel they have to their music. Never Saw The Point means so much to me, “I never saw the point in trying, ’cause I would only let you down. And I just couldn’t take you down there with me, I couldn’t stand to see you drown.” It’s just such a gorgeous and fragile song, I suppose that is why I adore it so much. Since its release lat year, Best Coast’s debut album has been played every day- I’m clearly going to do the same with Cults. I love that it doesn’t sound like anything around now. A fantastic debut album.

-Seapony: Seapony make me want to leave everything and everyone behind and just go live on a beach. I can’t swim, so I guess it’d be boring after a day or so. However, there is nothing more peaceful than looking out to a strectch of water listening to your favourite music. I’d love to do that to Seapony. I love the summer vibe they feel. Is it chillwave? I don’t know, I reckon they fit under the dream-pop genre. They remind me of The Drums mixed with Beach House and a hint of The Raveonettes. I just adore the whole sound and the gentle vocals. Especially on ongs such as Dreaming and Late Summer.

-Blood Orange: This year Dev Hynes released the first album of his current project, Blood Orange. I love everything he does. Whether it’s for others (Solange Knowles), as Lightspeed Champion or Blood Orange. Coastal Grooves is a MUST-HAVE in your collection. It’s such a strong album. It feels like New York City must have felt in the 1980s. It has a brilliant feel to it. It’s music you can just relax to and walk round the park  in the sun to. There is no denying the genius that Dev is. He kills the guitar, he’s got such a distinctive voice. I just love love love him. Anything he does is just perfect.

-Summer Camp: Another duo that have won my heart over this year. I love everything about their music, however it is one song in particular that since first hearing it in February this year I have played every day. Not a day has gone by where I haven’t played it since. The synths kick in during this song and it is is SO good. Elizabeth’s voice is stunning. The lyrics to I Want You are so dark, and slightly brutal. But hey, all comes with liking someone, right? I don’t know. I like to think I don’t know. “You’re so smart, you break my heart” if someone said that to me, I’d be so flattered. It’s probably my favourite song of this year. If I was a DJ I’d play this all the time, and if no one danced to it- I’d bar them from the club.

-Morrissey: I could write an essay on this man until my hands were numb from typing. I’ve probably done it before to be honest. This year on Janice Long’s show, she played three new songs by my god, Morrissey. Every single song was perfect. For me, I fell more in love with Action Is My Middle Name. The lyrics are typical Morrissey- witty and oh so bloody charming. People Are The Same Everywhere- well, the title speaks for itself really. So true. What I love about Moz is that he has always done what is real and honest to him, he’s never answered to anyone. It’s something I admire and love about him. It’s why I love him. We should ALWAYS do things for us, that makes us happy- because the day you let others rule you, you are no longer a person. I saw him twice this year- and yes as soon as he walked on stage, I bawled. I’ve seen him 4 times so far, and each time I have gone with my mum. She loves him as much as I do. I could never ever go to a Moz gig with anyone but my mum, it’d be wrong. I told her this, and she agrees. Hopefully he wil release his new album soon. “Biting my initials into your neck. You are my possession, you don’t realise yet. Am I moving too fast for you? Am I begining to confuse you?” Only Morrissey could say such a thing. Hero. Absolute hero.

-Florence & The Machine: I really couldn’t make this list without mentioning Florence could I. After hearing What The Water Gave Me (studio version) I cannot ait for 7th November. I just know that her second album will blow my mind. My last article on Florence just sums up my love for her, so I won’t bore you with another essay. Her album is out in time for my birthday (HI MUM!!!!) and I am hoping there’s a tour. The sound has a more soulful and gospel feel to it which I love so much. I’m beyond happy that the album is out this year, some said that it would be out the start of 2012, I guess it’s too good to make us wait. Besides, she’s worked with Paul Epworth on it- you just know it is going to be THE album of the year.

As I feel like I have missed so much out, here are some tracks by artists that have made 2011 less shittier than it was:


Washed Out.

Anna Calvi.


Marina And The Diamonds.

Love Inks.

Sleigh Bells.

Youth Lagoon.

Warpaint (Video Of The Year.)


I’ll stop now because I could carry on with about 50 more artists.

Girl Groups In The 1960s.

I love girl groups. No, not in the Girls Aloud wanky kind of music- but the true essence of girl groups. The Girlfriends, The Supremes, The Shangri-Las, The Ronettes etc. The kind that sing songs about heartbreak over heavy drums. They sing songs that make your own heart, even if it isn’t broken- break. The sheer sadness and pain in the songs just makes you want to drink whiskey and cry your heart out.

I must say, I have never drank whiskey (Theresa from Warpaint told me to never drink it) but the level of sadness is so severe, it would drive you to it.

The Shangri-Las have influenced so many bands from the Vivian Girls to The Horrors. If you listen to He Cried by The Shangri-Las then listen to Who Can Say by The Horrors, you can hear the influence so clearly.

When The Shangri-Las first played together, they performed without a name. As they hailed from New York, they named themselves after a restaurant in Queens. Pretty cool way to name yourself; I wonder if they had free food for life.Their early work was heavily produced by Shadow Morton which had the essence of the Wall of Sound. Big drums, big sound. It didn’t matter if anyone was copying someone else- it was just a brilliant movement in music that still, even if it isn’t as obvious, influences so many.

The Shangri-Las toured with many bands, one being the Iguanas which of course had a member in the group that later became one of the greatest front men ever- Iggy Pop.

Staying with the Punk feel, the group have influenced so many from the Punk era including New York Dolls who covered part of Give Him A Great Big Kiss in their song, Looking For A Kiss. The Shangri-Las have even played the most legendary venues of all time-CBGBs.

If you listen to What’s A Girl To Do by Bat For Lashes, the atmospheric drum sound is highly influenced by The Shangri-Las. More recently, Hollie Cook covered Remember (Walking In The Sand) and you cannot mention any 60s girl group without mentioning the truly wonderful, Amy Winehouse. To write her in the past tense does not seem right. It will never seem right. So I will just leave it at that.

The Ronettes, the band who defined Wall of Sound are undoubtedly one of the greatest girl groups ever. Like The Shangri-Las, they had sisters in the group. This gave a feel of unity in the music, a true sisterhood.

In 1963, the girls auditioned for Phil Spector. Regardless of what he did in his personal life, you cannot deny that he is quite possibly the greatest record producer of all time. After all, he did create the Wall of Sound. Be My Baby catapulted The Ronettes into superstardom; it was also the first song Cher ever sang on- as a backup singer.

Baby, I Love You was the follow-up to Be My Baby. Again, to mention Punk- Baby, I Love You was covered by the Ramones. I also saw Faris Badwan from The Horrors join The Vaccines on stage last year at Koko in London as part of the tribute night to Charlie Haddon from Ou Est Le Swimming Pool. To see Faris on stage singing this just blew my mind. To hear one of my favourite songs of all time being sung by one of the best front men in music right now, well, it was an honour.

The Ronettes released a Christmas album, and after the release came Walking In The Rain. Since Be My Baby, this was their greatest success in the charts.

Of all the girl groups that emerged in the 60s, the one girl group that I adored the most was The Girlfriends. Although they had only one hit, My One and Only Jimmy Boy, they just as good as The Shangri-Las, The Ronettes etc.

It’s an utter shame that they only released just the one song- if they had more songs, there is no doubt that they would’ve been equally as influential as the other groups, but regardless- they are still just as important.

My love for 60s girl groups has been with me all my life. As a result, I feel it has influenced the kind of music I listen. I love music that has a lot of feelings and I love anything with a massive drum sound in it. Anything from Florence And The Machine to The Raveonettes, I just love anything with an atmospheric sound.

Current girl groups such as the Vivian Girls. Dum Dum Girls, The Like are influenced by the sounds created in 60s from girl groups.

However, it isn’t just girl groups that are influenced by them- bands such as The Horrors and The Drums are highly influenced too. If you listen to Glasvegas- especially their latest album, you can get a feel that sound too. Yes, they have a female drummer- but that isn’t the point. I must say though, anyone who can drum like that whilst standing up is extremely musically gifted aren’t they.

Cat’s Eyes carry the true feel of the girl group in their music. They are a duo consisting of Faris Badwan and Rachel Zeffira. Their album that as released this year is truly gorgeous. It made me want to raid a market full of vinyl searching for girl groups. It also made me feel I was in the 60s not 2011. The track, Over You felt like a song that could’ve easily been sung by The Shangri-Las. I’m Not Stupid creates the same feel of sadness these girl bands did. Really heartbreaking, insanely breathtaking.

Vivian Girls are a group I just adore. I love the way they dress, I love their songs. I just love everything about them. Yes, I fancy them and yes the dream girl would be one that dresses like them. However, I’m not shallow. With my face, I can’t be. I love the feel you get from their music.

Like most of the girl groups from the 60s, Vivian Girls are from New York. This leads me to believe that the vast majority of music from New York is actually the best thing ever. You don’t believe me? Listen to Ramones, New York Dolls,The Strokes, Vivian Girls, Mos Def- I’ll stop right there because I will just reel off a load of bands and bore you even more.

Fun fact for you, Ali who used to be in Vivian Girls now drums for Best Coast. If you listen to Best Coast, you can easily here the girl group influence in the music. Bethany has such a beautiful and soulful voice.

Totally shitting on my theory that all good music comes from New York, Dum Dum Girls hail from Los Angeles (alright, a lot of good music comes from NYC and LA!) They cite The Ronettes as one of their influences. They have this atmospheric sound surrounding them especially in songs such as Bhang, Bhang, I’m A Burnout and He Gets Me High.

They’ve just created this whole sound that makes you ant to jump in a car and drive off to escape how mundane real life is. That’s what good music does; it provides comfort and also an escape. Lord knows we all need it at times.

The last band I am going to mention involves me taking you all the way back to New York. Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin met whilst at University in 2010, fast forward to June 7th this year and they released their debut album. The band, of course is, Cults.

When I first heard them late last year I was transfixed. I just couldn’t get my head around what I heard. I bought the album the day it came out and it instantly became the best debut album of this year. Nothing and no one can top it this year. Yes, I have also placed it in my albums of the year also. It is has such a 60s feel to it. My favourite track off the album, Never Saw The Point is so painfully gorgeous. Like most of the album tracks, it posses a haunting feel to it- but Madeline’s voices are so angelic and stunning, it works so well. I’d imagine they are my age, maybe a bit younger. So to hear a band so young (I’m nearly 25, most days I feel about 50) create such a sound is truly wonderful.

If I was to ever start a band, which won’t ever happen because I cannot play an instrument, I’d want it to create the same vibe you get from The Velvet Underground, Townes Van Zandt, Warpaint, The Kills and Cults. Dare I mention all in the same sentence? Yes, yes I bloody well do.

As I listen to Cults’ first album, I cannot help but think how their future albums will sound. Will they still have this big sound? Will they take a completely different direction? I have no idea, but I’m excited for it.

I just love their music a daft amount. I think my summer would’ve been even more boring if it wasn’t for their album.

So there you have it. If any decade played a vital role within music- it was the 60s. Whether it was the girl groups or the psychedelic sounds, it is all highly influential and something that will never happen again. It shouldn’t happen again because it is that vital yet extremely rare.

From this, all I know I was born in the wrong era. I’ve always believed that but listening to music then- and listening to music now, I feel more for what was created rather than what is current.

Here are some more girl groups you need in your collection :

The Crystals.

The Chiffons.

The Exciters.

The Cookies.

The Shirelles.


Again, I am giving you more proof as to why bands with only two members are fascinating.

Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin aka Cults have put out a brilliant debut album this year. There’s hardly any information about them, but really that’s not needed. All you need is their amazing music. Enjoy! :

I love the 60s girl group feel to this.

Just a tip….be careful when you type the band’s name into Google or wherever! 😉