THE VACANT LOTS: Interzone.

26 06 2020

There’s no better feeling than that excitement of a band you absolutely adore releasing a new record. I’ve had a copy of the new record by The Vacant Lots for a couple of months now, and it’s been so difficult to not write about it until now. But it’s worth the wait; the record is astounding and will just blow you away.

If you’re looking for something to securely take you into a different universe, with the safe reassurance that you’ll never be able to leave, then Interzone is the record for you. Songs like Into The Depths and Party’s Over fully show us why TVL are one of the best bands around, and their electrifying sound is something to truly treasure. This is their first release on Fuzz Club Records, and given the amount of exceptional records that Fuzz Club have put out, it’s only right that TVL did so too.

Rescue was our first taste of the record, and it was the perfect way to get us to fall in love with the new sound they have created. It is is such a phenomenal record that oozes tense build-ups, dramatic sounds and hypnotising vocals. The vocals on Rescue are captivating, and Brian’s vocals are so strong on this record. Jared’s guitar on this record again sound like a beast. They both have this effortlessly cool way of creating their own noise, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything better than this!

Interzone crosses all styles and will mess with your head in the best way possible. You will want to hear this record at 3am when everything is quiet and your brain won’t switch off. The comfort of this record will give you everything you need, and more. I strongly advise you to listen to Fracture on your own and through headphones. The same goes for Party’s Over. These two songs are beautiful in all ways imaginable. For me, Party’s Over is my favourite right now on the record and I also love how gentle Brian’s vocals are on Fracture- that’s another reason as to why it is a joy to listen to through headphones. Jared’s guitar on this is tamer than normal, but this more relaxed sound just shows us why they are both exceptional musicians.

The big question. Record number 3- is it their best yet? Yes. A huge YES. I’m obsessed with everything they’ve done, and continue to do but there is something about this record that towers over previous releases. There is something about this record that just feels more sacred, and you know, it could be down to what is going on in the world. There could be many reasons as to why, but I can promise you that this record is so beautiful, so gentle but ferocious in all the right places. The times where Brian’s vocals are gentle and where Jared annihilates the guitar- when these two worlds collide, that’s when it kicks off. That’s when you know you’ve not only found an amazing band but also one of the most exciting (and most vital) records of the year.

The lyrics are poetry, and the music is like a dream. Interzone is such a gorgeous record; it will heal the parts of you that you’ve neglected. It’ll also make your record collection look cooler! Every song on this 8 song masterpiece is a work of art. I love how Station goes into Party’s Over. The way it just gently slides into the last song is so beautiful. You feel like the record is a whole journey into something you can’t quite explain, then as Party’s Over hits, that’s when your body starts to wake up. Maybe your mind too. You come alive again, in a totally different way. The essence of this record feels like rebirth or something. The slick change in style and sound on this record is divine, and it’s something you keep falling in love with on every listen. I’m utterly in love with Party’s Over, and I’m pretty sure I can call it as one of my favourite songs that Jared and Brian have ever done. I love the sorrow in it, I love how it could be a dark song but it can also be full of hope. You can take it however you want, and that’s why I love this song and why this record is a masterpiece. It’s their masterpiece, but to be honest, everything they do is a work of art to me anyway.

None of us know when we will see the bands we love perform live again, but we have the music. We have the new records, and the new music can spur us on. This is what we needed, this is what I needed. Interzone is quite simply, a vital listen.





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.





GROSS NET: Gross Net Means Gross Net.

13 10 2019

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I’ve said countless times that music is a form of escapism for so many, but sometimes you need something to keep you right where you are- even if it is daunting, or terrible. I’ve always admired Gross Net (or Philip if you want to be proper) and how his mind works. He is one of the most expressive souls out there, and he takes you on this futuristic journey every single time. His newest record, Gross Net Means Gross Net is one of the most experimental records I’ve heard in a long time. It’s got this Scandinavian Noir feel to it; it could easily be played in some Thriller TV series as something truly gruesome and barbaric is about to happen. It is a creepy record, and it is nothing short of exceptional. I’m going to do my best to explain why this is one of the most out there records of the year.

There’s been a few years in between this record, and Philip’s last Gross Net record. This is a totally different sound, and as someone who is influenced by what they see- Philip has truly taken the state of the world (mainly the UK) and given us this tense breakdown of the shitshows that are occurring daily. Think a really political version of Einstürzende Neubauten with hints of Psychic TV. Basically, two of the greatest bands ever rolled in one. But, as we know, Philip is his own creation and a bloody genius. What this record gives you is something so eerie and captivating.

 

 

The best time to listen to this record is when it starts to get dark. This is not a daytime listen- this is dead of the night listen. I mean, it’s only 18:47 but it’s pretty dark out now so, and it works. You cannot help but be absolutely consumed by these songs and how remarkable the production is. It is, for me, the best produced record of the year. Shedding Skin is probably one of the most gloriously composed songs of the year. These aren’t just sounds, these are synth-based symphonies that will take over your soul in the most beautiful way. I love everything about Shedding Skin. It’s just over 6 minutes, and the lyrics are sure to hit you in the gut- they are explicit to the core (I mean in an exposing of the soul kind of way) and it isn’t hard to truly connect with this one. You can just imagine it being performed live in a basement bar, almost pitch black with a smoke machine creating this eerie mood, and a tense atmosphere crashing over.

Every song on this record serves the sole purpose to ignite the listener, and to get them to a place where no other piece of music could. The music alone on this record is so spooky and is comforting at the same time. Although there’s a song on the record named after a terrible person (Theresa May) it is actually one of the most gorgeous pieces of music you’ll hear. There is no need for words on this one, you can create your own story to this beautiful instrumental. In a way on this one, you get a glimpse into how Philip’s mind works- you can hear the care and feel the thought in this piece so much. Then it slides into Gentrification which almost feels like it could be played at a rave at 4am somewhere. He can make you flitter between several emotions on this record, and that just makes me admire him even more. He’s easily one of my favourite musicians around (and I think he knows this!)

 I love how the songs can touch on subjects you don’t really hear in modern music (how we’re all prone to consuming too much and not being aware of the consequence, thus turning a blind eye to our future) which can really be felt on Of Late Capitalism. Gentrification leads into Of Late Capitalism in such a succinct way, again it is another moment on the record where you can really pick up on the thought and care that has gone into this perfect record. Philip has massively pushed himself on this record, when you listen to his previous records you can hear something on this record that you haven’t quite heard him do before. It’s a cross between very early Scott Walker meets Suicide (the best duo ever), with hints of the future. It’s such a stunning record to lose yourself in. Dust To Dust is heart-breaking but my god it is the most beautiful song that Philip has ever done. To date, this song is the best thing he has done. Obviously, that’s just my personal view, and maybe I’ll change my mind but lyrically and the composure of this song is nothing short of mind-blowing. It just shows us how much of a genius he is, and how unafraid he is in his approach to creating such powerful music.

 

 

Gross Net Is Gross Net is one of the most thought-provoking records of the year. Sure, Philip will take you to a different world with the sounds, but the lyrics will bring you right back to Earth. This record is made up of 10 songs to truly hit you in the soul. One person, just one person has made this absolutely vital record. It doesn’t tell a story; it tells the truth. It is a truth to really, really listen to.





DRAB MAJESTY: Modern Mirror.

14 06 2019

See the source image

 

 

One of the most exciting duos around, Drab Majesty are releasing a new record in July. A record that will reinforce our love for them, and get us excited over their UK tour in September. Deb Demure and Mona D make exquisite music together, and I’m going to explore that with my take on Modern Mirror.

The record opens with the haunting yet angelic A Dialogue. The song is highly atmospheric, and I cannot help but feel this could be a song that they open their sets with. It’s got something about it that is stoic and something that just grabs you. It starts with these strong vocals, then it all comes together and it is this huge sound. The kind of sound that you’d probably hear at the end of the night in a dingy, dark club as you make your way outside. There is something euphoric yet final about it. It’s the perfect song to start the record with.

 

 

 

Drab Majesty have been a band I have leant on for some time, like Cold Cave. There is something about the lyrics and the way the music eases any ugly feelings, and lord knows I’ve been at my worst recently. Music is powerful, and music can heal. It can be that thing that just holds you together, and I hold Drab Majesty so highly- purely because of what they mean to me. It goes beyond being a band that evoke escapism; they have something about them that just makes me fall in love with them every single time I listen to them.

The Other Side is 6 minutes of sheer heaven, and it makes you wish you were wandering the streets of L.A. taking this song in, and ignoring the world for a while. There’s a lot of Garage Rock bands I love that come from L.A. but Drab Majesty are on the other spectrum of the music I love, and it’s this dark and intense sound. Some may call it “Goth” or “Darkwave” but I really don’t have a name for it. All I know is that their lyrics, and songs are so powerful and so wonderful to get lost in.

Only a couple of songs on this record are under 5 minutes long, which I adore. I love songs that last over the 5 minute mark and have intense and euphoric build-ups. Drab Majesty are pros at this, and knowing that they will be playing my favourite venue in Manchester (Soup Kitchen) in a few months, just makes me super happy. It’s the perfect venue for them and I cannot wait to hear the new record here.

There’s this devotion and passion in these new songs that shows how they aren’t afraid of experimenting with new sounds and pushing their sound further. Careless and The Demonstration are two perfect records, and with their third they do something beyond what they’ve done before. The best way to experience this record is to listen to Careless, then The Demonstration; then allow yourself to immerse yourself in all that Modern Mirror is. You’ll hear this subtle growth, but the beautiful darkness is there. Ellipsis and Dolls in The Dark are for me, their biggest sounding songs on the record. They take you somewhere new on these songs, somewhere no other record or song ever has. If you’ve never listened to Drab Majesty before, please invest in their previous two records in time for the release of this gorgeous record that is, Modern Mirror.

Modern Mirror may only be 8 songs long (as a massive fan, I could quite happily listen to triple the amount!) but it is a record to truly cherish and keep close. It’s the kind of record that’ll keep nightmares at bay, and allow you to soak up the darkness in order to be less afraid. I needed this record more than I thought I did. There’s something about it that is so soothing, and I think a huge part of this is Deb’s voice. It is so comforting and easy to just fall in love with. The songs tell a story, and that just makes you connect even more so with this stunning record.

Modern Mirror shows us exactly why Drab Majesty are one of the best bands around. Their sound is heavy, eerie and sublime. There’s no denying just how phenomenal the new record is. Buy the record when it comes out in July, and please come see them on tour.

 

 

Modern Mirror will be released on 12th July via Dais Records.

Tour dates are:

18th Sept – Dingwalls, LONDON

19th Sept – Soup Kitchen, MANCHESTER

21st Sept – Wharf Chambers, LEEDS

22nd Sept – Clwb Ilfor Bach, CARDIFF

They will be joined by the equally beautiful, SRSQ.





VIOLENT LIGHT: Love And Loss.

15 01 2017

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If you mix Cold Cave with Sisters Of Mercy you will get the finest thing to have existed from Dewsbury, Violent Light.

Violent Light make delicate love songs but not delicate in a soppy way that’ll make you loathe couples. It’s the kind of love that you can project at a person, or a thing. A place can evoke love in a way a person can’t, and Violent Light really show this in their music. I think they’re quite a new band, and have only just released their first EP- Love And Loss.

The title explains perfectly what the songs touch on, and to be honest they make me want to leave London and head to Dewsbury and go to all their live shows. However, it honestly wouldn’t take much for me to leave London and not come back. It needs to happen and will happen. I’ve mentally given myself a deadline. Love And Loss is a small collection of songs that make you appreciate the unconventional side of things that are conventional. I listened to the record briefly last night and was in awe of what I heard. That feeling is still there now. Violent Light have got this 80s synth sound (think really really early Depeche Mode mixed with my obsession, Cold Cave.)

The songs may last under the 3 minute mark, but they still manage to create this haunting dark atmosphere that gives off a level of comfort for the soul that can only be found in sounds like this. I think Violent Light create the kind of music that is to be heard after a dreary day doing mundane things, then you head to a dark venue to hear this music that’ll give you some much needed relief. The songs are like an exorcism of the soul and unleash questions of the mind in a more elegant settings than most. The songs hold a wealth of freedom and romance- two things vital to get yourself through each passing day.

I love the instrumental start to the EP, Flowers. It takes you on a trip into the unknown. You have no idea how it is going to turn out or what you’re going to hear. When you find a band for the first time, there’s always one song that lures you in first- Flowers does this perfectly. Violent Light are such a new band, it’s hard to tell or predict where their sound will take them. If each song builds you up like Flowers does, then I think they will be just fine.

First To Last is another stunning track and the lyrics are equally beautiful. It reminds me slightly of Love Comes Close by Cold Cave. An almost slowed down comparison. I love bands that have this certain sound. There’s something about it that just takes you some place so secluded and so sacred.

You can stream the EP here: https://violentlight.bandcamp.com/releases

Today Dewsbury, tomorrow the world.