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: Fracture

23 05 2020


With every passing day, we get closer to the new record by The Vacant Lots. I’ve already heard it, and I can promise you that it is a perfect record from start to finish. The record is out 26th June, so I’ll write about it closer to the time.

Jared and Brian released the next single from Interzone yesterday. Fracture is a really calming number and it is one of those songs that leaves you in a solid state of bliss with every single listen. What I absolutely adore about TVL is that they have this strong ability to crush your brain with their louder songs, but when they take a more gentle approach like this, they just soothe your soul. That’s what makes them one of my favourite bands, and I’ve noticed that this is something I gravitate to in the music I love from bands I hold very dear to me.

Oh, and one super cool fact for you- the Arp synth used on the song once belonged to one half of the best band ever- Alan Vega from Suicide, and there are moments on the song where you can hear their influence on Jared and Brian. It’s such a beautiful thing.

Who knows what state the world will be in when Interzone is released; all I know is that whatever the situation the record will make it easier. For now, let’s enjoy the glorious sounds of Fracture and let our minds drift off for a while.





THE UNDERGROUND YOUTH: Montage Images Of Lust & Fear.

15 04 2019

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The Underground Youth are such an incredibly underrated band, and with each record they have this ability to just shock you with their sound. A sound that is in no other band you’ve listened to, a sound that you cannot get enough of. The Underground Youth have yet again, put out another exquisite record. A record that pierces right through your heart and soul. A record that must be played obsessively.

Montage Images Of Lust & Fear is not only a great name for a record, but it totally sums up the atmosphere on this record. I’ve been a fan of The Underground Youth for a stupid amount of time, and I remember seeing them live a couple of years ago, and I was just in awe of their set. Easily one of the most impressive bands I’ve ever seen live, and I cannot wait to see them again next week at my favourite venue in Manchester but before then- I’m going to go on about their new record.

 

9 songs. 43 minutes. What can you get from a record in that amount of time? What do you expect from a record in that amount of time? Well, with this record think Rowland S. Howard’s Teenage Snuff Film meets Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ Let Love In record. Craig’s vocals have never ever sounded better. I absolutely love the bones of this record, and I adore how you can hear so much growth in this record. The Underground Youth are one of the hardest working bands around, and always seem to be on tour. So when you listen to this record, you cannot help but think of how these songs are going to sound live. I’m already obsessed with Craig’s vocals on Last Exit To Nowhere. It’s the second song on the record, and it just blitzes its way right on through you. It doesn’t calm down after that. The Death Of The Author is a gorgeous and eerie song that sends shivers right through you.

I love how drums can give a record or a song a mood, or create an atmosphere that just spooks you. Olya’s one of the best drummers around- she has this effortlessly cool way of just beating the shit out of the drums and letting every beat shatter through your body. You move to her beat, and the way she does this is something I’ve never seen before. She gives so much tension in the way she plays, and it is the kind of tension that you crave from music. It’s the kind of tension that makes you love the band you’re obsessed with even more than you already are. In short, she’s incredible. The Underground Youth are incredible, but you probably already know that.

Montage Images Of Lust & Fear is a record that will scare the shit out of you, but will also be a record that you cannot get enough of. It’s a record that consumes you in the best way imaginable. The atmosphere on this record makes you wish you could make something like this, but let’s be honest- no one can do it like The Underground Youth. I love the romanticism in their music. It’s not the conventional and boring type, it’s something beyond anything you’ve ever known. I’ve been listening to The Underground Youth for a long time now, and with every record they blow my mind but this record has something else. It’s heavier, it’s darker and keeps you right on the edge. You can’t help but wonder what is going to happen next on the songs. You don’t know what part of the song is going to rip right through you.

Although it is a heavy record, one song in particular is on the gentle side. Too Innocent To Be True is such a beautiful and timid song. There is this wonderful gentleness to Craig’s vocals on this, and I hope they play this song on their tour because I think it’ll show a side to the band that doesn’t get shown often. It’s a mellow moment, and it fits so perfectly on the record. The bass on this song carries you away, and you just float on with it.

Blind I and Blind II feel like they could be some creepy thriller film, set in black and white. There’s something really magical about how Blind I flows right into Blind II. Blind I feels like the build up and eruption of something really bad happening, and Blind II is like the aftermath of it. Play the songs right after each other, and hopefully you’ll see what I mean. Blind II reminds me a little bit of Ghost Rider by Suicide, which is always a good thing. The song feels like a chase, and the way Craig quiets down on this song, when they do this live I’m pretty sure the crowds will go nuts especially when it picks up again. It’s probably my favourite song on the record at the moment. It’ll change though, because a record this fantastic isn’t made for you to just have one solid favourite. Every song is there to be adored and obsessed over. Each song will get their turn, I promise.

 

Of course I’d love more songs on this record because I just love The Underground Youth a hell of lot but with just 9 songs, they again blow your mind. Play the songs as loud as you want, listen to it over and over. Every listen will give you something new to love about the band and this record.

Montage Images Of Lust & Fear is a truly remarkable record, and for me, has left a lasting impact. It’s an absolute pleasure to listen to and just fall in love with.





THE UNDERGROUND YOUTH: What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This?

14 02 2017

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This week The Underground Youth release their eighth record, What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This? If there was a prize for best album title, it would easily claim first prize. With such a bold statement as its name, can it live up to it? Can it hold the weight? Oh come on, of course they do. This might come from a biased view point, but it is accurate all the same. Every song on this record has its own way to make you label it as your favourite song on the record. Each song is going to move you, push and pull you in all ways imaginable.

For me their new record seems to tower over their previous seven, and I know it is such a failed clichéd thing to say but if you go back and listen to each record and you then listen to this, you will see how they/mainly Craig’s remarkable way with words has really grown. The capture the essence of their base (Berlin via Manchester) in their songs, and they make you just want to sack everything off and move. I for one, am trying to do that because the city I’m currently in has ruined me in ways I didn’t think I could. Daily panic attacks are a given, my own reflection is a piss poor outline of myself. I try to avoid looking. My auntie gave me some dear advice on Sunday when I went home. She said, “Music will get you through.” I’m hoping she’s right because I don’t really have much else. It’s what I have when no one else is around and I don’t like to burden anyone anyway.

Anyway, let’s move on because I sound like a proper whiney twat.

The Underground Youth are going on a pretty extensive tour to promote this record. They’re playing right near my house in a few weeks, and I’m going to try my best to make it. I’ve never seen them live before, even though I spend a lot of time listening to their music. I’ve wondered how their live show would be. I hope they make it as dark and as eerie as possible. I sadly missed their show at The Lexington. Me and my panic attacks. I’m pretty sure it was one hell of a show, and it was at one of my favourite venues too. The new record seems to be one of those that you’ve just GOT to see live. It has all these intense elements to it that make you intrigued into how they will unleash these songs openly on stage.

For me, I really hope they play The Outsider on this tour as it shows a side to them that will lure the meekest of people in. Once they get in, that’s it. I love the distorted vocals and how it has a very subtle Shoegaze feel to it. I rarely pay attention to labels that are given to bands as it can just hinder/harm your take on them. I’ve read how The Underground Youth have been labelled over the period of their career, and I’ve not really picked up on any specific sound and I think that is part of the charm. The fact that you don’t know what it is or what era you think they are from makes it all the more better. This record could easily have happened circa Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ Kick Against The Pricks or Outside Your Room by Slowdive. That’s what it sounds like- something that may have already happened but also something so brilliantly new and brutally fascinating.

Your Sweet Love is a big highlight for me. I love the sheer intensity of it, and again, it is one I really hope they play live because there is no denying how electrifying the atmosphere will be once they indulge magically into this (just over) 6 minute symphonic blissful sound. There’s no telling where this song will take you, it’s just wonderfully captivating. The whole record is, and I don’t think any part of me will grow tired of obsessing over it and finding new songs, new pieces of the songs to love and cherish dearly. The record ends with the moving Incapable Of Love. It is the perfect song to end this glorious record on, and it really cements the title of the record. The record feels like a novel- not a piece of music. I hope anyone who hears this record picks up on that. It feels like something a write you love from way back has written and it’s been brought to life through music. Think Schopenhauer meets Henry Miller. A mixture of these two worlds and put together in the most perfect way possible.

It is truly everything I want from a record. Like all great bands, The Underground Youth have this effortless way of creating a new sound with each record and eight records in, they’ve again surpassed themselves. They do it every single time, and I love them for it.

Buy the record tomorrow and come out to see them at one of their shows!