HAUNTED HEARTS – Up Is Up But So Is Down.

15 05 2014

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“She’s gonna love you ’til she’s dead.”

 

With Brandon’s seductive glare and Dee Dee’s lustful gaze, Haunted Hearts have put out one of the most alluring videos of the year. Their record, Initiation is out at the end of the month on their Zoo Music label, and if you care about good music then you should probably invest in their releases.

Initiation is a beautifully mellow and spacey record that is made up of moments that make you realise why you love music. I didn’t expect the record to sound like it did at all, meaning it sounds nothing like Dum Dum Girls or Crocodiles. I’m just glad it is only a matter of weeks before it comes out.

The video to Up Is Up features the stunning New York drag collective, Chez Deep. The video will make you want to dance under a disco ball wearing a smile and some heart-shaped sunglasses. It’s a wonderfully shot video that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped out of a Hubert Selby Jr novel (of course I mean Last Exit To Brooklyn.)

Watch the video and allow yourself to be sucked into a glorious world consisting of Haunted Hearts and Chez Deep.





Interview With Dee Dee (Dum Dum Girls) Part 2.

8 05 2014

 

 

In the first part of my interview with Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls we talked about her husband, Brandon chasing Patti Smith down a street, being misquoted as saying Guns N Roses were an influence and their performance at this year’s Coachella festival.

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see Dum Dum Girls live, you will more thank likely leave the show a bigger fan than you were beforehand. It isn’t just Dee Dee that has a gorgeous stage presence; each band member during the live shows seems to be lost in their own world. They jolt their bodies at the same time during certain parts of songs, they all leave you wishing you could play an instrument and more importantly they leave you wanting a more. A good band can put on a solid show, but a great band will leave you thinking of ways to get money to catch the next date on their show. There are a few bands I could happily watch perform live for the rest of time; Dum Dum Girls are in that list for sure. I’m just going by their London shows I’ve seen them at, but their fans are really part of what makes a show. If you can ignore the perverse men in the front row taking equally perverse photos, then you’ll have a good time. Personally I feel if we see someone doing this at a show, we should be allowed to stamp on their camera. Anyway, before I get all mad or whatever let’s just carry on with the interview.

Staying with the live shows, I asked Dee Dee what she would want fans to take from their shows; whether it be the first or tenth time they have seen them live. A live performance can make you gain or lose fans, and sometimes people are less forgiving for a poor live performance. Of course if you have seen the band live you will know what to expect and that’s why you keep going back.

“It depends on the depth of the fan, I think. People who have seen us before and enjoy us, and I think get what we do there’s a different exchange going on than maybe say someone who heard a song somewhere and come to see us. It’s always heartbreaking for me, when someone of course tweets at me, ‘What a boring show. They never move!’ There are so many kinds of performance, we’re not that kind of crazy or out there. We’re not The Who or something! I guess I just hope that there’s an understanding of sincerity. I think we try to perform, we try to entertain in our way.”

I did say to Dee Dee if someone wants to see someone dance around or whatever then they should probably go see Beyoncé or someone. I told her it is obvious you can tell that they love what they do, and if you feel the need to really jump about for no reason on stage then maybe you’re over compensating for something. Take Morrissey for example; he can just stand in the centre of the stage and sing for about 70 minutes, and the fans will leave feeling as if they have witnessed something truly life changing. It’s not all about pointless dance routines and stage talk. It is about how you perform the songs, and you really cannot fake that. Coming Down is back in their set, and you can just really feel the meaning of the song come through when Dee Dee performs it. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried, the song means everything to me. I was standing close to the smoke machine too so….But you can really pick up on the sincerity of the performance from them.

Alright so this month, Dee Dee and Brandon are putting out their record as Haunted Hearts. It’s called Initiation and it’s out on Zoo Music (their label.) It is a bloody good record that is entirely different from what they do in their respected bands. Yet they manage to still bring to the record that familiar sound that lured you into Crocodiles and Dum Dum Girls. Their voices together are beautiful. If you’ve listened to the likes of Blank Girl and Merry Christmas Baby (Please Don’t Die) then you will have heard how well their voices sound together. Initiation has a delicate yet debauched sound and will sit nicely amongst any music fan’s collection.

“We wrote the first two songs that came out as singles last year were written much more collaboratively. It was new territory for both of us. I’m really protective when I’m writing songs, and he is a little bit less because him and Charlie work together but it was still the sort of thing like, ‘Can you leave? Can you go somewhere while I figure out if this is good or not.’ And vice versa. And so it took a lot longer with the remainder of the songs. It’s fun to sit and write together, and for me it was a really new thing so it was cool and I think 4 of the songs were written so collaboratively that I can’t remember who did what, so that’s cool. 1 of them was a weird song that I had written as I suppose, for Dum Dum Girls but never really figured out how to translate and so, made so much more sense and felt like it was waiting for this band really, which was Johnny Jupiter. Then the last song, Bring Me Down which I would say, feels more like a Brandon song than a me song. The interesting thing about that song is that, he and I had written almost identical songs, like the instrumentation was the same and so what we ended up doing was his verses stayed, and I think I wrote lyrically an additional verse using his melody and we then adapted the chorus I had written for my version of the song. And for the bridge we sang over each other because both parts worked.”

It meant a lot to have Dee Dee talk about Bring Me Down as it is my favourite off the Haunted Hearts record, I’m a fan of songs that go over 4 minutes and take you into a different world. Their vocals really work well on this song. You’ve got Brandon’s delicate voice (listen to All My Hate And Hexes to get my point) and you’ve got fragility coming through in Dee Dee’s voice. It’s the perfect song to end the record on, and if they tour this record I hope they put this in their set because it is just a joy to listen to, and to have on repeat.

Initiation has a constant spacey feel to it. You feel as if you’re on a Spiritualized kick when you listen to it. As someone who has never touched drugs, this record does feel like a lucid trip that you don’t want to come down from. Music always gives you that pure high that you can’t find in anything else. Your favourite record will always give you that life affirming buzz that you can’t get elsewhere, and I wanted to know what influenced this record as it is unlike Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles and what feel they were going for when making the record.

“With the first two singles we put out, it was what you would expect. But when we remixed them after we recorded the rest of the album, when we started recording we knew what we wanted to do something different. We knew our references were not going to be guitar music, for the most part.  I didn’t play guitar at all; I played synth and he plays guitar, and it’s all drum machine. We wanted to reference, like a lot of the reasons why we love Spacemen 3. And like with Spiritualized, just really lush synth stuff and very groovy bass-lines. You know like, a nod to Motown. Just groovy. I don’t know if it’s trippy weed music or what but, that stuff that really sparkles I think is what we were looking for. We were looking to make dance music that was beautiful, I think. Although I wouldn’t necessary quote me- you can ask him!”

Initiation is a record that you can let your limbs go wild and loose to; it’s got a really freeing feel to it that will make the shyest of dancers jolt and jig in the privacy of their own home.

Zoo Music isn’t just home to their record and Dirty Beaches last release; a few weeks back they put out a record by Denmark’s Gäy. They are teenagers who play like they have just been thrown out of CBGBs for being too young and too wasted. They’ve got a real Television sound going on, and knowing how young they are and how well they play is pretty damn awesome. I wanted to know how they got hold of the band and why (although by listening to them it is fairly obvious) they wanted to work with them.

“They played a show with Crocodiles that no one went to in Copenhagen, and that’s how Brandon knew them. He was obsessed with them, he was like, ‘They’re crazy, they look like murderers!’ The bass player was filming the set on stage. They’ve got Television personalities. They’re great, but I haven’t met them yet. I think they’re really cute and little and Brandon was like, ‘They’re really intense!’ “

Something I’m really interested in is how a band/singer write their songs and how they want their music to be found or heard. When you start off writing something in your cramped room and it then becomes the soundtrack to many people’s lives, is there really a better feeling than that? Dee Dee’s way with words reminds me of how Patti and Shirley Manson write. Careful, simple but extremely effective. You can put Morrissey amongst them also. The best songs are to the point and don’t sugarcoat the ugly feelings we try to hide.

“Usually I have the theme or the chorus; not a catchphrase but the thing that sort of enforces the rest of the song. I usually have that in mind beforehand, and I sit down and I kind of just make something up as I’m writing a verse and once I’ve written the other parts musically, I’ll go back and be more aware of what I’m writing. But it generally just starts kind of free association and I go back to try to refine it. But I do spend a lot of time making sure it is worth being said, at least that’s my intention.”

“If somebody could have a ‘headphone moment’ with a Dum Dum Girls song that would be cool because that’s the kind of fan that I am. You know, having mini life-defining moments while listening to Spiritualized or Brian Eno or something and be like ‘Oh my God! It’s all coming together right now!’ It’s a lofty goal but I hope that sonically it’s enjoyable and I hope that there’s substance that’s observable.”

Towards the end of the interview we talked about having a family feel on tour with regards to the bands they have on tour with them. This tour they have Crocodiles and Vorhees who is also their sound engineer (and was getting changed in the toilets whilst I was interviewing Dee Dee; her shoes are as amazing as her music.) Having that kind of environment on tour, regardless of even how different the support act are makes everything easier. When you see people in the crowd booing a support act or standing looking bored, it’s rude really. We discussed that, that attitude needs to go.

“When you go see a show and it’s cohesive, not necessarily 3 bands that sound the same but there’s a wave to the evening that’s enjoyable and there’s different things highlighted, that to me is how you have a successful show. Not like, ‘Oh my God I’m waiting for the headliner.’ Can we just stop and enjoy the evening. So when I’m trying to find bands to take on tour, there’s always this issue. I just ask bands that I love , and we then figure out if it can work. We just took Blouse on tour in the State, I’ve asked them for years but it never worked out. We just had the best time, and Jules fell in love with their drummer, and they’re still together. It’s everything that could go right on tour went right. It was so lovely. I don’t follow a lot of press, but a lot of the stuff that I did read made note of it being an enjoyable pairing. That we were different but complimentary. The fact that Charlie is such a stunning front-woman, and has this amazing voice and we’re both different in the way we perform but worked. If we take a band on tour, you’ll always see Jules and I out there watching, but on this last tour I saw so many funny photos of us in the wings. Somebody filmed us trying to make Blouse laugh from the side of the stage!”

I ended the conversation telling Dee Dee about a video I saw of Crocodiles online where someone has just filmed her dancing to the band rather than filming the band. Put the camera/phone down, and just enjoy the show!

It was an absolute pleasure to spend a half hour with Dee Dee and just talking about music. She’s got a beautiful spirit that you really pick up on when you talk to her. She makes music that you can truly believe in, and you can’t ask for more than that.





HAUNTED HEARTS-Initiation.

26 03 2014

 

 

How I’m supposed to not be biased when writing this review is beyond me. I’m unsure how to detach myself from the love I have for Crocodiles and Dum Dum Girls in order to write something that make sense. But, I’m not proper music publication so I guess I can say what I want and be as biased as I like.

Firstly, this record sounds NOTHING like I was expecting. It’s really really odd and it feels like David Bowie and Jason Pierce got it on, and made something truly mind-blowing. I mean, of course this record is going to be perfect you know? That’s because both front two of the best bands around (and most hardworking.) If you look at DDG and Crocs tour schedule, you’ll probably be left wondering when they have time to think let alone sleep. But you don’t get to be the greatest band around by sitting on your tush.

Initiation makes you feel like you’re in space and on acid. I’ve never been to space nor have I have ever dropped acid (or any other drug, but I don’t hold militant views.) Being sent the promo is pretty much the highlight of my week, and no doubt I will be playing this all the way to Brussels this weekend. It’s got a spacey European feel to it. It’s just an excellent record from start to finish.

It opens with the seductive Initiate Me; and I’m sure if the likes of Alfred de Musset, Baudelaire and the rascal that was, Marquis De Sade were still alive they’d probably be listening to this record and fully enjoying the seductive nature of this record. What is brilliant about the record is that, it sounds nothing like their own bands. Go into it blind and pretend you’ve never heard of either band to really get this record.

The record was made in the winter of 2012. All they had for company was themselves, books, Motown and Krautrock. Personally, I see nothing wrong with this. If anything it would be quite heavenly. There’s a lot of love, lust and desire on this record. It’s beautifully perverse at times, and if you can’t be decadent in your art then what is the point?

I really love Dee Dee’s voice on Love Incognito; her voice has a bit more bite to it than on a DDG record, but her distinctive sound remains throughout. She’s got the kind of voice you wish you had, she truly shines on this song. You can’t help but wish you witnessed some of the recordings of this record. Love Incognito is probably going to be the song that I’ll play to death before moving onto the final song, Bring Me Down.

Bring Me Down is a gentle love song that is just 5 and a half minutes of Brandon’s voice really getting to you. What I truly love about this record is the way their voices work together. If you go back to DDG’s debut, I Will Be you will hear just how divine their voices are together on Blank Girl (I hope they play this at their London show.) When Dee Dee’s voice comes in on Bring Me Down it adds a more angelic feel to it. Bring Me Down feels like a hymn for lovers, it is truly a gorgeous song and a perfect one to end this remarkable record on.

Up Is Up (But So Is Down) has got to be that Summertime song we all seek out. It’s got that sunset feel to it, as you head into the dusk with the sun blinding you less and less, and you become less stuck to your (fake) leather jacket. It’s just a stunning hazy track to dream to, you’ll have no problems with shutting the world off to this one. I love the way they sing, “She’s gonna love you until she’s dead.” A simple statement of romanticism.

Something That Feels Bad sounds totally different. It’s a fixed up version of what we heard last year, but still as gorgeous. I love the line, “You can tie me up if I can tie you down.” It’s the ultimate decadent love song. Why settle for typical and conventional when you can have something like this?

Initiation isn’t a record that’s going to just please fans of Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles, it’ll move those that really really love music and are bored of the mundane drivel that some outlets project to us. Everything about this record is just really strange and magical. It’s a love filled record which exploits all the things that I want a record to sound like. Initiation is a flawless work of art that you can tell was made with love and care.

I’ve failed at not being biased or putting aside my admiration for them both, but what’s the point in not writing like a fan? I can’t pull a record apart and tell you why it sucks. I can only tell you why I love it so. The alternative however, is if you buy the record for yourself on 27th May. You’ll probably get what I’m trying to say, maybe I’ll work out what I’m trying to say.

But here’s to Brandon and Dee Dee; a beautiful couple who have put out one of the year’s finest record.





HAUNTED HEARTS-Johnny Jupiter.

25 03 2014

 

 

 

FINALLY Dee Dee and Brandon have released the video to Johnny Jupiter. It will leave you wanting a silver leather jacket (fake one though, harming animals is disgusting) and it will also make you feel as if you’ve taken something. The video is directed by the super talented Scott Kiernan.

The video to Johnny Jupiter makes you feel as if you’re on some wonderful lucid trip. Music is that powerful, and please shun anyone who doesn’t agree with that. Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t love music.  Johnny Jupiter is taken from their record, Initiation which is out on cassette via Dream Recordings and via their own label Zoo Music on 27th May. Zoo Music is responsible for some amazing releases, so after you’ve pre-ordered it via iTunes (you also get Johnny Jupiter immediately when you do this), you should probably head over to the Zoo Music website and pick up some other records. Treat yourself.

Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles are doing a few shows together in the UK at the start of May, and Crocodiles are doing their own tour mid-May. I’ll be seeing them 3 times in the space of 2 or 3 weeks. If I had the funds, I’d probably do the whole tour but the universe hates me at the moment.

Last year they put out Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Bad, I got myself a copy. I’ve only played it two or three times. I don’t want to ruin it. Fortunately that is going to appear on the record, and the track-listing for Initiation is as follows:

01 Initiate Me
02 Up Is Up (But So Is Down)
03 Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good
04 Johnny Jupiter
05 House of Lords
06 Love Incognito
07 Strange Intentions
08 Bring Me Down

I think they’ve already put out Initiate Me and House Of Lords for streaming; I’m sure I’ve heard them?! Either way, I’m going to put this record right next to Too True by Dum Dum Girls as records of the year. Morrissey can go as my number 3 when it comes out. No other records are going to matter this year really.

Watch the video to Johnny Jupiter, and allow yourself to be sucked into this decadent and mysterious psychedelic underworld courtesy of Brandon and Dee Dee.





Haunted Hearts-Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good.

3 12 2012

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“I kissed heaven on your lips.”

Today was just another boring day. Then I came home from work and discovered that my favourites, Dee Dee (Dum Dum Girls) and Brandon’s(Crocodiles) single as Haunted Hearts was floating around on the internet. I’m having a moment listening to this. And by that I mean I am currently glad I am not deaf, or dead. This is truly brilliant. And I’m going to try tell you why.

It doesn’t take a genius to realise how important Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles have been to me over the past few years. Crocodiles debut record dragged me through some shit times when it came out. Dum Dum Girls bring out the vulnerable side that isn’t so bad. Both bands have songs that ooze out any love and any frustrations you may carry around. When I hear No Black Clouds For Dee Dee I just automatically think of my girlfriend. When I hear Coming Down, I feel less shit about whatever I see. Although I’m 26, both bands are helping with the pain of growing up.

Brandon and Dee Dee are evidently the best couple in music. You don’t need to have a brain like Einstein to know how much they adore and love each other, just listen to their songs. So when they make music together, the love is still going to be there, right? Of course.

I cannot tell you enough how excited I am about them making music together as Haunted Hearts. I really can’t. Imagine if they toured together and brought it to the UK. I am writing that in the hopes they see this, and do it. It’d be like that time I saw Morrissey for the first time and felt life make sense for once.

Brandon’s vocals are caressed gently by Dee Dee, which are both hypnotically intertwined which just catapults you into a state of bliss, and of course ; love. The way they sing “tie me up” and “tie me down” is just so utterly divine.

There are so many things I could say about this song, but all you need to know for now is that it pours out the purest sense of devotion. Devotion in a way that most wouldn’t understand. Music is the foundation and glue to most of the best things in life. This is a beautiful moment in music, and I honestly cannot wait for the record. I think I’m going to just be a recluse for a while when it comes out. Just to deal with how beautiful it is going to be.

You’ve obviously heard Blank Girl by Dum Dum Girls and Brandon, right? It’s on the I Will Be record, and that again just shows how they make such beautiful music together. Not forgetting their Christmas song, Merry Christmas Baby (Please Don’t Die.)

The single is out on the 5th February on their label, Zoo Music. Which although is a bit after Valentine’s, would still make a good present (that’s a hint..a massive hint.)

Anyway, you can (and should) go listen to one of the best songs of the year right here : http://pitchfork.com/reviews/tracks/14635-something-that-feels-bad-is-something-that-feels-good/

I feel I should give you 5 reasons as to why this song is nothing short of perfection, so here it goes :

  • Their vocals together is like a dream. You know how some things in life are just meant to be? Well, that’s the case here. This had to happen, sure it took a while. But it’s happened. Proof that you’ve got to wait it out, and the good will come. So yeah, the vocals are stunning.
  • The guitar makes you feel like you’re on a trip. You’re floating off into the sun with the one you love with you and nothing really matters. And why should it, when you have the one you adore with you. It warms your bones.
  • You can keep hitting repeat and you find different things to fall in love with. I’m on my tenth listen I think. I don’t plan on stopping until it’s time to go to bed.
  • It’s an unconventional love song, and they are ALWAYS the best kind.
  • It makes you want to write your own masterpiece and dedicate it to the one you adore.

So there you have it. Another ramble as to why I love a song more than I love some things. I don’t care. This has brightened up my dull Monday. I know most are going to say this songs sounds a bit like The Jesus And Mary Chain, but to be honest it sounds like two people who are in love, making incredible music. And guess what? That’s exactly what it is!