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.





URF.

29 05 2019

 

Supporting Crocodiles a few weeks ago were local band, URF. Manchester is known for having brilliant music scene. It’s something to be massively proud of, and another reason as to why I love this city.

URF capture the doom and gloom of daily life, but don’t let that put you off. They do it in a way that is so intricate and articulate; it’s sheer poetry. They have this effortlessly cool Shoegaze sound that will just blow you away. On record they’ve got something that reels you in, but when you see them live something switches. Their live shows are something else. There’s something really mysterious and industrial-like in their sound. They have a song called Night Driving which is one of their greatest, if not best song to date. That’s just my opinion, mind. I love how intense it is, and also has quite delicate moments within it. They take you for a ride on all their songs, but this one in particular takes you further.

 

 

For me, they are the kind of band that after hearing once- you’re hooked. I love bands like that, and I love this really intense atmosphere they have. Each of them create this mood, and it’s just a pleasure to listen to. For The Ride shows us just how powerful Abbi’s voice is, and I can honestly say that her vocals live are even stronger than on record. For The Ride has this euphoric build-up, and the instrumental part of this song will leave you covered in goosebumps. It’s the kind of song that leaves you in awe, and completely taken aback that something can be this great. It’s a beautiful song, and that instrumental part is just perfect.

Now we’re going to get into their new song, Solitude.

Solitude is a heavy word. It’s something most would shy away from. There’s nothing wrong with being alone, and experiencing it is probably good for the soul because if you can’t tolerate your own company- who will? There’s nothing more peaceful and powerful than listening to music on your own. Just taking everything in, and grasping everything a song or record gives you. Solitude isn’t a dirty word. URF have created something really amazing with their new single, and it captures being alone perfectly.

There are dark moments in the song, sure. But it is beautifully done, and it leaves you wanting more and more. The instrumental will have the same effect on you also, and maybe that’ll take you to a different zone. Music that can elevate you or just take you out of where you are mentally is so powerful, and I adore that URF have done this again. They are so hypnotic and bold; it’s a sound that I cannot and will not ever get tired of.

Solitude is the kind of song you’d hear on a Scandinavian detective drama (either whilst a detective loses his mind or something brutal happens) but don’t let that put you off. I’m basically getting at, URF have made something here which shits you up but is also ethereal. Seventeen Seconds by The Cure- that’s the same level that this song is on. Of course all their songs are, but Solitude in particular is on that level.

 

URF are nothing short of incredible. They’ve supported the likes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Crocodiles and Estrons. They will also be playing the Manchester Psych Fest this year. They are also playing their own show at YES on 15th June!

Buy their music, go to their shows and wear your URF shirt with pride, like me.

I can’t praise them enough. They’re just such an exciting band, and are making something that really hasn’t been done before. You can throw in all the comparisons all you want, but it won’t stick because URF have something. It’s something that goes beyond words, but will evoke all kinds of feelings. Get lost in the music, it’s all you can do.





COEVAL.

19 09 2018

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You know that feeling you get when you hear a band for the very first time, and you just know that you’re going to be a fan for as long as they make music and not even them splitting up could taint your love for them? That’s EXACTLY how COEVAL have me feeling.

They’re pretty much a brand new band, and the three of them are just exceptional and make bloody amazing music. The songs are dark. Really dark, and really heavy. They aren’t for those who like pointless mushy love songs. They are for those who want something hard-hitting, poetic and haunting.

This dark and eerie sound is something I can’t get enough of- the songs are euphoric and feel like you’ve stepped into a twisted film where you don’t know who to trust, or if you won’t see tomorrow or not. The sinister feel comes through wonderfully on Bene’s vocals. He has such a distinctive voice, and honestly- you cannot compare COEVAL to anything or anyone else. His vocals on Ex-Future will fry your brain and most certainly have you hooked for life.

For a band that are so new, this EP is so perfect and so beautifully put together. They sound like a band who have been doing this for decades. It definitely goes beyond what is expected from a band when they first put their music out into the world. The guitars sound like chain saws on New Light, and pretty much all the songs. They sound like weapons being aimed to take your soul and take over every single part of you. The drums will throb beautifully in your ears, and all you can do is turn the songs louder to reach this state of nirvana that COEVAL bring out. The songs may be dark and whatnot, but my god they are excellent.

I love the unconventional romanticism in the songs. Pure, just like a Nick Cave love song. I love the real rowdiness in the songs and how none of the band members dominate the other with just how talented they are. I am so in awe of this band. They are definitely up there with being one of the most exciting bands I’ve heard this year. They don’t sound like a band from London. They sound like a band who have roamed the Parisian streets at 3am looking for the meaning of life. They have this gorgeous sound that I reckon most will just lump as ‘Goth’ and be unaware of everything that is going on. They aren’t a band that caters to music genres. They are a band that will beautifully rip you apart with their poetic and captivating sound.

The EP has been released on the ever influential and always brilliant, Le Turc Mécanique who are constantly putting out exceptional Punk records, and beyond. It is definitely worth delving into their releases, and if you do- you’ll see exactly why COEVAL made them their home for this record.

Within 15 minutes, COEVAL have established themselves as being one of the best new bands around. If they can leave their mark like this with just four songs, imagine what they can do with more and more records. I’m super excited to see what they give us next and I hope they find their way up here in Manchester soon. Us Northerners would be honoured to have them.

Let the songs ricochet right through you, and fully embrace every feeling that COEVAL give you. Play loud, as always.





SEXTILE: 3.

17 09 2018

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I’m fully aware that Sextile have been a constant feature here recently, but they are THAT good and deserve all the attention possible. Besides, I’m still wanting to go back to Saturday night so I can re-live their show all over again.

3 is their new EP which came out on Friday. It’s made up of five songs to lose your mind to. The songs are dark, synth-filled and all kinds of creepy. Brady’s vocals on this one is pretty incredible. He’s someone with such a powerful voice that makes you just hang on to every word that comes out of his mouth. The way he uses his voice reminds of Wes Eisold. It takes a lot for me to say that because I pretty much idolise Cold Cave/Wes, but there is something about Sextile that makes me feel like I did when I first heard Cold Cave 9 years ago.

The EP opens up with the stunning, Disco and it then rips right into Drop You which is probably my favourite. Well, it’s my favourite today. I’ll probably change my mind in a few hours or so, but I just love this raw Industrial feel. It feels like night-time on the mean streets of Berlin in the 70s or lurking in basement bars in New York. It’s got a real sordid feel to it, and I love that about Sextile. I love music that has this unconventional darkness and some what smuttiness to it. Sextile are such an exciting band, and the best of them truly comes out on Drop You. It’s a song that holds so much within it, and seeing it live just blew my mind.

Paradox is a hypnotic song with early Depeche Mode flowing throughout it. It’s not a gentle song by no means. Their songs aren’t gentle- they are brutal and hold a wealth of fight within them. It’s the kind of song you play as you approach a fist fight or a scrap in a bar. It’s got rage, it’s got power and it’s such an exciting song to listen to. It’s the type of song that just sparks up wild images for your take on what the video should be like to this song if you were to re-create it. There is most certainly something about Sextile that just HAS to be heard and they are a band that stick with you. You’ll remember the first time you heard them, the first time you saw one of their shows- the vital moments stick with you.

Spun is a brilliant song. The guitar on this is so aggressive and it goes so well with Melissa’s drumming and Brady’s commanding vocals. I know I said I’d change my mind within hours as to what my favourite song is, but Spun is definitely up there. I love the sheer uregency  in Brady’s vocals. Like I said earlier, he has such a commanding voice and they both have such an amazing presence on stage too. This song is the one that could set the tamest of the tame free. It could make the calmest person you know just go apeshit.

Hazing closes the EP, and although it’s a fantastic song; it’ll make you want more and more. Thankfully they have enough records to keep you satisfied for now, but it’s definitely a song that shows them for all they are. Call them Post-Punk, call them Industrial or whatever- but genres don’t count here at all. There is something super special about Sextile, and it’s what lures you in. They’ll have you hooked in no time.

A lot of the bands I listen to from Los Angeles sound like you could listen to them on the beach doing a whole load of nothing. Sextile are the polar opposite. They make you want to wander round the city streets late at night in search of something that the daytime cannot give you.

If they are playing a show near you, go see them. Part of the attraction is the relationship between them and the crowd. It’s utterly cult-like, so be well prepared to be initiated.





SEXTILE.

14 08 2018

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I thought I had written about Sextile but I clearly hadn’t. I’ve been a fan of them for a couple of years now, so better late than never to write about them. They are touring the UK in September along with a new EP coming out, but I’m just going to focus on their music to date and try put across my love for them in a somewhat coherent manner.

They’ve had a few line-up changes, but now it’s just Brady and Melissa. I’m always in awe of duos because I feel they work a bit harder than most, and when they make this much noise- I can’t help but be impressed. There’s a real rugged industrial feel to their music, and if you’re a fan of my biggest loves, Cold Cave, then you’ll adore Sextile. Or you’re probably smart and love them already.

What I love about Sextile is that they make me feel like I am listening to Seventeen Seconds by The Cure all over again. If you’ve read anything I’ve written before, you probably know that I’m always looking for music that makes me feel like I’m listening to Seventeen Seconds all over again. Sextile do it in such an incredibly eerie way. They’ll freak you out with their wonderful synth based sounds. This is the kind of music you’d find in some real dark and twisted thriller. You know, when someone really creepy is chasing someone through a forest or down a desolate street. It’ll give you the chills, and you won’t be able to stop listening.

I love how they make their drums sound like Bobby Gillespie when he was in The Jesus And Mary Chain- simple but genius. They’re an effortlessly brilliant band that have something about them that just makes you want to cast daily responsibilities aside and follow them on tour. Sure the set may be the same, but imagine having that constant feeling of seeing a band you love every single night on stage. There’s no better feeling, if you’re a music obsessive like me. One Of These which is taken from 2017’s release, Albeit Living is one of the best openers I’ve heard for a record in a long time. It’s a probably smack in the belly, and like I mentioned- the drums on it is just like The Jesus And Mary Chain’s Psychocandy era. As well as Seventeen Seconds, Psychocandy is another record I use as reference for how a new band I’m listening to make me feel. If they have that urgency and eeriness to their sound like those two, I’ll probably love them.

I’m currently playing them loud enough to drown out the car alarm that keeps going off across the road, and it’s a pretty solid distraction. Maybe my neighbours would get into Sextile too, but its 10:30pm and I’m not that much of an asshole to cause a disturbance. But the person with the car alarm, that’s a different story. It’s been going on since 3 this morning. Anyway, enough of that.

I’m pretty sure they’ll get the Cold Cave, Nine Inch Nails and Drab Majesty comparisons lobbed at them. They’d be in good company (I’m being biased but still) but Sextile have something about them that gives them a brilliant distinctive sound. Part of you feels like you’ve gone way back in time, and another part of you feels like you’ve headed deep into the future because this is totally unlike anything else you’ve heard before. I love how Sextile can create such a dark and creepy atmosphere with their music. It feels so natural, and it is something to absolutely treasure.

For me, I’d say the best time to listen to Sextile when it’s dark out. Allow yourself to feel a little on edge and unsure, then go full pelt into the music. Don’t hold nothing back. Sextile will take you on this journey into what you didn’t think you were ready for, but you totally needed. I love the sordid and animalistic sound they have, and I’m pretty sure in a live setting it’ll just be out of this world.

Sextile do have a new EP coming out in September, and I think it is the first where it is just Melissa and Brady. It was recorded in their home- imagine being their neighbour! That’d be ridiculously cool. They used a LinnDrum on this record, and it sounds so, so good.

You can pre-order it here: https://sextile.bandcamp.com/album/3 and it will be released via Felte Records. Buy the EP and come see them on tour!





THE SOFT MOON: Criminal

2 02 2018

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Sometimes the term ‘genius’ is thrown about far too much, but sometimes it is needed. Sometimes it is the only word to use. It’s a word that undoubtedly fits Luis Vasquez aka The Soft Moon. With his record, Criminal out today via the equally brilliant Sacred Bones Records, I think it is pretty safe and accurate to say that Luis is a genius.

It’s probably been said but Criminal is his best work. As someone who has been a fan of The Soft Moon since the very start and holds some sentimental value to previous records- Criminal has taken over. It is truly one of the most powerful and magical records I’ll hear all year, that I am sure of. I love how every song feels like white noise taking over your brain and how his words eat at you. There is something so brutal and delicate about this record that holds your attention hours after you have listened to it. It stays with you and leaves an impact you have been craving for so long.

Something I really admire about Luis’ delivery of lyrics is that for the most part, they are unclear but the tone in his voice gives away just how urgent the meaning is. He has this way of just getting to the root of it all with the way he sings these words rather than what he is saying. His voice is the rumble of a thunderstorm and the music is the lightning bolt crashing down.

Criminal has really shown the strength in his ability to make music that can hit you right in the gut. It is such a perfect record, and it seems totally right that it has been released on Sacred Bones. The style of this record has the same wave of horror pouring through it like Pop.1280 which is something I absolutely adore. Pop.1280 make straight up sinister music that could scare anyone. It’s got this attractive evil and eerie sound that you cannot tear yourself from. The Soft Moon has a sound that does evoke some horror and terror, but it also carries this fragility to it. You know that these songs have come from a delicate, raw and very honest place- and I think that’s what makes it such a beautiful record. I love the aggression and vulnerability in Born Into This, and right now I think it’s my favourite but I’ll change my mind soon enough. Records like this aren’t made for you to favour one song over the rest. It is made for you to cherish each and every song in a way that is personal to you.

On this record there is definitely a shift in sound and style, and I think any band or singer that does this is to be respected. There is nothing worse than a band/singer making the same record over and over again, and not even attempting to experiment. I don’t get it at all. The best thing, as a music fan, is when a band you love just changing with each record. The bands I write about, the bands I go see at shows, the bands I love- they all do this. They all make records that sound different but keeping something similar in a way that lets you know that it is them.

I’m sure it’ll be picked up on but Criminal reminds me of the first Nine Inch Nails record mixed with Cold Cave. So basically, it is the perfect record. It’s got everything you need to comfort you and to keep you going. I reckon it is one of those records that will be talked about in years and years to come. It has something about it that you cannot love, and as a HUGE fan of The Soft Moon, it just makes you so proud of him and all he has done so far, and especially on this record. There is something here that cannot ever be replicated nor can it go unheard. It’s one of those records that when you hear it, you’ll want to turn everyone on to it. It is an absolute pleasure and joy to listen to.

It is made of moments that allow you to just be. Be whatever the hell you want, and the best song to do this to is Give Something. Everything about this song just resonates with you.

Criminal is just a fantastic record from start to finish. It’s a record that you’ll carry with you for a long time, and in some respects it may become your shield and saviour.