Given the state of the world at the moment, a song like this seems, sadly, very apt. It’s hard to avoid the news and it’s even harder to not feel helpless. All you can do is hope it all gets better, and that feels like such a throwaway comment to make. I know. I know. Sometimes you just look at the state of the world, and words fail you don’t they. I guess when words fail you, you can turn to music in the hopes someone else can say what you’re carrying round.
Bullet Girl are a band I’ve written about previously, and will be a band I carry on talking about for as long as they make music. They are back with a new single/video called McViolence and like I said above, this song is pretty apt write now. The dual vocals with Aaron and Dylan on the chorus is exceptional- I reckon this song live will be something else!
As I write this on my lunch break at work and have the song on repeat, I can’t help but think that Bullet Girl are quite possibly, from another planet. How can a band be this good?! Well, I only write about music I love and when I listen to Bullet Girl, I can’t help but get excited for what they’ll do next and for their future. McViolence is a heavy song in every sense of the word; taken from the press release, “The song was inspired by an unprovoked attack on two of the band members from a group of teenagers in their hometown.” Remember when My Chemical Romance sang, “Teenagers scare the living shit out of me.”That fear is something that never goes. But, we must remember that regardless of age, gender, race etc- there is good and bad in everyone and everywhere.
McViolence is a hard look at this horrible culture of toxic masculinity, and Bullet Girl aren’t a band to shy away from topics most would try turn away from. The song is extremely powerful and a beautiful piece of noise. The video shows violent clips (which you’re advised to proceed with caution) but these clips really show the essence of toxic masculinity and how it is something that’s always been there. We can live in hope that it dies out because it’s just such an ugly way to be. Although a heavy topic, the song is insanely brilliant and shows us what we can expected from their debut EP, Talking Pony which will be released on the 15th April via Blue Organ Records and has been produced by the brilliant Daniel Fox from Girl Band. I cannot wait to hear it and to play it religiously. That’s the only way to listen to Bullet Girl- constantly.
Around the release of the debut EP, the band will be playing some dates:
In a few small hours, the world will be able to finally hear the new record by Fontaines D.C. I don’t say this lightly when I say it is truly one of the most heartfelt, heartbreaking and brutally honest records of the year. There will be no comparisons to their debut, Dogrel. The only fair comparison is that both records are phenomenal and show us exactly why they are one of the most exciting and exhilarating bands around. If you’re looking for a record that soaks up all of your anger, insecurities, fear, lust and all that goes in between, then this is the record for you. Treasure it.
Fontaines D.C. are quite frankly the best at what they do. We can all agree on that, right? With so much uncertainty in the world it’s hard to find any good in anything or in anyone. It’s totally okay to have a meltdown. It’s okay to feel like shit and not have the words to describe why. You can be as happy as a pig in shit one minute, then be a bawling mess the next. I get it. More than I wish I did. One of the few things that can get me out of a rut is music. Certain bands can drag me out when I can’t. We all look for a crutch in conventional and unconventional things. What they have done on A Hero’s Death is something that goes beyond words. It’s the record you’ve been needing for so long. You’ve been so desperate for this record. You will cling to it- day and night. It will be all you have at 3am when the world goes quiet, but your mind doesn’t.
Vocally, Grian has excelled himself. His voice on this record is that of someone who isn’t afraid to be vulnerable with their words and share them with you in a way you didn’t know someone could. Without being too personal, I’ve struggled since last August when my Gran died to find any joy in music. I didn’t want to hear anything new. I didn’t want to hear anything old. I got in this phase of just playing certain songs over and over. To the point where I didn’t want to listen to music. I cried myself to sleep many times listening to The Murder Capital. I blocked out bits of grief to Fontaines D.C. I was finding ways to cope. Nearly a year on, I’m still there. I’ve made peace with grief, fully not accepting she is gone at times. The poetry on A Hero’s Death is beautifully crafted, a sheer romantic record in all ways possible. The typical to the not so typical. One thing that is constantly constant is the greatness and honesty on the record.
A Lucid Dream is my number one obsession right now; I love the ferocious energy it has, and I cannot wait to see them perform this live (May cannot com quick enough.) There is something about the way it musically sounds like The Birthday Party but vocally, it goes beyond. I love everything about this song. You can just imagine it being played live, with the lights as dim as possible with the smoke machine going on overdrive, and everyone in the room just loses their mind to it. Heavenly. God, I miss going to gigs.
You Said is a gentle number, vocally. But don’t let that fool you. It is a monster of a song and the way A Lucid Dream flows right into it is just divine. I love how the songs flow into each other. The order of the songs on A Hero’s Death is sublime, and you cannot help but fall in love with this record within seconds. Their second record comes just around 18 months or so (a little less) than their debut. You can hear the growth and power in what they do. I’m all for music sometimes keeping me on edge/making me feel a little uncomfortable but A Hero’s Death is a safety net. It is such a comforting record that just soothes your soul. One of my favourite moments on the record is Carlos and Conor’s guitar on You Said. It is so gentle, but it is so powerful. Mix this with Tom’s ethereal drumming and Conor’s slick bass- you’ve got the most beautifully created song imaginable.
There is so much poetic imagery on this record, and songs like Oh Such a Spring feel like a lullaby and all of a sudden you are smacked in the chops again with the title track. It’s an effortlessly brilliant move, and the way Grian chants “Life ain’t always empty” just makes you feel less alone. The song is a mantra for those who are unsure or are struggling. It’s alright. It’ll be alright.
The last song on the record is just over 5 minutes long and I urge you to play No on your own, through headphones. The whole record should be played like this, but this song in particular just makes you feel like you need to go outside and find a place quiet/sacred and listen to it through headphones with no interruptions. Make this song yours. It is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard in a long time. I read somewhere that bands like Suicide and Beach House played an influential role to this record. As someone who adores both bands, I can definitely hear a nod to Beach House on this one. It is the most perfect ending to such a perfect record. I’m in awe of every single song.
2019 saw the band probably work harder more than most. Touring was relentless and their music was (and of course, still is) vital. A Hero’s Death is one of the few positive things to happen this year, and my god it is such a powerful and important record. It is one of those records that you hope some kid in a tiny village hears, and they scribble their thoughts in a notebook. They find like-minded pals and form a band which allows them to speak their truth and what they see/feel. It is such an inspiring record, and I honestly don’t think anything is going to top this record. I love the sense of community the band give off. You can feel it on the Facebook group, you can feel it intensely at their live shows. They are a band that just make everyone feel every single word, every note, every beat. Every single detail is felt right in your soul. And you cling to it.
With 11 songs coming in just over 45 minutes, Fontaines D.C. have given us something to treat as our reflection. Something that pulls things out of us that we may be afraid of. It’s comforting but it is also THE most exciting record of the year. My words don’t do this record justice. It’s out tomorrow- BUY IT!
A few years ago I wrote about Autumns. I wrote about how much I loved them and how Christian is the Northern Ireland equivalent of Alex Zhang Huntai (Dirty Beaches/Last Lizard.) I think I mentioned how brilliant it is to have one person make a load of noise with such urgency and passion. A few years have passed, and now I get to write about Christian’s new EP, Das Nichts.
Christian is currently in America where in the next few weeks, he will be playing his first set of live shows out there. I couldn’t be more proud of him. He makes the kind of music I wish I could, the TV static sound and the distorted vocals aren’t to everyone’s taste but for me it’s exactly what I look for in music. I sincerely hope the American audiences fall in love with him and hear what I hear. I’ll post the dates towards the end, but for now- Das Nichts.
Das Nichts is the kind of record you play late at night when you should probably be asleep. My sleep pattern at the moment is semi-questionable but I can still function. I think life would be easier/better if we all took more naps. Anyway. With this EP Christian has definitely delved into the Electronic side of music more. For some they associate this with really bad 80s music, to an extent they could be right but what they don’t seem to acknowledge is the darker side. Das Nichts sounds like Suicide meets My Bloody Valentine with the fury of Rowland S Howard. The songs are going to torment your mind and you won’t want to sit down with a cup of tea whilst listening to this. With one listen, I loved it but I feel because it is the kind of record that puts you on edge, I feel that’s what makes it Christian’s best work to date. When I hear music like this I always seem to want to know what goes on in the head of the person making it. But recently I’ve started thinking what goes on in my brain and how it would sound if I translated it to music. It would sound a bit like this record. Maybe slightly more tame as I’m annoyingly shy. I try to get better at it, but what can you do. Das Nichts is a remarkable EP that is made for night time/very early morning listening when the world is asleep.
This EP is intensely dark and would sound perfect in some Danish Thriller that messed with your mind. If this is how Christian’s debut record is going to sound, then we are most definitely in for a treat. It’s the right kind of loud, the right level of noise and creepy. I can only imagine how brilliant this is going to sound live. The first track on the EP, Motel Lover is 19 minutes and 45 seconds long. It’s a solid way to start the EP and I think it straight away indicates to the listener where the EP is going. It’s going somewhere no one and nothing else can take you. You feel like you’re on a motorbike at 2am heading deep into the unknown. The night air sends chills over you and the dark mist keeps you on edge. It’s beautifully terrifying and is under 20 minutes of straight up noise. The static guitar sound mixed with the repetitive kick drum keeps your attention locked. There are swift changes in the song here and there but it’s the torment of the kick drum that remains your focus throughout. When it comes to an end, you find yourself looking around to check who was there and who took you to wherever this song may have taken you to.
I really can’t praise Christian enough for what he’s done with Das Nichts. It’s a captivating listen that will scare you a little but you won’t want to turn it off. Something about this EP will make you feel a little uneasy and unsure of what is around you- it will heighten all you feel as you listen to it, and that for me is what makes this the best thing he has done to date. The suspense in the EP makes you feel like it is the soundtrack to something. I’m 100% sure that Christian could easily create a soundtrack for some dark and unsettling Thriller film going by this EP. He would be perfect for it. Das Nichts isn’t a kick in the gut kind of listen, it is more like someone messing with your head in a way you didn’t know was possible. This kind of exposure of the mind is what makes this one of the best things I’ve heard this year. Sure there’s still many months to go, but this is truly something else.
As mentioned previously, here are his US dates for this month:
3/09 New York @ Nothing Changes + (with Nite Fields)
3/12 Lafayette @ The Spot + (with Nite Fields)
3/13 Indianapolis @ State Street Pub + (with Nite Fields)
3/20 San Francisco @ Rickshaw Stop * (with Lust For Youth)
3/21 Frenso @ Dynamite Vinyl + (with Nite Fields)
3/23 Long Beach @ 4th Street Vine – (with Gold Class)
3/24 San Diego @ The Whistle Stop
3/26 Los Angeles @ Non Plus Ultra # (with SEXTILE)
Christian will also be drumming for Nite Fields on all of their dates.
Any band that can mix a 60s girl group feel with sad/woeful guitar sounds will probably become a band I end up adoring. The Debutantes are pretty much that band.
The Debutantes consist of Sarah and Paula from September Girls and their pal Leon. Together they have made something really beautiful. They have this sadness flowing throughout their songs which is done in a way that isn’t all “PITY ME! LIFE IS HARD!” kind of bullshitty way. Their songs will heal hearts and make you want to dance. If you don’t end up doing questionable moves to Burn The Merchandise then something isn’t right. Perhaps go see a doctor.
In the midst of the reverb sounds, you can’t tell that they are from Ireland. They sound like a band from the West Coast with their sun-kissed guitar sounds, but don’t let location fool you. A great band can make you feel like you are anywhere in the world and that is what makes The Debutantes so great.
With the sun appearing less, walk into the dusk with their record blaring in your ears. Or be a bedroom dancer and sway to their summery grooves in a freeing fashion. The Debutantes will make your heart swoon and make you gush with glee. They are just a brilliant band.
The EP will be released as a cassette on the ever wonderful Soft Power Records, and you can catch Soft Power at the Indie Label Market in Edinburgh on 11th October (day of the EP release also.) The tape is limited to only 100 copies.
When I was at college I was a big fan of The Cribs. I enjoyed their Garage rock sound and probably enjoyed the fact they’re from Yorkshire too. Easily swayed, but not anymore. The Cribs played fast and their sound was unlike the rest. It’s been a while since a band has pulled off that sound in the way The Cribs did. I’ve not listened to The Cribs in some time; I sort of lost interest after 2008/2009. Typical.
There’s a band from Dublin called The #1s and they remind me of The Cribs when they first started. They play fast and with fury. You can hear a clear and raw distinctive sense of urgency in the vocals. Their songs are the kind you are supposed to scream back at them at one of their shows with sweat falling freely from your face and it trickles into your mouth as you scream the words back. The morning after, you’ll have a sore body and you’ll be unable to speak. This happened when I saw Crocodiles last month, and I’m hoping it happens tonight when I go see them. Lord knows I need it.
The #1s self-released a cassette, Italia 90 and it’s my favourite thing I’ve heard by them so far. I love how every song feels like a slight punch in the gut. I think it was released a few years ago, but since then they’ve released a 7″ on Cork/Leeds based Art For Blind Records and later this year they’ll be featuring on The Big Itch Club’s 7″ which features Faux Kings and my personal favourite. September Girls. Big things are happening for The #1s and they truly deserve it.
What I love about their music is that they are capable of unleashing all the feelings that make us feel fed up. I feel fed up and disconnected from most things, which is why music is a huge help. The older I get, the less I relate to everything around me. I don’t know what kind of person this makes me, but if I think about it- I just get more annoyed at myself. Music is the one thing I’ll only ever lean on because people are not permanent. And I think to be dependent on a person sort of weakens you. It’s alright to be weak though, that I know. I’m not a tough person at all. Never will be. Music is a crutch. My point is, The #1s make music that unleashes the shit feelings we feel in a very real way. All too often bands do it but you cannot connect due to how they project it all. Or how they act. Bands like The #1s are obviously true to their words, and you connect. I’m just speaking for myself, so there’s a good chance I’m wrong. But that’s okay.
The #1s have a new song called Sharon Shouldn’t which is released 4th October. In Europe it will be released on Alien Snatch! and in America on Sorry State. The release will feature two b-sides, Boy and Girl. It is an evidential step-up from what they’ve previously released, but it is as rambunctious as their other songs. Sharon Shouldn’t is their third release; it is slightly more ferocious than their past releases but clearly shows how strong the band are. If this is the first time you’re hearing the band then I highly recommend you explore their back-catalogue. It is full of blissed-out gems that will fit any mood.
The #1s are a band anyone can relate to, and with most things in life separating ourselves from others it is good to know music is probably going to be one of the few things that bring people together.