NO DEAL.

24 03 2016

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Every single time I find a band I love and discover they are from Italy, every part of me wishes I was fluent in Italian (I’m half Italian and it is shameful I can’t speak it that well) and packed up my stuff and moved there. I’m pretty sure the way of life is less rushed and annoying than that here in London. My main gripe is other people on public transport. I value my personal space a lot. I love hugs and things, but I really don’t want your smelly armpit or vile coffee breath on me at 7am, you know? 7am or anytime- just back off a bit. Which is probably why I blast Fugazi or Flesh Rag really loudly in my ears on the way to work so I can drown out my surroundings. This is all kept inside, then I get to work and I’m calm. Rage and longing to live some place else aside, I’m going to write about No Deal- a band from Italy.

No Deal are a proper Rock & Roll band with elements of Punk and Garage Rock. For anyone who thinks music in Italy is watered down nonsense, you might want to take back your words. There are SO many great bands from Italy, and it’s enough to make you question all that you listen to. No Deal are no exception. With the handful of songs I’ve heard, I’m confident that they are one of the most exciting bands in the country.

No Deal make music that’s made for live shows- the drums are furious. From watching a couple of live clips (they don’t have soundcloud etc) it is fair to say that their live shows is where you need to be. Right in the middle of it with all kinds of bodily fluids falling off you-even if they aren’t yours. Who cares! No Deal will make you want to launch your body into walls whilst clinging onto someone in the crowd as your sweat falls onto them, and vice versa. It’s nasty stuff to some, but for others- it is the ideal live setting. There is nothing more boring than seeing people stand still and rigid at a live show, especially when you can see the band putting their all into it. The videos I’ve seen of No Deal show how a crowd should be at a show. They aren’t afraid to move themselves in a questionable fashion. Who cares who sees!

Their songs are unruly, chaotic and fast. There’s no time for thinking about your next move when you listen to these guys, all you can do is throw your body about and take the music in. No Deal tap into the part of you that lays dormant around others, but when you’re around like-minded people who like this kind of music, then it comes out. Surround yourself around people like this and let No Deal take you wherever you want to go.





GARAGE ROCK: ITALIAN STYLE.

25 02 2016

hangeev

 

I have two main loves- music and pizza. I can’t make music, but I can make pizza. Come round, and I’ll make you one. Or maybe two so you can have it for lunch the next day. I guess in a way Garage Rock might not be deemed as a “proper” genre of music, and even though labeling music is bullshit- I’m allowing myself to contradict myself for the god knows how many time just to talk about a certain kind of noise that I absolutely love. There’s correlation between Punk and Garage Rock, well for me there is. And that’s probably why I love both a hell of a lot. My record collection doesn’t hold much weight compared to some but my most prized possession is my copy of The Gruesomes’ first record. Nobody will ever understand how much me owning that record means. The Gruesomes are Canadian-not Italian, and this is about Italian Garage Rock bands. Turns out there’s a wealth of them and for the past few nights, it’s what I’ve been listening to. I’ve dragged myself through today on 3 hours sleep. If I’m falling into a pattern I had 5/6 years ago, then so be it. I’ll use my time wisely finding music to write about. If I was going to take the easy route I’d probably mention a few songs and make life easy for myself. I don’t know how to make life easy and if there isn’t a wave of chaos about to hit me, I won’t know what to do. This is unplanned, for my own benefit- the result of having an internet connection. I’ll educate myself, and maybe you’ll find something you like. If not, then at least I got this out of my system. ANDIAMO!

To start off, I’m going with my favourite and one of the hardest bands to find ANYTHING out about. This song is 50 years old. It probably sounded perfect back then, and it sounds perfect 50 years on. It’s got a typical Garage Rock sound going on. What I love about a lot of Garage Rock songs is how they seem to be about pining for someone who is a bit of a dickhead. We’ve all been there, it’s completely fine. Songs like this are the ones that get you through it. Cupidation reminds me slightly of I Never Loved Her by The Gruesomes- I think it’s all in the vocals and that alone makes it one of my favourites.

 

See what I mean? Italians know how to do to this. The Rippers have a sound that’s off the wall and unlike anything else. I Wanna Put A Tiger In Your Tank is hopefully a euphemism for something- if it isn’t, I’ll be pretty sad about that because it’s a pretty great euphemism. Imagine using that line on someone. Hey if it works, then go for it. The Rippers have a brilliant style that comes across in how  they look and how they sound. Sometimes bands get it twisted and pay more attention to how they look rather than how they sound, and that can be a sure waste of talent. Thankfully The Rippers didn’t fall victim to that.

I found out about The Hangee V last year when in Camden looking through some old records. I was on my lunch break, and I felt the need to buy some music. I was sifting through the records, and the cover of one of The HangeeV’s records caught my eye. I loved their menacing look, and how they looked like a bunch of undertakers who would probably dig a grave for you-even if you were still alive. They’re easily one of my favourite bands, and I love the mystery about them. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that’s fine and all- but buy records based on the artwork, chances are it will be just fine.

I got a little sidetracked finding these bands, and quite possibly have ended up with more recent bands than not. That’s alright-if anything it just shows how great the music scene is in Italy. The Mighties are from Perugia. I remember visiting there when I was about 12 years old and just falling in love. I’ve been to only a handful of places that felt like “home” to me, and Perugia was one of them. It’s a beautiful city, and is home to one of Italy’s finest bands. I’m not sure how well known The Mighties are but they sound like a band who have taken on board what bands before them have done and made their own scene, on their own terms.

Gli Sciacalli may have been around in the 90s but they captured that typical 60s Garage Rock sound like no other. This is a song I would definitely place in my favourites of all time-regardless of genre. It sounds slightly like the Beach Boys mixed with some Mersey Beat. It’s the perfect Garage Rock sound, and Mai is a song I really can’t get enough of. Much like The Bumpers who have a few decades on this band, they still capture that raw Garage Rock sound.

There are many many more bands I could mention, and I’m probably a tool for missing some out. Maybe I’ll do a part 2 some day. Special mention needs to go to Go!Zilla who are one of the best new(ish) bands around and will get a deserving piece written about them soon. I think condensing it down to 5 for now was a semi-wise move. I could have kept going, but maybe on another trip to buy records I’ll find something else to write about. I know I should have mentioned The Kartoons. Next time. Next time.





DEATH INDEX.

24 02 2016

 

Today I was treated to a wonderful MRI scan on my spine/back. Like the letter stated, I took a CD with me to listen to, when I got there I was told due to the kind of scan I was having I wouldn’t be able to use the headphones. I thought, “Okay I’ll just take a nap.” That happened briefly. Of course leading up to today I was panicking internally-turns out it wasn’t that bad but I am rubbish with keeping still. As I lay there, all I could think was how much the scan sounded like a My Bloody Valentine/The Jesus And Mary Chain record. It was noisy and it sounded like someone letting loose with a load of reverb. I think I managed to drown it out and pretend it was a song. I don’t know. Whatever gets you through, right? Maybe Kevin Shields also went for a MRI scan and thought “This could work on a record.” I’m going with that. Anyway, from one noise to another-Death Index.

Created in the belly of Berlin via bands members from Italy (ciao bella!) and America, the Death Index record is brutal. It’s uncomfortable, it’s noisy and it is dark. Put it down as one of the loudest records of the year. Some regard the likes of Sinatra as easy listening. Bands like Death Index are my kind of easy listening. Or maybe, uneasy listening. I don’t want music to make me feel comfortable. As someone who never has, and will never settle, Death Index are the perfect band for me. Again, like most bands I go on about they are one to really invest in seeing live. I’m pretty sure you’d leave with some kind of injury. Anything less than a bloody nose is poor.

Not many people know this but Italy does have an incredible music scene. I used to think it was just Litfiba but it really goes beyond that. A lot of Garage Rock bands have come from the most beautiful country in the world (yes I’m being biased but it’s still true) and there’s some excellent Punk bands from there also. Marco’s old band La Piovra were one of Italy’s finest, and it’s pretty obvious that Death Index are going to be equally as great, right? Of course, especially when it also involves the frontman of the brilliant Merchandise; Carson Cox.

Please don’t assume that this a straight-up Punk record. It really isn’t. It oozes destruction and it confronts the end of time/the ruin of human beings in such an unconventional manner that you cannot help but want to stick two fingers up to the world. By world, I probably mean Government because they’re the problem and they can’t find a solution. Their debut record holds a wealth of angst. When you mention angst to most they immediately think stroppy 13 year olds. Not with this record. This is for adults who have had enough and can see through all the corruption and bullshit in the world.

There are brilliant moments on the record where you feel like you’re watching a Thriller, and you imagine someone lurking in a dingy alleyway in Berlin on a damp and cold night, tossing their cigarette end onto the ground as they head into the night finding someone or something to hunt down. Maybe I’ve got it wrong or maybe my mind has ran off with the music again. All I know is that the lyrics, the music and the general atmosphere on this record is nothing short of perfect. I have no idea what anyone else thinks, but I know for me that this record has everything I want from music. It has lyrics that make you think, the music makes you want to throw your body into walls and flail limbs about beating off the sweat of others and it’s a moody record.

There are many things that make me proud to be Italian, and musicians like Marco fully justify it. Carson’s’ vocals have this soothing but real brutal tone to it. You get the urgency of the words straight away and you aren’t floating off to the beach in your mind. Far from it. You see the world in all its darkness, you see through people but you get on. If you fixate on the things that fuck you up and piss you off, you’ll never get out of your mind. Music frees you. Music like Death Index frees you.

I’ve been listening to the record a few times this evening, and I wish I could give you my favourite track but that’s impossible. Each song is a body of something truly marvellous, and I’m really excited to go see these guys in May here in London. As an extra special treat for us, King of the Guitar- Charlie from Crocodiles is joining them. It’s definitely going to be worth travelling south of the river for. I’m really into Patto Con Dio, and I think it’s because it’s just over 7 minutes and I’m a sucker for long songs especially when they’re as important as this one.

Some could regard this as downer of a record because of the topics it touches on but I don’t always want something that makes me feel like I’m escaping the world. This is a record to face the world and to face daily life. It’s a brutally honest record, and you can tell it comes from a place that most want to shy away from. Many have possibly tried to make something as honest and as raw as this, but the way in which Carson and Marco have done it makes you disregard previous efforts. Death Index is where it is at. For me I don’t see this regard as a downer at all. I want music that sparks something in my brain. I want to see different sides and I want to see how others view the world. I adore the frustration and urgency in this record. It has that raw sentiment to it that captures the essence of Punk. Punk means different things to different people, and Death Index expose it all in a way that cannot be shunned.

Play this loud. Deafen yourself. Take note of the lyrics and go to one of their shows.

Their self-titled debut is out this Friday via Deathwish.





LAME.

23 09 2015

In my biased opinion, many great things have come from Italy. However, the music from there is something I’ve always had slight reservations about. There’s more to Italian music than Litfiba (they were kind of good so it’s okay.) I can only apologise for Eiffel 65. I’m so sorry. Italy has more to offer than that.

LAME come from the same beautiful city as my stepdad. Torino is one of the best cities in the world, and is also home to LAME.

LAME make a lot of noise, and their most recent release The Lame Shall Enter First is probably one of the year’s most underrated records. I don’t even know how many people have heard it or are even into this band, but the record is an angry piece of work that cannot be played quietly and privately. I’m writing it whilst listening through headphones but I know the ideal setting for it is to be played so loud until the walls shake and pictures and mirrors fall down. It’s effortlessly brutal. Cold Night feels like a maniac losing their mind late at night, when they probably should be asleep.

Known for the bluesy but Punk sound, they don’t fail to live up to that notion. Half the time you feel like smashing shit up whilst listening to the record, the other half you just want to sit with a bottle of something and watch the weary world go by. Like most bands I’ve written about, and write about, LAME are a mixture of strange and wonderful kinds of genres and noises into one and end up creating something really weird and passionately brilliant. I always want to listen to something that makes me want to start a band, even though I never will (too old and I have no musical talent) but if it can leave me feeling this way then surely it can cause some lost teen in the depths of Cleethorpes to pick up an instrument and make some noise of their own. That’s all any of us can hope for.

Another thing I love about LAME is that they feel like you’ve invaded a nightmare. You’re looking in and LAME are providing this menacing and eerie soundtrack. You want to be part of it somehow- so you start feeling as if you’re being chased through some creepy forest with some local loon close behind you muttering delirious words, brushing branches out of their face to grab a closer look at you, and to probably grab you. You’d run a lot faster with LAME blasting in the background. This feeling of being lost in the wilderness could drive anyone a bit nuts, but LAME are the perfect soundtrack to losing your marbles slightly.

Sounding like a band possessed by something greater than any of us could imagine, LAME are just a rowdy lot with something brilliantly sinister in their music. Much like Bikes who I wrote about last night, they make you want to leave where you are and go explore somewhere new.

You can listen to their recent record here: https://aliensnatch.bandcamp.com/album/lame-the-lame-shall-enter-first

As far as first LPs go, this one is nothing short of excellent, and it leaves you wanting more and more from them. Favourite new band.

Play it as soon as it gets dark, unless you’ve got a weird imagination like mine- if so, sitting at your desk on your lunch break whilst listening to something weird like this will probably give you equally mental images in your head.

FORZA LAME!





PLUTONIUM BABY.

19 07 2015

What you must realise that London is not the world nor is it home to all the best music. Sometimes we are tricked to believe such things, but it’s not always the case. Italy is the home to one of the most rowdy bands around, and they tower over a lot who have this kind of sound.

Plutonium Baby come from the mean streets of Rome. Their music is the soundtrack to prowling the streets out of boredom and the desire to stir up some trouble. Not always a bad thing. Italy isn’t all about Lit Fiba. Oh no! Have you heard of Modern Blossom? They’re a fine Italian band which I have written about, and Plutonium Baby are equally great.

Obviously being half Italian, I am going to have a biased opinion. But truth be told, if Plutonium Baby were from the streets of Swansea I’d still love them. The love is only greater because they’re Italian, but it’s alright. We’re not hurting anyone here.

Their songs are party anthems for the hopeless and daydreamers. The ones who gaze out of the window knowing that there is something better, and cling onto a little bit of hope that they will some day experience it.  I’m not a huge fan of synths, but these guys use them well. They don’t use it to compensate for anything. It sounds just right, it works perfectly. It adds a little bit of eeriness to the sound. Without them they easily could have sounded just like any other band. With them, they sound brilliantly creepy and cause the body to jolt in a different fashion.

I don’t know how long they’ve been going for, but they sound like they’ve been going for decades. It’s a very established sound and one you can tell they’ve worked hard to find. They’re a band to waste your Summer to. They’ve got the wonder of The Drums and that wildness in the likes of Wavves. They’ve got bags of weirdness that I can’t get enough of. They could rip apart a pool party and show the crowd how it’s done, no problem. The sheer boldness in their music is what lures you in. The vocals captivate you, and all you want to do is learn the words and scream along. That could be your task for the summer.

Their short and punchy tracks are perfect if like me, you’ve got a really shit attention span. My mind and eyes are forever wandering. Their songs don’t really stretch more than 2 and a half minutes, and they’re perfect Punk-esque anthems for the bored and for dreamers. There is something lustful about their music, a gorgeous innocence that most would overlook. Pay close attention, these guys know exactly how to get to the core of you.

If that however isn’t for you, then the music will just make you move. Supercycle is the one that’s going to get you up and smashing into things. You don’t need to be out of your mind to move like a feral beast to their songs. They enhance this desire to be free within you. They pull it all out, and by the end of it you’ll probably feel like you’ve had an outer body experience.

If you’re looking for a band to freak you out or to freak out to, then look no further than Roma’s finest; Plutonium Baby. Enter their weird, wired and wonderful world without thinking about the risks. Go head first. Go kicking and screaming. Go, go, go. But you won’t ever leave.

You can listen to/buy Welcome To The Weird World here: https://vidalocarecords.bandcamp.com/album/plutonium-baby-welcome-to-the-weird-world-lp-cd