BIRTHMARKS: …And Then The Rain Stopped.

19 03 2020

birthmarks

 

I always thought I’d find it difficult to write about friends I have in bands, but it turns out it’s pretty easy- especially when you love and believe in what they do. Little Death Machine were a band that I absolutely adored and couldn’t get enough of. That band ended, and from it Daniel formed Birthmarks with his pals- Jason and Jonno. As I listen to their debut full length record, I can hear parts of LDM but also a sound of bands/singers I love. It’s a brilliant record, and the fact that Kerrang Magazine have written about them is also a huge deal. Again, another thing to be proud of.

…And Then The Rain Stopped is out next Friday, and with all this painful doom and gloom surrounding us right now, for me, I’m finding comfort in music more than ever. The record starts with How Do You Rule Me which gives me feelings of Bjork (Army Of Me flows right through this) early Placebo and hints of Nine Inch Nails. Basically, this song and the whole damn record sounds like heaven. Daniel’s voice has never sounded so good and so powerful, and when you marry this up with Jason’s drumming and Jonno’s bass playing; you just get something that feeds your soul and beautifully consumes every part of you.

The lyrics will get you right in the gut, and if the song Breathe doesn’t move you then I really don’t know what will. The record is full of songs that will break your heart, but you won’t mind because it will also give you comfort. That’s all you can ask for. If something breaks you, chances are it can comfort you also. The vocals are as raw and as exposed as the lyrics, and because you can truly hear the honesty and feel every single emotion on the songs- you cannot help but connect with them. There’s something so haunting about the whole record, and the darkness on this record really does get you right in the gut. For some it may be uncomfortable but for others, it’s a lifeline. The record is a work of art. I knew it was going to be something truly remarkable, but it goes above and beyond what I or anyone else could ever write about this record.

 

 

The songs touch on everything from love to loss, and all that goes with it.  Daniel’s mentioned that this record took 5 years to make, and you can absolutely hear the hardwork and dedication from them all on this record. I’m obsessed with the drums on this record, and how they heighten the emotions on this record. You have songs like Wax which is such a stripped back and vulnerable song, and it is one of the more tender moments on the record. Again, you can hear the raw emotion in the vocals on this but then it goes right into You Are One which could very well be the anthem for the band. You can imagine the crowd going nuts to this at their shows, it’s got such a grand feel to it and you cannot help but get immersed in it. The way the synths and guitar go together on this is just fantastic, and the way the guitar and drums get heavy at the same time just blows your mind. This one really homes in on the feeling of loss and a sense of betrayal, and it’s a brutal listen but it’s just another reason as to why you cannot help but love this band, and this record.

As far as debut records go, it’s fair to say that this is nothing short of incredible. The production is flawless, and the way the songs sound is just remarkable. It’s hard to believe that this is their debut full length record, and like I mentioned, you can really hear the hardwork in this record. Charcoal is a fierce song, it sounds like it should be in some disturbing thriller, and to be honest I really do see Birthmarks creating the soundtracks for films. This whole record sounds like it was made for a film; it’s a very theatrical record, and the atmosphere on the record will just send shivers right through you. It’s a very dark record, and I love how brutal some of the lyrics are and how fucking honest they are. Charcoal is like a cut to the soul, but you keep digging at it. The record is like an open wound that you cannot help but mess with. It’ll disturb you, you’ll wince, and it will be the best thing you’ve ever heard. I adore this record, and I just respect anyone who is this honest with their art.

The record touches so beautifully on human nature and how we fuck up, how others fuck us up and how it can be a vicious cycle at times. I love how experimental the record is, and how it doesn’t fall into any genre or any sub-genre. It feels like a film, a work of art. If this is what we get from a debut record, then there’s no telling what else they can do. It’s obvious it’s going to be mind-blowing, but I’m just massively in awe of this record and how they’ve all played their part in creating this gorgeous record. Pale and Midnight Blue are prime examples of how talented the band are, and I love that every song on this record gives them all their own moments to shine.

 

 

…And Then The Rain Stopped is mixture of every human emotion possible, it is the beauty of carrying feelings and it is the burden of being a human in one. It is a complex listen, and I can only advise that you listen to this record the first time round on your own, and in order. Just soak up the record. Once you’ve done this, listen however you want. We’re all looking for comfort and the like in isolation, and this record is everything we could possibly need and more. Birthmarks have made the record that makes me want to write about it constantly. Bands like this are why I write about music, and why I refuse to ever do this for money. It has to be for the love of it, and I will only ever write about what I love. Birthmarks have truly made something special here, and I sincerely hope that anyone who listens to this record feels the same because it NEEDS to be heard.

Allow yourself to feel vulnerable, and just open your mind up to this record. It’ll be alright.

Pre-order the record here and you’ll also find their cover of one of the most beautiful songs ever written, True Love Will Find You In The End by Daniel Johnston.





DEAD MEAT.

12 03 2020

 

We have a super-group on our hands. Us filthy Punks/Punx have a band to really become obsessed with and to fawn over. That band is…. DEAD MEAT! They consist of members from the killer bands that are: The Speedways, Suicide Generation and The Cavemen and their first EP has been released by the always reliable and always great, No Front Teeth Records. This is gnarly London Punk at its finest. Strap in, kids! This is going to be loud.

The EP kicks out with I’m An Infection. Probably not something to yell given the state of the world right now but the song is great. It’s fast, loud and criminally short. That’s the EP in general though, but hey! Give it a listen and you’ll see that the solution is to play it constantly.

 

 

Leave Me To Die is their Ramones moment. As someone who is obsessed with the Ramones and will always worship Joey Ramone- this is a big deal. There’s a lot of Ramones flavour on this EP, but they also a huge dollop of Dead Boys. Basically, it sounds like my favourite bands in one. It doesn’t get much better than this! Also the intro to Leave Me To Die reminds me a little of The Stooges’ I Wanna Be Your Dog. It’s got that same filthy feel it, you can’t get enough of it.

Aside from the songs being incredible, it’s only right that I tell you how brilliant they are as musicians. Vince has this brilliant snarl in his voice that makes you feel like you’re watching a tiger attack its prey. Stalking it intensely and making it’s way to rip everything and anything apart. The energy he has is the kind that makes you just KNOW that their live shows are insane. Jake is a monster on the drums, he sort of eggs the band on to go faster and play louder. You can really sense this on the title track, Dead Meat. It’s just a joy to listen to and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he is someone younger Punks starting bands cite his drumming style as an influence. Fisher (bass) and Adrian (guitar) compliment each other so well. Adrian is an animal on guitar; no one plays like him at all. There’s something there that, and I know I keep saying it, but it really makes you feel like you’re hearing the Ramones for the first time. The aggression in the guitar is merged so well with Fisher, and how he adds this slick grooves and keeps up effortlessly. No one is leading anyone here, they all have this evident bond and it’s just another reason as to why it’s fair to call them a super group!

Dead Meat have released such a great debut record here, and it just makes you excited to hear more from them. Given the bands that they already play in, it’s pretty obvious that this band wasn’t going to be anything other than exceptional. I can’t count how many times I’ve played it whilst writing this. It’s an addictive record, and that’s something to really be in awe of.

 

 

Dead Meat’s debut EP is out now via the equally great No Front Teeth Records. Play it LOUD!





VHS DEATH.

11 01 2020

 

VHSDEATH

 

I’ve said it many times before, there is something really special about Bristol. I don’t need to give you names of the bands I love from there- you already know. There is something about the music scene there that is so diverse, so special and just a joy to listen to. It’s just a haven of exceptional talent, which leads me onto VHS Death.

 VHS Death is the solo project of Natalie Wardle (previously of Returning Videotapes) who is based in Bristol. VHS Death is this beautifully haunting project that is full of these dark and eerie Industrial sounds. Natalie’s debut release as VHS Death consists of seven songs that will hit you in the soul and will be swarming round your head for days. Hawkmoth (Death Head) is just shy of seven minutes long, and it is such an incredibly open song. The lyrics are so brutally honest, and the way Natalie speaks and sings them over this heavy Industrial sound will just blow your mind.

 

 

Although the record came out in November, we can say that this song is one of the heaviest and most honest songs we will get this year. It is heavy in many ways, and I know some of us don’t want deep and meaningful- we want music to be an escape, but with this-it brings you into the reality. It’s nothing short of perfect.

 These seven songs on Llorona are brilliant insight into Natalie’s mind, and these songs are just a masterpiece. They are this captivating journey into the world of VHS Death. I love sounds like this. Sure, at heart, I’m a Punk but I love this sound. Bands like Psychic TV, Cold Cave, Drab Majesty- I bloody love them. VHS Death is up there for bands that will move you, for me. Easily. This is all Natalie’s work, and you can truly hear the passion and devotion to this project in the songs.  I adored Returning Videotapes, but VHS Death is a different direction- and that’s what we need. There are bits of the song DMT that remind me a little bit of A Forest by The Cure. It’s the atmospheric background sound that feels like a grey mist clouding your surroundings. It is wonderful, and just a real joy to listen to.

 Each song is so easy to become obsessed with, and I think when you first listen to this record you see it as this eerie and slightly dangerous body of work. But the more you listen and let yourself mentally dissect the songs- you see it as something completely different. There is so much going on but that doesn’t mean it is a difficult listen at all, far from it. You can truly imagine these songs in a live setting and songs like Prey and Nothing are probably the ones that’ll blow us all away when we see a VHS Death show.

 Something that is just beyond incredible is that Natalie will be taking this project to LA in October as part of the Deathwave Records Festival. If I had a hell of a lot of money, I’d fly Business Class and go out there for it. I say Business Class because I want to be able to sleep in a bed and forget the fact I am up in the sky and cannot roam round freely or get off at the next stop. Maybe one day.

 

 

Broken Glass is a heavenly seven minute euphoric delight, and after it we a treated to the gentle and ethereal Elara. These two songs together are something to really treasure. The way they flow into each other really shows how exceptional Natalie is, and how with just one record as VHS Death has made something you want more and more of. I really cannot wait to see what happens next with this project.

 You can stay up to date with all the VHS Death information you need here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/VHSxDEATH





HATE MOSS.

2 12 2019

HATEMOSS

 

There is so much that I love about Hate Moss that I have no idea where to begin. The name of the band alone should make you love them. This Brazilian/Italian duo are based in London, and I think if I still lived in London, they would be THAT band that I constantly go see. They have something about them that just makes you really want to invest in them. As far as duos go, they’re up there with the best of them. They take elements of bands I love and make something of their own which is beautifully dark and creepy.

I think the best time to listen to Hate Moss is, well, all the time! But aside from that, listening to them in the dark when nothing and no one is around is an ideal setting. I’ve got a few bands that I listen to like this, and there’s something so sacred about listening to music in this vulnerable setting. I guess in a way, it makes you really soak up everything that’s going on in a more heightened manner.

 

 

Hate Moss don’t make sounds for those wanting sickly delicate emotions and thoughts. They’re for those who aren’t afraid to stay on the edge of something that could probably terrify someone else. Their songs have this euphoric glow to them, and it is really brought to life on songs such as The Time Your Remake which is 8 minutes of sheer heaven. Their synth-based sounds remind me of the likes of Drab Majesty and my all-time love, Cold Cave. They give you this atmosphere that gets you right in the gut.

Hate Moss totally stop you in your tracks when you listen to them. You simply can’t do anything when you listen to them apart from just that- listen to them. The vocals will send shivers right through you, and the music alone will increase everything you could possibly feel when listening to them. Two people are doing this- just two people. The incredible thing is that they don’t have that many songs, but every song feels like this ethereal cloak of darkness that you want to constantly cover you. They are such a special band, and you can really hear where they want to go when you stop and listen to their music.

Songs like Evil and Honey were made for you to just play really, loud. They’re the kind of songs you can see yourself screaming back at the band. Sometimes you just find a band or a song that you absolutely cling to, and these songs because your everything for that specific moment in your life.

 

 

I could quite happily switch off from the world and listen to Hate Moss on a loop. I could also sleep for a few days because I am so tired. But anyway, Hate Moss have something about them that just makes you feel like their live shows are really something else. This duo really knows how to get the listener right in the gut, and with just a handful of songs- they have mastered this perfectly.





FANTAZMAZ: Better In My Head.

1 12 2019

fantamaz

 

This isn’t going to be long, because I’m not well and I’m not happy that I had to pass on seeing Amyl & The Sniffers tonight. I saw them earlier in the year, and I was SO excited about seeing them tonight. But it’s not meant to be. Instead, I made myself pizza and watched a film. I’m mad at myself for getting ill. I eat vegetables, I take vitamins and I do my best to look after myself (and the planet by not eating animals!) but it happens. I just wish it happened earlier or not at all! Anyway, you’re not here for that and neither am I.

Fantazmaz have just one song out, and that one song is powerful enough to write about. With the world evidently on its tits at the moment and lies being spat at us by pretty much every politician, it’s pretty easy to cling onto bands or a song that let out our frustrations, and Fantazmaz do exactly that. They are fronted by Thamila who has such fury in her vocals, and just reels you in immediately. I can only liken her to Amy from Amyl & The Sniffers, and I mean that because when I first heard Amy I thought “OH SHIT! WHAT IS THIS!?” And I was hooked, Thamila has done exactly the same. Raf and Chokis keep this fury up with their guitar and bass, then you have Edgar on the drums and it feels like he is the one sort of pushing the band to be louder and unapologetically ferocious. They may just have one song for now, but this one song is enough to make you really believe in this band.

 

 

I love how this song feels like you’re escaping everything around you and opting for living in your head. I wouldn’t recommend living in mine, but when you can create a world to escape from it gives you this comfort and to be honest, we all need that. It is such a vital Punk song, and once you hear it- it really stays with you. You have the chorus repeating in your head like a mantra, and it’s a pretty cool one to take on.

You can stream/buy the song on their Bandcamp page, and you can keep up to date with the band right here. I cannot wait to hear more from them because two minutes and nineteen seconds just isn’t enough!

Play it loud!





FALSE HEADS.

5 11 2019

FH

 

It’s that wonderful time of year where we play, gun shot or firework. To drown out the exploding sounds (I really hate fireworks) I’m playing False Heads super loud. I can just about drown out the fireworks.

 When I lived in London, I heard of False Heads quite a few times, but I foolishly didn’t pay close attention. They probably played a shit ton of shows I could have gone to, but I can’t dwell on the past. Fast forward 3 years since they formed, and False Heads are most certainly one of the most exciting bands in the country and maybe one of London’s loudest bands. Their sound will get out all of your frustrations and disdain. There’s a slight Grunge like feel to their sound, but aside from that you can’t really lump them as anything but excellent.

 Their newest single, Fall Around come out on the 25th October. Initially I was going to write about the single, but they deserve way more than that. The new single is a heavy and raw song to really get stuck into, and to let False Heads suck you into this world they’ve created with their brutal sound that makes you feel like you’re in a pub brawl that’s spilled onto the street. I love the heaviness on Fall Around- that really heavy drum and guitar sound together is just divine, then you get the slick bass hitting you along with the vocals. It is such a perfect sounding song- if you listen to it after listening to previous songs you will massively hear how their sound has just continued to evolve and is still on this brilliant journey. They take you along for the ride, and it is such a joy to listen to.

 

 

Songs like Slease, Retina and Help Yourself were made to just lose your shit to. I’m annoyed at myself for never seeing them when I had the chance in London, but the thing with their music is that they make you feel you’re right in the midst of their live shows when you listen to them. I love Slease, and I think it’s one of the year’s most underrated gems. It’s got everything you’d want from a heavy sounding band. They have this captivating sound that just makes you want to turn it up a little louder, and to try see if you can actually make your ears bleed from the loudness. They’re that great, they’ll have you wanting to do dumb stuff.

Their debut record should be with us next year, and I reckon it’ll be something to truly treasure and pay very close attention to. False Heads have songs that are nothing short of anthems, and in a few years’ time they’ll be playing them to stadiums full of devoted fans. They have this glorious Post-Punk feel to their sound, but they give us something more. Something we may never have heard before; there is so much charm in their sound, and the lyrics are so easy to connect with. False Heads may only just be getting started, but they’ve won over a wealth of fans all over. You cannot deny just how great they are, and how a sound like this is so vital.

 

 

With new single Fall Around thrust into the wild now, there is really no telling how the debut record will sound like but I reckon it will consist of real heavy bruisers that will be destined to be played loud and screamed back at the band.

Iggy Pop and Danny Fields are fans of this trio, and if that isn’t enough to get your attention then I really don’t know what will.

*Photo by Neil McCarty





JOHN: Out Here On The Fringes.

7 10 2019

JOHN

 

What’s got two heads, four arms and four legs? No, not some weird mythical creature but an exceptional duo called JOHN. Two pals, both called John. Drums and guitar. Rowdy and really exciting. What more do you need?

JOHN are a band we all need. A band we need to truly treasure. Their new record, Out Here On The Fringes came out on Friday. I’ve been playing it almost religiously since yesterday evening, and if I could fully explain why I’m in awe of this record in a way that makes sense, I would. Sadly, I can’t. So, you’re going to get a weird rant, again

The record consists of nine mind-blowing and deafening songs to just make you go apeshit to. It is a record that will stick with you because you become obsessed with the sheer heaviness and passion in this band and they have brought it to life once more on this record. It is a record that deserves to be heard and praised by all, those who have heard this record already know just how remarkable it is. We’ve seen this band grow and grow, and what they have created- what these two friends have created, is something beautiful. They have such a loud sound, you sort of expect there to be about five of them in the band, but these two know exactly what they are doing here. They’ve created a cult classic with Out Here On The Fringes.

 

 

I love how the songs feel like tormented souls trying to push out of the body. They’ve nailed that heavy industrial like sound that’s in bands I love, such as Pop.1280. There’s this effortlessly menacing sound on this record; sometimes bands try really hard to have a bruising sound, but for JOHN it just comes so naturally and that’s what makes you become obsessed with them. The vocals are so tough and snarly. You can hear the importance of every single word, and when you feel this you truly know you have found something to cling on to with bloody hands.

What makes this record so memorable? Well, as cliched as it sounds- everything. You want tight production? Got it. You want anthems? Got it. You want riffs that make you puke in your mouth because you get that hyped up from listening? Got it. Out Here On The Fringes has everything you could possibly want (and more) from an intense and heavy Rock record. There are essences of Punk on this record, of course. The Stoner Rock heaviness of drums and guitar make you feel like you’re in this insane world that you can only get to when you play songs like Solid State or Dog Walker. It is such a fucking strong record. It’s a record that just makes you want to kiss someone it’s that good!

The more I listen to this record, the more I notice about the record. Everything about this record is just an instant classic, you know? This could be one of those albums that the younger generation hear and think, “I’m going to do that.” It’s such a powerful record, and I really don’t think JOHN get how vital they are. Bands like JOHN, their buddies IDLES, and Heavy Lungs are SO important. They’re my holy trinity and have been for some time now. Each of them is just getting better and better. With this record, JOHN have created something to really wake you up. It’s the record you play when you just need to feel SOMETHING. The title track is one of the best songs I’ve heard this year, and musically it is an absolute beast too.

 

 

Out Here On The Fringes is one of the most exciting records you’ll hear all year. There is no way we can deny just how phenomenal JOHN are. They’ve got everything you could possibly want from a straight-up Rock record. The Punk attitude is infectious on this record, and with one listen you will be hooked. I have no idea how many times I have listened to this record today; I’ve been playing it on and off since 7am ish when I left the house.

My love for duos has fully be thrown into overdrive with this record. JOHN are just a joy to listen to, and the songs on this record need to be played really loud. Soak it all up and embrace your favourite duo.