GATEWAY DRUGS: PSA.

16 05 2020

 

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A strong contender for the most magical and captivating record of the year is the new record by Gateway Drugs. It is produced by one half of one of the greatest bands ever (and my girlfriend is the only person I know that loves them as much as I do which makes her the coolest yet again!) Sune from The Raveonettes. You can hear his influence throughout this record, and it just makes everything feel right even when it’s all off balance right now.

PSA came out last week, and after playing it a couple of times I think I have soaked it up enough to put something coherent together. I hope! It is a dreamy record; it makes you feel so happy and so at peace with all around you. It’s a feel-good record, and right now we really need this. The past few weeks I have found myself playing a lot of Minor Threat and VOID, so I need something more laid-back to ease everything. Gateway Drugs have made the most euphoric sound you could possibly wish for. Everything from the vocals to that gorgeous reverb sound is perfection. Slumber is THE song of the summer. Maybe when we can all go out and do fun things again, this song may just be your soundtrack. The record makes you want to go on holiday and just take it easy for a few weeks. As someone who has been doing additional hours at work the past couple weeks (I don’t mind at all, I love my job) the idea of going on holiday would be great right now. I’d like to just sit and do nothing, with this record blaring out. But, I can settle for a Saturday night indoors playing it loud enough to soothe my soul. It’s a great record, and to even try pick a favourite moment or song on this record would be impossible.

 

 

Gateway Drugs are in a league of their own. There is a sun-kissed Shoegaze feel that I cannot get enough of; you just want the record to consume every single part of you, and oh boy! It sure does. It is a remarkable record, and you can truly hear the growth in their sound from when their debut came out a few years ago. For me, Sune’s production is nothing short of flawless and he’s truly pulled something out of the band that I really don’t think anyone else could. It is such a divine, heavenly record that is SO GOOD for the soul. It’s soulful record with everything you could possibly want, and more from a record to just make you feel. That’s it; it just makes you FEEL. You cling on to that because it is yours.

I’m Always Around is gorgeous, and Liv’s vocals on this are so delicate and pure. You have it etched in your brain, and the beauty in her vocals on this is definitely a standout moment, even though the whole record consists of them! I think because three of the band are siblings makes you appreciate the tight sound more, and that gives the music an added beauty. I’m in love with Liv’s vocals so much, and I love how everyone has their time to shine on this record. But like I’ve said, it’s a bloody great record and it is difficult to pick out the best moments. The songs I favour right now will keep changing, and that’s when you know you’ve found something truly special. Gateway Drugs may only be 2 record into their career, but PSA makes you feel like you’re listening to a band who are at least 5 records in. It is such a bold and euphoric record; Back Room Lover is musically out there. It’s an effortlessly cool song and it just gives you a strong feeling of Summer. When you listen to this, you can feel that summer breeze hitting the back of your neck as you gaze out to the sun. It’s such a beautiful song.

As I wrap this up, I want to bring to your attention their cover of Psychotic Reaction by the Count Five. Anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with the Count Five, and when I found a copy of Psychotic Reaction in Born Bad Records in Paris- I lost my damn mind! I fucking LOVE that band. I’m a bit dubious when I hear songs I love being covered, but when it done in a way that clearly pays homage to the band or the band make it their own- then I’m sold. Gateway Drugs have evidently made it theirs and beyond. It’s a wild cover, and it is the perfect way to close the record. As far as covers go, this is one to truly fall in love with. They go absolutely apeshit during the last few minutes of the song (it’s 5 and a half minutes long- the original is way shorter!) and it shows us just how strong they are not only as a band, but as musician. I hope that once bands can tour again, Gateway Drugs come to the UK. I hope they play this as their last song so us in the crowd head home in awe of what we have heard. Fully knowing we will never be the same again. Holy shit the last few minutes of this is incredible. If you want to start with this cover as your introduction to the band- then go ahead. I reckon Lester Bangs (greatest Music Writer of all time) would love this cover too.

 

 

I’ve been in a bit of a slump recently when it comes to writing about music, but I can safely say that Gateway Drugs have eased it. PSA is such a remarkable record, and if you’re looking for a record to become obsessed with and to play religiously, then please make it this one.





NADU: Survive *Single Premier*

20 03 2020

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During all this madness, we can always count on music to make everything better. Whether it be an old band you love, or a band you’re finding for the first time. With that in mind, I am beyond happy to share with you the premier of NADU’s brand new song, Survive which is taken from his brand new EP, Determinator II which will be out in May.

 I’ve already listened to the EP, and I can promise you that this is going to be one of the most exciting records we are going to get this year. It’s a real fast-paced Garage Rock record, and the fact that it is all done by one person makes it that more special. You can hear every ounce of passion and creativity in this record, and it definitely shines through on the lead single and EP opener, Survive. His first EP was released in 2017, and since then he’s been playing shows across the West Coast and Midwest of America and unleashing this brutal sound that you just cannot get enough of. On record, it’s just him but catch his shows, and you’ll find Nadine Torres and Kenny Esparza right next time. Buy the EP so they can head over this way and do some shows!

 

 

Survive is the perfect lead for this release; the bold and brash DIY sound is insane, and Nader’s vocals have never sounded so good! The way it just smacks you in the face right from the start, and when the vocals kick in and the drums- you just know that it is over. It is such an exciting song, and sure it’s just over 2 minutes long, but in those 2 minutes you are subjected to some real gnarly sounds. If this song doesn’t make you want to start your own band, make your own noise or whatever then I really don’t know what will! As a kid, Nader immigrated to Texas from Bangladesh, and a couple years ago ended up in LA where NADU was born. This is a project that Nader created after leaving corporate jobs behind and fully dedicating himself to music, and it’s fair to say that he made the right decision.

 My only advice to you is, if you’re stuck indoors for the foreseeable then open your windows and blast Survive as loudly as you can. The same advice applies for when the EP comes out. I was going to write about the EP here, but I’m going to hold off until closer to the time. Lord knows we all need things to look forward to right now!

 You can stream Survive, and pre-order Determinator II here .





BEST COAST: Always Tomorrow.

21 02 2020

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For the past decade or so, I have been in love with Best Coast. I think this is the band that may have started my obsession with bands from California and becoming obsessed with the way they made me feel like I was right there rather than where I currently was. Always seeking some form of escapism, and I always find it in music. Best Coast released their new record, Always Tomorrow today and I’m so excited to listen to it and write about why I love it. Maybe it’ll bore you, maybe you’ll feel the same way as me.

 Today in Manchester it has rained pretty much all day. This week has given us the kind of weather that makes you want to stay at home and not go anywhere, even if like me, you love your job- you still don’t want to get out of bed. But that’s probably part of me having depression too but whatever. The sun has again come from Best Coast. This record is totally different; it is not like Crazy For You (the baby) or California Nights, and all in between. The thing I have always adored about Best Coast is the growth. What we got from Crazy For You and the journey from there to here is fucking insane. You feel like you’ve grown with Bethany and Bobb. You feel part of the journey. Always Tomorrow is such a mellow record, lyrically. Musically it is their heaviest and still has that beautiful honesty in the lyrics. I love how Bethany doesn’t need to be over the top with her words- she is so relatable, and personally, I think the band are criminally underrated.

 I’ve got a lot of sentimental value attached to Best Coast. When I met my girlfriend 10 years ago (we’ve not been together that long because back then I was a dick to her) and I would always bang on about Best Coast to her. She loves them too, and during our weird friendship (which was me being too much of an idiot to say how I felt) Our Deal was the song, THE SONG. This is why I feel like I’ve grown up with the band, and songs like Different Light and For The First Time are the songs that make you realise just how far the band have come, and how strong Bethany is. She’s just an exceptional writer, and I love the emotion she pours into the songs. I think For The First Time is a polite fuck you, and I love that.

 

 

Always Tomorrow is full of hope and growth; like I said it’s a heavier record, and it’s still got that typical Best Coast anthemic feel- this is apparent on songs like Graceless Kids. I’d play this stupidly loud right now if it wasn’t 11pm. I think this will be the one that is screamed by Bethany, and by the crowd back to her on tour. There is something so powerful about this song, and honestly, listen to it through headphones so you can soak up every single word. I just love her so much, and her words have got me through a hell of a lot and beyond. Make It Last is one of those songs that just make you feel something other songs haven’t quite done yet. It’s such a perfect song.

 Rollercoaster is one of my favourite songs on the record; I love the slick sound on this record, and I love everything about this song. It is hard to pick a solid favourite, and I know I don’t need to, but I feel like this might be the one I end up going back to. There is something about this record that reminds me slightly of Courtney Barnett, and that’s always a great thing, you know. They’ve both got this beautiful way with words that makes you feel like they are telling your story and spilling out everything you are thinking and feeling.

 This record will tug at your heartstrings and it will stay with you, just like all their records do. Best Coast have been doing this for a decade or so now, and I love how every record is different and a step up from what they did before. I love how well Bethany and Bobb work together, and I love what they create together.

 For when you feel hopeless, hopeful, lost, lonely or found- this record will be such a comfort. Songs like Rollercoaster, Wreckage and Master Of My Own Mind will get you right in the gut, and again are prime moments of growth on this record. Bethany’s voice has never sounded so strong, and you can feel every single word that she sings. She has such a distinctive voice, and I love how her voice and Bobb’s musicianship are just a perfect combination. They are both brilliant musicians, and Bethany’s voice is so soothing.  True is Bethany’s 60s Girl Group moment; it reminds me of the Wall of Sound era. You could imagine Ronnie Spector belting this one out, it is a gorgeous love song. It has this innocence and wonder to it that just makes you really proud of what the band have achieved and make you so proud to be a fan.

 

 

 These 11 songs will be all you need; they will comfort you, and they will be your crutch. It is such a beautifully honest record; just play it loud and let everything out. Let songs like Seeing Red be your release. Then fall into the world that Best Coast have given us for the past 10 years or so. It’s a stunning record, and just what I needed. Even the cover to the record fills you with hope; there’s something about the cover that makes you want to stare at it whilst playing the record. You can also sense the creative urgency on this record and given that it’s their first full length record in 5 years, it’s like they were never gone.

That wonderful lo-fi sound is there, it will always be there, and they do it in their own way. They make their own rules, and it’s just one of the many reasons as to why I love and will always love Best Coast.





THE LONG WIVES: Feel It All Wrong.

19 12 2019

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“Someday we’ll be brand new again
Someday we’ll be reborn.”

 

If there’s one person I vow to always write about, it will always be The Long Wives aka Brandy St.John. Her music means the world to me. Beyond the world. I remember when I first discovered her music many years ago, and I get that same feeling every time I listen to her. She seems to release a song just when I need it, and right now I do.

This time of year has now become a time of year I loathe. With the loss of my Grandma 4 months ago, everything and anything has felt wrong. I’ve been in a whirlwind of feelings I’m not sure of what to do with, but I have them so there’s that. Brandy St.John recently released the gorgeous and haunting Feel It All Wrong, and I can honestly say it is one of her most moving songs to date. She has this way with words that just makes you feel a little less alone, and a little less ashamed of what you carry on your shoulders.

The power she has in her has always left me in awe, and on this song it’s the combination of lyrics that hit you in the soul and her voice combined that really hit you. Brandy has this way with words that would make most envious, she has this gorgeous way of just putting you in these scenarios and really testing your strength by accepting your weaknesses. For me, that’s the sign of someone who goes above and beyond a musician. She is truly something else; I think she’s a superhero.

 

 

There are many parts to this song that I cherish, but this section of lyrics will break and mend your heart:

“I am the child again
and I feel it all wrong
Don’t spend your nights
Lost in the years it was all wrong
All that you’ve known is broken will, broken bone
Don’t give your nights to those who will steal it all before you go on.”

There is something about the above that you just connect to. I hope one day she puts her lyrics into a book because they truly read like poetry. I’d probably buy every copy to be honest. Whilst I’ve resigned myself to the fact that she may never tour the UK, we’ve got songs like this to carry us through.

For me, there is quite simply no one else like her and there never will be. Artists like Brandy are rare and so vital. Her music has been and continues to be such a huge part of my life because there is such beauty and hope in her words. I have no idea if anyone has tried to label her music but to be honest, I highly doubt you could. It’s out of this world- just like Patti Smith, Nick Cave and Townes Van Zandt.

Once you’ve listened to Feel It All Wrong, I encourage you to go and listen to her previous work. The darkness in the sound and the beauty in all she creates on this song, and the rest of her work stays with you and personally- it’s artists like Brandy that reinforce my love for music and writing about it. She is truly one of a kind.





VIVIAN GIRLS: Memory

28 09 2019

 

VG Memory

 

A week has passed since the new record by Vivian Girls came out. When they announced they were reuniting and putting out a new record in July this year, I felt the same excitement a kid at Christmas gets. This was my kind of Christmas. I finally listened to the record in full today, on repeat. I’ve got a lot of thoughts and feelings about the record, every one of them is positive of course. Having a band that you’ve adored for so long come back and come back with this kind of record makes everything a little bit better.

 Memory is a record that us Vivian Girls fans are going to just obsess over. However, if you’ve never listened to their music before; allow yourself to have your mind blown and your soul soothed. Vivian Girls are good for the soul, and they have truly excelled themselves on their fourth record. Every record of theirs has this gorgeous and gentle atmosphere, and Memory keeps that up. The songs are made for lazy days, and to give you some hope when you feel a bit hopeless and alone. They give you this feel of sunshine on your bones even when it is murky outside. They make you feel like you are away from where you are. It really is an exceptional record that was worth the wait. 

It is a hypnotic lo-fi record that if you’re already a fan of the band, just reinforces your love for them. If you’re new to them, it’ll make you feel like you’ve known them all your life. They have kept that same eerie and haunting tone, mixed with sun-kissed sounds that ease you. They have perfected this sound, and they did so just over a decade ago. How they’ve done it now just makes you feel like you aren’t slipping into a wave of nostalgia, no chance. They make you feel as if you have grown with them. Lonely Girl is the song that has swam right into my heart and choked me up. Everything about this song gives the listener comfort and some form of safety.

 

 

At the moment, I will certainly take safety from music because I think it’s what I need. I cannot cope with my Gran’s death at all, and I need something to just take me away from it all for a while- I’m using this record as the most beautiful form of escapism I can find right now. The song feels like a sunset, with gentle waves hitting the rocks on the beach. It is comforting in unconventional ways, and I’ll take that.

I love the heaviness in Sludge. It is just over 2 minutes long, but you cannot help but keep going back to it for when you want a lesser dreamy sound. It feels like something from a film. A film scored by Vivian Girls would definitely have my attention. They have never sounded so good, and it’s not just because we’ve missed them. Ali has been one of my favourite drummers for so long, and on this record, she has developed a more distinctive sound, and that flows so beautifully into Cassie and Katy. They are just the most perfect band, and I’m just so pleased that they have made this record. It was the right time, we really needed it. We’ll always need this band.

If I could drive, this would be the kind of record I would go on long drives to as the sun sets and the road becomes more and more desolate. Cruising into the unknown with Vivian Girls as my guide. It sounds perfect. On the other side of this, they make you feel like you’re on an L.A. beach just watching the world go by. I’m Far Away is again another song to have on repeat. Over and over. The best way to listen to this record is often, and constantly hitting repeat. Play it in order, then play it however you want. Obsess over certain songs, then play another. Go into it however you want once you’ve played it in full- it still flows beautifully. However, I just need to mention that All Your Promises is the one that you should always end your listening on. There is something about it that makes you feel like this is the song that just MUST hear last. It’s got a finality to it that is just so pure; I can’t get enough of it. It is truly a masterpiece. A real Vivian Girls masterpiece. The artwork kind of sets the mood in a way- you feel like you’re in a whirl of hazy sunshine- with the purples and deeper shades of blue leaving you in awe. A late summer’s evening with music for company.

 Aside from the Memory sounding divine, the production on this is out of this world. It is a record that has been made with a lot of love, a lot of care and a lot of thought. They haven’t just made this record for the hell of it. I think they needed to make it as much as we needed the record. It’s a sentimental record, and you just cannot get enough of it. It’s such a light and feel-good record, there are absolutely no fillers- just gorgeous moments to fall in love with, over and over.

 

 

Like I mentioned, if you’ve never listened to Vivian Girls before then dive headfirst into Memory then work your way through their discography in whatever way you want. You can be traditional with It, or you can be a little rebel- it’s all on you. As someone who has been hugely in love with this band for nearly 10 years, I can honestly say that this is their best record.

 It’s s lo-fi gem full of songs to just feel utterly free to. Let go and listen.





DRAB MAJESTY + SRSQ: Soup Kitchen, Manchester. 19/09/2019.

20 09 2019

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If ever there was a dream line-up, then this would be one of them: Drab Majesty AND SRSQ together. Playing a venue that I adore, even if it was an absolute sweat box last night. I missed the first song of SRSQ’s set because I am shit at catching the tram from my flat to town, but that’s irrelevant.

Kennedy (who is SRSQ) was part of a band that I was obsessed with; Them Are Us Too, and to see someone who was part of a band who have left a lasting impact on me live, was something to truly treasure. There is the same passion there, and it is just a beautiful thing to be immersed in. For me, the music Kennedy makes as SRSQ is so ethereal and so delicate. I adore her vocals so much, and how Kennedy has this impressive power within their vocals that are just a thrill to witness. The way Kennedy controls the room with this gorgeous voice and haunting songs just leave you covered in goose bumps. For me it is songs like Cherish that show us just how effortlessly brilliant Kennedy is, and how every fibre of their being is exposed on stage.

 

 

Kennedy uses her voice how a guitarist would create fury with their instrument. She does it all on her own, and you cannot help but be in awe. Her music has been a massive comfort for me recently, with my Grandma dying very recently. I have used her music to escape a little, and to see these songs live just got me. If it can hit you in the gut, then you’ve found a band worth holding on to. Kennedy tells stories and takes you off into another world with her music, and the way she does it in a live setting is just nothing short of beautiful, in its truest and purest form. Only One was the song that just moved me the most. It made me think of listening to Zola Jesus for the first time- they both have this power in their voice, and this tone that is just unlike anything else. It can make you cry almost instantly because it is that soothing and perfect. I hope she comes back to the UK and does her own headline tour because her set was just a joy to watch.

Now it is time for Drab Majesty to take to the stage.

A couple of months ago, Drab Majesty released the chilling new record, Modern Mirror. This is a record that is dripping in synth-filled songs to hit you right in the soul. The songs were made to hit you right in the pit of your stomach. So how do they do this live? Effortlessly. So easy. Deb and Mona D are two exceptional musicians who just have this stage presence that leaves you so intrigued and moved by what you are witnessing. Their songs are euphoric symphonies that make you feel as if you have found yourself in the underworld where Deb and Mona are your leaders.

As someone who has frequent panic attacks (and they are ever increasing) I find bands like Drab Majesty and SRSQ so calming. It is the relaxed tone in the vocals, and it is the purity in the sound. It just eases me. They open their set with A Dialogue, which kicks off their new record. The perfect opener to their set. I’ve waited a hell of a long time to see this band, and I can honestly say it was one of the most moving shows I’ve been to. Something I really admire about Drab Majesty is that their music feels like it could be in a film, and they make you feel like you are part of it. There is so much fragility in the music, and I love it so much. I love how they are unafraid to be gentle in their music. The Other Side broke my heart, but to see it live was just remarkable.

 

 

It was such a joy to see both bands last night, and to see them both command the stage in ways that show us that less is truly more. In an ideal world, I’d watch their sets every single day and be in a constant state of bliss. They all make you want to create this dark, moving music to release all that you’re carrying. You can see for Kennedy that there’s a fair bit of release when she performs live and Drab Majesty have this hypnotic and stoic stance on stage, but there is so much emotion within all of them when they perform their songs. You can truly see how much it means to them, and given that most of this tour is sold out- it shows us just how much they are loved. It was so good to see the venue packed for Kennedy’s set. There was just a lot of love and respect in the venue for both sets, and to see this was nothing short of wonderful.

I can only urge you to see both bands whenever you can. It will feel like the most perfect out of body experience, and you will feel like both bands are in control of how you move during the show. You’re their puppet, and in this instance it really isn’t a bad thing. As hard as it was for me to leave the house last night and go to the show, I’m so glad I did. This is what I needed at this moment, what comes next now I have no idea but I have this to hold on to for a little while.

I can only reiterate that you just need to see both bands, and allow yourself to be immersed in such beauty and ethereal synth magic.

 





DRAB MAJESTY: Modern Mirror.

14 06 2019

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One of the most exciting duos around, Drab Majesty are releasing a new record in July. A record that will reinforce our love for them, and get us excited over their UK tour in September. Deb Demure and Mona D make exquisite music together, and I’m going to explore that with my take on Modern Mirror.

The record opens with the haunting yet angelic A Dialogue. The song is highly atmospheric, and I cannot help but feel this could be a song that they open their sets with. It’s got something about it that is stoic and something that just grabs you. It starts with these strong vocals, then it all comes together and it is this huge sound. The kind of sound that you’d probably hear at the end of the night in a dingy, dark club as you make your way outside. There is something euphoric yet final about it. It’s the perfect song to start the record with.

 

 

 

Drab Majesty have been a band I have leant on for some time, like Cold Cave. There is something about the lyrics and the way the music eases any ugly feelings, and lord knows I’ve been at my worst recently. Music is powerful, and music can heal. It can be that thing that just holds you together, and I hold Drab Majesty so highly- purely because of what they mean to me. It goes beyond being a band that evoke escapism; they have something about them that just makes me fall in love with them every single time I listen to them.

The Other Side is 6 minutes of sheer heaven, and it makes you wish you were wandering the streets of L.A. taking this song in, and ignoring the world for a while. There’s a lot of Garage Rock bands I love that come from L.A. but Drab Majesty are on the other spectrum of the music I love, and it’s this dark and intense sound. Some may call it “Goth” or “Darkwave” but I really don’t have a name for it. All I know is that their lyrics, and songs are so powerful and so wonderful to get lost in.

Only a couple of songs on this record are under 5 minutes long, which I adore. I love songs that last over the 5 minute mark and have intense and euphoric build-ups. Drab Majesty are pros at this, and knowing that they will be playing my favourite venue in Manchester (Soup Kitchen) in a few months, just makes me super happy. It’s the perfect venue for them and I cannot wait to hear the new record here.

There’s this devotion and passion in these new songs that shows how they aren’t afraid of experimenting with new sounds and pushing their sound further. Careless and The Demonstration are two perfect records, and with their third they do something beyond what they’ve done before. The best way to experience this record is to listen to Careless, then The Demonstration; then allow yourself to immerse yourself in all that Modern Mirror is. You’ll hear this subtle growth, but the beautiful darkness is there. Ellipsis and Dolls in The Dark are for me, their biggest sounding songs on the record. They take you somewhere new on these songs, somewhere no other record or song ever has. If you’ve never listened to Drab Majesty before, please invest in their previous two records in time for the release of this gorgeous record that is, Modern Mirror.

Modern Mirror may only be 8 songs long (as a massive fan, I could quite happily listen to triple the amount!) but it is a record to truly cherish and keep close. It’s the kind of record that’ll keep nightmares at bay, and allow you to soak up the darkness in order to be less afraid. I needed this record more than I thought I did. There’s something about it that is so soothing, and I think a huge part of this is Deb’s voice. It is so comforting and easy to just fall in love with. The songs tell a story, and that just makes you connect even more so with this stunning record.

Modern Mirror shows us exactly why Drab Majesty are one of the best bands around. Their sound is heavy, eerie and sublime. There’s no denying just how phenomenal the new record is. Buy the record when it comes out in July, and please come see them on tour.

 

 

Modern Mirror will be released on 12th July via Dais Records.

Tour dates are:

18th Sept – Dingwalls, LONDON

19th Sept – Soup Kitchen, MANCHESTER

21st Sept – Wharf Chambers, LEEDS

22nd Sept – Clwb Ilfor Bach, CARDIFF

They will be joined by the equally beautiful, SRSQ.