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.





PINKY PINKY: Turkey Dinner.

12 06 2019

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This Friday sees the release of the debut record by LA’s Pinky Pinky. Their debut record is 11 Surfer/Garage Rock songs for you to waste your days to. They’ll make you want to laze about and do a whole load of nothing. Sometimes you just need that, and sometimes it is a band that can drag this feeling out of you.

There’s no point in me trying to give you bands as comparisons to Pinky Pinky. They have something you haven’t heard before, and this delicate sound they have just soothes you. We all need something to ease the brain at times, and Pinky Pinky do it in a way that just helps you gently drift off with them. The songs give you a beautiful summer mood.

 

 

The songs have a lovely storyteller feel to them, and I think this is really evident on Lady Dancer. You can imagine the person they are singing about in your head. I love when bands can create something that makes you think, or takes you off somewhere. You can just imagine meeting this kind of person on Lady Dancer, and being totally consumed by them.

You’ve got your lo-fi sound that makes you feel you’re listening to them play in their garage (I’m all for this sound, by the way) and they project daily insecurities and anxieties so well- better than I probably could. The band grew up together, which I feel is part of why they have such a tight sound. It’s like you can feel their bond come right through in their songs. They played some shows here in the UK last month, and I reckon the next time they come back to us it’ll be at bigger venues, with more of us singing and swaying along to these laid-back songs.

Something which I adore about the band is Anastasia’s love for Fiona Apple. I can’t praise Fiona enough, and her debut record is probably one of the best records of all time. I’ll stop before I go off on one again. You can sort of hear Fiona’s influence flowing through some songs, and I think it makes you really appreciate how great the band are. To be able to pick someone like Fiona and add this Surfer Rock feel to it is just something I love. It’s something I love a hell of a lot, and it makes me excited to hear more from the band. Pinky Pinky have this sound that hits you with a wave of reassurance. Even if you’re having a shitty day, you can put their record on and you’ll feel better. Or maybe you’ll just want to trash your room then take a nap. Any of this is okay.

With a few EPs to their name, it is safe to say that Turkey Dinner is the record that is going to win over new fans for Pinky Pinky, and it’s hopefully going to please a number of fans. There is a lot of growth in this record, and they have not been shy in experimenting with different sounds. If you’re not going to be courageous with your art, then what is the point?

 

 

As the record comes to a close on Loose Change (I hope this ends up being a single) it is fair to say that this record has a lot of attitude to it and wisdom. It’s a record to grow to, identify with and just become obsessed with.

Turkey Dinner comes out on Friday (14th June) via Innovative Leisure.





WALLOWS: Manchester Academy 2. 7th June 2019.

7 06 2019

 

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The crowd at tonight’s show consisted of mainly teenage girls. As soon as Wallows stepped on the stage, the venue was deafened with screams that could rival a One Direction concert. There would have been a time where this would have annoyed me, but tonight it was beautiful to hear. A couple of hundred kids in this room watching a really great band. A lot of them were with their parents, and it may have been their first ever show. A pretty cool first gig if you ask me. I was stood behind a dad and her daughter. The dad was wearing a t shirt of The Smiths (which alone is great!) and was singing and dancing along with his kid. It was a beautiful moment. Some kids would be embarrassed, but there was so much love there. It was beautiful.

Nothing Happens is the band’s first full length record. It is made up of songs that sound like The Smiths meets The Cure and dives right into The Strokes. Personally, I love it. Three bands I love, and Wallows have created a sound that is equal parts L.A. and 80s Manchester via New York and the South of England. Maybe that’s why this crowd were absolutely brilliant. There’s something about Manchester, and given it was Wallows first time playing here- it most certainly was a night to cherish. Manchester crowds never disappoint, and they created such beautiful moments tonight.

 

 

The set opened with Do Not Wait which is by far my favourite song off Nothing Happens, and probably my favourite Wallows song. I love the depth in the lyrics, and I love the angelic yet grand sound in the song. Dylan’s vocals on this one are something else, and he truly does it justice live. To have them open with such a big song was great, and it only got better.

Songs like These Days, Pictures of Girls and Are You Bored Yet? are probably sung louder by the crowd than the band- but everyone is just so taken with it. There is something about Wallows that makes it so easy to fall in love with their sound. I loved how the crowd sang Clairo’s part on Are You Bored Yet? Braeden and Dylan share vocals throughout the set, and their voices compliment each others so well. When they need to be gentle, they truly hit you with the fragility in the tone. But when they need to ramp it up and be rough with their tone, they deliver it effortlessly.

With only one full length record and an EP to date, they had no problem selling out shows. This show was originally at the Deaf Institute but got upgraded. To be honest, they could have easily sold out The Ritz or the main Academy next door. That’s for next time though, and there definitely will be a next time.

Wallows give you more than a show. They are the best at what they do, and let it be known that Cole is one of the best drummers around. The band have got a lot of soul, and a lot of heart in their music. Their lyrics are relatable and their songs are just blissed out gems that you can’t help but continually to fall in love with.

The set closes with Scrawny. This song has my favourite line of the year, “I can still have wisdom and look like a child.” I can wholeheartedly relate to this, and it’s such a great song. To see it live just gave me a new appreciation for it. I cannot wait to see them again. I really can’t. My only downer is that they didn’t play Uncomfortable, but hey- the show was just perfect and the set just showed us why they are not only a great band and musicians, but also one of the most exciting performers around. They all have this beautiful energy, and create this atmosphere that you cannot help but soak up.

 

 

I hope kids that were at this show end up starting their own bands or something, and use this show as their blueprint or something. It was perfect. Manchester truly embraced Wallows tonight, not just because it was their first time here but because this is the best city in the world!





ZIG ZAGS: Soup Kitchen, Manchester 21st May 2019.

22 05 2019

Image result for ZIG ZAGS BAND 2019

 

Last night I got the chance to see one of the loudest bands ever. There’s only a couple of bands that have left me partially deaf after a show, and Zig Zags are one of them. They are LA’s nosiest band for sure.

They played my favourite venue here, the Soup Kitchen. The only bad thing about this show was that there was hardly anyone there. I’m disheartened about this because Zig Zags are a brilliant live band. However, although the turnout was poor that didn’t stop them and maybe subconsciously they decided to play louder than usual? I don’t know, but I do know this- it was one of the standout shows I’ve been to this year. It was their first time in Manchester, and I really hope it isn’t their last because they are a band that you’ve just GOT to see live. There’s something about them that just spurs you on.

They recently released their new record, They’ll Never Take Us Alive. I wanted to write a review about the record but, I kind of wanted to see their show first before taking it on. I wanted to see how it’d come across in a live environment because it has such a big sound. So, this is part live review/part record review/part me just going on about how great they are. I don’t know where any of this will go, but it’s out of pure admiration.

 

 

The new record is full of anthems, and I as I watched them in awe last night I couldn’t help but feel that their songs would be perfect in a stadium. They have this wonderful, grand sound but it isn’t overpowering. They are amazing musicians, and I swear Dane is one of the greatest drummers of our time. Although the venue wasn’t full, last night he played as if it was a huge fucking stadium and for me- that just sold it. The way they played last night just cemented my respect for them.

Zig Zags remind me of the Misfits mixed with the Melvins and Sleep; with a hint of Noothgrush. Basically, a perfect sound On record, sure you can hear loud they are but when you see them live, something else happens. The songs are heightened and they have this bigger feel to them. Considering they played a small venue, they made it sound like you were somewhere quadruple the size of where you were. For me, that shows you just how great a band is.

With three records into their career, each one is a step bigger and louder. They evolve in a brilliant way, and I really hope I get to see them live again because this was some show! I don’t think there’s a band around right now that are like this, and I just love how they can just annihilate your eardrums in the most beautiful way possible. They’ll Never Take Us Alive is definitely one of this year’s most out there records, and one that oozes fearlessness and this ferocious energy that you just cannot get enough of.

 

 

Zig Zags are the best at what they do, and not only do their records prove this- but their live shows do too. I’m pretty much going to live in the two shirts I bought last night!





PINKY PINKY.

26 03 2019

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I’ve said it countless times that Los Angeles produces so much great music. So many bands I love come from the westcoast, and they are all to blame for my fantasy to run away there, lounge about on the beach and listen to music I love. Then at night-time, head to a basement bar and listen to even more music. Spend the rest of my days like that- my idea of bliss. Anyway, let’s talk about Pinky Pinky.

Pinky Pinky are three best friends who make the kind of music to make you dance like an idiot to. They make you forget your troubles, and they just have this gorgeous carefree sound that once you hear, it leaves you addicted. You don’t just listen to them once and carry on with your day. Oh no! You become entirely consumed with what they give you. They have absolutely perfected a sound that is so ethereal but nothing to mess with. It’s a one of a kind sound, and it’s one that when you hear it, you know you’ve been in need of it for a hell of a long time.

They’ve been best friends forever, and this unity they have really comes out in their sound. You really get a sense of their passion for music, and the way they work together. The music just makes you feel good, and maybe it’s because they are unleashing their insecurities and anxious feelings. For me, that’s a good thing. The less of us that feel alone, the better. Music is a safety net for so many of us, and you can add Pinky Pinky in there as a band who truly make you feel comforted.

 

They’ve got a couple of EPs already released, and their debut record is due out this year (June, I think) and going by the single, Do Me Dirty (Charlie), I think it is pretty obvious that it is going to be a flawless record and will be the soundtrack to the summer for so many of us.

For three people, they make a lot of noise. The kind of noise you get lost in and want to be part of. I’m pretty sure that their live shows are as great as their records. I can imagine the songs really coming alive, and you being able to take more from the songs. Hot Tears is one of my favourite song of theirs right now. I love the heaviness in it, and I’m pretty sure this is one song in particular that becomes totally different live. It’s got such a raw Bluesy feel to it, and it’s something I hope the band dive into further on. It’s such a great song and a brilliant sound, but they also have this way of hitting you with smoother, and more delicate songs. Everything about Pinky Pinky’s music is worthy of your time and attention. They’re truly doing something we’ve not heard before, I can’t get enough of it.

There’s no one else you can compare Pinky Pinky too, so obviously there’s no point in even trying to do so. Their earlier songs have this raw Bluesy sound, but it’s mixed with that 60s Wall of Sound feel. They pretty much take everything I love about music, and make something totally unreal. They’re just a brilliant band, and exceptional musicians.

If you’re wanting to check out their live shows, they are heading to the UK soon:

May 17 – Glasgow, Scotland @ Mono*
May 18 – Edinburgh, UK @ Sneaky Petes*
May 20 – Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen*
May 21 – Birmingham, UK @ Sunflower Lounge*
May 22 – London, UK @ Seabright Arms
May 24 – Manchester, UK @ Dot to Dot Festival
May 25 – Bristol, UK @ Dot to Dot Festival
May 26 – Nottingham, UK @ Dot to Dot Festival

*17th May to 21st May are dates with The Nude Party.

Their debut EP is a dream. I’ve had it on repeat this evening, and I cannot get enough of it. They have a song called Hot Under The Habit which is going up there in my favourite songs by them. Sure I love them all, but this one is right on up there. I love the gnarly guitar, and I love how it has this real raw feel to it. You blast it out loud, and it just moves you. This is the song I keep on going back to. This is my one, I’ve decided. It’s a brilliant EP, and I’d be happy to have it on repeat for the foreseeable. It’s so, so good!

Anyway, I’ve rambled enough. Listen to them, and come see Pinky Pinky on tour!