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





MINI SKIRT.

7 01 2020

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Finding information about the band Mini Skirt is impossible without searches bringing up weird images and the like. Fortunately, I’ve got what I need to write about this proper rowdy band. A band that make you feel like you’re listening to Black Flag for the first time. Are you ready to throw things out of the window and trash your living room? Yes? No? It doesn’t matter. Mini Skirt are a brilliant band who have this refreshing angst and humour in their music.

 Mini Skirt formed in Byron Bay (yes, another Australian band that I’m writing about) and although I know basically nothing about the Australian music scene (I know what I like, and what I’m not big on) I can safely say that there are some fucking incredible bands out there. I’ve written about the ones I’ve found and loved, but I know there’s more out there. It’s the turn of Mini Skirt right now, and there’s something about their extremely honest and to the point lyrics that just makes you fall in love with them instantly. They have this charm that makes you feel like you’re hanging out with your best friends; they see the world in a way that may or may not irk some, but they’re telling us what they see and what they see in others. They unleash their disappointments and the like, and the way they express it is done in a way that you wish more would do. Their humour is what lures you in but it’s their evident talent that keeps you there. Completely locked in.

 

 

A band I can liken them to is Viagra Boys- they both have this undeniable charm and wit in their songs, and it is just a real privilege to listen to. Mini Skirt are a band that observe, and I mean really observe. Their song (Untitled) taken from Hello Possums (ten points if you get the reference!) is one of my favourites, and it really captures the way we observe others, ourselves and the world; and how our thoughts can just turn into a bunch of nothingness. Sometimes you just gorm out and your brain focuses on things that probably hold no worth to others, but it matters to you. So, it does matter.

 I’m not entirely sure when the band started, it may have been around 2016 with their Taste EP- which you must listen to! They have such a solid and gnarly sound; they’re just consistently brilliant, and I think that’s why what they do works. Songs like Out Of Place (from 2016) to last year’s Pretty shows just how far they have come, and how their sound has got stronger and the toughness in the lyrics is really coming through. Mini Skirt aren’t afraid to be brutally honest and call out bullshitters. We need more of that, and the way they call out various injustices is brilliant. Dying Majority is a prime example of this and is definitely one of the most vital songs of our time. Listen to it. Listen to it really loud and take in the lyrics. Going back to the Taste EP; it is made up of 6 songs that are the perfect introduction to the band. If you’re going to start here with the band, then you won’t be sorry. Songs like Billy Elliot and Dogs are so effortlessly great, and they have this lo-fi sound that makes you feel like you’re watching them rehearse right in front of you. If only we could be that lucky! It’s such a fantastic EP. They aren’t afraid to call people/society out on their shitty behaviour, and that alone makes them easy to love.

 

 

Mini Skirt are nothing short of exceptional, and I hope they take over the world someday…somehow. I love everything about their sound. I love how they make music for them, and aren’t afraid to be bold and honest, and of course- loud. The snarls in the vocals (especially on Security) to the drums that sound like a riot and everything else, it’s just incredible. They’re made up of some of the best musicians you’ll probably ever hear, and their newest release Pretty shows us that. Go listen to all the music they’ve given us, and you’ll truly hear something that will blow your mind.

 

*photo by Dougal Gorman





DRAGGS.

7 01 2020

DRAGGS

 

So, we know that Kel Mason from Gee Tee is an exceptional musician, right? If you’re a fan of Gee Tee then you’re probably aware of his other project, DRAGGS. DRAGGS are ridiculous. They’re this super lo-fi sounding band that are really creepy. You don’t feel safe when you listen to them, and I’m totally fine with that. I love the heaviness of the sound, and I love how really weird it all is.

 DRAGGS are obscure and everything you want from creepy sounding lo-fi Garage Rock. I’m hooked. I love how distorted it all is, how difficult to listen to it is- I mean this in the best way possible. They aren’t an easy listen, and I love that about them. I love how you have to be really focused to listen to DRAGGS in order to really get the sound. This isn’t a band that you casually listen to, oh no! This is a band that you set time aside for, so you can really hear everything that’s going on. And trust me, there’s a LOT going on.

 

 

The more you listen to DRAGGS, the more obvious it is that Kel is a genius. That’s for another post though, right now I just really want to tell you as many reasons as I can as to why DRAGGS are incredible- but maybe you already know this. If you do, then sorry for wasting your time. Anyway, the thing to really become obsessed with is the production. The production on their records is INSANE. It is pretty much perfect, but there’s this strong DIY feel that just makes you feel like you could do this. Maybe you could. Are YOU the next Kel Mason? Let’s move on quickly.

 DRAGGS sound like you’ve taken Night Nurse during the day and you’re attempting to hold yourself together. There’s this woozy feel to their sound that I’ve not really heard before. Or maybe I have, but with DRAGGS it is something else. You feel like you have zero control over anything, and sometimes that is totally fine. Songs like New Teeth, Slob City and the whole of Slime Street will make you feel odd, but in a good way. This is some of the weirdest music I’ve ever heard, and I adore it. It’s part futuristic, part outer body experience. There’s enough going on here to keep you hooked- I just love how weird and off the wall it all is. It’s something that I know I’ll keep going back to. But like I said, DRAGGS aren’t a band that you just listen to casually. You need to really focus when you listen to them; you might miss something important if not!

 

 

 

Slob City and 3D Funeral are two of DRAGGS releases that were made to purely blow the minds of anyone who listens to them, and they truly succeed in doing this. I absolutely adore the Slime Street release, but to be honest I just find the whole catalogue of music to be nothing short of fantastic. They don’t make for an easy listen, and I’m all for that.





HIDEOUS SUN DEMON.

5 01 2020

HSD

 

Here’s another great Australian band for you; Hideous Sun Demon. A three-piece Garage Punk band from Melbourne via Perth. Three buddies who have an incredible sound that you cannot help but play at a volume that would cause others to complain. The band were recommended to me, and can safely say that I am so glad that they were.

With a number of releases to their name now, Hideous Sun Demon have a solid sound that makes them standout in the most beautiful way possible. I love how their songs are direct insults to those who really get on your tits (Fungle Club is great, and it’s up there as being one of my favourite songs by them.) Last year they released the effortlessly cool Good Time EP, and prior to that was 2018’s Fame Erotic Dream, which is truly worth becoming obsessed with. Like I mentioned about Fungle Club, a lot of the songs on Fame Erotic Dream are exquisite put downs to those who try too hard or are just incessant dickbags that won’t shut the fuck up. The kind that believe all they see on Social Media to be real and probably compare themselves to those who aren’t even worth likening to a piece of dog shit on the street. You know the type. Hideous Sun Demon fully express this wealth of disdain better than most, and they just make you feel comforted that someone else feels this way. Then you just let go of it because someone else has already put it out there.

 

 

Hideous Sun Demon make the kind of music that you’d expect to hear at house parties or in a dive bar really late at night, and you’d make your way home afterwards chanting their songs probably disturbing those lucky enough to fall asleep at a normal hour. They pick up on the things in the world and society that irk them, and the way they want change certain things in their surroundings- this is beautifully put on the song, Can’t Live Like That. The sheer honesty in this song is brutal and it would probably make a lot feel uncomfortable, but it is so well done, and the way the words are like a battle really takes you aback. There’s even a mention of Mark E. Smith which I love. It’s a brilliant song, and it’s a declaration of no longer wanting too much, too soon. It is definitely one of their most emotional and poignant songs for sure.

They are one of the strongest sounding bands around, and I adore how Vin can really hit you in the gut with his vocals. Andy is a brutal drummer- the kind that makes you wish you could play like him. Combine this with Jake’s slick bass skills and Vin’s ferocious guitar sounds; they just make for an exceptional sound. They encourage each other to play a little louder, a little faster and before you know it- your mind has well and truly been blown by them.

When you go back and listen to the likes of their Industry Connections record (when there was four of them) and last year’s Good Time EP, you can truly hear how they are band that aren’t afraid to experiment with sounds, and go beyond what has been done before. They are easily one of the most exciting and interesting bands around, and the Good Time EP is just a taste of what is to come. They’re a good few years into this now, and they are most certainly a band that no matter how many times you listen to them, you feel like it is a brand new discovery every single time. Whether they have four, three or ten members in the band they are just phenomenal at what they do.

 

 

If you want to get into them by starting with last year’s release, that’s fine but honestly- start from their first release (the Meat EP from 2013 is a treat for the ears and soul) to truly hear how they’ve grown and developed this remarkable sound that will leave you wanting more and more.

 

*photo by Alec Thomas





MESA COSA.

28 12 2019

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Australia is home to some incredible bands. From the likes of Royal Chant to Amyl and The Sniffers- the bands there are not afraid to be loud, and to tell us their story. Bands like The Chats and Dumb Punts make music to trash a bar to, but amongst all of these insanely great bands are another that must be heard- Mesa Cosa.

Mesa Cosa have been around for some time, but I’m late to the party again but it’s been worth the wait. They recently supported The Cavemen (how cool is that!!) and they just have this wild sound that reinforces your love for music like this- noisy, passionate and a bit like a bar brawl on a Thursday night with no regard for work in the morning. It’s a proper riot and a delight to listen to. I’m currently hooked on their release from 2017, El Es Demons.  There’s a song on this record called Blood & Brains, and it sounds like it should be on some dodgy Horror film soundtrack. It’s a real gruesome song, and hilarious. They’ve got this wicked sense of humour flowing through their songs, and Blood & Brains really does capture this the most.

Their songs are made to be chanted back at them, and this just gives you real insight into how gnarly their live shows probably are. I don’t know if they’ve ever played the UK but knowing my luck I’ve probably just missed out on a tour, usually happens! But anyway, my point is when you listen to them you really get a feel for their live shows and how it’s probably the most chaotic fun you’ll ever have! I just can’t over the fact that they’ve played with The Cavemen! That must have been a crazy show!

 

 

I really love how Mesa Cosa have this gang-like feel to their sound and within the band. They’re not here to please anyone or make music to appease the masses. They make it because they want to, and because they are clearly one of the best bands around within the Garage Rock scene, but they go beyond that. I love how they sound like something from a creepy 70s Horror b-film but also sound like something from the future. They are so talented, and they just make you wish you could see their live shows every night. They have a real basement dive bar sound, and they make you want to throw your drink around and break stuff. I mean, maybe don’t do this because no one likes an asshole, but you get what I mean. Maybe just throw cushions about in your room- play it safe.

El Es Demons is an incredible record. From beginning to end we have got proper rowdy Punk songs to chant along to, and to just play constantly. From Melbourne via Mexico, Mesa Cosa have created something that you just cannot get enough of. I love this record a hell of a lot, and I feel stupid for not finding it when it came out in 2017. I think it’s one of those records that when you listen to it, even if you’ve listened to it hundreds of times- it still feels brand new. It’s just a great listen, and everything about the record is a real work of art. I love every single song on this record. A proper timeless record that you cannot get enough of. Sincerely one of the most exciting bands around, trust me. Aside from this record, they have the equally great Ya Ya Brouhaha record. That came out in 2014 I think, and again when you listen to this, it feels and sounds timeless.?

If like me, you’ve got an addiction to Garage Rock- then you’re probably going to adore Mesa Cosa (if you don’t already, you probably do already to be honest!) Their songs are made to be played loud. Their songs are made to be screamed back at them, and to just become obsessed with. I cannot give you another band to liken them to, and I guess that’s what makes a lot of Australian bands like this standout. They may sort of fall into the same style, but they all have their own unique sound.

 

 

Mesa Cosa truly have something in their music that makes you feel as if you have waited your whole life to find THIS band. I don’t think you can be just a casual listener of Mesa Cosa; I truly feel you become obsessed with them. And when it sounds this good, how on earth could you not be?





VIAGRA BOYS: An Ode To Sweden’s Finest.

25 12 2019

 

VB

Foolishly, I haven’t written about Sweden’s finest Viagra Boys. They have been a band that I have been obsessively listening to over the past few years. I guess I assumed I had already written about them. Never assume. But I guess now is the right time.

Last year they released the exceptional Street Worms, which is one of the most solid debut records we will ever be given by anyone irrespective of genre. It’s got everything you could possibly want from a record. The dark humour and their take on the world, and how fucked it has become is incredible. For me, they are up there with one of my biggest loves- METZ. They’ve got this heaviness in their sound that just blows your mind with every single listen.

Viagra Boys make you want to break stuff, they make you want to pick up a guitar and smash up a stage. They just present the world to you how you see it, but the way they do it is something else. I cannot think of any other band who have this much strength and power in their music. What I love about the band also, is that their fans are so passionate about them and really appreciate the dark humour in the songs and how the songs just make you feel free. There is freedom in relating to your favourite band, and knowing others feel the same. The same goes for bands like IDLES and The Murder Capital. Dedicated fans who are just in love with the music.

 

 

Sebastian has such a distinctive voice. For me, it’s the song Baby Teeth that really cements the sound and style of Sebastian’s vocals. He’s got this effortlessly cool drawl that makes you feel like you’re listening to Lou Reed or Iggy Pop for the first time. When you find a band like this, you really know you have found something special. I can’t write about Viagra Boys and not mention the anthem that is, Sports.

Sports is such a cool song. It oozes coolness so effortlessly, and you cannot help but lose your mind when you play it and shout “SPORTS”! along with Sebastian. I love how the drums and guitar seem to egg each other on in this song to play louder, and to get faster when the hook hits. It’s an underrated anthem, but us shrimps fucking love it. It’s the kind of song that you cannot help but recite whenever you can. The sax hits, and it is the most glorious feeling ever especially when Sebastian is screaming “SPORTS!” as if he has been wounded. I absolutely love this song, and for anyone who has never listened to Viagra Boys- start with Sports and let your obsession be fuelled. There’s six of them in the band, and they are all so vital to creating a sound that is theirs, and theirs alone. They possess the wildness of The Birthday Party and the storytelling of the king that is, Mark E. Smith. These are just a handful of reasons as to why I adore Viagra Boys.

If you check out their live performances on YouTube, you’ll see just how wild they are and how powerful their shows are. You feel like you’re watching something from another planet, and it’s one of the many reasons as to why you should and will love them (if you don’t already!) You can truly see that they are band that put everything into their music, and the way it comes across in their live shows just leaves you in awe. Again, they are a band that will definitely influence the next generation to make something of their own and thank Viagra Boys for it.

Songs like Frogstrap, Can’t Get It Up and Upside Backwards are just incredible. The more I listen to them, the more I hear how they have truly created something that goes beyond Punk or Post-Punk. It goes beyond anything we’ve ever heard before. All you can do is listen obsessively because that’s the kind of hold they have on you. I wouldn’t have it any other way, would you?

 

 

Viagra Boys are on tour in June in the UK. I didn’t get a ticket to the Manchester show because I’m a twat and it’s sold out. Don’t mess up like I have and go get tickets to their shows, if they haven’t sold out yet!





THE LONG WIVES: Feel It All Wrong.

19 12 2019

Image result for the long wives

 

“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.