TYLER, THE CREATOR: Flower Boy.

27 07 2017

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“20/20, 20/20 vision
Cupid hit me, cupid hit me with precision
I wonder if you look both ways
When you cross my mind.”

 

For me, Tyler is my favourite rapper around. He’s more than just a rapper though. He’s this wild creation that can unleash anything he sets his mind to and make it the most inspiring body of art. If all you’ve ever taken from his lyrics is that he is some deranged devil worshipper, then you’ve not paid attention. On his new record, Flower Boy he has gone in an otherworldly direction. Records like Goblin were brutal and laced with dark humour. Flower Boy is somewhat the opposite. It is a body of songs that are sung more than rapped. More instrumental sounds than previous. It’s like a journey through his head- you’re standing in the shadows watching Tyler. In awe. This side Tyler shows on Flower Boy is endearing as it is powerful, and shows that he isn’t just a “rapper.” He’s something more. He’s rare and brave. Fearless and focused. More than he has been before.

Flower Boy is a fantastic record, and if you’re into end of year lists I am sure it’ll be in the top 3 and maybe (and rightfully so) it’ll be someone’s top choice. I know it’s mine, for sure. Flower Boy was highly anticipated. I started putting down my thoughts about this record into my second listen last Friday when it came out. I changed my mind on putting anything out there on the day. I wanted to really listen to this record and see what happened after listening to it almost on a loop solid for a week. My opinion is still the same, and I’m pretty confident that this record has took a massive dump on anything else that may come out this year.

What I really adore about this record is how it feels like a burst of colour. There is so much energy and life within this record. Tyler has truly made something that makes the listener feel good. He’s made something that is easy to relate to. One thing that keeps cropping up is his lyrical content this time. Some are saying he’s come out on a few songs or whatever. Who cares? I don’t care what Tyler’s sexuality is- it’s none of mine or anyone’s business. All I care about is the music.

14 songs in 46 minutes. Those 46 minutes allow you to be taken on this journey where Tyler exposes his vulnerabilities in such a gorgeous way. This is wonderfully done on the opener, Foreword. It is also apparent on November and See You Again. These two songs are the ones I keep going back to. I just love his raw honesty in general, but these two songs show a side that not many probably expected. Then again, you probably shouldn’t expect anything from Tyler- he’ll more than likely do what you least expect and that’s what makes him standout above the rest.

Flower Boy goes beyond being just a Hip Hop record. It’s in its own league. You can’t define this by labelling it lazily- that’s just disrespectful. You can truly hear how much has gone into this record, and how Tyler has carefully crafted this masterpiece. He’s one of those who really cannot do anything wrong. I mean sure he has said some questionable things. I admire his determination and his passion. I love how he has made the most exciting record of the year and wasn’t scared to step aside from the sounds on Goblin, Wolf and Cherry Bomb. Each record sounds like a gradual step to where he is now. And where is he now? Top of the world.

I have no idea what sounds have influenced Tyler on Flower Boy. What I get from it is someone who has taken time out. Took in what they’ve seen in the world and allowed the universe to be the source of inspiration. It’s a record that is so easy to have on repeat constantly and not get tired of. One week in, and I really don’t want to listen to anything else.





LANA DEL REY: Lust For Life.

21 07 2017

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“Sometimes it feels like I’ve got a war in my mind
I want to get off but I keep riding the ride.”

 

I need to apologies for dismissing most of what Lana’s done since Born To Die. It’s my own fault; I didn’t really connect with the music like I thought I would. I remember ages ago finding her music and watching her home videos of Video Games and Blue Jeans. I was blown away. I was in awe of this voice that sounded like it came from another planet. For some stupid reason, I bailed. And I am entirely sorry. So here I am, about to write about Lust For Life because it is truly one of the most beautiful records I’ve heard in a long time.

I spent my morning journey to work listening to Lust For Life. The record opens with Love. When she put this song out, I was in awe. I felt like…I can’t even put into words how gorgeous that song is. It came out at a time where there was so much hate in the world, and she gave us this song to cling to. A song to play as loud as possible and ignore every evil thing in the world. There is so much hope in her voice now. You kind of picture her smiling as she sings these new songs, and to know she’s happy (happier) is a wonderful thing. Her smile on the cover of the record is just beautiful. To see her that happy is just a brilliant thing.

The title song with The Weeknd is this stunning body of vulnerability and openness that every relationship should contain. If this song doesn’t make you immediately think of the person you’re in love with, then you probably don’t love them. Or words to that extremity. I think most of us want Lana and Abel to do a full record together, and tour. And just make music together for the rest of time. Their voices are so perfect together. They are delicate and careful, and this emotion that comes out is just stunning.

Two weeks ago my Nonna in Italy died. These two weeks have been tough. I feel utterly shit, and I’ve not really felt anything other than complete sadness and emptiness. Grief it seems, hits me in a physical way. I’ve had migraines, headaches and constant stomach aches for the past two weeks. I’ve got my mind sort of, but my body is being a dick. Lust For Life is the record I have needed to extend a hand to get me out of this rut. I’ll get out when I’m ready. Music will be what I use, it always is. It always will be. There are certain songs on this record that are so fucking important. The most important song on the record is the last song, Get Free. Get Free is the best song to end this record on. You get this this comforting feeling from Lana that it is all going to be okay. Sure we all feel like shit from time to time. Some can manage it very well; others like me have to rely on medication. Medication and music.

13 Beaches and Cherry are nothing short of stunning. Sure there are “sad” moments on this record, but the way that Lana projects this sadness now is in a way that isn’t as intense. I love intense, and for me that’s a real strength of an artist for them to pour out such emotions. However, 13 Beaches is so painful but so fucking beautiful. It has this weight to it that leaves you in awe of her voice and her words. It starts off real sad but then hope fills. That’s the general feeling of the record- there is sadness, sure, but Lana overcomes it and lets it all go. We can all learn from this. Things take time. You just have to work at it.

For me, the reason why Lust For Life is such a phenomenal record is because it shows this side of Lana that has let go of something that she was known for and made something still as dark and not so much intense. Don’t get me wrong, there is still that Lana sound- but it comes from the music this time. Cherry has drumming that is akin to Born To Die. It’s such a strong song. I don’t mean this in a hipster bullshit slang way. I mean it in a way that it’ll make you feel tough.

It is so easy to ignore the good in the world when there is so much shit happening, but music is our glue. Lust For Life is this missing piece. I can’t see how anyone wouldn’t love this record. It is so gorgeous, gentle and full of love. Even the sad-ish songs have this wealth of love within them. It is such a hopeful record that has projected Lana in an even more relatable way. I just want to play this record over and over, and do nothing. It’s the kind of record that you create moments with that you’ll treasure forever. Moments you’ll create by yourself or with the one that you love.

Lust For Life is not only the finest record of the summer; it’s probably up there in best records of the year. Only a fool would try picking fault with this record. It’s everything you’d want and more.

Waste your summer days to this record. Do nothing, do something, and do whatever the hell you want to this record. Think of the one you love. Play it to the one you love and close off the world. Hold them close, and shut your eyes. Go to the place where only you two can go and let Lana be your soundtrack.

The song Change has a line that immediately made me think of People Have The Power by Patti Smith, “Change is a powerful thing. People are powerful beings.” The record is full of hopeful lines like this, and for me that’s what makes Lust For Life a gorgeous work of art that isn’t just a source of comfort; it is also a beacon of hope. And that is why music will always be the most powerful thing we can expose ourselves to.





FLOWERS OF EVIL: City Of Fear.

13 07 2017

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A couple years back, a super group formed in New York City. Flowers Of Evil erupted and tore up eardrums, and limbs alike. Made up of Young Boys lead guy, David and also Brandon and Charlie from Crocodiles it’s pretty obvious that Flowers Of Evil are going to end up putting one of the best records of the year, right? Their first release was brilliantly loud and pleasantly dangerous. Where have they headed with City Of Fear?

City Of Fear is a real Hardcore Punk record. It can easily stand up against the greats, and wouldn’t look out of place next to a Black Flag record. It’s got this effortless raw and brutal sound that so many try to perfect, but it just sounds overdone. Flowers Of Evil make it look so easy and they make it sound exactly like it should. This record is a collection of songs that need to be played in a sweaty dive bar with everyone yelling the words back at the band as David screams them in your face. There is this glorious urgency in the songs that makes you wish you could do this. The alternative is okay- playing it as loud as you can without a care in the world.

It’s nice to allow yourself to be exposed to gentle sounds but sometimes you just need something obnoxiously loud to satisfy what certain parts of you need. If I could, I’d go on about my favourite song on City Of Fear but it’s pretty tough to pick one. Each song comes in just under 2 and a half minutes- the perfect amount of time to get a point across. The lyrics on every song are extremely poignant, especially with how society can be and certain world leaders being absolute shitheads. You need an escape. Every day music is my escape. We’re all getting away from something.

David’s snarl on these songs is brilliant. He has this demeanour that comes through wonderfully on these songs, and it probably makes him on of the most underrated singers/frontman of our generation. City Of Fear is an excellent portrayal of the world we currently live in, and the way in which Flowers Of Evil have exposed it make it much easier to digest.

I know I said I couldn’t pick one particular song, but I’m really into Sedation Vacation. I love how furiously quick it is, and will just make you want to rip shit up. MAN also has David’s infamous snarl on it that like pretty much the whole record, again, will make you just want to destroy stuff.

Play the record loud and throw stuff out of your bedroom window. Unleash that fury you’re carrying around. I love the rage and beautifully deafening sounds on City Of Fear. It sounds real nice right after playing their first record. These 14 songs deserve to rule the rest of your year. The colossal sound on this record is something that just makes you want to pick up a guitar and make a mass amount of noise. Sure 14 songs don’t feel enough, but just go back to the start and let yourself get utterly immersed in the record all over again.

There’s really no point in trying to compare Flowers Of Evil or this record to anything or anyone, it’s totally pointless. The songs truly speak for themselves and must be played as loud as possible. They’re worth losing your hearing over.

You can buy City Of Evil via the Deranged Records bandcamp page: https://derangedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/city-of-fear





LITTLE DEATH MACHINE: Midnight Blue.

12 06 2017

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There are some bands that just make you really, really care about music. Some bands that get beautifully under your skin and take over the noise in your head. These are the bands we cling to, but the grip isn’t needed to be too tight because the love you have for them is going nowhere.

Little Death Machine have been an obsession of mine for a few years now, and every single time they put something new out- I just have to write about it. With everything they have released so far, it sounds like a step up from what has come before.

Their new single, Midnight Blue is what would happen if Trent Reznor and Brian Molko got together with a hint of Cold Cave. So for me, it is nothing short of perfect. Daniel’s voice on this is as strong as ever and it’s one of those songs that are just made to be yelled back to the band.

The wonderfully menacing and creepy sound in Midnight Blue is exceptional, and it is matched brilliantly with the video. I’ve always loved how Little Death Machine have this really eerie and dangerous sound. It’s like something or someone is lurking. Waiting and waiting for you. You may never know who or what it is. But maybe one day it will get you. Maybe you’ll be aware, maybe you won’t. Midnight Blue will be playing as it happens.

There’s this brilliant build up after the 2 and half minute mark where everything just hits you. Followed by a brief instrumental where it goes slightly tame, then Daniel’s vocals kick in again and this wave of unsteadiness hits you. A lot of bands try to get this eerie feeling within their music, and some just take it too far. Little Death Machine do it in a way that is nothing short of effortless, and of course leave you wanting more.

In my biased opinion, it is really one of the best things Little Death Machine have done. I remember hearing Hit Me ages ago and being in awe of this brutal sound. To hear them go from that to what they have created with Midnight Blue is just wonderful. They are really one of the best bands around.

Little Death Machine are having a single launch for Midnight Blue next Monday (19th June) at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington. You can get yourself a ticket here: https://www.musicglue.com/little-death-machine/events/39803950-236e-0135-a8e7-4661067ffba2





DUSTY MUSH: Cheap Entertainment.

4 06 2017

Dusty Mush – Cheap Entertainment

 

Last week, one of the finest bands from France released their new record. Dusty Mush are an obsession of mine, and in an ideal world they would be everyone’s obsession. There’s time.

Cheap Entertainment consists of 10 songs that were designed for you to laze about to, to walk round your streets out of sheer boredom and frustration. They unleash all those daily frustrations in 10 solid songs with only one tipping over the 3 minute mark. Like a wealth of great bands, they don’t need to create long ass songs to make a point. They do it instantly and with this passionate fury that makes you want to leave your bland daily life behind in order to find something that has meaning.

As far as debut records go, I don’t think Dusty Mush could have made a stronger record than this. It is beautifully loud and feels like a pleasurable riot to the ears. The songs will stir a fight within you that will make you want to flail your limbs about and completely let go. You’ll zone out unapologetically to this record. As you blast out Cheap Entertainment, you cannot help but block out the world. And I guess right now, a lot of us need that.

The delightful screams in More & More will project your own annoyances at the world and possibly your surroundings. It’s a record for those who have had enough and can see all the faults. We don’t broadcast them out loud, we hold it close and bands like Dusty Mush allow us to let them go. We all need music like this. The world needs a band like Dusty Mush.

Unfortunately I never got chance to see any of their recent shows in the UK which I’m sad about, but hopefully there will be some more coming up soon. What I adore about Dusty Mush is that, like a lot of bands I am crazy about, they sound like a band that just need to be seen live in order for us to really get a sense of what they are about. The record actually does sound like something someone has recorded at one of their shows. It has this brilliant raw sound to it, and that’s something that is to be muchly appreciated and respected. As a debut record, I really cannot praise it enough. From start to finish the songs are designed to blow out your eardrums and to blow your mind.

Dusty Mush are the kind of band you’d want to be in. You can easily hear the fun, love and passion that has gone into making this record. You can really let go to this record, and sure 10 songs may not feel enough (great bands like this will always leave you wanting more) but it is one of those records that you can play on repeat and not grow tired of it. For me, it is most definitely one of the best records of the year. It’s a record that is just a solid body of fun songs that you can, like I said earlier, laze about to or you can just play and zone out.

Everything about Dusty Mush and this record captures what I love about music. It is half an hour of fuzzed out songs with wonderfully distorted vocals. The perfect mix, and a sheer pleasure to listen to and indulge in.

I hope they come back to the UK soon because these songs are just made to be performed live.

Cheap Entertainment is out now on Howlin’ Banana Records/Stolen Body Records.

Buy it and play it loud.





LOOM: Loom.

20 05 2017

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In 2012 I found a band that fast became an obsession, a band that I would wait with high anticipation for something new from them. Anything. Everything. That band are Loom. I bought a t-shirt of them and practically lived in it. It’s got holes in, and I guess some would say it’s unwearable but who cares. I just say it is loved. The fraying material was just the tip of how deep my love for this band ran. I was in dire need of a record by them. I didn’t expect to wait this long, but you know what they say, and it’s true. It was totally worth the wait and now I finally get to write about the debut record by Loom.

Loom are fronted by Tarik who has such a beautifully distinctive voice. It is a real raw and rugged voice that truly stands out from others. He has something really powerful and it makes you soak in every single word he sings- especially on the songs Hate and Get A Taste. But the songs that weren’t on previous releases such as Nailbender show exactly how needed a band like Loom are, and how voices like Tarik’s are a massive breath of fresh air. The fury in their sound and this addictive urgency within this record just makes you smack repeat after the last song ends.

The record consists of 10 songs which comes in just around the half hour mark. It is highly encouraged that you play it about 4 times in a row to really fall in love. The first listen is sheer lust, then it becomes an overwhelming sensation of love towards the record. It is easily one of the best, if not the best record a band from this country have put out this year. Call them Punk, call it Grunge, whatever! Who cares about labelling, all you need to know is that this is proper raucous record that has to be played obnoxiously loud. I know it’s an old song, but hearing Seasick on the record is bloody great. This is the one that you need to blow your eardrums out to. Play it on Monday morning on the way to work when all you wanted was an extra hour asleep. It’ll wake you up. Tarik’s screams will breathe some life into your lungs. Play this song, this whole damn record until your vision is less hazy and you feel like you can take on the world. Or public transport.

I love bands that make you really feel how much work has gone into a record. You almost feel as if you are there with them in the room as they pour themselves into this body of work. Loom are one of those bands. You can really sense the dedication in this record, and how vital it is that it is heard. That it is heard ritualistically and loud. So loud. Maybe it isn’t for the faint hearted, but don’t be a wuss with this and miss out. Just free your mind and allow yourself to hear something really brutal and different. There is nothing else around quite like Loom and I’m just really happy that we now have a full length record.

I’ve yet to see them live, but I’m pretty sure I’d leave with my hearing damaged and a bit bruised. That’s the sign of an excellent gig. Tarik’s screams ringing in your ears for days. Bliss! Absolute bliss. Loom are a band that defy any era, any genre. That’s how it should be. There’s something about them that will remind you slightly of other bands, but that happens with nearly everything, right? What matters, and what truly stands out on this record is the fact it really shows a band that have pushed themselves, taken the time to develop a sound and the sound has become theirs- there is, like I said previously, no other band like Loom and that, for me, just makes this one of the most exciting records I have heard in a long time.

You know what to do- buy it and play it loud.





Ho99o9: United States Of Horror.

6 05 2017

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With a smack to the face and a kick in the shins, a bloody nose. Broken bones. Grazed knuckles. Aching joints. That’s what the debut record from Ho99o9 will bring you. Pain, anguish, destruction, pleasurable noise, decadence, truth, brutal and brave truth. A riot. They’re not just a Hip Hop group, but man, they have made the best Hip Hop record in a long time. As far as debut records go, this one is going to be ringing in your ears even when they release their fifth one. It’s got this level of greatness to it that comes from sheer determination, and boy- they have it!

When I first heard Ho99o9 in 2014/early 2015, I was instantly moved by their attitude and how they really had this strong Punk sound that we so desperately needed. Ho99o9 were and still a band that we urgently need. They speak to everyone irrespective of race, age, sexuality, background. None of it matters, it never should matter. Their songs are to be played as loud as possible, and for every word to be yelled and learnt. Keep up the pace.

At the moment, Street Power is my favourite song on the record but I’m fully expecting that to change. 17 songs in 46 minutes. 17 songs that will blow your mind, blow your eardrums and leave you wanting more. 17 songs that shape our frustrations at the world and the things we see. The things we can change, and the things that are out of our hands, for now. No band has been this brave in a long time. United State of Horror is a body of work that oozes blood, sweat and rage. It’s the perfect record to expand your thoughts to and see things for how they are.

For just two people to make this much noise and to have such an incredible force within their debut record is just amazing. They take the sounds of two genres and make something really out there and unlike anything else. Sure they’ve had the Death Grips, Bad Brains and Black Flag comparisons but there is something else within them that is totally unlike anything else. Songs like Splash and Knuckle Up really show this, and for me, I’m just really in awe of Eaddy and theOGM. Just two people with such truth and rawness to their sound. It’s like exposing a wound. People will turn away but are still intrigued at the gore and guts. There’s gore and a whole lot of guts in their songs. How can you not be moved even slightly by them?!

I spent most of yesterday listening to the record at work, and I just intensely focused on the lyrics. Today I’m trying to take in every detail within the music. The way they make you feel like an electric shock is flowing through you. This isn’t a band that should be labelled as “not suitable for…” forget that. They are a band for EVERYONE. They hold something so important within them, and it isn’t something that needs ignoring.

Again, they are one of those bands that you’ve got to see live. I’ve yet to, but how they are on record will easily be shown in a different light during their live shows. They just have something in their music that needs to be in a live setting. Venue size doesn’t matter, the more that hear them- the better. Songs like Sub-Zer0 and War Is Hell just need to be seen live, you get that immediately from them. I think I’ve move on to Sub-Zer0 being my favourite right now.

From their EPs to this debut full length record, in just a few years Ho99o9 have created their own movement on their own terms. The finest thing to have come from New Jersey via L.A in a long time. Well, ever really. United States of Horror is a record that deserves your complete and utter attention. It’s easily one of the best records of the year, and the rage within it will feed into your soul. It’ll find its way deep inside of you, and will never leave.

You know what to do- play loud. Learn the words, throw your body around to the songs, go to the shows and let Ho99o9 completely and utterly take you over.





TALL JUAN: Olden Goldies.

3 05 2017

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For the past few years I have been obsessed with Far Rockaway resident, Tall Juan. I found his music by accident and it’s probably been one of the best musical finds of mine. I’ve seen him at every London show he’s done, and next month he’s playing The Lock Tavern again- for free!

On Friday, his full length debut record is coming out. I’ve been waiting for this record for so long, and I really cannot wait to go out and get myself a copy. Play it to death, and just keep buying it. His style is Ritchie Valens meets Joey Ramone. He’s everything I want from a musician, but his live shows are something else. Again, I cannot wait to see him next month and to see these new songs performed live. He has this hyperactivity to his music and he brings this so well to his live shows. You can’t help but think when you listen to him, that his music is the kind that really comes alive in a live setting. The kind of music that has a firm home in dingy venues where you leave covered in other people’s beer and sweat.

His record kicks off with a tighter version of I Don’t Know What To Do. This new version is just as great as the previous version.  I always felt from his music that they are the perfect songs to play when you need your mind to wander or if you’re wandering around doing nothing- his music is the perfect friend to bring along. His voice is so strong on his record, and I am just so happy for him. He seems to be doing a show every night, and he’s just one of the hardest working people I know.

From trading emails back and forth with him over the years, to seeing his first UK show and to now hearing his first record- I’m just so massively proud of him. Prior to Olden Goldies I’ve said that his music makes you feel like you are strolling around New York City in the late 70s trying to find something to do and before you know it- you’ve stumbled in on a Ramones show. He just takes you back and time and brings you back to now in such a beautiful way.

The record consists of 15 tracks that aren’t really longer than 3 and a half minutes. They all sound like perfect Punk songs to fit your mood. You can play them whilst you laze about at home, at beach, travelling to work, whilst you’re at work- anywhere, everywhere. You’ll find a home in these songs and you’ll find a best friend in Juan’s music and words. It’s hard to write about this record without going on about how proud I am of him, but I know how hard he works and how hard he has worked on this record, and it truly shows. He has a distinctive sound, and it’s a sound that comes right from the soul and is just nothing short of brilliant.

As I listen to the songs, I can easily pick out the ones he’s put in his live shows and to hear the final version of them is awesome. You get to hear the transition of the song and experience the finished product. Parecida A Vos is always my favourite song to see him do live because of the way he annihilates the ending. He unleashes something that makes everyone in the crowd go nuts, and we love him for it. The Olden Goldies version of It’s True sounds tougher than the first version. It’s produced here in such a clean way but still has that distinctive sound of his, it’s just so easy to love. The same goes with Why Not? Although I’ve heard the songs before, hearing them this way and on a full length record makes it all feel new again.

His cover of Mac De Marco’s Another Juan (original is Another One) and of course, Time Bomb by the Ramones are excellent moments on the record, and he makes you believe they are his songs. He makes them his own, and if you’re going to cover a song- making it your own is crucial. The record ends with Take Your Time, and this is easily the moment on the record where you stick your headphones on and play it a little louder than usual, just so you can pick up on the emotion in his voice. His voice is so good at projecting raw emotion and each song is played with this beautiful urgency.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m just so proud of him and this record. It’s probably going to be my favourite record of the year. I have to be biased with this because I just bloody love him and I love this record. Every song is wonderful, the production is great and you can tell just how much time, work and effort has gone into making it.

Olden Goldies is out this Friday (5th May) on BUFU Records.





THE VACANT LOTS: Endless Nights.

20 04 2017

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Stating what makes a band great is all down to personal taste. What I love, another person will dislike. And vice versa. What someone may call the Record of the Year, another may rip it to shreds. With this in mind, I can happily say (with a wealth of bias behind it) that The Vacant Lots are easily one of the best bands around and their new record, Endless Nights is probably the best record of the year. It’s 8 perfect songs and it fully justifies why I love them so much.

I’ve been a fan of The Vacant Lots for some time, and what immediately drew me in was the way they push past holding a “typical” sound. Nothing about their sound is remotely bland. Their sound reminds me of Suicide with a hint of The Velvet Underground. They’re a band that are perfect to listen to in the depths of the night when you’re utterly alone. They provide comfort and a brilliant noise in your head.

Endless Nights is something else. Departure was undoubtedly a bold masterpiece and with Endless Nights they have done something else. You can truly hear how they have pushed themselves in order to make something this outstanding. Elevation is one of my highlights of the record, it sounds like Suicide clashing with very early Depeche Mode with a hint of NEU! Everything about The Vacant Lots is effortlessly stunning and just so bloody cool. Empty Space is another strong point. The seductive grooves of this track show a more mellow side to their sound. Previous releases of theirs have had this gorgeous dark and intense sound, but with Endless Nights the sound is a little more relaxed but you can really hear how they have challenged themselves to make such an incredible record.

I finally saw them live last year when they played the Moth Club. Jared holding his guitar up to the ceiling and playing until there was blood on his fingers and guitar is something that will always stick with me. They play with this passion that just makes you want to make your own noise. After seeing them live last year, I understood more about their music and just how important they are. They have this cult-like following (a bit like Cold Cave) and those that love them, truly and unconditionally love them. It’s those who really really love and adore music that find themselves in love with The Vacant Lots, and if you’ve never heard of them before- Endless Nights is going to steal your heart away.

Dividing Light is a relaxed version of the rowdy 6AM from their Departure record. Both takes on the song are just brilliant. I love how they have taken such a loud song and stripped it back to this. Both versions are remarkable, and they’ll fit any mood you’re in.

If you’re a fan of The Vacant Lots, you’ll know of their beautiful and close relationship with Suicide. I remember when Alan Vega passed away last year. I was more cut up about it than any other musician we lost last year. For me, Suicide have always been that band that have been prominent in influencing bands I love. They’re criminally underrated and the influence they’ve had on so many bands is just priceless. Sadly, Alan died before he could record his vocals on the last track of the record, Suicide Note. The Vacant Lots were granted permission to use clips of an unreleased track by Alan, and it just feels like a fitting tribute. It just reminds you of the genius that is Alan Vega, and how he and Martin Rev were part of one of the most vital bands of all time.

Endless Nights is another masterpiece by Jared and Brian. 8 tracks of mind-blowing and mind-altering sounds that will be your crutch, comfort and friend. I can’t wait to see them in London and Manchester this year. Their Europe/UK June dates are as follows:

3rd Mannheim, Blau Bar
5th Wiesbaden, Schlachtof
6th Hamburg, Hakken
7th Berlin, Monarch
10th Bern, Pinto
13th London, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
14th Brighton, Hope & Ruin
15th Glasgow, O2 ABC
16th Leeds, Temple Of Boom
17th Manchester, Aatma

Endless Nights is out tomorrow (21st April) via Metropolis Records. Sack off Record Store Day on Saturday and just buy this instead! Besides, every day is Record Store Day.





PINS: Bad Thing EP.

24 03 2017

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In some ways, I guess I could just say this blog is dedicated to the same bands over and over. That probably makes me boring, but I don’t care. It’s not my fault that a solid few I love put out excellent music that deserves being written about. I’ve been writing about PINS for a long time now, and every time I write about them it is as if I find something new to love about them. Everything they put out seems a step above what they previously did. They have a really strong sound, and aren’t afraid to be different and more importantly, create a sound that is so important.

As part of the Bad Thing EP, PINS have worked with the King of Punk. The Godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop on the lead track Aggrophobe. The partially spoken word track captures why we love him- his voice. Speaking or singing, Iggy has such a distinctive voice and with Faith’s voice merging with his on the hook, you kind of want Iggy to be a permanent member of PINS. It’s such a brilliant song, and the video to it is equally great.

Bad Thing is a handful of songs that show perfectly just how great PINS are and how their sound and beautifully evolved. I need to touch on their stunning cover of Dead Souls by Joy Division. Not many people can work a cover and add something to it. I think if someone is going to cover a song, they should do something that makes it theirs. That makes you believe it is their song and doesn’t belong to someone else. They’ve done it beautifully with Dead Souls. When I first heard PINS a part of me heard familiar hints of Joy Division in their sound, and I’m so happy they chose this as the Joy Division song to cover. It’s one of their best ones, and PINS make it their own but still leave parts of Joy Division within the song. It is 4 minutes and 35 seconds of ethereal darkness. It’s comforting and sacred. For me, PINS are made up of 5 excellent musicians who are the best at what they do. If you’ve seen them live, they’ve probably all left you wishing you could play an instrument. I firmly stand by Sophie being one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen.

After spending my morning at work listening to Bad Thing, I’m pretty much set on In Nightmares being my favourite song. Faith’s voice is gorgeous on this song. There are a number of songs by PINS where her voice just sounds so haunting yet angelic, In Nightmares is easily one of them (Everyone Says is another, from their last record) In Nightmares is the song you go back to and play constantly. Irrespective of your mood, it’ll make you feel like you’ve got a safety net and well, we all need that at times and sometimes it takes form in the shape of music.

All Hail is a song they have already been putting in their shows, and it is so good to see. It’s got this wonderful gang-like feel to it as they sing, “All hail.” It’s like a protective circle around the band and those who love their music. PINS are one of those bands you wish you could join. You’d start a band if you could, but you know you wouldn’t be able to get a sound like this. There is something familiar about their sound, which makes you know it is them but there is something else that lies within their sound that makes you unsure if it is a band from decades and decades ago, or if this is really a band from 2017 making this ideal sound.

To be honest, PINS have got the ideal sound. But that’s just my opinion. For me their sound is everything I want from music and from a band. I love their lyrics but I also love watching their live shows. I’ve seen them at pretty much every London show they’ve done. They’re playing up the road from my house next month, and I’m so excited about it. They are a band that you have just got to see live. Each show they’ve done that I’ve seen just shows how much they have grown. Not just on record, but on a stage too. The confidence is properly there now, and I am so proud of them.

Bad Thing is out now, but limited copies are available.