BEST COAST: Always Tomorrow.

21 02 2020

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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





KOLOSSUS DÄÄCHT: Lipstick Love.

17 02 2020

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Right out of Germany we have the exquisite KOLOSSUS DÄÄCHT; a tougher than leather Garage Rock band who will be releasing their debut record at the end of March.

 I’ve heard the record, and even though I don’t really like promises- I promise you that this record is going to blow your mind and will burst your eardrums in the most decadent way possible. Germany knows how to do this kind of music, but there’s something about KOLOSSUS DÄÄCHT that stands out. They have this huge sound that you’d probably find in bands who have been doing this for decades, but instead we have been blessed with this fresh new band that will just ruin you in the most magical way possible.

 

 

The name of the record is Lipstick Love, with the first single having the same name. The second single will be Cold Soup, but singles aside- the whole record is killer track after killer track. This record was made to be heard as loud as possible for sure. I love how they make you feel like you’re hanging out with them as they blitz through the songs in some cramped rehearsal space. Of course, in a sweaty, dingy bar is probably the best place to witness what they have to offer.

 There’s this proper Punk sound all through the record, and it’s more prominent on songs like Hypochondria and Do Your Job; there’s a lot of attitude on this record, with singer Clement having this Johnny Rotten like snarl to his voice. It’s a delight to listen to, and there’s no way anyone could listen to this record once and be done with it. It’s the kind of record that finds its way into your system and festers there forever. It’s always there, and you cannot help but crave it. It’s a brilliant debut record, and it’s just a little taste of what is to come.

Some of the songs have a Psychedelic feel to them, and this is really clear on The Armor. Clement’s vocals on this sound like something from a 60s Psych band, but you’ve got Stefan (drums) beating the shit out of the drums in a true Punk style. Dennis has a Johnny Ramone kind of style to his guitar playing and this is beautifully put together with Benedäächt’s bass. The whole Punk feel just smacks you right in the face on A Mess. The record consists of 14 exceptionally produced songs that will just leave you in awe; it is one of the most exciting records of the year, and I can only hope someone brings this band to the UK because I’d love to see them. I love how they make you feel the same way you did when you first heard the likes of The Cramps, The Stooges and the Ramones- they just hit you with this feeling, right in the gut. That’s when you know you’ve found something to truly treasure.

 

 

Lipstick Love is an incredible debut record; these 14 songs will blow your mind. Nothing will sound the same once you’ve heard this record, trust me. It’s a record to completely and utterly fall in love with. When it comes out, take the day off work to do nothing but listen to this record. Take a walk round the park, or head to the beach or wherever and just play this record over and over. Get lost in songs like Bad Cough, Home Alone and Courage. The whole record. Just let it consume you, that’s all you can do.

 The record comes out 28th March via Micro Wave Music.





BAMBARA: Stray.

16 02 2020

 

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My love for Bambara is something else. I practically live in my Bambara shirt, and I still think about their show from last year at the Soup Kitchen. I had no expectations from what I was going to witness, but I knew that from their records I was going to witness something that would blow my mind.

 Stray was released on Valentine’s Day- the perfect date for this record. Stray is made up of dark, deathly and romantic songs that totally justify my belief that Reid Bateh is one of the best songwriters around. For me he possesses that same genius that Nick Cave has. A fearless approach with unconventional romantic tones. Think Rimbaud, think Baudelaire and mix it with William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg- then you’ll get it. My point is this- Reid is an exceptional writer, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if one day, he writes a novel and that novel gets turned into a film with the band creating the score for it. Can you imagine?! It would be insane.

 

 

 

There’s a fair amount of references to death on this record, and you know, it’s something we cannot avoid at all. My enjoyment for things has dipped a bit since losing my Grandma in August, but I’ve found comfort in music. Bambara have reinforced everything I love about music on this record. They just nail everything I love about dark music that is unafraid to expose the things that we try to shy away from. Everything from the production to the order the songs are in on this record is so carefully done, and you can truly hear the growth in the band on Stray. If you’ve seen them live, you’ll know exactly how intense their shows are. Reid is one of the most captivating front men I’ve ever seen. Blaze is up there as one of my favourite drummers of all time and William is so effortlessly laid-back and cool. You wish you could do what each of them do, and not only do they have this presence live but they also have it on record. Stray shows us all why they are one of, if not THE most vital band around.

 I can’t possibly pick a favourite song on this record; it’s one of those records that you go back to and with every listen, something else just blows your mind. The record is like one euphoric story that builds and builds. I adore the intense sounds on this record and maybe it has this feel due to Reid and Blaze being twins and having this bond but with William he adds this feel to the band that sort of calms the storm slightly. The way Blaze annihilates the drums and how Reid has this snarl-like feel to his vocals is beautifully wrapped up in how soothing William unleashes his inspiring bass playing, and beyond. All three of them are exceptional musicians, and for me, they do justify this on all of their records, but Stray takes you some place else. It’s another world, and a world you never ever want to escape from. It is such a comforting and powerful record, and the production is out of this world.

 Ben & Lily is a prime example of Reid’s songwriting, and how brilliant it is. The way the song flows reminds me a bit of The Bad Seeds’ Thirsty Dog. It also sounds like something you’d hear in an old cowboy film- it’s got a great Spaghetti Western feel to it. Play it loud, and maybe have it on repeat for your next few listens. It feels like a short story, but one you don’t want to end. I just adore the places that Bambara take you and how they can just take you on this ride with them; their music is so soothing and comforting. To others maybe it is too ferocious, but that’s where I find comfort the most.

 There is one part of the record from one song in particular that I keep getting drawn to. This is taken from Made For Me: “Lit cigarettes will rain. On a field where horses roam untamed. See you running with them through the flames. Wild flowers in their manes as you lead the stampede my way.” There is something about this that just hits me in the gut. I mean the whole song does, but this part really hits me. I don’t know why, but it’s just so powerful and beautiful. However, if you’re looking for a song to truly break your heart- then listen to Sweat and I mean REALLY listen to it. It’s fucking brutal, and really heavy.

 

 

 

Stray is magnificent, but what else do you expect from a band as powerful as Bambara? Stray is probably going to end up being my most played record of the year. I cannot get enough of it, nor do I want to. I’m happy to have this record on repeat for the foreseeable now. I felt this way about Shadow On Everything, and they’ve done it again with Stray. I feel I could write about this record forever, and ever. Until words become pointless and no longer carry any meaning. An absolute honour to listen to.

 





MAC MILLER: Good News.

14 01 2020

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From last Friday, the only song I’ve listened to is Good News by Mac Miller. I won’t declare to be his biggest fan, but I absolutely adored him and his music. I thought he had something about him that just made you feel less alone, and less weird. It’s totally okay to be weird, but I mean in a headspace kind of way. When he released Swimming in 2018 I felt like, and I think most did, that this was HIS record. The record he had always been destined to make. I imagined the tour and how these songs would sound live. I was one of the unlucky ones who never got to a Mac show.

Then he left us. It’s a loss that ripped through so many. Mac wasn’t just a rapper. He was something else, something bigger. His way with words, his soothing voice, his production skills, his mind, his talent- everything. It was just out of this world. After the release of Swimming, I wasn’t sure if we would get anything else. That was until last week when it was announced that Circles will be released this Friday. I’m so excited about it, but I know it’s going to be a tough listen. Good News came out last Friday; initially I found it too painful to listen to. The second I heard his voice, I cried. If you want to understand the power of this song- check out Anthony Fantano’s review on YouTube. He breaks down, and it’s so easy to understand why.

As someone who has a daily battle with depression and anxiety, and with it being worse with the loss of my Grandma recently- I cling onto the songs that really hit me. I sometimes search for them. They’re in the music I love and own already, but something else has been needed. That’s why Good News really hit me in the gut. The essence of it? People only want to know you when you’ve got something good to say. No one wants to hear the bad side, and how you wish you could escape your mind for a little while.

The first verse is so brutally honest and delicate:

“I spent the whole day in my head

Do a little spring cleanin’

I’m always too busy dreamin’

Well, maybe I should wake up instead

A lot of things I regret, but I just say, “I forget”

Why can’t it just be easy?

Why does everybody need me to stay?

Oh, I hate the feeling

When you’re high but you’re underneath the ceiling

Got the cards in my hand, I hate dealing, yeah

Get everything I need then I’m gone, but it ain’t stealing

Can I get a break?

I wish that I could just get out my goddamn way

What is there to say?

There ain’t a better time than today

But maybe I’ll lay down for a little, yeah

Instead of always trying to figure everything out

And all I do is say sorry

Half the time I don’t even know what I’m saying it about.”

 I don’t think there’s anyone in this world that hasn’t related to a single part of this verse. Being tired of being tired and feeling like shit is exhausting; Mac sums it up in the most accurate and beautiful way possible. He does it so simply, he doesn’t need to go overboard or be pretentious with his words. They naturally come out like this, and that is why it is so easy to connect with this song and his words. It’s why we are fucking miss him.

 

 

The song feels like a journey. The ending of the song makes you feel like he has written this from the other side; that he’s got to where he wanted to go to have a clear headspace. Or maybe he’s realising it can get better. The latter makes it more heartbreaking. Although he had been around for ages, Swimming was the record he needed to make and it was going to take him places. But, the universe didn’t work out that way. I feel that Good News is his way of letting us know that in time, it’ll be alright. It’s a really tough listen, even if you’re not a Mac fan you’ll probably still find it a tough listen.

Mac’s voice is so soothing on this. I mean, it always is but there’s something about Good News and Self Care that make you feel he is talking right to you and is letting you know it’ll all be alright. He had that about him. Wise beyond his years.

Good News is a heartbreaking listen, but it is an important one. Maybe it’ll be your crutch. Maybe it’ll get you out of that rut. Maybe, just maybe.





VHS DEATH.

11 01 2020

 

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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