POP.1280: Museum On The Horizon

10 08 2021
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Pop.1280 will release their new record Museum On The Horizon next month, and I am so excited for this. With one listen down so far, I can promise you that it is one of the most brutal and passionate records of the year. For me, they are a band that bring everything there is to love about music together so effortlessly, but they can probably also scare you shitless. That fear they bring in their sound is so hypnotizing; and if you’ve ever been to a Pop.1280 show before, then you’ll know just how they bring that feeling in a live setting also.

There is something really dark and beautifully sinister about their sound, and that’s what has always drawn me in. They are one of the most powerful bands I’ve ever heard, and they just capture everything so well in their music. I can’t help but be in awe of every single record of theirs. They are just remarkable.

Museum On The Horizon is a combination of pure Industrial noise, Punk and something that is yet to be discovered/named. This is the case with all their records, but there is something about this new record that sounds like it has a stronger purpose. It was made to move the listener, made to scare them a little and also expose you to a different world. One better than the one we’re stuck in right now. There’s this beautiful like 80s Synth tone on Not Too Deep but the vocals add this roughness to it that just get you hooked. If you’ve never listened to Pop.1280 before then you’ve been missing out but this new record is a great place to start. For me, it’s just like listening to them for the first time. I think I first heard them in 2010/2011, and what I heard just blew my mind. Some bands come into your life at the right time, and Pop.1280 are one of those bands for me.

The new record reminds me of Suicide mixed with Nine Inch Nails; that heaviness is just divine and you feel like you’ve stepped into a world that is so sacred and so unheard of. I adore how menacing the record sounds, and one song in particular that gives that feeling off a lot is Two-Body Problem. It’s like chainsaws hacking at your brain but getting nowhere near the skin. It’s fucking frightening and done so effortlessly. I’ve never taken drugs before, but I’d imagine it would hit like a Pop.1280 record. I love how there is this sound on this record that you know will go over some peoples’ heads when they first hear it (think The Birthday Party) but in a few months or maybe years’ time, people will listen to this record and just be stunned by what they are hearing. It’s such a joy to listen to, and as heavy as these songs are- they are perfect to listen to when everything feels off.

The intro to Brennschluss sounds like it could be in some dark Thriller film that was shot in Berlin in the late 80s, with nothing but grey skies and rain for comfort. It’s such a slick song, and one you can’t help but gravitate towards even after playing the record over and over. At the moment, I’m calling it as my favourite on the record but I will have changed my mind by the time I’ve played the record again. That’s how you know when you’ve found a solid record. You can’t pick one favourite song but every song can fit your mood or be a comfort to how you are feeling.

I just love this record, and I really thought I couldn’t love anything as much as I loved Imps Of Perversion (best record of 2013 and one of the best records to have ever been released on Sacred Bones no question!) These songs are made to be heard live, and to be played as loud as you can stand. Imagine hearing Mission Creep live and just losing your mind to it. There is something so freeing about Pop.1280’s sound, and I think that’s a big part of why I love this band. There are many reasons, and with every record they put out- I find a new one.

Pop.1280 have never sounded like a band that are now. They’ve always sounded like something from the distant future- something we just aren’t ready for yet, but my god we need them. The songs on Museum On The Horizon are so beautifully crafted, and manic and just a joy to listen to. Human Factor, Right Hand Man and Noncompliant are just masterpieces. The whole record is a work of art, and insanely brilliant. Again, it’s one of those records that when you hear, it just makes you wish you could make something like that. The production on this record is perfect. Is it their best produced record so far? There’s no doubt about that. Everything on this record is just so enthralling. You notice so much from the way the songs flow into each other, to the rage in the vocals. Everything on this record sounds exactly how you’d want your favourite record to sound. It’s one of those records that should be studied- it is such an intense record, and all you can do is just keep on playing it and let the band take you on this euphoric ride away from your own daily dullness.

Something to really notice on this record is how all 3 of them have pushed each other to experiment more on this record. Pop.1280 have always gone beyond, but there is something about this record that just really leans into the band pushing themselves. It is a real joy to listen to, and there’s no way on earth you could ever get tired of this record let alone the band!

Nothing has been held back on this record, and that boldness is what keeps you constantly hooked. I never score records, but if I did this would be a solid 10/10 and even then, that wouldn’t be enough.

Museum On The Horizon is out on 24th September 2021 via Profound Lore Records.





SYLVAIN SYLVAIN: A tribute to a New York Doll.

15 01 2021
Sylvain Sylvain of New York Dolls starts GoFundMe as he battles cancer -  Noise11.com

When writing about influential bands, it is so easy to reel off our typical Punk heroes such as Ramones, Dead Boys etc. But before they cast themselves beautifully upon the world, we had the New York Dolls. For me, they were the ultimate band. Not just Punk, not just a typical Rock ‘n’ Roll band. Nothing typical or conventional at all. They were the coolest of the cool. Outsiders who didn’t care that they were being gawped at. They were unapologetically themselves and made music for a generation that would continue to speak to other generations to come. Every single member of the Dolls had something about them that just lured you in, and that was that. Nothing was the same since.

Losing Sylvain Sylvain today is a painful reminder that our heroes don’t live forever. Well, physically they don’t. But they do in other ways. New York Dolls have always been hugely underrated, and I don’t think people realise just how influential their style was and always will be. Sylvain and Johnny were two of the most hypnotising guitarists ever. There will never ever be anyone else like them, and I will always cite them as the greatest. Both had this magnetic style, and this attitude that just made you wish you were as cool as them. Let’s be honest though, no one in the world could ever be as cool as the Dolls.

New York Dolls were one of the first bands I remember my mum playing to me when I was a tot. That debut record is EASILY one of the greatest of all time. The greatest debut record ever, and if a record doesn’t make me feel like that one does- then my attention span goes down the shitter. It was ahead of its time. It was the future; and it always will be. Nothing in this world can touch it. It was pure Rock ‘n’ Roll but with something else that only the Dolls had. A huge part of that was Sylvain’s energy and just the way he would play. My god it was fascinating. There was something about hearing him play that was so comforting. Johnny would have you on edge, but Sylvain would kind of bring you back down but still throw you off into another world. Everything about the Dolls was just so effortlessly slick and a masterpiece every single time.

Subway Train is my favourite song by the Dolls- I love the sorrow in the song, I love the honesty and the lyrics are just so gorgeous. They just hit you right in the soul, and for me, just sums up the genius of the band. Sylvain’s solo work and other projects are equally as vital as his time with the Dolls. Everything he did just showed us how remarkable he was. From interviews I’ve watched, you can just see that he was the sweetest guy ever, and lived for music. From watching videos of him playing the shit out of the guitar whilst wearing high heeled shoes, you can just see the passion in him for music. Although the New York Dolls were no more after 2011, knowing that we won’t see Sylvain anymore just really hurts. He had his Rampage of Songs page on Facebook where he would share the music he loved. It was such a beautiful way to see our hero interact with fans of all ages, and share all kinds of tunes. He loved music, and in return we just adored him.

Whatever I write about Sylvain will not do him justice. It won’t sum up just how remarkable he was, it won’t bring him back. The art he gave us will live forever; that’s the beauty of music. It will outlive us all, and in 20, 30 years’ time- maybe some kid will hear Lonely Planet Boy or Trash for the first time, and create their own noise. Maybe they’ll study Sylvain’s way of playing, his lyrics, his vocals and will just be utterly inspired to make something of their own. If we hold onto that, then maybe the loss won’t hurt as much in time. For now, it will hurt. I’m absolutely gutted, and feel so heartbroken about this. New York Dolls were one of the first bands I remember hearing. They were a band I could speak to my mum, my uncle, my girlfriend about for hours on end- because they love them just as much. Music goes beyond being just music. It is something that becomes your world.

Safe trip Sylvain, and thank you x





THE VACANT LOTS: Interzone.

26 06 2020

There’s no better feeling than that excitement of a band you absolutely adore releasing a new record. I’ve had a copy of the new record by The Vacant Lots for a couple of months now, and it’s been so difficult to not write about it until now. But it’s worth the wait; the record is astounding and will just blow you away.

If you’re looking for something to securely take you into a different universe, with the safe reassurance that you’ll never be able to leave, then Interzone is the record for you. Songs like Into The Depths and Party’s Over fully show us why TVL are one of the best bands around, and their electrifying sound is something to truly treasure. This is their first release on Fuzz Club Records, and given the amount of exceptional records that Fuzz Club have put out, it’s only right that TVL did so too.

Rescue was our first taste of the record, and it was the perfect way to get us to fall in love with the new sound they have created. It is is such a phenomenal record that oozes tense build-ups, dramatic sounds and hypnotising vocals. The vocals on Rescue are captivating, and Brian’s vocals are so strong on this record. Jared’s guitar on this record again sound like a beast. They both have this effortlessly cool way of creating their own noise, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything better than this!

Interzone crosses all styles and will mess with your head in the best way possible. You will want to hear this record at 3am when everything is quiet and your brain won’t switch off. The comfort of this record will give you everything you need, and more. I strongly advise you to listen to Fracture on your own and through headphones. The same goes for Party’s Over. These two songs are beautiful in all ways imaginable. For me, Party’s Over is my favourite right now on the record and I also love how gentle Brian’s vocals are on Fracture- that’s another reason as to why it is a joy to listen to through headphones. Jared’s guitar on this is tamer than normal, but this more relaxed sound just shows us why they are both exceptional musicians.

The big question. Record number 3- is it their best yet? Yes. A huge YES. I’m obsessed with everything they’ve done, and continue to do but there is something about this record that towers over previous releases. There is something about this record that just feels more sacred, and you know, it could be down to what is going on in the world. There could be many reasons as to why, but I can promise you that this record is so beautiful, so gentle but ferocious in all the right places. The times where Brian’s vocals are gentle and where Jared annihilates the guitar- when these two worlds collide, that’s when it kicks off. That’s when you know you’ve not only found an amazing band but also one of the most exciting (and most vital) records of the year.

The lyrics are poetry, and the music is like a dream. Interzone is such a gorgeous record; it will heal the parts of you that you’ve neglected. It’ll also make your record collection look cooler! Every song on this 8 song masterpiece is a work of art. I love how Station goes into Party’s Over. The way it just gently slides into the last song is so beautiful. You feel like the record is a whole journey into something you can’t quite explain, then as Party’s Over hits, that’s when your body starts to wake up. Maybe your mind too. You come alive again, in a totally different way. The essence of this record feels like rebirth or something. The slick change in style and sound on this record is divine, and it’s something you keep falling in love with on every listen. I’m utterly in love with Party’s Over, and I’m pretty sure I can call it as one of my favourite songs that Jared and Brian have ever done. I love the sorrow in it, I love how it could be a dark song but it can also be full of hope. You can take it however you want, and that’s why I love this song and why this record is a masterpiece. It’s their masterpiece, but to be honest, everything they do is a work of art to me anyway.

None of us know when we will see the bands we love perform live again, but we have the music. We have the new records, and the new music can spur us on. This is what we needed, this is what I needed. Interzone is quite simply, a vital listen.





THE VACANT LOTS: Fracture

23 05 2020


With every passing day, we get closer to the new record by The Vacant Lots. I’ve already heard it, and I can promise you that it is a perfect record from start to finish. The record is out 26th June, so I’ll write about it closer to the time.

Jared and Brian released the next single from Interzone yesterday. Fracture is a really calming number and it is one of those songs that leaves you in a solid state of bliss with every single listen. What I absolutely adore about TVL is that they have this strong ability to crush your brain with their louder songs, but when they take a more gentle approach like this, they just soothe your soul. That’s what makes them one of my favourite bands, and I’ve noticed that this is something I gravitate to in the music I love from bands I hold very dear to me.

Oh, and one super cool fact for you- the Arp synth used on the song once belonged to one half of the best band ever- Alan Vega from Suicide, and there are moments on the song where you can hear their influence on Jared and Brian. It’s such a beautiful thing.

Who knows what state the world will be in when Interzone is released; all I know is that whatever the situation the record will make it easier. For now, let’s enjoy the glorious sounds of Fracture and let our minds drift off for a while.





THE VACANT LOTS: Rescue

24 04 2020

 

American death. Nothing matters anymore. Closed casket wedding”

 

Nothing makes me happier than I band I LOVE release new music. I’ve been super vocal about my love for The Vacant Lots for a number of years now, and I still regard their live show in Hoxton as being one of the best shows I have ever seen; then I saw them play the Moth Club and my mind was just blown. My heart was healed, my soul soothed and all was okay. Basically, I love TVL a hell of a lot and they are a band that I’ll never ever be able to get enough of.

I’ve already heard the new record, but that review will be coming in June shortly before the record comes out. However, they have JUST released a brand new song from the record. I can also announce that TVL have signed with Fuzz Club- which is a huge deal. I’m super proud of Jared and Brian, and having a label like Fuzz Club sign them is proof of their hardwork and passion. Now let’s get into the single!

Rescue is everything you could want from TVL. It’s got the Suicide meets Lou Reed sound with parts from another world thrown in. We all need a rescue right now, and this song just pours out the frustrations of isolation and uncertainty. What I’ve always loved about TVL is that their influences aren’t always from music- the way you can pick up on writers such as Burroughs, Baudelaire etc shines through, and Rescue feels like it could have been placed in one of Jared’s poetry books (if you don’t have a copy, get one! I picked one up from a tour and it’s still something I go back to.)

We all have this feeling inside of us to want to escape, and sometimes we push it down because the fire to do so isn’t quite in us. I feel this quote about the song from the band really does sum up the song beautifully, and perfectly: “The need to escape & the need to fight despite things being fucked up in the world or in your life. The song deals with the conflict of wanting to escape but also feeling the contradictory feeling of wanting to fight (before it’s too late).”

 

 

Sometimes you can’t quite bring yourself to escape, but sometimes something else takes over, and I just love this quote also: “Overall in order to tackle themes like problems in society (macro) we have to overcome a lot of our own internal issues (micro).” TVL have this beautiful way of just giving you comfort when you need it, and they’re releasing this single (and the new record) during a time where everyone is unsure of what’s going. We want out, but we also want it to get better. We want something or someone to rescue us, but I guess the key thing here is to have patience and carry on as best as you can.

TVL aren’t a band that fall into one genre, far from it. Rescue is the kind of song you can play at home as loud as you want, but it’d also sound pretty remarkable in a bar/club. There’s an 80s synth feel to the song, and that’s something you’ll be treated to on the new record.

Their new record, Interzone will be out on 26th June via Fuzz Club. Rescue is the perfect introduction to the new record, and honestly, Jared sums it up perfectly:  “We don’t want to waste people’s time and we want people to play it over and over. Our mantra is ‘is it bulletproof? 8 songs. 30 minutes. It’s about intention and vision.” TVL always give us music that you can become obsessed with and keep on playing and trust me, Interzone is nothing short of exceptional.





BAD BRAINS: The Yellow Tape/Debut Record.

16 04 2020

badbrains

 

There are records that become vital to you the second you hear them. The first note, that first lyric- stays with you. Something about it just does something to you, and you seek that same feeling in everything you listen to. This record that becomes your world can be one from decades ago that you’ve only just found, or it can be something brand new. It doesn’t matter. With this, time doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you find it or rather, it finds you.

 Anyone and everyone could talk about what the greatest Punk record of all time is or who the greatest bands are. It’s all a matter of choice. Some people don’t dig the Ramones (don’t ever trust these people) and some people might think that bands like Dead Boys served no purpose (again, don’t trust these people either!) Every band has made an impression. Some did it with one record then disappeared whilst others have lasted and are still being cited as an influence to this day. Again, it’s all choice.

 

 

 

I haven’t gone back and listened to old records I love and written about them in a while. Whilst seeking something new to listen to, I keep gravitating back to Bad Brains, so I’m taking it as a sign that I need to write about their debut record (The Yellow Tape if you want to go that way, it’s your call.) What Bad Brains did on their debut record is something truly remarkable. They merged two hugely vital styles of music- Hardcore Punk and Reggae and made something that just blows you away. Sure, it isn’t for those who may want lovey dovey soft songs, but it’s for those who are frustrated, who want change and are on the outside looking in. Outside of society but aren’t all too mad about it. Bad Brains will ALWAYS be one of the most influential bands of all time. When the record came out in 1982, many were shocked that the band members were African American. When you think about that now, you think “Why the fuck would it matter what they look like or where they are from?!” But sadly, that’s what it was like and to a degree it still happens to this day doesn’t it. All too many times we will see someone express their concerns for someone who is a certain race doing a certain style of music, and they will question it. But here’s the thing- music doesn’t have a race, gender, religion, or sexuality. Bands like Bad Brains are the prime example of music just going beyond labels and whatnot. Their debut record was ahead of its time, and to this day we still haven’t heard anything quite like it. Attitude and Banned In D.C. are just an example of two of the best songs ever created, and if you’re looking for something else to smack you in the kisser then blast out Supertouch/Shitfit as loud as you can. The whole record is a Hardcore masterpiece.

 H.R. has to be one of best frontmen of all time. There’s no one else who had that energy and power, and when you mix that with Darryl, Earl and Dr. Know- then you are going to get a wealth of trouble. They all played their part in creating one of the best and most important records of all time. Leaving Babylon is one of those songs that just play and escape the world; it’s got this power that isn’t found in anything else. Some songs we have H.R. screaming his lungs out, then we have him on this song pouring his heart out. If this song and the lyrics don’t break your heart, then you’re not hearing it right. It is one of the strongest songs of all time, and it’s political without it being all in your face. It perfectly shows injustice, and sadly it is something that still exists. This song, and the whole record are still so relevant.

 

 

Bad Brains are made up of some of the best musicians you will ever hear, and the fact that you can pick up on their distinctive sound, and their own individual style instantly full justifies why this band are nothing short of influential. They go beyond being a band that merged Hardcore Punk and Reggae. They go beyond anything in music could ever compare to; they gave us something that will never ever die out. Their debut record is easily one of the greatest records of all time, but when you go deep into their discography and even solo work, you will truly see that everything they did was just a mind-blowing experience. The way they mess with your head on songs like F.V.K. and are then able to just mellow you out on I Love I Jah (contender for my favourite Bad Brains song ever) is just a testament to their greatness.

 Bad Brains are a band that I’ll never tire of listening to or talking about. They’re one of those bands that have evidently brought people together and created a community with their sound. When I see bands like Ho99o9 (who I fucking love SO much and do amazing covers of Bad Brains songs) I can see another band who will have exactly the same impact Bad Brains did on a new generation. Bad Brains created a monster with their debut record, and that monster will never sleep nor will it fade away.





GNARCISSISTS.

2 04 2020

GNARCISSISTS

 

 

I think I may have found a band that perfectly capture everything I love about music, and the sounds of the bands I really, really love. I’ve said this a few times, and I always mean it. I just really love music and I’m pretty sure I’ve found a band here that just reinforce my love for music yet again.

 Gnarcissists are truly great; they remind me of The Gruesomes and all that good stuff. The bands I absolutely adore and cannot live without. They have this excellent sound that is yet again making me wish I could play guitar or something. I’d love to do that. I’d want to be like Johnny Thunders mixed with Jamie Hince and Gemma from Savages. I’d want to be loud and hold the guitar like a machine gun and it’d give off insane sounds that would deafen anyone who heard me. But I live through the bands I love, and I love Gnarcissists. They have this proper feel good atmosphere in their music, and it just makes you want to forget daily life and go do your thing. If I was a beer drinker, then I’d say this is the best band to drink beer to. It’s not like we’re allowed to leave the house at the moment are we, maybe that could be a new hobby.

 

 

Their most recent record came out in November and is really great record. It’s got songs on there that will make you just want to play it loud and lose your mind. They have a really tight sound on the Caught In The Webb record and it sounds like something you’d expect from a band that have been around for decades! I have no idea how long they’ve been a band or how many records they’ve put out (I’m just going by what’s on Spotify and Bandcamp) but what I’ve been listening to is nothing short of mind-blowing. I love the snarly vocals; I love the filthy music and how it sounds like some sordid back alley affair. It’s a really out there sound, and it’s one you wish you could be part of constantly. I’ve got a feeling that they are another band that are made to be seen live. Imagine their shows! They would be so wild.

 They’ve got some catchy numbers such as Celebrity and Fentanyl- both of which has a really strong Punk sound that makes you feel like you are definitely not listening to a new band! I love that retro kind of feel going on, and how they truly do experiment with their sound. There are times on the Caught In The Webb record where you feel like you are listening to band become stronger in each song. If you play it in order, you’ll definitely get this coming through. You don’t get that very often, and bands like Gnarcissists are to be treasured. I love, LOVE their song Suffocate and how the lyrics are a bit self-deprecating, but they’ve got this Dead Boys and Sex Pistols feel to it. Obnoxious Punk at its best. The vocals on this are my favourite on the record so far. Once I play the record a few more times, I might change my mind but for now I’m really taking in how that snarl gets you right in the gut. It makes you want to scream the song back.  Everything in the world is quite throwaway and everyone wants to consume more and more of the things they love, constantly. But when you have bands like Gnarcissists you can really take in how great they are. Everything about their sound just makes you want to escape deep into their world and be properly part of it.

 On Veut Juste and Buzzin are two other really strong songs to pay close attention to. Their first EP was just a little taste of what was to come and Caught In The Webb just threw them into the unknown and made them the best at what they do. If you’re looking for some rough round the edges Punk in all its beautiful glory, and a Garage Rock band with the kind of attitude you wish you could possess- then Gnarcissists are for you.

 

 

 Their songs were made for us all to sing along to. It doesn’t matter if you’re alone or self-isolating with your cat for the foreseeable; this band will make it a little bit easier. You’ll be singing along to PCP in no time!





BAMBARA: Stray.

16 02 2020

 

bambara

 

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.

 





DIIV: Deceiver.

6 10 2019

diiv

 

 

Just to make it clear before I go into a possible nonsensical rant about how great the new DIIV record is, I just need to be clear that this is their record of their career. We can dwell on past records if we want, but trust me- this is the record of their career.

The record opens with the glorious and soothing, Horsehead. It’s like early RIDE but with My Bloody Valentine heaviness (Sonny Diperri produced it, so there you go!) It is such a powerful start to the record, and when it kicks in- it really gets you in the gut. It is most certainly my favourite opening on a record this year. It has so much determination and beauty in it. It is 5 glorious minutes of heaven. The remaining 9 songs have a lot to live up to. Fortunately I have utter faith in DIIV and know that this record is perfect from start to finish.

The 10 songs on this poetic and soulful record is a proper headphone experience. You have to make sure your first listen to this record is via headphones, and maybe your second too. But when you are ready, play it so the world can hear. Soak in that beautiful reverb and distorted vocals. Let the reverb take you on this captivating journey, and don’t let go of wwhatever the record makes you feel.

 

 

Deceiver is a record that is an ode to recovery, acceptance and the desire to do, and be better. I won’t delve into Zachary’s personal life as it isn’t the place, but if you’re a fan of DIIV you will know the struggles he has had and what it took to make this record. Of all their records to date, Deceiver is the most exposed and vulnerable. Zachary’s voice at times on this record (especially on Like Before You Were Born) his vocals have the same gentle tone to it like Daniel Johns. I absolutely adore his vocals on this, and it sounds like a sweet lullaby. His vocals have always been soothing, but on this record he’s truly outdone himself. The whole band have outdone themselves, and I can definitely say that this is one of the most important records of the year. One listen, and you’re just hooked. In the 44 minutes that this record has you for, you feel like you are floating through time and space. DIIV take you on this gorgeous journey where it is okay to be completely open and brutally honest. I mean, it is anyway but some think it isn’t but whatever.

There is so much darkness on this record, but the way it has been produced and put together makes you put it to one side, and you see and hear different sides of this record. Like I mentioned, it is a really vulnerable record with some tense subject matter but it’s done in a way that makes you just connect. It’s a record that is easy to love and completely connect with. One of the songs that Zachary has spoken about is Skin Game and how it is a dialogue between two characters, and when you dissect the lyrics and take them in, you truly pick up on this. For me, the chorus is so powerful; “Fighting to get through the door, but I can’t live like this anymore. They gave us wings to fly, but then they took away the sky.” Given what Zachary has been through, you can picture him having the conversation with himself or just anyone who has/is struggling with addiction or any form of demon. It’s a tough listen, but the beauty in the record allows you to just massively respect the band for being this open.

I’ve gone back and forth with trying to pick a song that resonates the most with me, and I think I’m going to have to side with Between Tides. One line on this song just seems to have stuck with me more than most, and quite possibly more than any song I’ve heard all year. “I’m just waiting for the storm to die out” it is so simple and to the point, and sometimes that is all you need. There is so much sadness on this record but there is also so much hope. I think this line just sums it up. It’s the acceptance of how bad things are, yet knowing it may just pass. It has to pass. I guess that’s the kind of thing I need to hear right now. My storm may never pass, but I have to wait it out. I’ve got no other choice.

 

 

DIIV have made the record of their career; the songs Zachary and Colin have written together are just masterpieces. They are the purest form of poetry, and the most hard-hitting songs we may hear all year. The production is nothing short of divine. It is a heavenly body of art, and I cannot wait to see this record live (providing the dates don’t sell out before I get a ticket!) I have loved DIIV since the start, and I am so utterly proud of what they have done on this record, and how unafraid they have been to push themselves on this. They have absolutely outdone themselves on this record. I have never heard Ben, Colin, Zachary and Andrew sound so good and so together. This is such an important record for many reasons. Acheron closes the record, and if you ever wanted to hear what a phenomenal group of musicians sound like- then soak up this 7 minute beauty. It will leave you covered in goose-bumps and in awe of what you have heard.

If you’ve never listened to DIIV before- start from the beginning then work your way on to Deceiver and you will hear just how much they have grown, and developed a sound that is so sacred to them.

Put your headphones on, turn the lights out and play Deceiver until you feel calm again. It’s a record for the soul; a sacred listen that you cannot help but lose yourself in completely, and utterly.





WOMEN OF THE NIGHT: Pastel Colors.

11 07 2019

 

Some time ago, I wrote about the New York band, Women Of The Night. Obviously if you look the band name up, you might get something suspicious but it’s okay. You’ve probably got worse on your internet history.

Pastel Colors is a body of work that is to be played almost religiously and without any distractions. It is an ethereal and beautifully sordid record. It is gentle and it makes you feel like Jim Morrison has come back to make a Post-Punk kind of record. It is such a effortlessly cool record that just makes you want to sit in the dark, with your headphones in and just slip into a different world. Alternatively, it also makes you want to wander the streets late at night and take everything in that’s around you.

I love the song White Lighter which reminds me slightly of The Velvet Underground. Jords has something about him that reminds you of Jim Morrison and Lou Reed. It’s that snarl in his voice and delivery of the songs that make you feel like you’ve headed back in time. They mix everything I love about music, and create something that you just can’t get enough of.

 

 

It is such a soulful record that makes you completely lose yourself in every word, every song. As someone who has been a fan for some time now, I love hearing how they’ve developed their sound and created something truly magical on Pastel Colors. It’s got that seedy alleyway sound that you just want to be completely immersed in. I love the unconventional romantic tones in the songs (think Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen) and how they are unafraid to be so stripped back with the lyrics. Songs like Brighton Beach give you this cloak of comfort that you freely wrap yourself in.

I have no idea what genre you’d put them in, but why do they need one? This record goes beyond- it cannot be restricted in any way. I love how this record appears to the loner in us all, and makes it romantic. There’s nothing wrong with this  at all, and sometimes it does the soul good to be alone. Pastel Colors is the ideal record to just take time out to.  Quiet Nights is a beautiful example of this. The vocals and the relaxed guitar sounds just soothe the mind. It is almost like a lullaby for the mind. I’d say it makes me want to take a nap, but I could take a nap anywhere at any time. Solitude can be bliss, and Pastel Colors is one blissful record.

You feel like you’re living these songs out with them, and to be this connected to the songs is something to truly admire. They do it with so much ease. Regular Day exposes how mundane everyday life can sometimes be, and there’s slight humour in the lyrics. I guess it’s only funny if you can relate, mind!

 

 

I think one of the main things that I adore about this record is the dark mood in the songs, but also hints of hope and love. These 13 songs are just gorgeous, and it is entirely criminal that Women Of The Night are massive. I’m also desperate for them to tour the UK. I’m a fan of music that gives us an escape route; something to just get lost in, you know? Women Of the Night do it in a way that is beautifully addictive. You can’t leave it alone. Then again, why would you want to?