Everything I’ve ever written about PINS is probably going to come out again as I write about their gorgeous new record, Hot Slick. With all the rubbish going on in the world- we need something to make us feel better. You can find that in Hot Slick, and that’s a promise.
PINS have been a band that I’ve been in awe of since the start. I found them by accident, and never looked back since. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen them live and again, I promise you that their live shows are amazing. They were due to play an album launch show tomorrow night here in Manchester, but that will now (hopefully) happen in October. It’ll be my first time seeing them in the city I am proud to call home. I’d only ever seen them play in London, so this show will be extra special when it happens.
Something you really get from PINS is that their songs are made to be witnessed in a live setting. They are a band that really show you what they are made of when you go to their shows, and what they have done on Hot Slick is not only show us that this record will be incredible live, but they have laid it all out on record. Forget what you heard on Girls Like Us and Wild Nights- Hot Slick is a different level. I love both records a hell of a lot, but that new sound is so strong and a real joy to listen to.
The only downside is that the record lasts about half an hour, but we can get round that by playing it over and over! There is so much to love about this record, and one thing I love the most is that Jamie Hince from The Kills produced the titled track. If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written, you’ll know just how much I fucking LOVE The Kills so this is a pretty huge thing! PINS have worked with Iggy Pop and Jamie Hince- that’s pretty incredible. PINS don’t have a distinctive sound, and that’s really clear on this record.
They aren’t afraid to experiment with their sound and to push what they can do. They are truly one of the most hard-working bands around, and that dedication comes right through on all they do, and Hot Slick is a raw declaration of this. I love the title track so much; it’s got a strong mix of Punk mixed with Donna Summer. It’s the trashing guitar with electrifying Disco feel. It’s pure magic and is such a powerful start to the record.
Hot Slick consists of 10 songs that will stay in your head all day. These songs will play on your mind. You’ll want to live out Love You To Death (Mark from Leather Party/a bunch of other great bands, and is married to Faith, features on this) and Ponytail will just make you feel like you can take on the world. I started writing this yesterday but wanted to keep on listening to the record in order to try but something coherent together, and to obviously just keep on playing the record. Daisies is the ideal song to listen to if you’re looking to self-isolate in the park with the sun hitting your back. The whole record has a Summer feel to it, and although the world is strange and uncertain right now- we are still lucky to have bands like PINS give us music to keep on going. I adore how different Hot Slick is, and how they have made this destined leap into this sound. I love the sheer dedication and passion in this record. It’s a proper labour of love and hard-work, and that just makes you treasure it even more.
Well, now it’s the 30th May and it would have been their album release party at YES tonight here in Manchester. I’m not the only one who is just itching to go to a live show, and the uncertainty of not knowing when it will be is brutal. But we will get there. In the meantime, we can blast out songs like Read My Lips, which is the ultimate anthem on this record, and just ignore all that’s troubling us for a little while. This is such a fantastic record, and you cannot help but be massively proud of PINS for what they have created here. I know the whole point of a “review” is to be constructive, but by no means would I write about something I didn’t like or could find fault in. The world is already full of negativity, what’s the point in adding to it? If what I’ve written makes just one person listen to the band/record I’ve written about, then I’ve done what I wanted to do. It’s not a review, it’s a declaration of appreciation for a bloody brilliant record.
Set Me Off has an AMAZING Talking Heads (I’m getting a Burning Down The House feel from it) feel to it mixed with something I can’t really think of right now, but it’s easily one of my favourites on the record. I love how every song on this record feels like it could be in an off the wall indie film, that’s a bit decadent in places. It is such a bright and care-free record, and I probably wouldn’t trust anyone who sees any bad in it to be honest!
There are so many thing that make this record a sheer joy to listen to, and there are so many moments on this record that make you realise why you bloody love this band, and music in general. Love You To Death needs to be a single, just because I reckon the video could be wild. PINS are one of the best bands to ever have come from Manchester, and Hot Slick fully justifies that. If you’re looking for something to really get into your soul, take over your mind and make your record collection look cooler- pick up a copy of Hot Slick from your local record shop, and play it LOUD.
There are still some tickets left for their rescheduled tour, which you can grab here:
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.
The term “supergroup” can be such a throwaway comment, much like describing something “cool.” Words. Just empty words they are. However, sometimes things happen that go against this and are the subject of these redundant words. They give it meaning again- they make it theirs.
Machiine ARE a supergroup. They are also really really cool. Their sound is absolutely sadistic and twisted. It’s not typical, it’s so far from bland. They’ve just put out their first single, Twist It & Shake. They’re also playing London tomorrow night, at the Shacklewell Arms. It’s a free gig. You’re probably not doing anything, and even if you are- sack it off and come to this.
Machiine are made up of members from Brown Brogues/Peace And Love Barbershop Muhammad Ali, The Underground Youth and PINS. Some of the best musicians to have come from Manchester, for sure. Machiine sound like something you would hear in a sordid club where you can do what you like, and it isn’t mentioned the day after. Their merch consists of whips and balaclavas. Wear your best leather tomorrow and head down to the Shacklewell Arms. This 7 member band don’t sound overbearing considering how many there are of them. They sound like a gang with Mark and Craig fronting the band- they’re coming for you.
As they all have different influences which is clear in their separate bands, what they’ve done with Machiine is just make a band that leave forgetting about their other bands. They don’t sound like anything else. They slowly built a presence last year and finally, they’ve put a song out. Worth the wait? Most definitely. Twist It & Shake is the kind of song you’ll have in your head for days. I’ve played it a lot this morning and on my dinner break (right now) and I’m pretty sure I know the words. The lead vocals aren’t aggressive but Faith’s vocals in the background add this angelic quality to the song. It’s a brilliant introduction to the band, and I am so excited to see them tomorrow night and to hear more music from them. Twist It & Shake is worth the wait. There’s references to Bob Hoskins, John Wayne and a sister who plays video games. What more do you want?
PS- Teaser EP is out tomorrow and they’re selling tapes at the show tomorrow night.
I have no idea who came up with the concept that the second record for a musician is difficult. Maybe it was another lazy music “critic” but it’s total bollocks. A band can put a good or bad record out at any time in their career. Fortunately there are bands that breeze over this lame idea of the second record being a difficult task.
On Monday PINS will be releasing their second record, Wild Nights via the ever reliably brilliant Bella Union. The record consists of 11 tracks that make you think you’re listening to a band well into their career. Their second record surpasses their debut, Girls Like Us. It is different and shows that they aren’t this dark, mean and moody band many were assuming they would end up being. Sure their debut was dark and eerie, and yes there are dark moments on Wild Nights. Wild Nights was recorded in America but they didn’t let the States rule their sound. The record sounds like a strong Manchester record. And if you’ve got your wits about you, you’ll know that Manchester is the home/hub of great music. I was going to do this as a track-by-track thing but I always get distracted and will end up going way off track.
I’m going to mention Oh Lord first because it is the one I’ve been playing constantly over the past few days. Oh Lord is one of the key moments on the record. It has this haunting bass-line which is one of the highlights of the record. Oh Lord sounds like Joy Division’s She’s Lost Control in some parts. I was never a big fan of Joy Division, but as I’ve got older my interest has grown. They say your tastes change as you get older. I just hope I don’t start liking dubstep any time soon. The last minute and a half of the song has this explosion of greatness and boldness to it that really justifies why PINS are basically one of the best bands around.
House Of Love is a song that was floating around in their live sets before we knew anything about Wild Nights. House Of Love is a cult anthem in the making. It’s a massive highlight in their live shows and yet again another vital moment on the record. I’m not going to make any cheap comparisons to their debut, but House Of Love could easily have sounded equally as perfect on that as it does on Wild Nights. No song on this record sounds out of place, no song is a filler. Every song is an extension of what PINS are capable of.
Dazed By You is a love song for modern lovers who don’t care for conventional. The lyrics are poetically gorgeous and beautifully written. The innocence of being in awe of someone on Dazed By You is stunning. In a way it reminds me slightly of Bedroom Eyes by Dum Dum Girls. It’s just got that innocence and purity of devotion flowing through it. Seeing this one live is also a standout moment in their live set, especially for the little jam at the end. It become uncontrollable and if you’ve seen it live, you’ve probably been left with this burning desire to start a band. Go for it.
There are no dull moments on this record, just songs that you want to play over and over. Much like their debut, this record has the sheer potential to influence kids to pick up an instrument and make their own noise. It’s a dreamy record that is perfect to play as the sun sinks down. Girls Like Us was a cold winters day. Wild Nights is the walk home as he sun rises after a night out on a warm summer morning.
If Only is lyrically my top song on the record. I adore the vulnerability and honesty in the lyrics. Anyone who can’t relate to it is lying to themselves. It is so open and so pure, it is just so poignant. Songs like this show us what PINS are made of. They don’t just make songs for you to dream to, they make songs for you to actually FEEL something. What you feel when you hear this song is your own doing but it is such an important song. I hope it becomes a world wide hit so everyone can appreciate the beauty in the lyrics.
I have thousands of words and thoughts about the record, but I can simplify it by saying that it is the bet record to come out this year by a band from the UK. It just reinforces the idea that Manchester is the home to some of the best bands around.
There’s a tour in September so from Monday when the record comes out, it gives you plenty of times to learn the lyrics and make up a dance routine to some of the songs if you want.
Everyone has a handful of bands they don’t ever get tired of listening to or seeing live. I’ve probably got more than a person should, but there are worse things I could spend my money on.
Prior to seeing PINS on Wednesday night, my pal and I were stood outside the venue whilst he had a cigarette. A man comes up to him and asks if he can buy a cigarette off him. I catch a glimpse of him and on his shoulder he has a pet rat. A white thing with horrible pinky/red eyes. He sees us look at his pet, and he plants a kiss on it. He walks off happily with his pet and cigarette. Not much can shock you I suppose when you’re constantly in a busy city. But this? It was just weird. If it gets him through the day, then so be it. Also, I had a really good photo of the band on stage to use, but guess who dropped their phone down the toilet at work yesterday. Yes, this idiot writing this.
PINS are fascinating to see live. You see there are some bands who seem almost scared or probably too uptight to look like they’re enjoying themselves on stage, but with PINS you can tell that they really love playing live. Faith sings in the crowd, Sophie beats the shit out of the drums, Anna makes you wish you could play bass in a band like PINS and Lois likes to wander off a bit on stage. She got behind something on the stage at The Lexington and every so often you saw her glorious blonde hair peer over the side.
The show on Wednesday was a launch for the new record (Wild Nights) which is out on Monday. Some copies were being sold afterwards and of course, it is one of the best records to come out this year. As I’ve called Crocodiles as having the record of the year, I’ll say that PINS have put out the best record in the country. I’ll write about why I love the record this evening.
I’ve seen PINS either 5 or 6 times now and I probably should have run out of things to say about them, or I’m likely to repeat myself. They’re a band you just don’t ever get tired of seeing. The only thing that annoys me are the creeps right at the front who really need to stop taking photos of the body parts of the band (everyone can see you zoom in on the bums and such, just stop.) Other than that, those who go to see PINS are those who really get what the band are about and aren’t there just to hear one song. Everyone still goes nuts to LUVU4LYF and Girls Like Us. But new songs such as House Of Love and Too Little Too Late are starting to get the same reaction as old favourites.
From seeing them a few times, it is just bloody brilliant to see a band develop into something truly wonderful. Their shows aren’t as dark and as moody as their records, but there is something sinister that flows through songs like Oh Lord that come alive when you witness it live. Watching them live is like being at decent house party and your mates band come along to play some songs. There probably are words to describe their live shows, but it isn’t good enough. You’ve just got to see it. They drag people on stage for their take on Hybrid Moments by the Misfits. Girls Like Us is mashed with Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. You just want them to play forever and go a bit louder each time. They go mental at the end of Dazed By You which is amazing to witness. They can do the slowest of songs and they can go off the rails on another. They’re showing everyone what they are made of, not just live but on the new record.
I’ve seen them support bands I love and I’ve seen them headline their own shows. Ain’t no party like a PINS party. I wish it was home time so I could unleash my thoughts on their new record.
What I love about PINS is that they evidently have something in them that’s going to fuel younger generations to pick up an instrument and make their own noise. PINS are quite simply one of the best bands from Manchester, and there are loads of them. PINS have got this thing about them that make you want to sack off your 9 to 5 and start a band. To hell with it, you might as well do it. Their sound could intimidate some, but once you’ve met them you’ll realise that they’re just proper lovely people who make the kind of music you wish you could. I’m sort of holding back a little because I’m reserving it all for my thoughts on Wild Nights.
They’ve just announced a tour for September and you can get tickets here: https://www.songkick.com/search?page=1&per_page=10&query=PINS+UK&type=upcoming
It’s pretty tempting to go see them in Manchester. Pretty sure a home crowd is as good as it gets. The record is out Monday and you can buy tickets to their new tour now. You know what to do.
Middle fingers and glitter. Sometimes you just have to tell someone to fuck off. As satisfying as it is to have a sweary rant in your head (all of the time), sometimes you have to just let it all out. Don’t ever feel bad about it.
PINS are back, and their new song Too Little Too Late is a different sound to what Girls Like Us sounds like. Both equally sublime, but wonderfully different.
Their new record, Wild Nights is out 8th June via Bella Union and going by their show last week, it’ll probably be in my Top 3 records of the year (number 1 has already been claimed by Crocodiles) They are supporting Sleater-Kinney in March and Drenge in April. They will also be playing a show at The Lexington on 27th May.
The track listing for Wild Nights is as follows:
Curse These Dreams
Dazed By You
Got It Bad
Too Little Too Late
House of Love
When you become a fan of a band, it is usually their live shows that explain why you love them. Most bands I’m a fan of sound a billion times better live than on record. For the interaction and to see their faces as they play certain songs. It feels like it’s just you and them.
PINS are a band that HAVE to be seen live. On record they are exceptional, live they are perfect. Their show last night consisted of them playing their new record in full. If you’ve heard their debut, Girls Like Us you will know of a certain sound they have. A little dark, a little sinister and mixed with songs to chant along to. Their new record is nothing like Girls Like Us. If this becomes a problem for whoever listens to it, then they probably need their head checking.
I’ve no clue what the titles of the songs are, but I can tell you they are brilliant. With their first record they became a band to pay attention to, with their second they have become a band that will kick the behinds of those wanting to start a band, motivating them to make their own noise. They’ve truly found their own sound here on the new record, it isn’t too heavy and it’s utterly divine.
As I was listening to the songs last night, one band in particular came to my mind. A band that I hold as high as my mother. A band from the home of music, Manchester. PINS new songs have wonderful dreamy elements that are found in songs by The Stone Roses. I looked on feeling like a proud parent. This is a band that have done something really special, and I can only hope more people pay attention to them. I remember hearing Say To Me/Luvu4lyf and being amazed at what I was hearing. This was heavy and creepy stuff, it was incredible. The same feeling hit me again last night as I watched them rip through their glorious second record. There is something about live music that moves you, and last night was a proper example of that.
The new songs are powerful and inspirational. There is wisdom in the lyrics and fury in the drums. If Sophie doesn’t make you leave wanting to be a drummer, then you’ve probably been watching with yours eyes closed the whole time. A truly magnificent show, and I can honestly say (and I say it a lot) the best time I’ve seen them.
They end their set with Girls Like Us which ends with Faith bringing some fans on stage (one being Robert from Crocodiles!) to join in with the jumping about. The song is mixed with number 1 party jam, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. A brilliant end to the show. The show last night was a showcase of things to come from PINS, and I can’t wait for everyone to hear this new record.
The only crap thing about going to a PINS show is the amount of creepy old guys standing near the front and taking photos of the bands legs. Come on now. If you’re looking to get off on something, I’m fairly sure you can find a porno for free online. But anyway, if you ignore that then you can just appreciate how bloody great the band are. Faith’s voice is a lot stronger, Lois is a delight to watch because she bops up and down on the stage like a kid who’s downed a lot of cherryade and had a sherbet based sweet as her main meal. They are going to easily become an influential band in no time, they’re on the right path to doing so. Oh and before I forget the other thing that wasn’t great about last night was that Anna wasn’t there. Get well soon! PINS are quite frankly one of the most exciting bands around, on record and live they take you some place truly magical. Nothing really feels the same afterwards.
I’ve said it so many times now, but Manchester is truly the home of great music. It is obvious who the great bands are, and PINS will probably be named amongst them in a few more years.
I will mention their support act in a separate post because they are incredible and I’ll just ramble otherwise.
This was the third time I had seen PINS, but the first time seeing them headline their own show. They are a band I could quite happily watch live over and over again, and find different parts of their music to adore. PINS remind me of all the bands I love, but I don’t mean it in a rip-off kind of way. Far from it. They also remind me why I love music so much.
Aside from the gig being free (which was bloody good as I had lost £10 on the way..and as someone who has £5 in their bank account, this was pretty shit) PINS got their visas to go to America. I sincerely hope America falls in love with them because they are a band that just need to be heard by everyone. I think it is obvious that PINS are going to have no problem with being loved in America.
For me, it is always going to be LuvU4Lyf that causes me to move the most. I guess it is because it was the first song I heard by them a few years ago now, you always cling to the first song you hear by a band you love don’t you? It doesn’t matter if they’ve put out a record full of brilliant songs, you always go back to the one you first heard. I love seeing Girls Like Us live because Faith and Sophie beat the shit out of the cymbal in the intro (cymbal bashing is always welcome, just watch Oliver from The XX do it during Infinity.) Mad For You is brilliant live, and the way they all sing together in unison just really shows how tight the band is.
The night before I saw Brody Dalle live, and I’m pretty sure she burst my eardrums, and PINS pretty much did the same (as did their support band, Bad Grammar.) PINS are easily the most exciting bands around because they have this indescribable sound that makes them stand out from everything else that is going on. If you’re fed up of what you’re supposed to be listening to, go listen to PINS. Go see them live and kick out your frustrations because they are truly something else.
On record they are perfect, you cannot fault them and to look for fault would make you an ass. However, when you see them live it is something else. They sound tighter live and the way they sound live is even more perfect, they are simply a band that deserve every ounce of success they get. I’ve seen them support two bands I love; Warpaint and Dum Dum Girls, and to finally see them headline their own show was a memorable experience, especially in a venue so small. They are the kind of band you need to see in a small and sweaty room. They are the best kinds of shows, and only the best kinds of bands play these kinds of venues.
I’m not really sure what the crowd was like, I was just happy to see PINS but I saw some creepy guy taking photo of Faith’s legs throughout the show which was pretty stupid. Then again, some people are just idiots aren’t they.
PINS have this way that, after seeing them live making you wish you had some musical talent so you could start a band. They are the kind of band you wish you could join. They just have this way of playing together that really makes you believe in their music, and I think when you see a band live and you can tell they love playing together, it pretty much makes you love the band even more. If they stood on stage looking as if they didn’t care, you wouldn’t be moved by it. PINS are just an absolute pleasure to watch live because they each lure you into this weird world they have made with their eerie sound. Sophie makes you wish you could play the drums. Anna is a hypnotic bass player. I’ve never seen anyone enjoy themselves on stage as much as Lois does. Faith’s voice is enviable, I wish I could sing like that! You can tell that they have the best time playing live, and that is what makes you want to keep seeing them play.
The sinister undertones in their music really comes alive when you see PINS live, and it is just a beautiful thing to witness. I’m pretty sure this is how people felt when Siouxsie And The Banshees first came out. Oh and also, I know it has nothing to do with the music, but Anna’s hair looked amazing last night. I had hair envy.
If you get the chance to see PINS live, GO. Don’t think twice about it, just GO. To anyone who thinks music is boring or lacks that “something” then go listen to PINS. Oh and if you are a fan, the band have got a treat for you on Record Store Day (this day is better than Christmas.)
I thought I had 10 solid records to list as my favourite this year. My utter favourite has not changed; that was the only one I was 100% sure on. I change my mind a lot, about most things. What I like today, I may dislike tomorrow. Or in 10 minutes. It keeps things interesting to an extent, then it just gets confusing. I don’t like order or structure. Music is my favourite sound. People bragging about how much they drank the night before is my least favourite. If only there was a mute button for conversation.
With it being close to the end of the year, everyone thinks their opinion is better than other people’s when talking about their favourite record, songs, books etc of the year that has passed. My opinion isn’t made for counting or even worth acknowledging. To the one person who’ll read this; I hope you own at least one of the records I mention here. Of course, you don’t have to own it but you know..buy yourself something nice. Anyway. This isn’t in order, but the last record I mention is my favourite of the year.
Dirty Beaches- Love Is The Devil/Drifters. Anything Alex does always blows me away. He’s someone who, when you listen to his music, you can tell is truly in an untouchable zone when he makes music. You can sense that nothing distracted him in the process, and when you listen to his music nothing distracts you from that intimate moment you have listening to his music. To an extent music is pretty voyeuristic. We are listening in on other people’s thoughts and feelings. They know someone is listening; they just don’t know who. I’ve read vile criticism of this record from those who wanted Badlands part 2. It’s rally unfair to Alex because he’s one of the most passionate musicians out there; and to assume he’s going to make the same record over and over is just wrong. Same goes for many more, I know. But Alex’s music just stands out. I finally got to see him live this year, and watching him felt like you were witnessing someone unleash every demon that their body posses. It was a truly beautiful show. I interviewed him, and although it was done via email I could easily sense just how much music means to him. He’s not someone who’s had success come easy to him, and that hunger is firmly within him to keep making music. When I heard the song, Love Is The Devil it just broke my heart because it had this raw beauty to it, but pain also. It was overwhelming at times to listen to this record because of the rawness of it. The honesty in this record just makes you proud to be a fan of his music. Alex’s music makes you want to everything behind and fall in love with a gloomy European city that has history of romantic and haunting literature, with locals telling stories in dingy cafes.
Ezra Furman- Day Of The Dog. The hot pink cover did it for me. Ezra is an incredible song-writer; Day Of The Dog showcases this better than before. The songs are full of lust, self-doubt, hate (directed at the self and others) and is done in a way that doesn’t seem like it is self-pitying bullshit. So far from it. The philosophical lyrics with the delightful sax playing just makes this record a pleasure to listen to. For me, Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell is a brilliant “fuck you” and is the perfect soundtrack to those pissed off moods we are all prone to. Ezra has this way of touching on dark subjects in a way that disguises just how dark the feeling is. It’s the kind of music you speed off into the sunset too, where night-time is all you crave. His song-writing skills are enviable. He’s not afraid to pour his heart out for all to hear; for me that’s what makes this record wonderful.
Deptford Goth- Life After Defo. For the most part, what I listen to is some kind of take on Garage rock. However, sometimes something in music happens and I just fall for it. I have no idea what genre Deptford Goth’s music falls into. I don’t really care. There’s only two kinds of music for me- music I listen to and music I don’t listen to. Why waste your time on pointless sub-genres that feed those pretentious idiots out there. Deptford Goth’s debut record is one I have played constantly on train/tube journeys as everything is dark and the odd flickering street-light is all I see. I’ve walked country roads listening to this when I was living at my mum’s- when the evenings were light. His music fits the night-time perfectly. His gentle voice makes you feel as if you have something like a best friend walking with you to guide you through anything and everything. This is the kind of music that just stays locked in the heart. I’ve tried listening to Life After Defo when it is light out, but when you start to feel tired when on a long journey as the day fades- his music becomes so apt. I advise getting on a train just as it’s getting dark, head into your nearest city and walk around listening to this record. It just makes everything feel alright and secure.
SISU-Blood Tears. Fronted by Dum Dum Girls’ drummer Sandra (she’s also the best drummer I’ve ever seen live) SISU make hypnotic music to lose your mind to. Blood Tears has an eerie feel to it, as if it should be in some insanely fucked up horror film. Th best songs usually have this feel to them don’t they. Yet Sandra’s delicate voice makes you feel at ease. It’s the kind of record you play when the sky is covered in a haunting mist; the sounds will direct you where you want to go. You get lost in the beautiful moments that Blood Tears creates. Blood Tears posses this attitude that makes you think you can pretty much take anything and anyone on. Think, Garbage’s debut record- that kind of powerful. Dominant but not obnoxious in the slightest. It’s a powerful record that pretty much merges everything I love and adore about music.
PINS-Girls Like Us. Debut record of the year; no questions about it. This ferocious and dark debut record from the finest band in Manchester is one I’ve been playing on constant repeat since it came out. Every song is addictive. My love for PINS started last year when I heard the anthemic LuvU4Lyf. If you’ve seen PINS live, you will know just how pleasurable this song is to witness live. It is like a battle cry for hearts that are full of love; all bouts of lust have faded, and it has become something tougher. Speaking of tough, Girls Like Us has a gang-like feel to it. All too often I’ve seen PINS be described as a “girl band.” If only people defined music by what it sounds like rather than the gender of those making it. PINS are pretty much the most exciting band in the UK and I honestly cannot praise this record enough. It is, in my mind, a debut masterpiece. I’m so excited about how their sound is going to grow; I just bloody adore them. You get that, right?!
POP. 1280-Imps Of Perversion. The only person I know who really loves this band aside from myself is my uncle. We both share a mutual love for all things weird and loud. POP.1280 are one of the best bands on the brilliant Sacred Bones label. You see, Sacred Bones have never released a shit record. Some labels do have questionable moments; but Sacred Bones do take risks, and they do it in a way that means the listener is going to experience some of the best music imaginable. By no means are POP.1280 easy to listen to. This isn’t a record to woo a lover to or to play to your Gran at a family gathering. Oh no. Imps Of Perversion is a collective of perverse songs that you should play in your bedroom as loud as you want to. Feel as free as you want. Let the music fuck you up and over. It’ll go through your bones, smash your skull and leave you wondering why this isn’t played on commercial radio. Let them have your noise; you’ve got your own. Imps Of Perversion is as noisy and as brutal as it gets. This is one record I’d love to have witnessed the recording process for. It is brilliantly weird and wired.
The Long Wives- A Collection Of Demonstrations And Demons. I’ve been writing about Brandy for some time now, and since accidentally finding her music there’s not been a day where I’ve not listened to her haunting voice. Her voice is scary and powerful. Her songs show that she is one of the best song-writers around; the way she tells stories enables you to feel the fury she feels in her songs. This is her debut record, but it’s pretty much a collection of old songs and demos on there. It does have my favourite, Judas Hex on. It’s one of my favourite songs by Brandy, but to pin point what it is that I love about her music would take an eternity; I simply cannot justify my love for her music. If I ever had the money and was okay with being on a plane for 8 hours, I’d fly to LA and hang out with her in a graveyard and discuss life in general with her. She’s like a stripped back version of Zola Jesus; by this I mean her music makes you think. And I mean REALLY think about everything around you. Her music to me, is romantic and can cure the heart of any illness that is surrounding it. Her lyrics are vulnerable and the way she sings is just breathtaking. She’s an inspiration for sure.
Willis Earl Beal- Nobody Knows. From one musical genius to another; Willis is the man who is putting some much-needed soul into music right now. He appeals to the loner in me, which as I get older, becomes more and more obvious. I like my own company more than I used to, which guess is an adjustment to getting older. I hate being in large groups of people, I just really hate it. Willis’ voice has a lot of soul to it, and his debut record had a lot of pain surrounding it. Read his background story, and you’ll see why. Nobody Knows has bouts of hope and strength in it. His song with the gorgeous Chan Marshall (Cat Power) just makes you feel as if everything is going to be alright again. It also makes you want them to make a full length record together. Followed by a tour is dingy, intimate venues. I can picture it now. Perfectly. Nobody Knows is the perfect middle finger to those who think most fall victim to that “second record” beast. It is obvious for the most part that it is a myth. Willis stamps all over it. His voice is extremely powerful; just look up videos of him singing without any music and you’ll quickly realise that he’s one of the greatest.
Savage Sister-Savage Sister. Savage Sister; with a name like that you’d think they’d be making menacing goth style music. They’re pretty much the opposite of that. They’re as gentle as Youth Lagoon, Beach House and Tamaryn combined. Basically, they are ideal. Their dream-like debut release is just ethereal from start to finish. Of course it is like you are floating amongst the clouds with your eyes shut as everything just passes you by. You don’t need to take notice of anything around you, because with this record, Savage Sister create moments for you that stay lodged in your brain and etched upon your heart forever. This debut release was one I’d been hugely excited for last year, and when I was emailed a copy I was so excited to finally hear it. There is something magical about this band; and they are much more than a sacred listen. Everyone should listen to them because they could possibly be the soundtrack to those memorable moments in your life. Savage Sister make music to float away and dream to. Listen and dream away.
CROCODILES- CRIMES OF PASSION. So this was pretty much an easy one. It was my record of the year before it was released; before I even heard it. I just knew it was going to blow my mind. I heard it a few months before it came out, and I was trembling with excitement as I listened to it. I get the same excitement now when I listen to it. I notice something different about each song with every listen. I initially thought I could pick one song that I loved the most, but I realised this wasn’t going to happen for me. I love She Splits Me Up but I love the lyrics to I Like It In The Dark (“I don’t have the time for a graveyard of the mind that they call shame.”) But I adore the whole romantic feel throughout the record. I was beyond excited to finally meet the band in the summer and to be able to see them live a couple of times; when I interviewed them about this record, I started picking up on different things about it. Songs that influenced by poets such as Baudelaire to Patti Smith. I’ve loved Crocodiles since the start and to hear them go from the likes of Neon Jesus to Marquis De Sade is just amazing. Live they are on a different level. Their fans really feel the music, and know they are part of something unruly and unconventional; that’s why I love them. If I was in a band, I’d want to have the same approach to music as Crocodiles do. There are so many reasons as to why Crimes Of Passion is my record of the year; but for the most part, the meanings are sentimental and close to my heart. VIVA CROCODILES!
The last show I go to this year is the one that is probably the most sentimental for me. It was something I had been waiting for since 2009, when I first heard the band.
Dum Dum Girls mean the world to me because their music is like nothing else. Their 60s girl group feel mixed with the dominance found in a song by the Ramones immediately lured me in years ago. A firm grip around my heart, and of course ears. A band I listen to every day on the way to work and on the way home. A band that have been a source of comfort and providing words to get strong to. More than just a band. More than just music. I firmly stand by my statement that Dee Dee is my generations Patti Smith; but after seeing them live last night, I know I am right. There is something about her that gives you the sense of confidence that the likes of Patti and Shirley Manson do. If you’ve seen Dum Dum Girls live, you’ll know exactly what I mean. If you’ve not seen them live, you quite simply have to.
Before I write about their set, I need to mention their support for the night; PINS. PINS are undeniably one of the best bands around. Girls Like Us is no doubt one of the best records of the year. To see those sinister and eerie songs live is incredible. As you watch them live, you truly see how united they are as a band and also how much they love making music together. They have this brilliant gang mentality that makes you want to start your own band. They blaze through their set in a ferocious and passionate manner. For me it is always going to be LuvU4Lyf that blows my mind live. Probably because it was the first song I ever heard of theirs last year. To see them go from that to supporting a band like Dum Dum Girls makes you proud of them, and also proud to be a fan. Manchester is the home to some of the greatest bands ever; you can put PINS in that list. Lois coming into the crowd holding her guitar like a woman possessed, Faith’s powerful glares mixed with her fearless vocals, Anna’s hypnotic bass-playing and Sophie’s captivating bashing of the drums made PINS set last night something that was nothing short of an honour to watch. PINS are a band to lose and free your mind to. They’re the band you wish you could join. I just really bloody love them.
Just after 9pm it was time for Dum Dum Girls to take to the stage. Dum Dum Girls now have an extra guitarist (Andrew- he was involved with their first release. The guy is a brilliant musician.) They play songs off their EPs, both records and Too True, their new record which I know will be my favourite record of 2014. I probably won’t listen to anything else next year (apart from Warpaint’s new one.) As they play Bedroom Eyes, some form of epiphany happens. I’m not sure what exactly, but it happened throughout the set. I was hoping they would play Rest Of Our Lives- it’s my favourite DDG song. As they played it, all I could do was sing along and hold my girlfriend’s hand. It didn’t matter for the past week or so I’ve been disgustingly ill, none of that mattered last night. I felt alright! I forgot that my body was in pain and the like. I sang every word back as if I was the only one in the room. Rimbaud Eyes was a song they played earlier in the year on a radio station, and it sounded brilliant. To see it live was just mesmirising. Are You Okay? sounds like a psychedelic trip into a better world. Basically, a Dum Dum Girls show feels like a lucid trip into the unknown. A daydream you don’t want shaking or waking up from.
When you finally see a band that have meant so much to you for so long, it just increases your love for them. I’m not entirely sure how but it just does. I suppose if a band can leave you speechless like this, then you know you’ve seen something truly remarkable. Dum Dum Girls are just a delight to watch. You’ve got Jules with her cool demeanor elegantly slaying the guitar. Malia sways with her bass taking you in on this hypnotic trip. Sandy is just my favourite drummer around; she’s incredibly powerful and makes me wish I could play the drums. Dee Dee has this presence that like I’ve mentioned already, much like Patti Smith. She’s not aggressive in the slightest but still manages to hold your attention. Your eyes never leave the stage. Fixated on the brilliant musicians stood in front of you.
Certain songs cause me to shut my eyes, sway and sing the words as if I wrote them. Are You Okay? and Lord Knows are ones to do this to. Season In Hell was magnificent to see live. For me, that song just sums up everything. It is made up of comforting sounds and reassuring words. He Gets Me High was stunning. I could easily have summed this up easily by saying their music just makes me really happy. But to see it live, finally, did more than make me happy. This year I’ve seen (and met) three bands/singers that over the years have been everything to me. Patti Smith, Crocodiles and (two members of) Dum Dum Girls. Meet your heroes, and thank them for the music.
Lost Boys And Girls Club is something all Dum Dum Girls fans are part of, for sure. It’s an anthem for the lost generation. They posses the mentality of Punk but with tranquil tones that cleanse the soul. It Only Takes One Night is amazing to witness live; I wasn’t expecting them to play it and I think it just set me off completely. If I could see just one band live for the rest of my time, it’d probably be Dum Dum Girls. The crowd was awesome too. I’ve been to a few shows in London now, and this was probably the best crowd I’ve seen. Was really cool to see Charlie from Crocodiles in the crowd too. The atmosphere was just perfect. Their songs truly come to life when you see them live. I’m a massive fan of lyrics, and I feel Dee Dee is an exceptional song-writer who really gets to the core of any emotion and portrays them in a fearless way. Her lyrics are beautiful and the way she writes them, is exactly how she sings them- delicate and pure.
Before we saw them live, my girlfriend and I had dinner (Hoxton Bar & Grill do the BEST veggie burrito, and they sell Jameson!) as I was enjoying my whiskey I saw Dee Dee walk past to go outside to do an interview. I was instructed by my girlfriend to say hi to her when she came back in. I obviously said no because that’s just massively creepy. After about half an hour or so, Dee Dee walks back in. I thought, “If you can hold it together a little bit when you met Patti, you can do this.” So I did (basically my girlfriend forced me and I had a lot of whiskey.) I went up to Dee Dee, introduced myself and as soon as I mentioned the cover of Just Like Honey she did for me, she hugged me. I FINALLY got to thank her for doing that. Finally. Photo taken, year complete. At the end of the show when we were leaving, Malia was walking out behind me. I decided to turn to her and say, “I know this is probably an inappropriate time to say this but you were amazing tonight.” She told me it wasn’t inappropriate, and that being in a sweaty environment like that is good for the pores. See, musicians are full of beauty tips too! The hat she was wearing was beautiful. I hope she made it to the other side of the bar safely, and her hat too!
So there you have it. 2013 didn’t suck and I’m ending the year with Dum Dum Girls as the last show I go to. There’s no other band I’d want to end the year seeing. I’m aware this isn’t the best thing I’ve ever written, all you’ll get from this is hopefully my love for a band that are just insanely brilliant.
“Lift your gaze, it’s the end of daze.”
PS: My girlfriend took the photos (aside from the one of Dee Dee and I because I have really short arms and can’t use my iPhone properly!) I also walked head first into one of the kings of radio, Don Letts at the tube station which was pretty embarrassing. He’s very tall….