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.





DRUG HUNT.

10 06 2020

Right from the mean streets of San Diego and right into your ears are a band called Drug Hunt. Looking the band name up may lead to weird results, and probably things that aren’t safe for work but when you get to what you want, you fast realise you’ve stumbled upon a band you have no idea how you made it this far without.

If like me you are madly in love with bands like Melvins, OM, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Bambara- then you’re going to be really excited over Drug Hunt. Their sound is heavy, brutal, dark and poetic. They have such a unique style that just blows you away with every listen. Their self-titled EP consists of 4 songs that will twist and turn their way into your mind, corrupt your soul and leave you feeling very strange afterwards. Nothing will feel the same afterwards. Initially I wanted to focus on the EP but the more I listen to their music, the more I’m inclined to basically write a love letter to the band.

Drug Hunt have a heavy Psychedelic sound, and they have that Jim Morrison poetic feel to the vocals/lyrics. Imagine if Jim Morrison was still alive and joined the Melvins. That’s basically Drug Hunt but my analogy doesn’t do the band justice at all. The Tower is about 6 and a half minutes long, and it then slides into the euphoric 5-minute wonder that is, The Well. The EP is beautifully crafted, and the way the songs flow into each other is mesmirising. The songs were made for you to escape deep into, to just ignore reality and go right into their world.

The songs on this EP are mighty and deafening. They are beautifully terrifying; you cannot help but keep going back for more and more. Their sound is everything I want from music- it is uncomfortable and leaves you on edge. I don’t want something to make me feel safe, I want to listen to something that makes me feel a little bit on edge. Drug Hunt do this in such a grand way. Another band that remind me of this are Italy’s finest, Sonic Jesus. Sometimes it is the uncomfortable sounds that provide the most comfort, and you definitely get this from Drug Hunt.

The five of them in this band all play a vital part in messing with your head in the most wonderful way imaginable. The guitar on The Altar for the last minute or so will make you want to weep it is THAT good. There’s a lot of heart and soul in this band, and it comes across so perfectly on the EP. It’s a real joy to listen to, and to just get totally wrapped up in. I love bands that aren’t scared to push themselves, and I love when they do that to the listener- exposing them to new sounds too, and really pushing what they thought they knew.

Drug Hunt are nothing short of exceptional, and although we may only have so far, a handful of songs, there’s absolutely no telling what will happen next. They truly take the listener on a mind-bending journey with their music, and right now, we probably need that.





MODULATOR II : Slivered Hearse.

9 05 2020

 

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Are you ready to take a psychedelic trip into the unknow? Into the weird and beautiful world of French pioneers Modulator II? They’ve put out one of the most far out records of the year. It’s completely off the wall and it’s a joy to listen to. If you’re looking for something to listen to so you can escape the hell that’s going on, then this is the record for you.

 I’ve been wanting to write this for a couple of weeks now, but I’ve not had the time to properly listen to the record let alone write about it. I’ve been banned from my manager from doing extra hours at work, so I’ve spent my weekend asleep. I treated myself to a walk earlier, it was okay, I guess. Nothing to report. I could sleep for hours, but I’ve got the time and desire to write about this record so here goes!

 Modulator II are no strangers to the strange; neither am I and neither are their fans. They sure know how to make music that messes with your head and makes your body turn to jelly. They move you in ways that you want all music to move you. They don’t leave you feeling completely battered, just a little bit wired and out of your mind. That euphoric glow in their sound has never been so prominent! The record opens with The Big Crunch, and it’s just the perfect way to open a grand record like this.

 

 

If you’ve never listened to them before, then treat this record as your initiation into the unknown. There’s this effortlessly cool and experimental sound going right through the record. I’ve made my feelings known on this band and the band members before (Cédric and Romain are in the equally great band, Dusty Mush who I’ve written about before!) With this record they have truly created something to treasure, and to play loudly.

At the moment I am hugely obsessed with Uncanny Valley; I love the furious drumming and the way the guitars and bass come together to basically riot against the drums to see who can be loudest. I love when a band does this. It’s easy to do this and just be out of control with no meaning, but this band give it all they’ve got, and it sounds like a beautiful noise. I just really love this record and waiting for it so long just makes it sound that much sweeter.

 Of course, it is the kind of record you’d want to hear live, but given what’s going on right now, who knows when this will happen. Like so many I am desperate to go to a show and just feel something but waiting this out and being responsible is what’s needed right now. In time, we will get there. For now, we just play the music as loud as we can and let the music get right into our bones. Bands like Modulator II aren’t afraid to go beyond and to just push the listener, and you get this so clearly on songs like Stopover Commander and Extinction. The whole record is a joy to listen to, and to just soak up.

 

 

Stolen Body Records is the home to some flawless bands, and this record is a mighty fine example of this. Every song on this record is a step up from what you previously heard, and I love that you can hear the band get better in every single song. Stopover Commander is a delightful noisy number that you just cannot get enough of. The last 30 seconds or so of this song are some of my favourite moments on this record. If like me you are obsessed with bands like Sleep, then this song will give you serious Holy Mountain vibes. It’s out of this world and is a record that will definitely be one we talk about in decades to come. I know I will be.

 Silvered Hearse is out RIGHT NOW via Stolen Body Records.





SIOUX.

11 03 2020

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We all know that Manchester is home to some amazing places and bands. It’s an incredible place, and I’m happy to call it home. Part of what caused me to fall in love with the city was the music. It’s always the music. Some of my favourite venues are here (part of my heart still does belong to the Shacklewell Arms in Dalston though.) But Manchester has a scene that is so charismatic and evolving. Whatever you’re into, you’ll find it here and it’ll probably exceed your expectations.

 Tonight, I’m going to write about Sioux; one of Manchester’s finest bands, a band that are truly in their prime and are such a joy to listen to. With just three songs up on their Bandcamp page, you may think it’s a bit of a task to write about them, but it’s quite simple when you believe in what you’re hearing.

 

 

Sioux are a beautiful Psych band that make you feel like you’re listening to The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band mixed with the Electric Prunes. It’s every part 60s Psychedelic with a modern and Mancunian twist. If you’re looking for something to cause your head to go into a spin, and for your body to twirl repeatedly to the slick grooves your ears are being caressed with- then Sioux are the band for you. They have this beautiful relaxing sound, and as someone who can struggle to switch off at times- they really do give you the notion that you can just let shit go and breathe. You can almost picture a young William Miller in Almost Famous being handed this record by his sister, and he becomes totally enamored by what he hears. They’ve got something about them that makes you feel so alive, and just honoured to hear their music.

 Their latest release, Fickle is a sure-fire example of why Sioux are great. If you want to compare it to their other two songs- then go for it, but what you’ll hear is a band that are not afraid to expand their sound and to be utter daredevils in what they do. They have achieved something to be proud of in their sound and having the likes of Sour Grape Records back them is another thing to be proud of too. Sioux aren’t afraid to create mind-bending sounds that totally mess with your head. It’s how I’d imagine an acid trip to be. 2020 is going to be such a great year for this band, I can feel it. I just love how they make you feel like you’ve gone back in time and you’re discovering the likes of the Electric Prunes and Strawberry Alarm Clocks for the first time. That feeling in your gut they give you just makes you feel giddy, and in awe of what you’re hearing.

 Aside from their latest single, Fickle, they have a couple more songs for your listening pleasure. I adore the song Half-Eaten Songbird. It’s a poetic number that just eases the soul and in the same league as this is Hypnosis. The band are pros at creating music to escape in- they take you on a beautiful voyage, and you don’t want to ever come down from it. With the weather currently being ever so shit, it’s bands like Sioux that make you feel like you’ve got the sunshine hitting your bones and making you feel alright.

 

 

 

Like I said, 2020 is going to be a great year for them and I cannot wait to hear more from the band.





DR CHAN.

22 02 2017

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Music should freak you out. It should corrupt and warp your mind. It should make you think outlandish things and make you behave wonderfully irrationally. But within reason, of course. It should take you somewhere no one can touch you, it should be all kinds of sordid, gentle, poetic and like a thrash to the body. It should heighten everything you think and feel. It should make you feel ten feet tall.

Here come Parisian greats, Dr Chan. They make this Psych infused Garage Rock that sounds like The Doors meets Wavves. You feel like you could be on a beach in California but in the same thought, you feel like you could romantically be wandering around a cemetery in Paris then onto some dingy alleyway trying to find your way home after dark. Their sound is brilliant, and once you start listening- you’re hooked good and proper.

Sometimes you hear something really bloody great and you know that whatever you write about them just isn’t going to be good enough. I’m not going to dwell on my inabilities right now. This Friday, Stolen Body Records are going to put out their new record, Southside Suicide which again is probably going to be a right I fawn over constantly. I can’t wait to hear it and play it obnoxiously loud in my ears.

Dr Chan aren’t the kind of band you play quietly in the background and every now and then, you pick up on key moments in their songs. Far from it. They’re a band that you play as loud as you can stand and totally lose yourself in their music. Last year they put out Mental Dhead which was one of the most underrated records of the year. It was everything I wanted from a band- it was loud, snotty and deliriously great. It sent you off into another world. You didn’t know if you were in a daze or truly floating round the streets of Paris with these guys. There’s something about them that just makes you want invest all your time into their music, and to go to every single show they do. On record they’ve got this brilliant energy that makes you wish you were in a band. I’m pretty sure their live shows are equally as infatuating.

These guys truly send you off into a whirl. They’re every part Psychedelic but not in your typical way. They’ve taken it, and made it their own. Dr Chan are going to blow minds again with Southside Suicide on Friday, I’ve not heard it but I just know. I know I’m never right about anything, but we can let it slide this time.

Mental Dhead is a mighty fine record, and as far as debut records go it is most definitely a really tough record to top but I’ve got every bit of faith that they can do it. If all bands in Paris sound like this, maybe we should all move there and just lose our minds at their shows. There is something effortlessly freeing about the music Dr Chan make and that’s something to alone, be admired. I’m still hooked on their first record, but I can’t wait to hear their new one on Friday.

If you’re looking for a band to set the mind free and to just forget everything for a while, go give them a listen. Play as loud as you want and cancel the world out for a while.