L.A. WITCH: The Pink Room @ Yes, Manchester 18th May 2022.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been right at the very front at a gig. And it’s been a long time since a gig left me a little bit deaf. God bless L.A. Witch for being one of the loudest shows I’ve ever been to.

This show was meant to happen in 2020. We know what caused the delays, but last night the moment finally came.

I saw L.A. Witch play their first ever UK show when they played the Shacklewell Arms in London. It was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe that I was finally seeing them; I genuinely thought they would be one of those bands that I love that never find their way to the UK. I’ve been writing about the band since 2011, and they just blow my mind every single time. I adore their sound, and I love how they transport you into their world. A spooky but laid-back world. Sign me up! I never want to leave.

Last night, they played the Pink Room at Yes. The most important thing about this venue is that it has AIR CON. IT HAS AIR CON. You have no idea how important this is. The ultimate comfort. Let me be cold all of the time please, thank you.

L.A. Witch blast out all the hits. They tear the roof off with Untitled, Sexorexia, Dark Horse, Baby In Blue Jeans. They just kept the anthems coming. With a band like them, it’s difficult to work out who to focus on. Iritia is THE coolest bass player you’ll ever see. Ellie is up there with the greats on the drums- the sheer volume of the drumming was just incredible. Then you have their friend Lauren helping out on guitar who just looks and sounds effortlessly cool. Then Sade is front and center. The guitar is her machine gun. Her vocals are bullets the band look like they could probably knock you out, but we all know that they are just the loveliest and most beautiful humans around. I cannot compare their live shows to anything else in this world. It is like an outer body experience. I danced. My body hurt this morning when I woke up. The signs of a good night. There is so much passion and love in what they do, and how they play/their sound just makes you wish you were as cool as them. There’s no denying just how out of this world I Wanna Lose is live and you cannot help but just move your limbs and whatever else in ways that feel right to you.

L.A. Witch are most certainly one of the most dedicated and hard-working bands around. They seem to have been working and perfecting their sound for well over a decade, and in that time, they have played some amazing venues, toured with some excellent bands and won over plenty of new fans. The atmosphere in the room last night was gorgeous. This show was a long time coming, and let’s hope it won’t be too long for the next tour.

They ended on their enigmatic Get Lost, and the way this sounds like absolutely tops the recorded version. The distorted vocals, the reverb, the sheer loudness- everything.  It is just perfect and such a great way to end the set. They play the best modern day love song; Motorcycle Boy and you just feel like the band are taking you on a road trip on a dusty road into a world that only they know of. Kicking off the show, they played Kill My Baby Tonight which is such a great way to open the show. They could have opened with any song to be honest and it would have had us all hooked immediately. The heaviness in Kill My Baby Tonight stays through the whole set even on lighter songs like Baby In Blue Jeans. There’s this effortlessly slick feel to True Believers and Gen-Z. Your eyes don’t leave the stage at all, and sure they might be darting from one band member to another, but the admiration for them all is always there.

In an ideal world, I could afford to go to every single show they do wherever in the world. Even though they may not end up on this side of the world too often, you just treasure it even more so when it happens. There’s no denying that L.A. Witch will always be regarded as not only one of the best bands in the world ever, but most certainly one of the best bands you will ever see live.

BULLET GIRL: Talking Pony EP.

Good Friday has now taken on a whole new meaning because the debut EP from Bullet Girl is FINALLY here. It feels like we’ve been waiting forever for this. And yes, as that old saying goes- good things come to those who wait. I mean I was pretty impatient for this one, but I stayed up well past my bedtime last night/this morning and at midnight, I played the EP. I’ve been playing it all day (I’ve taken a break from listening to CROWS for the time being.) Good Friday? More like a BRILLIANT Friday. If you’re looking for something that is powerful, will burst your eardrums, give you a swift kick up the arse and make you feel something- then I URGE you to check out this EP. It’s incredible.

In 4 songs, Bullet Girl show us exactly what they are made of. They are a political, honest, focused and a poetic bunch. The songs are insanely brilliant. It opens with The Hunt, then we go right into Paper Guns which is just a treat for the ears. The whole record is. Of course, you want more, but what they’ve given us is a work of art that oozes passion, dedication and determination. You can truly feel the hard-work that has gone into this record. Everything about Talking Pony just screams every fury you possibly feel right now. Paper Guns nails this more than most. The despair and hurt on this are so raw, and you’ll probably be made of stone if you don’t connect even a tiny bit to this one.

With one EP they have firmly put their sound out there. There’s nothing like this around and thank God because no one can do it like Bullet Girl. They make you want to cast aside your daily responsibilities and just follow them on tour or something equally fun. They’ve got this energy to the songs that just makes you punch the air in agreement and yell the songs out. Nothing will hit as hard as the into to McViolence. That intro just gets me every single time. Pretty sure I could be having the worst day possible, and within seconds of that intro being blasted out- I’ll feel better. I love the sheer rage in the song. The whole record has this brutality to it that just makes you really connect to the band and what they are about. Again, it’s all about picking up on that drive and determination in this EP- it’s wild. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when listening to the record. Like, I knew it was going to be great of course, but I didn’t know how the songs were going to hit and how it’d feel to finally hear this body of work that they’ve worked so hard on.

The love and drive gone into this EP is evident on every single song. If you want music that will make you feel like you are being thrown about or if you want lyrics that are just an accurate social commentary that are sung with such vulnerability and urgency- then this is the record for you. These 4 songs were made to be heard by the world and to be treasured. The record ends beautifully on Parasites but it doesn’t have to end there. Simply play it over and over again. It’s the only way. The last 20 seconds or so on this one is just incredible. The screaming of “Better days will come” just hits you right in the soul.

Talking Pony calls out everything shit with the world, but it’s delivered in a way that givers you hope. Hope that it’ll get better. It has to, right? With bands like Bullet Girl telling it like it is, it’s a sure fire way of making us all feel less alone and less helpless.

Tour dates for May are:

7th May: Retro, Manchester (R-Fest)

8th May: Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds

9th May: The Washington, Sheffield

10th May: The Old Blue Last, London

11th May: Bedford Esquires, Bedford (supporting Personal Trainer

14th May: The Black Lion, Brighton

BEAT IN MY BONES: Episode 3

This week there is music from: CROWS, METZ, GHUM, Hoorsees, The Battery Farm and the new one from Sextile!

I think I spend most of the show talking about CROWS and their show in Manchester from last Friday. Bloody incredible it was!

Right, I’m off to play FIFA x

CROWS: Beware Believers.

In 2019 I wrote about the debut record from Crows. It was full of love and admiration. I was in awe of what I was listening to, and I found it hard to believe that it was only their debut record. Crows are a band that I’m constantly in awe of, and I love how they make me feel like I’m discovering the likes of The Birthday Party for the first time. They are loud, they are raw and they are criminally underrated. Their second record Beware Believers was released last Friday, and trust me- it’s unreal.

11 songs make up this record. 11 heavenly songs that will send you off into some odd dystopian dream/nightmare (I mean you could just take a look outside for this, but let me be a bit dramatic here.) There’s nothing more annoying than someone mentioning the second record curse when writing about a bands second release. Ease off the pressure and stop assuming everyone will release a shit second record. Crows are a band that do not make bad songs nor do they put fillers on their record at all. They make the kind of music to completely let loose to. If something is stressing you out or if you’re carrying some frustrations you just do not need- play this record as loud as you can stand. I’m not playing it as loud as I normally would due to being a little deaf from seeing METZ last night, but I’m brave. I can do this.

This year is clearly the year for exceptional records, and Crows can add their name to the list of bands contributing to this. I don’t think we’re going to hear a record as driven as this one. I don’t think it’s possible for anything to even come close to this record. Crows have been around for ages, and yes, it’s hard to get your heard around the fact that this is only their second record but what’s more difficult is that they haven’t taken over the world yet. Come on now! This needs sorting. I’ve listened to the record a lot the past few days, and I love the way every song flows perfectly into the next. I love how Only Times goes right into Slowly Separate. For me, that’s one of my favourite moments on the record; I love how beautifully chaotic this record, and I love that every song is delivered with such importance. These songs are vital, and you can tell just how much it means to the band.

I’m so excited to see them this week, and to see these songs live. I love when you hear a record, then you finally get to witness it live. You can really feel what the songs mean to the band and you can be part of how they are meant to be heard. Every song on this record, much like their debut, will make you want to trash any room you step into. Do it. Live a little. Throw some shit around, go wild. 

There’s a song on the record call Healing, and there’s a line that goes “I know that everything hurts, and I know that everything can heal” and it probably one of the most important lyrics I’ve heard in a while. Something so simple, but is projected in a way that really gets you right in the gut. I think Healing might be THE song for me on this record. I think it’ll probably be one of the most vital songs I hear all year. I love the vulnerability in the song and I love James’ vocals on this. I feel I could write an essay on this song and why it’s just so important. If they play this on Friday, I’ll probably have a bit of a cry or I’ll be too in awe of what’s happening and just stand there like a gormless twat! I cannot tell you how euphoric the song Room 156 is. This again is one I am so excited to see live (hopefully they play it!) For me, this record has this strong sense of urgency. It feels like the band just HAD to get this record out. Every word, every note played had to be released into the world. Thank God it finally has been.

Every song on this record shows us exactly why Crows are thrilling and a joy to listen to. The darkness but hopefulness in the songs will leave you feeling fragile but okay. There’s something about this record that makes you feel like maybe, maybe, it’ll all be okay. The record ends on Sad Lad which has this beautiful yet eerie feel to it. It’ll break you but by the end of it, you will feel healed. I really hope Crows know how important they are, and how important their songs are. There’s a lot of healing in the lyrics, and the way the it all comes together and just soothes your head and soul is divine. I’m just in awe of how loud and gentle this record is. Sometimes, you just don’t know how much you needed to hear something until it hits you right between the eyes.

Crows start their UK tour tomorrow, and you can get yourself tickets here: https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/crows-1-1

Go see them and let the healing begin.

METZ @ YES, Manchester 3rd April 2022.

Sunday. The perfect day to see one of the loudest bands around live. Even better when you have the Monday off to make sure you fully recover and can hear properly. I think the last time I saw METZ live was at YES, and it was such a great show. How was last nights show? Just as great- if not better.

The bands and fans have waited around 2 years for this tour, and it was absolutely worth the wait. METZ are a band that you listen to, and just let everything go to. I didn’t realise how badly I needed to see a band this loud, and when it happened- it was sheer euphoria. I wasn’t brave enough to get right into the crowd, but I had the time of my life on my lonesome at the back. The Pink Room at YES is probably one of the finest venues in this beautiful city. I’d put it up there with the likes of the Moth Club in London. It’s got this feel to it that just makes you feel like you are where you are supposed to be at that time. Anyway, profound shit aside- let’s talk the setlist.

METZ tear the roof off with Pulse- a proper smack in the face jam. A perfect way to open the set. Now, for some this 11 song set may have been too short (I mean I agree- I could happily watch them play for hours and still want more.) but the energy these 3 have on stage is insane. I just want to touch on how phenomenal a drummer Hayden is. On record, you know he’s great but bloody hell when you see METZ live, you truly get to witness how talented they are. Hayden’s drumming is unlike anything else I’ve seen- I can’t even give you a reference of who to liken him to but I promise you- he’s one of those drummers that will go on to influence so many. METZ are just a delight to watch, and the second their show starts you know it’s going to be something that stays with you. Alex’s vocals whilst annihilating the shit out the guitar are a sight to behold. He’s truly something else, and accompanying this you’ve got Chris making the bass sound like a lethal weapon. If you’ve never seen METZ live, then you’re missing out.

The setlist was perfect- cannot fault it. Not like I’d want to anyway! We were treated to Hail Taxi, The Swimmer, Eraser, new song Demolition Row, obviously Get Off (which was dedicated to the support Psychic Graveyard) and ended on A Boat To Drown In. There’s hardly any small talk here (and I’m all for that- bloody hate small talk) and they just keep the songs coming, and getting louder and louder with each song. YES is the perfect venue for a band like METZ. The sound there is great, and it’s a Pink room- what more could you want!

I think their show last night truly showed why METZ are not just one of the best band around full stop, but one of the most thrilling bands to see live. I know they aren’t to everyone’s taste and some may shy away from music as loud as this, but there’s no denying how talented METZ are. Canada’s finest for sure. Every record is a progression in sound, and is a masterpiece, and when you see them live you can’t help but wonder how the hell do only 3 people make this much noise? I’d put the show from last night as being one of the loudest shows I’ve ever been to. Top 3 with Melvins and The Jesus And Mary Chain. Easily.

The show last night was truly worth the wait, and everything you could possibly want from seeing a band that you adore. If annual leave and money wasn’t an issue- I’d happily follow METZ on tour. They are a joy to watch- lets hope we don;t have to wait so long for the next tour!

Beat In My Bones podcast!

Oh dear.

What have I done? Why have I done this?! Will it be the first and last? Who knows. Who cares!

Anyway, I’ve done it.

45 minutes of your life that you won’t get back.

Songs from: L.A. Witch, Bullet Girl, Crocodiles and The Gun Club, and many more!

CHUBBY AND THE GANG.

Hello, I am an idiot. An idiot who has had a piece written about Chubby And The Gang saved in my drafts, and never finished it. I read over it, deleted it and now- I’m starting again. There’s nothing worse for me than having to read over what I’ve written. Awful. Anyway, now seems a good a time as any to write about one of the finest bands around- Chubby And The Gang.

Their most recent release came out on Valentine’s Day (Labour of Love) and if reading this is your first time hearing about the band- then it’s probably the ideal introduction. CATG are one of London’s finest Punk bands. They are loud and electrifying. They are the kind of band you find yourself seeking out so you can just become more and more obsessed with them. Even more impressive is that they are supporting The Chats on their tour soon! That’s a lineup to get really excited about!

CATG have that 70s Punk feel, and when you listen to them you cannot help but feel you are roaming the streets of London with them just searching for something to do in a time when there was nothing. That feeling of hopelessness and nothingness is something that’s been quite vocal in Punk, but it’s something that makes the listener feel less of a deadbeat. I love their sound so much, and although I didn’t write about their debut record in 2020 when it came out- let it be known that is is a phenomenal record and one I still play the shit out of! It’s way too good to not mention.

Their debut record, Speed Kills is made up of 13 proper Punk anthems. Play it in any order, play it loud and play it religiously. For me it captures the real spirit of Punk and I love the brutal tones on the record. These 13 songs will go down in Punk history as being some of the most rowdy anthems ever written. And of course, you can’t talk about their debut without mentioning how great their second record, The Mutt’s Nuts is. If you’re wanting something louder and more in your face- this is the one for you. This is a proper rowdy record, and you can really hear how feral their sound is on this record. It’s just as mind-blowing as their debut, but The Mutt’s Nuts has a little bit more bite to it.

Both are clearly magnificent records and you cannot help but play one after the other. I’m probably pissing my neighbours off by playing this stupidly loud. Their second record has hints of Black Flag and Dead Kennedys about it- fast, to the point and makes you just want to scream along. The band excel themselves with everything they do, and I think the song that really sums this up is the second track on the record, It’s Me Who’ll Pay. Pay close attention the lyrics. The Mutt’s Nuts consists of 15 songs that shout “fuck off” is different ways. Utterly brilliant.

CATG are that band that you just need to see play live- on record you can definitely hear the passion and pick up on the urgency in the music, but to see them live would be heightened beyond words! There is just so much energy in the music, and it’s the kind of energy that just makes you feel part of something that matters. If you’re moved by bands like Amyl And The Sniffers, The Speedways, The Chats- all that good stuff; then you’ll absolutely find a home in Chubby And The Gang.

BAMBARA: Love On My Mind.

Before I get into how remarkable this record; I just want to touch on how I nearly missed out on tickets for their UK tour. Fortunately, the venue for Manchester got upgraded to Gorilla so I managed to get a ticket. No one should miss out on seeing this band live, so do the right thing and grab a ticket from here: https://www.seetickets.com/tour/bambara (also use Twickets if any have sold out!)

Right, the record.

There’s no set way to describe the sound and style of Bambara that does them justice. Nothing and no one can define them- they are THAT good. ‘Good’ isn’t even strong enough a word to use. Can you tell that I love this band a hell of a lot? I love how their music feels like a Henry Miller novel brought to life. I love the seediness in the songs. I love the poetry. I love the romanticism. I love the way the songs sound. I love how Reid’s voice can sound like a snarl but gentle at the same time. Everything about this new release just oozes perfection. I’m obsessed with every single song. If you don’t get goose bumps from this record, then turn the volume up a bit more!

Feelin’ Like A Funeral is a masterpiece (every song is but this one right now sticks out) and you find yourself going back to it, over and over. Just to really pick up on how stunning the lyrics are. You want to live in the world they have created with this song. In fact, you’ll pretty much feel that way when you listen to all of their songs. You’ll feel like you’ve been downing really strong whisky in a dive bar and you then stumble into the night, with no set place to go. The songs will echo in your brain and you won’t feel alone. Or, you could just stick your headphones on and see where your mind takes you.

The record ends on the euphoric Little Wars. The last minute or so of this song is divine. It becomes heavier and heavier (sound wise) but the vocals add this beautiful softness. It is such a glorious way to end the record and it’s no surprise that you’ll end up playing the record all over again. This mini LP is just a joy to listen to. The lyrics are more personal than on their previous records and that’s just one of the many reasons to not just love this record, but the band. They constantly evolve. The song writing is just a stroke of genius, as always.

What I adore about Bambara is that you simply cannot put their sound next to someone else’s. It is a completely different and unique sound, and I know that is so cliched and bloody typical, but there’s really no other band around that are like them. That’s what makes the band a real joy to listen to; with every listen it is like you are discovering them for the first time. I love the heaviness in their sound and I love the occasional gentleness in the vocals. Put that together and you get a really exciting band. For me, this is the band at their absolute best and of course like any great band- they leave you wanting more and more.

Love On My Mind may only consist of 6 songs, but it is the perfect step into what we’ll get next from them. But before all that, it just makes you so excited for the tour that’s coming up. These songs are going to absolutely rip live. Can you imagine hearing Point And Shoot, and Feelin’ Like A Funeral live? Holy shit!

BIG DIPPER: Just Love.

What sounds like The Cramps and The Count Five, and is a masterpiece? The new song by Big Dipper of course! The new single from Mr Big Dip himself was released on the 14th, and you can treat the song as a little Valentine’s gift for your ears and soul. The song is divine.

If I was one for genres, I’d probably make one up and call this Cowboy Punk. I love this song, and I love his vocals. I love the woeful lyrics and how you really feel for him. Sad cowboy blues- the Dip has sure got ’em on this one.

One of my favourite lyrics from the song has to be, “But at the end of the day it’s just a fart in the breeze.” I don’t even need to quote the line before it to point out how great it is. It basically just poetically tells you how rubbish/pointless some things can be. But there’s a lot of sadness on Just Love that is so beautifully written- it’s that last verse; it’ll rip right through you especially this part; “When I really start getting to thinking about it, it all becomes so clear. See, I cut my fingers so I can’t touch her no more. And I cut my arms off so I can’t hold her no more.” There is something so painful and beautiful about this part, it just really hits you in the gut.

The romanticism in the song has a proper storytelling feel to it; you cannot help but be reminded of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Scott Walker (I’m just naming my favourites but the point still stands.) The longing and heartache in the song will ruin you but my god it’s beautiful. If a song can’t take you on an emotional and spiritual journey- then what’s the point? You just want to get completely lost in this song and feel the way Big Dip does. When you listen to the song, you feel like you’re sat outside on a step with him, a little bit drunk at 2am when the bar has closed and you’ve been thrown out and he’s just pouring his heart out. We’ve all seen sights of people doing this on a Friday night, and usually with sick on their shirt and a questionable burger in their hands, whilst bits of lettuce and mayo fall to the floor. This however, is different. There’s class to this drunken breakdown.

The longing and hopefulness that turns to hopelessness in this song really gets to you, and it also shows you how great a writer/singer/musician our Dip is- but also the other musicians on this song are exceptional. With every listen, you soak up little details and they fast become vital to your appreciation of the song.

Whether you’re loveless or full of love, listen to this song and let it grip you.