GHUM: Bitter.

This might be all over the place because I am SO excited to write about the debut record by GHUM. It’s out on Friday, and once you hear this record- nothing will be the same again. And in other news, I now have a cat so I’m going to do my best to make a little Punk out of her. I think she’ll tolerate the beautiful noise I play. Speaking of beautiful noise, let’s get into the best record of 2022, shall we?

You know about my love for the band GHUM, that’s been apparent for a long time now. They encompass everything I love about music, everything I want from music and have a sound that I’m just obsessed with. When I listen to them, I get that same rush I did when I first heard TwoFiftyFour, L.A.Witch, The Kills and Warpaint for the first time. That same kick I got from hearing Seventeen Seconds by The Cure. That same rush I got when I heard The Cramps for the first time. In short, this band have that same thing about them that just makes me fall in love with music all over again. With a debut record, a lot can be expected. As a fan, you just want to finally hear the finished product. I can’t imagine the stress that comes with it from being in a band waiting for the world to hear it.

The record opens with Some People- the first big release for this record. The video to this is incredible, and listening to it in an album setting gives a bigger meaning and feeling to the song. I’m all in. I’m hooked. The record makes you want to take a road trip round Europe and forget the world you’re part of for a little while. There’s a lot of escapism on this record, and it’s down to their incredible way of giving you these dark and euphoric anthems. There is something to spooky and special about this record, and when you listen to the likes of Bad Brain, it really does hit you how incredibly talented this band is. Bad Brain may be my favourite song from the record at the moment, but my mind will obviously change. It is just a beautiful record, and I’m not just saying it because I adore this band. I think, if you’ve never listened to GHUM before, this record will blow your mind. They’re just the perfect band and even though they’ve only played Manchester once, it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. They’re a band that you just HAVE to see live, and my god I’m so glad I have. With this record, you can quickly imagine how they will sound live. Songs like Over And Over, Bitter and Deceiver have this sound to them that make you long for a GHUM gig.

The way Laura sings “I hate you” on Over And Over is so gut-wrenching. You really feel the disdain and disappointment in her voice, and for a singer to project their emotions into a song like this is truly something to admire. You’re just fascinated by how she delicately sings of her hate- that fragility is a rare moment on the record because for the most part, she delivers the songs with this toughness- not intimidating at all, the opposite. She kind of gives you some of her strength. All of them make you feel empowered in a way that you didn’t think a band/record/song could. This is a truly special record from start to finish, and all that’s in between.

Every single song on this record deserves your complete and utter attention. Not only will you fall madly in love with the songs, but you’ll end up being besotted with how exceptional they are as a band. Jojo is one of the best guitarists you’ll ever hear. The way Jojo plays is remarkable, and the way MJ perfectly compliments her with her bass playing is just stunning. They both add this mystic groove to every single song. This is perfectly fitted with the drumming skills of Vicki- and on the song Echo, that’s where you really REALLY hear this glorious marriage of sounds. There’s chaos but there’s calmness on this record, and that’s part of the appeal.

The main reason as to why this is the best record of the year? Because it sounds like everything, you’d want your favourite band to sound like. If you’re looking for a record to get lost in or a record to listen to whilst you try tame your mind- this is for you. Stick some headphones on and blast this record in your ears. There is so much to love and cherish about this record. From the lyrics, to the way the drums sound like waves crashing against your soul and the bass and guitar bringing you back down to provide comfort. It’s just a glorious record and a joy to listen to.

I can only write about this record/anything I write about as a fan; that’s all I know. But trust me- this is the record of the year. Everything you could want and more. I cannot wait to play it religiously as I go to/from work. I can’t wait for the days to get shorter and let the songs take on a different meaning in different seasons. I can’t wait for the world to hear this record. It may be a debut record, but this band know exactly how they want to sound. This sure sound is just a dream to listen to. At times the songs are ethereal and there are times where this fury in Laura’s voice (the ending of Shallow where she belts out “You don’t know me” is SO powerful) every song has moments built into it that stick in your brain. The record ends with a 7 minute delight- Rivers. I won’t spoil it for you, but this may just end up being one of those songs that they use in films to really heighten the suspense.

They’ve done it. So easy. So effortlessly. So slick, so cool, so perfect.

L.A. WITCH: Play With Fire.

Play With Fire | L.A. WITCH

One of the few things I’ve been super excited about is the brand new record by the finest band from L.A. A band who I have been obsessed with, in love with since the very start. A band who perfectly capture everything I love and want from music. A band that have been the soundtrack to my days- good and bad. A band that are just the coolest. A band that everyone should fall in love with.

This Friday, L.A. Witch’s second record, Play With Fire will finally be released. I’ve had a copy for a couple of months, and I’ve been dying to write about this record. Now I can finally do it, I’m not sure if my words will make sense but hopefully you will be able to make sense of my love for the record and get yourself a copy on Friday.

The record opens with the tougher than leather anthem, Fire Starter. It perfectly sets the mood for this record. It’s a record that you can imagine listening to whilst on the open road, the wind blowing in your face and slowly, every worry you carry is falling away from you. This follows right into the anthemic Motorcycle Boy- which is beautiful ode to a loved one in a way that only L.A. Witch can do. There is no room for comparisons here- whether it be to other bands or to their debut record. Play With Fire is the record of the year; that’s all you need to know.

Sade, Irita and Ellie have hugely excelled themselves on this record and have given us that holy water we desperately need to cleanse our mind, body and soul right now. The record is a masterpiece, and everything about it just oozes something so raw, so cool- it’s such an exciting record and they have truly gone above what we thought we were going to get on this record. Forget what you’d previously heard- Play With Fire is where it is at.

Dark Horse is a song I really need to praise. I know I said NO comparisons, but this song gives me serious Jim Morrison vibes. The poetry in the words, the way Sade’s vocals on this are just unreal. On some songs her vocals are distorted, but here we can really hear how strong her voice is. It also shows us how Ellie and Irita have tightened their sound, and along with Sade’s guitar- it’s just the perfect song. If you want a song that shows you how far the band have come and how they have perfected their art once more, then this is the song. Easily.

You know when you hear a record, and you just imagine how it will sound live? That’s what L.A. Witch give you here, and more. I’m not talking dingy and sweaty basement bars here- I’m talking big stadiums where the front row is made up of kids who will cite it as their first show, then go on to form their own bands and change the world. That’s how great this record is. The riff on I Wanna Lose blows my mind every single time, and with Ellie’s drumming and how Irita brings this urgency with the bass, and you’ve got Sade unleashing hell with her guitar- come on! What more could you ever need?

Play With Fire is the record we all need right now, and for eternity. It’s got this seedy road trip feel to it, it makes you feel like you’ve tripped up into an underworld that no one else has discovered yet. You also feel like you’ve joined a cult and L.A. Witch are now your guides. Do what they say, and you’ll be fine. The attitude on this record is on point, songs like Sexorexia (please god make this a single!) is empowering. It’s tough and my god Sade’s vocals will give you goose bumps and make you feel like you’ve found your own nirvana. It is INCREDIBLE. There’s something about this record that feels nostalgic but also unheard of. It is a proper magical record, and every single song on this record will take you over completely. Every single song deserves its place here, and the way the songs are placed is perfect. Listen to it in order first, then do whatever you want with it. Play each song 5 times before the next if that’s what you want to do. Blast it as loudly as you can. Knock on your neighbour’s door to tell them how great it is! Tell anyone who will listen that THIS is the record of the year. Play With Fire is one of those records that we will be talking about in years to come- it’s got a timeless feel to it, and it’s unlike anything you will have heard before. It is a truly mind-blowing listen from start to finish. If you want songs to waste away the day to, to escape to or to even heal parts of you- LA. Witch have got you covered, always.

The record feels like the best acid trip imaginable (I’ve never done drugs, but I’d imagine this record is how it feels.) You are taken into a different world, and what I adore about Play With Fire is that is stands for something. It’s a courageous record, and it gives you something to believe in; and it makes you feel like an outlaw on the run whilst listening to it. This record could easily be the soundtrack to a film, and I hope one day L.A. Witch create the soundtrack for a film because it would just be insane! For me this record fully justifies why I adore the band so much. Ellie is the best drummer around. Irita is the best bassist you’ll hear and Sade is ferocious on guitar, and her vocals are just as powerful. L.A. Witch are a band that are going to get better and better with everything they do- that’s obvious.

I’ll wrap this up with a quote from Sade about the record: “Play With Fire is a suggestion to make things happen. Don’t fear mistakes or the future. Take a chance. Say and do what you really feel, even if nobody agrees with your ideas. These are feelings that have stopped me in the past. I want to inspire others to be freethinkers even if it causes a little burn.”

Play With Fire is out this Friday via Suicide Squeeze Records.

EZRA FURMAN: Twelve Nudes.

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Ezra Furman has finally made the Punk record that they wanted and needed to make. It is also the Punk record that we all need. Losing my Grandma just under 2 weeks ago, I’ve felt myself lose interest in most things, I have more panic attacks than I can count, I am crying at any given moment and obviously, I cannot cope. I spent some time today really REALLY listening to Twelve Nudes. Bawled my eyes out. It’s a record that sums up everything that is going on in my head, and I’m so grateful that Ezra has made this record. Ezra’s playing Manchester on my birthday. As much as I now no longer care for my birthday (and Christmas) I’m glad I’ll be spending it watching the person who is narrating my every thought. I sure hope my girlfriend is prepared to deal with me at my crying best.
Twelve Nudes opens with Calm Down aka I Should Not Be Alone. The title alone sums up exactly everything right now. The lyrics smack me right in the gut; it’s like a relief that someone else is saying how I feel because it is so exhausting to be honest at times. The sheer fury and passion in Ezra’s voice just makes you want to shout along with them until your throat bleeds. There is something so important about this song, and having it open the record just sets the tone for how fucking truthful and vital this record is.
I have been a huge fan of Ezra’s for so long, and to hear them make this kind of record is truly mind-blowing. I’ve studied Ezra’s records religiously, and I always claimed Day Of The Dog as my favourite (closely followed by Banging Down The Doors, which is a masterpiece) but what Ezra has done with Twelve Nudes is something we all hope for the musicians we love with everything we have- Ezra has made the record of the year, the record of his career and the record for those who really need something bigger than they can comprehend.

I’ve always been in awe of Ezra’s lyrics; they have the storytelling style of Lou Reed mixed with something that really goes beyond music. When I listen to Ezra, I feel okay and safe in my skin- I’ve not had that in a while. We battle with ourselves to be honest at times, and having people like Ezra vocalise these worries, insecurities and fears tames it all slightly. Ezra really hits you in the soul with this record, and they do it prominently on songs like Transition from Nowhere to Nowhere. This song is full of hope and finding comfort in the things that go beyond us. I truly hope Ezra plays this on tour.
The more you listen to this record, the more you see just how much we need this record. In a world that is still full of every ist and phobia, records like this are so crucial because they show us the struggle that so many of us face. You cannot silence a minority, and you can silence those who have been hurt forever. Trauma is a song that is just so heavy in every single way. The music is so rugged and raw; you can truly hear the passion and fury in the music, and of course, in Ezra’s voice. There’s this bbeautiful rasp in Ezra’s voice, and it just makes you really feel every single word that Ezra aims at you. You want to scream every word out just like Ezra as he narrates everything going on in your head.
The sheer tenderness on this record and the urgency in every song just gives you this unconditional feeling of security and comfort. I may be breaking down constantly and crying but this record is almost like medicine. Twelve Nudes is the record that you cling to and refuse to ever let go of. For me, it is one of the most important records of all time- not just for our Queer culture, but for society. There are songs on this record that reach every single part of you, and just pull out the things you’re meant to be afraid of feeling. When you let yourself feel it, you feel a bit freer. Sometimes, that’s just what you need. This record has come from the heart and soul, and you truly feel that in every song.
I could probably write a full-blown essay on this record, but I think the main thing for me to say here is that it is truly one of the most remarkable records I’ve ever heard. It’s a record that I know I’ll never get enough of. It’s a record I will constantly play and keep falling in love with. Ezra has that effect; you cannot help but go back and listen to all their records and finding new things to love about them. Every record Ezra has made has always been so important to me, but with Twelve Nudes, Ezra has gone beyond everything and anything you’d expect. The sheer openness on this record and that proper Punk feel and attitude is beautifully done. It is such a joy to listen to, and to find safety in.

Although I feel utterly lost and empty, I have found something in this record that I quite possibly cannot put into words. Or the words have yet to form. All I know is that I’ll be leaning on this record for a long time, and if by some strange stroke of luck Ezra sees this- thank you. Thank you for speaking up, for creating this record and for being unafraid in your art. Thank you.