THE BATTERY FARM.

11 10 2019

 

TBF

 

Manchester, Manchester. The greatest city in the world. A city that feels like home; it’s just the best. There are so many bands to have come from this beautiful city that I get to call home, and there a wealth of new bands emerging that, in time, will be regarded as highly as those before them.

 A band that most certainly demand your attention are The Battery Farm. They have a new single out in a couple of weeks, and this single’s subject matter is mental health. It is about lead singer, Ben’s struggle with his own mental health issues and this stigma that surrounds masculinity and speaking up about mental health. More than ever, we are embracing opening up- bands like IDLES are so encouraging with regards to speaking up. Then again, what kind of dickhead would want someone to shut up about it? Yesterday was World Mental Health Day, but that doesn’t mean that we stop talking or stop checking up on friends. We all have our own struggles; I’m open about mine but of course, hypocritically, I wish I wasn’t. I’m doing my best to write more about music, so I don’t have to “deal” with the two deaths I experienced so close to each other. One I can handle, but losing my Gran? I’ll never get a grip on that. Anyway, personal rant aside- let’s talk about music.

The Battery Farm consist of two brothers and two pals (the brothers are pals too obviously!) These 4 lads are making the kind of noisy Punk that makes you want to do something positive as well as trashing your room. They are a band to be hugely proud of, and not just because they are talking about things we tend to shy away from. They’ve been getting a fair bit of exposure, and I’ll post tour dates at the end. But what we need to discuss is their style and how they are such a bold, and vital band.

 

 

 Their debut single, 97/91 came out a couple of months ago. It’s got that beautiful heavy sound that is in bands like IDLES, The Murder Capital and Fontaines D.C. They aren’t afraid to have this openness and darkness in their sound, and I love it. I absolutely love this song. I love how you can feel every ounce of passion in Ben’s voice, and how the band just play with this infectious fury that just spurs you on. You cannot help but feel every single word- some people sing from their heart, some sing from their gut. Ben definitely sings from his gut, and that’s where this urgency is coming from. There is so much weight to their sound, and I love the dark tones and how they really are a fearless band. Their songs could easily be in some creepy Thriller film, or it could come to you in your dreams. It is frantic in the best way possible. I’d say I cannot praise this band enough, but I probably can. And will.

 Their songs are perfect for venues like our beloved Soup Kitchen, The Castle etc. but they could so very easily be blasted out in stadiums with every single person screaming along. Imagine that? Imagine everyone yelling the words to 97/91. It is such a powerful song, and although I know I should be going back to their new one, I Am A Man; this song has a ferocious grip on my ears. In fact, both songs do. So, let’s move on.

I Am A Man is a totally different sound to 97/91, and it works so well. Their new single as mentioned, is about Ben’s own struggles. It is so easy to relate to these lyrics; “I wanna talk but I don’t know how” is such a simple line, but it holds so much. It’s the way it is chanted by the band, and how it just completely sums up the whole stigma around mental health. Many do want to talk, and they have no idea where to start or even where to go. With just 2 songs, The Battery Farm have made a vital impact- and with I Am A Man the beautiful Mancunian snarl just nails it. The sheer honesty and openness in this aren’t fragile at all- it is brave. I’m aware that calling someone brave can sometimes be condescending but it is said here with the utmost respect. They just make you connect with them in ways bands that have been around for decades haven’t done yet. The words are sheer poetry, and they are merged with the most brutal drums, bass and guitar imaginable. It works so well and you cannot help but smack repeat on it. The lyrics become a mantra- we need more bands like this.

 

 

 

 

The Battery Farm have described their sound as, “frantic, visceral and violent.” It’s a pretty spot on description- but don’t let the violent part put you off. In this instance, that violent sound comes from daily frustrations and just wanting to change something, anything. It’s the vital force of their sound that makes you feel like you are pushing yourself through a wall of people to be heard. It’s a struggle, but you’ll get there.

 As someone who is obsessed with lyrics, I really love how The Battery Farm are so open to sharing their thoughts and what they see. They are showing us their world, their reality and the thing is- it’s like a lot of ours. Their songs are relatable, and if the lyrics make you feel uncomfortable- then they are doing it right, they are getting through. Their passion and dedication is something to truly admire, and with just 2 songs they have left me in awe. I really cannot praise them highly enough. Not just for touching on delicate subjects, but for being unafraid in doing so and for creating such a beautiful, and heavy sound. Hopefully they will be a band that, in the future, others are citing as them as their influence. 

 Here are some of their upcoming shows:

8th November 2019 – The Peer Hat, Manchester for Abattoir Blues Records

21st November 2019 – Werkhaus, London

1st December 2019 – Fab Café (acoustic)

7th December 2019 – Eagle Inn, Salford

28th December 2019 – Sound, Liverpool

22nd February 2020 – The Peer Hat, Manchester for Deco Records

18th April 2020 – Ulltra Festival, Hull

I Am A Man is released on 24th October.

*Photo by Gemma Corry

 





JOHN: Out Here On The Fringes.

7 10 2019

JOHN

 

What’s got two heads, four arms and four legs? No, not some weird mythical creature but an exceptional duo called JOHN. Two pals, both called John. Drums and guitar. Rowdy and really exciting. What more do you need?

JOHN are a band we all need. A band we need to truly treasure. Their new record, Out Here On The Fringes came out on Friday. I’ve been playing it almost religiously since yesterday evening, and if I could fully explain why I’m in awe of this record in a way that makes sense, I would. Sadly, I can’t. So, you’re going to get a weird rant, again

The record consists of nine mind-blowing and deafening songs to just make you go apeshit to. It is a record that will stick with you because you become obsessed with the sheer heaviness and passion in this band and they have brought it to life once more on this record. It is a record that deserves to be heard and praised by all, those who have heard this record already know just how remarkable it is. We’ve seen this band grow and grow, and what they have created- what these two friends have created, is something beautiful. They have such a loud sound, you sort of expect there to be about five of them in the band, but these two know exactly what they are doing here. They’ve created a cult classic with Out Here On The Fringes.

 

 

I love how the songs feel like tormented souls trying to push out of the body. They’ve nailed that heavy industrial like sound that’s in bands I love, such as Pop.1280. There’s this effortlessly menacing sound on this record; sometimes bands try really hard to have a bruising sound, but for JOHN it just comes so naturally and that’s what makes you become obsessed with them. The vocals are so tough and snarly. You can hear the importance of every single word, and when you feel this you truly know you have found something to cling on to with bloody hands.

What makes this record so memorable? Well, as cliched as it sounds- everything. You want tight production? Got it. You want anthems? Got it. You want riffs that make you puke in your mouth because you get that hyped up from listening? Got it. Out Here On The Fringes has everything you could possibly want (and more) from an intense and heavy Rock record. There are essences of Punk on this record, of course. The Stoner Rock heaviness of drums and guitar make you feel like you’re in this insane world that you can only get to when you play songs like Solid State or Dog Walker. It is such a fucking strong record. It’s a record that just makes you want to kiss someone it’s that good!

The more I listen to this record, the more I notice about the record. Everything about this record is just an instant classic, you know? This could be one of those albums that the younger generation hear and think, “I’m going to do that.” It’s such a powerful record, and I really don’t think JOHN get how vital they are. Bands like JOHN, their buddies IDLES, and Heavy Lungs are SO important. They’re my holy trinity and have been for some time now. Each of them is just getting better and better. With this record, JOHN have created something to really wake you up. It’s the record you play when you just need to feel SOMETHING. The title track is one of the best songs I’ve heard this year, and musically it is an absolute beast too.

 

 

Out Here On The Fringes is one of the most exciting records you’ll hear all year. There is no way we can deny just how phenomenal JOHN are. They’ve got everything you could possibly want from a straight-up Rock record. The Punk attitude is infectious on this record, and with one listen you will be hooked. I have no idea how many times I have listened to this record today; I’ve been playing it on and off since 7am ish when I left the house.

My love for duos has fully be thrown into overdrive with this record. JOHN are just a joy to listen to, and the songs on this record need to be played really loud. Soak it all up and embrace your favourite duo.





TV CRIME: Metal Town.

2 09 2019

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I have had a bunch of records I have wanted to write about, but just couldn’t bring myself to do so. I lost my best friend- my beloved Gran on the 23rd August. Since then, everything has seemed utterly pointless. I can’t make it through the day without crying or having a panic attack. I may write about music again soon, or I may not. I have no idea. Maybe I’ll use it as a distraction. I have no idea.  I’m attempting to push through it to write about a record I have been SO excited for; Metal Town by TV Crime.

TV Crime are fronted by one of the coolest human beings around- Shaun Hencher (he fronted VIRALS, and if you weren’t a fan of them- why the hell weren’t you?!) I’ve written about TV Crime a bunch of times, but I’m super excited to write about their debut full length record which has been released via the equally phenomenal Alien Snatch! Records (fun fact: they have never released a bad record!)

Metal Town is a record that you cannot help but play insanely loud. It’s got a strong 70s Rock feel to it, but there’s also this Garage Rock feel. I know a lot of bands fall into this category, and they don’t back it up. But with TV Crime, they make you feel like you’re truly watching this band rehearse in a garage or sweaty basement room, playing with all they have. The record doesn’t sound polished in an overbearing way. It sounds like a band who are sure of themselves, and have created something that they (understandably) are proud of.

 

 

As a huge fan of theirs, I am so proud of what they have created on this record. Take songs like Can’t Remember Your Name and Neo Waltz- they really have this 70s Rock feel that bands like Amyl and The Sniffers have given us. The two bands are responsible for some of the best music around, and have been for the past few years.

TV Crime aren’t afraid to absolutely push themselves on this record. If you want to compare them to Shaun’s old band VIRALS, then that’s on you. But just so you know, they sound nothing alike. Shaun’s vocals on this record are so strong, and there’s this beautiful roughness to it that just makes you want to try snarl out the words like him. Luke absolutely destroys the drums with no hint of an apology found- just how it should be. This is prominent on songs like Clocking Out and In The Gutter. The title track of the record though, shows us just how brilliant this band are. It’s under the 2 minute mark but don’t let that deter you. In that short time, TV Crime show you that they aren’t to be messed with. TV Crime are the kind of band that make you want to ditch everything, and just follow them on tour.

Something to just adore about this record is that the 13 songs take you on this voyage through the wonder of music. They have evidently put their all into this record, and every single song on this record justifies why this is one of the most incredible debut records I’ve heard in a long time. I knew that I was going to be blown away by this record, but the level of greatness on it is truly something else. At the moment, I think I am calling Television Crime and Never Been In Love  as my favourite songs on the record, but I’m likely to change my mind because a record this great doesn’t happen that often you know. I love how it just embodies everything I love about music, and it has this unfiltered Rock ‘n’ Roll sound. It’s an honest record with a Punk heart, and for me that’s more than enough to make me fall in love with it.

 

 

TV Crime are headed out on a tour of Europe in the next few weeks, so please go see them if you can. Hopefully they’ll make their way to Manchester soon. Until then, I’ll keep playing this record as loud as I can and as often as I can.

Metal Town is released officially tomorrow via Alien Snatch! Records.





HAXON.

13 07 2019

 

HAXON

 

 

When I left London early last year, I know I was going to miss something in particular. I wasn’t going to miss the city at all, but I was going to miss my favourite venue ever- The Shacklewell Arms. I’ve seen some of the best gigs of my life there. I’ve seen TwoFiftyFour play to about 10 of us for an acoustic show, I’ve seen L.A Witch and Tall Juan’s first ever UK shows there. But I’ve missed out. I’ve missed out on seeing a whole bunch of bands, and I’m going to write about one of the most exciting London based bands around (aside from GHUM who are playing The Shack tonight, but I’m seeing them on Monday so it’s alright!) HAXON. Remember the name. HAXON make music to terrify you. Ready?

HAXON have members of bands I LOVE (Lovers Club and Night Shades.) If you’re looking for the coolest band around, then look no further than HAXON. They played The Shack last night, which is a venue made for bands like this. They sound like The Cramps mixed with Screaming Lord Sutch and The Birthday Party. Basically, fucking weird and absolutely off the wall in the best way imaginable. The kind of music you’d hear in a Vincent Price film. Perfect. They are a band that just need to be played really loud so you terrify your neighbours, In my apartment block, we’ve got some really annoying neighbours so for me, HAXON are the ideal band to use to drown out their noise.

 

 

If you’re looking for a band to blow you away and to leave you covered in goose bumps, and I don’t mean goose bumps just for the reason of them being brilliant. I mean for them scaring you- then you need HAXON in your life. You need to just play them, and go crazy to the songs. The songs sound like a mad-man rambling, and I love that. I love how possessed Alec’s vocals are. He’s easily one of my favourite singers of late, and with HAXON he really pushes his vocals and gives us something that is so insane and powerful. The songs will make you move in all kinds of ways. It’s just perfect.

 

Their debut EP, Haxoff, came out in May. It consists of 5 songs that will leave you salivating for more, and more. If you have seen them live, then I can only assume that it was one of the best shows you’ve ever been to. However, if anyone would like to bring them up here to Manchester- I’d really appreciate that! The EP is nothing short of stunning. It sounds like nothing else, and I truly mean that. I know I mentioned The Cramps, The Birthday Party and Screaming Lord Sutch earlier, but this EP is truly something else.  There is something about it that will freak you out, but at the same time you’ll just be beautifully overwhelmed by what you are hearing. Sometimes I’ll hear a band, and think “this is why I still write about music, this is why I love music.” For me, I can happily add Haxon to that list. With just one EP they have definitely left their mark, and I do hope that there is a lot more to come from them because 5 songs just isn’t enough.

I’m A Tree is like a drunken rambling, and I absolutely love it. I love how manic and ferocious it is. I love how it twists and turns, then slides into Lucky John which has the same tone to it. It’s just an excellent EP that will make you want to make your own noise, it’ll make you want to down a bottle of Bourbon in a saloon bar and cause a fight. It’s got this infectious rage to it, that I just cannot get enough of. It’s everything I want from music, and more. They should be hugely proud of what they have created here, because it is out of this world.

 

 

It’s a real sleazy and seductive EP that’ll make you feel a bit dirty and in the need of a shower after listening- and that’s always a great thing. Honestly, if you get the chance to see them, please go. Let the music take you over, let it freak you the hell out and let it put everything you’ve ever known to shame.

 





SHEER MAG.

4 07 2019

SHEERMAG

 

 

I should have written about Sheer Mag ages ago, but that’s just how it goes. They have a new record coming out next month, and are touring the UK in November (they’re playing YES in Manchester, which is the coolest venue in the city and it’s a week before my birthday!) so now is the right time. Better late than never, I guess.

Fronted by the incredible Tina (Christina) Halladay, Sheer Mag are THE Punk band that we all need. They have this brilliant attitude and force within their music which is like Amyl and The Sniffers mixed with KRAUT. Which is obviously a great thing, as I love both bands. They are loud in all the right places, and will just fill you with utter joy when you listen to them. The music is so powerful, and full of this ferocious energy that you just cannot get enough of. I can’t pick what it is I love so much about Sheer Mag, but I’m pretty sure that when the new record comes out, my love will be reinforced all over again. I can’t wait to hear it.

Sheer Mag make you want to just throw your limbs around in a way that would leave others wondering if you’re alright, but they just move you in so many ways. The songs will make you cry, shout and just be glad that someone out there gets you. We all need that, and Sheer Mag release it all. They make it seem so effortless.

 

 

The rhythm that Sheer Mag has is so soulful, and so poignant. They make you feel their music right from the soul, and I think that’s part of why we need bands like this. They aren’t afraid to be loud, and Tina isn’t afraid to pour her heart out in the songs, and leave it beating on stage. The vulnerability and the passion they have is so beautiful, and such a rare thing to see. But when a band you love show this, you cannot help but connect with them in ways you never thought you could.

They make the kind of songs that you just have to scream along- whether you’re at their show, or just hanging out at home. They bring it out of you, and their new song Blood From A Stone gives you that feeling and it’s the kind of feeling that you cannot help but cling on to. You have to. They sum up the heightened feelings we are sometimes wary of. There’s something about Sheer Mag that you cannot do without. They make you feel like you’ve gone back to the 70s but at the same time, take you deep into the future/to a place that is unknown to others. The trip they take on you on with their music is the kind of trip you don’t want to end, you just want to stay in the moments that they create, and I am pretty sure that their new record is going to do the same.

I’m super excited to see them live, and to really immerse myself in all that their music gives me. I can’t wait to see how their songs are performed live, and to see it all take on a different meaning. On record they give you this energy that spurs you on, and I’m confident that their live shows do the same.

There is so much soul in the songs, and I think it really comes across in songs like Pure Desire. The guitar has this slick tone, and Tina’s vocals have this Gospel like feeling to it. They are truly unlike anything else you’ll ever hear. Just Can’t Get Enough also has this raw and soulful feel to it. They’ve got something that you won’t find anywhere else. They need to take over the world or something, because bands like this cannot be ignored. Until You Find The One will break your heart in such a gorgeous way, and I think it is their most delicate song. It reminds me slightly of The Ronnettes, which is always a good thing. They’ll toy with your feelings, but one thing for sure is that you’ll keep coming back for more.

 

 

Like I said, I should have written this years ago but the excitement for their new record is building, and I cannot wait to hear it. We need bands/music that is fearless and makes you feel something, anything at all- Sheer Mag go above all this. They have such a distinctive sound that would make even the most reserved person move.

So there you have it, delayed appreciation for a band I should have written about ages ago. Hopefully this makes up for lost time.





TABLE SCRAPS. The Castle, Manchester. 04/10/2018

5 10 2018

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Whilst living in London, I missed many chances to see a band I quite frankly adore, and am obsessed with. My missed chances came down to clashes with other plans, public transport being a shithead and my own misgivings- panic attacks. The thought of potentially going out on my own would more often than not cause me to feel like I was, to put it heavily but honestly- dying. I still get that feeling. This week I’ve noticed it happening, but I’m not beating myself up over it. I left a city that was pretty much killing me in all ways possible, and now I’m finally settled in a place I should have been in many years ago. Why is this relevant? It probably isn’t. I’ve been up since 5am. I’ve done my washing, ironed (I know!!) some clothes and to my disgust, drank coffee because I wanted to see if it would help me stay awake. I’m now at work. I start at 8, I’ve got 15 minutes to tell you about why last night’s show was brilliant. Please note: the coffee hasn’t helped at all and I really want to take a nap.

Table Scraps are quite frankly one of the best bands you will ever see. I’m not exaggerating with this one. You want riffs that melt your face? Got it. You want vocals that beautifully burst your eardrums? Got it. You want the bass to sail through you and make you move in ways you didn’t know you could? Best believe you’ve got it. Oh, and you want the drums to sound like some higher being is in the room? Got it, and then some. Table Scraps are three musicians who, in my eyes (and ears) are HUGELY underrated. On record, it is obvious how amazing they are. But when you see them live, it’s totally different. The Castle is a tiny venue. It’s a pub with a small back room, which is basically a sauna. Last night was a sweatfest, and I don’t think it could have been better any other way. Scott is EASILY one of the best guitarists around. In fact, he’s most certainly up there with being one of the best I’ve ever seen. He makes his guitar sound like a machine gun being wielded by a maniac. This is purely down to the way he thrashes his guitar about and gives you this face-melting solos when you least expect it.

Let’s talk about Poppy and her being probably the best drummer you’ll see. There’s a couple of drummers I love hearing, and seeing them play live. I’ve got my list on my mind, and I’ve pushed Poppy to the top because I honestly don’t think I’ll ever witness anything or anyone as great as her again. I know fuck all about playing music, I just love music as a fan and write as one. I don’t know what the technical terms are or whatever, but let’s just go with Poppy being the best drummer around- and most definitely in this country. Again, she treats her drums as a weapon. Every beat is felt in your chest, and you move to the perfect timings. Then we move on to Tim. The tallest bass player I ever did meet. The bassist is the backbone of a band, but with Table Scraps that doesn’t occur. They are all the backbone of the band. I love the way Tim guides and glides us through the songs. He isn’t as manic as Scott is, but don’t let his cool, calm stance fool you. He’s got this subtle way of making you pay close attention to what he is doing. And what is he doing? Making you witness that the bass can be equally as aggressive as the drums and guitar.

Table Scraps annihilate the stage at The Castle, and blow our minds. My personal favourite was I’m A Failure. It’s my favourite song by them, and I was super happy to see it live. This is only the second time they have played Manchester and I sincerely hope it isn’t the last. Just give them a residency at The Castle or Soup Kitchen. But to be honest, they are a band that could easily play a huge arena and win people over. There is something about them, and I rarely say this because I love small venues, but there is something about Table Scraps that makes you want to see them play a huge stadium. Their sound is massive, and it is meant to be heard by us all. I honestly don’t see why they couldn’t sell out a huge venue, and just rip us all to shreds with their brutal sound. I hope one day they get there, because they truly deserve it.

The set ends with the excellent, Motorcycle (Straight To Hell) which sees Scott launch himself into the crowd for a few seconds, and the end of this song is greeted with Scott, Poppy and Tim just going absolutely nuts on stage. It was the perfect ending to one of the best shows I’ve ever been to.

If you ever get the chance to see them, GO. You’ll probably be a bit deaf the morning after but it’s worth it. They are truly one of the most talented, coolest, greatest and best bands around.

Oh, and one last thing- they’ve got a tape out on Burger Records. Do you know how big a deal that is?! HUGE.





BRAVE YOUNG YEARS.

26 08 2018

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From Munich, I give you one of Germany’s most exciting bands- Brave Young Years. With the weather finally going to back to normal, Brave Young Years make the kind of music that fits the mood of the days getting darker quicker and the sky becoming more and greyer. They have this mood within their sound that is something you, after just one listen, realise it’s something you’ve needed for a while.

Brave Young Years have been going for a few years now, but they have only just released their debut record. As far as debut records go, this one is one to remember for years to come. The mood is bleak, tense and poetic. It’s a pleasure to listen to. It reminds me of very early Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, and perhaps remnants of Rowland S. Howard’s Pop Crimes. It’s a haunting record and the darkness that flows throughout this record is something I can’t get enough of. I love the despair that comes through and seeps deep right into your soul. Bands like this don’t come around often but once you find them, you really cannot live without them.

Through is a song that has some really intense lyrics, and the sheer emotion that comes out in the vocals is something that keeps you on edge. You tense up and you feel every single word. You get that a lot on this record, but this song in particular really pushes it.  The way that the line, “I pushed you away in a slightly pathetic way, and spared us a bit of time” is sung really gets you right in the gut. The whole record is made up of songs that one could take as being painful, but at the same time you feel totally comforted by the words and how they just get you. By no means is this for everyone, but those who “get” it will never let this band and these songs go. With just one record they have created something so powerful and so moving. I can’t get enough of this record, and I think it’s something I’ve definitely been needing to hear, sound wise, for a long time. I love the atmosphere they have created on this record. It feels like it is a soundtrack to an eerie film that does not have a happy ending. It’s a truly powerful record, and it’s not for the faint-hearted at all.

Without getting repetitive and overbearing about it, I really love their music so much. It is the other side of what I love for music and what I look for in music. I absolutely adore bands like Brave Young Years because they are unafraid to show this side and to express this beautiful darkness in their sound. Some may regard it as morbid, but it’s not like that at all. Their lyrics are brutally honest and beautifully vulnerable. This fearlessness to be this open is something I really respect and love, and the way the music and lyrics go together is just stunning. Everything is so vital but nothing is overlooked. Nothing is more dominant than the other- every element of their songs is intense and created in a way that keeps you hooked.

Brave Young Years are an exceptionally passionate band who take you on this chilling journey. If they can be fearless, then so can you. I’m just in awe of how dark the lyrics can get and how even though a lot are rigged with pain, there is so much beauty in these songs. A beauty that will always keep you listening to them. I just love them, and the way they create this tension in their music is something I can’t get enough of.