6 Years.

21 02 2014

“If you ever get lonely, just got to the record store and visit your friends.”

Six years ago in a classroom at University I set up this blog as part of an Online Journalism module I had to take. As someone who cares far too much about writing and music, I decided to keep at this for longer than I probably should have. There have been times where I am supposed to have done something “important” but decided to write about a band instead. I’ll always do that, and I don’t see anything wrong with it.

Over the past six years I have done the ridiculous (met Patti Smith) and the relatively sane (standard record reviews.) I don’t find writing about music I love exhausting, but Writer’s Block can sometimes smack me in the face leaving me feeling entirely frustrated and annoyed with my abilities, or in that case- a lack of. Everyone has something that they truly care about, something that forces them to wake up in the morning and to keep going.

I decided to keep this blog up because I was annoyed with typical Music Journalists who seem to enjoy slagging off bands in their writing. Sure I dislike boring bands such as Coldplay, Mumford & Sons and the dull sounds of that guy with the poor quiff, Bastille but I’m not going to waste my time writing a thousand words as to why I dislike them. I’d rather write about a band/singer/song/record that has truly moved me because it makes me feel like I’ve done something worthwhile I guess. My words won’t change the world, they won’t make someone else go out and buy a record and they won’t make a band I love become huge. They’re just words. Words some will skim over. Words that may not go read. Words that most won’t agree with. But seeking approval is the worst thing a person can do to themselves because they will lose sight of who they are.

Maybe I’ve got another year in this or maybe I’ll be 90 years old dribbling on the keyboard writing about “that time I saw….” I have no idea. All I know is that you cannot put a price on doing what you love. I’ve never received money for writing about a band.

I wish I could name every single band that has sent me their music, but I can’t. I’ve got a rubbish memory, but everything I’m sent gets written about.

However, I would like to specially thank the following for being exceptionally generous with their music and time:

-Royal Chant

-Savage Sister

-Soft Power Records

-Nita Keeler

-Little Death Machine

-Autumns

-Hana Piranha

-Birdeatsbaby

-The #1s

-The Creeping Ivies

-L.A Witch

-The Long Wives

There’s many more, but as I’ve mentioned I don’t really have the best memory.

Any email or comment left about anything I’ve written means a hell of a lot. I remember when I posted my Warpaint interview and reading the emails I got sent-I felt proud and that maybe someone got the point I was trying to make.

Thank you! xx

The Smiths debut record came out 30 years ago. There’s no other reason really.





10 Songs I Became Obsessed With In 2013.

12 12 2013

It’s the time of year where everyone voices their opinion on what was good and what was shit about this year, musically. Most do it all the time anyway and these lists are of course, boring. As someone who isn’t exactly thrilling, I might as well add to the boring lists much like I did last year. And probably the year before that. I’ve not got an impressive memory so I’ll start with songs that where out this year that I really liked. And by that I mean constantly playing them until I wished to never hear them again. I still play them. Music doesn’t bore me. Well, music I like doesn’t bore me.

For the past week I’ve been ill. Some kind of cold/flu thing. I missed the Peace gig last Saturday. That was pretty shit. But I was sensible, and I suppose it was for the best. A constant earache which is causing headaches and a constant feel of tiredness/exhaustion. Never mind. I’m here to write about what matters to me- music. Let’s see if I can write this without wanting to change my mind every 5 minutes. This will be in no order, aside from the last song I mention because that will be my favourite of the year.  Here we go:

Say Lou Lou- Feels Like We Only Go Backwards. Elektra and Miranda’s cover of this Tame Impala song is beautiful. Yes I could have mentioned Beloved or Better In The Dark. I chose this cover because they did it in a way that makes you feel as if they wrote it. I play this song most evenings on the tube home from work. Resting my head against the window and all I see are street lights. Everything is lit up perfectly, and this song evokes solitude. A state of bliss yet frustrations of never being able to get ahead. Something I think most can relate to. I finally saw Say Lou Lou live the day after my birthday in November, and it was such a magical thing to be part of. Their voices are angelic but can portray pain in a way most spend their life trying to figure out. There is something wonderfully charming about them. Something which you cannot get out of your head, and I’m just fine with that.

Deptford Goth- Bloody Lip. Pretty much everything I just said above about Say Lou Lou can be said for Daniel. His debut record, Life After Defo was one of the best to have come out this year. It was just a step ahead of everything I’ve been listening to, but also quite different from the bands I’ve been listening to. His music is ideal to listen to late at night when nobody else is around. Whether you’re laying in bed searching for answers or on the late train home with nothing much to occupy you. His music soothes the soul. His gentle voice offers reassurance for those times when you aren’t so sure. (I wanted to pick Union but that came out in 2012.)

Cold Cave- People Are Poison. After waiting years, I finally got to see Cold Cave this year. Seeing Wes and Amy live was a brilliant experience. I wasn’t really sure which Cold Cave song I wanted to pick. Originally I wanted to go with A Little Death To Laugh, but after listening to People Are Poison a few more times- I made my choice, of course I am likely to want to change my mind but for now I’m sticking with People Are Poison. Cold Cave are a band that have meant a lot to me for a long time, and Wes’ words have been my crutch for even longer (listen to American Nightmare) and he just has this brilliant way of unleashing fury and the like in a way that seems less daunting to carry around.

Ezra Furman- Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell. I just love Ezra. He’s the kind of person you’d want to be in a band with, tour the world with. Get lost on the motorway with him and write an album’s worth of songs whilst waiting for help. The sax on this song is awesome. My girlfriend has a saxophone, but I doubt she’d want me to try play along to this song. Or any song. I fully appreciate that. I’d probably cause the windows to shake and break. I just love the opening line; “I’m a runaway dog and I’m kicking up dust. In a Chevy Express with a hood full of rust.” For me, that opening line is on par with Search And Destroy by The Stooges; “I’m a street walkin’ cheetah with a heart full of napalm.” They DO make them like they used to, you just got to dig a bit deeper to find it.

PINS-Girls Like Us. Easily could mention every song off their debut record which finally came out this year. PINS are amazing live, anyone who’s seen them knows exactly how fascinating they are to watch. I chose Girls Like Us because it feels like a pleasurable punch to the face. I was going to go with To You, but there’s something about Girls Like Us which has an anthemic feel to it. It pumps you up and makes you feel as if you are part of something that makes you tougher than you initially thought you were. I just think PINS are one of the most exciting bands to come out of England in a very long time. Quite frankly, they are Manchester’s finest.

LOOM- I Get A Taste. There aren’t many bands around who posses the same energy that The Jesus And Mary Chain had. Not many are willing to express this rage and the like in that kind of way. It’s too much for them, they physically cannot do it. At least we have a band who are willing to do that. I remember liking their Facebook page and they virtually no one aware of who they are. Thankfully people are starting to listen, and they are seeing just how exciting they really are. They are beyond brutal and I think if you don’t feel as if you’ve been beaten up after you’ve listened to them, you’re not doing it right. I’ve yet to see them live, something always gets in the way of me doing so. Pretty such people will leave their shows with bloody faces and ripped clothes. Just as it should be!

Autumns- Who Would Have Thought. Soft Power Records are pretty much my favourite record label. They’ve been behind the best releases this year, and have exposed me to some truly great music over the past year and a bit. Out of all of their releases, Autumns has been one that’s stuck out the most. Autumns is just one guy making a lot of noise. He’s Derry’s answer to Dirty Beaches. He plays with this admirable passion that just leaves you stunned. He makes you want to pick up a guitar and make your own scene- to hell with what anyone else thinks or says. Who Would Have Thought really shows how brilliant he is, and how fearless he is with his music. He’s someone who is constantly leaving me in awe with what he does. I sincerely hope 2014 is just as amazing for him as 2013 was. He really does deserve it.

Royal Chant- Did You Pay Cash For That Panic Attack? Okay so this was recorded last year, but the video came out in January, so we’ll go with the date of the video. I love Royal Chant. I think Mark is an exceptional song-writer. Mainly because he manages to write the songs I wish I could. They’re good guys with big hearts, and I’ve vowed to not leave their side when they come to the UK. Did You Pay Cash is a tidal wave of unapologetic angst. They’re (pardon my language) fucking brilliant. I don’t know what I’d do without them. I went with this song because it immediately meant a lot to me. You can’t put a price on that nor are there words good enough to express it. They know though. They know.

Dum Dum Girls-Lost Boys And Girls Club. I’m just going to call Too True as being the best record of 2014. Nothing else needs to be released next year. It’s ALL about Too True. Lost Boys And Girls Club is not like previous Dum Dum Girls songs, and that’s why I’m a huge fan. Every record and EP they’ve put out has always been different from the last. Dee Dee isn’t afraid to experiment with sounds and be brutally honest with her words. Coming Down remains one of the few songs to truly pick me up when everything is just wrong. Dum Dum Girls make music to get lost in, and to also find yourself in. I love this song because it stays with that dream like/hazy feel that is always present in their songs. Dee Dee’s delicate voice is like a reassurance, a call to safety. It just takes you to where you want to be. Lost Boys And Girls Club feels like the ending of a party and you’re watching the sun rise on your own, but you feel alright in doing so. I could quite happily write a thousand plus words about why I love this song. I think all reasoning will come to life when I finally see the band on Saturday. You have no idea how excited I am about seeing them.

CROCODILES- ME AND MY MACHINE GUN. This was tough. At first I thought I wanted to go with I Like It In The Dark. Then I toyed with Teardrop Guitar. Then my mind flirted with She Splits Me Up. Basically, this was tough. I didn’t know which Crocodiles song to go with. This year I got to see them live twice and I got to hang out with Charlie and Brandon before one of their shows for an interview. I had waited since early 2009 to see them live, and to see them twice this year just really did make my year. Crimes Of Passion is an incredible record. It’s one I play every single day on the way to work and on the journey home too. There’s something about it that just blows my mind with every listen. I went with Me And My Machine Gun because it just captures everything I love about Crocodiles. “On the battlefield, search for something I can feel. Just so I can shoot him up. He may be tough but he’s no match for me and my machine. We don’t take no shit from anyone.”  The machine gun can be your loved one, anything you want really. This is a gorgeous song to see live, especially the instrumental at the end. It just catapults you into a different world. Everything about Crocodiles is all I want from a band, and from music.

Maybe I won’t change my mind. I think this is a pretty solid list. However, there are some bands that blew my mind this year and they deserve a mention:

Brown Brogues

Feathers

Virals

Troumaca

Evol

Roses

Savage Sister

Little Death Machine

L.A Witch

Mikey & The Drags.

(PS Dirty Beaches will be mentioned on my record of the year..soon!)





An Interview With Mark Spence (Royal Chant/Designer Mutts)

21 09 2013

 

 

Sadly this interview wasn’t done face to face as Royal Chant live on the other side of the world to me. In an ideal world we’d be finding the best whisky and bands we could get our grubby hands on, but alas…we’ll have to wait a while before that happens.

My friendship with Mark started last year I think, or maybe the end of 2011. He followed this blog and wrote some lovely words to me. Words that I sometime read back on when I think “balls to it!!” I didn’t realise he was in a band for a while, but when I heard Royal Chant I instantly fell in love with their music. I’m fortunate enough to call someone like Mark a true pal because he’s just a brilliant bloke with a genuine heart. Of course that is the same for the band in general. If they were assholes, I wouldn’t write about them.

I’ve always loved Royal Chant’s lyrics above most. I love how Mark doesn’t need to create pretentious prose in order for you to truly get where he is coming from. His honestly and that raw tone to his voice is what makes you believe in every single word. If you cannot be honest in what you do, then don’t do it. If only politicians would do the same.

I started writing this a few days ago, but I got distracted and frustrated with what I was writing. But now I have no excuse to get this done as I’ve sliced my big toe, got blood all over my girlfriend’s flat seconds before she was to go out. I pick my moments to have accidents. Walking is going to be fun over the next few days! Anyway, enough with the distractions.

I sent off my questions to Mark hoping I hadn’t asked my pal ridiculous questions, but I like to think I know him well enough to know that he’d tell me that they were shit. Or in this case, give me something to work with. And that he did. What I love the most about our exchange for this was what that he told me the songs that were playing as he was typing up his responses. Here is the first one:

I asked Mark if there was any obvious corruption within the Australian music scene. In the UK and America, you can see who has been marketed as a brand rather than a band, but does it happen in Australia?
“I honestly don’t know.  Possibly.  Probably.  Myself (and thus Royal Chant) exist on the periphery of mainstream media/music, so it’s hard for me to say.  I actually had to think hard to remember the last band that I felt was being “handled” or specifically marketed, but even that seemed mostly self-imposed.  I’ve come across a few bands that were definitely aiming for that 1st tier of pop-wankdom, but it was nothing they didn’t opt-into of their own volition. 

Ultimately, the same rules apply here as anywhere else: money will help.  It can’t make people like you, but it can certainly get you in front of more people and into some enviable situations.  You can get jaded or cynical about that, but the easiest and healthiest thing to do is attempt to operate with an entirely different mindset, to create your own reality. True independence is a realm that few bands actually manage to obtain, and the longer we do this and the more responsibility we shoulder for both making the music and getting it out there the more I realize that most of the B.S. media machine is predicated on people & bands buying into it.  Simply put: don’t.”

Of course people will ALWAYS buy into the shit they are force-fed. Just look at reality shows we secretly watch. The outcome of it seems to always take people’s brains over. In England. Christmas is ruined because of that fucking programme. Every year it seems a regurgitated piece of shit is churned out for people to spend their money on as “stocking fillers” or just you know, a 3 minute piece of audio torture. These shows are everywhere- it is sheer pop-wankdom. This isn’t going to die out anytime soon, and that’s what is truly upsetting. Nothing really lasts anymore does it? Everything is throw-away. When One Direction split up, there will be another pretty boy band to take their place. But what can we do?

“Allow me to digress.  Australia is a very big country with a very small population, whereas the UK is a very small country with a very big population.  Coming from the USA, which is both, Australia seemed very comprehendable.  There’s only a few capital cities, and even Perth is a bit of a stretch for most bands (we’ve never been).  There’s only so many stations, so many stages, so many people that one would need to deal with in order to have the scene “sorted”, although it still seems vast enough for my tastes. 

It’s pretty well established that many bands, once they have had a taste of success and been around the block a few times, tend to get a bit disillusioned with Australia, finding it a bit backwards and provincial, hence the inevitable trek to the UK, Europe, the States, or all three.  It’s a bit back and forth.  There’s heaps of bands trying to claw their way to the top of the Australian heap, and then another level of bands that would like nothing more than to leave. 

Corrupt?  I don’t know.  Probably no more than any other time and place.”

We’re all fucked.

Surely with all the world’s frustrations inside of us, we are desperate to unleash them somehow. Mine is kept in various notebooks that no one reads. Thoughts are private and words are public. There’s always an equal balance I suppose. We look to music to provide some insight into how we can free ourselves. It is so easy to feel trapped and into fall into the traps of modern life. Modern life is dull. It consists of the amount of friends you have on Facebook and if there is an App for anything/everything you do. I really hate, and no part of me can relate to it. Hashtags annoy me, modern slang is fucking awful- and our brains aren’t functioning like they should. Eat junk, turn to junk. Read lies, become a liar. No one wants to have heart or be honest. I think this is ultimately why I really REALLY listened to Royal Chant. I listened as hard as I could because straight away I got it. I got the rage, I got the desire to fix the broken parts and to stop caring for what anyone thought. When a band can drive you like that, then you stop turning to shit when nothing goes your way. So these songs that they write, what does writing songs mean to Mark?

“I don’t know any more, but I reckon it’s my attempt to make sense of the world. It may be the most truthful I get in life.  It may the be most dishonest I get.  Perhaps I’m singing what I really mean but am too cowardly to say in real life, or maybe it is a mask I wear that slowly changes as I do.  It’s what I can do, for better or for worse. I like words, I like melodies.   Songs are perfect for doing what they do best, but quite inept at doing what they shouldn’t.  I’d like to think I’m getting close to both.
I love songs.  The older I get, the more I am in awe of them.  I will listen to the same song for weeks on end, and am always amazed at their power.  Even “bad” songs can change the world, or at least a person’s world, so I’d like to think I’m a lot less judgemental now than I used to be.”

Music cures all. It stops bad moods, it eases nagging thoughts and it can make you feel good about yourself. For instance the other night when I saw Jessie Ware, it somehow managed to make me feel a lot more love for my girlfriend when I looked at her. I really didn’t think it was possible, sometimes things happen and it’s just bloody beautiful. I also once listened to Radio 1 and realised I disliked a lot of their “presenters” but that’s a different story.

I like to know certain things about bands I love, and they are probably sick of always being asked it- but I like to know what made them want to make music and when they feel like chucking it all in; what makes them want to continue. I knew Mark would give me an insightful answer because he’s that kind of guy.

“I always thought I could do it so I did. I was always drawn to music, even before I could make it.  Singing songs and dancing around, doing stupid performances like all kids do.  Also, writing songs from an early age, and always believing that I was better than I actually was.  Delusion, ego, & arrogance were essential to my development.  I can’t speak for anyone else on that though.

The thought that we can always do better.  I love it.  I’m an addict.  Hearing a great song will definitely do the trick, or being inspired in any way.  There’s always a guitar around, and always some melody in my head and a few words that need to find a home.  There’s got to be ego involved in there somewhere, right?  I guess, whether rightly or wrongly, I believe “I can do that”, and haven’t stopped trying.

That’s pretty rare, but a good sleep and a good idea have always done the trick.  I can count on one hand the times I have thought about chucking it in, and even if that happened I’d keep on making music on my own.  I’m a full-time musician and music teacher, so even if I said “right, that’s enough, no more Royal Chant”, I’d keep humming & strumming in some form or fashion. 

I guess I could always quit the whole thing and do something else, but I’m not really fit to do anything else.  Anyone need insurance?”

The fight that Mark has is evident. It’s in his solo work, with Designer Mutts and with Royal Chant. There is an equal amount of passion in his music, regardless of who he is making it with. The way he is with his approach to music is inspiring. There have been many times where I have questioned why I bother writing about music, but then I read something Mark has written or I listen to Royal Chant and everything starts to slowly make sense. Slowly. Always slowly. I think as well, it is because I know that he means every words. It’s the same with the likes of Patti Smith and Morrissey; you know they mean their words which is why you truly believe in them and cling onto them. You cling onto them with red raw hands and teary eyes- everything you have and are just depends on it. Music is more important to me than I first realised. The older I get, the more I come to depend on it. I’ve never depended on a person, it has always been music. And I think it more than likely will always be that way, for many reasons.

Royal Chant have a song called Nothing Ever Happens, It Just Seems To. The occasional cynic in me really loves this song, and it is by far my favourite song by the band. And it is (so far) my favourite song that Mark has written. I do tend to change my mind a lot, but as it is a song I frequently listen to, I know it will remain my favourite. There is something about it that just basically sums up the daily disappointments and frustrations we all feel. You cannot escape it, ever. Even the toughest and happiest of people are bound to feel a slight twinge of these feelings that many deem as “ugly” or whatever. I regard them as what makes us human; everyone is different thought, thankfully.

I thought now was a better time than most to ask Mark about this song. I’d been meaning for some time, but I held back and listened to it more and more before I asked him about it.

“I’m always happy to talk shop! If I remember correctly, I was working on a cruise ship again at that time.  When I left America I was in pretty bad shape.  For all the normal, human reasons…heart broke, cash broke, strung out, a worthless waster, etc etc.  Hopping on a cruise ship largely saved my life. 

Having said that, once the magic of Europe wears off (or once I become stupid enough to become immune to its eternal magic), playing drums on a cruise ship is a somewhat insane experience.  Repetition.  Endless repetition.  I also flew out to LA twice to record the Water Never Waits EP by Sickboy (my moniker/band at the time).  Los Angeles has never been a good fit for me, from the biggest aspects down to the smallest detail.  It’s a weird, crazy place, and I would be happy to never go there again. Having said that, I did enjoy recording there, but it’s not like I was in some fancy studio. 

Anyways, string all those lines together…my shit metaphors for LA, my mindlessness, my recovery from my former life, my not-quite-adjustment to my new life, general confusion, a bit of optimism, a large chunk of skepticism….
Flat tyres, prescription speed….yeah, that’s LA, and a pretty big metaphor of my life, if I may be so bold. I do remember putting a reasonable amount of effort into that song, as it was a fairly hefty “piece”.  I mean, it wasn’t a throwaway, so I kind of knew that I was dealing with something that meant something, even if only to me.  Some songs are beautiful throwaways, while others are bloated pieces of crap.  Sometimes it’s OK to be serious, at least that’s what I tell myself.”

The band doesn’t really play this song live anymore, but if you’re so lucky to find yourself watching Mark do a solo set- he does a stripped back/acoustic version of the song.

Royal Chant have a new song out called New Nowhere which can be heard here: http://royalchant.bandcamp.com/

Of course you must play it as loud as you can, just to hear how raw it is. For me, it’s the Royal Chant that I know and love. It sounds like something I heard by them over a year ago. They have a distinctive sound that echoes throughout their music, but at the same time they never repeat themselves in what they do. They make bold and unapologetic music that appeals to those that know there is more out there. That there is more to life than what we have. Thing is, we are the only ones who can change that. With a new song out, Royal Chant have no plans to be quiet. They will come to the UK right?!


“Of course we’re coming to the UK!  In the simplest of terms, I want to keep writing and recording and touring, for as long as this band lasts, and beyond (if it should ever come to that).  If you want to get down to brass tacks we’ve got our new Small Town Bruises all wrapped up, and then we’ve got another LP worth of material after that (tentatively titled Societé Catastrophe) , so it’s really just a matter of keeping things together and keeping everyone sane and happy with enough food and cash so that they’re not throwing their whole lives away.  I don’t know if it can be done, but it seems we’re making a decent go of it.  I don’t want to stop and am not planning on it. 

Things we want to do: take Royal Chant to Western Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, the UK, Europe, and the USA (again!).  Rinse. Repeat.”

Music aside, Mark is a pal that appreciates two of the finest things in life; tea and whisky. I couldn’t interview him and not ask about his best and worst whisky. I’ve tried some whisky that made me feel like my insides were on fire, and it is a really awful feeling. I’m not someone who sees the appeal of getting drunk or thinking alcohol is the cure to all social situations. I like whisky because like tea, it has a comforting and warming feeling. Tea is obviously cheaper, and whisky is rarely consumed by me but when you have a bad one, it is terrible. Like anything really, right?

“It happened 3 weeks ago, as best I can remember.  Here’s the scene:  I’m playing drums for this amazingly talented musician named Lioned Cole (who just so happens to be from my hometown of ATL, Georgia, USA), and we’re hanging out in the…I dunno…hangout area with the owner of the bar/venue.  Of course he wants to meld his trumped-up sense of power with actual musical authenticity, so he trots out his bottles of really expensive Japanese scotch/whiskey and commences pouring these heroic shots whilst explaining its value. 

Look, there’s a long story about its origins and cost, but what happened is that I skulled my shots coz I thought he was yelling at me for being too slow, but I found out that he was yelling coz I drank them too quickly and failed to pay homage to their expensive and convoluted origins.  It may have been premium stuff that only rich people can afford, but it felt like firewater going down my throat.

Worst?  Is there such a thing? I guess there’s some pretty nasty stuff at the bottom of the shelf that I’m sure I’ve gotten into at one time or another, but anything will do if you put enough mixer in it.  No mixer? Who cares. Just get it down and it will do what it’s meant to do.”

I haven’t written this much in a long time. But if you can’t write highly about a pal, then who can you write about?! There were a few more questions I asked, but I wanted to keep in with a certain theme. I’m not sure if I know what it is, but for now..the rest is hidden. For a while.

Royal Chant are a band to believe and invest in. They are a comforting crutch and genuinely adore their fans. Their fans adore them.

They are a band destined to play the dingy and sweaty bars with questionable health and safety regulations. Their music is powerful in ways most miss out on doing. They could be your next favourite band because of their sheer honesty and love for what they do.

Brilliant song-writers who do not need to write ridiculous phrases in order for you to connect with the music or for you to feel something completely new. Their advantage is their love for what they do and the music they play.

The sooner they come to the UK and the rest of the world; the better.

Finally, I must add how Mark ended his email as it is possibly the best sign-off ever:

Big hugs from down under.  Hopefully 2014 is the year we make it across the pond.  Your friend in tea, cider, whiskey, & boobs xoxo

 





“What a mess a little time makes to us when time and place collide.”

21 02 2013

Five years ago today I was sat in a room at University in an Online Journalism class. This module basically was for us all to start our own blog. What we did with it after the module ended was our own business I guess. I carried on. I carried on because I found a platform where I could express my love for music in a way I’d never done before. It wasn’t just music, it was life events and situations that also tie in with music. Which made me realise that music is my life, it truly truly is. Everyone has a passion in life, it’s obviously what mine is.

Over the past five years of running this blog I have been fortunate enough to befriend bands (Royal Chant, I’m looking at you..lovingly of course) and I’ve discovered new bands that have just blown my mind. I’ve interviewed bands/singers that have inspired me in many ways (meeting Warpaint was beyond words) and I also made my role model, Shirley Manson cry with a piece I wrote about how important Garbage’s record Bleed Like Me is to me.  Being thanked by Crocodiles for something I wrote about them meant more to me than I ever thought it would. I’ve never been paid to write anything, and as clichéd as it sounds- no amount of money can put a price on any of that, and also how much I love writing about music.

I’m still convinced that the only person who reads this is my mum. I’ll never get why anyone would go out of their way to read one of my rants, but when I get an email or whatever from someone on the other side of the world telling me they connected with something I’ve written; it justifies why I write. I do it for me, but I also do it in the hopes someone who loves music as much as I do doesn’t feel so alone and strange with their love for it.

Take comfort where you can.





Royal Chant-Did You Pay Cash For That Panic Attack?

3 01 2013

RC Promo Pic _1

“And all these loose ends are getting out of hand.”

 

Royal Chant are Australia’s finest. They didn’t pay me to say that, but we’re chums and I believe in them. Therefore, I am right. My self-doubt projects onto bands I love as belief in them. If you can work out how I got there, then I can only thank you. From the bottom of my empty jeans pocket and loving heart; I thank you. This is going to be a sick (as in I have a cold, I’m not using awful slang) induced ramble about my love for this amazing band.

Did You Pay Cash For That Panic Attack was a song I wrote about a few months ago, I think. If I haven’t, let’s just assume I have done because I have a really bad memory. The intro sounds like it should be done by The Jesus And Mary Chain, it isn’t obviously. But it has that same aggression and darkness to it that caused me to fall in love with The Jesus And Mary Chain many many years ago. Think their Darklands era, that’s the feel you get from Royal Chant.

Aside from being nothing short of amazing musicians, their lyrics (courtesy of Mark) are easy to relate to; especially if your head and heart are full of complex feelings you wish to no longer carry around, but you do because you cannot function any other way. It keeps you going I think. Mark’s lyrics are like poetry. The vulnerable words make the feelings you carry around less heavy and less exhausting. Bands like Royal Chant are necessary. This is from a selfish point of view, but they really are brilliant bunch of guys that deserve every amount of success possible, and they have my unconditional support no matter what. I hope they come to the UK this year because I will do all I can to go to every single date, just because they are incredible as musicians and as people. I simply cannot review their music, because I just want you to listen. I just want you to become a massive fan of theirs because they just wonderful. When they toured America last year, I wished I had a lot of money so I could have supported them, one day I will. Front row, lobbing whisky at them (in a nice way.)

Until then, I want you to listen to their new song. Play loud and on repeat : http://royalchant.bandcamp.com/

Spread out across the sky
Beyond all time & reach .
Making amends with eternity
And an eternal mess of things.
It’s almost over.
And God Damn! That was fast.
It’s almost over.
And it don’t come back





“Like no other you can’t be replaced.” A Thank You Note, Of Sorts.

31 12 2012

With this being my 1000 post, I thought I should try write something of worth. Whether or not it is, well that’s a different subject entirely. It may make sense, it may just wind up being another nonsensical rant, which is usually is. I don’t need telling, I already know. As the end of 2012 approaches (or it may already have depending on your location) you see a lot of people taking to social networking sites declaring how the next year will be THEIR year or they are going to change. It irks me because, you can make whatever change you wish at any point. You announce these things but by the second week of January you hate yourself more than you ever did. Make life easier on yourself, and just carry on as normal. I say this, but I make life hard work for myself at times. It’s a fault, one of many.

I don’t like discussing my weight/how chubby I am because I’m not exactly a fan of myself. I could have easily been like most and said START OF THE YEAR I AM GETTING FIT. Over the past year and a half, I have been working on losing weight. It’s not easy. Fortunately, I really do enjoy going to the gym for a few hours and listening to music. I’d take a book with me but whilst on the treadmill I do look like a panic-stricken bear. When I go there, it doesn’t just get rid of my horrendous fat, but it clears the mind. I currently work at HMV, but it’s only a Christmas job. I love it. I bloody love it. For every grumpy customer, there is one that just makes your day. I’ve held up queues talking to people about bands, I’ve been hugged by customers because I helped them, I’ve had people sing to me then ask “do you have that one?” and the old favourite, “Excuse me..do you work here?” It is a brilliant job and those I’ve worked with are equally as brilliant. It was my third year there, and I think this year was my favourite. It just gives you a sense of pride and self-worth knowing you’ve helped someone. I must add, it is usually the older generation (60+) that are much kinder. Kids today are just rude really. Or maybe it’s the kids over here. I have no idea. Put down your iPads kids, and go take a walk. Use your mind. Come 5th January and I’ll be out of work, and on the Monday I’ll be taking that awful trip to the job centre to sign on. If you’ve never had your soul crushed and your dreams shat on; I suggest you go on the dole. If you want to be treated like dirt and have a wealth of self-hate upon you; go on the dole. My degree is useless, but I have no means of going back to uni. Of course in an ideal world I would have my own record shop, with a healthy selection of books. Later on I’d have my own publishing company. And finally, I’d be able to get a dog. These are hopes and dreams that maybe I’ll one day achieve.

We treat this time of year as a time of reflection. I don’t like thinking about the past, because it can sometimes make you debate what you want your future and present to be. Although, we cannot control the future. I firmly believe if something is going to happen, it will happen. I can relate this to the one I love. Many years ago, maybe something should have happened. Go forward five years and seeing her whilst in London during Pride (oh I know, but this one was alright so…) this year was truly the best thing to have happened. Part of my brain thought, “This could happen..somehow.” Every day since we have been talking, and FINALLY after waiting 5 years, this beautiful and perfect being is my girlfriend. I’m not a happy person naturally, but who is. But I finally know what sincere happiness and what true love is, thanks to her. It was always going to be her- and now it finally is. I’m working on trying to make her buy me a dog. Baby steps, I know. I know. It’s just lovely to be with someone who is full of love and kindness, and wants to change no part of me. Also means I get to spend more time in London too.

This year I have learnt that patience prevails. If you wait, it will happen. With reference to above, I can also link this in to music. Since 2009, I have been a huge fan of Crocodiles. They dragged me through a break-up, showed me a different (and better) world with their music and their lyrics claimed a part of my heart that needed claiming. I missed out on several tours, cue heartbreak and loathing wherever I was living at the time. 4th September they did a free gig at Rough Trade. Oh fate, how I love thee. I was already in London. I think I was staying for a week. I walked past Brandon and Charlie just outside Rough Trade. My stomach flipped. If I was 14 and mental, I may have chased them. Instead, I am a 26-year-old who gets tongue-tied most of the time. Their free gig at Rough Trade was a special moment for me. I paid no attention to anyone in the crowd. I don’t even think 100 hundred people were there. I sang to every song, I swayed and shut my eyes. I opened them, in awe and in shock of being right in front of the band that did more for me than they will ever know. Sadly, I was too much of a wuss to go up to them at the end and talk to them. Next time, I will. I vow to talk to them. About something, or nothing in particular.

My favourite music moment of this year has to be Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls covering Just Like Honey by The Jesus And Mary Chain, just for me. Just for me. A nobody from nowhere. It started as a sweeping statement from myself on Twitter one evening. I was listening to Psychocandy, and just wrote on Twitter something like “Imagine if Dum Dum Girls covered Just Like Honey.” The next day I woke to a reply from Dee Dee telling me to email her. So I did. She replied telling me she would try to do a cover for me. A few months later, she emailed me the cover and wrote “For your ears only xx.” I do not think anyone in this world can understand what this meant to me, and still does. And yes, I did cry. I’ve been a fan for many years of Dum Dum Girls, and for this to happen just blew my mind. If I see them when they come to the UK, I just need to thank Dee Dee face to face for it. That’s all I can do. Their music has made certain events less shite, you know how it is. Coming Down is my go-to song. Rest Of Our Lives describes my love for the one I love. Season In Hell gives me hope and Catholicked brings me back to life.

This has gone on long. I think I’ve said too much, but I have more to say.

I’ve been freelancing for close to 7 years now, and I started this blog in 2008 as part of an Online Journalism module whilst at Uni. I think I was the only one in that class to keep up their blog. There have been times where I thought there was no point in writing. No point at all. There have been times where if, Writer’s Block was a person I would gladly thump it in the gut. But then I hear a song or find a new band, and my love is restarted and I cannot imagine me not writing. I just HAVE to do it. It keeps me going. I have never been paid to write. Never. No one has offered to do so. I’m not about money. I own nothing of worth. Material things mean nothing to me. My Docs have holes in them and I rip jeans more often than I should. I look like a 70s reject. I look like the lovechild of Joey Ramone and Patti Smith; if they ever had a child. I have had more job rejections than I can count, and each one is a kick in the gut. But a motivation to try harder. Although, I don’t know if I can try harder than I do. I’d love to write a book, but god knows what it would be about. Obviously music. I’ve always wanted to follow a band around and write a book about it (Royal Chant I am looking at you, and Warpaint.) The film, Almost Famous is to blame for that goal.

This year (and last) I’ve had many kind words said to me from bands, PR companies and record labels with regard to what I have written about them and their work. You cannot put a price on that. Of course I believe still, that the only person who reads this is my mum but hey. If you’ve got this far, then I’ll buy you a cup of tea one day. I’m easy to find, but please don’t look as you will be disappointed. This part is a thank you to all the bands that have got in touch with me, all the PR companies and record labels. You’ve made writing even more enjoyable. There are stand-out bands and labels I’d mention, but that wouldn’t be fair. You are all brilliant, so thank you.

I will always ALWAYS welcome new music from any genre, so please get in touch (olivia_cellamare@hotmail.co.uk) I don’t care if no one bar your mum knows you exist or if you’ve supported some household name on a lengthy tour. Music is music. Send it.

Don’t forget who you are, and do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. Or that your goals are stupid ideas. Freedom comes from the heart, goes up into the mind then is unleashed. Don’t make a prisoner out of yourself. It’s all okay. It’s going to be alright.

Big love. xx





“A hostage to kindness and the wheels underneath her.”

20 11 2012

I was thinking about something earlier as I was leaving the house to go the gym. My days off are spent there in the hopes I can somehow change how I look and stop disliking myself as much as I do. Self-hate doesn’t leave you, does it? Or maybe it does. Maybe I am set to loath myself in my 20’s so I can learn to like myself from 30 onwards. I’ve got 4 years left of this, maybe I’ll go against this theory. Or maybe I’ll give in to it. It depends. I use my stubborn ways for the wrong thing. Always bad, never good.

So this thing about self-hate. I dislike it when people say things such as “I AM SO VILE. I AM SO FAT.” when they weigh next to nothing. The worst kind put this on certain websites. No one really cares about how much you hate yourself. You see, I dislike myself but I’m not going to announce it everywhere for attention. In a way, I’ve just “announced” it but no one I know or whatever reads this so it doesn’t matter. I’m not doing this for pity or for anyone to say “You’ve got a good face. You’re okay as you are.” I don’t want that. I don’t want any form of attention. Good or bad. If I get a hair cut, please don’t notice. Just don’t pick up on it. Go look at something else. Like a painting; that’s much more interesting.

I don’t dislike myself because I’m a miserable twat. I just do. There’s no explanation to it; but I constantly work on trying not to. I don’t dislike myself as much as I did when I was a teenager or going back a few years. You have to take baby steps with things like that. I don’t go to the gym because I want the body of a stick insect. Far from it. I have in my head, a goal. I’ve not told anyone nor will I ever. I know a person’s weight or appearance doesn’t define them, but we live in a judgemental world sadly. I get constantly told to stop wearing black all the time. Am I going to? Am I fuck. I’d go out in my superhero pjs if I could (one of the many brilliant presents my girlfriend got me for my birthday.) but they’re a bit long and I’d trip up.

I thought that, the older I get; the less dislike I’d have for myself. To an extent I’m right. I doubt myself a lot, especially with writing. I don’t do it because I want someone to say I’m any good. I do it because if I thought I was good, I’d stop. Self-doubt isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it is the one thing that can make you carry on. It lasts longer than hope. I’ve never been good at much, and I don’t mean it in a bad way. Some part of me just doesn’t settle. Or maybe doesn’t want to. The thought of being in one place for the rest of my life makes me feel sick. Maybe this is because I’ve never really felt at home anywhere. Maybe I should work on that, or maybe it’s okay to carry on drifting through. I’m alright with being unnoticed. I don’t think my purpose in life is to be noticed. Why would I want that.

I think a lot of people think they’re not good enough, but surely if you surround yourself with people who make you feel inadequate then you are hanging around the wrong kind of people? I could be wrong. I could be right.

You’ll make friends and enemies on the way. You’ll have good days, you’ll have bad days. You’ll like yourself, you’ll dislike yourself. But NEVER any account must you let someone make you feel shit about yourself, ever. You can do that all by yourself, but it’s easier to understand and control. You don’t always have to walk with your head held high, sometimes the cracks in the pavement are much more interesting than your surroundings. You don’t stop learning. Time is a drag, and it seems like it is never on our side. Someone will love you even if you cannot stand yourself. You may not be able to understand how or why; but they do. It is there. They are there.