CASUAL DRAG.

25 04 2020

 

CASUAL DRAG

 

The only good thing to come out of this virus and isolation is the fact that Nick Cave has launched a 24-hour stream called Bad Seed TeeVee. It’s magical. It’s everything us fans want, and more. Yet I don’t think any of us expected it. It’s just amazing. I’ve spent time watching it when I should have been asleep or probably doing something else. I have no idea how long it will be up for, but for now we can all get lost in the world of the Bad Seeds.

If you’re looking for a hard-hitting Garage band to blow your mind, then look no further than Edinburgh’s finest, Casual Drag. Of course, you have to play their music loud, but don’t let that make you feel that they are all noise and no substance. Far from it! They are such a joy to listen to and have a really exciting sound, and I truly hope we get more from them real soon because they are just * chef’s kiss! *

 

 

Johnny is a BIG song; it’s like it is their anthem. That last minute of the song is powerful, it’s an instrumental riot and it shows us just how brilliant they are as musicians. There’s this effortlessly cool sound going all the way through, and the way the pace is picked up to unleash this furious sound is such a brilliant thing to listen to. It’s a huge song, and that last minute or so of the song is something you cannot help but soak up. The aptly titled Isolation Island is another prime example of how talented the band are. That deliciously fuzzy guitar sound is what dreams are made of. I just love this song a hell of a lot, and to be honest it’s probably one we can all see ourselves in right now. How will we adapt to getting back to “normal?” Did normal ever exist?! Who fucking knows.

Casual Drag make anthems, they don’t just make standard songs and the fact you get this from just the three songs they have up online shows us how great they are. They are a band that are evidently going to keep on getting better and better. This is how music should make you feel, regardless of what you’re into. They just make you super excited about music and given how tough it is for us all right now- we need that excitement more than ever.

 When MC5 yelled “Kick out the jams, motherfuckers!” I think that was an instruction to Casual Drag (I know it was like 40+ years before their time, but you know what I mean!) Casual Drag definitely kick out the jams, and the rest! They have this really intense and loud sound that just leaves you itching to head to a gig. Oh man this is tough and brutal! Anyway, let’s keep borderline positive. We have bands like Casual Drag to get us through it all, and beyond. If you like your music loud, bold and intense- then you’re going to fall head over heels in love with this mighty fine band from Edinburgh. They aren’t afraid to use their instruments as weapons, and with a solid demand to be heard- you simply cannot ignore a band this great.

 

 

THREE SONGS! Three songs! That’s all they’ve got but you feel like you’ve been with them for life. Bleach Head is my favourite so far; I love the aggression on it and the snarly vocals. It’s just a strong example of how phenomenal this band are. Sign me up as their biggest fan for sure!

 

*Artwork by Conor Moore at Green Cap Design





THE RAPTORS.

21 08 2018

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A few years ago I started writing about a brilliant band from Glasgow called The Creeping Ivies. They were like The Cramps meets a Vincent Price film- effortlessly cool and eerie. I’m now super excited to write about Becca’s new band, The Raptors.

The Raptors have a really wild sound. There’s still a hint of The Cramps but there’s a real Rock’n’Roll sound that is found in my absolute idol, Johnny Thunders. There are only two songs (so far) but in those two songs, you can truly hear what a brilliant band The Raptors are.

The first song, Death Becomes Her definitely sounds like it was made for playing whilst wandering through a graveyard with a cloak of mist descending upon you. There is something really spooky about this song, and the band. The way they use this spookiness in their music is just so good. They keep you wanting more and more, but for now we just have to settle for these two songs. Death Becomes Her has this exceptional chant-like chorus that has you shouting the words back at them. Don’t worry if your neighbours tell you to be quiet, they’ll be doing the same in no time too. I love how great they all sound together.

Teen Witch sounds like it could have easily been on American Horror Story: Coven. It’s such a brilliant song, and I think for now I’ll call it as my favourite. Again it has a chant-like chorus. The Raptors have a sound that feels like a cult. They lure you in to what you do not know but are massively curious about. They take you some place where no one else has, and you daren’t go with anyone but The Raptors. They have this amazing way of luring you in and out of this creepy atmosphere. Where their song, Death Becomes Her makes you feel like you’re in a desolate graveyard- Teen Witch makes you feel like you are being hunted in a mist filled forest. Every single time you think you are close to escaping, one of them appears to cause you to lose sense of where you are. Before you know it, they’ve captured you. When you realise what has happened, you probably won’t mind and will wonder why you kept on running.

I am really excited to hear what else The Raptors have been working on. For now they are playing a few shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh, so if you’re lucky enough to live close by, then definitely go see them. I’m pretty sure their live shows will be wild.

There is something really special about The Raptors, and I think for me it is down to them having a Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers kind of sound. The sound they had was like a gang- them against everyone else. I get this from The Raptors, and I love that they in only two songs, have already given that impression. They most certainly have a united sound and each member of the band totally shines on Death Becomes Here and Teen Witch. Becca has such a distinctive voice, and I honestly cannot think of anyone else that sounds like her. She’s got such a strong voice, and it definitely needs to be played loud so you can pick up on how strong it is.

When Halloween comes around, play The Raptors super loud at your parties and ignore anyone knocking at your door. The Raptors are coming for you, so you might as well give in.





THE CREEPING IVIES-The Witch House (EP)

20 06 2015

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Some of the bands I love manage to merge certain kinds of music together and make something incredible. Some of them make something truly weird and bloody wonderful, and I’m so happy to be writing about some new music from The Creeping Ivies. With a new line-up, Becca and co are back with a new 3 track EP which will unite weirdos all over. No good comes from falling for common practices and a settled way of life. The Creeping Ivies are a breath of fresh air and fun into our mundane and ritualistic lives.

Ghost World and Stay Wild are two phenomenal records by the band, and going from a duo to a trio- has anything really changed? Maybe, but the music is still bloody brilliant. The Creeping Ivies mix proper Rock & Roll with something quite similar to the Wall of Sound, and throw in a load of weirdness. When you throw all of this together you get something truly magical. It’s got the essence of Punk right within it. The guitar sounds as complex as Johnny Thunders, the backbone of The Cramps, the speed of the Ramones and the urgency of Patti Smith. They are the past mixed with something you’ve never heard before.

The Witch House consists of 3 perfect songs that are enough to ease the wait for their new record. Scotland is super lucky as the residents can easily go see The Creeping Ivies live. Us living in less fortunate places (such as the South of England) are unable to, as of yet, to see such an excellent band live and in all their glory. I can wait. I don’t really have much of a choice anyway, The Witch House is part Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and part the Ronettes. It’s proper bluesy Rock and Roll with a 60s girl group feel. It feels like a spell has been cast upon you, as if something is about to posses you. It’s Becca’s voice, and The Creeping Ivies are coming for your soul. Ignore the warning signs and just let it happen.

The Creeping Ivies, as lame as the word is, are one of the coolest bands around. They make you feel as if you’ve been thrown back to the 70s when music was more alive and so far from tame. Becca’s voice is so powerful and she makes you wish you could sing just so you could front your own musical gang. Instead you just shout the words loudly in the comfort of your own home.

The Creeping Ivies are loud, stylish and effortlessly wonderful. The Witch House is the perfect taster of what is to come from the band. Getting new music from The Creeping Ivies is like putting on your favourite jacket and feeling like you can take on the world. Their sound is fearless and unpredictable. It is to be played loud, and whatever you do during is entirely up to you.

The Witch House is out on the 16th August via Flowers In The Dustbin, and you can pre-order it here: https://thecreepingivies.bandcamp.com/





THE CREEPING IVIES- Ghost World.

17 03 2014

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I am so excited to finally write about the new record by The Creeping Ivies, which is out next Monday.

I first wrote about The Creeping Ivies in April 2012. I immediately loved their frightening sound. I loved how they mixed the backbone of Punk with a bit of Rockabilly; and also managed to scare you. Becca’s voice does some AMAZING things, when she wails on certain songs (she does it brilliantly on The Creeps) and Duncan just makes you want to play the drums. In fact, both of them make you want to be in a band. When a band can make you feel that way, you know you’ve found something to treasure.

Ghost World is another creepy installment from this fantastic Scottish duo. It features the hits (in my mind they are) What Would Joey Ramone Do? (this is pretty much my mantra for daily life), the Valentine’s hit- Love Kills and Ramona Wolf. They’re all here, and a hell of a lot more.

Dream Baby Dream has some incredible sax on it. My girlfriend can play the sax, she’s at work- I might go get it and try cover this song. Can you imagine? I’d only have some strange accident. Maybe I won’t bother. Dream Baby Dream sounds like it should have been on some really bad horror film from the 50s/60s. I mean that with utter respect, because those horror films were actually worth watching. What you get constantly when you listen to The Creeping Ivies is the sense that you’re in a film. Their music is destined to be in a film.

Their sound, especially on this new record is just a mixture of the kinds of music that I love. This is a much-needed distraction from the soul-destroying daily task I have of looking for a job. Trippin’ Out is the perfect song that sums up the feeling of going utterly mad. Seeing things that aren’t there and feeling things crawl upon you that aren’t there. This band makes beautifully creepy music; most try too hard to sound like this. For The Creeping Ivies it is simply effortless. Of course people are going to want to throw around as many comparisons as possible, but the thing is, they really sound like nothing else.

Sure I’ve exposed my ears many times to the ghoulish sounds of The Cramps and the haunting tones of Siouxsie And The Banshees, but The Creeping Ivies are really something else. Their ability to take you to a different time with their music is something others should be envious of, better yet- it is something that they should take note of. They have this wonderful way of making you forget what year you are living in. They make you feel as if you are constantly in some old black and white film full of whirlwind romances wearing your best leather jacket.

I’m not just saying this because I’m a huge fan of The Creeping Ivies, but they are truly one of the most exciting and brilliant bands I’ve ever heard. Yes they are a duo, but that’s not just why I love their music. Their music has a of freaking you out yet makes you want to hear more and more. If I had the ability to find the word to use to describe their sound, I’d have done it by now. But I guess that’s what makes them stand out from others. Ghost World may only be their second full length record, but they just make you feel like you’ve been listening to them your whole life.

The Creeping Ivies make music for ghouls, punks and misfits- everything right in the world. The kind of music to have playing in the background as you read something by Poe with a candle flickering. Go on, have a romantic moment by yourself.

Ghost World is out next Monday (24th) and will be self released digitally on Jet Black Records. You can listen to Ghost World here: https://thecreepingivies.bandcamp.com/album/ghost-world





THE CREEPING IVIES- Love Kills.

17 02 2014

 

 

If I really wanted to get back at my neighbour right now I’d be playing something truly awful like Cradle Of Filth super loud, or I could treat the inconsiderate swine to something like The Creeping Ivies. Instead I am being thoughtful and selfless and playing them through headphones. See sometimes, I can be alright.

As you know I’m big on duos. Two people can change their own world and influence those around them. Don’t change the world, change your own. Duos to me are just perfect. They hit the drums harder, they scream a little louder, they turn their guitar amps a bit more, the bass-line makes you move a bit more. There’s something about duos that make you feel as if you are part of something.

A duo that I absolutely adore are The Creeping Ivies. I’ve written about them so many times, and even if they stopped making music (I don’t want to think about that) I’d probably still write about them. Their sound is everything I love about music. It is a mixture of bands I’ve grown up listening to and with something else I can’t really define. Becca and Duncan are stylish folks who play with the passion that a lot lack.

Love Kills is taken from their new record Ghost World which is out this year. Becca’s vocals are egged on by Duncan’s ferocious drum thumping. They’ve made a sound that is found in no one else around, which is why I truly adore them. Most fawn over shitty folk bands crying into their banjos (sounds worse written down) but why buy into something so trivial when bands like The Creeping Ivies exist. Sure they may not be to everyone’s taste (cut those people out of your life, they probably wear crocs or chinos) but they are keeping alive one of if not THE most important genre of music of all time- Punk. They’ve got the attitude of Patti and the Ramones mixed with the raw sound of say, The Cramps. Basically, they sound like everything I love which is why of course, I am a fan.

They sound like the band I’ve been waiting for. That’s the only way I can describe them. They are what you’ve been waiting for.

Play loudly.





ELA ORLEANS.

17 01 2014

 

 

I’ve always believed that music should be somewhat terrifying. Whether it is similar to the frightening rage that is found in the likes of my beloved My Bloody Valentine or if it is done in a more gentle manner like The Long Wives; I want what I hear to scare me a little bit. I don’t know where this comes from, maybe from a young obsession with Nick Cave. His dark imagery in his lyrics is the same kind of genius that came from Poe’s pen. Troubled, dark and sinister. There’s another level to this, Marquis De Sade. The sexual perversion in is writing is uncomfortable but for the times he wrote it- it is nothing short of challenging. I have one of his books, but reading it on public transport means never holding the cover up so anyone can read the back of it. I want to hate myself for being in awe of his work, but I can’t. I just keep reading.

I should have written about Ela a few years ago when I first hear her music. I have bouts of being utterly lazy. I’ve not written in my notebook since July. Everything I had the intention of jotting down has gradually left my mind. I suppose it wasn’t important to start with. Ela Orleans is yet again another example as to why music from Scotland is astounding. From Shirley Manson to Bobby Gillespie; it is a place that just oozes talent from all over. Parts of England have certain sounds. The further North you go, the darker the sound. The better the sound, of course. However (with the exception of Glasvegas, The View and others) you can’t always tell with Scottish bands. That just proves how excellent they are. You already knew that didn’t you.

Ela Orleans reminds me of someone I admire- Alex Zhang Huntai aka Dirty Beaches. Seeing him live last year had a massive impact on me in ways I wasn’t aware of. Now when I go to shows I notice more than normal, I let it mean more than it used to. He has this powerful presence without even saying a word. His music on record is a pleasure to listen to. It’s a pleasure to listen to because it’s so different to anything I’ve ever listened to and I can’t pick up on what influences him apart from general life and the hunger to make music- that’s the same feeling I get when I listen to Ela.

Her voice resembles nothing like anything else I’ve ever heard. However she can convey torment in her voice like Billie Holiday did. Ela can rip right into the core of you with her voice, the words become hazy because the way she rings pierces through you. But then, on the other side of this, her voice can make you weep with how gorgeous it truly is. Maybe I’m feeling her music more because I’m ill (I’m losing my voice and I sound like a teenage boy today..it’s a good job I’m not a big talker) and I’m swaying towards how her music makes me feel emotionally. Sorry, I don’t know what my excuse is for the rest of the time.

Her music makes you want to pack up your belongings and move to a city where nobody knows you. Where nobody who claims to know you can bother you. Until you get the guts to do so, all you can do is sit and listen to her music and live briefly in the moment through it.

I so desperately want to write thousands and thousands of words telling you all about Ela and why you need to listen to her music, but I can’t. She is one of those singers who you don’t really need to say a word about. When you listen to her music, you immediately become drawn in and you know you are listening to something truly special. Writing this is taking me back to how I felt when I first heard her music- it happens every single time I listen to her music. You keep falling for her music. It is honestly like looking at the one you love and finding new reasons as to why you love them and remembering why you love them. Ela’s music is something that obviously goes behind these words I have typed, anyone can see that. She’s the kind of singer I wish I could be, but I cannot sing. That’s alright though. I’m more than happy to have a voice like Ela’s being projected into my ears and cleansing my soul.





THE CREEPING IVIES-What Would Joey Ramone Do?/Ramona Wolf.

19 10 2013

 

 

The Creeping Ivies have been a band I have cherished for some time. I remember when I first heard them I immediately wished I was slightly musically gifted because they made the kind of music I wish I could make. If I was in a band, this is EXACTLY how I’d want them to sound. I’d probably be slightly more aggressive just to be obnoxious for the hell of it. Why not! Music is freedom and is also a way of putting on an act. Maybe it wouldn’t be an act.

I love Becca and Duncan because they are two of the best musicians I’ve heard in quite some time. Becca is a stunning guitar player who has this control in her vocals that is found in the likes of Patti Smith. Then you have Duncan who reminds me of a young Bobby Gillespie in The Jesus And Mary Chain; playing with fury and the desire to make your body move in the most outrageous way possible. The Creeping Ivies make you want to turn your back on everything society expects from you, everything your family, friends, lovers, peers and the like too. They make you turn into the person you want to be by creating such freedom in their music.

The Creeping Ivies have a new double A-side single out very soon, What Would Joey Ramone Do?/Ramona Wolf.

What Would Joey Ramone Do? Is probably one of the things I say to myself when something baffles me. Sometimes I substitute Joey Ramone for Morrissey. What Would Joey Ramone Do? is The Creeping Ivies at their creepy best. It reminds me ever so slightly of their song, Ghost Train. Mainly for the brilliant trembling you can hear in Becca’s voice, she seriously has one of the most distinctive voices I’ve heard in a very long time. When I listen to The Creeping Ivies, it just makes me wish they were playing London some time soon. Stupid commitments got in the way last time. Always the way. What Would Joey Ramone Do? is an excellent punch in the gut kind of song. It makes you want to leap about the way Joey used to do whilst wearing your battered leather (fake leather for me) jacket until every ounce of frustration falls out of you.

 

 

Ramona Wolf sounds like the soundtrack to the most pleasurable nightmare you’ll ever have. You can imagine being hunted down in a desolate and murky forest by the most stunning vixen; you run and run, but you don’t care if she catches up with you because you are in awe of her beauty. You probably start caring once she rips you to shreds though, always the way isn’t it. Ramona Wolf sends chills down your spine, as you immediately feel as if you are trapped in the woods with no way out. The feral beast called Ramona will get you, you might as well let her.

The Creeping Ivies are one of the very very few bands who take their influence of Punk and Garage rock and use it in a way that doesn’t seem like a blatant rip-off. What they have done is, taken bits of both and created something that I do hope in years to come will be influencing other bands to make this kind of music. If you cannot scare the shit out of those listening at least once, you’re probably doing something wrong.

Becca and Duncan will be releasing their second record, Ghost World early next year via Dead Beat Records. I have every faith in them that they will create something equally as mind-blowing as their debut, Stay Wild. When I wear a t-shirt of The Creeping Ivies, it feels the same as wearing a (fake) leather jacket. It is like armor/protection. It makes me feel like nothing can touch me; their music has the same effect. Except, I don’t wear the shirt as much as I’d like because I’ve ripped it. Most of my clothes are ripped, but it’s okay. I’ll probably just get a new one.

Anyway.

The double A-side single is out 16th November (4 days after my birthday) on Holy Smoke Records. You can stream the single right here: http://thecreepingivies.bandcamp.com/





QUIET AS A MOUSE- Home Is The Hardest Place To Find.

3 08 2013

 

 

 

 

For the most part, most of us have several songs that sum us up. Maybe they are songs that are too painfully accurate to listen to; when honesty strikes like that it can be a pain for sure. But sometimes you have to ignore that. Sometimes.

But there are songs that even before you hear it- the title alone sums up how you feel. This pretty much explains how I feel about Quiet As A Mouse’s new one. Home is a difficult place to find; sometimes you think you have found it, only to discover it wasn’t right. Or the place you are supposed to call home makes you feel uneasy. The best thing to do is leave, and start again. I’ve done it many times. I know I’ve got it right this time, finally.

Quiet As A Mouse are a Scottish band which of course makes them brilliant. My favourite band is Scottish, and my love for them has stemmed onto other Scottish bands. Quiet As A Mouse are 4 guys who make a lot of noise that is full of passion. Noise with a lot of meaning and fight behind it.

Their new single, Home Is The Hardest Place To Find is produced by Marcus Mackay who has worked with the likes of Sparrow & The Workshop and mastered by Chris Potter who has worked with Arctic Monkeys, Suede and Anna Calvi. But, regardless of who they have worked with on this single it is still excellent. Most spit at the term “Indie” but I guess it is because it no longer has any meaning. Just because a band were mentioned in NME or you’re the only one who likes them doesn’t make them Indie. It’s a generic term to satisfy those who NEED what they listen to be defined, which is pretty sad. The best kind of music goes beyond needing that, that’s why I like Quiet As A Mouse. They make music that comes from the heart, and that is sometimes the hardest kind of music to find. But when you find it, you cling onto it and it becomes part of your life- in a big way.

Quiet As A Mouse do not sound like a band you can tie a comparison to; which is another reason as to why I think they are above most. When a band is a carbon copy of another band, it sounds so desperate and becomes a chore to listen to. Their sound is nothing like their band name. They are a firm name within the Scottish music scene, and it is only a matter of time before a crazed wave of love for this band erupts.

Home Is The Hardest Place To Find is out 12th August, and you can catch the guys live:

– 9th August at Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh
– 12th August at Birthdays in Dalston, London (free entry release show)
– 15th August at Broadcast in Glasgow
– 31st August at Liquid Room in Edinburgh (support show)
Check out their other sounds right here: https://soundcloud.com/quiet-as-a-mouse