H.Grimce don’t sound like anything that’s around now. They sound like early Silverchair with the heaviness of the Melvins and the rage of a band like Savages. They also have a delicate surfer-pop kind of feel floating through their songs, especially in the title track of the EP.
Immaterial Girl will be released shortly via the ever wonderful, Soft Power. Soft Power have yet to put out something crap. Actually no, that’s unfair because I don’t want them to do that. They couldn’t anyway. Everything they release is just bloody good and could be why I whine about having no money. It’s alright, there are worse things I could spend my money on. Immaterial Girl makes you wish H.Grimace would just hurry up and release a full length record, but its not easy. It’s never easy. They’re a band who leave you wanting more with their EPs, and that’s how you get it right.
I adore the song Great Divide, it reminds me of early Hole. That’s always a good thing, I’m a fan of Courtney Love and I don’t understand how anyone couldn’t be. Well, we know why don’t we. Never mind… Immaterial Girl is a remarkable EP that as soon as you get to the last few seconds of the last track, Wasted Sun you find yourself hovering over the back button to start it the EP all over again. I’ve played Immaterial Girl a lot this morning, I’m not sure how many listens I’m up to now but there’s something massively addictive about it. Like penny sweets from the corner shop (they’re not that cheap at all now, sadly or fortunately, depends.)
H.Grimace are an exceptional band (and they come from near where I used to live) who don’t hide behind a big sound. They have this strong grip on creating euphoric moments in their songs, and Wasted Sun is definitely a prime example of that.
We need to talk about the song Imogen. Not only is Imogen the name of my Goddaughter (yes, someone was daft enough to make a Godmother, it’s okay we’ve known each other since we were 4 and we’re both as daft as each other.) The bass on Imogen sounds like it was crafted for a James Bond film. The bass creates some kind of heightened suspense and the vocals are creepy at times, it’s bloody wonderful and I’m fairly sure it is THE song that those “critics” will end up wetting themselves over, and you know what? Rightfully so.
H.Grimace will be playing Power Lunches in Dalston on 24th January (release show/fundraiser for the US tour)and after that they’ll head out on tour in America with West Coast delights, Couches. Immaterial Girl will be released via Soft Power Records on 26th January as cassette release.
Any band that can mix a 60s girl group feel with sad/woeful guitar sounds will probably become a band I end up adoring. The Debutantes are pretty much that band.
The Debutantes consist of Sarah and Paula from September Girls and their pal Leon. Together they have made something really beautiful. They have this sadness flowing throughout their songs which is done in a way that isn’t all “PITY ME! LIFE IS HARD!” kind of bullshitty way. Their songs will heal hearts and make you want to dance. If you don’t end up doing questionable moves to Burn The Merchandise then something isn’t right. Perhaps go see a doctor.
In the midst of the reverb sounds, you can’t tell that they are from Ireland. They sound like a band from the West Coast with their sun-kissed guitar sounds, but don’t let location fool you. A great band can make you feel like you are anywhere in the world and that is what makes The Debutantes so great.
With the sun appearing less, walk into the dusk with their record blaring in your ears. Or be a bedroom dancer and sway to their summery grooves in a freeing fashion. The Debutantes will make your heart swoon and make you gush with glee. They are just a brilliant band.
The EP will be released as a cassette on the ever wonderful Soft Power Records, and you can catch Soft Power at the Indie Label Market in Edinburgh on 11th October (day of the EP release also.) The tape is limited to only 100 copies.
“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:
-Soft Power Records
-Little Death Machine
-The Creeping Ivies
-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.
Soft Power Records have got a back catalogue that is on the same level as Sacred Bones to Art Fag. They have the weird and wonderful on their label. From Dirty Beaches split 7″ to Autumns, they are responsible (for the most part) for what I listen to on an almost daily basis. So it is with no surprise at all that they’ve sent me something else for me to fall hopelessly in love with.
This time, they’ve sent something they’ve never done before- a split LP. Knowing this is an entirely new thing made the whole listening process of the record much more exciting than most. This is a big deal for both bands and of course Soft Power Records.
The first half of the record belongs to The Wharves, and it’s ridiculous. They’re from London. They have a creepy late night alleyway danger feel about them. It’s the kind of music you’d imagine Jack The Ripper stalking the streets of Whitechapel to. It is entirely eerie but nothing short of brilliant. They do have a Garage rock atmosphere that floats throughout, but the thing that really stands out for me is the vocals. The vocals on Thick Syrup is just stunning, a brilliant way to start this LP. The vocals are on a different level. I’m not even going to try find a comparison because it will not work. But if you’re fans of September Girls and The Black Belles, then you’ll probably love The Wharves. Unhand Me is something that should be on Halloween playlists. Again, the vocals are divine but on this one they are slightly chilling. There’s a cryptic feel that flows throughout and I think that is what instantly draws you in. I probably couldn’t switch it off even if I wanted to. The Wharves make music that sounds like it should have been in a Vincent Price film. They stir up the beast inside of you and unleash a thousand furies. Bloody brilliant.
Scotland is the home to fine music. From my hero Shirley Manson to The Jesus And Mary Chain to The Creeping Ivies to The Rosy Crucifixion. Emily from the band was once described in an interview as Patsy Cline’s evil sister. To be described like that is awesome, more singers should aspire to that. Her vocals have an attitude that is found in the likes of Faith from PINS to Alison Mosshart from The Kills. There’s this infectious power there that just lures you in. I feel as if I should be wearing a cloak whilst listening to them (I’m actually wearing Superhero and a band t-shirt. The band? Loom.) They have a ghastly vibe; and I firmly believe that if music doesn’t scare you even a tiny bit, then there’s no point. Most of the bands I listen to have sinister sound. I think this makes up for the fact that I’m far too sensitive/gentle for my own good at times. Even if I’m not, music makes me feel tougher than I am. It’s like when you listen to the Ramones and you feel as if you can take on the world- you just don’t care. The Rosy Crucifixion and The Wharves have come together, and has led to something truly memorable and beautiful being created. I’ve heard a lot of new music this year, but to hear two of the most exciting bands around on one record like this just, as a music lover, well it feels like Christmas but better. Sinners has an enchanting voodoo feel about it. You can imagine Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (if he was alive obviously) just creeping up and yelling some crazy shit.
Both bands have made something that would sound perfect in a film from say, the 1920s. If I was 15 years old hearing this, it would sure make me go out and learn to play the guitar and create something as thrilling as this. This is what I want to hear. This is what I want on the airwaves and television sets. This split LP is something that sounds like it is from another time and planet. Play it loud and let everything around you just spiral out of control.
The LP is out 25th November 2013 on Soft Power Records.
I should probably start some kind of support group for my addiction to Soft Power Records. However they are the ones fuelling my addiction and I’m more than okay with it.
They’ve sent me a lot of music that is just exceptional. Especially the likes of Autumns and September Girls. They’re like a tailor-made music service. So when I checked my emails earlier and saw something from them, I knew I was about to listen to something that would be nothing short of brilliant.
Like Autumns, Ancient Times is one person making their own sound. They have each created something that maybe has been done before, but by no means are they a copy. As I listened to Ancient Times I immediately thought of one person who George Smale reminded me slightly of; Morrissey. I imagine those who dislike/don’t get Moz will automatically turn their noses up at this, but whatever. George has a vulnerable voice that flows so beautifully over wonderfully crafted crooked and creepy sounds. You’d think hailing from the sunny delight that is Brighton he would make music that projects that; well, he doesn’t nor does he need to. His music makes me happy but he doesn’t need to go on about how beautiful everything looks in order to do this. Everyone experiences happiness in different ways, and beauty too.
His latest single, Nightschool/Hieroglyphic is a perfect introduction to the debut vinyl release of such a talent. With the likes of Dirty Beaches proving you do not need to have 5 people in a band to make glorious music; I think Ancient Times is going to be just fine with what he does. When one person puts their all into something, they become more believable and maybe accessible. There are no hidden meanings, just a wealth of passion in his music which is bloody infectious and of course, delightful.
Now I’m not fully aware of the music scene in Brighton. I can only hope Brighton is aware of George and treasures him as he makes his way into the corrupt world of the music industry. But I think he will be just fine. There’s strength in his vocals and poise in his lyrics. He’s going to go far, there’s no denying that.
I was sent something today from my pals over at Soft Power Records. They are easily my favourite label (excluding Art Fag, Zoo Music and Sacred Bones.) They put out strange sounds that just reinforces my love for music. But listening to music at the moment is a painful thing. On Saturday I was meant to fly home for the weekend. I didn’t go because I had an ear infection. However, I rang NHS Direct and they said it was my teeth and I should go register with a dentist. And also take paracetamol. I went to a Walk-In Centre on Sunday and was told it was a throat infection. I was given antibiotics which were bright pink, and my girlfriend would text me at certain times to remind me to take them. I just wanted to sleep. I went to the doctor yesterday, and I was told it’s an ear infection. My ear drops are bright yellow. Hearing out of my right ear is painful. I don’t trust NHS Direct. I don’t think anyone should. So with a painful ear, I listened to something. I listened to something extremely beautiful.
Who is Marnie?
Marnie is Helen Marnie. She’s in Ladytron. Ladytron make wonderful electro music. Electro music is easy to mess up. It is easy to overdo it and just sound like a child hitting demo. Thankfully, Ladytron never did that. Thankfully Marnie has made something equally brilliant.
I do like Ladytron, I like them a lot. But after listening to Marnie; I think I’ve sided with her solo work just because it sounds a lot more sinister. I don’t want to listen to something that makes me feel like I’m running through a field with kittens (dogs are far better anyway) Marnie makes music that does something to your insides. Something gets lifted inside of you. Her sister sound with this is the likes of Bat For Lashes. She has that eerie feel to her voice that is portrayed so beautifully in Natasha Khan’s voice- Marnie does exactly the same. The vulnerability in Marnie’s voice in The Hunter is absolutely gorgeous. It may be utterly painful for me hear anything, but this is nothing short of stunning. It’s worth the pain. I know I know I’ve made it worse for myself, but music is always worth it.
Her debut record, Crystal World via PledgeMusic for funding. That site has become a platform for all kinds of artists, and without it- maybe music like this wouldn’t be released. Then you have the likes of Soft Power Records who put out 7″ singles, and it just makes everything better doesn’t it.
The Wind Breezes On is an awesome b-side. It feels like an old folk tale. There’s something about it that oozes fight and courage. I can’t really explain it, you just need to listen to it to truly feel it. But if you don’t feel it, I guess that’s okay.
The vocals on her solo work are more clear and in some respects more delicate than what she does in Ladytron but hey- no point in comparing because they are both different. When a singer can do this, that’s when you know they are truly remarkable. Electronic music can be the happiest beat with the saddest lyrics; for some that’s why they love it. That’s why I love it; when it is done like this. It can mask the sadness with ethereal sounds.
A lot of solid music has emerged this year, Marnie is easily at the front of this. If you like Ladytron, hopefully you’ll dig this. Even if you don’t like Ladytron, I think Marnie may offer you something you’ll enjoy.
Finding new music that blows your mind is one of the best feelings. Writing up an interview of someone who’s not been interviewed before is pretty daunting. If I balls this up, I am sincerely sorry. The music speaks for itself with this musicians, but as someone who really cares (understatement) about music and the process that goes on to make it-I guess part of me is a bit nosy in that respects. For everything else, I don’t really care what anyone does. That’s how it should be. I don’t want to know what Morrissey had for breakfast; I want to know what was going on in his head when he wrote the lyrics to certain songs. These are the things that matter. And this is why I’ll never be paid for this. Money isn’t important (I wish I could tell O2 that though..) doing something you really care about is what counts. We punish ourselves by doing things for others that make us miserable. This is coming from my own personal experiences, some a lot more recent than others. But there is always a handful of musicians who unleash the fury in a way a never could; by being mind-blowing musicians.
About a month or so ago I was introduced to a musician who instantly became my favourite new artist of this year. I was in awe of his brutal sounds, his eerie voice; distorted and fuzzy. It felt like a dream hearing this kind of music. In short, Autumns made me feel like the lucky ones did when The Jesus And Mary Chain first came out. Except Autumns is just one person. One person brave enough to make his own sound in his own way. On his terms.
When I interviewed Dirty Beaches I was really intrigued as to why he went it alone. He was frustrated and knew that the only way to make the music he wanted was to do it on his own. As a solo artist who posses the same qualities (I think) as he does- I asked Christian aka Autumns why he also chose to go it alone and if he’d ever record as part of a band:
“I made the decision because I was getting into interesting music and I thought I could do that, I don’t want to sound stuck up but no one I knew was into the music I was freaking out to and people didn’t have the ideas or beliefs that I think musicians or artists should have. – I’m really happy recording on my own, I mean I play with my friends live and it’s great but I just love to do everything myself. I don’t need to wait for others, ask for opinions, I just do it. Maybe someday I’ll collaborate with others and make it a proper band who knows, but right now I’m happy with the way it is.”
If you want something doing, do it yourself. This brilliant DIY ethic Christian has is enough to inspire talentless folks like myself to start some kind of music project. Don’t worry though, I won’t be doing that. I cannot sing or anything. I just write shitty poetry. Being content with going it alone is such a great way to approach music. He doesn’t have to look out for anyone else or check if its good enough. Christians knows himself that he has total control over making something truly magnificent.
When I heard his music I could pick up sounds of various bands but no solid nor obvious influence. I think this is what immediately lured me into his music. I love music that isn’t obvious. I don’t want to hear something that is a blatant rip-off of a band I love. If I wanted that, I’d just stick to the old stuff. His music sounds as if it’d fit a dingy basement bar or blasting on a beach in Los Angeles. Thing is, Christian is from Derry in Ireland. The music scene in Ireland is something I’m not massively familiar with. Besides Christian, the only other band I’ve listened to recently from Ireland are September Girls. He’s set to play with them very soon, but what is the music scene like in Ireland and is it easy to get noticed?
“I can’t really speak for Dublin or Belfast. But in Derry anyway it’s awful, I can easily say that I don’t fit into any part of the ”scene” here. A lot of bands/artists are just making either acoustic break up songs or are Arctic Monkeys wannabees etc. I don’t want to be apart of it in any way. There are a few bands in Derry doing some cool things, for example a band called Strength. They make hypnotic synth pop songs which is out there.”
Being from a small place is never good because it causes people to have small minds. A prime example of this is the place I sadly grew up and had the life sucked out of me- the Isle of Man. With no redeeming features (apart from the airport) it’s hard to see any good. Everything and everyone is the same. You carry a wealth of frustration on your shoulders in the hopes you can just get out before it totally ruins you. When I read Christian’s response to my question about the Irish music scene, I suddenly felt something else towards his music. That he doesn’t just make music because he’s talented. He makes it because it is obvious that he needs to get out. The frustration is even more obvious in his music now by knowing this. Something which you cannot help but admire and completely respect.
“As far as I’m concerned I want to get out of here as soon as possible and for Autumns to be unknown here. People just copy everyone and are doing everything for the wrong reasons. I guess it’s why I consider my music and beliefs very Nowave. – To get noticed is hard and easy. If you’re playing like I said acoustic break up songs and you get a number of hits on YouTube you will probably be very successful but for people like me it’s harder, it’s not music for the masses but then again people like me don’t want fame we just want our records out and maybe influence someone enough that they might start a band. That’s what I want, that and a tour. But overall there is a few bands I like from Ireland like September Girls, Sea Pinks, Documenta and Girls Names. It’s not all bad.”
The music that Christian makes appeals to people who believe in music and those who do not want the bullshit that is played to us on a loop on obvious radio stations. It doesn’t matter that you may never hear this kind of music as you drive home from work. What matters is that people like this still exist. People still make music that has a lot of fight in it. Music that makes you want to start your own riot and raise your voice. You’ve got something to prove, so do it. There is a huge Punk ethic to the way Christian approaches this. I don’t know if he knows it or not- but that is the trait that makes him believable and such a rare talent. With many just wanting a hit song to make them enough money to secure them a place in a decent care home, there are still artists like Christian around who make music because the desire and hunger to do so is in them. They are the ones we should be watching. Maybe one day it will all turn around. Keep the faith.
We all have a time in our lives where something happens that just inspires us to be what we want to be. I always wanted to write because I had a massive love for words from a very young age, and a love for music which occurred when I was even younger. I’ve always really cared about what inspires the musicians I love. What made them want to pick up an instrument and make music? Sometimes it isn’t always a band. It can be a piece of literature or even a film. What made Christian want to make music? What made him think “I can do that”?
“Theres definitely a band and a record. The first time I heard Loveless by MBV (generic choice) was just out of this world. It gave me those feelings inside that only music could give to me and I have become so attached to that album, it means the world it me.
An artist that made an impact like that to me was either Rowland S. Howard or The Wake. I can’t even decide. They are both out of this world, I could only dream to develop into the writers they are. (I got greedy with this question)”
On record, you get a brilliant ferocious feel to his music- especially on my favourite song Tired Eyes. I think the title alone just speaks to me. You cannot help but imagine his live shows would involve a lot of sweat and blood dripping from his fingers as he unapologetically slays the guitar into oblivion. His first gig was a week ago for Record Store Day, the most important day in music. Of course you should buy records all the time, but having a day dedicated to one of the finest things in life is something special and to play your first gig on that day? Well….even better!
“Tired Eyes is my favourite too. I played my first gig on RSD, it’s my first time doing this so I can’t really give a good overall review of my shows yet. But I definitely got into the music and zoned out on RSD. We completely went for it. I don’t want to sit around and nod my head like everyone expects you to do. I want to put on a show and make a spectacle, give people something to talk about. Our shows aren’t about trying to be cool. Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing planned for the shows apart from the songs we play. It will be us reacting to the music and letting the spontaneous things happen.”
Like I’ve stated many times before about Christian, you can truly sense that making music to him is so vital. That he just HAS to do it. The passion he plays with is so obvious and such an important feature about him to treasure. Zoning out and just letting the music take you where you let it is exactly what it should be about. A band or singer should never be afraid to really feel the songs they are performing. When you do that you build up a lasting relationship with fans who want nothing from you apart from you to keep that fire alive. Again, these are the things that make you believable. If the person standing in front of you on stage is too afraid to let go as they perform their own songs, how on earth can you expect the audience to care? We need more fearless musicians like Christian. We really really do.
Distraction is something that creeps up on us all. You can be reading a book and suddenly you’ve been asleep for 3 hours (this is me every time) or you can be doing something important and you’ve drifted off into a beautiful daydream. Does recording alone mean Christian gets distracted like the rest of us? Does he start on one song then suddenly find himself making another half-way through? Self-discipline is hard to master, but once you have that’s it for life. Are there unfinished songs scattered about on his laptop? How does he find recording on his own?
“I find it very easy to record due to lack of equipment so I don’t have to sit around setting things up, I only use one mic and a laptop. I find that when I plan to record it never turns out well unfortunately. I mean Tired Eyes was written, recorded and finished in about twenty minutes and that was just because I just randomly wanted to do it and never knew this was going to happen. I can’t lie it happens to us all, you write something, you record it and then you just leave it there. I have lots of files on my laptop with guitar ideas etc which I will probably never use but are probably decent.”
I think it is obvious how much of a fan I am of Autumns and even though I think I asked him THE important questions, I was quite curious as to why he called himself Autumns. I know it’s a stupidly generic question, but I had to do it:
“I came up with a name which I’m too embarrassed to say before I came up with Autumns. I basically judge what’s a good name if I’m embarrassed to say it or not. When I was confident enough to put songs up and send them out I just had to change it and Autumns was the last-minute name. I think it’s pretty nice and compliments the music maybe?”
I think it does. Autumn is like the underdog season I reckon, and this is the kind of music that those on the outside looking in and shaking their heads at fools can relate to. Compliments the music entirely.
This was Christian’s first ever interview and I feel honoured, and also proud to have been the one to do it. I really cannot tell you enough how brilliant his music is, but hopefully you’ll feel exactly how I do about his music and be bloody glad that someone is making music like this.
Keep On Sinking is distorted and hypnotic. Very loud and raw. It makes you want to thrash your limbs about in a careless manner. It doesn’t matter if you break stuff or your bones; this is the perfect music to do it to. One person making a lot of noise.
His obscure sound is incredible. One person doing this. ONE.PERSON. I’ve written about him before, and I’m trying to think of something else to say that doesn’t involve me repeating what I’ve already said. It’s allowed anyway. My blog, my rules. If all music sounded like this I’d be very happy. But we need different sounds and things to acquire peoples tastes. This isn’t for everyone, I have no idea why. But these things happen. When I was sent his music from Bek at Soft Power I was genuinely happy that music like this was being made. In my head I always thought music like this was being made in secret, maybe it still is. It is perfect for dark basement bars that are crammed full of people who really really love music. That’s who Autumns is for. He makes music for those who really really love and adore music. Keep On Sinking just shows that.
The video is brilliant too. There’s a cute cat in it, stuff gets broken and some other stuff gets set on fire and you can watch it here:
The b-side to Keep On Sinking is the wonderfully moody Who Would Have Thought. You know maybe it could be too soon to call out what the best single of the year is, so I’ll just say that Autumns is the best new artist of 2013. I refuse to be swayed on that. Every single part of me is saying he is. I never doubt brilliance or talent when I hear it.
Christian is a genuine talent, making the best brutal music around. Rambunctious to the core; it just makes my ears extremely happy.
One person can make so much noise it feels like a riot in your head. With no control over your body, you just let it happen. You become like jelly, and in your head; you’ve never felt better. The worst thing any music writer/critic/journalist/whatever can say about a band/singer is “THIS IS SO NOW.” Music has no time. It is timeless and at its best, inspiring. Scenes come and go. Like friends, enemies and pets. Nothing is permanent, and if it was I think it’d freak a lot more people out.
A freak out ensued when I heard Autumns. Autumns is one person, and you can call him Christian. When you listen to his music, you may think he’s from the hidden depths of an American town that is populated by feral animals and desolate buildings. He’s not. He’s from Derry and he is only 19 year olds. He’s the Derry version of Dirty Beaches. Meaning; he is one person making the most beautiful noise all by himself. He writes, plays and records everything himself. He does it with heart, soul and sheer passion. He makes you want to pick up a guitar and thrash about, unleashing all the fury your bones can contain. He has this infectious raw energy which projects into this brilliant rambunctious sound he has created.
The term that’s been used to describe his music (which started as a joke) is “Bedroom Wall of Sound.” The thing is, when you listen to his music, even straight away- you know that this is the only way to describe it. His music is refreshingly free of any genre/silly sub-genres. It is just a delight to hear something so pure.
The reverb in the guitar and his wonderfully muffled voice is everything I love about music. You can tell that Christian is a music obsessive. Especially as the two-track cassette will be released on my favourite label, Soft Power Records. The tape comes out on the 15th April, but be quick because there aren’t many copies being made. Get your mucky hands and eager ears on this.
‘Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don’t have any surface noise. I said, “Listen, mate, *life* has surface noise.” ‘~ John Peel.
There are a few things in life that really piss me off, but they aren’t that important so I let them go. There are things I do not understand, so again, I let them go. For instance, I do not understand why a person would link their Twitter account or Tumblr account to Facebook. Why would you do that? Or, why would you watch a programme and update Facebook or whatever every 5 seconds about it. Don’t get me started on those who did the whole “IT’S SNOWING OUTSIDE” shit. I have eyes, I can see- I also have windows. Cheers Michael Fish. Pointless. These things aren’t really important because it shows how boring our lives have become. I’m not an interesting person. My daily routine consists of going to the gym for 2 hours, come home and look for jobs until I feel my self-worth leave me and I start to hate everything. I then go listen to my records and read a book. I also do a lot of writing. Writing that no one will ever see, because I can handle someone saying “Olivia, that shit you write on your site is awful please stop.” I’ll stop one day, rejoice in that. But if someone read what I wrote in my notebooks and said “Your poetry is WAAAAAAAAANK.” I don’t know how I’d deal with that. It’s probably why I’m too much of a wuss to ever get anything published, let alone read. Sure I’ve shown the odd poem/song to a few but I know they’re only saying it’s alright so they don’t offend me. Racisim, homophobia, any form of discrimination offends me. Telling me I’m crap at something doesn’t mean as much. I’ll toughen up. Lord knows I’m trying. This leads onto something, but I’ve gone round the houses to get there.
I am massively against downloading music. I hate it and I’d like to punch those that do. It’s on a par with those who use Kindles and think it is better than picking up a book. A book, made out of paper that if you drop it..IT DOESN’T BREAK. Imagine breaking someone’s Kindle..oh the sheer joy. Don’t get me started on iPads and whatnot. I’m not a technophobe, I just see how technology is making people more and more stupid; and how they cannot function unless they have some kind of gadget in their hand.
Alright so, I’m against downloading music. Why? Because I want to be able to HOLD the cd/cassette/vinyl in my hand. I want to go into a shop and interact with the staff (you can tell I worked at HMV,right?) I want to wander around for ages and find something I thought I’d never find again. I want to get butterflies in my belly when I find a record I adore. I want all of that, and I don’t want some idiot telling me that record stores are dying out, that we must download. Piss right OFF.
I’ve taken to going to the market in town to buy my records because it is truly my idea of heaven. I go there when I’m having a rough day. I take some money out of my account, and I clutch it in my pocket hoping I find something. I always do. Always. I’ve found Transformer by Lou Reed, a Sarah Vaughan LP and a few 7″ singles by The Jesus And Mary Chain. I’ll never win the lottery, but finding these and more was my equivalent of doing so. There’s something so peaceful (and personal) about going record shopping. I feel the same way about books too. I’m not really someone you want to go book/record shopping with because I can (and do) spend hours just looking; always leaving with something. I remember the first time I went to the market to buy some records, and the old man said to me “We never get any young people in here buying records” and we just had a discussion for about 20 minutes about the beauty of records. I think I’m a 70-year-old trapped in a 26 year old’s body. I was born at the wrong time, and I’ll never fit in. I’ve accepted this as not being a bad thing. I’ve always been like this.
My mum used to play a record with Scott McKenzie and Jefferson Airplane on when I was a baby to get me to sleep. I used to pretend I couldn’t sleep just so I could listen to it. It was the crackling sound at the end of every song that used to make my heart skip a beat. It was the crackling sound that made the imperfections so perfect. You cannot get this from downloading a song, you just can’t. It doesn’t feel personal. It doesn’t feel as if it was made for you.
I’m fortunate enough to be sent a lot of free music. I don’t do this to get free music, so far from it. If I didn’t write about music, I’d have no reason. I really wouldn’t. I get sent free music, but for the most part I go out and buy it on cd/vinyl as soon as its out. I couldn’t call myself a music lover and never buy music. That’d be hypocritical, and just wrong. It’d go against all I believe in, and I don’t like it when someone tries to sway me on things like this. Hate it. I’m not writing this to call out people who download or whatever. I couldn’t care less. It’s just, I know there is percentage of music lovers out there who love spending hours in record shops, holding the record and going home to listen to it.
There’s another thing that irks me a lot about this. People who think it’s alright to leak new records or to just download an album without paying for it. It pisses me off because, these musicians- their music is their LIFE. That’s how they make their money. Would you go to your local shop and steal some milk? No, you wouldn’t. So why is a shop keeper any different to your favourite musician? If they’re your favourite musician, surely you’d want to pay for the music so you could support them. Steal their music= they never make any money which means they never tour and you bitch about never seeing them. Pay for their music=they make a living and you get to see them live. For me, it’s a no brainer. The latter will ALWAYS win.
I adore the fact that so many new bands are putting their music out on cassette. I bought a few last year, and one came in the post this morning (thank you to Bek at Soft Power Records!) and I may not play them as much as I’d play a CD because I don’t want the quality to be ruined. The same goes for my records. I own two records by The Ink Spots that I refuse to play to death. I don’t want the quality to fade. These guys were around in the 30s/40s; the way their records sounds to this digital bollocks is, well, you just cannot compare at all. I will take the crackling imperfections over the over-produced dullness any day.
I have a lot of love reserved for the likes of Sacred Bones, Art Fag, Soft Power Records and Zoo Music because they put out music on tape and vinyl. It appeals to those who spend hours getting lost in record shops. Lost in their own little world and when they find something they’ve been aching to find; well, there’s nothing on earth you can compare it to. Collecting limited edition 7″ singles from your favourite band is so beautiful. When I’m 80, I’ll still be playing them with fond memories. I love going to record shops and buying a record on the day it comes out. I used to miss lessons at college and university to do this. I once did it when I bought Bleed Like Me by Garbage. I got off the bus, my mum got on the bus. “You’re home early.” I told her the truth, she said it was alright. She understands.
Last year the sales of vinyl went up, but sadly that isn’t enough to shut these gadget obsessed fools up is it. I think if you have to explain why its important, then maybe you’re fighting a losing battle. I don’t wish to convert anyone or anything like that; mainly because my words don’t hold that much power nor will anyone read this. I know if anyone does, they’ll just assume I’m a dick. They don’t know me, so I guess they’re pathetic for passing judgement. I haven’t written anything as long as this in a while. It’s a shame so many words have gone to waste, but we all need to unleash our frustrations at times don’t we.
I personally don’t think record shops are going to die out. People are still going to want to physically purchase music. There’s a record shop in Soho that has a record by The Walker Brothers that I’m going to try to get next week/the week after. I’ll be spending my time wisely (I’m using it as a reward for when I’ve handed my CV out to anyone who will take it!) Record shop owners are as passionate about selling you music as the musicians are as making it. My dream has always been to own my own record shop, but I have no money so that’s one I can just kiss goodbye. Music is such an important force. To dumb it down and make people just download music without going to a shop and buying it..it’s just really sad. You can tie it in with how society is fucked, but you don’t need me to tell you that. I’m pretty sure you can work that one out yourself.
I’ll give you some songs from bands that have put out some brilliant tapes/vinyl recently. Go support your local record shop. They need you, and you need them.