GATEWAY DRUGS: PSA.

16 05 2020

 

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A strong contender for the most magical and captivating record of the year is the new record by Gateway Drugs. It is produced by one half of one of the greatest bands ever (and my girlfriend is the only person I know that loves them as much as I do which makes her the coolest yet again!) Sune from The Raveonettes. You can hear his influence throughout this record, and it just makes everything feel right even when it’s all off balance right now.

PSA came out last week, and after playing it a couple of times I think I have soaked it up enough to put something coherent together. I hope! It is a dreamy record; it makes you feel so happy and so at peace with all around you. It’s a feel-good record, and right now we really need this. The past few weeks I have found myself playing a lot of Minor Threat and VOID, so I need something more laid-back to ease everything. Gateway Drugs have made the most euphoric sound you could possibly wish for. Everything from the vocals to that gorgeous reverb sound is perfection. Slumber is THE song of the summer. Maybe when we can all go out and do fun things again, this song may just be your soundtrack. The record makes you want to go on holiday and just take it easy for a few weeks. As someone who has been doing additional hours at work the past couple weeks (I don’t mind at all, I love my job) the idea of going on holiday would be great right now. I’d like to just sit and do nothing, with this record blaring out. But, I can settle for a Saturday night indoors playing it loud enough to soothe my soul. It’s a great record, and to even try pick a favourite moment or song on this record would be impossible.

 

 

Gateway Drugs are in a league of their own. There is a sun-kissed Shoegaze feel that I cannot get enough of; you just want the record to consume every single part of you, and oh boy! It sure does. It is a remarkable record, and you can truly hear the growth in their sound from when their debut came out a few years ago. For me, Sune’s production is nothing short of flawless and he’s truly pulled something out of the band that I really don’t think anyone else could. It is such a divine, heavenly record that is SO GOOD for the soul. It’s soulful record with everything you could possibly want, and more from a record to just make you feel. That’s it; it just makes you FEEL. You cling on to that because it is yours.

I’m Always Around is gorgeous, and Liv’s vocals on this are so delicate and pure. You have it etched in your brain, and the beauty in her vocals on this is definitely a standout moment, even though the whole record consists of them! I think because three of the band are siblings makes you appreciate the tight sound more, and that gives the music an added beauty. I’m in love with Liv’s vocals so much, and I love how everyone has their time to shine on this record. But like I’ve said, it’s a bloody great record and it is difficult to pick out the best moments. The songs I favour right now will keep changing, and that’s when you know you’ve found something truly special. Gateway Drugs may only be 2 record into their career, but PSA makes you feel like you’re listening to a band who are at least 5 records in. It is such a bold and euphoric record; Back Room Lover is musically out there. It’s an effortlessly cool song and it just gives you a strong feeling of Summer. When you listen to this, you can feel that summer breeze hitting the back of your neck as you gaze out to the sun. It’s such a beautiful song.

As I wrap this up, I want to bring to your attention their cover of Psychotic Reaction by the Count Five. Anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with the Count Five, and when I found a copy of Psychotic Reaction in Born Bad Records in Paris- I lost my damn mind! I fucking LOVE that band. I’m a bit dubious when I hear songs I love being covered, but when it done in a way that clearly pays homage to the band or the band make it their own- then I’m sold. Gateway Drugs have evidently made it theirs and beyond. It’s a wild cover, and it is the perfect way to close the record. As far as covers go, this is one to truly fall in love with. They go absolutely apeshit during the last few minutes of the song (it’s 5 and a half minutes long- the original is way shorter!) and it shows us just how strong they are not only as a band, but as musician. I hope that once bands can tour again, Gateway Drugs come to the UK. I hope they play this as their last song so us in the crowd head home in awe of what we have heard. Fully knowing we will never be the same again. Holy shit the last few minutes of this is incredible. If you want to start with this cover as your introduction to the band- then go ahead. I reckon Lester Bangs (greatest Music Writer of all time) would love this cover too.

 

 

I’ve been in a bit of a slump recently when it comes to writing about music, but I can safely say that Gateway Drugs have eased it. PSA is such a remarkable record, and if you’re looking for a record to become obsessed with and to play religiously, then please make it this one.





THE RAVEONETTES- Pe’ahi

23 07 2014

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If I had the ability to sum up just how wonderful the new Raveonettes record is, then I’d be a lot smarter than I am. I’d have to ingest a thesaurus  just to get a taste of it. But luckily I’m not all about using fancy words to sound good, I’m not that kind of person.

I’ve read a few reviews of Pe’ahi and all I’ve seen is a bunch of crappy Beyonce (Bay-Once if you’re my cute nephew) comparisons just because they kept their record a secret. The Raveonettes are better than Beyonce, so what’s the use? I’ve just finished reading Sune’s guide to the new record on my lunch break (I use my time wisley) and I can’t help but appreciate the record in a different way. His father died last year due to alcohol. Something I can relate to, and even though it’s been nearly 20 years I’ll never have a solid opinion or a definitive emotion to describe it. You just get used to it. Although aged 7, you are made to feel out of place living in a small community with a dead parent. It doesn’t make you tougher, it makes you overly sensitive.

The Raveonettes have been a band I have been clinging onto for many years. Their ability to sound like something from the 60s with a chilling and haunting feel to their sound is something I adore and seek in a lot of music I listen to. The new record starts with Endless Sleeper, which starts like The Doors debut record. As soon as you hear it, you’ll feel the ghost of Jim creeping up on you. The Doors are one of the best bands from the West Coast; they had a beach sound yet were not typical LA. You really get that with The Raveonettes, especially with Pe’ahi.

What is truly wonderful about Pe’ahi is that it is made up of spontaneous moments that just leave you in awe. When a band surprise you with a new record, you know it is going to be truly special. It is made up of bitter words (Summer Ends) and gloriously aggressive moments (Sisters.) It isn’t a record for those seeking songs about lust and falling in love. It’s for those who want something with meaning, something that is ridiculously raw. Summer Ends feels like a real heartfelt “fuck you.” Something which is lacking in music. Don’t be afraid to be angry.

Z-Boys is one of the songs that really makes you picture the West Coast in your mind. It’s a subtle summer number that is a beautiful nod to surfers and the like, even if it is grim outside this song will make you feel better. The Raveonettes are one of those magical bands who can create something cheerful but infuse it with awfully sad lyrics. Go back and listen to their song Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed) the lyrics are dark but it is over this brilliant Hip Hop drum beat.

Sune and Sharin’s vocals (separate and together) are truly hypnotising (When Night Is Almost Done really showcases this) and they just have this gorgeous way of making you feel alright. I’ve only ever known one other person who likes this band, let alone knows them. I do hope they’ve listened to it. A person into The Raveonettes is a person worth knowing.

For me, this record really does define this band as being easily one of the best bands around. Sure my opinion is biased, but it doesn’t matter. Anyone who hears this record will hear just how great they are, and I sincerely hope Pe’ahi turns new listeners onto them. I just want to go back to Sisters briefly- the song is one big tease. It starts with an aggressive beat followed by some relaxing harp kind of feel, then back to the aggression again with the vocals. It’s such a strong song that you can’t get enough of. But now, I’m going to talk about Killer In The Streets. This is my favourite on the record, easily. I can normally  swayed when trying to chose a favourite song, but it is so easy on this record. I love everything about it especially the subject matte. In Sune’s words : “The alluring girl who pisses me off, I always forgive. I’m forever caught in her cunningness and savage innocence.” We’ve all been there, sometimes more times than we wish to. When it ends and that person goes, it is wonderful day. You find normality afterwards. Thankfully.

There are so many special and stunning moments on this record, and like I said it really does define why this band are one of the best around. Is it the best record they’ve made? As someone who holds a lot of sentimental value towards In And Out Of Control (one knows) I am prepared to let my love go for that record in order to state Pe’ahi as my favourite record by this inspiring duo. They’ve really grown into something beyond remarkable on this record, you simply cannot get over how ethereal it is without it having typical ballad like songs on it. Nobody else is doing what The Raveonettes have done and are still doing. They are rare and deserve to be treasured, this record really exposes that.

Music can make you feel ugly and wonderful things. It can take you back, it can guide you forward and it is the most reliable source of comfort you will ever experience. It helps you remember, to just cling onto things and to also let go. Knowing what influenced this record has made me listen to it and appreciate it in a different way. There’s healing in this record, and by looking at the state of the world right now, I think it is something we all need.





CROCODILES-Crimes Of Passion.

22 05 2013

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“Sacred hearts are bursting in the chest of every person that I meet.”

 

I came home from the gym. Threw my bag on the floor and was set to go through the daily gruelling process of looking for jobs and a reason to keep going at it. I checked my emails, what do I see? A promo copy of Crocodiles new record. Today is also my hero, Morrissey’s birthday. Today is a good day. These two things are just magical. I have things to do, and I don’t wish to do them. Not until I’ve written about the year’s best record.

Crimes Of Passion is Crocodiles fourth record. Each record of theirs has always had a lot of sentimental value to me. Summer Of Hate got me through a bad year, Sleep Forever summed up my life at that point and Endless Flowers just reminds me of my girlfriend. In short, I guess you could say Crocodiles music has dragged me through all the bad to finally someone, something good. That’s just how I see it. So what could Crimes Of Passion mean to me? Well to start with, everything.

The record starts with the glorious I Like It In The Dark. This is a song that should be played at all house parties, full of debauchery and the desire to commit some sins.  I held no expectations when I pressed play; I knew immediately that I was going to hear a record that was going to make my tummy flip and my heart beat faster- this record is just like falling in love repeatedly with the same person, regardless of how long you’ve been with them, all over again. I Like It In The Dark is the start of a hazy journey through psychedelic bliss. The start of the week saw them give us a taste of their record by streaming Cockroach. The bold tones of this song remains throughout the whole record but there are some gloriously dreamy sounds on Crimes Of Passion. She Splits Me Up and Me And My Machine Gun have such a beautiful daydream feel to them. They make you feel as if you are in the most secure of states; nothing and no one can touch you. Their first two records were quite wild, but since Endless Flowers their sound seems still rambunctious at times but being such a fan I am- I really really love this sound. They are like very few bands that are around who make different sounding records each time. Look at how drastic The Horrors sound was from Strange House to Primary Colours and to Skying. Look at how bands like The Kills have changed with each record. When I band keep repeating what they do, then it becomes a bore. I firmly stand by the Crocodiles being one of the most exciting bands around. Trust in Zoo Music kids, trust in it.

I’m in no position to tell you what the best songs are on Crimes Of Passion, I can only simply tell you that this is a remarkable record from start to finish. The songs are full of lust (Marquis De Sade– he was a French writer/philosopher who was sexually free with his words; a bit a genius for sure. Check out his work) and the songs are full of rage (Cockroach.) The songs are full of subjects many shy away from because they just cannot do it. The thing is, Crocodiles free you. They say the things you are too shy to say. Much like Morrissey has been doing for years. If you’re prone to drifting towards the dark things in life, then Crocodiles will be the ones who make music that just sums up those feelings and desires you try to hide.

Crocodiles make the weakest of people feel tough. Listening to them is a sacred experience. As you place your earphones in, strut down the street listening to them- you feel incredibly untouchable. I think this is how people felt when they first heard Velvet Underground. The posses the cool vibe of Lou Reed and the gentle poetry in their words which is found in the likes of literary geniuses such as Wilde, Verlaine and Ted Hughes. Basically, they are romantic with their words and how the music is equally as romantic. As I listen to Crimes Of Passion over and over, I can truly feel my heart being owned by Me And My Machine Gun. I want to say it is 2013’s version of No Black Clouds For Dee Dee but that song is in a different league. It’s the purest of love songs; the ultimate love song.

If you’ve ever seen Crocodiles live you will see that they play with such passion and fury. I’ve only seen them once, last year at Rough Trade. I was mesmerised by how Charles plays. You just watch this transformation happen, you see it in all of them. I remember my eyes being fixated on Charles when they played Mirrors. Certain moments kids, certain moments. Crocodiles are the trigger to a lifestyle full of rambunctious thoughts and the desire for something more. Excuse my language, but Crimes Of Passion is fucking incredible.

I cannot write how other Music Writers do. I cannot remove myself from being a fan, I really can’t. I don’t know if it is a good thing or bad thing. All I know is that, when you know a band have made a record with all they have it is important, if you’re going to write about it- you put your all into it too. There is so much more I want to say about Crimes Of Passion but to be honest, the record speaks for itself. If you want songs that make you want to be pure again, but knowing you cannot be (Virgin) or if you want songs to just wander the streets to (Un Chant D’Amour I’d like to add that this is the perfect song to just lay on the grass, close your eyes and let the sun beat on your eyes; and to just fall in love to) then Crimes Of Passion has it all. It is easy to adore every single song on this record. I’m beyond proud to be a fan of Crocodiles. Their music is like a cloak of armour, a badge of honour.

Crimes Of Passion is out 19th August on Zoo Music. Go to your local record shop and buy this record. The band is heading out on tour in the UK near the same time :

25-Aug UK Glasgow Broadcast
26-Aug UK Edinburgh Sneaky Petes
 28-Aug UK Leeds Brudenell Social Club
29-Aug UK Manchester The Ruby Lounge
 01-Sep UK Larmer Tree End of the Road
03-Sep UK Brighton Sticky Mike’s





CROCODILES-Cockroach.

20 05 2013

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“You left a trail of scum.”

When one of your favourite bands put out a new song, it certainly improves everything. By everything, I truly mean everything. My life revolves around music so this new song by Crocodiles has made me pretty happy.

Crocodiles pretty much make music that I wish I could make, however I am entirely musically null and void. I cannot do a thing but listen to music and write about it. That’s all I can ever do. So when Crocodiles put their new song up, I just had to write about it. It’s going to be rushed because I have to go out (I know, even I’m surprised I’m going somewhere other than the gym.)

Crocodiles have this ferocious and bloody brilliant rambunctious style that fills you with an Arthur Rimbaud style of rebellion inside. They make you feel as if you’ve discovered something menacing but gorgeous. Cockroach is a prime example of that. Their songs are a mixture of love, devotion, rage and despair. They’ve written some of the best love songs and they’ve also written the best “fuck you’s” of all time. They have a gang feel to their sound which is found in the likes of the New York Dolls to Wu Tang Clan- what I’m getting at is, they make you feel part of something. I’ve been a fan since the start, and how I feel in love with them was as I was trying to fall out of love with a person. They helped and they cured. They do this on a constant basis. They’re the first band I turn to. I play them when I have to walk through hell or when I just need to hear words that make a lot of sense. They’re not just a band.

I was excited when I saw the photos of Brandon and Charles in the studio recording their fourth record, but after hearing Cockroach I have every bit of faith that Crimes Of Passion is going to be the best record of the year. Last year Endless Flowers was the best record I heard, so I am more than willing to declare Crimes Of Passion the same.

They have their signature sound of making you wanting to thrash your body around. Making you nod your head so it looks like you’re about to snap your neck. You just have to play it loud and move in the most ridiculous way possible. Their new record is produced by one half of The Raveonttes (Last Dance is a beautiful love song, go listen) Sune Rose Wagner. Everything about Crocodiles is enough to drag you through the mundane to find your own piece of heaven. Cockroach is going to be an anthem amongst fans. Sung with everything we all have; it’s just excellent.

In a few days they are announcing a tour of Europe and the UK. I’ll be there. Even if I have beg, steal and/borrow-I will be there. Singing the songs that mean the world to me. Cannot wait.

In the meantime you can stream Cockroach here: http://stereogum.com/1354862/crocodiles-cockroach-stereogum-premiere/mp3s/

This is the kind of song to make you not care for anything else in that moment. It will give you that tough attitude you wish you naturally possessed. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t mastered it, Crocodiles will give you the armour you need to act like someone nobody should ever fuck around with. There aren’t many bands who do this, especially now. I’d obviously quite happily write a thousand more words on how excellent this song is, but I think in 3 minutes and 1 second Crocodiles have pretty much justified why you need to pay even more attention to them.