THE CREEPING IVIES/SHANNON AND THE CLAMS. Oslo, Hackney. 11th November 2015.

24 11 2015

shannon-too-late

 

A week or so (okay maybe 2 now)after a gig is the perfect time to write a review, obviously. I’m good at being disorganised. The Creeping Ivies and Shannon played a venue near my house the day before my birthday (I’m now 29, and everything still feels the same. For better and worse.)

I’ve been a fan of The Creeping Ivies for some time, and to be honest I was at the gig for them. To see a band you really love the day before your birthday, well you can’t say no. I’d spent the week seeing bands considering my desire to spend my birthday “celebrating” it seems to decrease by the year- it made perfect sense to see a band instead. Their set consisted of old and new gems. Becca’s voiced ripped through the crowd like a screaming banshee. It was bloody brilliant, and there was no better venue for them (okay there probably is but you know.) The venue made you feel like you were the outcast at a school prom that was designed for the weirdos. Why would you want to be around anyone else? The Creeping Ivies warmed the crowd up perfectly with their Rockabilly/Punk sound. The band initally started as two, but as a three-piece they work equally as well. The songs sound bigger and creepier when you see them play live, you sort of imagine them to be like that off stage. This isn’t the case. It was so good to finally meet Becca after years of writing about her band, and they’re just a solid bunch of people. Neither of us understood why Shannon’s rider had baby carrots but each to their own. The Creeping Ivies put on a set that made you want more. They made you feel as if you weren’t in the depths of Hackney watching them. It didn’t feel like 2015. I felt like I was on another planet. For the most part, I usually am. Anywhere but here. They were easily one of the best bands I’ve seen live this year, and I’d urge anyone in Scotland to go see them. And when they venture down here again, I’d urge you to go see them. They’re the kind of band that John Peel would play on his show- at first at the wrong speed, then he’d keep playing it just so you understood the band. The Creeping Ivies are from another world and they sure as hell take you there with their eerie sound.

It dawned on me that I had written about Shannon And The Clams before. I think I’ve probably gone on about their girl group style to someone, they probably weren’t listening. On record Shannon And The Clams have this massive sound- so how can they bring that to a dingy stage in Hackney? Quite easily. They make you forget you’d ever heard of them before now. I forgot how they sounded on record, and since then I’ve realised not much will compare to their live shows. Shannon’s voice could make the toughest of the tough stand to attention. She calls out some doofus in the crowd who shouts obscenties at her, she plays the bass like a wild animal who’s been let loose from their cage, she makes you feel like you can take on the world. They are a superb live band, and I think anyone who hasn’t seen them is missing out. Each member has such a gorgeous presence on stage and it is so nice and fucking refreshing to watch a band who love what they do and see the love they have for each other. The kids in the crowd were going nuts for them, I’ve not seen this kind of reaction in a long time and it is so good to see kids really get into music like this. Totally letting go and not giving a fuck about anyone/anything other than the music. That’s how it is supposed to be. You know, a lot of London crowds are slated as being pretentious- and to an extent that’s true. It can happen anywhere. I’ve seen it in this city, but I’ve also seen crowds go apeshit to the bands they love. This gig will always stick out for me, mainly because the crowd were brilliant and both bands fed off that. They ended their set with a Del Shannon cover. They covered Runaway, and it’s a song I used to make my mum play constantly when I was younger, and I probably tried to sing a long also. Not much has changed, I still can’t carry a tune.

They are bands for the outsiders, for the kids and adults who just don’t care what you think. I was watching the crowd, and all I could see was a sea of people in awe and in love with the band in front of them. The sounds that have influenced Shannon And The Clams really shines in their live shows, and I live in hope that these kids will go home and indulge in the likes of the Shangri-Las, The Girlfriends etc. They have essence of the past mixed with something, much like The Creeping Ivies, from another planet.

Both bands put on a remarkable show in their own way. The Creeping Ivies sent you to another galaxy and Shannon And The Clams made you feel like you had gatecrashed a prom out of protest. It was brutal, it was fun and it was the perfect way to dive into my 29th year on this planet.





THE CREEPING IVIES-The Witch House (EP)

20 06 2015

TCI15

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

tci

 

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





“I don’t have the time for a graveyard of the mind that they call shame.”

7 03 2014

 

 

“Sometimes I fantasise
When the streets are cold and lonely
And the cars they burn below me
Don’t these times fill your eyes
When the streets are cold and lonely
And the cars, they burn below me.”

 

People will always want to change you. They can be people who are insignificant to you (in the long run) or they can be people who claim to “know” you. They will want to change the way you cut your hair to the way you are. At what age does this stop? Does it ever stop?

Self-acceptance is hard for most people. We all have things we cannot stand about ourselves, and they are usually the things we cannot change. The things we can change, we put off because we know we can deal with it “later.” It is always later isn’t it. Not today, but tomorrow. I’m not criticising those who do this, I do it myself. I probably do it more times than I should. I should wear more colour, but I won’t. I should probably not just wear band t-shirts and jeans, but I know I always will. I’m comfortable in the clothes I wear. The person I am? That’s not for here. People can make you feel utterly terrible about yourself, and something happened a few weeks ago that, with me being too sensitive for my own good- I took it to heart.

I had a job interview a few weeks ago, it was my second one for the same job. I was good enough for a second interview. That’s a positive right? I take my piercings out (I took my lip piercing out for good a month ago so all I have is a nose piercing) and I cover up my tattoos. I wear smart (and clean) clothes to interviews. We live in a world where we pretend things are accepted, but they rarely are. A lot of people still do think those with tattoos and piercings are bad people. Hitler didn’t have his nose pierced. Myra Hindley didn’t have her lip pierced. They are bad people; without piercings. You see my point right?

So I went for my second interview. I thought it was going well, until  was asked a question that made me feel so uncomfortable and so small, I just wanted to go home. I was asked, “If I gave you the job- could you change how you look and would you?” I know I’m a sensitive person, and I know I’m not attractive at all- but does it need pointing out in a job interview of all places? Job interviews are terrifying enough, but come on now.

I’ve been trying to work out what made them ask such a question, and I really don’t understand. I didn’t think they could. If you must know, I went against everything I stand for and said yes to their question.  I said yes because I really really need a fucking job. I said yes because every day I am sat at home applying for a job is another day of self-loathing. I have friends, if I can call them that, who refer to people as being on Job Seekers as “scum” amongst other things. I’m scum, apparently. To me, scum are those who harm children, those who rape and those who kill. Not people who need help with getting by. I’m aware there are people who play the system, I’m not totally stupid. But everyone has their own struggle- so don’t judge.

I’m sick of being asked “what jobs have you applied for? Maybe you should aim lower.” I’m 27 years old; shouldn’t I have a career by now? I’ll never be paid to write, and I find myself compromising myself when I apply for jobs. I disregard the fact that writing and music make me happy. I lie and lie just to get somewhere. I’m getting nowhere. And I am so tired. I am so fucking tired.

I have no point with this, I really don’t. I don’t want to be a fraud. I can’t keep going back and forth with having a job to being on JSA again. I really can’t.

But then again, maybe I’m just too sensitive.

Have some songs:





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.





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.





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/