With it being Mental Health Awareness Week, I guess now is a good a time as any to ramble on about my past year. In fact, it was probably longer than a year- I just put off dealing with whatever my brain was telling me, and not telling me.
Last October I think I pretty much had my very own breakdown. It was at 2/3am. I remember sitting on my bed in some weird position crying, having a panic attack after panic attack. I was at war with my head. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t switch off. Nothing maintained my attention. I was starting to worry about myself. Prior, I just didn’t care. I went to the doctor and after a few minutes I was told to do a self-referral for treatment. I put this off for a few weeks, then stopped being a stubborn dick and did it.
Now I care more than I did. I went to the doctor a second time earlier this year, as my referral for CBT was going to be some time- the second stage of it. I made no improvements with the first lot. Labelled as having severe anxiety and mild depression. Labels are for foodstuffs- I’m not for consumption. Things shouldn’t define a person, just like their actions always shouldn’t. In this case, I wasn’t going to let this be something that ruled who I was and my life- enough was enough. I went to my doctor. She looked at me and asked how she could help. I cried. I broke down like a child and cried. I said “I can’t cope.” Finally admitting to myself that I couldn’t hack whatever was going on in my head.
As someone who can’t take paracetamol without assuming the worse, I had to resign myself to the fact that at this stage- I probably needed something other than talking. I agreed to take medication. Since starting the medication in late February, I am pretty sure that every side effect I had (I had them all) has been worth it. I’d rather have continuous dry mouth than have another fucking panic attack. The side effects have virtually gone. I do have days where I get this really bad pain in my stomach or the occasional headache, but I’d take that over how I was and what I was putting myself through. Or rather, what my brain was putting me through. I had my assessment for my second stage of CBT. I was being asked questions that weren’t relevant and being asked to focus on things that I really don’t need to. I felt as if I had to say what they wanted, and I didn’t want to be made to bring things up that don’t need to be. So I discharged myself. I decided rather than waste their time (and mine) I would give up my place for someone else who needs it more than me. I tried, and for me, that’s the main thing. But it just wasn’t for me.
Everyone bangs on about it, but support is key. I’ve got a handful of people that I know have my back and are there for me. Just like I am there for them. It also helps having a girlfriend who has a similar shit sleeping pattern so I have someone at 1am when I can’t sleep and everything seems too much. She’s my rock, and I try my hardest to be hers.
Music has been a massive help for me. We went to see Banks in March, and for me I think that was the point where I solidly felt okay. At one point going to gigs was just overwhelming. Going to work was overwhelming. Not because I hate my job or anything like that- far from it. But the effort of having to get out of bed and the overwhelming feeling of being on a packed train. My brain was slowly failing me. Or maybe I was failing myself for not taking better care. Music has been my other rock. Certain songs (which I’ll link below) have played a massive part in my brain healing and keeping me calm. I go the gym during the week after work to allow myself to take care of my body as well as my mind.
My bad days now don’t feel near as half as bad as they once were. I don’t have to fake being alright because I genuinely feel just fine at the moment. I’m not thinking long-term because that shit is scary. If I can get through one day without feeling terrible, I’m fine. My last panic attack was on the 2nd March. It’s been two months. I still feel a little shitty at times and certain things at the moment are fucking tough but, you can’t control everything.
I am not brave, I am not tough. All I did was reach breaking point. All I did was let myself get worse before I realised something needed to be done.
The thing about the aftermath of a gig is the comedown that ruins you. For those couple of hours when you’re crammed in a room full of people who are there with the same motives and thoughts as you is comforting. It becomes your own little world. A world you normally create within the walls of your mind, and in your bedroom. For those few hours you’re not on your own, you feel like you’re home. That’s the power and that’s the beauty of live music. It gives us all a place.
The Roundhouse is a venue I’ve never really felt anything towards. I’m not into big venues. I last went there last year to see Patti Smith and I had a great time. Last night, I saw The Kills on the last date of their UK tour. Was it the best place to see them? Yes. Easily. I saw them 8 days before on the opening night of the tour in Manchester, and even though they’ve been on the road for so long, their show last night looked as if they were just getting started.
Their set is made up of tender moments such as when Alison rests her head on Jamie’s shoulder at the end of Pots And Pans. To when he glides over to her holding his gun like a weapon, then facing it onto the crowd. The way they look at each other, the way they scale the crowd with their eyes, how Jamie is easily the best guitarist I’ve ever seen, how Alison bends her body backwards during Whirling Eye and you think she’s about to snap, how Alison stalks the stage- all these moments and more lock you in. You know where to look. But are you aware of how it’s going to make you feel?
There is something truly, truly special about seeing your favourite band live. Being at the front and one of them look at you as they sing a song you love. You wish you could thank them for these moments- so, I guess writing this is my thank you. Eyes locked and a line from Hard Habit To Break is sung at me. Aware but unaware. I can keep that moment locked somewhere forever.
The set is similar to Manchester but along the way they’ve added songs- they added Love Is A Deserter and Let It Drop. I hadn’t given much attention to Let It Drop, but sometimes when you witness a song live, it changes your view on it. The lyrics are great, and I’m not sure why I’ve not played it as much as others off Ash & Ice.
Let’s go back to the tender moments of the show. For the encore, Alison takes to the stage to perform That Love. A heartbreaker of a song, but if your mind is in a rut, play it and it will help. Trust me. I mean, you’ll cry but that’s okay. What comes after That Love? The Last Goodbye. I’ve always had a hard time listening to that song, and for a period of time when Blood Pressures came out, that song meant the world to me. It in a sense, became my world. For sentimental reasons, that record was my glue for a long time. I thought seeing it live would just break my heart. I’m not in that place anymore, so why would it? Because the lyrics are gorgeous. I don’t know where Alison goes in her mind when she sings this, but there’s no way I could do it. Despite all that, it was truly a beautiful song to finally see live. The lyrics are just beautiful, and the care and feeling that is within them is mind blowing.
The set ends with Sour Cherry. The perfect song to end on (check the lyrics.) But you just don’t want it to be over. It is over far too soon. You feel as if it has just started, and it is done.
The Kills are a band that have no bounds with regard to who is a fan of theirs or who goes to their shows. There is a beautiful mixture of people at their shows irrespective of age, gender, race etc. There’s just nothing there to pin point what kind of person loves this band, and that shows the power they have. It’s amazing to be part of, and as mentioned many times before, being in that moment where it’s just you, them and others who love them as much as you- it makes nothing matter. All that matters is the music.
The gentle songs like Echo Home break your heart (the lyrics are perfect) are intertwined with rowdy limb flailing Whirling Eye to U.R.A Fever. When you think you know what you’re going to get, they upper cut you and you are constantly left in awe. Your head is swimming, jaw on the floor and you want more, and more. I could quite happy watch them play every night and cling on to this feeling as tight as I possibly can. There’s no replica for this. You can’t substitute it for something else.
Your favourite band will always be your world. Live music will always be a way to escape whatever you need, and part of the escapism is finding something you need. And when you get it, cling. Cling. The Kills are medicine for the mind, body and soul. They create moments for you to live in. You feel powerful with their words ringing in your ear. Everyone does mention this bond they have, and it is truly one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see.
I could quite happily write thousands and thousands of words about them and their live shows, but words don’t do any of it justice at all.
I’ve had next to no sleep so what you are about to read is the ramblings of someone who has trouble sleeping at the best of times, but this time it is coming from a better place.
In 2003 I remember vividly sitting in my room with my ears pressed again my stereo. Not too loud because I had school the next day and of course, I didn’t want my mum to know I was still awake. I was listening to a John Peel show and he had a band called The Kills doing a session. They did Gypsy Death & You, and I was hooked. A few years later I would name this blog after that. And over the years, that song became my crutch. It still is. I saw them live in 2008 at The Sugarmill in Stoke. I was right at the front and my mind was blown and I was in a daze as I looked up at the two people I absolutely idolise. Move forward 8 years and after missing out in the years between due to circumstances out of my hands, I saw them last night in Manchester.
The setlist was perfect. They are perfect and this was easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It’s the way they look at each other, it’s the way Alison bends herself in a way that makes you think she’s going to snap, it’s the way Jamie holds his guitar like a machine gun and aims at us. It’s the way that they put everything into it and you cannot help but stare at them in awe. You just don’t know who to watch.
There’s so much importance within their songs for me and it’s the songs that you can probably say, saved a life a few times. Their music has been keeping me sane for well over a decade and from them, I’ve learnt that you just need one person on your side and all is alright.
There’s a moment in the set where Jamie stands at the front with his guitar and at the end, Alison lovingly kisses his shoulder and it’s moments like this that make you see just how beautiful their friendship is. He walks up to her as she sings, strutting with his guitar in a way that looks like a big brother endearingly winding up their little sister. They look at each other with an emotion that not everyone gets to experience, and when you do- you just know.
The setlist is perfect, it truly is. In an ideal world they would play each record from start to finish and I’d just stand all day watching them, ha. Their is a brilliant mix of all 5 records, and hearing Dead Road 7 live is something that leaves you with goosebumps all over.
For the encore, Alison takes to the stage on her own and does That Love. I remember when I got my copy of the new record, Ash & Ice and before I played it, I read the lyrics. I had the record next to me to place on my record player, and I sat and studied the lyrics first. I always do this. I read the lyrics to That Love and instead of playing it all in order, I went straight for that song. The words meant something at the time and gave me something I needed. This can be said for a lot of their songs. To hear it stripped back like this was truly gorgeous and we got to see just how strong her voice is.
There is something special about the way they perform Siberian Nights and Fried My Little Brains. It just leaves you again, with goosebumps all over and the inability to speak afterwards. They are truly mind-blowing to watch, for so many reasons. Songs like Tape Song and Black Balloon give you courage and the beauty in Baby Says just leaves you frozen.
As I watched Alison stalk the stage like a lioness waiting on their prey, and how she moves across the stage looking at the crowd-how she performs reminds me so much of the greats such as Iggy Pop, Patti Smith. The ones who are fearless and captivating. I looked at Jamie and all I could think was, “you make it look so easy.” And again, I just wished I could play the guitar. His machine gun stance and her prowling are just the perfect combination. It goes beyond music, it always has. Their shows are made up of moments that the person watching will take with them forever. Moments that become so sacred to them. At times you also feel you are looking in on something private yet exposed at their shows, and I think that it part of what lures you in and makes you unsure of where to look. They don’t need to engage with small talk to the crowd, they really don’t. Their music and the looks on their faces do it all. That for me, makes them tower over most. That for me just explains everything I love about them. The music says it all. Always has, always will. It’s just so powerful and enthralling.
At 1am this morning, after waiting in the rain since the show ended and after waiting 13 years- I met Alison Mosshart. I didn’t by no means get to tell her what I wanted/needed to, and maybe one day in the future our paths will cross again and I can tell her. But I met her. I met the person I have looked up to for so long, and when this happens something inside of you changes. The same feeling I got when I met Patti Smith hit me-but without the ugly crying. For me, this show had so much sentimental value for reasons you, dear reader, you don’t need to know. Maybe you already know why. I could write so much more about last night, but I’ll save it up for the next show.
Meet your heroes. Go watch them play. I’m seeing The Kills again a week today in London. The first and last show. My brain will be fried once more.
For the past few days I’ve constantly had Kissy Kissy in my head by The Kills. Maybe it’s because my mind has slowly caught up with the fact that I’m seeing them in a couple of weeks. First stop will be Manchester- the first night of their UK tour, followed by their London date which is the last date of the tour. I am more than happy for someone to fund me doing the whole tour. My ultimate dream has always been to follow a band on tour and write about it. But I’m not William Miller. This isn’t Almost Famous. It’s just a 29 year old with a wasted dream. Get in line. So, with Kissy Kissy firmly placed in my head I thought I would write about why it’s in my Top 10 songs by The Kills. I don’t have a solid list, but I know for sure that Kissy Kissy is right up there.
For me, part of my love for Jamie and Alison is the aggression in their sound. The way Jamie can make his guitar sound like a machine gun and Alison can snarl her way through some of their most rowdy songs has always left my mind blown and my heart firmly out of my body, flailing on the floor whilst taking its last few beats. Their music means THAT much to me. From hearing their first record around 13/14 years ago to now getting stupidly excited when I hear Impossible Tracks. It goes beyond being just a love for a band. It’s most definitely a crutch, and one I am not ashamed to lean on. I probably go to music before a person. Then I go to a person, and listen to some music. I like to get different opinions. With The Kills I’ve always felt like I’ve found some form of home there. I like things to be unorganised and a bit rough. That’s how I like my music- a complete opposite of me. I want the aggression, the fury and the rage. I want it all blasting in my ears. Kissy Kissy sums up all of that, and really for me, sums up the sound of The Kills. The guitar and the drum machine ricochet like a gun. The verses are repeated like bullets being reloaded. It’s the perfect song to unleash any frustration to. Getting out that anger that someone causes you is sometimes a good thing. Me? I don’t. I won’t ever raise my voice and I’ll avoid confrontation. I’ll just go home and play The Damned. Kissy Kissy.
The intro sounds like a snake winding it’s way towards you, the drum machine has this gripping tick tock sound. It feels like Jamie and Alison are coming for you, and everything is closing in on you. Tick tock, goes that irritating clock on the wall. You’re so sure it is moving too fast. Tick tock. Tick..fucking tock.
Some may regard the lyrics as being too repetitive or having no depth. Don’t listen to them. The Kills have never ever needed to fall in line with pretentious words to conjure up anything in the mind. They go beyond you seeing things in your mind, they make you feel it in your body. You feel as if you’re living the songs. If you walk down the street listening to Future Starts Slow or Fuck The People you feel instantly cooler than you are. You feel something quite powerful. Do it.
The way they sing “It’s been a long time coming” that sounds so beautifully sinister. A lot of their earlier songs have this sinister feel to them, as if they are coming for you. Just lurking in the corners until you slip up- then they pounce upon you. As if there could be anything better than that. A lot of their songs do hold a sentimental value to me, and I can easily relate them to a time or place. But with Kissy Kissy, it just seems to be always in my head on a loop. The way the guitars and drum machines sound ferocious and their vocals match this in a way I’ve not really heard before, it just makes me feel like I’m hearing the song for the first time every single time I play it.
I love that they still have it in their setlist, I can’t imagine a show by them without this song being played. The live version of Kissy Kissy is incredible and taints how you hear it on record. They let themselves go completely and the way the words are snarled and the way the guitar unleashes this beautiful burning rage leaves you wishing you could compose something like that. It is songs like Kissy Kissy that just reinforce my love for Jamie and Alison, over and over again. Certain songs by them I go back to just to reinforce my love for them, and Kissy Kissy is easily one of them.
From looking at recent setlists, I’ve got a handful of songs that I cannot wait to witness live and I’m pretty sure that Kissy Kissy is going to be one of the ones I’ll remember until my memory fails me. There’s something so powerful and so raw about it. So typically Alison. So typically Jamie. The way they look at each other when they sing it, the way Jamie struts with his guitar as if it is a weapon. The way Alison throws herself around with her guitar and spews out the words. The way they sing the song together. Everything, just everything about it- I cannot get enough. The song whirls around my head most days and I’m more than happy with it staying there. It feels like it could be in a blood bath scene in a violent film or it can be equally at home in my head. It was one of the first songs I ever remember hearing by them, and it is one of the great moments on their debut, Keep On Your Mean Side. Just under 6 minutes long, Kissy Kissy is a timeless and rebellious anthem for us outcasts. Stay on the outside and play it loud.
“We were dancing to a beat of our own, flying with our speakers blown.”
For the past week I’ve been constantly listening to Ash & Ice by The Kills. Today I can finally listen to it properly on my record player which I carried up a hill to get home in this ridiculous heat. I wouldn’t mind, but having a knackered disk in my back isn’t too much fun. It’s alright, now I’m seated and playing it as loud as I can. I can associate every record by The Kills with certain points in my life, and since Blood Pressures came out until last Friday it defined certain moments, feelings and people. I fell so heavily in love with that record and to take myself away from it so I could give in to Ash & Ice I thought, would be really hard. I was wrong. Ash & Ice is now defining whatever is going on now- good, bad, average and brilliant. It’s a chaotic safety net.
As I helplessly love this record so, I’ll go through each song. It might be safer for you to just go buy the record and listen to it rather than subject yourself to my ramblings about it.
Doing It To Death: I remember hearing this a couple months ago now, and just playing it over and over again. Something about it just made me realise yet again, why I adore this band. Why they are easily one of the most important bands in my life. There’s something about Jamie and Alison that leaves constantly wanting more and more. I love the line, “Baby lately, the plans we’re making are the shape of things that never come.” It’s a gut feeling that I reckon most feel, but not many want to actually face it. Fuck it. Face it, and carry on.
Heart Of A Dog: Like the above, this ended up being on repeat constantly when I heard it. Every line in this song is apt and if I could every word to this tattooed on my body- I probably would. “It’s life or death why I chew through the chain” is a line that’s just so raw and brutal. I know what it’s like to have parts wander off but for the heart always be loyal. You go back to what you needed in time. It takes time, but you get there. You just need to let it out sometimes, I guess.
Hard Habit To Break: I LOVE the intro to this so much. I think it’s most definitely one of my favourites off the record. Sometimes you’re the bad that someone else wants or needs, and they can take that bad and make it good. In time. I’m pretty sure that this will be amazing to see live, and I’ve seen clips of this where Alison just lets rip and flails her body in ways that if you or I tried to do- we’d end up in hospital. Worth the attempt, right? Pretty cool way to end up in A&E. I love the line “Maybe when the lights fade, maybe it’s my (your/our) mistake.” There’s only so much blame a person can carry before they realise others have played their part too.
Bitter Fruit: At first I just really loved the song. Then I paid close attention to the lyrics and some weird revelation hit me. I can’t decide which lyrics I love the most. It’s between “I gotta save my soul from the bad in you” and “I could pray, but can’t you see the kind of things I pray for are cursing me.” Both are pretty tough lyrics, and easy to identify with. That’s what I love about their songs, they just paint emotions in a way that I never ever could. They take every feeling imaginable and make it something to be proud of- even if it is a truly ugly feeling.
Days Of Why And How: In some ways this reminds me of Rodeo Town, Wait and Baby Says. It’s got that soothing feel to it. I think it has some of the best lyrics on the record: “When I hear your name, it’s a like a freight train. Shake shake shake shake shaking me, off my tracks.” I don’t know if that lyric is for good or bad, but it’s so gorgeous and powerful. I could listen to it forever and not get tired. An impending fear mixed with devotion. That’s just how it goes sometimes.
Let It Drop: I don’t really have much of an opinion on this one, and I think it’s because it’s the one I’ve not really listened to that much. Jamie and Alison have this sound that makes them stand out from everyone else, and I think Let It Drops experiments with this in a really great way. It sounds like they’ve massively pushed themselves with this song, and I think it’ll be one that I end up loving as much as the rest- I just need to stop being attached to other songs on the record to let this one in. However, the line “You’re giving me reasons to turn my teardrops into death threats” is just a gorgeous piece of poetry.
Now, if you have the vinyl copy this is where we take it over to side B.
Hum For Your Buzz: This has that brutal but Blues feel that caused me to first fall heart first in love with them 13 years ago. 13 years ago I heard The Kills and it changed everything for me. Every single time they bring out something new, I just fall more in love with them and I remember exactly what it was that drew me in the first place. Hum For Your Buzz has a beautiful feel of vulnerability surrounding it, and their fearless approach to writing lyrics will always be something I admire and love. “I am a vision you looked for so long at your door sweetheart.” That’s my solid favourite from the song. Subject to change, as ever.
Siberian Nights: The only way to listen to this song is to have to obnoxiously loud. Everything about this just makes you feel like you can overpower any feeling of love or lust a person may have towards you. It’s bold but endearing in its own way. I love the lyric, “I can make you come in threes, I’m halfway to my knees. Am I too close for comfort?” It’s the right kind of filth. The whole song is full of lines that make you feel a bit braver than you are. I guess with lines like “For the tyrants in a rut, I got a love” makes it for us underdogs. I couldn’t imagine getting tired of listening to this song. You pick up different things to love with each listen, and I love their vocals together on this. Check the guitar Jamie uses on this also.
That Love: The Last Goodbye from Blood Pressures probably broke your heart, right? Well, you’re not getting off lightly this time. I read the lyrics to this before I heard it. I’m not sure which is more heartbreaking. However, it’s a song I needed. It’s a song I probably won’t go back and listen to on repeat. It’s a heavy song, emotionally and I think it’ll be a mountain of strength for those who need some form of courage. We all need to be brave at times, there’s no right or wrong time for you to be brave. You just have to do it. I’m not going to pick a line from this, it’s too difficult. Maybe it’s obvious which ones will mean the most. You can’t feel bad for the rest of time.
Impossible Tracks: I adore how menacing this one sounds. It’s got that thumping sound of Future Starts Slow on it, and again, it’s one you need to play insanely loud. “Oh you get what you give, I don’t regret what I did. Well if a real live liar can set you on fire, then don’t you settle for it?” It’s real mean this song, and it makes you feel so tough when you listen to it. I also love the line, “And we hold our smiles inside like we’re holding back the tide.” If I could write something as rebellious as that, I’d be pretty happy. I think this is definitely one of my favourites off the record.
Black Tar: The line, “London’s bloodthirsty” is enough for me to know that I am mad about this song. The imagery in the words is just nothing short of stunning, and it’s just a realisation of why I bloody love The Kills! I’ve never ever doubt my love for them, and I never could. There are just consistently mind-blowing and their lyrics have always been such a huge part of who I am- whoever that may be. Some things you don’t figure out, even when you’re 29. This song makes you want to get in a car, and drive off into the night without looking back.
Echo Home: This has the gentle tones of Baby Says but there is so much sadness in this song. It’s pretty tough to listen to. I’d rather have That Love on repeat than this one because there’s so much overwhelming sadness in it. Every word in this song is just truly gorgeous, and for me this is the one that holds the most weight. It’s the one you play when you miss something/someone that’s been gone for some time. Have hope, because sometimes if the universe doesn’t totally hate you- it all comes back to you again. For me, it’s the line: “And if I take a turn for the worst and I call you on the phone, will you echo home when I call? Won’t you echo back and make it alright.” I know I’m too sensitive for my own good at times, but this line has this wealth of honesty and fragility to it that just breaks your heart. I just adore every single word on this song, and the way Jamie and Alison’s voices fit so perfectly on this song so so much.
Whirling Eye: And now we reach the end of the record with one of the most rowdy songs on the record. I think they’ve saved this one until last so the listener realises they’ve not had enough, and goes back to the start again. The whole song feels like a whirlwind. It sends you into some immense spin that no one can pull you out of. It’s so hypnotic. Alison’s voice on Whirling Eye has this insane urgency to it that makes you feel like you’ve probably joined a cult. If those two are the leaders, sign me up now. It’s definitely a song to make you feel like a total rebel to and it’ll make you want to ditch everyday life and hit the dusty road as fast as you can. Who cares where you go, just get there.
I could have easily summed this all up with saying this is the best record I’ve heard all year or just condensed my love for it. But the thing is, The Kills pull something out of me that nothing else ever has. They hit you with this urgency and this need to get whatever it is inside you all the way out. They have no filter when it comes to doing so, so why should you or I?
I will always have a soft spot for Keep On Your Mean Side, No Wow, Midnight Boom and Blood Pressures but with Ash & Ice, I feel like something completely different. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s that feeling of an old friend coming back home, it had been a few years since Blood Pressures and to finally have something new is just a truly great feeling. They could create their own version of the phonebook and I would still be madly in love with it. Sure there are many bands that I feel a connection with, but with The Kills it is this secret connection in my brain bound by their songs that creates this. This doesn’t always happen, and when you feel it, you cling onto it. It’s your own way of getting through the day and slowly, but surely, finding some self-acceptance. Ash & Ice means a lot for a lot of reasons- none of which will be mentioned but all I know is that it is bloody great to have them back.
In just over a week everything will be just fine with the world as Ash & Ice by The Kills will finally be released. I plan on spending the rest of the year in the safety of my bedroom playing it on repeat, all the time. Obviously I’ll go to work. It seems that each record by The Kills comes out at such a vital time. Certain songs mean more at certain points. I can still carry the weight of the meaning in their older songs throughout daily life, and I do. It helps. Some of their songs make me feel alright with whatever I’ve done or said. Life is too short to be careful, or too careful.
The video to Siberian Nights was released yesterday, and I genuinely thought Heart Of A Dog was the song I’d be clinging to and devouring the meaning of it- completely and utterly. As someone who is rarely right, I was wrong in assuming I could cling. Now it’s over to Siberian Nights. The words are bold and to the point. There’s no cover up in the words- it’s direct and the right kind of creepy. For me, it touches on beautifully getting inside a person, having a massive hold on them. But in the same respect, needing that person but as soon as you have them, you’re halfway out the door. Or maybe you realise you need them a whole lot and nothing will make you turn away from them. You’ll posses them with your love, a look and by always being there. In their head.
The intro to the song sounds like a chase, maybe you’d find it being played in a dodgy Spy film. It’s the sinister feel in Alison’s voice in the first verse that really gets you. “I can whip you up like cream. I can drink your sudden tease. Is it too close for comfort? I can make you come in threes.” If I could ever put something like that together, then I’d probably burn all my notebooks. It’s such a powerful line. It’ll make you think of someone, and when you do- you’ll hope they hear. Back of their head, moving to the front. They are yours in all ways imaginable.
There’s a coldness and a comforting cruel tone to it, Jamie makes the guitar sound menacing but Alison’s voice becomes gentle in certain places which eases you. You feel like you’re chasing someone or something. Hunting them down until they admit defeat. Until they fall into a devoted admission towards you. It’s that type of passion and urgency that you find in The Kills all throughout Siberian Nights. It’s got the urgency of Cat Claw and the impending seduction of Last Day Of Magic, and so much more. I think I’m understanding the words more because my sleep pattern is so far from ideal, everything is borderline heightened. I’m so excited for Ash & Ice, and if the three songs we’ve heard so far are anything to go by- then it’s going to be nothing short of genius. However, we all know that Jamie and Alison create nothing less than perfect.
Their chemistry is envied by so many, and not many ever feel anything like that in their lifetime. It’s a mutual understanding that doesn’t require too many words. We all look for that, and when it hits you- you know. Maybe you can relate Siberian Nights to that. It makes you want to torment someone, just to let them know how close to their bones you are. Chances are, they probably won’t mind- it’s just easier to say no to the feeling than it is to go with it.
Siberian Nights is like that transition from lust to love. It’s under 5 minutes of burning, throbbing passion in song form. It’s everything I love about The Kills, plus so much more.
“It’s life or death why I chew through the chain. It don’t matter my love’s the same. Go so far but never long.”
I tried to get out the words out when Heart Of A Dog came out under a month or so ago. I wrote, re-wrote, got annoyed, probably took a nap and left it alone. I think that’s my approach to most things. Good and bad. Go to sleep and hope it’s better/gone by morning. Or just have another nap. Now is the time where I think I can get the words out.
In 2 weeks, I have to let go everything Blood Pressures means to me in order to make room for Ash & Ice. It’s pretty obvious how much Blood Pressures means to me, one or 2 know more than others. It was a record that was a solid crutch during a time where nothing was working out. You know how it is. Songs like The Last Goodbye, Pots and Pans, Wild Charms- they got me out of bed. Baby Says and Future Starts Slow became the songs I lived by. Keep On Your Mean Side, No Wow and Midnight Boom played vital roles in my life at certain times. Their first record is everything to me, but Blood Pressures did something to me that goes beyond words. I wasn’t sure I could let that all go. But then, Doing It To Death happened, and I had this feeling that the new record was going to do something special. However, Heart Of A Dog happened and it was like Alison and Jamie yet again got in my head and unleashed it all. Lazy emotions brought to life by two strangers. What else can you do but let them suck you in.
I love how Jamie again gives us that machine gun sound. He’s aiming for you and Alison’s words are the bullets. They fire out these phrases that smack you right in the gut, and you start to question where you’ve been placing your thoughts. You really thought nobody had heard a peep. But they did. For me, there are a couple of lines that truly mean a hell of a lot to me for their own reasons. I don’t need to get really into it, and the words do speak for themselves. “I need you. Don’t ask me why it is. I want strings – attached. Unnatural as it feels.” Hand on heart, I wish I wrote that line. I wish I had it in me to write something as brutally honest and as raw as that. We’ve all felt that way at least once. It’s a strange feeling to posses, especially when “needing” something or someone stumps you. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it truly stays with you. It goes from the back of your head to the front. Who knows what will happen.
If anything, I can fully relate to having the loyalty and heart of a dog. I’m probably as daft as one too. I always have this urge to wander off, but I know where home is. I think? If you feel something in your heart, then I always think you should go with it. That’s what I get from Heart Of A Dog, and it’s been one of the few songs I’ve had on repeat constantly recently. There’s something about the aggression in Jamie’s guitar and the delicate fury in Alison’s voice that makes me relate.
Another part of the song that really hits home is: “I get lost. But I always come around. It’s a strange fear, allows me to be found.” The wanderer will always return, and even amidst the fuck ups, honesty comes out. It has to. Sometimes you need someone to know what you’ve done, even if you’re cowering in shame. It happens to us all. Even if you’re not loyal to something or someone, you’ve probably got yourself into that kind of state. You’re always there even if you’re hiding yourself away. All it takes is one person to see through that. You’ll get there.
Although the song does sound aggressive, the lyrics are pretty vulnerable. The admission of feeling a certain way and letting the person know. Fuck..that can be massively scary and we all feel it. But it takes one person to pull out an honesty within us that other people have tried and do try to push down in us. Don’t let them win, I guess. Heart Of A Dog takes everything I love about Jamie and Alison, and out comes this 3 minute and 46 seconds worth of brutal honesty.
I’m completely and utterly ready for 3rd June. I’m ready for Ace & Ice to take over my life, to become some recluse that only wants to listen to this record and nothing else. We all need a band that has a hold on us. A band that gives us our own reality because nothing else will do.
I remember first hearing Keep On Your Mean Side 13 years ago- I instantly knew I had found a home in this loud, manic and powerful sound. I knew that I had found a band that for as long as they made music, they would be always with me. They would be the soundtrack to good and bad moments. Moments that I’ll never forget and moments I partially wish I could. By no means am I tough, but when I listen to The Kills I always feel braver than I am. And just like Nick Cave, they talk about love and all that comes with it in a way that I can fully identify with. I cannot get my head around songs that are full of wanting to be with someone all the time, the sunshine and rainbows- I want the darker side- the mean side. It’s more honest. I’m surprised I’ve never delved into the lyrics of The Kills. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, there are times where it could have been the right moment but I missed out because I got in the way of my own doing so. So here I am. Saturday 23rd April at 4:10pm with nothing better to do than sit and listen to the sounds of my all-time favourite duo. The band that keep me sane. I’m going to try narrow this down to 10 lines that mean the most to me, but please be assured that there are more than 10. I’m doing this blind but the last two I mention are solid. They’ve always been there.
“If I’m so evil, why are you satisfied?” (Rodeo Town) – This is one of the lines where it’s not what is sung, but how it is sung. I love how tired Alison’s voice sounds. As if someone is at the end of arguing with someone that possibly can’t pull away from. It’s one of my favourite songs by The Kills, and definitely my favourite off No Wow. We all think we’re beyond bad at times, and it leads us to question those around us. I’ve always felt fine with questioning everything and everyone- I mean for the most part it is done in the comfort in my mind, but you know. Rodeo Town always reminds me of a road trip gone a bit askew- but hey, where’s the pleasure in things not being slightly chaotic?
“Send your love in a rampage, give her everything you’ve got. And when you come to hate her, show her more than just a spark.” (Heart Is A Beating Drum) Maybe I should have just quoted the whole song here, every line is just perfect and one of the strongest moments on Blood Pressures. I’ve got so much sentimental value attached to this record, and I know I’ve got to let it go when the new one comes out. I’ll be fine just doing so. I adore the lyrics to this because it just sums up the fury of love, lust and god knows what else we subject ourselves to. I toyed with using, “And you feel like you’ve been here so many times before. It’s not the door you’re using but the way you’re walking through it” for me that’s a golden life motto to keep with you, it’s like being told to just get on. Easier said than done for most, but this song was a crutch for a long time and it was that line that played a massive part. However, the line I did choose to use is the one that is full of something quite wonderfully sinister. Show the person why you can no longer stand them, it’s totally fine. Sometimes you just have to be quite furious with the emotions you send on to another person. Don’t hold back.
“Lipstick letters and souvenirs, make a mockery of your fears.” (Hook And Line) One of my favourites off Midnight Boom is Hook And Line. I love how the verses are quite gentle then the hook of, “With your hook and line, I still blow away” comes right on in like a madman and smacks you right in the face. I’ve been thinking about this song a lot recently, and I had it on repeat at the gym the other evening when I was struggling to stay motivated. The line I’ve chosen again, is one I love how it sung and the idea of ripping apart what fills us with fear is always appealing. I always wish they made a video to this song, I reckon it would have been something else. There’s a lot of wild imagery in the song that could have been brought to life in such a captivating way. I love that before this song on the record, you’ve got Last Day Of Magic. That song alone I could write about but the things I’d write are too personal. “My little tornado, my little hurricano.” I could, but I won’t.
“Superstition is, your modern eye. With original skin, and original lie.” (Superstition) I’ve watched many live performances of this song online, and it’s one that makes you firmly believe that Jamie and Alison are truly out of this world with the music they make. I love the burning rage in the guitar that goes along with Alison’s scream/groan towards the end of the song. It’s a perfect noise and when you’ve seen it live (online or physically) it stays with you. They both seem possessed and you feel like you’re intruding on something you shouldn’t be. That’s what I love about them. They’ve got this bond that you can only dream of having. If you ever experience it, don’t fuck it up. I remember hearing this song for the first time and just being in awe of the noise I was hearing. I think that’s part of the attraction with Keep On Your Mean Side. It’s a proper noisy record and it just stays with you, you always go back to it.
“What a mess a little time makes to us when time and place collide.” (Satellite) I was going to go with “I loved her too long, don’t love her too” but right now, I’m siding with the first line mentioned. I love this song to pieces. I love the slight reggae feel to the guitar, I love the video and how it makes you want to hit the road, I love the lyrics. I adore the lyrics to this song so much and it’s pretty hard to describe why, but they speak for themselves don’t they? They’re great lyrics that I think anyone can relate to if they dig a little deeper than usual. When time and place do collide, it does have the potential to leave something disastrous in the mind, and that’s what I love about that line. It exposes how chaotic things can be- in mind and body. I’d happily go off on a tangent about this song, but I probably wouldn’t be able to reel myself back in. It just does something to you when you hear it. I love that they both sing it, and Jamie makes the guitar sound like a lightning bolt going right through you.
“These are the days we’ll never forget, when the dawn dawns on you.” (Pots And Pans) I was going to go with something from The Last Goodbye but I realised it was too much to take on in one little paragraph. If you don’t know why, just read the lyrics. They are heart breaking, and they automatically make you feel like you’ve had your heart torn out. It’s a brutally honest song, and I really couldn’t do it justice by writing about it. Pots And Pans closes Blood Pressures and it’s the most perfect ending. It feels like a hymn, some kind of ethereal experience that is saved for last. It all comes together as Alison sings the line I picked out. It repeats over and over, like a holy mantra to get you through. It’s to keep you going until the next record, until next time. At first I wasn’t sure about how I felt towards this song. At times I felt it was too slow or something stupid, but I ended up playing it on repeat when I got to the end of the record. Maybe it was my brain saying, “it’s not over, it can’t be-play it again.” I go back to this song a lot, for whatever reason. It makes you feel alright with not having much to offer someone or something, and I think that’s something most can relate to.
“Elevator straight into my skull. The escalator rises as it falls. I swear our jet is crashing in my mind, you can hold on but I wouldn’t waste your time.” (Black Balloon) The whole song. The whole damn song. From start to finish is just beautiful, sad and honest. I love the line, “Let the weather have its way with you” but I had to go with the opening verse because it’s one of the saddest and most truthful lyrics I’ve ever heard. For me it’s on a par with the genius of I Know It’s Over by The Smiths. It’s got that brutal honesty that gets you right in the gut, and I can’t think of a time where Black Balloon has not been relevant. The sadness in “You can hold on but I wouldn’t waste your time” is so overpowering, you don’t know what to do with yourself when you hear it. The whole song is just a beautiful description of knowing something is done but whoever else is involved is probably oblivious to it. Sometimes you’re oblivious to it, and this song lets you know what’s up.
“No longing for the moonlight, no longing for the sun. No longer will I curse the bad I’ve done.” (Future Starts Slow) I think it’s pretty obvious how much I am in love with Blood Pressures, but Future Starts Slow was as if someone was coming full speed at you with this thumping drum sound and machine gun guitar- it charges at you, and when the vocals kick in that’s it. It calms down in places then picks right back up. It’s such a great way to start the record off, and the line I’ve picked is possibly my favourite lyric by The Kills. Ever. Have I already said that? If I have, then I’ve changed my mind. If I haven’t, then all is okay. It’s the no longer cursing all the bad- for me that’s just a brilliant way of accepting everything and carrying on. This song makes you feel tough and as if you can do anything. But let’s be honest, you can do anything because when you stick on your favourite song- anything is possible. I told a little lie when I said I had 2 solid favourites- I’ve got 3, and this is one of them.
“Baby says for all I’ve forsaken make something of all the noise, and the mess you’re making. And all the time’s it’s taken.” (Baby Says) Last one off Blood Pressures. For me, this song carries a wealth of imagery that is free for the listener to conjure up. Baby can be a person you’ve met. Baby can be an image or thought in your mind, but Baby makes you feel alright with what you’ve done so long as you make something out of it. It’s one of the most powerful songs on the record, and one of the songs I wish I had written. Any time I write something, this is one of the songs I have in mind. It’s got this innocence to it that isn’t found so often. Baby Says is a strong sense of reassurance, and I’m forever grateful to The Kills that this song exists. It means a hell of a lot, and if I ever met them I’d probably try rustle this out of myself to let them know.
“Jailers in my mind are all dead. I love you so much, never forget.” (Goodnight Bad Morning) Around 2010/2011 I was having issues with sleeping and being a functioning adult. I’d go to bed at 3 and be awake at 7. I was able to disguise being stuck in a rut quite well, but that’s all in the past now along with other things. It has that Lou Reed greatness to it. This song would be what I would play when I was trying to fall asleep. It’s gentle and it’s pure. It’s apt and aimed- but that’s not up for discussion. It’s such a beautiful song that once you hear it, it stays with you. Again, it’s a perfect song to close a record with. It makes you feel at the end, that you’ve drifted off somewhere. Maybe to sleep, maybe to a place in your mind where nothing else gets to you. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, and I do compare a lot of things to how this song makes me feel and think. It’s got a lot of nostalgic and sentimental value. I did have a slight blip where I couldn’t listen to the song- but I realised I was being a daft swine, and got a grip. When I listen to it now, for the most part all I see in my head is the way Jamie and Alison look at each other when they perform this. The song is like the sun coming up when all has been weird before- like you can start over. And sometimes, that’s all you can do. It’s all you should do.
It’s now 5:30pm, and all I can now think about are the songs I typically did not mention. Good job the new record is out soon.
I wandered around Soho on Friday afternoon to find a record shop. This record shop has had every single record I’ve ever wished to own. I’ve only ever been in with a friend (she knows the way round and when with another person in a record shop, I do not spend as long in there.) So I wandered around for what seemed forever. I knew I was lost, and I loved every minute of it. I didn’t care that I didn’t know where I was because I knew I’d eventually stumble upon this record shop. I found it eventually. I had to walk up that sex alley to get there. I kept my eyes on the ground for a bit, then realised I was amongst curious tourists who were falling in and out of the shops selling various (and probably questionable) things. I didn’t care, I just wanted to find this record shop.
I walked in and went towards the 7″ singles. For some reason I’ve recently started buying more of these than I have of LPs. Maybe it’s because I now have Psychocandy on record so I no longer seek out looking for much (if I tell myself this then my addiction to buying records will seem less of a problem.) I’ve found a few gems on 7″ from The Walker Brothers to The Shangri-Las. Somehow when you see they are only 50p, you pile the records into your arms like a greedy swine at an all you can eat buffet. I’ll take music over food any day. Even though I’m chubby; I can survive without food but not music.
I must have been in the shop for close to an hour and a half. I realised I had friends to meet. I also realised I forgot the way to Tottenham Court Road station. I went for the fool-proof route: GO THE WAY YOU CAME. Always. If I wasn’t in a hurry, I’d have tried to discover shortcuts and new places to ramble. I was sensible, but the hour and a half I spent in the shop I was anything but. I found Safe As Milk for the extremely pricey £25. I did some maths in my head (never a good sign) and I had about 3 in my hand that came to under £20 but I was desperate for this Captain Beefheart record. I was painfully sensible. I put it back so I could afford to buy my girlfriend and I dinner later on. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t approve of me buying her dinner and I declined anything for myself as I had bought a record. Being sensible is never fun, but sometimes you must do it.
In the end I bought a 7″ of The Jesus And Mary Chain and also a copy of their third record, Automatic. I’ve not played it yet but I’m sure I’ll be doing so soon. TJAMC have become the most important band in my life. They went from being a dormant love to a dominating passion that is uncontrollable. I don’t wish to control it nor do I ever want to tame my love for music.
Something else also happened on that Friday.
I was sat in a pub with a group of people I really cannot be without or be away from. Turns out that this pain of being away from them is soon to pass as I’m going to FINALLY move to London in about a month. I own nothing and I have nothing so I will want for nothing (except for a job of course.) States of bliss occur in small things. From finding records you’ve been searching for to being in the company of those you love beyond words. Everything felt alright on that Friday. Even when Amy and I got on the tube leaving James behind, only to find we got on the wrong tube and had to pull him off the tube he got on after us so we could get on the right one together. You find happiness in the things and people that matter. Happiness is not going to be found in the form of money. It is in time, in places and in people.
I played Psychocandy on my record player the other day. I stared at the splattered vinyl (the one from Record Store Day) and was just in awe of everything that was happening. The sound was beautiful and the artwork was stunning.
There was no real point in this, but I learnt one thing from typing this up- it is incredibly annoying and a bit difficult to type this when attached to a blood pressure monitoring machine/contraption. More than anything though, it is massively distracting. And with that, I am going to listen to the new Dirty Beaches record(s).
If the mind could take a holiday, would you let it or would you let yourself carry on? Bad things happen and good people go unnoticed. Too many people want to be famous, anonymity is no longer sought after. It’s a shame. Everything is shame; especially when you cannot do anything about it. We remember bad news because it lasts longer than anything good. We condition ourselves to cling onto the bad because it’s a sick form of comfort. The good slips through, as does time. As much as I dislike the concept of time I am utterly fascinated by it. Yesterday I had a job interview near Camden, so afterwards I went for a walk around Camden. On my own. It was pissing down with rain and I wandered round listening to music. If it wasn’t so grim outside, I’d have stayed longer. Camden isn’t my favourite place in London, far from it. I’m not really sure where my favourite place is in London. I just love that city. I used to hate it. I’m not sure why I hated it so much. Now? Now I have less positive feelings for the North of England. Maybe it’s a shame, maybe it isn’t. But you see, the North is always tinted with a shade of grey. London isn’t. It has something else, like no other. Or maybe I’m just really pleased with myself that I can use the tube all by myself without getting lost. Proud moment.
I wandered around the city a few times. No one knew me, and I didn’t know them. When I thought I got lost I just went a different way and got to where I wanted to go. Even if I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be there; I still got there. Time, patience and being aware. In a way, I could apply that to life. My life to be exact. Of course I could. I should. I’m going to try. I took great comfort in nobody knowing who I was. Not caring if I bumped into someone I knew. Stopping to talk to a friend in the street is something I’m not a fan of. I’d rather just sit down with them somewhere. Standing in the street to discuss events and emotions seems to informal. Also, you’re in the way of passers-by. If there’s one thing I dislike, it’s me being in the way of someone. Keeping distance is an art-form. I think I’ve gently got to grips with it. It’s not a tight grip; it never is.
It’s that time of year where I hate myself even more for not having a job or money. Christmas doesn’t bother me; it’s not having money to not go to SXSW that really gets to me. As a music obsessive, SXSW is my idea of heaven. I’ve never been to a music festival nor do I ever want to go to one. Stand in a field surrounded by drunken twats that smell of piss listening to the outline of bass rather than an actual song? No thanks. If I wanted that, I’d go to a club. And I don’t like clubs. SXSW seems like a classier affair. Where people actually care about music. No one is there to get so drunk they throw up and pass out. They are there to discover new music in brilliant venues. Bands from all over the world are there. Shit..last year The Jesus And Mary Chain played. I watched a bit of it on the internet and felt a rush of self-hate mixed with love for that band merge as one. I don’t know what I felt, but I just wished I was there. One year, I will go. I just have to. Maybe I should play the lottery, maybe that’d increase my chances.
I haven’t written anything for a while. I don’t know why. I haven’t even written any lyrics or poetry in my notebooks for a long time. I expect too much from myself at times with that. I’m not some literary machine. I never will be. I’ll take inspiration where I can, and when. I’m 100% sure I’d have found a lot at SXSW.
But all is not bad. After waiting for many years, I finally have tickets to see Beach House in 2 weeks in London. Two days after I’m seeing Foals. If there was an award for “Best Girlfriend In The Universe” mine would win. Not only just for this, but for her general being.
So this week will be spent mostly wishing I was at SXSW in small and sweaty venues with bands that would blow my mind. There’s always Record Store Day to look forward to.