GATEWAY DRUGS: PSA.

16 05 2020

 

gatewaydrugs

 

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

Raveonettes-PeAhi-Cover

 

 

 

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.





Two Is The Magic Number.

10 04 2011

There is something about a band that only has two members. There’s something about two people creating so much noise and chaos (The Kills) or something so utterly tranquil and beautiful (Beach House) that just leaves me in awe.

Beach House and The Kills are examples of bands only needing two members to create something so wonderful. When you listen to Teen Dream or Keep On Your Mean Side, you can’t help but be amazed that just two people created these works of art.

For me, I’m more likely to be drawn to a band with two members than four or five. Not because they are better, it’s all personal taste isn’t it. But because you know they have to work extra hard to prove themselves and more effort probably goes in.

The White Stripes for instance, probably one of the most influential bands of their time. There is no denying the genius of Jack White, and yes Meg may have a simplistic way of playing the drums- but it worked. With her drumming and Jack’s mind blowing guitar abilities, it was a perfect combination.

Just like The Kills, Jamie’s aggressive guitar sound with Alison’s beautiful, pure voice over it is just brilliant. You don’t need everything to be in depth nor do you need everything to be simple- combine the two and you create something glorious.

Some of the greatest bands ever only had two members such as: Tears For Fears, Eurythmics, Sam & Dave, Gang Starr, Röyksopp. They say three is the magic number, I doubt it. Two is all you need. These are artists that have inspired so many and still do. Their art is sampled by other artists. Their work is still used in adverts, films, television shows- it still exists. What they have produced is highly influential and will not fade out any time soon. That’s what makes it so good. A really shit film could sample a song by Tears For Fears- but it wouldn’t matter, because Tears For Fears are still a band that are important to so many. I remember my mum owing one of their albums on cassette. CASSETTE! They need bringing back!

If you listen to She & Him you feel you’re back in the 60s with the Wall Of Sound era, instead it’s just two wonderful musicians creating beautiful music. The same applies to The Raveonettes- a brilliant duo who I feel are highly underrated. Every album is like a step back, but in a good way. When music can make you feel like you are in some other time and place, that’s when you know it’s good.

You can’t mention duos without mentioning the fabulously weird and brilliant The Knife. Heartbeats is one of the most gorgeous songs I have ever heard, the lyrics are so beautiful. The Knife’s sound is so distinctive, strange and rare. Something I fully admire in a band or singer.

Boards Of Canada are a brother duo from Scotland; they just reinforce my belief that most bands from Scotland are bloody amazing. They have created music that is perfect to lose your mind to. I don’t mean going bat shit crazy, but by sitting on a hill in the summer with their music blaring into your ears as you just lay there taking all the delightful sounds in. Nothing matters apart from the music. The music that you are allowing every part of you to become free. The music takes over. You’re no longer a person; you are part of this sound travelling freely. That’s what Boards Of Canada do. Don’t believe me? Then I suggest you lay down and listen to them. Do nothing, just listen.

Hip Hop is a genre that has some of the best duos. EPMD, Eric B & Rakim, Gangstarr, Mobb Deep, Black Star, Method Man & Redman…I could go on and on about Hip Hop. After Punk, it’s one of types of music that just means a lot. I get pretty defensive about it. Especially now, the more mainstream side of it is highly degrading. Artists such as Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Lupe Fiasco- modern day poets who actually teach you something are the kind I love. Black On Both Sides by Mos Def is an album I hold very dear to me. Everything about is just goes back to what Hip Hop, for me, is about- the lyrics. Lyrics are important to me. Hip Hop, in its truest form is like poetry. Tupac for instance, he was a poet. There used to be passion in this genre, it needs pulling out again.

There’s this whole myth that there is power in numbers, bullshit. There’s power in your art. Within you. Take Morrissey for instance- he could easily take on a band of five members with his lyrics alone. One man alone versus a five member band, he’d come out on top. Then you’ve got a band like The Kills who create such a wonderful riot sound that would make a band with more than two members worry. That’s what amazes me about The Kills every time. It is their ability to create such an aggressive sound that is so big. You imagine them to have some insane drummer and at least two guitarists with the sound they create. But no, it’s just two amazingly talented individuals.

I am fully aware that I could have mentioned so many more duos here, but I’ve mentioned ones that mean something to me. I’m just fascinated by the creation a duo can create. It impresses me more than a four or five member group. There’s just something about it. You can feel the hard work they put into it. The blood, sweat and tears. I am not dismissing a band that has more than two members at all, far from it. We live in a world where we constantly feel like we have to prove ourselves to get somewhere. It’s almost as if a duo is the “underdog” of the music industry. Well sometimes, the underdog has its day.





Songs Of 2009.

28 12 2009

Okay so I’ve done albums of the year, now I’m going to attempt doing the songs of the year. I’ll edit this at least 10 times before being content with my choices. No order, until the last 3…as usual!

Ou Est Le Swimming Pool-Dance The Way I Feel. I firmly believe that this song can make the most miserable person feel happy listening to this. They are a friggin’ brilliant live band and I hope next year sees them becoming massive.

Frankmusik-Better Off As Two. Best friend got me into Frankmusik. I love this song.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs-Zero. The video alone was good. I want Karen O’s jacket from this video. I think a sense of power or something would come from wearing it.

Ellie Goulding-Under The Sheets. She’ll be big next year, by rights.

Marina & The Diamonds-I Am Not A Robot. The lyrics tug at your heartstrongs and make you think it’s all going to be okay because let’s face it, it always is 🙂

La Roux-I’m Not Your Toy. I could’ve gone for Bulletproof, but I didn’t. I prefer this song to what’s been released so far. BUT, Quicksand will ALWAYS be a personal favourite.

Norah Jones-Chasing Pirates. I’m pretty much in love with her new album.

Lightspeed Champion-Marlene. I know this out next year but the video is already out so….fuck it! Besides, his new album will probably be one of the best albums out next year.

Girls-Lust For Life. I was very happy that this wasn’t an Iggy Pop cover. Nobody should cover Iggy Pop. EVER.

Camera Obscura-French Navy. Goosebumps everywhere when I first heard this. Still happens now.

Golden Silvers-True Romance.  A band that I’m so glad I saw live. This song has some good memories tied to it. The main one being seeing them support Florence, and Florence touching my shoulder saying “excuse me” to get past and dancing in front of me and my best mate to this.

The Saturdays-Forever Is Over. This has “FUCK YOU” written all over it, which is probably why I love it.

Lady GaGa-Bad Romance- RA RA AH AH…You know how it goes. I love this an unhealthy amount (some would say..I disagree) The reference to Hitchcock’s films and the video just make it even more amazing than it already is.

Jay-Z & Alicia Keys-Empire State Of Mind. Two of my favourite artists on the same record. Musical heaven. Reasonable Doubt will always be my favourite Jay album but this reminds me why I love him.

The Dead Weather-Treat Me Like Your Mother. The video is amazing and I love Alison. No more needs to be said really.

Julian Casablancas-11th Dimension. This was enough to make me forget that The Strokes haven’t put an album out since 2005.

Florence + The Machine- You’ve Got The Love. Seeing a few thousand people around you sing along to every word is probably the best thing I’ve seen this year. My favourite cover EVER.

Metric-Help I’m Alive. I hate the word epic but that’s the only word to use to describe this song.

The Raveonettes-Last Dance. Sweet, cute, perfect.

Spinnerette-Baptized By Fire. The lyrics alone are pretty friggin’ cool. I love Brody, who doesn’t?!

Bat For Lashes-Daniel. Natasha Khan possess one of the best voices in the world right now.

Bloc Party-One More Chance. Sounds like a 90s dance track and it’s Bloc Party. Perfect.

thecocknbullkid-I’m Not Sorry. This may have come out last year? But whatever, I still love it. Album next year. ‘BOUT TIME!

The Horrors-Sea Within A Sea. 7 minutes of musical genius. I remember waiting for the countdown to end on thier website and seeing this.

Doll & The Kicks-You Turn Up. Love this band to pieces and I think they need to be signed. NOW. Lovely people and amazing live.

The Chapman Family- Virgins. Kingsley Chapman is lovely. The Chapman Family also need to be signed ASAP.

White Lies-To Lose My Life. So dark and haunting.

TOP 5!!!

Fever Ray-If I Had A Heart. Strange and beautiful.

Morrissey- I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris. Anything Moz does is genius, but this is easily my favourite single of his in a long time. The lyrics speak to me and probably most of Moz’s fans. It just reinforces our unconditional love for him.

The xx- Crystalised. Favourite new band of the year. Awesome live. The album is brilliant from start to finish.

Florence + The Machine- Dog Days Are Over. Pretty much the same as what I said about You’ve Got The Love. I love the video to this. Makes me want to run through a forest in a tux. I won’t though.

Florence + The Machine-Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up). I remember where I was when I first heard this and I remember crying because..it just like, hit me in the gut. Right in the gut and I got this feeling of “shit…everything is pretty fucked up right now but I’m going to be fine.” Lo and behold I am! Morbid story aside, this song is just brilliant. The live version of this with Isabella doing the 90s balaric keyboard solo makes me weak and fucking happy. You need to physically see it to understand. I don’t need to go into detail about the importance of this song to me. If I was writing about album tracks too, I’d put Blinding, Howl and Cosmic Love in the list.





Albums of 2009.

26 12 2009

I’ve battled with pen, paper, keyboards and my own choices doing this list. So, I’ve decided to not make a list. I am simply going to tell you what my favourite albums of this year are. Then, I shall tell you what my top 3 are because they are the only 3 I can’t change..not that I’d want to.

I’m basically doing this because I am an indecisive bugger when it comes to this and not making an official “Top 10” list or whatever was just pissing me off. It makes sense. Here we go.

Remember..in no particular order (apart from the last 3 I mention!)

Golden Silvers-True Romance.- A band I enjoyed seeing live and made my dull summer a bit exciting.

Doll & The Kicks- Self titled, bloody brilliant album. Next year, I hope, sees them getting signed. It is a bloody horror, a shambles! that they are not signed. They’ve been supporting Morrissey for ages. SOMEONE SIGN THEM.

Bob Dylan-Togther Through Life. I just love Bob. Simple as. One of my heroes.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs-It’s Blitz! This band will NEVER make a shitty album. I know a lot of people were like “IT’S NOT LIKE FEVER TO TELL!!” Well, obviously because that’s Fever To Tell-the debut..and this is their 3rd album. Clearly they are not going to make the same album over and over. That’d be boring. And we all know that Yeah Yeah Yeahs are far from boring.

New York Dolls- ‘Cuz I Said So. Legendary band showing these new bands how it’s done!

Girls-Album.  Amazing album. Amazing band. Sounds a bit 60s ish, which is never a bad thing. No fillers, just a brilliant album.

The Raveonettes- In And Out Of Control.  Same as the album by Girls. Stunning album.

Comanechi-Crime Of Love. First saw them support Gossip in 2006, been in love ever since. Seemed like forever waiting for this album, worth the wait. Means I can stop playing the EP to death now!

Gossip-Music For Men. This band mean a hell of a lot to me, it’s not my favourite album by them but I still love it enough to say it’s one of the best this year.

Jack Penate-Everything Is New. For some strange reason Jack Penate makes me want to runaway to Brighton. I don’t know what it is. Every time I listen to him, I just want to get on a train and go to Brighton. It makes no sense, I know. Bloody good album though!

Norah Jones-The Fall. Her previous albums didn’t do anything for me. But, The Fall left me in awe. A beautiful album from start to finish.

White Lies- To Lose My Life. Dark, haunting…two things which I love in music (I’m not a miserablew person though)

Bat For Lashes-Two Suns. Natasha Khan could sing me the phonebook and I’d still find it captivating and enough to reduce me to tears.

Julian Casablancas-Phrazes For The Young. This album was good enough for me to be okay with The Strokes not putting an album out this year..or last year…or the year before that. It’s THAT good.

The Dead Weather-Horehound. A sexy album. I hate myself for that statement but bloody hell it is true. Alison Mosshart’s voice can make the strongest person weak. This is what happens when genius’ come together.

Metric-Fantasies. I interviewed Emily and Jimmy from the band. Lovely people. This album got me through some crap. Magnificent album. Worth waiting for.

Morrissey-Swords. Ahhh..an album full of wonderful B-Sides. THANK YOU MOZZA!

Morrissey- Years Of Refusal. I love the artwork and title. I love Moz. It’s Morrissey. I don’t need to explain why I’ve mentioned him.

Camera Obscura-My Maudlin Career. Most underrated band of 2009. Fabulous live. Beautiful, heart-wrenching album.

La Roux. Flawless live. Amazing on record. Cover My Eyes breaks my heart every time. I’ll always remember being at the Brum gig in November when they played Cover My Eyes..and me and my best friend hugging each other. The song kills us both. But somehow, seeing it live wasn’t as bad as hearing it on record. Elly Jackson is beautiful. La Roux got the 80s sound right and made it seem effortless and not tacky. Unlike some bands who try too hard.

The Horrors-Primary Colours.  Proving that the second album can outshine the debut. This album sounded nothing like Strange House. Strange House was an excellent debut and Primary Colours, for me, is just as good.Maybe better. The Horrors gained more fans with this album and it’s easy to see why.

TOP 3…THE ACTUAL LIST THAT I WON’T CHANGE!

3. Fever Ray- Fever Ray. Odd and fucking good (sorry for the swearing but I had to.) This album left me in awe. I lay on my bedroom floor listening to this when I got it. There was no other way of doing it to be honest. It sent me some place else. I love it when music does this.

2. The XX-xx. Favourite new band of 2009. I remember hearing their cover of Aaliyah’s Hot Like Fire. Anyone who knows me knows how much of an Aaliyah fan I am and have been since 1995. This is a cover that I adored and from then on..my love grew and grew. When I heard they were supporting Florence + The Machine I felt like my birthday had come early. The vocals, the lyrics, the music..everything. Just everything about this album made me happy. The first track, Intro is simple yet you can take what you want from it. I hope 2010 sees more people seeing how wonderful this band is. Which leads me onto…….

1. Florence + The Machine-Lungs.  You knew it would be my number 1. It’s been my favourite album since it came out. I’ve played it every day since it came out. I’ve got a singed copy, a copy on vinyl and the deluxe edition. This year started a bit wanky for me and I’d been using certain songs to deal with it all. I read that this album deals with Flo’s split with her boyfriend, I suppose that’s why this album was a crutch to me. It pretty much changed how I felt about things around me and people around me. It gave me strength and guts. I remember watching a clip back in 2007 with Flo and Dev Hynes singing in his flat and just being in awe with Florence. Seeing her go from unsigned, playing small venues to winning awards and putting out an album like Lungs makes me feel like a proud parent. I know it sounds a bit obsessive fan ish. But we’ve all had that one singer/band that means the world to us and makes us laugh,cry,smile,dance,sing and what not. Me and my best friend met her in September. Meeting Flo with my best friend is quite possibly one of the greatest things ever. The photo of us 3 together is the most special and important thing to me. I look at it and it just makes me happy. I can’t really put it into words how much Lungs means to me, so I’ll stop. There are so many reasons why this album is my favourite album of this year. The main one being it stopped me from going a bit mental and helped me accepted the changes around me. Adjusting to become a better person. Blinding helped me let go of everything that no longer mattered. So thank you Florence Welch.

(I’ll do another post about singles and stuff later)

xxxx