Personal Emo Update #69

Good Wednesday!

Hi.

So you should ignore the plan part of my last Wednesday post.

Here’s the deal.

I have Multiple Sclerosis and it is kicking my ass. I’m fighting the fucker but it takes a lot of time and effort to keep it at bay.

It’s kind of like fighting off an angry viking one handed, armed only with a pair of scissors whilst the other hand is trying to wash up the dishes with a toothbrush.

I am not happy with the quality of the content I am putting out. I would like to put more time and effort into my work so that it’s a better read. I will still be putting out album reviews, movie reviews and general bloggy fun stuff but it won’t be on a regular basis.

I have a business to run, a degree to ace and a passion for these personal projects but I literally have to do all of this in 15 minute intervals then go and lie down. It’s hard and I don’t need to put pressure on myself to kick out some half assed shitty review for a deadline.

There will be content. If you’re one of my 5 readers be sure to follow me on Twitter and I’ll keep you updated on the things and stuff.

Go team Hong Kong!

Thanks so much for reading.

@cowardlycomics

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Album Review – Mazzy Star – So Tonight That I Might See.

Good Friday!

Did you enjoy the new segment? What new segment you say? Check it out here.

This weeks album review is the effortlessly beautiful and timeless 90’s indie gods Mazzy Star. I thought we could all do with a chilled out review week, a little something for everyone. Mazzy Star was the perfect choice.

I first discovered this indie dream pop duo way back in the year of 2008 when I was 20 years on the death trail. I was looking for some nice ambient sleepy music for the ultimate sleep mix I was concocting so I asked my pal if he new any good soft music and he gave me these guys, which was a bit of a surpise coming from a metal head.

The song he gave me was ‘Into Dust’ and I fell head over heels with Hope Sandoval’s dusky vocals. I went straight to the amazon and purchased ‘So Tonight That I might See’ and so begun my Mazzy Star infatuation.

I was kind of distraught when I then learned that they had disbanded and had only three albums for me to feed my new obsession. Then like a crazy miracle they made a new album last year and I did my happy dance. It’s a great comeback after 17 years of zero new material but as good an album as it is, I want to focus my attention to my favorite Mazzy Star album, the one that stole my heart ‘So Tonight That I Might See’.

On with the review.

Fade Into You – This was their most successful hit and if you have no idea who I am reviewing today, go have a listen, you will probably end up recognizing this one because it is featured on pretty much every TV show ever and Starship Troopers. This is the ultimate ‘giving in song’. That’s the suckiest thing about love, it can consume you whole and whilst that’s a wonderful feeling, sometimes you can completely lose who you are and ‘fade into’ the other person. The video was filmed in the same location U2 used for their album art on ‘The Joshua Tree’. Man I hate Bono but I don’t know why? I think the hipster community have conditioned me.

Bells Ring – And the loser is…not a bad track in the slightest just an easily forgettable one. I think it’s a song about questioning your faith. The track does have an awesome little break at 2.20 that kicks ass and a build up to a really great drum beat that carries the song out. Good song but for me it’s the weakest of the album.

Mary of Silence – I have absolutely no idea what this song is about, so I researched how other people have interpreted it and it’s a pretty varied outcome. Theories include questioning your religious beliefs, addiction and sexual identity confusion. The last one is my favorite as I remain constantly confused by my own sexual identity. I must point out that this is the creepiest song on the album. Can you guess why? It’s brilliant ominous use of our old organ friend of course.

Five String Serenade – This is a gorgeous cover of the late Arthur Lee & his band Love. I have only just learned this was a cover so I have a preference for the Mazzy Star version but the original sounds pretty damn satisfying, I love a bit of whistling.  I guess it’s a song about art, I think it’s a great track to listen to if you’re in need of a little inspiration. The same way that these guys are inspired to serenade us on a broken guitar, maybe it will inspire you to aspire or perhaps lull you to sleep. Drink lots of coffeh before listening to this album.

Blue Light – I have known this song for a lot longer than I have known of Mazzy Star’s existence and no-one can tell me how!?! It drives me crazy! I just can’t place it. I think it was on a TV show and the scene has resonated with me for some reason BUT I can’t remember the specifics. If anyone can help me out it will be greatly appreciated. Before you suggest it Google has not been helpful. It has a very transcendent theme of watching the world and not really being a part of it; like me the other day in Waitrose car park, where I suddenly stopped walking and took stock of where I was and found myself saying ‘Woah, how the fuck did I get here?’ and the nice old lady walking past me said ‘Did you drive in?’. I’m seriously stacking up crazy points, 50 more and I get a free holiday to The Priory.

She’s My Baby – I think this song is super fucking creepy. It actually reminds me of a kidnapping, along the same lines as Nirvana’s ‘Polly’. I guess you could be a normal person and interpret it as a song about lost love but even so it’s still so damn possessive I can’t read anything other than creeper from this. What is the most frightening thing about my thoughts on this song?…and the winner is.

Unreflected – I think this is a song about mourning. A very upbeat chipper song about losing someone you love? Whether that be to death or just because people change either or apply. That’s if I’m right about the interpretation, it could be a song about passing gas but I doubt it.

Wasted – What a bluesy riff. It’s weird because you wouldn’t associate Hope Sandoval’s voice with the blues in the slightest but it creeps through the post psychedelic like a hot knife through butter. The polysemic use of the word wasted is very clever. It could be used to describe being wasted on a duty, a time or just simply being fucked off your face. This is an interesting song, it has a lot of musical elements and possibly a sly pro feminist message? David Roback is a very talented musician, the build up of the blues riff and the surreal, dreamlike vocals from Sandoval provide listeners with a really juxtaposed listening experience. It shouldn’t  really work but it’immaculate.

Into Dust – This really should be the winner is but I have played it to death , so ‘She’s my baby’ crept in and kidnapped my heart like the shuddersome fucker it is. Speaking of shuddering this song moved me to tears on the first listen.  ‘OH I’M SORRY FOR HAVING EARS ATTACHED TO A HEART!’ Community makes me smile. This reminds me of vampires. I have a playground in my head where I have stories that I soundtrack and this song soundtracks my future bestseller about a misunderstood Vampire who falls in love with a girl who has to save the world from…wait for it…Vampires. I know man it’s going to win me the nobel prize in literature and critics will hail me the ‘re-inventor of Vampire fiction’ because it will be so original.

So Tonight That I Might See -The title track is a repetitive eerie outro to such a sensual album. You would do well to soundtrack it to some sexy times. Just a little advice from me to you *wink*. The fact that a lot of us have got down and dirty with Mazzy Star is just a little bit weird considering how damn right creepy the whole album is but when you think about it sex is a bit disturbing. We suddenly become overcome with a desire to have someone touch us where we wee…that’s pretty weird.

So Tonight That I might see was recorded and released in 1993 on Capitol records when I was the grand old age of 6. I can’t really tell you what I was doing then because I don’t remember but if I were to guess I was probably climbing trees and reading Roald Dahl books. I don’t remember Mazzy Star but I guess they are pretty obscure and a hard band to discover if you’re six.

I will fight you to the death if you dispute the FACT that the 90’s had the best music. It was the last era to have musical movements, multiple ones including post psychedelic dream pop rock. Actually I’m not sure that was a movement BUT it should be.

We really haven’t had a musical movement since the early 90’s and sadly I think those movements of Riot Grrl, Grunge and Brit pop were the last of their kind because really where can we go from there?

If you think Grime is a legitimate musical movement you can suck my small pert titties!

That’s it for my intimate personified album review of ‘So Tonight That I might See’.

Thanks so much for reading. You can communicate with me in the comments below or you can follow me on the following social media platforms. I should see about getting those fancy buttons everyone else has but for now LINKS.

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The Weekly Roundup #1

Good Wednesday….Wait! What is this madness?

Wednesday’s are now a thing! Well I guess they have always been a thing but now they are a thing here on my blog, where words and things will appear as if by magic. I hope eventually to get back to providing you with Monday to Friday content but for now you will definitely be getting Wednesday’s, the occasional Thursday and an album review on the Friday.

Vlogs are also coming soon to a Monday near you. I plan to document my awesome life with Multiple Sclerosis and other various health issues, so if you’re interested in auto-immune diseases and mental health, I mean who isn’t? Then you should tune in on Monday’s. Details to follow.

The occasional Thursday will be back to Top Ten’s and Wednesday’s are just going to be a personal laid back weekly round up of the awesome and the not so awesome.

The web comic I keep promising is on the back burner but brewing along nicely. I am a very busy sicko so I can’t promise that this weekly time table will always be timely but I will try my best.

On with the segment.

My thoughts on - This feature is where I will run my mouth about issues that have been on my mind that week. This week I am going to kick start it on the subject of the Scottish Referendum. Now I love living in the UK. It’s a beautiful multicultural hub with so much diversity up for celebrating BUT we are not without our problems and our dickheads; so I understand the desire to leave it. I saw a lot of amazing outcomes of this Yes/No vote but unfortunately I saw some ignorance too. I think it’s fantastic that we as a nation managed to come to an agreement about whether a country could decide for themselves if they wanted to be independent without the need to kill each other. We sent such a positive message to the rest of the world and in doing so peacefully, we made history. The ignorance that came out of it was uncomfortable. I might have murdered the next person to cite William Wallace as justification of the Yes vote, heartily backed up with tweets like ‘Vote yes for all the blood and tears shed on Scottish Fields’. Which is pretty much the equivalent of me saying vote Yes so that the male population of the UK is fewer because they are responsible for the repression of every woman ever, fewer men woo! The thing that really irks me about viewpoints like these is that no-one alive today is responsible for what happened hundreds of years ago. If we can’t get over our horrific history and move on together then basically and quite frankly we’re fucked. Other disrespectful fuck ups included Scots berating other Scots as ‘not real Scots’ if they vote no, a tweet I saw from presumably an English woman saying ‘I hope they vote yes just to see them fall and come crawling back’ and the more humorous than offensive act of CNN reporting a 110% turn out but to be honest I’ve seen more good than bad. The cultivated way the Yes voters have taken it on the chin and accepted it with little disruption and Gordon Brown’s brilliant uniting speech have been truly heartwarming. As an English lady I am overjoyed that you guys decided to stay, let’s work together for a greater Great Britain.

flag-of-scotland

I’ve been Watching –  (I assume no explanation is needed here.) Snow White and The Huntsman, spoiler alert; it’s not very good. My first problem with it was the casting. I love me a bit of KStew, she is amazing in The Runnaways and Panic Room but she was so wrong for Snow White. Snow White is a happy, smily, singing and dancing girlyface and KStew isn’t any of those things. It was kind of uncomfortable to watch, awkward acting and no-one looked like they were enjoying themselves. The only saving grace of this feature was Charleze Theron as the nasty witchface, all of the other characters were so unapologetically shit you ended up rooting for her to kill everyone and put us all out of our misery. Good points? Urm I guess it was visually stimulating so if you don’t need any substance to your entertainment, go ahead and watch it. If you are a smarty pants viewer you should avoid it. The trailers really misleading, it gives away all of the good bits and there’s not nearly enough South African she-demon in the film compared to the trailer. Bleugh, lame.

I have been reading – (What it says on the tin) Transmetropolitan Volume 3 Year of The Bastard and fuck yes here’s some entertainment I recommend. It’s satirical take on our possible future would be a most sinister warning if it wasn’t just the most hilariously stimulating political commentary to have graced print since well ever. It’s massively inspired by Hunter S Thompson, so if you’re a fan you will love this comic. It’s based around a journalist called Spider Jerusalem. Spider is an angry, bitter, crazy old man who is back in the thick of journalism after a five year absence due to a mental health breakdown. I think it should probably be a staple in school reading lists when covering political history. It really is just a pleasure to flick through this story and you know they talk about science fiction being the science fact of tomorrow? Well Jerusalem had google glasses way before it was cool way back in 1997 to be exact.

The greatest disappointment - This segment will just be an outlet of my frustration with the world, basically a little moan. Pissing me off this week is that stupid butt song, as a lady with a big booty I was deeply saddened that yet again our community of ‘phat asses’ were up for display in such a degrading manner. Yes I’m talking about the new single by JLo feat Iggy Azalia and co-wrote by grade A fuckwit Chris Brown. Argh I’m not even sure this is worth the time of day, anything I have to say on the matter has probably been articulated better and in more detail than I am willing to go into elsewhere. So let me just say as a message to all of those in the public eye and all those who aspire to be like them; the people are watching you. I’m not linking you the video because if you want to watch it then Google is a thing. Instead of watching that toxic bullshit you should watch this.

Alternative Entertainment - This will cover anything that isn’t in mainstream entertainment, that was pretty much self explanatory huh? I’ve been really enjoying The Nerdist Podcast for a while now but especially this week as I decided to go through their back log of interviews and in doing so found such gems as Allison Scagliotti of Warehouse 13 fame, funniest woman on the planet Maria Bamford and freaking Ozzy The Dark Prince himself. Chris Hardwick is a charming, funny nerd man and his co hosts Jonah Ray and Matt Mira are much of the same. It’s an enjoyable way to spend just over an hour. Slap it on whilst you’re doing the dishes or even walking around the town. Although if you do this be prepared to look like a raving lunatic  because these guys will in the least make you grin like an idiot if not fall over on the street in an hysterical laughing fit. I recommend the Maria Bamford cast BUT if she’s not your cup of tea wtf is wrong with you? then have a browse through their history as there is bound to be someone in the 574 recordings that provides you with the perfect biscuit dunking entertainment fluids.

Musical Awesomeness – I review albums weekly but I kind of have a system with that and they are personified to the max. This segment however will be addressing the most amazing musical happenings of the week and to kick things off we have three such awesome features. The first to address is my discovery of punk band White Lung through the lead singer’s owning of an asshole fan in their audience. Apparently the douchebag was calling her a cunt so she basically whooped his ass. The reason this is awesome is because as a regular gig audience member you do get a sense of entitlement from the crowd. I have been to Tegan & Sara concerts where other enthusiastic lesbians have screamed ‘I WANT TO FUCK YOU TEGAN’. The thing is everyone in the room was probably thinking the same thing but we don’t scream it out because it’s rude and objectifying. Anyway sometimes artists handle it politely and occasionally they will straight up kick your ass. The lesson to learn here is, you know what I’m going to write a gig etiquette to refer you to whenever I cover issues like this BUT the main lesson to be learned is don’t be a dick. A shitty event by all accounts but it did bring a really great punk band to my attention, so for me I guess it’s a win. Second bit of awesome is a collaboration between the aforementioned Tegan and Sara and Night Terrors of 1927 which is  a pretty damn rad dreampop hit. Thirdly Leonard Cohen is still kicking out the jams with his new album ‘Popular Problems’ and at 80 years old he is still flawless.

So that will be my Wednesday segment. It’s pretty much me just rambling out onto the web my opinions on stuff that is important to me.

Thanks so much for reading. Holler back to me in the comments below or you can follow me on the following social media outlets.

Peace out and don’t be a dick.

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The Album Review – Born to Die – Lana Del Rey.

Good Friday!

United we stand, divided we fall. Scotland my friends we are better together.

Anyway enough of politics because it makes me angry so we’ll crack on with an album review.

I was totally torn for L and it’s rebel ways but I have decided to go mainstream and current for a change by way of reviewing Lana Del Rey’s ‘Born to Die’. I wasn’t sure which album I wanted to review of hers as the new one is pretty flawless but the older one has some stronger hits and I’ve never listened to the debut. So I figured I’ll just start from the middle with this beautiful sad songstress.

Many people are surprised when I confess my love and admiration for LDR but I’m kind of surprised that they’re surprised. I think she’s a musical genius and controversially a good alternative role model. The reason being that when I was a teenager, I was sad. I buried myself in  Sylvia Plath and Nirvana whilst repeatedly watching Girl Interrupted. I think it’s nice to have a sad artist in the mainstream for teenage girls (and boys) to have a wallow to because everyone needs a good wallow. I understand that there are a lot of counter arguments to that statement and I’ll probably agree with most of them but the sad teenage girl in me is kind of OK with LDR’s message.

I was exposed to LDR probably at the same time everyone else was. I remember being in Ireland with the BFF and him asking ‘Who the fuck is this Lana Del Ray everyone keeps going on about?’ that I think might have been the first time she took a seat in the awareness part of my brain before hearing ‘Born to Die’ on the radio everywhere.

My mum bought her album and I gave it a listen. I was kind of amazed. Here was yet another pop record of the last 5 years that didn’t suck, maybe there was hope for mainstream pop music after all and then I laughed in my own face for hours at my own stupidity. A good pop record is a gem among a sea of shit.

So without further ado here is my track by track rundown of Born to Die by Lana Del Ray.

Born to Die – This is a phenomenal track. It’s the ultimate sulk fest material. I love the dramatic production and delivery that really shows off that wallow role model material LDR radiates. I read an interview with LDR where she talked about walking the streets to just talk to strangers which is just so fucking beautiful and probably dangerous but that’s what is great about LDR, she has an edge. You can hear the darkness and the hopelessness in this song. It’s OK to feel like that and it’s OK to indulge. It’s great that the mainstream has an artist that kicks out sad jams like these to curl up to and cuddle into when you yourself are on the edge.

Off to the Races – Trip-hop isn’t really a sound I am familiar with or a fan of but the use of that sound here works really well. I love LDR’s variation of vocals. It’s spoken word meets a high pitched girlish vocal which highlights the message behind the lyrics that soundtrack the novel ‘Lolita’, the opening lines of the book being the line in the song ‘Light of my life, fire in my loins’. I haven’t read the book but I am familiar with the concept of an older man and a much, much younger girl.  I think I have read that LDR has had a relationship with a much older man, so whether the book and the song are both relative to that relationship could be up for some speculation. LDR has been described as ‘a gangsta Nancy Sinatra’ and I think if you need the evidence for that statement you need look no further than this track.

Blue Jeans – LDR is a great storyteller and I enjoy the language she uses  as it comes across quite diminutive. The way a lot of us sound when we are engaged and enraged in an argument over feelings. I like the throw in of musical inspiration of ‘you were sorta punk rock, I grew up on hip hop’ it’s a great nod to the different sounds LDR incorporates into her music. This album received a shed load of criticism for being ‘too’ melodramatic and don’t get me wrong this album and especially this song is the very definition of melodrama BUT that’s what makes this album so damn good. It’s like a re-imagining of the golden years of Hollywood through music. I really fucking like and miss that drama on the screen so it feels good to feel it somewhere in the entertainment business because there is a limit to how many times you can watch Vivian Leigh performances before your friends and family stage an intervention.

Video Games – This has a very vintage sound kind of harboring on that old school Hollywood sound I was just harping on about. I have just come to the horrible realization that I misheard one of the key lyrics and have been mooching around singing my own version. The lyric in question being ‘ I heard that you like the bad girls, honey is that true?’ and my own perverted version of ‘I heard that you make the bad girls horny, is that true?’ Oops. This is a really heartwarming fan recorded performance in Dublin that made me smile, it must be an amazing feeling to have words that you wrote sung back to you by a room full of people.

Diet Mountain Dew – There is a sense of naivety to this track. I love the vulnerability and the immature lyrics; they give me a nostalgic feeling for my teenage years. I think it’s unhealthy to want fizzy drinks so much and this is a fair warning of the health consequences. Drink more water it’s better for you.

National Anthem – This has a very regal intro and a smashing sense of humor. The great thing about making a serious melodramatic album whose hits include some of the most depressing songs of recent times is that there is a great canvas for sneaking in a silly little ironic pro ladyface number that is easily masked as just another melodramatic offering. This is a smart song, I love the girlish stupidity contrasted with the very strong message that society is money and status obsessed, it’s just brilliant.

Dark Paradise – The story is quite bittersweet and depicts the narrator as mourning for a lost love. The album is quite fascinated by the subject of death. The controversial interview LDR did earlier in the year upon the release of Ultraviolence that was criticized for her declaration of wanting to be dead was not the first time she expressed that wish. She’s a dark artist, there is a darkness in her music. I understand that romanticizing death can have many negative connotations but it’s a beautiful art form that has been drawn on for years. Not everyone who finds comfort in this music will kill themselves, the same as not everyone who plays violent video games will go and kill a bunch of people. It’s just another outlet for emotion and we can inspire that in whatever way we choose.

Radio – LDR has such a diverse and alluring range of vocals. This has quite a dream pop sound, it’s very cute and has a soft mix of beats that make you feel like you just ate far too many doughnuts but you don’t regret it for a second.

Carmen – And the loser is…I just don’t really feel anything from this track and it usually falls victim to the skip button. I couldn’t tell you that I dislike this song, I don’t. It’s just not floating my boat. It seems to reference ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ with the line ‘relying on the kindness of strangers’ but even that can’t get me to groove. You know how I feel about Vivian Leigh and I do love that consistent theme of the greatness of the old school golden years. NOBODY DOES FIVE MINUTE MONOLOGUES ANYMORE!

Million Dollar Man – So many references to the oldies. In this one we get an Elvis nod. Freaking Elvis, I love me some of the King. It’s a big throwback to those old club singers from the 50’s like Vera Lynn and Edif Piaff but with a bit more drama and darkness.

Summertime Sadness -And the winner is…Of course it is, like you’re surprised. This is just a fantabulous record. I feel sad almost instantaneously when I hear the opening violin synths. I have to say looking up the lyrics for this review has ruined my experiences somewhat. The misheard lyric here actually being ‘Telephone wires sizzling like your stare’ and my interpretation being ‘Telephone wires, I’m sizzling like a snail’ which I thought was really graphic imagery, it made me feel uncomfortable with the thought of a snail being sizzled in the hot sun. Turns out that was all in my own deluded head. The gorgeous Jamie King stars alongside LDR in the music video and it’s all very beautiful and guess what…it’s dark.

This is What Makes us Girls – This is a great anthem for female friendships during our teenage years. Everything seems so bloody important. I remember making a big deal about who my best friend was at school, kinda like it was a status. You had a best friend and a boyfriend but you’d always fuck over the best friend for the boyfriend because ‘We don’t stick together because we put love first’. It’s immature and bullshit, I grew up to prefer the best friends. It’s a nostalgic track about being a naughty teenage dirtbag and hey who can’t relate to that. I should note that for some bitches; they never will grow up and unfortunately this will always be a current as opposed to a nostalgic viewpoint on their relationships.

Born to Die was recorded between 2010 and 2011 but not released until January of 2012. There were a lot of finicky issues upon the release with producers not on board with her adopting a stage name and transforming from Lizzy Grant to Lana Del Rey, so after a bit of a battle she was successfully bought out of her record contract and signed with Stranger Records.  I was 25 years old so not much difference to how I am now which is the problem with reviewing modern music, it doesn’t fit well with my nostalgic personification bits. That was the year I lost my right eye and went to Barcelona but I don’t think I relate the album to either of those events so I guess that’s a bit of a fail.

It did astoundingly well of course peaking at number one in the following countries Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, UK and the US of A. It did best in the UK and Germany hitting triple platinum a piece because we’re all a bunch of mardy bastards in Europe.

It’s a beautiful piece of musicianship. I don’t have much to say on the actual music as I’m pretty sure its all synthesizers and samples which is fine but you do tend to have to rely on the lyrical content alone if you don’t have people like The Knife or 65daysofstatic at the helm. However some of the live band performances as showcased in the link for ‘Off to the Races’ are pretty darn fly. Go have a little listen, it’s the perfect soundtrack to a warm summer evenings drive which we perhaps have a couple left to squeeze in before those long winter nights.

I apologize for my last review mistake and reporting that The Kills’ ‘Keep on Your Mean Side’ was their second album it most certainly is not, it’s their debut and I shall amend this atrocity ASAP. Why the hell do you even believe anything I say? I get all my information from Wikipedia and wallowing in my bedroom.

Thank so much for reading.

Please follow me in the following places and leave a comment. Tell me what you guys think of Lana Del Rey and Born to Die? Tell me what I should review next, we are on the letter M. Man tell me what you had for breakfast. All the links should be safe and take you to Youtube for lovely image based LDR material.

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Goodreads – Currently reading ‘Young Stalin’ by Simon Sebag Montefiore because I am commie scum. Not really Stalin wasn’t very nice.

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The Album Review – Blood Pressures – The Kills.

Good Friday!

The Kills are another band I discovered through my ex girlfriend. I think I was first introduced to them on a drive back to her parents house which was a few hours so we had time to kill with killer tunes. She had their debut album Keep On Your Mean Side and yeah I fell in love with the band. I quickly acquired the rest of their discography and ironically KOYMS is now the only album I no longer own as it went with the ex.

That is a kick ass album but not the one I want to review today. I think The Kills manage to evolve to some different level of pure musical genius with every album and they do this with minimal effort. What I mean by that is there isn’t a lot of complexity to their sound. It’s a raw almost tribal, sexy sound and sometimes that’s way more impressive than multi-neck guitars and harps.

Today I decided to review for you Blood Pressures. I really like this album, it currently sits at the level of  favorite Kills album but this tends to change from week to week because Midnight Boom is exceptional as is Keep On Your Mean Side. Hmmm no yeah I’m still reviewing Blood Pressures.

I went to see The Kills back in 2011 at Bristol. I forget the venue, I think it was like the student union hall or something just as shoddy. There was a power cut halfway through but both Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart pulled it back around and delivered a kick ass performance. I was surprised that the drums were on a pre-record…they should invest in a drummer. I hear Meg White isn’t doing anything?

This is me and my Kills gang from said event. Yeah that’s my ex…she’s cool, we’re on sort of OK terms.

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I also remember this was the first time I wore ear plugs at a gig. Which kids my advice is be the fucking exception to what is cool because hearing is the most important of the senses. My BFF (The grumpy man in the picture) made fun of me that night, he now has scarring on his eardrums and the hearing of a man twice his age, he learned his lesson the hard way but learned it well, he doesn’t attend a gig without state of the art ear protection these days.

So without further ado here we go with the track by track rundown.

Future Starts Slow – So the winner is…kicks of the show. Well that puts the cork in that bottle quite abruptly doesn’t it. It was the second single released from the album and with it came a pretty cool music video mashing together many of their touring gigs with of course the exception to the one I attended. My favorite track has changed a lot with this album but for the past couple of years this one has sat firmly at the top with one other track trying to take swipes at it. I guess I have personified this song to mean a lot to me during a very volatile period of time. I guess when you attach the feels to a song it tends to hang out in the heart chamber, so that when it plays it gives a little tug and says ‘ Hey you remember this? hurt didn’t it’. Man why are songs such assholes?

Satellite –  I remember coming out of the show back in 2011 before I had properly listened to the album and excitedly announcing that I really liked the dubstep groove. Which was met with a chorus of ‘Kirsty have you been smoking crack…again?’ BUT this song definitely has that skank sound and I’ll fight you if you say otherwise…don’t fight a crackhead! This was the first single from the album with another video to boot where we see Mosshart and Hince hanging around a seaside town looking moody and skipping out on paying for their chips and fish.

Heart Is A Beating Drum – There is a weird ping-pong beat in this track which only comes in during the chorus and I’ve never figured out how they achieve the sound so in my head I imagine Mosshart and Hince are having a very intense game of table tennis.

Nail In My Coffin – This is a great track about not letting people hold you back. However, speaking as someone who is normally the nail in the coffin, sometimes you need to be held back otherwise you will self destruct. BUT you know as long as what you’re doing isn’t going to kill you or hurt the people you love go for it! Take your shots, life is short, don’t fall into mediocrity.

Wild Charms – And the loser is…I’m not that offended by this track but Hince really isn’t a lead vocal. It’s a nice little interlude and it’s a long way from terrible and to be fair it’s a very short little number which fits perfectly well into the album. It just so happens to be be my least favorite. I decided to introduce these loser tracks because well I thought I was being too nice about all these amazing albums and I got to put some critique in here somewhere, right?

DNA – It’s interesting that this song references the previous song title? and quotes ‘My fire burned them out’ which is a line the previous song ends on. It would be super interesting to understand the significance there but The Kills are a super private band so I doubt that information is going to come to light anytime soon. I really kind of respect that in a band, it’s all about the jams and not about who is fucking who but even the most respectful of fans can hear a lyric and wonder ‘hmmm that sounds juicy’. Yes, yes I am a terrible person. I’ll just go start up the rock and roll equivalent to Heat magazine and have done with it.

Baby Says - This was the third single from the album and with it comes another music video. I really like blurring the lines of gender and I think we get a concoction of beauty when we do this, the music video is a gorgeous illustration of that. The song is about a gal who is addicted to love. Who doesn’t want to be adored?

Last Goodbye – This was the final single released from the album and it is the song that keeps trying to swipe for the throne of favorites. I think originally it had the crown but due to it’s scenic vulnerability and just being so damn beautiful it got overplayed to death and didn’t hold as much weight with me anymore. The music video was directed by the wondrously talented Samantha Morton who will always be my Jane Eyre . I think it’s one of a very few rare occasions you get to see Alison’s beautiful face. Hince also has a very beautiful face but less hair so we see it more often.

Damned If She Do – She damned if she don’t. I really enjoy the ‘whooo oooo oooo’ parts of this track, I don’t think you can go wrong with a good ‘whooo ooo oooo’.

You Don’t Own The Road -  This track was featured on the opening of season 3 of Lost Girl. A great show with a great music taste and the fuckers are cancelling it! Yeah the show didn’t know it’s ass from it’s elbow half of the time BUT the other half nailed it perfectly. I will be sad to see a show with such a sense of humor and such a sense of diversity go.

Pots And Pans – I like the creeping rock and roll in this track, it’s very dirty. I’ve seen The Kills described as ‘suicide velvet’ which is supposed to be a mash up of two of their big BIG inspirations in the bands The Velvet Underground and Suicide. I think you really hear that inspiration here. It’s like a perfect mash up and a great closing number.

Blood Pressures was recorded in 2010 at Key Club Studio in Michigan and released on various dates during April of 2011. I was 23 years of age and I have grown up a lot since then with this album sound tracking some major changes.

They haven’t hit a record number of sales on the album but it’s a relatively new piece of musical genius and I’m not sure with the state of the musical industry at present whether it’s possible for an indie band to hit record sales without becoming mainstream. It peaked highest in the French charts at number 8 but did pretty well world wide.

The Kills are one of my contemporary favorites, they are one of five bands that I never miss a pre-order on their album release and if you’re not rocking out to The Kills then you’re not living properly go pick up an album.

That wraps up my album review for this week folks.

Thanks so much for reading.

You can follow me on the interwebs everywhere, including;

Twitter – Where I shout out into the void and sometimes people shout back.

Spotify – I recommend as usual the ‘Everyday Awesome’ playlist.

Goodreads – Currently reading the shit out of ‘The Blade Itself’ by Joe Abercrombie (& Fitch)

Instagram  – Lots of pictures of cats.

The Album Review – Jeff Buckley – Grace.

Good Friday!

Beings of the human, what is up? My apologies for being MIA (not the singer). I had a bit of a disagreement with my laptop and it got doused in mineral water and now it no longer types English. I’m now running my laptop like a desktop with a USB keyboard old school style.

So I guess we’re back to album reviews and this week we are sponsored by the letter J.

It has been 20 years since this album debuted and with it came my number one vocalist choice of my imaginary all-male ultimate shexy super-group. If there were chicks allowed it would be fronted by…oh wait I guess we’ll get to that in 3 weeks.

This week I’m reviewing Grace by the wonderfully beautifully gifted Jeff Buckley. I was a bit more of an adult when I fell in love with Mr Buckley than the other artists I have reviewed. I think I was 21 and it was the year I left home for the first time to live in Bath with a crazy teeth grinding self-described life Guru who worked in Co-op but that’s a story for another time.

The first track I fell in love with was ‘Forget Her’ which isn’t on this album but was my gateway drug into the velvet vocals of such a ground breaking album.

It’s the only complete album he made before sadly drowning whilst swimming in the Wolf River Harbour, part of the Mississippi River, Memphis, Tennessee.

What really hit me when I first heard his voice calling to me all those few years ago was the emotion in this man’s voice. It gave me goose bumps and when you get goose bumps from a musician you know you’re onto a winner.

I very quickly bought Grace and a few more of his collections that included live bootlegs and whatever little material I could find from this brute force that got shut down too soon.

I have spent many a night with Jeff Buckley and with the 20 year anniversary of Grace I had a re-listen and oh my, what a sensation inducing experience this album is. If you haven’t ever heard Grace go do that this very instance. It is by far one of the most influential albums of all time and I don’t mean just to other artists. I mean this will influence you and your day, perhaps your week or even your year.

This is my track by track run down of Grace by Jeff Buckley all the highlighted text will take you to some beautiful performances of these songs. Should be perfectly safe and lead you to Youtube. Trust me I’m like one of those people who say sorry when someone bumps into them.

Mojo Pin – This song is about addiction, not to drugs but to that age old addiction of the love of a beautiful woman. In this case a ‘black beauty’. I’ll let Jeff describe it as he did at his gig in London Astoria ’95 as ‘Sometimes if somebody you feel you need…the whole universe tells you that you have to have her, you start watching her favourite TV shows all night, you start smoking her bad cigarettes, you start picking up her nuances in her voice, you sleep in safe sometimes the most dangerous thing…this is called Mojo Pin.’

Grace – A song inspired from Buckley saying ‘Goodbye’ to a lover at an airport on a rainy day. Gary Lucas collaborated on both Grace and Mojo pin. Originally this was one of Lucas’ instrumental tracks. You will have to thank him for the seductive riffing on this track. Buckley has said that this track is ‘about not feeling so bad about your own mortality when you have true love’.

Last Goodbye – It’s a toss up for ‘the winner is…’ but I don’t think this quite makes the cut but it’s so damn close. I cannot sing for the life of me but when I sing along to this track I feel like I am a fucking rock star. It was the second single released and the most successful from the album.

Lilac Wine – This is a vastly covered record and this take is up there with the version by the female front woman of my imaginary super group. Other artists who have covered it are Tongue Queen Miley Cyrus, Katie Melua and Jeff Beck. This song I think belongs to Buckley. It sends shivers down the spine. It’s almost a prediction of his own demise ‘I lost myself on a cool damp night, I gave myself in that misty light, was hypnotized by a strange delight, under the lilac tree’.

So Real – Unbelievably this was the song to have replaced ‘Forget Her’. Now don’t get me wrong I think this is a brilliant track but it pales in comparison to what I consider the best Buckley ballad. The vocal was done in one take at 3am and the riffing comes from Michael Tighe who joined up with Jeff late in the recording of ‘Grace’.

Hallelujah – Well what can I say about this one? I actually can’t justify describing this song with more than just this one word ‘perfect’. Leonard Cohen is a magical lyricist and Buckley’s delivery really is just flawless. No-one ever need cover this again, stop now.

Lover You Should Have Come Over – And the winner is… However if ‘Forget Her’ had been included on the original release of the album it would have kicked the shit out of this song. A song inspired by the ending of his relationship with fellow musician Rebecca Moore. It is the ultimate post break up soundtrack.

Corpus Christi Carol – Two weeks in a row we have a perfect album but alas we must choose a loser track and I am afraid this is the one I would have to select. Not much wrong with it, it’s just not as enthralling as the rest of the album. It was written as a Christmas Carol in the 16th century by an anonymous author. Buckley has described his interpretation as being ‘a fairy tale about a falcon who takes the beloved of the singer to an orchard. The singer goes looking for her and arrives at a chamber where his beloved lies next to a bleeding knight and a tomb with Christ’s body in it’.  That sounds like a recurring nightmare I have quite frequently.

Eternal Life – This is a lot more rock and roll than the rest of what is such a soulful album. Inspired by and attempting to emulate the sound of Led Zeppelin. Jeff has said a lot about this album and it’s documented really well on the internet which is something I have seldom come to find whilst doing these album reviews. He has said that this song is an angry song inspired by such events as ‘the man who shot Martin Luther King, World War 2, slaughter in Guyana and the Manson murders’. That is a very specific yet random selection of things to be angry about.

Dream Brother – This was allegedly written to caution his friend Matt Johnson of Fishbone fame against walking out on his pregnant girlfriend. This was something Buckley felt strongly about due to his own father abandoning him which you can hear in the lyrics ‘don’t be like the one who made me so old, don’t be like the one who left behind his name, cause they’re waiting for you like I  waited for mine and no-body ever came’. I really hate the term ‘Daddy Issues’ it trivializes the experience of being abandoned by one who bought you into the world which is probably one of the most painful things to fuck up a person.

Grace is Jeff Buckley’s only complete masterpiece but as I have said there are bootlegs and collections that feature some promising potential of what was to come before this beautiful siren met his end. You should check out other tracks such as Forget Her, Kanga-roo and Je N’en Connais Pas La Fin and many other great covers such as Strange Fruit which aren’t featured on this album.

Grace was recorded in late ‘93 and early ’94 and released in August of ’94 when I was 7 years of age and no I didn’t have a clue who Jeff Buckley was until I grew up but what a treat that discovery was.

It was recorded in Bearsville Recording Studio in New York. It peaked unbelievably at 149 in the USA with pretty shoddy reviews all around from the critics. A typical example of success after death as it later charted at number 44 in the Australian charts 13 years after his death. It is now 6 x platinum in Australia where he seems to have gone down under best. 2 x platinum in the UK and only a gold in the USA which is just ridiculous.

This is one of the albums you should own. One of the ones you need to listen to before you die. Jeff Buckley is a beautiful whaling energy and he left a space, a hole in the music scene. There are people who are filling it for example Paolo Nutini is a force to fill this void but I don’t think the gap Buckley left will ever be entirely filled.

Thanks so much for reading.

You can find me on the interwebs everywhere:

Twitter – I’m an angry tweeter.

Goodreads – Currently reading the shit out of Assassins Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Spotify – Check out the Everyday Awesome Playlist.

Instagram – For pictures of my face and shit.

In Flames – Reroute to Remain – An Album Review.

Good Friday!

In Flames are probably one of the only ‘grrr rah’ metal bands I ever got into. I think it’s probably down to there being a lot more depth to it than angry screaming over repetitive angry guitar and double kick brain bashing drum beats. I’m sorry but Arch Enemy gave me nightmares for weeks and I’m pretty sure I can still hear the screams of Lamb of God in my head on a cold December morning.

I first discovered In Flames when I was 16 and working my first job cleaning villas for Center Parcs. They had CD players in the villas so I would bring in my compact discs and kick out the jams whilst scrubbing the guests remnants of last nights curry from the toilet bowl.

A boy I knew from school was working there too as a window cleaner and he suggested that if I liked Metallica and NOFX I should check out this band In Flames, he’d sell me the record for a fiver. I had a crush so of course I bought the damn CD but lo and behold it was a fiver well spent.

In Flames are still a well known name in my record collection whereas the window cleaner may have been recently culled from my facebook friend list.

Also if you like Metallica and NOFX you won’t necessarily like this album, that was bad advice.

So here is my rundown on In Flames Reroute to Remain.

Reroute to Remain – The great thing about In Flames is their positive lyrics which yeah I agree are sometimes hard to hear over all the shouting, jeez Anders why don’t you calm yourself? It’s metal bitch! We better get used to that quickly. The message is that we need to change these roads we’re taking as a collective. This album was made in 2002 and we’re still deeper down this darkened track.

System – This is the first album of theirs I listened to and bought second hand from the window cleaner, so I was under the impression that this had always been their sound. It turns out that this is and was considered to be a turning point into the mainstream for these guys. It does have a much more accessible sound than previous albums but I bet you if I played these albums back to back for my girlfriend she couldn’t tell the difference. I don’t think they have ever sold out, they are a fucking metal band for Pete’s sake, it’s not like they are selling Windolene is it. I like this more melodic sound, Anders Friden has a beautiful voice when he’s not screaming and an intimidating one when he is. It’s nice to hear a little more softness to the sound. Do you think that selling out sometimes just means ‘sounding better’? No me neither but in this case I do.

Drifter – What a power anthem! I sometimes forget how much I love these guys. A beautiful guitar solo at around 2.15 and the double kick drums that take us out of the song are just phenomenal. Poetical lyrical genius, my favorite example being the chorus which is ‘What you wanted was a mystery to me? The words I hear are of scrambled letters, guess it’s been there for years, it never let me know I was alright’ . You know considering English isn’t these Swede’s first language they have deeper, more philosophical and understandable lyrics than a lot of bands out there…until Anders screams all over them I guess.

Trigger – This was one of two singles released on this album and as a result it has a very interesting music video. In the video members of the band Soilwork berate them whilst they are playing a show. There is a video from a Soilwork single that reverses the roles. Anyone else think Anders look’s the spitting image of Chris O’Dowd?

Cloud Connected - This has quite an electro into that could lull you into a false security of an impending rave…which could be a bit of an eye opener when you end up in a mosh pit. This was the first of the two singles to be released from the album and you can understand why with its catchy riffs and ear ringing melodies.

Transparent – I don’t really have a loser track on this album, they are all pretty rock along metal anthems! I guess if I had to choose a loser track this would be it down to the use of metal tropes that I don’t find appealing. Angry shouty vocals that are difficult to understand and double kick fast drums with the added ‘deln du du deln’ guitar solos. BUT! In Flames always make those tropes really listenable so although I name this worst track of the album it’s not actually a bad song. I guess that makes this a loser free album which makes it a must listen in mah opinionz!

Dawn of a New Day – And the winner nearly is…yeah you metalhead suckahs iz all gonna hate on me bluds! I’m sorry the ghost of a gangsta just walked through me apparently. Yeah so this isn’t quite my favorite track of the album but it’s oh so very close . If you’re a fan of the album and I give you a hint that my favorite is softer than this one you will guess. Then I will hear cries of BOO HISS! BURN THE INFIDEL! That’s the great thing about this band though brothers and sisters; I don’t really like this kind of metal yet here I am telling you that this here is pretty much a flawless album.

Egonomic – I know the metalheads tell me that metal is the most energetic sound out there and whilst I kind of don’t get that with many other metal bands I definitely see it with this band. It’s got positive lyrics and some fast guitar melodies courtesy of Jesper Stromblad  and Bjorn Gelotte. I just get the pumped up kicks you could get out of this sound. I imagine weirdly that this would be a good sound to go out for a jog to, well only I guess if you want to feel like you’re being chased or perhaps chasing someone else. An imaginary someone else, don’t go out and just randomly start chasing people, they will arrest you!

Minus – ‘Watch me all in flames, on a butterfly I ride’.  You would have to be so incredibly tiny to ride a butterfly or I guess you could try and ride Mothra but I severely advise against it, unless you’re on fire I guess then maybe that’s a way to bring that bitch down.

Dismiss the Cynics – I’m such the fangirl that this used to be my user name on Yahoo! HA! Who uses Yahoo anymore? I won’t bad mouth those guys too much they did just save Community from certain death. I’m just kidding Yahoo, I love your Q&A section, it’s full of stupid people and trolls. SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE!

Freefall – This has one of the prettiest fairy tale intros I have heard to date. It does have a Brothers Grimm vibe with the line ‘Mirror, Mirror, how far will I go?’ but I think the overarching theme seems to be how can you close your eyes to all the heartbreaking awfulness of the world once they have been opened. That and Spigers. Those things are terrifying.

Dark Signs – I really love the line ‘I blame our egos and you call me names’. Of course you do you damn hippy stop pretending you like metal. If you know the song you’ll know that is the line where the softness breaks and I think every song on this album does this. It’s really fucking angry then it lightens up and becomes beautiful. That’s musical magic to the ears of a non musical conformist such as myself. Although if you put a gun to my head it’s punk every time.

Metaphor – And the winner is…of course it is, like you didn’t guess, unless you are reading this post out of pure boredom and have absolutely no idea who In Flames are. This is the softest and most beautiful song on the album and I’m going to venture a top ten on my personal favorites in that category. This isn’t metal. This is a mainly acoustic build up of insecurity and failure. A place I have been dwelling a lot lately so it’s nice to re-listen to this album, rediscover this cracker of a record and reacquaint myself with this warm, cosy, cuddle up and wallow song.

Black and White – I was always a bit confused as to why Metaphor didn’t finish the album but in hindsight this song actually is the perfect closer. It’s a bit of a sly fuck you song. It’s not an obvious ‘Hey you suck’ number but more of a highbrow ‘Good Afternoon, Sir, you doth Sucketh!’ all wrapped up in an adrenaline pumped metal musical doozy.

This is my first perfect album review. This is a perfect album. That’s not to say it’s better than any of the others I have reviewed but I enjoy every single last bit of it so by my books that’s a must listen.

Reroute to Remain or Fourteen Songs of Conscious Insanity was released way back in 2002 when I was the grand old age of 15 and although I wasn’t aware of them at that time, within the year they would be one of only two bands I’d talk about if we were talking metal post 70’s.

It was mostly recorded in the house the band were renting at the time except for the drums which were recorded in the Dug-Out studios in Denmark.

It only ever charted in Germany at number 23 but remember that commercial success is overrated. I would take this any day over many a platinum selling record. This band are still around kicking out jam after fucking  jam and the quality and evolution of their sound has never faltered.

Big thumbs up to drummer Danielle Svenson and bassist Peter Iwers who I didn’t mention in my review but do kick ass jobs at their individual roles.

In Flames are a phenomenal metal band or melodic death metal as Wikipedia so informs me, what does that even mean? Stupid fucking genres. If I make up genres of music I get told off or greeted with a tirade of raised eyebrows.

You should check out this band if you’re unsure about metal but want to give it a bit of a go. I think it’s the perfect  metal training wheels band.

I don’t care what you think The Prodigy are punkelectro as are Spinnerette and The Slits are Riot-Grrrl Reggae.

Yes I know The Slits pre-dated riot grrl by a gazillion years but you wouldn’t have had the movement without bands like The Slits, so suck my tits!

Thanks so much for reading.

You can follow me on the interwebs:

Twitter Here: @cowardlycomics

Goodreads Here: Currently reading Orchid vol 2 by Tom Morello 

Spotify Here: I recommend the Everyday Awesome playlist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hole – Live through this – Album Review.

Good Friday!

My relationship with Hole started when I was 15 years of age. That same year I embarked on a dramatic holiday romance with a sexy as all hell nihilistic punk rocker.

We bonded heavily over music and our mutual anger at the world in general. We had played all of our albums to death so we went searching the internet to steal some music. We stole some Hole. It’s OK internet police I have since purchased every album they ever made…well except that weird Courtney Love solo Hole album but I’m not sure that even counts?

I thought I was just so fucking cool with my fucking cool hair and my mohawked french boyfriend, listening to Hole and saying Fuck the government! Fuck them and fuck you too you fucking fuck! I’m still pretty angry but these days it’s a lot more focused rather than unhinged madness at everything.

Hole remind me of that time and although if I met my 15 year old self now I would laugh in her grubby face and tell her to brush her hair. It was a simpler time when the whole wide world was laid out before a young angry girl who didn’t have a clue that her life was going to be at all difficult.

As it turned out soon after the french punk boy her life would become slightly more complex. She would realize that she liked vagina’s and within the decade would be considered disabled. So to the 15 year old me who made out with the french and sniffed solvents I bid thee a fond farewell. You will always be remembered for your naivety and fiery flare through Hole.

This is my review of Live Through this.

Violet – Well what a kick ass kick off to an album showcasing a much cleaner and accessible sound from the previous album ‘Pretty on the Inside’. I personally find Pretty on the Inside a difficult album to sit through, it’s a very raw punk album, maybe a little too raw. ‘Live Through This’ is my kind of rawness, it’s my favorite Hole album and one of the records I would save from a burning house or take to a desert island or whatever, it’s an important album to me. Violet was allegedly written as a bit of a fuck you to Billy Corgan but I’m pretty sure all of Hole’s songs are a fuck you to someone. Hilariously whilst playing on the ‘Later with Jools Holland’ show, Love introduced the song as ‘a song about a Jerk, I hexed him and now he’s losing his hair’. Sick burns!

Miss World – Written by both Love and Erlandson with the lyric ‘I made my bed I’ll lie in it, I made my bed I’ll die in it’ contributed by bassist Kristen Pfaff.  Let’s just focus a little on Pfaff and her contribution to Hole. She was a talented musician and by all accounts a really great human being who died tragically and far too young. This album is pretty much her legacy. If you are interested in her other contributions to music you should check out Janitor Joe. This is a great song aimed at insecurity and self image. I think that’s what is so great about Hole as a band, they tackle the problem of being tempted by societies expectations of what is ‘right’ for women. That you have to be beautiful, you have to be size 6, wear the right clothes, the right make up and it’s OK to feel the temptation but you have to realize that it will consume your soul. I think that’s awesome. Other bands may just say ‘well you’re fucking stupid’ but Hole say ‘it’s OK to feel the pressure but come on it’s not really fun, come hang out with us cool kids instead’.

Plump – According to various sources this song was inspired and written during the separation between Love, husband Kurt Cobain (you may have heard of him?) and their daughter Frances due to public knowledge of their drug use. Damn those social services poking their noses into celebrities private lives. In all seriousness I read a recent tweet from Frances Bean Cobain speaking out against Lana  Del Rey’s flirtations with and romanticizing dying young and well kudoes to her for growing up to be quite sensible. I guess you could draw parallels with eating disorders here as well, for me that was where this songs meaning lay until just now when I researched the track.

Asking for it – The story behind this one is a bit messed up, it was inspired by an event where Courtney Love stage dived but the audience weren’t very welcoming. They tore her clothes, put their fingers inside of her, grabbed her breasts and shouted obscenities in her ear. That really isn’t cool. I read an article with Iggy Azalea recently where she describes similar experiences and she’s a musician of the now. It’s really fucking scary that people think they have the right. You don’t have the fucking right ever to touch anyone who isn’t saying ‘hey you can touch me in mah sexy places’. Also whilst we’re on the subject of fan etiquette if you’re at a show which you paid to go see, how about shutting the fuck up, no-ones come to see you.

Jennifer’s Body – I might be making this up but didn’t this song inspire Diablo Cody’s film of the same name? I actually thought that was an okay movie, meh bite me. This is a bit of a tune and one of my favorites. It’s a very violent song, it’s always reminded me of a girl who went missing in my hometown. It was a seriously dark time for the whole community,she was 9 the same age as me but we went to different schools and didn’t know each other. We weren’t allowed out to play anymore and fliers with her face on it plagued every letterbox and every shop window. They later found her body stuffed down a badger hole and arrested the stepfather who we later learned had raped and tortured her before her death. It was a horrible story that haunted me for a lot of my childhood so when I first heard this song I felt that darkness all over again.

Doll Parts – Written as a bit of a love song to Cobain it was the first single to be released after the death of Pfaff so in the video her shoes are filled with the legendary bassist of L7 fame Jennifer Finch. It’s kind of a beautiful love song full of insecurity and apprehension about dating. It references the doll parts Love put in a heart shaped box which as I probably don’t have to tell you inspired the song of the same title by Nirvana.

Credit in the Straight World – And the loser is…I really don’t like this track. It’s the only one on this album I will consistently skip and even after not listening for years I’m still not a fan. I can’t really tell you why? It has a great ominous organ intro but then just falls into a mediocre cover of Young Marble Giants who do the original so much better.

Softer Softest – And the winner is…I fucking love this song, it means the world to me. It reminds me of my childhood and an antagonist who destroyed a little girl. When I get sad about that I curl up with this song.

She Walks on me – I think this is the most punk rock song on the album. The powerful juxtaposition of the harmonious and angry grr rah vocals is the equivalent of a prodigious songwriters boot in the face.

I think that I would die – This was written during her time away from her daughter and is actually quite genuinely heartbreaking. It tells the story of a woman who desperately wants to give up the drugs but is consumed by the environment surrounding her. I was once approached by a Scientologist who opened up his attempted conversion of me with the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ he was a beautiful man with a lovely smile, so I smiled back took a drag on my cigarette and answered as cool as a cucumber ‘a rock star’, he thought I was being serious and went with it but in reality I was very much joking. I am far too square and lack the talent to be a rock star but I also have no desire to ever be that infamous.

Gutless – ‘Girl germs eat your little virus, revolution come and die’ is a gorgeous summary of the riotgrrrl movement. I’m a big fan of the message and the rock and roll that was born from it. We have these waves of feminism and then they go away and remain seen but not heard. I think we’re in the midst of a wave right now what with Caitlin Moran’s feminist manifesto ‘How to be a Woman’ and websites such as the everyday sexism project or hash tagging #yesallwomen. You just have to look at the trolling comments to see the ignorance that is still oh so vibrant, so let’s hold on to this wave and shove it down the throats of inequality. J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr did a bit of mixing on this track which I think is pretty fucking cool because Dinosaur Jr are the damn bomb!

Rock Star – This is a cute outro, it’s very tongue in cheek and catchy. It’s actually an outtake of a song called Olympia which replaced ‘Rock Star’ last minute. The album art had already been printed to cite a song that was removed from the album because of concern over the lyric ‘a barrel of laughs to be Nirvana, you’d rather die’. Although it was recorded before Cobain’s suicide it was decided that it could be misconstrued as distasteful, so it was removed and replaced with this happy little outtake.

This is an album with a lot of drama. It’s a documentation of a very famous doomed relationship and with it comes the pain, the hurt and the anger of the era which was coated in inequality, exploitation and a bounty of drugs. I think this is one of the most important albums of the 90’s and it’s an album that gets cast aside because of a controversial front woman.

Courtney Love is a great rock and roll icon, she is what she is, she’s no more crazier than her male counterparts she just suffers condemnation because she is a woman and excuse the pun but she lived through this. If she had died she would be a pinnacle of rock and roll glory.

If Love isn’t your bag of chips look no further than the other talent in the band with guitar and lyrics from Eric Erlandson, beautiful bass from Kristen Pfaff and some insane drumming from Patty Schemel who very nearly took Dave Grohls position as drummer in Nirvana.

Live through this was recorded at Triclops Sound Studios in Marietta, Georgia in 1993 when I was 6 years of age and had never heard of Hole or the infamous Courtney Love. It charted best in Belgium peaking at number 8. It has hit platinum in Australia, Canada and the US of A.

Man listening to Hole has brought out the inner angry feminist. I best go burn some bra’s.

Thanks so much for reading.

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@cowardlycomics

 

 

Garbage – Garbage – The Album Review.

Good Friday!

I’m just going to crack on with the album review today as I had to change my injection day to yesterday which means Friday’s are now my official ‘feel like shit’ day. Never let it be said that fighting MS isn’t fun.

I was going to review Gorillaz when I got to G wasn’t I but then I found what was probably the sickest track of 2014 earlier this week by Garbage feat Brody Dalle which lead me into a spiral of Garbage consumption. Therefore I think it is only fitting for a Garbage review.

Garbage are one of those seminal 90’s bands that I grew up with. When I was a kid, back when we would tape the top 40 on our cassette players, we had very few strong women with attitude on our radios. The only female fronted strong ladyfaces I can recall from my childhood are Skunk Anansie, Garbage and I shit you not The Spice Girls.

Two of those bands remain with me now. The other one I keep in a box and occasionally take out to secretly blast ‘Say you’ll be there’ out at full volume. Don’t fucking judge me, I know you do too!

Shirley Manson is one of my earliest examples of a role model. I fucking loved her. I remember being at primary school and singing the lyrics to a Garbage track and a boy teasing ‘errr you like that ginger!’ pronounced ging – er and so was born my obsession with red heads. The fact that this kid thought there was something wrong with being ginger made it automatically fucking cool to me. The fact that she was a woman never really affected me when I was a kid, it’s only in hindsight that I can see the importance of that. At the time it was all about this red headed ladyface rocking up top of the pops.

As I got older I invested in some albums and discovered the drummer was legendary producer  Butch Vig, who is absolutely one of my heroes. Responsible for some of my ultimate life changing albums such as L7’s Bricks are Heavy, Nirvana’s Nevermind and Against Me’s New wave and White Crosses. The guy is a freaking genius.

The first Garbage album I bought was their debut album the self titled Garbage which is what I will be reviewing for you today so without further ado here is that review for you.

Supervixen – Inspired by the film of the same name by Russ Meyers, it’s ultimately a song about control and dominance which coming from a female fronted band I guess at the time fueled many a teenage boys (and girls) wet dream. Vig has stated that although it’s controlling undertones are meant to be tongue and cheek it had become a very real radiance from Manson during live performances.

Queer – This is one of my absolute favorite words. I’m from the west country so my family use it a lot to describe things or people that are odd. I get called ‘queer’ or a ‘queerie’ on a regular basis by my family not because I’m a raging bull dyke but because it’s an affectionate word we use to call each other out on being a bit odd or awkward. This is one of my absolute favorite Garbage tracks because it is honestly the best word I know. The song was inspired by a novel Vig read about a father who hires a lady of the night to make a man of his son who is also sexing the father, which sounds like a wonderful bedtime story for father/son bonding.

Only Happy When it Rains – This was supposed to be a parody of themselves for exploring darker themes in music but ended up being one of their most successful singles to date. This is another great example of those happy sad songs. The lyrics are pretty dire but set to an upbeat pop track which brings us once again to that pessimistically optimistic area of music. This isn’t one of my favorite tracks by Garbage. I’m not sure why exactly? Perhaps due to radio overkill. All I know is it’s a  persistent victim to my skip button therefore earns least awesome track.

As Heaven is Wide – This has always seemed to me to be a song about betrayal. This week has been Garbage obsession week and upon reading various things about the band, I discovered that Manson is an atheist who grew up in a religious household. So now I wonder if it is a song about the betrayal of being taught a religion as a child that you later grow up to question? I think unless you grow up in an atheist or agnostic setting this happens to all of us who question religion. I am a firm agnostic with an interest in Buddhism and Spirituality but I grew up in a house where my Mum would tell me off for taking the lords name in vane and still does even though she never goes to church and doesn’t identify as a christian. In fact I tried to lend her a self help book recently that uses Christianity as  a model for forgiveness which I found really helpful but she refused to read it because it was ‘too religious’. She forgets that I am a bible bashing lunatic…I think secretly she’s actually just really enjoying The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison. Parents ey? Who’d ave em!

Not My Idea – Firstly I am not a psychopath. I read a book on the subject recently and discovered I have way too much empathy for that shit, so much empathy in fact that it is actually consuming me whole. Anyway I state to you dear reader that I am not a psychopath in order to excuse what I am about to relate this to. This always reminds me of societies conforms of the idea of what fun entails. I have sat at many a social gathering whilst repeating the lyrics ‘this is not my idea of a good time’ on a loop in my internal monologue, in fact even sneaking it onto the party playlist. It’s always met with a chorus of ‘FUCKING GARBAGE ARE AWESOME!’ then it get’s to the line ‘Now I’m here and I’m burning down your house’ and I am overwhelmed by guilt for bringing matches and petrol. You see far too much empathy to be a psychopath.

A Stroke of Luck – And the winner is….This is my favorite track on the album. It’s dark, it’s moody it’s fucking poetic and it really speaks volumes about the depths of hell a person can experience over arguably trivial matters such as who to love.

Vow – Allegedly inspired by a domestic abuse newspaper article which is arguably obvious as you listen and explore the songs themes. It’s a kick ass choice for a debut single, it was given a lot of radio airplay in the UK after Steve Lamacq and John Peel broadcast it on Radio 1 a station which has gone significantly downhill during the evolution of pop music. It was one of those word of mouth records and the UK record stores were overwhelmed with requests for a track that didn’t actually exist.

Stupid Girl – I think this was the first single I heard from Garbage, so it was probably this one I was singing when the horrid boyface told me I couldn’t like gingers. Manson is a self confessed feminist! Fuck yes she is and so am I! I don’t remember the impact it had at the time because I was like 8. In hindsight I imagine it was a very empowering song mirroring the riotgrrl message that was happening in the states at the time which we never really got over here. We got ‘Girl power’ not feminism. So this (in hindsight mind you, I was not aware of it at the time) was a super huge feminist anthem for a generation with way more weight than ‘Wannabe’ but maybe not quite as catchy. Look I like The Spice Girls OK.

Dog New Tricks – I think I prefer the album tracks now. I’m not saying the singles weren’t good, they were but I think the magic has worn off through radio overkill. When the album tracks stand up to the singles you know you have a great album and that’s what this is. I love this track it reminds me of someone I know and makes me feel a bit better that there are songs out there to soundtrack the experience of dealing with dick heads.

My Lover’s Box – We all know what it feels like to be lonely do we not? I guess unless you’re a psychopath? Do Psychopaths get lonely or do they just get bored? Psychopaths holler at me! Actually don’t. I’m good, not sure we’d get on with your lack of empathy and my overloading of the stuff. I imagine you would just exploit me and I would be like an annoying emotional leech, it’ll be clingy and messy. I just don’t think it would work. This is a great song to wallow to if you’re lonesome tonight. Stick this on and dream yourself up an imaginary perfect partner who feeds you chocolates whilst providing you with oral pleasure.

Fix Me Now – This has a great PJ Harvey vibe in places but is undeniably Garbage. You can’t fix people they can only fix themselves, you can however fix your bicycle, so you should go do that. This is a great song though, another great wallow in the happy/sad sound and you know I like it there.

Milk – This is a beautiful song and one of my favorites. Manson has stated that this is her favorite track on the album because it get’s written off as a pretty love ballad when in actual fact it’s probably the bleakest song on the album and fuck yeah that summarizes it perfectly.

Garbage is a phenomenal debut album by an exceptional rock band. It was recorded in 94′ 95′ at Smart Studios which I guess cuts down the costs if you own the recording studio. It was released in 1995 when I was 8 years old.

Although I was familiar with the album I actually only bought it quite recently in 2010 after getting back into the band in a major way after hearing an acoustic version of Medication and being terrified by Manson’s performance in The Sara Connor Chronicles.

It peaked highest at number one in the New Zealand charts but did pretty well globally hitting 2 x platinum in the USA, UK, NZ, Oz and Canadia.

I think it’s a pretty important album of the 90’s. I loved the 90’s, it was a seriously fucking cool decade to grow up and one of those reasons was the Spice Girls, another was Garbage.

Thanks so much for reading.

Tweet me, follow me, shout at me!

@cowardlycomics

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours Album Review.

Good Friday!

Argh allergies!

Updates ya’ll! I am busy cracking on with projects and may add an episode guide to Buffy at some point.

Stay tuned.

End of updates.

This weeks album review is the fantabulous Fleetwood Mac and their seminal album Rumours. I realized that this whole alphabetical review system was getting a bit testosterone heavy so I thought I would transition into some equal territory with a mixed bag of genders and talent.

Fleetwood Mac are one of my childhood hero bands. I used to dance to them in my nappies, them and Phil Collins…?

Another band I don’t remember discovering, they have always for me existed in the realms of awesome music and I have my Mother again to thank for that.

Fleetwood Mac are one of my absolute favorites. I can’t really rank them but they are definitely in my top ten favorite bands, probably in my top 5. OKAY they are my second favorite band if you’re going to push me on it…geez!

I am lucky enough to have seen them live as you will undoubtedly know if you have read this blog before. It was the second best gig I have ever been to. Oooh Fleetwood Mac, a consistent second. You can read up about that experience here.

The reason this might be such an amazing album is because everyone was heartbroken and mad at each other. The McVies were divorcing, Stevie and Lindsey were calling things a day and Mick had just found out his wife was cheating on him with his BFF! So the media were having a field day, this was enough gossip to quench the appetite of a very hungry caterpillar. This is how the album title ‘Rumours’ was born.

It was a rough album but damn was it worth it.

Without further ado here’s a review of the best album to have ever been recorded…ever! Yeah that’s right they come first sometimes too!

Second Hand News – So the fun thing about reviewing a band like FM is that there are three songwriters and three separate singers so there’s an added element of variation and competition. I actually think Stevie Nicks is the biggest talent of the band but when it comes to this album, I really believe McVie and Buckingham have it in the bag. This is one of those happy-sad songs, the music is upbeat and exciting but the lyrics are dark and harrowing. The band apparently thought this was the best way to kick off such an emotionally charged album as it would lure the listener into an optimistically pessimistic state. Buckingham has also stated that he wanted to make it a super upbeat song to mask the hurt in the lyrics which is a common coping mechanism it would seem for him in his songwriting. It’s a bit strange that the backing vocals are from Stevie Nicks on this track considering she was the subject matter…awkward.

Dreams – I find it hard to believe that this was Fleetwood Mac’s only number one single in the USA. It was their only number one hit anywhere in the entire music listening universe, like seriously WTF? It’s a great song but it’s by no means their only great hit single. Would you say this is even their most famous track? I’m not sure I would agree, what about Man of the World or Albatross or The Chain or Rhiannon or Tusk or Go Your Own Way or Landslide or Big Love or Songbird or Never Going Back Again or Don’t Stop or You Make Loving Fun or Sara…You get my point

Never Going Back Again – I’ve been playing this a lot over the past couple of years, my obsession started when I had a nasty break up but it grew when I realized I had completely fallen in love all over again with this track from when I had first heard it. Another break up track from Buckingham but one that is rather more obviously bitter. This has one of my favorite guitar solos of all time of which I saw live but then because Buckingham is a rather showy genius blew my mind straight after by shredding out ‘Big Love’ solos which kind of kick the shit even out of this masterpiece. Buckingham I believe is an underrated guitar player, he is up there with giants such as Hendrix and Page. Don’t believe me? Eat me!

Don’t Stop – This was the second single to be released peaking at #3 in the USA. A Christine McVie song sung by both McVie and Buckingham. It was originally written for Mrs McVie’s then husband Mr McVie whilst they were in the midst of a separation…dramarama. It’s one of the less angsty break up on the album, in fact if you didn’t know otherwise you might just think it was an inspirational track about never giving up on your bid for democratic leadership…*AHEM! Bill Clinton AHEM*

Go Your Own Way – This peaked at #10 are you freaking kidding me? Although it did reach #1 in the Netherlands so apparently all of what I said for the Dreams commentary is complete bullshit and you should disregard everything I have said ever…damn you Wikipedia! More back up vocals from Nicks as well as McVie. I’m surprised any of the members survived the recording of this album. It musta been hella awkward.

Songbird – And the winner is. It’s my absolute favorite track on Rumours. Covered by the likes of Eva Cassidy and er Glee. It has become one of the worlds most beloved love songs. It’s interesting then to hear that Christine McVie who wrote and sung the song beautifully has described it as a song about ‘nobody and everybody’.  I think that’s a rather beautiful and selfless way to describe such a beautiful song.

The Chain – This was a group effort with Nicks writing the lyrics and the rest of the band contributing the music. It’s kind of the Fleetwood Mac anthem, the song that keeps them bonded, it keeps them chained together forever in affinity. That’s really sweet and all but it always just reminds me of Formula One . I don’t even watch F1. It’s the same with Albatross always being associated with Marks and Sparks. Great bass from John McVie, one of the best uses of bass in rock and roll, if not the best. Tell me a bass solo as great or as recognizable as this?

You Make Loving Fun – Oh Mrs McVie you adulterer! This is allegedly about Christine McVie’s affair with the bands lighting director, so very incestuous were this bands affairs. It’s a nice upbeat track though and I think the lady McVie is one of the best love song writers of all time. I think she’s the underrated songwriter in Fleetwood Mac and for me she wins the songwriting contest on Rumours hands down so start appreciating the lady McVie.

I Don’t Want to Know – This is the Stevie Nicks song that replaced Silver Springs on the album. I personally think that was a good choice. It’s an upbeat happy song to add to such an conflicting album. It suffers from being a little forgettable and in all honesty it is my least favorite track on Rumors.

Oh Daddy – This is a great track but it really creeps me out when people sing about their ‘Daddy’s’ in a sexual or romantic way. This ultimately makes me cringe whenever anyone uses this terminology, which is why I can never fully enjoy this track which is a shame because everything else about the track is phenomenal.

Gold Dust Woman – I think this is Stevie’s best track on the album. I like Dreams but it’s been played to death. It’s a shame when the world ruins music like that via advertising or being covered over and over or getting supreme air play. Dreams for me has been murdered and I’ll listen to it and I feel mildly meh about it which is a shame. Gold Dust Woman is dark, scary and witchy which is where Nicks shines brightest. Whilst recording this track Nicks wrapped her head up in a scarf to block all of her senses, I’m not sure how much that helped but there we go.

Rumours is one of the most iconic best selling albums of all time. It did it’s best in the USA earning 13 x platinum…which is like a lot, something like 19 million and that’s just in the USA. It is one of 7 albums to have sold over 40 million records. It was recorded all over the place in 1976.

If you are ever going to invest in an album it should be this one. It is phenomenal, it takes you on the journey of heartbreak and hope which is a very emotional process, this album can soundtrack those feelings almost perfectly.

Thanks so much for reading.

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@cowardlycomics

 

 

 

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