Track by Track: Cities to Love by Sleater Kinney.

Hi yeah it’s 2015, shall we skip this first post of the new year nonsense and jump into the good stuff? I mean let’s be honest it’s the first post in what seems like a year anyway right?

OK so do you remember back in 2006 when Sleater Kinney were all like ‘Meh we’re over it’, no? me neither. That’s partially because they never formally acknowledged that they were on hiatus and also in my case I had never listened to any one song that they had created.

They weren’t even on my radar until I watched Portlandia. This is rather peculiar as their sound is my jam. I don’t really know how I missed them. I re-watched The L Word recently after watching it when it aired back in 2004 which was about the time I was discovering bands like L7 and Bikini Kill. So on my re-watch and to my surprise, there was my now current band of the moment, rocking the socks off of everyone in The Planet and I was like ‘how the hell did I miss this?.

It’s probably a good thing that it took me a while to get to where I am now with these guys. Sleater Kinney are one of those bands for me that come along just at the most opportune moment. They soundtracked one of the most tumultuous years of my life. 2013 the year of falling out of love, then in again with someone new and getting my myelin sheath’s ass kicked by my own immune system which admittedly sucked more than all the heartache. It would have honestly been so much more difficult without this band therefore I’m really very glad it took me all this time to find them.

Thankfully I did and that’s why I am excitedly track by tracking their new album ‘No Cities to Love’ which is released on the 20th January. How am I reviewing it if it’s not released yet? Well magic… and also NPR have released a first listen but also magic.

On with the show.

Price Tag - A great song about finding a bargain. You know that feeling you get when you’re at the checkout and you’re thinking shit man the minuscule leftovers from my DLA this month is only just enough to cover one loaf of bread. When suddenly the shop clerk takes you by the hand and he says in his angelic voice ‘Miss, these are buy one get one free’ and your heart lowers from your throat for a brief moment of relief. You thank him graciously and hobble your way back to the shelf to grab another. Content in the knowledge that today you win. Today you found the bargain and you can eat cheese on toast for another week. It’s not really a song about that feeling but it is a song that highlights the inequalities in income and how we feed our emptiness by overspending on items we don’t need. Let’s just say that it could soundtrack a video of Black Friday shoppers. It could also be interpreted on a larger scale. As always there are multiple ways a song can sit on someones understanding and as always these track by tracks are my interpretation and have absolutely no standing in actual factual’s. Great musicianship. Janet Weiss is fast becoming one of my favorite drummers, the way she carries this track is phenomenally bad ass.

Fangless – This is a song about vampires. Of course I would say that I am a huge SF nerd. It’s a song about a kick ass vampire who has been beaten down and lost his or her bite. The thing about vampires though is that they are much like the pheonix or the zombie in that they will rise again and go get that juicy juicy brain. Man I think this entire review is going to be me making stupid jokes then creaming over Janet Weiss’s drumming but did you hear that intro? The way it carries into Brownstein’s guitar and Tucker’s vocals is an earsplitting example that these three are a collaboration of awesome.

Surface Envy – This is a bit of a battle cry of solidarity which is kind of fitting considering this is a comeback album. It’s a full throttle rock charge to the nucleus accubens.

No Cities to Love – The title track sees Carrie Brownstein taking the lead on vocals. Is there anything she can’t do? Ahem I’m going to try and steer clear of going too deep into my opinions on our lord and savior Ms Brownstein because quite frankly it gets creepy. This is actually thus far after Bury our Friends (which has been given more time to seep into my soul) my favorite track. The riffing is fantastic. It takes me back to Gang of Four’s riffing style. It’s very catchy and has single potential. There’s a really good video of famous Sleater Kinney fans jamming out to this track. It runs like a game of spot the coolest icon, J Mascis wins.

New Wave – On second thoughts this might out catchy the previous song and could be contender for my favorite (Not counting Bury Our Friends) track of the album. The music industry is a funny one to watch and not be a part of. I guess I comment on it here but I comment on stuff I like and always as a fan. I most certainly am not a critic and if and when I am I’m terrible at it. New wave is a label that gets stuck on stuff that can’t be put in a box because it’s new and unique. New Wave is a box for the un-boxable. I imagine it is very difficult as an artist to evolve given that as soon as you have hit a level of greatness that garners you fans, you can’t move from that pedestal without those same fans calling you sellouts. I myself have been guilty of this. The other day ‘Warning’ by Greenday came on the radio and as I was singing along I muttered ‘F@*!%*” sellouts’ as the song came to a close. Now that’s kind of unfair but as a fan of their older stuff I feel duped that they went all mainstream emo. This doesn’t mean that I’m entitled to be a hipster douchebag everytime a Greenday song comes on the radio or so my girlfriend tells me. I like that this is a song kind of about bands doing what they want to do. Making the sounds that they want to make and at the end of the day it’s just them. The same way that on a much, much smaller scale, this here writing outlet is mine. It doesn’t have to be anything. It’s free motherfucker. *The Cowardly Lion blog is now undergoing a re-branding and will be renamed The New Wave Cowardly Lion Blog with eventual comics.

No Anthems – This is a wee bit heavier than the rest of the album. A bit more angsty with Corin Tucker’s voice simmering throughout until it reaches it’s abrupt ending. I’m not really sure on my interpretation of meaning but it makes me feel pensive and a little moody. Which is kind of my equilibrium anyway, so I feel very at home with this track. I think it might be a grower, one which I will play to death and gush over at every opportunity…Look I like them all, they are all my favorite.

Gimme Love – Love, love, love. Who doesn’t want to be loved? To be appreciated and acknowledged. Maslow put it third from the top on his hierarchy of needs. On some level we all need love, except psychopaths, they’re probably not that bothered about it but for everyone else it’s a necessity and also a commodity. People don’t just go around saying ‘ here have some free love’ I mean sure they do but it’s not the real true meaning of love. It’s fickle. This is confusing and sometimes people will do extreme things to get ‘love’ or recognition and I thiiink that’s what this song is about. I’m reading ‘The Art of Asking’ by Amanda Palmer and she rather beautifully and eloquently say’s that when she was a human statue she would interact with passers by and a silent exchange of ‘I see you’, ‘No-one ever see’s me’ is passed between them. That’s all anyone is ever seeking, to be noticed. That is my review of love, my review of the song is that the collaborative music builds to a perfect mackle of sounds that echo the hook of the ‘Gimme love’ lyric. Great song. Ten out of Ten, Five Stars.

Bury our Friends – This was released way back last year, decades ago, so it’s been able to cement itself firmly in my heart. It follows a similar theme to the previous song. It’s not about love, you know that thing we need that Maslow said was important. It’s kind of about status, that need for recognition and how we as fans play right into it. My BFF txt me a couple of hours ago saying how he no longer wanted to live on this planet after learning that T-Shirts depicting Kurt Cobain’s suicide note were on sale and people were buying them. That dear readers is one way to exhume your idols. Catchy song, don’t throw away your dogs, give me all the puppies.

Hey Darling – I really like the carousel sound of this song, it makes me a little bit dizzy. I think this might be a bit of a love song from Corin to the other two, seeing how the other two didn’t really separate, they just formed Wild Flag. Maybe it’s a love song to each other? Maybe it’s a love song to the fans? It could be a love song to everyone. It’s definitely a love song. IT’S A FUCKING LOVE SONG OKAY! La la la. OK I’ve lost it…too much caffeine.

Fade – And we finish up on a real gut wrenching tit grabber of a number, which encompasses everything this band is about. It has a dirty sound throwing back to their much earlier stuff, then at about 1:16 it kicks back to their latest plucky guitar riffs then back again to that dirty angst ridden sound that I love. It’s a fantastic showcase of the evolution and variation of this band. They can incorporate silly with serious, heavy and soft, old and new, dirty and clean. Sleater Kinney are a necessary staple in rock and roll.

And so ends the tale of my first experience with this album No Cities to Love.

The album was recorded in 2014 at The Tiny Telephone Recordings in San Francisco and is released on Sub Pop records on the 20th January.

Thank you so much for reading Tom.

You can follow me on Twitter @cowardlycomics

Top Ten Albums of 2014

Here are the most kick ass records released in 2014 (in my opinion).

It’s been a good year for music.

10) Sonic Highways – Foo Fighters

The Foo’s are a never failing staple in rock and roll. You know what you’re getting with these guys and as much as I go on about stagnant bands never evolving their sound, some bands don’t need to. I’m never disappointed by these guys. The album is accompanied by a documentary of the same name that is well worth the watch (I’m pretty sure bbc iplayer still has some episodes).

Best Song – Something from nothing (Which has the bad ass guitarist from Cheap Trick guest shredding on guitar)

9) My Favorite Faded Fantasy – Damien Rice

An open letter to Damien Rice.

Where the hell have you been man? 10 years is far too long a hiatus. Please don’t leave it that long before another album. I missed you so damn much. Your music means the world to me.  I can’t ache to any other artist as well as I do with you.

Please continue to break my heart.

Yours Sincerely

Your number one emo

Best Track – I don’t want to change you.

8) The Other I – 2:54

2014 has seen this sister act kick out a stunner of a sophomore album. The best way I can describe them is a moodier, much heavier Warpaint. I caught them support MAdM way back in 2010 and hands down they win best support act I’ve had the pleasure to stumble on and in to. Their band is named after their favorite breakdown in a Melvins song. I like the Melvins also. We should hang out.

Best Track – Orion or Blindfold (I can’t decide)

7) When the Cellar Children see the Light of Day – Mirel Wagner

If you’re feeling creepy this is the album for you. I keep missing her play as like many other musicians, touring the UK means playing London. Just to clarify London sucks play Bristol. She’s the kind of musician that sends shivers down your spine and makes you question what those things really are that you see out of the corner of your eye. A good album to lose your mind to. I have done so at least twice this year. She reminds me of a cross between Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Fleet Foxes. What a mash up.

Best track – 1, 2 , 3, 4

6) Taiga – Zola Jesus

The sound is kind of imitating good Sia (I’m not so keen on Sia’s new ‘bad Sia’ stuff . I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who thinks that but I’m probably right). This is ZJ’s fifth album and she is still really damn good. She’s a really interesting listen. I can’t quite put my finger on her genre. I want to say electro but it’s so much more than that. I think this is the poppiest album I enjoyed this year.

Best song – Go (Blank Sea)

5) Tied to a Star – J Mascis

Awh shucks I like lullaby’s. That is exactly what this album is, bedtime music. The front man of Dinosaur Jr has released another solo album that lulls listeners into a warm embrace of cuddle up music. If you’re a fan of Dinosaur Jr, I really can’t imagine you wouldn’t like this softer side of Mr Mascis. I am hopefully going to see him play early next year.

Best Song – Every Morning (The video features bad ass funny man Fred Armisen)

4) Phantom Radio – Mark Lanegan Band

Sexiest man voice ever am I right? This is such a great moody album. I have been playing it loud whenever I’m feeling pensive. I will hopefully be going to see these guys also early next year and I’m super excited. This is their 9th album and they’re still really fucking awesome. Lanegan recorded the drums for some of the tracks using an app called FunkBox.

Best Song – Judgement Time

3) Ultraviolence – Lana Del Rey

I don’t feel like this is pop. It’s a damn great moody mess of awesome. Produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. It’s just an all round brilliant arrangement. I can’t fault this third offering from this tragic starlet and that’s why it’s really close to the top of this list.

Best track – Ultraviolence (This has to be inspired by the Hole cover of Carole King’s He Hit Me. *Gasps* LDR and Courtney Love are playing shows together I shit you not)

2) Transgender Dysphoria Blues – Against Me!

It was so close at the top but alas my favorite band came in second. This is Laura Jane Grace’s coming out fuck you and it’s incredibly liberating. I can’t imagine what it’s like to feel unhappy, uncomfortable and wrong in your gender. I never really give my gender much thought. I’m a ladyface. A sexy tomboy andro ladyface but on the whole I’m female and I’m OK with that. Can you imagine the can of worms you’d be opening if you weren’t. LJG I fucking love you. You are a role model and a bad ass. You are truly a beautiful woman. Keep kicking out the jams.

Best Song – Seriously all of it but Osama Bin Laden as The Crucified Christ or Talking Transgender Dysphoria Blues are the showstoppers.

1) Diploid Love – Brody Dalle

Of course Brody wins everything. What a fantastic comeback after a 5 year hiatus which is long but not as long as some people that feature on this list. There are elements of various sounds and all in all this is a really positive, pick yourself up, dust yourself off kind of an album. I reviewed it earlier in the year somewhere? Tweet me if you find it.

Best Song – Blood in gutters (But I really like this version of Rat Race)

That’s that then. 10 super kick ass records of 2014.

Enjoy.

What are your favorite albums of 2014?

Thanks so much for reading.

@cowardlycomics

Against Me! and finding myself in a beer keller?

Great photography bro!

Last week I went to see Against Me! play at The Bierkeller, Bristol. 

It was a great venue for short people as you could stand on the tables.

Which seemed like a great idea until a few larger people stood behind us and started to jump up and down.

Now those benches looked pretty sturdy but they also looked pretty damn old and if they had been jumped up and down on for every gig housed there then perhaps this would be the end for me and my 4ft 10 girlfriend.

It was a sketchy hour and a half.

We lived to see another day.

I don’t get to go to as many gigs as I once did.

The evening time is mostly when my MS tends to come out and play.

It’s also when the really cool punk bands play really cool shows for the really cool social vampires.

Seeing how the two of us (MS and I) don’t much get on, I try to isolate it as much as possible.

It really isn’t the most sociable of diseases so I don’t tend to introduce it to people often seeing how it has a tendency to be a bit of a knobber. 

When I do get to go out though, especially to musical outings I forget that it, the disease is part of me and I remember who I really am for a second.

I’m not someone who is defined by her illness.

I am a damn hardcore punk as fuck bad ass. 

The atmosphere in live music does something to you.

After that gig I had a 4 day spell of feeling pretty much as OK as someone with lesions on their brain can feel.

Pretty much up until I had my injection I felt fantastic and then unfortunately I hit reset with a day of flu like symptoms and I was back to square one.

But that’s OK, last week reminded me that I can reach square 112. 

The band Against Me! have been firm favorites of mine for the past 7 years.

I own all but their latest album which is not to say their new album isn’t worth buying, I just don’t have the spare muller right now.

Thankfully Spotify is an awesome thing with free versions for broke ass broken people like me but perhaps Taylor Swift is right and it’s not a fair listening platform for artists?

I don’t know I’m not a musician.

I’m not sure she knows either.

I mean it’s not like she’s a gazzilionaire.

When I attend a gig I always go with a mental wish/dream set list knocking around my noggin but this was one of the few times I didn’t care what they played.

I was in love with every song.

I was ecstatic when they played ‘Pints of Guinness make you Strong’ and a little upset when they didn’t play ‘Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart’ but all the same I wouldn’t have changed it for the world because it was perfect. 

I’m a big and dedicated fan (of AM!) but I’ve never had the chance to see them live.

I think they played in 2008/9 also in Bristol but I was a fairly recent fan then and I think I was working at the time.

Laura Jane Grace did a solo show earlier in the year in London but I was too poorly to go so I missed out.

Third time was the charm.  

Laura Jane Grace is the front woman of Against Me! and she recently did a super interesting, super informative series short for AOL in which she documents her life long journey with being a trans woman.

It’s filled with some of the most beautiful yet most misunderstood people on the planet and is well worth the watch.  

This year Against Me! were the second live music outfit I attended.

They were second in November.

The first was City & Color in February.

The number of gigs I attend yearly is dropping,

I have gone from a gig every two months to just a couple a year.

It just serves as a reminder that I’ve totally lost who I am to this slow zombie disease and I need to start fighting back because it turns out that when I do, I feel better for it.

So perhaps I haven’t entirely lost who I am.

I think I’m in here somewhere.

So thank you Against Me!

You keep saving me time and time again.

Thank you to my BFF Tom who bought tickets.

Thank you to my girlfriend Charlie for driving me and buying us T-Shirts.

Thanks to my mom for looking after the cats. 

Thank YOU so much for reading. 

@cowardlycomics

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It’s been a while.

Gah where the hell have I been?

Shall we reboot this bad girl? Yes lets do that with a round up of what the hell I’ve been doing with my life since magically disappearing from this small cave of creativity that used to give me an outlet for not feeling so damn normal.

I’ve mostly been learning.

It’s really quite difficult to put stuff you write out there for strangers to read, especially if you’re someone like me who second guesses themselves with every step they take in life.

The stranger part is a bit of a lie. I’m kind of OK with strangers. It’s more the idea of people I know reading it that terrifies me. Which is weird right?

I have this mental image of my so called ‘friends’ giggling to themselves down the pub and discussing how silly and stupid I am for doing anything other than routine. I mean god forbid anyone ever express themselves.

Unfortunately yes, I know people like this and I’ve kind of had enough of that negativity. So the lesson I’ve been learning is how not to care. The conclusion I think is to cut them out. No longer shall they suckle at my fearful tit.

I’ve moved physically away so that’s a start but the one anchor I found that kept me tied to that negativity is that old devil THE BOOK OF FACE!

So I’ve stopped using it. I haven’t deleted my account, only the app on my phone and unfriended anyone I haven’t seen or spoke to in a year. Harsh eh?

It’s not that I dislike many of those culled or that they are any one individual or personally responsible for how I feel.  For the majority it’s a case of me not seeing the point in pretending we care about each others lives when half of them will look the other way when passing on the street.

It’s useless clutter.

The problem with Facebook is that it’s personal. Yeah sure it’s a good outlet to send silly pictures to your BFF but it’s also a place full of all the people that tend to drag you down.

The school bullies who you’re friends with under the false pretense that you’re all grown ups now and bygones can be bygones when secretly you stalk their page relentlessly to see how badly they’re fucking up.

The emotional succubi who throw out words like fish hooks to lure your sympathy/empathy anything really to make them feel like they matter. The tragedy being that no-one really cares. It’s just a gossip coated enigma to work out like a crossword clue in a juicy celeb mag.

My ex girlfriend once put a broken heart emoticon on my wall when I broke up with her. I think that was sadly one of the most poetic modern day gestures that I fell victim to. The old Bard wept and I was left with a moral dilemma. What do I do? Do I leave it there and let her look like a spurned 13 year old girl? (*Just to clarify she wasn’t a 13 year old girl, she was two years older than me and I’m not a 13 year old girl either) Or do I delete it and risk pissing her off more which I’m pretty sure would have meant unleashing hell beasts and bringing about the apocalypse. You tell me?

I left it there to digitally scar my online space. It was at the end of the day in fact her moral dilemma and she had made her choice. I was just the bad guy who broke her heart. I had no retort. There was no emoticon to express the shell of a person I had become from such an unhealthy relationship and even if there were I couldn’t taint her digital space with it because deep down I am not an asshole.

This all happened on a very public platform which was broadcast to 156 people and it was probably the most embarrassed I’ve been discounting those few times I crapped my pants as an undiagnosed coeliac but hey at least the victims of my school yard bullying were having a wail of a time.

I now have 53 Facebook friends and I don’t even like all of them but it’s much easier for my twat of a brain to tolerate this small cluster of condensed projections of peoples lives.

The great thing about the internet and Twitter in particular is that it connects you with like minded folk and not the bowl of fish you happened to grow up with, live by or work with.

Zuckerberg is a genius and a very kind one. Social media owe him some hugs and kisses. The scope of it though is not for me, so I’ll stick with just family and friends and no extensions of that which mostly include those negative fuckiots I mentioned at the start.

We can’t go through this life in fear. It holds us back. Caring what other people think of you is a tantamount to slavery. That’s not to say if you’ve been holding back on mass murder you should go live your dream. Just simply that those who matter won’t care what you do, if you make mistakes or even if you make a fool of yourself writing silly things on the internet.

The lesson is that we should not repress ourselves and that my dears is what I have been away learning, well that and brain stuff for that degree I’m doing.

I’ve also been drumming. My poor babies got left behind in the move so I am giving them some much needed attention.

Here’s an emoticon for how I feel about that :D

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So strap in follow me on here or all of my preferred social networks and we’ll begin this creative outlet all over again.  

Thanks for your patience and for reading.

@cowardlycomics

 

 

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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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.

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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.

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