Review :: Kyla La Grange – Ashes

“Channeling the past great women of rock, Kyla’s vocals evoke the ghostly, tormented lyricism and harmonics of a Stevie Nicks not yet bitter with the world”

The second and third albums are said to be the trickiest to deliver. Especially after a success that was perhaps never fully expected. That certainly has always been the case in the tospy-turvy, often fickle world of the music industry.

Although it may have undergone a series of radical changes within the last decade, the industry as a whole still proves to be a place where young artists are desperate to break into. Come hell or high water, there are legions of singers, songwriters, bands and soloists from all the different corners of social and economic backgrounds that wish to ply their trade and become the next global superstar.

As the circles of genres and subgenres tighten, the digital availability of music and instant, thro away culture has given birth to a new breed of artist aching to be discovered. The latest in a long line of these is one Kyla La Grange.

Her debut album, Ashes, offers a unique and well rounded approach to the single female vocalist who yearns to tell a story. Standing at eleven tracks long, the album marks another chapter in this young woman’s musical adventure and another piece of work ready to be thrown into the jaws of the baying, music buying public

But this is no glitzy pop number or electro infused dance track. Instead, La Grange reaches out to the more discerning musical tastes and brings a piece of work suited for those who enjoy lyricism, imagery and grand sound. Lead singles, “Been Better,” and “Heavy Stone” display a mature approach to a musical passion that can sometimes be overlooked and unfairly ignored in modern markets.

Channeling the past great women of rock, Kyla’s vocals evoke the ghostly, tormented lyricism and harmonics of a Stevie Nicks not yet bitter with the world. The tributes to previous trailblazers continue throughout the album.

“To Be Torn,” demonstrates Kyla’s enormous vocal range in a more than blatant tip to the ethereal qualities that made Kate Bush an international star. Where La Grange differs, however, is the distinctly 21st century styling and delivery. Oozing with glossy production that drips from every track of Ashes, this is music for the contemporary adult.

Bearing her teeth, quite literally at times, this album yields an edgier quality often amiss from artists of this persuasion. Tracks like “Vampire Smile,” the third single, combine the savage beauty and fragile, folkish charm that is set to propel La Grange into the mainstream in a flurry of accolades and praise.

All too often a softly spoken, eternally innocent yet well travelled female singer has come along and failed to live up to expectation. In the digital age of self-production, self promotion and sky high self assurance, the market place is clogged with those who emulate Diana Vickers and Pixie Lott. Indeed, the competition is now of such a high caliber that a revolving door policy seems to exist with even those who are sought to be established members of the industry.

Barring the monumental success of Adele, the female singer wearing her heart on her sleeve, soul bared for all to see, is at a premium in the 21st century. Not that it should be the case but it is with great surprise then that an album like Ashes offers what can only be described as a genuinely enjoyable, substantial and artistically credible piece of work.

Kyla La Grange is about to make a big splash in the music scene of 2012. Ashes is as strong a debut album as any that have been released this year and within recent memory. With the backing of her label, the ever impressive and imposing Sony, great things are expected from this young woman from Watford. Released on July 30th, the proof will, as ever be in the pudding when the general public get their hands on it.

Kyla’s official website has details of availability and tours.

Songs To Cure Depression :: Tom Jones – ‘Treat Her Right’

“I’ve never kissed two sisters”

Having very little recollection, but still feeling the effects, of an evening over 72 hours ago and trying over that 72 hour period to dull down the anxiety, depression, and head aches by, no surprise, drinking more it seemed as good a time as any to give up the booze for a while.
“Did I really fall over in front of all those people?”
…and if so, and that’s what I remember, then what else?
We should be changing the name of this article to ‘Songs to Cure Being a Massive Drunk’ but lets just keep it as it is because, as any real boozer knows, there’s a heavy time of dark melancholy after every occasion where the binge gets out of hand and your brain tells you,
…though it might very well still be.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of Tom Jones. In fact, if anything, I think the guy is scum. Nothing but a giant abscess in the dental work of the music industry, but instead of rooting out the puss-filled bastard and attempting to remove the remaining dead pulp that’s been left over with a filling of something with an actual reason for being and a shred of remaining talent, I mean, how hard can it be to find another mediocre singer who isn’t as old as time and space, and doesn’t sport a face that looks more like a cow that had a stroke than a human being? It can’t be that difficult. Not with the 83,746 talent T.V. shows out there (one of which, our favourite Manatee featured, sheep fucking, crooner now presents).
Anyway, we’re going away from the main point here, this is supposed to cure depression, not give some sad over-the-hill fart a heavy dose of it (not that he ever read this) so here we go. Yes, it’s Tom Jones. Yes, he is a shit. But watch this video and, as long as you’re not some ardent feminist (and maybe even then), you will LOVE this. This is sexuality at its peak. The guy has hips like a perpetual motion giro. His arms are two cobras snapping with a rabid fury at the air, searching for some illustrious field mouse in the sky so as to rips its heart from its tiny little chest. His head, well his head look like someone shaved their pubes and stuck them to a bobble-head doll. BUT. Other than than, this guy is lightning.
Hell, after watching this even I wanna have a few dances at the ‘in the bed disco’ with the old ball bag.

Advanced Album Preview :: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – Its a Corporate World

© Warner Bros Music 2012

“A living detachment exists between the music and listener”

It seems there is a renaissance afoot. Amongst the musical community, the resurgence of indie infused psychedelic, electro pop has never been more popular.

As much of a mouthful as that seems, the oncoming summer months seem to bring out such bands like midges from a mossy log. Throwing their hat into the ring with debut offering It’s a Corporate World are Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

For those UK fans unfamiliar with the band. Formed in Detroit, Michigan, the duo takes their name from American Indy Car racing legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. who, according to some sources, is a reputable fan of the band. Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott have sky rocketed their reputations amongst fans and music critics alike since their formation in 2007.

Branding themselves as psychedelic, electro and Motown influenced, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. appear to be on the cusp of domination of the indie, elector scene. This debut album, It’s a Corporate World arrives as the total of maligned performances, side projects and other dedications that have prevented the two members from publishing their collective work. They bring the haunting, wistful vocals and soft guitar hooks that have established them as a stand out indie outfit to what will presumably be a much wider audience, possibly globally.

Tracks “Simple Girl,” “When I open My Eyes,” and the eponymous “It’s a Corporate World,” showcase the band’s eclectic, anathema style. Drawing clear influences from late Beatles and their own brand of psychedelic pop rock, Epstein (coincidentally) and Zott mesh seamlessly together both vocally and musically.

None more apparent than the harmonic, toe tapping “Vocal Chords.” A fun, catchy, high tempo track that lends itself perfectly to the up coming summer months, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. know their audience and how to effectively win them over new listeners.

This stellar rise amongst their own scene and the music industry as a whole raises some suspicions amongst the more skeptical listeners. And therein lies the problem with both Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and this debut album. It’s a Corporate World is, quite simply, a clean cut, glossy, over produced album that would be more suited to a band’s second or third offering.

Following their various EP releases and a loyal fan following of their energetic live performances, this fully fledged debut album arrives amongst a sea of publicity. None more apparent than the highly touted select UK appearances on Club NME and HMV Next Big Thing. Surprising, surely, to those indie electro groups from native shores who are still scratching around on their home turf all begging for that big break. More importantly, with substantial discographies behind them.

Fundamentally, the band’s ethos and material seems oddly unoriginal enough to warrant this lavish production. Although by no means a poor piece of work, it is exactly that that makes for suspicious reasoning. They may sing of heartfelt, unrequited love and psychedelic jaunts through golden fields, albeit with the looming presence of a disapproving chaperone lurking somewhere in the background. It’s fun but well supervised fun.

A living detachment exists between the music and listener. Begging the question, have Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. sold out before they were even in? Suddenly the album’s title takes on an altogether more sinister and frightening meaning.

Jonathan Whitelaw

The album is released on May 24th. All info on the band and availability can be found, as ever, on the official website,

Songs To Cure Depression :: Ween – ‘Bananas And Blow’

“Stuck in my Cabana…”

This has been lifted straight from my blog so what does that tell us exactly?
Either I’m getting terribly lazy or the words already wrote were a perfect fit. In all honesty I think it’s both but the latter being more of a fluke then any kind of premeditated scheme. Anyway, that ugly, ugly, bastard know as depression was here biting at my nut sack again and even though the song really has fuck all with the current situation, it did briefly alleviate the grim feeling of melancholy. Here’s some additional words to go with those above.

It’s probably a good idea to do this while the adrenaline is still flowing through my body. I’m back off the drink again after falling back into it over the past week due to (or perhaps resulting in) finding myself in quite a dark place again.

But the adrenaline helps.

Even if all I want to do is sleep.

I guess I should make some kind of actual point here.

For the past few years I’ve spent my time honing a skill that has helped me throughout my days. This metaphorical tough skin that allows me to detach myself from any negative situation and just carry on with things. It prevented me from being getting bit in the arse by bad people, bad women, pretty much anything (the day I learn to use this technique to the same effect but for the bad feelings coming from within, shit, well that’ll be the day the apocalypse rears it’s slimy head and blows us all the fucking smithereens).

So who would have thought that my special ability would, in fact, bite me in the arse? Sometimes being an emotionally handicapped, socially inept, closed off freak isn’t a good thing. Especially when something (someone) good comes along and you find yourself going through the old routines of alienation and complacency instead of tearing down the self-constructed walls of reclusion and allowing yourself to be an actual damn human being and stop pretending you don’t give a crap.

It’s a scary prospect, this reintroduction into the wild.

To admit to caring.

To realise you’ll probably get broken down all over again, but giving it a shot anyway.

I’m a real fuck up and I’ll make a plethora of mistakes along the way.

But I’m willing to give it a shot.

Just gotta keep those digits crossed in hope this irrational fear of attachment hasn’t fucked it when it being fucked is the worst possible outcome.

Feature :: Against Me! Is…Reinventing Awesome Fans

I wrote this article before Tom announced that he suffers from Gender Dysphoria and will now become female – Laura Grace. This event, and the response to it, has put Against Me! fans and the punk community in an interesting light.

You’ll notice the title of this article is “Against Me! is Reinventing Awesome Fans,” but the article speaks negatively of many ‘fans’ of the band. The title was originally “Against Me! is Reinventing Dickhead Fans”, but this situation has reminded me that despite a few bad apples, one of my favorite bands has a pretty great fanbase.

I will be referring to Tom as Laura from now on, with appropriately changed pronouns. I’ve seen a few people expressing complete disgust at those saying things like “RIP Tom Gabel” or just “Tom Gay-Bel,” but I don’t worry about it, because for every disgusting asshole I’ve noticed there have seemed to be a thousand punk rockers coming out of nowhere with raised fists telling that person to fuck off. I for one am proud to be an Against Me! fan right now.

However, to indulge some of the criticisms I’ve heard, and to bring this back to the point of the article: if you care at all to read this, it is because one or more Against Me! records have affected you in some profound way, and those records were made because Laura and the guys sought fulfillment. Now Laura will come fully into herself because she continued to seek fulfillment. On that note, I must support her, if only to repay the debt I owe for all the long nights spent being kept alive by records she made for the same reason she is now undergoing hormone treatments and electrolysis. If her voice changes and I never hear that beautiful howl again, so be it. She’s given us more than we ever had the right to ask for, and if this is what she needs to do, this is what we should all want her to do.

If you’re reading this, Laura, every Against Me! fan I know is right beside me saying that we love you, and that we wish you the best.

– Zack Fowler

“So, next time you feel the need to take it further than your place as a consumer of art, why don’t you put down the keyboard and find something constructive to do?”

So there’s this thing shitty fans do when they fall in love with a life-changing record where they put the band or artist that made it into this career gridlock. If their next record expands on the same idea, then “all of their songs sound the same.” If their next record is a departure from that style, then they’ve “lost their way” or, more commonly, “all your new songs are shit.” Perhaps the most important part of this outlook is that judgments are made independent of quality. They don’t care if the new record is good. In fact, they can never consider the new record adequate, because they’ve put the old one on a pedestal.

This is about as dramatic as I’ve ever seen with one of my favorite bands, Against Me!, though this certainly applies to loads of other bands as well. Everything Tom and the boys have put to tape since Reinventing Axl Rose has been called sellout bullshit, and I just think it’s ridiculous. Tom particularly has been harassed by former fans to an unacceptable extent. It’s not because the new records are good (though I think they are, and anyone who doesn’t feel something during ‘Ache With Me’ clearly has no soul), it’s because it’s logically impossible for any artist to please these people.

Take Reinventing Axl Rose, Born To Run, Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, The ’59 Sound, or essentially any record that someone heard and said, “This is it. This is what a record should be.” Once you’ve turned any work of art into the ideal within that medium, then logically any other work will not be as good. If Reinventing Axl Rose is your definition of perfection for a record – more specifically a punk record, or  a record written by Tom Gabel – then there is no fathomable way you will ever like another record as much without enduring some fundamental personal change (which, for “fans” like this, would be an improvement).

Now, deeming a record the ultimate fulfillment of a medium is perfectly fine; the problem is handling that. For example, while it’s alright to be disappointed in the direction a band has taken, expecting every record to be that good is unfair to the artist, because “good” in this context just means “like the other record,” and no great record can be made twice. Furthermore, if you acknowledge that Against Me! or any other band can make great records, even if you like them less than your particular favorite, but still are disappointed with their direction, there are ways to handle that too.

The best response to not liking a record your favorite band put out is obviously not buying the record. If they put out several records you don’t like, stop going to shows. We live in market economies, that means that not buying the record and skipping out on shows is all the “fuck you” you’re allotted without looking like a twat. If you have a blog or you write for some magazine, be a dick there, and we’ll use the supply and demand policies you’ve ignored to not read that blog. You should never decide to take time out of an artist’s day to treat them like their latest record is a personal attack on your musical integrity. If Tom Gabel asks you what you think, tell him, but he won’t because he doesn’t give a fuck, and tweeting him about how terrible you think White Crosses is personally robs him of the five seconds he could’ve spent not reading your bullshit.

I know it sucks when a band you love stops making music you enjoy, but if they’re past that point in their creative lives, then there’s nothing you or them could do to make them write another record exactly like the one you love but somehow better. So, next time you feel the need to take it further than your place as a consumer of art, why don’t you put down the keyboard and find something constructive to do?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go try to write a record half as good as White Crosses.

Zack Fowler

Feature :: Bottles, Rocks and Bird Poo: Top 5 Funniest Incidents of Audiences Pelting Musicians

“Grow the bloody hell up, Chad. It’s not Portugal’s fault that you suck.”

During 1988’s Reading Festival, cheese-rock crooner Meat Loaf and country-pop charter Bonnie Tyler both suffered torrential storms of plastic bottles, launched at them by audience members unhappy these artists were included on the event’s traditionally more-alternative bill.

Bottling artists which “do not belong” has become an almost yearly ritual at Reading Festival ever since with artists such as 50 Cent, My Chemical Romance, Good Charlotte, Bring me the Horizon, The FF’s and The Rasmus suffering the same fate in recent years.

Reading is not the only festival in which audiences have pelted unwelcome musicians with various items however, as the following list will show (though as you will notice; two Reading Festival incidents have made the cut).

Here – in ascending order – are what I consider to be the five most amusing incidents of audiences declaring war against live bands:

#5: Stick You Daphne (and Celeste!)

Reading Festival, 2000
Everyone thought it was a joke when one-hit-wonder pop duo Daphne and Celeste were announced as being on Reading Festival’s year 2000 itinerary. Alas; it turned out to be true and they were greeted by quite a large crowd as the video below shows – unfortunately for the irritating double act this crowd only appeared to fine-tune their arm-eye coordination!

But how did such an act end up on Reading’s bill?

Well apparently the pair begged the event’s organisers for an invite in the wake of rumours that rapper Eminem would be giving a headline performance. 8 Mile’s finest later pulled out and D&C apparently tried to do the same but the event’s organisers were having none of it.

Those with tickets to the festival were proudly declaring their plans to attack the pop tarts during their set months before and so I can only assume the organisers quite fancied the media attention that surrounded the inevitable bottling.

#4: Kings of Pigeon

Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, 2010

It’s not always human audience members that take a disliking to a band or artist – in 2010 a flock of birds took particular offense to the Grammy-nominated American rock band Kings of Leon.

The Oklahoma/Tennessee outfit were halfway through their third song when they began to feel fowl droppings fall upon their heads (and in some cases, in their mouths). Blink and you’ll miss it but at 1 minute and 12 seconds into the video below you will see drummer Ivan Followill wipe the nasty stuff off his face and by the close of the song, his brother and vocalist Anthony Followill can be seen wiping the substance from his own face:

The band later told the music press they were forced to leave the stage for health reasons (ingesting poop isn’t the best thing for you, apparently) and for purposes of safety, worried that their equipment would become damaged, despite likely having extensive music guard insurance.

#3: Panic at the Festival!

Reading Festival, 2006

The contemporary emo scene was at its height of popularity in 2006 and so it is hardly surprising that wordsmith disco-poppers Panic! at the Disco were included on Reading Festival’s line up. Many people were unhappy about this though and so decided the Nevada group should receive a good bottling.

P@TD had been on stage for a matter of seconds before one missile struck singer Brendon Urie in the side of the head, instantly knocking him unconscious on the floor. The following footage (which I find highly amusing – look how he falls like a bulleted deer!) has become a bit of a sensation and has had over 1 million views to date:

I can’t quite decide whether Urie deserves our kudos for getting up and continuing with the set after blacking out for a few seconds, or a mocking for being taken down by a mere Evian bottle.

#2: A Brown Day for Green Day

Woodstock, 1994

Shortly after their breakthrough album ‘Dookie’ was released to the masses in 1994, punk trio Green Day were invited to play a set at the legendary Woodstock festival. Due to the heavens pouring for the entire first day of the event, much of the entire field had been rendered mud and it was not long until the wet dirt was being pelted at the now-renowned pop-punkers.

Whether the mud was being thrown because of the bands’ new found mainstream (read as sell out) success or simply because the crowd could do so is unclear but singer Billie Joe Armstrong definitely encouraged the masses by confidently flinging that which accumulated on the stage right back at them:

Bassist Mike Dirnt was unfortunate enough to have several teeth knocked out by a security guard who wrongly thought he was one of the audience members who invaded the stage by the close of the band’s set.

#1: Nickleback’s Rocky Start

Ilha do Ermal Festival, 2002

Mainstream (and arguably; piss poor) rock band Nickleback only played one-and-a-half songs before leaving the stage at 2002’s metal-orientated Ilha do Ermal festival in Portugal. Not only were the quartet bottled but many in attendance decided to throw rocks at the Canadian outfit also.

Despite neither of the materials actually hitting members of the band or their equipment, Nickleback – or rather, front man Chad Kroeger – decided they had had enough. Chad was first to quit the set but not before asking if any Nickleback fans were in attendance (to a resounding “NO!”) and then giving the middle finger salute.

The band later cited “safety concerns” for not pushing through their set, despite the issue obviously being a matter of overinflated ego.

Grow the bloody hell up, Chad. It’s not Portugal’s fault that you suck.

What do you think of my top five? Did I forget to include a particularly funny pelting incident? If so, be sure to give me a good telling off in the comments below.

You can follow the author of this guest post – Kat Cole – on Twitter @DeadBoomerang.

Songs to Cure Depression :: The Muppets – Manamana

—–Original Message—–
From: Critchley, Ian
Sent: Fri 04/05/2012 8:12 PM
Subject: Thank You

Dear XXXX,

First of all I promise you haven’t subscribed to the weekly “Ian’s depressing life in 60 seconds” newsletter (I have a blog for THAT!) but I just thought I’d say thank you for the kind words the other day and tell you how much they’ve inspired me.

I got in touch with XXXXX (XXXX’s assistant) as I know he does a lot of gardening work (something I used to really enjoy) and I’ve spent the day helping him out and even GOT PAID. So that’s nice to know that if the world’s greatest writer thing doesn’t work out I have something to fall back on.

I’ve felt a lot better since that day, and I think you’re to thank.
I’m also doing a solo acoustic show on the 17th of May. Lets see if I survive THAT!

Thank you again,

Ian Critchley

(I won’t see you Monday as it’s bank holiday but I’ll crack on with my proposal)

Don’t Panic :: Two Days with Daddy

“Drinking it down tasted like sucking off an angel and, finally, the world seemed right.”

It was the fourth day I hadn’t drank after an almost day to day two (or maybe three?) month binge, so insomnia was in full force. Yesterday the shakes had set in and I’d spent the past, at least 72 hours petering on the edge of a full scale panic catastrophe. But fuck all that, the brink of oblivion could wait because, tonight, I was off to Leeds to watch Dr. FeelGood famed, Wilko Johnson.

We drove down and, after much trouble, found the venue after parking in what looked like a U.S. Ghetto (the housing was poor, this is not a racial statement) and staggered around in the heavy rain until we (quite accidentally) rounded a corner and was slap bang outside the damn place. We entered, my father and I, giving our names to the burly security and being given AAA guestlist passes. Finally, I thought, some goddamn recognition. The name on the pass wasn’t right and it was my actions or position as a maniacal journalist that had got us these passes, but still…recognition. My father was an old friend of Wilko and the band and had booked a full week off work to drive about the various locations and watch some shows, it was a good week for old-time rock and roll.

We headed backstage and I still hadn’t had a drink. There was a bar, I had some money, but I was determined to stay sober. The fear of the reaper had crept back upon me and, though the drink was a short term solution for the dark demonic hand of depression and anxiety, I was going to try to fight this in the long term, not the short. The backstage area was a tiny room, more a corridor, filled with old cinema chairs. For a group of artists with as much musical history as these three (with both bass player Norman and drummer Dylan having played in the Blockheads, among others) I was surprised to see such squalid conditions.

We all hung around there, myself, my father, the band, along with manager Bob, and said very little to each other, which was fine. I didn’t feel much like talking anyway and it was just nice to be in the company of such talented people. Wilko spent the time reading on a kindle, Dylan warmed up banging sticks on a hit pad and Norman came in and out, occasionally heading back to the van to get high.

The opening act tore into their set and I considered being a professional, a real journalist, but instead decided sitting in this dank hole with some of the U.K’s greatest musical minds. The opening act sounded great even from back here, intrinsic melodies being churned out on guitar, bringing the old blues sound and giving it a fresh kick in the balls. It was like the best of the blues mixed with indie-rock (and I know most indie rock sucks, but believe me, this worked.) The band was called Virgil & the Accelerators and the only downfall of their set (apart from being unable to see them) was a 20minute long “slow blues” song that I thought would continue until the damn apocalypse started to commence. The vocalist thanked the audience but from my position in the backstage area this was muffled and sounded like a Elvis Presley impression coming through a supermarket P.A. “aaaaahh, thankyaverymuch.”

Wilko and band took to the stage and, beside (with the exception of the youthful looking Dylan) looking like a pensioners day trip, played with the energy of a trio of ecstasy fuelled disco teens. Wilko has the facial features of a crack-addled duck and this add tremendously to his haunting stage presence which he has perfected over the past thirty eight years of performing live (achieving this, mostly, by going bald and looking like the fucking grim-reaper.) The man who inspired bands like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin was now playing clubs that fit around 500 instead of 10,000. This may be a bad thing financially for the band but it’s a great pleasure for the audience who are able to stand in perspirations distance from arguably the most influential man associated with guitars since Leo Fender. But Wilko wasn’t the only one with a loyal following, it seemed a large portion of the audience were there entirely for Norman (it seemed this was proven as fact when I observed the merchandise table and noticed the two had their own custom shirts for sale. Dylan, unfortunately, didn’t.) The band played for almost an hour and a half and didn’t seem to break a damn sweat, crushing through an abundance of hits from both Dr. FeelGood’s, and Wilko’s own, back catalogue and the songs do not seem to have lost any of the intensity of when they were first played (I wasn’t alive when most were first played so I just have to go off live recordings, but still).

The band finished the set and after a brief cooling down period invited us back stage where we sat around and listened to stories from Wilko’s past. These were great and went from a story of Lew Lewis robbing the local post office to his hate for deceased bass-virtuoso, Phil Lynott. I personally love Thin Lizzy but decided to keep my mouth shut and sat there staring at a table full of beers and whiskies, fighting the urge to inhale as much as possible until someone in that cramped squat tackled me to the ground for being so damn rude.
The day after I was on my way to a suburb of Nottingham to watch another musical legend, T.V. Smith. The former adverts singing had a show booked in a what looked like the local public stink-hole and, after a picturesque drive near the Pennines, arrived in this tiny pub and was greeted by a snot-filled landlady who, with the greatest of respect, tried to converse with me but her phlegm filled sinuses made it impossible to comprehend a single damn word. I smiled, nodded politely, and felt bad that I couldn’t communicate with this snot filled woman like a normal human being.

We took out of the pub after asking about some food, “we have PORK SCRATCHINGS and PICKLED ONIONS,” and eventually found a place that served food after 4pm. I ordered some noodles and a pint of Stella, it had been five days down. Drinking it down tasted like sucking off an angel and, finally, the world seemed right. We ate our food and I finished by beer. Heading back to the venue in a mild drizzle, entering, and ordering another set of drinks at the bar, my father was driving so was on nothing but coke (-a-cola, not white powder.) We headed up the stairs into the room where the magic would be happening. The place was astonishing, what I’d expected to be nothing more than a set of floorboards with a speaker (if we were lucky,) turned out to be a capacity worthy of a king. Perhaps that was a little bit of an overstatement but the booze was back in my system and the place did look pretty swell.
We took a seat until the first act started. A group of middle aged men fronted by a dreadlocks sporting punk rocker. I’ll admit I didn’t think much of the band by looking at them but they played a good strong set. Though Pax seemed to be a typical politcal punk outfit, they put forth their opinions in an honest and convincing way. This was not just some rehashed Guardian articles with a back beat, this was genuine opinions from a group of musicians who were pissed off with the way the things were in society (and probably had been for a while by the looks of things).

Unfortunately, this couldn’t be set for the next two acts with The Reverends were nothing short of terrible. In their defence the start of their set was plagued by sound problems but even when these were amended there was very little difference. Their frontman was a brace-wearing, cliché-tattoo miserable little disgrace of a man. He sang with anger, though what exactly he was pissed off at was unsure, the vocals were barely audible and it was hard to pick up a single word, let alone an entire song topic. He looked like someone left their daughters doll of a baby too close to the fire.

The band that followed were Verbal Assault, they were better than the previous group but not by very much. Unlike Pax, the Assault’s opinions seemed half-hearted and the music wasn’t anything more than tedious. “Channel 4 said the last Big Brother had finished, the Channel 5 bought it and it’s back on our T.V’s. This song is about that!” If some goddamn shitty T.V. show was the worst of your problems, I thought, you really have nothing to be angry about, just turn the damn set off. The plethora of Mohawk donning punks sat up front nodded in approval at the subject of this tune, if these were the “non-comformists” then god helps us all. They all looked the goddamn same. The band themselves were dressed like some kind of bizarre Beatles tribute act and looked pretty ridiculous, a fitting look as their music sounded just as nonsensical. But perhaps I’m being too but am I not entitled to an opinion? They did have a healthy dose of charisma and, even though it only added to the camp atmosphere of this whole damn fiasco.
Thankfully the distaste in the air was soon cleared and, after more drinks, T.V. Smith took to the stage. Even though he was just one man with a guitar there was enough electricity in the air you soon drifted so far into the animation of T.V. that the usual sombre atmosphere of an acoustic show was transformed into a near-riot. In fact, the previously mentioned Mohawk’s pogo’d there way about in front of Smith. I couldn’t hate them, they were having a great time and so was I. One of the Mohawk’s grabbed me and pulled me into the fray, a pretty girl with a blue Mohawk.


She showed me a few times, it went, heel, toe, heel, toe, but I couldn’t get the rhythm fast enough. I could dance quite well but this was nothing but a chaos of the lower limbs. So, instead, I waited for a slightly slower tempo song and grabbed the blue Mohawk, leading into a slow dance. I hadn’t realised by this point but the girl had been with a yellow Mohawk guy and this seemed to annoy him immensely and she soon backed away.

T.V. Smith played all of his hits, his own and those of the Adverts, finishing with Gary Gilmore’s Eyes. I thought the place was going to explode.

After the show the blue Mohawk came over and spoke to me for a while, asking me to come to the next Verbal Assault show. I told her I didn’t live anywhere near here and, after being given a quixotic stare when I said “Salford,” we decided on Manchester, she took my details, and decided to have a drink sometime during the Rebellion festival later in the year (if I was even able to enter after last year’s review)

We got back into my fathers car, spending the two hour drive back hour drive navigating around blocked motorway exits and listening to Nils Lofgren’s second album, Cry Tough.

Songs To Cure Depression :: Danny Small – ‘My Girl’

“Sweeter than warm Cherry Pie.”

Okay, so we’ve entered into a situation where nothing has been wrote on the site since the last “Songs to Cure Depression” and it makes me think one of three things.
1. This should be bi-weekly and I’m writing far too much for one writer to write on one site.
2. We need more goddamn writers on the site.
3. I really don’t give a fuck about points 1 or 2 because this is magic.
So lets run with the latter.

My day (today) started hungover with the low lows, depression had reared its ugly head and nothing I did was getting rid of it. So I hit the bottle, the cowards way out. But I was out , out in the big wide world of the trafford centre when I started drinking so it wasn’t all bad. I was with a good friend (Lewis) and we drank hard, made arse-holes of ourselves and rode the bumper cars.
I’d won a plush PacMan toy from a grab machine and an hilarious 4 year old with his French parents kept us amused in the indoor wetherspoons so I gave the damn thing to him.
“say thankyou.”
Hell. that was good enough for me. Then we played laserquest and as a duo we took on the staff there and won. BUT WE ARE MISSING THE MAIN POINT.
I was introduced to this song this morning (before the low lows fully set in) by a young lady with a great soul and, shit, I was blown away. Maybe this is a testament to how the talented can fall through the slits in grids and become tramps, or maybe it isn’t. I couldn’t tell you. What I can say is that Danny Small has more talent than 12 Olly Murs, 17 Alexandra Burkes, and pisses on Justin Bieber like he was nothing but a bleach cake in a urinal (which has about the same amount of talent.) This is what every miserable shit in a suit riding the subway (or underground as they call in in London ((or BUS as we call it in Manchester))) needs to shoot a hot load of sweaty sunshine right into that glory hole in between the gluteus maximus muscles.
Plus, I love cherry pie.

Songs To Cure Depression :: Eels – ‘I Like the Way This is Going’

“…whatever seeds that you’re sowing, I like the way this is going.”

Okay, so last week was a real bummer and this week’s is a day late, but, we’re here and now I’m feeling a little better. I haven’t drank in two days (I even sat in a goddamn pub and didn’t touch a drop. Just sat sipping at a coffee) and I’ve been once again working my arse off with the various writings. Anyway, before I slip away on yet another tangent, let us break this down.

It’s a strange thing, this old life shite. How you can swing from one extreme to another (well not quite another, I’m not exactly shitting rainbows but there’s definitely a strong waft of what I thought was a stagnant air of…hope) with just the smallest of gestures, oh, and if this sounds a bit vague, it is meant to be. But, hell, it takes a man (or woman) to hit the bottom of the barrel to realise that he has nothing left to do but crawl on upwards, brushing off the crusted layers of shit until he hits the horrible blinding daylight of day to day life, of sweet, sweet, cum-sucking reality.
So I plan to sober up (don’t hold ya breath, though if you did you could probably hold it until I started breathing again,) keep a high level of work ethics, find whatever iota of zen I have left and work it until I can (perhaps/possibly/maybe/goddamn hopefully) be the kind of man that I can actually be proud of, because it’s damn hard to keep your head above the water if you don’t have a single shred of self-respect.
As far as the music goes it (once again) has very little to do with the situation, or does it? Anyway, it’s a great song by Mark Everette(a.k.a. E)’s music project, Eels. It’s a simple song, a pretty song, a love song, a song that (if not sung by a man who makes my life seem chirpy) would probably fit nicely in a Disney film. But fuck it. It’s a great song by a great musician. One that I’m sure must understand the completely fervent need, now and again, for a real pick me up and the conversation of a good friend with a beautiful soul.