Category: Nostalgia

Keep On Keepin’ On

And now, we proudly present
songs perverse and songs of lament.
A couple of hymns of confession,
and songs that recognize our sick obsessions.”
(“Some Red Handed Sleight Of Hand” – Cursive)

Music has always been an important emotional anchor for me; the perception altering first time I heard Big Black’s Songs About Fucking when I was just into my teens, or the emotional rush I had hearing Tim Kasher’s voice on Cursive’s The Ugly Organ for the first time in 2003 or seeing Godspeed You! Black Emperor or *shels play live for the first time; these were all pivotal moments for sure, but on a day today level its more than that – a way of life, an obsession, a deep seated need. I know I’m not alone in this, I wouldnt be so arrogant, but by way of intro, I can’t explain it any other way.

It’s difficult to pin down what it is that’s going to inspire you, or wring emotion from you; a simple chord change, a scuzzy riff, a charged vocal perhaps, and just as difficult to answer is that inevitible question ‘what kind of music do you like’, which always seems pointless when its such an emotional thing, so ‘a bit of everything’ is the answer to that, and even then it is mood dependent.

In my 40s I’m as enthusiastic about finding new music as I was in my teens, perhaps more so, in part because of the frustration I feel when I hear people my age saying there’s nothing new to find, listen to, or be inspired by, because its simply not true.  There is almost too much to keep up with; just scroll the front pages of Bandcamp any day of the week for starters.  In some way I feel I need to prove them wrong but also hearing great music makes me feel alive and inspired, so I’m constantly on the look out.

I’ve been reading a lot of fanzines again, which I’ve come back to after becoming disillusioned with mainstream music journalism, and the enthusiasm and passion of zinesters has also renewed my energy for new discoveries. It is so much easier to find new music now – word of mouth, physical mix tapes and print media have been usurped, in part, by online sources, but fanzines have survived and  hold a vital spark, a raw physical energy you can’t find anywhere else.

Whatever your need, just keep discovering, keep listening, keep it emotional.

 

 

 

Roomthirteen End Notes

I stopped working for Roomthirteen a few months back after a heady 8 years of writing, gigging and editing.  I finally realised I was never going to get paid for doing this and that I didn’t have the energy to keep up two jobs and so the dream ended.  Sadly this seems to be a story I’ve heard time and time again – the days of falling into a journalist job have long gone and unless you already know someone who knows someone, all doors are closed to you and it’s a full time job trying to get noticed. I salute those who can maintain the enthusiasm.

I’d thought it would leave me with tons of time to blog and listen to new music but truthfully I’ve found other ways to fill the time and now I’m not sure how I fitted it in at all.  The reality was that I was spending eight hours a day on a computer in work and then three or four hours a night at home, again staring at a screen but this time editing and writing. Editing the website eventually became a chore; at first it was like a drug, exciting and compulsive, but after a while I was spending half my time checking and replying to emails and the rest editing other peoples work, so that the writing, the reason I got into it in the first place, fell by the wayside and when I was reviewing something it was often awful, or even worse, mediocre.

So what’s the moral of the story? For me I don’t think there is one – as well as now having the time to do other things (including spending more time with my long suffering boyfriend) I’m still compelled to constantly listen to and write about music and can’t see myself stopping any time soon; for now though I prefer the more organic nature of a personal blog.  Being able to listen to what I want and review things that inspire me has revitalised my love of music and writing again and I’m finding that the urge to put finger to keyboard has returned.

Of course, regardless of my circumstances It’s great that there are still a steady stream of aspiring writers and editors that keep volunteering for non-profit sites like Roomthirteen. On sites like these, without the pressure to give a positive write-up to keep the money rolling in, there is the freedom to review something honestly, and in the world of PR pleasing fake reviews and back-handers it’s refreshing to read that kind of writing, long may it continue.

 

Back To The Future

I recently acquired a new turntable:

Rega Turntable

I’m not going to do some huge advert for it, however it’s about a million times better than my old one – I hadn’t realised how muddy the sound was on it until I cranked up this one. The result of this new depth of sound has had me dragging out old albums again. This probably should come as no surprise if you’ve been to this blog before as I am given to harking back to the past anyway, but I’ve remembered why I love vinyl so much and how vast the difference is between it and the sound of my ipod (even with decent headphones).

This1988 album by Bastro:

Bastro Cover Image

Rode Hard And Put Up Wet sounds superb again – it brings back memories of me listening to it at 17 with the door to my tiny box room shut having a sneaky cigarette next to the open window, I loved this record and played it to death on my old hand-me-down system (which incidentally was still better than the one i just consigned to dusty under bed ‘storage’).

This is a real post-hardcore gem, although at the time I probably would have called it American Hardcore, and I recall buying it because of the Albini connection (he engineered the album) and they used a drum machine so it had that Big Black feel to it. They have interesting time signatures and fantastic discordant horns which I remembered instantly this week when I was listening to the new Svin record (read my Roomthirteen review here) and I immediately pulled this six track mini album out of the stack to get stuck back into.

I’m sure there will be more nostalgic waffling on old records to come soon. I’m even considering digging out my old Ride and Slowdive stuff although I fear they may not have aged so well.

Labels Are Moot?

As far as my taste in music goes I think I’m past being labelled based on the way I look, (I could be wrong but) it’s been a few years since someone asked me about my preferences based on looks alone, I’m guessing this is because I’m now officially getting old or whatever. Honestly I’m not sure fitting in has ever been a huge concern to me and these days I certainly don’t align myself to one particular genre anyway.  Online though it’s all about what you say rather than how you look and this can also have its drawbacks – if I review a load of albums from a  particular genre I suddenly get typecast a certain way but that’s par for the course with music journalism as its difficult to write a review which you want to aim at a particular audience without mentioning genre.

Sure I love Punk music but I also love a lot of emo, alt-rock, metal, indie, post rock or whatever else takes my fancy. Sometimes I’m surprised into noting how narrow some peoples taste in music is and have wondered how anyone can limit themselves to just one type of music – wouldn’t that get really boring really quickly? Wouldn’t you be missing out on a huge amount of great music?  Whats wrong with just accepting that you don’t fit in anywhere and not worrying about what other people think? Music is what keeps me going and I’ve always been off centre to what is considered the ‘norm’ but instead of buying in to a lifestyle cliche I am simply true to myself and love music that makes me feel something or inspires me.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

On that note here are a few records that have inspired me recently:

Belgrado 7"
Belgrado’s 7″ Panopticon / Vicious Circle – post-punk of the highest order from Spain.

Bandcamp

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Adult - Northern Exile

Creative Adult’s new cassette Northern Exile – everything you love about hardcore punk but with a pissed off post-punk edge

Bandcamp

 

 

MINE EP Cassette Tape

MINE EP – British H/C-Punk with Post-Rock builds.

Bandcamp

 

 

 

te - Therefore, the illusion of density breach, the tottering world "forget" tomorrow

Japanese post rockers té and their instrumental album Therefore, the illusion of density breach, the tottering world “forget” tomorrow which is full of huge anthemic tunes.

Bandcamp

 

Photo Blog – Gig Tickets #4

Another installment of my gig tickets photo blog where I take a trip down memory lane. This time we start in June 2005 with…

Reggie and the Full Effect at the Barfly in Cardiff, it says  on the ticket that My Awesome Compilation supported but honestly I have to admit I don’t remember them at all. July 2005 and Rammstein at the CIA. This was a memorable gig, oddly they didn’t have any support but this may be due to the set up of the stage show which involved a huge cauldron and lots of pyrotechnics which you could feel from half way back in the venue, other props included a bloody butchers apron and a meat cleaver. Also notable as I stood on James Dean Bradfield’s foot in the crowd – he looked really pissed at me actually!
Funeral For a Friend, we went as Gratitude supported but now I don’t remember this gig AT ALL, obviously a bit of a non-event. Compass Point was at Coopers Field in the castle grounds in Cardiff. We went because Million Dead were playing and sat about in a field drinking beer. I remember chatting to Julia Ruzica by the fence to the backstage area for a while and Million Dead were really, really good. There were a few decent bands on that day including Biffy Clyro and Queen Adreena.

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In 2003 I Was Listening To…The Ugly Organ

I find it very difficult to write about my favourite records (or those that made a real impact on me at certain times of my life) as I’m so emotionally connected to them. I feel like I’m doing the record a disservice to write up my emotional responses in this way – I usually try and write objectively when I’m penning a serious review for RoomThirteen or the MMP but in this blog I’ve frequently thought, fuck it, why not get personal, why not tell the emotional journey, the reasons why this music is so important to me and continues to fuel me emotionally so I can make it through the low points in my life. So here I am again with the story of another of those pivotal records and whether its read or not it still feels good to get it out there.

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Photo Blog – Gig Tickets #3

The third installment of my gig tickets photo blog which is more about personal nostalgia I suppose than my readers. I’ve come to realise posting these tickets how often I’ve seen certain bands, the same names seem to appear over and over again!

July to November 2004. I’m pretty sure this was our first time seeing the Thermals, I remember this really well, they were selling copies of their first album from a box hidden in a backpack at the side of the stage and they played an awesome gig! Another outing to see Hell Is For Heroes and McLusky, one of several! I remember the Bled being pretty good, that was just between their first and second album releases. Thirteen Senses headlined the MTV2 Gonzo on tour that year, it was no where near as good as the previous year and my overriding memory of the night was boredom. Lostprophets at the CIA was actually pretty good, a big show and pretty impressive.

 

October 2004 to January 2005 – Bloc Party when they were starting to get bigger, I still maintain they were better the first time we saw them in a support slot. Hundred Reasons were always decent although I cant recall who supported them at this one… Dillinger Escape Plan were supported by Poison The Well at this Barfly gig, it was a loud one and I was in love with PTW at the time so I’d have gone just for them although I was really interested to see DEP – actually they were solid but not as crazy as I’d been led to expect! Two Milo gigs one after the other – we must have liked them. One was postponed from October according to my note, I always really enjoyed a live show from them and at the January gig they were supported by Fighting With Wire – what a bonus.

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Photo Blog – Gig Tickets #2

Round two of the gig tickets photo blog, satisfying my need for a trip down memory lane.

December 2003 to February 2004 – McLusky at Clwb supported by Sammo Hung, I remember Sammo being pretty decent. I do miss McLusky even though they never seemed that please to see us! We went to see Modey Lemon as Distophia were supporting, I have no memory of the the headliners but Distophia were as I recall, rather good. I think this was the second time we’d see Death Cab but we made it to Bristol this time and it was worth the trip and this was the first time I saw Coheed headline in the now closed down TJs, I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many people singing along to a band.

March and April 2004 – I still have a soft spot for Thrice, they are always solid live (but it might also have something to do with Teppei Teranishi…), this was another TJs gig.  Hundred Reasons at The Great Hall was another really good night, Sparta supported and were excellent (my main reason for being there) but HR were also on form and the place was packed. At this Futureheads gig Bloc Party were first on, we’d never heard of them and when we went to talk to them after they were like rabbits caught in the headlights! Yet another Biffy gig, I’m not sure how many times we saw them but we kept going back because you were guaranteed to have a good time.

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