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.

 

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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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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Photo Blog – Gig Tickets #1

Yes, this is a very self indulgent blog post but what’s the point in having a personal blog if you can’t please yourself. So here we go, the first of what I imagine will be an ongoing series of photo blogs showing tickets of gigs past. Ah, nostalgia.

 

October and November 2002 – Supergrass, Hundred Reasons, Nada Surf anf Foo Fighters.

December 2002, January 2003 – Doves (as a favour), Hell Is For  Heroes, Soledad Brothers (out of curiosity as we’d heard about them being good live), Jesse Malin (with my sister)..

February 2003 – Idlewild (supported by Mclusky) , Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Burning Brides, Longwave, Kinesis (we went to see Reuben who were supporting that night, hence the signed ticket from Jamie).

February & March 2003 – Har Mar Superstar (again, curiosity), Blood Brothers (band were great but gig full of fashionista which made for a flat atmosphere which was a real shame), Anti War Gig (With McLusky and Panel et al), Mad Capsule Markets (amazing performance from the band and electric atmosphere).

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In The Early 90s I Was Listening To…

 

The early 90s probably still seems like the best time in music to me because I was just coming out of the awful phase of trying to fit in and listening to what everyone else in school thought was good and finally discovering what I actually liked. At this point everything was fresh to me and exciting, it was all new and made a huge impression because I didn’t have that jaded sense of ‘heard it all before’ yet.

My appetite for finding new music to listen to was huge and I raided other people’s collections for records to borrow and scoured the pages of Melody Maker for new bands, reading it from cover to cover, marking gigs coming up and wondering how I would find the money to pay for them.

Pivotal albums for me at the time ranged from the American hardcore of Big Black to the dreamy shoegaze of Galaxie 500. Big Black’s Songs About Fucking for instance was the record that made me realise I had only scratched the surface. I can remember the exact moment – I was coming down the stairs at home and heard that distinctive drum machine sound filtering through from my mum’s record player in the living room – I stopped, spellbound for a moment (by what I now know was Kitty Empire) and that was it, hooked.

At this point though I was relying on hand me downs and copies on cassette tape for the most part, paper covers made by friends with their little handwritten track lists and notes telling me which ones they liked the best, so many of the records I loved were a few years old, and in the case of those bands above had already split up.

Despite the ‘cut and paste’ bad quality copies (or maybe because of them) these records have stuck with me and remain some of my all time favourites – so here I give you an edited list of the records I loved and can still recommend from the time:
Swans – Greed (1986)
Big Black – Songs About Fucking (1987)
Napalm Death – Scum (1987)
Pixies –  Surfa Rosa (1988)
Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation (1988)
My Bloody Valentine – Isn’t Anything (1988)
Dinosaur Jr – Bug (1988)
Fugazi – Fugazi & Margin Walker EPs (1988 & 1989)
Galaxie 500 – On Fire (1989)
Bastro – Diablo Guapo (1989)
Spacemen 3 – Playing With Fire (1989)
The Wedding Present – Bizarro (1989)
Ultra Vivid Scene – self titled (1989)
The Cure – Disintegration (1989)
Ride – Ride & Play EPs (1990)
Mazzy Star – She Hangs Brightly (1990)
The Happy Flowers – Lasterday I Was Been Bad (1990)
New Fast Automatic Daffodils – Big 12″ (1990)
Primal Scream  – Loaded 12″ (1990)
Extreme Noise Terror – Peel Sessions ’87-’90 (1990)
LFO – Frequencies (1991)
Orbital – self titled (1991)
Pavement – Trigger Cut 12″ (1992)