2014 is going too fast! March has been and went and was another memorable month for the ‘slutz. Maybe the biggest moment for us was celebrating our 1st birthday. We’ve come a long way baby! On the subject of birthdays, Gigslutz stalwarts Amelia and Kate went to along to cover Aziz Ibrahim’s 50th Birthday bash at the Roadhouse in Manchester. This was a cracking night by all accounts and you can check out Amelia and a certain Ian Brown rubbing shoulders at the evnt in the profile picture of this article.
Another top moment during March was having Bonehead & Alex Lipinski along to our monthly radio show, although the collective pissed up football skills at 1am left a fair bit to be desired. Our next show is 10th April, so make sure you tune into that when we will be announcing another exciting special guest for our May show.
As March tipped into April we were hit with the sad news that Frankie Knuckles passed away. Frankie’s played a big part in my musical background and it’s always a shame to lose a pioneering and innovative musician such as he was. Thanks for the tunes Frankie.
I may be earning the reputation of being somewhat predictable with my ‘highlights’… But I’d prefer to call it consistent. Much like Eight Rounds Rapid – a band consistent in their ability to impress, consistent in their delivery of musical excellence and consistently charismatic. This month, they’ve only gone and released their debut album – ‘Lossleader’ – which has been, predictably/deservedly, my highlight of March.
With subject matter ranging from Russian philosophers (‘Dostoyevsky’) and the state of the music industry today (‘Talent’) to stalking girls (‘Stalker’) and stingy friends (‘My Mate’), every single track on this album fills me with the same overwhelming excitement I felt upon first seeing 8RR supporting Wilko Johnson, back in October. Exuding lyrics with tongues firmly in cheeks, each track is an anthemic blitz of Mod-inspired, punk-infused energy that I find myself listening to time and time again. Filled with extraordinary, climatic riffs, pummeling beats, refreshingly riotous vocals and tremendous, trouncing bass lines, ‘Lossleader’ is an album that will reignite your faith in music in an instant.
So, I urge you – not for the last time – to take a listen to this impelling and impressive band from Southend. You can get hold of the album here, or from the usual Amazon or Ebay.
Without a doubt, the highlight of my month – nay, decade – was the announcement of live dates from Kate Bush, only slightly soiled by the fact that I didn’t get a ticket. I am going to be sending our editor Steve and Kate’s promoters various shrubbery, literature and precipitation based gifts over the next few months in the hopes that they’ll wave a magic wand, or perhaps click The Red Shoes together, and get me there.
Live highlights that actually did happen came in the form of Temples (like hearing the sun explode in slow motion), CHVRCHES (like a younger Dusty Springfield joined Pet Shop Boys full-time and travelled to the future), Metronomy (a surprising “St. Irish Night” triumph) and Miles Kane (who I also interviewed, and is more Beatles than Stones).
Following The Horrors all the way from ‘Strange House’ to ‘Primary Colours’ and then to ‘Skying’ has been one of the toughest musical paths to follow. But, a reward for my years of dedication and acceptance came in March; in the form of ‘So Now You Know’. The song comes less than a month since the surfacing of ‘I See You’, the first phenomenal track from the bands forth LP ‘Luminous’. ‘So Now You Know’ took my breath away the first time I heard it, and it hasn’t been able to escape my brain since. I’ve also developed a problem of shouting ‘Turn away!’ in Faris Badwan’s voice when someone glances at me; it is slowly becoming a serious issue and I may need medical attention.
Without a doubt, my March highlight has to be seeing the incredible Skaters at Dingwalls in London. It’s great that bands still love playing these compact venues and it’s easy to see why. The atmosphere was something else as the New Yorkers – and Yorkshireman – brought their electric debut album ‘Manhattan’ to Camden, throwing in a couple of Smiths and Nirvana covers for good measure. I’m expecting big things for these guys over the next year or two; New York hasn’t had a new band as exciting as them in a long time. And with similar groups like Drowners – a support act at that show – also entering the limelight lately, 2014 could be the best year in recent memory for The Big Apple’s rock scene.
This month at the BFI FLARE I got to see The Punk Singer, a documentary film about Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer of riot grrl band Bikini kill and electroclash band Le Tigre. An iconic feminist figure who paved the way for so many. Described as “a fascinating tour of contemporary music and offers a never-before-seen view into the life of this fearless leader.” A must see for any 90s punk fan.
This month, post Barât interview I’ve really been getting into the old Dirty Pretty Things and Libertines stuff, as well as the more downbeat music from his eponymous album. There’s been a minor resurgence in intelligent poetry in music recently, which is more artist-specific than genre-based, and I’m really rather excited about that.
March has been a super busy month for me and apart from some amazing live shows I’ve seen including Temples, Metronomy and Bombay Bicycle Club – the highlight obviously has to be starting to write for Gigslutz!
My highlight has been quite easy to find this month. The news about The Rolling Stones’ upcoming tour struck me so much that when I found out they are going to play a live gig in Rome I literally exploded like a firework. I’m sure I could never describe the satisfaction for seeing the biggest Rock’n’Roll band of all time in my home country.
The other interesting thing has been the release of The Black Keys’ new single “Fever”. I used to listen to them a lot while studying at uni, and they’re an emotional rescue to me. Sort of.
March is over already? My highlight for this month would have to be the discovery of a fantastic new band: ‘The Gentlemen’ who I saw supporting The Feeling, on their UK tour. I very rarely enjoy support acts as I feel uncomfortable not knowing the words; you can never really get into the music irrespective of how good it is if you’ve never heard them before. The Gentlemen, however, are a rare breed of musicians. Their catchy uplifting melodies (influenced by the likes of M83 and Everything Everything) enable you to pick up the chorus the first listen through. I went straight home and downloaded their album ‘Departures’, with my most played song this month being ‘Jump Into The Ocean’. It has me hoping for some decent weather and longing for a good ol’ BBQ sometime soon. Pah. I wish.
Been playing Black Lips’ “Boys in the Hood” song to death this month. Bringing a raw 60’s rocker style that’s perhaps rougher round the edges than their often-compared counterparts The Black Keys, this track from their new album embodies their spirit perfectly.
My March Highlight was definitely Fall Out Boy at Wembley Arena! It was a childhood dream to see them headline such a big venue and it was magical to see so many people, old fans and new fans, sing along to all the classics! Can’t wait to see them again at Download!
Following a mini tour which included a sell out show in their hometown of Manchester, Mutineers released a new single ‘Love, It’s A Killer’. The jaunty riffs, alongside a catchy rhythm and brooding vocals meant that finally being able to download this track was a highlight of the month. In addition to this, the single climbed it’s way to the top of Amazon’s Movers and Shakers Chart, which shows that determination and a loyal fanbase can go a long way.
The one thing that made me stop in my tracks this month was (and I’m sure I’m not alone here) the jaw-dropping Future Islands performance on Letterman. Despite not having heard their music before, I had heard some considerable hype about their performance online, and boy, I wasn’t disappointed. Frontman Samuel T Herring’s incredibly soulful vocals are an odd counterpoint to the band’s synth-indebted sound, but on Seasons (Waiting For You) they really pull it off – particularly in this stunning live show. Herring pours every last drop of emotion into it, recalling Ian Curtis’ onstage Joy Division persona. He’s totally lost in the music and the performance, pulling out some utterly bizarre but utterly brilliant dance moves and even unleashing a death metal hoarse growl at one point. It makes for an incredibly gripping, engaging spectacle that makes for a refreshing change from many modern frontmen.