Friday, 11 February 2011

More Joy Division Than Joy Division


If there's one thing that I love, it's an intense booming Ian Curtis style voice
... hence my love of  THIS and THIS ... even better is when a band that I've
seen live (who've made me think of Joy Division) then actually go on and
cover Joy Division (and THE SMITHS ) for an e.p.

... and then there's White Lies - after I'd seen the UNFINISHED BUSINESS 
video I knew I'd found another band ... a really important band

'Interpol-black shirts, Curtis-bleak cheekbones and Damned-bombastic
church organ synths'
- NME ('To Lose My Life' Review)

Iconic album imagery - CHECK 
Song intro that sounds like it's from UNKNOWN PLEASURES - CHECK

Epic Snow-laden video - CHECK
Avant-garde teaser video for single - CHECK
OUT OF THE ORDINARY GIG (Hollywood Forever Cemetry) - CHECK
... which brings us to Joy Division - the one band they are constantly compared
to - click on any video on youtube and you can be sure they'll be a Joy Division
reference (... that first comment really makes me laugh!!)

'People are stupid. This is a Joy Division cover band'

'actually they apparently aren't big fans of joy division'

'as big a Joy Division fan as I am ... this guys voice shits all over Ian Curtis'
Blasphemy you say? Not really'

"pathetic joy division imitators" my arse! I love Joy Division
and White Lies, but they're both really good'

Of course there are similiarities, but then that is the case with many bands
around today who have a 'darker sound ... but the thing that sets White Lies
apart is that they have taken the template and expanded it ...  sonically it's
on a whole new level now and more specifically there is an element of hope
within the songs ... they offer a more realised version of the Joy Division

sound. It was there on the debut album, but is even more evident on the
lastest songs (case in point: the sweeping, anthemic Bigger Than Us) - just
close your eyes, it *COULD* be Ian ... and in that split second you realise
they really could have been the greatest band in the world (not that they
wern't - but you know what I mean) and remembered for a WHOLE LOT
MORE ... it was all there within their grasp. I think their sound could have
been expanded on hugely ... there was a potential for so much more ... and
that is what is meant by the title of this piece - this sound by White Lies is
huge and right up there IN YOUR FACE ... and this it what makes White
Lies so special - and more than just a 'Joy Division copyist band.

The band have just returned with BIGGER THAN US - the first single off 
of their second album - I always prefer to HEAR a song first as opposed to
seeing the video first - I don't want to be distracted by anything that first
time, I want it to be just about the music. NME.COM had an exclusive look
at the video - I watched for a few seconds and switched it off ... it reminded
me of interpol's EVIL video (not a good thing) and I didn't want the first
listen of their new single to be watching a video I didn't like ... I bought the
single off Itunes and listened to it without any distractions.
Imagine if Joy Division covered U2's 'New Years Day' but then went and made
it all widescreen ... epic and glorious ... that's the sound of BIGGER THAN US.
It's huge and expansive ... with shuddering guitars and soaring vocals that
manage to sound foreboding yet hopeful at the same time. It's a huge leap
forward for the band ... a whole new sound while retaining everything that
made the band so special in the first place.

the 'BIGGER THAN US' video ...


when I first saw the video I was a bit taken aback ...  there's a lot going
on in it!! ... videos do tend to be a bit generic these days - but that's
what I like about this, it really stands out compared to everything else
on MTV ... basically if it looks like it could have came from David Lynchs'
mind then I'm going to REALLY like it - my favourite thing about it is
that it's open to interpretation as to what it's all about - as can be seen

by some youtube comments ... but some people take a whole other view
on it though (... and I really like the last comment!)

'It sounds like to me, the boy has noticed a change in the girls attitude
and vision on their relationship for reasons unexplainable in his own
eyes. He feels that their love for one another is more then just a simple
emotion and wants her to realize this hence the "I don't want you to
hold me, I don't want you to pray This is bigger than us'

'it strikes me that this is just musicians pretending to be artists, it's not
so much meaningful, more an excuse to spend money on all the extras
and have weird shit in a video'

'I respectfully disagree. It tells a story, and I believe that that was the
artists' intentions. The era of creating shit and calling it art is over; people
are realizing that beauty is not a fluke, and I believe that's demonstrated
with this video'

' modern music that doesn't suck? an artistic music video that doesn't
include scantily clad women? fantastic'


I really love all the small details in it (one example, the basketballs) ... from
my initial first thoughts that I wouldn't like it - it's now one of my favourite
videos of all time. Another thing is it puts a whole new spin on the song - it
makes you see the song as a whole new entity - it's definitely not the video
I would have expected (or I'd have made if I'd been given that song) ... and
that is really something to be applauded.

so what do you think to 'BIGGER THAN US' ... what's your interpretation of
the video and what do you make to White Lies in general??

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

No Roads Lead Home

Fugazi - 'The Ballroom' Nottingham - 13 May 1999
The venue where the concert is taking place is not in the middle of Nottingham
- in fact it's pretty far away from the town centre. Because I'd already been to
a concert there this year I knew where to go this time - but the first time I went
it took me ages to find it. It's also a pretty unusual venue for a concert, it's the
upstairs part of a building, and looks just like a big school hall.

It was an impressive sight arriving at the venue and seeing some hardcore guys
being interviewed by a film crew! - heck even the media knew what kind of deal
it was tonight! I end up talking to one of the guys (Matt) later down at the front
... turns out it was Channel 5 filming for some 'Straight-Edge special.

Once inside the atmosphere is really different to any gig I'd been to in the past,
it was really relaxed, small groups of people talking amid tables with various
literature on them. I go over and get my spot at the front, looking at the stage
from the right hand side.

I was actually really pissed off when I realised it was ANOTHER support band
on stage (Six By Seven) and not Fugazi like I had expected ... so I'm standing
there not impressed when the singer introduces their 2nd song 'My Life Was
A Mistake' (*My Life Is An Accident)  then it started to happen, there was a
part he was singing that really got to me. I knew then that was it. When you
have a moment when you know that something special is happening in front
of you, when you get that feeling that just hits you ... that this is what it's all
about. This all happened in that second song. The next song had me thinking
about how I now felt about the band because of that previous song ... and while
I was thinking about this, they were impressing me even more and making me
feel even more with a whole new song.

The songs are very interesting. I liked their structure and how they could be
all fast and intense one minute, then just splinter off and go down a whole new
avenue that you wern't expecting. Taking you with it. Then they'll play a slower
song straight after, and catch you off-guard. After they finished their set I was
in a real good mood. I would have been happy with just that ... I really felt like
that I'd had my moneys worth already. So you could be saying I was glad that
it wasn't Fugazi who'd stepped out on that stage.

Fugazi start with Ian saying they played here in 1991, someone shouts out
that it was 1989! - Ian seems surprised that it was so long ago,saying 'was
anyone else but the 4 of us at that gig?! ... well we were here and it was fucking
great! ... you should have been there!' ... I was very pleased when I realised that
'Break' was the first song, you could really see the devotion on the faces of the
fans and what it all meant to them. Before the gig I was a bit worried that
because I only had a couple of albums some of the songs might be lost on me.
I was real pleased to find this wasn't the case. It didn't matter that I didn't know
all the songs ... there were loads of moments in the gig when you were just
caught up in the music, having a good time.  Songs you didn't know were having
this effect on you. It was a really good feeling realising this. And added to this
they played my big favourites (Break/Place Position/Waiting room) so all in all
I was one happy guy!

Someone gets up on stage during a song, after it's finished Ian has this to say:
'Sir I'd like to apologise to you for shoving you in your face and pushing you
back into the crowd but I didn't realise that you wern't aware of the general
situation here, we have human beings on the front row (people start clapping)
and we would (consider?) if you would not jump up on stage and the gentleman
with the bald head we would appreciate it if you would also not jump on the
stage, in fact we would appreciate it if everyone would just dance on the floor!'
... the crowd cheers (the guy says something back) 'I'm sure you wern't trying
to hurt anyone but the point is you'd hurt a lot less people if you danced on the
floor! ... you're a growing lad, you know I have no fucking idea how many stone
you weigh! ... but you weigh at least 150lbs, so keep your 150lb ass on the floor!'
(everyone cheers)

We all felt the same as Ian. Everyone was just having a good time that night,
stage diving  just wasn't for this night, it was great how it was, all relaxed. I was
real happy too that I was able to take photos. I never got a photo pass because
I didn't know who to ask and I never found out in time. I thought I'd just take
my camera along with me and see what happens - and it was fine ... No-one
seemed to mind. So I was really pleased because I really wanted some photos
from this gig.

Rather ironic that it was at this gig that there was a drunk (middle aged) guy
staggering around the front (where I was) ... he was doing all these crazy dances
like this 'rain dance kind of thing, even though all of us near him were trying
not to look at him (FUGAZI are on stage!) - it was hard not to see him out the
corner of your eye and then start laughing. It wasn't funny for long because he
was getting on everyones nerves and we just wanted to watch Fugazi. Everyone
was fed up of him, Matt couldn't take any more of him being in his face and
pushed him away. Thankfully he didn't come back. Had to miss the end of the
gig (to allow plenty of time to get back to the town centre) to catch the coach.
But I wasn't sad cause I'd had such a great time there. I'd just seen Fugazi!!


Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Heartbreak, I'm Not Holding Your Hand Anymore

of course after the last song (and the first taste of the new album) - whatever
that followed was going to have a hell of a lot to live up to ... so on a very sunny
wintery morning came the release of 'Euphoria, Take My Hand' - the first single
from the second album.

just like last time you are mesemerised instantly. within the first 7 seconds.
... and this is just by the music in the background - it's like bursting into a
church and getting that brief full impact of angelic choral sound ... it doesn't
last long but it's the sound of cascading beauty with echoes of Annie Lennox's
'Why' - very solemn (yet also really uplifting) and then in the midst of that
feeling, guitars suddenly come in and I swear when I heard it my heart just
dropped as it was so damn perfect - it was just the right tempo change at the
right moment. this sudden emotional upturn coming from nowhere ... it's no
wonder that it impacted you so much.

the feeling builds and it's all U2 (Where the streets have no name) mixed
with The Killers 'All these things that I've done' emotion - but don't let that
give you the wrong impression, this is way more subdued and introspective
sounding ... amidst all this I've just gone and looked up the lyrics  ... I mean I
loved it before but NOW I've seen the lyrics 
 ... Geez, is this song gonna get you.

the 'Heartbreak I'm not holding your hand anymore, why can't you understand,
Euphoria take my hand' refrain sees the re-emergence of that euphoric choral
sound pushing to the forefront and combined with those lyrics is something
quite incredible.

the 'I Wish Upon A Falling Star' part where the music falls back, brings you
right down with James to the bare feelings at the heart of the song ... it's subtle
and delicate yet fills you with such emotion that it deserves to be screamed out
loud at the top of your lungs at their gigs ...

like last time it's the repeated lines that impact the most ... they begin at
3.21 with 'Euphoria, take my hand' repeated 3 times - you wouldn't think that
the same words, just repeated could have such an effect - but yet again they do,
and they pave the way for the crescendo of the final EUPHORIA ... this roaring
moment of clarity booming out from the speakers, that leaves you sitting there,
in silence. astounded.

the thing that made this moment have such an impact is the fact that the drums
are very precise (military style) but this is juxtaposed with the EUPHORIA
phrasing that is all free-flowing and unrestrained.

the end of the song has a return to the cascading beauty that started off the
song, all shimmering and then just burning out - it's like that brief moment of
catching the sun in your eyes on a winters day... that split moment of feeling
invincible ... except this time you've just just felt it for 4.35

you need this song, THIS BAND in your life.

EUPHORIA TAKE MY HAND is available for download now.
\\\'  is released on 4 April.


and then after all that ... all that from JUST hearing the song - I saw the video for
the song -