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Pale Ale, Payne and Creepy Dads

14 Jul

After a hiatus for wedding season I am back to review some recent releases. We have already bickered today about my hatred of The Smiths (I KNOW I KNOW) and the reviewing process hasn’t even begun. I like to think a bit of underlying resentment in a relationship keeps things spicy, right? We had a couple of weeks of socialising (I put ‘partying’ and then realised that was a wild exaggeration) and enjoying ourselves in other parts of the country. Obviously that caused a massive shift in the family routine that meant that our children didn’t sleep for a fortnight. Being a parent is worse than being a Catholic in the penance dept. Have one nice Saturday night out where you drink and dance like you did pre kids and they wake up at 6am the next morning and are awake then, until Wednesday. But hey! Now I am seated firmly on the sofa with a can of really unpalatable IPA from a pretentious but fashionable micro brewery in Berlin and ready to rumble.

I wrote the notes for these reviews about a month ago so who knows if they are funny or not. I’ve been sort of hiding from them because I am pretty sure that the latter is the case but I hope that what the horrible IPA lacks in deliciousness it makes up for in strength and at least if I’m pissed I will find myself funny regardless of what anyone else thinks. Strap yourself in, it’s going to be a wild ride (probably not…)

 

Howie Payne: The Brightest Star

6/10

Another bloody ambush! Stevie LOVES Howie Payne, he quite often abandons us to go and watch him play in Liverpool (I say quite often, maybe twice?) Anyway, he likes Howie Payne more than he likes hanging out at home with his exhausted wife so how am I supposed to say anything negative without causing bad feeling?

I want to like it and I don’t dislike it. It just doesn’t thrill me, it is really nice and light and bobbles along with a friendly, train like rhythm. It is sunny and mellow and the opposite of everything I hold dear. I like sarcasm and irony and scepticism so as much as it is a very jovial and easy listening piece of music, it doesn’t push my buttons. The video gave me a mild headache and I can’t imagine what you do when this is played live. Do you stand with your hands in your pockets and grin or wave them madly, but slowly above your head like you are having a religious epiphany? I wish I knew. To be totally honest, on second listen, I liked it better. However, like a mediocre outfit or kissing someone you don’t really fancy, it didn’t do much for me.

 

Songhoy Blues: Bamako

8.5/10

I didn’t know any background to this band on first listen so my thoughts were originally based on first impressions. I am into it, it has a 1970’s cop show, theme tune vibe. It is fast paced and funky and made me jig about in my seat (upset the dog) Something about it grabs me, it is raw and cool in a way that a lot of western music isn’t these days. It reminds me of hot, sweaty nights and making music because there is nothing else to do.

After first listen I learnt that the band was formed to escape war and fight back against the jihadi regime that had control of Mali and banned music. I think that, quite often, some of the best art/music/literature is created when there is uncertainty and unrest in somebody’s life (Woodie Guthrie, Bowie, Ian Curtis) Conflict, whether it is emotional or physical, breeds a need to express and escape into something beyond a harsh reality. The main lyric of the song is ‘let’s go out’ it is a call to arms, a protest song. In a place where just leaving your house or listening to a band can get you arrested or killed, the most rebellious thing you can do is enjoy yourself and some of that unbridled release of passion and anger bleeds into the song and makes it so much more than just another record. I enjoyed it twice as much the second time around.

 

The Kills: Wait

9/10

I loved this from the start, it is reminiscent of Loretta Lynn. Quite a departure from the Kills stuff I have heard before. Unfortunately it has a bit of a creepy dad essence coming from Jamie Hince. Allison Mosshart looks like his cool, indie daughter who he has persuaded to let him sing on her new record because he once shared a joint with Wings and can play ‘Stairway to Heaven’ on the guitar nearly all the way through. I imagine he tries to fist bumps people and calls everyone ‘man’. He used to be/is (???) married to Kate Moss so maybe I am totally off the mark as she is supposedly cool…but I’m not.

The song itself is a joy, it is totally traditional and effortlessly rich and textured. Mosshart’s voice is a treat. It reminds me of the first time I heard ‘Youth and Young Manhood’ and it changed my life. In reality I was at a caravan park in Lowestoft with my mum and dad but in my head I was in the deep south discovering how it felt to have my heartbroken by a man with a beard. I am sold and will probably listen to it endlessly for a month and then never listen to it again as is my way. Luckily for the rest of my family I have zero musical autonomy in my house so I have to sneak into a corner and listen to anything I like on headphones before someone finds me and makes me listen to the ‘Trolls’ soundtrack or Brian Ferry. Send help, I am a musical prisoner.

 

Another week, another review. The horrible ale has been drunk and now I don’t care that it tasted like a gone off Lilt, I just wish there was more of it. A bit like this review. If you like it, share it. Follow on Instagram lauren.lawless  if you enjoy self indulgent pics of my children and things I have eaten- I know I do.

 

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Cold Blood, Ants and ‘The Other Woman’

16 Jun

I have been home alone for the majority of this week as Stevie was away with work, so I am feeling a little delicate. Bear with me, this may not be the hilarious tour de force it has been previously. Once upon a time we lived at opposite ends of the country for a few months and it was slighty reminiscent of that except much less romantic and much more boring and stressful. Ireland was kind to Stevie, our children were not to me. He ate carpaccio and duck, I ate tinned ravioli and left over fish finger, singular. He slept in a king sized bed, I slept in a mass of limbs and snoring toddlers. It wasn’t all bad, I have a wicked tan from being outside all week to avoid the inevitable cabin fever that comes from zero adult interaction- single parents, I doth my cap! Here I am driven by Pinot Grigio and After Eights (God I am such a cliche) ready for review number 3.

There are already rumblings of discontent because I have expressed certain views on this weeks songs, I wait with baited breath as to whether we will still be talking in an hour or so but if not, it won’t be that different to when he was away and I got a lot of shit tele watched over the last few days so… If watching ‘Jeremy Kyle’ on catch up TV is a crime, arrest me now because I am guilty as charged.

 

Alt J: In Cold Blood

7/10

I have heard this several times on the radio, sort of in the background when I’m driving about and it never grabbed me. I am always pleased when it comes on but never pay it much attention. It has a bit of a James Bond theme tune vibe which is probably down to the brass but that isn’t very fashionable. However, the big brassy sound is unexpected and gives it depth which is much needed as it is bloody repetitive. The music seems really considered, it is multi layered and complex which kind of highlights how lazy the lyrics are, it really reminds me of the robot song from ‘Flight of the Conchords’. A Parody of a good song. BUT and it is a big but, it is so cool and nonchalant and sexy. It makes me want to be an edgier and more exciting person (it wouldn’t be hard!) I want to run away to the indie circus and teach lions to play ‘Seven Nation Army’ on a yamaha keyboard. It has a great Fargo-esque video that is probably better than the song. The fact that I don’t really have anything funny or clever to say about it usually suggests that I am into it. Shit.

 

Starcrawler: Ants

9/10

Urgh, I fucking love this.

It reminds me of a time in my life where I loved Joan Jett and Brody Armstrong. Around 2004 I used to watch P-Rock on Sky and wear a shirt and tie, fish nets and tartan mini skirt. I was doing my A Levels at a girl’s school, stuck in rural Northamptonshire, looking at the beautiful countryside and seething internally because I was so bleeding punk and it was desperately sad that I had been born into the least punk life anyone has ever had. I had been condemned to a life of privilege with nothing to be angry about except the lack of things to be angry about. I can hear Stevie snorting derisively in my head as I type this but I imagine 75% of punks are from the same background. It is quite often the pursuit of people with quite a lot of spare time and not much to be cross about.

The song is hair metal meets punk in 2017 which is a difficult concept to visualise. It is also a song entirely about ants but it’s simple and sublime. No messing, androgynous front woman with a penchant for jumpsuits and mullets, deffo totally sensational live. Everything about it is really refreshing but comfortingly familiar.

 

 

Marika Hackman: Violet

6/10

Stevie is well into a new wave of 90’s grunge inspired female singers/bands. I had heard one of her other songs being played in our house so had an idea of what to expect. Let me start with a disclaimer: I didn’t like 90’s grunge the first time around and as much as I love love love the influx of women who don’t feel the need to be ‘sexy’ to be successful I find it far from groundbreaking, musically. I also get the feeling that I am in the minority with this opinion. General consensus of this tune by everyone but me: V. Cool. I struggle to be blown away by this song and I know that Stevie loves it so I am expecting a backlash.

I want it to be interesting and there is a string section that took me by surprise but it is all so VANILLA. Yes it mixes things up a bit and I am pretty sure Kurt Cobain had the same t shirt but it is so contrived. It is girls in boys clothes singing breathy, uninspiring songs about the weather (sorry Stevie!!) It is like someone saying that they ate bacon in a hot cross bun. It sounds weird and exciting initially but gradually you realise that people have been eating pork with fruit for hundreds of years and it is just a slight variation on a tried and tested formula. Good effort, pleasant enough but I am unlikely to hand the HP over any time soon.

R.I.P my marriage. We have weathered many a storm like the time I threw a tea bag and hit him in the eye, twice. We have survived my hatred of boxing and the fact that I will categorically never go to Las Vegas. We are still together even though I am a hypocrite by my own admission and he hates ‘The Real Housewives of Cheshire’. We did so well until ‘Marika Hackman gate’. If that isn’t irreconcilable differences then I don’t know what is.

Share this review. I need all the help I can get.

 

New Year, New Me? The truth, the whole truth and nothing but…

20 Jan

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So I have been neglecting my blog a little, well a lot since last year and I have missed it. I think sometimes you need to take a step back and have a look at the reality of life otherwise you will forget to live it. I have been living life like a lunatic, I got married in August and settled down to the suburban ideal. Weddings are not without their niggles and it is rarely the things that you stay awake worrying about that will cause problems on the day. It tends to be the unforeseen and unpredictable elements and people that rear their ugly heads on the day. In reality though you kind of have to just go with the flow, don’t expect too much of anything and you will never be disappointed. I have spent every single New Year that has been planned and anticipated for weeks with a sense of blah. The night will never be as electric and you will never look as enigmatic or the food will never be as good or the music as cool or the people as sexy as they were in your mind on December 29th or if that isn’t your bag then the porn you downloaded won’t be as hardcore as you anticipated or the popcorn you bought will be slightly stale…what I am getting at is that you will feel slightly let down and cheated by your over ambitious imagination. The same goes for your wedding day and life in general. I am not suggesting that you should remain cynical and uninvolved with the world ‘just in case’. The expectation of a fall is often followed by just that as we all know but you should be prepared to lose control, handover the reigns to the universe and think fuck it, what will be will be.

It has been a long and difficult process to get to this point of view, my battles with OCD and anxiety have been well documented in this blog and really I am a meticulous planner, I had lists and table plans and more lists and spent hours scouring the internet for florists and dresses and bridesmaid shoes (nearly killed me) I was a hideous bridezilla at the rehearsal ‘don’t speak to me, I just need you all to leave me alone or I will cry’ and the following dinner. But what I took from my wedding day was that if you believe that no matter what happens you will have an amazing time and it will be a truly magical day then it will be. You can breathe deep and just let go, it is a terrifying and liberating feeling. I promise. With an attitude like that you can spill so much wine over yourself that your fingers go pruney, chase Ukrainian tourists with video cameras from your wedding venue and forget to speak to at least half your guests without a care in the world (I also managed to break the strap of my dress during the first dance and bleed all over said dress pre photos)

My therapist told me that your truth is the truth. Obviously this is a very broad statement and if your truth involves deliberately hurting others or anything illegal then perhaps you should skip this section but widely speaking if you are happy and content with your lot then you have enough. That is what makes us all so unique and it leads to a wonderful place where nobody can really alter your reality. There are certain papers that I no longer read and certain people that I don’t associate with because their influence lead me to feel badly about my looks, finances, life choices etc. I have been led to think that I am not thin enough, rich enough or successful enough by outside elements but if you can believe that you have plenty then you do, if you believe you are good at your job then you are, if you believe that you are beautiful then it is true and if you believe that the world is going to the dogs then it is. It works both ways and the truth is a very powerful thing.

What I am trying to say is, that in this day and age when life is so stressful and expensive and our expectations of the future are either very high or very low it is important to remember that being happy, being content and being a dignified and decent person is enough. If you know these things to be true then the character of life; the excitement, the pain, the unexpected detours and the heartache, the wins and the losses are what makes it all so special…just like the drunken arguments, the ruined shoes and the tears of joy on your wedding day.