Lancaster rockersMassive Wagons are set to soar, with their latest album House of Noise debuting at an impressive NUMBER 1 on the iTunesUK Rock Chart. With a can-do attitude and an unapologetically loud lust for life. Massive Wagons have won over the hearts of fans (including myself) up and down the country. That is before we even mention the fact, they are bloody brilliant musicians.
With shredding guitar riffs and scorching vocals from frontman Baz (Barry Mills). House of Noise hurtles us head-first into exactly what Massive Wagons are all about. Crazily energetic live performances, a dedicated love for their fanbase and a heap of good old-fashioned rock n’ roll. All embodied within this firecracker of an album. Which, as the title suggests, needs to be played loud and proud.
Through tongue-in-cheek lyrics (I’m looking at you The Curry Song), laced with an underlying ferocity at heartbreak, politics, and any act of being kicked while you’re down. Massive Wagons swoop in on those mighty rockin’ horses and pick us straight back up. House of Noise will have you chanting, singing, and head-banging until your heart’s content.
Undeniably a band for the people. Massive Wagons take what we are all thinking, and project it from a stage with force. Stand up and shout anthems that reverberate with so many, are just one of the reasons this band are so good at what they do. Several superb crowd-pleasers on their latest album, including Bangin’ in Your Stereo and title-track House of Noise, actually gave me goosebumps at the thought of witnessing live music again.
Baz’s distinguishable vocals and infectious energy are equally matched by hard-hitting instrument playing. You only need to listen to the gorgeously gritty intro of Hero to gather that. So much is driving this album on towards greatness. Really holding its own, House of Noise is an album that kicks everything we’ve known already about Massive Wagons, up a gear. Song after song, we’re met with music as bold as it is brilliant. Even in the woozy comedown of Matter of Time, I caught my breath, and listened in awe.
Watching Baz completely own a stage before was mesmerising enough, NOW I can only dream of the onslaught Massive Wagons will parade with when they take House of Noise on the road next March.
House of Noise is OUT NOW via Earache Records
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I have one word to describe this band and their sound, and that is intriguing. I had never encountered Sorry before 925 burst on the scene. I merely saw an album from a band unknown to me, receiving rave reviews on social media. Therefore of course my curiosity was peaked, and it wasn’t long before I indulged my senses with their debut album release.
925 greeted me as a gorgeous medley of sound. Each song is able to capture a different mood and feeling. With every individual element of each song reflecting this. It appeared to me as though they have been crafted meticulously, from their lyrics through to each note of their musical content. Different instruments are used within every song to create a unique vibe for each.
With each song having its own uniqueness, this does mean that overall tracks on the album do contrast. However, I don’t see this as a bad thing. These contrasting sounds blend together to create a kaleidoscope. Complete clarity can never be captured within this album, as we are taken on a wild ride both lyrically and musically, but I believe that is the point. The album is a trippy, euphoric rush. Moods sway and vocals swing. It’s a meticulous, gorgeous high.
I have seen this band described as having an ‘I don’t care’ attitude. Through the album however, personally I struggle to find this. There is a confidence present of course, although, I perceive Sorry as a band experimenting and breaking boundaries through their debut album. 925 is an experiment with impeccable results surely, I am left wondering how there could possibly be any anomalies present?
Whether Sorry constructed 925 on an arrogant social whim, frankly has no impact on me. I can see they have sought inspiration from and interpolated well-known tracks, however I only have admiration for their boldness. To be so blasé, and use popular releases to create something new. Yes it does snub the noses of their predecessors slightly, but they have crafted their influences into their own forms of artwork. In no way are the songs of 925 carbon copies of resembling sounds before them.
The album is meant to be beautifully woozy and dream-like. This is what we should focus on, if we possibly can. Hazy vocals clash with jarring instruments and create songs that shake and wake you up. Vocals are bordering on mundane but, they’re not. I can’t help but feel that lead vocalist Asha Lorenz, purposefully mutes her sound to stir emotions and hook onto the ledge of a feeling.
To hone in and cherry pick my favourite tracks for you to listen to, would not do this album justice. Listeners who capture the spirit of 925 as a whole, will enjoy the freedom it offers from its fluidity, and relish in the mystery of this intriguing band.
If you are following me on Instagram, then you will know that throughout January I have been sharing a series of posts as a part of my Year of Vinyl challenge, through which I have celebrated owning my beloved Crosley Record Player for a year, by sharing with you my favourite albums on vinyl.
Although I didn’t post as many as I’d have liked, I feel that those I have shared with you all are undoubtedly favourites that I own and are a wonderful reflection of my music tastes. Therefore, I feel I have shared quality and not quantity on this occasion, at least in my eyes anyway.
The albums I have chosen were created by artists and bands whom I adore. I will be writing the frank and honest truth about why each vinyl is held so dearly to me, sharing with you the stories of how I came to own each one and the meaning behind them. I will delve into my subconscious and share with you all my reasons for loving each album, as well as giving you more insight into the tracks that I enjoy the most from each and a little more about what to expect in terms of music style from the artists themselves.
Bad Contestant by Matt Maltese
Without further ado, the first album I chose to share on my Year of Vinyl challenge was Bad Contestant by Matt Maltese. If I had to pick one vinyl to play for the rest of my life, then I can safely say that this would be it. Bad Contestant is an album I have treasured, the sound is sublime on vinyl, and I relish the crackles and imperfections over any clean-cut studio recording. This was one of the very first vinyls I bought for my player, and was also my first signed one that I came to own. When I first opened it, I knew that this album would be very special to me. Matt Maltese is an artist that was born for vinyl, his vocals hums of the 70s. Vintage, with a modern twist, this album is truly unique in both its lyrical content and overall style. Home to songs that suit every mood, I have laughed with this album and I have cried with this album. It has been spun many a time on my record player, and I could not imagine having had the year without it. I adored this album before I owned the vinyl, so I do not doubt that it will always be one that I cherish and play repeatedly. Stand out favourites for me are ‘Like a Fish’ and the vastly contrasting ‘Less and Less’.
That’s Your Lot by Blaenavon
Next up to be shared with you were the striking blue vinyl discs of That’s Your Lot by Blaenavon. An album I have found so beautiful since my very first listen. Although the blue vinyl version was a recent purchase, I already owned this album on standard black vinyl, which I still cannot allow myself to part with. This album has accompanied me through poignant times in my life, and Blaenavon have in turn comforted my many a sleepless night with their soothing songs. Hence why I find myself instinctively drawn to the softer side of this album, with songs such as ‘Let Me See Happens Next’ being held particularly close to my heart. I first discovered Blaenavon through ‘My Bark is Your Bite’, however I initially stumbled upon the acoustic version. Having played this repeatedly via Spotify, it wasn’t until I decided to actually look further that I found That’s Your Lot. To this day, I have no idea why in late 2017, I procrastinated in listening to a band I would find such solace in, for so long. I continue listening to Blaenavon through to the present day, they are a band I completely could not imagine existing without. I have had such an intense love affair with That’s Your Lot. Owning the blue discs was a mini victory for me, having previously dismayed at them being completely sold out. I rejoiced when only last year, this glorious album was restocked in not only blue but was also signed. I think actual tears may have fallen that day.
Isaac Gracie (Self-Entitled) by Isaac Gracie
To say I adore Isaac Gracie would be too weak a sentiment. Isaac Gracie’s music is a part of me and I have grown into the woman I am since discovering his music way back when I was still in university in early 2015. I began listening to Isaac when his music was just early demo releases on Spotify. I have played his pre-album recording of ‘Last Words’ to death, and even now, I still find myself listening to it often. I remember clearly when Isaac announced his debut album release, and again I am certain I cried. Isaac Gracie releasing this stunning album to the world made me feel like a proud mother. It was surreal hearing his music getting radio airplay, when it had previously been with me in my loneliest of times whilst I was away from home. The album consists of a gorgeously, soft, string of melodies. Isaac’s flawless, melting vocals lead us through songs that are deeply emotive, and lyrically poetic. Throughout there is a strong sense that Isaac Gracie is confessing and sharing his secrets with the listener, eluding tales of a broken heart and a wounded relationship. Isaac did so well to release this album that clearly means an awful lot to him, and I remain so immensely proud of his work. Although, I cannot help but feel a wash of sadness when I listen to this album sometimes though, and this is purely for my own selfish reasons, as unfortunately I was not able to make any of Isaac’s live performances on his first tour. Various commitments, fears of travelling and so on, got in the way. I look back now and dismay at why I felt this way at the time. However I hope he will tour again soon. I can assure you I will not miss out a second time. My absolute favourite song from this album, and I would even say of all time is ‘Silhouettes of You’. It is absolutely beautiful and one that I cannot recommend you listen to enough.
Dream On by Alice Boman
Although this is a very new release, I still felt it was fair to include this in my year of vinyl, as I was so highly anticipating this album. My thoughts, and idea of what it was going to be like were in my head long before it was in my hands. Dream On by name and by nature, I myself dreamt of owning Alice Boman’s stunning debut album for months. I first heard Alice’s gorgeously haunting vocals through BBC TV series Wanderlust. The programme itself was a masterpiece of television, capturing so transfixingly the struggles of marriage and love, Alice Boman’s songs laced within the episodes were a match made in heaven, and captured the raw emotion of the programme so beautifully. I found myself completely fascinated with her voice, and as soon as an episode would finish, I would be frantically hunting the song down online. Eventually I’d built up my own little library of Alice Boman songs through her early EP and single releases. Eerily, quiet vocals that scream in your mind, Alice’s music delivers an intense emotional hit that’s also serenely comforting in other ways. I eagerly awaited the release of Dream On as though it was a drug, and I was not disappointed when the dose was administered. My favourite from this album is ‘The More I Cry’ which is an absolutely beautiful piece of music that I will resonate with forever.
Swansea to Hornsey & Pick a Pocket or Two by Trampolene
Where do I start with my next post, an ode to the loves of my life that are Trampolene. Home-grown and oh so beautifully humble for it, Trampolene are without doubt the friendliest band you could ever dream of meeting. I discovered their music initially through Spotify, and was hooked after my first listen. Coming to realise that they were from South Wales like me, I quickly found myself posting on their fan page and it wasn’t long before I was at one of their gigs for the first time. Hand on heart, I would say that this was the best gig I have ever been to in my life, and I’ve been to a lot. Trampolene’s music is fast paced and fantastically driven on bangers such as ‘Alcohol Kiss’, but this band also have the wonderful capabilities to deliver sensitive, acoustic songs, that are so tender and emotional. Look no further than ‘Cinderella’s Shoe’. My heart and mind was stolen from me as I stood directly in front of eccentric front man, and charmer, Jack Jones. A whirlwind on stage and in life, Jack is a fire that burns wildly. His presence is captivating and you cannot help but be drawn in by him. If you go and see Trampolene for yourself I’m sure you too will see how amazing their music and live presence is. Their albums are reflections of this. As an added bonus I also feel it is worth mentioned, that by listening to Trampolene’s music and engaging with the band and their followers, I’ve made a lot of friends, many of which I would say will easily be friends for life, whom I love dearly. I hold the band, those who work with them and their fan base very close to my heart. Trampolene are more than a band to me now, and I feel this highlights the power that music can have in brining people together and creating a sense of not only identity, but community.
Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers by Porridge Radio
Last but not least is the story of how I came to own and love Porridge Radio’s vivid red, energy-packed album that is Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers. Possibly the most simple explanation, is that I found myself experiencing love at first sight. I initially set eyes on two members of Porridge Radio, Dana and Sue, at Coventry Central Library when they were supporting the sweet angel that is Phoebe Green. I had travelled from South Wales to England to see Phoebe for the first time. I was immensely happy about this, and truthfully I hadn’t even factored support acts into my little bubble of excitement. My god, did Porridge Radio show me the error of my ways. Despite lacking their full band for various reasons, Porridge Radio certainly did not lack by any means whatsoever in completely captivating me. Dana was mesmerizing and I fell head over heels in love with her voice. I’ve been to many gigs so far in my lifetime, and have been impressed by many bands on stage, but never before and I doubt ever again will I feel as completely flummoxed and utterly in awe of a band as I did that day. I practically fell over in adoration as I approached the merch table, literally threw my money at them and could hardly speak. An unbelievable effect that I have never forgotten nor would I ever want to. I bought this vinyl that day and became a firm fan of their music. Personal favourites of mine on this album are Eurgh and Barks Like A Dog. I love this band and will support them for as long as they exist, because their music is truly unique, powerful and stunning all at the same time. As well as being emotional, meaningful and riveting. I can exasperate so many adjectives and still not achieve what I truly want to say. All I can stress to you is that please, if this band ever appear on your radar, go and see them. If they don’t appear on your radar, then I urge you to make it so. Porridge Radio are a band you need to hear live. I assure you that their album is equally as magnetic. Porridge Radio’s next release Every Bad is due on 13th March. New singles ‘Lilac’ and ‘Sweet’ from Every Bad are available to stream now.
Well that concludes my Year of Vinyl Roundup. I hope you’ve enjoyed having an insight into my love for music, by learning a little more about these fantastically talented musicians, and myself also.
If you would like any more information on any of these vinyls, or if you’re curious to hear about any other albums I own. Please feel free to leave a comment or message me on any of my social media accounts below, and I’ll be glad to get back to you.
All my love, and thank you so much for reading this rather special (and probably too honest) blog post!
I hope you’ve enjoyed it! Let me know your favourite vinyls too! Xx
Many of you I’m sure will be wondering why a certain someone wasn’t included in my recent blog post ‘5 of my Favourite Gigs From 2019’. Well, this is because I felt she was worthy of a post dedicated just to her. Phoebe Green is an artist that I personally adore, but asides from my love for her, there is no denying that she has quickly become a rising icon these past 12 months. Absolutely storming 2019 in the process. With a signing to Chess Club Records, 2 new singles, and a string of live shows under her belt. Phoebe Green has certainly made a name for herself. I wanted to celebrate this hugely successful year of hers and explain why Phoebe has taken the crown for 2019 in my eyes, and I’m sure many others’ too.
I’d like to introduce Phoebe Green as an incredibly talented singer and songwriter. Phoebe writes her material herself, and her songs are a reflection of her own existence. This open window into her life, is something to be treasured. A very honest and brave lyricist, who does not hide behind a persona on stage. What you see when Phoebe performs is raw and real, and for me this makes her very special. From a young age, Phoebe has been passionate about music, and this is shown in her lyrics, that reflect as much colour and character as her name and personality. Originally hailing from the small seaside town of Lytham, Phoebe has since moved to follow her music aspirations and is now based in Manchester.
2019 has seen Phoebe take on supporting tours with the likes of Sundara Karma and Swim Deep, and most recently play an arena show with The Courteeners in Manchester. Earlier this year, Phoebe also had her very own headline tour in collaboration with ‘Get it Loud in Libraries’. An organisation that takes the quiet element out of libraries and instead fills them with music of all genres, in locations across the UK. As a result, this meant that Phoebe’s first tour was set to be so incredibly unique. Of course, I was first in the queue to get tickets to attend one of the shows, with the closest to me being Coventry. Asides from Coventry, Phoebe also played at libraries in Huddersfield and Liverpool this past summer. From what I saw; a smaller venue, with a dedicated crowd of fans, allowed Phoebe to shine exquisitely on stage. If I’m being honest, it wouldn’t even be fair to label the shows as being gigs, in my opinion the performances and atmosphere were far more intricate and intimate than that.
In Coventry Central Library, the stage was nestled in amongst the book shelves. It couldn’t have been anymore perfect, and it suited Phoebe so well. I don’t think I stopped beaming from the moment I arrived.
The first band to take to the stage were Porridge Radio. I’d never seen them before, but as soon as their set started I was captivated. Lead singer Dana has an incredible voice. I remember being completely fascinated by her sound and style. The songs they performed were gorgeous. Thanks to this gig I became a huge fan of Porridge Radio. I’ve recently written about them in more detail, congratulating them on their signing with Secretly Canadian Records.
Phoebe’s entrance to the stage was reserved, but beautiful. The room was so quiet you couldn’t hear a pin drop, and in that moment I felt for her. You could see that it wasn’t necessarily nervousness, but more a process of adaptation that was taking place. When you’re used to singing in front of a rowdy crowd that are fuelled on beer, to then be placed in front of people who are all patiently waiting in a library just to listen you. As Phoebe admitted herself, it was a change. Certainly not the environment she is used to performing in, as I’m sure would be the case for many other bands and artists.
As Phoebe began her set and the words of ‘Maniac’ began to echo around the room, you could see any hesitations she may have had melt away for her, as she relaxed into her surroundings. Needless to say, her performance was completely mesmerising. Phoebe has such a talent for song writing, and coupled with her incredibly beautiful vocals, this makes for a sublime pairing. A slight presence, that blooms in song. Phoebe Green is a flower bud, that bursts into life under the sunshine of the spotlight. She is wonderous to hear and behold. I’m not ashamed to say that Phoebe’s music has accompanied me through some of my loneliest, sleepless nights. Her songs have been there for me when I’ve cried, when I’ve overthought situations, and when I’ve simply needed something to listen to. So, to see Phoebe performing on stage, merely metres away from me, was very surreal. Phoebe’s set that evening was better than I could have imagined, and I felt so emotional during and after her performance. It was overwhelming in the best way possible.
To explain a little more about Phoebe’s music itself. Her self-released album 02:00am is gorgeous, and the lyrical content is haunting. It will reverberate with anyone who has ever been hurt or has longed for love. Vocally, most of her songs on this album are delicate to begin with, but the choruses are so powerful. Her songs transfix listeners with lyrics that speak of the frailty of the heart and mind. Encased in Phoebe’s soft vocals are subject matters that are certainly not delicate, but instead incredibly real, and piercing as a result of this. Phoebe sings of hurt, deceit, lust and love. For example, on the opening track of that night ‘Maniac’, Phoebe does not shy away from how weak we can be made to feel when blindingly in love with the wrong person. In contrast ‘Watercolour Envy’ speaks of a woman scorned, and shows beautifully, just how powerfully we can react when wronged by those we hold dearest, especially when infidelity is involved. The sheer raw emotion conveyed in Phoebe’s songs showcase her talents incredibly well. After listening to this album in full, it may come as a surprise that Phoebe had written these songs at just 16 years of age.
I know that Phoebe will openly admit she is embarrassed by the content of this album now, from having written the lyrics at a young age. However, despite her uncertainty, I’d like to assure her that for any listener, her songs will always be so relatable and poignant. Although, I can understand why she does feel detached from them. I know if I too were to look back on past relationships, and in turn old feelings that were inscribed within song lyrics, I’m sure I would also suffer embarrassment. Still it needs to be said, Phoebe as an outsider looking in, your lyrics are stunning. 02:00am should always be an album that is celebrated and loved.
Phoebe Green made her long-awaited return to music in March of this year. Prior to this, 02:00am was released in 2016. Her long hiatus from recording music has certainly helped her to grow, with ‘Dreaming Of’ clearly reflecting this. A stand-out, stand up for yourself ballad; ‘Dreaming Of’ lyricises a strong, independent woman who refuses to be put down, and aims to break free from her relationship and escape from a condescending partner. Phoebe projects so beautifully the betrayal that so many of us face, when we come to the realisation that we are in an unloving relationship, which we certainly do not deserve to be in. I’m so pleased to say that the passionate delivery of this new debut single gained Phoebe instant recognition. Clash Music and Pitchfork had both written stunning articles on Phoebe’s success by the end of April, and later in the year Phoebe had an interview with music heavyweights NME.
Phoebe’s new single came hand in hand with her signing to Chess Club Records, who clearly saw her talent and ran with it. Chess Club Records are a well-established name in the music industry, currently home to indie superstars Sundara Karma and Billie Marten. Chess Club also initially started the careers of giants Mumford & Sons, who put out their first EP with the label. This shows the sheer scale of what they see in Phoebe.
As I mentioned earlier, this year really has been the making of Phoebe Green. Being signed with such an expansive label as Chess Club has opened many doors for her, all of which she has gladly walked through. Many supporting and headline tours have kept her schedule busy, along with various festival appearances. Before finally closing the year playing an arena show with The Courteeners, which is certainly not an achievement to be taken lightly. However, Phoebe has remained modest throughout it all. Undoubtedly, one of the nicest people you could meet, Phoebe is so friendly and is genuinely such a kind-hearted person. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the pleasure of meeting her twice now. Initially following the gig in Coventry, I was over the moon to be able to speak to her, and more recently when she toured with Swim Deep at The Globe in Cardiff. Phoebe makes time for her fans and is so appreciative of everyone who speaks to her, and it’s these little sparks in her nature, that make her so wonderful. When I spoke to Phoebe after her set in Cardiff, she remembered when we spoke in Coventry. As a fan, that was so lovely and meant a lot to me. It proved to me that her fans obviously mean as much to her, as she does to us. Despite her clear musical talent, the lovely person that she is makes her all the more special.
I cannot wait for Phoebe to release her new album. As well as ‘Dreaming Of’ and her newest single ‘Easy Peeler’, which is equally as incredible and powerful in it’s emotional depth. I’ve been lucky enough to hear Phoebe perform two other new unreleased songs live. One I believe is called ‘A Song For Alex’ and the other is called ‘Double Vodka Lemonade’, which is my favourite. As soon as the album is released, it is without doubt that I will find myself writing about Phoebe again. But for now, I must congratulate Phoebe on the immense success that 2019 has brought her. It has been such a brilliant year for her, and she should be so proud of everything she has achieved.
I’m sure that 2020 will bring her even more happiness and success.
I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year. Thank you ever so much for taking the time to read my writing, and for appreciating the incredible bands and artists whom I write about. I wish you all lots of love, happiness and more wonderful music in 2020.
This album was released on Christmas Day. Before this, it was kept a total secret. There were none of the usual pre-album single releases, or marketing strategies to prepare us. We weren’t aware this was happening, until the tweet came through on the bands page and the album was available to stream online. What a present it was.
The surprise element sent fans into melt down, and there was no denying the buzz around this album. So many questions teemed about it from not only fans, but names in the music industry too I’m sure. The release was a completely wonderful surprise. As it was Christmas Day though, I struggled to find a moments peace to listen to the album in full. On Boxing Day morning, I seized my chance. I listened to the album in its entirety, twice for good measure. My first impression? Honestly, it’s just stunning.
This new album has stripped Blaenavon back to their roots entirely. Recorded mainly just using a piano and an acoustic guitar. It consists of pure, raw, emotional lyrics that encapsulate singer Ben’s struggle with anxiety and depression. The album speaks of pain and hurt, but also of recovery and redemption. It’s a stunning vocal outlet of emotion and feeling, gift wrapped in gorgeous piano playing and acoustic melodies.
Stand out favourites for me are ‘Michael’, ‘slow down, cyclist’ and ‘write it down’. I just love how real and simply recorded these songs are. I don’t think I can gush about this album more. The way they’ve left dialogue in from where they’ve conducted the recording session, the emotional conversations, the odd bursts of laughter. It doesn’t appear to me that there were any forced retakes, any attempts at utter perfection. This album is perfect simply as it is. Blaenavon. Ben. Honestly this album is a masterpiece, and you should be very, very proud of it.
The songs are extremely touching and truthful. Whether there is intense meaning behind them, or whether they are simply the produce of a recording whim on the spot. The fact they leave the listener guessing and to draw on their own conclusions is magical in itself. For me, this album isn’t one that necessary needs to be understood and dissected lyric for lyric, as I have seen people calling for. It just needs to be listened to. It’s beautiful.
“What happens when you listen to one version of something so much that when it’s properly recorded it’s difficult to accept.”