Ramblings: Spiritualized again...

I should have finished this well over a month ago, but as usual, I started something with the aim to finish it “at some point”. Thankfully it’s not a review of the show that took place on September 10th at Webster Hall, just some ramblings about sharing music with my unborn baby…


Everything I do nowadays has a “We” to it as opposed to just an “I”. For example, I am not just hungry (make that absolutely starving as if I may collapse hungry) in the morning when I wake up; no “We” are hungry and “We” must eat right away. Little Munchie has taken over my life in the most magical of ways and I will never again see myself as a person alone in the world. It’s amazing. Anyway, the point of all this is that I am now sharing absolutely everything in my life with my unborn child, one of the most obvious things being my love for music. I haven’t been to anywhere near as many shows as I would like this year, but that didn’t stop me from looking forward to seeing Spiritualized when one of my dearest friends bought us tickets as soon as they went on sale this year. I didn’t know I was pregnant then, but I did before we went and it felt so good to think that my child was going to witness the live performance of one of my favourite bands before he or she was even born. 

There are some bands or musicians with whom you have a really intense relationship, one that holds you so hard that sometimes you need to take a step back to reevaluate, just to come back loving them even more. That’s my relationship with Spiritualized. I have seen them many a time over the years, at different venues in NYC, been around them with friends in different locations in the city, and have never ceased to be entranced during each performance, tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. There are some bands and musicians you go to see just for the live music, others you prefer to stay away from as they are just better recorded. And then there are those bands that you want all of: recorded, live, live recordings, conversations, everything. That special music that you will never tire of, will bore your children to death with until they, at a certain age, will appreciate your love for them and may even start to love them too. I have a list of bands and musicians that little Munchie is going to have to listen to over and over again and will probably hate for some years (some on this list are actually musicians that my mother had me listen to before I was even born, so I am just continuing a trend over the generations). In any case, Spiritualized is on this list and I am so happy that I was able to experience one of their performances with my unborn child.

"If you feel lonely and the worlds against you, take the long way home, past the scary jesus, and you'll find my door with your name in diamonds, and you'll feel lonely no more" - So Long You Pretty Things  

A list of random Spiritualized-related memories in no special order (just the order in which they come to mind when I am thinking about the band or listening to the music in some form or another): dancing round and round to Come Together with Hannah at Terminal 5 back in 2009; running late to the show at Radio City Music Hall with Meg but not missing anything due to the disco ball falling from the ceiling a few minutes before the band came on stage (and therefore being yet another narrow escape for Jason Pierce); listening to Death Take Your Fiddle with Meg on repeat for days before marching (stumbling?) off to Darkroom for another night of the same non-adventures; playing Broken Heart on repeat for days and days on end to constantly remind myself that my broken heart wasn’t the only one in the world; receiving a signed copy of Sweet Heart Sweet Light in the post out of the blue from a friend in England; the way hearing Stop Your Crying will always bring tears to my eyes, every single time; reconnecting with old and special friends I haven’t seen in a while at a show, and not feeling like anything had really changed over the months of not speaking to each other; dancing with my now-deceased and very, very special cat Luna to Ladies and Gentlemen in its entirety the moment work got too stressful… Music, friendship, memories, connections, love, anger, happiness and pain. Spiritualized embodies all of that and more for me.

Other bands/musicians on this list are of course The Cure, Marianne Faithfull, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Stevie Nicks, Tim Buckley, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, PJ Harvey… And so on…

Music: Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks


Remember back in 1994 when you were screaming along to Head Like A Hole and Closer with your best friends in the park and wondering how one man could make the exact music that displayed the anger and pain that you yourself were feeling at the time? And later on in 1999 when you were singing We’re in This Together from the balcony of your apartment at 3am to the distress of that stupid neighbor who was trying to sleep with his girlfriend in one of the apartments across the street? Seeing this band perform live in 2000 during your first trip to the States, and deepening the love that you already felt was unconditional for this band, and mainly for the man behind (and in front of) it all: Trent Reznor. Sometimes when I read the journals written by my younger self I have to laugh at how many times I declare my love for Trent Reznor and Robert Smith (although I would like to say that my love for both was always equal, I do think that Robert jumps ahead a little, but that’s a whole other story). In any case, this review is not going to be in any way objective, and who cares if it is anyway? I LOVE Nine Inch Nails. Have loved them ever since I first heard Pretty Hate Machine. I don’t write on my blog to be objective – I write about music, books, movies, art that I love, rant about things that really annoy me and ramble on about things that I miss and love and care about. 

“I am whole, I am free” - Everything

I’ve been waiting for the release of a new NIN album since I read a really well written article about Trent Reznor, written by Alec Wilkinson for The New Yorker and published in the December, 17 2012 issue. Imagine my heart jumping when I read that he was planning the release of a new album in 2013! He had previously said that NIN was over (although I had kind of refused to believe that, and just thought he may need a break to work on other projects until it was time to regroup and produce another opus). Hesitation Marks is to be released next week, on September 3rd (although those lucky Australians can already buy it as it was released a week earlier there), but you can already stream it for free on iTunes and hear it for yourself. I never read anyone else’s reviews before reviewing an album myself, especially if it concerns one of my favourite bands, so I cannot say if it has been well received or not. All I can say is that I absolutely LOVE it. I honestly wasn’t as keen on the three albums released after With Teeth in 2005, or maybe just wasn’t in the frame of mind I needed to be to listen to the albums (Year Zero, Ghosts I-IV and The Slip) but for me this one marks a return to the NIN that I adore. REALLY adore.

For those of you looking for another Downward Spiral or even Pretty Hate Machine, Hesitation Marks won’t be what you are looking for. Instead it’s the creation of an evolved NIN, one where Trent is older and more mature. There is less anger, there are less pulsions towards self-destruction and self-hatred, more self-reflection and inner thought, and the music and lyrics portray that. I think Find My Way displays this feeling perfectly, a slow but powerful song, taunting at times but direct in approach: “I’m just trying to find my way”. But then you hear Came Back Haunted or All Time Low and you realize that the album goes back to sounds that made NIN so popular years ago – with a newer edge. And then songs like Satellite and Everything are entirely new and old sounds mixed together to create something completely different, but similar at the same time.  All in all I think that what makes Hesitation Marks so good is that it flows perfectly and is a creation of old and new, of evolution, of hunger and anger, of love and pain, of despair and hope. Basically a brilliant Nine Inch Nails album.

My favourite songs on the album right now are Came Back Haunted, Find My Way, Various Methods of Escape, I Would For You and Everything. But I really think that listening to the album as a whole is the best way to hear how brilliant it actually is.

And don’t worry – the world is still going to end. The last song on the album tells us that. Not everything changes, not even with age. And it feels like the perfect end to a wonderful album.
“A little more, every day, falls apart and slips away. I don't mind, I'm okay, wish it didn't, have to end this way” – While I’m Still Here


NIN - Official Website

Music: The Civil Wars


I’ve spent a lot of this past week partially day dreaming about the near future, dreaming up different lives and different places to live in. Not that I am not happy here, I certainly don’t want to leave NYC, not right now anyway, but sometimes when I am too restless to write stories about escape, I just tend to dream them up instead, usually accompanied by a specific soundtrack that drives these dreams.

I randomly downloaded The Civil Wars eponymous second album last Tuesday, just after it was released. I listened to it for the first time while I was relaxing on the beach, waves and seagulls in the distance, music right in my ears, nothing else to distract me from the melodies and the lyrics. I fell for the harmonies and the simple beauty of the songs, and the words pierced my heartstrings. Apparently The Civil Wars already have an award-winning first album called Barton Hollow (released in 2011), but I had never heard of them before this week. Not that this matter, I’m now a fan, and their first album is just as beautiful as the second.

The Civil Wars are Joy Williams and John Paul White who met at a songwriting session in Nashville in 2008. They must have realised their potential as a duo because this collaboration lead to a few EPs, a first album, a lot of touring, and then a second album this month. I have read that they are no longer collaborating due to some types of differences, which is quite a pity, because they really work well together. Nevertheless, I love their music. From some research that I have done they have been categorized as Country, Folk, Indie Folk and Americana – as always I don’t really like to categorise music into one simple genre, so I would say that they cover all of them. Music that focuses mainly on both Joy and John Paul’s voices which sing about relationships, love, and the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with relationships, accompanied by guitars that follow and lead the harmonies.

If you like singer-songwriter duos you definitely need to listen to The Civil Wars. Start with The One That Got Away and Eavesdrop, or just listen to the entire album. It’s worth your time. Now I am going to go back to dreaming about other places and other lives…

Let me in the wall, You've built around, We can light a match, And burn it down, Let me hold your hand, And dance 'round and 'round the flames, In front of us, Dust to dust



Music: Repo Man - All Mind in the Cat House


If you like distortion and grinding guitar riffs, splashes of crazy random saxophone sounds, punk, anger, lyrics that make you think coming from a voice that is sometimes purr, sometimes sarcasm, sometimes scream, then you need to check out Repo Man. Their debut album, All Mind In The Cat House is slated for release on September 9th on Lava Thief.

Think of a band influenced by The Fall or Swans with a touch of Bauhaus, Sonic Youth and The Birthday Party. Have you ever been to a show where you start off just standing there, on the spot, immobile, wondering what all of this is, and then automatically go into a mind space where you want to move like an insane person, pushing things, kicking things, getting something out of your system, and then immediately fall back into that immobile spot, mouth half open, words flowing into your brain, body still electric from the music, ready for more? That's exactly how Repo Man's music make me feel.

You can stream All Mind In The Cat House below for a taste of what I am trying to describe to you:



Here is also a pretty cool video that will give you another view of the band's awesomeness:



And finally - the band's own press release. Check them out, especially if you want or need to be jolted out of apathy:

Repo Man emerged in Bristol in 2011, reshaping 'rock groop' sturm-und-clang into subnormal forms, son-of-Oldham vocal slurries, oozing Free sax splatter and shards of punishing guitar bliss. If you ever freaked to The Fall, Sonic Youth, Swans or Ornette Coleman then Repo may be your ticket to oblivion. Their debut slab of un-poetics 'All Mind in the Cat House' is due for imminent release on Lava Thief.

Repo Man on Bandcamp
About Lava Thief




Music: Desert Stars - Habit Shackles



What do the words “desert stars” invoke in you? For me, they take me to a place where I am sitting on the rocky sand with a blanket over my legs, surrounded by a pure, open silence, and looking up into worlds that we only see from millions of miles away, flickering, bright, unknown worlds that we can only imagine the existence of. Imagination, beauty enveloped in silent dreams. Desert Stars album Habit Shackles evokes exactly that type of feeling in me: music that is dreamy, at times angelic, at times gentle and soft like a fuzzy cloud surrounding you, at times with an edge that teeters on the verge of dream and a nightmare plunge into something deeper and darker, pushing you somewhere that you may not be ready to go to.

There are elements of heartbreak, and sadness within the lyrics and the music that intertwines the words, as well as elements of hope and happiness. It’s the kind of album I want to listen to while lying on my bed, or the beach, or the desert, with my eyes closed, reflecting on my own life, past and future. Pure nostalgia linking every song together as a whole. Beautiful. Harmonies and soaring guitars and words that make you realize that within all of the dreaminess there is a real core that exists.

Desert Stars are Janelle Best, Carrie Ashley Hill, Eric Altesleben, Gregg Giuffré and Jane Herships, and are based in Brooklyn, NY. Their first album, Habit Shackles, was released on July 16th. See links below for more information on the band and how to purchase the album and catch one of their live shows.

My personal favourites: Normal Man, Farewell Decade and Past in the Trash and the amazing guitar sounds in How Hard You Try.

Desert Stars Facebook
Desert Stars Website
Desert Stars Bandcamp


Music: Savages - Silence Yourself



I haven’t written a music post in a while, and this one should have been written ages ago, since their first album came out a few months ago (May 6th to be exact) and I have been listening to it ever since.
Some days I complain to myself that all I listen to is “old” music, and that the only albums I buy are new albums from “old” bands, and that there is not much “new” music that makes me feel the same way my “old” favourites make me feel. You get the drift… And then all of a sudden, out of the blue, a new band will release an album and I will be blown away by it. Completely blown away. And this makes me feel that things are somewhat right in the world again (well from a music standpoint, because outside of that I doubt anything will be ever completely right again). Maybe I need to rephrase: Savages made me feel like everything was right in my music world again.

Seriously. Here we have another band that I want to kick myself for not taking the night off work back in October of last year to see them play live at the Mercury Lounge, because there is no way that they will ever be playing a small venue like that again in this city. In fact, they are playing a sold out show at Webster Hall tomorrow night (Thursday July 11th), and if there is any way you can get in you definitely should. I wish I could, but I really can’t afford a night off work this week… Ah well. Next time. At least I can continue to listen to the album on repeat without getting tired of it!

Savages create music that makes you forget everything around you, let you lose yourself in a whirlwind of sound and emotion, and makes you dance like no one is watching, whether they are or not. Formed in 2011 in London, this all female band released their first album, Silence Yourself, this year. For me they seem to be timeless, and although they have been labeled as “post punk revival”, probably because they mainly fit right in with the sounds of The Cure, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Joy Division to name a few, for me they are a band I would have loved at 10, at 16, at 25 and now. Timeless. It’s not even about influences, as I honestly don’t listen to or even like every band influenced by The Cure or Nick Cave, it’s more about a perfect match of sound with lyrics that takes me to another place. And being in another place always makes me happy. My happy music, as my sister would call it. Dark, dreamy, raw, powerful and dark. Listening to Silence Yourself makes me feel the same way as I do whenever I listen to Faith.

With powerful vocals (think PJ Harveyesque) and raw lyrics that you can emphasize with, Savages are definitely my new favourites for this year, and I really can’t get enough of them.

Listen to Shut Up, and especially Waiting for a Sign – I have had this one on repeat for a while now. Beautiful song which evokes so many emotions as well as a feeling of power and loss of all power at the same time. Sometimes I feel like they have taken the words that run around my brain all the time and created songs out of them.




No Face -
"Repeat every word I say, Miming another boring day, I have better things to do, Now you’re here I must get rid of you”

Ramblings: RIP Motor City Bar


Sometimes people ask me why I spend so much time in bars. To be honest, I don’t even really think about it that way – I’ve always spent a lot of time in bars, in all of the different countries I have lived in. It’s all about hanging out with my friends in a social setting. Where I come from and where I grew up, going to the pub or the bar was not about how many alcoholic beverages you could throw down your throat in the least amount of time. It was more about meeting your friends, getting a drink and catching up, chatting, being social. Drinking coffee and then moving on to wine or beer early in the evening. A bar was a place to meet up and talk, read, be together. After moving to the States I felt that bar culture here was a little different and that often a bar seemed to be just a place to get wasted and meet someone to hook up with. Luckily for me this initial feeling was dissipated when I found several bars that I could consider my homes away from home.

I have my moments getting very drunk in bars, and hooking up with not-so-random people and all the rest, but first and foremost it’s always been a social spot for me to meet up with my friends. I’ve met many of my closest friends in bars too, and there is nothing wrong with that, it’s not as if we only hang out in bars either. We met in a bar, met up several times aterwards, and then exchanged numbers, had brunch, dinner, went to a show, got to know each other and then became close. That’s how you make friends, or that’s how I make friends in any setting. Just because it’s a bar doesn’t mean that the friendships that start there are less worthy than the ones that may have started at work, or at the gym, or at a restaurant. 

Anyway, this is not supposed to be a post about bars in general but about one special bar that has been part of most of my life in NYC, a bar that I have spent so many nights in over the past 8 years and a bar that will always have a very special place in my heart, as it does in the place of many other people. This bar, Motor City, closed its doors for the last time last Sunday, after 18 years of existence on Ludlow Street. The one bar where on any night of the week (or any time of the night for that matter), you would find like-minded people and a DJ playing music that you would like. Even on Friday and Saturday nights, amidst all of the bars playing radio-friendly mush for the drunken weekend crowd, Motor City would still be rock n roll and a haven from everywhere else. 

So many memories, more than I could ever put into words, as one memory just divulges tens of others. So many friendships made and broken and reformed again, so many people passing through and moving on to other lives elsewhere, but often leaving there own mark on the establishment, and leaving with a piece of Motor City in them, never to forget the bar where they did more than just drink in. Because you always did more than just drink at Motor City. You danced and talked and wrote on the bathroom walls, you changed the world with words, discussed things for hours, jumped up on the bar and danced (well I used to for a while), heard songs you had never heard before and watched your friends scream and shout when they tried to beat each other at Miss Pacman. Injuries may have been sustained (a broken cheekbone in my case) and many a hangover suffered after a night at Motor City. Some memories that you probably would prefer to erase, but many more that you will cherish for life.

In my opinion there is nothing better than going into a bar by yourself, knowing that you would never be alone. Nevermind knowing if one of your friends may be there or not, just by the fact that you knew the barstaff and that they would always be there to chat and have a laugh with you, whether you were drinking alcohol or not. And I have to say that Motor City would not have been Motor City without the bartenders and the owners. Wonderful people who had been there for years and probably would have continued to work there if it hadn’t been forced to close down. People who always made me feel welcome and at home, even when I was at my drunkest, or when I was at my most sober. People who never made me feel judged or uncomfortable, and who I will miss not seeing in the setting of the bar, as this bar really was an integral part of my life. Even if, over the past few years, I had spent less time there than I used to do, mainly because I was working most nights on Orchard Street, but also because I was trying avoid running in to some people I didn’t want to be around anymore, the bar still felt like home whenever I stopped in. 

I stopped by the closing party, which was held a week before the actual closing, on a Sunday night after I finished work. The bar was so packed that it was nearly impossible to get a drink. I had a shot and left, as I couldn’t speak to anyone or really hang out there. Then I went back a week later, on the actual night that it was closing and it felt EXACTLY as it always had – a place where you went to have a lot of fun, listen to the music you loved and hang out with people like yourself. Or different, but that didn’t matter! My last memory of Motor City will be sharing a bottle of Powers and a few cans on PBR in front of the bar. Fitting memory for a place that never failed to remain the same, even when the entire street started to change. 

How many memorable birthdays have we all celebrated there? How many of us DJ’d there at least one night? How many times did you bump into, and hang out with people who play in bands that you adore? How many debaucherous after parties were held there? How many times did you end up there because there was nowhere else to go where you would feel at home? How many times did you walk through the doors and breathe a sigh of relief because the atmosphere never changed and you knew you could be yourself without feeling judged? And how many places in the city (especially on the Lower East Side) can you still go to and feel the same way? How many times in my life have I ever bought a new dress specifically for a Christmas party in a bar? (only ever for the MC Christmas party!).

RIP Motor City – you will always have a huge place in my heart. And thanks to everyone who worked there and who I met there who made the place into what it was.


Adventures: Memphis and Nashville




There honestly is nothing better than taking a few days off, packing a small bag and flying out to a different city, not knowing what to expect except that it is all going to be an adventure. The two and a half days I spent in Memphis deserve a short story in themselves, one that I need to spend more time writing based on all of the random notes and photos that I took, and all of the impressions that I came away with. In the meantime the photos are all up (see full set HERE) and continue to crack me up every time I look at them because they pretty much all have a story behind them. I absolutely adored Nashville and definitely need to go back and spend a lot more time there. There is no way that you can go to all of the honky tonks and listen to all of the music in a night and half a day. Outside of NYC it is definitely a place I could consider living (although the lack of an ocean nearby could be a problem).


Anyway, I feel like we did so much in so little time... Found an Irish pub two steps away from the hostel in midtown Memphis, befriended the bartender Alan, whose phrase "you guys don't exist outside of here, but in here you exist" pretty much said it all. Powers and Guinness and Magners and a photography tour along the empty Sunday night streets of Memphis... Assigned hostel chores and milk that we were not allowed to touch because it "belonged to Brad", a cab driver who not only offered to find us any drug or alcohol we wanted but also invited us to eat telapia at his house... An amazing tour of Graceland followed by a spontaneous decision to rent a car and drive the 200+ miles to Nashville... Country music radio stations and truck rest stops and finally Nashville, where music reigns everywhere. A room in the wonderful Downtown Hostel, drinks in different bars, bands playing everywhere you go... A 90's grunge cover band who totally looked and sounded the part, country singers, one brilliant guy on a street corner, making up songs as he played, a shot glass snuck out of the bar in the hostel and left undrunk... Empty bars with musicians playing at noon (do they ever really stop?), more street musicians, cowboy boots for sale, blossoming trees, lunch in a New Orleans bar where a man named Fritz played a beautiful rendition of Fire and Rain... Back to Memphis on stand by after missing my flight, making it back to New York at 11pm, wishing I could hop straight back on a plane back to Memphis. There is so much more to it than all of the above though...

Oh... And you can still smoke in bars in Tennessee. Brilliant.

Another link to all of the photos I took below.

In the GhettoNo idea what was for saleMemphis Drum ShopSoul Fish CafeMidtown Memphis cross streetsThe place where murder may happen
Tadhg in MemphisBig BirdThe CountSchool wall paintingsChoicesClimbing up the bridge
Photographing the fake buildingsFake bridge buildingsTadhgI love MemphisDeserted Memphis streetToad Hall Antiques
Skid marks on the roadXanadu guitar stuffCar tableI ate lunch in this carGraceland shopRandom Graceland visitors
Memphis & Nashville, a set on Flickr.

Knoxville Morning in New York City during a weekend in March

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Knoxville Morning , a set on Flickr.



I don’t even know where to start on this, and I know a much better story is to come in the following days once I feel a little less tired and a little more able to find the right words for everything (this is definitely one for the Orchard Street tales that I am compiling at the moment, and maybe less so for this blog). All I can say right now is it was a weekend filled with wonderful music, great company and a lot of epic fun – with two really long shifts at work in between. It all started on Friday evening with Knoxville Morning’s brilliant set at Mercury Lounge, followed by some more tunes at the Sixth Ward (including some barstool dancing and a lot of hat switching), moving into another epically long day at Taqueria, followed by more Mercury Lounge, 200 Orchard, Double Down Saloon, Mary O’s and Puck Fair. I’m sure there were other places in between, and much laughter and stupidity at every corner, and more laughter again…

In the meantime, here are the photos I took at the show (see above for a link to the full set) –  I was going to spend time editing them a little to make them a little sharper, but to be honest I like the little blur around the edges on some of them – a little how I feel that this whole weekend has been. I’m also still in love with this lens, it has no zoom, so you need to spend more time actually framing the shots properly, but I like that it gives more of a wider angle than other lenses do. And it reminds me of my film camera, the Canon AE-1.

And here’s a video from the Sixth Ward. Enjoy.

 

Album Review: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away


Anyone who knows me, or even anyone who doesn’t really know me but reads this blog has to understand how much I absolutely love and adore Nick Cave. Nick Cave the musician, the writer, the actor, the poet, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Grinderman, The Birthday Party… I feel like I have spent most of my life listening to Nick Cave, reading Nick Cave, seeing Nick Cave in concert and so forth. I literally wait for every new album with baited breath, knowing full well that I will never be disappointed. Granted, there are a few albums that I listen to less than others, but I’ve never disliked anything that he and the Bad Seeds have ever produced.

February 18th, 2013 has been outlined in red on my calendar ever since the release date of the 15th studio album, Push the Sky Away was published. My Christmas gift from my brother last year was a pre-order of the limited edition deluxe version of the album (that I hope will arrive tomorrow). I had already previewed the album when it was streaming on NPR Radio last week, but I spent this morning in bed listening to it and taking notes, not wanting to leave the universe that the Bad Seeds had yet again created for me. Listening to this album brings me right back to the same emotions and feelings I had when I first listened to No More Shall We Part back in 2001 (emotions that I still feel every time I listen to it). Happiness, sadness, laughter, pain, intensity, lightness, heartbreak, love; an emotional turmoil that doesn’t leave you until well after the album is over, one that you want to revisit as many times as possible.

If you watch the short making of video that comes with the album download you learn that for this album the band took a different direction than they were used to taking. Instead of creating the songs in the usual Bad Seeds manner, this time Nick Cave would write the lyrics without any type of chords or music in mind, and would bring them to the band to create songs with. On the first listen you can tell that the make-up and creation process was a lot different, and there is an element of surprise (good surprise), but then it feels normal, like an organic process in the band, a new era in the Bad Seeds life, one that works excellently. This is yet another reason why I love this band so much – they never use what has always worked for them in the past and continue along the same route in order to sell records. Instead they surprise themselves and their audience and never give up on enhancing their creation process and the quality of their art. That said, the album may sound different, but it definitely still has that Bad Seeds sound that I love so much.

Every Bad Seeds album has its own underlying theme and Push The Sky Away is no different. A lot of the stories that each song is composed of are based in Brighton (which also happens to be where Nick Cave resides nowadays). I can conjure up images of the seaside in the winter and summer, grey skies and bright sun, and via the recurring water metaphors that can be found in most songs I feel both at peace but also thrown around and churned up by rising swells.  At first glance the entire album sounds stripped down, especially if compared to the previous release, Dig, Lazurus, Dig!!!, but that is quite deceptive. Each song is a story backed by intricate string loops, bass lines, drum beats and background vocals. I feel that at times Warren Ellis creates an element of fear with his strings, but other times the sounds are comforting and warm, at times creating a dissonance with the lyrics, at other times matching the mood entirely.

“The past is the past and it’s here to stay” – We Real Cool

I have no favourite song as of right now, I am still letting the entire album create its permanent imprint on my brain and heart, but a few stand out after the first few listens. Jubilee Street exists in every town and city and everyone can relate to the lyrics and to the sadness the music evokes. The video is stunning too, dark and blurry and probing. 


“You wave and wave with wide lovely eyes, Distant waves and waves of distant love, You wave and say goodbye” Wide Lovely Eyes

Often I feel like I am sitting in a room with Nick Cave and all of the Bad Seeds, and a few other people, drinking wine, smoking cigarettes and listening to him tell us about the dream he had last night, embellishing it with metaphors and images of water, of human nature, of death and decay and ultimately of beauty. Higgs Boson Blues seems to encapsulate the entire feeling of the album in words. The song creates a web of folklore, word play, gloomy, gory stories punctured through-out with mentions of culture, pop culture, history, religion and anti-religion. I love how this song just builds up and makes you feel uncomfortable but completely at ease at the same time. 

“Rainy days always make me sad”  - Higgs Boson Blues

The final song on the album, Push The Sky Away resonates with hope within despair, an image of survival . This song makes me cry, just because it’s so true: “You've got to just, Keep on pushing, Keep on pushing, Push the sky away”. It’s the perfect ending to the album, lifting you up with the beautifully eerie violin sounds, and leaving you feeling elated and ready to take on another day. 

There are really no other words that can evoke the beauty of this entire album, the only way to really experience it is to listen to it and let it take you wherever you need it to take you. My love for Nick Cave will never dwindle, especially as he continues to make me feel this way through his music, and never fails to do anything else. I know I am not alone in thinking this… An ongoing inspiration in my life.