Music: Thought Forms/Esben and the Witch split LP

“Of places we've known, all in greys of their own I am sure that our ghosts live in each moment kept, seen through eyes made of film and pulled out, helping ease the way through” – Thought Forms, Silver Kiss

I still listen to Thought Forms' Ghost Mountain on a regular basis, even though it was released months ago, and I still love it as much as I did back then. It’s one of those albums that soothes and awakens me, lifts me up and brings me down after shaking me to the core. I have also been a big fan of Esben and the Witch ever since I heard Marching Song back in 2010, which lead me to downloading their most recent release while on holiday in Jamaica last year, as I didn’t think I could wait a few days until I got home… And yes, there was something very eerie and magical about listening to Wash the Sins Not Only the Face just after having swum in a effervescent lagoon under the stars.

So imagine my happiness when I heard that Thought Forms and Esben and the Witch would be releasing a split record together on April 7th. Kind of makes up for the fact that they didn’t extend their tour together last year and bring it to the States, directly to my living room. OK, not all dreams can come true, but this split really does make up for a lot of that! Artists don’t make enough splits anymore. There is nothing more exciting than buying something that two of your favourite bands and artists have collaborated on together, especially if you are anxiously awaiting new material from one or the other, or both. It’s also just as exciting when you buy a split because you know one of the artists, and discover another artist who is right up your street. I love splits and b-sides and singles, just because they contain material that you would never hear if you only bought the album. And I also feel like they give artists an outlet to branch out, maybe try something a little different. In any case, this one really made my month, and I have listened to it more than anything else that I have been listening to since the beginning of the year.

“Distracted by the noise that masks the sound of violence
and blinded by the glare that hides as every scream is silenced
the vice that holds the hand that feeds the mouth that spews the lies that shift the blame”
– Thought Forms, Sound of Violence

Thought Forms kicks off the split with four equally strong tracks. I’ve said it before, but they seriously just grow and grow all of the time. Over the years their sound has always been Thought Forms, but they have really come into their own and are super confidence in expanding their sound and their soaringly beautiful layers of music and lyrics. While Your Bones is haunting, moving from clear and ethereal thanks to Charlie Romijn’s strong vocals to distorted and edgy due to the guitars, reminding me of caves and dark places and 5am chats and long nights, Silver Kiss is like an obscure lullaby that you want to listen to and sing while walking along the beach in the winter. Sound of Violence has Deej Dhariwal and Charlie Romijn harmonizing with their voices and their instruments while Guy Metcalfe proves yet again what a talented drummer he is. Juxtapositions, layers and layers and more layers to peel away and discover more sounds and more feelings; and then there is For the Moving Stars, where you want to be when you close your eyes and hear this song.

“And I’ve fire in my heart and it’s dogged and pure”
– Esben and the Witch, No Dog

Esben and the Witch take over the second half of the split, starting with No Dog, pulling you straight into a rapid march with the awesome drums courtesy of Daniel Copeman. I literally want to be inside this music. When the drums die down and you are left with Rachel Davies beautiful voice and the eeriness of Thomas Fisher’s guitar you just want to swim in the sound, and get caught right back up in the march again as soon as the drums spring back into gear. I feel like the wolf in the song, all powerful and all beautiful, running through the forest and not letting anything take my freedom away from me. Butoh is like a furious whirlwind, picking you up and throwing you around, letting you breathe for a few seconds before grabbing you again, beating a path for you to follow, away from the crowd, somewhere different, somewhere better. You don’t want it to end.

This combination of bands and songs works seamlessly together, and it also makes me happy that both bands have amazingly talented women in their midst, women who don’t seem to be afraid of anything. Out on April 7th on Invada Records, definitely one that is not to be missed!

Thought Forms
Esben and the Witch 

Photography: Rutland, England, March 2012


Rutland, England 03/2012, a set on Flickr.

I really do come from a beautiful place in England. The smallest county, Rutland, located between Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire. Tiny villages, rolling hills, old, old buildings, village pubs... Here are a lot of photos that I took on my trip. I'll add descriptions over the next few days as I haven't had a chance to do so today.

Enjoy <3

Falling back in love with the radio again...

I am beginning to rekindle my love with the radio again. For so many years I stayed away, from the disappointment of what I thought radio had become, from the stations that play a total of 10 songs, over and over and over again until you want to pound your head against a wall and kick something. But something happened this year, and I stopped feeling nostalgic about my past love of the radio, and am finding that it does still exist and that I can enjoy it again.

First radio hero was of course John Peel. Memories of his voice and the voices from The Archers on Sundays. John Peel is the synonym of a substitute father figure for me. That soft, deep voice, always calm and rich, playing some amazing, amazing music, late at night, during the day, whenever. He gave unknown artists a gateway to a wider audience, because if John Peel liked an artist or band, then he/she/they HAD to be good. All of my favourite artists have Peel Sessions (I used to tape them directly from the radio, and even still have some of the tapes). There were many a time that I used to finish work in the summer in England, and fall asleep to John Peel’s voice. I was living in London in 2004 when he died and was devastated. He was the most veneered and loved radio DJ of all time, especially where I come from, and I wish he hadn’t passed away so young. Can you believe he started broadcasting in 1967?! He went from the pirate radio station Radio London when it closed to BBC Radio 1 and pretty much stayed there for the rest of his life (with other broadcasts on Radio 4).

I think it goes without saying that the UK has the best radio set up, still to this day. But I didn’t really grow up in the UK, so my Radio 1 listenings were limited to before I turned 10, and the summers from my 16th birthday until I moved to New York in 2005. I grew up in France, where in early to mid 90’s there were both NRJ and Fun Radio, two radio stations that actually played GOOD music. I would listen to Fun Radio all day long, especially to Cauet and Miguel’s shows. They broadcast the very last Nirvana live show in full in 2004 (another one that I taped from the radio and listened to endlessly). I would sit on my windowsill by the little stream and listen to them play my favourites while discovering other bands along the way. Although never as good as British radio, they didn’t do a bad job for a few years… Until some internal radio rule decided that rock music was “out” and that it was time to only play the same 10 (bad) songs over and over again. Bye bye French radio…

I didn’t even bother with the radio much when I moved to the US. Every time I tried to tune into a radio station it was the same thing, so what was the point? I was better off making my own playlists and listening to them as opposed to forcing myself to listen to something else that I didn’t want to. Maybe I should have tried harder, but whatever, I didn’t miss the radio anyway.

Until I finally went back to England for a visit this year, and started listening to BBC 6 Music (yes, Marc Riley it’s all your bloody fault!). And I was hooked again. But now, I can actually listen to British radio here at home in New York, because you can stream the shows from your computer. Yes, you can listen to British radio from anywhere in the world. I also started listening to East Village Radio too, and discovered some cool shows, like Andy Rourke’s weekly show, where he pretty much plays whatever he feels like playing, and this often matches whatever I feel like hearing. I suppose that having more time at home now that I am not working insane hours at my old job helps to be able to actually sit down and enjoy the radio again. Suggestions are more than welcome!

Also. Did I mention how much I adore Marc Riley? Well I do. And I totally want to interview my mum about her Radio Caroline listening days...

Here are some links for your listening pleasure:

BBC 6 Music

East Village Radio (EVR)

Full list of Peel Sessions