Posts Tagged ‘angry’

Scruff of the Neck

Christopher Nosnibor

False Heads preface the arrival of their new album, Sick Moon, which is due at the end of September with the single ‘Thick Skin’, produced by Frank Turner.

Front man Luke Griffiths tells it straight when discoursing on the single’s inspiration and purpose, saying ‘“Thick Skin’ is about how much I f****** hate the current political discourse. To me, politics seems to be completely and utterly middle-class from left to right – class has been seemingly removed from a lot of left-wing politics.”

It’s hard to argue when the leader of the Labour opposition, supposedly the party of the workers, is a knighted ex-lawyer. Small wonder the workers are applauding RMT union head Mick Lynch as the voice of the people, since he’s the only one who’s really telling it like it is, and using his platform opportunities to explain just why everything is so fucked. No-one else is talking about how wages aren’t the issue in the “cost off living crisis”, it’s the fact that wages are being suppressed to preserve profits. People are struggling while CEOs rake in staggering salaries and bewildering bonuses and shareholders reap megadividends at the expense of the poor cunts who do the work and so effectively make those profits possible.

Griffiths goes on: ‘It’s also about social media politics. That kind of rage and vitriol is some form of lashing out for mental health problems and it’s like a form of addictive behaviour. I understand this, dealing with depression and having a history of drug abuse, and I understand how difficult it is to not let that rage inside you come out in vicious ways. But I just feel like social media has allowed a million different forms of religion, nationalism and tribalism to be completely normalised. Our brains are rotting and there is no hope, and every time I feel like there is I’m stung again.’

Again, it’s relatable on a mass scale. Religion is no longer the opium of the people: it’s social media, and it’s divisive, crushing, and debilitating.

‘Thick Skin’ packs all of this into two minutes and forty of guitar-driven grunge with a radio-friendly edge that sits between Asylums and DZ Deathrays, in that it balances attack with melody, big guitars with strong hooks. It’s a cracker!

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Cool Thing – 18th February 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Hot on the heels of their explosive return with ‘Drama Drama Drama Drama’, BAIT continue the assault with the delivery of ‘My Tribe’, off their eagerly-anticipated long-player, Sea Change.

Pitched as ‘the voice of pandemic anxiety’, Michael Webster explains that “’My Tribe’ was written at the very beginning of the pandemic when none of us knew what the fuck was going on. It got me thinking about survival and protecting my family from the unknown. There’s reference to primal activities in contrast to the mundane activities taken up to pass time during isolation.”

This encapsulates the contradictions of the early days of the pandemic: the confusion, the fear, the panic, the sheer bewilderment and sense of ‘what the fuck?’ as the guidance changed daily and we were told to work from home and batten down the hatches: the number of times we heard and read the word ‘unprecedented’ was unprecedented’ – far more so than the pandemic itself. No-one knew how to react, because no-one really knew what they were even reacting to, really.

Clocking in at almost four minutes, it’s one of BAIT’s longer efforts, and it’s driven – as has rapidly become established as their style – but a thick, snarling, repetitive riff in the vein of Killing Joke, and the comparisons don’t end there, given their sociopolitical leanings. In short, it continues the trajectory of their eponymous mini-album debut, and cements everything harder, denser than before, and then veers off into hard technoindustrial that’s more the domain of KMFDM and the like for the final minute.

Tackling isolation and the internal conflicts so many of us suffered, it’s angry, but in no specific direction – because who do you direct that anger at? Some of it goes inwardly, of course, wrestling with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, while some of it goes outwards and into the air because fuck shit, life just isn’t fair. Why here? Why now? Just why? That sense of helplessness and frustration pervades every moment of anger and anguish, and it’s almost as if BAIT were a band ready-made for the pandemic.

But while it may feel like ‘Merry Easter, Covid’s Over’ may be a tune for the coming months, it’s readily apparent that the psychological repercussions of the last two years will be long-lasting for many. The social divisions that became raw gaping wounds through Brexit have only become more pronounced, as people have become more entrenched and seemingly harbour more violent feelings towards others, and on-line aggressions have begun to manifest in an upsurge in the ugliest behaviours since people have been allowed to get back out there. Something is awry, and the world is dark and more fucked-up than ever. This, seemingly, was the plan all along: divide and conquer. This is not some conspiracy theory, it’s not about some ‘plandemic’; it’s an opportunistic power-grab by governments following a neat-global shift to the right. They want people to be scared, and, as it happens, people have reason to be scared – jut not necessarily the reason it seems on the face of it.

‘Keep them occupied / lock them up inside’ is a neat summary of how things have been managed. They slide in the line ‘Under his eye’, and while they may have been bingeing on Netflix, the totalitarian regime of The Handmaid’s Tale seems a lot closer to home now: we are living in the midst of almost every dystopia ever penned made real.

BAIT have got the soundtrack down, they’re both the reassurance that you’re not alone in feeling what you feel, as well as the articulation of the painful truth. And they’re kicking ass all the way.

 

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Epidemic Records – 25th December 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

The timing couldn’t really be much better for an Italian hardcore act going by the name of Locked In, and it’s not much of a challenge to deduce the inspiration for their return to making music after a seven-year break.

According to their bio, ‘Locked In were quite active between 2007 and 2013 and played Italy and Europe extensively before coming to a full stop. Locked In were quite active between 2007 and 2013 and played Italy and Europe extensively before coming to a full stop.’

Or perhaps it was more of a semi-colon, since this digital five-tracker is scheduled to be followed by another EP some time next year. The prospect of ‘next year’ reminds me that while 2020 has oftentimes felt apocalyptic, like the end of days, the end of time, like a full stop on life, it is, and will be, ultimately, no more than a pause or semi-colon in the grand scheme of things. Meanwhile, there’s plenty to be enraged about, and while the lyrics may be entirely indecipherable, there’s nothing like some fast and furious hardcore punk to purge any pent-up fury and to channel any conflicting, confusing or otherwise unplaced emotions.

With the five tracks on offer here each sitting around the three-minute mark, the whole set is dispatched in around fifteen minutes, and it’s pretty primitive and raw: the guitars are played hard and fast, and while the playing of all the instruments is tight enough, the lack of production and definition on said guitars means they’re blurry enough to mask any blurriness; likewise the drumming give precedence to pace over precision, and that’s all exactly as it should be.

‘Coz I Can’ is essentially a statement of intent by way of an opener: in the face of growing state controls, surveillance, and restrictions that extend far beyond virus control on the part of many governments, we need some ‘fuck you’ punk attitude right now, and it seems Locked In are one a band willing to bring it, and do it in the time-honoured fashion of shouting it loud and cranking everything up to eleven. And yes, the faster the better. The adage that you should live every moment like it could be your last is one that very much applies to hardcore in general, and these guys run with it here, cramming in seven missed years of anger into an explosive package. The title says it all, really: they may be dead tomorrow, but they’re not dead yet and are going to make the absolute fucking most of it.

Lead single ‘Dying City’ is likely self-explanatory on the basis of the title, and likely encapsulates the experience of living in Italy at the peak of the pandemic. Here, our perception of Italy has been coloured by a combination of alarming statistics and footage of people singing from their balconies, presenting a narrative of a nation gripped by a sweeping pandemic but ultimately coming together as a community, an ultimately heartwarming and uplifting representation of unity and human warmth. Over here, in England, if only we could be like Italy, as our government praise our grit and community spirit and our NHS heroes… and so we evoke the spirit of wartime community and support as the nation takes to the street to clap ad band pots and pans to say thank you to our national treasures… and we know it’s all bollocks. This isn’t the war, this isn’t the black death, and this is a nation divided, between people who don’t give a shit and would climb over one another and batter one another with crutches to grab the last packet of pasta in the supermarket. This is the reality, and Locked in deliver the soundtrack.

There’s a moment about twenty seconds from the end of ‘No Faith’ where the bass booms and threatens to engulf everything else in the mix: it’s an incredible moment, a proper sonic punch in the guts of the kind that only comes through chance and a lack of time and polish. No pretence, no pissing about: this is the real deal, and one hell of a Christmas present.

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Uniform’s ‘Dispatches from the Gutter’ comes with a momentous video from filmmaker and director Jacqueline Castel. “The video was approached as a documented mass sigil informed by the historical and philosophical concept of self-immolation, performed under the lunar eclipse of Independence Day,” Castel explains. “Participants were asked to bring personal offerings to burn, and were given a directive to write down their intentions for the future, which were attached with accelerants to an effigy that was later cremated. It was a symbolic act of releasing what we wish to abandon, and an invocation of what we wish to rebuild.”

Uniform’s vocalist Michael Berdan reveals, “Aside from being a dear friend, Jacqueline has been a favourite director of all of ours for a very long time. Her stark aesthetic and eye for detail is without parallel. No one could have been better suited to create a visual representation of this song. Dispatches from the Gutter takes equal inspiration from Malcom Lowry’s Under the Volcano and Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke. It is about the fine line that many of us live on between times of relative stability and utter chaos, and what life is like once that fragile threshold is breached.”

The video is the perfect accompaniment to a song that’s classic Uniform. Watch it here:

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(Press Photo By Ebru Yildiz)