Robyn’s Top 10 Records of 2014

Another year is over, and what a bloody great one it’s been for music. This year has seen records that I know will stand the test of time. Records that are innovative, playful, punk-as-fuck and just plain catchy. Normally, this list is comprised of just albums – I tend to find I sink my teeth into those much more readily – but this year, I’ve had to alter my expectations and a few EPs can be found here too. Here’s my snapshot of 2014 – grab a cuppa and get stuck in.

Leaving is Bristolian punk rock at its finest. Brutally honest, charmingly melodic and just damn good. The perfect antidote to blustery winter days, Leaving is truly quite wonderful, and the kind of record that finds itself clinging on hard to your stereo. As it’s an EP, it’s not that long, and inevitably ends up leaving you craving more. It also happens to be the finest record that Caves have done to date – check out our review for more.

A glorious return from the queen of punk, Diploid Love is a far more mature record than any of Brody’s previous outings. Main single ‘Meet the Foetus/Oh the Joy’, featuring Shirley Manson, is probably good enough to enter this list itself, but there’s plenty of fantastic moments threaded throughout. Even the bizarre Casio keyboard. There’s a definite QOTSA influence cropping up in the guitar tones, but that just serves to make Diploid Love even sharper and cleverer. We headed down to the Birmingham show earlier this year and had our minds blown.

NFG’s eighth record, and their first without founding member Steve Klein, is an absolute banger. A fantastic return to form, this record proves exactly why pop-punk isn’t dead. I’ve been a huge NFG fan for years, but it’s not all been plain sailing. However, Resurrection harks back to those early days, with songs reminiscent of the incredible Sticks and Stones, but with a much older and wiser feel. It’s still all about girls and staying posi, but it’s damn catchy. It also makes it impossible to forget who really invented the pop-punk beatdown.

Have The Lawrence Arms ever brought out a bad record? The answer, is of course, ‘no’. Another solid entry to the discography, Metropole has a more down-to-earth feel than some of the band’s earlier records, but it still has that same great storytelling capacity that The Lawrence Arms are famed for. It’s also crazy that this is the first full album since Oh! Calcutta! in 2006, but it was more than worth the wait, if only for ‘Drunk Tweets’ alone.

Imagine if Justin Timberlake and Architects got together and jammed. Got that ridiculous notion in your head? You know, if that ever happened, you’d probably end up with the debut album from Issues. IT’S METALCORE MIXED WITH R&B. The how and why are so far past being relevant right now, you just need to know that it exists and that it’s brilliant. Tyler Carter’s vocals are sublime, the songwriting is surprisingly intricate, and truth be told, I’ve never had so much fun listening to a metal record.

Bangers had the mental idea that they were going to write and record a whole bunch of songs in 48 hours, then put whatever they came up with onto a tape. And you know what? It turned out more than okay. Mysterious Ways is classic Bangers, through and through, but it’s also a lot more spontaneous, as one might expect, and it ends up being a whole lot of fun. If you missed out on purchasing this, just try and find a YouTube upload of ‘Mosquito’ somewhere. Totally worth it.

Hebrews is bizarre. Not content with the usual guitar-bending, synth-melding pop-rock bonanza that usually forms a Say Anything record, Max Bemis decided to enlist a string orchestra and went analogue, baby. Even so, half of the riffs on here (coming from violins) are still some of the punkest sounding things I’ve heard in a long time. Also, in true Say Anything style, Max pulls in all of his buddies to guest star, with some pretty surprising results. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but Hebrews is one of the most mind-blowing records of the year.

Andrew McMahon’s first ‘solo’ album proper is one of the most beautiful pop records you’ll hear this decade. After deciding that it was time to move on from Jack’s Mannequin, Andrew decided to travel from studio to studio, practice space to practice space, and came up with ten incredible tracks. Each song has its own personality and identity in a way that most major pop artists struggle to achieve, and the record as a whole is a perfect example of highly emotionally intelligent songwriting. We were lucky enough to interview him earlier this year, and that’s possibly the coolest thing I’ve done with this zine.

Nervous Like Me totally knocked me for six. I’ve been following Cayetana since their first demo was released and they got picked up by Tiny Engines, but I didn’t expect an album that was so clever, so raw and yet so polished, and ultimately, so incredible. The Philly trio have become masters of melody in just a short time, having formed in 2011 while hardly ever having touched an instrument in their lives. We gave this 5 out of 5 earlier in the year, and wouldn’t hesitate to give that score all over again.

Bold. Brave. Beautiful. That’s what Transgender Dysphoria Blues is. There probably wasn’t any other way an Against Me! record could have gone, after Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender, but the result was a cathartic, vitriolic and ultimately enthralling record. Laura’s always been one of the best songwriters in the business, and the sheer variance of sound and style on Transgender Dysphoria Blues, while still sounding like a coherent whole, is testament to that. Everything sounds so good. Even if you can only really sing along to the line ‘you’ve got no cunt in your strut’ in the car on your own. Is it the best Against Me! record? To be honest, I’m going to hazard a yes – no other Against Me! record has ever felt this free, and it’s glorious.

Top 10 Songs of Spring

Forget the Saharan sand and the air pollution, spring is here! It’s like summer’s support act – not quite the big deal, but not bad all the same. Most of the time, anyway. So, my music taste tends to change with the season; my horrorpunk has (for the most part) been set aside for darker times, and I’m ready to approach something fresher. Here’s a bunch of songs that are the perfect lead-in to happy spring days.

10) Against Me – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
I haven’t been able to stop listening to this record since January, but the eponymous track on Against Me!’s storming sixth album is the most fantastic wake-up call. Laura Jane Grace has got some heavy shit to tell us, and she’s going to do it in style.

9) Asian Kung-Fu Generation – Rewrite
This was the opening track to a season of FullMetal Alchemist, which I totally burned through during an Easter holiday back in high school. But it’s easy to see why songs like these get chosen to lead in a story that’s as much about adventuring as it is about kicking demonic ass – because they’re really, really catchy.

8) Blink 182 – Aliens Exist
Enema of the State. What an album. Blink 182 usually makes it onto my summer playlists rather than my spring, but ‘Aliens Exist’ has just a touch of desolate paranoia that I can’t help but adore. Also, the Tom, Mark and Travis Show version is beyond perfect.

7) Eisley – Drink The Water
It’s impossible to listen to an Eisley album without falling into some state of perfect bliss. Every track is beautiful, and ‘Drink The Water’ from Currents is no exception. All of their songs are like fairy tales, and if you’ve never tuned in before, go right ahead and be amazed.

6) Fall Out Boy – Just One Yesterday
Save Rock And Roll is full of great vocal lines, but this song takes the chocolate-smothered cake with cherry on top. The guest vocals from Foxes are just sublime. Roll down the windows and belt it out down country roads for maximum effect.

5) Fidlar – West Coast
Surf-punk is one of my favourite things in existence, and by extension, Fidlar are pretty high up on that list. ‘West Coast’ is a massive song, totally singable and Henry Rollins makes a cheeky appearance in the video for no apparent reason.

4) Kevin Devine – Just Stay
Possibly my favourite Kevin Devine song, ‘Just Stay’ is a beautiful mix of country sensibilities and second-wave emo feelings. Simultaneously uplifting and crushing, just like spring tends to be with sunshine and showers.

3) Northstar – Like AM Radio
Who doesn’t love a bit of 2004 emo from Alabama that sounds like it should have come out of Long Island? I don’t know anyone, that’s for sure. Pollyanna is still a great record, and ‘Like AM Radio’ is its crowning jewel.

2) Allison Weiss – One Way Love
Allison Weiss is 100% adorable, 100% awesome and one hell of a talented songwriter. And I think that’s all I need to say: listen to the track and discover for yourself.

1) Andrew McMahon – Synesthesia
Andrew’s solo tour last year was incredible, and so was The Pop Underground, his first solo EP. Jack’s Mannequin doesn’t really count. If you like soft synths, sweet piano and Andrew’s dulcet tones (who doesn’t?), then this record is a must.

TwoBeatsOff’s Best of 2012

2012 has been a landmark year here in Britain. There’s been some major highs – the Olympics, for one. There’s been some shit stuff too – mass scandal everywhere. But one thing that can be said is that it’s been a fantastic year for music, both here and abroad. It’s also been TwoBeatsOff’s biggest year yet. So we’re doing a best of 2012; a comprehensive list of our favourite bits this year.


Best band: I was going to nominate a certain massive Welsh band, but that’s been a bit tainted with all the allegations going around at present. Instead, I’m going to go with one of the hardest working bands in the UK right now, and one of the most technically able. Chronographs have been working their arse off all year to put together one of the finest EPs I’ve laid my hands on in recent times. They’re incredible live, extraordinarily talented musicians for their age and are set for greatness. Recently signed to Ghost Music with their new EP coming out soon (check out our five star review here), 2013 will be where Chronographs truly hit the spotlight.

Best album: this year, my vote goes to Parkway Drive – Atlas. The Australian metalcore powerhouse have come out gold with an album that not only brings the beatdown, but some outstanding orchestral sections. It’s big in every sense of the word. I attempted to review it but essentially found my fingers going “hgrighdiogndrk” on the keyboard. Of course, mental keyboard spam is a general reaction to Winston McCall in my case, but it really just hit the mark on every level. And it managed to fully destroy the left speaker in my car because the breakdowns are just that tasty.

Best newcomer: For this one, my nomination goes to Good Friend. Even though they’ve only released one EP and not done that much else, I’ve not been able to stop listening to that EP all year. Nothing has made me grin more. If you’re a fan of stuff like The Lawrence Arms, Hot Water Music et al, then you’ll love Good Friend.

Best live act: It was a year of reformations, farewells and anniversaries on the live circuit. But of course, this one has to go to Refused. Seeing them reform and perform in London was not only one of the best nights of this year, but one of the best nights of my life. The Shape Of Punk To Come is almost fifteen years old, but is more relevant than ever today, and to see the legend that is Refused take to the stage once more is something that I will never, ever forget. Or likely experience again.

Best musical moment: I am awarding this one to Laura Jane Grace from Against Me! and the moment she announced to the world that she was transgender, and to the massive wave of support that she was given as soon as it all came out. While Grace’s bravery was incredible, it was just as amazing to see how supportive the punk scene – and the wider alternative spectrum – can be as well. Punk rock is all about being who you want to be, and it’s great to see that Laura Jane Grace feels free to let that happen. And now I’m ridiculously psyched for the new Against Me! album.


Two thousand and twelve will be remembered for many things- the downfall of Ian Watkins, the death of Sonisphere and the singer from Against Me!, who turned from a Mr to a Ms and sparked a worldwide gender debate in the process. It was the year metal opened its arms to pop and fully embraced the power of the hook with Torche and Baroness among others, subverting metal’s macho mannerisms and crafting albums of unashamed pomp and huge choruses. Billy Joe Armstrong conducted a very public PR stunt*cough-cough* stress-induced meltdown whilst drum n’ bass conquered the naysayers at Download Festival.

Two thousand and twelve was yet another year when some of the most influential bands decided to put aside their differences and finally cave in to the huge cheques being waved in front of their faces by promoters well aware that the reformation dollar is a very lucrative one indeed. Whatever their respective reasons, 2012 saw such luminaries as At The Drive-In taking a rather subdued attack to their intense post-hardcore whilst Refused finally did their seminal swansong The Shape Of Punk To Come justice and played to audiences hundreds of times larger than they did back in the day. Chris Cornell regained some credibility with the reformation of a grey-haired Soundgarden and the purveyors of doom Black Sabbath returned to spread the joy once again.

Best Live Band – Refused

I’ve seen so many great shows this year; chipping my tooth and suffering a very painful neck injury courtesy of a rather large stage diver at a particularly sweaty and chaotic Every Time I Die performance was definitely a night to remember. Meshuggah’s decimating and uncompromising aural assault in a large tent in a field in Kent at Hevy Fest was another. But the band who takes the biscuit has to be Refused. As they exploded into THAT riff from ‘New Noise’ at the London Forum in August there may well have been an earthquake occurring such was the seismic activity inside the venue. When the band played London almost fifteen years ago, they did so to only a few hundred people, and that was the biggest show of the tour. It speaks volumes of the bands impact on punk and hardcore and the high esteem in which they are held when, after almost fifteen years, they are selling out venues to thousands of people and playing to fields where the crowd stretches several kilometres into the distance. Yes, the reformation sparked controversy courtesy of the open letter they wrote to their fans after they split declaring that they were “fucking dead” but Refused’s classic punk message of anti-capitalism bears more relevance today than it ever did. What’s more, the band certainly knows how to put on a show, from the brilliant and highly effective use of minimalistic lighting to Dennis Lyxen taking on the role of showman rather than snot nosed punk. Through his physical contortions to his anguished scream and his mesmerizing onstage antics which usually end with the venue’s security looking rather nervous. Now though, the band truly is dead, but although the air of mysticism around the band has been largely eradicated, thousands upon thousands of avid fans witnessed their genius and the band’s message will live on for another generation at least.

Best Album – Deftones

There have been some great releases this year. South Wales bruisers Brutality Will Prevail’s threatened to become kings of the UK hardcore scene with their heavy as hell album Scatter The Ashes. Converge yet again upped the ante with All We Love We Leave Behind and Every Time I Die gave their southern fried hardcore a much needed shot of adrenaline to create the superb Ex-Lives. For sheer musical perfection though, Deftones finally crafted the album they’ve been trying to make for their whole twenty-five year existence. Although commonly and thoughtlessly lumped in with the nu-metal rap-metal nonsense of the late 90’s, Deftones were always a much more forward thinking and vastly more interesting and versatile entity. Koi No Yokan casts its net further afield than previous releases, pushing the bands experimentalist digressions to new depths whilst retaining cohesion and fluidity. The record contains some almighty off kilter 8-string riffs that would make Meshuggah jealous as well as vast soundscapes that range from the heavenly ethereal to the overcast doom. The balance between the decimating heaviness and breathtaking beauty is as close to perfection as you’re ever going to get, more so than 2010’s equally praised Diamond Eyes. Admittedly, the band aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but instead moulding their intensely emotional sound into a masterpiece that builds upon the successes and failures of their previous output. The most consistent band in metal just keeps getting better.

Best Newcomer – Darkshaft

You may have experienced this scenario – a gig in a tiny toilet venue on a desolate winters night in a dead end town where the few people in attendance look like they want to be anywhere other than this gig. Not even alcohol can curb your mind from wishing you were at home and curled up under a duvet like a slightly intoxicated baby. Without warning, a band takes to the stage and for half an hour they proceed to blow your socks off, as well as any other piece of clothing that isn’t securely fastened down. You stumble home trying to piece together what you’ve just witnessed, what’s more you struggle to remember the bands name, was it Darkcock? Darkschlong? ah yes, it was Darkshaft. The band is two guys, one on guitar and one on drums. Both posses screams Daryl Palumbo would be proud of and they boast a big back o’ riffs channelling everything from 50’s rock n’ roll to the sex-fuelled sweaty stomp of Death From Above 1979. Equally importantly, they posses an all important sense of humour oh, and they’re from New Zealand. They’ve only got a demo tape, a cassette, and a slightly punked-up cover of The Wonder’s ‘That Thing You Do’ to their name but with such virtuosic musicianship and beastly live performances expect to see heaps of praise for the demonic duo next year.

Best Band – Basement

2012’s best band is sadly one that doesn’t exist anymore. The UK underground was dealt a huge blow this year when Suffolk five-piece Basement decided to call it a day. This was even more so, because the band had just released Colourmeinkindness, a record of such creative brilliance and dare I say ‘maturity’ that it belied the young age of the band members, most of whom had only just reached their twenties. Their debut: 2011’s I Wish I Could Stay Here, won the hearts of kids throughout the underground with its wistful take on 90’s emo. After winning countless fans through touring places as far afield as the US and Australia it seemed the band were destined for great things and the speed at which the band’s two farewell shows sold out proved the amount of devotion the band had quite rightly garnered over their all too brief existence. Colourmeinkindness was a record of grunge throwbacks (the good type of grunge) and emo-isms (again, the good kind) that was not only heartbreakingly sincere but also wonderfully unique. As is the case when bands split up before they reach their creative peak there is an inescapable “what if?” that hangs over their dissolution. Certainly the band had the potential to graduate from the dingy toilet venues where they honed their sound and become a bonafied prospect on the UK’s rock scene. But lets no dwell on the “what ifs?” and instead celebrate a band who achieved so much in such a short space of time.

Best Musical Moment – Sabbath reign supreme at Download

The performance of rock legends Black Sabbath at this year’s Download festival was given added poignancy given that guitar hero Tony Iommi had been diagnosed with lymphoma only a few months previous to their performance. But in true metal fashion they soldiered on like the true rock Gods they are, producing a performance that belied not just their age but their collective drug consumption over their 40-or-so year existence. Ozzy, who by all accounts has defied medical science, was far from the shuffling and barely coherent star he is most known for. Instead his voice was powerful and his performance undeniably engaging whilst around him the two original members (minus drummer Bill Ward of course) provided their doom-laden take on blues, a sound which gave the world the blueprint for all of modern metal to follow. Sabbath are once again back in the public conscience as kings of heavy metal, and long may they reign.

Best Band – Green Day. While Billie Joe’s sad personal problems may have put a dampener on the end of their year, they went above and beyond in 2012 to make this the best year for the band’s fans it could possibly be, particularly us in the UK. Three (count them – 3!) new albums, suprise(ish) gigs at Shephard’s Bush Empire and Reading, and an under-appreciated but absolutely excellent debut UK tour of the stunning American Idiot musical, genuinely the best show I’ve ever seen.

Best Album – This is a tough award for me. Because, in all honesty, my favourite album released in 2012 was Weapons by Lostprophets, which is a controversial choice for obvious reasons. But while Watkins’ actions are to be abhorred, the other 5 members of the band should not be punished, and they have made a truly great album here. If this isn’t an appropriate choice for the award, then second place would go to Shinedown’s superb Amaryllis.

Best Newcomer: A combination of Brummie pride and pop-punk loyalty leads me to give this award to Taking Hayley. I honestly think that’s a name you’re going to hear a lot more of in 2013, particularly with their success at the UK Warped Tour and a headline tour already announced and selling well for February. Although an honourable mention must go to Fearless Vampire Killers – grandiose is not the word. Insane bunch, but fantastic music.

Best Live Act: Possibly another sentimental, Brummie choice from me, but having never thought I’d ever get a chance to see them in my lifetime, I can’t give this award to anybody except the almighty Black Sabbath. An incredible band making a much celebrated return this year, I saw them closing Download Festival and they absolutely blew me away, which is something considering my favourite band in the world, Metallica, had played the previous night. Their entire set, from their eponymous opening song to a thrilling Paranoid closer, was superbly crafted and Ozzy Osbourne is still the most incredibly entertaining frontman in music. Plus the mere fact that the performance took place after Tony Iommi’s battle with cancer was stunning and a wonderful moment for music.

Best Musical Moment: A pop-punk bias only gives me one possible answer: The announcement that finally, the UK was getting our own, proper, standalone Warped Tour date. Not as part of another festival, but a bonafide, independently organised, UK Warped Tour date. The organisation at the event, travelling between stages and rooms, was nothing less than awful, but that didn’t matter one bit – the atmosphere was incredible, the bands were brilliant (ignoring Blood On The Dance Floor, obviously) and New Found Glory were there. That’s all that matters. Superb news, and I eagerly await Warped Tour 2013 UK.

The Frank Experience [Frank Turner, O2 Academy Birmingham, 24/11/11]

I have seen Frank Turner play over five times now. I’ve seen him with a hundred other people, I’ve seen him with about twenty thousand people. Every time I’ve ever reviewed him, I’ve never had a bad thing to say. I still don’t. It’s impossible to give this show a proper review without repeating myself, so I’m just going to tell it straight. I’m going to tell you about The Frank Experience.

We got there way later than I had planned. Two of my friends forgot their tickets, so we dealt with that, stood in the doorway of the Bullring and pissing everyone off. As it turns out, you CAN just waltz in with a barcode number, but I didn’t care about that. I was a bit tense. Not only was Frank playing, but Against Me! were in town. If you’ve never seen Against Me! play live, you’re missing out. But we’ll get to that later. I had been planning on getting right to the front for that set, so we hurried on to the venue, did the obligatory Snapbooth pic and got into the crowd.

First of all, this was the weirdest crowd I had encountered in a long time. Weirder than the last Gaslight Anthem show I went to. I was surrounded by forty year old middle class women with their husbands and kids, chavs, indie girls and hipster guys. The last time I saw Frank headline, I was surrounded by sweaty punks with checked shirts and lumberjack beards. The last time I saw Against Me!, it was pretty much the same. “Excuse me, are you going to be stood there for the whole thing?” a well-to-do woman asked me as I tried to push forward to the front, sipping on her rose wine. “Nah, I just want to see this set. One of my favourite bands. Do you like punk?” She looked rather unamused by the whole endeavour. I turned around, ignored her, fended off some people who were trying to get past me, and waited for the band to come on.

Tonight was not a good night for Against Me!. Although Tom battled bravely with his throat (some tea made an appearance in the background halfway through the set), you could tell he was wrecked. The band also battled bravely with the crowd, who didn’t seem to care at all. From where I was stood, I could see about two people who were into it. I’m presuming a couple more over the other side of the stage. Usually, when I see Against Me! play, I’m surrounded by people who adore them, much like myself, and we sing as loud as we can, dance as hard as we can. There’s nothing quite like being linked arm in arm with guys who have more tattoo than skin and belting out Baby, I’m An Anarchist. But regardless, it was the first time I’d seen them with Jay behind the drums and they’re better than ever. One of the best setlists I’ve ever seen them play – Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists was a personal highlight – and an absolutely insane performance. They tried really hard with the audience they had. But one thing was clear – they were all here to see Frank and nobody else.

So when Frank came on and broke into Eulogy, the entire place erupted. I had relinquished my place on the barrier in order to find my friends. Admittedly I could barely see a thing, but I didn’t care as long as I was with my friends. Who would I be able to tell my story with when I end up in hell if not them? Even though I’d gone to find them, I barely realised they were there. It was clear to me then that Frank no longer needed my admiration – he had the admiration of the nation right there. The band burst into Try This At Home, and I realised that half of these people here tonight probably knew nothing about punk rock and how it makes such a difference in your outlook, in your life. But right then, it didn’t matter. Because they cared about something, they cared about it enough to stamp their feet and shake their bodies in time to the music. I thought back to the train station – a few guys from my uni were there on their way to the show. Too hip to talk to the likes of me, I wondered if they too had lost their nicotine cool and were going as mental as everyone else.

The Road is such a powerful song. It’s not something we can all relate to, though. Frank yells out at the start, that if you know the words to anything, you have to sing along. So, I look around me and almost the entire room is belting it back to him. My friend Mike can’t sing, and he has the loudest voice of all. It makes me grin, because he’s having a good time and doesn’t care about anyone else. I sing too, but I have classical training and am at least in tune. I always feel self conscious at gigs – are people going to look at me when I sing, try and decipher where the racket’s coming from? But nobody ever cares – they’re too busy doing it themselves. If Ever I Stray gets the band going in full force and an even louder singalong; there’s a lot of the ‘new’ crowd here tonight. But as soon as Frank breaks into Reasons Not To Be An Idiot, the whole room explodes. It’s the ultimate feelgood song, and so quintessentially British. Every time I’m moping around in the house, I put that on and I go outside. I think of home – it’s been a while since I’ve been back. I still can’t see a lot of the stage.

I Am Disappeared, although similar to The Road to its content, is something more relatable. I take a peek to the side. My friend Kari is singing with all his heart, fists raised. That middle section, that one line – “And come morning, I am disappeared” – runs shivers down my spine. It feels liberating, which is essentially how the entire evening feels. I give up my impartial journalistic tendencies, which only happens for the rarest of performers, and I am liberated. Love, Ire And Song, the title track to the first Frank album I ever bought, becomes even more rousing in the O2 Academy than I’ve ever heard it before. Polaroid Picture, a new song, is a total rock anthem. This is the first tour where The Sleeping Souls have been put on the main event title and their importance in Frank’s sound is now completely apparent. It’s a great song, but the minute it’s over and Wessex Boy starts, it’s almost completely forgotten. Wessex Boy appeals to the ‘new’ crowd, I guess. Although Frank’s lyrics have always been fairly focused on Britain, England Keep My Bones is as patriotic as you can get. Wessex Boy, in particular, is all about your hometown. I hate my hometown at this point in time and I don’t remember the place I was born all too well, but Wessex Boy makes me miss them both.

Nights Become Days is accompanied by Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo. The raucous singing lessens a bit, even though everyone still knows the words. In particular, the couple in front of me are holding hands and singing, occasionally glancing at each other and smiling. I remember the first time I saw Frank, and a few more. I was with an ex. We never shared a moment like that, but even so, I think back to those shows. But the emotions don’t come flooding back. I know that the real test will be the Brand New show in February, but right now, I know that I am not in love with anything but the string section and that’s perfectly fine with me.

Frank confesses that he doesn’t really remember the words to the next song and had to Google them earlier. Must Try Harder was always a song I skipped on Sleep Is For The Week. Not that it was bad, but it was almost at The Ballad Of Me And My Friends so inevitably, off it went. Frank doesn’t do too bad a job for not remembering the words though. And then, we’re back in our element as I Knew Prufrock Before He Was Famous gets played. All I could think throughout this song was that my sister should be there. I’ve been to about 75% of the Frank Turner sets I’ve been to with my sister. She’s probably one of those indie girls I mentioned earlier (my housemate declares her as “Topshop”), but she’s got the most incredible wit. Nobody makes me laugh more than my sister. She wants lyrics from Prufrock tattooed on her. She hasn’t done it yet, but no doubt when she does, I’ll be there and I’ll be taking her to Modern Body Art. My mum will probably love it because it’ll be feminine and beautiful, whereas my AFI nephilim is just “cute, but were you sure you wanted that for life?” What Mum doesn’t get is that AFI are my INXS, my Bon Jovi. AFI, and punk in general, led me to make the life decisions that got me into a top class university, to start writing, to be who I am and not give a damn what everyone else thinks I should be. I don’t know if that’s how my sister feels about Frank Turner, but if she can remind herself that life is about love, last minutes and lost evenings, then I think she’ll be doing just fine.

Sons Of Liberty seems so relevant now, so much more than ever before. The Occupy movement is one of the biggest political statements we’ve seen in such a long time. It’s not quite coherent enough for my taste, not yet, but Sons Of Liberty seems so appropriate. For the first time in ages, it’s accompanied by the proper violin, courtesy of the Red Clay Halo. I sort of missed Frank’s guitar substitute, but I stood together with my brothers and sisters. I felt like I should be doing more. I always feel like I should be doing more. Punk rock shouldn’t be sitting around waiting for the lights to go green. It should be barrelling through red and asking why the fuck not. (As it stands, I’m writing this on the day of the civil strikes. My mum’s striking today, visiting my sister while I type in my sickbed.) This is the year of discontent, let alone the summer, and it is marked well here tonight. One Foot Before The Other gets fists equally raised. Will Frank be our legacy? Will we be playing his records to our children, telling them that this is what inspired us to keep going? I probably will be, alongside reading them Black Coffee Blues before bed.

Peggy Sang The Blues always makes me smile. This is one that me and my sister belt out in the car. “No one gets remembered, for the things they didn’t do” is a line that resonates so much with me. I’m young and optimistic still, for the most part, so I sing every word as loud as I can, but as I’ve got a bit of a sore throat, it actually comes out with that much desired folk punk drawl. The couple in front of me are still singing to each other. Frank introduces Glory Hallelujah as a hymn, and truthfully, as I look around, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone were to call this “The Church of Frank Turner”. The faithful congregation dance and sing in a fashion the Church of England probably wouldn’t approve of. When the album first came out, Kari picked up on the atheistic content of it on our radio show, but it doesn’t seem to stop anyone here having a great time, regardless of belief. There’s a great feeling of community, and I don’t regret leaving my barrier position one iota.

Long Live The Queen is one of my favourite Frank songs, so I’m always really pleased to hear it played live. This was a fully rocked up version, and despite the fact that it’s so sad, it’s also so uplifting. It reminds me that I should be living while I can. So we dance, and we dance for all those who have left. We still believe. Frank reminds us, before he breaks into I Still Believe, that music brought us all together tonight and that it’s a powerful tool, and we should never forget that. I Still Believe is another of my favourite Frank songs, summing up everything I feel about punk, about rock, about music in general. It’s got some bloody great potential for gang vocals as well. And finally, he puts down the guitar and picks up the microphone and does a cover of Somebody To Love. Much like at Reading Festival, in the Lock Up stage, I realise that Frank is every inch the rockstar now, albeit a highly unconventional one. He’s fast becoming a well loved British institution, like Freddie was. And he’s got a brilliant voice as well!

The band and Frank disappear off the stage. The crowd whip up a frenzy, chanting “we want more, we want more!” I don’t join in. There’s two songs I know he hasn’t played yet and two songs I know he won’t leave us without. Frank comes back alone, guitar in hand. He plays us a new song, Cowboy Chords, and then The Ballad Of Me And My Friends. The entire room bellows it back at him, especially the last line. Tonight will be one of those stories we’ll have to tell. Two of my friends have disappeared and I don’t know why. But I remain with the friends who are there. We look at each other knowingly and scream it out – “We’re definitely going to hell, but we’ll have all the best stories to tell!”

The band come back on, and I know exactly what’s coming next. Photosynthesis. My friend Chris comes bounding over and grabs me by the waist on one side, Kari on the other side, and it’s one of those moments that only comes around a few times in a lifetime. Frank pauses in the middle of the song and we think we know what’s coming. We get prepared to sit down and jump up again, but capacity won’t allow it. Instead, two enormous confetti cannons let loose a stream of pink glory. It drops into my handbag and to places I didn’t think it could go. Indeed, when I get home and get undressed, about five or six strips fall from my bra alone. The gig ends and we walk back to the train station, sweaty and buzzing. We run through the streets like nobody else is there, trying to put into words what we just saw. And these ones are mine.

It is very clear that Frank no longer needs my admiration. But he will have it, always and forever.

Warren Oakes Leaves Against Me! – We Are Upset (that is to say, fightclubsandwich and I)

Fightclubsandwich says (16:47):
Ripper says (16:48):

Fightclubsandwich says (16:48):

It irks me that this band already uses an exclamation mark
it feels like I should add in a special one
to connote my shock
Ripper says (16:49):

You have to add double, yeah
Because AM! without Warren is like a pirate ship with no beard.
Fightclubsandwich says (16:49):

Ahaha, quite the apt imagery
Ripper says (16:49):

Fightclubsandwich says (16:49):

It’s so weird. I mean, in a way I kind of feel like… now that they’ve had their first line up change, they’re a real band now?
Ripper says (16:50):

They’ve had lineup changes before now, I swear. But it’s like, the first major one since Andrew joined.
Fightclubsandwich says (16:51):

Oh, duh
you’re right
I need to go back do some Revising Axl Rose
Ripper says (16:51):

Ahahaha, for reals
Fightclubsandwich says (16:51):

You enjoyed my bad pun?
Ripper says (16:51):

I did indeed, I’m probably the only person in the world who would
Who’s gonna play drums now, anyway?
I forsee sad times ahead =(
Fightclubsandwich says (16:52):

Mr Hot Water Music
George Rebelo
Ripper says (16:52):

Oh, that might not be so bad.
Fightclubsandwich says (16:52):

sounds like he may be a bit of a rebel
shake things up a bit
Ripper says (16:52):

But tricky for both bands, I imagine
Fightclubsandwich says (16:52):

are Hot Water Music even together, still?
Ripper says (16:53):

Yeah, they reformed last year
Fightclubsandwich says (16:53):

Not gonna lie, I know little to nothing about Hot Water Music
Ripper says (16:53):

Chuck’s doing a load of solo shows at the moment so I don’t forsee much HWM activity right now
Fightclubsandwich says (16:53):

I mean, I’ve liked what I’ve heard, but… geh.
Didn’t Chuck play solo shows with Tom Gabel?
Ripper says (16:53):

Yeah, Tom supported
That I would have loved to have been able to see.
Fightclubsandwich says (16:54):

You would have a beardgasm
I suspect
Ripper says (16:54):

It would be heaven
Anna Is A Stool Pidgeon live, I’d just lose my shit right there
Fightclubsandwich says (16:55):

The Tom Gabel solo album is totally on my List
Ripper says (16:55):

I love it, it’s awesome
Fightclubsandwich says (16:55):

but I am poor and also need the latest Trophy Scars and the latest Morrissey ones
Ripper says (16:55):

Pfft, nobody needs the latest Morrissey, hahaha.
Oh, and further investigating…
Fightclubsandwich says (16:55):

What, is it really bad?
the new Morrissey, I mean
Ripper says (16:55):

AM! are bringing out an EP of older material
and no, but it’s SUMMER and you need happy music
not Morrissey, ahaha
Fightclubsandwich says (16:56):

Ripper says (16:56):
Fightclubsandwich says (16:56):
Ripper says (16:56):
Fightclubsandwich says (16:56):
Ripper says (16:56):
Not gonna lie, that actually sounds like fun.
Fightclubsandwich says (16:57):
It is from the song Cemetery Gates
I forgot you don’t know much about The Smiths
Ripper says (16:57):
No, I’m a Cure girl instead, haha
Fightclubsandwich says (16:57):
did I put it on your mix CD?
Ripper says (16:57):
Yeah, you did, but I didn’t listen to that so much, I was rockin’ the Armalite and Cher
omg, that Cher song, best thing to put on a mix cd ever
Fightclubsandwich says (16:57):

Gotta love the Cher
Every mix I ever make is full of hardcore punk and cheesy guilty pleasures
and other bits
Ripper says (16:58):

I don’t make that many, so yours was an interesting experience for me
Fightclubsandwich says (16:58):

Ripper says (16:58):

Fightclubsandwich says (16:58):

Ripper says (16:58):

Everyone needs some Jovi!
My mum would kill me if I didn’t like that song, ahahaha
Fightclubsandwich says (16:58):

I don’t even like Bon Jovi, but that song is awesome
I despise Living On A Prayer
I mean, seriously, if you could stab a song…
Ripper says (16:59):

Livin’ On A Prayer is overplayed, that’s the problem
but it’s the best thing to do on Guitar Hero
cause everyone just screams it out
Fightclubsandwich says (16:59):

That sounds like my hell
Ripper says (16:59):

Then I’ll put you through it one day, and you’ll love it, it’ll be like masochism
Fightclubsandwich says (17:00):

What did you think of the Neutral Milk Hotel songs, incidentally?
Ripper says (17:00):

Fuckin’ ace
Fightclubsandwich says (17:00):

I adooooore that album
Ripper says (17:00):

I’d listened to SOME Neutral Milk Hotel before, but not from that album
and I love it, I’m gonna have to buy that one
Fightclubsandwich says (17:01):

If you want, I can copy it for you?
I would trade you for Balzac, maybe?
Ripper says (17:01):

Haha, go for it.
Balzac are like the Japanese Misfits
but their singer is nowhere near as foxy as Danzig
Fightclubsandwich says (17:02):

not… now-Danzig
Ripper says (17:02):

Back in the day Danzig when he was still skinny, ahaha
Fightclubsandwich says (17:02):

Does he still go topless?
Iggy Pop style?
Ripper says (17:02):

Yes, he does
Fightclubsandwich says (17:02):

Oh no
Ripper says (17:02):

It’s not as terrifying as Iggy though cause he still has muscle
Fightclubsandwich says (17:02):

Iggy Pop has muscle, but it’s like, cover it up, Grandpa, I don’t want you to get a cold!
Ripper says (17:03):

Iggy Pop looks so gross though, on account of the drugs
Fightclubsandwich says (17:03):

and the smashing broken glass into his own body
Ripper says (17:03):

Yeah, not so fun
Danzig’s just built like a tank
but I could take him
Fightclubsandwich says (17:03):

I would like to see that
Ripper says (17:04):

Remember the video where he just got owned?
Fightclubsandwich says (17:04):

… no?
In what way, “owned”?
Ripper says (17:04):

Oh man, gonna have to find it
he picks a fight with this guy and gets punched in the face
Fightclubsandwich says (17:04):

I could probably go without seeing that
Ripper says (17:04):

Check it out
It’s hilarious, you need to see it
Fightclubsandwich says (17:05):

my favourite is the video where he talks about his library
Ripper says (17:05):

and he’s shirtless
in the library
Fightclubsandwich says (17:05):

“this is a book about angels of death”
“this is a book about how Christianity is a religion founded on death and murder”
Ripper says (17:06):

What was his favourite?
I can’t remember
Fightclubsandwich says (17:06):

me neither
it was probably about demons possessing children
Ripper says (17:07):

Most likely
Fightclubsandwich says (17:07):

or perhaps I’m thinking of the song Teenagers From Mars
Ripper says (17:07):

Either way, I’m watching it now
Fightclubsandwich says (17:07):



Ripper says (17:08):

When will they learn?
Fightclubsandwich says (17:08):

This is the most horrible band…
that I have ever experienced
I’m sorry, Bon Jovi, all is forgiven!
Ripper says (17:08):

Not to mention that Decaydance just sign any old shit these days
Fightclubsandwich says (17:09):

Poor Vinnie
I know he left FBR like… two years ago?
But I bet he still winces when he reads about shit like this.
Ripper says (17:09):

He got out when it just started to go downhill, yeah
I know, right?
Fightclubsandwich says (17:09):

Didn’t Discount used to be on FBR?
Ripper says (17:09):

And Jimmy Eat World, for a brief period
Fightclubsandwich says (17:09):

Ripper says (17:10):

It still breaks my heart that Lifetime are the only good band on that label.
Fightclubsandwich says (17:10):

it’s just kind of blowing my mind
it’s like living in wonderland
Cheshire Katz is mad, of course, we’re all mad here
Ripper says (17:11):

Not to mention, bands GET shit when they get signed to FBR these days
Fightclubsandwich says (17:11):

Who are you thinking of in particular there?
As in, bands that get shit?
Ripper says (17:11):

VersaEmerge, I used to really like when they were unsigned, then they signed to FBR
and their sound is awful now. They just sound like a Paramore clone
Fightclubsandwich says (17:12):

Oh. Well I’m not familiar with them, but…
Paramore… :/
Didn’t The Academy Is… play shows with the Grabass Charlestons before FBR?
Ripper says (17:13):

Dunno, can’t remember. Either way, I still like TAI…, even if the latest album’s a bit tame.
Fightclubsandwich says (17:13):

Meh. They were never my favourites, but they are fun. I didn’t like Fast Times at all, it just is so boring, it runs right out of your mind
Ripper says (17:14):

also the best quote from this Danzig interview is ‘shaking a baby in his mouth. that’s pretty cool.’
Fightclubsandwich says (17:14):

I have the sudden itching to listen to Danzig’s self titled and Almost Here
Ripper says (17:14):

‘occult roots of nazism… every schoolchild should have this book’
Fightclubsandwich says (17:15):

Going to a school run by Danzig would leave you completely ill equipped for the real world
Ripper says (17:15):

You’d be able to kick a werewolf’s ass
Fightclubsandwich says (17:15):

well, quite possibly
Ripper says (17:15):

And he’d teach you how to have amazing volume in your hair
Fightclubsandwich says (17:16):

you need to be built like Danzig to pull off the Devil Lock, I feel
I tried it once
I have no shame
it looked bad
Ripper says (17:16):

Well, he had the Devilock when he was all skinny like
so that’s not too bad
Fightclubsandwich says (17:17):

well he probably wasn’t as skinny as me, like, ever
Which reminds me, I need to sign up to a gym this summer so I can beat my housemate at arm wrestling
Ripper says (17:17):

This is true
You’re puny, it’s not your fault.
Fightclubsandwich says (17:18):

It is my fault if I refuse to do anything about it!
or… something
Ripper says (17:19):

Maybe… but for you to become incredibly beef would be like Michael Jackson becoming black again, it’s impossible.
Fightclubsandwich says (17:19):

I wasn’t planning on actually going full-Danzig
Ripper says (17:19):

He’s bringing out a new video game, you know?
Fightclubsandwich says (17:19):

Michael Jackson or Danzig?
Ripper says (17:19):

Fightclubsandwich says (17:19):

see who can warp the brains of the most children!
Ripper says (17:19):

Not gonna lie, I’d totally buy that
Fightclubsandwich says (17:20):

the real MJ game or my idea?
Ripper says (17:20):

They’d have to have special powers in yours though
Like, MJ does a moonwalk and then moon rays fire down on his opponent
and Danzig rips his shirt off and then werewolves come and attack his opponent
Fightclubsandwich says (17:21):

That sounds amazing
They would both have secret bases. MJ’s is protected by legions of crazy animals
It’s Neverland, of course
Glenn Danzig lives in a pit under a graveyard and he has zombie butlers
Ripper says (17:22):

They nom on the unsuspecting
Fightclubsandwich says (17:22):

Morrissey is the final boss, too. You have to shake him out of a big sulk
because his tears are drowning the world
if you’re playing as MJ, you have to make him hpapy and entice him to dance
if you’re playing as Glen Danzig, you have to make him angry and bloodthirsty
But anyone who wants to kill Morrissey can gtfo please