Friday, 31 August 2018

Awesome Abums: Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out

When the opening track of Sleater – Kinney's dig me out blasts out I'm instantly hooked in by the teasing guitar riff overlaying the bouncing drum beat. It then proceeds to refuse to let me go for 36 minutes of the album's duration. Some songs are stronger than others but the combination of tantalising guitar work, bouncy drumbeats and rough vocals manages to hold me throughout.

There's a variety of songs on offer. The album begins with a series of catchy tracks of which my personal favourite is the opener “Dig Me Out”. This run ends with the powerful “Heart Factory” where the band slows the pace down a little. “Buy Her Candy” provides a softer moment in the album while “Jenny” gives a climatic finish.

Quick Summary:

“One More Hour”, I don't know why but I feel this is the perfect song to wake up to. Maybe due too the bleary guitar overlaying the verse which contrasts brilliantly with the catchy chorus.
“Turn it On”, once again the guitar draws me in and gets me nodding my head. When the drums kick in the chorus I have to start moving to the music. The bridge then finishes the build up of activity by getting me singing along to the vocals. A fun and catchy song.
“The Drama You've Been Craving” keeps this dancing up through the relentless drumming and the forceful, snappy vocals as they take turns singing. Meanwhile the intricate guitar keeps the song interesting as it dances around the determined pace. Personally I find this one a great song to run to, it really builds up the energy levels well.
“Heart Factory” slows down the pace with a quiet verse and powerful chorus. For me the dark guitar on the verse is the highlight of this song, giving me something enjoyable to just sit and listen to as it plays out.

“Words and Guitar” is full of catchy chorus' which demand the listener to jump around mixing with beautiful, eclectic verses which would be perfect to listen to lying in the grass of a sunny park. This deep contrast in the song works well and is followed by another high energy piece “It's Enough”. At less than 2 minutes long the energy doesn't stop or slow down but keeps rising throughout. A perfect song go nuts to and yell out the simple, repeated chorus at a show.

“Little Babies” slows down the pace once again. I wouldn't say this is one of the strongest songs on the record for me but the vocals on the chorus are catchy and the drums keep an excellent beat, so it is still enjoyable to listen to. “Not What You Want” hits the accelerator harder, the vocals on the verses in particular display the chaotic energy of the song as if on the verge of losing control . “Buy Her Candy” takes the foot of the accelerator again and brings forth a wonderfully sweet song by relying on the guitar and vocals for the brunt of the music. This adds to the rawness of the emotion of the love song and creates a nice quieter moment in the album for the listener to catch their breath.

“Things You Say” demonstrate more of what this album does incredibly well as the intricate guitar guides me through a quietly, powerful emotive song, flowing beautifully with the vocals and drums. “Dance Song 97” uses dynamics well to keep building itself up behind some excellent guitar riff-age before finishing quietly. This manages to add to the impact of the song and solidifies it as a gentler note on the album. “Jenny” wraps up the album and clocking in at over four minutes is the longest song available. The chorus is cathartic and mixing this with the slow tempo makes it a suitable and powerful finisher. It releases the listener while also giving them something to think about on their way out.

The album definitely worth checking out if you wanna hear catchy punk songs that also knows how to mix giving the listener an intricate and raw experience effectively, so if your intrigued give em a listen!

Police, Thieves and Merchants: Chapter 6, Coming With Malice

Cax looked blearily around him at the village settling down for the night. The police women had seemed professional enough, though the thought kept nagging at him at what the two of them could really hope to find against a band of thieves easily able to de-materialise into the wilderness. A smith quietly cleared up his tools as dusk settled around him. The sound of merry laughter came from his right as two boys and three girls played together, their father keeping a watchful eye on them as he creaked back in a rickety chair, a pipe cheerily smoking away in his mouth.
I wonder if he has a spare?” Cax thought before deciding against joining. Children could be really annoying at times. Instead he reluctantly turned back into the inn where his belligerent travelling companions were sipping wine, minus one or two.

Briax was finishing helping the smith collect up her tools.
You don't have to help me you know Briax?” She was in her late twenties, with brown hair curled down to her shoulders and a thick-set build at medium height.
Well you did so well with the cart today I had to return the favour,” he replied easing his face into a smile.
Usually people go to the wood experts when they need something like that doing,” she commented eyes focused on lifting the tools back onto their hooks. Briax had seen just such a person: an old, large man sat dozing outside his carpentry workplace. He remembered pausing to notice how the whiskers nuzzled under carpenter's nose had lifted with each snore, then moved on to find someone much more.. interesting to help.
Yes.. well I guess I'm not aware of the local professions.”
Yet unable to read the word smithy on the front of my door?” A quirky, quizzical yet amused smile flitting across her face.
Precisely, I was in such a rush I had no time for reading Miss..? Or is it Mrs?” Briax asked while leaning forward to inspect the underside of a hammer as if it held great interest to him.
It's Jen, like I've already told you.”
But is it Miss Jen or Mrs?”
I think those tools are just about done, what was that you said about a drink after all this hard work?” Jen said while glancing at the diminishing sunlight out of the window, as if confirming with herself that it was time for such things.
Briax paused his inspection and looked up.
Oh yes, the only place I know around here is the inn we're staying at though and that's full of morons.” He added a sly smile on his lips.
Didn't you say you were the only travellers staying there tonight?”
Yes, did you have any other ideas?”
She turned to usher him out of the door so she could lock up saying,
Woodsworth doesn't have that many places like that to go to, but there's one or two I can think of.”
The pub was a short walk from the smithy, right at the edge of the village with the trees from the forest rising up behind it. A significant amount of loud, rowdy voices could be heard as they approached, broken up by the occasional crash and slap.
What's that?” Briax asked.
Sounds like a tussle,” affirmed Jen as the door burst open in front of them. A large muscular womann came hurtling through, long limbs flailing and a scream of outrage spurting from her lips. Throx stood in the doorway, triumph outlined on his facial expression and body language.
Before Briax could react the woman was hammering into Throx's belly. Throx, proud at never being one to back down easily, managed to roll them both onto the floor where they lay grappling with each other.
Lae stop it!” Jen called out aghast, trying to position herself close enough to the tumbling, whirling pile of limbs in order to prise them apart. Lae looked up momentarily and locked eyes with Jen, before clocking Throx around the head and picking herself up. She easily towered above them all once she had gotten herself upright.
Enough tough guy, looks like the local smithy wants a drink.”
That's right” Jen stated, “and I'd appreciate not having to walk over a rolling pair of asses to do so,” smiling in spite of her words.
What were you doing?” she asked.
I mean why?”
She said this village had the finest wine for over a hundred miles!” Throx cut in indignantly.
I had to correct her.. and then she decided to throw me a punch.”
You were asking for it,” Lae growled.
That's what they all say.”
You were literally asking for it, demanding I put my fist where my mouth was – so I did,” Lae confirmed in her rough voice smiling smugly.
There was a slight pause as Briax and Jen exchanged a brief confused look.
Yer.. I guess you did,” Throx said wiping the back of his hand across his forehead before barking out a laugh.
Let's go inside,” Jen said looking at Briax.
Very good,” Throx interrupted. “I still have plenty of beer left.”
I didn't mean..”
I can show you all a thing or two about drinking. Oh Briax I didn't know you were here!” Throx bellowed, noticing Briax for the first time.
Briax wasn't paying attention to Throx. His eyes were distant, glued to the rear of the inn where several shadows had begun emerging from the tree-line. The movement rippled and formed into a large body of people appearing as if from nowhere in the low, dusk sun glinting indiscriminately off knives or arrowheads glistening threateningly from within the mass.
Get inside,” Briax hissed as the others looked around at the first thrum of a bowstring and screams piercing the cooling evening air.
The four of them bundled inside the drinking establishment, a small crowd of people at various stages of drunkenness turning to stare. Most weren't aware at all of the commotion manifesting itself outside, though worry had dawned on the face of a few. Lae quickly grabbed the block to lock the door and Jen helped her place it on.
Shut the shutters!” Briax yelled all attention in the establishment now firmly placed on their little group. Throx began helping him shut the exterior light out with very little help from the people within.
What's going on?” the bartender called loudly and firmly, clearly sober enough to be aware this wasn't simply a case of drunken shenanigans in the wake of the growing commotion outside. The rest of the crowd were either muttering among themselves or carried on drinking. In addition, a couple were demanding Lae to let them out and none were helping shut the windows. Jen turned to answer the questioning bar staff as a crash resonated around the building. A fist protruded from one of the windows on the far side of the room encased in a deathly black glove far from Throx or Briax's efforts. This initiated a flurry of activity around the pub as the majority of occupants reacted to the threat. One such was a short, squat, round man who flung himself forward to fight off the ferocious fist forcing it's way further into the room. He managed to throw the huge, emerging arm back through the window upon impact only to meet instant retribution for his efforts in the form of an arrow buzzing into his chest from the open window. He fell to the floor to begin an everlasting habit of laying down still. The screams that now could be heard from outside now echoed inside the pub as panic spread at the sight of the dead defender.
Those shutters won't hold for long,” someone shouted desperately as Briax finally managed to finish off the work of the dead man and lock up the final window. Banging immediately spewed forth from several of the windows on the far side of the bar, indicating where the intruders efforts were directed. A keen wailing had begun distinct from the loud kerfuffle, identifying the wife or girlfriend of the dead man as his body was unceremoniously dragged to the centre of the room by Throx. This was to make way for the table and chairs being brought forth by several of the occupants to form a barricade across the windows as the heavy shutters already began to splinter and wither under the pressure. Lae searched around the rest of the pub, mind desperately pleading with herself that the attackers were looking for a simple, rapid raid and would soon grow tired and give up on the barricaded public house.
The back door!” the bartender suddenly exclaimed sharply to her left. “It goes into the kitchens and I bet the lock won't hold much against that determined assault,” he continued nodding towards the cacophony of noise at the rear of the main hall.
Lae followed by Jen, sprinted into the kitchens through the door adjacent to the bar. She was met by the sight of a bedraggled youth dressed as a cook and using what strength he had left to hold the door while simultaneously calling for help. The door splintered behind him as an axe came charging through the wooden architecture to lodge itself deep in his back. The body underneath the axe went limp and Lae spun around gasping in shock and fear. Jen allowed a brief scream and Lae yelled at her to run as she pulled her back towards the bar. They crashed into the bartender and a couple of women who were rushing to their aid.
This place is breached” Lae gasped at them as she struggled back onto her feet.
We need to get out of here.”
Back near the main entrance a few drinking buddies had come to the same conclusion. The front door remained relatively undisturbed beyond the occasional knock. Two young men were shouting at anyone who would listen to get ready to run as they positioned themselves next to the locking bar. Briax and Throx were helping increase the barricade at the rear of the bar. Their efforts were increasingly becoming fruitless as the attackers had managed to get hold of several axes and were chopping their way through the wreckage that greeted them through the windows. A young woman from the pro-escape party was trying to convince a third drunk man to put down his drink and come.
Come on Fal let's go, we need to go” she fearfully pleaded dragging at his arm.
Fal looked at her with a vacant, confused expression before replying
We've got plenty of drink left! Come and join me Kat and we'll blow this place apart!”
We can do that later but now we need to go..”
Why later, we've got to live in the moment.” He pointed his bony, accusing finger at her, “you never live in the moment Kat. You need to relax!”
For the last time, we're being attacked!” Kat pleaded, attempting to drag him with all her might towards the door. Fal turned around and glared at the barricade. The defenders were all abandoning their efforts and fleeing for the front door as splinters flicked out from the shaking furniture defences, emphasised by the deafening, crunching crashes gaining in volume with each one. Fal looked back at Kat, suddenly serious.
Attack of the tables and chairs Kat, I told you this day was coming! You never listen.” The bar was hurled from the front door and the crowd of people clawing to get outside burst through into the uncertain wilderness their village had become. Kat kept trying to drag at Fal but he refused to budge.
Look Kat, I've got reinforcements! Fuck those chairs.”
Kat moaned in defeat as she looked where Fal was indicating before leaving him to his his fate and running for the doors as the menacing figures came bursting into the main bar from the kitchens. Kat was allowed to escape as the thieves focused on salvaging what they could from the bar.
Alright lads,” Fal called out in far too casual a tone for his situation. He took a sip from his drink and nodded back to the crunching furniture behind him.
What are we gonna do about this eh? If you've come for a drink hold on a sec as we've got a situation on our hands.”
Unnoticed by Fal the attackers were negotiating round the dismantled and destroyed furniture, finally victorious in their weary attack against the pub. The expressions on their faces were cold when they realised they had been beaten by the assailants currently rummaging around the bar. The thieves circled through the bar as if hunting for the most appealing dinner in a pack of prey. Some were hurling some of the dry coloured bottles behind the bar into packs that each of them carried.
Wine!” a hairy, short sure-footed man called out triumphantly as he released several bottles from their cabinet prison below the bar.
Share it out,” exclaimed a tall thief kicking away a troublesome chair that refused to untangle itself from his legs paving their way through the obstacles. Fal spun round.
Your not a chair?” he shouted in drunken wonderment a look of dazed confusion on his face as the newcomers passed him towards the bar.
Shut it!” one of them yelled at him as he passed.
How much of it is there back there?” a thief leaning against the bar called. Her wiry frame seemed to be leaning forward in greedy anticipation yet poised for a fight at the same time.
One bottle.”
We'll take it then.” One of the tall thieves coming out of the wreckage calmly stated as he walked around to stand off in front of the bar, his comrades backing him up on either side. A quiet chill fell on the room as the thieves from the kitchen all moved to position themselves between him and the bottle.
Why would we allow that?” the woman leaning back against the bar replied coolly.
There's more of us than you and you don't want us to knock all four of you out for one bottle of wine do you?” came the swift, confident reply from a thief casually sat on a table to the right of Fal, casually flicking his knife into the air as a malevolent grin spread across his face.
Perhaps, but once we get outside we have enough friends to tear it right back out of your potentially dead hands,” the thief leaning at the bar said pointedly her body exuding confidence.
You don't know that..” the knife wielder affirmed, whipping the knife up into the air once more with a grim smile as he met her gaze.
You guys like wine?” Fal questioned from the centre of the stand-off, still enjoying his drink while just about keeping up with the conversation.“Why don't you check out the best wine for 1000 miles? Unlike what that fool thought..”
We've got it here you crazy drunk,” one of the thieves sat on top of the bar retorted.
That stuff's nothing compared to some of the selection in the cellar,” Fal managed to reply slurring his words as he took another drink.
A silent thief who had been glaring out of the door suddenly turned around as the men and women in the room exchanged glances. His face was unshaven and hair and clothing wild and messy, his boots muffled against the floor as he carefully stepped forward to Fal's table. The other thieves watched him expectantly as he spoke softly.
Take us to the cellar.”
Where's your manners?!” Fal interrupted, poking him in the chest. “I offer you the chance to drink the finest wine I know of and you can't even say please?”
The thief paused for a second and then smiled slowly.
I'm sorry,” he spoke with precision. “Please.”
Right!” Fal shouted, getting up. “Let's get you that wine then.”
Fal led the thieves back towards the kitchens to a little crevice to the right of the bar where a trapdoor resided, hidden from view.
Gents,” he declared proudly rotating on the spot to face them after lifting the door open. “Ladies, you are going to love this.”