Milksick – the debut album from London five piece YOWL – is an erratic and enigmatic listen. Smashing raucous alt rock with obtuse and confounding poetry, they paint a picture of a gritty existence where wild-eyed hedonism leaves behind charred remains. Guitars lead the charge while baritone vocals veer into howls of exasperation, not so much changing gear but jumping into another vehicle entirely. A talented bunch to say the least, Secret Meeting decided to catch up with them to glean some insight into their influences.
Three favourite albums:
Lambchop – Nixon
This was the first Lambchop album I properly got into and it’s tied to a very specific time. I had it downloaded on my phone when I was working a job with very early starts and I have vivid memories of regularly being out of data, watching planes appear as the sky turned from black to purple with Grumpus or The Old Gold Shoe in my ears. It’s one of those albums where most of it could be sung alongside one guitar and still be beautiful, but the light orchestration lifts it all up to moments of church-via-hollywood gorgeousness.
X-Ray Spex – Germ Free Adolescents
Just one of the best early punk records – it’s so unique and real – Poly Styrene’s voice has something of Janis Joplin if she’d started out in the 70s, and Poly was a master of weird, genuinely funny anti-capitalist lyrics (I wanna be instamatic / I wanna be a frozen pea / I wanna be dehydrated / in a consumer society). Everything on the record comes across like she truly, urgently means it; there are tracks like I Am a Poseur, which deals with her feelings of being an outsider in an outsider scene – but not so much in an imposterish way, more a give-a-fuck kind of way. The doc that came out recently about her, I Am A Cliché, is well worth a watch.
Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Soundtrack)
To my memory, the first cassette I got as a kid. My dad is a bit older than the average dad and was never much of a fan of ‘new music’ (yes, disco counts as new music in this instance), but he always said that the Bee Gees had lovely harmonies, so I guess when I pleaded for a ‘current’ album I could have for myself to play in the car or whatever this was the first thing that came to mind!
A favourite film:
Another Round – Thomas Vinterberg
For anyone who hasn’t seen it already, the premise at its most basic and spoiler-free is a group of middle-aged guys agreeing to start drinking small quantities of alcohol daily in the hope that it will give their lives vitality without it being destructive. It’s got that thing where the concept is faintly absurd but the movie makes it absolutely believable, and the script is full of those small, reassuring lies we tell ourselves when engaging in addictive or destructive behaviour. And there’s a cathartic dance sequence on par with the ‘Rhythm of the Night’ moment at the end of Beau Travail.
A favourite Book:
Day of the Oprichnik – Vladimir Sorokin
Concise, exhaustingly brutal satirical dystopia, blending the legacies and iconographies of Putin and Ivan the Terrible into one monarcho-fascist society. The Oprichnik (a cross between KGB secret service agents and Orthodox Christian enforcers whose name is taken from that of the historical Ivan’s personal bodyguard) are morally twisted in a similar vein to the droogs in A Clockwork Orange, committing heinous acts of violence while lecturing each other on the impurity of smoking cigarettes and swallowing psychedelic golden fish.
A song that means a lot to you
Richard Dawson – Weaver
I saw Richard Dawson play this on a severe hangover (the hangover was all mine), and it was one of those moments where the pain starts to lift and your crashing blood sugar settles and everything suddenly becomes quasi-religious. He has this ability to make my dormant inner folksy goblin want to break out and frolic around a mushroom circle, but he can be so modern lyrically – it’s simultaneously grounding and evocatively raw.
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