23/09/16 – They Jump from Minor to Major, Whilst I Do the Opposite

What I’ve Been Listening To:  ‘New Song’ by Warpaint

Release:  Preview    Release Date:  August ’16    Label:  Rough Trade    Rating:  7.5/10


I know bands can’t stand being called the new “X”, understandably preferring to be recognised for their own merit, but you can’t help but compare them to the female dominated alt rock bands of 90’s, such as Hole and The Breeders. Their songs may be more psych rock/dream pop (think a mash up of Cocteau Twins and Depeche Mode) than grunge, but the angst ridden, “fuck the establishment” under (over?) tones can’t be ignored. Well, that was until now …

Their new song, the first to be released from their forthcoming album (well, not released as such, it’s more of a sneak peek), ‘New Song’ (ha ha, like what you did there) is lacking in what I feel is Warpaint’s signature, namely that “just out of tune” melody which both intrigues and frustrates (Love is to Die from their 2014 self-titled sophomore album being a good example of this). This is sleek, intelligent, pop – a song to make you jump around rather than slit your wrists. Put it this way, I instinctively started singing ‘Moves Like Jagger’ in places. Gone are the melancholic tones of their first two albums, and in its place are uplifting lyrics, house-esque percussion, electronic loops and mightily catchy guitars.

Don’t mistake me when I say this, it isn’t meant as an insult – but ‘New Song’ is Warpaint Lite. They readily admit that this is their popiest release to date – I wonder if this is the direction they’re now taking, or it’s just a temporary diversion off their uniquely beaten track.

Their new album, ‘Head’s Up’ is out today.

Words from the Brain:

One of the saddest and most frustrating things about anxiety is how much it changes you. Yes, I know, age ravages the body and mind of the sanest person; appendages making a dash for the floor, hairs migrating from their youthful home to some surprising places, risk taking being a thing of a past (although I think we have the arrivals of our little cherubs to thank for that one). But this gremlin, this … poisonous, utterly fucking soul destroying critter called anxiety, in all the forms it takes, has remodelled me from someone who was optimistic, upbeat, adventurous, active, competitive, reliable and damn good at what I did, to an individual that I find it hard to recognise.

You’d really be surprised by what anxiety does to you, so yes, there are the adrenaline pumped episodes when your heart feels like it’s going to explode, AKA a panic attack – which is basically a fight or flight response; a vestigial lingerer from when we had to make split second decisions as to whether or not we could outrun that sabre-toothed tiger currently bounding in our direction, but not so useful when you’re quietly sitting on a train in 2016 – don’t get me wrong, it does have its uses, I can think of a few times in East London in the 90’s in particular. But in addition, the following things have reared their ugly head; short term memory loss; inability to focus for more than a few minutes at a time; debilitating fatigue, inability to stop your brain racing; heart palpitations; a regular feeling of having a lump in your throat (called Globus Hystericus – clearly named by a 19th century male physician), tight chest and sensation of not being able to breathe; problems with swallowing; random phobias (which wax and wane regularly), IBS (I kid you not) and health anxiety.

The latter is a particular bitch. Once (and still in some circles) called hypochondria, an affliction that is regularly perceived as attention seeking and manipulative – believe me, it is not, and I truly hate myself for it. The symptoms are real – for example, I recently had some interesting side effects from some tablets I was taking for acid reflux causing me to involuntarily twitch all over, of course I deduced from this that I was suffering from that extremely rare disease, ALS (AKA Motor Neuron disease). Of course, I’m not, but the irrational part of my brain would not let it go (And Dr. Google doesn’t help), my long suffering husband finding me sobbing on the armchair one evening when he returned from work, empty wine glass (read: bottle) in hand, proclaiming that I would be tripping off this mortal coil sometime within the next 3-5 years. It sounds ridiculous, it IS ridiculous, even I can see that looking at it in the cold light of day. But anxiety makes you catastrophize any situation without discrimination, so why should health be excluded (we can’t have it feeling left out), especially considering all the weird and wonderful sensations it bestows upon you. Oh, and it isn’t restricted to my own health – husband has a headache? Aneurysm. Daughter has a stomach ache? Appendix. Doesn’t help that I’m an ex nurse.

I’m just a barrel of laughs aren’t I.


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