The surreal land of the Riot Grrrls

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“Let us arm ourselves. Let us show the men that we are not their inferiors in courage or virtue. Let us rise to the level of our destinies and break our chains. It is high time that women emerged from the shameful state of nullity and ignorance, to which the arrogance and injustice of men have so long condemned us.” Théorigne de Méricourt

“In my 20’s, a lot of people were like, ‘She’s so confident, she’s such a strong feminist!’ But that wasn’t how I actually felt. I felt really freaked out and unsure of myself. And I’m sure that made for great shows, because it was like I was falling apart in front of people’s faces.” Kathleen Hanna, Former lead singer of Bikini Kill

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Our apologies, dear readers, for our lack of content, craft and production for too long now. We are happy to announce a return to form at Musical Tears. We have some very interesting articles lined up…

Firstly, there will be a review round-up of the best new albums according to the critics. We are also going to start hosting some ‘classic’ music journalism, straight out of the vaults of history. Writers such as Nick Kent, Lester Bangs and even Hunter S. Thompson will be featured. The first two are remembered for their articles contributing to music journalism, the last for his contributions to journalism, counter-culture and politics in large.

We will be hosting these articles for you; they display a type of journalism that frankly, has been lost. This is partly due to the internet, the nature of journalism and the ever shortening attention spans of the 21st century public. Rock journalism used to be an obsessive affair; with long, detailed articles that take you to the heart of the music, that place you right into the centre of the action; right there with the band. These articles are usually highly entertaining as well.

We are sure there is still a market for these articles. We hope, dear readers you enjoy the fruits of our labour. The Hunter S. Thompson article is dedicated to the memory of Muhammed Ali, with his recent passing. It does not have much bearing on music, but alongside the article we will post songs that defined the age in which Muhammed was fighting, songs that were related to his struggle, his time and of course his ‘greatness’.

For now though, here are a couple of tracks we have been enjoying lately, and make sure to check back soon, as there are plenty more articles soon to be posted.

We have been a fan of Burial for a long time. Untrue was one of the defining albums of 2007. When the mood is right, and you’re in for a long-night-of-the-soul, or you’re just driving the deserted streets at night – especially city streets, Burial makes for haunting, majestic listening. Anyway, somehow this song completely missed our radar, but thank god we found it. It’s stunning. Like finding a long-lost friend. Its incredibly beautiful.


This is also a nice track that we’ve been liking;


Finally, we have been listening to The Clash in abundance. One of us in the office purchased a 2nd hand boxset Clash on Broadway. It’s fucking fantastic. Here’s one from our youth:


More on The Clash soon…

One for shits and giggles:


By the Doc

Flawless taste in music, he constantly keeps his ear to the street and knows who, what, when, where but not often why. He’ll keep you upto date and informed. Enjoys smoking herbal tea to get ‘high’.

Two Year Anniversary

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Here at Tears we were shocked and surprised to discover that two years have passed since we launched. Since that time we have enjoyed a plethora of tunes; we have indulged in the highly erratic and trigger-happy lifestyles of music journalists – especially in regards to the late Tornado Rodgekums, of whom we still don’t know the exact details of his death, but we will say that he was a truly honourable man and a pig farm is no place for a piss-up if you’re holding a shotgun and wearing a leotard (considering the pigs hadn’t been fed for days it was a known certainty what was going to happen…) – but most of all we have seen there is still great music all about us and flowing through everyone of us. Whether you are a casual listener, a record producer, musician, DJ disseminating the latest tracks, or just the average joe who likes to blast radio one down the motorway; we are all touched by the brilliance of music – the visceral, beatific beauty of melodies that makes our heart beat faster, our spine-tingle and our head swim in an ocean of dopamine, we are glad to share our love of music with you.

So to crack on after that euphoria-tainted introduction (not currently under the influence of ecstasy – other mind-altering substances are available), what have we got to keep our dear readers enticed?

Well we must admit we have been lazy for awhile now, and our posts have been deteriorating. We will set to amend this asap, but also have new categories and subjects, some of which will be recurring. The review round-up is coming back with a blast. Watch this space. We’ll have interviews, monologues and myths. They’ll be plenty of new music, we’re gonna keep our ears to the street moreso than ever. And there will be new things; we are looking at doing some music book reviews and incorporating classic journalism into our blog. What I mean by this is, music journalism has changed rapidly over the years. As peoples attention spans have waned, the journalism became more action-packed, concise and packaged. In the heydays of Led Zep, rock journalism was long, detailed to the point of obsession and was almost a journey. We are going to be reprising some of that for those of you who like a long read to enjoy. It may take longer to read, but it’ll be so much more rewarding. Lester Bangs will be here soon…

We’re also gonna have some reposts of our favourite articles from the past few years. We have to feature a Tornado one after all.

So let’s air some new music for you all to enjoy, and take away the monday/tuesday blues…

(New music will also relate to new music to our ears, but is from the past, if that makes any sense?!)

Enjoying this lady generally, but nice mix,

These guys are just great, check out their session for KEXP here ;

Loving the new Beirut album;

yum yum

Till next time, keep your heads in the mean time.

By Tom Proctor

Flawless taste in music, he constantly keeps his ear to the street and knows who, what, when, where but not often why. He'll keep you upto date and informed. Enjoys smoking herbal tea to get 'high'.
Flawless taste in music, he constantly keeps his ear to the street and knows who, what, when, where but not often why. He’ll keep you upto date and informed. Enjoys smoking herbal tea to get ‘high’.

Ode to Cutting

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We’ve been a big fan of Uncut here at Musical Tears for awhile; good band bio’s, interviews, wide breadth of reviews and a passion for uncovering forgotten gems.

John Mulvey is one of their writers. He works intrepidly hard to find esoteric, little-known nuggets of joy, that we have appreciated greatly. He truly is one of the old school – no doubt devouring endless record stores for those rare oddities, and now of course with the advent of the internet, such mining can be done online. Just as with record store mining, the process is slow and arduous, taking lots of patience and the ability to sift through much crap – but the feeling of finding a rare beauty just as rewarding.

John turned us on to aquariumdrunkard – fantastic name, fantastic blog. Straight out of L.A it has great articles and a backbone of gorgeous sumptuous tunes, many of the funk/soul styling. Check out the mixtapes.

Recently, John has written a best of 2015 so far. Makes for a great read. We especially dug Aye Aye, who we’d never heard of. The song below is a screeching mesh of over-amped guitars and a spiralling harmonica line. Its ferocious – of those that have seen the new Mad Max, imagine if the guy chained to the amps with the flame-thrower also had a high-powered harmonica…

Enjoy the song and keep on keepin’ turned on… (also check out Uncut)


By Tom Proctor

Flawless taste in music, he constantly keeps his ear to the street and knows who, what, when, where but not often why. He'll keep you upto date and informed. Enjoys smoking herbal tea to get 'high'.
Flawless taste in music, he constantly keeps his ear to the street and knows who, what, when, where but not often why. He’ll keep you upto date and informed. Enjoys smoking herbal tea to get ‘high’.



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Here is a post about poetry, complimented by music. The poetry was not written by me, that talent is a rare thing. These are songs that either relate or do not relate to the poetry; more than that they are songs worthy of a listen.

I took a break from writing about the dead
and drinking from writing about the dead
to walk around my childhood neighborhood.
Everything’s for rent. Or for sale, for ten
times the amount it’s worth.

Palm trees are planted in front of a mural
of palm trees under the Ocean Park Bridge.
In the painting, the metal horses of a carousel are breaking
free and running down the beach. Why didn’t I leave


my initials in cement
in front of my parent’s apartment in the eighties?
Nikki had the right idea in ’79.


I walk by a basketball court, where men play
under the florescent butts of night’s cigarette.
I could have been any of their wives,
at home, filling different rooms in different houses
with hopeful wombs. Agreeing on paint color


samples with their mothers in mind.
I’ll bet their wives let their cats go out
hunting at night like premonitions of future sons.
They will worry, stare out the front window,
pray that privilege doesn’t bring home bad news
like some wilted head of a black girl in nascent jaws.

To say nothing of the owl who’s been here for years. I hear him


when I’m trying to write about the deaths I’ve admired.
I hear him when the clothed me no longer recognizes
the naked. I hear him while writing and shitting and sleeping
where my mother’s seven guitars sleep.
I hear him in my parent’s house,
their walls covered in my many faces,
traces of decades of complacence.


My childhood neighborhood is a shrine to my success,
and I’m a car with a bomb inside, ready
to pull up in front of it and stop

Amber Tamblyn

Nice poetry and nice beats, soon to be up on the blog, more review round-ups and a post from the sweaty recesses of Northern Africa.

By Tom Proctor

Flawless taste in music, he constantly keeps his ear to the street and knows who, what, when, where but not often why. He'll keep you upto date and informed. Enjoys smoking herbal tea to get 'high'.
Flawless taste in music, he constantly keeps his ear to the street and knows who, what, when, where but not often why. He’ll keep you upto date and informed. Enjoys smoking herbal tea to get ‘high’.

The Felice Brothers Live at Kentish Town

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Greg Farley, Ian Felice, James Felice, New Paltz, Christmas

Underneath the murky swell of smoke and musk at Kentish Towns’ The Forum, what appeared to be a rogue band of traveller-musicians shambled on stage. Dressed in raggedy clothes and oversized t-shirts, they wouldn’t have looked out of place at a street production of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Armed with a fantastic array of instruments; violins, accordions, an organ and a huge, looming drum-kit; they lit up the stage extraordinarily. If one didn’t know the brothers – and they are brothers – one may be inclined to think they came from the southern depths of America.

It is surprising then, to find out that The Felice Brothers come from upstate New York, near the beautiful Adirondacks. It’s a place with a foreboding name; The Catskill Mountains. They live remotely, at a ranch with a chicken coop. These farmhands, however, house a glittering array of books. In a past interview, I remember James Felice – vocalist and accordian maestro – lamenting the fact they never get recognised as being ‘bookish’. They came across as intelligent artists; shy and retiring, full of ambition & vigour which burnt silently under the surface.

It was this vigour that was so resplendent tonight.

The band played crowd stompers, hee-haww anthems, ballads and the signature songs – Frankie’s Gun, Whiskey in my Whiskey, Love Me Tenderly.


It’s the brooding numbers that get me like a kick in the nutsack. The songs swell and swell, until you either get lost or fall over. This made for a laugh when my mate did exactly that. The fact he was blind drunk by this point was neither here nor there.

These songs have that authentic Felice feel; they’re bluesy; they have characters and more importantly narrative. Outlaws, bent card-dealers and lizard-licking drunks shag Eleanor, fight with Danny, then get shot by Frankie – who fortunately is an AA counsellor, “Frankie you’re a friend of mine/ Got me off a bender after long-legged Brenda died”.

Here we were at the great Forum. My companion was a chap whose first language was football and music was somewhere down the list filed under ‘other enjoyments which aren’t as essential as eating’. This lead a strange ambience to the night, when even after the band had come on – to great cheering and clapping – he still rambled on in my ear about the Russian head coach and how he has lost all faith in international football since the last world cup. A very valid point which deserves further discussion just as The Felice Brothers deserved his attention that night.

We had missed the two support bands so I can’t comment on them, although one gent in the urinals believed the second act to be like a band of misfit’s so deranged they had brought on the remains of their grandma’s whom they had enjoyed as a midday snack. Those were his exact words. Anyway, I digress.

The band came on. Originally, they featured all three brothers, but former drummer Simon Felice upped and left, started a new act with Robert ‘Chicken’ Burke called The Duke & the King (named after the duo con-artists in Huckleberry Finn). Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there have been rumours of animosity ever since. Not all was well in the Catskill Mountains it seems.

Its worth noting Simon is successful in his own right; he’s a prolific poet & author. He’s overcome his fair share of adversities; at a young age he was pronounced clinically dead for several minutes after a brain aneurysm.


Back to the gig…
This modern incarnation of the brothers features only two of them, Ian and James. They were joined by former travelling dice player “Christmas Clapton”, fiddle player Greg Farley and drummer Dave Estabrook. Ian is lead vocalist and a drainpipe of a man. James holds court with his accordion like a rugged, beautiful bear. He’s huge and his muscular arms look perfect for a scrap. His demeanour seems gentle however, like Walt Whitman inviting you to a pint. He sits down at the piano for the ballads. The accordion comes out for the fast-paced stompers, where people romp & fist the air, and in my drunken friend’s case, mockingly dance like a hillbilly.

They came on with the lights bright on them; the smoke misty fog around their ankles. My football obsessed friend made refreshing remarks, “that guitarist will fall over any minute by the weight of that guitar. Look how big the guitar is and how fookin’ skinny he is!” He was skinny but nimble on his feet like a basketball player.

They went into the stomper Take This Bread! Well received from the crowd. A brilliant melody with a biblical quality to the lyrics. It really is like going to a drunken shack-party. Next up was Day of the Big Surprise.

There were some scorching violin ballads with notes breaking into the air like a stiletto cutting cable wire. All this was complimented by schizophrenic lighting and buzzing amps. The atmosphere became increasingly dramatic throughout the show – at one point James looked heavenwards, sweat on his brow; bathing in the ecstasy of the Almighty.


The drink had snuck up on me. Too many cheap lagers and whiskey shots. I was being chucked side to side by none other than a Jarvis Cocker impersonator. My hooligan friend was nowhere to be seen. A man with a moustache and spectacles – the most unlikely candidate for mosh-pit aggression – pushed into me hard and I went under. A wave of people collided over me, stomping on my hands like I was nothing but road-kill. I thought my time was up. Then, like a golden angel my football-fanatic mate rescued me. He shoved and kicked, beautifully violent, pulling me up with a force reserved for those who’ve been marched out of football stadiums for rioting. What a wonderful man. I could have kissed him. Instead I dusted myself off, trying to look like I hadn’t hypothetically shat myself.

This sort of stuff was always going to happen at a gig like this. After all, this is the sort of band that rhyme bad mechanics with manic depressives.

After that menacing episode things calmed down. The band went into The Greatest Show on Earth, and focus returned to the music. It was all shadows on stage. Suddenly great drumsticks appeared through the mist. He was using mallets. I felt the bass reverberating through my bones. The curtains were roaring red like lipstick gum. Suddenly the crowd broke into a fury as the band played Frankie’s Gun. I was now expecting a bar-room brawl. Luckily it was nothing but love. We were through the danger-zone.

To encore they went into the best song of the night, Love me Tenderly. A story of pillboxes, dime-sacks and diamond watches – this is The Felice Brothers at their best. The lyrics “A sunny day, a shotgun and a Chevrolet” still ringing in my ear’s long after the gig.

The Felice Brothers are a special enigma of a band; the bassist looks like a space-nerd, they write fantastic literary songs of outlaws and drunks, they play virtuoso violin ballads, and yet they still manage to sound like they learnt to play in an Irish pub. This night they came to The Forum and dominated.


This article can also be viewed here, on the fantastic Bearded Magazine.

By Tom Proctor

Flawless taste in music, he constantly keeps his ear to the street and knows who, what, when, where but not often why. He'll keep you upto date and informed. Enjoys smoking herbal tea to get 'high'.
Flawless taste in music, he constantly keeps his ear to the street and knows who, what, when, where but not often why. He’ll keep you upto date and informed. Enjoys smoking herbal tea to get ‘high’.