Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝘼𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙤𝙣 - 𝙒𝙖𝙣𝙖𝙠𝙖
Charles is off his face…
Drugs are what got me where I am today. Yep. I said it. Now, I haven't said exactly which drugs, but I will speak further on the matter - that in itself will not surprise you.
A couple of weeks ago I felt like I was dying. And now, I am the chipperest monkey ever known to man. High in the sky, as NAS member Dom Piper would say. Did I perhaps just have the high and the comedown in the wrong order? Could it even be possible to have a comedown BEFORE taking anything? Unlikely. Unless you came a cropper on the staircase as you got your left and right in a tizz. Do you say left and right, or right and left? Do you say right and wrong, or wrong and right? Sorry, I'm buzzing, I’m bouncing. Well whichever way you say it, you have been taught to fear wrong your whole life (best put it in second place then). Like good and bad. And don't TELL me you say bad and good. That's just not cricket. Good is good, we are told. Bad is wrong. Exercise is good! Drugs are bad. Drugs are BAD! Didn't every single adult you ever knew tell you that when you were younger? Or maybe right now, depending on your age. If you're currently being told this, what in God's name are you reading this for?? Live a little! You should be out there taking drugs at your age! For God's sake. Kids these days. Ya have to TELL them to have fun. Good lord. What it is, is: drugs are in fact very good indeed! I'm living proof. Living, PROOF! Your mother should know...? Your muvva don't know nuffink! She was plain wrong! Drugs are probably the best thing we have to get through this drab old miserable world. There. I said it.
Now, I mentioned about whether there was a possibility of having a comedown before the high. Of course not. I was referring to being ill that previous week. That was my "comedown". That "high" I mentioned...? Well that was my natural high from being alive. And the drugs I mentioned...? Well, that's just opium. Just plain and simple poppy juice. No no, wait a sec. That's not quite true. I am talking about antibiotics. When ill, one sees the world in many hazy shades of grey (I won't give an exact figure). It is particularly depressing because I know what it is like to see full vibrant colour. The way life should feel. I dare say I wouldn't have felt so bad if the "comedown" was the normal way of life. But thank the lord, it is not. To have the well version of me to be able to compare it to, was frankly excruciating. And it wasn't just the feeling of grey, but simply being unable to do the easiest of tasks. Just a human shaped ball of snot. Moving swiftly on from that image, I give you, the good drugs. The ones that mean we're all still here today. Rather than the ones that kill you - they genuinely are bad. Don't do them. Your mother DID know, and she was in fact right all along. Basically, in a nutshell, praise be to medicine! There are also natural drugs coursing through our veins that need not be administered from an outside source. These race through our brains. It's what made me write this. It's what made me write it in whatever style it is that I write. It gives us sparks of energy and excitement. It gives us life and light and art. Yes, art! Good old endorphins, adrenaline and other such natural wonders of the body.
On Sunday evening, I watched Crossfire Hurricane, a Rolling Stones documentary from 2012. It dwelt heavily on two things: chaos and drugs (not always related). The chaos was more about the fans. It was like taking Beatlemania and injecting each and every child with a crazy amount of sugar, and then telling them that everyone around them was the enemy. The result was anarchic chaos, pure and simple. Frustrated, angry, aggressive children. Literal children - I think some were barely even teenagers yet. But the other side of the film was about drugs - especially in terms of Brian Jones and Keith Richards. Brian famously died because of it, and it was thoroughly unsurprising to everyone involved. Our dear Keith makes the 9 lives of a cat seem a pitiful amount, as he continues to go on and on and on. But my WORD, did he take stuff. I think 90% of his daily nutrition was gained from heroin. The remaining figure was from whiskey, perhaps diluted with vodka. And yet, he lives. And not only lives, he still tours the world with that very same band! Other music stars however, have not made it: Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon, John Entwistle, Elvis Presley, Kurt Kobain, Amy Winehouse, Jimmy McCulloch, Nick Drake, Gram Parsons, Sid Vicious, Tim Buckley, Def Leppard, Dee Dee Ramone, Taylor Hawkins, Ronnie Scott, Chet Baker, Dinah Washington, and so many more. This being just the musicians! This is ignoring the actors, and more importantly ignoring the little people. The ones without notoriety. The ones we never even knew existed. They are gone too. All because of drugs. Bloody bastard drugs. They really aren’t cool. Smoking is cool. Leather jackets are “cool”. Drugs are far from it. Anything but.
This leads me to my star of the week, whose latest single is a tribute to all those musicians lost to drugs. More specifically, heroin. Please welcome Wanaka to the highest stage with his song, Another Spoon. Having been a member of the New Artist Spotlight for only a month, he is just starting to gain attention from fellow members. I would like to take this opportunity to cement his place in the annals of the NAS, and truly bring him to the fore, where he belongs. Wanaka is one man from Israel. His writing tool of choice is unusually a ukulele. This doesn’t mean however that his songs are like quaint and mildly embarrassing Google adverts. The ukulele is the tool. You will hear guitars and all sorts of instruments in his output of two singles so far. An album is on the way soon too! But let’s get into the music of Another Spoon, first.
Open wide, here comes the choo-choo train… There goes another spoon. Nom! The song starts perhaps not as you might have expected for such a dark theme. The air is light, clean and clear. The vibe is upbeat and straightforward, but is not remotely dull or mundane. Its upper mid tempo pep and bounce is ever-present throughout, due to the drummer’s evident lack of bad juice - he obviously takes his daily A-Z of vitamins. The guitars pad the verse in three perfectly balanced layers. The whole feeling is simplistic honesty, not too dissimilar to The Lightning Seeds, for those who remember them. Once Wanaka starts singing, it is evident that he sees everything clearly and unobstructed. There is no haze. His observation is barefaced to him, and could not be misconstrued. Most poetically, he takes us through an addict’s routine. He shows the “good”, yet outlines the bad, and all the while he is in no rush. No rush at all, for he has all the time in the world. But by the time the piece opens up with such a beautiful chord change, the wide harmonies propel us up high with a line so bittersweet: “Love is lifting us, with a broken back”. Wanaka understands writing and music. He knows how to sink back into the next verse. He also shows us his prowess in terms of the guitar by the time the solo hits. With an octave pedal on hand (or underfoot), he takes us elsewhere with such elegance. Hell, even the inspired cover art shows sensitivity and proof that Wanaka is a natural artist. For the music video, he reached out to Coldsteel Pictures for a splendid little stop motion animation. Well worth watching. But the first time you listen, I would ask you to just listen and close your eyes. Music is best without distractions. Music therapy. Call it detox.
The great thing about being taken away by this music is that drugs are not needed, yet you still get the high. Just like my drug experience recently - those antibiotics of which I spoke...? Well I didn't end up taking them. Not one. Fooled ya! And look at me now, mum! Proud of me? Aw, you always ruffle my hair like that. You know I don't like that. What's that? YOU like doing it? Well I suppose that makes it okay then. Mothers, eh! But, but... You said drugs were good! Well, let's put it this way: GOOD drugs are good, but it doesn't mean you HAVE to take them. It is just good to know they are here if and when you need them. The wonders of modern medicine. Like a fire extinguisher. It could save your life.
I will leave you with a very serious quote from The Simpsons:
“Call that a knife? THIS, is a knife”
“That’s not a knife, that’s a spoon!”
“…I see you’ve played knifey-spoony before”
(don't do drugs)
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