Cool Things Records

Suspects: Village Green Festival

Complete with Ric Flair “wooooos” and righteousness in their veins, Southend’s Suspects led two-man crusade at Village Green Festival this past Saturday. Few were not saddling up to ride into battle with them afterwards.

The sheer power of their set shook the Idea13 stage. On ‘Armageddon and Me’, such was the ferocity, they made The Stooges and Royal Blood look like the exponents of nursery rhymes. Despite the frenetic chaos they generate, front man Thomas Prescott’s adorable soul shines bright, giving the audience something heartfelt to cling to.

This was personified on the intimate ‘Recovery’. The honesty of Frank Turner’s lyrics combined with the early fire of The Black Keys to create a furious sense of euphoria. Former single ‘Anaphylactic Shock’ took this even further. It was as though Therapy? had joined forces with The Walkmen on their classic ‘The Rat’.

During ‘Mental Health Act’, they drew their battle lines in the sand. For anyone who has ever been lost, it was a welcoming hug in the disguise of a behemoth rock monster.

Heavy. Destructive. Noble. All hail the Suspects.

*Image Courtesy of Kana Waiwaiku

Friday 2nd August marks our 8th birthday. Come down to the New Cross Inn for a night of great live music. Tickets available here:

Asylums: Village Green Festival

On Essex’s grandest live stage, the main stage at Village Green Festival, Southend’s Asylums stole the whole effing show this past Saturday. Their brand of Ash meets The Clash embodied everything great about alternative pop, full of heart, desperation and better than annoying the mainstream could ever manufacture.

Essex, a county a tradition in right leaning politics, was lit up with Joe Strummer’s sloganeering and Billy Bragg’s social comment via frontman Luke Branch. ‘Joy In A Small Wage’ was pure pop rebellion. The imagery of the “outsider” knowing their worth, in today’s society, is a truly powerful one.

Taking messages such as “Sexists, we fucking hate you” to the suburbs seems innocuous, but really, it’s brave. How many of us can truly say we stand up and be counted in little England? Refusing intolerance, Asylums launch into a scorching rendition of ‘Second Class Sex’. The destruction levels are taken sky high on ‘Napalm Bubblegum’, no one was left unscathed!

With a certain other Southend outfit headlining the day, Asylums showcased everything pop music could and should be. They held up a mirror to a fractured society with pop hooks from the heavens. Credible, lovable, outsiders do not wear school uniforms!

*Image courtesy of Andrew Kenyon

Friday 2nd August marks our 8th birthday. Come down to the New Cross Inn for a night of great live music. Tickets available here:

Asylums: Camden Assembly, London

Southend’s Asylums celebrated their 5th birthday in style this past Friday at London’s Camden Assembly.  Supported by the raw talent of BLAB, the furiously entertaining Suspects and a certain breakout act of 2019, October Drift, it was a stark reminder just how fucking great the music scene in the UK is right now.

No one can touch Asylums on the pop-punk circuit right now. They check all the boxes of the greats with great hooks, melody and angst. However, it’s the lyrics which catapult them to another plain. Intelligent, witty and of the moment, Asylums can carry you to the mosh pit and lead you out the other side a better person.

‘Joy In A Small Wage’ is this generations ‘Live Forever’. Gallagher’s sentiment of ‘We’ll see things they’ll never see’ runs throughout. As fun as the sonics are, it’s the honesty and integrity of Luke Branch’s vocal delivery which cuts through the room. It almost makes Jarvis’ heyday look trite.  

Togetherness is thrown into disarray on ‘Napalm Bubblegum’. Worlds are torn down as their brand of cosmic guitar licks enter hyper drive. “This bubbles gonna blow” is putting it mildly. It erupted into a rabid frenzied attack of the senses.

With the success of their second album ‘Alien Human Emotions’, this was the perfect send of for the 2018 by the Essex outfit. Intimate but far reaching, feral but loving, Asylums have hit a groove that will surely win hearts and minds for a long time to come.

*Image courtesy of Rob Humm / Si Deaves / Thomas Prescott