(I was asked to write this piece for B
Side Magazine; sadly it folded before this was published so you
have the dubious pleasure of it here)
The Chills Pink Frost (2013)
Seymour asked me to pick some new upcoming tracks so I thought I'd start
with something from 1982. This version was recorded in 2013, and that's
pretty modern for me. But thirty years on and I am still discovering
more about the understated southern wordly magnificence that is The
Chills and their music. For anyone who doesn't know them, The Chills
spearheaded The Dunedin Scene in New Zealand, based around the label
Flying Nun in the 1980s. Indie pop with a warped and wonky magical centre.
Drugs, dreams, disasters and delights, their songs have the lucky knack
of combining both a specific sense of place with a siren like appeal
across oceans and hemispheres. They are currently crowd funding for
a film to tell their distinctive story support it if you can,
it won't be like any Rockumentary you've ever seen before.
Deep City Love
If ever think I am getting too old for this POP! music malarkey and
am too far stuck in the past (see track choice above), I just listen
to Deep City. Yes, I love Deep City. They really stand out and startle
for the way they marry the indie guitar band template with something
rather different. Poppy, dancy, infectious and with huge catchy-cold
choruses, their moodily dark atmospheric samples and darkpop depths
combine with their guitar tunes and vulnerable vocals, mixing a love
of 80s/90s synth sounds with a vibrant 21st century pop sensibility.
Live they are mesmerising, haunting and startling. You can't take your
ears off them. As you'll probably know. And if you don't, get yr ass
down to the first heat of BurySound and see of you can manage to keep
it still. You won't...
GasMan - Samurai
Gasman were an undoubted highlight of the Love Music Hate Racism stage
at Strawberry fair. 200 black and white kids going absolutely nuts moshing
to an intelligent mix of beats, basslines, hip hop, samples and passion.
This pic just begins to paint the story of that set. Since then, Lijah
has moved to Bristol and started work on reinventing, refining and progressing
his sound. Here's an example: This is what it should sound like
when you go into that box Church to confess ya sins!
Saltfen must be the most exciting young band in Cambridge. And beyond.
Their songs are muscular, angular and riff laden, their live shows taut
and attention grabbing, their song writing accomplished and their approach
professional while playful. While some have mentioned The Strokes or
The Maccabbes, they don't sound like any other band I know. Whenever
they play, they create ripples of excitement and admiration, even when
they have to battle Bury bugs. If my fairy Godbadger was to grant me
some wishes, one of them would be that someone with more money and influence
and cool than me could get Saltfen the audience and success they deserve.
Until that time, they can remain a special secret just for us. Currently
recording new stuff, here's something old and (white) gold.
You Flexi Thing vol 3 Venus Envy
I can hardly write a piece about new music without blowing my own squeaky
recorder no other fucker's going to. And this features 2 tracks
from all female bands, taking the toys off the boys. The Baby Seals
song has the reined in subversive feel of Huggy Bear before erupting
into an orgiastic celebration of masturbation, while 'Intimidation'
by Beverley Kills perfectly showcases their punky mix of attitude, snarl,
riffs and melodies. You can buy this on lovely bendy orange vinyl (if
you're quick) or listen and enjoy online.
While not working in a local Junior School / education
factory, I fund the worldwide R*E*P*E*A*T entertainment empire by teaching
3 chord punk rock guitar and working with young bands. Some of my favourite
students and bands haven't been the slightly annoyingly perfect pitch
prompt musicians but those (like me) who've had to work darn hard to
make the noise they do to say what they want to say. I don't think I'm
being rude if I say that this applies to at least some of The Batts
(aged 14-15), yet they've created something which is completely theirs,
completely cool and which they are pleased with. Plus it has an articulate
worthwhile message. Which is enough for me. And I was doubly pleased
when Sam Marsh (who mastered their debut ep) agreed. Here's a track
from it. I know it has imperfections (not least, in my recording and
mixing) but it's something I'm very proud to have been involved with.
Sample lyric - Generic pop songs, factory made, mass produced
and uncomplicated, Insert name here.
Eeyore have just played just a couple of gigs, but these have made a
big indented impression for their intense, growly, shouty racket. Not
'nice' at all, we need more bands with the take no prisoners in yer
face sonic assault of this 3 piece. They claim that 'If Mastodon and
the Prodigy formed a band together it would probably sound like Eeeyore'
but I think they're more exciting than that. Check out the energetic
ear mauling live experience at Bury Sound Heat 5...
If we had but world enough and time...
I'd have included Idealistics and Eternal Remedy. The
former are a bunch of teenage Manics fans from Derby and Cambridge whose
intelligent reworking of MSP's template instantly appeals to me. I recorded
5 (still unmixed) tracks with them last month and, and while doing so,
sought to indoctrinate / inspire them with Kinesis and Miss Black America.
As you'd expect, their songs are full of ideas, attitude, intelligence
and honesty, delivered with an indie rock punch. Eternal Remedy are
a year 10 band who are musically very striking and interesting, trying
to do something original and different in a way very few other 'indie'
bands are, let alone ones their age. If I was to compare them to anybody,
it would actually be to Deep City. They've been beset by a few challenges
recently, and I am impatient to see where their thoughtful and creative
talent takes them next.