Glow, Gindrinker, Rob St.John, 93 Million Miles From The Sun, Dirty Fingernails - NOW HEAR THIS#2
Apparently file sharing and the increasing ease of access means that the internet is signalling the death of music, the death of the industry, and the increasing need for more new music.With a decrease in physical sales, we're now witnessing increased levels of disposability, not many bands have careers anymore, do they? It's all about the quick hit and the buck.
But we say that the internet CAN be a good thing too. Sure, the industry will have to change (it took them long enough to embrace legal downloads), large labels will have to downsize and diversify, but it also makes it more of a democracy.Hopefully good music will still out, the album will always survive while there's some kid stuck under his covers listening to the latest Sigur Ros album he's burnt from start to finish onto his i-Pod, carefully reading the liner notes studying their biography online for clues… To that end we've huddled together and once again plunged to the depths of cyberspace in search of new and undiscovered talent that will be worthy of at least a moment of your time in your busy day. So sit back relax and HEAR THESE!
First up GIITTV head honcho Bill Cummings gives us two acts at opoposite ends of the sonic spectrum.
Hailing from Bristol via Liverpool and Newport come heart stopping three piece Glow. Inventively splicing together comedown break beats akin to Fourtet dabbling with Aphex Twin - all delicious aching brass, glistening guitar lines that hark back to the work of Ride and hypnotic vocals that sigh and ache and reach, giving warmth to these electronic manoeuvres. Their dynamic structures even bring to mind the work of “Kid A” Radiohead without the all pervading sense of gloom. Instead, they create a hypnotic, heart melting sound that's simultaneously life affirming and post apocalyptic, the glow on your child's face after a screaming fit. It should be heard by many more ears than it currently is. Their debut album "I, Yeah" is out now digitally for the bargain price of five English pounds. As for the album supposedly being dead, each song burrows its way into the next with the awe inspiring power and warmth of Spiritualized at their best. The afterglow of creation never sounded so heartening.
(Photo from the Gindrinker launch night (08/03/08) the property of Kirsten Mcternan)
A visceral, sometimes incoherent assault on the senses, this is northern caustic wit delivering bitter streams of consciousness to the sound of sad trumpets, a drum machine clicking out of time and the brutal boilersuited guitars of the Dead Kennedys. There are frightening riddles trapped in lyrics about empty end of the pier bingo halls frequented by your Nan, the implosion of self induced by a night out drinking limitless pints of bitter. Depending on how much of their set you can handle, these are some of the experiences you will have witnessing the brilliantly barking art punk of Cardiff's Gindrinker. Lead vocalist D. C. Gates is somewhat of a local legend in these parts. You will see him behind bars, behind microphones, compeering at local night spots and screeching on stage. They first came to my attention with "Greengrocer" their Twisted compilation track in 2006, the sound of a insane man who sounds a bit like Mark E Smith (The Fall) kicking off at his local market due to the paucity of marrows on offer, while Captain Beefheart guitars screech out over tannoys. Dirty guitars pervade the menacing whosefuckingvoiceisthatinmyhead paranoia of their new single "Work It Out," out now on businessman records, it's useless to resist.
Helen Newbury gives us her top tips from North of The Border: Broken Records and Rob St. John, both from Edinburgh.
Broken Records are gathering a real head of steam at the moment. They're a bit folksy, there's seven of them, and they always seem to be swapping instruments around onstage. I've seen them a few times live over the last year or so, and they just seem to be getting better and better. The last time, I tried to take a step back and watch them a bit more objectively, and I genuinely thought pretty much each song they played could be a single. Talking of which, I note there's one of those coming out shortly, and they've also got a smattering of dates south of the border lined up.
Rob St. John
Rob St. John is just the most staggeringly talented singer-songwriter I've seen in a long time (although apparently he doesn't like the term). He's only a young chap, but his songs sometimes sound as old as the hills, and at others, bang up to date. His EP, 'Tipping In', now as rare as hen's teeth, is stunning, but for a better selection of his talents, try to get hold of one of the live recordings he sells at gigs. He really is someone you should try to get to see live if you can; his voice is simply gorgeous, and he plays with a variety of musicians, including a sawist (or whatever you call someone who plays the saw..)
Finally for this month our London writer Angus Reid travels further in his Sonic adventures:
Hailing from the Isle of Wight, not a place noted for its glamorous musical past, Peter Blake appears to actually be the work of two people: "one female airhead & a drummer." Whoever is responsible, the music is well worth investigating, containing all the elements for a fantastic soundtrack. Pianos, epic swirling synths and delicately chiming glockenspiels team up for the Sigur Ros styled "Moist," and though the influences may be worn on Peter Blake's sleeve, that is no bad thing whatsoever given the quality of what's on offer, and the quality of the influences these tracks betray. The drum machine on "Peel" gives a mid-80s feel to what is otherwise a piano and string led thing of beauty, thereby taking it off in a new, somewhat unexpected direction. Throughout there is a well balanced mix of electronic and classical sounds. At times it veers dangerously close to the music from a GCSE Science video, and you can almost hear the voiceover starting up in your head, but these moments are never indulged, and you're always pulled back from the brink. Well worth investigating further.
93 Million Miles From The Sun
With a name like 93 Million Miles From The Sun, you can pretty much work out what kind of sounds you'll hear upon clicking, and expectation is duly rewarded as 93 MMFTS (even the acronym is long!) head off on an LSD tinged journey across the stars, lead by swirling walls of guitar that pretty much bury everything else. The My Bloody Valentine presence lies heavily across these tracks, unashamedly dream pop in origin, but few have pulled this off so convincingly, or with as much panache. The supposed existence of a shoegaze revival would seem to bode well for these two effects junkies from Doncaster, and if the tracks from the myspace page are anything to go by, they should be pretty intense live, the kind of band that makes you hear colours and taste sounds before waking up in a field, wondering what the hell happened to you the night before. Melodically speaking, if you can hear the melodies, there are even vague hints of bands such as the Stone Roses and Ride, proving that it's not all guitar wash, and that there's a real sense of songwriting underpinning the whole operation.
The Dead School
With a sound somewhere between 50s surf twang, raw Terrorvision vocals and raucous Hives-esque rampaging guitars. There's enough there to keep the NME happy, but also enough actual content to have a bit of staying power. This is the kind of thing that hyped up kids on smarties can go crazy to, but also the kind of thing that fans of demented rockabilly and the Arctic Monkeys can find something to bond over - and how often is it that you get to say something like THAT? It's refreshing to hear a young band still at an early stage that sound so much like the finished product as well, so often you think to yourself "they could be great but..." whereas The Dead School have clearly been paying attention from the start and have immediately hit the ground running. "You, Me and the Devil" has a hint of accent manipulation through the verses that brings to mind early punk bands trying to sound like Londoners, but when letting loose properly, this is soon forgotten.
Given the sudden rise in popularity of Casiotone For The Painfully Alone and other cheap keyboard led bands, Dirty Fingernails appear to be surfing the crest of a brightly clad wave. As with the aforementioned Casiotone however, there is a songwriting skill that stretches beyond pressing the demo button and screaming situationist catchphrases for the applause of a hundred Shoreditch taste-makers. Dirty Fingernails' métier is melodic indie songs that could translate equally well to guitars, indeed "Bruno" features a scratchy guitar solo that lends an unexpected air of Lynryd Skynryd to the casiopop proceedings. The potential is there for these songs to grate nastily after a few listens is quelled by the interweaving of various synth, guitar and vocal melodies. Imagine if the Wannadies (remember them?) were to mate with a drum machine, and you have an idea of the singalong quality Dirty Fingernails have. Hopefully, someone will record them with a slightly bigger budget, and they'll be able to hone these songs into pure sparkling indie pop gold.
If you have a tip or are in a band you think we simply must hear, and include in next month's feature, send your links/mp3s and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org