Posts Tagged ‘Fizzy Blood’

Come Play With Me – 8th December 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

I know I’m prone to harping on about how awesome the music scene in Leeds is, but that’s because it is. It’s not just its vibrancy and diversity, but the sheer quality of acts – and all of the other things integral to a thriving scene, including labels and live venues – that make it so exciting. Living in York, I often feel the best thing about my location is its proximity to Leeds.

The label Come Play With Me – named after a 1992 single by enduring Leeds indie legends The Wedding Present (which, peaking at number 10 in the singles charts actually stands as their biggest hit) – have, in a very short time, established itself as an ambassador for the city and surrounding region. It’s worth noting, then, that all proceeds made from this album will be reinvested into supporting people into sustainable careers within music in the Leeds City Region, and it speaks volumes about the label and everyone involved here.

It’s therefore fitting that on this double-CD compilation (the labels first), The Wedding Present should feature alongside a number of artists who’ve previously appeared on single releases, including Officers, Deadwall (who here, somewhat audaciously, deliver an ethereal shoegaze rendition of ‘Come Play with Me’, no less), Esper Scout, Magic Mountain, Furr and RIIB (Roller Trio / Django Django and whose split single we featured here at Aural Aggro back in July).

ZoZo kick it all off with some jagged brass-laced post-punk funk. ‘No Christmas’ was the last in The Wedding Present’s 12-single run in 1992, and appears here re-recorded from a 2015 album session. It’s a strong start.

The inclusion of ‘Ghost Town’ by Fighting Caravans is particularly sweet – one of the city’s most promising bands who split before they really got going, this track makes a welcome addition to their all-too slender discography. Oh, and it’s a dense, slow-burning belter and one of the album’s (many) standouts, which also include a collaboration between Post War Glamour Girls frontman James Konapinski and American inventor Thomas Truax in the shape of the brooding ‘The Best Things’, part 80s Bowie, part Tom Waits, it’s a gritty, growling hybrid of spoken word and white soul. It’s bloody brilliant. And as a completely unnecessary aside, earlier this year I performed an afternoon spoken word event ahead of Thomas Truax playing the same venue in the evening. He graciously watched me stomp around, spewing profanities and tossing spent sheets of paper to the ground in front of fifteen people. I didn’t have the mettle to approach him after.

Officers – another band with a discography that’s frustratingly short, but who clearly favour quality over quantity of output, and who’ve actually released more in the last 18 months than the preceding five years – are on fine form with ‘Animal’, a stealthy groove-driven cut. No Fixed Identity also bring some dark, low-down grooves, but in what I’m vaguely embarrassed to refer to as an ‘urban’ context. With so many guitar-based bands, it’s perhaps easy to forget or otherwise overlook the other musical elements which are, in truth, essential to the city’s diverse culture. The same, therefore, applies to the wibbly jazz stylings of Skwid Ink, who give us an alternate take of ‘Dungeon Politic’.

Parker Lee (how have I never encountered Parker Lee before?) comes on all Pavement, but it’s Jon Jones and the Beatnik Movement who represent the noisy end of the scene – which is perhaps less represented here than is proportional in terms of the kind of bands coming out of Leeds – although Fizzy Blood show the attacking, darker side to their grunge-orientated sound on ‘Animals’. They’re still a new band and young, but they’ve evolved considerably in a short time and are showing the potential to be a serious force.

Napoleon IIIrd is something of a Leeds stalwart, and the version of ‘The Scrape’ which appears here has been remixed by Wild Beasts. It’s an eight-and-a-half minute behemoth, which builds warping electronics around a laid-back but insistent beat. On the subject of remixes, ‘Classic M’ by Team Picture (who are here credited as Group Photograph and are the only act to contribute two songs) is remixed by LPA. It’s a stripped-back dance-up reworking that’s barely recognisable, but works well.

I usually recommend albums where the proceeds are being donated to good causes in principle, but Come Play is an outstanding compilation – beyond outstanding, even.

Come Play

And you can order Come Play here.

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Christopher Nosnibor

 

Fizzy Blood are either crazy, or they’ve got some serious chops. No, I’m not talking about having a single launch event on a Thursday night in a tiny venue next door to the O2 Academy on the same night Twenty One Pilots to a sell-out crowd; I’m talking about having Post War Glamour Girls as a support band, which is the reason I’m here. Not that Party Hardly are bad; they knock out some decent post-punk-tinged indie rock tunes, with some sinewy guitars, a few tidy minor chord sequences and a handful of grungey choruses, all driven along by a chunky bass sound. But no-one’s really here for them.

Post War Glamour Girls are a law unto themselves. Any other band who released a superlative second album in the last six months would be plugging the shit out of it at every opportunity, and touring it into the ground. But not this perverse bunch. They’re using the slot to premiere an entire set’s worth of new and unreleased material, and anything could happen.

Offstage, they’re as unassuming as you like. Onstage, they’re something special, with a chemistry that’s rare. James Anthony Smith is twitchy and tense, and keeps his coat on: it illustrates the point that he’s not stopping, with a 30-minute set lined up, and that’s yer lot, son. They look as cool as fuck, Smith’s tan shoes notwithstanding, and they sound even better.

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Post War Glamour Girls

Opening track ‘Guiding Light’ builds a heavy psychedelic drone in the vein of Black Angels, albeit crossed with The Fall, not least of all on account of Smith’s drawling vocals. At this point, my notes get a bit sketchy – but there’s a track called ‘Organ Donor’, which is ace. James Thorpe-James dominates the stage as he wields his guitar dangerously, while Alice Scott stays rooted to the spot while churning out relentlessly stonking basslines. Even though there are moments of the set where they seem a little uncoordinated, Post War Glamour Girls still piss on 95% of the bands you’re likely to see live, and the early indications are that album number three will be the best one yet.

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Post War Glamour Girls

Given the uphill struggle they’ve set themselves, Fizzy Blood do good. They may have a chubby front man with bad tats and a greasy quiff, an overtly narcissistic string bean of a guitarist, and a gnome-like bassist who pulls the worst guppy-faces I’ve seen in a long time, but they’ve got some songs and a real energy that makes them a worthwhile live act. Elements of grunge and stoner rock ride high in the mix and they crank out the riffs, sometimes with as many as three guitars hammering it out, there’s as much whiff of Pulled Apart by Horses as their in Nirvana to their guitar-driven set, and it’s fair to say they sound considerably better than they look.

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Fizzy Blood

The single they’re launching tonight, ‘Sweat and Sulphur’, is definitely a highlight during a powerhouse set that justifies the respectable turnout: it seems not everyone was here just for Post War Glamour Girls, and that Fizzy Blood have – deservedly – started building themselves a following in their own right. It would be nice to see this release kicking off some real momentum.

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Fizzy Blood