Posts Tagged ‘Rock’

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s fitting that a band as wildly eclectic and sonically unpredictable as Bearfoot Beware should have a suitably varied and contrasting but complimentary lineup of bands on the bill for their album launch show. And it turns out that tonight is a night of energetic bassists.

Ganglions’ bassist is almost swamped by her instrument, but she kicks out some thumping basslines around which the Sheffield trio forge an unusual blend of grungy post-rock jazz with melody. It’s an unusual blend. Some moments border on the twee, a shade muso, even a touch indulgent in their noodliness, but their tightness carries the complexity of the songs’ structures and nagging, interloping guitar motifs which even incorporate currents of reggae and skiffliness. They’ve also got enough energy and drive – both the songs and the band themselves – to make it all pull together, making their set engaging and entertaining.

Ganglions

Ganglions

It’s quite the leap to go from a compact three-piece unit to the sprawling ten-legged groove machine that is ZoZo. RSI means that front man Tom has had to ditch the guitar and stick to vocals only. The two vocalists are set up in front of the small stage, and Fred really throws himself into the choppy, cutty guitar parts.

However, it’s the exuberant lunges of bassist Joe, who cranks out some driving bass noise, that provide the band’s most striking visual focal point, while sonically, it’s the big, raucous, sax sound that defines the band’s brand of art-rock. Their frenetic funk fusion calls to mind aspects of Gang of Four, Talking Heads, and Shriekback, but their more flamboyant inclinations and pop sensibility perhaps owes more to acts like The Associates, ABC, and Orange Juice. They’re as tight as they are lively, as well as being good fun.

ZoZo

ZoZo

Bearfoot Beware blur final soundchecking with the actual set, lurching headlong into scorching rendition of ‘Point Scorer.’ It’s a hell of a way to introduce the new album to the crowd, and they follow with a couple more newies before touching on the back catalogue. The songs twist, turn, lumber and lurch unpredictably, and as I watch them, I can’t help but wonder just how much they must rehearse to memorise the complex song structures and play every change with such precision. They don’t just play, either, but really perform. Again, it’s the bass player, Richard Vowden, who provides the axis around which the band spins, both as a physical and sonic presence. Energy emanates from him as he bounds and lurches around, legs going all over, a perpetual blur, his contortions almost literal interpretations of the musical compositions, while the chunky grooves hold down the spasmodic, fractured guitars.

Bearfoot Beware

Bearfoot Beware

Their Pavement meets Shellac meets No Age stylings make for an angular racket, but it this somehow suggests a band out of time and hung up on the US alternative scene of the 90s, its delivered with a twist that’s representative of the contemporary Leeds scene. It’s perhaps hardly surprising that a band whose members have established a rehearsal space and studio that lie at the heart of a DIY subscene all of its own should epitomise it.

I’ve digressed, and am no longer focusing on the set, but any launch event is only the beginning of a journey. Bearfoot Beware are here, and they’re now, and they’re kicking ass with Sea Magnolia. Tonight, they’ve thrown it out to Leeds, and tomorrow the world. It deserves to float.

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8th November 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

Salvation Jayne’s latest offering, which follows the summer release of ‘Moves that Make the Record Skip’ which got our thumbs up, marks a substantial step both forwards and upwards.

With a nagging clean guitar in the verse and a thunderous overdrive propelling the riffy chorus, all underpinned by a chunky bass, ‘Juno’ is a savvy, sassy rock tune. Chess Smith’s in fine voice, and there’s a vintage post-punk twist in the execution of the song’s grunge dynamics.

And really, what more do you need to know? It’s got guts and is as catchy as hell, and in terms of achieving everything it’s intended to, it’s pretty much impossible to fault. Did I say Salvation Jayne are a band to watch for 2018? No? I did now.

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Salvation Jayne - Juno

Psychedelic, occult rockers Jess and The Ancient Ones have shared the second track from their brand new album The Horse and Other Weird Tales  which is released on 1st December via Svart Records. You can take a listen to ‘Return to Hallucinate’ here:

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4Jess and the Ancient Ones

Dark Tunes – 9th June 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

Confidence in a band’s abilities is a good thing. And in context, this is impotent: history shows that even in 1981, Andrew Eldritch was convinced that The Sisters of Mercy were an important band. He’s been proven right, but could very easily have been forgotten and disappeared into the musical morass of the post-punk era, leaving a handful of interviews with one more egotistical tosser languishing in obscure and long-forgotten zines.

Greek goths The Black Capes aren’t lacking in confidence, as their bio indicates: ‘Lamentations about the fading glorious times of gothic culture may very well come to an end with the arrival of The Black Capes. Where great icons such as Type O Negative, The 69 Eyes or The Sisters Of Mercy have been unchallenged in the gothic Olympus, finally there is a worthy successor from Athens.’

But with the opening bars of ‘Sarah the Witch’, I’m hearing technical goth-metal overtones and catch a strong whiff of cliché (and I’m not going to comment on the press shots). Much as I admire their balls – metaphorically – I can’t entirely buy into the hype. All These Monsters isn’t a bad album by any stretch, and against chunky, chugging guitars, it packs in a proliferation of nagging, hooky choruses.

theblackcapes1

‘Now Rise’ packs the chunk of Killing Joke and a claustrophobic verse dominated by a thick bass with some roaring metal vocals which tear into the verses. Elsewhere, the picked lead guitar work on ‘New Life’ is pure First and Last and Always era Sisters, but the throaty vocals are more Fields of the Nephilim, and the overall effect is diminished by its obvious drawing on pre-existent sources, in that it boils it all down to a derivative, Sisters of Murphy type amalgamation.

But The Black Capes are very much mistaken if they truly believe they’re the saviour of goth. They’re too much straight-ahead rock for a start. As such, it leans very much more toward Type O (are they really considered ‘icons’ of ‘goth’?) and equally sits more with the mid to late 80s second wave as represented by rock-orientated contemporaries like Gene Loves Jezebel and Rose of Avalanche than post-punk progenitors like The Sisters or Siouxsie. Ultimately, All These Monsters is adequate, but uninspired and unremarkable, and seems to largely miss the connection with the roots of the genre the band claims to be so keen to reinvigorate.

BlackCapes_cover

Christopher Nosnibor

We’ve been digging both Salvation Jayne and Chess Smith’s solo work here at Aural Aggro for a while now. With live dates in the offing to support the release of their new EP, Moves That Make The Record Skip, Christopher Nosnibor welcomed the opportunity to have a virtual chat.

AA: Ok, let’s get the lame, predictable, off-the-peg questions out of the way first: why Salvation Jayne?

SJ: No depth to it really. We were once in a cafe in Camden, and there was a sign on the wall that said ‘Previously called Salvation Jane’. We thought it sounded cool, so we just added the Y.

Would you care to introduce yourselves? Who does what?

Chess (pronounced like the board game) is the vocalist, Holly plays guitar and does backing vocals, Tor plays drums, and Dan plays bass/does backing vocals and also records and mixes our stuff.

Chess, you’ve been in music forever and things started happening when you were 17, back in 2008. Having been in electro act Mooli, and then working as a solo artist, what made you want to be in a band again?

I’d always loved being in bands, and had recently tried starting an all-female band of my own which didn’t really work out. Initially I’d agreed to just stand in for SJ, but it really worked and so I decided to stay.

Salvation Jayne

Your bio describes you as ‘a young, female driven alt-rock band with a distinctive dirty sound which combines elements of rock, nu wave and blues’. How do these elements combine to create something that uniquely defines Salvation Jayne?

We have the big fuzzy single note riffs of bands such as Royal Blood, and QOTSA, but often mixed which dark lyrical themes/chord changes and a chorus effect on the guitar/bass! There’s some big brooding sections not unlike Sisters of Mercy!

Anything that’s got big brooding sections that tip a nod to the Sisters gets my vote. Hit me: influences?

It’s really varied for all of us. In our sound you’ll find elements of Wolf Alice, Kill It Kid, Girls Against Boys, QOTSA and even some hip hop influences in terms of the cadances!

These guys get cooler by the second. In the three-and-a-bit years you’ve been in existence, you’ve accumulated some name-droppable fans, including AC/DC drummer Chris Slade, and The Clash drummer Topper Headon. How did that come about?

Slade is actually a customer of Dan’s. Dan records his other band and played him our stuff. Both he (Slade) and his partner have come to see the band live and really enjoy our stuff. Topper is an old friend of Tor’s Dad, and he has known Tor for years too. Tor often hangs out with him and he was keen to hear the EP, which he loved. He then came to see us live and was totally into it!

You recently released a new EP, Moves That Make The Record Skip. Would you like to talk us through the songs on there?

‘Burn It Down’ is the most recent, and the only one that was actually written with the lineup as it is now. That track nicely combines the elements of our sound described earlier. ‘The Jailer’ is probably the most blues influenced. Featuring slide guitar, although very heavy. That one is actually written about a serial killer, really gloomy in terms of the lyrics! ‘Thrillride’ was inspired by the film Natural Born Killers. It’s about a hedonistic couple indulging in a night of sin. Has a cool kind of ‘desert’ feel to it. ‘Whorehouse Down On The SE’ is another one with dirty slide guitar and even dirtier lyrical theme – it’s about the activities inside a Whorehouse!

There are a lot of people under the age of, I dunno, 30, who have never experienced the skipping of a record. Are you fans of vinyl? And what moves have you got?

Everyone loves vinyl right? Holly can moonwalk, that’s about all we’ve got.

salvation-jayne-moves_thumb

You have a handful of live shows coming up: given the live rep you’ve managed to build, I’m guessing you quite enjoy playing live?

Yeah we love it, get to relieve ourselves of the stress of everyday life! Haha. We always put lots of energy into our performances.

How do you fit playing further afield with non-music commitments, and are you planning more live shows to promote the EP?

We’re pretty fortunate as we all work for ourselves. So taking time off is easy, something we’re thankful for. And yeah, you will catch us all over the UK in the forseeable future!

Final, superfluous and utterly frivolous question, which I’m asking for a friend: what are your favourite crisps?

We had a massive discussion about crisps on the way to a show once. Tell your friend it’s a closely guarded secret.

Moves That Make The Record Skip is out now. Tour dates are listed below.

Forthcoming Live Dates (so far)

Aug 15 The Prince Albert Brighton

Aug 17 Hawley Arms London

Aug 25 The Good Ship Kilburn

Aug 27 Dover Music Festival Dover

Sep 23 Camden Rocks Presents London

Oct 13 Ramsgate Music Hall Ramsgate

Dec 13 NME Presents London

2nd June 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

The digital generation may be unfamiliar with the experience of leaping around their bedrooms to favourite tunes, only for their exuberance to result in the needle skipping a groove or two. While it’s unlikely to cause any damage to either the vinyl or the stylus, it has a way of disrupting the flow and making you feel like a bit of a buffoon. There’s Kent four-piece Salvation Jayne’s EP suggests, it contains rock nuggets potent enough to inspire bedroom moshing, although it’s not being released on vinyl.

After a brief introductory segment, the EP gets going properly with ‘Burn it Down’ which we covered when it first aired back in April. And it’s a cracking tune, chunky blues-based guitars chopping against a sinewy lead line and strolling bass. It also meets the ‘monster chorus’ requirement for a strong rock tune. And yes, tunes matter: on Moves That Make the Record Skip, Salvation Jayne offer tunes, with strong vocal melodies shaping the songs.

If ‘The Jailer’ contains all of the elements of infinite 80s rock bands and reminds me of many, many pub gigs I caught at the tail end of the 80s and into the early 90s in my home town (for all I know, there are still the same sort of bands cranking out the same stuff in the same venues now: Lincoln never was the most progressive of places), it’s well-executed and has the guts in the delivery to make it work. There’s also some nice slidey guitar action that brings a dirty country / blues vibe. ‘Thrillride’ starts with a low-slung bass and sassy, semi-menacing vocal from Chess Smith before she gives it some throat and everything kicks in.

EP closer ‘Whorehouse Down on the SE’ makes for a strong finish: it’s a percussion-driven hefty rock workout which has all the makings of an anthemic crowd-pleaser live. It mines a proper old-school rock seam, and calls to mind The Pretty Reckless at their best, with Smith giving it the raw, rough ‘n’ tough treatment.

 

 

Salvation Jayne - Moves

Overdub Recordings

Christopher Nosnibor

There aren’t many bands whose instrumentation features an 8-string guitar. Italian quartet Søndag, however, feature two eight-strong guitar players. Not that you should ever judge a band by its strings to guitars ratio. The band I saw to feature a quantity of guitars with additional strings were proggy muso posers who delivered a whole lot of tedious fretwanking but no real tunes – or riffs, for that matter.

On Bright Things, Søndag bring the riffs – and tunes. The vocals may be clean, but the guitars are plenty dirty.

According to the band’s biography, ‘the inspirations come from the need to mix very “low modern rock metal tunings” with something more dated, to form a blend of classical and contemporary rock sounds.’ It actually seems like a fair summary: Bright Things is a rock album, but the metal influences are clearly apparent, woven as they are deftly into the layered sonic cloth of each of the nine songs. The album was recorded and mixed by Riccardo Demarosi, and mastered by Alan Douches, who’s formerly engineered for bands including Converge, Mastodon, Swans, and Dillinger Escape Plan, and their input has been sympathetic to the band’s chunky dynamics.

Opening track ‘Sweet’ begins with an atmospheric build before the guitars drive in. Yes, there’s a technically complex interloping lead guitar that’s heavily processed, but it’s pitched against a dense, gritty riff.

There are hints of Oceansize in the arrangements on ‘Back in Town,’ but there’s nothing proggy about their concise and overtly rock-orientated songs, and the grungy ‘Polite Rebel’ brings a stomping beat to an unrepentantly unreconstituted slab of hard rock. I can’t help but think of Alice in Chains when listening to ‘Wax’. It’s in the harmonies. For the most part, though, Soundgarden and Baroness are perhaps more obvious comparisons.

‘Spitfire’ boasts some sinewy guitars with a searing afterburn, sparking across a tense and low-slung snaking bassline that spits and snarls and registers somewhere around the pelvis.

Expansive and ambitious in sound, but focused and striking an appealing balance between sonic density and melody, Bright Things is far from lightweight or flimsy, but at the same time, it’s accessible and has hooks by the shedload. While they’re yet to make an impression UK, given the touring schedule which has seen them make inroads into mainland Europe, it’s surely a matter of when, rather than if.

 

Søndag – Bright Things