Myspace is great, isn’t it? You can make music, put it online and PHIL ISTINE will wrap his lug ’oles round it and spread the word. Get yer online groove on.
“Fancy a good old garagie Dutronic yéyé sound?” inquire LES BOF! Well if you do these Edinburgh-based men are the ones to provide it. Frenchman in exile Laurent sings in his native language a succession of garage, beat and yéyé songs, both covers and originals. The experienced group of musicians have the mid-60s sound down to a tee, and have set alight a succession of clubs and festivals alike in the past year. Their debut EP is well worth seeking out if you are after something a bit different from the normal fare.
If fuzzed-up garage is your bag then you are in for a treat: you will struggle to find any group as fuzzed up as THE FEDERALS. Hailing from York, these feral youngsters would have been more upset than most from the recent passing of Ron Asheton, as they take the Detroit sound to the modern-day backstreets. Imagine Jack White before he went to seed and ‘Transistor 1969’ would probably come on in your head. If wearing black and snarling at the straights turns you on then you have found your new favourite band.
The singer of THE CUBICAL has possibly the filthiest voice since Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits were in their prime. This mind-warpin’ mutated blues fivesome from Liverpool clearly found the West Coast sound swimming up the Mersey and its bite sent them radioactive. The dual guitar work on tracks like ‘Edward The Confessor’ are extremely well executed, whilst recent download single ‘Baby Don’t Treat Me Bad’ sounds like prime Leaves/Standells. The debut album is due out later this year, produced by the really rather talented Dave Sardy. Don’t let it pass you by.
A band who positively flee from musical pigeon holes are THEE ONES from Stroud. The four-piece led by Nick Buckle are probably to “muso” for some, but I use the term as a compliment here. ‘Jack’s Workin’’ dishes out the Hammond lounge blues, with some breathy vocalising and modtastic guitar lines to complement. ‘Rusty’ has a trashy Bo Diddley/Slim Harpo-inspired beat and little else besides. ‘Sycamore Tree’ throws forth chiming bells and acoustic strum together to create a bubbling, voodoo ditty. ‘Like It Or Not’ simply howls at a jazzy moonlight. Best of all though is the driving rhythm ’n’ blues goodness of ‘Nite ’n’ Day’.
I should have been singing the praises of THE BLACK APPLES before now, but they slipped through my mental cracks. The Stoke trio have been wowing crowds for a few years now with their no-nonsense blues rock, their heaviness and all round rockin’ nature means they are highly sough after on the UK music scene. The playing is tight, the rhythm funky and vocals suitably blues-wailin’. Get some!
JENSEN AND THE INTERCEPTERS are a brand new Wolverhampton four-piece. Melting together the holy trinity of wigged-out freakbeat, British Invasion pop and gritty garage rock, they already have their songwriting skills sussed. The propulsive, ‘Hey Joe’-aping ‘There’s A Girl’ has garage-jangle and snotty vocals, ‘Just To Cry’ is pure primitive Headcoatees-esque joy, whilst ‘Sitting Side By Side’ is one-part cheese-grating guitars and one-part ‘bop sha woo wop’ vocals. These Interceptors are the offspring of the new Black Lips generation, and doing it just as well as the masters. With full marks on the looks and the attitude front I wouldn’t be surprised if they are huge before too long.
Let us step into London for a quartet of delightfully different troupes. Dark, esoteric French folk-pop isn’t something you find in Camden pubs every night of the week. And for that reason we must salute FIREFAY, four Anglo-French Londoners who are inspired by late ’60s/early ’70s acid folk, Arabic fusion, gypsy music, Jacques Brel and Robert Wyatt amongst many others. Circulus are counted amongst their friends, but Firefay are essentially a more cerebral version of them. Some tasty Middle-Eastern flavour is provided with the liberal use of the oud alongside the chiming acoustics and cellos. Light some candles and chill out with this wonderfully oddball gang.
The Sonics, The Stooges, Black Sabbath, New York Dolls, The Rolling Stones, Blondie: they are all there in the garage-rawk sound of DRAG YOUR HEELS. If you know who The Kills are you’re halfway to ‘getting’ these lot. Vocalist Lucy has a superb voice that’s melodic enough to raise the music above its no-frills, blistering-paced character. A great live outfit, if you want to shake yourself silly on a Friday night you know who to seek out.
If you like artrock with a psychedelic undercurrent then a hit of BLACK HELIUM might be helpful. I’m thinking Daydream Nation-era Sonic Youth here, crossed with classic Hawkwind. The songs are recorded to sound like you’re listening to them from the studio next to the one they were recorded in. Is this intentional? I do not know. Wailing, crunching distortion is present on everything, with debut single ‘Confused By Doom’ sounding somewhat like a heavier Dandy Warhol Motorcycle Club.
Our final London group are a mighty fine pair of dandies that go under the moniker SQUIRREL SKIN SLIPPERS. Yellow Bones and Eye Teeth, for that is their names, originally hail from New Zealand, and have brought with them in their luggage some primal tub-thumping blues. The married pair invite obvious comparisons to The White Stripes, but with the added bonus of some sweet vocal interplay (and no long boring guitar solos). The DIY dark urban country-blues of ‘Come To Me Baby’ and ‘Burnin’ Soul’ are as infectious as anything I’ve heard recently. Go. See. Them. Live. You won’t regret.
Keep the music coming, folks.