The fact that the sound of the 60s still resonates with teenagers to this very day can only be testament to the mighty garage genre. It’s a steady diet of lo-fi psych that seems to keep giving and rightly so.
The Parrots here are no strangers to this musical phenomenon. Brought up on small plates of the good stuff, these Spanish amigos have not only masterminded the fuzzed out, reverbed, laid-back sounds we associate with the classic nuggets of yesteryear, they also know how to smash it out live. Proof of this has been witnessed by many willing to dance like they are stuck in an earthquake at their own weekly parties, whatever country they choose to squat. Including us.
Live is where it’s at for this trio and ‘Weed For The Parrots’ feels like it’s been recorded straight to tape in your dad’s shed. It kicks off with the jangling riffs and upbeat tremors of ‘Terror’, closing sharply following a minute’s worth of garage gold that leaves you feeling like you have been cheated. This craving is made better with the stomping bass lines of ‘White Fang’ that jams into a frenzy fronted by Diego García’s wails, which leads superbly into a psychedelic riff akin to a valium rush from their flagship tune ‘To The People…’.
This come down doesn’t last long though, their cover version of the Almighty Defenders’ ‘All My Loving’ tips the scales as the most upbeat track on this EP. It’s one of the highlights in their live show and a closer at that. Pushed to 11, this party choon could make a room full of people explode and that is exactly what is does. As an incendiary tool, it’s their most potent track on the album in comparison to the ‘I’m Not Alone’ – a track that feels like school just ended, or the campfire sounds of ‘Wild’ that sees bassist Alex de Lucas take the mic in a stripped down, marshmallow dripping lo-fi ender.
As far as debut’s go, this is a rock n’ roll peach. We can’t wait to see what they have in store next.
The Men / Parquet Courts
The Relentless Garage, London
New York quartet Parquet Courts are creating quite a healthy little buzz for themselves at the moment and it’s not hard to see why. They were the ‘band everyone was talking about’ at SXSW this year and tonight they face a crammed to capacity Garage as they swagger out onstage to confront a London crowd eager to see what all the fuss is about. And they take it calmly in their stride. Parquet Courts are effortlessly cool, brooding with a Velvet Underground menace, a spiky Mark E Smith snarl and wailing Pavement-esque out of tune guitars, they are minimal, jagged and have some excellent songs hidden amongst the noise and snarl. You’re going to be hearing a lot from this band this year.
Whilst Parquet Courts are rigid and tight, The Men couldn’t be set further apart. The Men are lose, raw, wild, explosive and all over the fucking place. In short, The Men are utterly life-affirming and incredibly exciting to watch. Live, like their recorded output, they swerve wildly from and between abrasive noise punk, Neil Young country-tinged rock, wild psychedelia, melodic grunge and everything in between. The Men pay no heed to rules. This is music flowing freely for a multitude of influences. They’re like the 13th Floor Elevators meets Spacemen 3 meets The Wipers meets Mudhoney meets Neil Young meets Black Flag and it sounds so good it makes you want to hold your breath and detonate. The Men are utterly thrilling. Grab the first chance you get to see them live.
Funeral For A Friend
The Relentless Garage, London
18th February 2013
It’s a cold Monday evening and London’s Relentless Garage venue is graced with the presence of Funeral For a Friend. A somewhat intimate venue for these guys, who are no stranger to filling Brixton Academy and the like. The post-hardcore band have had a good, solid last ten years, enjoying major label success with ‘Hours and Tales Don’t Tell Themselves’ to taking a more indie route with the last few albums including the new album ‘Conduit’ which hit the shelves earlier this year.
The band have had a varied sound over the years, and ‘Conduit’ takes a step backwards, going back to their post-hardcore roots which isn’t a problem at all at the Garage because the atmosphere is as electric from the get go, to the ballad at the end. Singer, Matthew Davies greets the audience and asks if anyone had attended the matinee show in Kingston earlier in the day, to which half the crowd cheer. Pretty interesting, doing two shows in a day, and even more interesting for the lucky people who went to both!
The crowd, and myself, I have to say, were hit with a blast of nostalgia as they started the night off with ‘She Drove Me To Daytime Television’. Having had a look around, it looked as though pretty much everyone at The Garage were probably in their teens when FFAF’s debut ‘Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation’ was released, so this song was a perfect opener, taking us all back to our teenage years jumping around in a venue probably as intimate at this one. Davies introduced most of the set with a meaningful description and insight into what each track means to them as a band, the politics, the friendships, and the positive messages.
The diverse setlist was action packed. They chose to play some of their heavier songs, which fueled the mosh pit and left everyone in a sweaty state. But the evening was gracefully brought to an end with the song ‘History’, which Matt explains is about the 1980s miners strike in Wales and the lack of determination and faith from the government and what the country had to go through. The evening ended with all the support bands on the stage, arm in arm singing the chorus to ‘History’, along with the sold out crowed in the Garage. A great way to end a fantastic evening.
‘Haters Gonna Hate’ Shit Music For Shit People Facebook
Those who picked up the limited edition, spaghetti stained ‘I Spit On Your Graves‘ 7″ that was released by the Italian based label Kuma Records will be stoked to know that the duo known as the Wildmen are ready to release a full length in February and this is the first offering.
The band bring their own version of 60’s garage-punk back with a tashe-tinged groove similar to our favourite four-piece, the Black Lips but brings a dose of goodness that we keep coming back to this month. The duo simply rock and roll at the perfect temperature.
‘Haters Gonna Hate’ is the latest slice of Wildmen magic that is served up with a message to go fuck yourself. You know Haters Gonna Hate. So just keep walking down the road. Get some of this here.
Brighton has a strange but pleasant scene. Be it, music, skateboarding, art or general culture, you can pretty much discover something interesting on the coastline down there without having to dig too hard. We discovered The Wytches at a show in London last week, a new band that have just released this new video and are making themselves heard in the run up to the 2013.
If you take the psych garage-rock vibes of the 13th Floor Elevators and MC5, then pound them into your ear canal with a dose of Bleach era Nirvana, you will be somewhere close in finding their sound. Of course though, every band has it’s own unique formula and The Wytches deliver noise filled, catchy tunes that are worthy of your time.
Mental breakdowns and crises can occur at any point in an existing person’s lifetime, most commonly when confronted with the concepts of existence, or indeed a limited time in which one can be alive and exist. Shit, I’m constantly surprised that we’re not in a constant state of anxiety-ridden madness, I know I’m flirting with the idea just writing about it. And listening to the latest disc of fuzz-fuelled fantasy and anti-serious garage rock from Nick Cave’s Grinderman project almost tempted me to indulge in a balls-out illicit affair with insanity.
That is not to say that Grinderman is Cave’s outlet to just lose his shit; though shoving on some Roman garb and thrusting lasers at the earth while a wolf circles a girl in a bathtub would almost have you thinking otherwise. And I’m certainly not going green-text imply that The Bad Seeds isn’t the music he truly wants to make. What Grinderman 2 is, is an informed soundtrack of celebration for the natural impulses that linger in our sub-conscious that make us occasionally want to thrust lasers from our dick while wearing armour and shout ‘HERE COME THE WOLFMAN’ while walking into a cinema. It’s the reason why we celebrate Halloween.
Musically, it’s bitter, gorgeous and somehow more sonically expansive then the first collection of impromptu sleazy, visceral rock. Cave’s absurdist saturation of sexual, violent, hilarious lyrics penetrate harder than ever as he scowls on Worm Tamer, ‘My baby calls me the Loch Ness Monster, two great big humps and then I cum’ while the perpetual bass fuzz makes you want to just get up and throw shit. One can only imagine how fun the Grinderman recording sessions are as they surf through high and low culture on an impossibly badass selection of bluesy riffs and guitar noise that can only be made by the monster that lives in the garages of tacky US horror flicks.
So dive in and embrace the wonderful breakdowns that are imminent when listening to one of the most raw albums you’ll hear in 2010. And if you thought your big husband would protect you, YOU WERE WRONG.
with Peggy Sue & Meg Baird
The Garage, London
Wichita Recordings have covered a lot of ground in the last ten years. Wichita is the colourful phoenix that flew out for the ashes of Creation Records, guided a lovely bearded Welshman that was partly responsible for the signing of some the 90s most incredible acts. Though they began with releasing some of my favourite albums of the decade (Bright Eyes’ ‘Fevers and Mirrors’ and Bloc Party’s ‘Silent Alarm’), it was Dick and Mark’s discovery of two girls from Sweden with stunning voices and an inexplicable talent for melody making, First Aid Kit, that made me actively fly the Wichita flag.
There wasn’t any other choice for who was to headline the ‘folking excellent’ Tueday night in their string of celebrations for the record label’s tenth birthday. New Jersey’s Meg Baird was tremendous and continued to draw attention from NJ’s sore shore rep and point us in the direction of the spectacular and pleasantly haunting music that emerges from the garden state. The folk or ‘anti-soul’ revival was in full-force when Peggy Sue mounted the stage in front of a now-rammed Garage. These were two brilliant sets, but First Aid Kit made me cease to function properly like jeeping shit.
First Aid Kit burst onto the web with an acoustic cover of Fleet Foxes’ ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song‘ in a nearby forest that can only be described as the loveliest viral video ever created. Since then they’ve released an equally lovely EP and a stunning debut that was matched by one of the most heart-warming, awe-filling live performances I’ve seen in some time at Wichita’s birthday feast of folk. They open with ‘Tangerine’, a gentle world-weary and refreshing blowback of Cat Power smoke which lingers like a surprisingly pretty moth as they power into the delicately perfect ‘You’re Not Coming Home Tonight’. They are utterly unaware of their flawlessness and play to us almost as if they we were peer pressured into playing the lonely looking guitar that’s placed against the wall of their bedroom. The Garage isn’t a large venue but it certainly isn’t small, and to render the entire crowd fully silent during an entirely unplugged rendition of ‘Ghost Town‘ speaks volumes about their natural talent that doesn’t require any further lexical amplification.
Of course their Fleet Foxes’ cover proved favourable with a perpetually beaming crowd but the highlight was a foot-stomping march through melody and powerful choruses in ‘Own Our Pretty Ways‘. They’ve come a long way from recording inconspicuous videos in forests and regardless of their admirable ‘aim for the hearts, not for the charts!’ motto, could very easily win the love from both.