The Laurels out of Halifax contain members from Monomyth and Moon. That doesn’t really help though. They sound a bit like the 90’s noisy indiepop of the Swirlies and the Lilys. Not surprising since they admit to being ispired by that scene along with Beach Boys,Byrds and C-86. Their self-titled bandcamp album has elements of all of the above as well as a sublime ode to Joao Gilberto thrown in for good measure. Crazy that bands this good are just giving away their music!
The Soft Boys had one, and so did Minor Threat. Public Image Limited and Public Enemy both did. Tallulah Gosh did as well. Hell, even Julian Cope has one and he isn’t technically a band. I have long thought that Any band worth its salt should have a theme song. Or at the very least, have a song that mentions the band’s name.It serves as a statement of the band’s intentions. Every band should have a manifesto and what better to way to put it out there than in a song?
Slum of Legs from Brighton, England have three songs so far and one of them is called Slum of Legs so you already know that they’re doing something right. Slum of Legs are a band of six which is an army in band terms. They have a three song demo that they have released as a cassette on Tuff Enuff Records. It’s the best parts of punk, indiepop and noise pop recorded on what sounds like boombox they found at a rummage sale. All three songs are really good, but the best one is their manifesto. It begins with a circular rhythm that made me think of the Dixie Cups Two-Way-Poc-A-Way, but then the scrawling guitar starts in and singer begins stating what the Slum of Legs are: super structures spiked with glass, the bleeding present, the final hour of idle boasts, an army of losers, the hissing of trains. Noisy pop music to my ears.
This week I was blasted out my post turkey malaise while listening to Chromewaves Radio. Out of my cheap earbuds came some of the best possessed white noise I’ve heard in ages. Kent State, not the Ohio one but the Los Angeles one hit a sweet spot that is somewhere in the red and poking its bony elbows into Sonic Youth, Swervedriver,Boyracer and Times New Viking territory.
Earlier this year the band released The Wrong Side of History which collects all of their cassette only releases onto a single slab of vinyl. The album is also up on their bandcamp site as a free/pay what you like download. Yes, to some noise annoys, but Kent State can deftly bury a melody just beneath their squall or stash a bass line somewhere deep under their maelstrom and make you feel like you’re floating on a bed of spikes just above the fray. Bleeding ears never felt so good.
Does the cover to Wildhoney‘s debut 7-inch single look like something that could have come out on Slumberland Records back in the late 80’s or what? The crazy thing is, it sounds like it too. This Baltimore dreampop/shoegaze rookies sound like veterans dishing out three noisy gems. The record is out now on the brand new Seattle label Nostalgium Directive. If you missed the chance to make your ears bleed when those Lilys, Swirlies, and Black Tamborine singles first came out, then this your chance to get in the ground floor of some essential noisy pop.
“When You Lie” from Flowers first 7″ sounds like the band have a stash of Shop Assistants and Mary Chain records. It’s got big echoing drums, cool distant female vocals and noisy guitars that will have you thinking that they must be from Scotland. According to the internet the band reside in London and are on the fast track to indiepop fame and glory (whatever that may be). You can still order the trio’s debut single from Cloudberry. They have a single coming soon as part of Odd Box’s 100 series (which is sold out) and another one due out on Fortuna Pop’s singles club. Hopefully they won’t continue to make themselves obscure and release some more easily getable records in the very near future.
The band just played the NYC Popfest and have one more US date in Chicago at the Beat Kitchen on 12 June. If you are a resident of that midwest town consider attending, otherwise you can still order their Cloudberry single, or head over to their bandcamp page to download it for free.
When we last checked in with Rat Columns they had just released their debut 7″ single and were (mostly) a one man band. The band, now officially a three piece, have just unfurled their first long player Sceptre Hole. The band is now based in San Francisco, though guitarist/singer David West began Rat Columns in Perth, Australia. Geography seems to be irrelevant though, because Rat Columns do not not sound like they adhere to any scene or current musical trend in that city or any other.
Eastern Vibrations starts the record off on a four minute dissonant excursion making you wonder what you’re in for. Then they go all noise pop on you with Death Is Leaving Me and you start to get the idea that you are in for a roller coaster ride of a record. The way they mingle short instrumentals and sounds between songs reminds me of the Pale Saints album The Comforts of Madness, and the sound aesthetic employed is very similar to the noise/dream pop of the Pale Saints first record. Rat Coluns are a pop band, but not an obvious one. At the end of side one they deliver the instrumental Spectre in the Wall which is so high quality that it will have you reaching to hear Simple Minds‘ Themes from Great Cities. Then on side two they start to show some of their Clean and 18th Dye leanings that were so evident on that first single on the songs Ashes Of a Rose, Frozen Over and Summer Thighs.
Scepter Hole is not a record that is immediately obvious, but it is one that continues to reveal itself the more you listen to it. It jangles, it drones, it weirds out, it keeps you off balance, while pulling you into its world and not letting go. It might seem experimental and somewhat dense at first, but its many facets and pleasures reveal themselves the more you listen to it. Not a record that will ever be flavor of the month, but more like one that you pull out to listen to year after year.