Whirr fans got a bit of a surprise last month after the band ‘went off on one’ having seen a low-scoring Pitchfork review of their musical friends Nothing. A criticism that picked at the bands inherit lack of originality. (The reviewer Ian Cohen was referred to as a ‘pussy’).
What we can safely say is that the more this ‘shoegaze resurgence’ goes on, the greater the sameyness will be with newer bands to the genre. Not wanting to state some corny hypothesis or anything, but sometimes things turn around and go the other way. Take Walleater, a four-piece from Leeds who’ve gone so full circle they teeter on the edge of sounding like a less poppier Hopesfall. It feels weird listening to this in 2014, particularly as the last time I heard this sort of stuff I was without any facial hair. Forget the stubble, it’s impressive the atmosphere these guys create – really quite absorbing stuff.
Featuring ex/current members of Bird Calls,Sky:Lark and Man Hands are London three-piece Kin Shot, who fuse together spiraling 00′s emo with post-hardcore rashness – Daniel Striped Tiger, Damezumari and Malady being good starting points. Excited to hear more stuff from this lot.
Basking in lower case glory are estates, a three-piece indie/emo band from Milwaukee. Following on from their 2012 demo and full-length Gleam is the bands second low-spirited self-titled album, conveying plenty a glum nod to other such heartsick influences including Hum, Codeine and Sunny Day Real Estate.
In 1998 Pele daringly released Teaching the History of Teaching Geography – at a time where experimental indie-rock wasn’t quite so finely tuned as it now is. Little things like out-of-synch loop pedals and ultra loud keyboards were all things that came as expected.
Fusing Sleater-Kinney melodies with the straightforwardness of The Breeders are London three-piece DOE, whose anti-bass, anti-fuss take on punk makes for a refreshing listen. In recent months the band have parted ways with guitarist Alessandro and brought in a new guy on axe called Matt (above right). What impact he’ll have on future songs is yet to be fully heard, but what is comment-on-able are the crisscross vocals between Jake (drums) and Nicola (guitars), particularly the formers grip on those high-reaching harmonies, and latters impressive hold on the longer ones (I suspect a third lung tucked away somewhere).
Sooner is one-part tape and one-part zine. Expect to receive an assortment of lyrics, photos and other such related scribblings should you pre-order the physical thing from Keroleen Records.
The last time I went to see Healing Powers I bust my glasses and the bent things still ain’t fixed. Their singer Josh would be facing the same problem if his nose (carrying copious amounts of sweat) didn’t have velcro-like properties at its base.
Slipping standards such as these can be quite catastrophic (frames are expensive y’know), so it’s good to know there’s bands like Durham’s three-piece Healing Powers who keep propping up the quality. Since their split with Wade, the punk-screamo lot have been hardworking producing a 7″ with just their own songs on. Comparable to the short ‘n’ sweet Weird Dreams Forever (on that previously mentioned split), Weirdos at Works is another winning combination of intense screamy vocals over no-nonsense chords and booming drums. Healing Powers should keep busting out these sub-2 minute blasts, they’re proving hard to beat.
Still kicking balls round the Bristol West country are The Jelas, playing their frenzied mix of weirdo post-punk, awkward math and wonky “polyrhythmic pop” (I stole that from Phil B). Beetroot Yourself is the bands latest music bizarre, a crazy hotbed of saxophone, artistic vocals about ‘routine’, wandering basslines and perpetual changes that make fot-tapping nigh on impossible. It’s a bit of an exploration but one well worth experiencing. Grab the tape (or cd) from time of asking (the label of Ellis from Trust Fund).
‘Calling-it-a-day’ or ‘indefinite hiatus’ are two phrases that we could really do without. In an ideal world it would be nice for bands to go through all their accomplishments, the high’s and the low’s, the records, shows and people they met along the way. Perhaps I’m a little nosey, but given that so many bands just quit without saying anything (modesty?) I wanted to start a column that looks back at the good times from the bands perspective, and ‘Fun While It Lasted’ seems a more uplifting phrase than either of the above.
Arrows are Anthony Morgan (guitars, keyboard, vocals), Carl Burnett (bass) and Anders Cairns (drums) and Scott Merillo (guitar). Carl got in touch about running one of these (so it’s his idea really).
So why the break-up?
It’s been eight years and it’s getting harder and harder to get together to play shows and write. We had plans at the end of last year to take a break from the few shows that we do play to write for a new record but we basically never got together. It started to feel like we were forcing the issue, we’ve all got so much else going on in our lives at the moment and if it’s not happening naturally we don’t want to force it for the sake of it. Then of course when we did play shows we’re playing songs that are in some cases six, seven or eight years old y’know, with nothing new to back it up and it just wasn’t sitting right with us.
Could you give us a quick-run through of your discography? Which was the most fun to record?
Our first release was Don’t Write Poetry in 2006 which we recorded and released ourselves after being together for about a month. After that we released a split 12″ with some friends in Melbourne called These Hands Could Separate the Sky. Then in 2008 we wrote and recorded Modern Art & Politics for Hobbledehoy, which was followed by Try & Stay Upright in 2010 and then a spit 7″ with a band from the US called Empire! Empire! I Was a Lonely Estate. I think Modern Art & Politics would have been our favourite to record. The drums were recorded with a friend who was in music college then the rest by ourselves, mostly at Anthony’s house or in our rehearsal space which is how we recorded everything back when the band was still pretty new and we were finally getting to put out all these songs we’d been working on for some time through a label we loved.
Which were your favourite shows to play?
Some that stick out in my memory would be No Culture Festival which was basically an all day warehouse show with all our favourite Australian bands. Every time we’ve played the Poison City Weekender it has been incredible as well. Actually, now that I think of it the Australia Day fundraisers put together by a close friend of the band were excellent as well. We always reminisce about playing at a place called Fat Louie’s which is basically an upstairs pool hall, there would be a floor space and a PA in this separate little room where bands played for free all the time and there was always really solid shows there.
What was the strangest thing you’ve encountered being in Arrows?
That’s a good question. We’ve seen some pretty gnarly things driving around the country in vans but it’s hard to think of one now I’m on the spot. I remember being interviewed by this weird little guy with a terrible stutter who was like thirty years old wearing some kind of dead animal on his head for a hat. That was pretty strange.
What’s going on in the Brisbane scene at the moment?
Well The Gifthorse are getting back together so it’s pretty hard to top that. Other than that it feels like our circle of bands has died off quite a bit over the last few years. When we first got together there were shows every weekend with like four or five bands who were all friends, at a venue, at a house, a hall, a parking lot somewhere… it’s just not like that anymore. Or maybe it is and because we’re that much older and uncool we’re not invited anymore. I miss those days though. A lot.
Will any of Arrows be starting new music endeavors?
Nothing definite really. Scott and I have played with the idea of doing something together and I’ve started recording some demos for it but every time I listen back to them I realise how bad it actually is, press delete and we’re back at square one. Who knows what will happen though!
Can we have a final photo for memories sake?
And that’s it, lock yourself in your room and listen to Arrows discography here. Arrivederci, amore mio.