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.
“Well now, hasn’t 2014 been kind to us already? First we were treated to a new Owls record, and now two brand new tracks from our favourite French foursome Baton Rouge.
Taken from their sophomore record ‘Totem’, which is getting released this June, the tracks are certainly a solid statement of the direction they’ve decided to take for their new material. Far from churning out more of the same, they’ve pushed their sound in a different direction by slowing the pace slightly (without losing any of the punch of their previous offerings), giving tracks more room to settle into solid grooves, with twisting guitar lines anchored to a thundering rhythm section. Both new tracks are instantly attention grabbing, but in a totally different way to, say, Que Les Fils from the first record.
Listen to both tracks on Bandcamp below. This should probably come with the added warning that once you still on Cours Tolstoï you’ll probably be listening to that on repeat for the next 12 hours, so it’d be advisable to cancel your evening plans before hitting play.
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).