It would be a lie to say the calm before the storm that is a Brother and Bones gig is, technically, ‘calm’: it’s more of a shuffle for the first-timers to get as close to the speakers as possible, ready to get their ears blitzed by a pounding aural-assault, and a hive of seasoned fans standing just far enough back that they’ll enjoy the gig without losing the bits of their ears that are, well, important.
Before the Southern five-piece take to the rather small stage at The Bodega (no cloakroom; yes, I’m bitter, I had a fucking massive bag), we were treated to local two-piece Noah, whose harmonies were quite beautiful. The only gripe I would have is that their cover of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, sadly, was of the same quality as Bastille’s cover of Corona’s ‘Rhythm of the Night’ and conjured in me the same levels of rage and disdain.
So I’ve decided to ignore this obvious crowd pleaser and focus instead on the double’s spellbinding vocals and brilliant storytelling. Their third song, a number about how guitarist Joe stopped a father from beating his son (true story, top man) was told ever so simply and Rebeka Whittle’s voice melted in a striking and soaring harmony that remained true to their minimalist sound. A few more original songs and no more covers and they’ll be headlining shows in Nottingham, no doubt – the talent is undeniably there. Plus, they both have that whole extremely good-looking vibe going on, which tends to help in the music industry, sorry Lauren Mayberry from CHVRCHES.
Which brings me on to a conversation I had before the gig, with Richard Thomas from the headline act Brother and Bones and my compatriot for the night Alex Foxley-Johnson, where we ended up on the situation that Brother and Bones are in: a band with a fantastic underground following, a brilliant mix of carefully put together songs and yet they remain unsigned. Richard says “you’ve pretty much got to be pre-packaged these days” “Should he start twerking?”, I jest. Because falling short of taking part in the newest and grimmest dance craze, it’s difficult to see what else Brother and Bones can do to get themselves noticed.
Surely, they are the full package: a talented, charismatic and ridiculously vocally-gifted frontman, a band of brilliantly experimental musicians who aren’t afraid to push boundaries and who create one hell of a racket when they perform and a gaggle of tunes able to bring any room / festival / audience to their knees, ranging from the staggeringly poignant ‘Gold and Silver’ to the room-shaking beauty of ‘Don’t Forget to Pray’.
Somehow though, Monday’s audience were rather unreceptive to the pure showmanship of Thomas et al. The best reaction it seemed was from a small section of ladies in the middle, who later turned out to be half of the England Women’s Cricket Team, with one of the team taking to Twitter to voice her disdain for the fact the band are not signed. Even with a lethargic crowd, doing their best to suck most of the enthusiasm out of the lively Southern lads, Brother and Bones still managed to produce an ear drum pounding wall of sound. Their set was a showcase to their maturity as well, opening with their some of their most raucous barnstormers and finishing off with a majestic cover of the Black Crowes’ ‘She Talks to Angels’.
It would be lazy to say the Monday night audience were entirely responsible for the sense of lethargy in the crowd; Brother and Bones were putting their blood and grit in to the evening’s set and deserved a better response. They certainly showed why they are still one of the best live acts in the UK at the moment. Catch them, and for god’s sake it’s not a criminal offence to sing along on a Monday evening after work. You showed ’em, cricketers…
By Mary Chang on Tuesday, 3rd December 2013 at 12:00 pm
Scottish band Glasvegas are on tour in Europe right now, supporting their latest album ‘Later…When The TV Turns To Static’, released in September. We were lucky enough to pin down their bassist Paul Donoghue to answer our Quickfire Questions. He tells us about a song his gran sang to him when he was small (aww) and readily admits to being a real man who does not cry (double aww). Paul gives a tip to all bands in the form of the soothing power of reggae. He even comes up with an album that God might like. This might possibly be the most thoughtful set of answers to the TGTF Quickfire Questions we’ll ever receive. Read on…
What song is your earliest musical memory?
My mum playing ‘A Boy Named Sue’ by Johnny Cash to me in the car when I was about eight. I remember it was one of the funniest songs I had ever heard, although I didn’t listen to him again until I was around 18.
What was your favourite song as a child?
here is a song my gran used to sing, well, it’s more of a poem. It goes:
Eerie orie oot,
A tolie in the cloot,
I went to wash the dishes,
But the tolie fell oot.
I still remember laughing when she explained what it actually meant. I’ll leave it up to everyone’s imaginations as to what a “tolie” and a “cloot” is.
What song makes you laugh?
Almost anything. I have a sense of humour that is very dark and borders on macabre. Being on tour is lots of fun too, the last thing I laughed at on tour was when our merch guy asked for a pepperoni pizza and received a pizza which was “peppers only”. From carnivore to herbivore in one quick misinterpretation.
What song makes you cry?
The last song that almost made me cry (I’m a real man who doesn’t shed tears!) was ‘Chelsea Hotel #2′ by Leonard Cohen. It is a hauntingly beautiful track and stirred a lot of emotions I didn’t think it would.
What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
I remember when Rab, James and I first started hanging about together. We went to see Oasis in Glasgow, and when we were all together listening to ‘Champagne Supernova’, I knew this was two of the great loves of my life. Apart from my wife, I have never been as close to anyone as I am to they two, and Jonna now too.
What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Any Bob Marley song will calm me down almost immediately. A good tip for any band who come offstage angry about their show, put Bob Marley on and see your anger dissipate.
Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘Slow Burn’ by David Bowie. It’s such a simple song but so effective. The lyrics are amazing too, especially “there’s a price on our eyes, so squeeze them tight like a fist”.
Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
I’m a big nerd so Terry Pratchett is probably my favourite writer. I have read every Discworld book, it took me about 2 years. Also Jo Nesbo from Norway, the greatest detective writer of recent times. My favourite songwriter is John Lennon, no one can hold a candle to his songs.
If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I am a fully qualified, although not very good, tiler. I would probably still be doing that just now if I hadn’t been sacked for being a cowboy.
If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why?
That’s a great question. I’d try and bring something God would like. Maybe ‘Raw Power’ by Iggy and the Stooges. I think he’d dig that, and heaven would be a better place for having a bit of Iggy in its ears. Different certainly, but better.
Massive thanks to Paul for taking time out of his busy tour schedule to answer our questions and Paul for sorting this out for us. Back in the UK, the band will perform at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow on the 22nd of December.
What do some of the biggest names in metal, I’m talking Trivium, Killswitch Engage, Kvelertak and behemoths of all that is heavy, Slipknot, have in common with our #9 on our 10 for 2014 list? They’re all signed to Roadrunner Records, who for the last 30 years have been bringing the thrash which makes us, well, thrash…
Comparing up-and-comers Marmozets to Slipknot seems unfair, seeing as the latter have built up a phenomenal reputation since the ’90s as one of the definers of the genre. However, we should point out that Marmozets have been around for 6 years, although you’d be excused for thinking they had formed more recently since they look closer to their GCSEs than A-levels.
Their appearance at Reading Festival 2012 on the BBC Introducing Stage gave everyone an early taste of the carnage and chaos Marmozets would be thrusting upon us in 2013. Now, after touring slots with Enter Shikari and appearances at this year’s Liverpool Sound City and Great Escape, the band have honed their live show into a frenetic, fret-driven beast.
The group from Bingley, West Yorkshire who’ve only just become legal to drink alcohol will be inflicting anarchy on larger audiences throughout 2014, whilst putting pen to paper on a full album. Becca Macintyre is the kind of frontwoman any band starting out needs; she’s an absolute dynamo, showing all the traits of a metal superstar before she hits her twenties. With riffs ahoy and a helluva lot of youthful exuberance about them, there’s absolutely no reason why Marmozets shouldn’t be setting their sights on Slipknot’s level of fame.
By Mary Chang on Monday, 2nd December 2013 at 6:00 pm
Piano-playing singer/songwriter Paul Thomas Saunders has a new video for ‘Good Women’, a new single out on the 14th of January 2014. The song will appear on Saunders’ upcoming album ‘Beautiful Desolation’, scheduled to be released in spring 2014; the LP will mark his major label debut release. Soulful and intimate, the promo video does its song proud. Watch the video below.
Read Martin’s review of Saunders’ appearance at a Communion night in London in October here.
2011’s fourth album ‘D’ brought about a continuation of White Denim’s career theme: an eccentric noodling take on math rockery. In ‘D’ they showed an audaciousness that was perhaps unseen in their previous works and served to get them noticed, perhaps so noticed that they ended up headlining TGTF’s stage at The Great Escape in 2011. But that’s by the by.
They were experimental to almost excessive lengths on ‘D’; on their new release ‘Corsicana Lemonade’, they seem even more hell-bent on shoe-horning as many time changes and genres into the record. One moment, you’re bopping at a low key club with an electro beat pumping through you on ‘Limited by Stature’, the next you’re in Rio swept up by a carnival atmosphere before you’re whisked away on a trippy as balls magic carpet by ‘Let It Feel Good (My Eagles)’.
The harsh guitar rhythms are a constant of the album, driving it on; however, it is in songs like the aforementioned ‘Let It Feel Good (My Eagles)’ where White Denim’s funk credentials are unleashed, as they bound forward with an old-school drum beat and some fancy strum work from Austin Jenkins and frontman James Petralli.
The band’s blues and jazz background comes to the fore on this record too, perhaps even more than in ‘D’ and ‘Fits’. We’re even treated to some dirty, DIRTY sax on ‘Cheer Up / Blues’, where Petralli is bleeding a schmooze-y, sexy kind of sleaze. Old-school meets the very, very new-school in a brilliant way throughout this ten-song testament to White Denim’s immense need to challenge everything.
Any semblance of conventional song structure is a thing of the past for the Texas four-piece. It’s a not a ‘giant middle finger’ to the dogma of 21st century experimentation, it’s a whole different take that manages to sound authentic and homely whilst stretching frontiers. Most of the album is rather frenetic, and then everything settles down as the tenth track slides effortlessly in: ‘A Place To Start’ is a contradiction to the rest of the album, it’s spellbindingly simple – a demonstration of how White Denim are developing their sound and using James Petralli’s gorgeous vocals to take them to an entirely new level.
My personal highlight comes within the first 30 seconds of the record, with a criminally funky roll through the chords during ‘A Night in Dreams’. I challenge anyone to listen to the first 30 seconds of this album and not be breaking out a horrendously finicky air guitar. Combine that with the scathing vocals and you’ve got a winner in ‘Corsicana Lemonade’: an album with enough hooks to get them noticed, and enough daring to keep everyone guessing what their next move could be.
‘Corsicana Lemonade’, the latest album from Texans White Denim, is out now on Downtown Records. Watch the band bust out ‘A Night in Dreams’ for LA radio station KCRW below.