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Video of the Moment #2335: The Drums

 
By on Thursday, 6th April 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Err, okay, so what happened to the Drums? I have to admit I haven’t been paying that much attention since the uber weird ‘Magic Mountain’ in 2014, which I’m still confused about. It appears Jonny Pierce’s longtime music partner Jacob Graham left The Drums some time ago, with Pierce soldiering on with a backing band. Further confusing matters is the latest music video for ‘Blood Under My Belt’, in which the blond Pierce (at least that hasn’t changed; he’s the one on the right in the header photo) is wearing what I think is motorcyclist gear in front of colourful pastel backdrops, and his effete singing is still intact (okay, that’s good). Is this hipster music? Have a listen and watch of ‘Blood Under My Belt’ below. Pierce’s first album with The Drums as a solo act, ‘Abysmal Thoughts’, is scheduled to drop on the 16th of June. To read more about The Drums on TGTF – at least in their past guises – go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVwNzoc6y4w[/youtube]

 

The Drums / November 2014 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 25th August 2014 at 9:00 am
 

The Drums have just announced their latest single ‘I Can’t Pretend’, along with a short list of UK tour dates for this November. (Mary featured earlier single ‘Magic Mountain’ here.) The pared-down pair will make three appearances in support of their upcoming album ‘Encyclopedia’, which is due out on the 22nd of September on Minor Records. Tickets for the following headline dates are available now.

Past coverage of the Drums on TGTF is right this way.

Tuesday 18th November 2014 – London Scala
Wednesday 19th November 2014 – Manchester Gorilla
Thursday 20th November 2014 – Glasgow Art School

 

Video of the Moment #1586: The Drums

 
By on Tuesday, 29th July 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

Last week, I wrote out my thoughts about ‘Magic Mountain’, which marked The Drums‘ return to the music biz. There is now a self-directed, monochrome promo to go with the song, but unfortunately the visuals, which include an Excalibur-like sword and diamonds sat in dirt, do nothing to shed light on what ‘Magic Mountain’ is actually about. Maybe you can glean something more? Watch the video below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IbkytcnRa4[/youtube]

 

In the Post #126: The Drums return as a duo with new track ‘Magic Mountain’

 
By on Thursday, 17th July 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

After a 2-year hiatus that saw frontman Jonny Pierce chance a short-lived solo career, The Drums are back, reinvigorated and curiously back to how they were when they first got started in 2008: simply a duo starring Pierce and best friend Jacob Graham. When the band, then a four-piece, first hit the indie scene in 2009 with then Steve Lamacq favourite and summer stunner ‘Let’s Go Surfing’, things looked pretty superficial. When I interviewed Pierce and then drummer Connor Handwick in the autumn of 2010, it was obvious to me quickly, especially from Pierce’s erudite discussion of the importance of film and photography to him while drinking a hot cup of tea, not booze, that there was more to the Drums than meets the immediate eye.

For better or worse, their self-titled debut album shot to #16 on the UK Albums Chart that same year, probably due to the sales of people who didn’t scratch below the surface. However, I think those fans who bought their sophomore album ‘Portamento’ and might have wavered in their loyalty or those expecting another album chock full of chirpy tracks like ‘Me and the Moon’ and ‘Best Friend’ might have trouble stomaching this leaner, meaner version of the Drums.

The vibe off taster track ‘Magic Mountain’ suggests the red satin jacket and high school sports jerseys Pierce has favoured in previous incarnations of the band might be up for retirement permanently. Why do I say this? Because, well, despite naming their song with the same moniker of one of America’s enduring theme park franchises Six Flags, this sound pretty dark. If anything, except for maybe the joyous handclaps at the start, it sounds like it was concocted in a mad scientist’s lab. A mad scientist from Scooby Doo, maybe.

Otherworldly synth notes wiggle and shake against menacing Graham’s guitar notes. Pierce sings high up the scale, the minor key vocal line appearing purposefully dissonant against the instrumentation and driving rhythm. Further examination of the lyrics adds causes additional confusion: “inside my magic mountain we don’t have to be with them / inside my magic mountain our hearts are on / inside my magic mountain I don’t have to be with them / inside my magic mountain our hearts are on”. Is “my magic mountain” some kind of euphemism? I can’t take this seriously.

It’s strange structurally as well, with an unnatural pause at 2 minutes 25 seconds before the song starts again. In its premiere with Noisey, Pierce describes the song as ” ..about shedding off what binds you and protecting what’s good, finding a safe place away from everyone and everything that wants to destroy you”. Hmm. Perhaps maybe ‘Magic Mountain’ is meant to be a grower, but I can’t see it appealing to their pop fans who swooned over ‘Let’s Go Surfing’. This is the Drums, mark IV. I still have an open mind about their future, but this left me cold.

5/10

No word yet on when the third album from the Drums will be released, but the word on the street is that the album was completed earlier this year, so I’m expecting something out before the year is out. I’m also guessing from their Soundcloud that they’ve started their own label, Minor Records. Should be interesting to see what comes of it, even if it’s sinister. Watch an album teaser from the duo below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN_doeHeD9U[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Videos: Fred Perry Subculture featuring the Charlatans, Willy Mason and the Drums

 
By on Monday, 7th January 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

2012 marked the 60th anniversary of the Fred Perry brand and the relaunch of the Fred Perry Subculture Web site. The brand had a series of celebrations in honour of the anniversary last year but just because it’s 2013, it doesn’t mean the partying has stopped. They’ve provided us some great live videos from their birthday party in September 2012 at London Garage, starring the Charlatans (performing ‘The Only One I Know’), Willy Mason (playing ‘I Got Gold’ from his new album ‘Carry On’ released in December on Fiction Records) and the Drums (playing the fab ‘Days’ from 2011’s ‘Portamento’). Watch them all below.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/54082460[/vimeo]

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/54357482[/vimeo]

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/54359034[/vimeo]

 

Live Review: The Drums with Dot Dash and Part Time at Black Cat, Washington DC – 21st April 2012

 
By on Wednesday, 25th April 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

(Editor’s note: lighting was horrible for most of the night, so apologies on the quality of the photos on here.)

I have wistful memories of the first time I saw the Drums. It was 2 years ago at the 9:30 Club, co-headlining with then flavour of the month band Surfer Blood. Before that, I did a very candid interview with Jonny Pierce and then drummer Connor Hanwick at a Caribbean café across the way. It’s with much disgust that I report to you that the airy, tropical-themed café has now been replaced with a sports bar with dodgy, blacked out windows. Also, the Drums have undergone another line-up change: Hanwick has been replaced and live, the band sports not just one but two guitarists, leaving Jacob Graham free to fiddle with a wide selection of synthesisers, running from the more modern and traditional-looking to an impressive wall of holes reminding me of this photo on Delphic’s MySpace. And you thought the Drums were just a ‘simple’ surf pop band? Oh, how wrong you are… Washington was loud and proud Saturday night as we played host to the Drums’ first date on their current North American tour.

First opening band Dot Dash were a pleasant surprise. They never told us where they were from, so I had to find out from their Facebook that they’re actually a local band who was very thankful to the Drums’ manager for having them on the bill. Generally speaking, bands we go to see don’t wear wedding rings. They’re just not old enough. So it was surprising to see opening for the Drums was this band that made me think of an American Stone Roses, even comparable to age with Ian Brown and co. Their band name belies the complexity of their music. I loved the way the guitars and drums melded effortlessly; the bass player wins extra points with his sunglasses that made him look like a mod. I wasn’t, however, in love with the lyrics: how does “I don’t know why” repeated many, many times as a chorus strike you? Still, if you can’t have the Stone Roses, it’s pretty nice to know you’ve got a local backup.

Note to bands: if you want us to photograph you, then for heaven’s sakes, make sure you turn on the light. We don’t need blinding lights, but I knew as soon as the Part Time lead singer said, “turn down the lights” because he felt self-conscious, none of us would have a prayer in photographing them with any justice. So I’ll just have to describe them to you in words. Singer – long unkempt hair, leather jacket, animal print shirt and torn jeans. Guitarist with synthesiser – looked like he just stepped off the set of Miami Vice with t-shirt and white suit jacket. Bass player – straight from Bay City Rollers, including plaid shirt and hat. Other synthesiser player – guy next door (and I couldn’t really see well that far on the other side of the stage, sorry). Drummer – playing his heart out but with a very limited drum kit augmented by a fancy pants electronic drum pad. Part Time’s style is wonky new wave; they’re signed to Mexican Summer, who have also signed Best Coast, if that helps any.

When the Drums first appeared on the blogosphere with ‘Let’s Go Surfing’, some pundits were comparing them to the Smiths. I couldn’t see that at all; except for Morrissey and Jonny Pierce’s mutual love of films, there seemed to be nothing else in common between the two bands. Then it all became clear at this Black Cat show. We’ll never know – or at least not know for a long time, I think –but I get the vibe that Pierce and Graham’s friendship is as strong as Morrissey and Marr’s was back in the day. Creative differences have caused flight from this band twice already, yet Pierce and Graham remain intact and feel like the bedrock of the Drums. Further, if you examine the lyrics, they’re pretty dark. ‘I Need a Doctor’ was explained by Pierce as “this is a song about being mentally ill”. Not what you’d associate with sunny, poppy melodies. And just who was singing gaily about ‘Cemetry Gates’?

The Cat has a much smaller stage than the 9:30, yet despite the intimacy, the energy was a lot higher for this gig. This gig was also sold out, but I definitely did not expect the moshers, who several times threw me and my middle right into the hard metallic edge of the stage (ouch). There were so many great moments to the Drums’ set that I would have gladly suffered similar ‘inconveniences’ to see them again. Case in point: Chairlift had a sold out set of their own, down the street at U Street Music Hall, and came over as the Drums’ guests after they were done playing their show. Pierce was beside himself, saying it was such a happy occasion having friends in the audience. Caroline Polachek even bounded on the stage with a huge grin on her face to help Pierce sing out the end of ‘Forever and Ever Amen’, after which Pierce commented, smiling broadly, “this is just a lovely, lovely night”. (I know the photo is blurry, I had no advance warning she’d jump onstage!)

The new line-up sounds very tight, showing mastery with upbeat numbers (‘Best Friends’, ‘Me and the Moon’, ‘Book of Stories’) and slower ones that I’m guessing the iPod generation make out to (‘Days’, ‘Down with the Water’). They left us with ‘Let’s Go Surfing’, the hit they left out at the 9:30 but rewarded the crowd with the ultimate summer song – in the middle of April – to close out the night.

After the cut: the Drums’ set list.
Continue reading Live Review: The Drums with Dot Dash and Part Time at Black Cat, Washington DC – 21st April 2012

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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