Muertos

Muertos

Muertos are a prime example of the reason why everyone should get to gigs early and catch the support bands. I caught these guys on the support slot at a  New Candys gig and they were brilliant! A great 4 track EP is available from WrongWay Records , with a few vinyl copies still available. A great introduction to Muertos is the track Black Box, this is the one that really got my attention way back in Shrewsbury.

With a debut album due for release next month, I caught up with the band to find out a little more about them. They are DeAnna Avis, Marc Crane & Tom Lewis and hail from Essex.

Who are you and why did you start the band?

Marc: De and Tom used to play in another band together a good while back. I used to play in another band around the same kind of scene, so we all knew each other back then. All of our bands split and for a few years or so nothing was going down, so myself and De got in touch and decided to create something new from the ashes and get things going again.

De: Yep, I met Marc when he was playing in a vampire garage rock band, Von Jergo. They were making quite a sensation around Essex, and Tom and I were in a political, brash, riot grrrl band at the same time, Death of the Elephant. So our paths crossed a lot at gigs and festivals. We kept in touch and then Marc and I decided to join forces and start writing songs in his dad’s front room. It was very low fi and the musical chemistry was awesome from the start. You never know with these kind of things but we just clicked!

What do you guys want to achieve as a band? What story do you have to tell the world?

De: For me, music is an exploration of all the difficult experiences I’ve been through, a way of processing the highs and lows of life. We write about quite heavy topics, our songs have always been quite personal. So the story I’d like to tell to the world is that it doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, you can get through it. I urge you, anyone who’s struggling – nothing is forever, and that’s the beauty of it all. We’ve been on a hell of a ride, if I even tried to go into it I could write a novel – but we write songs instead. It’s such a buzz to connect with other people who get it.

When you get out of bed, what makes you want to create music? What gives you the drive to make records and play live?

De: For me, it’s two main things. One is needing to express myself and being frustrated at always seeing the boys being the ones who got to shout and strut their stuff while the girls were relegated to being fangirls in the audience. When I started, I wasn’t confident writing music at all – it terrified me. But I thought fuck it if I’m going to be quiet – it’s not in my nature. So yeah, basically I play music to be a pain in the ass, because I think it’s my duty to shake things up, and I’d like to encourage other girls to get out there and start getting their share of the limelight the guys have always had. The other side of it is that I just plain love music, and have always played it as I was raised in a musical family. But I want to emphasise – even coming from that kind of supportive background, there is a hell of a lot of societal conditioning to undo to make you feel that it’s OK to make music as a girl, or get over the thought that you’re not playing the ‘right’ type of music. So I busted out of the box of just playing classical and violin music and ripped open the pandora’s box of punk. That’s why I play, to rip open all the boxes.

I’m a massive fan of bands like Spacemen 3, The Black Angels and BJM, I think I hear hints of them in your music. Who are your biggest influences?

Marc: I’m a big fan of them too. I think listening to those kinds of bands helped me get experimental with guitar playing and this eased me into learning to play. Before I knew any chords I was just into making interesting sounds with feedback and creating atmosphere. Black Sunday by Cypress Hill was one of the first albums I owned when I was young, that album had a big impact on me. It sounded so dark and dangerous.

De: Thank you so much, that’s so cool! My biggest influences are: Mazzy Star, Kathleen Hanna, PJ Harvey, Peaches, 90s west coast hip hop, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Von Bondies, The Raveonettes and last but not least, because it’s been my longest enduring love, Mexican music. I’m inspired by any woman who plays an instrument and sings – they rule my heart.

The album is out in August, describe it in your own words!

Marc: Its a deranged, melancholy trip that will make you want to dance. I also think we managed to successfully compress our three personalities and view points into a black round disc that sounds good.

De: It’s the sound of my therapy sessions put to music. It’s the sound of our inner psyche put to feedback and swirling hypnotic guitars. It’s the sound of our brain waves, our emotions, our love and our pain. I think that it sounds damn good too.

I love the new single ‘Suck It Up’, Where did the inspiration for it come from?

Marc: The strange world that surrounds us! This song is about wanting to get away from it all. Away from the orange goblin in the White House, Brexit, horrible commutes and shattered economy. It’s that feeling, when you are wound up and the least helpful thing someone can do is tell you to calm down and it makes you want to bang their head into a table. This song exists on that space of tension, where you want to BURN EVERYTHING. There is no tidy resolution to this story – we don’t do happy endings. You just have to get on with it and suck it up!

A band with a bright future in front of them I think! Thanks to De & Marc for sparing some time to answer a few questions. You can see Muertos for yourselves on the following dates. Try to catch them if you can, they’re pretty captivating!

Two London gigs coming up in August with Roadkill Records (who are awesome):

The Lock Tavern, Camden: Sat 4th August (Roadkill Records Weekender)

Shacklewell Arms, London: Fri 24th August (Our debut album launch party!)

The Bassment, Chelmsford: Saturday 27th October

Muertos are also playing The Psych Weekender in Manchester for Astral Elevator in September:

Night People: Sun 16th September

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Black Doldrums

Black Doldrums

Black Doldrums are a band I’ve followed for a while now, there’s something about them that really seems to connect with me. Not sure what, but after seeing them live a few times and chatting at gigs it’s not something that can easily be explained. Why do we music fans seem to have a natural affinity to one band more than another? Most people I know like loads of bands of many varied and differing sounds, as do I. The music is obviously the point of first connection, and most likely the only one for most fans & the bands they listen to. Other than the occasional social media interaction here and there. So what creates the ‘chemistry’ between an artist and the people who listen to their music? That’s the million dollar question I suppose. If anyone reading this can tell me I’d be much obliged!

Anyway, seeking answers to this I asked the Black Doldrums a few things about themselves to see if I could work it out any further. But only ended up asking myself more questions. The usual things were asked, ‘whats your influences…’How did you get together…etc……’ but that’s what made me think a bit differently. Most of the bands I love all quote the same influences, The Beatles, The Stones, The Clash, BJM, Spacemen 3 etc. So if they are all influenced by listening to the same records as kids, and it inspired them to want to start a band to create music, why do they all sound so different? interpretation, imagination, background, resources? Obviously some bands wear their influences firmly attached to their sleeves as badges of honour. The bands that take their influences and take them to new places and expand them, take you to another place, these are the bands that excite me as a music lover. Writing this post has made me think a lot about things the last few weeks, possibly due to lack of sleep working night shift! But that’s the other thing music should do, it should make you ask questions don’t you think?

The new single off the eagerly anticipated second album is a step further down the sonic trail with a more topical feel than the earlier releases off the debut ‘Peoples Temple’ album. I asked  Sophie & Kev that between them are ‘Black Doldrums’ if this was an intentional thing or just my own take on it.

S: It wasn’t intentional, I suppose it’s more that all the songs have meaning and similar subject matter but maybe with Rope it’s easier to interpret that way, particularly because the video accompanying it may have supported the lyrics. Each song is open to everyone’s individual interpretation and I suppose, yes some songs on the new material could be, as could, maybe Sidewinder.

K. It’s funny really, someone else said that our new single was very much of the time recently which is interesting because I’m not sure what is of the time. I suppose I write about what’s going on around me and like to keep it accessible and open. If it’s considered current then that’s cool.

Not just me then! Anyone who has seen Black Doldrums play live knows how together and tight they are, creating a far wider and greater sound than would sometimes seem possible from just a guitar & a drum kit. Is it down to practice or some hidden chemistry?

S: I honestly don’t know, we get told a lot that our sound defies our “number” ie there’s two of us, our aim is to surprise people I suppose in that respect.

K: Yeah we like to play in a way that gives people the full experience of a full band. It’s difficult at times but challenging and worth it when people are surprised.

As a band that play lots of shows I wondered what keeps them going through all the endless hours sitting in a van that must entail

S: I can get very tired, but it’s the same with anything. The point is you’re choosing to do it and you’re doing what you love. It’s not the same as making ends meet in an 8 hr a day office job that bores the shit out of you. Anyone that moans about touring should probably shut up!

K: Totally agree with this! no names mentioned but you come across a lot of self entitled musicians that moan about touring. We’re just grateful for playing and getting a chance to see all these places and always humbled by people who make the effort to come to shows.

So to conclude, why do we like a particular band over another for no apparent reason? I suggest you get yourselves down to see Black Doldrums play a show and find out for yourselves! Much appreciation to Kev & Sophie for taking the time to chat to me at their gigs and answering a few emails. Just waiting on the new album release date now guys!

Black Doldrums

‘II-Onisme’ New Release from Population II

‘II-Onisme’ New Release from Population II

Population II from Montreal, Canada, Have released ‘II-Onisme’.It’s awash with spiralling guitars setting off into the cosmos. Accompanied by some pretty intense drumming, this definitely gets the blood flowing! Coming after last years great record, the self titled, Population II it carries on in the same skyward trajectory!

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Höga Nord Rekords

Höga Nord Rekords

Höga Nord Rekords – one of the coolest record labels out there. They specialize in limited edition releases and run a succesful 7″ singles club. Eclectic and exciting, you never quite know what comes next from the Swedish label. That’s why their upcoming release has my interest straight away. A complilation album that includes  The Limiñanas once again collabarating with Anton Newcombe, to acts like Woodleigh Research Facility, a project of legendary DJ & producer Andrew Weatherall & Nina Walsh. You know that this is going to be an album of great intrigue, from spooky electronic music to more traditional psych classics.

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Due for release on August 20th, this is definitely one to get your hands on! As with most of the releases on Höga Nord Rekords, this will certainly sell out quickly. Available to pre-order here

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Flowers Must Die – Där Blommer Dör

Flowers Must Die – Där Blommer Dör

The fifth full length release by Swedish band ‘Flowers Must Die – Där Blommer Dör ‘ sees the band taking a trip through their history. With some of the tracks being 10 years old, it sounds like a historical lesson about the band & their origins.

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Released on the Rev/Vega Records, incidently the label of band member Rikard Daun. This album although newly relesed, feels like an end to a chapter in the bands path. The album however, is quite stunning in its differences betwen tracks. A definite album to listen to again & again!

 

My personal favourite track being Dööm, a 9 minute epic full of mystey and earthiness!

Find more about the band at:

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Three Dimensional Tanx – “A Compulsion for Propulsion”

Three Dimensional Tanx – “A Compulsion for Propulsion”
5th Album from Lancaster band Three Dimensional Tanks ‘A Compulsion for Propulsion’ is a pure blast from start to finish. With 15 tracks taking up less than 40 minutes the songs rattle through your brain at a great speed. Drawing from elements of Krautrock, Garage Rock, Psychedelia and angry Post-Punk & even a bit of pop, its difficult to tie down the main influences of the band, but I bet they have a great record collection! Available to stream now on Bandcamp.
The album is released on the 23rd July on CD from their Bandcamp Page
My favourite track? Anyone who can sing about someone having a ‘Monk On’ gets my approval!
Great stuff guys! Find out more about the band on the links below.
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