You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2009.
Quick update for those interested- various bands have gigs coming up in London which should all be pretty awe inspiring. Here are the my listings-
–Shield Your Eyes @ the Old Blue Last on 25/11/09, 12/01/10, 25/03/10
–Butterfly Explosion @ ICA on 17/02/10
–Eat Lights Become Lights @ the Good Ship on 17/12/09, and @ Camden BarFly on 06/03/10
–Vessels/And So I Watch You From Afar/Oceansize @ Heaven on 03/12/09
–Swallowing The Seas @ the Enterprise on 08/12/09, @ Road Trip Bar on 15/12/09 and @ Proud Galleries on 16/02/10
–The Mars Volta @ The Forum on 14/12/09
Brontide are an emerging instrumental rock band from south England. They’re signed to an indie label called Holy Roar records and are made up of 3 very very talented and versatile musicians. Each one of them is involved in different bands, the drummer is actually La Roux’s session drummer (much to my distress as it means he can’t devote all his time to Brontide) but they all come together to form this band and create musical gold.
As a 3 piece they consist of guitar, bass and drums, making their tracks sound like tight calculated jams with catchy, head stomping riffs and deluges of heavy sections. The guitarist, Tim Hancock has a huge pedal board and loops the **** out of all his parts in order to make the tracks swell and explode. Their music (I would say) is inspired by heavy prog bands like Russian Circles or Mars Volta and other more ambient rock bands. All 3 of them use a variety of different techniques which make the range of their music quite interesting and their set not as same-y as you might think.
Without the pretentious music jargon, these guys rock and I hope they do really well. I think that any band who can make you grin like a 5 year old who’s just been given a toy car and some chocolate cake, deserves to succeed and be properly listened to. As far as I know, they are actually moving up in the music world and doing well- their first gig I went to, there must have been about 20 people in a dingy east London venue, but now they’re touring with Oceansize and Vessels so good on them!
In terms of releases, I bought their 3 track EP and it didn’t sound good unfortunately. The production/engineering is quite weak and some of the tracks sound like they were played to a lazy click. I think, as they’re such an amazing live band, you have to retain some of the live feel on the recordings to make it as satisfying to listen to, but these recordings sound too slow for me, and not as immense as they could. Their latest recording however is a lot better! A track which only appears on their myspace (link in right hand column) called Bob Munden. It has everything you’d expect and want from a Brontide track so check it out! What got me addicted to Brontide was the video on their myspace of them playing at New Slang; the sound quality is perfect and you can see them in action which is cool. I especially like the fact that they’re all standing in a line, abolishing all notion of “front man” and “more” or “less” important members of the band.
Their brilliant philosophy (if you can call it that) as stated on their myspace page is “We plan on playing the most melodic music we have ever played, in the same song as playing the heaviest music that we have ever played”. So they ignore common musical conventions and opt for an approach to songwriting which revolves around dynamics, riffs and best of all, a sense of enjoyment which makes their music genuine and all the more entertaining to listen to.
Would I recommend going to see them? Yes, of course. Would I recommend downloading (for free) the video of them live at New Slang from the Beatcast TV video podcasts? Yes, of course.
I have made some important discoveries whereby you can download compilations for free. These compilations are of great experimental, ambient music entirely suited to the occasion.
Firstly, a collective that go by the name The Silent Ballet who review many many bands and albums have a series of compilations, all available for free download so get in!
Secondly, a small label called Futurerecordings have released a few compilations for free. It seems the guy had a stoned epiphany and decided to give away music.. brilliant for us! He is also involved with a cool London band called Years of Rice & Salt who have recently come to my attention and are worth checking out (link to the right). Their EP is up for free download as well which is cool, but I didn’t find it overly exciting. I’m waiting to see them live before I judge so expect a review soon. The artwork is amazing too!
Also, check this video out. It gives a good insight into how they work-
I’ve had my eye on this band for some time now, I first saw them at the Luminaire when they supported Jeniferever and even though I only caught the last few tracks, they blew me away to much to enjoy the headliners. So I bought this after.
In my eyes; a great album. Her Name Is Calla are amongst the bands I would like to see influence the UK music scene in a big way. The Heritage, released in 2008, is a well produced piece of work that captures the band well, which is an achievement given that they are probably more of a live band, and very loud at times! You can tell that they’re a talented bunch who appreciate their instruments to sound good.
As for the music, their set up enables them to create really nice soundscapes and play with a wide range of dynamics. They have violin, cello, and horns on top of the classic rock set up with tons of effects. They also mess around with electronic samples and beats which adds to the chill of the music. There are sections with beautiful string harmonies, others with desolate piano melodies and others with layered distorted guitars, crashing cymbals and feedback giving everything an air of chaos. The tracks, despite being unconventional lengths and structures, are beautifully arranged and progress in a satisfying way. Tom Morris’ vocal melodies echo themselves throughout the album, and some violin riffs are repeated at separate occasions in different musical contexts. Their mesmerizing sound recalls the soundscapes produced by bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but with a Jeff Buckley ‘style’ singer.
I liked the way the music sometimes seemed minimal for a 6 or 7 piece, but actually had quite a few layers that just served as atmospherics. I think this is one of their strong points because their build-ups are always drawn out but don’t get boring and seem to explode out of nowhere. The track I am talking about is track 2 on the album; New England. WHAT AN ENDING! Definitely the highlight of the album for me.
Lastly, a section which I always forget about, but that I always remember happily, is the hidden last section in Rebirth. I always forget about it because the band decided to put a 5 minute silent gap between it and the opening song on track #6 (which is annoying- why make it difficult for people?). Nevertheless, an interesting coda to the album, which leaves us quite uplifted after some intense moments.
Would I recommend it? Yes.