Fat White Family
Fat White Family are the greatest young rock band in the UK and this probably extends to the rest of the world as well. What's that? You want to know more? Christ on callipers, ok, let's see what we've got here then…
It won't come as news to anyone who has been to one of their regular Slide-In nights at their local pub and HQ, The Queens Head in Brixton, South London but for a band that only really coalesced as the Fat White Family in 2011, the six piece have already got several once-in-a-lifetime/ 'OMG – were you there?' gigs under their belt. On December 10th 2013 they rattled the walls of the legendary 100 Club, thus aligning themselves with the numerous legends who have trod the very same stage. The band summoned up the feral electric skronk blues of The Magic Band and The Birthday Party, the proto-punk pummelling of The Monks and The Modern Lovers and the twisted folk of Charles Manson and The Country Teasers. And as singer Lias Saoudi, clad in nothing but a pair of back to front, skin tight rubber trousers, was carried at head height off stage by a crowd of howling devotees, it was clear that something special had just happened.
However, it's not all been plain sailing. When confronted by London's pay to play, indie toilet circuit, the Fat Whites aren't known for toeing the line. They're already adept at sniffing out bullshit. At a recent gig in a down at heel dive that shall remain nameless it took less than three songs for the train to come screaming off the tracks.
Nathan Saoudi, Lias' young brother and the group's raven haired organist, says: "It was more of a fight than a gig. It was promoted by these guys who weren't in it for the right reasons. They were just dodgy businessmen. They wouldn't let us play. They cut the microphones. They put bouncers on stage with us. So we just started smashing the equipment up. I remember looking round and my brother Lias was naked and masturbating and it was kicking off everywhere. I was laughing my head off, 'Oh my god what the hell's happening?'"
Saul Adamczewski, the gap-toothed musical director of the group adds: "Literally one minute I was on stage and the next I was outside on the pavement. One by one everyone came flying out of the same door. Then some locals came steaming out and there was a brawl in the middle of the road which only stopped when the police turned up…" He pauses and continues: "But it's not really about the venue or what kind of night it is. I think how good the show is has got a lot to do with how we react off each other. Unless you can go in fearless it doesn't really happen. It doesn't matter how many people are there. The best gig we ever played was to two people. We played for five hours. And it was great that Halloween in Hastings when Lias got naked and painted his cock black so it looked like he had no genitals…" Fat White Family were formed out of the ashes of two bands. In 2006 the 17-year-old Saul's band The Metros were signed to a major deal and touted as the next Libertines. However it was the classic case of too much too young and the band never lived up to their initial promise, fizzling out by 2009. (Saul says: "It was sickening really – telling us we're going to be the next Arctic Monkeys! [laughs] I was just completely lost. I went from having pocket money to having a really big record deal. In the long run it was good though because I became sufficiently jaded. And that's how that became this.") The second was a South London pub rock band called The Saudis, featuring brothers Nathan and Lias. (Lias says: "We were the worst band in London. Always third on the bill at the New Cross Inn on a Tuesday." Although it should be noted that good or not, they still managed to complete a three month tour of Algeria.) They would attend each others gigs but it was a meeting of minds that almost never happened.
If someone in the 1960's had imagined ('Space: 1999' style) what rock and roll would sound like in 2009, Bo Ningen is what they would have heard in their head.
The four Japanese Londoners are East Electric Psychedelic, which should give you an idea of what they're all about.
What with the profoundly cool, effortless onstage wig-outs and head-bending jams, they are pretty much the consummate psyche band, while at the same time playing an updated J-Rock template that has elements of kraut-rock, metal, hardcore and funk scratched all over it.
That might sound messy on paper but live the disorder is wrought into tight riffs that explode into transcendent a-tonal onslaughts without notice.
Public Access TV
Public Access TV know that New York City can do better. That it deserves better. John PATV's frontman and main songwriter grew up in Pegram, Tennessee (population 2,093), and fell in love with the idea of the romantic ideal of this city and its music. When he got here himself, it was not-so-fresh off a $40 bus into Chinatown that took him 18 hours. He didn’t know what was going on then, and he knows that there’s nothing much going on now. In other words, this is someone who is going to make damn sure that he and his still very new band make things happen.
To date in the bands short existence they have played two shows in Manhattan, Public Access TV are a band who understand the power of not giving away too much, too soon. “That’s important to us,” John says. “A lot of bands give that up easily, but a little bit of mystery goes a long way. We are not going to be tweeting at other bands or whatever. I want PATV to seem separate from everything else. I don’t want to be in any scene, or any world of bands that already exist in New York. I want to start something fresh.”
Don’t bother asking Twin Peaks about the deeper meaning of their band name. They simply thought it sounded cool, which explains why their second album Wild Onion (out August 5th on The Grand Jury) isn’t as spooky or surreal as David Lynch’s short-lived TV show. It’s more like a modern day Nuggets, with Ty Segall, Black Lips and Thee Oh Sees curating instead of Lenny Kaye. Not literally, of course. But the spirit of those garage demigods is alive and well alongside subtle nods to everything from the Pixies and Tame Impala to the godfathers of guitar-guided pop music, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys.
If combining the influence of so many classic artists seems like a lofty goal for a group of 20 year olds, just remember that Twin Peaks’ core quartet—frontman Cadien Lake James, guitarist Clay Frankel, bassist Jack Dolan and drummer Connor Brodner—has roots that reach back to elementary school. And while their friendships were forged long ago, James also learned the ins and outs of the local Chicago scene with his last project: Teenage Dream, a minimal-yet-mean duo with his older brother Hal.
“We played our first show when I was a freshman,” says Cadien, “and of the three people who came out, one was Alex White of White Mystery. She loved it. Alex has taught me a lot about being business smart and taking things slow, about being grateful and expressing thanks where due, and about being a gracious musician. The generosity of all the bands in the scene out here is pretty amazing.”
The only problem? Hal was asked to join the Smith Westerns, and since Cadien didn’t want to go the solo route, he found the perfect outlet in Twin Peaks. Having quickly cut their debut LP, 2013’s Sunken, so they could sell it on tour, the band was excited to spend more time developing Wild Onion, a record that reveals a level of maturity beyond all the amp-singeing solos, ragtag rhythms and dizzying voices of three distinct singer-songwriters. Unlike acts who let their egos get in the way, Cadien, Clay and Jack share the spotlight and play to one another’s strengths as Connor keeps things moving with a steady beat.
So while it’s hard to tell who’s screaming what sometimes, the album’s overall vibe couldn’t be more cohesive, whether it’s expressed through sun-kissed psych (“Mirror of Time,” “Strange World”), crowd-riling choruses (“Making Breakfast,” “Good Lovin’”) or hooks that take just seconds to sink in (“Flavor,” “I Found a New Way,” “Strawberry Smoothie”). Step back for a minute and you’ll also notice that everyone’s facing the cold, hard realities of life head-on, whether it’s relationships, the death of a family member, or getting used to the fact that three-fourths of the band (Cadien, Jack and Connor) left a school they loved (Evergreen State College) to pursue the crushed barriers, rushed stages and tireless recording sessions of Twin Peaks fulltime.
“The album deals with a lot of insecurities that arise when you’re growing up,” explains Cadien, “It’s about adopting them and being vulnerable to let out the tunes. It ain’t ideal, but it’s sublime.”
Or as Jack adds when asked about a song he wrote (the rise above anthem “Fade Away”), “It’s about looking at life and smashing it in the face until you break your hand. I hope you play this during your most epic of battles on this world.”
Happyness are a 3 piece band from South London, formed of multi-instrumentalists Ash Cooper, Benji Compston and Jonny Allan.
After forming in early 1973, the band went on hiatus pending their births and the sufficient progress of the affordable digital audio interface market. Regrouping in 2013, the band spent Saturday nights playing under a railway bridge in Bermondsey. By mid-2013, having written "most of an album" they rented out an unused church with the intention of setting up a studio and finishing the record there. That ended after less than a week with only one song tracked – they were driven out by "the bitter cold and an unconvinced congregation of the dead".
Before the recording sessions, the band had played a handful of shows under a variety of names ("something to put on the flyers"), but the name Happyness wasn't used until November 2013, when the band started playing live in the build up to the release of their eponymous EP – mixed by Ed Harcourt.
Hypnotic. Arabian funeral. Depression in the desert. Sepia rainbows.
This is the psychedelic nightmare spun by The Wytches, who are spreading their subversive message across the UK in the dark guide of SOS surf riffs, desert riffs, melancholic shuffles and a kaleidoscopic stage performance that will put you under.
Formed in November 2011 after moving from Peterborough, this brighton based surf/doom three piece comprise of guitar/organ/lead vocalist Kristian, semi-professional poker playing drummer Gianni and fiercely eloquent bassist Dan, who is currently writing an adventure novel by the name of The Curious Adventure of Charlie Revel.
The group gained a strong following from their debut single and self-produced video “Digsaw,” and have been gaining in notoriety ever since, thanks to their spellbinding live shows. Think Nirvana’s “Bleach,” The Arctic Monkey’s “Humbug,” The Horros’ “Strange House,” and you’re halfway there. Because with songs that make you feel dirty to single, and undeniable rhythm that will have you moving against all efforts to resist, The Wytches are a band you will not easily forget.
2013 had seen The Wytches supporting a rich variety of acts including Death Grips, The Black Angels, Chelsea Wolfe, The Cribs, Bosnian Rainbows, Japandroids, Temples, METZ and Drenge. They released their second single, the AA-side, “Beehive Queen/Crying Clown,” via HATEHATEHATERecords on June 3rd, which sold out almost immediately. Following the success of “Beehive Queen,” the band re-released “Digsaw” as a limited white label 7”.
On November 18th The Wytches released “Robe For Juda/Wide At Midnight” on limited 7” vinyl, their second and similarly fast-selling AA-side single with Hate Hate Hate.
When Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker met outside downtown DIY haven The Smell, they were both pissed off.
The girls were both frustrated about the lack of female presence in the music scene; they also felt artistically oppressed and not valued as musicians. "It's like people expect that girls are not as musically competent," says Tividad, who is 18. "I was sick of being shoved to the side."
So was Tucker. After being dismissed for lead parts in a male-dominated jazz band throughout high school, she was sick of feeling powerless. "I didn't feel comfortable being the girl saying 'I want it,'" says the 17-year-old.
But by late last year Tividad and Tucker were ready to do things their way. Thus, Girlpool came to be. Their raw, bluesy punk sound is incredibly simple, shaped only by the sounds of Tividad's guitar, Tucker's bass, and the two girls' aching vocals.
On their self-titled album - out on Big Joy Records - they address issues that aren't often discussed in music. Like slut shaming, for instance, which they talk on in their track, "Slutmouth."
"I'm inspired by the fact that people feel like they can't talk about things," says Tividad. "Vulnerability is so important in music."
In fact, they credit their vulnerability for their quick ascent through the local scene. They booked their first show at the Echo only months after forming in November, were recently featured in NME's Radar Buzz section, and even got a twitter shout out from The Office actor BJ Novak after their KXLU set.
The girls are frequently approached by audience members touched by their honest song-writing. Both Tividad and Tucker say their lyrics are very important to them, and that they draw influence from Bright Eyes, Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith, and the beat poetry movement of the 1950s.
Oh, and don't ask them if they need a drummer - they don't want one. They opt for an unconventional setup, a form of "quiet rebellion" that allows for even more vulnerability. "If one of us messes up you can hear it," says Tividad. "It's a reflection of things we lack, but we do it anyway."
"We don't need to be a four piece band," says Tucker, "I can sit here and bang on this and [Tividad] can play two strings on that."
Adds Tividad. "We've never felt more on purpose." - LA Weekly