After a bit of an unintentional two-week hiatus following my travels to Poland for the mightly OFF Festival here are Trash's top tracks for early August:
1. Ringo Deathstarr - In Love
Find it on: Sparkler, 2011, as a separate single release or via Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV6KLElvacU
I was lucky enough to hear Ringo Deathstarr's daytime set at Katowice's OFF Festival last week and this group was easily one of the best things I heard over the several days I was there. If you check out the band's profile on the SVC Records website(http://www.svcrecords.co.uk/artist_ringo_deathstarr.html), it says that Ringo Deathstarr like to play short sets but, luckily, this was not the case as we were treated to about 45 minutes or so of their euphoric shoegaze freakout. The other things the site says however, are completely true: Ringo Deathstarr ARE from Austin, Texas (as was demonstrated by the hilarious intro country song that preceded the set as some kind of joke homage to Austin's musical heritage); the band DOES play very loud and they certainly DO 'fucking rock'. 'In Love' is a single release from latest album, Sparkler, which came out late last month and is an almost perfect marriage of the sort of lyrics you might find in a Moldy Peaches song, set against woozy, My Bloody Valentine-esque shoegaze, driven by guitar riffs more reminiscent of early Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo: "I'm in love, I'm in love, she's siiiiccck." What's not to like? It might not be tapping into any remarkably new territory but it injects the joie de vivre of Beach House with greater vitality and power to create a hell of a lot of fireworks.
2. S.C.U.M. -Amber Hands
Find it on: Amber Hands EP, http://www.myspace.com/scum1968, or via Youtube (ill-advised due to the god-awful music video which looks like a BBC ident. If you dare, be warned: I advise closed eyes for Amber Hands: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOWANx94pbU )
S.C.U.M. is easily one of the most exciting live bands I've come across in recent years, the band's gigs bringing together ambient drone with synthesised, industrial electronica and an awful lot of hand-waving and interpretative dance from lead singer, Thomas Cohen, who performs in billowing fabrics and over-sized hats with a startling elegance to match his moody drawl. I once saw him skulking around the mists of Bristol dockside outside the Thekla at a Horrors gig looking like a Dickensian street urchin but that's another story... The truth is that after several years of very little output, bar a few interesting 'Signals' produced from various European cities on the band's travels (of which 'Berlin' and 'Paris' are still free to download-see the band's Myspace), 'Amber Hands' has been worth the wait since the last single 'Visions Arise' of 2009. The single is a lot loftier,euphoric and indeed more 'pop' than the band's early, grittier industrial noise which was almost like ambient-death metal with creepy manipulated vocals and heavy guitars poking through drone and fractured sound. 'Amber Hands' sounds more like Placebo (which is not a bad thing), only darker and more gothic.
S.C.U.M play Radfest in Peckham this sunday (21st August). Details here:
3. Belle Phoenix - Old Crow Misery
Find it on 9 Lives (2011) or http://www.bellephoenix.com/
Sadly no longer playing in London (though hopefully just for the time being), Trash implores you to still check out Belle Phoenix, a unique and wonderfully theatrical singer-songwriter who fronts a band of the same name, producing cool, Cramps-like garage rock with more than a hint of rockabilly. Belle's vocals invoke the likes of Lydia Lunch and Patti Smith and 'Old Crow Misery' is a fantastic, swinging example of her work.
4. The Hyenas - Filthy Electricity
Self-defined 'Bluesy-arsed, punky-trashed, gutter-fucked rock', The Hyenas practice what they preach, their name a great indication of the snarling vocals, biting guitar and frenetic drumming that are key to the Hyenas' trademark sound. 'Filthy Electricity' is their latest single (B-Side: 'You Should Not Operate Machinery'), a sleazy and sordid ditty of frustration and lovelust that's as raw and primal as you'd expect from such a legitimate garage band. A highly recommended live act.
5. The Palace of Justice - Hourglass
Find it: B-Side of latest single 'Meredith'.
Download for free at http://thepalaceofjustice.bandcamp.com/
For months now loyal followers of the Palace of Justice have been waiting for a recording of Hourglass to be made and now our whims have finally been indulged! 'Meredith' featured on the last Trash Tracks but I had to mention this B-Side for its own merits and not just as counterpart to 'Meredith' since it serves to demonstrate the fact that even the B-Sides of singles by the Palace of Justice are absolute quality. Like many of PoJ's songs 'Hourglass' deals with raw and cruel love and its battles with absolute finesse and sincerity.
The Palace of Justice play a number of gigs this month, first at Dusk Till Dawn, 1 Archway Close for the launch of clubnight 'Return to Archway' on Friday 19th August. Then PoJ play what might be considered to be the band's spritual home, The Hideaway, 114 Junction Rd, on Thursday 25th August.