Starting as a bedroom project between art students Thom Hill and Linda Jarvis, South London’s Echo Lake have barely reached the infancy of their musical careers. While still less than a year old, the band has started to make noise, garnering acclaim from Pitchfork and The Fader as a cross between pre-Sub Pop Beach House and a more raw My Bloody Valentine. Deciding to take some time off from art school, the band recorded their debut EP for label and blog No Pain In Pop, set for release February 14th (in the UK) and February 15th (in the US).
It’s not too often that the word “subtle” can be used when describing a noise rock band, but “subtle” is exactly what went through my head while listening to Weekend’s Slumberland debut-LP, Sports. The San Francisco trio is quickly gaining popularity, after a year of touring with such bands as Japandroids and A Place To Bury Strangers. The ten song collection of Sports excels in finding nuance within their wall of sound. Although all of the typical elements of noise rock are present—reverb guitars, droning vocals, hammering percussion, and washes of ambient and static sound—Weekend chooses not to use all of these elements continuously.
“Coma Summer” and “Youth Haunts” open the album with the kind of frenetic energy Weekend is gaining notoriety for in their live act, throwing rhythm and guitars at the listener in a frenetic, although not completely aggressive way. Creating this maelstrom of sound over two tracks gives Weekend the room to back off on the volume later on, and become more introspective and lyrical in the middle of the disc. “Monday Morning” is emblematic of exactly what the title states; a slower guitar beat combines with layers of vocals, making a dark snapshot of a grey start to the work week—full of longing (or even regret) for the lost reverie of the weekend. And although snippets of lyrics can be heard in tracks like “Age Class,” where lead singer Shaun Darkin repeatedly sobs “There’s something in our blood,” Sports is not an album that propels its personal message through words. Atmosphere is the main language of the music at hand, and Weekend takes you through incredibly fluid changes in texture throughout the album, making the music feel like a mix of both a summer trip to the beach and the soundtrack of your worst nightmare. The music is both insular and exposed, and all kinds of beautiful.
Many critics are making the obvious comparisons between Weekend and other post-punk outfits: My Bloody Valentine, Joy Division, Sonic Youth, and The Jesus & Mary Chain. Despite having very credible similarities, I couldn’t help thinking of more recent influences, like Liars’ self-titled album, and the earliest work of Sigur Rós, Von, while listening to Sports. These groups, like Weekend, craft music of sweeping crescendo and silences that coax the ear, rather than beating it into submission. Their diversity of sound ultimately makes for a more haunting and satisfying work. At best, Weekend are helping to pave the way to producing craftier and more nuanced versions of the popular post-punk sound, and at worst, they have just made a really, really good album.
Tape The Radio have impressed several big names in music with their hard work and shining musicianship, and now their hard work is starting to pay off.
The band jumped into the music biz by releasing their first single “Save A Life” the old fashion way…by themselves. The band hand-made the packaging, numbered the discs and shipped them off.
Next the band enlisted the help of famed producer Alan Moulder (The Killers, Depeche Mode, My Bloody Valentine) after the producer met frontman Malcolm Carson hand-delivering demos to his studio in London.
Now the group is ready to release another single (this time, preferably with some help from label Hi Tone Music). “Our Love Is A Broken Heart” will be out as a 7-inch and a digital download on November 1st. Luckily for you, you can hear these fast-rising rockers right here first.
Some lovely news this week from camp Morning Benders. The band is set to release their second full length titled ‘Big Echo.’ The album was recorded after the brief winter tour this year with Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor. ‘Wow’ to say the least. Though there is no official release date for the record, we are sure it will be out on +1 Records by the end of the year, by early next year (according to singer Chris Chu). The Morning Benders are also taking their show on the road for the first time to Europe this summer along with a handful of shows in the West Coast (even one with Beach House). The band will be playing a few festivals in the UK with Lily Allen, Wilco and Grizzly Bear, a lineup not to be missed!
Check out The Morning Benders track titled ‘Hand Me Downs’ on their MYSPACE
Aug 11 2009 8:00P
Aug 12 2009 8:00P
Old Blue Last
Aug 13 2009 8:00P
Aug 14 2009 12:00P
Way Out West
Aug 15 2009 12:00P
Oya Festival (John Dee)
Aug 30 2009 12:00P
SF Outside Lands
Sep 19 2009 8:00P
MusicfestNW Berbati’s Pan (w/ Beach House!)