FEET are a five-piece happy band formed in Coventry, with an addictive amalgam of up-tempo Blur, the bizarre unpredictability of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and the louche grooves of Fat White Family ( whose last single was called ‘Feet’??). Behatted lead singer Jeep has some neat dance moves and the two guitar, bass and drums bring alive such delights as the rant of ‘Petty Thieving’ and the gloriously funky new single ‘Ad Blue’, a sort of homage to water? with a spaghetti western video and surreal lyrics (‘….you left me solo at the empty silo….‘).
Final song ‘English Weather’ is an evocation of the horrors of a bad summer in the UK (‘…you’d better pack an umbrella…‘). Without analysing too much, we and they all had a good time and together look forward to their debut album in August, ‘What’s Inside Is More Than Just Ham’…
About to release their third LP the band have a shimmering collection of gems to draw on, from the opening blast of ‘Sea Hearts’, the wistful older track ‘Biro’ and one of the highlights of the set ‘The Third Degree’. This recent single is the Honeyblood sound distilled to its pure essence; a stark, sparse track with a killer hookline and a stunning performance of the biting lyric.
‘(‘I’d Rather Be) Anywhere But Here’ is a love song of sorts for Glasgow while ‘Super Rat’ makes the narrator’s negative feelings about a relationship very clear. ‘Killer Bangs’ is a punk blast dedicated to two young fans in the front row and then current single ‘She’s A Nightmare’ is a stealthy, dark treat (‘…I follow her down the darkest path, I’m a dormouse and she’s a cat…’).
End of year sampler CD from Brighton based record label Fat Cat Records….
1. Traams ‘Selma’ Good opener, punchy drumming, spiky guitar and forlorn vocal giving way to a singalong chorus. The lyric is a bit deranged, the sound a bit retro and all over too quickly. 2. Mazes ‘Astigmatism’ My favourite track on this disc, the lead song from the third Mazes album. A rolling riff, punctuated with some strange backward sounding guitar lines and intriguing words about obscured vision and devotion. ‘You are a winning quiz team, you are a morning sun…..beam’ 3.The Growlers ‘Big Toe’ A 5-piece band from California, describing their sound as ‘beach goth’. This is a jaunty pop song, jangling guitar belying a lyric of post-relationship dislike. Quite intense dislike really. ‘Her love’s so uncomfortable, she strikes down like a hammer on your big toe’ and plenty more… 4. Paws ‘Owl Talons Clenching My Heart’ A great title from this Glasgow trio and another difficult relationship in the lyrics. Super-low thumping bass and fuzzy distorted vocal with a frequent chorus line packs a strong punch. It reminds me of The Wytches, another dark but sensitive trio. 5. The Twilight Sad ‘There’s a Girl in the Corner’ Formed in 2003 and described by one reviewer as ‘perennially unhappy Scottish indie band’ this is another tale of love gone wrong, with the repeated phrase ‘she’s not coming back’ over layers of stadium keyboards and booming drums. Quite addictive in an unrelenting way. 6. C Duncan ‘Silence and Air’ New Scottish talent Chris Duncan with a meld of vocal and distant choral effects over a soothing multi-layered instrumental background. 7. Vashti Bunyan ‘Across the Water’ Recording her first album in 1970, influential folk legend Vashti Bunyan restarted her music career 35 years later. This new release from her 2014 album Heartleap is a lovely song. Gentle acoustic guitar, flute sounds and strings float by, blended with her ethereal voice, taking the listener to another place and time. 8. Tlaotlon ‘Myriade’ A contrast to what has come before, this is frenetic electronica samples and loops. A challenging listen, any logical patterns or structure dismantled as quickly as they arrive. 9. Gentle Friendly ‘Shake Up’. Not sure about this one, some electronic drones, drums and vocal from this London-based duo. Claustrophobic and a bit relentless, I may have to listen to a few more of their recordings. 10. Honeyblood ‘Super Rat’. This is more like it, Number 20 in the NME Top 50 tracks of 2014 and not even the best track on their album. The two members of Honeyblood make a rich dense sound with just guitar and drums and certainly do not hold back on the lyrical vitriol, ending with ‘I will hate you forever, you really do disgust me’. For the brighter side of HB, see my live review on this site… 11. We Were Promised Jetpacks ‘Safety in Numbers’. Nostalgic band name, sound and song. So many influences here, it starts with a pure voice and keyboard weaving around then bursts into life with a big Indie rock flourish, well honed since their debut album in 2009.
Following on from a support slot for Courtney Barnett back in May, a triumphant Honeyblood returned to the Portland to headline.
Opening the show were the Cambridge based four piece Beverley Kills, with their pure punk pop, fronted by singer Georgie Guns. Juliette on drums plays some of the fastest rolls I have ever heard, underpinning Kate on guitar and The Colonel Kills..(Elisa)(Good punk name!?) on bass. They play their original tunes, featuring many clever touches, chiming guitar notes building up to an onslaught in ‘Under Our Sleeves’, a bit of acapella vocals and the two contrasting sections of closing song ‘Sticks and Stones’. They are loud and brash, bringing a party vibe early on to the venue, clearly enjoying themselves and with a great rapport with the home crowd.
It was a homecoming gig for Bloody Knees, fresh from their performance at the Reading and Leeds Festival and raising their profile by supporting Honeyblood on all their national dates. Opening with ‘Luckless’ the sound needed sorting out but then was soon resolved and from second song ‘Bury Me’ onwards there was no stopping them. It is fast indie punk rock, presided over by the loud gravel voice of Bradley Griffiths, never giving up its intensity, even over the slower epic ‘Garbage Brain’. They are catchy tunes, you have to like the idea of a song called ‘Stitches’, based on ‘busting my head open when on tour with Wolf Alice’ and the short fast burst of energy that is ‘Ears, Eyes, Ohs and Yous’ has a cryptic title but great drum/guitar lines. It was a good performance, they will soon be headlining more often than supporting I think…
The venue had been quite full all evening, but a few extra squeezed in as Glaswegian duo Honeyblood took to the stage. Opening with the delicious ‘Fall Forever’ the minimal line-up of electric guitar and drums produced a big sound, as is heard on the current self-titled album. Singer Stina Tweeddale has a clear distinctive voice to deliver the songs of relationship making and breaking, at times very dark lyrically. Drummer Cat is new to the band, having only been a member for six days! She handled the pounding rhythms confidently, and also the complex wide open spaces of the challenging ‘Braid Burn Valley’. The normally reserved Cambridge audience generated a bit of crowd surfing for ‘Super Rat’ towards the end, then a persistent fan finally got their wish with a bonus encore of older song ‘Kissing On You’…and then they were gone, they had totally won us over.