Posts Tagged ‘Swords of Thought’

The Baby Seals, Moper, Swords of Thought – Star Inn – Tuesday 24th October 2017- Guildford

October 26, 2017

I didn’t get Jasta 11 at first.  I like to know where something / someone is coming from, and I couldn’t really see past Jasta 11 being pretty random and pretty hit or miss.  Then I basically realised it wasn’t that complicated… it’s kind of an old school, open-minded indie mindset – my background really – whereby guitar pop, punk, a bit of rock maybe, is the staple, whilst slightly noisier or dancier or more experimental stuff sometimes gets on the bill.

There’s plenty of stuff they put on that doesn’t overly interest me (I can’t like everything, I can’t go to every gig), but I love them because –

(1)  They put on lots of gigs
(2)  They try to get people out to gigs – their own and others
(3)  They put on some great local bands
(4)  They put on more touring bands than probably any other local promoter (in-house promoters maybe excluded)
(5)  They seem to make a particular effort to put on female bands which is a VERY GOOD THING (Nova Twins deserve a special mention for being fabulous).  [Wild Eye daydreams silently…. mmm… Skinny Girl Diet are a really great band, it’d be great if some local promoter were to book them… pretty sure they’re based reasonably close in the scheme of things.  Or the Tuts maybe.  mmmm… be good to see them again…]

Follow them – https://www.facebook.com/jasta11gigs/

I really liked Swords of Thought when I first saw them… less so last time out.  Tonight though they were back to their best thanks to a second new bassist in quick succession who’ll hopefully last a lot longer than the last.  I think there were at least a couple of new songs alongside older favourites… I really like their energetic, noisy, poppy, 90s, American-sounding indie-rock thing.

[Have you checked out my A-Z pages which are accessed via the top right (ish) of the page… most local bands that are decent, half decent or interesting / heavy are listed with links galore… let me know what I’ve missed, links, bands, promoters, venues etc etc.]

Moper rock… dunno, maybe I preferred ’em a touch more last time I saw them, but they always seem to play a slightly different set in a slightly different way, keeps it interesting… but fuck me, WHAT A BAND basically. Two things, a huge percentage of top bands are actually pretty funky when they put their mind to it.  They have that swing, they have that funk.  Tuskar do, I think, somewhere in their brutal sludge-doomnation.  So do Moper.

Hip-Hop.  Johnny had his Wu Tang T-Shirt on, he said something about hip-hop I think… kinda sarcastic, but you know what he’s onto something… Moper are a rung or two above the masses because there is a lot more to the music than you might assume if you simply took the quiet misery and the noisy aggression (combined with more fucking misery) at face value.  Come to think of it that was probably the schoolboy error I made the first time I saw them.  Idiot.

The Baby Seals were on last.  I’m gonna do the complete reverse of what I normally do. I normally try to make an absolute point of not mentioning when there are women in a band – it doesn’t matter.  But this is about them and female bands more generally.  Here goes.

All-female, guitar bass drums three piece.

The music was rudimentary indie/garage/rocknroll.  When Billy Childish makes such music I worship at his feet.  When most other people do it I say “nice enough, but give me something more interesting or heavier or newer”.

If you’re not going to be as good as Billy Childish then you’d better do something different.  It is no shame not being Billy Childish… not many people can claim to have written books, published poetry, had their art exhibited at the ICA and knocked out 100-plus albums in their career.  Top top musician and artist.  I digress.

Depressingly, in 2000 and fucking 17, being an all-female band IS doing something different.  I’d find it much harder to enjoy an all-male band playing the same set.  Is this my prejudice?  Is it my reverse-prejudice?  Or is it that however much the music might be on the face of it the same, there tends to be an intrinsic difference between the way men and women approach the instruments, and if you’re tired of what you normally hear (a male approach) then a female approach is going to sound a bit different even if you can’t put your finger on why.

I think it’s maybe a bit of all of them, but quite a lot of the latter.  AND you obviously have the lyrical content which in Baby Seals case means songs explicitly about a female experience and explicitly for a female audience.

I really enjoyed the set.

For the band’s sake it’s a real shame that there weren’t more women in the audience.

Really good night.

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Current Best of the Rest

July 23, 2017

Best of the rest in and around south-west Surrey and north-east Hants – Guildford, Farnborough etc etc… and a bit further afield.

Freakouts – Grungey punk / post-punk newcomers.

https://www.facebook.com/freakoutsband/

Grits – a surprisingly unique combination of heavy alternative rock with a reasonably mainstream sensibility.  Or maybe this is bollocks.  They rock.

Morass of Molasses – fine sludge 3 piece.  Riffs aplenty.

https://morassofmolasses.bandcamp.com/

Parachute For Gordo – suprisingly funky post-punk / post rock act who get tagged as post rock.  Or something.  Well worth checking out.

https://parachuteforgordo.bandcamp.com/

Princess – dark, scratchy, 80s Cave / Cash, noise-rock miserablists.  Fantastic.

https://princess3.bandcamp.com/

Silent Mode – desert rock / stoner thing.  They have quite a unique and heavy sound, really riffy and damn catchy.  The sort of band I can imagine winning over loads of new fans if they were on at a festival.

https://silentmode.bandcamp.com/releases

Slug 13 – grunge noise rock.  All riffs and wah and bass and drums.  It just works, getting better and better.  Check out the recent ep.  My kinda music.

https://slug13.bandcamp.com/

Space Church – madness.  I like them most at their heaviest.  They have the funk.  When they want to.  Different every time.

https://spacechurch.bandcamp.com/

Swords of Thought – noisiest pure pop band ever.  Or a poppy Sonic Youth.  Or something.  Are they a bit like William who I used to love?

https://swordsofthought.bandcamp.com/

Trevor’s Head – New lp on the way (and the last one, Tricolossus, was superb).  Stoner grunge shit.

https://trevorshead.bandcamp.com/

Typical Hunks – scratchy, noisy, 80s-sounding, drum-machine-wielding genii.

https://somehunks.bandcamp.com/

Best of the rest of the rest (bands on this list might have recently split up, or I haven’t seen them live yet and need to check ’em out more, or they’re too big for this list [esp. EtS]) – Aching Muscle – Blackwaters – Tommy Blackwood – Camcorder – Drugstore Cowboys – Employed to Serve – Eulogy – Fauntleroy – Gutlocker – Heinous Pianist – Vinyl Staircase.

Who have I forgotten – let me know?  All genres welcome but pure metal, progressive metal, folk, country or anything mainstream better be INCREDIBLE to get anywhere near the list.

Swords of Thought – Breathe In Light ep review

April 5, 2017

They’ve done it again… So Low… gentle beat, quiet vocals, bass… and a unique grungey sound that I really can’t work out what they did to cause… it simultaneously does nothing whilst building the noise; it is mellow and melodic, whilst the guitar crackles in ways I struggle to remember hearing before.  Everthing and nothing.  Even on a track like this which is kinda just noise their sense of melody shines through.

Track 2, Dirty C.  Very Sonic Youth.  I just love the way they’re just the most beautiful lazy pop, drenched in noise.  I love the vocals, love it all.

Demon D, pace rises, drums get thumped, stop start.  More fuzzy laziness combined with noise and speed this time.

The title track – Breathe In Light – is both longest and lastest.  More of the same.

In many ways Swords of Thought nail all the best things.  I love the trend nowadays towards complex and changing time signatures that many bands use… but something more simply danceable’s probably better most of the time.  I love pop music, but love a bit of noise – check and check.  The lead song from the ep is not just ‘not the most poppy’… its positively ‘barely a song’.  Balls.

I just find this kinda thing really easy to listen to… just so chilled out whilst having energy and melody and oodles of noise.  SoT make me happy.

In terms of criticism… wear influences on their sleeves a bit too much perhaps; the sound’s a bit late 80s / 90s / early 00s perhaps… maybe a bit dated (this is a big part of the reason I love them); not sure they’ve ever written a song as good as Kool Thing or Monkey Gone To Heaven.  Who has?  Minor criticisms in the grand scheme.

Swords of Thought Bandcamp

Top 10 Current Local Bands – Guildford and Surrounds – February 2017 (pt 2)

February 22, 2017

Moper, ex-SBB… are a band I’m still trying to get my head around 9 months (or so?) after seeing them live.  I’ve bought 3 albums.  They are dark, they place a massive barrier between the audience and themselves… but they’re gnawing away at me, I want to understand.  There’s a bit of Future of the Left about them, maybe.  Drawing me in.  Let them get to work on you… it might take a while but if your soul is pure, if a little haunted, then you’ll get there like I hope to.  Star Inn, Guildford, Friday, will to be there.

Grits I rate highly.  Not sure the extent they are something quite alternative trying to take high energy rock on board to make something more accessessible, or the other way round – a fairly mainstream rock band with hints at something quite challenging.  Either way energy levels, catchiness and plenty to keep it interesting to my [Wild] Eyes.  Fucking yes.  Facebar, Reading, Friday, would like to be there.

Who Saw The Light are a doom, grunge, metal, fuck knows what mess of a band and get away with it.  Who knows where they’re going, who knows why, but they have something.  Maybe I misunderstood but one song last time I saw them had its tempo set by a simple rhythm guitar part.  10 seconds in the bassist – whose taking lead vocal on the song – is having a bit of a go a the guitarist for massively reducing the tempo compared to when they rehearse it.  They really don’t appear to give a fuck.  I hope that what I’m seeing is the start of something special.  I fear they’ll get their act together and lose some of their irreverence and genre-spanning melange.  Then again they can certainly play so if they wanted to get their act together they would have probably done so already.

Songs To Punch Nerds To is great and Space Church have a live set that blew me away the first time I saw it.  I hope they keep writing, keep mixing it up.  Trevor’s Head seriously know what they’re doing too, dunno what more to say.

Slug 13 have the massive advantage of playing in a style that I’m a sucker for… though being able to write a top top riff kinda helps too.  Keep writing, keep ploughing that lovely furrow, maybe mix it up a bit too.  Or don’t bother.  Mixing it up that is, do bother full stop.

I love pop music.  Swords of Thought can write a song… but they do so in a nicely noisy way, that reminds me of some great great bands like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr.  The Boo Radley’s debut album (which they themselves have kinda written out of history) is called Ichabod and I.  It is brilliant if you like that sort of thing.  Pure pop, combined with a “why use one distortion pedal when you can use 20” attitude (I swear that’s a reasonably accurate bit of paraphrasising from an interview I read back in the day).  SoT remind me of that.

Pensevor deserve their own post, so bugger it, I’m saying nothing for now.

Top 10 Current Local Bands – Guildford and Surrounds – February 2017

February 21, 2017

Top 10 Current Local Bands – Guildford and Surrounds – February 2017

The rules – you must be based in Guildford or not that far away.  I must have seen you play live.  You must have played in or near Guildford in the last year or so.  I have changed part of your name to the word shit to ensure that you don’t get too cocky if you’re on the list, and if you’re not on the list then you don’t get a shit so there’s some consolation.  This list is based on FACTS not my personal opinion.

If you’re on the best of the rest then I wanna see you, or you just missed out, or you haven’t played locally recently enough, or you’re there cos someone I trust rates you, or maybe you’re just so fucking good that I think you’re too good to be judged against other local bands.

Feedback welcome.  Noise a guitar makes I mean, not your replies.

(1)  Penshitvor

(2)  Swords of Shit

(3)  Shit13

(4)  Shit Church

(5)  Trevor’s Shit

(6)  Who Saw The Shit

(7)  Shits

(8)  Shitter

(9)  Victorian Whore Shits

(10)   Typical Shits

Best of the rest – Blackwaters, Tommy Blackwood, Camcorder, Employed to Serve, Eulogy, Gutlocker, Heinous Pianist, Morass of Molasses, Princess, Vinyl Staircase.

Vital Note – Eulogy and Swords of Thought – PULL YOUR FINGERS OUT.

Another thing… maybe, going back 25 years, I didn’t get to as many local gigs as I should have… and no offence you lot but I am not sure any of you come close to touching the genius of Mega City Four and in particular Wiz’s incredible lyrics.  But overall the standard now is so high, it really is.