I have been a fairly reflective mood recently and at those times I always go back to simple folk tunes on my ears instead of the more convoluted math rock or electronica that usually reside there.
Zenda Marie have that simplicity and in such lovely measures- wonderful harmonies, slow guitar strumming and low electronica that leaves you with the feeling of being in a meandering stream with the water slowly flowing over you. You can buy/stream their self-titled EP over at their Bandcamp.
They have a great rock sound which varies between blues and psychedelic and comparison to the Doors is inevitable. The concentration on the percussion is what makes them standout though- not only with the excellent drumming but with the syncopated type of guitar work. With a few exceptions all the tunes have an abundant energy…and the ones that don’t I think are all the better for it in showing the subtleties of their sound.
The album kicks off with Reno and a nice driving pace which continues in Downtown Hotel and is followed by The Unknown which is slightly more instrumental but has a great vibe. Cry Cry Baby has more of a psychedelic element with the keyboards and a great jam at the end while Face Dancer really highlights the drumming skills.
Good Times Roll feels like there was some fuel injection added and from the first note this is a fast paced number which contrasts with the follow-up Bringing Down The House which is quieter for most of the tune but has a good build up at the end.
Pale Green Eyes is a change completely from the previous tunes and in a way is the standout track on the album for me- excellent subtle instrumentation with understated vocals.
What About The Tip Jars brings back the rollicking vibe- very catchy indeed and is followed by the more instrumental In The Eye Of The Storm. Cold Wind Blows cranks up the psych element again but it’s with Alive Inside that the head will really nod with the stomping bass drum and great guitar riff.
The album ends on a quieter note with Ten Days In The Desert- again some great subtle instrumentation but this time with harmonies and supplemented with sampling.
All in all its a great listen and some very solid tunes- as I had said previously there is nothing new about their sound but their take on bluesy rock is exceptionally good and well worth catching them live.
They will be in Crawdaddy tonight for their single release of Alive Inside and will be supported by Morgan La Faye & Yukina. Doors at 8 and tickets are €10.
Ah autumn is finally in the air! Even if it’s a rather muted affair in Dublin the memory of the east coast in the US remains with the brilliant colours of the leaves, the nip in the air and the sharp smell of the freshly fallen leaves- superb!
While it is one of my favourite time of years the lack of sunlight has always been an issue so nothing better to deal with post-daylight saving time blues than some tunes from The Very Most!
Their 3rd season-related ep has hit Indiecater and has hit the high mark as usual- three sublime tunes that are full of sunshine even if it is slowly dying away.
When Summer Finally Dies kicks it off with some lovely sublime vocals, backing and great beats with Sweater following it up with some warm tones and a superb toe tapping vibe. Autumn Air ends it with a rather more sombre tone which is befitting of the season- still some sunshine there with the vocals but the slight use of sleigh bells is certainly a sign that winter is on its way!
You can download or stream Autumn Air below and head over to Indiecater where you can stream all three tunes and buy them for the very pocket pleasing €2.00!
Timber Timbre sounds like spirits at work but in reality its Taylor Kirk with his sublime voice and simple instrumentation from the band that give their sound such a mysterious element.
You can get their third self-titled album for free until this Saturday at their official site and the eight tunes are of a dark, subtle, understated beauty that is simply entrancing.
The first track, Demon Host is one of my favourites and has a pretty cool video to boot. The other tracks have varying instrumentation throughout but subtlety is definitely the key and be it drums, guitar, organ or auto harp the understated beauty shines through.
Night started with a bit of irony when I got a text from a friend to say that she wouldn’t make it to HEALTH since she was sick. Turned out to be a great night though so irony aside it was a shame she missed them!
Arrived in time for some of the tunes from Irish lads Wounds and they had a some good ones with a hardcore edge. Sometimes they were a bit theatrical with the two guitarists actually performing on the floor in front of the stage but it was good to see their youthful zeal by asking the crowd to hold one of them aloft for their last tune. Good vibe though and I hope to see a full set from them at some stage.
Picture Plane was up next and what started fairly promising with a loop and some singing from him turned into a rather average performance of dance tunes. It actually became unbearably boring at one stage so for the first time in a long time I actually went outside for a smoke…and I don’t smoke. The upside being that I ran into a friend and friends of the sick friend so at least I have him to thank for that.
HEALTH were finally up and fuck me they might not be healthy for your hearing but damn did they get the heart racing! Good to see that some of the gig goers had earplugs- while it’s too late for me I am certainly now a campaigner on protecting your hearing so for a group like HEALTH plugs are a must.
The stage setup was quite interesting with having a synth in front of each of the three guitarists on the floor so they could literally get down to business and hammer out some electro bliss and the lead also had quite a few pedals by him which he deftly used during the tunes. What got my attention most of course was the extra drum in front so they could add some beats- really think it adds so much to the vibe of a live performance when any extra percussion is used.
They only played for about 45 mins but it was a blistering set with barely a break in between tunes- and I think they only had the break so that the drums heads could be tightened after the banging from the savage drummer! The crowd were really into the vibe which was great to see and while I couldn’t differentiate between all of their tunes the easily recognisable Die Slow, Death +, Before Tigers and We Are Water were there along with most if not all of the new album Get Color.
Of them all I think We Are Water encapsulates their sound best…
I had only come across Local Natives the weekend before the gig so thankfully had checked MySpace to see that they were going to be playing Dublin in the next few days! Luckily there were still tickets left for their gig but unfortunately it was in Academy2 which doesn’t have the best sound for multifaceted bands like this seeing how its setup mostly for electronic artists.
Good crowd when I arrived and caught a couple of tunes from the first support The Shoos– not much really to be said except that they are radio friendly.
A surprise was in store when the Funeral Suits came on- pretty much the same set they had the last time I saw them but it was good to hear them again. As with the first time- its the tunes with the keyboard that really standout and the ones without are good but not spectacular. Still looking forward to some new tunes by them.
Was surprised as well to hear Wintersleep on during the intermissions- always a good sign I think when the soundguy chooses some good tunes. Another group to catch if you can…although I won’t be shelling out the money to see them as support for Editors.
Local Natives were up and what I liked from the start was the two drummer setup- one guy fulltime at the back on a full kit and a drum with cymbal setup at the front next to the keyboardist-sweet! I always think that extra percussion can really make a live performance so much better and it was definitely the case here- they played a relatively short set of ten tunes but what tunes they were!
Not every one hit the spot but there were enough in there to showcase their harmonies, excellent percussion and an overall great vibe. Highlights for me were Cards & Quarters, Wide, Stranger, and the crowd pleaser Airplane. Above all though, Sun Hands was the standout and a great tune to end the gig with! No encore and unfortunately I was too slow to get an EP as they sold out rather quickly- had a chat with them instead and their album will be released in Europe at the end of the month. They are really sound guys and are definitely a group to catch if you can! Somehow I think we will be hearing a lot more about them in the months to come and seeing them back in Dublin fairly soon.
Full set list:
Cards & Quarters
Yeah I can contact them- will have a look at their various sites to see who is best to contact. Loney Dear might recognize my pic on MySpace which could be a good/bad thing after all the mails I sent asking them about their tours! Wasn’t into them until I saw them live & they definitely had my attention then! Will have a look at the form letter but may have to stray a bit since we will be suggesting they do the work together and won’t necessarily be picking their own collaborators. Know they are touring with Asobi Seksu but don’t think they have the right sound for this- saw them live in Feb and more shoegaze…very loud as well since it was one of the bands around the time my tinnitus started!
Many thanks to United Visual Artists (www.uva.co.uk) for the profile picture from the music video 'Tonto' by Battles. They have done some amazing light fixtures for other groups and shows so check them out!