Indieterria meets Bambara

Dear Readers, 

There is certain mystery and elusiveness that surrounds Bambara. Formed in Atlanta and now based in Brooklyn, the American trio successfully avoid being pigeonholed and labelled. Their dark, moody mixture of blues, psychedelia, lo-fi, noise and punk rock brought them universal acclaim for their music. Now on their fourth album (“Stray” was released on 14th of February), Bambara is slowly breaking out from the independent circuit and into the mainstream. With their energetic shows, full of anger, passion and poetry,  they are certainly making their mark on the popular music. We sat down with the band to discuss their new album, touring with IDLES and the impact of the pandemic on their plans this year.

Bambara – from left to right: Blaze, William and Reid

Bambara is based in Brooklyn but you come from Athens, Georgia – a town that holds a special place in the American music history. The list of hugely popular artists that came from Athens includes: R.E.M., The B-52’s, Widespread Panic and Neutral Milk Hotel. Do you feel like you continue the heritage of the place, or maybe you would rather distance yourself from it?

Blaze Bateh: Athens is a beautiful, special place. I really don’t know anywhere else quite like it. I’d like to think we are continuing the heritage of Athens. Even though we left almost 10 years ago, it still feels like a huge part of us. The last 2 records, Shadow On Everything and Stray, were both mixed in Athens with our friend Drew Vandenberg and we recorded Stray with him as well.

William Brookshire: I still think of us as a band from Athens as much as New York. We still have a ton of friends that work in music there, great venues, and it always feels like home when we go back.

We remember watching “Æon Flux” on MTV Oddities back in the 1990’s. There was a character named Bambara and we heard you named the band after him. He was rather a shady figure in the series. Was there something special about him that you felt compelled to take on his name for your musical project?

Blaze Bateh: Honestly there wasn’t anything in particular about him as a character that drove us to use his name. We were just HUGE fans of the show. I’ve watched the show start to finish countless times and I still get blown away by aspects of it. But yeah, we just thought his name sounded really cool.

You cite Nick Cave, Birthday Party and Swans as your main musical influences but also, rather surprisingly, filmmaker David Lynch and Polish writer, Bruno Schultz. If that’s the case, you are probably the only musicians in existence we could discuss the “Cinnamon Stores” with! What else inspires you to create?

Blaze Bateh: It’s hard to say where inspiration directly comes from, but I know when I’m writing, I’m typically striving to create an atmosphere that I want to put myself in at that moment. So I suppose my inspiration is typically more visual.

Reid Bateh: I agree with what Blaze said. And yes Bruno Schultz is a big inspiration for me – the power of zoomed-in, specific imagery and the beauty of the underbelly. I also used an abstracted version of a character from “The Street of Crocodiles” in our previous record “Swarm”.

Bambara’s sound is hard to describe: you are being classified as post punk, industrial rock, psychedelia and gothic revival with young Glenn Danzing on vocals. Do you agree with those labels?

Blaze Bateh: Ha. Sure I’ll take it.

William Brookshire:  Sounds pretty cool.

Reid Bateh: Why not!

You have toured with Idles in October and November last year – playing over 17 dates across America. That was a mammoth tour in a magnificent company. How do you find the punk rockers from Bristol? Any fun stories from the road? (Does Joe Talbot snore? Do they do their own laundry?)

Blaze Bateh: Those guys are the best. We hit it off with them immediately and became incredibly close very quickly. We still chat pretty frequently. They’re one of the few bands I can ever imagine being excited to see play night after night for a month straight. They just give it everything they’ve got no matter what. To me, that’s what live music is about. Otherwise, what’s the point? I’ll just listen at home for free.

William Brookshire: Such a fun time. We got a free month-long Master Class in the refined tastes of chocolate milk, and the shows were great too.

The band received a lot of support from BBC6 Music. They were instrumental in introducing you to the audience in the UK: your songs have been named singles of the week, you also played an exclusive session for them. Did you enjoy your appearance at the Beeb?

Blaze Bateh: 6 Music has been immensely supportive. Specifically Steve Lamacq. We were very lucky that he happened to catch our last show of SXSW in 2019. We did a session with him back in October and we were all pretty nervous. I actually broke my drum head about 30 minutes before we went on. I looked up a music shop nearby on my phone and started sprinting there to buy a replacement. My phone died after about 10 minutes and I had no fucking idea what to do. Luckily I ran into a shop and the people there were nice enough to let me use their phone to reroute. I made it back to the studio with about 5 minutes until we went on. I was sweating buckets and probably played everything too fast from all the adrenaline.

The first single released to promote “Stray” was called “Serafina”. It was described as a love song. In an interview with Fader Magazine, Reid said that he wanted to write a song “radiating a wild-eyed hope, a youthful disregard for death itself”. Tell us more about it.

Reid Bateh: Serafina was the last song I wrote lyrics for, and by that time the record had taken form as a death-obsessed collage of vignettes dominated by a sense of doom. Looking back at all the other songs I’d finished, I felt that the record needed a vignette that would approach this topic a little differently. I wanted to make sure that some of the characters on the record weren’t afraid of death, or even felt like they could conquer it.

“Serafina” is followed by two other singles – “Sing Me To The Streets” and “Heat Lightning”. Each song is like a snippet taken out of a noire Hollywood blockbuster. Do you see “Stray” as a concept album?

“Stray” cover artwork

Reid Bateh: Conceptually, I see “Stray” as a sort of collection of short stories that are interconnected.

The band had incredible press on both sides of the Atlantic with reviews from NME, Financial Times, Brooklyn Vegan, The Clash Magazine, DIY, NPR, Kerrang, Stereogum among many others. But it was your long time champion, BBC DJ Steve Lamacq, that delivered the most accurate one. “For an album which deals with wild abandon and impetuous, crazed logic, it is beautifully and astutely structured” – wrote Lamacq – “And when the movie of it is finally made, the billboard strapline will read: BAMBARA – Have they come to take your souls or save them?”. So “Stray” is finally here. What happens now?

Blaze Bateh: Well, we were supposed to be leaving for a month-long European tour in a couple days, but that’s not happening anymore for obvious reasons. We’re in a kind of limbo now just waiting to see what will happen with our schedule. As of now we are planning to play the UK and Ireland in August, but we’ll see. We’re just trying to focus on what we can control right now and that’s writing more music.

Not being able to perform is putting a huge financial strain on bands. Are there any ways your fans can support you through this difficult time?

Blaze Bateh: Yes it is. It was a massive financial and psychological blow for us. Buying our shirts and tote bags is the best way so support us at the moment. We are also accepting donations via our Spotify page. Anything helps.

Bambara picture by Kevin W Condon

Last question is always a bit of fun. We do not know if you follow charts but top 40 is a very serious business in Britain. If Bambara could cover any pop song, what tune would you choose?

Blaze Bateh: Not exactly topping the charts in 2020, but “Rhythm of the Night” by Corona

William Brookshire: George Michael’s indelible “Careless Whisper” all day everyday.

Reid Bateh: A Lana Del Rey song would be just fine with me.

Bambara online:
https://wharf-cat.squarespace.com/bambara (record label)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bambara_(band)
https://www.facebook.com/BAMBARA.band/
https://twitter.com/bambaraband
https://bambara.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/bambaraband/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOhbg5_ZDMyT-sUjmImJ3zw

Or listen to them online at:

 

If the corona virus do not thwarts the plans again, the already-once postponed European tour should commence at the end of July. Some of the tour dates are already being rescheduled for December, so please keep your eyes open. Below you will find the dates as they stand at this moment:

Bambara Tour 2020

We have seen the band play in Manchester in October last year at the Soup Kitchen and we were blown away by the intensity of their performance. Backed up by two live musicians (Sammy Zalta and Bryan Keller Jr. on guitars), Bambara in their 5 piece re-incarnation is a perfect machine that cannot be stopped. IF we are lucky, we will see them in Birmingham or/and in Manchester again.

After all, who can resist the temptation of the dark side?

Rita Dabrowicz

The Kecks “Modern Girls” – single review

Dear Readers, 

When I was a young and inexperienced female music fan, the one that would cut out articles from NME to stick them to the walls, I thought that going to gigs was being part of history in the making. Discovering artists in small venues before they conquer the world, being with like minded people, falling in love with the music.

When I grew up a little bit more and actually went to gigs, I discovered that live shows could be rough or even dangerous (my first gig seen my nose being broken by a cassette tape  thrown from the stage) while some fans were rude, crude and grouping was normal.

The Kecks

I dreamed I would hang out with musicians like all A&Rs and PRs I admired.  I thought I’d have connections, be respected in the business and help artists achieve the greatness. Once again I had to revisit my plans. Women in music were scarce, bands would quit before they achieved anything, artists would not even acknowledge your input before moving on to “better things” and sexism was rampant.

In short – if you are a female in music business – you need skin thicker than that of Anna Franklyn (do see “The Reptile” if you can), determination of Rambo and patience of a saint to do your job. I will be honest, sometimes I get sick and tired of music, gigs and lads with guitars.

But then,  you encounter a band that tears your heart out, blows your mind and you fall in love with them unconditionally – from the first note. You start believing all those things about greatness, being part of something special and history in the making.  I keep telling that as a music obsessive, I fall in love with artists twice a week. Every couple of years, I lose my head. And I don’t know what’s in the water in Yorkshire, but for the third time, it’s a band from Doncaster. Well, ¼ of the band actually. The rest is from Australia, Austria, Germany and they are based in Hamburg.

Modern Girls artwork

The Kecks have been on my radar for nearly a year now. If before they were in “the best new band on the circuit” category, after their newest single “Modern Girls”, they are elevated to being inches away from my favourite band.

Man, do they tick all the boxes!  They don’t do happy sing-alongs  for the public. Leave that to Gerry Cinnamon. Theirs is rock and roll spiked with psychedelia, raw and emotional, provocative and dangerous. Sensual even.  Music  that goes straight to the soul. They know their craft. Singer Lennart Uschmann throws himself on stage like it`s his only mean of survival. He is capable of both –  serenading the audience, whispering and howling like a mad person in the attic. There is something theatrical, otherworldly about him. Think David Bowie or Richard Hell. It`s mesmerizing. The rest of the band (Samuel Telford on guitar, Joel Phillips on bass and Kai Weidle on drums) follow closely – in their coats, flamboyant shirts, make up or dresses – smashing out bangers and kicking clichés in the balls. On the indie circuit full of post punk acts that made school uniforms out of trench coats, white shirts and black trousers, The Kecks are shining with their retro attires.

Another thing that wins me over in an artist is their ethics. I`m always in the corner of the underdogs, those who come out of the underground, the self made and the struggling.  And The Kecks have enough bravery and attitude to fill an ocean. Their press release mentions that the band “religiously preserved their DIY ethos”, they film their own videos, they support independent venues such as Molotow (including playing a special gig for the venue during lock down), they release on AWAL – a platform that functions as an alternative to traditional record labels.

Then there is the video to “Modern Girls” where the band put themselves in the shoes of every woman to protest double standards and hypocrisy. You can see The Kecks being violently forced into skimpy outfits, strong make up and then paraded out to be judged  – only to find out they do not meet “the standards”. The video hits home and is a powerful reminder that unrealistic expectations destroy lives, and not only those of women. Think the whole culture of machismo, toxic masculinity with its narrow views on gender, sexuality and identity. Although musically situated far away from IDLES, The Kecks proudly place themselves on the same side of the barrier when it comes to fighting injustice and social stigmas. Like it or not – it is a political statement of sorts. And such statements takes guts in the era where alt -right runs amok and you are branded a “snowflake” for being kind and civil.

The Kecks (again)

In these trying times, it is the artist’s duty to speak up and take action. It’s a test and The Kecks have passed it with flying colours. They know their art and their songs well, as Bob Dylan once observed.

We listen to music for many reasons, but if you strip all the layers down to one thing, it will be to find others who are just like us. We follow artists and we hope that they will be our tribe, with similar outlook on life and values. Even reviews are done from that point of view. In our naivety, we entrust strangers with a part of ourselves. Maybe selfishly, we want them to be at our disposal so we can enjoy the music, the art and the illusion of not being alone.

I can only hope The Kecks will continue for many years to come.

Please follow the band online:
https://www.thekecksofficial.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thekecksofficial/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm0wdB5kpFtz5VjJlblmlIQ
https://www.instagram.com/thekecksofficial/
https://twitter.com/the_kecks

or listen to their music on Spotify:

 

The Kecks will be streaming their concerts online in the next weeks, so please visit their social media out to find more details.

Malicia Dabrowicz

crush – “All My Plants Are Dead” single review

Dear readers,

We keep on saying that Manchester has one of the strongest music scenes in the UK and they continuously prove that they do. Every single time a new band appear on our radar, they usually come from Greater Manchester area or from Yorkshire. Somebody better check what’s in the water over there and get it bottled, so we can enjoy the same amount of talent in other parts of the country.

Jokes aside but Mancunians seem to be really good at promoting and encouraging young bands to take risks. And it really pays off – musicians are experimenting, looking for new sounds, creating things that stand out from the rest. Innovatory music is also presented in an innovatory way – singles and albums have unusual packaging, covers are often self made, CD’s are printed or painted by hand, sleeves are turned into mini zines. Collectors of independent releases cannot complain – maybe only when they run out of space on their shelves or funds to buy everything that appears on the market.

One of those unusual and experimental releases ended up in our mailbox a couple of days ago and made a very big impression. We mean they had as at “female led” and “shoegaze” but we never expected to hear something that would channel the brilliance of Wolf Alice, Alvvays and The Sundays. Ladies and gents – we give you crush!

crush picture by Joe Hudson

Official bio:

crush are Manchester based shoegaze/alternative pop four piece consisting of Amber (guitar and vocals), Arthur (lead guitar), Will (bass) and Fotis (drums). Taking inspiration from artists such as The Cure, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Alvvays, controlled ambience is paired effortlessly with cascading noise and chaos. Wowing audiences at numerous shows across the North of England including Stay Fresh Fest and a triumphant headline at Yes Manchester, their live input has cemented them as ones to watch. Presented is an experience that immerses you into an equally intimate and cathartic psychedelic state. Their BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio backed releases have seen them go from strength to strength, and you can be assured the new year will see them put forth their most daring material yet.

crush (written in lower cases to distinguish themselves from the American band Crush) formed at the end of 2017 at the Manchester University and quickly gained a strong following. They released three singles (“How Come”, “Rinse” and “Glue“), toured extensively and supported Peaness, Far Caspian and Low Hummer. Now they return with a brand new track called “All My Plants Are Dead” and it is a bitter sweet serenade, full of perfect harmonies, echoes and ethereal guitars.

Picture by Joe Hudson

“The song focuses on the idea of the cold human race and an increasingly insular society” – writes the band in their PR release. “It’s about struggling to look after yourself as much as it is struggling to look after your houseplants. Really just a message of looking after and understanding each other a bit better, and a critique of how modern living at times can make this an unattractive and hard to achieve concept.”

The band is working on a video to the song and it will be released as soon as it is possible.


Please follow the band on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/crushbanduk/
https://twitter.com/crushbanduk
https://www.instagram.com/crushbanduk/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/09SorScmrKs8yZMG9hdr6N

Listen to the new single online:
http://hyperurl.co/7bua47

crush are unable to tour at this moment but several shows are rebooked for September. Please grab your tickets now and come to see the band playing live. You will not be disappointed.

“All My Plants Are Dead” are 9 out of 10 in our books. 2020 may be a bad year for the music business but it’s pretty damn good for the music tself.

Rita + Mal Dabrowicz

Indieterria review Brain Food – Brain Food EP

Dear Readers,

We are absolutely gutted that we can only review this EP good three weeks after its release (came out on March 13th 2020) but the world has been in chaos lately. Maybe you noticed… However social isolation has good sides  – you can sit on your ass and listen to a lot of music. We will not complain too much about being four weeks into a self imposed exile then. After all this is what music scouts do anyway if not attending gigs: typing away mountains of text about artists they seen or are about to see.  Plus, the fridge is stocked and we have 24 pieces of toilet roll…So without any more ado, here is the record we will be ranting about on this blog today. Meet the band.

Brain Food:
Liam Mckeown (vox, guitar)
Jakob Cusp (guitar, keys)
William S Carrott (bass)
Connor Doyle (drums, percussion)

Official bio:

Brain Food are a four-piece cosmic psych outfit originally hailing from the suburbs of East Birmingham. Forming in the dying embers of 2017, the band have been making waves with their energetic, spaced-out and shimmering live set. In their brief history they have supported the likes of Insecure Men, Froth, Stonefield, Boy Azooga, Frankie & The Witch Fingers, Dead Coast, Man of Moon and Public Access TV. August 2018 saw the release of debut EP “Get One On”, a DIY project of five tracks recorded, mixed and produced by the band, on their own makeshift record label, Room 15 Records.

Birmingham is known nationally (and internationally if you ever poked your nose outside the disunited kingdom) for having a vibrant psychedelic and garage scene. If you are local we don’t necessarily have to introduce you to the likes of DOXA, Table Scraps, Cherry Pickles, The Cosmics or The Lizards. Chances are you drink with members of those bands more often at The Sunny than we do. However if you don’t hang around Digbeth too often, Second City may be uncharted musical waters. Then you are cordially invited to have a look at this BLOG we did for the scene and check out the playlists. It`s worth it – we will tell you this much.

Brain Food – photography by Psychedelic Eye
https://www.facebook.com/psychedelic.eye.photography

Brain Food are part of the vibrant Brummie scene and their new, self -titled EP is exceptional, in many regards. It is first time in aeons that we had a pleasure to listen to a space psychedelia record. For those who are not into musical genres: space psychedelia (also known as “space rock”) originated in the late 1960`s and is recognised by lengthy compositions with distorted, other-worldly vocals. Hypnotic drums and keyboards often accommodate poetic, mystic and science-fiction themed lyrics. This sub-genre of psychedelic and progressive rock came to prove itself to be very influential, inspiring every musical movement from the 80s onward: grunge, stone rock, shoe gaze to post rock. Early enthusiasts of the space sound were Jimmy Hendrix, Marc Bolan, The Beatles and Pink Floyd. The ground breaking “wah wah” sound was born out of the genre. But we digress…

The band sticks to a very traditional definition of space psychedelia – this record is full of wonderful riffs, mellow if minimal drumming, ethereal vocals and lyrics that evoke emotional and  spiritual sides of humanity. It`s 27 minutes that should be spent lying in the grass on a summer day with your eyes closed and  enjoying the sun on one`s face.

The Brain Food EP cover

Opening the record  is “Poseidon” – although not a leading single – it is a perfect introduction to the EP. The song greets us with a powerful riff and the words “Wake Up – what do you see?”. The low bass and heavy drums giving this track such a groovy, trippy feeling.

Then comes “Canyon Crawler” with its oriental theme and deep, echo like effects. The song changes tempo several times over the course of seven minutes but does not feel too dragging or boring. It is very Beatles-que in nature (meant in the best way possible).

“That Feeling” could give Pink Floyd a good run for their money had Brain Food been born few decades into the past. For some reason we love how the vocals sound  – there is no indication that they have been reinforced but it feels like there is more than one voice singing.

“Cosmic Jones” starts with a wah wah motif to explode into a distorted, quietly beautiful love song. It may be a strange observation but this is the only song that brings outthe fact that Brain Food are a British band. You can hear the strong West Midland accent clearer than on other compositions. Though out  the record you can`t place where the band comes from – they could easily pose for American quartet or  anywhere else in the world. Which adds to the charm of the EP – anyone from any corner of the world could relate. But on “Cosmic Jones”  the band is undisputedly  British. Also its our favourite track from the record. Not related to the fact that we are Anglophiles.

The EP ends with “Forbidden Tongue”. What we really love about this track are those long  guitar solos that are the central part of  composition. Vocals are here relocated to the back seat and treated  alongside with other instruments. Very clever idea.

It`s hard to rate this record. Brain Food do not reinvent the wheel. But  it`s such a strong  space psychedelic release in all its classical glory. And we have a soft spot for all things psychedelic!

This is a kick ass* release and if you can get your hand on it – do so. Hopefully we will get a physical release sooner than later.

*Kick ass is equivalent of at least 4.5 out of 5.

You can follow Brain Food on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/brainfoodofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/brainfoodofficial/
https://brainfoood.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/brain-food-650656456
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt6TgF0ITsxJjDf3MuNMJKg
https://open.spotify.com/artist/4HqwUXaBaTJafihMSgeRsQ?si=JJ7P8nqqTFqjR5j9Dp6QeA

There is so much happening on the Brum scene we need to possibly consider a larger piece. Brain Food is one of those bands that you need to know if you want to know what`s hot on the indie circuit.

Big thank you to Sophie Hack (Bread Birmingham) for helping us with this review. Apologies for the delay.

M/R

Indieterria review – No More Moves by The Dirt

Dear Readers,

Don’t be cancelling 2020 yet. It may be a year of no festivals, virtual gigs and staying indoors but the art it produces is jaw dropping. Actually, it is a heavy weight year for creativity. Knock out after knock out from every corner – with no breather.  Just look at March alone. Two weeks passed from the release of False Heads` album (record of the year most likely) and we have a new single from Saytr Play, 20 dates autumn tour from Hands Off Gretel  and a much anticipated debut from The Red Stains on the cards.

If that wasn’t enough to make us at Vanadian Avenue sleep deprived  – an unexpected EP from Manchester duo The Dirt appeared in our inbox this morning. And we just had to squeeze it into the schedule because otherwise it would be a serious breach of Directive #1

Sachiko Wakizaka and Jack Horner aka The Dirt

What`s Directive #1 you ask? In short terms – what Manchester does today, the rest of the country does tomorrow. And if you ignore it, then you prove yourself to be a pompous wannabe with no real knowledge of pop culture.

If you don’t know The Dirt, don’t worry. Until about 11 AM today we had no clue either. But once they appeared on our radar, we quickly did the catching up.

The band consist of Japanese guitarist (and multi instrumentalist) Sachiko Wakizaka and Mancunian poet Jack Horner (known under his moniker “Leon The Pig Farmer”). On March 19th the duo quietly dropped their first EP “No More Moves” on BandCamp – a seven track (22 minutes) full of psychedelic, experimental, shoe-gazing landscapes accompanied by dark, tense lyrical verses.

The band succeeded in creating a record that can stand next to releases of Mr Bungle or The Legendary Pink Dots without feeling ashamed. If you take each track separately, they almost feel like punk songs – all below three minutes. The longest – most angry track on the album  – “Wiccan Transition” stands at 5 minutes and could easily find itself among Sonic Youth`s deep cuts.

You can take “No More Moves” as one long composition – a sonic meditation on human nature and its dark sides.


Everything on the EP is dirty, grungy and heavy. Even the logo – the band uses a kanji sign 泥 (pronounced “doro”) as its calling card. It roughly translates into “the dirt” but may mean “mud”, “mire” and “ooze” and we have to applaud them for putting a lot of thought into the vision and then trying to obscure it. You have to dig though the layers of sounds, language and symbols to truly appreciate the work Sachiko Wakizaka and Jack Horner did. You have to unearth it so to speak.

The Dirt created a very experimental,  noise, avant-garde record that nobody saw coming. They appeared out of nowhere with artistic vision, DIY ethos, rebellious spirit to mix beat poetry with psychedelic sounds and reminded everyone that the underground scene in Manchester is healthy and potent.

It would be an excellent idea to incorporate them into future Louder Than Words festivals. This duo has a lot to offer to the public.

We have spoken briefly to Jack Horner about the EP to go along this review. This is what he had to say:

The Dirt looking out into the psychedelic future

How long did it take to record the EP and where did you do it?

Jack Horner:  We did it over  a few weeks, trying not to spend much time on each track. We wanted it raw and quick takes. We recorded at my house. Proper DIY feel. Did the guitars first, then laid my words on.

So it was just you and Sachiko Wakizaka working together?

Jack Horner:  Yeah, Sachiko uses loop and effects pedals for the guitars.

So full musical partnership.

Jack Horner:   Yes. Full on partnership. It works well. We seem to have a good collaboration and creative system. Probably we will go live in autumn. I’ll keep Leon ticking along too.

You wanted to explore something outside poetry?

Jack Horner:  I used words and verses that don’t feel right on my solo spoken word set.  They may be too heavy, too dark or just not suited. But I think the guitars work compliments them.

We really like Wiccan Transition. It`s the longest track on the EP. You could nearly call it a leading single.

Jack Horner: (laughs) Oh ta!

Any story behind that track?

Jack Horner:  I went to see a spiritual healer. Crystal Therapy. I went into a crazy trance. It’s that and coming out the other side of depression!

I`m not sure which song  to put out as a single if we do.

So really The Dirt is a project to help you deal with mental health as well as creative process.

Jack Horner:  That’s how Leon The Pig Farmer started as well. Writing thoughts after a breakdown and stuff last year.  Then taking words to the stage. This is an experiment to take it elsewhere…who knows where.

That’s the beauty of my life now. I don’t set goals, plans or directions to get anxious about. It seems to work!

You can follow Jack Horner/ The Dirt on the socials:

https://www.facebook.com/LeonThePigFarmer/
https://twitter.com/leon_pig
https://www.instagram.com/leontpf71/
https://thedirt71.bandcamp.com/

It will be a very interesting experience to see the duo live in concert and we are hoping that we will have a chance to do so. If we do, please expect a full set video and a ton of pictures. And a word of advice. Do not underestimate the underground. You have no idea what lurks in one of those narrow streets behind AATMA…

Mal/Rita

**** 05.04.2020****

Just a small update to let everyone know that The Dirt published their third visual trailer announcing new material coming in the next months. It showcases the band`s interest in Manchester`s creative Northern Quarter and signals a more refined musical landscape – with the use of drum machines and beats. We knew The Dirt was unique project on Mancunian music scene but the rate it grows and changes is just stunning! Our hats are off to Sachiko Wakizaka and Jack Horner for being absolute proper legends.

M/R

Indieterria presents Sammy Zalta

Dear Readers,

We have been planning to make this post for a while now, but due to the outbreak of  corona virus and subsequent cancellations of tours and concerts, we thought that independent artists need immediate exposure to help them. So over the next couple of days, we will be shining some light on artists that are operating far away from the  mainstream, yet their music is so wonderful, so uplifting that it is a crying shame they do not get the recognition they truly deserve.

Normally all you have to do to discover a new artist, is to simply just walk into a pub or a dive bar. You will grab something to drink and suddenly the music coming from the stage will take you to a new exciting place. You will forget about the world, your troubles and after an hour you will be on your way home, happy with a new album in hand and maybe a new tee as well. In current circumstances, it is sadly not possible – but you can still discover new music, and you can do it online.

Sammy Zalta

So let us take you for a short journey to meet one of the nicest and most talented independent artists we have met in recent months. The gentleman’s name is Sammy Zalta, and he is usually seen shredding his guitar mercilessly on stage with New York based band Bambara. He is also an accomplished artist in his own right with three digitally released albums to his name.

Hidden under the alias of Nola Gras on Bandcamp, Mr Zalta has been recording solo material since early 2014. After a few experimental, self released projects that were distributed privately, Nola Gras’s first proper EP “Living In Darkness (Under the Covers)” was released in January 2015 and sadly is no longer available for streaming but you can read a phenomenal review of it right here:
https://www.tinymixtapes.com/chocolate-grinder/premiere-nola-gras-living-in-darkness-under-the-covers-ep

Multi instrumentalist, balancing on the edges of several genres (alternative folk, psychedelic pop, shoegaze electronica, garage, punk and of course gothic revival), Sammy is not easy to squeeze into one musical box. But this is what we absolutely love about him. He is bold and daring, taking chances where other artists do not. You may not hear Nola Gras on the radio, but once you listen to his music, there is an entire musical landscape to discover. From short noise-inspired sketches of a song, to heart breaking renditions of Tim Buckley’s classics.

On 20th of March, for the next 24 hours, Bandcamp will remove any fees, to give the artists 100% of earnings from their music. If you’d like to support Sammy, please take a look what’s available to purchase.

“Paradiso Terrenal”

“Paradiso Terrenal” front cover

Full debut album by Nola Gras released in March 2015. It contains 12 songs, 10 original ones and two covers: very psychedelic version of Tim Buckley’s “Phantasmagoria In Two” and  equally trippy, Jesus and Mary Chain flavoured “For You” by Big Star. “Paradiso Terrenal” translates into “Earthly Paradise” and it’s a very fitting title. If you love lo-fi psychedelia with a hint of western gothic, you will be in heaven listening to the tunes. Our favourite (except for the “Phantasmagoria”) is the title track that sounds like a cross between Elliot Smith and The Deep Blue Something. It is also the last song on the record and surprisingly very radio-friendly.  Well maybe in a shortened version as it stands at nearly 9 minutes! The album was released in physical form on a cassette, but only in 40 copies and they are now all now sold out.

You can listen and purchase the album at:
https://nolagras.bandcamp.com/album/paraiso-terrenal

Album review:
https://bigtakeover.com/recordings/nola-gras-paraiso-terrenal-cs-nola-gras

“O” by Like St. Joan

“O” front cover

Released under a moniker of Like St. Joan, “O” saw the light of the day on June 5, 2017. The middle child of Sammy Zalta, is like a black sheep of the family – resembling no relative, including distant cousins twice removed. “O” is actually a very interesting entity – one look at the credits and we can see entire Bambara as a back up band plus Mike Hentz (Secret Flowers) and Thomas MacDonald (Plate of Shrimp). And the Bambara’s dark, unpredictable spirit is clearly visible in every track. It starts with “Her Patron Scum” aggressive and almost inhuman garage anthem of 6 minutes, quickly to merge with acid house inspired “Memoirs Of A Man Of Pleasure”. Title track “O” is a gothic revival masterpiece with chilling guitars and waltz-like rhythm. There are 7 compositions on the album and you cannot really call them songs – they are long, multi-level, broken into massive segments and frankly absolutely brilliant. If we were to write a short description for it, it would be Bambara meets King Crimson and recording with Trent Reznor locked up in a basement somewhere down in Georgia, no jokes about it. Almost radio friendly and punkish “Safe Spaces” could serve as the leading single, at 5:30 minutes, it is the shortest song on the album minus the instrumental “Quick…”. “Visions of You” take the listener back to the dangerous territory with a marching beat and poetic lyrics and “Egyptian Water Color” feels almost like a cut off from “Swarm” by Bambara.

In short – we cannot believe we missed it when it was first released! Maybe one day, “O” will be re-released on vinyl. One can wish…

You can listen and purchase the album at: https://nolagras.bandcamp.com/album/o

“It All Ends the Same”

“It All Ends the Same” cover artwork

“It All Ends the Same” is the latest album released by Nola Grass on March 25th 2019. It consists of 8 tracks written by the band (all originals) and was mixed/produced by Brooklyn based recording maverick, Ben Jones (AKA Constant Smiles). The album was promoted by a Beatlesque single “Ode To Ersa” and it came with a beautiful video you can see below:

“It All Ends the Same” is much different from “Paradiso Terrenal” and “O”. It is still a very guitar driven, psychedelic in nature but also toned down, melancholic in parts. Our favourite songs are “The Wings On My Shoulder” and nearly romantic “In the Dark”. Please pay closer attention to experimental, bit jazzy/western instrumental track “One Bright Pearl” and cinematic “Just Don’t, Please”.

You can listen and purchase the album at:
https://nolagras.bandcamp.com/album/it-all-ends-the-same

Let’s not forget about the Bambara guys as well. Please support them as well through their BandCamp account or through their gift shop on their record label website:

https://bambara.bandcamp.com/
https://www.wharfcatrecords.com/store/bambara-stray
https://bambara.bandcamp.com/merch

Thank you and hopefully, when the dust settles, we will be standing in the front row at the nearest Bambara gig somewhere in the Northern Quarter handbanging like it’s 1989. And after the show, who’s ready for some pinball and pizza at the Crazy Pedro’s?

You all? Good, it’s gonna be a hell of an after party.

see you soon,
M+R

Indieterria presents “Poet Boy” by Battery Farm

Dear Readers, 

It is a privilege to support new music. Times may be hard, unpredictable and sometimes downright crazy, but the rock music is undergoing a real renaissance. Everywhere you turn, there is a great music flowing: from drum & bass, to garage punk, to house, dancehall and rave. We can complain about politics and social media becoming toxic, but we certainly cannot complain about the lack of good and ambitious music to listen to.

And today, we would like to introduce you to one of the unsigned, emerging bands that got our attention in the  last couple of months – The Battery Farm.

Poet Boy single cover

Mancunia’s premier gutter punk four piece, The Battery Farm have recently rose to prominence on the indie scene, loudly screaming at the world and its ills. After releasing a string of well received singles (“97/91“, “I Am A Man” and “Crude Oil Water“), they are back with their brand new track entitled “Poet Boy” and it’s a proper sonic kick in the teeth.

The song starts with a thunderous beat and broken, fuzzed guitar riffs that are becoming their easily recognizable trademarks. I dont think there is anybody else on the circuit at this moment who can create such a depressive and somehow deranged atmosphere so quickly in their music, but the lads have a proper talent for this. And yes, their music is depressive and sad and angry and dirty but so is the reality surrounding us. This is what inspires them and this is what the band want to speak about. If you are looking for something pretty or shiny, go and listen to the BBC1. Here you will only find a justified anger, desolate tones and 10 tonnes of unhappiness.

Poet Boy advert with release date of 20/03/2020

Yet, there is a method in this madness. Despite the ugliness, broken melodic lines, scratching vocals full of fury and disappointment, “Poet Boy” has a therapeutic effect on the listeners. Once you dig through the upper layers of noise and disturbances, you  will find a neatly composed song, with tempo changes, passages and nearly math rock precision. Pay attention to the lyrics as well – they are a very important part of the track.

“Poet Boy” is out on the 20th of March and once it is released, you will be listening to it on repeat.

Batter Farm live:

28th March 2020 – Off the Square, Manchester w/ False Heads
17th April 2020 – The Star and Garter, Manchester w/ tAngerinecAt
18th April 2020 – Ulltra Festival, Hull
15th May 2020 – The Globe, Glossop
17th May 2020 – After All Festival, Manchester
18th July 2020 – Ulltra Festival, York
28th August 2020 – Bank Top Tavern, Oldham
30th October 2020 – Deaf Institute, Manchester w/ DeafRobot

You can follow the band on their socials at:

https://www.facebook.com/thebatteryfarm/
https://twitter.com/thebatteryfarm
https://www.instagram.com/thebatteryfarm/
https://thebatteryfarm.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChp93XaDBuXnmYQY-o2bhFg
https://open.spotify.com/artist/6qWGopTzUjeSYmsXyQ8RIr

See you soon,
R+M

Indieterria review – Q&A with Joe Talbot and Alan McGee

Dear Readers,

We promised you a detailed review from the Q&A session with Joe Talbot and Alan McGee in Birmingham and we are keeping our word. Kevin Fitzgerald of Toura Toura and his team did the impossible and delivered one of the best events we attended in a very long time. It was intimate (despite being nearly sold out), full of hope, community spirit and unplanned confessions from Joe himself and the audience. At times it felt like a group therapy or a meeting of people hell bent on changing the world. AF Gang as a secret society for betterment of humankind? We will take it and sign ourselves right up.

Q+A in Birmingham poster

It  was a beautiful evening at The Night Owl – one of our favourite venues in Digbeth (Birmingham`s answer to Manchester`s Northern Quarter). The amount of psychedelic shows we have seen at the Owl is a story for another blog!  We arrived early to find best seats and to speak to people (big shout out to Rebecca and Arron a couple of awesome kids who travelled all the way from Stoke and had their return journey on a coach at 3 in the morning). We grabbed our drinks and strategically positioned ourselves next to a heater and were ready to be entertained.

Believe us, everyone was properly spoiled on the night. Before Alan and Joe took to the stage we had a chance to see two local bands play their sets (about 30 minutes each) and  they were excellent picks. First came The Jack Fletcher Band – a four piece from Wolverhampton. We had a pleasure to interview them for Indieterria in 2018 and we knew what to expect from Jack and his men. The band went to play some of their biggest hits (“Young Man At Heart”, “Carousel”) and left audience speechless. It was so quiet during the set you could swear the Q&A was held in a cathedral instead of a music venue. The Jack Fletcher Band offer indie rock anthems that can only be described as real life stories. There is something in their music that has Paul Weller quality to it – the ability to tell stories of ordinary people with such grace and compassion. If you haven’t seen them live yet – do so as soon as possible.

After The Jack Fletcher Band came The Pagans S.O.H. We must have attended a dozen gigs of The Paganistas by now and its always a pleasure to see them doing their thing. They mix hip hop, rock, funk into a concoction that is truly unique on the circuit. Show us a band like Pagans and we will be buying you lunches at Digbeth Dining Club for a year. Every song played on stage was vibrating with positive energy that all hearts and phones in the room charged up immediately to 100%. And Pagans did not stop for a second – from “Banananah” to “Da Vinci” and “Come Down to Reality” – the band played flawlessly and enjoyed themselves as much as the audience.

Once the music stopped – chairs were brought on the stage, lights dimmed and Alan McGee and Joe Talbot entered the room.

Joe and Alan gave a fantastic talk with many tips for people struggling with mental health, addictions, bands trying to make it in the business. There was a lot of laughs – Joe is a really funny man with wicked sense of humour. And it’s true that he’s very honest and very open about everything. He joked that the crowd gathered to see him last night was the biggest that IDLES ever had in Birmingham!  Alan guided the conversation for the first half, then the microphone has been passed to the audience. Fans themselves had some incredible and  well prepared questions: what gig IDLES  frontman thought was his favourite (you will guess it was Glasto), what he would like to be asked about (Joe got philosophical pondering about questions about questions) and his advice for starting artists (don’t look at others, do your thing, play the best gig even if you play to empty room, surround yourself with people who uplift you rather than mindlessly criticise you, value quality over quantity,  try to spend less time online, create for yourself first – were some of the best ones).

The main consensus in the room was that IDLES and everyone else is part of something much bigger than ourselves and only combining forces could allow everyone to be better off. The Be Kind spirit was very much in the air and if there was one thing to take away from the meeting it was just that –  be considerate, be optimistic, be kind to yourself and others and you will make a huge social and even political difference.

We gave Joe a small gift on behalf of all AF West Midlands fans who couldn’t make it to the show. He actually loved it and laughed hard when he saw the writing on the Thornton’s chocolate cup.

We have made just one video from the talk as we didn’t want to record the entire show. As Joe said it is important to participate instead being constantly on the phone trying to capture the gig.

Our night was further made when we had a chance to speak to Alan McGee  and he told us we were great. Not like we are gonna brag about it now but it did put a big smile on our faces. We went home in an Uber, over tipped our driver, fed the livestock (aka the cats) and then slept until midday.

It was totally worth it. What a night!

M/R

Just a small update – we wanted to show you how the event looked from all sides so we edited some of our mobile pictures. The Night Owl is such an iconic venue and the Digbeth part of Birmingham has some of the city`s most vivid and extraordinary murals. So we captured that as well.  We hope you will enjoy – especially Joe`s reaction to the lovely Thortons` Chocolate Cup with “Well Done” on it. We simply could not help ourselves.

 

If we find any more resources or materials that need to be added to this review – we will surely add them.

All Is Love,
M/R

Indieterria review – Saytr Play – Future

Dear Readers,

Please don’t show this review to Tom Ogden – for he will not be happy. Something is brewing on the winding streets of Manchester. Something wilder than a drunken escapade at 3 AM for a pizza slice and pinball at Crazy Pedro`s. Something sexier than the whole new season`s collection from Pop Boutique. Something more beautiful than a sunrise over the canals when you finally leave The Night People and head home to sleep. It`s unique, mysterious, ambitious and rowdy – just like Manchester itself. If you are even partly familiar with music scene up North – you will know by now what we have in mind.

Sleeve for Saytr Play new single “Future”

This band. They can`t be tamed, stopped or controlled. From the very first moment we met at iconic Jimmy`s on the Newton Street for few Polaroid shots, it was obvious that Saytr Play were going to burn their mark not only on Manchester scene – but on the music nationally (and maybe internationally).

In recent months, Saytr Play have released a string of incredible singes – “Second Hand Emotion”, “Honest Man” and now “Future”. They have signed to Lovers Music label and announced their debut EP “IN TRUTH I FEAR FOR THE HEART”. Their reputation grows  by the day and it won`t be long before they are revered by crowds of fans.

And it will be deserved. Peel away the obligatory imagery of rock misfits and you will find young people who care a lot. About future generations, the homeless, environment. People`s band if you ever encountered one.

Saytr Play ready to see what the future holds

“Future”  is a song that stems from personal experience. It’s a letter to a friend. We live our lives in fiction, pretending everything is okay; “It’s not our problem?” – says Fred Farrell, front man of the band – “I think it’s time to put the next generation first. It’s time to face reality. This song is an out-cry for the increasingly worrying number of familiar faces living on the streets. It’s an anthem for the youth, for the planet and for our future.”

“Future” is a melancholic and heart grabbing appeal to see something else than one`s own benefit – to notice another human being.  “If this is what it feels like to be the future I feel so sorry for the youth” – observes Farrell in the lyrics. Musically the single could be described as electronic indie with a Radio 1 potential. But that would be off the mark. We won`t lie – this is a very radio friendly, nearly perfectly crafted  pop record but with a heart and sincerity. Something that Top 40 is seriously lacking these days. It doesn’t feel fake or forced – like Blossom`s  recent single “Your Girlfriend” for example.

We keep mentioning  Blossoms. In 2016 we have seen Stockport finest supporting The Stone Roses – it took about 3 songs to win us over. To compare – it took ONE song for Saytr Play to make fans of us.

To give credit where its due – Blossoms recorded three incredibly good records and established themselves as leading figures on guitar scene in the UK. But you just wait till Saytr Play get to release an LP.

There you go – “Future” is out now. And we found you a new favourite rock band.  You are very welcomed.

You can follow Saytr Play on socials:

https://www.saytrplay.com
https://saytrplay.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Saytrplay/
https://www.instagram.com/saytrplay/
https://twitter.com/SaytrPlay
https://www.youtube.com/user/SaytrPlay
https://soundcloud.com/saytr-play
https://open.spotify.com/artist/169EIOeeLOUF8KPn0hAvzG

https://open.spotify.com/artist/169EIOeeLOUF8KPn0hAvzG?si=9JOHRV9oTyeFGZrZH6akOA

The band`s label Lovers Music can be found online at:
https://www.facebook.com/weareloversmusic/
https://www.instagram.com/weareloversmusic/

Our previous review:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/indieterria-review-second-hand-emotion-by-saytr-play/

We are very, very, very (and did we mentioned VERY) excited to hear Saytr Play`s upcoming EP. Judging from the main single – it will be a strong contender to the albums/releases of the year for us at Vanadian Avenue. Times are hard but at least the music is brilliant.

M/R

***** Update 21/02/2020****

Small update as the single started on a high note with rave reviews coming in from every direction. “Future” has been premiered on X Radio by the leading champion of new music and broadcaster John Kennedy who described it as the finest offering from the band so far.

And if you want to know what other music blogs think (we encourage you to read and follow them – they are good friends of ours!), here is the list and we will be updating it as new reviews roll in:

https://wordsformusic.blog/2020/02/21/saytr-play-future-new-music/
https://debslcannon73.wixsite.com/dreaminisfree/post/single-review-future-by-saytr-play
https://poppedmusic.co.uk/2020/02/21/just-listen-saytr-play-future/

Good stuff, always proud to support quality music.
M/R

Indieterria review – Who`s Misty? – Supernova

Dear Readers,

Anyone up for a trip to Lincoln? This East Midlands town has a medieval cathedral, a Norman castle, a Roman gate and a stunning waterfront promenade among its many attractions. But wait till you hear about their local music scene! Vigilantes, Sükko or, the main subject of this blog, Who`s Misty? Now this is something we gotta tell you about!

Who`s Misty – your future superstars

About two weeks ago we received an email from a band that have not been on our radar. It read simply “So we have just spent the last hour trying to come up with a great opening line, but fortunately we are better at writing songs than emails!”.  Straight to the point with sense of humour.  We have to say the band had our full attention at that point. They were to release their debut single “Supernova” at the end of the month and were female led indie trio. The single has been attached to the email to make things easier. So we pressed play and then…something hit us but we still try to determine what it was.

It could have been the guitar hooks or the excellent melody line or maybe the vocals. Or just the fact that a young band sent us a single that should have been on BBC Radio 6 playlist. If we could not name one band from Lincoln before, after few days we were familiar with a good portion of the scene and we managed to gather quite a bit on Who`s Misty? themselves.

The core of the band consists of Donald Davis (drums/live guitar), Aidan Betts (bass) and Imogen Camplin (vocals), they occasionally become four piece for live shows.  The trio have been gathering rave reviews across the spectrum: from BBC Introducing (“Absolutely cracking”- Jess Lord), BBC East Midlands (“Unlike anything else”- Hannah Fletcher) to blogs and magazines (“The band are set to rocket to the sky with their debut release. Ready for a silver screen, if the band have more songs like this in their back catalogue, they’re destined for greatness” -Chloe Mogg Reyt Good Magazine).

In a way it was encouraging that we were not the only ones who were absolutely mesmerised by “Supernova”. Who`s Misty? say they are ready to take 2020 by storm and in this case we will believe every word they say.

What Lincoln based trio produced is three minutes of upbeat indie song that could become one of Summers`s anthems. It has all the markings of a radio hit as well – from the catchy chorus to a melody line that is easily recognisable to a wonderful vocal duet at the end of the track. There is something of Wolf Alice, London Grammar,  Echosmith and Sunflower Bean in them. But also a large quantity of their own stage presence and style. It is such a wonderful feeling for a reviewer to be able to see a young band at the very beginning of their career. And it`s not that we want to brag later on how we were “first to know them”. It is a rare privilege and a pleasure to witness how artists mature, develop and go on to conquer the world. We think we know how Steve Lamacq felt when he got that first demo from a band called Cold Play.

Who`s Misty? gigs have been described as electric.

Who`s Misty? may be a young band with barely a year under their belt but they have already been performing on larger stages. Last year the band was invited to play at 2Q Festival in Lincoln. If you find yourself debuting on the same bill as The Blinders, Avalanche Party, Yonaka or Calva Louise then this is a clear indication where this band will go in five years from now.

We don’t know who is the Misty (the bands bio answers cryptically “god knows…”) but we are certain that the Lincoln trio will be a force on the circuit quicker than you can say The Newport Arch. And we will not be surprised if record labels will keep on knocking on their door. Actually, if any label is reading this – do yourself a favour and sign the trio and mentor them in the right direction. You can thank us music scouts later.

You can follow Who`s Misty? on socials:

https://www.facebook.com/whosmisty/
https://twitter.com/whosmisty_
https://www.instagram.com/whosmisty_
https://soundcloud.com/whosmisty
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCinVhOTwvEimVMGi3A0KUig
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5LZvJMrIrEXDpdcDtAlzZb?si=nWH9wHPXQp-XXnQ_NWFT6g

We will be keeping our eye on the bands progress. And so should you. Now we are off to find our jaws – they should still be somewhere in the house. Maybe under the sofa…

M/R