Release Date: 30 June 2017 (Digital out now) Genre: Garage Punk Rating: ★★★★ Words by: Steph Baker
The Coathangers are not new faces on the scene, with their first entrance being over a decade ago. However, the Atlanta trio are starting to attract the ears of new listeners, with their latest offering ‘Parasite’, and from the opening riffs of the title track, it is clear why. Often bands and their fans alike get stuck in a rut of familiarity and routine when it comes to new releases, but surely we should embrace a change in songwriting and musical styles, as it reflects the journey that the band continues on every day. Humans change with experience, time and moments of reflection, and so too should creative endeavours, guitarist Julia Kugel even states “I’d like to think the PE takes you on a journey through the band’s existence“.
The opening track, ‘Parasite‘, seems to be a much-needed rant to get built up aggression of The Coathangers’ chest, “I don’t want parasite, keeping me up all night… I don’t want parasite, eating me from the inside out!” The raw and rowdy song is just over a minute long, and does not mess around in getting things straight before the girls continue with the EP in peace. Interestingly, the vocals seem somewhat softer in the following song ‘Wipe Out‘ (still unbridled and not to be fucked with, don’t worry), perhaps expressing a more content time within the band’s development.
The third track, ‘Captain’s Dead‘ is full of wise words coming from someone who is clearly over your bullshit. The lyrics “Easy come and easy go, what you reap is what you sow” are sang over punk guitar lines that send you into a daze that will spin away all of your previous cares. Grimy bass-lines are carried onto into the next track, along with an empowering punk chorus that is reminiscent of the crooked hooks that made us fall in love with the Coathangers in the first place.
This five-track offering ends on quite a somber and melancholy tone. ‘Drifter‘ has dark melodies and a simple electric strumming, and is still as incessantly catchy as the rest of the tracks. Julia, Meredith and Stephanie have grown up together and have developed their art together, this EP perfectly showcases that journey. From moments of (partial) content and maybe a hint of love? to screaming and pent-up rowdiness that we all need to expel – In either case, it’s exactly what you need.
Date: 18/02/17 Venue: The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle. Genre: Alt folk/blues
Words and photography by: Victoria Ling
One girl. One cello. Ceitidh Mac instantly silences the room as she takes to the strings and held us there for her full set that included a cover of John Martyn’s ‘Over The Hill’. Cietidh is an artist that engages with her audience to a point that they are hesitant to move in case of unwanted disruption or missing a second of the performance. What an attentive audience…well at least for the opening act. Hailing all the way from the North West in Manchester and joining the tour in the North East of Newcastle is Pip Fluteman (with fellow musician James on guitar and fiddle) This duo followed on from Ceitidh and brought something entirely different to the stage. Pip has us laughing and in some parts of his set and goes as far as declaring James as single which is met with some of the audience getting straight onto Tinder. It’s quite refreshing really how effortless Pip’s stage presence it, his performance is on point but the real connection with the audience comes from his talks in between songs, he’s really not afraid to drop a few jokes in here and there. His explanations of songs such as ‘Dandelion Days’ and ‘She Was The Circus’ has the audience laughing, but also struck with admiration as his set is delivered with passion and clear brilliance.
It was finally time for the main act of the evening, with the room now at full capacity and many being turned away at the door. Martha Hill is becoming quite a name and definitely has a following here in the North East, as soon as she stepped onto the stage and opened with ‘Reborn’, you could feel the electricity fill the room. As a photographer, it became increasingly hard as every inch of the floor was taken up by everyone who was lucky enough to get a ticket. The third number of the set, ‘Traveller,’ sees the return of Ceitidh and the addition of Shannon on the keys, both creeping quietly onto the stage whilst front woman, Martha plays on. Everyone is so consumed that it is like the appeared from nowhere as all eyes and ears are fixated on center stage. Martha herself goes from the guitar to the drums and in doing so becomes quite theatrical and majestic. The crowd does become more animated in their engagement with a few cheers here and there while also remaining attentive with a roar of appreciation for ‘Blue Moon’, her debut single released just before Christmas. It is ‘Boom’ however that brings in the audience participation of a few finger clicks that go with the song. As Martha and her band exit the stage you could still feel an electric buzz from the audience. By the look on Martha’s face, it is like she simply cannot believe this reaction. Martha takes a spot on the stage by herself and treats the audience with a final song, an old folk classic of the North called ‘Geordie’. This seems fitting considering Martha has become an adoptive Geordie and this night on the Newcastle leg of her tour – a great homage to both the artist and the audience.
Make sure to check out Martha Hill’s single ‘Blue Moon‘ on Soundcloud now.
You can also catch her live in Edinburgh on 16 March. Check out her Facebook and Website for updates.
After Norma Jean Martine’s show at Servant Jazz Quarters in January SOLD OUT within hours of going on sale, a second date was added for the following month which unsurprisingly also sold out due to the venue’s intimate close quarters perfect for a peaceful evening such as tonight.
Liverpudlian country singer Laura Oakes opens the show immediately and her distinct echoes around the room draw in the early comers to the front. She was accompanied by a fellow guitarist and the onstage chemistry between the two echoed to her interaction with the crowd. How can you not be taken in with a Laura Oakes performance? Originals like ‘Better in Blue Jeans’ and ‘Snakes & Ladders’ had the audience captivated, as did the wonderful rendition of Elton John’s classic ‘Rocket Man’ as she induced her unique country twist onto it. There was a very relaxed atmosphere as Martine took to the stage. Many people gathered like they were having a reunion -this is the beauty of music. This is the beauty of Norma Jean Martine – bringing many people together for just a few hours while witnessing her brilliancy as she opened her set with the stomping ‘Animals’. When she performed the track ‘Angels On My Shoulders’ there were whoops from the audience as this was a live exclusive, although a few similar faces from her January date nodded knowingly as they knew this was happening for the second time. Such a heart-warming song and definitely one of hope considering the direction the world is taking! These first two numbers have Martine centre stage with the mic grasped tightly in her hand and her band lending their support with Gary on cajon, Rick on guitar and Eddie on keyboards, but for ‘I Want You To Want Me’ and ‘Hang My Hat’ the lady of the night showcases her own keyboard talents and steps into Eddie’s place bringing the audience to a standstill. She then turned to the guitar for ‘Only In My Mind’, the title track to her debut album. Martine seems very relaxed on this night and makes the audience laugh with her heartwarming stories, including that this song is about her crazy thoughts that are only in her mind. As she introduces ‘Welcome Stranger’ she jokes for those of us not on dates maybe we actually are but we do not know it yet. Could Norma Jean Martine be anymore endearing? The answer is more than likely yes as she takes back to the keyboards running through the rest of the set before the penultimate ‘No Gold’. An encore is penned in but she jokingly points out that Servant Jazz Quarters is so small that there is no point is stepping off stage for it. No Gold was, as with the whole night, performed to perfection, with the audience singing as well as moving along too, with every centimetre they could find to move around. ‘I’m Still Here’ was the final track and as soon as she got up from behind the keyboard the audience jokingly chanted for more. Gary and Rick get up to exit the stage and Eddie rejoins on keyboards and after a few introductions and giggles, the crowd finally settle back down as she sings this ‘special’ song about her Dad after a song-writing session with Burt Bacharach. The room is silenced during ‘I’m Still Here’ as the audience hang on her every note ,bringing a close to a most intimate but relaxed gig.
Dressed in layers and entering the stage for the penultimate date of the ‘Shura-pean’ tour, The Forum went into darkness as Shura took to the stage with her band (Luke – guitars, Ally – drums and Rory – bass) and kicked off the night with ‘Nothing’s Real’ to roars from the sold-out crowd. Who could have guessed that the main girl of the night was full of Shu-flu as Shura worked her way from behind the keys to the front of the stage and back again. As she gulped from a pint glass, the crowd were told that she is actually downing a hot toddie to kick her flu which also may have helped with her energy; however Shura is not a woman lacking in energy, they seem to be
getting better as the crowds grow bigger. The drive in this band is simply mind-blowing. ‘Kids N’Stuff’ kicks in with goose bumps inducing effect, any long-term fan of Shura knows that something special is going to happen at this point – the transition. Everybody was waiting for that transition and as soon as ‘Indecision’ starts, the crowd simultaneously loose control as The Forum’s atmosphere is stepped up a notch. Indeed, there was passionate crowd interaction a plenty tonight, especially during Shura’s confession that she is admittedly quite shy which she says is ironic to the career she has now. Thankfully Shura remains standing with strength and grace doing what she does best, and in quite a lump-in-throat moment we are given ‘2Shy’ going into ‘Make It Up’. “So I just released an album and every song I performed is from that album but this next one is not from that album,” is what Shura tells us. Excitement brews and I hear someone say ‘Just Once’ but it is not to be, instead a new track is presented, and ’Sacrifice’ is great testament to how Shura’s sound is still progressing. The sound is fresh and distinct, but still contains familiar elements, this is why Shura gains more recognition by the day in this ever changing cut-throat music industry.
If the night could not get any more emotional, a dedication goes out to the fans in the form of ‘Touch’, the first song written for the debut album. Whoops come from the crowd as Shura climbs into the pit to grace those who were lucky enough to get to the front barrier with her presence. It is such an exhilarating moment that it even stirs a few happy tears from the crowd as she disappears but thankfully not for too long as the encore comes with ‘White Light’ which is quite possibly Shura’s most electric track performed live. Strobes galore shine down with Shura bashing out the sample pad and sending the crowd crazy in awe that even she falls to the floor before catching a breathe to take us to the end of this ‘tidal wave of feelings’ of the Shura-pean tour to a sea of confetti.
The Waiting Room is tucked within the basement of a pub in North London, like a secret hideout. Seeming slightly ominous at first when walking down the steep stairs to a wood-walled room, this venue actually turned out to be perfect to host Tusks’s headline London debut, as the space filled up, the atmosphere was totally comfortable and intimate.
Main support – Oh Sister
The evening was kicked off by the soulful melodic tunes of Oh Sister. A solo artist with a DIY sound and electric drums system. This artist brought the warmth that the room needed, with her raw but genuine tales of love and adventure. The opening track ‘Isn’t Love Used To It Yet‘ brought on nostalgia with a sort of new-wave jazz, full of romanticized heartbreak. A sort of ambient Winehouse vibe, but with more electric guitar and less drama. With her tantalizing, stripped back voice, Oh Sister managed to encompass the whole room, however at times lacked the control over her guitar necessary for such delicate set. With her voice alone, Oh Sister could bring any crowd to their knees with a full band behind her, allowing her to concentrate on what she does best, and experiment more with ambient, atmospheric sounds.
Headliner – Tusks
An instant connection was made between Tusks and the audience and she stepped onto The Waiting Room stage tonight, and apprehension within her and her band was evident.
The first track of the set was a fan favorite ‘For You‘, however Tusks put her own twist on it. Now equipped with a full band of talented musicians, Tusks was able to break the popular hit down to its core elements and build it up into an accumulation of ambient sounds and thudding drums – it was at this point, it was clear to the crowd Tusks has more to offer in her performance tonight than ever before.
‘Poison Ivy‘ was the second song of the evening, and her voice sailed through it with grace, but we already expected this; what took us aback was the amount of power behind her voice. Tonight Tusks paired her soul-baring vocals with eerie guitar and dark bass lines, the result was all-encompassing and hugely graceful. It was touching to see Tusks explore the deeper possibilities within ambient and electro-pop music and the experimentation was made by her band. The thunderous drums and strong bass-lines brought a new level of power to the music, that just seemed to work.
Tonight Tusks took her time, putting in every delicate detail to every song. At times it seemed as though everything was in slow motion, until all musical elements were brought together at the point just before a satisfying drop.The crowd were gifted with a sneak preview of the new album with never-before-played-live tracks such as’Toronto‘ and ‘Bleach‘. An early solo track she wrote many moons ago was also showcased, which allowed Tusks to perform as she once did, with her voice pure and unaltered, and also showed how far she has developed since her first appearance. There is an air of true authenticity around Tusks as she performs, a connection is instantly made along with an atmosphere that is unbreakable.
Tonight’s gig, hosted and promoted by The Boileroom and fello blog pals thnksfrthrvw was all about showcasing female-fronted bands from a variety of musical influences and genres. With a great selection of talent, a supportive crowd and good vibes all round, tonight’s gig did exactly what it set out to do.
First Support – HYLA
HYLA are a self-proclaimed aggro-grunge quartet who have been “smashing shit up on stage since 2015” and they are not wrong. Seconds after sneaking onto the stage, the almost silent Boileroom exploded as Libby plummeted the bass drum, with Aaron (lead guitar) and Yani (bass) accompanying with heavy grunge riffs. And then lead vocalist Vicky Holburt began to sing, everything changed. It seems this band have mastered hardcore grunge in its basic, and sometimes predictable form from day 1, and have gone onto bring something entirely new to the table in the form of impassioned lyrics and vocals. Vicky’s voice is a perfect powerhouse of darkness. She lures you in with soft but cut-throat tales of betrayal and heartbreak being glided along by Aaron’s detailed riffs before reaching whole new heights of zealous screams surrounded by energetic drum beats and resounding basslines.
Not only do this female-fronted band play with such synergy that it is surprising they have only being going for a year, but they perform on stage as if they are playing to the sell-out crowd they deserve. As the set got more daring track-by-track, the crowd’s reaction became increasingly positive. The group (with the encouragement of guitarist Aaron) tried a hardcore rap tune that went down an absolute treat. It was the perfect demonstration of how versatile the group’s talents are, but also how stunning Vicky’s voice is, no matter what you put it to.
Canterbury group, The Machiavellis are another example of how much a band can progress and impress within less than a year since. The group sauntered onto the Boileroom stage and gladly showcased their distinct musicianship with a bit of instrumental jamming to warm them up before embarking on their set. The Machiavellis’ sound is led by the almost-overwhelming talents of lead guitarist, Ruben, who throughout the set continued to embrace his daring creativity and showmanship. This is an alternative-rock/grunge band that excel in instrumental abilities as well as the knack of writing 90s hooks.
This female-fronted group are intriguing to say the least, with a clear amalgamation of musical influences including the likes of Peal Jam and Patti Smith, it is the sense of adventure and experimentation that flows through their hits that makes the band one to remember. Front-woman Megg shows off a delicate, yet impassioned voice that tell relatable tales of young love and angst, this is emphasised even more in selected tracks by the use of a duel-tone pedal which separates her voice into two distinct spheres intertwining beautifully together.
This is a band worth seeing live, even if only to see how their sound is broken down into individual inputs of the members. Up-beat drums carry the melancholic tracks, while lead guitar stammers through with intricate solos. Meanwhile, rhythm guitar and bass dictate the tone of each song, from 90s grunge to more recent indie-rock. A collection of musicians have come together to form The Machiavellis who are only going to get better and better.
This is a band that are so comfortable in their own skin and with each other that half of them played tonight’s gig barefoot, while the other half were sauntering around the stage as if they were casually jamming together at home. Te first noticeable aspect of this band, (similarly to the support bands) is how can such an impassioned, ardent voice boom out of something so petit? This local group are amply named, as front-woman, Sophie did in fact seem to be surrounded by giants in regards to the size comparisons on stage, but this is more then compensated for with her huge, Florence-esk soulful vocals.
This indie-rock quartet have mastered their distinct sound, with each member playing their part to create a tightly polished collection of future hits. Set highlights included ‘Raspberry‘ and ‘All Along Nothing‘, we even got the delight of hearing a live rendition of their latest single, Lord Knows‘ (out now) which was met with positive acclaim from the growing crowd. As the set continued, the band grew more confident and energetic; part-way through, 3/4 of the band actually exited the stage, leaving us alone with Sophie’s voice to bounce off the walls. This solo track is beautifully written, with sinister lyrics “We are all human here, does that make us twisted?” that demonstrated her independent power is only emphasised by the accompaniment of screeching guitar-riffs and powerful drum beats. As their live experience develops, this band are only going to go on the up – a perfect female-fronted indie rock gem.