Release date: 11th November 2016
Guildford lads Blackwaters first caught our attention whilst reeling people in and making a right ol’ noisy mess at Camden Rocks Fest in the summer, playing early hits such as ‘Fiction‘ and ‘Moon On A Stick‘. Since then, these four boys have really gone up in the world, as their following increases and their name is starting to appear on big announcements such as Live At Leeds 2017, Blackwaters are now able to get more creative and ambitious with their music – and this shows in their most recent release, So Far Out.
This is the band’s most fast-paced track yet, at the end of it you are left exhausted – but I think this is the intended effect. After a perfectly chant-able opening hook, front man, Max Tanner comes in with comical tales of drunken nights, like a young, rowdier Jamie T. The chorus hits and this is where the punk vibes shine through. With guitarist David Carpenter blasting out a strong re-verb heavy lead backed by James Watkins‘s brain-crushing drums. You instantly get the very fuzzy visualisation of your messiest ever night, and the shamelessness of it all. Blackwaters have finally managed to convey the turbulent, roughhouse action of their live performances into a recorded track, a massive accomplishment for the rising band.
The music video features the band members rushing through the streets of their hometown, Guildford with mates and various hits of madness. Check it out below.
Date: 11 November 2016
Venue: The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Leeds is full of music venues of all shapes and sizes, and the Brudenell Social Club is a surreal time machine. Though new comers are skeptical upon entering, reassurance greets them along with familiar groups, bass blaring out of the back room and the same shitty beers.
Main support – Mums
The young three-piece from Widnes gingerly approach the stage and started warming up the crowd with an unassuming bass line and a low-key drum beat before bursting into some agro-rock magic, reminiscent of similar young grunge bands such as allusondrugs. This band have the right image and vision for what they want to achieve, but it is apparent that they are still in the early stages of progression, leaving them at risk of being stuck as another ‘Nirvana-wannabe-band’. However, technical difficulties suffered by the band throughout and some unsettling nerves surely contributed to this some and as the set went on, the distinctive sounds and styles of Mums began to shine through, reminding us of other fuzzy noise-rock bands such as Groves and Lake of Snakes.
The track ‘Enemy’s Museum’ made quite the impression, with head-crushing bass blaring out and front man Jack Evans’s surprisingly measured screams, a quality that is becoming increasingly rare in bands. Mums were kind enough to give a low-key interval, with ominous bass lines to allow you to breathe before smacking you around the face once more, their music living of heavy reverb and droning riffs.
At times, Mums got it absolutely right, with sinister lyrics and apathetic strumming that sent you into a grungy trace – drummer Lewis O’Neil was also possibly the highlight of the set with comical and light-hearted approaches to the heaviest and dirtiest tunes – but at other moments songs were attempted to be stuffed with distorted layers of guitar, leaving the music almost incomprehensible.
Mums have recently released their debut album, Land Of Giants on Superstar Destroyer which is grabbing the attention of many across the UK, as the band settles into what they want to be, their music will hopefully rise to a higher standard them more confident and satisfied – we can’t wait to see how they grow.
Headliners – TRAAMS
We saw TRAAMS soon before the release of their debut album as the main support act for Eagulls (Check out the lovely review here) and since then the band has rapidly matured, with a more creative and polished set and more confidence leaking off the players – however frontman Stuart Hopkins remains minimal in audience engagement with the odd playing-it-cool “cheers” at the end of a track.
The Chichester boys opened with ‘Costner‘, a familiar hit with fans from the debut album and an exciting opener for the first-timers with vibes similar to Drenge. Despite progressing onto the next step of maturity in their structure, TRAAMS remain a sort of organised chaos, one that has an experimental twist throughout created by Stuart who seemingly makes it up as he goes a long – and it just works. The following song was ‘Get Outta Here‘, featured a punk-esk guitar riff throughout to lay the foundation for drummer Adam Stock to really excel in heart-pounding bass beats. It must have been humbling for the band members to witness the crowd recognize and sing along to their stuff in the typical rowdy tones, a recent departure from the early stages of playing live in which people continue to be skeptical of each song and always wanting more – TRAAMS are really starting to own their band identity.
The highlight of the set had to be their most recent single, ‘A House On Fire’ bringing an electric vibe to the whole room. With an 80s style bass line that could spark memories of Joy Division and the continuous chanting throughout, front man Stuart found himself in his element, with a battering guitar commotion and apathetic screams (a smile may have even appeared). A definite exhaustion appeared after every song, and I think that was the intended effect.
TRAAMS have also grown more experimental in their live sets, progressing from rushing through many short and snappy hits, to taking their time to fry our brains with reverb-heavy blaring guitar. In many of the tracks such as ‘Head Roll‘, the crowd would be built up through mounting drums and riled up lyrics before reaching an instrumental breakdown where Adam, Leigh and Stuart would join forces and gradually descend into manic white-noise. The instrumental ability of these guys and the energy they manage to generate despite being relatively static on stage is what makes TRAAMS distinct from other, more armature sad-punk bands attempting to do the same. Now they are starting to headline their own shows and no longer have to make creative compromises, they can continue to build in more risky and mind-melting aspects into their music.
Released: Out now
The Fem Doms comprise of four dudes and two girls from New York who have been creating trendy psych-rock noise for just over a year. Ahead of their upcoming EP ‘Attic‘, they have ‘dropped’ this lil’ number (get it). It is an instantly gratifying tune with catchy hooks a meaningful backstory.
The track opens with a fiery foundation of guitar riffs, it no wonder their sound consists of many layers of riffs with three guitarists in the band. As the front man, Chris sings of watching from afar as a friend descends into their demons, there is a strong connection made with this impassioned lyrics detailing the all-too-frequent hardship of losing loved ones to drugs and other vices. The chorus then sees head-bang worthy drums and a much larger vocal presence during “But I never tried”, the sort of chorus that would be belted across the room by everyone in the crowd at a gig. This song, along with previously released ‘Flood Town‘ and ‘THUMP‘ have the sort of courageous sound for a less-established band that only the real deal could master, it brings both a feeling of excitement for what’s to come as well as a gratifying familiarity.
As the band go on tour around America (sorry UK) this summer they are sure to bring together the early-committers and the lucky people who won’t know what’s hit them. The Fem Doms are definitely a Lock In Music’s ‘Ones To Watch’
The Fem Doms are now on tour!
Get tickets and info here and give them a like while you’re at it.
Check out the new single ‘Dropped‘:
Listen to ‘Pink Dogs‘ and other beauties from Cross Wires here:
Date: 19th May 2016
Venue: Islington Assembly Hall, London
Main Support: TRAAMS
Following the success of their second LP release, ‘Ullages‘ (13 May 2016), the Leeds five-piece group set upon their international tour, hitting up Europe, the States and of course, London. The band has been likened to The Cure and The Smiths, these influences are apparent in Eagulls’ new album in the foundations, but they have gone on to expand these sounds, and explore a new, more down-to-earth place within their new release. I was at first curious and somewhat apprehensive of how this new material would do on the live stage, as this slow, angst-filled style can often deplete into dull and dreary moans when played live. And the verdict? Pleasantly surprised. And the Islington Assembly Hall was the perfect venue to host this sold-out showcase of 80s post-punk magic.
First support – 99 Watts
Rating – ★★☆☆☆
This opening one-man-band came onto the stage, revealing that he was Eagulls’ driver for their tour, and it was pleasant to see a part of the Eagulls family support them on this fine evening. His music was created as he stood alone, centre stage with nothing but his electric guitar and a loop-pedal, the face that he managed to create a sound so huge it filled the room and bounced off the walls is impressive.
His experimental guitar creations, with organic layers of spacey, psychadelic sounds were booming around the room and getting more and more daring as the set progressed. However, I’m not sure whether I was because I was too sober and far away from the drug-induced haze required to fully connect with the music, but____ is an acquired taste to say the least. This act would, once fully polished, be of good-value in a spacey prog-band with his creative experimentation with time signatures and pacing.
Main support – TRAAMS
Rating – ★★★★☆ (+ 1/2)
This three-piece group walked onto the stage very gingerly and unassuming, spreading an air of apprehension across the room before picking up their guitars and drum sticks. However, once they began, TRAAMS arrived hot and heavy onto the scene. The first noteworthy aspect that was simply unavoidable was the outstanding, seemingly never-ending power coming from guitarist and vocalist, Stu Hopkins. He jumped across the stage, hammering at the strings with such ferocity that just when you thought he had surely done enough, he just kept going, seemingly living purely off reverb and amp feedback.
The group had minimal crowd interaction, but enough connection was made through the tracks – their music spoke for itself in an explosion of raging social anxiety and angst. This was especially true for crowd favourites such as ‘Costner‘ which were centred around Stu’s guitar battering talents – and rightly so. The influences of, Sonic Youth and Wire were apparent throughout TRAAMS’ set, and front man Stu’s awkward and tantalising manoeuvrings around the stage while shouting into the mic were reminiscent of what Ian Curtis might be like if he were still around today. The highlight of the set had to be the youthful riot worthy tune ‘Succulent Thunder Anthem‘, with its almost sinister outbreak of energy and vocal tones reminiscent of early Joy Division material. TRAAMS ended their time on stage well, with their final track really showcasing their instrumental skills in what can only be described as an enduring feat of musical rage that just kept building before walking off the stage, sweat pouring off them with their guitars still bleeding reverb noise.
Their album ‘Modern Dancing‘ is out now, available in all the regular places.
Check out their website here
Headliners – Eagulls.
Rating – ★★★★☆
After a long wait, the band came on stage, led by vocalist George Mitchell suited in brown tweed (very 80s). As he took off his blazer, and started drinking from his accompanying bottle of red wine, the show began.
This band have grown significantly since their first self-titled album based on the gutting realities of being young in England today, and this was clear from their opening track, ‘Heads or Tails‘. They now know who they are, what their band identity is and now they’re just enjoying it with more risks and experimentation – the lyrics ‘let’s take a stab in the dark tonight’ sum this up perfectly. The influence of post-punk 80s icons such as Chameleons and The Cure are still alive within their music, but it’s clear from tonight’s performance that Eagulls have now moved into the somewhat dystopian future with their latest album ‘Ullages‘. The band released an all encompassing curtain across the crowd, which rose and fell as their songs ebbed and flowed with perfection taking us all on the same journey with them. This new album should not be criticised for having less catchy tunes, it should be admired for demonstrating the synergy in this band, between all five talented members. As Mitchell lowers the tone of the song, letting it fall if only for a second, the guitars suddenly unite with drummer, Henry Ruddel just in time to lift it all back up into a dreamy trance again.
Mitchell’s voice and lyrics juxtapose otherwise energetic and perhaps even uplifting instrumental music to bring a haunting melancholy undertone to the whole affair. Eagulls’ hypnotic preaching of a bleak, dystopian world is emphasised further by Mitchell’s flouncing movements around the stage, the words effortlessly bleeding out of him as he dances, mic lead in hand. This is something many thought only Morrissey could do with any success for some time, and yet here it is being done. Overall, its clear that this band of five from Leeds have grown from their first album pursuit, and are not going to end their strive to bring back the 80s in the form of simultaneously hopeful and dreading truths of the ugliness in our world.
Latest LP ‘Ullages‘ is out and available now, stream it here
(Feature image: instagram/poroustaurus)