That all started with the release of their self-titled album in March of course but tonight, with the band slowing songs down to add even more groove than usual, guitarist Slim throwing rock star moves, and frontman Myke Terry’s contant demands for people to put their hands in the air, jump up and down, and bang their heads (not at the same time, mind), it’s arrived live and in the flesh. As much as they throw their all behind it though, if the, ahem, limited attendance and odd atmosphere tonight are anything to go by then the changeover is not going entirely smoothly.
Ok sure, the songs, both old and new, are great- ‘Magnolia’ is still a brilliantly violent burst of noise, ‘House Of Straw’ is a moshable monster, and newie ‘Fever Dream’ might be the best thing BYD have ever written- but they don’t all sit well together. And occasionally, like when the wicked shimmy of ‘Top Gun’ tramples all over the smoother finish of ‘Hands To Hide The Shame’, or when Terry struggles to switch between low growls and clean singing quick enough, they downright sound like the work of different bands. And with the crowd unsure whether to throw down or headbang, windmill or play air guitar, the whole night ends up feeling a little… awkward.
Bury Your Dead are still in the middle of an evolution then, that much is clear, and while it does feel like they’ve got a decent shot at making it stick, tonight illustrates it clearly isn’t finished. Time, and whether another tour gets booked soon, will tell here.
Sure, The Casino Brawl might pander to US acts like Every Time I Die but they do it mighty well, throwing themselves about with addictive enthusiasm and cracking out one song that could almost make breakdowns worth doing again. Almost. A few more tours, a bit more confidence, and just a bit of luck and they could brilliant. Next up though, and Rolo Tomassi are already there.
Second on and the Sheffield noiseniks haven’t just advanced giant leaps over the past year; they’ve very quickly become a frighteningly competent and complete proposition. Hyper-intense older cuts like ‘Film Noir’ still swell with a glorious sense of danger but the release of debut album ‘Hysterics’ has given them a much fuller palette to work with and splat across the room. ‘I Love Turbulance’ combines streamlined rage with eerie serenity, ‘Fofteen’ is an explosion of spidery riffs and feral screams, and ‘Abraxas’ is a thrilling bleeping, screeching slice of fried gold. It’s all brilliant, and should make things very difficult for the headliners.
Except The Ghost Of A Thousand are flawless. Ok, so frontman Tom Lacey has to transmit it to the crowd directly, climbing off the stage and starting a circle pit himself, but there’s more energy coming off this band than a toddler with his wet fingers in a plug socket and armed only with direct punk rock songs (albeit every one better than anything Gallows have written) they make the West End Centre feel like the only place in the world for a rock fan to be tonight.
‘Bored Of Math’ is a raw but razor-sharp call-to-arms, ‘Black Art Number One’ is brutal but brilliantly catchy, and new song ‘Running On Empty’ bodes very well indeed for the Brighton outfit’s second album due early next year. They don’t hang around to plug that though, and like all the best bands of their genre they make their set a short, sharp, satisfying shock and leave Aldershot clearly wanting more. After that, even the refreshing rain outside makes perfect sense. The gods, geography, and genre divisions be damned then- this worked out wonderfully.
Opener ‘Beholder’ is epic, almost ten minutes long and built layer upon layer upon layer, ‘Rumors Of An Apocalypse’ churns past rattled yelps, punk hooks and post-everything dirges like the band were actually pushed for time by the coming end of days, and the complex guitars, gunshot drums and bitter words of ‘Eulogy’ make for a fitting, fiery climax. For all the successes, superior moments, and thrilling suggestions that hardcore is alive and well here though, Antilles seem destined to burn brightly, burn brief, and fade away like their obvious influences. But then they probably wouldn’t want it any other way. Awesome.
Now this is disappointing. About a year back New-Noise was heaping all sorts of praise on Surrey five-piece Tonight Is Goodbye. Sure the band looked a little formulaic, all tight jeans and fancy hair, but on disc they were brilliant. And not just decent for such young dudes, or better than average if you like that kind of thing, but damn near essential. Here on new mini-album ‘Castles’ though, some vital ingredient has been lost...
...Read on here.
Opener ‘Untrust Us’ is a hypnotic squish of gameboy bleeps, bass beats and alien vocals, ‘1991’ is a dreamy skit on nu-rave and if ‘Alice Practice’ shows what these two are capable of without even trying, their synthed-up cover of HEALTH’s ‘Crimewave’ illustrates the singular, spacey heights they can reach when they force all four feet down on the accelerator. Deeper in and ‘Love And Caring’ is a glam-rock pulse-rifle on overload, ‘Courtship Dating’ is so good that Timbaland stole it and sold it to 50 Cent (karma perhaps?), and ‘Black Panther’ is solid gold electro-pop- bound to make your mouth water whether you party hard, dance late, or stay home in front of a stereo. Seriously, this is much more than hip hoodies and trendy jeans. Believe the hype.
For starters the ‘Buttons don’t rely on any formula or fashion. Instead they mulch up all manner of sounds, styles, elements and even entire genres to spit them out as waves of sound and walls of noise. Just check opener ‘Sweet Love For Planet Earth’, a near ten-minute electronic epic that feigns twinkling tenderness before a single slowly-distorting riff and indecipherable feral vocals turn it into something much darker and more destructive, or closer ‘Colours Move’- oddly alien but raw and muddy and sounding like the perfect thing for David Lynch’s next end credits too.
Hell, this could all be film soundtrack stuff. Sure, where ‘Sweet Love…’ could soar over some ambitious drama or epic battle scene, ‘Bright Tomorrow’ sounds like something from the outback sections of Crocodile Dundee, but there’s a hyper-intense and addictive raw power to every drum thud, feedback roar and unfamiliar noise. By virtue of that name the duo are never going to be as big as other similarly experimental acts, but ‘Street Horrrsing’ remains a galloping beginning and more than proves the Buttons, given some careful editing, could be capable of future world-shaking brilliance.
PNEU + Silent Front + Shield Your Eyes + Cassette Cassee + Wow! Pigeon Eyes. West End Centre, Aldershot. 29.02.08
Looking and sounding like they’ve stayed up way too late drinking and listening to everything off of Steve Albini’s CV (yeah, even that Bush album) local trio Wow! Pigeon Eyes ruffle feathers first. And despite their more angular attacks the band make good on promises of pop music, combining their punk spit with some shining off-kilter melodies. Sure they’re sloppy and fuzzy and gloriously out-of-tune in places but they aren’t half satisfyingly loud and direct. And at least they ply their trade from an actual stage.
Next up see, Shield Your Eyes, Silent Front, and Cassette Cassee each stake a claim on a corner of the room and proceed to play a song in turn- kind of like Jools Holland without Jools Holland- and man does it work. Shield Your Eyes start, sounding raw and rusty even, but playing with a Kinsella-esque sense of abandon. Their more loose-limbed efforts suggest incredible things to come but their time is not now. Cassette Cassee are better, melding scything guitars, intensity, art, and drama to make the sort of noise At The Drive-In fans will start dribbling over. And of course it’s always good to have a frontman who spends more time yowling at an already disorientated audience than singing his lines.
Londoners Silent Front have a little more decorum. But just a little. Sounding like punk fans in a hardcore band playing Rage Against The Machine covers (also mixed with whatever else you need to make that feel really fucking good), the trio drive their tunes home with a goddamn hammer. ‘Misanthrope’ is a curling ball of rage, ‘One Off The List…’ prangs and roars like a jet engine and when the show finishes with frontman Phil bent double, screaming into his guitar, it’s clear that, if there has to be one, these three men take top prize from tonight’s tête a tête a tête.
The big win though, goes to Parisien two-man marauders, Pneu. Also forgoing a stage, the duo set up right in the middle of the room and tell absolutely no-one before launching into their grinding everything-core. They only know enough English to quickly thank the people crowding so tightly around them so spend the usual chat-time playing more songs that sound like exploding bombs, like Hella, back on the guided missile they hopped off before recording their last album, or like Death From Above 1979, only with more death. Hell, Mike Patton probably already has their phone numbers, Aldershot loves them too, and when Pneu screech to a halt tonight, everybody goes home happy. Beautiful after all then, but that thing about the beards was fairly accurate though.
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