If it were not for my car, I’d be a rich man. Well, rich might be slightly overdone, but I’d have some reserves for sure. All my savings have somehow transformed in to car particles over the last 5 to 6 years, with the last big resurrection only a few weeks ago. So you can probably imagine how scared I got when I started my car this monday and only heard “grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrblllllllllltssssssssssss grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrblllllllllltssssssssssss grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrblllllllllltssssssssssss”. After batteries, breaks, distribution belt and what else it seemed my engine now had decided to leave this Mortal Coil. It took me a few seconds to realise that it was not the motor but the stereo of my french family shuttle that was making this repeated sound of thorn and broken speaker cones and another pair of seconds to remember that I had put the newest Mannheim in my player. “grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrblllllllllltssssssssssss grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrblllllllllltssssssssssss grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrblllllllllltssssssssssss” the baritone saxophone moans on, when the rest of the band kicks in and my heart beat remains high, no longer out of fear but in full enthusiasm.
In the unlikely event that Dinosaur Jr. would ever join up with a reincarnation of The Screaming Trees to record some songs together, they’d probably sound like Avery Plains. They combine the dark and swampy sound of team Lanegan with sharp indie and noise rock of fighting brothers Barlow and Mascis (and silent witness, Murph). Loud and ferocious like, any band with four guitars on eleven. A racket, in the most positive sense of the word.
The Gloomy Ones, our introduction to this band from Groningen, incorperates two fiercely smashing guitars, a wild but melodic bass guitar and a third lead guitar sounding very much like Medicine and My Bloody Valentine; loud, piercing, noisy, yet extremely melodic. Amidst all this pumping and thumping noise, Jurgen Veenstra’s dark and warm voice brings a calm backdrop, like the eye of a storm. This is actually where Veenstra’s vocal delivery comes closest to Lanegan, in tone ánd in intention, emitting the same subdued rage.
On the flip side, Avery Plains shows yet another face by adding a rough country feel to their grungy sound. But Lost My Sight To Spider is menacing all the same, not the least because of its well-balanced backing vocals. Giving it an extra heavy, stalking doomsday vibe. Something’s afoot, so brace yourself…
The single will be released on the 6th of April by Dutch underground label Subroutine Records and can already be pre-order on their site.
One can already hear The Gloomy Ones on the bandcamp of Avery Plains.
There is this moment in the self-titled album of The Fire Harvest when you most likely will be cursing the quartet. Cursing them wholeheartedly from the depths of your soul. During the fifty-sixth second of the fourth minute in the fourth song on their debut you’ll feel betrayed. Betrayed for there is no fifty-sixth second in that fourth minute. Even though Secret Holy Place (that specific fourth song of three minutes and fifty-five seconds) has one of the best slow-core grooves of this year going on. The Fire Harvest lets the song die, starve slowly in a fade out. A fade out that comes ten minutes (too) early, because even on repeat that song is cut too short and you as a listener are left wanting. Wanting and waiting for more. Frustrated, as a junky who has set the needle but never got to the rush, the high or the damage. A trip cut short, the meditation broken.
In the line of artists like Low, Mount Eerie, Codeine, early Songs: Ohia and Karate, The Fire Harvest likes to take it slow (real slow). Two distorted guitars shriek and pound long stretched chords, whilst a drummer refrains from drumming most of the time and the vocalist proclaims his lyrics more than he sings them. Songs that have the same intensity as, and somehow remind me of, Dutch slow-core kings Solbakken (The Sounds In Our House and Laywer_Killer) pass by and just tear me apart. As with Solbakken, The Fire Harvest are mostly unknown in the Netherlands, but create a sound and – more importantly – an atmosphere that is comparable with the international sadcore/slow-core/whatever you want to name these bands that keep speed low and repetition high in their songs. Unknown (in which format does play a role, The Fire Harvest came on a limited Walkman with cassette), but nonetheless a gem to cherish.
The best way for a drummer to stick around with Traumahelikopter is to not learn or unlearn how to drum. Two toms and a crash is all you need to be able to play and preferably not with too many variations. The trio hailing from the upper north of the Netherlands wants to sound like a racket; dirty, sweaty and catchy as hell. Two guitars, two singers and a guy who beats two pots and a pan. Reminiscent of lofi blues punk bands such as The Oblivians, Traumahelikopter perfectly fits the current garage rock wave lead by Ty Segall playing catchy pop tunes in an uncompromising and forward focused fashion. Bad ass pop tunes that rock like a boat on full sea in the midst of Sandy.
In the last few years they have conquered many rock ’n roll heart with simple, raw and pure rock ’n roll, leaving a small film of sweat and passion on every stage they stood on, solo or as opening act of Mikal Cronin, Segall and the likes.
A passion which is also captured in Kids and Bad Day on the 7″ preceding their self-titled full length debut. Both are taken from the record and not only capture the essences of the band’s live performances, but also give a clear idea of the 28 minutes of sheer garage punk that this full length is going to give. Especially Kids is one of those fist-pumping-shout-a-long garage rock anthems that immediately can be sung along and never leave your audio memory again. One of the best out of the eleven tunes on the debut, but the other ten (including Bad Day) will be amongst the best and dirtiest rock songs you are about to hear in 2013.