THE AR-KAICS.

15 12 2015

 

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I don’t really agree with sharing weaknesses with anyone, but when it comes to music I’ll gladly unveil the kind of music that sends my heart fluttering and my legs to go like jelly. I like to listen to all kinds of music, but what really grabs my attention is something that sounds like a mixture of 60s Garage with something passionately aggressive. Something that moves you emotionally but also makes you want to slam your body into the nearest drum kit. With everyone else reeling off the bands that got them going with their indulgent end of year list, I’ll just ramble about a band that are relatively new (but probably aren’t.) Let’s not dwell on the past, let’s head into the unknown listening to a band that are everything I want from music.

The Ar-Kaics are 4 pals from Virginia. They sound like The Vagrants and The Gruesomes. They are my idea of a great time, my concept of a great band. The kind of band you’d hope someone would listen to and be inspired to go out and make their own kind of noise. They’ve got a basement band sound, you feel like when you listen to them you’re spying on a band rehearsing. The rawness in their sound is unlike anything I’ve heard recently, and it gives you some much needed faith in modern music.

 

Their songs are short. But part of you is wanting them to last a little while longer, but the other part of you knows that it would just ruin the moments in your mind if it was stretched out. These are the songs for kids in cold, desolate bedrooms to throw their body around to. For those who are uncomfortable in their skin and are attempting to thrash their way out of their hell. The Ar-Kaics are one of those bands that don’t happen all too often, and I’m such a fool for not finding them sooner. I just believe that music should leave you feeling something. It doesn’t matter what, but it’s always useful when it is something positive. The Ar-Kaics have that teenage lust/wonder in their music that is so important to hold onto. When you lose that as you head into adulthood, you cling onto the feelings of youth wherever you can.

If like me you are wishing to escape everyone lobbing Christmas songs your way, The Ar-Kaics are the dream band to listen to whilst you escape it all. Go back in time, or forward a couple months. The Ar-Kaics could be anyone’s favourite band, so let it start with you.

You can listen to their gorgeous sounds right here:

https://thearkaics.bandcamp.com/

 

 

 





Interview with GIRL TEARS.

17 04 2014

GT

 

There are very few bands who can grip you by the throat so passionately with their music on first listen. Better still, with their first record. I can name a handful (I won’t) of bands that have debut records that do this. They are the records you still go back to more than once a week. I don’t mean bands from decades ago, I mean more recent times. It is so easy now to put something out, and to then be forgotten. But there are a few that, when I’m old and irritating those in the care home with my rowdy music, I will remember fondly and love them as much as I do right now.

A band that have become very important and dear to me over the past 6 months or so are Girl Tears. They are 3 guys from LA who make the kind of music that makes you believe pieces of Punk is still alive. The real raw essence of Punk is in their music, so it seemed obvious that I would really love this band. Kam, Sal and Tristan make music that smacks you upside the head and goes right into your gut. The lyrics get to you and the sheer boldness in the music, the short punchy songs really get you to the core. I’ve no heard anything like this in a long time.

In an ideal world I would have interviewed Girl Tears after a sweaty and ferocious LA show, but for now let’s just work with email. I sent the questions over to the band after they played SXSW as I wanted to hear first hand what it was like for a new band to play such a notorious event. An event that, some may argue as now a corporate affair- but the music lovers will see it for what it is. It’s a showcase for new music, and new music is always a pleasure to find and enjoy.

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I asked Girl Tears what it was like to play SXSW and mentioned a quote from Alison Mosshart who stated that playing during the day in the blistering heat and sunshine isn’t meant for their music. A few other bands have said this, including the wonderful Dum Dum Girls.

 

Tristan: “SXSW was great. Crazy at times – but really great. We got to meet a lot of people and see some great bands. It would definitely be easier to go just to watch bands vs. playing. Getting around the city in the van was a little hectic, but you kind of have to expect that. We didn’t have to deal with any media people at all – I don’t think anyone really cares about us haha – there was like 916 other cooler bands there. I think this is actually the first interview we’ve ever done?!  We played pretty much every type of show – a bar, an outdoor stage, a record store, a big tent, a barn(?), a backyard show, and a pool party. It was really fun. Playing in the day is kind of weird, especially for our type of music, people aren’t really that hyped to be berated by loud, fast music at 12 in the afternoon. Especially when most of them probably had been drinking the night before. But we got lucky – it wasn’t too hot that week, so that was nice.”

 

See dear reader, don’t listen to all the cynics that say SXSW is some corporate shindig. It is everything to bands like Girl Tears because they get to show new fans what they are about. As a band that play mainly shows in LA, playing in Austin is a big deal for them.

 

Kam: “I drank more beer and slept fewer hours, than probably any other week of my life. That was my SXSW. It was great. Like Tristan said, we played day shows, we played night shows, played in houses, in backyards, on stages, in a barn, in a liquor store, in a record shop… it’s all just kind of a blur at this point, but I can’t wait for next year.”

Sal: “SXSW was a dream. The luxury of living in LA is that most bands stop here for tour anyway, so (with the exception of getting to check out some new bands) I was able to just focus on our shows and hanging out with as many people as I could. In that respect, it didn’t disappoint, because it was pretty much a great vacation from work and the shows were terrific and extremely diverse. I wouldn’t trade any of the experience there for anything else, and enjoyed meeting all the people I got to meet!”
Just go through their Instagram page, and you’ll see tons of photos of the band having fun at SXSW. I really enjoyed their photos of them seeing Dum Dum Girls play. Girl Tears are excited about finding new music as they are making it. This attitude really comes through in their debut record, Tension. Which (and I’m not being biased) is honestly one of the strongest debut records I’ve heard in a long time. It’s got the dark, distorted feel that is found in the beloved Psychocandy. I feel like I’m in 1985 not 2014. So what could possibly influence a band like Girl Tears? For me they do sound like Iggy Pop, the Ramones and The Birthday Party bumped heads in a drunken bar brawl and Girl Tears happened. What made them all want to make music?
Tristan: I would have to say that Operation Ivy made me want to play in a band & make music. The first time I heard them – it was totally one of those moments where I was so intrigued and confused as to what I was hearing. I had never heard music like that before, or that type of recording. I seriously thought something was wrong with the speakers. And then of course I couldn’t stop listening to it, and I dreamed about how fun it would be to play in a band like that, with all that energy and sincerity. And then a couple of years later I bought my first bass (that I still use!) from a friend. Since then I have played in a bunch of different bands – but Girl Tears is the first band I feel completely natural in –  with that energy that I have been lusting after since I first heard Operation Ivy!
I’m fairly sure in a few years time, people will be saying this about Girl Tears and citing them as influences. Each band member is influenced by something different to the other, and that really comes through in their music.
Kam: “The Replacements are a big one for me, The Ramones, The Nerves, everything Dischord and SST put out in the 80s, all the Slumberland bands, the Sacred Bones bands, Lolipop bands, Burger bands, so much.”
10 points go immediately to Kam for mentioning the above labels.
Sal: “I feel like more than any of my friends, I had to discover everything on my own. My parents listened to pop music and I’ve always had different tastes, which made for great contrasts and unfortunately discovering everything late. The very first music I ever got into was metal on MTV when they used to play music! From there it was borrowing Metallica and Led Zeppelin tapes at the library and it’s all been downhill from there, haha. Still, what I love the most about the band is first and foremost the diversity amongst the three of us and how different we all are as people and musicians. Each person has their unique perspective on everything and together, the results are always unpredictable and super fun.”
That’s exactly why this band have a brilliant tight sound. They all bring something else; their influences aren’t typical or predictable- but they all have one thing in common. Kam, Sal and Tristan have mentioned bands that play with the same passion as they do. That kind of love for what you do is infectious, it just makes you adore them even more.
There’s one other thing that really made me love their music and what they do, and that’s their artwork. Their artwork is created by Tristan. I’m fascinated with his artwork- mainly because in my family, my uncle is the real creative one. He got me into Punk, he’s in a Punk band and is a brilliant artist. He drew me a birthday card last year with Patti Smith on. He also once drew me a picture of the Backstreet Boys, but I was 11 years old and didn’t know any better. What I wanted to know was how Tristan approached his art, is it the same as how he makes music?
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*This photo is the flyer for their show at The Satellite by Tristan.
Tristan: “I’d like to think my approach to art is similar to music. Most of my art is pretty basic – black and white, heavy contrast etc. I think the way I try to play music is very similar, the whole “less is more” idea goes a long way for me; I always have the thought in the back of my head of “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. With art and music – I think a lot of people get excited with new techniques, or pedals, or effects they’ve learned how to use and want to incorporate them – but a lot of times it just comes out kind of wrong, or forced or gaudy you know? So I feel like you can’t go wrong if you keep it basic. I don’t know though, it might be because I can’t see colors that well and I’m not that great of a bass player! Haha! So I have to keep it basic!”
His art is just as brilliant as his bass playing, he’s just being modest. Girl Tears are down to earth chaps who care about music, and it really comes through. That’s how it should be. There’s no ego here, they just want to be heard. They have to be heard.
Girl Tears live in a place where if you’re not in a band, you’re probably an actor. A place where art, music and film is everything and is everywhere. As beautiful as this can be, it can also be a place where dreams wither and die. It can bring the best out of you, but it can also drain you. Everyone is facing the same struggle with their art, and if you see someone else’s hopes be crushed- does it deter you or does it make you tougher? Everyone is different. Some can cope with this kind of pressure, others just fold. The best way of course, is to just keep going and to ignore most obstacles. To never acknowledge others telling you that you cannot do something. Just how hard is it to be heard in the City of Angels?
Kam: “It can be difficult, most definitely. There are a trillion bands in LA, and you’re totally right, if someone’s not in a band they are an artist, or an actor, or a writer, or something. The only thing I know to do is ignore all of that, and try my hardest to make something that is honest and true to who I am, and who we are, as a band. At the end of the day that’s all that really matters to me. Also our friends at Lolipop Records and Dirty Laundry TV have helped us enormously, we’re really lucky to know good people in LA.”
Sal: “I’ve been playing music for so long and I’ve been in bands where the only goal was to push ourselves as much as possible to get “big”. The place I’m at right now is where I’m completely happy just hanging out with Kam and Tristan and love playing these songs every chance we get. We’ve had some great opportunities which blows my mind, but I’m trying to take it all as it comes, so being just one band amongst millions is just fine with me!”
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Girl Tears are sentimental chaps who love each other and love what they do. Their music is at times dark, raw and in your face. But are these three like that? Oh I highly doubt it. Their songs, like I have mentioned many times before, really does keep the manifesto of Punk alive. They’ve got the short, punchy songs down to a fine art. Their songs sound right at just under 2 minutes long. But then you have bands like Warpaint who have some songs that last over 5 minutes, and they sound perfect that way. Warpaint jam on stage for close to 10 minutes after the song has ended, but Girl Tears manage to melt your face and blow your mind in under 2 minutes. Both are polar opposites, but are bands that you just need to witness live (I’m still waiting to see Girl Tears live, but I’m 100% sure their live show would leave me wanting to start a band.) Is having short songs something Girl Tears set out to do?
Kam: “You know, truthfully I don’t think I know what I’m doing half the time. I think when I’m writing songs, I’m just trying to do what feels right and what makes sense in the moment. This album is what made sense to me at the time. All these lyrics, it’s not necessarily how I’m feeling 100% of my life, but in the moments that I wrote it, they were totally honest and real. All I wanna do is write songs that are honest. Whether they are 1 minute long, or 8 minutes long, I’m down for whatever. As long as it’s fucking real, ya know?”
So there you have it. An insight into one of the most exciting bands around. A band that really love what they are doing and aren’t doing it to seek approval from others. Their fans are dedicated and truly believe in them. In a short amount of time, Girl Tears have become one of L.A’s most exciting and genuine bands around. They’ve got something that goes beyond words. Their music has heart, guts, passion, soul and all in between. Their plan over the next year or so is to keep playing live, record more, keep writing and tour some more.
Listen to their music: http://girltears.bandcamp.com/ and play as loud as you like.
Play at night for the full effect and allow yourself to be moved by something truly gorgeous, sinister and rambunctious. Girl Tears are my favourite new band; it’s about time they became yours.




FROTH.

11 04 2014

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When your mind races and your body feels like it is seizing up, the only cure for this is to listen to music. Aside from cruel diseases, music is a cure. It eases loneliness, it drives away sadness, it can bring joy- it’s more than a cure. It’s everything. It can stop fear momentarily. There is something about it that can make you feel as if you can do anything. The ultimate high.

You find a band sometimes that instantly makes you wish that right now, you were elsewhere. In body you can be in one place, but in mind you are some place else. I suppose it gets messy when your heart gets involved, but I’ll try to avoid that for now. I suppose when you can escape in your mind well…it’s cheaper than an actual holiday. My body hasn’t felt right since I came back from Brussels; I am desperate to go back. Anyway, this is about music- not my desire to go back to Brussels.

Froth are a Los Angeles band that with first listen, you’re going to wish you lived in LA. Although, maybe it is the idea of LA that will lure you in. Froth have got a sound that is found in a lot of bands I love; a typical blissed out Psychedelic sound with 60s Girl Group harmonies. A real Garage Rock vibe is surrounding Froth’s music, and it is so easy to love them on first listen. It’s like seeing a cute puppy for the first time. What  love the most about Froth is that they don’t sound like a band that are around now. There’s a wave of nostalgia in their music that too, is found in a few bands that I am fans of. That’s another reason to love them. Their debut record came out last year (Patterns) and it’s probably one of the most underrated records of the year. Let’s not make the same mistake again. The whole point of making a mistake is to learn from them. Some mistakes are fun to keep on making, so I guess they aren’t really a mistake. There can be beauty in a fuck-up.

I’ve said it about a few bands before, but Froth make the kind of music I wish I could. Their sound is beautifully relaxed with a gorgeous Psychedelic glare. They’ve got a real DIY ethic, and if you’ve got a label like Lolipop Records and Burger Records putting your music out there, it is easy to see why. I’ve read some snippets about Froth, and I’ve read that their live show is something that needs to be seen; as you listen to their music it is easy to imagine what it would be like. Froth are a band for those who REALLY love music, and I’d imagine they would attract a passionate crowd to their shows.

As Summer is faced approaching, the pressure of heading to a beach can be a drag for those like myself who cannot (and will not) part with their black clothing and Docs. How am I supposed to relax when I feel like I am melting? Surely there are better places to hang out? Good luck if you’re in LA. But, I suppose you’d find some place better. My point is, if you dress like me (do people call you a scruff too?!) and you know what the Summer means, then just listen to Froth. Something about their music will make you feel less dreadful about imminent heatwaves galore! There’s only so long you can stay indoors before you totally lose it. Find a tree and just sit under it. Froth are a band that you can just shut off to; there is something really assuring about their music. You feel as if you’ve heard it before, but the truth is- you’ve not heard anything quite like it.

I may never get to visit LA, but I feel like I’m already there when I listen to Froth.

So, if you want some Summertime grooves or something to just soothe your soul, then give Froth a listen: http://froth.bandcamp.com





GIRL TEARS-Candy Darling.

24 03 2014

GT

 

Girl Tears are pretty much the only band from LA that you need to be listening to (oh and Roses too, listen to them.) Girl Tears make short, aggressive songs that make you hit that repeat button as many times as you desire. They’ve got the attitude of Punk secured perfectly.

Candy Darling is taken from their addictive debut, Tension which is out now on Lolipop Records. The trio are now back at home after hitting SXSW with their unapologetically ferocious songs in the blistering heat.

Girl Tears make you wish you had some musical talent. They’re songs last about a minute, and it sounds just right. Others may struggle to do this, but it’s no thing for Girl Tears. I just really love their sound. It’s rough, distorted and enough to burst your eardrums if you play it at the right level.

Check the new video:

I just wish I had the money to bring these guys to the UK because there are some dark, sweaty, intimate venues that need their sounds to vibrate the floor and to cause some kind of riot. Can someone make this happen please?!





GIRL TEARS- Kill For Love

4 02 2014

GT

“Don’t know who I am,
But I know that I would kill for love.”

 

One of the most noisiest and magnificent bands around have JUST put out the video to their new single, Kill For Love. Girl Tears are a band to slam your body into a wall to, or into another person. Maybe the latter is more “socially acceptable” so I guess you shouldn’t do it. Don’t do it. Never do it. Ever.

I can’t write hundreds of words about the video or song. I can do it about the band, and I’ve done it before. I’ll hold it for now. You can watch this minute video clip right here:

The cassette will be out this month on Lolipop Records. Again, Girl Tears are another fine band from the West Coast of America starting to make a glorious noise, a beautiful and rambunctious noise. The kind of band you know you just HAVE to see live.

Get their record here: http://girltears.bandcamp.com/

Play loud. Annoy your neighbour with it; especially if they are obnoxious and rude. You’re welcome.