Keith Goldhanger glides us gently into 2018 with a few new names and sounds discovered during the month of January.
2018 now has its foot firmly on the accelerator and life in East London is felt safer than ever as we begin for the first time in our lives to hold on tight after the bus has moved. Already we’re noticing the tunes of Superorganism and Shame being drip fed into the consciousness of those unaware of such bands who are noticeably waving their phones in the air waiting for their song recognition apps to tell them what they’re listening to. Activities such as this alongside our new hobby of watching bands lift their gear on stage (plug all their leads in,scratch their heads and then perform their first tune whilst still wearing their coats) is a January tradition for those jumping on the dry January bandwagon and so we creep to the front, talk to strangers and try not to look at anyone else’s beer.
There are many unsung heroes who display their finest talents during the month of January. Not the people on stage, but the people who have at some point during the tail end of the previous year gathered together their favourite bands, booked a room, posted numerous adverts around the place and opened the doors for those of us who simply cannot be arsed to sit in front of all that shite on the TV anymore. There’s nothing wrong having a beer free evening and fancy having a look and listen first hand at what the people who put their reputation where their ears are, have recommend.
CHEST PAINS, a rowdy early 80’s sounding punk rock influenced band got in a van and drove down to visit us from Leeds. There’s something special going on up there in Yorkshire we imagine. We may need to pay the city a visit soon and try to work out why the city is providing us with a collection of bands at the moment that remind us of the nights we’d hear things on Peel and then wander along to our local record shop the following weekend to get our hands on whatever the product is containing the soundtrack that has managed to infiltrate our lives that week. Peel was very good at limiting any decent records to ones individual spare income at times. A skill not often recognised in the man.
The same evening introduced us to SPORTS TEAM (top pic). Not an easy band to navigate around on social media but we got there in the end. This lot go top of the pile already in 2018. The first thing one notices about this band is the mischievous front man who’s mum (if she’s speaking to him) calls Alex and the coolest man in any band a the moment who’s tambourine skills, hands in pockets, never been so bored in my life look has already had us wondering why no one else has taken on this demeanour before. We’ve heard a set of tunes that remind us of the fast exciting Pavement tunes that were very few and far between. We see some fine dancing that we’ve not seen since Ed Macfarlane (Friendly Fires) stood in the same room as us and there’s another four other folk that hold everything together in the most glorious way one could imagine experiencing on the first Friday night of the year. This band are fabulous go and check them out if you get the chance. For the record this was an event put on by an organisation called Human Performance (time to give a bit of recognition where due – New years resolution)
Down the road a series of events arranged by DIY magazine under the banner of ‘Hello 2018‘ (which after four weeks seems as timely as those bus announcements) have been responsible for some of us dragging our arses out the door, standing in a queue (one in one out- as early as half eight) and having a free night out. We’re only left feeling guilty about the bands we missed because a dry gig on a cold Tuesday for more than three bands was satisfying enough for our weary heads. This stuff would never get written if we hung around much later.
HOTEL LUX were what greeted one of us into The Old Blue Last during one of these evenings during the month. A superb act that already gives a great indication that there’s an army of snotty kids out there that appear like minded and make a blinding post punk rock racket. Hotel Lux wore nice Jumpers that they probably won’t be wearing next summer (although …..) and are an additional band on the must see again and tell more about list. Bloke at the back was heard saying they were like Sleaford Mods with instruments.
He was drunk – we’ll ignore him, they sounded like The Fall with a southern accent and there’s nothing wrong with that we’re sure you’ll agree.
CREWEL INTENTIONS (google it and all you get is an Embroidery book) are one of those bands you just know are going to suddenly appear on our speakers as we simultaneously all repeat that we’ve seen them already in tiny rooms. They’re everywhere at the moment, there’s no music available to share yet and even though the bloke with the mike has a very nice hairstyle that your mum would like and a very cool shirt (top three buttons undone) were rather ‘day time radio’ ace. The bloke on drums we recognised as the bloke in Telegram (well ..his van driver actually mentioned it) and then through the magic of the internet one discovers behind the shirt is the bloke from Palmer Violets (Chilli Jessen) another chap with a famous dad and some tunes we were already singing along to as songs began, stopped whilst the lead singer could scramble back from his crowd surfing adventures then continue as people in the crowd surfed frantically themselves. We realise everyone else knows more than we do about this lot and although it’s annoying we cant hear any tunes at home yet we decide if they’re as good as can still be recalled a week or so later then this will be a band to look forward to. Early thoughts are that of a band somewhere in between Nick Cave and The Fat White Family. We’re sure many will have their own opinions soon about these.
Another new band without anything to listen to at home yet are FLESH TETRIS who played a stunning debut show in Camden and attracted an impressive crowd – this is another project featuring Andy from The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. Their punk rock electronic Eurovision pop approach has left us wanting to hear some recorded music. Watch this space as the saying goes.
JW RIDLEY and his accompanists spent about ten minutes setting up and fifteen playing. Through the muddy sound one can already hear some beauty rearing it’s head over the edges. Frantic but quiet drums like The Cure were very good at containing when at their best, some plodding slow songs that lead us to believe there’s a New Order and Sigur Rós album kicking around the house of the writer and some haunting moody 80’s new romantic (shoegaze?) vocals. From the back we can hear strings, a Piano plus we spot a few instruments that were only used for about thirty seconds each that appear visible above the punters heads. Whatever happened to those nights you’d go out and watch new bands an no one else turned up? JW Ridley is another artist that could be responsible for providing some of us with huge sound track as the year trickles by.
This is gorgeous
UNDERWATER BOYS boys probably sound like Simply red but you know as well as I do that none of us have ever properly listened to Mick Hucknells’ second best band.
This tune is infectious, we’ll compare the voice instead to Tame Impala. A very impressive debut.
ITCHY TEETH are a band one of us knew about over a year ago and following an appearance at another free show (Tooting Tram – Remedy night presented by Radio X’s John Kennedy) had one man running around saying sorry to all those who had been recommending this band previously, apologising for being late and looking forward to a repeat performance later in the year. Marvellous harmonious vocals and ridiculous videos as well as moody psychedelic slow songs that some of us love to bits on first listen.
2018 is on the move, hold tight it’s going to be a very fast ride.
All words by Keith Goldhanger. More writing by Keith on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. You can also find Keith on Facebook and Twitter (@HIDEOUSWHEELINV).You may subscribe to the Goldhanger Shorts Facebook page too if you so wish.