Here's another new label out of the UK, Art is Hard Records.
It's so true - don't let Mr. Brainwash fool you, this art stuff takes a lot of work, take these two bands for instance. Do you come up with sounds like this the first time you rehearse? Hell no, that's the reality behind every seven inch. Sure, it's just the beginning, but to even get to this point...well I have to hand it to all these guys out there recording and pressing sweet vinyl. Depressingly if The Collapse is right, there's only so much petroleum left, the world reserves have passed their peak and it's all downhill from here....for raw materials...population... so you need to cherish every one of these. But I'm having major trouble with the idea that someday there won't be anything left to press vinyl with, because I'll still have the turntable running off solar or hamster power or something. Nevermind the horror of the apocalypse.
New Years Evil, from the SW of UK starts their A-Side, 'Shame' out with a killer lone bassline and beat, Pixies style. What did bands do before that strategy? Did they ever think about the bass as a lead instrument before? Big mistake guys. New Years Evil have learned that lesson.
Massive feedback comes in over this foundation and jangles forward, with a huge room echo on everything. I'm all for controlling feedback in interesting ways, nothing says this thing is about to go off the rails like that squeal. Pure '90s crisp distortion eventually wins out with dual harmonic riffs. It's a little bit punk, mostly indie. I can even hear that Soccer Mom complexity and energy...a similar slightly passionate buried vocal. A little like The Replacements, who always seemed to go for that perfect melody from one song to the next, and not have any kind of master plan. Does this record work in some kind of conceptual way as a whole? Does it matter? Here's a bunch of tracks that are great in their own weird ways, like everything Blood on the Wall throws at it can stick.
'Is that a problem?....it's just a shame', chorus will stick with you. It's classic in that it's got everything you need: big, rocking choruses and a whisper verse following those pixies dynamics...A deadly raw solo to the end of this keeps this pummeling energy up as the screeching swirls back and forth across the channels.
The Black Tambourines track, 'Tommy' starts with a slow, wet, retro reverb picked guitar which counts off into a scuzzy attack of battling chord progressions. The vocals are recorded with that huge shoegaze chorusy echo effect and the rest of the band is working under a bit of a '60's garage umbrella. Definitely less-fi than the previous side, it even goes a little Wavves towards the end with the harmonic wooo's catching up to the fuzz...breezing it over to a sunnier west coast laid back sound. Keeping it simple and totally catchy. It's a little bit like Slow Animal from a while back, indie, catchy, fuzzy, repeat.
Hands down a great split by two bands I definitely want to hear more of for the same reason: they're damn good...enough experimentation to keep the tracks solidly separate from others in the genre. Complete with a super creepy childhood snapshot sleeve...and New Years Evil definitely has something to do with that horror movie...I'm convinced.
On Art is Hard Records who hopefully will have some sort of stateside distro because it deserves to be picked up locally. Check with or try to convince Midheaven, or fusetron....you know the rest.
1. New Years Evil - Shame
2. The Black Tambourines - Tommy
A split 7” between Exeter’s New Years Evil (like No Age covering the Wedding Present) and Falmouth’s The Black Tambourines (Black Lips if they were from Cornwall not Atlanta). Each 7” comes with an additional download of a 5 track EP and double sided artwork created by each band. The first 30 orders came with a limited edition photo print from some of our favourite south coast photographers.