Demos – Issue 27
Reviews by Kev Kharas
Consider the situation I find myself in. As I write, it’s 12.20 on Sunday night. It’s been a heavy weekend. So far today I have not been able to muster the energy to shower, and any thought of eating evaporates as soon as I realise eating involves placing pieces of killed animal and heated vegetable into my body through a hole in my face. I’m tired, I’m confused, I’m dirty and I’m hungry, and five yards away my girlfriend is trying to sleep, but she can’t, because the baseball bat I use to stop flies getting in through billowed curtains once the window’s open has fallen off the radiator and onto my foot in the dark.
Guess I better review these demos, then.
Strangely enough, BLACKFIN’s music is not the wake-up-screaming introduction to this issue’s pile I imagined it would be. The music itself isn’t particularly enjoyable, but the first track from their Shadow Chemistry LP features a young, white man whining about his comedown. Hey, man! I could get into this! Unfortunately, any empathic bond that may have built up between myself and Blackfin during ‘The White Lady’ has disappeared like a drug friend by the end of the following track, in which that singer claims to be both a chameleon and a fly. These are audacious claims. And, as regular readers will undoubtedly know by now, the demo pile is no place for audacity.
The word ‘quirky’ appears four times in ALICE ROCK’s press release. Thank god their music’s shite and they look like cunts.
Sounds like THE RECUSANTS had a good time recording their demo and, at the end of the day, that’s what’s important really, isn’t it?
They look like nice guys, but despite YOUSAVEYOU’s insistence I strongly doubt that their music will help me “withstand pain”, “drink more” or “put me back in touch with the predator I am”. Why? The one who’s singing definitely smells of mace. Never trust anyone who smells of mace.
KARAOKE FOR BEGINNERS wear shades and Converse and live close enough to Camden to be able to drink there all the time (or at least boast about it as if it’s something that’s hard to do). The sleeve of their demo features a man ‘smashing up his guitar’ (pre-mess/proof of destructive tendencies). Predictably enough their EP is less remarkable than the fact it’s called ‘There’s A Foetus In My Room’ and the realisation that scenes like those depicted on its cover will soon be considered as quaint as grainy photos of scared Victorian children dressed in their church clothes.
FEVER FEVER are a “grunge-tinged art punk” band from Norwich. As such, I’m pretty sure you already know what they sound like — I’ll leave you to decide if that warrants “surprise-tinged praise” or “semen-tinged hatred”.
According to rock lore, DAMN VANDALS met online on a graffiti forum and started making noises together while redecorating a youth club as part of a 500-hour community service order. Their crime? Daubing ‘DESTROY MONDAYS’ on the side of a commuter train in Catford. It’s ironic, then, that Damn Vandals have ended up writing songs like ‘Cocaine Love’ for the very squares who battle so busily to keep them down. LESS BANKSY MORE WANKSY, GUYS.
BLACK VELVETEENS sound like Damn Vandals if Damn Vandals could afford to think heavy thoughts in clean cars.
It’s an unfortunate and unhappy feature of music that anyone making it who’s clever enough to call a song ‘Burt Bacharacnid’ invariably winds up in a pointlessly aggressive, ‘angular’ noise-rock band. BRONTO SKYLIFT: your mess is a vaguely enjoyable one, but I would not build a Friday night around it.
When the singer from REVIVOR mewls “Your sorrow is insincere” in a fake Canadian accent, time turns into bread and statues of small dogs across the world start weeping Sicilian lemonade. Someone, somewhere, is laughing and wanking. This is the beginning of the end, ‘muchachos’. Lo siento, mi dio. Lo siento, mi dio. Revivor appear to be from Ireland, but when a friend of mine drinks too much tequila his day-to-day identity disappears; replaced by an alter-ego. The alter-ego belongs to a reluctant Spanish prostitute named Maria. Revivor sound like the sort of thing her pimp would listen to when life starts to get a bit too much.
THE TRUTH ABOUT FRANK make gentle drone music you can’t hear very well because the CD whirs too loudly when you try to play it. This is either one of the greatest acts of self-sabotage, or an irritating coincidence reaffirming life’s futility.
That I can overlook the use of the word ‘quirky’ in DIEGODZILLA’s press release speaks volumes for the insidious, banal euphoria of their music. Whatever’s arch about them is turned morose and likeable by the way they remodel their sampled synth grabs into photographs from tropical holiday brochures. ‘And Then I Saw You At The Disco’ is especially great — sounds like The Specials keening for reasons not to commit suicide in the late-nineties. A rare and charmingly naif pleasure, even if they do need to change their name.
Maybe it’s ’cause it’s nearing 3am, but AUTOPORTRAIT’s ‘Songs For The Quietness’ EP does something unprecedented and makes it two more-than-decent demos in a row. Leila Zerai’s ambient pop drifts — composed on laptop and trombone — feel haunted, odd and appealing. Her coy throat loiters in this record’s spaces in such a way that they remain alien but nonetheless become hugely inviting – it’s a bit like the sensation you may have felt when you’re walking home from work and you get to wondering what it’d be like to unlock the wrong door, wipe your feet on the wrong doormat, sit down for dinner at the wrong dining table.
OUR PICK FOR THE FAT ADVANCE:
DieGodzilla just pip Autoportrait.
A CLARIFICATION: In the December 2009 issue of The Stool Pigeon (#24), a review of The Eyes In The Heat’s demo stated that: “These three tracks from The Eyes In The Heat have got us thinking: is this band better than Chew Lips?” Subsequent events have made it necessary for us to reassert the negative implications of this review, Chew Lips being an almost intolerably bad musical combo. We apologise for any confusion caused.