Strange Wilds – Subjective Concepts lp

Strange Wilds
Subjective Concepts
Sub Pop

strangewilds

It’s amazing how few members are required to be in a band to make an unholy racket. There’s three in Strange Wilds and have a force to be reckoned with. Pounding drums behind a solid riff laden bassline with explosive rock guitars provide the background to vocals being screamed to be heard.

It’s a nirvana, holy rollers tool mix. Plenty of hair, plenty of heads bopping and lots of riffs. THis is the debut album from the Olympia based band. They are a self proclaimed power trio and that goes to a certain distance in explaining the sound.

It’s a sweat laden journey of dirty rock and roll with some Seaweed or Torche shining through. I haven’t really heard much of the term grunge in recent years and don’t want to make it seem that Strange WIlds are somehow retro in their playing. Throughout the 11 songs there are hints to the sound that defined Sub Pop and may bands from Seattle, close neighbours to Olympia. Whilst Olympia were looking to Kill Rock Stars, Seattle was creating them and Strange Wilds sound closer to their stately Washington neighbours in Seattle.

It’s not all grunge and power, tracks like Don’t Have to roll along at a slow pace but you just know the power is going to kick in and snarl

niallhope

The Helio Sequence s/t

The Helio Sequence
The Helio Sequence
Sub Pop

helio

Half a dozen albums. 6 whole albums. That’s what the helio Sequence have produced in their admirable life thus far. 6 records in and they’ve ran out of titles. Most bands can’t think of an album name the first time around. Either that or so reviewers can state eponymous release. But no, not good enough for the Helio Sequence. They have re-invigorated themselves and have started again.

The process behind this record is a good tale. Brandon and Benjamin, who make up the band, had an idea for a record. Rather than writing songs and rehearsing them until they are as tight as a wetsuit in the middle of the North Atlantic they decided to let things flow this time around. Turn up for work, express themselves musically as individuals and see what happened. They did this for a couple of weeks and then merged them together, see what worked. After a month they had 26 songs. For many bands this could have made up a concept triple album but the duo sent these tracks to a collection of their friends and said “hey, listen to these and rank your top ten. The result was 31 votes and Eurovision style 10 tracks won out.

I guess that’s where my interest drops out. For a two piece you may guess there are many effects and keyboards in the mix. If you were of that persuasion to make such a guess you’d be correct. If you like bands of that ilk you may enjoy this, it just doesn’t grab me. It’s clean, well produced and extremely well constructed. Electronic dream pop wrapped in and indie rock flavour. However they seem like such a nice duo I don’t want to rain on that parade. Like the wet suit in the north atlantic you will want it if you are close to the cold sea and have an affinity for the water. If you have any interest in electronic music and haven’t been tainted by punk rock protest songs then chances are this will fit you very snugly.

King Tuff – Black Moon Spell

Black Moon Spell
Sub Pop Records
2014

king tuff
I pretended to be a tourist in my city last night and went on a ghostbus tour. On it we were told stories of Dracula, Dr Clossey, decadent Dublin and gravediggers. It was a fascinating two hours as I stepped from the reality of football training and logistics to sitting on a bus with gothic decor.

What has this to do with King TUff, you rightly ask. Not a lot really except Sub Pop are telling us there was paranormal activities going on when King Tuff was recording his second album. Last night I was trying to take pictures of a graveyard and twitter mysteriously appeared on my phone instead. When I turned it off my microphone switched on. Maybe King Tuff was trying to get the 30,000 Catholics buried in a pit at the end of the overgrown small plot of land rocking out. After all he is asking for you to give “your ears what they’ve been begging for all year; a heavily weird, heavenly dark, hysterically magical Rock & Roll Sexperience.” I’m not sure that is what my ears did experience.

Plenty of rock, plenty of roll, plenty of attitude and you do get the distinct feeling King Tuff is writing these songs without caring what you or I thnk. It rocks in that bluesy manner that I find hard to really get into and much like St James graveyard I am glad they exist but glad when I leave reach the exit.

niallhope