This band gave me an idea recently, although that could potentially go the wrong way depending on political correctness. A game you could play is, given a country, you have to establish what music that country would sound like. Some are easy, Brazil, India and Mexico for instance have sounds they live and breath because they are originators of that style. Some countries, perhaps not quite on the map you would struggle with. San Marino may just be the sound of shrugging shoulders or clapping politely. A country very much established however that could be perceived as difficult to identify could be the Netherlands, but thankfully Timo Ellis and his two partners in crime hailing from New York City may put that debate to an end. Dragging around a longsword sharpened by staggering amounts of fuzz, moods are constantly intense, much like a serial killer in the dark of night, either on the prowl or attacking depending on the pace. Whilst you can assume there is a unchanging danger in their music, how exactly to describe it is somewhat misleading. They are pseudo-sludge in guitar tone that sometimes reaches noise rock levels of distortion, but sing with a classical rock band showmanship, with pacing that can reach punk speeds. Tabitha from 2013’s Silicon Vapor being an example of those speeds, comparable to weaponised destruction derby and you’re behind the wheel, whilst what could be deciphered as free-form poetry or phrases pulled from a hat are yelled from atop a mountain. The thing that strikes me about vocalist Timo Ellis is how soulful his delivery can be at times, which edges them out against so many other heavy pretenders. So, that debate hasn’t actually been resolved as Netherlands are every much a square peg in a round hole, which just about fits if you jam it hard enough. Or maybe that is the point. Brimming with styles and sensibilities that keep them a very much original experience, Netherlands are an odd breed to classify, but they produce a sound that is equal parts threatening as it is to endearing and exciting. In the context of the musical country game, that answer is good enough for me.
Silicon Vapor and 2012’s Fantasmatic can be purchased from their Bandcamp page for a small fee. or from Netherlands’ website in CD, vinyl or digital format, along with several t-shirts and the such too.
There’s very much a sense of irony if you include the word ‘deaf’ in your band name. However, two of history’s most successful rock bands spawned from laughing at that irony, namely being Def Leppard, and Deftones, who are most certainly not deaf, judging by millions of record sales across the world. There are a couple of other bands who have a measurable amount of success from featuring the word ‘deaf’ too such as Deaf Havana and Deafheaven, but having not been in the game for as long as the other two yet, critical acclaim will have to do the talking for now. It then seems fitting for a band that have seemingly disbanded to be called The Deaf, on a play on words term, and as a focal point for how loud their music can get. This Minneapolis trio play a scuzzy, lo-fi noise rock landslide, loud enough to be thunder but relaxing enough to feel the sea at your feet. Across the 14 songs that This Bunny Bites bestows, it’s rapid-fire, it’s jammed to bursting with riffs and booming grooves and charged with enough energy to take out power grids. Album highlight Beatdown does exactly what it says on the tin; a two-minute incantation to incite an all-out slug-fest wrapped into a scorching hot guitar performance and drums battered to an inch of their lives, that can still space a listener out in absolute bliss. That to me is rare, that a band can roughhouse and relax in equal stead, with such little effort. Hopefully this band aren’t done, because there is a gift here that needs to be uncovered and shared with the wider world.
The Deaf’s 2007 album This Bunny Bites can be found on Learning Curve Record’s Bandcamp page for a small fee, or at most respectable music retailers too.
There aren’t that many bands in the world that are named from a line in a Jim Carrey film (Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls if you didn’t know), and for that matter, there probably never will be. Not that Carrey isn’t great at writing memorable words and phrases, but you give him the task of making a band name out of his entire filmography, you can bet this wasn’t his first choice. Medway, UK based cacophonists Whitedevilwhitedevil nonetheless channel the same breed of likable insanity into brutal downtuned sludge fight anthems, downed in enough sound to burst river banks. Whilst their recorded material is scattered across the shallows of Bandcamp, every song brings urgency and brute force into a two pronged guitar attack, and drums while grainy and amplified far louder than they should, smash and clatter well with them. Sometimes, a slight edge of pedal experimentalism leaks into their work, but do seem to be blue-moon natured occurrences. Fight Milk, a shorter tune in their arsenal from the A New Low EP, lays down a power house performance of crushing guitar blasts whilst drums go hell for leather, orchestrating the sheer chaos that unfolds. Oh, don’t forget those shouts. Instigating violence at its finest. These three gentlemen have a lot to look forward to in the future.
As already divulged, Whitedevilwhitedevil have all their recorded output on Bandcamp, just not all in one location, but EPs, demos and even a collection of Christmas covers are all available for a small fee. A New Low can be found here.