Posts Tagged ‘Kent’

“It sounds like everything we want our band to be”. Slaves have released their new EP ‘The Velvet Ditch’ which shows off the “two perspectives” of the Kent punk duo.

Their latest effort, sees the pair showcasing four new songs which failed to make the cut on 2018’s ‘Acts of Fear and Love’. The first track, ‘One More Day Won’t Hurt’ is described by guitarist Laurie Vincent as one of their strongest tracks to date – but he says it didn’t fit in the landscape of their third album.

“Knowing you’ve got a song like that in your back pocket is a nice feeling and it sounds like everything we want our band to be,” said Vincent.

The track is also one of their most thoughtful too, with the pair riffing on how widespread drug use has affected society. A late section of the song sees vocalist Isaac Holman chanting “Cocaine is a hell of a drug when it’s wandering through the veins of a small town thug“.

“It’s that honeypot and small town mentality of where we’re from, and being unable to escape,” Vincent explains.

“It is kind of right, because when I was growing up, drugs were so prominent in all of society and with our job, it’s clear how visible substance is. There’s all these different walks of life, but drugs can be this unifying factor in their lives. It’s almost like the norm now, so we were exploring how it affects us.”

If the first two tracks sees Slaves on typically furious form, the latter half of the EP sees the duo heading into more serene territory. While Isaac says it reflects the “two perspectives” of the band, the title track is a contemplative ballad that sees them exploring the idea of home comforts.

Isaac’s from Tunbridge Wells in Kent and there was a comedian who coined Tunbridge Wells as being the Velvet Ditch. It’s a place of comfort,” Vincent explained.

“He’s had a few spells being back in Tunbridge Wells and been in-between houses. He has these little periods of his life where he comes back into contact with old friends and past acquaintances and it’s about how easy it is to be lured into that honey pot.

“It’s a comfortable nice place to be, but obviously it isn’t always the best place for you.”

And as for the EP itself, they say it’s reflective of how modern culture has changed the way in which music is consumed.

“Music culture has moved on a lot and albums don’t have the same importance as when we were growing up. It’s more about people wanting to consume a lot of music and you have fans who might only know a couple of tracks off an album. “But they won’t consume them back to front in the way they used to,” Vincent said. The duo will also mark the EP with a series of intimate shows at the end of the year.
Check out those dates in full below.

DECEMBER 2019

7 – Dome, Brighton
9 – Parr Hall, Warrington
10 – Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow
12 – ULU, London
13 – ULU, London
14 – ULU, London

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‘Sorry is Gone’ is available everywhere . The whole record is about me taking my life back, without really realizing it. I realized I’m the only person that is going to look out for me. I have to be my main person. No one else. I have to sing about things and write about things that have happened to me as therapy. That’s what connects me to other music I listen to. I want music to make me feel things. This is my inner dialogue, and my chance to get the last word.

Jessica Lea Mayfield might make some people uncomfortable with the level of honesty she projects on her forthcoming LP, “Sorry Is Gone”, but she’s not going to apologize – for that, or for anything else on her complex, confessional fourth album. Recorded with producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile, Phosphorescent and Dinosaur Jr.), Sorry Is Gone is a raw document of a woman in progress; one weathering cruel storms but finally able to blame the rain itself for the flood. Written as the truth of her own poisonous marriage unfolded before her eyes, Sorry Is Gone is a record of permission. Permission to create freely, to escape what is no longer safe and to stop bearing responsibility for things done to her, not by her. As Mayfield sings on the title track, “the sorry is gone.” Indeed, it is; kicked to the curb with every strum of her guitar.

Written in the years since her last solo LP, Make My Head Sing, in 2014, and her 2015 collaboration with Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith, Sorry Is Gone became the soundtrack to a highly personal and traumatic story. The Ohio-born Mayfield was quietly enduring years of domestic abuse, smiling and touring while she hid a brewing tempest – and the bruises, too. But lyrics don’t lie even as bruises fade, and they started to tell the tale of her marriage before she was even able to; songs often dark and dangerous and ready to confront and claim her life. Written primarily on an acoustic baritone guitar – out of necessity at first, in her thin-walled apartment – Mayfield started to process the years of hurt and uncertainly through words and melodies that helped her see the light in the darkness.

Though much of Make My Head Sing was written music-first, Sorry Is Gone began with those lyrics, and, so often, a path forward unfolded itself as the songs formed. “The cold hard truth is you love me too much,” she sings on “Meadow” a moody, echoey moment about finally realizing someone’s true colors. “The cold hard truth is you couldn’t love me enough.” It’s a brutal line from someone who refuses to be victimized. Evoking the pathos of nineties grunge, the folk confessions of her idol, Smith, and the cool blasé of bands like Luscious Jackson, the tracks that comprise Sorry Is Gone aren’t devised to make anyone comfortable but herself – but they are there to help share an emotional journal and a certain kind of healing that can only come through music.

“I have to sing about things and write about things that have happened to me as therapy,” says Mayfield, who shaped so many of these songs in the isolation of the small apartment she shared with her husband while their marriage fell apart in her hands – in many ways, those songs pointed to the way out before she could get there herself. “That’s what connects me to other music I listen to. I want music to make me feel things. This is my inner dialogue, and my chance to get the last word.”

Recorded with Agnello at Water Music and Electric Lady Studios, Mayfield recruited a stellar group of musicians for Sorry Is Gone, including Avett on backing vocals and keys, drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth, Sun Kil Moon), bassist Emil Amos (Grails, Holy Sons), guitarist Cameron Deyell (Sia, Streets of Laredo) and Patrick Damphier (The Mynabirds, Field Days, who produced and played on “Offa My Hands”). Together, they worked to create an ominous take on love, where hope can exist among heartbreak and the end is only as finite as we make it to be. On songs like the title track and “Bum Me Out,” Mayfield bends the angelic notes of her voice over off-kilter orchestration, building an environment of warrior-style triumph; on “Safe 2 Connect 2” she takes stock of the digital world to a haunting, acoustic backdrop that gives a subtle ode to her bluegrass roots.

“Been though hell, there’s no telling what might happen in my future,” she sings. “All I can do is be thankful for each moment that’s my own.”

Mayfield has paved an unconventional lifestyle – playing in her family’s bluegrass band since the age of eight, she didn’t have any traditional schooling and released her first album at the age of fifteen, when she was discovered by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Influenced by everything from that mountain sound to the modern garage, Mayfield has been able to come at songwriting from a pure perspective, lead more by her heart than any textbook. It’s what makes the tracks of Sorry Is Gone so striking and visceral – there is no filter on the emotions, no rulebook and certainly no excuses for anything she’s been through or the candor she fires.

“I’m not going to bite my lip on anything,” she says. “If there is one thing I am going to do, it’s talk and sing about what I want to. No one is going to manipulate me.”

The sorry is gone, once and for all – and Sorry Is Gone is a permission slip for anyone who wants to stop apologizing for others, and start living for themselves. ●

Jessica Lea Mayfield is an indie rock singer songwriter from Nashville by way of Kent, Ohio. She has a bit of a storybook background and she has a couple of more recent life chapters that are more like nightmares. Her parents were in a touring bluegrass band, and she grew up on a tour bus. She was home schooled, and obviously learned a lot about music. She started playing with the family band when she was 8, then she started playing rock shows with her brother David. When she was 15, she got a bedroom-recorded EP in the hands of Dan Auerbach out of Black Keys. He loved it, and got it in someone else’s hands, and she had a record deal just like that. In 2008, at the age of 19, she released her first album With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt, and it got rave reviews. The story goes that the album was about an off-and-on boyfriend who resented being her muse. He hated that the songs were about him even though nobody had any way of knowing that. As the story goes, he would break up with her every time she wrote a new song.

Her next album Tell Me was a very autobiographical record that she described as being about her turning the tables. It’s about her being mean to boys and deliberately breaking their hearts instead of vice versa. That album still had a very alt-folk/alt-country feel, but the next record was quite different.

Then in 2014 her album Make My Head Sing took her in a completely different direction. It was much more rock-oriented, with flavours of grunge and punk. It was also, coincidentally, her first album without the production of Auerbach. Instead, she got her now ex-husband to work the knobs and faders. She had undergone a lot of changes and the album was sort of about change.

Jessica Lea Mayfield depends on vocal demeanor to bring out the emotional nuances in her writing. She’s got quite a range: She can sound spacey and serene, or distant and suspicious, or fiercely sure of herself. Her raw fourth album, Sorry Is Gone, has a series of songs about escape from damaging relationships, and each is conveyed through its own weather system. There are outbreaks of snarling bitterness followed by moments of calm, and times when inner turmoil is masked under a coating of honeyed pop exuberance. Mayfield released a long-awaited fourth album–“Sorry is Gone”— on September 29th of this year.

None of those moods quite prepare the listener for the aura Mayfield uses on “Safe 2 Connect 2.” The song begins with a Google-search confession, sung in a numb, defeated, robotic monotone: “Getting tips on how to feel more human,” Mayfield intones solemnly. “Or how to un-dehumanize someone, I’m only asking for a friend.”

It’s just two lines, delivered listlessly, with no passion or pyrotechnic dazzle. And that’s all Mayfield needs to plunge deep into the Dark Forest of Existential Gloom, where disconsolate types wander around asking their digital bots questions like “Is there no one…it’s safe to…connect to anymore?” The song ends with Mayfield sounding more resigned than before (if that’s possible) as she states her sad conclusion, over and over again.

Simply constructed and executed with a haunting sense of detachment, “Safe 2 Connect 2” is one of many signals that Mayfield has evolved since 2014’s Make My Head Sing. Her songs are tighter, their moods more fully developed. She’s using more direct language, yet somehow her songs have more dimension: The title track sounds, from a distance, like a celebration of empowerment, a jangle of buoyant and affirmative pop. Get closer, and you begin to discern scars marking an abusive relationship, and the intensity of feeling that attends the cycles of apology and reconciliation.

That album release, unfortunately, was bookended by some events that physically and emotionally injured her. Before the album came out, she was hospitalized with injuries that stemmed from a series of domestic abuse incidents. She had a broken shoulder, which immobilized her arm, which makes playing music really hard. There were other injuries that she had been dealing with for years, but she said that her abusive husband wouldn’t allow her to go to the doctor. Evidently, he was also stealing her money. I don’t know why she stayed with him after the abuse started, or after it persisted, but she finally got out of that relationship.

Last month, just before the album release, she was involved in an automobile accident that resulted in even more injuries. Another driver fell asleep at the wheel, and rear-ended her causing injuries to her neck, ribs, hips, and knees. It didn’t stop the release of the album, and she hoped that she would be able to recover in time to play the east coast shows that were already scheduled for October/November. Yesterday, she announced that those shows have been canceled and that she will need a few more months to go through physical therapy.

All of those physical injuries and emotional trauma are certainly very heavy, but it’s a great album. Once again, it’s a bit different to her folk/bluegrass roots. Just as she did with Make My Head Sing, she opens Sorry is Gone with a lot of noise. The album-opening “Wish You Could See Me Now” is fuzzy and heavy with tons of delay on the vocals. It’s almost, even, shoegazey. I love that song, but it’s not our song of the day. Our song of the day is a perfect blend of her roots and her new “rock” direction. It’s got a bit of 90s college radio sound, and even a bit of a surf-rock sound . Of course it’s highlighted by her signature rocky/drawly/sweet/sour voice.

Her tour has been canceled for now. While we hope that she’s able to reschedule later, we’re more interested in her full recovery from her myriad injuries. We also hope that she’s able to get and afford the care that she needs both physically and emotionally.

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the bay rays

If you were at Glastonbury this year you might have already come across The Bay Rays  they closed the BBC Introducing stage on the Sunday night and are attracting praise from high places. The boys from Kent might only be a three piece but they don’t half manage to make a racket.

“New Home”‘ is a balls out, swaggering, strutting gutpunch of a song. It’s three minutes long but it feels shorter as it bashes you round the head with a thump of drums, a tangle of guitars and a boisterous chorus.

On the one hand it feels very modern and fresh and yet on the other it feels almost nostalgic, harking back to early punk rock and evoking Ramones-esque sounds. It’s not pretty but it’s effective and fun, and it’s exciting to see how far The Bay Rays can go from here.

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The esoteric Kent-hailing, now London-based troop spat out their opening statement last month to a celebratory yelp from all who were lucky enough to stumble on the slacker grunge of their delicious debut, ‘Gunblade’. Returning with a wistful slice of equally rambunctious labours, the trio unveil ‘Drive All Night’.

While the band’s leader searches for solidarity within life’s mundane existence, his strung-out hushed tones allow for a feeling of serenity to envelop the space. It’s music to lose yourself in, and in the process you might also find yourself.

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‘Drive All Night’ derives from the band’s previous experiences with soul-destroying jobs: “It’s about working a really depressing job and driving every night around Kent with our mate, Yuri. Not knowing what’s going to happen in the future or if there is even a point in anything at all but knowing that you have mates and music and that things will probably be all right” explains singer/guitarist Jack Higham. Let’s face it, two of the most important elements of any happy existence are having people to share these moments with and a sonic accompaniment, whether that’s making music yourself or not.

Inevitable Daydream’s debut release is available now on digital download and limited edition cassette, via Sexx Tapes.

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“I Am The Hot Air”
Taken from the brand new EP ‘Luge Lessons’ released on Alcopop Records on Oct 16th
Produced, filmed and edited by Get Inuit,  Kent based indie-rockers who understand the raw power of simplicity. Signed to Alcopop Records, One of XFM’s One’s To Watch of 2015 and a red hot favourite of our pal Huw Stephens, this is Get Inuit, fresh from the industrial town of Sittingbourne! Full of fresh-picked hits which fizz and pop throughout – their debut 7″ is an effervescent slice of indie-pop that flirts with darker off-kilter, math-rock-esque tendencies! In other words, it’s bloody brilliant!

Get Inuit have just released their debut EP 001 with a full-length tentatively scheduled for next summer. It sees the group combine the bouncy indie and punk influence of their Alcopop brethren with the surf-pop sway of Vampire Weekend and their ilk – despite the fact that, as the band are eager to point out, ‘none of us can actually surf’.

propellers

The Kent collective have been in the studio with ex Futures and now We The Wild frontman Ant West, leading to the promise of new music and eventually an album from this 5 piece. Early track ‘Midnight Kiss’, had a brawling, Fenech-Soler reminiscent disco-rock groove to it (plus up front lyrics, not least the opening gambit “Camden Town is where you live, cos you’re so fucking alternative”). On their latest material ‘City Boys & Model Girls’, they’ve honed a sharper indie rock style, with anthemic choruses and youthful harmonies. Expect a new run of shows through 2015 before they follow the likes of Catfish & The Bottlemen into the mainstream.

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Slaves a two-piece. Garage band from London, Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent: one shouts and bangs the drums standing up, the other plays great, fat metal riffs from his guitar. They look like two overgrown truants from the rough part of town, but if you shut your eyes this is what the Black Keys might have sounded like had they been raised on Shane Meadows films – wry, suburban disaffection, like Sleaford Mods but with less swearing;

Slaves have been making a nasty racket around London town for a while now, but they’re finally shouting loud enough for people’s ignorant ears to prick up. As a duo, they manage to carry the might of bands like Death From Above 1979 and Winnebago Deal, exuding enough fuzz to fry brain cells. Also, as there’s only two of them, it’s easy enough to remember their names. After hearing the lairy, arrogant charms of Ceasefire, you’d be forgiven for thinking Slaves are bunch of snarling, Camden-dwelling cider-punks. So when I was met by two smartly-dressed, quietly pleasant lads from Kent, I felt confused and slightly relieved. They mix ‘77 style British punk with harsh bluesy garage riffs, as infectious as they are confrontational. They’ve just finished a on a 10-date UK tour with Drenge, Blew  everyone away at Y Not festival with an awesome set and are about to tour with the NME Awards tour with Amazing Snakeheads Fat White Family

Dead-Ceremony

 

Dead Ceremony , something took hold and back we kept returning to this new track, ‘Losing You’. This isn’t their debut,  “About three years ago Chris and David [drums] wrote and performed a live score for the silent film ‘Nosferatu’ as a Halloween event. We were both in the same band together, Tom Williams & The Boat, but that was the first time we teamed up together as just us two,” vocalist / keyboards player Christopher Stewart,  “At the end of 2012, David, Harry [synths / bass] and Neil [guitar]  joined me and we began rehearsing some songs together. By the middle/end of 2013 we began playing a few shows to get used to playing together, and for me to get used to the idea of singing in front of people and being a ‘frontman’.”

During the course of last year, the four-piece from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, put out a debut track ‘Trophy’, followed by ‘Heartbeat’. Of the former, there now seems to be no online trace, and you’ll need to hunt for the second, suffice to say that it managed to attract the attention of BBC 6 Music through the combination of Stewart’s affecting lyrics with the band’s rather dark, deep electro production.

Whereas ‘Heartbreak‘ we will admit, was not one to really wow our senses, with ‘Losing You’ there is something that gets under your skin; hat be the multi-layering of electronic sounds coupled with the organic Nord keyboard notes going on, the stirring vocals of Stewart, the repeated ambiguous lyric line of, “Light head / Cold sweat / Find the vein / And deliver,” or a combination of the lot, we can’t really say, just that put together this makes for one stirringly emotive track.

The lyrics, Chris reveals, were inspired by The Antlers work ‘Hospice’. “That album was all I listened to in my first year at uni back in 2009-10. It’s about a man falling in love with a cancer patient, watching her die and then dealing with the loss. I read that it was a metaphor for a terrible break-up the songwriter had gone through. For me, the important bit of ‘Losing You’ is the chorus line: Everyone has lost someone, in some way, at some point. It’s a relatable tragedy, I suppose. It’s been interesting to hear what people think it is about, though. The main assumptions are that it’s about a girl – despite the song being entirely gender non-specific – or that it’s about taking drugs and getting high. But I don’t mind this, as I want my lyrics to retain a sense of ambiguity. Dead Ceremony play a one-off show at The Forum in Tunbridge Wells on December 11. “We have only played 6 or 7 live shows so far, but we will play further afield next year. We are finally happy and confident with our set. It’s taken us over a year to get to that point, but we feel ready now.”

Dead Ceremony are: Christopher Stewart (vocals / keyboards), David Trevillion (production / drums), Neil Allen (guitar) and Harry Pearce (synths / bass).