Indieterria meets Tiger Mimic

Dear Readers,

There are many bands on the indie circuit:  the cool ones, the mysterious ones, the ones you like. And then there are bands that you simply love from the first note. It`s so good to be a music obsessive – as Steve Lamacq says – you can fall in love at least twice a week! So yeah – here we go again being head over heels with a new band. They are Tiger Mimic, they are based in London and they will headline Vandian Avenue first showcase on April 27th at the iconic Nambucca.

We cannot tell you how excited we are and how grateful too. We sat down with Jess Rhodes  of Tiger Mimic to speak to her about the band history, their excellent debut EP and even video games.

This is the band you need to know. No excuses!

 

Tiger Mimic Logo

Official bio: Tiger Mimic is a London-based band with a sound that ranges from bitcrushed anthems to sinister bass grooves to rapid-fire rock poetry and more. Their debut EP, “Elephant Skeleton”, was recorded with Grammy Award winning producer Matt Lawrence at London’s Livingston Studio. Released in January 2019, its five songs showcase their diverse range of styles and influences.

Tiger Mimic:
Jess Rhodes  (vox, synth)
Bram Johnson  (guitar,  vox)
Ben Willis  (bass, vox)
George Latham  (drums)

You named the band after a butterfly that mimics appearance of its poisonous cousin, but you are one of the most original bands we have heard this year. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

Jess Rhodes: Ah, thank you so much. That’s a very kind thing to say. We’re Tiger Mimic, we’re based in London, and usually we say we’re an “indie rock” band just to keep it simple, but we do have a lot of different influences. Jess sings and plays synth, Bram sings and plays guitar, Ben plays bass and sings back-up, and George plays drums.

You may have just released your debut EP, but the band has quite a history – including a relocation to another continent. Jess and Bram started out their respective projects while living and working in NYC. They met Ben and George after coming to London. Do you think that having musicians from both sides of the Pond helped to forge your unique sound?

Jess Rhodes: I was actually born and grew up (mainly) in Europe! I was exposed to music from every genre. My mom loved Arabic and Kurdish music (I didn’t really) but sometimes people tell me my melodies have a middle-eastern tinge to them, so it’s funny how you can get influenced by what you get exposed to growing up.

Moving from NYC to London was the best decision ever, and the fact that we met Ben & George was crazy lucky. We all have diverse influences and grew up listening to so many different things, but there is also a lot of overlap, so it’s hard to say how much effect geography had. Each member brings their own style to the band, though, and it has definitely given us a sense that nothing is off limits when it comes to writing songs.

Tiger Mimic – photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

When preparing to this interview we have found information that Jess is classically trained operatic singer. Can we confirm if this is true? We interviewed some amazing and unique artists on the blog but a soprano with a degree from Italian music conservatoire would be a first!

Jess Rhodes: I was indeed classically trained. I studied with amazing teachers in Paris, Italy, and NYC. I actually only did 6 months in Milan, and then decided to move to NY. I then went a different route and studied theatre. I love singing opera, I haven’t practiced in a while, but it’s something I really enjoy singing at times. However, I didn’t have a deep passion for it, and if you’re not 100% dedicated, you can forget about it. I wanted to write my own songs, and so I did. Once you’re trained to sing a certain way, it’s actually quite hard to break that, and so I really struggled to find my voice for a while. I always felt I needed to be as loud as when I sung opera, and then I realised I really didn’t.

Your EP “Elephant Skeleton” was released in January 2019. For this record you worked with Matt Lawrence, Grammy winning producer known for helping Adele. The story is that after hearing your demos Matt wanted to work with you and most of the material was written in his studio. Were you scared to collaborate with such a big calibre name?

Jess Rhodes: We were a little anxious before meeting him that we wouldn’t be a huge priority for someone with a CV like his, but he put that to bed immediately. It was amazing to work with him! He’s such a nice, talented, humble person. We actually didn’t write much in the studio, though, most of the songs had been written in NY and Paris right before coming to London. There were a few little flourishes and lyric tweaks and things like that, but the songs were pretty fully fleshed out when we went in.

Matt did give us some great guidance in rehearsals before heading into the studio, but he always posed it as a question, such as “Well, would this song be better if you added a bridge?”, or “What would it sound like if this part had a slightly different groove?”

One of the things we really appreciated was that he liked the music and didn’t want to change what we were already doing, but he would put forward these questions that made us consider whether we had explored all the possibilities with a given song. It was good to be challenged like that and I think we came out of that process with a much more critical ear for our work.

The future looks bright – photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

The EP is promoted by two singles – “Don’t Cover Up My Eyes” and the title track. We want to ask you about the video to “Elephant Skeleton”. It shows a 8 bit point and shoot game where an animal tries to recover his bones while the band members serve as evil bosses. Where did you get the idea from and who directed it. Also – will there be a continuation?

Jess Rhodes: The video game idea started sort of accidentally. Bram made a really short video of a dandelion seed floating over some hills just as a short promotional video teaser for Elephant Skeleton and it had that sort of lo-fi, video game look to it. We started talking about turning it into a full length idea and that’s when we decided to make the story about the elephants.

After one night of goofy brainstorming, we drew a little storyboard and then Bram put the whole thing together. He’s not trained in animation, so it was a huge learning curve and took quite a while, but it was fun watching it come together bit by bit. We sometimes think about cooking up a sequel video, but Bram is still a little traumatised from staring at a computer screen for months, so it’ll have to be for a future song.

The band just played first major festival – Cro Cro Land, taking to the stage next to such established acts as Bang Bang Romeo and The Lovely Eggs. We imagine it must have been a lot of fun and a lot of nerves in equal measure. Did you like it?

Jess Rhodes: Oh my God. It was the most incredible day ever. We would’ve gone to Cro Cro even if we hadn’t been invited to play, because the lineup was absolutely sick. I can usually get quite nervous before a gig, and although that was our biggest gig, I wasn’t as stressed as I thought I’d be! Maybe it’s because there was such a huge supportive community feeling going on the whole day!

Bram, on the other hand, had non-stop nightmares the night before about getting bumped from the show or something else going wrong, so it was a huge relief for him when we actually walked out on stage. Seriously, though, everyone involved was incredible. Angela Martin, Julia Woollams, the bands, journalists, photographers, event staff, engineers (sound and light), just everyone was so wonderful.

Your music has been described as a mix of guitar based indie, ska and 1960s pop bands. But outside how the music critics see you – do you have your own term for your sound?

Jess Rhodes: It’s like you say, we get a lot of different reactions to our sound, so we actually struggle a bit to settle on a genre when people ask. Indie Rock has been our go-to, since it’s a fairly broad category, but a lot of people have really specific (and sometimes angry) opinions about what Indie Rock actually is, so we have yet to find a term that satisfies everyone. Any ideas?

Poster for Nambucca headline gig

Tiger Mimic will headline iconic London venue Nambucca on 27th April – what can we expect from your live shows?

Jess Rhodes: Oh man, we can’t wait! We’ll be playing with the awesome Lower Loveday and Memes, and we already know it’s gonna be a great night! Nambucca is a really great venue, too, and we’re so happy to play there again.  Our live show has a lot of dynamic shifts, trading vocal parts, harmonies, and riffs. One thing we’ve always appreciated hearing after a show is that each song sounds completely different from each other, but they all still sound like us. That’s about as cool of a compliment as we could hope for.

We want to ask you about the story behind your song “I Took Off My Body”. It is probably the saddest song on the EP lyrics wise. At points it feels traumatic especially in the age of Me Too movement.

Jess Rhodes:  I Took Off My Body was actually written a few days before we went in to record it. Bram had this really cool instrumental guitar part and was playing it for fun, and I just started improvising over it and insisted we take it to the studio. It tells the story of someone removing the many layers of their body in an effort to find themselves inside (waiting in the dark, waiting for a light).

It’s a reflection on the world’s tendency to make judgements with their eyes, while ignoring whoever is inside that body. It is definitely a problem that’s been going on for a long time. It’s really sad that we live in a world where we have to be on our guards at all times.

For instance, I went to a gig a few days ago and a man kept bothering me, so I moved to the other side, and talked about it to a friend who was there too. Turned out he had also touched her and another woman inappropriately. So in the span of 5 minutes, he managed to make 3 (or more) women feel extremely uncomfortable. He was just seen by everyone else as the “annoying drunk guy” but his behaviour should be seen for what it is: completely unacceptable and absolutely disgusting. The Me Too movement is incredible, I think it shows just how powerful victims can actually be when they get together, and also shows how there should be no stigma or shame around the word “victim”. The only people who should feel shame are the perpetrators, harassers, and abusers.

Tiger Mimic are ready to take over – photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

In one year you have accomplished more than many bands in their whole life span: working with top producers, releasing EP, playing festivals. What else have you got planned for 2019 and beyond?

Jess Rhodes: Aw, that’s nice of you to say. We definitely try to work as hard as we can on this, it’s our dream and the main reason we came over to London. We’ve been lucky to connect with a lot of awesome people, there are so many unsung heroes around town who are so supportive of the scene and that’s been incredible.

As for 2019, we’re heading down to Brighton for the first time in May for the Brighton Mix-Up festival, which is super exciting. We’re hoping to get back in the studio in May too, if we can swing it, we have a lot of new songs ready to go. After that we’ll see what comes up. There are a few exciting rumours floating around, but nothing we can share yet, so hopefully we’ll have some big announcements soon.

Last question – if Tiger Mimic could become characters in a video game what title would it be? Final Fantasy? Tomb Raider? Mortal Kombat or would you have your own title. You can pick any game.

Hmmm… aside from the Elephant Skeleton video, in which we’ve already been game-ified, here are some nerdy answers for you:

Ben Willis: I’d be Commander Shepard from Mass Effect. I still remember my first inter-species love affair with fondness.

Bram Johnson: I’d be Manny Calavera from Grim Fandango. He’s a grim reaper in a crime noir version of the Mexican Land Of The Dead who spends years going to any lengths trying to save a soul that was cheated out of their rightful afterlife. I always liked that he was a regular guy, no bulging muscles or guns or anything, just tenacity.

Jess Rhodes: I’d be Sindel from Mortal Kombat. I’d love to be able to kick ass just by whipping my hair!

George couldn’t be reached for comment, but we’ll ask him next time we rehearse. Important information to know.

We absolute love Tiger Mimic. They are one in a million.

You can follow the band on socials:

https://www.tigermimic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/tigermimicband/
https://www.instagram.com/tiger.mimic
https://twitter.com/TigerMimic
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7qT0D9stk05ym53ziRGwzg
https://soundcloud.com/tigermimic
https://open.spotify.com/artist/296hyITffv9hw30ypToBi7?si=Khrq4iL0RT6Rbm2Bf0426g

You can purchase the EP “Elephant Skeleton” at the link below:

http://www.smarturl.it/tigermimic

If you fancy a bit of extra reading – here are some fantastic articles about the band from other independent blogs:

https://www.musicmusingsandsuch.com/musicmusingsandsuch/2018/9/16/interview-tiger-mimic
https://gigradar.co.uk/introducing-tiger-mimic/
https://www.croydonist.co.uk/tiger-mimic/
https://thegirlsattherockshow.com/song-of-the-day-tiger-mimic-dont-cover-up-my-eyes/

Tiger Mimic will headline the Nambucca on April 27th in London. The entry is free. You can find the info for the event on socials:

https://www.facebook.com/events/658720734568060/

We hope you enjoyed this little blog. We will be back
M/R

Indieterria review – Drusila Want You single

Dear Readers

Logo

Writing reviews is not always as glamorous as it looks – most of the times you have to sit though excruciatingly bad demos or records that offer very little, even to a die-hard music fan. After a while to save your ears, you start to develop a skill to spot good material without hearing a note.  Pro-tip:  look at the name. You can learn quite a few things from the way a band named themselves. It can be poetic (“Collective Soul”), abstract (“Talking Heads”) or can hint at close ties among the members (“The Ramones”). So if you see an original and intriguing name  – grab that release. Nine times out of ten you will be right.

So, last week when I found in my inbox a single by Portsmouth based duo Drusila,  I knew I had quality material for the blog. Just by their name alone. Pop cultural knowledge is your friend when you review music. And a band that chooses a name after a prominent female figure from ancient times will surely indicate an ambitious project.

Drusila: these charming men

I can hear  the moans – Drusila is just an old fashioned name. What is there to get excited about.

A little bit of history lesson for you then, before we get to the music.

Drusila (Greek for “morning dew”) was a young and tragic figure in the times of Roman Empire, boasting of  incredible political heritage. Her father was famous general Germanicus (seen by his people on par with Alexander the Great for his military conquests) and  her mother was Agrippina The Elder (grand -daughter of Emperor Augustus and a powerful persona of Roman society). Drusila`s siblings included: Julia Livilla (“princess of Lesbos”), Agrippina The Younger (empress), emperor Caligula, Nero Julius Caesar and Drusus Caesar (heirs to emperor Tiberius). Her grandmother was empress Julia Augusta. Pomponia Graecina (venerated in Catholic church as St Lucy) was her aunt. After the death of Germanicus at the age of thirty three,  Agrippina The Elder returned to Rome with six of her children and started a series of complex political and military intrigues against Emperor Tiberius, whom she blamed for poisoning her husband. The power struggle was so bloody and so intense that it took lives of all six children of Agrippina The Elder before any of them reached age of forty.

In her life Drusila was a prominent member of the royal family and skilled political player. She was also known to be more beautiful than legendary Cleopatra. She had such a close relationship with her brother Caligula that she was seen as his wife and a lover. She divorced twice at Caligula`s request and shared his household. During his illness Caligula named Drusila as the only hair to all his possession and titles. Had he died, Drusila would inherit the throne and would become the first woman to solely rule Roman Empire.

Melancholic visuals are part of the band`s charm and carefully crafted image.

However, it was Drusila who perished first, during a famine at the age of 22. She would not witness executions, assassinations and starvation of all her other siblings. Caligula who was obsessed with his sister to the point of naming himself her husband (and probably marrying her against all rules of the empire) – proclaimed her a goddess and reincarnation of Venus and buried her in a huge public ceremony. Drusila`s death changed Caligula into a tyrant, who pillaged public funds and drove Roman Empire on the brink of collapse.

If you find this somehow familiar – you are right. Drusila and Caligula serve as a blueprint for Cersei and Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones.

You see – a good name can squeeze volumes of information  for a reviewer to decode and it is such a intellectual pleasure to meet a band who are ambitious and dig history and even have a good taste in picking up a TV show. They would surely be great to interview and maybe that`s what we will do in the coming weeks.

But now – to the point. The single, “Want You” just came out and I am more than happy to lend my ears and my pen to review this song.

“Want You” is a sultry electro-pop ballad for the romantics on the indie circuit. You can clearly imagine a club night full of kids on the floor dancing to it, and maybe using it to let their secret crush know how they feel about them. But the single is so much more than a perfect Fresher`s Week club filler. Drusila are very clever – they take elements from their contemporaries (like Hurts) but also from older genres: cold wave, 80s synth wave and electronic music to forge their own unique sound. It is hard to believe that George William Robert and Hugo Seckington (who form the duo) started out this year. They sound like a band with at least two-three years of touring and recording experience with a good understanding where they want to be in five – ten years time.

Single cover for Want You – red roses and suits, some very clever references to Morrissey and Depeche Mode. We approve.

Judging from previous singles and videos (“Forget”, “Something For Nothing”) Drusila have a liking for theatrics on stage and spiky hair that would make Robert Smith right at home. Combine that with ability to write beautiful pop melodies and you have a very interesting mix.

Forget single cover – we do love the spiky hair (and eyeliner!)

On reviewer described Drusila as a “strange affair between The Cure, Hurts and Pet Shop Boys” and I am a bit jealous that I didn’t come with this line myself. It summarizes their sound so nicely. From my end I will definitely add that they have ambition and talent to back up their impressive influences.  So it seems we have a duo that we need to keep an eye on. Those boys will be here for a long while. Lucky us.

Something For Nothing single sleeve – bringing to mind the 80s cult series The Twilight Zone. We said. we love the references Drusila envoke in their visuals.

You can follow the band on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/DrusilaWeAre/
https://twitter.com/DrusilaWeAre
https://www.instagram.com/drusilaband/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE9ry-OOi9EB_UXrHoEoyxA
https://soundcloud.com/user-970258778
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1Lc5UFs2kwrs8HxGLjoIp7?si=W9I4XTBARnmc6eWQMqvQFQ

Or you can listen to them here:

That`s all for us this time around. I will leave you with one more stunning visual from Drusila – in the studio. As this blog goes live, the band has been featured on BBC Introducing and has a session at Rough Trade.  The only way up for them boys is up.

Purple haze – Drusila in the studio.

 

Cheerios,

Malicia

Indieterria meets Dharma Bums

Howdy!

Welcome back to another edition of Indieterria, where we discover new and exciting music. After speaking to the wonderful Nic Evennett two weeks ago and receiving many nice comments regarding the interview (including a praise from the legendary musician and radio DJ, Tim Robinson himself!), today we will introduce you to a 4 piece outfit from Worcestershire that plays rock and blues better than the cowboys from the American West.

Dharma Bums are incredibly nice folks and it was a privilege to talk to them. If blues, country and a jazz fusion is your thing, you cannot miss them! Please read on.

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Welcome to the Wild, Wild West Midlands

 

Dharma Bums at the Abbey Road Studios in London

Inspiration works in mysterious ways. Sometimes you are not even interested in making music and you end up forming a genre defining band with your school mates or friends living on the same street. Or you could be a professional musician, for years struggling to find same minded people to play with.  Luckily for us, all members of Dharma Bums were in the right place, at the right time and clicked together immediately. Their instant communication, understanding of one another and simple joy of working together can be heard in their every song. It was a pure pleasure to listen to their EP entitled “Nothing to lose blues”. Vanadian Avenue took The Bums leading outlaw, Kevin Wrench to the nearest saloon to discuss their previous musical experiences, love for blues and their new material over a bottle of finest whisky and a game of cards.

Kevin Wrench – Vocals/Guitar
Dave Shuter – Lead Guitar/Harmonica
Jon Green – Bass
Thomas Paine – Percussion

Your biography mentions that Dharma Bums were formed in 2015 yet all the members have been active on Worcestershire music scene for years and were involved in several different projects before. Tell us how did the band start and introduce all the members to our readers.

Kevin Wrench: Dave Shuter (lead guitar/harmonica) and myself initially started playing together early in 2015. Dave’s wife lived just up the road from where I grew up and after chatting to her on Facebook one evening, Dave and me got together and instantly hit it off. We shared an appreciation for blues and in particular, Robert Johnson. Dave had never met anyone, who was as keen on Robert Johnson as he was before the two of us met. Dave & his wife performed in a function band together for a number of years but they hadn’t gigged for quite some time when we first met. Dave’s patience has really helped me improve my own playing. He’s one of the most easy going  and nicest guys I know.

I’ve been interested in making music for years but could never quite find the right outlet to pursue it. I’ve never been a particularly confident performer and as a child, I was painfully shy. It has taken a number of years  and a bit of effort forcing myself out of my comfort zone in order to get to the point where I feel happy performing or sharing my music with anyone.  Some time ago I had guitar lessons  and played on and off for years but never really considered writing songs myself. I had some singing lessons around 2009 and did ABRSM Grade 5. The popularity of Michael Buble at the time coupled with my grandfather’s influence. He was a big admirer of Frank Sinatra and led me to collaborate with a couple of local pianists. Together, we performed mainly swing/jazz covers at local restaurants.

In 2013, I was approached by a producer friend about writing some songs for a solo project. Unfortunately, that project never quite came to fruition although I may re-record the four songs I wrote at some point in the not too distant future. Essentially, that meeting was the spark that ignited my passion for song writing. I also appeared in a couple of musical shows at the Rose Theatre in Kidderminster; that was where I met our percussionist Thomas “Tom” Paine. Two years later, while volunteering at The Civic Hall in Stourport, I organised a monthly music night called ‘Live Local’ which featured a variety of local artists. As well as being a rewarding experience, it also ended up being a massive inspiration as I was bowled over by the amount of talent in the local area and that ultimately inspired me to seek out some musicians to start a band myself.

Walking down the Abbey Road

Our drummer Tom has been a member of two local amateur dramatics groups for a number of years. In fact Tom`s whole family are members of both Kidderminster Operatic & Dramatic Society (KODS) and Carpet Trades Musical Theatre Company (CTMTC). Tom plays a variety of instruments and joined us around November 2015. He had never played the cajón before he joined us and slowly but surely, we’ve discovered more & more things that Tom can play which has greatly added to our overall sound. Only last year he was bought a banjo as a present and learnt several songs on it already. Tom grew up in a family where performing is second nature. He is a very gifted  and versatile musician.

Out of all of us, our bass player Jon Green has had the most experience in terms of being in bands, he’s played in several different bands since the age of 14, ranging from Rock to Crust Core Punk. A couple of the bands Jon has been involved in previously have been signed to record contracts. Jon is also a multi instrumentalist who plays the bodhrán and recently started learning the violin to bring something a bit different to our sound. Jon has performed all over the UK including London and even toured in the US. Jon’s daughter Ellisha Green is an extremely talented singer/songwriter and Ellie has also performed with the youth section of KODS, which is how Tom and I met Jon as he was often involved helping out backstage.

As I’m sure you’ve gathered by this point we combine a variety of very different backgrounds but we all share a passion for making music.

Right at the end of 2017, Dan Mathew joined us on percussion. Dan is also the drummer for The Bug Club who are another great local band and already he is proving to be a tremendous asset to our line-up. He has given the new songs we’re currently working on a much more dynamic sound.

“The Dharma Bums” is the title of the 1958 beat generation classic novel written by Jack Kerouac. It is also the name of an American garage band that influenced many pre-grunge groups in Seattle including Nirvana, Hole and Green River. What inspired you to take on that name as well? How are you going to distinguish yourselves from your American counterparts?

Kevin Wrench: That would be down to me. “The Dharma Bums” is one of my favourite novels and I’ve loved Kerouac’s work for years. He was a pivotal figure in the Beat Generation of the 1950’s counter culture which was very much a forerunner to the psychedelic 1960’s. It influenced some of my favourite artists including The Doors and The Beatles. My partner and I travelled quite a bit in our early 20’s and on our travels we visited Morocco and stayed in Jack Kerouac’s room in Tangier. Jack and Alan Ginsberg stayed there for a couple of years writing. In fact, I popped the question to my partner Sarah in Jack’s room when we arrived there!

After I chose the name, I realized that quite a few bands had used it. I did do a bit of research before picking it, but must admit, I didn’t realise that the other Dharma Bums had reached such a wide audience. I’m sure though if they truly are “Dharma Bums” they won’t have any issues with us using the name too and our sound is very, very different to theirs.

 You have just released a video to your song “Ballad of El Chivato“. It was directed by twice award nominated film maker Nick J. Townsend of Weak13 and shot in Bewdley. Can you tell us more about working with Nick and the story behind the song’s lyrics.

Kevin Wrench:  Working with Nick has been an absolute pleasure. He’s a lovely genuine guy who’s passionate, full of creativity, enthusiasm and he’s been on the local music scene for as long as I can remember. Not only did he produce a fantastic music video for us, but he’s also been incredibly supportive and has been very generous with his wisdom and experience which has been invaluable. I wrote “Ballad of El Chivato” while on holiday in Tenby with my partner and our daughter. It was raining one day so we were limited as to what we could do. We stayed in the caravan and I wrote a song. I’d been reading a book called “To Hell On A Fast Horse” by Mark Lee Gardner which is about the American West Outlaw Billy The Kid. I’ve read many books about the Old West, particularly about Billy The Kid and I’ve always loved songs that tell a story so that’s exactly what I tried to do with this song.

Dharma Bums use a mixture of blues, jazz, country and rock and rock to create their unique sound. Slap Magazine described your music as “cool” while Ryan’s Gig Guide called it “unique and vintage”. What is the audience reaction? Do they like it?

Kevin Wrench:  Audiences tend to respond really well to our music. We’ve picked up some lovely supporters (feel reluctant to say fans) who really seem to appreciate the blend of influences we draw on. As we’re still building our repertoire of original material, we tend to play a mixture of covers and originals at our gigs at the moment, covering artists as diverse as Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Hank Williams, Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Prince or The Soggy Bottom Boys. We’re writing more and more original songs though, so over time we will increase the number of originals we play and most likely not play as many covers. As I’m sure many other bands will testify, you’re never going to please everyone. There’s been one or two gigs where people drunkenly shout “play Summer of 69” or “play some Bon Jovi” not that there’s anything wrong with these songs/artists but they’re just not to our taste; but for the most part we get a great reaction wherever we play.

“Ballad of El Chivato” is promoting your latest EP entitled “Nothing to Lose Blues” released in July 2017. The 5 track EP was recorded in Stourport and mastered in London at the famous Abbey Road Studios. It must have been quite an experience to work with Sean Magee a Grammy winning mastering engineer of The Beatles, Rush, Deep Purple and Public Image Ltd.

Nothing to Lose Blues cover

Kevin Wrench: Since we started gigging, every penny the band has earned has gone into an old biscuit tin and has been accumulated to pay for recording, mastering, producing a video and paying for our CDs to be printed. We feel it’s better to create memories like visiting the legendary Abbey Road Studios, rather than taking a quarter share of gig money and then having to contribute towards these costs anyway after we’ve spent the money. Obviously, visiting Abbey Road wasn’t cheap, but it was paid for entirely out of the kitty and is an experience that none of us will ever forget. All four of us stayed together in London as well as our time in the studio, we had a great time.

“Nothing To Lose Blues” features a wide array of local musicians including George Alan on trumpet, Chris Yates on piano and Matt Worley on banjo. The EP cover was also designed by an established contemporary artist, Craig Simmons. For a debut record, the guest list is simply impressive. Was it hard to bring so many creative minds to the same project?

Kevin Wrench: When I first thought about starting a band, I always imagined the line-up being flexible and being able to work as a collective melting pot of various creative minds able to operate across a variety of genres. This was a very romantic notion for an amateur band and I’ve since come to realise that it’s important to have a strong bond amongst the core members of a band. That’s not to say that we can’t invite other local musicians to make guest appearances  and I think our next record will be very similar in that respect. I met a lot of musicians while organizing ‘Live Local’ at The Civic in Stourport and I made a lot of friends in the local music/artistic community. I’ve become quite cheeky and not afraid to ask others to be involved. We never tell people what we want them to play, we invite them to play because we know that they will bring something of themselves to our recordings. We were blessed on this first recording to get George, Matt and Chris on board, they are all extremely talented guys and we hope they will be involved on our next project. We also hope to invite several other local musicians to be involved. Craig Simmons is an incredibly talented local artist  and luckily for us, he is friends with Tom. We think he did an awesome job on our artwork  and we very much hope to be able to work with him again on our next release.

Rumour has it that you are beginning to work on a new material. We heard that you have wrote a protest song called ” Sell Your soul”. Would you like to elaborate?

Kevin Wrench: (laughing) I don’t wish to give too much away just yet but yes this is true. Like many people, I’m a little concerned by the emergence of certain “leaders” in the last couple of years and wanted to write something that communicated this concern that I know I’m not alone in feeling. We’ve already discussed with Nick Townsend about a possible video for “Sell Your Soul” and we’re quite keen to get it out in the public domain as soon as we can. I know some people don’t like it when musicians incorporate their political opinions into their music but I think it’s difficult not to sometimes as it effects us all  and our opinions are just as valid as anyone else’s. We’ve also got a couple of bluesy numbers  and a pirate shanty inspired folk song which will appear on our next record.

Dharma Buns performing

Dharma Bums has just been confirmed to perform at WolvesFest in Wolverhampton on 16-17th of June 2018. Where else can we see you playing live? Any coming up shows to look out for?

Kevin Wrench:  Our calendar is filling up quite nicely at the moment with new dates being added regularly. We’ve not pursued too many gigs in this early part of the year as we wanted to focus on writing new material and also we wanted to give our new percussionist Dan chance to settle in. We’re playing at The Swan in Stourport on 1st March and at the Cock & Magpie on 14th April. We’re currently arranging dates with many of the venues we’ve played at over the last couple of years, so if people wish to keep up to date they could check out our Facebook page  at http://www.facebook.com/dharmabumsuk.

And finally, a question that has to appear on every interview: where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?

Kevin Wrench: Wow, that’s a big question! I see us being maybe 2/3 albums further along with a lot more of an established fan base and maybe even having travelled to America to possibly have used a studio over there for mastering and with a bit of luck picked up a few gigs while we were there. I’d also like to have done a couple of mini tours in the UK, maybe also in Ireland and I’d like to have gigged in London. I’d also like to think we would’ve had a bit more airplay which seems to be the most difficult thing to acquire, particularly if you fall outside of the mainstream musical spectrum. The ultimate aim would be able to give up the day job  and focus full time on music. I don’t think any of us are naive enough to believe we’ll achieve fame and fortune but there are plenty of musicians out there who are not household names but still manage to make a good living from their music.

Dharma Buns review from Ryan Gigs Guide

Dharma Bums can be found online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dharmabumsuk/
Bandcamp: https://dharmabumsuk.bandcamp.com/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkOHwhVl706lJQxVJB0fLcA
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5Ex1lCGaJ20okS35pfwa2O

Articles about the band:
http://www.kidderminstershuttle.co.uk/news/15888601.Kidderminster_band_brings_a_touch_of_the_wild_west_to_district
http://www.stourbridgenews.co.uk/news/local/15888670.Stourbridge_film_maker_brings_wild_west_to_Bewdley
http://www.kidderminstershuttle.co.uk/news/15369035.Kidderminster_band_to_release_debut_EP_next_month/

You can purchase their music here:
CDBABY:
https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/dharmabums12
Amazon Music: https://www.amazon.com/Nothing-to-Lose-Blues/dp/B0742979NT
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/nothing-to-lose-blues-ep/1261253519
————————–

If you think we have missed some excellent tune, a future rock star or a band that is worth listening to, please kindly let Vanadian Avenue know and we will be more than happy to feature them on our blog. We are constantly on the lookout for independent artists and we will always help in any way we can. We do receive a lot of requests so please give us some time to properly listen to your music and read through attached links. It sometimes can take a week or more but if we like what you have sent us, it will definitely be featured on Indieterria.

We do specialize in rock and alternative music, but we appreciate all genres, from A(bba) to Z(ZTop)  so please don’t be discouraged! All requests should be sent to rdabrowicz@yahoo.com and contain links to Soundcloud, Bandcamp or Youtube videos. We do accept mp3’s but please limit them to 2 or 3 only – choose the best ones that represent you and your musical style. We will also need 3 or 4 pictures (good resolution is essential as they will be used to illustrate the interview or a review) and a bio. You know, the bare minimum needed to show the world how good you are. Vanadian Avenue undertakes a thorough research and we try to present each featured artist in a professional way. Interested? Drop us a line!

Thank you and Indieterria is always pleased to hear from you!

Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Indieterria – Year in review

Hello!

It is nearly December and we cannot believe how quickly this year has gone! The past 11 months were super busy but many things were accomplished. Worcester music scene is growing stronger and stronger by the day and we thought it would be fun to prepare a short review.

We have taken 9 of the most popular musical acts from our faithful city, we looked through their official websites and posts on social media pages to find out what they have been up to and what they have achieved. The results? We can describe them only with one word  – breathtaking. If somebody would told us that 2017 will be so productive and so kind to our local musicians, we would have never believed them.

Please read our report below and we hope you will feel as proud as we feel right now.

There is also another reason why we decided to do this  review.

You have probably heard by now that BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester was asked to put forward one artist from our county to go to famous music business trade and conference SXSW in Austin, Texas next year.

There is a whole discussion on BBC H&W page, so we decided to make it easier for you and point out what leading artists from Worcestershire accomplished in recent times. Now its up to you dear readers to decide who may go to America in 2018. Read on and let your voice be heard.

You can see the entire discussion here:

 

HVMM

1. HVMM (hard rock/alternative)

– Signed to Independent Label Alliance (US based label)
– Released EP “Talk To Me Like I`m Dead”
– Release of debut EP followed by a sold out gig at Marrs Bar and a release party at Rise (Independent Record Store)
– Have been featured on BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester
– Their single “Lacerate” has been played nationally on BBC 6 Music (Steve Lamacq), Kerrang Radio (Alex Baker), Radio X (John Kennedy), Amazing Radio and multiple smaller radio stations in the UK and US.
– Band continues to record in Spain and London with legendary producer Martin “Youth” Glover
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– Headlined a sold out show in London (Seabright Arms) as part of Hackney Wonderland
– Portal TeamRock.com named HVMM their “Band of the Week”, large features in Classic Rock, Gig Sluts and other large music portals online.
– Band tours nationally
– Released videos to “Lacerate”, “Going Postal” and “Beggars and Thieves”

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/wearehvmm
You can visit band`s page here: https://www.wearehvmm.com/

If you think HVMM deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Nuns of the Tundra

2. Nuns of the Tundra (indie /psychedelic rock)

– Unsigned act
– Released self titled EP
– Successful EP launch at Marr’s Bar in Worcester supporting Soeur (sold out)
– Recorded a session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester
– Their singles “Robot Love” and “Float away” were championed by Andrew Marston of BBC Hereford and Worcester. “Mind`s Eye” has been streamed over  000 on Spotify
– Band continues to record locally at Funky Bunker in Malvern with producer Scott Mahoney
– Named as one of leading acts from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– Strong touring presence locally (Bristol, Birmingham, Evesham) .Their performance at at BBC Introducing stage at Lakeview Festival at Eastnor Castle received very positive reviews (“they blew the tent poles off”)
– The band were featured in several articles in Malvern Gazette, Worcester News and Worcester Observer. Overblown Magazine called Nuns of the Tundra “the saviours of mainstream rock”
– The band is currently is in the finals of the third edition of the “Battle of the Bands” organized by Firestone. You can vote for them here: http://battleofthebands.firestone.eu/
– Released 4 singles : “Robot Love”, Mind’s eye”, “Float away” and “Dead in the desert”. Animated video to “Float away” made in co-operation with London based art company YESMAN was accepted into several international short film festivals including the prestigious  NYC Indie Film Festival

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/nunsofthetundra
You can visit band`s page here:  http://nunsofthetundra.com/

If you think Nuns of the Tundra deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Population:7

 

3. Population:7 (rap/funk/neo-soul)

– Unsigned collective and one of the largest in the country (currently 9 members)
– Released three independent albums “Dead city” (featuring Tina Maynard and Anya Pulver of Soeur on vocals), “WHYP7” and “Fiero”
– Their concert at Worcester Music Festival was named best live performance by the audience. They also supported ska legends The Toasters.
– Recorded a session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester
– Debuted on BBC 6 Music (Tom Robinson`s MixTape). Andrew Marston of BBC Hereford and Worcester described them as Incredible live performers. Fun, energetic and have the crowd enjoying themselves as much as the band!”
– The Collective is working on a project entitled “Lowlight” with possible theatrical release.
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– The band is constantly touring locally (Bristol, Birmingham, string of local festivals such as Under The Hill FestDubs In the Middle and Mello Festival).
– Described as one of the best bangers from the Midlands by Birmingham rapper Lady Sanity in Dummy Magazine
– They supported Benji and Hibbz at sold out concert in Birmingham
– Released several videos to singles such as “I say”, “Blindspot” and “Swag” with thousands views on YouTube

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/population-7
You can visit band`s page here:  https://population7.bandcamp.com/

If you think Population:7 deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know her
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/16037890596850

The Americas

4. The Americas (rock`n`roll)

– Unsigned act
– Released demo (“Tenth Day of May”), 2 digital singles (“Something`s Gonna Happen”, “Hot Minute”)
– Played to the full house at Worcester Music Festival, sell out every home coming gig
– They recently recorded session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester, they have featured on BBC Introducing West Midlands
– Their music received airplay from national radio stations such as Radio X (Gordon Smart), BBC Hereford and Worcester, Free Radio and many independent online radio stations
– The Americas just finished recording their debut EP
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– They are the only band from Worcestershire on the famous This Feeling circuit. Headlined sold out show at The Finsbury in London. The Americas supported The Twang (sold out show at O2 Academy Birmingham), Broken Witt Rebels, Bluetones, Blaenavon and Trampolene
– They played some of the most important festivals in the country: Beyond The Tracks, Reading, Y Not, Tramlines, Isle of Wright
– Online magazine Gigslutz awarded them the title of the Best Newcomers and described them as “Infectious, frenetic, cool. One to watch”. Their concert was named “the week’s best gig” by the New Musical Express. The Line of Best Fit championed them by saying they “revitalize rock`n`roll”. The Americas received positive reviews from Mikey Johnns of This Feeling, Hall or Nothing music promoter Caffy St. Luce
– Band tours nationally. They performed at the BBC Amplify conference in London
– The Americas released video to single “Hot Minute” 

You can listen to the artist here: https://soundcloud.com/theamericasyeah
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.facebook.com/theamericasyeah/

If you think The Americas deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

nth cave

5. nth cave (shoegaze/dreampop)

– Unsigned but tipped as the most promising band from Worcester
– Double A single demo released (Bass/Pop Party Princess)
– The band played to a full house for Worcester Music Festival, Worcester Pride and  took part in Musicians Against Homelessness charity fundraiser
– Recorded session for BBC Introducing BBC Hereford & Worcester
– Debuted  by Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music with a rave review (“band to watch out for”)
– The band prepares to enter the studio in January
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– nth cave begin to gain ground outside the county with concerts in Birmingham (02 Academy 2) and Liverpool (Club Babe).
– SLAP Magazine described them as “young, fearless and immensely talented”.  They have been heavily championed by BBC Hereford and Worcester
– Members of the band are known for broad interests in music and broadcasting. Fergus (guitar) has been awarded BBC apprenticeship, while Hector (drums) and Alfie (bass) participate in Boneyard Promotions, organizing concerts and open mic nights in Worcester and Hereford.
– nth cave released video for their single “Bass” 

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/nthcave
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.facebook.com/nthcave/

If you think nth cave deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

The Humdrum Express

6. The Humdrum Express /Ian Passey (singer/songwriter)

– Unsigned and self releasing artist
– Ian has a long career which spans over thirteen releases (album and EPs), the newest being a stand-alone single “E-Petition” released in November 2017
– The Humdrum Express has recently taken part in Musicians Against Homelessness charity fundraiser in Worcester, curated folk stage at Worcester Music Festival and played a sold out show at the Ross Theatre in Kiddeminster.
– During his career Ian has been featured numerous times on BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester and BBC West Midlands
– His six last singles have been in regular rotation on BBC 6 Music and other national stations. In total over 30 different shows across a variety of stations.
– Ian is currently preparing to record his new album
– “E-Petition” single went viral in October 2017, with articles about the zombie themed video appearing across local media – Stourbridge News, Dudley News, Kidderminster Shuttle and local radio stations (Severnvalley Radio)
– The Humdrum Express shared stages with many great artists such as performance poet John Cooper Clarke, Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü), Ian McCulloch (Echo & the Bunnymen), The Wombats, Half Man Half Biscuit, The Wedding Present, Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers), Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff), Mark Morriss (The Bluetones), The Membranes
– The Kidderminster Shuttle describe Ian Passey as an artist “known for his fast-paced lyrical style who mixes social commentary with familiar cultural references, surreal characters and subtle puns”
– The Humdrum Express has a series of videos under his belt. The latest – is “E-Petition”

You can listen to the artist here: https://soundcloud.com/thehumdrumexpress
You can visit artist`s page here:  https://www.thehumdrumexpress.com/

If you think The Humdrum Express deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Soeur

7. Soeur (alternative/noise)

– Unsigned band (but for how long?)
– Released debut EP “What separates us” and singles “No Fire”, “Left Living” and the title track “What separates us”
– Soeur shows usually sells out quickly as it happened in Worcester, Birmingham, Bristol, Bath, Leeds and Sheffield
– They have been featured on BBC Introducing twice: BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester and BBC Introducing In the West. Their single “No fire” was championed by Andrew Marston and Huw Stephens
– Received impressive amount of airplay on local and national radio stations: BBC Hereford and Worcester, BBC Radio Bristol, Free Radio Birmingham, Radio X, BBC Radio 1 (Rock Show with Daniel P Carter), BBC6 Music and many more
– They recorded their debut session at the legendary BBC Maida Vale studios in London in September. It was broadcasted live on Radio 1 along with the band’s interview
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– Soeur played at Reading Festival, Leeds Festival and headlined two sold out shows in London – Named as “one of the best unsigned acts” by Radio 1, “unforgettable” by BBC Introducing and “kick-ass attitude, catchy tunes and filthy riffs” by popular online magazine Tab the Feed
– Their single “No fire” was added to official Spotify playlist called “Rocked – the best new rock songs from the UK”
– Released videos to “Pass out”, “No fire” and “Left Living”

You can listen to the band here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVcb7WVDBjUwEcj0hVR4Fig
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.soeursoeursoeur.com

If you think Soeur deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Thousand Mountain

8.Thousand Mountain (match rock/instrumental)

– Unsigned band
–  Released self titled demo and currently are working on their first EP
– Thousand Mountain performed at Worcester Music Festival, The Sunflower Lounge and The Flapper in Birmingham and headlined Musicians Against Homelessness concert at Marr’s Bar in Worcester in support of Crisis
– They supported American spoken word legends The Listener, Press to Meco, Rubio and Sleepmakeswaves among others
– Have been featured on BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester
– Their single “Falling” was played on Birmingham Radio, BBC Hereford and Worcester and received national airplay on BBC 6 Music Recommends with Steve Lamacq
– “Falling” was also available to listen online nationally on BBC iPlayer for the period of 2 months
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– The band was featured in several others articles form Worcester News, Worcester Observer and Slap Magazine
– They were interviewed by national Free Radio during prime time broadcast slot (driving home news)
– Thousand Mountain are working with the biggest concert promoters in Worcestershire and Birmingham and constantly touring
– Live videos to “Kraken”, “Open Doors” and “Falling” are available on their  Youtube channel

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/thousand-mountain
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.facebook.com/ThousandMountain/

If you think Thousand Mountain deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Lost Tiger

9. Lost Tiger to the Wild (indie/alternative rock)

– Unsigned duo but  under the care of prestigious Coalition Talent agency
– Released debut single in November 2017
– Duo played a string of successful home town gigs at Marrs Bar, to full house
– Recorded a session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester
– Band has been championed by Andrew Marston of BBC Hereford & Worcester
– Lost Tiger are currently recording
– They  supported Tinie Tempah at the Coventry University Summer Ball and X Factor finalists, Jack    and Joel. Only weeks after at the Teesside University Ball, Lost Tiger opened for Wheatus, Karen Harding, Fuse ODG and Pendulum
– Headlined the Birmingham Christmas Market for Free Radio
– The band enjoys a phenomenal social media presence – having over  11.000 followers on Instagram
– Released videos to their debut single “Come Out With Me”

You can listen to the band here: https://www.youtube.com/losttiger
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.facebook.com/LostTigerBand/

If you think Lost Tiger deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Keep your fingers crossed for your favourite artists and let The BBC Introducing Herefor and Worcester know who would you like to see on the other side of The Pond!

See you soon,
Rita and Malicia D.

**** Update 16/12/2017****

The waiting and anticipation is over. BBC Hereford and Worcestershire had made their decision to put forward one local act before the broadcaster`s panel that decides who will play at BBC Stage at SXSW – the world`s biggest music business trade show.

And that local band is White Feather Collective.

We have decided to add the band to the best of 2017 as they are very accomplished artists and  we will soon interview them as part of our Indieterria project. White Feather Collective were very surprised to learn that BBC H&W considered them for an overseas trip. This is what they have to say:

Each year BBC Introducing takes a handful of British artists to SXSW in Austin, Texas. Each act is performing live as part of BBC Stage. Previous year included artists such The Big Moon, Idles and Shame – you can say the champions league of indie circuit. Idles debut album “Brutalism” is a record of the year, Shame are recognized as one of the most influential new bands in the country, while The Big Moon were nominated to Mercury Prize.

Only the best among indie artists are taken to America and The White Feather Collective face a tough competition from other entitled acts from all across the country. But don’t think they don’t stand a chance. Because they do! We compiled a short note of what they have accomplished and it is a safe bet to say they are making a mark on Worcester music scene. Please send kudos and keep your fingers crossed for yet another alumni of WorcesterWave (yes, this is a real name for our scene. Thank you Andrew Marston!)

 

White Feather Collective

The White Feather Collective (psychodelia/surf-rock/folk)

– Not yet signed
– Released five track debut EP “Universal Harmony” and a stand-alone digital single “Doorman”
– Their song “Come On and Get Down” was used by French company WIKO Mobile in their international campaign on TV and radio
– Have been featured on BBC Introducing and were put forward to the panel that chooses the BBC Music Introducing South By South West (SXSW) showcase line-up.
– The band played at The Orchard Venue in Ledbury, West Fest, Mello Fest, Lakefest, Nozstock to universal acclaim
– Headlined sold out shows in their home town of Malvern, London (The Water Rats in Kings Cross and The Monarch in Camden), Bristol (Mr Wolf’s) and in Scotland
– Their YouTube channel received more than 200,000 individual views, with “Come On and Get Down” being viewed more than 80,000 times and “Crossroad Shootout” more than 34,000 times separately
– The band’s vocalist and guitar player, Will Turner wrote music for Grand Designs, The One Show, BBC News and Santander Bank
– Band tours nationally
– Released videos to “Come On and Get Down”, “Crossroad Shootout”, “The Inside” and “You Got The Time”

White Feather Collective – the future is looking bright

You can visit White Feather Collective on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewhitefeathercollective/

Listen to the band here: https://thewhitefeathercollective.bandcamp.com/
or you can visit band`s page here: http://www.thewhitefeathercollective.com/

Alternatively, see their videos via their official YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMn_Umrhabb1wzGfRNRVlpw

We will keep this post updated when the BBC panel makes a final decision regarding the SXSW alumni 2017.

xxx
Mal and Rita

Indieterria Reviews: Mudlark

Hello!

It is a common knowledge that Wales has a strong connection to music. From Ivor Novello, Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones to Budgie, Funeral for a Friend, Manic Street Preachers and Catatonia, Welsh music has always been a step ahead of everybody else, setting new trends and refining musical tastes for decades.

The money might be in London, but the talent is definitively hidden among the valleys and it’s our pleasure to introduce our readers to the best of new acts that Vanadian Avenue has the privilege to discover.

Come Clean /Swansong cover by Robert Paterson

Our today’s guests, Mudlark hail from the beautiful town of Caerphilly. At the beginning, it is worth mentioning that their name is quite original and what’s even more important, it fits them like a glove. In the 18th and 19th century England (especially in the capitol) people scavenging through the river mud in search of valuable items to sell were called either mud searchers or mud lurkers. Usually they belonged to the city’s poorest residents, yet they enjoyed a great deal of  independence, respect among other dwellers and could keep all their earnings to themselves. Nowadays, the term is attributed to treasure hunters, amateur archaeologists and even metal-detectors looking for World Word II souvenirs. When we say the name fits the band well, we mean the listener has to literary “dig” through many layers and intricately constructed melodies to discover and appreciate the true value of their music. Multidimensional and complex creations are Mudlark’s trademarks.

The quintet was formed over two years ago and on the 5th of November 2017, they released their new double track single entitled “Come clean/Swansong”. You may remember them from their September release of an instrumental track “Ruth” that received very warm reviews from independent music websites and online zines. A well made, silent-cinema inspired video (known as “Frankenstein’s Ruth”) also helped to raise the band’s profile. We can promise you that the new release is as good as the previous one and shows that Mudlark are in incredibly great musical shape.

Mudlark picture by Rhys Morgan

Now let’s sink our teeth into the two new compositions. The first one track “Come Clean” is the shorter of the two, standing at only 2 minutes and three seconds. It starts with a longish atmospheric interlude but blossoms into a dynamic and structured sonic landscape at the end of the first minute. The band lists New York hard-core legends Minor Threat as one of their influences and the heavy, gritty guitars and distorted amplifiers are there but “Come Clean” masterfully covers them with haunting harmonies that reminds us of the classic Tool or maybe even more accurately, The Perfect Circle. Luke Powell’s powerful set of lungs shatter the poetic lyrics into shreds but somehow it goes perfectly well with the music. Our only complaint is that the track is a bit too short, yet it is a matter of individual taste. In our opinion, additional 20-30 seconds would allow the song to develop a bit better and keep its natural flow. It is not a big flaw, rather leave  the reviewer wanting more, which is a great thing.

Another great shot by Rhys Morgan

Second song entitled “Swansong” is much longer at 5 minutes and 13 seconds. Again slow beginning, with nearly spoken word vocals, mid tempo that gradually evolves into dramatic and vibrant finish. It is very hard to put it into a single genre – there is a bit of hard-core, a bit of progressive rock, mixture of clean and  growl vocals. If we could say, Swancong is something of a Faith No More, meets Fear Factory (Burton C Bell type vocals) with The Streets and a fellow Welsh metallers, Taint thrown into the concoction. Both songs were solidly mixed and produced. In short this is a professionally prepared demo from a band that`s on a good way to great things.

The double single comes with beautiful photographs taken by Alexandru Olteanu and cover art made by Robert Paterson.

Final mark: Highly recommended!

Promotional photography by Alexandru Olteanu

Mudlark
Luke Powell (vocals)
Wesley McCarthy (lead guitar)
Benjamin Morgan (rhythm guitar)
Nick Giles (bass)
Jack Williams (drums)

Hometown: Caerphilly

Bio: Lifelong friends from the Welsh valleys who write melancholic, poetic and dark oddities.

“Swansong/Come clean” two track single
Release date: 05/07/2017

Written and performed by Mudlark

Engineered by Rhys Morgan – https://twitter.com/rhysdrums
Produced by James Minas – https://twitter.com/minassound
Artwork by Robert Paterson  – https://www.facebook.com/robertpatersonart/
Photography by Alexandru Olteanu  – https://www.facebook.com/not.nanu
Video by Stone Letter Media  – https://www.facebook.com/stonelettermedia/

Second picture by Alexandru Olteanu

You can find more about Mudlark online:

Booking and interview requests:  mudlarkmail@gmail.com
Bandcamp:
https://mudlarkuk.bandcamp.com/releases
Soundcloud:
https://soundcloud.com/mudlarkuk
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/mudlarkuk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/mudlarkuk
Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKwB_UXUDEVppX7dUrbNE2w

Swansong video:

Frankenstein’s Ruth video:

If you’d like to have your music featured on Indieterria, please send links to your Soundcooud or Bandcamp pages 3 or 4 pictures and a bio to rdabrowicz at yahoo dot com. Please note that Vanadian Avenue do not accept mp3 or zipped files. Also, please give us a week or two to listen to your music and write the review!

Thank you and see you shortly.
Rita and Malicia

———Update 2018/04/14————

Canvas EP cover

After several months of being relatively quiet, our favourite Caerphilly based hard rockers, Mudlark returns with a new digital EP  entitled “Canvas”. We are extremely pleased to announce that “Canvas” is even better than “Come clean/Swansong”. We sincerely loved their  previous EP and we thought that recording something even better will be hard to beat. We admit, we were wrong!

Instead of four tracks, “Canvas” offers only two new songs: an epic 11-minute long “Stare at the Sun” and nearly five-minuter “Death Lessons”. As before, all songs were written by Mudlark and produced by Rhys Morgan.

The first track “Stare at the Sun” opens with a prolonged beginning with heavy, distorted guitars and melancholic vibes that would make Paradise Lost turn green with envy. Luke Powell’s monotonic, almost spoken-word monologue reminds us of  Johan Edlund of Tiamat (circa “Wildhoney”era) that quickly turns into a scream and then morphs into a crystal clear singing. The music is again layered and each layer seems to represent a different genre. You can find progressive rock, metal, heavy metal, college rock, math rock and psychodelic music. All in one yet perfectly mixed into what we can only call a classic Mudlark sound.

In comparison to “Stare at the Sun”, second track, “Death Lessons” is composed with much more simplicity. It has a gothic feel to it and is much more heavier which we liked a lot. It starts slowly, builds up quickly and finishes with crazy guitars, galloping drums and heavy bass line. Mudlark prepared a black and white video to this song which you can watch it below:

We truly hope that the departure of  Nick Giles (bass), will not mean the end of the band. Mudlark has a lot of potential and very unique style that is hard to find among  post-britpop and alternative rock outfits that dominate the indie circuit.

We keep our fingers crossed and hopefully we will have the pleasure to review further releases from them.

You can purchase/and listen to Canvas online:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1swXNojvoh5fv8YQvKR9CF?si=MiRtRcLpQmarOWUBX9Qzbg
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/album/id/1366468517
Bandcamp: https://mudlarkuk.bandcamp.com/album/canvas
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mudlarkuk/sets/canvas
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Mudlark_Canvas?id=Bokd5hokn76xetdrxsd5qq22jhi
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Canvas-MudLark/dp/B07BVPFDCD/ref=sr_1_1?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1523700515&sr=1-1-mp3-albums-bar-strip-0&keywords=canvas+mudlark
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRMy-NderSk

 

Malicia and Rita Dabrowicz