Archives for posts with tag: Wire

Vital Idles

“Shade the Shadows” from Glasgow’s unrefined Vital Idles is a refreshingly under-produced slice of poppy no-style post-punk with some of the angles and inflections associated with early Wire recordings.

“Shade the Shadows” leads off “DEMOS II” which, as the name suggests, is a collection of unvarnished guitar, bass, drums and vocals songs, recorded simply with realism and honesty.

It’s indie pop at the punk/DIY end of the indie spectrum. As well as the occasional echo of Wire, there’s a bit of the spirit of The Fall in their earliest form (refer “This Is Real?” here) and of course Glasgow’s The Pastels.

Some will find the songs on “DEMOS II” to be a bit amateurish I suppose. Rudimentary guitars and an untrained voice often play fast loose with the over-valued mainstream music concepts of being completely in tune with themselves, each other and the songs. The drums are also simple but keep the train on the tracks and on time, and the bassist gives it some musical propulsion with cheerful melodic runs.

But these attributes are exactly what gives Vital Idles and “DEMOS II” it’s character and appeal. Ideas are what counts, the execution of those ideas is a mere detail. This collection has the ideas. So much substance, but without the artifice of style.

Although… of course, no-style style is still style of sorts…





It’s not often I can say these days ‘here’s a great band I discovered through a print fanzine!’ But I can say that for HOUSEHOLD, thanks to the wonderful new (Issue #1 out now) music ‘zine Dynamite Hemorrhage. Here’s the latest from New York 3-piece HOUSEHOLD, a concise and near-perfect 6 song mini-album ‘Elaines’ released last December. If you are quick you may still get the 12″ vinyl from their label Dull Knife.

The first thing that comes to mind for me is the elegant undemonstrative post-punk pop minimalism of Young Marble Giants and also sometimes The Raincoats or Wire. I have long wondered why Young Marble Giants’ distinctive stripping of music to the simple core elements was never really emulated by anyone else. Perhaps it was too hard to create something as arresting as their landmark album ‘Collossal Youth’ without just copying the template?

HOUSEHOLD are from a different country and a different generation to Young Marble Giants, The Raincoats and Wire. Talya Cooper (guitar/vocals) & Isabel Freeman (bass), joined here for this recording by Nick Millhiser (drums), haven’t copied any template on ‘Elaines’, just done what the best young bands do by making their music instinctively out of a collection of imperfect memories of music, assembled and presented in the way their skill, circumstances, tastes and attitude permits.

As Mark Twain observed “substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources“.

[Footnote 1 May 2014: Re-reading this post it looks as if I am a bit dismissive of HOUSEHOLD. I’m not. I love their music and rate their distinctive re-organising of partly-familiar ideas to be as compelling and original as the music preceding them. The purpose of adding the Mark Twain quote was as a counter to the usual kind of dismissal given to music made today that it has ‘all been done before’. Of course it has, if you view it narrowly. That doesn’t mean it can’t be re-explored and re-interpreted by others and new generations. That is the nature of art & human expression; continually processing the past through the filter of our own experiences and lives and creating new layers on, and ideas from, what went before. Or, occasionally, veering off on unmapped paths and tangents from what was familiar. The danger territory for me is only where influence and re-interpretation is merely pastiche; recreating a contemporary facsimile of the original. This is not that.]