As soon as I record my Nickelback-derived masterpiece, create a new piece of medical technology and hook up with a really unattractive woman who is a gajillionaire’s daughter, I’m taking all my cash and moving to the United Kingdom. Because I’m convinced there’s a metric ton of underground stuff with a British passport that my ear canals are dying to hear. What follows below is a short list of current faves from the British isles who are making the kind of tinnitus-inducing racket I revel in.
Sex With Strangers EP (UNDERGROOVE)
Exit_International are a guitar-free trio who hail from Cardiff in Wales, where their low-end propulsion delivers equal parts crunch and bounce. What makes Sex With Strangers so appealing to me is how the songs work as both antisocial misanthrope fodder (ie, the ’90s discography of the Amphetamine Reptile and Touch And Go labels), as well as booty-movin’ dancefloor fillers with a slight twinge of old-school glam rock (check out “Chainsaw Song”). Justin Pearson, the All Leather squealer and bassist for the Locust, is remixing a few E_I tracks for some nefarious purposes. If you love to listen to your rock in short, sharp shocks while rubbing up against sexy pole dancers and ugly, homicidal, biker dudes, I’ve got a band for you…
Time-change abuse? Check. Totally obtuse synth work? Check. Female vocalist that’s equal parts cute and corrosive? Double-check. Sheffield-based Rolo Tomassi’s scorched-earth post-everything-mathcore is slightly less painful than grabbing the exhaust pipe of a semi-truck that’s been running for six hours. One of my massive regrets in life is not flying over to see them when they were sharing stages with the Bronx and Fucked Up two years ago. And pipe down, Brit-bitches: I know RT have a new album out, called Cosmology. I just haven’t had time to roll over to the Rough Trade site to go get it. Sheesh! At least I wanna actually pay for the damn thing…
Do The Job (MEDICAL)
The AP editors were hipped to Baddies’ jagged yet melodic punk last year, and yet, in a grand gesture of WTEffery, Do The Job still hasn’t been released over here. Baddies’ sound is certainly capable of jump-starting a pogo-fest like a wildfire in a Western state, but (dig this) it’s also as commercial as hell. “Tiffany, I’m Sorry” is a better pub-crawl theme than anybody working in today’s Oh So Earnest Punk Scene™ and the strident and stinging “Open One Eye” is pure paranoid pop. If your playlists are perverse enough to feature both… I don’t know, INXS and Stiff Little Fingers, you need to pick up what these Essex dudes are throwin’ down.
Self-titled 10-inch EP (OPTIMO)
The only slab of wax on this list, Glasgow, Scotland, rabble-rousers Divorce deliver a four-song 10-inch EP that’s a powerslide of massive proportions. Vicious female vocals, pummeling drumming, guitars set on one of three settings (“drone,” “punish” and “liquefy”) are melded in a sonic blast furnace to create a sound that approximates the sound of raining tungsten. Let me clarify that: Divorce aren’t a “metal” band per se, but the energy and vibe they put out is just as oppressive as going outside your house and seeing random pieces of errant space satellites violently land in your neighborhood. Sorry about your nabes’ cat, though…
PULLED APART BY HORSES
Pulled Apart By Horses (TRANSGRESSIVE)
Terms like “indie rock,” “metal,” “grunge” and “pure garbage” mean so many things to so many people. Which means theoretically, Pulled Apart By Horses have the potential to have a bigger fanbase than Coldplay. (Notice how I didn’t list the word “mediocrity” in that first sentence.) The Leeds quartet’s proper debut album (a limited-edition vinyl live LP is quite manic, as well) has all the signifiers that curl my toes—a tight rhythm section, tangled guitar noise and a singer in need of sedatives. Upon hearing them for the first time, my semi-snob friend (he hears less than half of the music I do, hence the prefix) described them as “Queens Of The Stone Age as a screamo band.” Which actually kinda makes sense, as there’s more direct rawk action than metalcore routine at play here.
Snake Magnet (BREW)
Perhaps you saw the mighty Kong’s full-page entry in AP’s 100 Bands You Need To Know In 2010 issue, where the trio looked resplendent in their plastic masks and red pajamas. Maybe you downloaded (legally or otherwise) Snake Magnet, the band’s debut album, which was directly influenced by bad things (drugs, sex) and whatever instruments were lying around the studio in the four days it took them to make the thing. Right this very moment, you could be grooving to the 500-second track, “Long,” wondering how such crazily unkempt dudes could concentrate on maintaining such a precise, metronomic groove for so long. Or maybe you’re continuing to delude yourself over the alleged merits of Vampire Weekend and the Hold Steady. Don’t worry, there’s still time to change, but don’t make me put the tough-love beatdown on you.