10 bands bringing rock back in 2014
Here are 10 bands that deliver all the blood, sweat and distorted guitars you could possibly need in 2014.
Rock doesn’t need saving. It hasn’t died or disappeared or gone into hibernation. And despite the endless drone of nostalgia in sticky-carpeted pubs it hasn’t retired to nursing homes to reminisce about how Led Zep, Sabbath and the Stones used up all the decent riffs. Where there are guitars, anger and passion there will always be rock: It’s a simple fact.
Despite all of this rock appears to be “back” in 2014 (not that it ever really went away). Revivals are an inevitable part of pop culture. After all there are only so many times you can get excited about a banjo-driven anthem, a downbeat electro shimmer or a jangling, festival-friendly indie-pop hype act. But, thanks to a swaggering, mic-dropping speech from Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner at the Brit awards, the latest “rock revolution” has a standard-bearer to inspire the troops and launch a thousand new bands into the dangerous world of rock saviours.
So who’s going to lead the charge?
1. Perfect Pussy
Perfect Pussy’s frenetic debut album Say Yes To Love is 23 minutes of distortion and searingly honest lyrics. The band’s bluntly provocative name might force you to clear your internet history, but frontwoman and lyricist Meredith Graves says it’s empowering and has the added bonus of cutting down her critics. “Nobody can look at me and say shit about my appearance or my body, which is all too common for women in music,” she told Pitchfork. “It’s like, ‘Are you going to call me a cunt? Are you going to tell me I’m ugly? Well, here’s my band name do your worst, motherfucker.’” Say Yes To Love is out on March 18. The first pressings of the record come with Graves’ blood mixed into the vinyl.
2. Amazing Snakeheads
Listen to anything from Amazing Snakeheads and you’ll know they’re from Glasgow. “When I sing, I sound like where I’m from. I cannae sing any other way and that’s the truth,” says frontman Dale Barclay. “There’s been a lot of things written about the band, people say we’re angry and things like that – but to me it’s just us. There’s a hell of a lot of joy in the music. It might not be apparent but on a good night, I’m experiencing absolute joy when I play music.” The three-piece have toured with likeminded rock ‘n’ roll preachers Jim Jones Revue and released their ferocious 84-second long debut single ‘Testifying Time’ late last year. Their debut album Amphetamine Ballads will be released in April.
Last year – well before they’d sneered their way through an appearance on Letterman – Eagulls scrawled out an all-caps manifesto and posted it online. “To all beach bands sucking each others dicks and rubbing the press’ clits. I am going to cut your hair clean off,” the band threatened. “All your disgusting afrobeat sounds, mixed with your comedic mock American singing makes me have goosebumps and leaves me nervous from cringing so hard.” (Read the full rant here) If you’re going to get in people’s faces like that then you need to be able to back it up with some actual force. Luckily, Eagulls sound precisely nothing like the bloated soft-rock band they stole their name from. Their self-titled debut album will be released in April.
4. Royal Blood
Brighton rock duo Royal Blood were the rock band nominated for the BBC Sound of 2014, alongside a list of ethereal indie R&B types and earnest singer-songwriters. The duo – Mike Keer on bass and vocals and Ben Thatcher on drums – have been compared to Queens of the Stone Age and, inevitably, The White Stripes and Black Keys. Alongside Tame Impala and Miles Kane, they’ll be supporting Arctic Monkeys at two huge shows in London’s Finsbury Park in May. Although more impressively they had support from Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders – who sported their t-shirt at Glastonbury last year – when they’d released just one track.
5. Baby Strange
Baby Strange take their name from a track on T-Rex’s 1972 album The Slider – presumably they also considered ‘Buick Mackane’, ‘Spaceball Ricochet’ and ‘Rabbit Fighter’ as potential options. The trio (Johnny Madden on vocals and guitar, and brothers Aidan and Connaire McCann on bass and drums, respectively) have toured with likeminded scoundrels Palma Violets and being compared to rock revival class of 2001 alumni Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. According to The Guardian– “they’re punk with a dash of grunge and their songs veer between drones and dirges.”
6. Diarrhea Planet
Sure they have a shitty bandname (boom-tish!) but Diarrhea Planet have a reputation for throwing down some killer live shows of the guitars played behind backs/over heads/with teeth variety. Pitchfork compared their debut album I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams to the most excellent Wyld Stallyns and gave the record a 6.9 score (geddit) but demanded that “if Diarrhea Planet are playing in a 100-mile radius of where you are sitting, go there.”
Shaped by Sleater Kinney, Black Sabbath, Blink-182, and even a little Bananarama, Sydney’s Bloods have been peddling their garage-punk-pop tunes since 2011 supporting the likes of DZ Deathrays, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Jeff the Brotherhood. Their debut EP Golden Fang was released last year and barrels through six songs in just 15 minutes including the killer singles ‘Into My Arms’, ‘No Fun’ and ‘Back To You’.
8. Bad Vision
If you’re a garage punk band in Australia, you have to work with Mikey Young. Don’t argue, it’s just a fact. Bad Visions obeyed this rule and recorded their self-titled debut (which is far better than the cover art suggests) last year with the Eddy Current Suppression Ring/Total Control member. They’re influenced by Mission of Burma, Wipers, and – of course – ECSR. Doug Wallen of Mess+Noise also heard traces of The Cramps, The Stooges, Wire, the first Strokes album and “relentless, hopped-up charisma” on their debut.
9. King of the North
If you’re after classic “bloke rawk” of the meat-and-potatoes variety then King of the North are your hairy chested men. Despite their choice of title, the band’s debut album Sound The Underground is a showcase for guitarist Andrew Higgs “pioneering “three from one guitar technique” which – as the band’s website explains – involves making the sound of two guitars plus a bass guitar simultaneously from just one guitar. The duo have won praise from John Garcia of Vista Chino and Kyuss fame, as well as Cog drummer Lucius Borich. Oh, and Jimmy Barnes says they’re “fucking great!” Expect to hear them making a racket on every footy highlights package this year.
10. The Love Junkies
Band Of Skulls, The Vasco Era, Die! Die! Die!, Jeff The Brotherhood: Perth trio The Love Junkies have supported an enviable list of bands that have kept the rock flame flickering since that last revival when everyone went a little nuts for The White Stripes, The Hives, The Strokes and The Black Keys. The grunge-rock crew released their debut Maybelene last year, featuring the singles ‘Oxymoron’ and ‘Baby, Come Home’ and enough grit, distorted fuzz and sneering attitude to undeniably prove that rock ain’t dead.