Music blogs can be pretty ruthless. Once a band has been posted about, hyped a bit, released an eponymous EP/LP people move on, keen for that next wave, and that next NEW THING. On one hand this is a (vaguely) noble pursuit: bringing music that you love to faceless internet users who share a similar passion to you – and for free. Yet this can turn into churning out posts about bands you don’t really know about and are just looking to join the hype-wagon.
So here is a post dedicated to dead bands that people may have forgotten about, or not listened to in a while, or maybe not heard of. Here are some of my favourite bands that have broken up in the last 5 or so years.
Apollo’s Arrows – Passenger Announcement
A band that I caught supporting Tellison at the Cavern last October and instantly fell in love with. Octavated, tapped guitar lines underpinning soaring vocals, they are reminiscent of Fall of Troy – that is, they’re reminiscent of Fall of Troy to someone who was never a fan of Fall of Troy. Well, they called it quits two or so months ago, after only a few years. Go check out their EPs HERE.
Merchant Ships – Sleep Patterns
Usually Emo has negative connotations, and usually this is justified. Merchant Ships are definitely emo, there’s no escaping. Maybe I’m drawn to the lo-finess of their sound as opposed to the overly warm production of many larger emo bands. I guess some people will think that Sleep Patterns is very cheesy, with a spoken word base, and a build up. But really, for a band who were in their late teens it’s a pretty moving monologue. They also carry around that nostalgia of being a US hardcore band, and thus playing basement shows for the love of it, and definitely for no money.
Youthmovies – If You’d Seen A Battlefield
A stalwart of the UK math/post-rock scene (an that’s post-rock in it’s truest sense, not the mindless, delay ridden, slow building, tuneless crescendoes that are synonymous with it now) circa 2005-10 they were truly breathtaking. Complex interweaving melodies and drum patterns, laden with poetic musings from Andrew Mears (who now performs as Pet Moon – and incidentally formed a small Oxford based math-pop band with a certain Yannis Philippakis). They managed to make music that seemed both innovative and captivating at a period when the NME were claiming that guitar music was dead.
This video is from their last ever show, played in the round, underneath the venue formerly-known-as-the-Oxford-Zodiac. Their guitarist Al was very drunk, and concussed from hitting his head on his guitar in the second or third song. This is the last song they every played together. If you listen hard you can hear someone shout ‘this is rubbish, you should split up!’ If you look even harder, you might just see a Seeder and a Foal. Just maybe.
Cats & Cats & Cats – Celebration
Post-rock in a similar vein to Youthmovies, you may remember them from the imagined interview when they crashed on our floor. With a varying line-up, incorporating guitars, trumpets, violins they tell folky tales of animals and humans through the medium of lo-fi yelps and proggy guitar chord progressions. With one of the most difficult to google names I always found them difficult to keep up with, and I guess a lot of fans did. In February, after almost 10 years in one form or another, they split up, with some fleeing to other countries. I guess everyone has to grow up and stop being in a band some day, but when Cx3 split it was very sad.
Reuben – Everytime a Teenager Listens To Drum And Bass A Rockstar Dies
A cult band. I’m not sure if there’s much more I can say. They inspired a lot of bored middle-class kids to listen to hardcore, I’m just sad I never got to see them live.
The Mae Shi – PWND
A mad experimental punk band from California they inspired (and toured with) a lot of BSM bands. Mainly pushing out a bout of 30second screaming insanities of songs their last album, HLLLYH, was based around biblical iconography and pop. It was golden. Released on Moshi Moshi (before they finally kicked the bucket of drugs and broken friendships in 2009/10) go check it out. Above is a little taster for you to whet your whistle.
[and yes, I know, they have done a few shows as the original line up, but PWND's just too good not to post]
There you go. A little wander back into the annals of my itunes and musical history. Hopefully you’ll find something you like. If you do, definitely go check out some albums. I often lament the singular nature of music blog posts, and occasionally I think that the album is a fading medium. Luckily it’s not.