‘The Calving Shuffle’ includes but is not limited to bass which sounds like an elephant gargling marbles, drums to make your feet move in ways you never knew, vocal harmonies Take That would raise an eyebrow at, mind bending metaphorical lyrics about Ice Flow formations and a middle 8 so melodic it’s like an aural cuddle. Sound enticing? It is.
It’s also a sound that we think will win them wider acclaim so we thought it was a good time to pin them down & get them to talk about the records that have influenced it.
Radiohead – In Rainbows
With the “pay-what-you-want” model, the day it came out was a real event. Once the internet traffic had reduced sufficiently to allow me to pay a cursory 40p for the download and the opening snaps and twitches of the “15 step” ejaculated from my laptop speakers, I knew it would be the best darn 40p I ever spent.
The album is, for us, a target to aim for, and it encouraged us to not be afraid to experiment with different sounds and timbres. The record shifts in tone dramatically. The brutal riffage of “bodysnatchers” segues into the sublime “nude”, a song that feels as intimate and vulnerable as the title suggests and the juxtaposition is supremely effective. The textures are rich and varied. The lyrics are some of Yorke’s least oblique, and the songwriting is lean and focussed.
Basically it’s great and if you don’t agree you should be put on an island with Tommy Robinson and Anjem Choudary and bombed with anthrax. Sorry.
The Blood Brothers – Crimes
Cody Votolato’s lightning-fast guitar work hits you in the face like a railroad spike. The bass/baritone squelches and pops in all the places that you least expect. Jazz inflected keyboards are wielded like jagged scimitars at the throat of the listener. All of this is fronted by a guy who sounds like “a deliriously deaf 5 year old”, and another guy whose voice ranges from a sub-Danzig croon to a throat-shredding shriek worthy of the finest black-metal gorehound.
The Blood Brothers show that in both life and music, you shouldn’t attempt to blunt your idiosyncrasies and your weirdness. The right people will love you for them and they will find you in the end. You might not be the captain of the rugby team, but then that guy thinks Mumford and Sons invented country music and that Mark Ronson’s “Version” is the greatest album ever made.
Death Grips – Bottomless Pit
As four middle-class white guys, I don’t think we have the physical capacity to match the pure aggression of this record. But we try to match some of the intensity. Our song “The Calving Shuffle” is our attempt to blend the punk energy with an off-kilter groove with some lovely squelchy noise thrown in.
The big lesson I’ve learned from Death Grips you can sell the weirdest ideas in the world with a winning hook, and as I write each and every refrain on this record is running through my head in all caps and I am struggling against the urge to SPIKES SPIKES SPIKES.