Tag Archives: new music

Sauna Youth / / Interview

There was a time in the not too distant past when Sonic Youth emdodied the very aesthetics of teenage rock and roll: dissonant, aggressive, and cloaked in walls of phantom noise, the sound was teenage: and to be youthful was to be part of this sonic lifestyle. However, somewhere along the way things started to turn pear-shaped; gone were the blood curdling cries against corporate America, and instead in this ideological void stood some jaded perception that it was now  ok to compile CDs for Starbucks and still crown yourself the king and queens of a musical subculture. Don’t get me wrong, I dig the band, but something had to give. Now, Sauna Youth aren’t exactly picking up from where they left off, but they have obviously listened to a lot of their records, and have essentially pinched the ‘cool’ aspect of their name,  but this garage punk band from Brighton approach ‘youthfulness’ with exactly the right attitude. Formed out the remnants of The Steal, Sauna Youth’s sound is scuzzy, short, and weirdly fun. This is ultimately party music made by people who don’t take themselves too seriously; musicians who would much rather tear the place up and screw your girlfriend than mess around with ordering  a skinny latte . Despite this Sauna Youth are fiercely independent, and distribute all their music themselves. Black Tar decided to have a quick chat and found them mostly receptive to our questioning.

BLACK TAR: Could you tell me what the band are about?

Sauna Youth: Mince is about to go to bed, Harper is about to finish a lovely plate of Dhall, Pines is about to get home from work and i’m about to get a coldsore.

BT: How did you get together?

SY: We were at a Eddie Frankel’s bar-mitzvah and all 4 of us simultaneously managed to catch each others eyes. The rest is history.

BT: Could you give us an idea what a normal day for the band is like?

SY: Dull.

BT: How do you describe the bands sound?

SY: With great difficulty. That’s what critics are for right?

BT: What is the songwriting process like for you guys?

SY: Step 1. What do you we want to write about?

Before we start messing around with chords and melodies, we find it helpful to have an idea of what we want to write about, this helps us stay focused on one subject and stops the song veering off in too many directions. We should be able to sum up what our song is about in one short sentence. For example, “A relationship that’s on the rocks” or “cheating girlfriend, begging for me back”.

Step 2. Get A Chord Progression

Now that we know what we want to write about it’s time to get a chord progression together. We usually have two options.

1. Play the same chord for the entire song


2. Play different chords for the entire song

Both options work perfectly and many successful songs for us have been written using both methods.

Step 3. Creating A Melody

We like to write a melody, well at least a rough version of the melody, first. The reason for this is that when you have a melody sometimes the lyrics just write themselves, certain words have a natural rhythm and melodic tone.

SY: Coming up with a melody is easy enough. We just play our chord and hum notes over it. We will start to hear a melodic phrase come to life. Sometimes it might take a couple of weeks but we keep at it until we find something we’re happy with.

Step 4. Add lyrics To Your Melody

SY: It’s time to bring our melody to life by adding lyrics. Read our guide “How To Write Song Lyrics” for some great tips on writing lyrics.

BT: How important is independent distribution to the band?

SY: Vital, we literally wouldn’t have sold a thing if we hadn’t done it independently, because we pressed most of our records ourselves we also had to get them out into the world ourselves. This has also made us very appreciative of other people doing it for us though… it’s pretty time consuming. There are some very good distros and shops all over the world that have been very kind to us. Also, why is distro spelt with an o rather than an i?

BT: Was this always your intention, or did you have some industry horror stories? 

SY: The 5 year development deal was ok but when our A&R man got fired at the label we found ourselves lost amongst the forest of music at said label, we fought to retain our name and the songs we’d written but ultimately ‘the man’ always wins out. One day the Kasabian II recordings will see the light of day, even if it kills us. Finally freeing ourselves from the shackles of the industry was very freeing and we celebrated by independently distributing our records.

BT: Where do the band practice? 


BT: Who you digging at the moment? 

SY: Human Hair, Omi Palone, Cold Pumas, Satellites Of Love.

BT: What cool things have you got lined up for this year? 

SY: We’re releasing a 12″ on Faux Discx before summer and a 4 way split 7″ with Omi Palone and a couple of other bands on Paradise Vendors Inc, there’s a 7″ on Static Shock Records coming out fairly soon too… hopefully a live split cassette from a show we put on the other day at the Shacklewell Arms will exist before the end of the year. We’ve also got some shows lined up that we’re pretty excited about including some with Ceremony in March.

Sauna Youth are supporting the Jacuzzi Boys at the Shackwell Arms, Dalston, on March 23rd

Words: Alex Hall

Tagged , , , ,

Black Tar creeps about on Facebook


If you are anything like us and spend the majority of your day cycling between various pornographic websites and music blogs ran by fellow losers then this message is for you. Spice up your day and  make sure you ‘Like’ us either on the Facebook Page– or the box at the bottom of this blog- for hourly posts about new music you just have to hear and images that’ll make your eyes water.


Tagged , , ,


Today SBTRKT uploaded a new track onto his Soundcloud page. Based around floating analog synths and a pounding drum track, ‘Surely’ is the beefiest thing he has crafted so far. Check it out below:

‘ Surely’

Tagged , , ,

The Men / ‘Open Your Heart’

Last year Leave Home’s crude arrival  was like a sucker punch to the kidneys. Gritty, filthy, essential and unashamed of the bands musical legacy, the record encompassed everything from thrash and doom metal in it’s influences. Not  a cohesive record, but this playful  amateurism to tackle all genres gave this thing a veneer of charm on this gnarled object. Since then the band have talked about moving away from this monolithic noise structure and onto something dare I say it  ‘softer’…

With a riff that sounds identical to the Stiff Little Fingers classic ‘Suspect Device’ the sound of the new record is revealed. ‘Turn it around’ opens Open up Your Heart, and don’t tell me you weren’t surprised.  Gone are the extended intros and vile coughs from behind the mixing desk and in it’s place stands a very straightforwardly produced  track with a fairly conventional song structure and sound. Saying that, the song is propellent, the chorus is good and the guitar breakdown nearing the end is ace. ‘Animal’  hints at the looseness of Leave Home. Thudding drum patterns,  murmurs from the band and then the thing explodes into a loose punk belter, including some female vocals in the chorus and this strange hovering sound effect in the chorus that sounds like a razor rigged up to an amplifier.

However, what really grates me about this record is the majority of the instrumental passages . ‘Country Song’ is my main gripe. The sounds aren’t exactly the most exciting thing you’ll hear this year, and while it may act as a bridge to the other cuts on the record, it is a simple throwaway.  Despite this early set-back things pick up again in ‘Oscillation’, a solid guitar groover pulsing and withering around this beautiful guitar melody like traffic moving through spaghetti junction. After this extended instrumental passage vocal murmurs join in, morphing the track into this sleazy and driving guitar epic.

Now, things start to get complicated,  track ‘Open your Heart’ initally filled me with resent, something so soppy was never my idea of what this band were about. While this track fits in with the feel of the record, the slacker 90’s sounding guitar licks and passionate vocal delivery makes it dificult for me to get fully onboard.  Next track ‘Candy’ is awful. Ditching the electronic for a acoustic guitar, The Men take the sentimentality of ‘Open your Heart’ one step too far,  the track is quite simply a forgettable and boring ballad.  As you can probably tell Like Leave Home this thing is all over the place sound-wise. Scatterbrained beyond belief ‘Cube’ returns to the frantic wails of the band letting loose, reverb-laden mini guitar solos sounding like Dinosaur Jr, and the vocals like a tin can in a meat-grinder.

As the record ends I’m left feeling slightly perplexed. Of course there are good tracks on this record, but the sense of fun on their previous sound has been replaced by a seriousness that just isn’t as appealing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be spinning this thing for a while now, but with a few tweaks the record could have been so much better.

Alex Hall

Tagged , , , , ,

Emanative – ‘Space Beats Supreme’

Emanative are a beat collective from the UK.  This track ,’Space Beats Supreme’,  is a cosmic journey full of jazzy keyboard licks, pulsing phantom flourishes, mysterious flute lines all flowing over a boombastic drum beat. Smmmoooooooottthhhhhhh



Check out the collective’s soundcloud for some unreal futuristic slop

Tagged , , , ,

Monster Rally & RUMTUM – ‘Tribes’


Ohio-based Monster Rally & RUMTUM’s ‘Tribes’ is almost absurdly serene. Based around frothing percussion that suggests the very drops of a cascade in paradise and the looped coo of some exotic creature, it’s basically like taking a bubble bath in heaven. Which would probably be quite nice really.

Download two tracks for free on their Soundcloud, or give it a spin below:

Tagged , ,

Listen to new Beach House

Characteristically sweet guitar arpeggios. A panoramic sense of satisfied sighing. An unbelievably gratifying release of bass. This new song from Beach House, ‘Myth’, shows the band on exciting form. But the real tour de force on the track is the vocals. Sometimes, Victoria Legrand, you and your voice are just the sweetest things.

Listen here, via Stereogum 

Gavin Williams

Tagged , ,

New Music // I Ching – ‘ It’s me’

I Ching is Rollo Smallcombe and Kevin Emre. The pair met at art college and soon after started to make music together. Although writing as a duo, the band play live as a four piece, adding Andrew Ford (keys) and Tom Jones (drums) to the line up.  They currently write from a home studio in Finsbury Park and are signed to Best Fit Recordings

On the press release, I Ching say they are influenced by pop, the avant-garde, 60s psych and Turkish garage, as well as early 80s synthesiser music; ‘With an emphasis on colour and texture in their sound, the songs are written and produced to probe the imagination and imagery inside the listeners’ head’. Add in a propulsive motorik influence and you’re basically set. These guys are already racking up the hits on their Soundcloud, so get yourself over there and join in:

I Ching

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Listen to Daughn Gibson’s ‘Lookin Back on 99’

We don’t know if this sounds like Nicolas Jaar singing a Lee Hazelwood song or Lee Hazelwood singing a Nicolas Jaar song, but we like it.

Dig it it over at SPIN (scroll along for some great doom metal, amongst other joys):

Daughn Gibson

Tagged , ,
%d bloggers like this: