Tag Archive: russian blue

10153990_596827327066350_1150367045_nIt seems very apt that in a week when every music publication worth its salt is reminiscing on the god-like legacy of Kurt Cobain, to feature a band who have picked up the grunge torch and refashioned it in their own image. After cutting his teeth in math-rockers Sailors and later Russian Blue, Alex Share’s considerable abilities to create infectious hook lines and riffs shows no sign of waning. Far from it and the proof of that can be found on their e.p. Hormones, which is released tomorrow via Secret Chord Records.


It is a collection of songs that are forged from the same head on clash of pop sensibility and primordial rock and roll urges that was at the heart of the grunge scene but if you think that the band are mere copyists or heading down a rose-tinted nostalgia trip, then think again.  Whilst the core sound may doff its cap to labels such as Sub-Pop, their earlier math-pop experimentations still linger around the periphery creating wonderful fine detail and throw away, one-time only musical tricks that most bands would feel the need to build a whole song around. So grunge it may be, but if so, it is grunge with a university education.


As a three-piece there is a wonderful economy to the band, no room for showboating and everyone required to earn their musical keep; no fuss, no frippery, just a band getting on with the job at hand.  And considering that most of the songs on the record sound like possible singles, especially Bring out Your Dead, Sex Sells and the song that got them their record deal, Drug Cartel, it is looking like the band have already set their own benchmark very high indeed.

Thank you to Gig Monkey, that erstwhile scribbler at The Ocelot for a lovely write up from the last Songs of Praise show at The Victoria. Find his words of wonder here.

Laid low by a mystery bug over the weekend I found myself lifeless, crashed on the sofa and in my less than lucid state, watching Britain’s Got Pop Factor, or whatever the current re-hashing of Opportunity Knocks is called. Whilst the acts themselves left little impression, I seem to have picked up one of the most annoying habits of the modern TV age……The Unnecessary Dramatic Pause. You know, when they pause for no reason before delivering their verdict, to heighten the tension and/or lengthen the show. I have been trying to shake it off but will apologise in advance if it creeps into this weeks run down. Right……on with the column. (Sorry.)

Tonight at The Victoria is a show for all the fans of upbeat and intricate indie with the return to Songs of Praise of Bristol’s Hello Lazarus. Merging pop-punk, indie and math elements, they are seen by many as a worthy successor to Biffy Clyro and with support from Russian Blue, which contains ex-members of Sailors, and Lucy T it’s sure to be a night of great music. For those after something funky, bluesy, laidback and groovy, then Hiproute are just the band you are looking for and they can be found down at The Beehive.

One band that I have been meaning to catch for ages  is……(tension, tension, tension) …..False Gods, so I shall probably be making my way up to The Victoria again on Friday. False Gods exist in a swirling generic whirlpool fed in equal measure by torrents of punk, indie, rock and grunge, the fact that they have more than a hint of early Manics about them is just an added bonus. Support comes from the euphoric dance fuelled rock aficionados, Atari Pilot and the eclectic Oscillator.

For the big, and slightly risqué, rock show, then it’s over to Riffs Bar for New York’s infamous Lord Bishop Rocks. If groove driven, funked out, sleazy and suggestive, rock and roll is your sort of thing then arrange an audience with the big man.

More sedate sounds wait for you at The Beehive. If you remember Ross Darby from his occasional solo shows some years ago, you may be interested to know that he is now out and about with a full line up. The Fallows are a great sounding band that manages to fuse quintessential English folk, Celtic fringe vim and Appalachian vigour. Nice. Meanwhile at The Arts Centre, Buddy Whittington will be putting on a show of contemporary blues and showing why he was named as one of Guitarist Magazines top 100 unsung heroes.

Saturday has much on offer in the way of original music.  At The 12 Bar, The Racket continues to spread their beautiful cacophony, imagine grunge mugging Britpop in a back alley, whilst Madchester holds its coat. (Don’t worry; I don’t really know what that means either). Something truly unique takes place out at Riffs Bar as Jenny Haan and Dave Pushon play chilled and re-interpreted versions of songs by the band that made them famous in the seventies, Babe Ruth.

Great guitar work is two-fold; you can either go for white-hot blues from Lewis Creavan at The Rolleston or folk legend Martin Simpson at The Arts Centre. Nostalgia trippers and alt-scene freaks will be heading down to The Furnace for a tribute to it’s former days as the infamous Level 3 and a chance to recapture their youth, or more simply put, hip music and hip dancing probably resulting in hip replacements. I can hear the opening bars of a certain Soul Asylum song even as I type. Is this going to be a winner…… a million percent yes!

The big gig for Sunday is rapper Example at The Oasis and at the time of writing this, tickets are still available.

As usual Baker Street has the Jazz fans interests at heart, this Tuesday with The Alexander Hawkins Quartet whose improvisational leader manages to evoke past masters such as Theolonius Monk as easily as he beats a path into a jazz future horizon.

On Wednesday, A&T Live bring their eclectic funky, brassy, hip-rock, jazzbeat sounds to The Victoria but the one I’m excited about takes place at The Running Horse. Up from the south coast are two songwriter guitarists I got acquainted with last year. Amongst Nick Tann’s (pictured) vast and versatile vocal range, elements of Colin Verncombe, Chris Difford and many others are hinted at, whilst The Real Raj has a hushed majesty that immediately conjures thoughts of John Martyn.

Is this a great week for music?……it’s a yes from me.

So once we get the psychedelic madness of Three Minute Tease out of the way tomorrow, the next show is very much a forward looking affair. Green Man favourites, Hello Lazarus will be coming up from Bristol in support of their recent eponymous e.p. bit’s of which can be heard here and a review of which is here. If you like your indie rocked up, intricate and memorable, then this is a band for you.

Joining them  in their second Songs of Praise show, is Russian Blue, carrying on the tradition of Sailors, which this band evolved from, of hypnotic structures and mathy goodness and opening the night are Hamphire alternative band Lucy T who sound like this.