Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Guttersnipe - Demo

Like Spike Milligan said ‘If you keep your ear close to the ground you get to listen to lots of dogshit’. And while this job [job?] leads to plenty of good listening I still get my fair share of dogshit. I have so many dog turds now that the review bin overflows with them. I daren’t even go near them for fear they’ll leap out and attack me, their little plastic cases trying to sever my jugular as I frantically flap in any direction screaming for help and mercy and forgiveness all in one panicked blurted out sentence.

But good things do arrive and when they do they’re a pleasant surprise. This Guttersnipe demo was picked up from the merch stall on the Saturday of the Tor Ist Das! fest where Guttersnipe were easily the best thing I saw all day. Not bad for an early evening slot in a church where acoustics don’t normally lend themselves to such howlings. Perhaps it was my stage front slightly to the left pew that did it? Or the good sound as generated by the sound man. I have no idea how these things work. All I know is that that guitar sound was real mean, a deliciously degraded sound akin to a seething wasps nest being stripped to its core with a circular saw set at 10,000 revs. There’s a drummer too, a cross between a daddy long legs and Thurston Moore, all lithe limbs and tousled hair. They’re from Leeds of course, assembled from the wreckage of a short lived group who had a Japanese sounding name who I saw play a few times down the Wharf where their short songs made from scratchy urgent guitar and rapid drumming always went down well with me - even if it wasn’t the kind of thing I’d chuck on the turntable at home.

There’s electronics too which gives their sound a noisier edge but its the way they combine guitar, drums and electronics into songs as a whole that really got my [and most everyone else’s in Todmorden’s that day] attention. Their delivery is all sneer and growl delivered with guts and emotion and genuine feeling. Its not something you come across too often.

The delicately printed fold out sleeve tells me the band consists of Xyloxopa Violaxia Bdallophytum on guitar, vocals and electronics and Oxylepis on drums, backing vocals and ‘troniks. I pass this on as mere information. By far the best of the six tracks and thirty minutes of this demo is the nine minute epic ‘Tutti Frutti Chernobyl’, which begins in Bolt Thrower territory and ends up in in the bottom of a tarry pit from which emerge the gaseous plops of various Japanese noise bands. Xyloxopa sings like a demented siren stuck down a well having diseased rats dropped on her head, a voice thats makes Diamanda Galas sound about as menacing as Mary Poppins. Oxylepis drums like an octopus. ‘The Last Vestiges of Sodomy on the Racecourse’ which gets my vote for the best track title of the year, contains the kind of guitar wringing that makes you want to like guitars all over again. At a time in my life where guitar bands mean less with each passing year I find myself in the unfamiliar position of championing a band with one at its very heart. The Last Vestiges of Sodomy on the Racecourse’ descends into the kind of howling noisestorm as created by many a noise artist but behind it all lies that voice and those rattling drums and a constant barrage of bass note detonations. Exhilarating stuff. Last track ‘Long Pincers Pips In The Tin’ is the shortest at a minute and a half and finds a helium filled cat singing to a background of electronic squiggles. Its all utterly joyful and full of life and proves that Leeds is still capable of producing bands that are at the very edge of whatever the zeitgeist is. Cant wait to see them down the Wharf Chambers, if they sounded good in a church the WC is going to feel like CBGB’s. 


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