There’s a lot of talk in the media at the moment about the death of rock ‘n’ roll and whether or not this year will see some sort of rebirth of guitar music and so on and so forth.
The whole debate seems to centre on the wrong subjects, for the most part, not least an awful lot of needless hot air about the NME featuring a band called Brother on their cover who are not very good, have achieved little, and are by all accounts an unspeakable shower of cunts.
All this talk about the coming year is kind of beside the point, if you ask me, and this is something of a non-discussion to begin with. Music moves in cycles, obviously enough, and we’ve been through times when intricate folk dominated the conversation, to the last few years where more unusual blends of electronica have dominated.
Inevitably, no matter how interesting a particular direction the zeitgeist happens to be exploring, people and bands will inevitably get bored and move onto something else. As with all things fashionable, this tends to start with a persistent series of whispers, before suddenly becoming an avalanche of the obvious.
When you look at some of the stuff the ultra-hip London indie Tough Love Records was releasing last year – Male Bonding and Girls Names, for example – it seemed obvious already that the fashionable love of lo-fi which so dominated the last year was bringing, along with the often rather tedious Chillwave bands, a healthy new bunch of raucous guitar bands to the fore.
Since I moved to Edinburgh I’ve haven’t seen a lot of guitar bands – in the rough-as-nuts garage sense – that I have really thought much of, but there are a couple of quite promising ones I’ve come across recently which suggest that this might be about to change.
Zed Penguin is not rough in the ear-splitting, death-by-moshpit sense, but the guitar sound is unrefined and fantastic. The amp is homemade apparently, and the sound that comes out of it is bloody gorgeous. It reminds me of a slightly less explosive relation of Waylon Thornton & the Heavy Hands, which I reviewed recently, and growls along really nicely.
This is a simple little EP, four tracks recorded on a four-track, and available to download from Bandcamp for £1.50. I was sufficiently impressed with it the first time I heard it that I invited Matthew to play at a Toad Night more or less immediately – he’ll now be sharing a bill with Louis Barabbas and the Bedlam Six on the Fourth of March at Henry’s Cellar Bar, and I am really looking forward to seeing this stuff live.
Zed Penguin – Keep on Truckin’
Visit Song, by Toad for more from Matthew.