Upset The Rhythm presents NIGHTSHIFT + THE PHEROMOANS – Live Indie & Punk Concert
NIGHTSHIFT formed in 2019 in the ecosystem of Glasgow’s current indie scene. The city’s fertile & creative group of musicians have been committed to pushing the boundaries of and blurring the lines between DIY, punk, experimentalism and indie pop for decades now. So nightshift fit right in, featuring members from current indie stalwarts Spinning Coin, 2 Ply and Robert Sotelo. The band was formed by David Campbell (guitar), Andrew Doig (bass), Eothen Stearn (keyboards/vocals) & Chris White (drums) as a “No Wave/No New York/early Sonic Youth/This Heat-esque” group. Still, their sound quickly evolved once guitarist/vocalist/clarinettist Georgia Harris joined (as the band was writing ‘Zöe’). Nightshift self-released a full-length cassette on CUSP Recordings in early 2020, laying the foundation of their sound; hypnotic, melodic, understated indie post-punk with hooks that stick around long after you’ve heard them.
Unlike the band’s previous album, the songs on ‘Zöe’ weren’t conceived live in the band’s practice space but instead pieced together and recorded remotely during quarantine lockdown. The isolation allowed openness and creativity to flow, and many of the songs took on radically different forms from when they were initially envisioned. Vocalist & primary lyricist Eothen Stearn says, “The process of writing these songs separately during lockdown was a kind of exquisite corpse – I liked this gesture of reaching out to one another and responding. Building up the next layer and passing it on.” Stearn says “poetic restraints” to writing & Eno & Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies concepts were on their mind when composing the words to the songs, and highlights the influence of author Rosi Bradiotti’s book ‘The Posthuman’. ‘Zöe’ kicks off with ‘Piece Together’, a mesmeric song anchored by the band’s chanted vocals and serpentine guitar licks. ‘Spraypaint the Bridge’ showcases Harris’ clarinet in an unexpected & delightful melodic shift during the song’s anti-chorus. Elsewhere tunes like the swooning ‘Infinity Winner’ and ‘Outta Space’s minimalist, slinky rhythm swirl in a late-night vibe, while ‘Make Kin’ ruminates on “Looking to kinship as a way of engaging with entangled environmental and reproductive issues… how a band is a bond” and lurches forward with kinetic guitar strangling & staccato rhythmic percussion from White & Doig. ‘Power Cut’ is the album’s centrepiece, luring the listener into involuntary movement with its waves of harmonies, synth drones and metronomic pulse until they all come crashing down in the song’s dissonant midsection.
The band acknowledges the whiffs of nostalgia prevalent in ‘Zöe’s songs, and the nature of writing & recording the album is soaked in the self-work, reflection & reevaluations involved not only personally but creatively in each member’s life. Consequently, ‘Zöe’ has become a collection of sketches of hope, growth, awareness of the world’s power & the power of self and possibility.
THE PHEROMOANS are a rock band from the South East of England who deals in a piece of deadpan DIY music. Married to the mundane yet surreal reportage of our lives, their music manages to address the truly restless boredom and absurdity of everyday life. The group have released albums on Alter, Upset The Rhythm and Savoury Days. They would like this review from 2014 by Peter Rea to best sum up their sound. “Akin to The Fall, someone who clearly wants to be Mark E. Smith fronts a band of great-sounding musicians. Using his microphone stand to remain upright, the lead singer slurs words with little coherence, occasionally managing to fit in nicely with his exceptional band members – possibly by accident. He mentions Jerry McGuire, swears a lot loudly, and then keeps saying “David Lynch”. It’s an amusing spectacle, but I’d like to hear someone more sober and poetic. The second to last tune is actually pretty great, which goes some way to make up for some cringeworthy and laughable moments.”
Friday 29 October
New River Studios, 199 Eade Rd, Harringay, London, N4 1DN
7.30pm | £7 | https://link.dice.fm/ZGB7YNg89gb