LIVE REVIEW: Savages @ Metro Theatre, Sydney (05/02/14)

savages-negy

Savages played an intense set that successfully blended theatricality with impressive musicality. All four musicians were completely in the pocket with their respective instruments. Drum sticks were raised high like axe handles, beating out tribal disco grooves that embraced primitive physicality and literate technical nuance. Bass player Ayse Hassan moved in perfect unison with her guitar and the notes she was drawing from it, whether they were droning, pulsing or cascading distortion coated flurries. Jenny Beth owned centre stage with her considered, robotic movements; intensity, concentration and attitude  fixed across her face. She gave the impression of being in full control of her voice, words and limbs until the extended final track which hit a groove and beat it into the ground repeatedly, each time gathering more nodding heads and lost-in-the-moment audience members who spent the show bathed in white and golden light. Gemma Thompson provided the sonic icing, cutting swathes of noise and discordant melodies from her guitar. She prowled between her amp and effect pedals, her instrument providing the menace and beautiful tension to the music of Savages. She Will, Husbands, Shut Up and an intoxicating cover of Suicide’s Dream Baby Dream were just some of the many highlights from an exceptionally good gig that showed post-punk and music delivered with emotion and precision can still be as vital and valid as it was thirty years ago.

Chris Familton

2013 MID YEAR FAVOURITE ALBUMS

2013 mid year faves

Here we are again at list time, halfway through 2013 and already there have been a swathe of great albums released. We’ve been listening to an eclectic mix of stuff as usual including dub electronica, skronking freeform saxophone, abrasive art rock, retro-leaning post punk and heartstring americana. These are the records we’ve loved the most from what we’ve heard this year. There will be others from the last six months that we’ll discover as the rest of the year rolls out but we can at least highly recommend these ones – in no particular order…

  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away
  • Protomartyr – No Passion All Technique
  • The Phoenix Foundation – Fandango
  • Kirin J Callinan – Embracism
  • The Drones – I See Seaweed
  • Fat Freddy’s Drop – Blackbird
  • Jason Isbell – Southeastern
  • DJ Koze – Amygdala
  • Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record
  • Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol 3: To See More Light
  • Zomby – With Love

ALBUM REVIEW: Savages | Silence Yourself

ds album reviews

by Chris Familton

square-600-6Rating7.5London quartet Savages have been the subject of much anticipation and critical discourse regarding their debut album Silence Yourself and the good news is that they live up to much of the hype.

The band don’t trade in anything new or mine any hitherto unknown musical ideas but they show an astute understanding of minimal input/maximum effect when it comes to song construction and production aesthetic. Influences are generally bold and obvious across Silence Yourself with Jehnny Beth ghosting the vocal sounds of Siouxsie Sioux, Karen O, PJ Harvey and Ari Up of The Slits and the music taking in all manner of post punk precedents like Gang of Four, Joy Division and Rowland S. Howard’s guitar shapes. What sets Savages apart from other copyists is their ability to harness atmosphere via sparse instrumentation as in Waiting on a Sign and Marshal Dear and then transform the mood into one of brittle urgency on the nervy rush of Husbands. It is one of the album’s highlights with Gemma Thompson’s slashing guitars eviscerating any indie dance-floor sheen the song may have had. The other go-to track is She Will that posits the band as transatlantic sisters to Interpol, mining similar dark kinetic rock vibes.

Many bands suffer from overt premature praise but like Interpol, The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Savages have backed it up with a very strong and confident debut album built on energy, drama and intensity.

 this review was first published on Fasterlouder