Last Summer friend of the blog Emmet Brown put us all on to TOUTS, in his opinion & many others, the best young band in Derry. Self-described as “a singer that can’t sing, a mod that can’t play bass and a drummer that can’t see” the three piece have been consolidating their reputation with quality support gigs for Paul Weller & Liam Gallagher. In October they released “Lit”, their second four track EP, which featured this great racket.
“Bombscare”, Pure Punk-Pop for Now People eh! TOUTS are maybe too young to have experienced bombs & scares but those things are part of the collective Northern Ireland experience in a way that those of us on the UK mainland find difficult to imagine. Matthew, Jason & Luke have an energy & aggression which we have heard before from that country’s bands but this is no retread/revival. When it’s done right, which it is here, this music is fresh & relevant. I have a friend who is a major fan of Stiff Little Fingers & I know that she will love TOUTS. The 2 EPs were collected on 12″ vinyl in January but there are only 100 copies of this around & I’m sure that we’re too late for one. Get on over to their Soundcloud page where you can hear some gloriously loud music.
A return visit to Derry is overdue. I’m waiting for better weather, global warming can’t come quick enough. When that does come around I’m hoping that it collides with a gig by the Barbiturates. My first experience of the Barbs’ music was a suite inspired by Jodorowsky’s kaleidoscopic, brain-scrambling visionary film “The Holy Mountain”. That’s ambition of Himalayan proportions, something to be admired in a young band. Singer Amytal Gnostic is an e-friend of mine, Everyone’s social media feed needs a sprinkling of random substance-influenced ramblings & Amytal is my guy. Shoot, if the Internet had been about when I was his age capricious & erratic would have been all you got from me & everyone I knew. I like him.
The Barbiturates don’t compromise & I like that too. “Only Folkin Jokin”, released this week, is their new musical/video project. The only bite-sized chunk for the 21st century attention span is “The British Political Disaster”, a serious, truthful, moving reflection on the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre. It’s not an easy watch. The 25 minute video mash-up above plays fast & loose with continuity, copyright & musical styles. I’m guessing at Psych-Folk. The Barbiturates are direct, honest & give them a chance. You will not see or hear much like this anywhere else & it will get you in the end. Head over to Bandcamp where you’ll find & can buy the whole shebang, 24 tracks, for just 5 of our British pounds. I look forward to a live encounter with the band.
Lastly, certainly not leastly, it’s back to where it all began, a new track & video by Damian O’Neill & the Monotones. When Damian was a teenager he got his kicks by playing in the Undertones, the Derry band that rocked the world. The band continue to tour for part of the year & I really must stir myself to catch a set full of perfectly crafted Punk-Pop (hang on, I used that term earlier). Damian continued to impress with That Petrol Emotion & with his current band The Everlasting Yeah on hiatus he has recorded a solo LP “Refit Revise Reprise”.
His contribution to the ‘Tones is probably undervalued. With bassman Micky Bradley he wrote “My Perfect Cousin” & “It’s Gonna Happen”, singles good enough to be ranked alongside the songs of his big brother John. For “Sweet ‘n’ Sour” Damian has dug out his platform boots & made a T-Rexstatic, rifftastic slab of Glam Rock. I’m sure that there will be more of the same on the LP which currently is available to buy on Pledgemusic. You shouldn’t have to wait, the records are pressed, I’ve seen the photos.