Darma are a three piece grunge fuzz band from Manchester. They come with enough attitude, volume and dour Northern humour to hit you right between the eyes; a triple whammy.
Only working with their current line-up since 2015, the band consists of Harry Corbett on vocals and lead guitar, Issac Whitehead on drums and Lloyd Whitehead on bass. With two fine EPs already released Darma are already aiming for the stars and might well reach them.
Their first EP, the self-titled Darma and the recently released Milk are only the beginning for these talented guys. They already have plans to release a full length album next year, no mean feat for a band who fund all their releases themselves.
Some bands mellow as they develop, but Darma seem even louder and more vital with every release. There are some serous earworms on Milk including ‘Your’e Always Right‘ and title track ‘Milk‘. Add the excellent tracks from the first EP such as ‘What Are You Waiting For‘ and you can see the total quality of material the lads are producing from the word go. They also throw a loud, exciting stage presence to the mix. It is blindingly easy to see Darma’s potential. Get them while they’re hot.
Baby Strange have come a long way since I saw them give a stunning performance to eight people as a support band. Their following in their native Glasgow is fierce and the band’s material goes from strength to strength. With the recent release of their first album, ‘Want It, Need It‘. the Glasgow trio have cemented their place at the forefront of the current punk/indie scene.
Baby Strange consist of Johnny Madden on guitar and vocals, Connaire McCann on drums and Aiden McCann on bass. There is a moodiness about their music. It can be stark and brutal, as on ‘Want It, Need It‘ or fatally charming on tracks like ‘VVV‘. Johnny Madden has a deep, dark vocal style perfect for the music he and the McCann brothers produce. Sometimes their sound verges on pure pop on tracks like ‘California Sun’. The music may be radio-friendly, but has an undercurrent of unrest that marks the band apart.
With or without their Glasgow friends White, Baby Strange have always been a hot proposition live. With a headline tour about to start, these should be a must-see on your Autumn gig calendar.
Already the darlings of the garage/ punk/ psych scene, Yak are doing very well for themselves. With a record deal on Jack White’s Third Man label and a highly thought of album, ‘Alas Salvation’, released this summer things seem pretty rosy for them.
With a variety of styles, ranging from the gentle psychedelia of ‘Please Don’t Wait For Me‘ and to the frantic, wild stampede of ‘Victorious‘, Yak are always worth listening to. Yak are known for their crazy live shows. Ollie Burslem is more in the audience than on stage and a table full of Elliot Rawson’s broken drumsticks at the end of the night is not an unusual sight. Having stood next to the bass amp of Andy Jones at a recent Brighton gig, I can assure you the music can be felt as well as heard.
If you want to see the mayhem for yourselves, Yak tour this September. Your very own chance to make sure Ollie stays firmly where he is supposed to be – playing some very fine guitar while crowd surfing above your head.
Looking back over the summer, I remembered the video I made of Liverpool Sound City. It is so short because It was done as part of my NCTJ portfolio; I would have loved to make it longer.
it features a song by Pit Ponies, who stayed at my house during the festival, and Glasgow band White. It also has Dominic and Veso from The Jackobins and personal friends Pete and Vicky talking to me about the event and how they found it. I’ve got loads of footage left so I might post another one soon…
My first experience of Liverpool Psych Fest was a little mixed. The music was varied and often fabulous, with some expected and unexpected treats. Known for my love of new bands, Deja Vega, Go!Zilla and Taman Shud all blew me away. I already loved Taman Shud through the unsavoury epiphany I went through in 2014 when I first heard the Trashmouth Records complilation ‘Thinking of Moving to Hastings‘. Go!Zilla were already a band I knew and was aching to see. Deja Vega were nothing more than a name to me, but they thrilled me with their stunning set.
Gwenno, La Luz, Guadalupe Plata were also well worth watching. Super Furry Animals, Acid Mothers Temple and too many more to mention made the festival a really special event.
The Moonlandingz were amazing and it was good to see that Lias Saoudi, aka Johnny Rocket, hasn’t stopped popping out to the bar at gigs. It was good to see him with Adrian Flannagan. Their set was incendiary, showing why all of the bands associated with the Fat Whites are so, so good. So few bands give crazy, wild performances that the fans remember for ever. They seem to be able to do it every time, for now, anyway. The stand-out performance of the festival for me.
Let’s get on to the mixed bit. Drinks tokens. It was my first experience of these, to be honest. It wasn’t a good one. I hope the organisers get enough complaints to scrap them next year. The only other thing was that, being a niche festival, a lot of the experimental music melded into one after a while. Fans of pure psychedelia probably loved it though, so I may be out of line.
Back on a more positive note, the visuals and virtual landscapes were amazing and a real addition to the event. Another plus was the amount of seating available both indoor and outdoor at the event. It gave the festival a cool vibe with everybody talking and getting together, especially around the eateries, which were also superb.
I might have loved the event more if I had been an ordinary punter but doing the whole thing sober was my loss. Working with Melanie Smith of Mudkiss Photography and staff photographer at Louder Than War was a treat as usual. It was also nice to meet photographer Andy Von Pip. Thanks be for good company and fine music with some excellent virtual adventures thrown in.