This month we take trip to The Murder Capital and check out Nérija, Ida Mae, Oberst, Deep Tan and Wizard Rifle on the way...
The Murder Capital
Dublin’s masters of dark punk dynamism
Listen to the debut album from Dublin’s The Murder Capital, When I Have Fears, and you might hear gritty punk; shoe-gazing, atmospheric kraut-rock; or even first-wave 80s goth influence. But what you can’t miss is a sense of urgency.
“At the heart of it, it is an album about the human condition,” says guitarist Cathal Roper. “Our interpretation of that at this point in our lives. No doubt that will change as we get older. [But right now] we are at the beginning of our 20s and, undoubtedly, living in a fast-paced environment.”
There is some growing sense, buried like a cyst in the social fabric of 2019, that time is running out. The Murder Capital somehow encapsulate that paralysed tension. When I Have Fears flinches with paranoia, yet glimmers of hope splinter through the blackness. Cathal and co-guitarist Damien Tuit are the vessels for these atmospherics, manipulating textures and tones through punctuating dynamics.
“We often talk about the world that the songs inhabit,” says Damien. “So I think using textural sounds was a very natural response to this way of thinking. Atmospheric sounds can often create a mood and a landscape much quicker than a melody.”
“For me textures can be more emotive than riffs half the time,” adds Cathal. “There is something in the subtlety that can be more relatable and longer lasting than the riff.”
When I Have Fears is real a line in the sand - a debut statement and then some - expansive yet immediate, gutsy yet smart.
“A record is ultimately just a snapshot of a brief moment in time,” says Damien. “That moment for us has been a period of intense personal discovery and development. I would like to think that the album reflects us honestly, as five young men with virtues and vices.”
- For fans of: Idles, Fontaines DC
- Gear: Damien - Dunlop Jazz III picks, Gibson Les Paul, Fender Jazzmaster. Cathal - Ibanez AS-93, Fender Strat
Power that flowers, from London’s jazz scene
London-based jazz- types Nérija have titled their first album (on Domino) Blume - and it’s a fitting choice. The septet’s evolving, overlapping psychedelic sound is, as guitarist Shirley Tetteh ably puts it like, “watching flowers blooming out in all directions, with incredible colours”.
Shirley’s contributions on tracks like Riverfest have a surf-gone- Afrobeat quality in their punchy melodic content, but ebb and flow within the colourful brass and percussion. It’s economical, emotive and never veers into dull or wasteful noodling.
Shirley recalls going to a workshop that US jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire gave once: “He said, ‘If you don’t want something in your playing, get rid of it’. It was a real lesson about taking ownership of your practice and the way you play. It’s the one thing I keep coming back to.”
- For fans of: Miles davis, John Escreet
- Gear: Cort Yorktown, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
UK duo’s roots manoeuvres
Ida Mae is husband and wife duo Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean, formerly of Kill It Kid. Their new project channels the US roots music that has long obsessed them, combining skeletal productions (courtesy of Ethan Johns) with saw-toothed electric tones and raw acoustic work.
“I love the idea of the one-man-gunslinger style of the 1920s blues players like Son House and Robert Johnson,” says Chris. “I’ve tried to infuse some of that style into my slide playing and right-hand technique... I play with a thumb pick and I’ve developed a strange variety of licks and tricks that I couldn’t play any other way.”
Their sound is neither dusty or overly precious, instead it oozes personality. “There is so much unfiltered noise out there in the 21st century,” summarises Chris. “As artists we should take great care and sincerity in adding to it.”
- For fans of: Marcus King
- Gear: National Reso-Phonic Style O, Supro Black Magick and 1605r
- Who: Dennis Estensen and Tarjei Kristoffersen
- Sounds like: Hammering Scandi metallic hardcore with a life-affirming quality
- Gear: Dennis - Gibson SG Standard, Orange Rockerverb 100 MKIII. Tarjei - Warmoth Mahogany Telecaster, Axe-FX Ultra
- For fans of: Rough Hands, The Spielbergs
- Hear: A Stranger Place, Pt. II
- Who: Hackney-based Wafah Dufour
- Sounds like: Beautifully wrangled reverbs and spacious math-y lines, a bit like Foals headlining a Warpaint tribute gig
- Gear: Squier Duo-Sonic
- For fans of: Warpaint, Mint Field
- Hear: Air
- Who: Portland guitarist Max Dameron
- Sounds like: Stoner/noise duo proving greatness - or at least epic progressive ragers - can come from small beginnings
- Gear: Fender Telecaster Baritone, Epiphone Crestwood E-290, Marshall 1987x
- For fans of: Invasion, Lightning Bolt
- Hear: Rocket To Hell