So…it’s been a year of TATW blogging. In this time I’ve told you about 26 different bands and used the word fuck, fucking or fucked 20 times. Long may it continue. It’s my favourite journalistic word for emphasising. Anyway. I want to come back to a band I last wrote about in January, who I caught live (and filmed) last Wednesday for their single launch at the Shacklewell Arms. They are The History of Apple Pie and they play guitar driven indie-pop at it’s most innovative, intelligent and offbeat.
I’ve been a big admirer of theirs for a long time now, but I hadn’t seen them live since March. I arrived a little into a set from the support Old Forest - one of my favourite young bands in London. Still so raw in many ways, yet everytime I see them they throw something else at me. Tonight it was a new-ish song called Ned that showed a more patient side developing, a slow building guitar solo, which went as far as to remind me of Sonic Youth - in their own sludged up way. Barely 17-18, if I didn’t love them so much, I’d be sickened by how much potential they have.
THOAP were up next, a growing crowd in wait, they blazed into their set with Strange Turn of Events. I was only half considering filming them to begin with, but after one song I was sold. I soon realised that in these last 8 months they’d turned from a group of shy talented kids into a band with the potential to make a real mark on music. And they believed it too. Every part of this band had progressed in some way. Guitarist Jerome Watson had something very special about him that night. Like a young Thurston Moore, hair flopping over his eyes, a slightly introverted demeanor. His playing is anything but. Totally self-assured, completely focused and in control, yet so incredibly free and creative in how he wields the guitar. Would it be taking it too far to talk about poetry? Possibly. Perfectly matched by the band around him, he’s given the space he needs to express himself, cutting loose at any given moment, and yet we never lose sense of the song structure. Few guitarists walk this line with so much ease.
Stephanie Min’s vocals burst through in a way that they never had before, singing and even moving across the stage (and into the audience) with a real belief in herself. As she should, with a sweet yet piercing vocal style reminiscent of Kim Deal and Bilinda Butcher. If ever it seems like Jerome is about to go off the page, Stephanie is always right there to pull him back down to earth. It’s in this way that I find myself drawn to Fuzzy (I Want More), with it’s slower pace, incredibly catchy hook, visceral guitars, and beautiful (clever) vocal harmonies. All building up to an explosion of My Bloody Valentine-esque fuzzed up guitars. There are signs here of a darker edge to their sound, one which I’d like to hear them develop more on record.
I hate the way superlatives are thrown around so easily in music, but this band deserve every word. They utterly blew me away that night. One of the best live perfomances I’ve seen from a young London band in awhile.
If these guys don’t get picked up then the music industry truly is fucked.
Pick up their latest single Mallory here from Rough Trade.