REAL GONE GOES OUT: Venus Grrrls – Ramsgate Music Hall, Ramsgate, Kent 13/5/2022

It’s 8:30 on a Friday night and Venus Grrrls have just taken to the stage at Ramsgate Music Hall. The Leeds band are unknown to most of the audience, but it’s great to witness the venue already packed to the rafters. If this were a London gig, most of the paying crowd would still be in a nearby pub, or standing in the venue bar talking, and paying the musicians very little attention. The seaside crowd are often more thoughtful and, looking at the gathering tonight, this is no exception. It actually feels even more crowded than when Electric Six and Red Snapper played at the small venue at the end of 2021. At a time when people are still concerned about Coronavirus, or the cost of living has made casual nights out difficult for many, it’s a sight that really restores hope.

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ISLAND OF LOVE – Songs Of Love EP

The first signings to the London imprint of the legendary Third Man label, Island of Love serve up some unashamedly retro sounds on their ‘Songs of Love’ EP. Within its four numbers, the fuzz rock duo wield distortion pedals with abandon, carve out feedback drenched solos and revisit the musical landscapes of Dinosaur Jr and Superchunk with the greatest admiration since the short-lived Yuck wowed Guardian readers back in 2011. The heart of their sound draws from some obvious key influences, but that certainly doesn’t mean they lack a musical imagination of their own. There are a few instances where the 90s fuzz collides with a stray surf twang, or even some Tommy James derived power pop from the 60s, creating something a little more varied than first impressions suggest. Any flourishes and twists are, naturally, hidden under a massive layer of noise, but it’s all there waiting for the more discerning ear to discover.

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KRUPOVIESA – Default EP

There are two kinds of music fan in the world: those who get The Fall, and those who don’t. Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that their sharp edged sounds, lyrical barbs and willingness to challenge didn’t change the punk/post-punk scene. The influence they had on other alternative bands – particularly in the 90s, with the slacker movement spearheaded by Pavement – is often glaringly obvious but, occasionally, there comes a band willing to take The Fall’s influence and use it to create something a bit different. This short tribute from Argentinian band Krupoviesa is a curious affair. They’ve taken four 90s era Fall compositions and reworked them in their own punchy image, repackaged them in a homage to The Fall’s ‘Slates’ – a seminal 80s work – and shared the spoils for free.

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SINKR – Boutique / Where’s The Sky?

Manchester rockers SINKR make no secret of their love of 80s and 90s alternative rock. Those who broke into the mainstream are obvious touchstones for the band’s core sound, but listeners who immersed themselves more deeply into the indie rock scenes of the era will certainly hear a couple more melodic influences cutting through their debut recording – intentional or otherwise.

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