This is a blog devoted to music on the edge - experimental, underground, alternative, subversive, or just plain weird - new music that tries new things, or old music that broke old rules. It's a place to discuss ideas, share discoveries, to think about what makes music interesting and challenging but still good to listen to. Join in and have your say!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The gritty lure of the dirt - Gravel Samwidge's 'Gas Girls Funeral'

Gravel.  It’s rough, it’s coarse – but it’s part of modern life and it makes the paths and roads that take us places. We might like our journey through life to be soft and downy and straightforward, but sometimes we need to take time out of life’s comforts and rub our faces in the things that lie in its guts. The bits where the edges are not smooth; the bits that get into your skin and stay there until they rub you raw.

Gravel Samwidge is a Brisbane based band that has been making music since 1989. Their original drummer died tragically while the band was on tour not long after their beginning and, since then, they have formed and reformed from time to time, producing now a kind of off-centre grunge, as on their latest album Gas Girls Funeral, where blood-stained guitars play razor sharp, atonal riffs and almost Lou Reed-esque vocals half sing and half declaim stories of sleaze and disenchantment, while raucous drums bash the music, and you, further and further into the dirt.

But it’s the off-centredness of the music that makes it so unique, that makes you so willing to let it rub its rough edges into you until you bleed. Like the way the guitar seems to waver in and out of tune on ‘Told You’; or the way you can feel the electronic wind howling through the garage in ‘Take it Seriously’; or the way guitars twist and distort themselves around wailing noise, rock solid squares getting spun inside out by the grimy, gritty stuff that crawls out from the underground.

There is always an incredible amount of stuff going on in this music so that you are never really sure if the stars you are seeing are from the psychedelic, spun-out whirlpools of sound or from the beats and riffs that pound you like a mallet.

You’ll come away from Gas Girls Funeral a little raw and sore – but you’ll go back for more because you will have learned that you can never have soft smooth roadways without the roughness and ruggedness of gravel.

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