Monday, 7 April 2008

Amplified! Vol.2

photo by Robert John

Kill The Drama, Pittsburgh, PA

Did anyone know that Pittsburgh was known as The City Of Bridges? I had no idea. That was my brain food for the day. It's amazing the things you find out when you should really be crunching numbers or getting that contract signed for your boss.

Anyhow, the other little detail that my brain managed to soak up was who actually lives in The City Of Bridges. Kill The Drama, four strapping gentlemen that are definitely not your ordinary, American rock band. When I first saw their photo, I must admit I thought I was looking at the new 30 Seconds To Mars. But don't let image lead you astray. Kill The Drama hold something very special. 'Close Friends With Sharp Knives' is the first thing to hit my ears and the hairs on the back of my neck. As a guitarist, a riff is one of the first things I like to hear and this track provides it. Fierce, fast and fearful. It's an intro that can leave other bands weeping in the midst. Bryan Laskey provides desperate yet sublime vocals be it the upbeat, thrusting rock anthems or the haunting ballads like 'Sunshine.' Bryan's voice is so bewitching that it makes me lack concentration. Even while trying to write this review.

They seem to have a good track record for a new band. Winning Pittsburgh's musical showcase The Graffiti Rock Challenge in 2006 and teaming up with photographer Robert John (Rolling Stone/Gun's n' Roses/Velvet Revolver/Alice in Chains) for the recording of their first music video. If that isn't enough, they released their debut album 'Close Friends With Sharp Knives' in February 2007. Not a bad resume for a few years work. Unlike some American bands that let fame go to their heads too quickly, Kill The Drama seem to maintain the 'keeping it real' mentality that alot of bands lack. You can hear their emotion. You can see their passion. And you can feel thier longing to be heard. The one thing that makes them stand out is they deserve to be heard.

All you need at Kill The Drama site and myspace

Take a look at Kill The Drama 'Close Friends With Sharp Knives' video

The Gin Riots, South London

I have had one single experience with gin that I prefer to push to the darkest depths of my being. A night which passed in sketchy, hedonistic stills that ended in disaster and drunken depression. So when The Gin Riots popped in my inbox you can understand the sudden nausea that overcame me at the sheer memory of my liquid enemy. Luckily, being a brave little soldier, I pressed on to see what was in store for me...and it wasn't as bad an experience as I expected.

The four-piece from South London seem to be tearing up the streets with their jangly guitars and deep, bouncing basslines with perfomances all over the city. I was first enlightened to 'The Daily Dust' which reminds me of balmy, summers in the park with a free flowing bottle of Pimm's. You can't help but hear the Barat/Doherty influence on this track with drawling vocals and imaginative lyrics with lead singer Guy Stevenson mumbling 'you'll be the death of me, you'll be the reason that I fall.' However, it's not all Libertines-wannabees - far from it. 'The Polka' picks up the pace with choppy chords and more finger clicking beats. With husky whispered vocals reminiscent of The Cure's Robert Smith you can hear youth, anger and gin pumping through their veins which must give off one hell of a live show. You can hear many other bands ringing through and constantly find yourself saying, 'don't they sound like so and so...?' but The Gin Riots seem to keep that individuality that I have not heard for a while.

I still won't be reaching for the bottle of Gordon's anytime soon but I will definitely be skipping my way to the front of Gin Riots next show and putting them high on my 2008 summer soundtrack.

Check out London dates and new songs plus a free MP3 at The Gin Riots
For our friends across the Atlantic, The Gin Riots have got an all important performance at
NXNW in Toronto during June. If you are over that way then show some support.


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