“Under The Radar” – These Monsters

OIW’s resident music mogul Keefy (a bit like an OIW version of The Stig) is back with another “Under The Radar”! Following features on Iceland’s Olafur Arnolds and Sheffield’s Violet May, he’s now picking on Leeds monsters, er… These Monsters, read on!

thesemonsters

Unnoticed by the media and famous scientists and all manor of clever folk was a huge earth tremor emanating from somewhere in Wales last month. What was the cause of such an event you may ask?

Leeds based jazz/prog/noiseniks and superheroes ” These Monsters” had taken time off from “kitten baiting”(see facebook) and found an old barn somewhere in the depths of Wales. Inside the barn they found some tape recorders, a mixing desk and some beer. Outside they found some hills and a lot of sky. A week or so later playback of a recorded track “Harry Patton” resulted in a flock of sheep simultaneously giving birth, a small landslide and the afore mentioned tremor!

Over the last two or three years the Monsters have been quietly causing a stir in Yorkshire and the surrounding area. Actually make that “loudly” – there is nothing quiet going on here. Armed with skyscraper sized hand built amplifiers, sixty two effects pedals, hair, beards (sometimes) moustache (huge), lager, whisky and the odd headband, “These Monsters” have built up a cult following. They don’t seem to care what we think or if they are cool or relevant, they are just going to play! A set may consist of one, two, or possibly three epic instrumentals. Time is suspended as a cosmic battle takes place as the band do armed combat with any surrounding demons. I have seen them clear a venue of ‘scenesters’ who have heard that they are “great” in a couple of minutes while those of us left (mostly musos), (I’m not one) spend the next twenty-five minutes scraping our collective jaws up from the floor in amazement.

What do they sound like? Awesome. A huge distorted riffing machine hell-bent on taking over planet Earth. It’s a landscape of feedback and howling guitar and a maelstrom of sax that thinks its a guitar. Somehow though this sound is listenable and addictive as they take you on some mind-bending three dimensional trip. I kid you not! On stage its hard to tell if they are in between benders (they probably are) or just slept in (they did), hair is shaken, shirts are ripped off, there’s all kinds of classic poses and lots of sweat (that’s just the audience). Are they serious?

In 2007 after the release of the mind-blowing “fleets of black hovercraft anchored in space” track (!!!) and a limited edition vinyl e/p. the band slipped into an alternate universe for a while, cat breeding, drinking and listening to Sun Ra and Moondog, just popping out to the odd gig (LEEDS 2007) or a quick visit to Spar for supplies of Monster Munch before, earlier this year, being misinformed they were playing at some huge festival in Wales where they ended up in Foal Studio. That’s where the earth tremor comes from!

Imagine my delight when when an mp3 of “Harry Patton ” arrives in the inbox! “Patton” is 4.44 minutes of prog/jazz/electronic noise that is unavoidably superb. Beautifully constructed chaos assails the ears, it’s a wonderful noise people! Stabbing chords lead the listener into the main body of the peice, a rolling distorted riff. Somewhere in the mix someone is unhappy but it doesn’t matter. After a couple of minutes it breaks down before another thunderous riff and weird electronics and sax. break through and the listener realises someone has not been careful with that axe, Eugene… there is a rising crescendo and then its over. Bring on the album please.

I can’t see any London gigs on the horizon but there’s some great u-tube footage you can catch. Right, where’s my headband and loon pants I’m off to see ’em in Steel City next week! You coming Chawks?
Keefy

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