Grifter Premiere “Failing Asleep” from Gorilla vs. Grifter Split

Posted in audiObelisk on March 9th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

GRIFTER (Photo by Sarah Stygall)

On April 15, UK power trios Gorilla and Grifter will team up for the Gorilla vs. Grifter split LP on HeviSike Records. While the title is somewhat adversarial, pitting one band against the other in a bid for some kind of rock supremacy, at least as far as the 12″ platter goes, actually listening to the thing, the battle playing out would seem to make Gorilla and Grifter vs. Bullshit a more accurate title. Neither band has much time for it in their four presented tracks, Gorilla digging into thickened Motörhead-style drive from the start of “Both Barrels” and Grifter grooving out thick and nasty on the harmonica and slide-laden “Hi Waisted,” just one of the locked in riff rollers on offer throughout the 32-minute outing, and if there’s a running theme to be found between their work — aside, you know, from being heavy — it’s the straightforward, frills-need-not-apply attitude and sense of righteousness with which each band executes its material, whether that’s Gorilla asking “how much can ya take?” on “Grind Yer Down” or Grifter coming right out and extending the invitation “kiss my ass!” on closer “Me Love.”

For Gorilla, their portion of Gorilla vs. Grifter follows an appearance in 2015 on Who Can You Trust? Records‘ Sweet Times Vol. 2 (review here) split, which introduced the track “Three Squealer” that also makes a showing here. The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Johnny Gorilla (also The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell), bassist Sarah Jane and gorilla-vs-grifterdrummer Ryan Matthews may not ultimately be throwing down with Grifter, but neither does one get the sense they’d back off if it came to blows of any sort, particularly perhaps in some London back alley, shattered glass on the ground, throwing drunken, lurching punches. Their core is in the aforementioned Motörheadery, but second cut “Slay Rider” dips back on the throttle and nestles into a smooth nod, vocals shouted through a dense wall of fuzz, before “Grind Yer Down” picks up the pace once again and careens toward the riotous finish of “Three Squealer,” on held together through the low end as guitars drop out during the verses en route to a winding chorus delivered with punk-rooted abandon, which of course suits Gorilla well, each of their tracks dealing in one way or another with motion, whether it’s blasted out of a shotgun to tearing ass down a highway. Don’t, however, take their palpable recklessness as a lack of songwriting.

When it comes to that — we’re talking about songwriting; keep up — Grifter have long since proven themselves choice purveyors. Their last album, 2014’s The Return of the Bearded Brethren (review here), pushed them past the decade mark, and while their side of Gorilla vs. Grifter is rawer than was that record, it finds them continuing to add to their established, straightforward heavy rock style. That shows itself notably in vocal arrangements. Guitarist/vocalist Ollie Stygall, bassist Phil and drummer Foz have never been shy when it comes to writing hooks as any of their releases will attest, but while the production on “Failing Asleep,” “Paige Turner,” “Hi Waisted” and “Me Love” is more stripped down than was the last record, there’s subtle layering and not-so-subtle backing vocals, especially on “Paige Turner” and the harmonized chorus of “Hi Waisted,” that only make the tracks catchier. Grifter‘s form has never needed screwing with and it still doesn’t, but as they progress beyond their second LP, their sound is vibrant and the growth they demonstrate in these tracks — while still writing songs about porn stars — makes one look forward all the more to where they might go next. Like Gorilla, they are in and out, quickly, efficiently, and without time wasted, but each song offers something to stand it out from the others, and even if it’s a quick check-in from Grifter, that’s well appreciated.

A mastering job by the perpetually-busy Tony Reed (Mos Generator) ties the bullshit-combating Gorilla vs. Grifter together, and today I have the pleasure of hosting the debut of Grifter‘s “Failing Asleep” from the split. You can hear it on the player below, followed by some more info on the release.

Please enjoy:

Gorilla vs Grifter
A new split album from two of the UK’s hottest power trios.
Released 15th April 2016 on HeviSike Records
Artwork by Maarten Donders

Gorilla vs Grifter will be the second in a planned series of split albums released through HeviSike, following 2015’s Mos Generator // Stubb split release.

The album has been mastered by Tony Reed (Mos Generator) and features a unique cover designed by Dutch artist Maarten Donders, known for his poster designs for Blues Pills and Roadburn Festival amongst others.

Available as a limited edition vinyl record in two colour-ways, Gorilla vs Grifter will be available to pre-order from Friday 1st April ahead of its 15th April release date.

Colour vinyl options:
Gold – (limited to 100 copies, hevisike.com exclusive)
Yellow / Blue Marbled

The album will be distributed by Plastic Head Distribution in the UK & Europe and by MVD Entertainment in North America. Gorilla vs Grifter will be available digitally through bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify and other digital outlets.

Gorilla on Thee Facebooks

Grifter on Thee Facebooks

HeviSike Records on Thee Facebooks

HeviSike Records website

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Gorilla and Grifter Releasing Gorilla vs. Grifter Split Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Some people just gotta turn everything into a fight. Gorilla vs. Grifter, a new split release from HeviSike Records, is due out April 15, and as the title hints, it brings together the titular UK acts for a knock-down drag-out rock and roll brawl the likes of which, well, have probably been seen at some point but will still probably be really cool. The second in an apparently ongoing series, it follows 2015’s HeviSike split between Stubb and Mos Generator, which was high on the list of last year’s finest short offerings. The kind of thing that might want to make you show up for the sequel.

By way of a spoiler, I’ll be streaming one of Grifter‘s tracks this week coming up, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for that. Looking like Wednesday, if you want to mark the calendar. I’ve got mine marked for it. Should be a good time.

Till then, here are the preliminaries off the PR wire:

gorilla-vs-grifter

Announcing new split album from two UK power trios Gorilla and Grifter – released 15 April 2016

Gorilla vs Grifter
A new split album from two of the UK’s hottest power trios.
Released 15th April 2016 on HeviSike Records
Artwork by Maarten Donders

GORILLA are no strangers to fans of heavy-as-hell rock n’ roll. The no-nonsense power trio, led by The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell frontman Johnny Gorilla, have released three albums since forming in the late 1990s.

One of the last bands standing from the first wave of UK underground rock, the three-piece have played festivals including Roadburn and Duna Jam and shared the stage with the likes of Fu Manchu, Josiah, Witchcraft and Gentleman’s Pistols. Joining founding members Johnny (guitar & vocals) and Sarah Jane (bass) is new sticksman Ryan Matthews.

English three-piece GRIFTER have made a name for themselves as one of the premier touring acts through frequent live appearances. As well as releasing two albums and two EPs on labels including Catacomb Records and Ripple Music, the trio have performed at Desertfest, Bloodstock, Freak Valley and more plus toured with Orange Goblin.

Formed in 2003, Grifter’s line-up has gone unchanged; Foz on drums, Phil on bass and Ollie on guitar and vocals. The trio consider themselves simply a rock band; drawing influences from across the board, Grifter present a sound that can only be described as loud and heavy hard rock.

Gorilla vs Grifter will be the second in a planned series of split albums released through HeviSike, following 2015’s Mos Generator // Stubb split release.

The album has been mastered by Tony Reed (Mos Generator) and features a unique cover designed by Dutch artist Maarten Donders, known for his poster designs for Blues Pills and Roadburn Festival amongst others.

The two English power trios join the Birmingham-based imprint as special guests at an exciting time following the label’s launch in late 2014. Previous output from the label includes the debut EP from Chicago psychedelic rockers Dead Feathers and albums from Elevators to The Grateful Sky, Prophets of Saturn, Desert Suns and Palm Desert amongst others.

Available as a limited edition vinyl record in two colour-ways, Gorilla vs Grifter will be available to pre-order from Friday 1st April ahead of its 15th April release date.

Colour vinyl options:
Gold – (limited to 100 copies, hevisike.com exclusive)
Yellow / Blue Marbled

The album will be distributed by Plastic Head Distribution in the UK & Europe and by MVD Entertainment in North America.

Gorilla vs Grifter will be available digitally through bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify and other digital outlets.

https://www.facebook.com/GorillaRockin/
https://www.facebook.com/GRIFTERROCK/
https://www.facebook.com/hevisike
https://twitter.com/hevisike
http://hevisike.com/

Gorilla, “Three Squealer” official video

Grifter, “Princess Leia” official video

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On Wax: Sweet Times Vol. 2 Four-Way Split

Posted in On Wax on March 4th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

sweet-times-vol-2-front-vinyl-glasses

If nothing else, the second installment in Who Can You Trust? RecordsSweet Times 7″ series is an efficient use of space. Perhaps even more than its predecessor, which also included four bands, it squeezes seemingly disparate takes on heavy rock onto two sides of what might come across as a sampler for busy heads on the go were it not for the fact that you need a turntable to listen to it. Still, an impressive feat, and all the more when one considers the ground it covers, from the sweet ’70s melodies of Brooklyn’s The Golden Grass to Italian psych-garage rockers Sultan Bathery on side A, and from the sweet classic punk of New York’s Metalleg to the doom-tease-into-Motörhead-jolt of Gorilla. All told, it’s done in under 10 minutes, depending on how fast you flip the platter, and gives a brief glance at some of what each band has to offer. sweet-times-vol-2-front-coverPlus, it comes with 3-D glasses! Because the future!

Yes, the artwork of the 7″, which is pressed in an edition of 500 copies (black vinyl) and comes in thick card stock, is colored so that the included class-style blue and red 3-D glasses make it pop out. Likely you don’t need me to tell you that’s awesome — all the more so because it actually includes the glasses — but even more of a draw are the four songs themselves. The Golden Grass lead off with “All You Have Grown” (premiered here), which at just over three minutes is actually the longest inclusion here. The trio don’t need anymore time than that to establish a resonant, bright melody and a hook, and while the track seems to end cold in comparison to some of what appeared on their 2014 self-titled debut (review here), one can hardly fault them, particularly in context of sharing the side with Sultan Bathery, whose handclap-inclusive “15 Minutes” is a fuzz-drenched rhythmic joy of primal proto-heavy. No time for frills, but a buzzsaw solo carries to side A’s sudden finish with just a second of tape hiss left over for good measure.

I feel like my hand is barely off the turntable arm before Metalleg‘s “Chained” is over. At just 74 seconds, it’s a warm-toned Ramones-style chorus the three-piece — who no doubt by now are tired of being compared to the Ramones — have crafted, and they quickly showcase a grasp for the affinity early punk showed for pop before pop-punk became a commercial force. The tone is warm and sweet-times-vol-2-side-bnatural, raw but not necessarily aggressive, which is all the better for Gorilla, who finish out Sweet Times Vol. 2 with “Three Squealer” by tossing off a measure of a riff spawned from the same muck that birthed “Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes” before they gleefully pull the rug from under it and, after a couple stick-clicks, hit into the aforementioned Motörhead-style rush. Given where they’re coming from, one would expect little wasted space in “Three Squealer” and Gorilla comply ably, ending the release with one last hook and genre crossover that, somehow, fits just as well as the donations from The Golden GrassSultan Bathery, and Metalleg.

Maybe part of what makes it work is that it’s done so soon, but I’m not inclined to argue either way. Who Can You Trust? Records has already issued a follow-up to Sweet Times Vol. 2 that includes Death AlleyWild HoneyPastor and Sonic Love Affair, so they’re keeping true to the form here in working at a speedy pace. It certainly serves the bands well, so I see no reason why it shouldn’t do the same for the label.

VA, Sweet Times Vol. 2 (2014)

The Golden Grass on Thee Facebooks

Sultan Bathery on The Facebooks

Metalleg on Thee Facebooks

Gorilla on Thee Facebooks

Who Can You Trust? Records’ BigCartel store

Who Can You Trust? Records on Bandcamp

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