Post-punk hits Leeds: an EP release show for FEHM’s “Animal Skin” supported by Gundogs, Girl Sweat & Mysteron.
Post-punk. It was born out of the aftermath of punk in the late 80s. Punks hadn’t really achieved what they had set out to do (besides ruffling a few feathers). The average person in the UK was still dirt-poor. Jobless. Hungry. Villainised by the government. A lot like it is now, nearly 40 years later. To comfort us all in this current wave of misery, we have our own post-punk movement for the 21st Century. Even if you have to sign-on on Monday morning, you can still head over to the Brudenell in Leeds and feel important for a little while.
On the 11th of April, the Brudenell hosted a night around the release of a new EP by FEHM, one of Leeds’ latest and best post-punk acts around. Post-punk is back in fashion and so are cassette tapes it seems, inky cover arranged across the merch table at the back of the room. The place is oddly quiet. The small amount of people dotted around the room were treated to some synthy goth stuff, throbbing out of the speakers over their heads. The room had the feel of a school disco: everyone stood or sat around the edge of the room, waiting for someone else to brave standing by the stage first.
Thankfully, Mysteron step onstage, gazing fervently at their instruments. Their music is psychedelia meets post-punk, a harmonious marriage. The vocals richly deep, seemingly coming from another place, remnants of 1970s Iggy Pop competing with Peter Murphy. Mysteron have the ace-in-the-hole of the night: a sense of humour. The singer reaches into a plastic bag, pulling out something resembling breaded chicken bits, calling the song of the moment’s protagonist a slave to the foodstuff, holding it towards the lights above. Then he starts to choke a bit from the spiciness. No airs or graces here.
Next up is GIRL SWEAT. A one man band who uses slide guitar and a keyboard pushed up to the threshold of the speakers. Shouting, whooping, he sounds almost maniacal. You can’t make the lyrics out in all the noise, but you can easily imagine that they’re something as strange and uncomfortable as the name “Girl Sweat” suggests. But actually that’s not a bad thing: music needs a bit of weirdness. There’s little doubt that Girl Sweat stands out from the rest of the line-up tonight. Taking garage rock and giving it a thorough shock and shake down. Just what the genre needed.
With ears still ringing, we’re on to Gundogs. A pair of moody looking guys, the front lights off leaving stark silhouettes against a bright red background, the smoke machine belching up fog behind them. Their music is demure compared to the first two acts, they’re a lot more serious and cutting. They’re full of post-punk woe, they’re fed up and they want you to know about it.
FEHM takes the stage at a late hour. More fog, silhouettes – this must be the post-punk starter kit. It’s a good effect. FEHM look a lot like SWANS, they have their own Gira and Jarboe, but the sound is different, albeit with a hint of menace and magnitude. FEHM bring a bit of goth to the proceedings, all brooding and confident, frontman Paul Riddle marching and thrashing around the stage and over a keyboard. Riddle throws his weight around a bit in front of an eager audience, brandishing the microphone like he’s taking it to the battlefield, FEHM are almost too cool. Joy Division-esque basslines, not-too-flashy synths (it’s always tempting to use just a bit more synth, but FEHM have used it conservatively and to great effect), pedalled-out guitars – the set is sadly very short but it packs a punch.
FEHM’s new EP, “Animal Skin”, is out now. You can buy a physical copy (cassette tape) from their Bandcamp page here – digital downloads are coming soon. More FEHM gigs are as follows:
- 25th April – London / Waiting Room / EP Release
- 2nd May – Live At Leeds / Brudenell Games Room (12.30)
- 23rd May – Sheffield / Lughole
Find the bands on Facebook…
Mysteron on Facebook
GIRL SWEAT on Facebook
Gundogs on Facebook
FEHM on Facebook
(and Grave Reviews on Facebook)