Track Of The Day: Turkish Delight – ‘Spin’

“What would you like best to eat?”
“Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty” said Edmund.

If, like me, you grew up in the era of the Sunday teatime adaptation of the Narnia saga, then the words Turkish Delight always have a certain power, bringing to mind scenes of intoxication, mental confusion and seduction. Whether the band of the same name caught the BBC’s version whilst hanging around early ’90s Boston, they’ve admitted in interviews that the CS Lewis novel was the original inspiration for the name. And like the White Witch, the gift that the band bring is simultaneously familiar and threatening, warmly rocking but with an artsy cool.

Now, over twenty years since the band split, DIY label Reckless Yes are reanimating their back-catalogue with a re-release of debut Tommy Bell (1996) and second album (1998), on one double CD: bringing the band back – Aslan-style – all in one package. It’s the label’s assertion that the band are as relevant and fresh as they were in the ’90s and, as someone who’d never heard of them until very recently, it’s hard to disagree.

Taken from Tommy Bell, ‘Spin’ is a perfect introduction to Turkish Delight’s welding of art-rock and now-wave DIY sensibilities. That monotone bass-y rhythm you hear throughout? That’s ‘the can’, a “a home-made, electric bass-like instrument made from a bucket, a pole, and strings” which sounds somewhere between the skiffle broom and something from a bad (ie. good) sci-fi movie. Leah’s vocals switch in and out of English with the lilting “I’d rather be a spinster / I’d rather spin” – a defiant, subtly feminist, statement, whilst still also being punningly wry. Drums rattle around while spectral sharp and piercingly howling guitar lines rotate throughout, with verse and chorus largely being dictated by a shift in power rather than an expected telegraphed shift in chords.

‘Spin’ is sinister, daft, experimental and ultimately, pretty fun. And the same is true of the video: typical of its time as a piece of ’90s video art, showing individuals spinning in stop-motion black and white, intercut with footage of the band both playing the song and playing the fool. Not only is this an insight into the Dada world of the group, and lead singer Leah Callahan in particular, but according to interviews it’s evocative of the experience of seeing them play live, with costumes and silly antics a prominent feature.

Tommy Bell is a mishmash of agit art and indie rock with aspects of found sound and the experimentation of jazz and noise – with all that’s promised by ‘Spin’ on there, and more. At fifteen tracks it’s also a mammoth of a debut and shows a band in full fettle, right from the off. Howcha Magowcha is a more streamlined sophomore effort, which Leah has said “shows off the band’s maturity”. Taken together, they demonstrate the brave new frontiers of post-grunge indie, a world where art and music could be treated as synonymous and simultaneous activities. Often described as Thurston Moore’s favourite band of the time, Turkish Delight stand out as uncompromising and truly independent pioneers who left two lightning rods of LPs. Listening to them back-to-back is like poking around an old wardrobe, before stumbling, confused and maybe a little frightened, into a fascinating new world.

Tommy Bell and Howcha Magowcha are both out now, via Reckless Yes, and available both digitally and on CD.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Finsbury w/ Salad, 08.11.19

Following a host of amazing bands playing for us lately, including GENN, Chorusgirl, Witching Waves, CLT DRP and Crumbs, we were back at The Finsbury last night with another dream of a line-up, for a jam-packed night of the best new music.

Kicking things off, and completely packing out the venue instantly, London trio Macadamia Sluts deliver their insightful pop-punk – delving into poignant subjects of toxic relationships and the struggles of being an introvert, with refreshingly confessional lyricism and an impassioned, buoyant energy they uplift and inspire; securing themselves as a definite new favourite band.

Next up, Gold Baby dazzle with their shimmering, heartfelt offerings on the first outing for completed new line up – consisting of Siân, Scott and Sara. The trio deliver dreamy lamentations on life, love and alternative realities, as glistening melodies flow alongside Siân’s utterly spellbinding crystalline vocals that ooze with a raw emotion. Just beautiful.

Penultimate band of the night, all the way from Seattle, Cozy Slippers charm us with their catchy, twinkling slices of indie-pop. Delivering delightfully jangly tales of stolen cars and lost love, they treat us to exquisite harmonies and a gentle romanticism that leaves each and every one of us with a smile on our face and a warmth in our hearts.

And then the secret’s out… our headliners reveal themselves to be reformed ’90 legends Salad. Kicking things off with an energy-fuelled rendition of last year’s single, ‘The Selfishness Of Love’, the band continue to treat us to offerings new and old, predominantly showcasing their latest album The Salad Way, released earlier this year, whilst fitting in classics such as ‘Drink The Elixir’. Oozing a vibrant charisma and sparkling pizazz, despite battling the flu, front woman Marijne leads the way in delivering a set jam-packed full of relentless riffs (courtesy of most recent member Charley Stone) and buoyant melodies, proving that Salad is well and truly back on the menu…

Massive thanks to all four bands for making last night so special, and to everyone who made it out to show support. Catch us next month, on 13th December, with headliners Screaming Toenail!

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Keira-Anee Photography / @keiraanee

 

Track Of The Day: Salad – ‘Under The Wrapping Paper’

Having been going their separate ways for nearly twenty years, in 2017 ’90s band Salad were offered a festival date and soon reformed to start recording new material. Now, they’re set to release a long-awaited new album next month and have shared the first taste of what we can expect from it.

Exposing what we are sticking in the sand, and shoving under the carpet, ‘Under The Wrapping Paper’ is propelled by a gritty, post-punk energy and whirring scuzz as catchy hooks and tongue-in-cheek deadpan vocals build to a jangly fusion of sounds. A unique, euphonic delight, this new single sees Salad return to fine form, proving they’re still capable of pushing boundaries with a distinct, vibrant spirit.

The idea for ‘Under The Wrapping Paper’ came to founder member and guitarist Paul Kennedy in a rush of inspiration one day as he popped out to buy a cheap T-shirt: “I worry about child labour / But I needed a T-shirt  / Put it in a paper bag / You can recycle that later.” 

The Salad Way, the upcoming album, is out 30th August on Three Bean Records. Salad will be playing at Starshaped Festival:

31st August – Manchester, O2 Ritz
7th September – Newcastle, O2 Academy
14th September – Birmingham, O2 Institute
21st September – London, O2 Forum Kentish Town

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Tim Topple