New Music of the Day – CXIX : I Wanna Be a Totem – Aathens

14086465_1801427246761275_3528140892861339920_oFew welcome the death of another London music venue. When Powerlunches closed at the end of last year, Kingsland Road lost one of its last vestiges of DIY subculture – and a thriving, inclusive scene along with it. It was in the few months before it shut its doors for good that Patrick Browne (vox/guitar), Hannah Gledhill (guitar), Jason Jaworski (drums) and Ed Shellard (bass) came together and began rehearsing in the basement of that now defunct venue, working on a clutch of material that would form the basis for their uncompromising live set and their first release: TVEP.

TVEP is an EP-length performance film. Four tracks, one take; it’s a unique idea and a neat visual representation of the band – a low-budget, pirate TV performance that captures the terse energy of their live show outside of its normal setting. There is no audience, no applause, just a Spartan performance space and the group running against the clock.

“Spiky” and “angular” are words all too often used to describe a particular type of guitar judder. Recent waves of post-punk revivalism have seen some master the form, and Aathens are no mere imitators. The film kicks off with Aspirations – a raucous, ambitious track that calls to mind Fugazi, Television and contemporaries such as Ought and Girl Band, while lyrically it finds Browne transposing the acerbic wit of Minutemen in their Reagan-era heyday to the London of now.

Aathens are a DIY band deprived of their spiritual home. An indignant restlessness permeates this release, but there is a sardonic humour in their songs and style that adds much to proceedings. TVEP is a fully realised piece of work and the opening salvo set to carve out a space for themselves in the second half of 2016.

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About Dave Franklin

Musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, blogger, quantum spanner, left footed traveller, music journalist, zenarchist, freelance writer, reviewer and gemini. People have woken up to worse.
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