The Blood Brothers
In bands like the King Brothers and the Boredoms, Japan has
shown a taste for over-the-top guitar noise and vocalists
with a penchant for screaming. This week, the nation welcomes
one of the most ferocious noise-oriented bands to emerge out
of the US rock scene of late.
Coming together in Seattle in 1997, The Blood Brothers were
formed by five high school friends. True to rock form, their
early rehearsals, singer Johnny Whitney told the BBC, "were
in my parents' garage. We'd all just get together
and write songs without taking it too seriously."
Early influences like Black Flag led to the development of
a sound that was stripped down and punky. At the time, The
Blood Brothers had little more in mind than venting their
frustrations and claiming a bit of neighborhood glory.
"We didn't start this band with any intention
of signing to a major," Whitney said. "The only
reason we got signed is because [famous producer] Ross Robinson
took an active interest in our band after Amen singer Casey
Chaos passed a CD on to him."
Whitney recalls that their debut gig was also a decidedly
low-key affair. "We practiced together about 10 times
before we decided to play a gig," he said. "Our
first show was in a Seattle youth center that we had been
going to since we were 11. There were about 50 people there
and it rocked!"
After the band released their initial material through friends'
labels, Robinson's interest led Artist Direct to sign
them for this year's debut full-length, Burn Piano
Island, Burn. The album falls loosely into the modern rock
category, but trades in the tired raps and metal guitar riffs
of nu metal for a two-singer attack underpinned with melodic
hooks and a disturbing, sometimes even poetic vision.
The Blood Brothers had already showed their mettle with 2002's
independent release March on Electric Children, a concept
album based on an abstract and dark short story that makes
up the lyrics and liner notes. "Seamlessly composed
and adrenaline-inspired, the whole collaboration results in
something more catchy than it should be," said All
Music Guide, "something you'll find yourself
singing over and over again as you plan to throw yourself
out a window."
Now out touring for Burn Piano Island, Burn, the band says
they take each concert as it comes. "Try not to think
about what you're doing too much," advised Whitney.
"When I think too much I tend to get really self-conscious.
The whole point of playing live is to let yourself go and
just enjoy it. Don't have expectations of what the
crowd wants. Just go out and play."
The Blood Brothers play Harajuku Astro Hall on May 26.
See listings for details.
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