Introducing: Straylings

A source in close proximity to yours truly recently decided to share their disdain for the recent crop of bands who, so they claim, are “just nicking old sounds and pretending they’re new”. We should point out that said-source is indeed not directly involved in the expansive music business, and would no doubt be quite happy (or, in fact, insistant) to be called “a citizen of the world who just knows good tunes”. Sure, it’s a now time-honoured grating that is usually associated with those on the outer rim of hipster society, a bit like us really, but we believe that those two factors do not make the point any more or less valid – particularly as this person actually still goes out and spends real money on CDs, effectively rendering them possibly the most important stakeholder in this whole enterprise. “Old sounds”, they said, but not “bad sounds”. And should the musicologists out there actually decide to go to the hassle of tracing back the lineage of who is the pater familias of what we might ostensibly describe as modern pop music – and for all we know, someone may well have done – surely they’d find themselves analysing the sonic power of Ugg The Caveman whacking himself in the balls with a massive club, or perhaps a primordial amoeba projecting the sound of a microscopic guff, which then went on to subsequently influence any and all forms of expressive sounds thereafter. In spite of this particular form of musical snobbery, existing along a scale ranging as far between industry insiders like Chet Fenster the A&R guy (he’s not real, we checked, he’s someone else entirely) and individuals that make up the mass of music consumers like, well, our parents, it is ridiculous and ultimately futile to expect any band – who, believe it or not, are fans of other bands themselves, except they get to call them influences – to create a note or chord that has never been heard of or played before. In contrast, we expect them to play those familiar notes extremely well and give their own timeless, personal stamp on proceedings through the configuration (music and/or lyrics), performance (how bloody good they are live) and reproduction (quality of recordings) of those notes or chords. From what we’ve heard thus far, Straylings are ticking all of those boxes and then some…

Straylings – Wallpin

Straylings – Carver’s Kicks

So now our unquenchable need to waffle on about nothing of particular consequence other than this blog post has been satiated for now, what the hey is up with these dudes? We’ll tell ya. According to this-here press release, mystique is the name of their particular game, and having spent a good few months’ stint cruising the blogosphere – citations from the likes of our buddies The 405 and Artrocker bringing high praise and early comparisons to the likes of Mazzy Star and Jefferson Airplane – this Bahraini/Austrian/Londonish duo crashed onto the live scene with the release of their debut EP back in June 2011. Fast-forward to now, an album named Entertainment On Foreign Grounds, perhaps in homage to their multicultural roots, is in the pipeline and set for release on 5th March via Deadpan Records, having done a decent spread of shows and picking up outspoken-tastemakery type fans in the form of Steve Lamacq and Huw Stephens, as well as Rough Traders The Veils along the way, who all seem to dig this incredibly suave reclaimation of sounds along the lines of Karen O (representing the powerful delivery of singer Dana Zeera’s ear-seducing vocals) doing the James Bond theme tune stylings of Anna Calvi and some PJ Harvey moments littered about. We’re also getting the aesthetic of KM-amigos Grasshouse somewhere in between – which in other words means we like them immediately.

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So, as you might imagine, this pair are fucking busy: not least of all because they have a big ol’ headline show coming up at The Barfly this very Saturday 14th January. If you’re curious to see exactly how far a singer-songwriter from a Middle Eastern landscape has come in a very short space of time, you could do worse than head down there to see what’s up. You’ll be seeing these guys on festival line ups shortly after, and then you’ll feel like a total plank, won’t you? Yeah, you.

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