Certain death by Shoegaze?

photography by Daisy Dundee

Band : Vladimir

Release : Vladimir The EP

Lable : Self Released via Bandcamp

Date : 19th August 2011

Ever had one of those weeks?

A good one I mean.

Generally speaking I can go through piles of new singles/EP’s/albums/digital downloads and what have you, and if I get one good tune in a day I count myself lucky. This week though has been particularly fruitful in that everything I’ve been sent has turned out to be pretty damn good indeed.

None more so than the debut release from Dundee’s  “Vladimir”.

The band had sent me one of the tracks from the EP “I Fight Fire” a few weeks back and I had been very impressed with its “in your face” attack and effective mix of intense riffing, insistent drums and impressive vocalising. The great thing about this band is that they appear to pick up on the best bits of the groups I like and then sort of mix them together into a rather attractive little package. Comparisons could be made with Sonic Youth in terms of  attack/guitar abuse, but there is also the baleful repetition of  The Fall in the mix somewhere and a hint of Joy Division maybe. It’s a modern take on post-punk with a hint of shoegaze and hefty slab of hardcore grunginess –  if I am going to resort to cliched one-liners.

Vladimir emerged as a four piece in only April this year, and their live performances are already making waves in the Glasgow underground scene apparently. The line up of the band consists of  Ross Murray (vocals), Peter Mackenzie (guitar), Joshua Gray (bass) and Sam Taylor (drums).

The band can swerve towards a more “metal” sound at time – as exemplified by the glorious cacophony of  “On My Wall” which is a blistering attack on the senses in the realm of Mr James Jewel Osterberg – mining the Detroit punk sound and transferring it north of the border. I defy anyone not to dive into the mosh-pit and do themselves some serious physical damage on listening to it. Fuzzed riffs, powerhouse drums and a vocal sound that melds slacker indifference with Curtis-like tones.

The band mix it up on the EP mind you – it’s not all one particular style – “Passing” for example retains the wall of sound approach but moves it into neo-Kraut (heavy) rock territory with a keening edge of the cliff guitar line hanging perilously over a rhythm section which bulldozes it’s way into your head and melts into a feedback drenched hard ambient coda which morphs into track 4 “Mellow”.

The word that comes to mind after it’s over is “phew!”.

The aforementioned “Mellow” drifts initially  into “Unknown Pleasures” soundscapes but then blasts itself  into orbit. This is far from mellow by the way – it’s loud, distorted, and intense – moving between moody, introspective bass/guitar sections ( great bass line by the by, and the guitar is pretty neat as well) into one of the most intense pieces of music i’ve heard all year – the difference between this and death/doom/screamo/post-hardcore is that you can hear what Ross is singing and it adds a certain uniqueness to the sound. There are a lot of bands hammering the life out of their instruments and either howling in a guttural fashion over the top, or screeching like some demented banshee – this lot set themselves apart from that by using the voice as a means of communication rather than another link in the sound-chain. Marvellous, and it demands repeat plays to understand all the nuances.

The last track is entitled “Untitled” – I don’ t if they have not thought up a name, or it’s actually called that. It samples the infamous “‘creepin’’’ speech by Charles Manson, over a violent haze of martial drums, distressed guitar, and  moves into a melange of found sounds and ambient nastiness and certainly ends the whole experience with the wow factor.

Vladimir the EP is released and launched with a hometown gig at Dexters Dundee on Friday 19 August (Doors 8pm, entry £5), with support from We Were Poseidon, Cha Cha Heels, Manifesto and Wildhouse. The EP will be available to buy at live shows and online via Bandcamp from Monday 22 August at www.vladimir1.bandcamp.com

Ross tells me they will be heading south for gigs shortly I think they are definitely worth checking out live – if they anything like they sound on this EP then I suggest you will be in for a treat.

You can  follow them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/vladimirdundee

The band contact: vladdundee@gmail.com

Highly recommended.

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2 thoughts on “Certain death by Shoegaze?

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