Sick of all those mewling indie-rock “beach” bands? Cleanse your palate with aggro post-punk outfit Eagulls.
Leeds, England-based post-punk collective Eagulls don’t exactly fit in, but that’s probably the most refreshing thing about them. What do I mean exactly? Well, picture what would happen if “The Young Ones” actually got off their butts and formed a punk band, or if The Clash sounded a little more like Joy Division (i.e., gloomier), and you’ll be well on your way to envisioning Eagulls, a disillusioned, confrontational five-piece who put distortion first and don’t need your pithy pastoral harmonies (sorry, Fleet Foxes) or ’90s nostalgia (sorry, well, everyone).
Listen to Eagulls after the jump.
Formed in 2009 by drummer Henry Ruddell and guitarist Mark ‘Goldy’ Goldsworthy, Eagulls eventually found guitarist Liam Matthews, bassist Tom Kelly, and gravel-voiced singer George Mitchell to complete the band. After that, the boys set to work producing aggressive, no-BS singles like “Possessed” and “Council Flat Blues,” and a now-closed open letter on the band’s blog that admonishes “beach bands” who have “’90s haircuts” and “dress like a Disney character.” Word to the wise? Don’t piss Eagulls off.
If you’re not insulted by anything Eagulls say, however, you’ll be in for one or two antagonized thoughts on life and growing up. In their debut single, “Council Flat Blues,” a slow-building, melodic, guitar-driven track, Mitchell crows about hanging out with friends at their parents’ houses as a teen.
“It just so turns out that most of my friends parents were either on drugs or drug dealers,” Mitchell told The Fader of “Council”‘s background. “At the time I just got on with it all and I thought it was the norm, but looking back at it now, it’s far from it! A lot of the stories come through in my lyrics and ‘Council Flat Blues’ really shows that time.”
As for other standout tracks, look to the echoing, moody, Joy Division-influenced “Nerve Endings,” the feedback-heavy “Moulting,” the Dinosaur Jr.-meets-Operation Ivy-sounding “Possessed,” and their brilliant cover of “Requiem,” originally by ’70s post-punkers Killing Joke. (Seriously, George Mitchell can sleep well at night knowing that his vocals are a dead ringer for Jaz Coleman’s.)
What are Eagulls so pissed off about, anyway? According to their press release, Mark ‘Goldy’ Goldsworthy explains: “When you finish uni(versity), you’ve got optimism and you think everything’s going to be all right. You think you’ll just take a s*** job in a shop and you’ll only have to do it for a while but then you’re still there a year later…” Well, nothing says “damn the man” quite like getting out of that cubical and onto practically every indie-music critic’s radar (thanks, Pitchfork, NME, Rolling Stone, et al).
And speaking of fans, you can catch Eagulls in NYC all next week, where they’ll be playing a bunch of CMJ shows alongside acts like Yuck and Porcelain Raft. Stream all of their singles here, listen to their 2012 EP, and gear up to fight the law with the band’s upcoming full-length, to be released in February 2014.
Photo credit: Partisan Records