Entertainment

Noise Annoys: Protomartyr Irish tour, new music from Slomatics, Axis Of and Jim Bob, plus a special charity show at Oh Yeah...

Protomartyr are currently touring in Ireland. Picture by Trevor Naud
Protomartyr are currently touring in Ireland. Picture by Trevor Naud Protomartyr are currently touring in Ireland. Picture by Trevor Naud

:: Protomartyr Dublin and Belfast shows

EVERYONE'S favourite post-punky, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds-y indie rockers Protomartyr are currently in Ireland and have shows at The Button Factory in Dublin tonight and Belfast's Ulster Sports Club tomorrow evening.

At time of writing (Tuesday, just before lunch) hugely positive reports from the Detroit outfit's recent live engagements in Brighton, London and Leeds were spreading across social media like a positive plague, so if you're on the fence about going to see them why not give your bum a break from those splinters already and grab yourself a ticket right now via bandsintown.com.

As an added bonus, the mighty Kelley Deal is currently part of Protomartyr's touring line-up, with comments like "Kelley brings so much to the band" being very much the vibe from those who've caught Joe and co at their most recent shows, so there really is no excuse to miss them – especially with Galway's Oh Boland in tow as the opening act.

Be there or regret it for all eternity.


:: Slomatics/Domkraft – Ascend/Descend (split LP, Majestic Mountain Records)

ONWARDS to the first and heaviest release under the rusty review knife this week – the new split from Belfast doom meisters/maestros Slomatics and like-minded Swedish types Domkraft.

Out today, Ascend/Descend offers two new tunes from each band along with a cover of one favourite by the other act. Thus, Slomatics rumble through a superbly atmospheric slo-mo take on Domkraft's aggro-sludge anthem Dustrider with aplomb, adding a pretty outro which allows drummer/shouter Marty to channel his inner Freddie Mercury, while the Stockholm psych-stoners successfully supercharge the Belfast trio's lumbering classic And Yet It Moves, transforming it into a grungy, mosh pit-friendly brute.

Both bands make the tunes sound like their own, which is exactly what you want from a good cover. As for the quartet of newies on offer, Domkraft's eight-minute crush-a-thon The Core Will Pull You Home opens proceedings with a winning combo of mesmerising heavy noddage and psychedelic space rockin' antics before The Brush Descends The Length ramps up the tension with its slower, moodier fuzz-dirge.

Slomatics also 'go long' with their first new tune, Positive Runes, a Sabbath-y riff dragged slowly through a treacle-thick doom metal bog with added synth-powered atmospherics for a slightly gothy, horror movie vibe.

There's great singing from Marty towards the end of this one too ­– a trend which continues on stand-out moment Buried Axes on Regulus Minor, a cleverly dynamic (quiet bits can be just as effective as everything cranked up to '11', doncha know?) and thunderously portentous sci-fi/fantasy-infused tale of extinction level events on a far-flung star. The Slomatics pummeler works himself up from creepy whisper to lung-busting holler on the ominous/intriguing chorus as the sludge briefly drops completely away beneath his spaceboots.

This one will be a 'moment' when played live, for sure – verify this at their show on May 22 at Voodoo in Belfast, which also features their previous split-release chums Conan, plus Elder Druid and Grief Eater too.

Appropriately, all of these tunes have been entombed within a selection of beautiful coloured vinyl for your listening/collecting pleasure, though there's also CDs for the dead inside types: choose and perish now at slomatics.bandcamp.com/album/ascend-descend.




:: Jim Bob – Beach Ready EP (Cherry Red)

SPRING may barely have sprung but Jim Bob is already looking forward to the summertime with Beach Ready Boys, the rousing title track of his latest EP – an all-killer-no-filler four track affair clad (virtually speaking, as it's 'download only') in artwork subverting the classic nihilist imagery of Jamie Reid's Pretty Vacant single sleeve. It's even being sold at the very 1970s price of just 99p.

You get plenty of pep/pop here for your not-quite-a-Pound, especially from the lead/title tune's pleasingly bouncy guitar/bass/drums/piano/synths-laden number about 'teenagers going to the seaside for the first time".


"Kids from the block with their first stick of rock on a pier" croons Jim, evocatively, before offering up lots of sing-along shout-outs for seaside towns: "Hastings, Bognor, Rhyl / Blackpool, Bournemouth, Deal". Belfast and Cork also get mentions – gigs there soon, pretty please? – and any tune which manges to namedrop both Slade and Dave (the rapper, not me) is surely worthy of your attention.

However, if the weight of the world has slumped your shoulders to the point where the thought of a nice seaside paddle seems like some sort of impossible dream, proceed immediately to the anthemic Step Back (Take A Minute): close your eyes and start clicking your fingers as Jim imagines himself as a songwriting hero on a quest to dispense soothing self-care anthems to the malaise-ridden masses and sarf Lahndan's knife-wielding 'yoots'.

You should be feeling much better about things after that one, but sadly, while sage advice like "if you can't move forward, you always step back" might be tailor-made for us, and indeed the clutter-crazed subject the Velvets-esque strummer that is track two, Angela Hoards, it's of little use to the omnipotent star of the EP's climactic epic If God Was a CCTV Control Room Operator Named Steve.

This poor bugger is all-seeing, yet powerless to help those being beaten-up, blown-up or broken-up with, nor anyone about to be infected by invisible viruses or swept away by man-made disaster.

Jim says the latter is his favourite song from the EP and I can see why, as the lyrics of this memorably melancholic piano-centric heavy ballad really get under your skin: "like a wildlife film-maker, he just documents the pain / observing and remembering, again and again" and "right now, he's watching a tiny coffin being lowered into the ground / Steve knew where she was weeks before she was found" being particularly good.

Offering a carefully crafted counterpoint to the upbeat opening tune, the chorus of this one is literally just the word 'shame' wailed mournfully and repeatedly, and the whole thing slow-builds masterfully towards an unexpectedly cacophonous end section featuring some sublime guitar abuse.

It's kind of amazing that you can own all four of these cracking new Jim Bob tunes today for just 99p just by visiting carterusmstore.com– though I for one would definitely pay at least 10 times that amount if someone capable would only press this up as a nice ice-cream/candy floss-coloured seven-inch single (hint-hint).

Axis Of release their new album Bella Pacifica today
Axis Of release their new album Bella Pacifica today Axis Of release their new album Bella Pacifica today

:: Axis Of – Bella Pacifica album launch

IT SEEMS like ages ago that I was writing about the recently re-activated Axis Of's forthcoming new record Bella Pacifica, mainly because it was ages ago.

In fact, since last they were mentioned – a review of their excellent 'comeback' single Beach Light – the north coasters have released another quality single from the record in the form of current single Blackcomber.

Featuring a typically melodic/anthemic 'woah-oh'-bolstered vocal from Ewen (with able back-up on the chorus hook courtesy of Niall) touching on self-doubt, hope and mountain hiking, Blackcomber combines thumping backbeat and fuzz bass groove with layers of lazer-like guitar action and even some late-breaking trumpet fun, just for the craic.

The song forms the centrepiece of Bella Pacifica itself, which is finally unleashed upon the world this very day – grab it now via axisof.bandcamp.com/album/bella-pacifica – and which the band will be celebrating with a Belfast release show at The Limelight on May 20 with support from Brand New Friend (who themselves should surely be readying a new album right about now) and Big Daisy.


Tickets for that are £12.50 (plus the usual stealth fees) via Ticketmaster.ie – you'll be able to read more about Bella Pacifica in the next exciting instalment of Noise Annoys.

:: Aid For Ukraine charity show

FINALLY for this week, be advised that there will be a special Aid For Ukraine charity show happening at Belfast's Oh Yeah Centre tomorrow night.

Organised in association with the Stendhal Festival, it's a multi-band bill featuring some of your local favourites who will be donating their services in order to help raise money for the Polish charity Stowarzyszenie Leubuzzi, which has been feeding refugees fleeing the ongoing Russian invasion.

There will be a headline set from Duke Special, plus musical turns from Wood Burning Savages, Joshua Burnside, Sister Ghost, Dark Tropics and Lemonade Shoelace, while Radio One's Phil Taggart will also be DJing on the night.

Tickets are £15 in advance via Stendhalfestival.com or on the door, which will be opening at 7pm.