“I don’t know what London’s coming to — the higher the buildings the lower the morals.”
Noel Coward, Collected Sketches & Lyrics
Call us old but the days of big cities are over! Bubbles of corruption and greed, run by morally defunct, unelected thieves for their own interest. The joy of youth and a collective feeling gently stomped out by the grind of commuting and working and getting nowhere. Travel, Work, Travel, Sleep, Travel, Work, Travel, Sleep – repeat until dead or bankrupt!
Ok so we’re perhaps over-selling a point but there’s a collective feeling growing that the days of the benefits of these glowing beacons of arts and culture outweighing the costs seem to be drawing to a close. Where once cities were the playgrounds of the young and interesting, they are one of the groups gradually priced further and further out, and increasingly that frustration is dripping into art. Where we once wrote love songs to cities we now write about the rising costs and falling benefits they bring about.
Increased cost of living drives reductions in luxury purchases whichdrives reduced record sales. Musicians are often amongst the worst hit by any sort of economic crisis. Rent goes up, sales go down, rehearsal room costs go up, gig revenue goes down, and we all get priced out in the end.
More and more people are being forced to give up their dreams, more bands split up, and music suffers. The increasingly vibrant music scenes outside the capital are further evidence that we might not need these conurbations any more, we might not just survive without them, we might even thrive!
The rain falls hard on a hum-drum town – this town has dragged you down
The Smiths – William, It Was Really Nothing
Vowel hating 6-piece NRVS LVRS are built around the twin powers of couple Andrew Gomez and Bevin Lee. They are joined by drummer Aaron Hazen, Bassist Wendy Brener and stunningly named guitarists Charles Belvedere and Rye In The Sky, possibly not his real name, but we’re just guessing!
It’s only around a decade ago but their music conjures up a whiff of nostalgia for the boom in, largely Canadian, indie music of the mid-noughties. The same 80’s influenced jangling guitars, the warm and human sounding electronics and inherent tunefulness that characterised that wonderful era! Shades of Broken Social Scene, New Pornographers and in particular Stars are all to the fore, and it’s none the worse for that!
The band are from San Francisco, though if you’re after a love song to the city you might want to look elsewhere. Their debut album The Golden West deals with the darkside of San Francisco’s current tech-boom. Looking at the cities dying art scene, non-existant work-life balance and excessive house-prices, problems which are present in a whole lot of cities right now, so don’t take it too personally San Francisco!
They first started making music back at the start of 2014 on something of a whim but it worked out well and their debut album is on it’s way in March on Hz Castle Records.
Because they’ve written one of the best records about the perils of the technology boom since Grandaddy penned their legendary sophomore album The Sophtware Slump. Opening track, City Lights buzzes with the dance floor filling electronics of New Order, 2Young2Know perfects the tears on the dance floor electronica that made Stars such a thrilling prospect whilst Black Diamonds jangles into the realms of Indie-Pop, and Cordoba Grey has possibly the most laid back and beautifully harmonised reference to going on a killing spree we’ve ever heard! Best of all is title track, The Golden West, bubbling keyboards with a hint of Flaming Lips give way to a melancholic male vocal, spinning us a heartbroken ode to the city they loved, where friends move back in with parents who can barely afford to keep lights on and tech-migrants are painted as robots who kick down doors and drones who” if work every day and never see outside of the maze, they don’t care about this town they only heard there’s gold out west.” As they leave the chorus a cacophony of distorted guitars, drums and the same bubbling keys gradually rise and then fall to a gentle close, it’s superb!
Let’s just get straight to this point, NRVS LVRS is an absolutely terrible band name! It makes Sbtrkt & Mstrkrft look good! Though if you just stick with Nervous Lovers you’ll like it more! Once you’ve got over that, if you can, you’ll be delighted you did!
The Golden West is out on the 16th of March on Hz Castle Records