It was autumn 2006, a few of us piled into a car and took the short trip to Bristol. The venue was the Anson Rooms. The band was the Paddingtons.
Well, actually, the venue was the Anson Rooms two. A broom cupboard sized side room with a small bar at the back and a tiny stage at the front. I’ve been in bigger bathrooms. However, as anyone who has attended intimate shows like this one knows, they are the best, and for me out do any arena gig.
This gig was made even better because we didn’t know what to expect. We had heard a couple of songs from this indie/pop-punk five piece. I don’t think their first album was even out yet.
The support act were an unknown (outside of the Coventry area, anyway) three piece, called The Enemy. They went on to release on of the best debut albums of the decade, along with the Paddingtons’ First Comes First.
And it’s that debut album that I want to focus on.
The reason I started the disBANDed series was to champion those albums that you pick up and put down over many years, getting that same buzz of energy, that same “fuck yeah” moment that you got the first time you listened. You relive the adventure and experience, the desire to pick up the phone, dial your best friend and tell them to get said record. This album could have been released yesterday and still made an impact.
My favourite characteristic of any rock, punk song is duelling guitars. Both battling for attention; guitarists busting their wrists to get the maximum noise from their instrument. This record has that characteristic in abundance. I love this record for its energy, you instantly feel what a live show from these guys will be like. You can taste the sweat.
Sat on top of that rippling duvet of guitars are the vocals. The lyrics of every song are like tucking into your favourite meal – comforting. Had a bad day? The words are so singable you’ll be gripping your hairbrush and prancing in front of the mirror forgetting all about it in the first 30 seconds of the opening track, Some Old Girl. Their blend of daily life and teenage angst isn’t anything new or ground breaking, but they do it so well that it is a strangely refreshing take on well explored territory.
I’m currently sat watching back some of their music videos on Youtube, and I can’t help but notice a Strokes influence in their style; musically and fashion-wise. It’s a damn fine combo.
On a late summer’s night in 2005 – I think, I got separated from my friends at that years Reading festival. I wondered into a tent just before this band’s set and it didn’t take long before I knew whatever my friends were watching, it wasn’t as good as this. Battle had a brief existence, releasing only two albums.
Break the Banks – their second album, sits on the periphery of post-punk, with guitars so spacious you could swing a cat between every note, and dance beats on par with Bloc Party. Even though this album has a hallmark sound of the mid 2000s, it still holds its own nearly a decade later. If you are under the belief that bands like Bastille are paving the way for indie/post-punk in the noughties, Battle were doing it first. Yes, this sound, like many others, has been rehashed over and over, every decade since the early 80’s with the likes of Joy Division, Talking Heads, etc. However as a fan of revivals, as long as they bring something new to the style and do not stand only to rip off, I have a lot of time for this release.
If I had to describe this album in one word it would be clarity. Each individual instrument has its place, there is no bleeding of sound; the mastering engineer earned their money. The sub bass and drums that open the intro track, The Longest Time, rumble down the spine like your first orgasm – played through decent speakers, of course. The lyrics are catchy and remain that way through out the album. Demons is another stand out track of Bloc Party-esq, indie/dance vibes and is a fine example of lead singer, Jason Bavanandan’s ability as a vocalist and lyricist.
It is a shame that this band had such a short career, but I will always remember that lonely night in a tent at Reading Festival as one of my all time festival experiences. Both releases are available on iTunes, and if you are looking for a similar band around today then I recommend Coasts; their album is due for release in January 2016.
Where have Good Shoes gone?
Normally when bands split they let their fans know, usually via a statement on their website. Good Shoe’s website hasn’t been updated since 2011. It’s been 5 years since this band, under rated and teetering on the edge of something more substantial then selling out your local indie club, released an album.
Good Shoes were exciting. They broke during a time when indie pop was reinventing itself once more, or recycling to make something a little different, maybe? I was immediately drawn to the two hard-panned guitars. Offset from one another, playing bouncy yet jagged countermelodies. Combine the two with baselines that purposefully wonder gleefully between said guitars and drums, and the compositions provide so much to listen to. The vocals are wistful. The lyrics tell stories of everyday city issues like racism and drug deals gone bad; brilliantly written narratives.
The first album is almost flawless, every song stands its ground. The second album isn’t as strong, but is still a striking collection, as the lyrics and mood take a darker turn. I always thought the title, No Hope, No Future, was a typical sign of a disgruntled guitar band, but now I wonder if they knew this was to be the last outting for the band.
Get yourself a copy of their debut, Think Before You Speak, listen, enjoy, and fall in love with Good Shoes like I did nearly ten years ago.
In short, the band were established in 2004 and played their last shows in 2008; the same year as their final album, Get Awkward. They realised two full length albums and five eps.
The band’s first, self-titled, album was released in 2006, and in true punk style has a running time of just over 33 minutes. The opening song, Thresher’s Flail, kicks in with a straight-to-the-point rhetoric that continues through the entire album. The songs finish as quickly as they start with tom-fill combinations signalling go-time. But, really, this could easily be one half an hour installation of stinging guitar riffs and backstreet poetry sung by the excitable, Jemina Pearl.
You could argue into the small hours how this band would have developed if they had continued longer. However, the two full lengths are powerful enough to spark nostalgia for decades to come. If you didn’t come across these guys when they were around, the music is still relevant with no sign of going cold. Press play, crack a beer and tear up the weekend with a soundtrack of BYOP.