Black Bordello - Sylvie - Gustaf
Peckham, London based quintet Black Bordello have released their new single "Nunhead". An uncompromising 5 minute art-rock attack of the senses, the track examines the gentrification of Peckham, its new generation of disrespecting residents and the inevitable fate of us all.
The release of "Nunhead" coincides with the announcement of the band's signing to Hideous Mink Records (Opus Kink, Fake Turins, Body Horror) and arrives alongside an accompanying video for the track, shot in Nunhead cemetery and directed by Will Reid (recently working with the likes of Malady, Slowthai, LEGSS and Lauren Auder).
Comprised of singer and guitarist Sienna Bordello, Eddie Amos (drums/percussion), Anthony Boatright (bass), Rachel Asafo-Agyei (backing vocals) and Henry Carpenter (keys), Black Bordello are widely regarded as one of the most unique and exciting live acts in London right now.
Pulling together the shapeshifting creativity and theatrics of PJ Harvey, the jazz-flecked tones of Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith with the emotional intensity of Patti Smith, Black Bordello are a force to be reckoned with and "Nunhead" is a momentous statement of intent from the 5-piece.
Speaking on the track, the band said: "'Nunhead' was written during the plague, at a time when people were confined to their houses. Sienna would visit Nunhead cemetery frequently as a place of refuge and to see the graves of her family members. There she was met face to face by the ills of gentrification. The place that always held profound, peaceful contemplation and wisdom buried deep within its grounds was now ruined by over-privileged pleasure makers who had no real connection to the area or its history. Sienna and the band felt this reflected the overarching psychopathy in our times."
Last month Sylvie announced their self-titled debut EP on Terrible Records, and shared its epononymous title track. The song is a cover of a song from an obscure 1970s record by Ian Matthews called Later That Same Year, and a track that serves as a partial inspiration for the band's existence. Before they adopted it as a name, the band (which is led by some time Drugdealer & Golden Daze member Benjamin Schwab and features Marina Allen and Sam Burton) started using the term "a Sylvie" to refer to "a song from the past that’s incredible but for whatever reason, is basically unknown," and the group's sound is a sort of homage to lost gems like Matthew's songs, and the recordings of Mad Anthony, the Southern California group that Benjamin's father John Schwab played in during the '70s.
Now the band are sharing a new single from the EP and their first original composition, a track entitled "Falls on me" that features lead vocals from Allen, whose well-regarded solo debut Candlepower, came out on Fire Records earlier this year.
A gorgeously rendered song that feels as though it could have been airlifted directly out of Laurel Canyon, the track is anchored by a powerful and strikingly nuanced performance from Allen, but was written by Schwab who identifies it as the most personal song on Sylvie's debut.
"A lot of the songs on the EP feel like they're about other people's lives, my experience with them, or a time and place in the past, but this is the one off the EP that is directly about my life and my growth," Schwab explains. "When I was writing 'Falls on me', I was sorting through all these emotions that had built up over the past 5-10 years. Through rel-tionships ending, bridges burning, or whatever it was, I found myself at a place where I felt very distant from the source.
Repeating similar patterns, being heartbroken over someone over and over again or whatever it was. I found myself really lost to the point where there was really no other place to go but home. The first half of the song explores this feeling, and then 3/4 of the way through the character meets a friend who reminds them of themselves. There is this person who reminds them just enough of who they are so that they can see themselves again or what it would be like to return home, back to the source, to yourself. This song to me is about deliverance and a returning home that took me many years to arrive at. Itʼs sung by Marina Allen, who realy did such an amazing job delivering the sentiment."
Brooklyn’s Gustaf are sharing "Best Behavior", the follow up to the NPR-approved "Book" and second offering from the debut album Audio Drag For Ego Slobs, out October 1st on Royal Mountain Records. A frenetic and suitably buzzing from one of New York’s “hardest working…and most reliably fun bands” (BrooklynVegan), it comes ahead of an extensive of touring throughout the US, UK and Europe that sees them sharing the stage with IDLES, Pillow Queens, and Osees.
Vocalist Lydia Gammill explains, "“Best Behavior” was fun to record because it was one of the first songs we finished/crafted in the studio rather than onstage. It started out as a demo we had in the early days of the band but never ended up playing live. It sat forgotten until we began planning the record and came together pretty effortlessly in the studio." She continues, "Unlike the bulk of the album that we developed over the course of many live shows, it was exciting to be making decisions and constructing the final song as it was happening. It also helped us get our footing and identify how we wanted to steer and produce the remaining recordings."
"The song’s ethos is a bit of the old and the new attitude for Gustaf. Our narrator, the ‘ego slob’, is bargaining with itself, scrounging for self compassion and self assurance despite a pile of hurt feelings in its wake. In demanding spoils despite having done nothing to earn them, we see the initial cracks in a brutish facade— our antihero slowly realizing maybe the shell they built for themselves was not built for the world."