Being involved in the ‘DIY’ or ‘Independent’ music scene has an absolute plethora of good points, that, I’m sure, will not be ground-breaking news to most reading this. The term ‘involved’, in this context, I believe, means EVERYONE who participates in any shape or form, whether that is by putting on gigs, attending gigs, releasing records, or listening to records.
However, it is all too easy to get disoriented amidst the stress and fret when you devote a sizeable chunk of your time to being pro-active within the ‘scene’. There has been countless times when I’ve been so knee-deep in emails and organisation for gigs, tours, releases, or whatever that the sole reason I’ve found myself in that predicament in the first place is in danger of getting lost somewhere in between the lack of sleep and the near nervous breakdown that I’m pretending to have. This reason is, of course, the fucking music.
The most overwhelming and gratifying thing for me has always been the notion that I can see my favourite bands for a few quid in the backroom of some local boozer amongst like-minded individuals, and that the experiences you get from consuming this music are relatively confined, for one reason or another. I first started attending local DIY gigs in Grimsby in 2003/04 when I was 17/18, and was instantaneously blown away by what I was seeing and hearing. At the time, the likes of Andy, Glenn and Ritch, The Little Explorer, The Jesus Years, Kill Yourself and This Aint Vegas where doing the rounds and I had the pleasure of seeing them all on many occasions. These bands still blow my mind today, and I daresay are some of my favourite ever bands. And that, for the record, isn’t me looking back through rose tinted specs. I had never heard Fugazi, Shellac, Cap’n Jazz or Don Caballero. What I was experiencing was entirely new to me and I loved it. Seeing these bands, and many others, Is what made me want to get more actively involved. I wanted to put my own gigs on, and make friends with these guys who where making this fucking great music, I was grateful to the people putting the gigs on, I wanted to help and I wanted other people to experience what I was experiencing. I still do.
There is a reason that I picked up the keyboard and decided to write this blog post, and believe it or not, it isn’t so I can bore people to tears with how great things where when I was younger, or how tough it can be juggling real life with other commitments. Neither of those things are particularly important, so I hope you’re still reading.
The reason I’m writing this Is because I’ve had one of those moments, a realisation of sorts. Coal Train have a new single out, it’s absolutely fucking brilliant and I’m remembering why I am who I am.
For those that don’t know, Coal Train are a band from Sunderland, In the North East of England. The band contains three out of four members of the afore mentioned This Aint Vegas. TAV where a very special band who literally blew me away every time I saw them live. They recorded what I deem to be two of the best UK albums of the last ten years, they where a band I enjoyed with friends and they generally remind me of some great times. However, this is Coal Train’s time and they deserve positive words regardless of what they have and haven’t done in the past.
‘Carry You On My Shoulders’ is the bands third single, following on from ‘Building Dens’ and ‘Tall Ships’, and yet again, they’re keeping things interesting by embracing modern technology and treating us to a video to accompany said single. The song boasts Coal Train’s trademark strong melodies, sung in an ever-present North-East accent, the rhythm stomps along in a forceful and triumphant manner, led by the piano, whilst the guitars manage to retain inventive and interesting throughout. What we have here is, essentially, a pop song, with a chorus this catchy, it’s hard to call it anything else. This song seems to pull me in a number of different directions. It’s almost laid back, but retains a post-punk urgency, the melodies and lyrics are sweet yet you can’t help but feel there is a darker thought lurking behind every word.
This song, and this band give me the same feelings I used to get from attending those first gigs, and hearing those first bands. I guess when music this good comes along, it makes me ‘proud’ to be ‘involved’ in the DIY or independent scene. Not that Coal Train should or shouldn’t be restricted to this. Fuck, they deserve to be heard and loved by the masses.
Carry You On My Shoulders by Coal Train was released today. Watch the video, download the single, buy the 7”.
Tags: audacious, B>E>A>K, carry you on my shoulders, Coal Train, diy, field music, frankie and the heartstrings, free downloads, futureheads, indie, music, rock, run of the mill, sunderland, this ain't vegas, tunstall hill