shame's guide to the south london music scene

Watch the band's new Tasteless video before taking a whistle-stop tour of the bands, artists and talented individuals that spend most of their time situated and sedated at The Windmill in Brixton.

by Frankie Dunn
20 April 2017, 4:50pm

Shame are about to head off on a headline tour up and down the UK. They'll end at The Dome in London on 11 May, joined by some of their music mates for what will be their biggest ever headline show, so we'll see you there. Their tour artwork is a rather fetching photo of Theresa May bleeding from the eyeballs, a pair of antlers protruding from her head. Ever politically-engaged, the five-piece have been encouraging fans to vote on 8 June and even wrote a song about the PM, Visa Vulture, which proves an amusing and educational listen. But enough of that. Today, we're here for a new video and a whistle-stop tour of the musical world this lot occupy.

Tasteless is a fuck you to social inertia, a total anthem that repeats, "I like you better when you're not around," over and over and over. The video, directed by frontman Charlie Steen and frequent Fat White Family collaborator Lou Smith, involves mindlessly setting shit on fire for a bloke in a comfy chair in a weird low-lit club. It's a bit disconcerting, but, as the band explain, "there always seems to be comfort in the collapsed, the constant pursuit for oblivion. What we portray is the detachment from what we have created ourselves, the willingness to destroy and demean it through stabbing, spray painting and eventually burning. All for one man's slight amusement. It is a comment on removing oneself from thought and reasoning and accepting how nothing is truly permanent, nothing is completely original and only by understanding this can progression be made. The only boundary being reality itself, something many tend to avoid."

Over to Charlie Steen now, for a rundown of Shame's London:

"To group the frankly ludicrous amount of talent coming through London (and sometimes slightly further out) into a 'scene' does not do the chunk of vastly different bands justice. To describe the current musical confederacy situated in London as purely stemming from the South would also be untrue, although the majority of bands involved spend most of their time situated and sedated at The Windmill in Brixton, the bands stem from all over London, England and even Europe (Britain's former lover).

Sorry (FKA Fish), for example, entered this movement from north London, an area we will always fear. Saying that, we would traverse any sector of London to see Sorry play. Even West. On stage they convey a sense of maturity that also displays their nonchalant approach towards performance. They are not here to impress anyone or write songs they feel would give the A&Rs in the crowd a boner, they are here because music is truly their passion. The subjects they tackle as well as the lyrics Asha Lorenz delivers to the audience show this band is quite far ahead of most others at the moment. They are prolific, intelligent and unique. There was no doubt in our minds we wanted them to join us on our first headline UK tour this month and May, as we cannot wait to see this talent exposed over this crumbling country.

A band which this country also needs at this time is our south London comrades, Mõnk. This band cannot be defined in a sentence or pinned down by one genre, they simply span across the board drawing influence from an eclectic range of artists whilst creating something original and driven with energy live. With Augosto leaping and crashing around the stage, doing everything he can to drive the sweat from his skin, whilst still providing vocals that would make Tom Waits quiver, the band show that there is no musical world they are not willing to explore and master, be it reggae or punk. Unfortunately, for the average music lover, they are currently each attending university which only makes it more important to witness them when the opportunity arises. They join us on 11 May at The Dome in London and we urge you to witness them live, be it the last thing you do.

The crushing reality of the task of trying to describe and explain each member of the organism, is that there is simply too much to say for this article. HMLTD, for example, may require a good thousand words before you can even begin to move past their various hair styles. Goat Girl's progression and the subjects in which they discuss could not be summarised in one sentence and Portsmouth's finest, Hotel Lux, create a sound one truly cannot define.

However, we would like to take this opportunity to reveal an artist who has yet to perform live and is about the enter this scene in a big way. He's been working on his music for years now without releasing anything, unwilling to expose anything until he has completely mastered his craft, a true perfectionist. Polydor, EMI and XL have all expressed interest in working with him yet he has turned them all down, signing with Fnord. He will be releasing his genius into this world soon in the format of an extremely limited 7" vinyl. We couldn't be more excited and we couldn't recommend an artist further. His name is Iniqo.

What makes this 'scene' so interesting and unique is that each band, artist and individual within it has their own identity and musical sound. Our teenage youth and inexperience may be the link that binds us but we all span vastly across genres, performance and recorded material. However this movement does not belong just to the bands, it draws such strength because of the vast artistic elements that create it. The photographers, such as Lou Smith, who has documented and captured each moment and will be at the front of a gig whether there are 2 people in the crowd or 200. Promoters, such as Tim Perry, who has enabled 7 gigs a week to happen at The Windmill in Brixton for over a decade now and rejects the idea of the guest list. Artists such as Mac Westwood and Flo Webb who work under the name Spit Tease who have created artwork for Sorry and more, often crafting pieces using images of members of the various bands. This 'scene' is not defined by a person, a genre, a style, it is simply a blend of all that is happening currently and all that has already happened. In short, the quest for clarity within this confusion."


Text Frankie Dunn

South London
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south london music scene