Posts Tagged ‘Sauna Youth’

Sauna Youth – “No Personal Space”

The recent album from Sauna Youth is a welcomed blast of bracing bile that chewed up wage gaps, gig economies, personal space issues and cultural collapse through constant distraction. The band’s ode to a bubble one’s own to have and to hold, “No Personal Space,” is a match-lit highlight of the album and thy give the track a DIY video treatment through lo-budget means, even leaving in the technical difficulties that arose.

The band notes that, “This was filmed in 5 minutes in the Peckham Arch practice space that we wrote the album in and whose electrical interference from the train tracks above features throughout this song. We used an iPhone 5, two iPhone 6s’ and an iPhone 7 using their inferior front cameras and it was edited in the free software Hitfilm Express in a couple of hours. It’s about constriction and liberation and having no personal space.” If you haven’t picked up the LP from Upset The Rhythm, now might be a good time!

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Sauna Youth

Sauna Youth have a handle on the brittle bite of punk that’s long served their country’s history. Their previous LP balanced a crucial clutch of frantic, diesel-paced guitar explosions with caustic hooks. There’s also a thread of art punk that often finds spoken word elements propping up in their work, pushing them out of the standard DIY tenure track. On their third LP they maintain their trajectory, melting away some of the hooks through sheer velocity, but never once letting up on their dedication to the raised hackle wild swing of punk’s fiercest proponents. While there’s not a single as potent as “Transistors” here, the whole package rubs the soul just as raw as anything they’ve brought forth in their catalog.

The album opens with the sucker-punch pounce of “Percentages” and it’s a good indication of the kind of bile and bent aluminum aesthetics the band is pushing to the front on Deaths. The bile in question finds them venting frustration out of multiple channels – the economic impact of sustainable arts and gig economies, political realities that outlive our dumbest estimation, and the daily distractions that threaten to kill our creative core. While the band channels all this into an intense half hour of cranium crunch, the venting of frustrations comes off cathartic more than angry. It’s destructive in the way demolition should be, but they’re smiling while they swing the hammer.

The band still leaves room for a spoken word piece here, which I appreciate, though it does derail the momentum of the album. The choice to forgo streamlined listening for their own indulgences and strange sources of joy seems to be the core of what makes Sauna Youth click. Like a pill that gets stuck in the throat, they’re still hitting the body to full effect, even if the ride’s sometimes uncomfortable. Deaths slots in nicely alongside the rest of this year’s stellar Upset The Rhythm roster, another disjointed slap to the face that’s sorely needed.



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Sauna Youth – “Percentages”

UK DIY outfit Sauna Youth are headed back to record store shelves this fall with their latest LP Deaths. The first cut finds the band in bracing, raised hackles punk position – blaring air raid siren riffs undercut with breathless rhythm work. The track feels as if it might burst into flame at any moment. In under a minute twenty-five the band boils the blood and gets listener’s ready to careen into just about anything in their paths. Their last LP, 2015’s Distractions was sorely (almost criminally) overlooked on this side of the Atlantic, so let’s try not to make the same mistake this time around. The record lands on September 7th.



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Feature

One of the best bands to bubble up from the UK underground in the past few years was the high energy DIY outfit Sauna Youth. As luck would have it the band’s Jen Calleja also sports another outfit in the form of Feature. The trio embraces DIY via a feminist punk vantage and they explore the vein of sexism that permeates female musicianship on the whip-smart Banishing Ritual. Baring a few more teeth than Sauna Youth – the record is rooted in pop but not afraid to get down into the din – flaunting noise as a formidable weapon in their arsenal. Popcorn drumbeats start the tempos skittering into motion, but the guitars don’t rush, finding themselves heavily indebted to Cold Wave and Post-punk’s motorik meets elastic tension.

The record has it’s hooks (plenty actually), but it’s more about setting a mood than lingering earworms here. The band drops in bracing and brash to catch your attention and then lays into the listener with a dose of consciousness and a distortion scrub to to strip away the clutter gunking up your life. There’s been a real return to form of ’90s grunge ethos in the past couple of years, heavy blasts of guitar masking nuggets of pop bubbling under the surface. Like their predecessors in Helium, The Muffs, The Wedding Present (during their Albini dalliance) or Elastica they know how to balance pressure, power and pop into a package that’s worth returning to again and again. Another winner this year from UK label Upset The Rhythm!




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Best of 2015


Its been a long year at RSTB and though the pace may have been slower on the face, there has been lots going on to be sure. Next year marks our 10 year anniversary and we’ll have a new look shortly, so stay tuned. There will also some other fun things to mark the anniversary as 2016 wears on. But enough of the future, let’s look to the past. Here are my favorites of 2015, as usual in no particular order, along with a mix of tracks.

Blank Realm – Illegals In Heaven (BUY)
Dick Diver – Melbourne, Florida (BUY)
Colleen Green – I Want To Grow Up (BUY)
Young Guv – Ripe For Love (BUY)
Sir Richard Bishop – Tangier Sessions (BUY)
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Paper Mâché Dream Balloon (BUY)
Wand – Golem (BUY) // 1000 Days (BUY)
Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last (BUY)
Ben Chatwin – The Sleeper Awakes (BUY)
Mikal Cronin – MCIII (BUY)
Twerps – Range Anxiety (BUY)
Future Punx – This Is Post-Wave (BUY)
Sean McCann – Ten Impressions for Piano and Strings (BUY)
The Mantles – All Odds End (BUY)
Barreracudas – Can Do Easy (BUY)
Peacers – Peacers (BUY)
Love Axe – South Dakota (BUY)
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – A Year With 13 Moons (BUY)
Fuzz – II (BUY)
Sauna Youth – Distractions (BUY)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love (BUY)
Swiftumz – Everybody Loves Chris (BUY)
Rabit – Communion (BUY)
Holly Herndon – Platform (BUY)
Herbcraft – Wot Oz (BUY)


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Sauna Youth

Often the barrage of UK DIY can be overwhelming. There are plenty kicking out fodder and it ranges from brilliant to retread but its always nice when a sparkle of genuine fun comes along. All the more worthwhile if that album has a bite to it, and Distractions has some to spare. The album’s built on taught, gnashing guitars and a set of dark hooks that dig deep but bounce with more of a wild-eyed menace than joy. The anxious sweat fairly coats each and every bit of the band’s spring loaded set. The nervy pummel is broken a few times by spoken word pieces that fit tonally with the record’s raw vibe, but they come off just a touch pretentious. When the band sticks to kinetic bursts of fury and sandpaper riffs they keep this one jumping back onto the table every time. Easy to see why they were chosen by Wire to play the band’s DRILL festival. No surprise that this one hits via UK DIY enclave Upset The Rhythm. Well worth more than a few rotations of your time.



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