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Punk/Rock Soul/R&B Uncategorized Why We Love

Why We Love: Warmduscher

Twisted, funky and humorous. Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Warmduscher…

Formed as an impromptu band for a New Year’s Eve house party back in 2014 the five-piece fuses the talents of pre-existing bands Fat White Family, Childhood and Paranoid London, consisting of members Clams Baker Jr, Lightnin’ Jack Everett, Quicksand, Mr. Salt Fingers Lovecraft and The Witherer aka Little Whiskers. 

Considering they sound like superhero rejects and were formed as a spur of the moment laugh they’ve now evolved into a fully solidified collective. In the 6 years since their formation they’ve worked with inspiration Iggy Pop, toured the UK and Europe and released three albums; with their latest release ‘Tainted Lunch’ being sandwiched between the two Fontaines D.C. albums on 4 x mercury prize nominated producer Dan Carey’s list of records.

There’s really not much that can be predicted from these guys with each track taking you to places you’ve definitely never visited before. However, they are kind enough to introduce you to their love of hellish humour and irony from the get-go as ‘Warmduscher’ is a German slang term for a ‘wimp’ but this insult far from applies to them, as their bold moves in producing dark and adventurous ‘fractured rock’ is quite the opposite of cowardly.

Now Like I mentioned, Warmduscher are hard to predict and for that very reason just as hard to define because they mash together so many different sounds; many of which no one would expect to hear together. One minute they’re dark disco funk on tracks like Disco Peanuts (I feel like you can begin to pick up on their erratic nature here without even needing a listen), then the next they’re storming macho rock on The Warm Smell of Florida and dark and grinding Midnight Dipper whilst also capable of bringing a surprisingly sweeter side in the melancholy boogie of Summertime Tears.

Despite being London based and clearly incorporating plenty of post-punk with their turbulent guitars and bouncing basslines, their frontman Clams Baker Jr was born and raised in Massachusetts and brings an American croon to the mix. When backed by their thick sound you feel like you’re trying to hitchhike in a heated desert which has resulted in comparison to bands such as the surprisingly English Alabama 3. Baker Jr sites the legendary James Brown as an influence, which really reveals itself in his narration-like vocals on the slow-burning intro of 1000 Whispers before reaching delightful screams that lead back into a smooth melody.

As well as capturing the soul of Brown in Clams’ singing there’s also that groove in the music on songs like Dream Lotion and the hip-hop infused Burner featuring Kool Keith- a song about getting your hands on some drugs (which I’m certain they must have done before writing this as well as many others). Standing On the Corner is one that instantly comes to mind as a trip fuelled track with psychedelic undertones lying beneath heavy riffs- accompanied by a mental music video to match.

Besides these varying sounds, there’s also the techno transportation of Uncle Sleepover that throws you right into a video game with its laser blasts and warping synths which is again quite a contrast to the likes of Tiny Letters; a song with a gentle melody at its core layered with those screams again, proving that whatever you listen to you’re taken to a new unknown destination.

The band have always embraced a real ‘go with the flow’ attitude as all members have other projects that mean they can’t solely dedicate their time to Warmduscher. They never had much time for rehearsals or multiple takes so recorded their albums by splitting them into halves and doing whole takes as they would with live performances- injecting real energy into their releases. Things are just as impulsive when it comes to actually being in front of crowds too; making lyrics up on the spot which explains such random lines as ‘I won’t pay for their discos, I’m not gonna buy their sandwiches’ and ‘trippin at the Weatherspoons’.

Recently, as they’ve developed further they have become a little more structured; reworking a few things where they can in order to get the best out of what they’ve got which has resulted in a beast of an album. They still continue to appear just as spontaneous to gig-goers in their manic stage presence though and I doubt they’ll be falling into too many generic conventions- still coming out with ideas ‘from the back rooms of your minds’.

It’s safe to say that Warmduscher really have their own way of doing things and thanks to this are one of the strangest things but also greatest things that I’ve listened to in quite some time. With their melting mixture of ideas, they’re bound to feature something that you love too, so take a listen to the madness yourself.


Warmduscher on Spotify

Categories
Jazz/Blues Soul/R&B Why We Love

Why We Love: Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

James Brown has been reborn – Black Joe Lewis is quite possibly a music legend out of his time. It’s been a long 16 years from his days as a seafood delivery man and pawnshop employee to the now multi-album success he is today, and that journey hasn’t been easy. In March this year, Lewis and his band ‘The Honeybears’ hit back with their single ‘Five Dollars’ after a 2-year break since their last studio album, The Difference Between Me & You. They bring back with them their immense soul sound and Lewis’ phenomenal voice. It’s made us incredibly excited to hear what other music could be in the works.

Sometimes I find myself listening to a Spotify playlist sent to me, enjoying all the songs that come up one by one, and then a song comes on which just hits differently. A Soul classic which has escaped my radar? No, a song released only this year – Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears.

Their music layers Lewis’ evocative lyrics over fantastic guitar riffs and striking horns which are reminiscent of Charles Bradley’s Menahan Street Band. You wouldn’t be able to tell if these records were recorded today or decades ago, the inspiration of classic artists like James Brown and Howlin’ Wolf are so heavily embedded that the classic sound of old soul records is weaved throughout.

Joe Lewis first picked up a guitar whilst working in a pawn shop in Austin Texas in the early 2000s. After discovering classic blues records and teaching himself to play, he spent years performing at open mic nights, small venues and bars, never making much of a name for himself. It wasn’t until the release of his debut EP Black Joe Lewis and The Cold Breeze, that he had a hit with the truly incredible ‘Bitch, I love you,’ and thereafter, everyone seemed to know who Black Joe Lewis was.

In subsequent years, Lewis toured alongside the band Spoon, the drummer of which, Jim Eno, then produced Lewis’ debut album ‘Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is!’ which quickly alerted the rest of the music industry to his presence.

This peak of success was shortlived however, things soon began to decline for Lewis. A combination of band and management conflicts resulted in a drop in album sales, the loss of festival bookings and a collapse in the band’s name and popularity.

It wasn’t long before Lewis found himself back where he started, having recently released their 2018 album The Difference Between Me & You, it was met with almost no attention, sales or interest.

Along with this, Lewis’s costly recent divorce, his newborn child and an outstanding debt of $50,000 in management fees, Lewis nearly saw an end for his music career. He debated giving up and finding a ‘real job’ in order to pay for all this and to take responsibility for his child.

But as so many of his musical inspirations have found, in hard times, music was the only light at the end of the tunnel and the only way forward.

Now under new management, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears are making a powerful comeback with their smashing new single ‘Five Dollars.’ Bringing back with them their fantastic guitar and horn-driven sound to a track which has seemingly reignited their careers and caused a rush of discovery for their recent album which almost went unnoticed, giving it the attention it was denied at the time of its release. Once again, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears have got our attention, and this time I don’t expect they’ll let that slip away once more.

As soul and blues music once made its way across the Atlantic and ignited a fire across the world, Black Joe Lewis has been inspiring the second revolution of blues, soul and rock and roll.

This is great music, dancing music, and above all, music that makes you feel good, something the world desperately needs right now.

There isn’t a single song of theirs I can say I dislike. Listening to them is like jumping in a time machine and travelling back to the golden age of Funk and Soul, something I wasn’t around to experience but can now fully appreciate. Unlike those past music legends, Black Joe Lewis is still very much a living, breathing man who I’m excited to go and see live once I have the chance to. To all those Soul, Blues and Rock and Roll fans who think music isn’t what it used to be, take a listen to Black Joe Lewis and transport yourself.

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybear’s new single ‘Five Dollars’ is available to listen to now, and if the incredible story of his past few years hasn’t inspired you, the feeling in his music will.