One of the most appealing aspects of any CMJ Music Marathon are those surprises that lie in wait, often from international acts using the festival as their testing grounds/jumping off point for eventual US supremacy. Perhaps the best example of this kind of discovery this past year came from Blood Red Shoes
; a fiery, British two-piece who peddled a heap of pent up, cathartic energy during our recent Baeble on the Bowery Showcase. To the giddy delight of critics and fans alike, the band, consisting of guitarist Laura-Mary Carter and drummer Steven Ansell, have spent the last year churning a rather glorious noise in England and across much of mainland Europe with constant touring behind their appropriately titled debut Fire Like This
. Their performances this past Fall however represent their first stab at the States.
That fire which BRS refer to on the cover of their album is obviously their own creative intensity, and as our latest concert video can attest, clearly singed and ignited the curiosity of almost everyone in attendance at our showcase. From the moment a blatant, attention calling drone of cymbal and guitar propelled their set into fast forward, the confines of the Bowery Electric was churning with an inquisitive buzz. Who was this band? Why had nobody ever heard of them? The result was a stunned and overwhelmed kind of gathering...a nice place to put any audience hearing a band for the first time. So, if our latest concert release is an introduction to you...well, that almost excites us even more. Consider yourself one of the first on board with a band we have immense expectations for. - David Pitz
Blood Red Shoes are Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell. They are a rock band from Brighton, UK. They know there is a power and intensity in simplicity. And they have a new album. It's called Fire Like This.
Intensity is the word. Fire Like This is simply exceptional rock music, steeped in a knowledge of your alt-rock staples Nirvana, Babes In Toyland, Drive Like Jehu but with its own fingerprint. 'Don't Ask' and 'Count Me Out' harness scything guitars and loud-quiet dynamics like they never went out of fashion. But there's more ambitious fare here, too. Take dramatic seven-minute closer 'Colours Fade', originally released as a free download from their website or the tender, fraught 'When We Wake', a sombre mediation on mortality that nonetheless burns with hot emotional force. "In the end is this all we can ask for?" breathes Laura-Mary, as Steven's drums patter with a quiet intensity.
This is not your typical rock fare, but Blood Red Shoes thrive on such paradox. This, remember, is a band just as comfortable supporting Rage Against The Machine in front of 30,000 Parisians as they are rocking up at a benefit gig for Shelter or Love Music Hate Racism just because, you know, it matters.
"It's a difficult tightrope," says Steven. "You know, we've come from a punk rock, underground scene everyone has pretty strict ethical rules, about selling out and that. We want to make music that matters, that's credible, and artistic. But we're also really ambitious. We definitely want to be a big band."
And is it still possible to do both?
Steven shares a glance with Laura-Mary. They smile. They think so. "It's hard, of course," says Steven. "But we've learnt so much in the last few years. I know we'll be alright if we're completely ourselves."