Friday, 16 December 2011

Going Underground

Southampton surf punks are the latest to submerge the South-Coast music scene.

On a walk to town it is impossible to ignore The Gentry Underground On every available wall space that hasn’t been taken by tawdry club nights trying to promote their latest glorified piss-up are monochrome posters that have been scrawled over in black permanent marker. “THE GENTRY UNDERGROUND – DEBUT SINGLE OUT NOW" The poster shouts, grabbing your attention more than a Screaming Lord Sutch record.
 “Yeah, we stick those posters up using wheat paste”, explains frontman Zac, “It’s a stinking mix of wheat and flour”. “It works though” chirps in drummer Dan.
Dan and Zac started the band a year ago “in a cellar” although the boys had been “jamming together for years before” after knowing each other from school. The band didn’t properly start until bassist Barge ‘barged’ in and pretty much damned to be the bassist. “It was great” admits Barge “It took about two hours and we were roaring to some garage punk”.
The band’s sound is as raw and dirty as a Cramps B-side which is not surprising as it was recorded on a 4-track in ‘the cellar’. The record itself, Don’t Touch Me, is described by Dan as ‘A mellow A-Side’ and the accompanying track, which is conveniently named ‘Screaming’ is interpreted as a ‘foot stompin’ 60’s beat B-side’.

The knowledge of musical history that the trio possess, that is made blatant by their influences such as Frank Zappa and The Velvet Underground, as well as the championing of classic music formats such as vinyl, Zac even goes far enough to say that “If you don’t have a record player…..That’s not the way”, it may come as a surprise that all three members of the band are only 17 years old.
Maybe a young band that embodies the teenage trash phenomenon like The Gruesomes did in the mid-80s is just what the Southampton music scene needs. “Why should people buy the single? Because it’s the best thing out there right now!” raves Dan with a certain teenage swagger with Barge adding that “I can’t even listen to the B-side without freakin’ out.”
It may appear that The Gentry Underground appear to be a bit over-confident, but admittedly it is a confidence that they are more than entitled to. Not only do they write, record and mix their own songs they also release them on their own label. “I started Skinbag last year” says Dan “It’s easier to put records out yourself than trying to please a label”. How many other 17 year olds can claim to have done that?

The Gentry Underground’s next play as part of “Kit Harwood Presents” on the 29th of December at The Railway, Winchester. ‘Don’t Touch Me’ is available to buy for £3.99 through Skinbag Norman and Piccadilly records. 

Critical Analysis

This piece, contrary to the rest of the work on my blog, is a news feature on the band The Gentry Underground, and more specifically, their single ‘Don’t Touch Me’.  

Something that is mentioned a lot in this feature is the age of the band members, it has been suggested by theorists that “younger people are generally stereotyped in a negative way” in journalism and that if there is an individual in a news story “who is either a juvenile or over the age of 50, their age may be predominately referenced in the article.”(Mariero, M. 2009) As the members of The Gentry Underground were all 17 at the time of writing, it is inevitable that their age is mentioned a lot in my feature, but, contrary to theorists, I mention the band members age in a positive manner, presumably, as my feature on the band is positive.
Another reason why I mention the age of the band a lot in my feature is because of the music that they make, which is somewhat reminiscent of the garage-rock revival “teenage trash evolution” of the 1980s, therefore connecting the band to a subculture and giving the reader a more accurate representation of the bands sound and attitudes.

Maiero, M (2009). Stereotyping in Contemporary Journalism . Minneapolis: n/a. n/a.