The Sea Kings
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The Sea Kings

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Alternative Rock

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"Record review: The Sea Kings – Some Dark Matters"

‘Orphan, Martyr, Saint’ is an energetic straight up rock song; it provides all the swagger and sway necessary to grab attention, a good opener.

‘In And Out And Gone’ is up next, keeping the driving motion that’s propelled the EP up until now, with a killer chorus to boot.

‘The Nitrate In My Blood’ takes things down a notch, with guitar work mirroring swelled notes on an organ.

Plucked patterns pave the way for the whole band to push, and push they do.

The drive is back with a vengeance, purring over the finish line with easy strides.

Closer ‘Tooth And Nail’ is a triumphant tune with a real sense of optimism.

It’s melodic and chaotic, every superlative I can throw at it; it’s their encore, that song that was played so loud that it sticks in your head, ‘til you’re back home in bed.

Words: Matthew Slater - Rave Child


"The Sea Kings!"

Names can often be misleading. This is one of those times. For Glasgow's The Sea Kings, are not in fact kings of the sea. They're more fond of graveyards if truth be told. We won't hold any of this against them though, especially given the fact they've just released Some Dark Matters, one of my favourite EPs to come out in yonks. Now... with a name like theirs, you'd be forgiven for expecting to hear some kind of forlorn folk or at the very least, some accordion-led sea shanties.

But not this! This came as quite a refreshing surprise. What we have here, at times, reminds me a lot of Canadians (funnily enough!) Of Montreal, with their penchant for unusual stimuli, tongue-in-cheek delivery and squeeling guitar solos which tow the fine line between musical brilliance and the absurd! It shouldn't work with their folky roots, let alone be pulled off with such aplomb as it is throughout this impressive debut. Case in point is the fantastic EP opener Orphan, Martyr, Saint.

If you ask me for my highlight though, it'd have to be at the opposite end of the EP, final track Tooth And Nail. Any song with the lyrics "your mother and I, we had another child. He's buried in the yard... we held your brother down, until the cement filled his lungs" is bound to raise a few eyebrows. Throw in a pounding drumbeat, those siren-like guitars shimmering away in the background, some raw, powerful harmonies and what you get is something quite special indeed... albeit slightly worrying!

Worry not though. It turns out The Sea Kings play psychobilly - the portrayal of violence and other such taboo topics through comedic interpretation. Who knew eh?? I guess the EP title is meant to be taken literally! Anyway, here's what the guys had to say for themselves when I caught up with them...




Kowalskiy: Who are The Sea Kings?
The Sea Kings: Four fully grown male adults interested in bondage, discipline and other non-specific religious hobbies.

Kowalskiy: So eh, what are you guys up to later on?? I mean... how would you describe 'your sound'?
The Sea Kings: Like a fire in a monastery in Seville, southern Spain, circa 1506.

Kowalskiy: PLUG AWAY!!
The Sea Kings: Our EP "Some Dark Matters" will be revered by musicologists and historians in 100 years as being a pivotal and inspirational game changer. Don't miss out on an opportunity to gloat, grandstand and crow about your early adoption to the cause. Some Dark Matters on sale now. Download via iTunes or for a physical copy, go here.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from you in the future?
The Sea Kings: An as yet untitled album that covers things like the rise and fall of the Nazi's, alfresco infanticide, your Uncle's penchant for dirty knickers and medieval torture facilities to name but a few.

As I said... psychobilly! The Sea Kings' debut EP Some Dark Matters is out now via Iffy Folk Records and can be bought from them here, or you can download it from iTunes. - Kowalskiy


"Why I Dont Buy CDs"

Ever heard someone say something and felt about two foot high? Yeah I had that uncomfortable feeling last night at Aye Tunes Presents gig (read the review here).

Headlining act The Sea Kings, who were very good (again read the review here), recounted on stage a story about someone who e-mailed stating that they had accidently purchased a physical copy of their EP and asked for a refund as they had only wanted to download the MP3's. "Under no circumstances send me a copy of your EP" laughed lead singer Brian, with guitarist Nicky quipping that the person must have heard the band play live before. It was a good interlude between songs, and brought a laugh to the audience at The Captain's Rest.

But here's my confession. That guy was me. Ouch. Humble. I feel this big.

I should state before continuing, I know the band were joking, I don't take offence, I laughed as well. Indeed I thought it was funny that the person was accused of being 'green' given I don't know which day our household recycling goes out on. But it made me think about if I was alone in not wanting a CD, instead prefering to have the downloads.

Now I should also say that in this instance circumstance had it's part to play. It was the afternoon before my weekly radio show on Pulse Community Radio and as usual I was very unorganised. I wanted to play a Sea Kings track so I could also offer a relevant plug to the gig, and as I was planning on going to the gig I though it would also be a good idea to listen to some of the band's material given I hadn't heard a note from them. So in order to do this I had to have the songs there and then. I mistakenly followed the link for ordering a physical copy instead of buying the MP3's. This meant I then had to pay another £4 to download the EP. (Some bands do actually offer an instant download upon purchasing a physical copy. I like this. However it's obviously up to the artist/label.)

And I should also state that I buy vinyl on a regular basis. (Cue more plugs. Read my Super Vinyl Adventure Club tales here.) I enjoying owning and listening to vinyl and where given the opportunity, so long as I can afford it, I will purchase a physical vinyl.

However I have not bought a CD in over a year and a half. There are two reasons for this I think. Firstly is my preference for vinyl. I will buy, where I can, a lot of new releases on vinyl. Therefore I do not want to duplicate and waste my money also buying a CD. (I'm not that much of a compulsive collector.) And given that I buy vinyl, when I am in the house I also, almost exclusively, listen to vinyl. Therefore if I bought a CD, I would not listen to it. Of course I do own and use heavily an iPod, and I am very much appreciative of the fact that most vinyl purchases come with download codes these days.

Secondly I have far too many CD's already. I have been buying music since I was about 13. I also spent a good bit of my youth gradually stealing my Dad's CD's and smuggling them into my own collection. I'm lucky my wife lets me store my vinyl's in our living room, but I would be pushing it if I started adding to my overflowing CD racks.

To me the CD is a dead format. That may sound strange from someone who collects vinyl, but bear with me. The age of the Walkman is past. Portable music is exclusively iPod's and MP3 players. And most CD stereos either come with MP3 player adations as standard or can be fitted with one easily. In fact it's probably easier to find a good set out speakers for your MP3 player than it is to find a standalone CD player. Also account for the fact that you have services like Spotify, iTunes, Last FM, plus hundreds of free music to stream online, basically means your laptop or computer can double up as a home entertainment system.

CD's are increasingly poor in quality. The jewel cases smash easily and the digipak ones are susceptable to wear and tear. In most cases they are purchased, ripped to iTunes, placed in a shelf, rack or worst case cupboard and never touched again.

So the above pretty much sums up why I didn't want to purchase the CD copy. Agan I feel I should state that this is nothing against the quality of the music on offer, after all I did download the same EP, but simpy that I didn't want to be wasteful of money, space and materials. - Scottish Fiction (Radio Station)


"Another Gratuitous Plug for People I Like (and for myself, who I don't like)"

The Sea Kings take elements of rockabilly, disco, americana and folk and fling them all in a blender, coming out with something in the psychobilly ballpark, with their own twist on it. In their own words they "accommodate disco dancers and chin strokers alike", and they even have a song about Bible John for the more morbid. Seems like the Sea Kings should have all bases covered on Wednesday then, eh? - Aye Tunes


"Gig Review - Aye Tunes Presents @ Captain's Rest"

Gig Review - Aye Tunes Presents @ Captain's Rest


Given that I had plugged this gig a fair bit, I felt only right that I actually parted with my money and attended. Given that Ayetunes' Jim didn't have a black eye or any facial swelling, I'm guessing no one took him up on his offer to punch him in the mouth. T'was a good night of music at the Captain's Rest, the one disappointment I guess would be that more people didn't experience it. C'est la vie...

First up was Kevin P. Gilday putting aside his How Garbo Died day job to deliver some poetry and spoken word pieces. I must admit that this 'genre/format' is not always my favourite (although I did enjoy John Cooper Clarke at The Arches earlier this year). However credit has to be given to the passion and vigour with which Gilday delivered his pieces. His vocal style reminded me of Aidan Moffat. Highlights were a piece about the pain of working in a call centre, which with I emphasis only too much, and a personal piece called 'I Am My Father's Son'.



Up next was my personal highlight of the evening. Mr Miller. Mr Shambles. Shambles Miller to me and you. Starting his set with a favourite of mine 'Things That Make Me Angry', Shambles was full of lively banter and crowd interaction from the start. Following the next track, 'Beer Song' the crowd as asked to accomodate a longer applause, thus given our plaid shirted guitarist some additional time to slug some more beer. A reasonable request if ever I heard one. Comedy is a huge part of Shambles music, and it's his ability to make us chuckle that draw his music closer. Ever the publicist of course a solitary flyer is passed round with the instructions to memorise it's contents, pass it on, and return it back. Times are tight of course. I'm later reliably informed this flyer has survived seven gigs now. That's a healthy return for money invested! Continuing on the theme of light heartness, we are treated to a song NOT about a break up containing possibly the best line I've heard in a song in a long time. All in all, it was a great showing, and hopefully it won't be long until that flyer clocks up gig number eight.

(Shameless plug here. Read Shambles Q&A for the blog here.)





Next up is Edinburgh band The Spook School. It's clear from looking at them how they chose their drummer, as even sitting down drummer Niall is still about three inches taller than the rest of the band! They have put out one of the catchiest songs of the year so far in the form of John Cleese referencing 'History', so I was keen to see what other aces they had up their sleeves. Taking to the stage with lots of energy and drive behind their maiden Glasgow performance, they have an interesting mix of distortion, twee and all round indie-ness. It's clear that the band have spend some time honing their sound, and during the obligatory ukele tracks the sound is very atmospheric, filling the crannies of the basement of The Captain's Rest. If set closer 'History' is a cheery friend who makes you smile, then 'Hallam', which was snuggled in mid set, is the gloomy nihilist. You can download both for free here (or you could be really nice and pay for them. More on this in a bit...) Once the ukele is packed up, and our ears are sonically pleased by the afformented 'History', there's a brief flurry of 'taps aff!' and then done. These guys will do well, watch out for the name.





"Why do they put the old guys on last?" muse tonight's headliners The Sea Kings. Well they might be older, but they certainly don't slow the pace any. It's clear from early tracks, including 'Scarecrows' that the band have a well honed sound, and are very tight as a unit. 'Scarecrows' comes with droony guitars dipped with a country tinge. 'In And Out And Gone' and 'Night Of Broken Glass' both stirs feelings of a Grinderman / Bad Seeds influence, and with a little bit of The Coral too. The lead singer has a good stage presence, staring into the crowd almost seductively as he jives away on stage. 'Bible John' is a worthy foot stomper, a hard hitting track which wears it's morbid undertones proudly. The band go onto to promote their EP 'Some Dark Matters' (which you can buy here) by recalling a story of a guy asking for a refund after accidently buying the CD instead of a download. Here's where things get akward... That guy was me. Read about why here. (Not now though, finish the review then go. Ok I'll remind you.)


Overall great performances by all artists on the bill, and big thanks to Jim from Aye Tunes for putting on another fantastic bill. - Scottish Fiction - Music Blog


"Fresh Meat Monday"

How did you start out making music?

I think as teenagers we all had an almost pathological desire to escape the humdrum and so were compelled to make music. Stephen and Nicky played in a brass band for God’s sake. Back then we’d have killed to be signed to a major label and now looking back we’re kind of glad we didn’t get that chance there’s a lot of bitterness and negativity towards the industry that we’ve missed out on. We’ve the best of both worlds now. Being signed to Iffyfolk means we can put records out without pressure simple as that.

What can people expect from your live shows?

From the fractiously high paced to doleful introspection we accommodate disco dancers and chin strokers alike.

What are you all listening to at the moment?

Brian – Beach House – Teen Dream
Nicky – Konono No.1
Stephen – The Burns Unit – Side Show
Ralph – John Grant - Queen of Denmark

What can we expect to see/hear from you in 2011?

Some Dark Matters EP out on Iffyfolk Records on the 29th January obviously and then we’ll start work on the album, we’ve got a wee cracker about Bible John we’re dying to get out. We’d also like to get a few festivals under our belt and gig further a field. Watch this space as they say. - Peenko (Scottish Music Blog)


"Ayetunes Presenting..... The Sea Kings"

Remember back in June I did that birthday gig, and afterwards said that next time I decided to do a short notice gig someone should punch me in the mouth? Well, start forming an orderly queue, because I'm doing it again.

Two weeks tonight (eek!) sees the next Aye Tunes Presents gig take place, at The Captains Rest in Glasgow.
Joining us for the occasion are:
The Sea Kings - Fresh from supporting The Cave Singers at King Tut's, The Sea Kings will be adding some psychobilly stomp to the evening. - Ayetunes (Scottish Music Blog)


"Who Needs Guitars?"

The recent Brit Awards highlighted a polemic shift in modern music in this
country that begged the question ‘who needs guitars’? It also highlighted a dearth in imaginative modern guitar music in Britain; or did it?

With Take That taking Best Group you’d be forgiven for believing the former. Fortunately, there are still some bands out there who believe; one such band is Glasgow’s The Sea Kings. Having spent five years honing their sound, they’ve recently been working at Chem19 studios (with former Delgado and crack producer Paul Savage) pulling together their debut EP; ‘Some Dark Matters’, released on
Iffy Folk Records. The EP mixes themes of vengeance, poverty, crime and
genealogy against a backdrop of stomping disco beats, calling to mind
the finest moments of post punk. These modern existentialist fables cut to the quick and leave the listener wanting more. It’s reassuring to know that bands like The
Sea Kings are out there pummeling at the door of a music industry that peddles greed and soulless cardboard as an ideology for modern living.

A Brit Award in 2012 is unlikely, however a nomination for The Mercury Music Prize is certainly not outwith the bounds of possibility. - The Big Issue (Scotland)


Discography

2011

Some Dark Matters E.P.

1- Orphan, Martyr, Saint
2- In And Out And Gone
3- The Nitrate In My Blood
4- Tooth And Nail

Recorded at Chem19 Studios.
Produced by Paul Savage and Jamie Savage.

Now available on itunes.

Photos

Bio

The Sea Kings employ certain unorthodox methods to create; these include but are not limited to the following methods:

Love and Hate. War and Peace. Death and Glory. Joy and Division.
Crime and Punishment. Trial and Error. Decadence and Decline. Tooth and Nail. Mind and Matter. Over and Out.