Home | News | Record Reviews | Releases | Noise | Live Reviews | Upcoming Gigs | Gig History | Interviews | Photos | Posters | Drink | Pontifications | Mail Order | Email
On their website, Gin Palace are described as “a 3 piece: lady singer, no bass guitar, no hi-hats” and Kicking On is their début LP.
Emerging not from the dusty deserts of Dakota or from tornado-famous Kansas, but from the indie-riddled smog of London, singer Meaghan Wilkie can drive one hell of a rowdy herd. Exhibiting a controlled ferocity comparable to Lydia Lunch and lyrical articulation that Toms Robbins might admire, this woman's luxurious baritone drawl holds sway over the tangiest of guitar tones and crash of cymbal-filled drums.
Although the musical maulings of guitarist Jon Free and drummer Stuart Bell career along on the brink of nose bleed, Wilkie's undulating voice sports a mocking curl and saunters - hips swinging - through the mess, like the roll of a rocking chair on the porch of preach. And yet, the dominant element of this album is its frantic urgency which hits you a smack in the mouth, giving you only a moment to contemplate the event before shaking some dust and setting off on another thigh-slapping, microphone-toting, "knicker sniffin'' thrash happening.
Emily Aoibheann McDonnell
Album Of The Week
It all starts with a wall of sound. Raw twang and sludgy chords makes the entire room tremble, the primitive drums makes the ground shatter, while the rawest lady voice you’ve ever heard screams out in the air like a wall-breaking fist of fury. It all lasts less than thirty minutes, a massive release of steam. Afterwards, the Pub floor is filled with dead hipsters, lying spread around the room in piles, battered and bruised, most of them looking like Swiss cheeses in pools of blood. A girl in a cocktail dress is sweeping up the blood from the floor, using the mangled remains of Karen O, while smoking a cigarette trough a mouthpiece. A bottle of Scotch gets opened (probably not the first), glasses filled, and then the sound of glass shattered the wall. Here we go again. The few indiekids that survived the first wave die of instant heart attacks. The only surviving breed is cavemen dressed in Cramps t-shirts and torn-up jeans, mindless workers under the command of the Queen bee and her two sonic henchmen. This is the beginning of a new world order, a new world ruled by primal rock fury…
is a brilliant piece of raw, raving rock and roll that is not for the weak hearted.
The primal soundscape of minimal drums, one single guitar and voice has already been introduced to the world by artists such as The White Stripes, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and The Kills, but not in such a monstrous manner as by the English trio The Gin Palace. The Best Rock’n roll release that has come in a long time. This record is a true vitamin pill for the true believers.
Something’s going on up in north London – not for the faint of heart, the Gin Palace have arrived with a kicking, screaming, alcoholic step-sister of a debut album that’s some of the best fun you’ll have with headphones on this year.
Album opener ‘Kicking on’ declares the palace’s arrival with Stuart Bell’s raucous drumming perfectly complementing lead-woman Meaghan Wilkie’s drunken snarls and rants as she sings “Bottles of Whiskey, Bottles of Wine / Looks like we’re having a good time”. The quick pace continues unrelentingly through ‘Cool Like an Axe’: a 90 second thrashing demonstration of guitarist Jon Free’s blues-tinged punk chops.
Hardly have you had a breath before you are dragged under again by the criminally under-recognized drunken-punk fist-pumper ‘Too Much For You’. It’s the sound of a credible Karen O in an absinthe-fuelled scrap with John Lydon over a pack of fisherman’s friends – you don’t want to get in the way.
The Gin Palace are a band who know their limits and work hard to maximize their abilities. The combination of Wilkie’s sexed-up, energetic vocals and smart ‘sing-through-the answering-machine’ recording keeps the songs edgy and un-ashamedly amusing. Her voice is what holds the savage components of the palace’s music together, and what ultimately holds our attention. Kicking on isn’t an album you fall in love with, it’s a quick fix – one that won’t change your life, but something to release some energy to. But clocking in with a brisk 13 tracks in under 25 minutes, the Gin Palace don’t overstay their welcome, and certainly leave a lot to the imagination.
Indeed, this album is strengthened by its lack of misconceptions about its identity. It’s a knees up riot of a rock n’ roll party and the Gin Palace know that it’s exactly that. If only other bands had as clear an idea of their identity as the Gin Palace do…
4/5 Jack Lowrey
Gin Palace’s follow-up to last years KILL-GRIEF e.p. is absolutely fucking blistering. On KICKING ON the 'Palace expand and elaborate on the DAMAGED meets BAD MUSIC FOR BAD PEOPLE sound they spit forth on Kill-Grief. The speaker-shredding guitars, pounding drums, and the intense, venomous vocals have been augmented with touches of organ, harmonica and acoustic guitar (!). The songs are a little longer and the band seems a bit more comfortable, even slowing things down a bit on the bluesy come-ons “I Like It” and “Dying Breed”. Fans of Penthouse (guitarist Jon Free’s previous band) [TMU: Americans will recognize the band as Fifty Tons of Black Terror, thanks to Bob Guccione's hubris.] will be all over “Kicking On” and “Tapestry” which feature lurching, stumbling riffs that could have been lifted from MY IDLE HANDS. Easily one of my top five contenders for best rock record of 2004.
A Gin Palace, of course, was a London institution of old. A place where the poor, desperate and destitute urbanites could purchase a few hours of oblivion for in cheap and plentiful quantities - A Weatherspoons of the Victorian Era, if you will. Now, there's nothing cheap nor plentiful about Gin Palace. Their first EP clocked it at a mere 11 minutes but this, their first long player proper manages a more epic 25 minutes and contains enough moments of joy to ensure that it's a 25 minutes that passes by most pleasantly.
Fittingly, first song that erupts from the speakers, 'Kicking On'', is an ode to the pleasures that are occasionally available through excessive alcohol consumption. It sets out their stall quite nicely, for it's a blast; delicate chord structures constructed with explosive chords and a driving, tense feel. For a band with no bass, they manage to fill the bottom end quite magnificently, thanks to Jon Free's technique, which seems to combine thrashing the bottom E string to fill the gaps, then topping it off with some superb tremolo skills. It's been an unfashionable thing of late, but it’s great that more and more bands are discovering the pleasure that extreme chord mangling can give and few bands are more competent at this than Gin Palace.
Of course, the music is a mere part of the formula and this album would be nothing without the presence of Meaghan Wilkie on vocals. She can hold a note as opposed to squawking like an parrot in an acid bath like certain other bands we could mention but won't. She possesses a warm, rich, utterly characteristic roar of such velvety warmth that you could curl up and go to sleep in it. You need look no further than something like her delivery on the title track or the banshee like, slightly chilling, delivery of the word 'See' on the song of the same title for proof of her prowess.
If there's a criticism to be made of 'Gin Palace' its that their crashing technique is a little one-dimensional. However, this has done the White Stripes no harm and, if you can imagine them with a smattering of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeah's sprinkled throughout, you've a fair idea of what your letting yourself in for. But, and it's a big but, Gin Palace have a sort of putridness about them that's all their very own. There's something sick and unpleasant in their output - something like 'The Count', with it's distorted vocals and overdriven to the point of white noise wheezing guitar sounds like hell on earth. And then there's the pure blues riffing of 'I Like It' with its wailing harmonica and wild sense of yearning.
'Gin Palace' offer little new, but this is a solid, exciting album. There's not a weak track and it's all toweringly good stuff. Give them a try, and if you're looking for a bit of rock that offers something a little decadent and twisted then a taste of Gin Palace could be just the tonic.
8/10 - Karl Wareham
Detroit Cobras may have made the garage-rock party record of the year, but Gin
Palace use a superficially similar palette to paint a more distressing picture.
Their debut album’s furious misery is pleasingly reminiscent of heroin-addled,
Australian blues-punk bands such as the Beasts of Bourbon or the Scientists
who so enlivened the 1980s indie scene. There’s no bass in the line-up,
but Jon Free’s guitar alternates swaggering, low-end sludge with spluttering,
trebly noise, and vocalist Meaghan Wilkie declaims valiantly over Stuart Bell’s
stripped-down percussion. Gin Palace are at their best when they move towards
the margins. The Count all but abandons rock’n’roll to arrive at
an abstract collision of compressed vocals and shuddering riffs, while Dying
Breed meticulously hobbles an old blues tune as a punishment for trying to escape.
The Detroit Cobras may have made the garage-rock party record of the year, but Gin Palace use a superficially similar palette to paint a more distressing picture. Their debut album’s furious misery is pleasingly reminiscent of heroin-addled, Australian blues-punk bands such as the Beasts of Bourbon or the Scientists who so enlivened the 1980s indie scene. There’s no bass in the line-up, but Jon Free’s guitar alternates swaggering, low-end sludge with spluttering, trebly noise, and vocalist Meaghan Wilkie declaims valiantly over Stuart Bell’s stripped-down percussion. Gin Palace are at their best when they move towards the margins. The Count all but abandons rock’n’roll to arrive at an abstract collision of compressed vocals and shuddering riffs, while Dying Breed meticulously hobbles an old blues tune as a punishment for trying to escape.
stars - Stewart Lee
Three stars - Stewart Lee
Jon Kane's Top 10 Albums of 2004
A raw, gutsy and intense record containing some of the most primal and raucous songs of 2004 that obliterated all comers in the process. Hoist the Gin Palace flag, there’s a new band in town, cut-throat and set to rip it up and snag all the booty in 2005. Check them out live, this band are loud!
With ‘Kicking On’ (Artrocker) Gin Palace finally get round to releasing their debut longplayer; a gnashing, wild affair of stripped-back garage/ blues that nestles somewhere between the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the sexless mock-chemistry of The Kills. Tinny, unloved and yet dripping with art-school flamboyance, they may turn-out to be the most accomplished trio to crawl from our savage blues void yet.
Gin Palace's debut album is driven by Jon Free's strat-o-riffic guitar. He's got an overdrive pedal on his overdrive pedal, and a whammy-bar as long as his arm. (Tick the boxes marked Link Wray, Ron Asheton and Dave Davies). Meaghan Wilkie - Mark E Smith in a Southern Belle's hoop-skirt - barks the lyrics to a series of vicious sub two-minute vignettes. Blues-bites...it hurts good.
seems a bit ironic to have first listened to a bass-less English trio called
Gin Palace while tip-top drunk, but luckily, I am able to avoid a totally coincidental,
clichéd pun-drop, having been inebriated on simple barley and hops –
not gin. Gin may not be my drink, but Gin Palace is my kind of rock and roll.
It seems a bit ironic to have first listened to a bass-less English trio called Gin Palace while tip-top drunk, but luckily, I am able to avoid a totally coincidental, clichéd pun-drop, having been inebriated on simple barley and hops – not gin. Gin may not be my drink, but Gin Palace is my kind of rock and roll.
Gin Palace’s 2003 debut EP on Artrocker, Kill-Grief, is a pseudonym for gin, but it plays like a Molotov cocktail being thrown from the speakers. Gin Palace’s first full-length, Kicking On, picks up where the EP closed its doors, fueling the flame with a rough crowd of tracks that are sharp, filthy, and quick – half of which are under two minutes.
The immediate connection you make is with four foot, eleven inch lit-fuse Black Cat, Meaghan Wilkie, whose primal gutter-growl grabs you by the fine hairs at the back of your neck with an unmistakably sexual insistence. Propping up Wilkie is Stuart Bell, who plays a hi-hatless drum kit, and Jon Free, guitarist from the defunct Penthouse. Bell’s simplicity is notable, but it’s Free’s weighted chops that stand out – instantly drawing a Phil Boyd (Modey Lemon) comparison – “Cool Like an Axe” minus the vocals sounds exactly like Modey Lemon – add the vocals and you have a second cousin of Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
“Too Much For You” has to be a radio single, being the catchiest vocally, musically, and especially lyrically. The chorus will stick in your head for days: “Battle! – It’s open warfare, baby!”
The second half is highlighted by “I Like It”, which tumbles and saunters through a woman’s neglected sexual needs, and “Dying Breed” – a nightmarish English blues track that seems to be the most lyrically honest out of the baker’s dozen, as Wilkie bleeds out her desperate calls for internal and external peace.
Granted, Gin Palace won’t
be for everyone, but it’s for those who occasionally dig a little loud
and distorted blues chaos in their drinks. As it is, I’m one of “those,”
and I want my nose to be ridden with gin blossoms, a la W.C. Fields, at the
hands of these three bartenders of rock and roll.
Booze. Vintage dresses. Down and dirty rock and roll – without doubt the holy triumvirate. For truly they are the three greatest things in the world, a fact that has not escaped Stoke Newington stalwarts, the Gin Palace; though probably less of the dresses for the blokes.
The Gin Palace want to sex you up. Not in a nice easy peasy, schmaltzy way. They want kidnap you, take you on a horrifically debauched night where you wake up with a stonking headache, lipstick on your collar and a traffic cone in the middle of your front room. ‘Kicking On’ is that night in musical form.
The madness starts as soon as diminutive front lady Meaghan parts her laquered lips and spits out her crotch stomping lyrics in a growling, slurring half spoken half I’ve-just-had-a-tracheotomy purr. She has so much balls it’s a surprise that the drummer and guitarist aren’t impotent. But far from it, on tracks like ‘I Like It’, where Meaghan sings about how much she likes, y’know, doing it, thrusting guitars battle with wailing harmonicas over headboard banding drums in a raunchy rumpy reinactment.
But it's not all about sex. good god no. It’s about drinking as well. The title tracks is an enthusiastic ode to alcohol and the joys of never-ending partying “tonight we’re not gonna stop ‘til we see the sun” splutters Meaghan as remorseless drums stomp on with their mission to throb their way into your subconscious. Easy listening this ain’t.
The album highlight ‘Too Much For You’ is a confrontational, bitch slap of a tune that twangs across your ears and snuggles up next to your heart before gobbing on you. And you can dance to it as well, which something that can’t be said for all punching, kicking, screaming hell-raising blues-abilly.
Next time you want you a good time, you know where to go. The Gin Palace will give you a fag and a full glass, and if you’re lucky, a quick one up against the wall.
Gin Palace, trio Londonien, sera injustement passé trop inaperçu en cette année 2004. Pourtant, leur premier album, succédant au Kill-Grief EP est une véritable pièce rock'n'roll comme on les aime. Ici, point question d'arrangement ou de production abusive. Le son est brut, sale, presque autant que l'esprit de nos trois musiciens, visiblement obsédés par la consommation sans modération d'alcool et de sexe. La composition est atypique : une guitare (l'excellent John Free, ex Penthouse), une batterie et une chanteuse. Pour ce qui est de la musique, imaginez la rencontre entre une Karen O dévergondée et les White Stripes, rajoutez le côté sexy de The Kills et vous ne serez pas loin de la vérité. Sur chaque morceau, Meaghan Wilkie nous raconte comme elle aime l'alcool (Kicking On), le sexe (I Like It), le tout sur des riffs endiablés d'un John Free maltraitant sa guitare comme un damné, s'aventurant plus souvent qu'à son tour dans des contrées totalement bluesy (I Like It, Dying Breed), et faisant, par sa technique, complètement oublier la basse manquante. Il serait injuste d'oublier un Stuart Bell survolté derrière ses fûts, en parfaite osmose avec son guitariste. Le duo guitare/batterie est plus qu'au point, de temps en temps soutenu par un harmonica poussant un peu plus le groupe vers le blues. Avec cet album, nos trois anglais réussissent à vous tenir en haleine de bout en bout, les morceaux, très courts, s'enchainent à une vitesse folle,le rythme ne baisse jamais et une envie de défoulement vous étouffe au bout de quelques minutes. Au final, Gin Palace nous délivre avec Kicking On un excellent album, difficilement classable (disons punk-blues), et à écouter d'urgence si l'on est passé à côté en 2004.
4.5 / 5
London trio Gin Palace have been unjustly overlooked this past year. However this, their first album, following the Kill-Grief EP, is true rock'n'roll done how we like it. It is not a question of arrangements or of abusive production-values. The sound is rough, dirty, almost as much as the spirit of our three musicians, obviously all obsessed by the consumption without moderation of alcohol and of sex. The composition is atypical: a guitar (Jon Free, ex-the excellent Penthouse), a drummer and a singer. As regards the music, imagine a meeting between a licentious Karen O and The White Stripes, add the sexy side of The Kills and you will not be far from the truth. On each piece, Meaghan Wilkie tells us as she likes alcohol (Kicking On), sex (I Like It), over the posessed riffs of Jon Free maltreating his guitar like one who is damned, most adventurous when it crosses into completely bluesy territory (I Like It, Dying Breed), and making you forget by its technique the missing bass guitar. It would be completely unjust to forget Stuart Bell boosted behind his barrels, in perfect osmosis with his guitarist. The duo of guitar/drums is more than the sum of it's parts, from time to time supported by a harmonica pushing the group a little more towards the blues. With this album, our three Brits succeed in making you hold your breath from beginning to end, the pieces, very short, and succeeding at a tremendous pace, the rate/rhythm never drops and a desire for relief chokes you at the end of a few minutes. In short, with Kicking On Gin Palace deliver us an excellent album, not easily classifiable (say punk-blues), and to be listened to urgently if you passed this by in 2004.
4.5 / 5
Gin Palace est un trio Londonien garage/rock mené par Meaghan Wilkie, une fille encore plus déjantée que Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Sauvage et abrupte, la musique de Gin Palace pourrait s’identifier aux Stooges ou aux Cramps. Une batterie et une guitare, tenues respectivement par Stuart Bell et Jon Free, envoient la sauce inlassablement et frénétiquement.
Un pur moment d’une intense jouissance auditive, qui balaie sur son passage tous les groupes aux arrangements précieux et parfois grandiloquents.
Chez Gin Palace on va droit au but, on ne s’ennuie pas et on le fait savoir par tous les moyens. Une attitude en adéquation parfaite avec leurs compositions, sexuelles, essentielles, vibrantes et électrifiées. Les textes sont brutaux, la passion omniprésente jusqu’à son paroxysme… Une déferlante de décibels a eu raison de moi, le Rock’n’Roll, le vrai, le pur, celui par lequel nos hanches vacillent de droite à gauche, n’est pas prêt de s’éteindre !
A ne manquer sous aucun prétexte, une révélation essentielle et explosive !
Gin Palace is a London garage/rock trio led by Meaghan Wilkie, a girl more 'out there' than even Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Savage and abrupt, the music of Gin Palace could be likened to The Stooges or The Cramps. A drumkit and a guitar, played respectively by Stuart Bell and Jon Free, provide a tireless and frantic broth.
A pure moment of intense auditory pleasure, which sweeps from it's path all groups with precious or even grandiloquent arrangements.
With Gin Palace one goes right to the point, one is never bored, and they let one know by all means. An attitude which is perfect for their compositions; sexual, essential, vibrating and electrified. The texts are brutal, passion is omnipresent until its paroxysm... A wave of decibels overwhelmed me - true, pure, Rock' Roll, that which makes our hips shake from right to left, is not ready to die out!
Don't miss this under any circumstances, an essential and explosive revelation!
Minimalismus pur! Die gute, alte OBLIVIANS-Masche - also Minimal-Blues-Punk - kann ja echt nach hinten losgehen und beim Hörer allenfalls ein müdes Gähnen erzeugen. Da hilft dann auch keine Sängerin, die ohnehin mehr wegen Titten, Arsch und dem Live-"Oha, die haben eine Sängerin, die sind cool"-Erlebnis auf der Bühne rumturnt.
GIN PALACE aus London hingegen machen alles richtig, was viele andere in diesem Genre oft sträflich falsch machen: Ihre Sängerin ist so was von wild und wüst, dass den YEAH YEAH YEAHS die Spucke wegbleibt. Doch, sehr überzeugend und beeindruckend! Die einzige Gitarre ist so derb übersteuert wie es der Crunch-Kanal gerade noch hergibt, es brutzelt, fiept, kracht und schreddert, es tut einfach weh! Als Vergleich dazu fallen mir beispielsweise die REVELATORS oder BANTAM ROOSTER ein, und das ist ja keine schlechte Referenz.
Das Schlagzeug rumpelt, bollert und kickt auch die ruhigeren/psychotischeren (wovon es aber nicht so viele gibt) Songs nach vorne und einen Bass vermisse ich nicht wirklich.
Obwohl, wäre die Band mit einem knackigen Bass nicht noch besser? Bestimmt, doch darum geht es GIN PALACE nach eigener Aussage nicht, die wollen nämlich nur spielen.
Und zwar hochexplosiven, elementaren und pur-aggressiven Rock'n'Roll. Und das tun sie zur Genüge! (09/10)
© by OX-FANZINE  und Chris Virgo
Pure minimalism! The good, old OBLIVIANS thing - ie. minimal Blues Punk - can easily be done wrong and produce a tired yawn from the listener. Even the novelty and coolness of having a female frontperson, employed usually more for wiggling her tits and arse than for her vocal qualities, can’t save listeners from boredom.
Londoners GIN PALACE, however, get everything right where so many others seem to go wrong : the ferociousness of the singstress puts even the YEAH YEAH YEAHS in their place. very much impressive and convincing! The sole guitar is as crudely overdriven as the Crunch channel allows, it's cheeps, cracks and shreds, simply hurts! A comparison to, for example, the great REVELATORS or BANTAM ROOSTER occurs to me, and that is not a bad reference-point.
Although equipped with one arse-kicking forward-thrashing guitar and drums only, one doesn’t miss a bass-guitar. But would the band be better with a bass-guitar? Most likely, but that’s not what GIN PALACE are about as all they want to do is play. And that’s what they do: explosive, rudimentary and purely aggressive Rock ‘n’ Roll. And they do it well! (9/10)
Translated by Andreas
Rockers First Release loaded with Attitude
Several years ago, rock was in the doldrums. The best music was barely passable, with serious listeners mostly digging into the past to find an occasional good album they hadn’t heard before. And then the Williamsburg scene hit, alive with new tunes and energy from bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Liars and !!! and so on. It was back to the clubs to hear good new live music again. Now, we are finally starting to get some independent label fallout from the good Brooklyn bands.
I’m not sure where Gin Palace came from, but thank small labels for their brand of no-nonsense rock. I do know that the band’s name came from an Emile Zola novel, and they feature the very hot and exceedingly in-your-face Meaghan Wilkie on vocals. The surf-y Jon Free willfully cranks guitar and Stuart Bell thrashes the drums. Supposedly Free is married to Wilkie—lucky bastard. Anywho, their first ep titled “Kill Grief” is just all out hard rocking noise with loads of attitude and thrash. It’s heaven. And their first full-length, “Kicking On” was just released this month. Even better is that these 27 minutes of sheer blues-y garage band punk has two videos on the disc.
Why is this album a breath of fresh air? Well, for one thing, if you like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and you should if you know what’s good for you, then you’ll be all over Gin Palace. But Gin Palace is hardly a copy, though they do have the same set-up, drums, guitar and chick vocalist. If YYY’s drip with irony and all sorts of really subtle art rock influences, Gin Palace simply slams, cranks and throws down attitude. Wilkie can get major overdrive on her voice and sometimes does a nice impersonation of sailor vocabulary. Don’t let the cute looks fool you, she sounds a lot like a Baptist minister’s hell-bound daughter on a rampage. Free slashes rockabilly and blues and hard barre chords on his suitably distorted electric guitar. He worries a lot less about technique and concerns himself more with driving the power full speed ahead. Finally, drummer Bell smacks his snare and floor tom while keeping the bass drum pedal kicking. There’s no sissy hi-hat, and Bell crashes and smashes his crash ride all the way to hell, and then some.
Should you get “Kicking On”? I dunno. If you like the Eagles, probably not. If you like warm meaningful music; no, I don’t think so. But if you have lots of real anger and enjoy listening to people play with some real backbone, then “Kicking On” and “Kill Grief” could be your CDs. Hell, Gin Palace has to be cool because I had to go to Dallas to get the CDs. None of the corporate run stores here trust listeners to buy it. Let’s not even talk about the “alternative” radio station locally which should have played something (hell, anything!) from the Brooklyn explosion of bands.
Straight forward garage punk rock n roll, filled with booze and raw energy, like the CBGB's moved to the UK or som'thin'. Bitter as gin, riff and tonic, sweaty as rock when it was (and still is, sometimes -but rarely) exciting. Loud, deep, biting vocals by Meaghan Wilkie emerge from a guitar/drum fire. No bass, just guitar chaos (it IS a compliment). Definitely more Gossip style than White Stripes', in the freedom of the structure too, with violent blue explosions. Be prepared, they won t compromise.
Le blues cradingue ne cesse d'écrire de tacher les plus belles nouvelles pages de l'histoire du rock depuis l'offensive Fat Possum et les grandes heures du Blues Explosion. Avec le trio anglais de GIN PALACE, c'est forcément à une relecture du blues façon pub-rock à laquelle on assiste. Le plus du groupe c'est qu'il possède une chanteuse survoltée qui tient la chopine et surtout un ex-Penthouse à la guitare. A trois avec un batteur qui sait faire monter le blues noir en neige, ils parviennent à nous faire oublier que la basse existait. Avec un son bien saturé, ils nous rappellent les marécages du Beast of Bourbon et les sables mouvants du Gun Club. On leur souhaite une vie plus heureuse que Penthouse et Gallon Drunk, mais il paraît que dans ce genre de blues, la chance porte malheur. Imbibé d'influences, le cocktail de GIN PALACE reste digeste et cogne bien dans les tempes. On attend la tournée avec impatience et en tremblotant, on sirote sans modération ce Kicking On, histoire de contempler la charmante chanteuse Meaghan Wilkie au fond du verre.
Since the offensive Fat Possum and the great hours of the Blues Explosion, the writing of filthy blues has continued to stain the most beautiful news pages of the history of rock'n'roll. With English trio GIN PALACE, it is inevitably a re-reading of the pub-rock'n'roll-blues which one witnesses. It is more of a group in that it has a hectic singer who holds a bottle of wine and especially an ex-Penthouse on the guitar. The third is a drummer who can make the blues black and white as snow, they manage to make us forget that the bass-guitar exists. With a well-saturated sound, they recall us the marshes of The Beast of Bourbon and the shifting sands of The Gun Club. One wishes them a life happier than Penthouse and Gallon Drunk, but it appears that in this kind of blues, luck carries misfortune. Soaked with influences, the cocktail of GIN PALACE remains palatable and hits one well in the temples. One awaits their return impatient and trembling, as one sips without moderation this Kicking On, contemplating the history of the charming singer Meaghan Wilkie at the bottom of glass.
For a form of music that's so simple, the Blues certainly comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes. Londoners Gin Palace are a three-piece (guitar, drums, voice) who come from the god-awful racket school. So, with 'Kicking On', vocalist Meaghan Wilkie sings like she's got her feet on the neck of an ex-lover, while a ferociously distorted guitar dies horribly in the background and the drummer attempts to destroy his kit. The whole album is pretty much the same and it gets hard going, especially the buzz-saw edge of the guitar, but there's no denying the prowling menace of Meaghan's voice or the sheer fuzzy energy that leaks out even from the relatively slow tunes like 'Further In'. They'd be more palatable if the tuned the guitar but then again, that might be missing the point.
Booze fuelled something...
So down to business. This post will actually concentrate on two on the bands that feature on the Artrocker label. The first band go by the name of, Gin Palace, and have been compared with bands like The Cramps, The Stooges and even Johnny Cash. They’re eventually get lumped with bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but besides being lazy, it’s just well, not fair really. Album opener ‘Kicking on’ perfectly demonstrates their intent. They really mean it. You believe it when you Meaghan Wilkie screams: “Bottles of Whiskey, Bottles of Wine / Looks like we’re having a good time”; and when I say she screams, she really does scream. Gin Palace lean towards a blues/ garage rock sound, so while you really shouldn’t expect anything more than that, if you give them enough time they certainly manage to convert you. Powered by their drummer (Stuart Bell), and guitarist Jon Free (ex- London swamp-rockers Penthouse) they waste no time in coaxing you into their world of drunkenness and debauchery. For Meaghan Wilkie it’s all very straightforward: "Stuart plays the drums viciously, Jon plays the guitar viciously, and I sing – viciously." They’re even afraid that the addition of a bass player might lessen their impact? Well, I don’t know about that, but they’re the sort of band you wish Jon Spencer Blues Explosion sounded like, and that’s good, because I quite like(d) them to be honest.
Eine Frontfrau, ein Gitarrist, ein Schlagzeuger. Dafür kein Bass, keine Hi-Hat und nur selten Mundharmonika. Mit anderen Worten, es geht um dreckigen Blues-Rock aus der Garage. GIN PALACE. Einprägen! Im Januar 2003 in London gegründet, veröffentlicht das Trio in diesen Tagen mit dem rund 25 Minuten kurzen und 13 Tracks umfassendem Debüt "Kicking On", zweifelsohne eines der simpelsten, dadurch aber nicht weniger genial, und dennoch energiegeladensten Alben des Herbstes.
GIN PALACE klingen, als hätte jemand die THE KILLS auf +8 gepitched und Karen O gebeten, Jon Spencers Job bei der BLUES EXPLOSION anzutreten, damit er die BLACK KEYS nehmen kann, um die Tür für die geladenen WHITE STRIPES zu öffnen. Alles klar? Allemal gilt "Kicking On" anhören und daran denken, dass weniger mehr ist und Lautstärke ohnehin Trumpf. Danke GIN PALACE! (25:24) (8)
A front woman, a guitarist, a drummer. But no bass, no hi-hats and only rarely a harmonica. In other words, raunchy Blues-Rock made in a garage. GIN PALACE. Memorise this name! Founded in London in January 2003 they have just released their 13-track 25-minutes debut ‘Kicking On’, without a doubt one of the most straight-forward, ingenious releases this Autumn.
Bursting with energy, GIN PALACE sound as if someone had pitched THE KILLS to +8 and asked Karen O to replace Jon Spencer on the microphone of his BLUES EXPLOSION so he can open the door with the BLACK KEYS for the invited WHITE STRIPES. Get it? Listen to the album and remember that less is more and volume is most important. Thanks GIN PALACE! (25:24) (8)
und danke Andreas!
Gin is a wicked type of alcohol, the kind that makes you go completely bezerk if you have enough of it. You start to say random bullshit, you harass unsuspecting bystanders. Well, the name of this band is very well chosen. You can hear they know how it feels. This could be written just before a necessary visit to the Betty Ford Clinic. It rattles and shakes like an old Chevy going too fast for it’s age. Parts are falling off, sometimes even essential components.
This is booze infested blues trash, it sounds like they were educated by Jon Spencer or even more by his wife, the absolutely lovely Christina and her gang Boss Hog. The dirty swampy basic rock’n roll sound is kept together by Meaghan Wilkie, a lady that shouts and screams like somebody with open wounds in an acid bath. But she fits well in the company of her two (!) male colleagues on drum and guitar. The amount of noise only 2 instruments can make, incredible.
A gin palace was the place where poor people could forget their pitiful life for a couple of hours back in the days in old London. Could they have chosen a more appropriate name? This record makes you reach for the bottle; without the obligatory firewater in your veins it sounds a bit monotonous and total loss drunk. This is 25 minutes of alcohol demented raging blues fury, which you either like or you don’t . If you don’t, it’s boring after 2 songs. You choose...
Skitig och suverän rock med rötter och fötter djup i garagerockens födelse, men med en approach somär som en mix av Bob Log III och White Stripes! Sångerskan Meaghan Wilkie är unik, de skramliga gitarrer fräckare än alla andra (nästan), trummisen skapar ett grymt driv trots sitt minimal trumset.
En trio som svänger och väsnas så fint, så bra, att man fullkomligt dyrkar det redan vid första lyssningen!
Innehåller två videos - se för ditt eget bästa!
Dirty and superb rock with it's roots and feet deep in the origins of garage rock, but with an approach that is like a mix of Bob Log III and The White Stripes! Singer Meaghan Wilkie is unique, the noisy guitar is hotter than all others (almost), and the drummer creates a wicked drive despite his minimal drum kit.
A trio that swing and make noise so beautifully, so well, that you completely worship the music at the first listen!
Contains two videos - have a look, for your own good
translated by Irene Fernow
Gin palace est un trio londonien qui dépouille l’essentiel du rock avec un monstre de la guitare, un sauvage de la batterie et la voix volcanique de MaghanWilkie. Voilà pour les présentations relayées par l’attachée de promotion. C’est tout ? Presque…
De Londres d’où ils proviennent le groupe a le style. Un rapide coup d’œil au site internet mentionné en annexe de la présente, démontrera assez évidemment que le groupe comme les les Sex pistols (Placebo, T-rex, Queen, Scissor sisters, Bowie et j’en passe…) avant lui, a bien compris que le rock médiatique n’est pas toujours uniquement fonction que de la musique qu’on joue. Oscillant entre look années 30 et dentelles/résilles estampillées 80’ Wilkie se pose là en « woman in rock » sur le fil tiré entre sexy gothique et icône rock entouré de ses deux lads a l’air de rien aka John Free à la guitare overdrive qui démange et Stuart Bell accompagné de sa batterie léopard. Tiens pas de basse ?!
De Londres où ils émergent, ils n’ont pas oublié qu’un jour est parti ce mouvement Punk qui n’en finit pas de produire ses rejetons, du côté de la pop – en remontant vers l’Irlande et les jouvenceaux de Ash- mais aussi du côté de la redite, comme en témoignent les Hoggboy ou les éructations en jacket militaire de Pete Doherty et Carl Barat avec les incontournables (et surestimés ?) Libertines.
Une vénération du genre où Gin Palace ne se laisse pourtant pas enfermer.
Certes la guitare part dans quelque fureur incontrôlable et dans une méchanceté mordante qui donne envie de péter toutes les chambres d’hôtel du monde et de se laisser convaincre quand Maghan nous parle de la violence des relations d’adultes poussées à leur paroxysme. Bien sûr l’album est emballé en moins d’une demi heure, comme dans les meilleurs moments du rock façon doigts d’honneurs (hé oui on en met deux en Angleterre). Evidemment le son est à ce point crade qu’on se dit que le gars qui tenait la perche pendant les prises de son devait se cacher quelque part aux chiottes. Pourtant, il y a dans la musique de Gin Palace une intrusion récurrente de l’histoire du rock dans sa plus large acception, qui témoigne d’une démarche moins bas du front qu’il n’y paraît. Blues style Jon Spencer, abécédaire Iggy poppien, Harmonica chipé à Dylan ou aux Charlatans, batterie façon armée en marche, cris rauques de PJ Harvey…
En fait pour devenir un groupe phare de la scène londonienne version 2004, ne leur manque guère que quelques bons singles bien trempés, qui fassent oublier qu’en bonnes cigales musicales, on reste un peu trop sur dépourvus quand la dernière bise sonore est venue. A suivre…
"Gin Palace is a London trio which strips rock'n'rolldown to it's essence, with one monster guitar, savage drumming and the volcanic voice of Meaghan Wilkie." Such are the claims made by the attached promotional information. But is that all? Almost...
The group has the style of London, from whence they hail. A cursory glance at their Internet site clearly shows that this group, like The Sex Pistols before them (and Placebo, T-rex, Queen, Scissor Sisters, Bowie and I forget the rest...), understand well that the music that they play is not the only medium for them. Oscillating between a Thirties and lace/hairnet 80s look, Wilkie is poised there among the "women in rock" on the thin line between sexy Gothic and rock icon, flanked by her two inscrutable lads, aka Jon Free and his itching guitar overdrive, accompanied by Stuart Bell's leopard-skinned drums. Hey, no bass?!
They come from London, where the day never
comes for the Punk movement to stop producing rejects with pop leanings - going
up to Ireland and the youths of Ash - or the rehashes we've witnessed by Hoggboy
or the indestructible belches that are Pete Doherty and Carl Barat with the
impossible to avoid (and over-estimated?) Libertines.
A highly respected genre where Gin Palace is, however, not locked up.
Certainly, the guitar adds an uncontrollable fury and a corrosive spite which gives one the desire to fart in all the hotel rooms of the world (?!), and yet it's most convincing when Meaghan speaks to us about the violence of the adult relations pushed to their limits.
Of course, as with all the best moments of rock's one-finger-salutes, this album is packed into less than half an hour (Hey! Yes, one puts two up in England). Obviously the sound is so dirty, one might think that the guy who held the rod during the recording sessions was hiding in the toilet. However, there is in the music of Gin Palace a recurring intrusion of the history of rock in its broader meaning, which indicates a less low-brow approach. Blues Jon Spencer-style, the a-b-c book of Iggy Pop, Harmonica filched from Dylan or The Charlatans, marching military-style drums, and the raucous cries of PJ Harvey...
In fact, in becoming a headlight group of
the London scene of 2004 they hardly missed much, with several fine
well-conceived singles, makes you forget music which goes all night, and one feels a little deprived when the last sonic kiss arrives. To follow...
Umiddelbart skulle man – med vildmænd som Jon Spencer og Bob Logg III på banen – mene, at bluesrock-formen ikke kan drives ret meget længere ud i det absurde. Men så har man ikke taget højde for den basløse trio Gin Palace fra London, der over en mindre række hovedsageligt selvfinansierede udgivelser siden 2003 har defineret så voldsomt og beskidt et lydbillede, at selv salig John Peel, der ellers må siges at have hørt lidt af hvert, var forbløffet over dets afstumpethed! Og har der nogen sinde været et orkester, der brugte sine instrumenter som våben, må det da også siges at være denne trio, der nu albumdebuterer med Kicking On.
Albummets ingredienser er simple, men stærke. Sangerinden Meaghan Wilkie ser ud som en ung Siouxsie Sioux, men synger med et bluesgrowl, der kan få malingen til at skrælle af væggene. Trommeslageren Stuart Bell afstraffer sine tønder så hidsigt og kraftfuldt, at han sikkert må skifte skind efter hvert eneste nummer – og endelig er guitaristen Jon Frees spil så tungt, spidst og smadret, at det må se særdeles skidt ud med huden på hans fingre. Tilsammen blander de en punket energi uden ret mange sidestykker sammen med blå licks så massive, at de givetvis kan få de ovennævnte tøsedrenge til at søge trøst hos mor – og det i en stak sange så skrabede og knappe, at halvdelen af dem ikke når op på en længde over de to minutter!
Gin Palace liveSom det sig hør og bør, rummer albummet sin del af skæringer om druk og knyttede næver, men på numre som ”I Like It” og ”Dying Breed” stikker de også en anelse dybere. Således handler førstnævnte sang om en kvinde, der bliver forsømt seksuelt, mens sidstnævnte er noget så sjældent for sin genre som et opråb om fred. Men det, der til syvende og sidst fanger én ved Kicking On er mindre tematikkerne end signalet. Selv hvis man tror, man har hørt alt før – og man måske også i teorien har det – vil man i hvert fald ind imellem løfte øjenbrynene og mumle ”det var ligegodt satans”, når man er i selskab med Gin Palace. Selv deres ”stille” numre – dvs. de mere nøgne og rendyrkede bluessange, der dukker op hist og her på albummet – er spillet så sumpet og beskidt, at selv et langt bad ikke kan rense øregangene!
Derfor er Kicking On én af de plader, der må høres. Den er ikke synderligt original, dyb eller virtuos, men til gengæld er den det musikalske svar på at slippe en olm tyr løs i sin dagligstue. Prøv det. Det giver hverdagen kolorit!
Steffen B. Pedersen
(If anyone can help translate this review, please email firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!)
Gin Palace - støjpunkens svar på The White Stripes
Gin Palace må være
det nærmeste, man kommer på støjpunkens svar på The
White Stripes. Der er skåret helt ind til benet, og kun det mest essentielle
har fået lov at blive tilbage: én guitar, et minimalt trommesæt
og en skrigende vokal. Til gengæld er guitaren meget forvrænget,
så lyden er oftest simpel og skarp - nogle gange på grænsen
til det øreflænsende.
På trods af deres simpelhed formår de 13 numre, der tilsammen ikke varer mere end 25 minutter, at variere utrolig meget. Fokus er hovedsageligt rettet mod den fræsende, aggressive, energiske og støjende punk og garagerock, men samtidig er de ganske melodiøse på deres egen lidt sære måde.
Hist og her har Gin Palace fået sneget en smule blues ind og suppleret lyden med en mundharmonica og en bas. Er man ikke opmærksom på det, vil man på de fleste numre ikke lægge så meget mærke til, at der ikke er nogen bas, men nogle steder skinner denne mangel kraftigt igennem, og musikken bliver lidt flad. Samlet set har Gin Palace dog lavet et fint album, hvor de kradser en smule i overfladen på både punk og garagerock, inden de igen sætter dem sammen med rigelige mængder støj og energi.
Morten H. Pagh
Gin Palace - punk's answer to the White Stripes
Gin Palace may well be as close as you can get to punk’s answer to the White Stripes. Stripped right to the bone, with only the most essential being allowed to remain: a guitar, a minimalist drum kit and a howling vocal. In return, the guitar sound being extremely distorted, the sound is mostly very simple and sharp – sometimes close to deafening.
In spite of the simple set-up the 13 songs - which added together don’t last more than 25 minutes in all – manage to vary astoundingly. The focus is mainly on the frantic, aggressive, energetic and noisy fashion of punk and garage rock, but at the same time, the tunes are surprisingly melodic in their own special way.
Here and there Gin Palace sneaks in a bit of blues, and has added to their sound with a mouth organ and a bass. In most songs you will hardly notice that there’s no bass in the original line-up, but in some places the lack of the same becomes very apparent. As a consequence this contributes to a somewhat flat sound. The overall conclusion is, however, that Gin Palace have made a very fine album, scratching the surface of both punk and garage-rock before they make it all come together in a frenzy of noise and energy.
Morten H. Pagh
Translated by Krister & Søren
Back to | Record Reviews | index
Home | News | Record Reviews | Releases | Noise | Live Reviews | Upcoming Gigs | Gig History | Interviews | Photos | Posters | Drink | Pontifications | Mail Order | Email