Saturday, 6 October 2012

Spiders - New Album "Flash Point" and UK Tour dates

I was over in Gothenburg recently, and everyone was telling me that I had to check out Spiders, a local, female fronted retro rock band, there was a real buzz about them. In fact when I met up with Mattias Hellberg for an interview, the very first thing he did was hand me a copy of the band's "Fraction" 7" vinyl single along with their contact details and a glowing recommendation. Then, yesterday, Friday October 05th, saw the release of the band's debut album entitled "Flashpoint" on Crusher Records, which is available to buy from their on-line store or direct from the Spiders web-site. Intrigued to find out more, I got in touch and met up with vocalist Ann-Sofie Hoyles for coffee and a chat. This interview, which is soundtracked by some storming Spiders tunes, will be released very soon as part of our Retrosonic Podcast special editions about the Gothenburg music scene. Other episodes in the series feature Ian Person from The Soundtrack of Our Lives and Psychedelic rock band, The Movements with a Mattias Hellberg special coming soon. Keep a check on the Retro Man Blog or Retrosonic Podcast site for  news. 

As any regular readers of the Blog will probably guess, I'm not much of a Hard Rock/Heavy Metal fan, so when I saw that some of the Spiders' used to be in bands with names like Graveyard and Witchcraft, I feared the worse. However, thankfully Spiders are what I consider to be a "genre-busting" band and they certainly live up to all the glowing praise. I'm not any great authority about the band's influences, reference points, or how they fit in to the Heavy Rock scene, as it's just not my thing at all. The only "Rock" bands that I have ever really gotten into have been the ballsy groove of early Bon Scott-era AC/DC, the power of Led Zep when they rocked out or channelled their Blues influences, and then the young Punk Rocker in me was smitten by Motorhead...well when I say smitten, I meant to say bludgeoned over the head by Lemmy's awesome bass sound. But thankfully, writing as a music fan and putting aside talk of categories and genres and what-have-you, Spiders have released a truly exceptional debut album in "Flash Point", it's packed full of excellent songs, and after all - that is what it is all about.

Ann-Sofie - Photo by Steve Worrall
The songs are short, sharp, melodic and perfectly formed. There are no overblown histrionics or excessively boring guitar noodlings. Sure, Guitarist John Hoyles does break out with some nifty fret-work, but generally he reigns things in with some superbly raw Garage rock riffing. Added to this the supercharged rhythm section of drummer Ricard Harryson and bassist Matteo Gambacorta and they create a sound that will appeal to any music fan, even those like me, who might have been a bit wary of any Heavy Metal connotations. Of course, a big factor in the band's appeal is Ann-Sofie's vocals, she has a raw, powerful voice that transcends genres, reminding me of "White Rabbit" era Grace Slick with flashes of Patti Smith. In fact overall, the band do have a bit of a retro vibe about them, maybe it's that late 60's rock sound where trippy psychedelia fuzzed into the slightly darker and edgier strains of the MC5, The Stooges and Alice Cooper. The album cover photo probably sums it up nicely, as you can imagine pretty much any Spiders song rubbing leather clad shoulders with Steppenwolf on the "Easy Rider" soundtrack. There are also hints of the Glam of The Runaways and the underrated Girschool, but the album certainly sounds extremely fresh and timeless thanks to Don Ahlsterberg's powerful production.

The band was formed in Gothenburg, Sweden, in early 2010 and a few months later they appeared at one of Sweden’s most successful music festivals, Way Out West. It was around this time the band stepped into the studio with producer (The Soundtrack of Our Lives, International Noise Conspiracy) and started recording. By the end of January 2011 Spiders released their debut record, a 10” vinyl E.P. on Crusher Records containing four tracks. The self-titled release was very well received and noticed in Record Collector as well being played on Sweden’s largest radio channel P3. In March 2011 those four previously released tracks came to be released in the USA as two separate 7” singles, one on Kemado Records the other on Valley King Records, the latter featured cover by the well-known Alan Forbes. Around this time drummer Axel Sjöberg, left Spiders to work full time with fellow Gothenburg band Graveyard and he was replaced by Ricard Harryson who was previously in Fox Machine, and The Maharajas.

Here's a video of "Hang Man", a track taken from the "Flash Point" album:

Spiders play at Strand in Stockholm on October 12th and then travel to Truckstop Alaska in Gothenburg on October 13th before heading off on a European tour supporting Graveyard.
29 NOV – Germany, Hamburg, Markthalle
30 NOV – Belgium, Antwerp, Trix
2 DEC – UK, Bristol, Bristol Fleece
4 DEC – UK, Glasgow, 02 ABC
5 DEC – UK, Manchester, The Ruby Lounge
6 DEC – UK, London, London O2 Academy2 Islington
7 DEC – UK, Brighton, The Haunt Brighton
9 DEC – Holland, Amsterdam, Melkweg
11 DEC – Switzerland, Zurich, Mascotte Club
12 DEC – Austria, Dornbirn, Conrad Sohm
13 DEC – Austria, Vienna, Arena
14 DEC – Germany, Munich, Backstage
15 DEC – Germany, Dresden, Strasse E
16 DEC – Germany, Frankfurt, Batschkapp
17 DEC – Holland, Groningen, Vera
18 DEC – Germany, Cologne, Essigfabrik
19 DEC – Germany, Berlin, C-Club

Here's a video of a great acoustic performance that shows the versatility of the band but also highlights Ann-Sofie's stunning vocal talents.

Band photography courtesy Spiders. Ann-Sofie photograph Steve Worrall (copyright 2012).
 With many thanks to Ann-Sofie. 

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