Oct 14, 2012

Sundaze 1242

Hello, Sundaze ain't all quiet today but it certainly is atmospheric, today's band turned out to become rather fearless globetrotters and meanwhile have build a fanbase in the most unlikely places, considering just 5 years ago they were just a bunch of upstarts from rural County Derry (N Ireland) and no they ain't some MTV pap either, in a way they epitomize the power of the web. turning the world into a global village. And yes their live shows are a big part of their reputation, yet it's not as if their music can't be enjoyed in the living room....

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And So I Watch You from Afar formed in late 2005 in rural County Derry, Northern Ireland. Guitarists Rory Friers (aka Bone Crusher) and Tony Wright (aka Face Eater) had been members of the band Zombie Safari Park alongside drummer Chris Wee (aka Blood Gargler), and the three continued to play together following that group's demise. To their ranks they recruited bassist Johnny Adger (aka Gut Slurper), who had played in another band, Pepperbook, with Wright. Together, they moved to Belfast and quickly built up a live following in the city.

 In late 2007, And So I Watch You from Afar convened to the studio with producer Bo Sheppard to record their first split single, "I Capture Castles" backed with "The Voiceless." They wound up writing three additional songs and producing their first stand-alone EP, entitled This Is Our Machine and Nothing Can Stop It, which they released themselves in April. It was subsequently re-released in March of 2008 via Forte Music Distribution. The EP sold out its stock within six weeks and allowed the band to embark upon tours to the U.K. and Ireland. In April 2008, they began the recording process for their first full-length album, which was completed in July. They signed with Derry/London-based D.I.Y. label Smalltown America for the release. In early April of 2009, And So I Watch You from Afar released the split single "A Little Solidarity Goes a Long Way" backed with "Set Your Guitars to Kill" and, a week later, their debut album, named And So I Watch You from Afar.
For their album support they played over 170 shows in 2009 and would end the year with their biggest headline show to date in their Christmas homecoming gig in the Ulster Hall organised in collaboration with Smalltown America. Their self-titled debut album was named the 6th best album of 2009 by Rock Sound. The album also came out in Japan on Xtal Records

2010 would see the band make their first trips to the USA, into Canada and playing a lot more shows in Europe as well as record a single with Andrew Ferris at Smalltown America studios in Derry. They appeared, in February, at Eurosonic music conference in Groningen in Holland which would lead to the band being booked for festivals. Another summer of festival appearances saw them playing main stage at Latvias Posativus Festival, Pukkelpop, Electric Picnic and Sonisphere and between these weekends away the band were recording their follow up second album which would be called Gangs and come out the following year. They recorded again with Rocky O'Reilly at Start Together Studios in Belfast. The band had scrapped an albums worth of material weeks prior to this, opting to re-write what would later become their second record. After a summer of travel and studio the boys left Ireland to embark on a 6 week tour of the USA..

At the end of August 2011 one of the four founding members, Tony Wright, left on amicable terms ASIWYFA and now plays music in his solo project VerseChorusVerse. The band went on and did a long tour thru Russia and upon return launched their second album, Gangs. After spending January working on some other projects ASIWYFA reconvened for rehearsals and a tour of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. In April they played shows on a short tour of Spain, Portugal and France. Following this they did a 6 week tour of the USA with Chicago band Russian Circles and Texan band Zechs Marquise. In August the band embarked on a 5 city China tour organised by Beijing and Shanghai based company Split Works.

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Defiance, ambition: the twin barrels of endeavour that can turn bands into more than a bunch of guys playing some instruments. With enough defiance and self-belief a promising young band can block out the hype and the hangers-on so that their vision is what prevails through their development and none of the “Well, we liked your first EP but don’t you think you should try this?” fakery that comes from the non-believers thinking they know better. And ambition; what’s wrong with wanting to create music that can only be done justice if it pounds out of a PA that could make a herd of elephants spontaneously shit itself? Nothing, that’s what.

So Northern Ireland’s And So I Watch You From Afar make their bid for immortality with this astonishingly ambitious mini album/EP. It’s fair to say that they wear their influences on their sleeves – a bit of Explosions In The Sky’s ethereal grace here, some of Pelican’s jaw-shattering riffage there, a dash of Mono’s dynamics over the top – but, thankfully, while they’re very much a product of listening to other bands This Is Our Machine… doesn’t sound as derivative as it might otherwise. It’s not the finished product by any means, but they demonstrate that they’ve got ideas by the proverbial bucketload.

And So I Watch You From Afar ‎– This Is Our Machine And Nothing Can Stop It (flac  202mb)

01 I Capture Castles 7:10
02 Holylands, 4am 2:06
03 The Voiceless 6:51
04 The Machine (Part 1) 1:03
05 The Machine (Part 2) 5:48
06 WPB, 6am 2:57
07 Mount Kailash 6:43

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In October of 2007, the band teamed up with three other Belfast rock bands -- Driving by Night, LaFaro, and Cruz, as well as Fighting with Wire frontman Cahir O'Doherty -- Conceived in 26 Surrey Street in Belfast where Chris, Tony and Rory all lived, and where many of the bands ideologies on music and how they wanted to push ASIWYFA were manifested in late night chats between the three. Released in October 2007 on the same label, Tonight the City Burns featured vocals from Cahir O'Doherty of Fighting with Wire and Jetplane Landing and Johnny Black of LaFaro, Neil Hughes and Geoff Toppley, it was mixed and mastered by Bo Sheppard and Rory Friers and was launched in the Spring and Airbrake in Belfast.

And So I Watch You From Afar - Tonight the City Burns EP (flac 156mb)

1. These Riots Are Just the Beginning (4:41)
2. The Torch (0:41)
3. Tonight The City Burns ft. Cahir O'Doherty & Johnny Black (6:09)
4. Marching Over The Coals (3:02)
5. Something More Than Power ft. Neil Hughes (7:42)
6. La Plata es el Asesino ft. Geoff Topley (4:12)

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With an Orwellian title like And So I Watch You from Afar, one would expect the Derry four-piece to be a brooding, paranoid lot, but nothing could be further from the truth. Granted, some of the music does err on the side of melancholic, but for the most part it's celebratory, triumphant, and always interesting instrumental rock music. The group's debut album is an exercise in combating misconceptions: it's punk, but it's intricate and technical; it's melodic rock, but it's downright dissonant at times; it's instrumental rock, but it shies away from aimless crescendos and other formulas common to post-rock. At its core, And So I Watch You from Afar is just a really fun post rock record that happens to be without vocals. This liberates the group to do things just a little bit differently.

And So I Watch You From Afar - I (flac  453mb)

01 Set Guitars To Kill 5:29
02 A Little Bit Of Slidarity Goes A Long Way 3:29
03 Clench Fists, Grit Teeth...Go! 6:20
04 I Capture Castles 7:18
05 Start A Band 4:54
06 Tip Of The Hat, Punch In The Face 4:21
07 If It Ain't Broke...Break It 6:22
09 Don't Waste Time Doing Things You Hate 7:33
10 The Voiceless 6:30
11 Eat The City, Eat It Whole 7:46


And So I Watch You From Afar - I bonus (flac  180mb)

01 Intro 0:11
02 Marching Over The Coals 3:04
03 Clench Fists, Grit Teeth...Go! (Live) 7:19
04 Holylands, 4am (Live) 2:11
05 The Machine (Live) 5:52
06 theseRIOTSareJUSTtheBEGINNING (Original version) 4:43
07 Mount Kailash 6:45
08 The Voiceless (Beatdown Motorcore version) 2:26

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EarthAngel said...


Anonymous said...

Could the And So I Watch You From Afar please be reupped? Thank you very much.