Blood on the Wall
By: Peter Gaston
Gritty, lo-fi excellence is not what one would normally expect from a band called Blood on the Wall, but that’s what this decidedly un-metal Brooklyn-based trio offers on its new full-length, Awesomer. Fronted by the brother-sister tandem of Courtney and Brad Shanks (who hail from the always dependable indie rock haven of Lawrence, KS), the band alternates between twitchy, squelched out, amplified versions of messy, shake rock and brooding, haunting dirges replete with ear drum rumbling low-end.
On its website, the band makes sure to let interested parties know that there’s another “brother” in Blood on the Wall: drummer Miggy Littleton. His contributions add a necessary surge to these tracks, something that’s missing from same-vein acts like the Kills (who employ only drum loops) and the White Stripes (who opt for Meg White’s less-is-more approach). Littleton’s bright but sloppy fills on “Mary Susan” helps the Shanks kids ascend into a sing-along chorus, the kind tailor made for blasting at the end of a rather sloppy all-night house party. Those who aren’t pumping fists and dancing will probably be making out on the sofa.
Thankfully, slacker anthems aren’t the only fodder here. Courtney coos all sweet and coy on the gorgeous, slow burning “I’d Like to Take You Out Tonight,” and Brad sings on the rather direct, straight-outta-1994 college rock styled “You Are a Mess.” Sure, the band’s name is a bit scary, but they certainly show no fear in pouring themselves, bloody faces and all, into different molds to see what fits.
Blood on the Wall will celebrate the release of Awesomer at New York’s Cake Shop on Sept. 8 before heading out on the road in support of Black Dice. The record’s out today on the Social Registry label.
Blood on the Wall tour dates:
9/8, New York, NY (Cake Shop) 9/22, Columbus, OH (Little Brothers)9/23, Chicago, IL (The Abbey)9/24, Minneapolis, MN (Walker Art Center)9/25, Kansas City, MO (The Back Door)9/26, Denver, CO (Larimer Lounge)9/27, Salt Lake City, UT (Urban Lounge)9/28, Missoula, MT (Elks Lodge)9/30, Calgary, ALB (Underground)10/3, Vancouver, BC (Mesa Luna)10/4, Seattle, WA (Chop Suey)10/5, Portland, OR (DougFir)10/6, Eugene, OR (WOW Hall)10/7, San Francisco, CA (Great American Music Hall)