Black Zeros are a Sydney-based surf-music band – I say band, but I’m not totally sure if it’s a band, or a touring sideshow featuring a bloke (gender neutral) – Joe Jackson – and others.
There are pictures of what looks like a band, with a guitarist, and bass player and a drummer and stuff, but maybe this mystery man ‘Joe Jackson’ is in fact some sort of conscious coupling, like Jack and Meg White from TheWhite Stripes. Maybe it’s a bit gross like them, what with their being married, and then divorced, and then in a band together.
What if Rammstein chilled out a bit to make surfabilly? Black Zeros are that band.
Anyway, I don’t want to know. I’m emotionally exhausted from wondering. The point is that this pseudo-human, codename “Joe Jackson”, is making surf music with his/her/xis Joe Jackson band, despite the fact he doesn’t surf. This is an outrage worthy of a thousand curiosity gap headlines: “[Unspecified pronoun] makes surf music, but [unspecified possessive pronoun] doesn’t surf. You’ll never guess what happens next”
Actually, in answer to that, the surfabilly sounds made by Black Zeros made me think of a Rammstein B-side. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing – do I have some form of aural synthesia? – but that’s what happened. In a weird way, my misguided neurons were sort of correct.
The band’s latest offering (the song Ride), which I’ve been sent to ostensibly review, features a repetitive snare that drives the back wheels of the 1950s Ford Coupe ferrying the rest of the band.
This snare seems anachronistic, as it could be home in any range of recent genres, from industrial to happy hardcore. Its effect consciously elevates this obvious imitation of surf music (a long dead style), at least for a moment, to the pigeon hole labelled “modern interpretation”.
And even if it was for a moment, it’s a good thing. Did you see what Ella Hooper wrote the other day? She said it’s important to “Be Different” if you want your band to make it. She was in Killing Heidi.
During the week, they have taken down the closest collection they had to a full-length, so it’s hard to deliver a more complete judgement. They have a few other songs uploaded, but these songs are two years old (a long time in the local music scene) and sound quite varied from Ride.
Teen Boy is far closer to a punk/surf hybrid than Ride’s surfgazingness. It actually sounds like something a more innocent English band would’ve trotted out in their proto-grindcore stage. Sunrise, sunset.
The Jackson of Joe and [unspecified possessive pronoun] auto-menagerie will be playing two shows shortly (may be one depending on the gap between filing and publishing):
Thursday 4 September
Sly Fox Hotel, Sydney
Photo credit: Thanks Battlecat Photography for the wicked photo. Check out more of his stuff here!
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