Thursday, April 23, 2009

Graham Day & The Gaolers: Triple Distilled

Graham Day & The Gaolers

Triple Distillled
Damaged Goods Records

Many of you are familiar with "The Medway Sound", but let me just start off by saying that Medway is a conglomeration of a bunch of towns in Kent that eventually merged as a result of population growth and sprawl. Oh, what a beautiful name to call it! The conumeration is named after the River Medway, which had a long standing reputation as a waterway for factory runoff until it's cleanup in the last few decades. To call music "The Medway Sound" is ignorant. It would be like combining Manchester and Liverpool into one general area. In fact, those two towns are 35 miles apart from each other, which is less than the distance from Canterbury to Chatham, both of which are considered part of Medway. Geography lesson aside, as much as many Americans need it, Medway rocks. From The Pretty Things to Mickey and The Milkshakes and beyond. The "sound"? NME calls it "music should be immediate." Not much to go on there. One could just say that the bands that are considered to be "The Medway Sound" make garage rock that's equally r & b as it is punk with a raw, freakbeat delivery. A somewhat silent genius of Medway is Graham Day, formerly of The Mighty Caesars, The Prisoners, The Solar Flares, as well as producer for The Len Price 3 and Jarvis Humby. His recent project is Graham Day & The Gaolers with Woggles and Bongolian member Dan Elektro as well as a revolving bass lineup including fellow Woggles axeman Buzz Hagstrom and former Buff Medways Johny Barker. Their new offering Triple Distillled is a collection of agressive rawness and perfect harmonies that leaves one wondering why they haven't heard them.

Although many of us occasionally lament being older, the opening "Glad I'm Not Young" is garage punk fury that both bludgeons the ears and strikes a good chord with "I don't have to identify with anything". Besides, Dan Elektro's drumming is furious and pounding throughout. Another tune for identification is the great vocal harmony backed up "A Better Man" that confronts the conundrum that men have about being complimentary or being honest with "If you're talking shit, then I'll agree." Other notables not only the sitar flecked, persuasive invitation "Pass That Whiskey", but also the catchy, organ infused "Begging You", which is one of the few times any of us will seriously consider singing along to a song with the words "My baby". There's also the apt opening "I"m standing in the rain and I'm really pissed off" on the hard hitting "I Wanna Smoke", one of the louder tracks on an overall collection of superbly loud tracks that could easily be an anthem. Another notable is "Something About You Girl", but we'll take a pause on so we don't give away its secret. With all the work Graham Day has done, the most polite way of telling people not to ask for him to play 'hits' with the slightly jangly, Rolling Stones "Monkey Man" hinted "Just A Song".

Like its title, the sound of Graham Day & The Gaolers can best be summarized as Triple Distilled. That can be exemplified in "If There's One Thing I Can Do" with Graham's smooth vocals and infectious choruses, chunky, raw guitar chords, Dan's drumming, which sounds more like a driving force that punctuates frequently instead of just providing a beat, and Johny's high noted and quite noticable bass. Although Triple Distilled has nothing less than every single song being great, other standouts include the slightly dark surf sound of "Lost Without My Dignity" and the common sense but searing volume of "Go To Sleep", a strong suggestion of exactly what you should do at some point after going out (instead of loitering around at parties).

There's no shortage of well known talent engaging in side projects to fill in the time inbetween their better known bands, but Graham Day & The Gaolers are a fulfillment of so many of our wishes since not only is Graham a legendary talent who's created something with his new band as another outlet to make an important contribution to garage rock, but for Woggles fans, it gives them another slice of perfection to enjoy before the next Woggles album. Additionally, Dan's work on Triple Distilled is so up front that it will give many who already love The Woggles a greater appreciation for his talent.

Damaged Goods Records does not have a USA distribution yet. However, Triple Distilled is more than worth the extra pounds (dollars) layed down. Don't let this one pass you by or you're really going to miss out on a possible favorite new band. Graham Day & The Gaolers are touring Europe this May. We'll also have to work on getting this raw, trashy but melodic garage rock supergroup to broaden their live potential.

"I Wanna Smoke"

Courtesy of retrobambino

"Glad I'm Not Young"

Video courtesy of GrecianFire

Gaolers May tour dates

15th Rennes, Mondo Bizarro
16th TBA
17th Aachen, Musikbunker
18th M√ľnster, Gleis 22
19th Berlin, Cortina Bob
20th Hamburg, Hafenklang
21st Bremen, Towerbar
22nd Antwerpen, Bar Mondial
23rd Bourges, Cosmic Trip Festival

1 comment:

An Elvis from Hell said...

Why is there so little information about Graham Day and why doesn't he have a website? I'm a fan from The Prime Movers, The Prisoners, The Solarflares, Thee Mighty Caesars his current work. This guy is totally amazing. Anyone that doesn't know of the above mentioned bands should run, don't walk, to your nearest record store and buy his work. This guy is truely amazing.