Monday, 15 June 2009
Guardian's New Band Of The Day : She Keeps Bees!
The Guardian made She Keeps Bees their new band of the day on Thursday;
"Hometown: Brooklyn, New York.
The lineup: Jessica Larrabee (vocals, guitar) and Andy LaPlant (drums).
The background: She Keeps Bees are a bass-less boy/girl duo from Brooklyn who play raw, stripped-down blues-rock using a guitar and drums and little else. A couple as well as a musical partnership, they do their recording in their bedroom, in an apartment block with pigeons, with just a computer and a microphone. The pigeons don't contribute in any way to their music. The girl does the gritty, raspy bellowing and the boy keeps the beat, so naturally we're going to say they're like the White Stripes in reverse. Singer, songwriter and guitarist Jessica Larrabee has been in bands before, and it was she who taught recording engineer and producer Andy LaPlant, who had just moved to New York from New Orleans, how to play drums – her old man was the sticksman in a funk group. Larrabee's voice, steeped in the earthy R&B her parents played her as a kid, dominates their songs, and her singing style has been compared to everyone from Cat Power to Amy Winehouse and Polly Harvey, and most people who have heard it seem to be convinced that it is the essence of wanton abandon. Words like "sexy" and "raunchy" have been used to describe it, as though hollering and humping are synonymous.
We have no way of measuring the noise Larrabee and LaPlant make when they're at it, but we can quantify the racket on their recordings, to the nearest decibel: it's loud. Very loud. Even turned right down it hurts the ears, in the same way that Larrabee's shouting must hurt her belly and LaPlant's primal thump must hurt his hands. Even their mostly one-word song titles seem to scream from the sleeve of their forthcoming EP and debut album: Gimmie, Release, Focus, Strike ... they don't have exclamation marks, but they don't need them. Even when they use more than one word – Get Gone, Pile Up – they read like a series of commands, as though the listener is being somehow admonished. Naughty listener. You've been a bad boy/girl. That kind of thing. We've always been a bit partial to a stern reprimand, ever since that time at school ... and we're a bit partial to She Keeps Bees, even though we know there are other duos out there doing fairly similar things, being similarly reverential to the blues, reviving it with the same loving care. Not that we're afraid of saying anything negative about them, of course, but that Larrabee ... she's scary."
Click here to read the full piece on The Guardian