Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I first heard Scottish band June on DJ Bluetone’s webcast last week and was immediately captivated by their sound - full of solid, gut grabbing rhythms and waves of guitar chords both lush and jagged, topped off with the sublime and screeching vocals of Jen Bain, the band’s lead singer - a post-punk chanteuse to rival the best of them.

According to Gareth Burnett, the band’s drummer, June has only been performing together for about three months and had their first live show just two weeks ago.  I find this nearly impossible to believe.  Prior to learning of their nascent status I’d have sworn they’d been together for years. Recordings posted to their MySpace site are taken from live sets and are, as such, a bit rough around the edges.  Still, their songs are well-crafted and sophisticated, their performances tight, consistent and full of what I can only describe as (I know it sounds oh, so cliche) raw power.  

I loathe comparing bands to one another as I feel it does more to limit, than to enhance, one’s experience of any particular body of work.  And I frankly find relying too heavily on such comparisons to be just plain lazy.  At the same time, it is an undeniably useful way to provide a frame of reference for those reading about music they have not yet heard.   So, as a necessary evil I provide the following (qualified) comparisons:

“Bring You Down” reminds me of Yeah Yeah Yeahs (and, I sheepishly admit, a bit of early Divinyls), particularly as regards Bain’s audacious vocals.  The song “Numb,” a retro-late-60s Blues/Rock homage, hearkens to songs such as Led Zeppelin’s “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and Janice Joplin’s version of “Summertime.”  “Breathe into Me” puts me in mind of Sonic Youth in places and a bit of early Siouxsie and the Banshees in others.  

Among the influences the band members themselves cite are Nickelback, Rage Against the Machine and Paramore.  I’d have to agree that the comparison to Paramore is spot on.  However, I actually prefer June’s unpolished verve to Nickelback’s “well produced,” manicured rumblings any day.  More and more lately I’m finding hard rock music that’s been refined and processed in a recording studio about as useful as a campfire someone’s poured cold water over, let sit for several hours, and then had the nerve to claimed it as an excellent place to warm one’s hands. 

As for future plans, June will be backing up London-based band NIXA on Feb 1st.  They then plan to have a new EP available by April and a new album by summer.  I also expect DJ Bluetone to play more of their recordings in the future, so you’re likely to find them there, as well.


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