My favourite of Edinburgh’s new post post post punk bands are the 2 piece Black International.*
Stewart (guitar and vocals) and Craig (drums) were kind enough to agree to play at our place to celebrate the first ever Cassette Store Day in September. They had a single out on cassette and vinyl on Glasgow’s Electric Company records.
We’ve stocked their debut album, In Debt (on CD with hand made cover) almost since opening.
CSD was almost a tongue in cheek event and was put together by the organisers at quite short notice. Some of the tapes were still being manufactured a matter of days before CSD. I knew it’d be a bit ramshackle, but that’s part of the excitement so we signed up as soon as we got the email. I suppose the day was a tribute to the DIY ethos of the small tape based labels. Just get the stuff out! Tapes are now the cheapest physical format to create. You don’t even need a tape player to appreciate them. It’s a nice piece of the band you get free with a download code. Throw in the often handmade artwork and this could be seen as a new independent punk movement.
This blog post is a tad less spontaneous coming out today in December. -The 2 camera footage was trickier to edit together and my techie dude is a bit more of a perfectionist than me. So not very punk of us. Saying that, the footage we’ve put up is mostly the rough edits that haven’t been finished.
Black International are punky but not ramshackle by any means. Both are graduates of Edinburgh College of Art and their talent shows in the album and single sleeves and posters though they don’t make an “arty” sound. Listen to the lyrics though. Stewart is someone who mumbles a bit in person but enunciates on record and stage. I find this interesting too. It’s a sure sign that the lyrics are important to the band. They are rough around the edges but well, they are a punk band with a (dark) politicised cutting edge. “You only know you exist when you exist is when you want something”.
I only recently found out that they had a BBC Radio 1 session a couple of years ago.
Check them out in their new video for The Gilded Palace single. This is dark. Certainly not Edinburgh in summer. This is the doors kicked in of Edinburgh’s real underbelly. Trainspotting’s answer to the artificially inseminated KISS pandas.
Where do you put this terrifying band? “Stewart plays LOUD” I was warned. Craig pounds the drums with hammers and he eats raw steak for breakfast.
We’ll stick them on in the kinda folksy Antiquary across the road! So everyone can get a beer or cider and, well obviously there’s more room there and they can do a nice platter of food too. Very civilised. Fortunately, Stewart and Craig are also very civilised and instead of bringing electric guitar, Marshall stack and a full kit that would deafen everyone and see us forever banned, it was a rare Black International acoustic set with guitar, knitted jumpers and a box drum.
* It’s hard when you start naming styles of music a New anything. New Wave, New Romantic, Post punk, Modern art. Modern Life is rubbish. The folk doing the labeling are showing how rooted in the present and unimaginative they are. It just confuses the issue. What are Black International? New Punk? What and when would that be? Green Day?
I prefer to use how they describe the music on their website: stripped down, economical, brutal pop songs. I might get a header made up.
Five stripped down, economical, brutal pop songs later and Cassette store Day was a real treat. I think it shows the subtlety of the playing and demonstrates that good punk takes some skill and dare I say it, practice. Those are more than 3 chords too and it helps to have something to say. But hey, do what you like. Craig turned out to be towering but he is the man quickest to smile that I’ve met in ages. A lot of fun and as Stewart might say. mmmmmmmbbllemmnn