Fear of Men, born of an art school project, has turned into one of the most promising bands of 2013. Drawing their inspiration from art and philosophy, Fear of Men deliberately juxtaposes iconic museum imagery and lyrical themes of loneliness and fragmentation with buoyant pop melodies.
While studying for a Fine Art & History of Art degree, Jessica Weiss (vocals + guitar) was exhibiting some of her home recordings of ambient soundtracks to short films when these recordings caught the attention of Daniel Falvey (guitar). The two began swapping mix tapes and started a friendship based on a shared love of melody and an eclectic mix of artists such as The Chills, Grouper, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Magnetic Fields, and The Byrds, ultimately leading to the start of a more pop-focused project which they called Fear of Men.
Fear of Men, completed by Michael Miles (drums) and Robyn Edwards (bass), began releasing singles on DIY and independent UK labels and capturing the attention of Pitchfork, NME, Gorilla vs. Bear, Stereogum, The Fader, Drowned in Sound and topping the Hype Machine charts.
Fans of Broadcast and Julie Doiron will instantly gravitate toward Jess’ tender vocals and melodies. The songs are beguilingly sweet while the lyrics are often bleakly nihilistic, meaning that you’ll find yourself singing along to these intelligent, well-crafted pop songs while unwittingly sinking deeper into Fear of Men’s world.
WRITER’s James and Andy Ralph are brothers, and if you couldn’t see it in their faces, you’ll see it written all over them, sometimes even literally. The two share a tattoo—the words “Brothers Ralph” surrounding an anchor, like two sailors navigating the same sea—but you can also hear their brotherhood all over their music. Andy’s voice cascades and careens around and across James’ almost impossibly hard floor tom hits, and when the two join together to shout a chorus or a particularly important lyric on their album Brotherface, the two create a sound that’s much more than two boys playing songs together.
Growing up in Yucaipa, California and cutting their teeth, drumsticks and guitar strings in San Diego, Writer has taken the Ralphs all over the country on tour with bands like Cults, Margot & the Nuclear So & So’s and Guards, finally inspiring and allowing them to set down roots, although however temporary or permanent they may be remains to be seen, in Brooklyn. Although their songs still bring forth the mermaids, highways and pretty girls of California, with a new practice space and a collection of new tracks, their sound is evolving. You can feel it, too, when they play live. Months of touring, taking risks on different rooms and sound guys, has given Writer a newfound confidence but also a newfound freedom, making their performances as exuberant in a brand new, giant venue as it would be in one of their old haunts back in San Diego. (SMF)