19 December 2007

Screaming Tea Party

Occasionally, we actually stand upright from our surroundings like curious meerkats to survey the broader plains beyond the NYC music scene. So what's that there on the horizon? London's calling, and it looks like, wait, no, must be a mirage, but I swear I see two Japanese men, one wearing a gas mask and the other a floral dress, followed by an Italian woman lugging a drum set. And from here it looks they're having a tea party....a screaming tea party?

Sounds weird you say? Just wait until you actually listen to the music...

Screaming Tea Party is a London-based trio - by way of Japan and Italy - consisting of Koichi Yamanoha on bass and vocals (and the occasional woman's dress), Koichi "Niyan" Niizato on guitar (and gas mask) and Teresa Colamonaco on drums and vocals. Even if you can't imagine the above scene, you owe it to yourself to give them a listen, lest you miss out on such lyrical gems as: "At near that smallish bridge, Something was floating I saw, Clay, Egg, or Prostitute, Maybe it was time’s particles..."

Ultimately, the dichotomy between such images - gas masks at a tea party, men in dresses, eggs or prostitutes? - provides a fitting context from which to approach their music, itself a rigid and studied exercise in contrasts and opposites. Alternating between enchanting lullabies and scorched-earth noise collages, Screaming Tea Party doesn't so much play the loud/soft card within a given song but rather within the broader framework of an entire EP. It's as though they've established a precise code for songwriting: a given song can either be tranquil and whimsical OR loud and punishing, but never both.

As a result, their aptly titled Death Egg EP skips back and forth between mood and intensity in a way that seems counter-intuitive but makes perfect sense, lending each song added emphasis and gravity. The band's label - the UK upstart Stolen Recordings - has requested that we not host any mp3s from the EP but have instead provided streaming audio of several tracks on their MySpace page. So, with that caveat in mind, we suggest you head on over there and click on "Cracked up Dietrich" followed by "Between Air and Air" to get the most out of this duality. The aural equivalent is like shuffling between a sunshine-sweet children's song informed by Pachelbel's "Canon" and a B-side from In Utero. In other words, completely worth your time.

The band has yet to venture stateside but reports from over the pond describe their live show as nothing short of revelatory. Typical hyperbolic UK press or the real deal? Hopefully, Screaming Tea Party will touch down here soon and let us see that gas mask up close. For now, sate yourself with the following live videos, one soft and one hard of course.

Watch:
"Death Egg" live on YouTube
"Between Air and Air" live on YouTube

Visit Screaming Tea Party on MySpace.

15 comments:

Happy said...

Wow! Such a tea party! I haven't seen yet anything like that! Thanks) If you are interested in non-party tea information, you can read more:)lol

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