NEWS: Rice Milk EP Launch @ Nerd Hutch, Newcastle | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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This Sunday sees the launch of local two-piece punk minimalists Rice Milk’s new cassette Weird Year with a free gig at Nerd Hutch (below Travelling Man Comic Book store), ably supported by the marvellous sonic manipulations of Waskerley Way.

The EP itself is utterly absorbing; on the surface the simplicity of the melodies, and the looping, archaic drum beats, draw you in and generates a warmth that keeps you involved, allowing space for the more complex elements of the music to subtly weave their way into your consciousness. The songs themselves are raw in their themes, with an honesty and sincerity that you’ll be hard pushed to find anywhere else. Vocally, Craig Pollard’s unique pitching and intonation conveys an almost uncomfortably acute emotional resonance. Whilst only four short tracks in length, it’s one of the most charming, humbling and exciting EPs you’ll hear this year.

On top of Rice Milk’s musical output, guitarist Craig Pollard has recently branched out into running Good Food, a small label putting out tapes of experimental pop music (including this EP), zines, essays, and hosting refreshingly open minded and relaxed gigs with a variety of artists. The combination of the two highlight the desire of both Craig and drummer Andrew Lowther to challenge the received narratives and ideas of what the Zeitgeist tends to demand from popular music and its surrounding culture.

Asking Craig to elaborate on this, he adds: “we work with this self-imposed creative constraint of being a ‘minimal punk band’ but the deliberate ambiguity of that term (what is a minimal punk band anyway?) actually creates this loose and fluid space for us to play in, and to explore signifiers and tropes of punk, or minimalism, or ‘guitar bands’ etc etc. I suppose in songwriting primarily, but also recording, performance, whatever.”

Craig continues: “I think all of this is, in a way, about carving out a position we’re comfortable working in, possibly away from some of the things we’re maybe not that into. I also think there’s something here about creating a void – away from particular (sub)genres, or anything too fixed and/or rigid – and then set about filling it with… something. In a less abstract sense, I guess we think about repetition, and what can be done with guitar, drums, and voice, and how to come up with interesting song writing strategies with limited musical material.”

Rice Milk play at Nerd Hutch (underneath Travelling Man Comics) in Newcastle in aid of their Weird Year cassette release on Sunday 14th June.

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