My Inspiration: Swine Tax – Kestrel of Sticking Dreams Singles Compilation LP | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle’s ferocious garage-rockers and champions of the DIY music scene, Swine Tax,  release a brand new single, The Kestrel Of Sticking Dreams, a refreshing two minute blast of spikey, synth-drenched indie. This latest offering nestles nicely on top of a compilation LP of the same name, made up of all the hits that fans of the band will know and love. 

Swine Tax’s Vince Lisle (singer / guitarist) breaks down each track on the singles compilation LP, which is available now via Du Blonde’s Daemon TV label and on Swine Tax’s bandcamp page…

I. Kestrel of Sticking Dreams – Our new deranged and hedonistic punk number. “Kestrel of Sticking Dreams” is inspired by surreal dreams; the rapper Giggs; and Apollinaire’s poem ‘Zone‘ among other things. It’s quite an emotional song for me and I’m very fond of it. Life is short – so is this tune.

II. Browsing – “Browsing” is about being unable to address or even make sense of all the suffering and injustice that goes on in the world. At times it’s all too easy to block out bleak realities and just contend with trivial crap instead. This can make you feel vexed, powerless and a bit pathetic. “Browsing” is the first tune we recorded with the addition of Euan on synthesiser and you can hear that his undulating lead lines are the icing on the cake. 

III. Hold Your Own – “Hold Your Own” has a bittersweet flavour, which is a bit different to the tasty-but-burns-your-tongue fare we usually dish out. The song talks about loneliness and it expresses my distaste for the ways that meaningful human connections are eroded in the acid vat of capitalism. I can remember completely re-writing the chorus at the last second during the recording process. We’ve always enjoyed a proper chorus and so most of our songs feature one, but this one is particularly infectious to my ears. TK’s bassline variations are great as well. 

IV. ScreensaverOne of my favourites. “Screensaver” is a balls-to-the-wall rocker delivered with tongue firmly stuffed into cheek. The song conveys how interacting with modern technologies and gawping at screens all day every day can quickly send you west and make you wanna smash it all to smithereens. The humour in the track is our natural response to the absurd world we find ourselves in – plus, it’s fun. The track was recently used in a perplexing viral vid with over a million views, but for my money the music video Charlie (our drummer) made during lockdown is better.
V. I’d Like – I think of myself as being pretty stoical, but it can feel cathartic to vent your frustrations and desires even when doing so makes sod all difference to the given situation. It feels even better to do it in the form of art or music. Hence, this outpouring of “I’d like La Dolce Vita, I’d like fifty quid on the meter” etc. etc. The music was first conceived after a long day listening to The Kinks, one of my all-time favourite bands. I wrote it on guitar and then TK and Charlie added their fantastic bass and drum parts, which instantly brought the song to life. It’s since become something of a live favourite.

VI. Johnny – A laid-back garage rock number. TK provided the killer bass groove and the song came together very quickly with us all improvising along. I sang some spontaneous melodies and tried to channel Damo Suzuki a bit. “Johnny” is about when daily suburban drudgery becomes all too much for people to cope with, so they reach for ways to drown out painful thoughts. Drug addiction is a grim and dangerous reality, but I imagine that many people can relate to the feeling of just wanting to escape grim reality and fuck it all off for a bit.

VII. Relax – A bobby dazzler about a heady night on the lash. The song is inspired by our time touring Europe and traversing hundreds of kilometres in TK’s Corsa with Original Pirate Material and Low End Theory blaring in heavy rotation. “Relax” was the first song I wrote after we got back from the tour and for me it encapsulates something of all the weird in-jokes and bonding that happens when you spend so much time together with your mates. The song also touches on being in a long distance relationship and about how when you do see one another, emotions can be heightened due to the limited time you have to spend together. It took us an age to fine tune and rehearse the song, but hey we got there.

VIII. Tory Water – A defiant Swine Tax ditty that we never seem to tire of. “Tory Water” is a snide attack on various music scene and industry gits, with their ulterior motives and shitty gimmicks. Vanity projected!

IX. Grand Prix – Written around the same time as “I’d Like”, “Grand Prix” is a song about having the courage to shove back at all the societal pressures and expectations that bare down on you. I really like the batshit music video we made for it.

X. Conversation – This one is sort of introverted agitprop. “Conversation” is about people who corner you and then proceed to chew your ears off with tedious and self-absorbed bragging. It was one of the very first Swine Tax tunes written and musically it’s very melodic, quite loose and more ’90s rock influenced than a lot of our subsequent material. It has a lot of nice little touches and is probably a bit too long.

XI. Natural Causes – An eldritch and bombastic tune that came together very quickly during a rehearsal room jam. Another big live favourite. It’s essentially Shakespeare’s Hamlet set in contemporary Newcastle with some lifted lines, and hence my vocal delivery is very theatrical. I became completely fixated on that play, and have read and seen it performed dozens of times over. I can sometimes imagine Richard Dawson singing it instead of me – that would be cool actually.

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