Six Of The Best: Holding Out – Teeth | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle’s punk rock trio, Holding Out, release their brand new single Teeth on Friday 25th February (pre-save it here). The track chimes and pulsates into existence and then races off at breakneck speed, combining the distorted grit of garage rock with the sharp vocal delivery of 00’s indie, before catching its breath halfway through. From this ambient sparseness adorned with sporadic stabs, a shimmery, yet ominous sounding, guitar (along with some accentuating ahs) provokes the song into some doom laden, Sabbath-esque pounding that ensures a satisfying finale.

Here, Tomm Money of Holding Out tells us about the band’s influences ahead of their track dropping…

There’s an element of embarrassment when it comes to talking about what inspires you. In many circles of musicians I’ve found there’s an unwillingness to talk about the artists who inspire them most, almost as if  someone is going to point a finger at them and accuse them of plagiarism or a lack of originality after seeing the route they took to get to their own creation. We all struggle with the pressures of musical folklore, artists having songs ‘come to them in a dream’ or culminate through a spark of genius, dripping like gold out of the fingertips of our idols. As starry eyed as these tales get me, I believe them to be a load of rubbish. Writing music can be bloody hard; writing something completely original is even bloody harder.

With this in mind, here are what I consider to be six artists who have had an immense effect on my writing, from angst riddled phone recordings from my teens, all the way up to my band’s latest single, Teeth.

Julien Baker
I’ve never cried to anything more than I have to Julien Baker’s music. Even after around half a decade spent listening to her (often on repeat) her lyricism hits me with the emotional equivalent force of an axe swing. Whenever I write music there’s always a terrified realisation somewhere down the line that someone is going to listen to this song, and as proud of it as I might be I often find myself making little embarrassed changes down the line as I feel unable to share that level of emotional vulnerability. Baker’s incredible honesty culminates in beautifully tragic lines with a brutality that would tinge the heaviest metal band in the world green with envy. Her music explores themes of faith, addiction, recovery and love, all accompanied by beautifully composed instrumentation; sometimes with guitar lines that sound as beautifully fragile as their accompanying lyrics, other times with roaring gospel-like organs and distorted guitars crashing around her.

The White Stripes
In school I was quietly considered the worst drummer in my year. I had taken drum lessons just as long as my peers but had struggled to find motivation to practice, disheartened by a  focus on theory and sheet music, something that I (at the time) could not see the value of. The White Stripes found me at just the right time, I was beginning to get disenfranchised with the elitist approach to theory many of my teachers and peers had, and needed reassurance that great music didn’t have to be backed up by years of study and dedication. Years later I still find myself charmed by their music, I believe that aside from their brilliant compositions the thing they captured most is the joy of playing music with others. I feel lucky enough now to have friends and bandmates who I can share that joy with.

Delta Sleep
On February 14th 2016 I played my first ‘proper’ gig with my high school friend Sam Allan, we called ourselves ‘Ded Zebras’… (We were 15). Filled with the adrenaline high of performing music for the first time I insisted on using the little money we had made from the gig to buy my friends pizza, in turn leading to us being stranded in the centre of Newcastle with no way home. After the initial panic we found a sofa to crash at at a friend’s place an hour or so away and while most of us crashed out, I instead started chatting to Steve Waltl for the first time. Steve had far much more experience in the local music scene, and very quickly we started an incredibly honest conversation where we swapped music we loved with each other, one of these bands being Delta Sleep.

I distinctly remember being shocked by the complexity of what they were playing, without feeling scared off by the complexity like I usually do, they were probably one of the first bands to make me realise the use of theory that I had previously been so scared of, seeing it less as a strict discipline and more as a tool to compose with. I’ve shared this band with all my closest friends, with their discography being a rare culmination of accessible  creative genius, both charming in lyricism and musicality. Where The White Stripes found joy in the playful nature of playing music together, Delta Sleep spend their performances grinning widely at each other, confident that they each know their parts like clockwork, ready to challenge anyone who dares try to tap their foot along in time.

LCD Soundsystem
“I hear that you and your band have sold your guitars and bought turntables.
I hear that you and your band have sold your turntables and bought guitars.”
Losing My Edge, 2005

LCD Soundsystem was one of the bands who inspired me to start writing my own music. I had never particularly been interested in synthesisers and electronic music before listening to them, stuck in the neanderthalic belief that  they somehow devalued the music I was listening to, or that it took less skill. It was only when I heard synthesis implemented within rock music that I began to appreciate and become fascinated with it, realising songs like ‘Daft Punk is Playing at my House’ and ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ had far more to them than just James Murphy Tapping away at a keyboard. I think if I hadn’t found this band I would never have bothered getting into learning how synthesisers work, and my music would be all the worse for it.

Aside from this, I find it reassuring that I’m not the only person who sounds like Kermit the Frog when they sing (See ‘New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down’).

Billy Bragg
Billy Bragg’s music defined countless car rides throughout my childhood. This is my Mum’s favourite artist and as such his influence on me musically was inevitable. I was lucky enough to catch him on tour in 2016 and even 40 years after his start in the music industry, his songs old and new were incredibly poignant.. Bragg has this wonderful gift of writing songs that are equally at place sung softly to a loved one as they would be chanted at a protest march. Bragg’s music is filled with all the spirit of the punks of the 1970’s but never becomes pretentious or diluted under its own weight.

Frightened Rabbit
An old housemate came in while I was sitting watching a live performance of Frightened Rabbit in our living room and semi-jokingly commented that I only listen to sad music, and despite the jokey comment I found myself frustrated that he took Frightened Rabbit’s music as such. While their music doesn’t shy from darker subjects I find much of their music tells a larger message of hope. In late 2018 I found myself terribly lonely, having moved to Leeds for university  away from all of my friends, and struggling to form new connections with my fellow students, then one night I noticed some familiar looking graffiti scattered across electric boxes on my walk home. Part of the Burley Banksy by Andy McVeigh, were lyrics from the late Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit. ‘I Need Company, I Need Human Heat’ and ‘Make Tiny Changes to The Earth’ Painted amidst the town of Headingley, making me feel far less lonely, even a hundred from home. Hutchinson’s unique charm to his lyricism is unmatched by any other artist I’ve listened to, able to inspire, humour and reduce you to tears all in the same song. My band’s latest single drew heavily from this, despite its sound being far from anything Frightened Rabbit would release. The initial demo I sent my bandmates trying to emulate the straight 16th note melody heard at the beginning of ‘Holy’. I tried to keep the lyrics in a similar spirit however, writing them as a semi-serious message to my sister of how she shouldn’t limit herself based on her current circumstance, told through a jokey story of her going nuts at her workplace.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and I implore you, if you haven’t already, to check out all of the artists mentioned in this article as they are truly spectacular.

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