Sunday 29 December 2013

Band To Check Out: The Virgin Tongues

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In the business of music you often need a bit of luck. Both good luck and bad luck have helped shape careers and make or break some of the greatest groups in history. Berlin-based band The Virgin Tongues have a story that contains luck, and depending on whether you view things from the point of view that the glass is half empty or half full may sway your opinion of their story so far. Fronted by Californian-born Duncan McKnight, The Virgin Tongues career trajectory was looking good. Their minimalist rock 'n roll/garage/punk/shoegaze hybrid had built them a fanbase and they retreated to Iceland to play some shows and record their album. The night they recorded the song 'Who Cares Right Now', Duncan "fell from a window approx. 10m (32 ft) and was admitted to the ICU. He sustained numerous injuries including a skull fracture, haemorrhage of the cerebellum (brain injury), broken ribs, collapsed lung, and damage to other internal organs". Bad luck that he had such a horrendous accident, but nevertheless, you could argue that he was lucky to survive an incident that many others wouldn't have.

After being told he wouldn't be able to perform or even walk again, Duncan had to relearn everything, from basic speech upwards. Remarkably he recovered enough to restart the band and take aim at finishing what they'd started. With momentum now depleted, the task had just become a lot more difficult, so reluctantly a crow-funding campaign was set up to raise funds that had been lost to medical bills and rehabilitation and get the band recording again. The music they make is fuzz-loaded garage-rock that ticks all the right boxes and will be one for fans of The Raveonettes, Crocodiles, Surf City and others of a similar ilk. The recordings available to stream online (including 'Who Cares Right Now' and the excellent 'Six feet Underground') show exactly why the group were on an upward trajectory and affirm the fact that their timeless sound still has a place and the power to inspire and excite. As with most crowd-funding campaigns, there are plenty of perks for those that donate to the cause, but if you take this project and listen to the music without knowing anything of the back-story, the tunes stand up for themselves and are enough to get us looking forward to what could be a terrific album when it finally sees the light of day. Look at The Virgin Tongues as a worthy cause, and if you like then do this because of the trauma and the fight the band have had, but equally look at it as the chance to help out a hugely promising group.

The Virgin Tongues' website

Donate to the campaign

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