Underground Band of the Month January 2019
For a while now there has seemed to be something in the air in Brixton, a socialist miasma if you will that’s managed to seep under doorways or between the roof tiles of pubs in the area that have yet to be fullyinfected by the pretentious gentrification that much of the South has been faced with. Out of the smog, mythical like a phoenix, arise certain musicians — a list which is often comprised of artists such as Fat White Family, Phobophobes, Black Midi and Warmduscher (to name a few). Meatraffle is never usually excluded from a reeling off of the dirty south’s hall of fame and are notorious around the underground London circuit for their mutinous stage presence and death raga. To welcome in the new year, Underground have decided to make Meatraffle their first band of the month for 2019.
Made up of a bunch of uncanny aliases, the band is curated by caricature-esk members: Zsa Zsa Sapien, Cloudy Truffles, Tingle Lungfish, Fats, and Chris O.C. As their names would suggest, the band refuse to be cookie-cuttered by generic musical categorisations and instead play around with many different styles – which largely stemmed from their inability to actually play musical instruments.
Sounding not too dissimilar to the origin stories of make shift bands like The Slits and Germs, Meatraffle were shitting out songs before they could fart a note. In fact, their own origin story is so comical that it you couldn’t make it up, after forming from a joke about a Beatles cover band who couldn’t play instruments to finally making it a reality – performing Revolution Number 9 at a charity gig with nothing more than a transistor radio, Mutado Pintado (the lead of Warmduscher) on drums, a reversed Billy Joel record and a Zsa Zsa Sapien on the mic acting like a stand up. There’s hear say that the crowd went wild – which almost sounds like a hallucination –but out of the womb of these cheers Meatraffle was born. Zsa Zsa Sapien, uses the term Bastard Music to describe the genesis of Meatraffle as it is both motherless and fatherless, an immaculate conception from which the band seemingly just came to be.
Claiming their name from the popular 70s pub trend a ‘meat raffle’, where you can win a fine piece of meat by the luck of the draw, this “carnal lottery” perfectly encapsulates the meaty surprise prize their audiences win with each listen. Their list of musical influences vastly ranges from post-punk to avant-funk to reggae, with a dusting of industrial experimental sounds that leaves no song sounding the same.With loopers and trumpet sounds in abundance, their music is thick with encircling noise of a leftist utopia, layered with spoken word and offbeat synths. Having only released one debut album and a handful of singles (so far) under the name, Meatraffle have still managed to create a varied setlist of tracks that comment on social inequalities, working class struggles, dropping acid and being an enemy of the Sicilian mafia.
Their essential tracks can be found within this library, and include such tracks as ‘Oppenheimer’ – that gets a crowd jumping to the sounds of superstructures that control the masses through socio-economic and scientific monopolies –, ‘The Horseshoe’ – which honours the hard bop dancing culture of 80’s in London— and ‘Brother’ – a track about the power of platonic love in all its “dry orgy” glory. Doused with political opinion and personal experiences, their tracks are both satirical and serious. So much so that Meatraffle have somehow found the sweet spot between the heavily politicised and the snorting-ly funny. You only need to watch their music videos, such as Love Hz or London life to watch them cross the fine line that sits between the meaningful and the pastiche.
Their track “The Bird Song” is a hidden gem that epitomises this whole vibe, Sang by Cloudy herself it’s an attack on gender inequalities that legitimise the use out-dated sexist language which denounces women as second-class citizens, while using track to also laugh in the face of those who deem it appropriate to call women ‘birds’. Although, the song is often performed live it is available on record if you hunt down the Speedy Wunderground Year 3Mix Tape and is a true expression of the intersectional concerns the band take seriously but serve with a fist full of salt.
At live gigs, they continue to uphold this notion, where the members be their most superlative selves and you too become drenched in the expulsion of the socialist orgasm they create on stage. Both recorded and live, the band encourage riotous behaviour and request you to put a middle finger to the man whilst reminding you how important the dentist is. This year is guaranteed to be an exciting one for these guys, despite a series of sidebands to manage, and will see them kicking of the year with two upcoming gigs this month and with any luck there should be some new music in the works. They are a band like no other, who play their instruments as if their fingers were hammers and sickles, and you, the reader, are implored to feast your ears and keep your eyes peeled for these strange beauties because everyone needs to take a lucky dip in the mayhem of Meatraffle at least once in their life.
Upcoming malarkey to take a bite out of:
Speedy Wunderground with Label Mates @ Moth Club: 26thJan 2019
Where to find them:
Words byAimee Williams-Maynard