I’ve just returned from this year’s 2000Trees Festival and one of the things that struck me was the sheer amount of bands with only two members, leaving audiences wondering where they were hiding the extra guitarist or keyboard player! From Blood Red Shoes to Slaves, God Damn to Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip it seems that two is the magic number.
With new music on the horizon from stalwarts of the power-duo line-up Death From Above 1979 and the likes of Royal Blood and Drenge popping up on daytime radio there has never been a better time to ditch your lazy third band member, make dwindling gig fees go further, and claim some extra space in the van! Check out my top five new or underground two-piece bands that prove that whilst bigger isn’t always better, less is certainly more!
Looking like you wouldn’t want to spill their pint and sounding like a cross between Gallows and the glory days of Dischord Records, Slaves are quite simply brilliant. From the unlikely hallows of Royal Tunbridge Wells, Laurie Vincent plays guitar through a wall of distortion whilst Isaac Holman skits around the stage playing a stand up drum kit and shouting. Live highlight ‘Girl Fight’ is only 15 seconds long, which says it all… Slaves are way more punx than you.
Also see: yr dad’s punk vinyl collection from the 80’s.
If there’s one thing that two-piece bands like more than leg room its fuzz! This Australian duo play thrash punk that is loaded with the hairy stuff! Emasculating bassists everywhere, guitarist Shane Parsons has mastered the art of making his guitar sound like the apocalypse with double the amps and a floor full of effects pedals, whilst drummer Simon Ridley body-bangs his way through the gig smashing cymbals and eardrums in equal measure! Adding an extra guitarist for a few songs at 2000 Trees this year almost seemed unnecessary as they lit up the stage with pure party-starting fury. New album ‘Black Rat’ is out soon but in the meantime check out their often NSFW videos online.
Also see: Death From Above 1979, God Damn.
Carly plays keys. Tom plays drums. Between them they make happy-sad emo-pop with soaring melodies, intricate rhythms and thoughtful lyrics. The female/male vocal interplay and overdriven keyboard textures fulfil the absent-guitarist role as well as that of at least two other members. Latest release ‘Dark Hearts’ is out now on Topshelf Records.
Also see: Matt And Kim, Summer Camp.
Guitarist Jacob Campbell and drummer Dylan Chieffalo from Pittsburgh make feels-laden shouty 90’s emo in the vein of I Kill Giants or the recent output from Modern Baseball. Interlaced with film-audio samples and with titles such as ‘Do You Have A Kurt Vonnegut Book In Your Backpack?’ their latest release ‘Bantamweight’ is available on pay-what-you-want download from Bandcamp.
Also see: Nai Harvest, Playlounge.
Powder For Pidgeons
Another guitar and drums duo from down under that play the kind of hook-laden alt rock that takes Foo Fighters three guitars to pull off. Dirty low-down riffs and pounding drums, they’re everything a two-piece band is supposed to be.
Also see: Middle Class Rut, No Age.