The UK is famously home to the Union Jack, the Royal Family, Doctor Who, rugby and fish n’ chips. The UK is one of humanity’s most influential and storied nations. Of all the British gifts bestowed upon the world though, there is one that may stand out above the rest: revolutionary and timeless music.
“Hailing from Oxford, TTNG formed in 2004…”
Britain churns out big-name bands and massive stars like clockwork, and this musical nation never seems to be short of new talent. The massive list of big names includes classic rockers: Ozzy Osbourne, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd and of course The Beatles. That list continues to grow today with greats like Coldplay, Muse and Keane.
It may be time to consider adding a new face to that list: This Town Needs Guns, otherwise known as TTNG.
Hailing from Oxford, TTNG formed in 2004 with Stuart Smith (guitar and vocals), Tim Collis (guitar), Simon Thompson (drums) and Ian Lewis (bass). Since then, the line-up has changed and shrunk to Henry Tremain along with Tim and Chris Collis. This threesome is in good company with fellow Oxonian bands like Radiohead, Ride, Supergrass and the very similarly styled group, Foals. With good company comes tough competition.
TTNG and Foals both fall into what is known as math rock, a genre characterized by heavy guitar based style, complex rhythmic structures with frequent stops and restarts with angular melodies. Foals has been a major presence in the indie rock scene, touring around the world. But with the recent rumors of the lead singer, Yanni Philippakis, splitting off, it will be a prime moment for TTNG to shine.
TTNG’s latest artist album 188.8.131.52.0 was released this month on Sargent House Records with an eclectic mix of instrumentals and passionate lyrical tracks. For a band of only three people, there more than enough talent to go around. Like their first artist album, Animals, released in 2009, there is an ample amount of exquisite guitar work to satisfy any rocker fan’s appetite. The vocals from Tremain are soft and soulful, and have a distinct indie feel.
The album cover shows customers a bit of humor as it sports the Mayan calendar for its album artwork. Their social networking pages are not filled with artistic and serious artist photos, but are instead groupings of silly and playful pictures and caricatures. The idea is to create a fun-loving and carefree atmosphere while maintaining a certain level of artistic integrity and vigor.
TTNG may be a fun and young group, but they are by no means complacent with their current status; there is nothing but expansion on their minds.
They have pushed their tour destinations out of Europe and recently toured the US, performed in Australia at Harvest Festival and have even toured Japan. Things are looking up for this blossoming indie group, and there are no signs of them slowing down any time soon.
In an interview with Extraneous Terrain, a music and popular culture site, Collis mentions how despite having several members gone from the band there is no reason to halt productions:
“…the sacrifices go with the territory really. If one person in a band doesn’t really want to do it anymore, it is going to affect other people, but it shouldn’t necessarily stop them from carrying on,” Collis stated.
“This Town Needs Guns is yet another example of British ingenuity and musical brilliance.”
TTNG credits their increase in worldwide popularity to the Internet and social networking. In the same interview, Tremain stated:
“Well there are always these really interesting small scenes where really obscure bands from different places get known, but only in small cliques. But with the Internet, it’s kind of expanded those cliques.”
Getting in on festival lineups in the Down Under and touring in Asia is no small feat, especially for a small indie group out of Oxford. The touring will continue with a European tour that will hit cities such as Paris, Berlin, Hambur, Oslo, Stockholm and Moscow. In a brief interview with Math Rock Blog, there was mention of a possible US tour in March. It has not been stated when the newest album will be released, but fans are hoping it will not be another four years.
This Town Needs Guns is yet another example of British ingenuity and musical brilliance. They are an ambitious and young group, with plenty of passion for their music and fans. With the growing popularity of the indie rock band style, TTNG may have what it takes to bring math rock into the mainstream and achieve a massive following. They are not stars yet, but this Oxonian band is certainly one to keep watching for great things to come.