Big Nothing – s/t 7in (Asian Man Records, 2017)

From the aching opening lines of Cincinnati, “It takes everything that I’ve got not to cry, when I’m lying awake at night and I’m remembering you’re not alive”, framed by that urgent guitar lick, to the closing lines “I never said goodbye – I wish I’d said goodbye”, it’s clear that Big Nothing’s debut release is going to be something pretty special. These are the kind of statements that are, sadly, almost universally relatable. Pretty much everyone, ever, anywhere has lost someone that they cared about: friends, partners, family members, class mates, whoever it might be. That kind of experience leaves a hole in your being that you can’t quite explain or ever fully shore up. Not if you are being honest with yourself. This is a song that speaks volumes to me about taking friendships for granted and not putting in the extra effort (sorry Nick). Also to not repairing bridges that are far from fully burned (although these are two way structures, I’m sorry Reena). People, please realise that there isn’t always going to be a next time. There’s a real lesson here that everyone needs to hear.

This band features one of the Pats (there are or were two) from Philadelphia’s Spraynard, and the sound here lies somewhere between their most recent album Mable which was one of my top picks from 2015) and the Get Up Kids’ Something to Write Home About. It has an invigorating, uplifting and driving sound to it which belies the undertones of suffering a loss and aching absence that also put me in mind of Winnipeg’s The Weakerthans. What really sets this apart is the elegant composition of the boy/girl vocals. These are reminiscent of Bridge & Tunnel, although not set against a backdrop of angular, twinkly post hardcore that such a comparison would usually bring to mind.

This record really is a superlative debut that punches you right in the feels, and if I can be arsed to compile a best of 2017 list when it actually comes down to it (last year I didn’t bother; the closest we collectively came was Mike Avery’s beers of 2016 article), I say with a strong degree of certainty that this sweet little package would surely feature.

Favourite tracks here are Cincinatti and Glorea.

Move fast, people. This 7in is limited to 500, and once they are gone, they are gone – no represses… ever. Pick it up from Mike at Asian Man Records.

Find out more here

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, recently returned to Yorkshire and residing in Leeds (after close to a decade living in exile in Croydon and South East London). He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also several years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night "punk room" at Jilly's Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up - next event at Retro in Manchester on 07/09/2019. Apart from that, it's all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, occasionally skateboarding, always exhausted, often reading books with maps in the front.

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