Monday, July 17, 2017

Artist's Cookbook: What's Cooking With Swine Tax?

Vince Lisle likes to cook Italian food. Well, maybe likes isn't strong enough of a word. Vince Lisle is passionate about cooking Italian food. He is so passionate about it that every day for two years he would cook (and eat) a different dish of risotto or pasta. He collected his favorite recipes, notes and stories about Italian cooking and published them on his blog Cibo Di Chenzo.

Aside from cooking, eating and blogging, Vince is also the lead vocalist and guitarist for Newcastle upon Tyne alternative rock trio, Swine Tax. These guys make music that is well structured and warmly laid down. Lyrically they deal with personal themes like social alienation, uncertainty in love and chronic pain (something that Vince suffers from).

Swine Tax's second single, "Brittle," is hot off the presses. The song instantly struck me as something I would be listening to on the regular. First there's Vince and his vocals. He presents the lyrics in a variety of fashions throughout the track. There's the high pitched siren, not a grating siren that is blaring right next to you, but a more restrained one shooting off in the distance. There's the hypnotic choir like sounds. And the pogoing chorus. All of these surround the frenetic verses that border on losing control but never quite do. Then there is the lyrics themselves. How the hell can you not find yourself relating (and singing along) with introspective lines like, "Please don't love me, I'm not worth it, please don't love me I don't deserve it"? Backing (and sometimes fronting) the vocals are spirited guitars which roam around distorted and garagey in places and clean shaven singer-songwriterish in others. Sometimes they shake fast, sometimes they move slow, other times they just make you wonder if the dreaminess you are experiencing is a sign that you are asleep. The song's drums play out in a similar manner. They slow down, they speed up, they hypnotize. Swine Tax's "Brittle" is indie rock at it's finest. All those changes in timing, vocal deliveries and style lead to a truly unique and scrumptious listening experience.

After blasting through "Brittle" about a dozen times, I asked Vince which of his recipes he would suggest pairing with it. He said the Pasta with Sardines, Almonds, Olives and Blood Oranges. Hmm... I thought that comparison made total sense to me. I mean you have a pasta made up of a number of distinct elements, including crunchy almonds and salty olives. Just like the music in "Brittle." Then you throw in something as stand out, complicated and subtly brilliant as a blood orange and you've got a meal that is off the charts. Or, as Vince says, "seriously scrumptious." That's the vocals and lyrics in "Brittle."

Scrumptious meal, scrumptious music.