All Bets Are Off by Tamar Aphek

Release date: January 29, 2021
Label: Kill Rock Stars

Kill Rock Stars label always has a specific sound with all its artists. It is a sound that you can always pin down on one side and a sound that will always surprise and often thrill you on the other.

Israeli artist Tamar Aphek and her album All Bets Are Off is an exception in that respect either. You know that you will get an artist that yet has to make a name in wider music circles that has the core rock emotion and feel to their music. On the other, it is a sound that you cannot easily pin down, or pin down at all. And although Aphek has that starting rock point, she is all over the place. In the best manner possible.


Aphek says that she got turned on to rock only when she turned 18. “It wasn’t until I first heard bands like Fugazi, Shellac, Sonic Youth, Jesus Lizard, Blonde Redhead, Unwound, Slint, Hella, Elliott Smith’s Either/Or, that I started diving into history. I was fascinated by the minimalist sound based on asymmetric time signatures these bands had.”

Reading these words, you would think that Aphek is doing a copy/paste process with those ‘asymmetric time signatures.’ Well, actually not. She’s picking them up, throwing them into her musical blender, and in the end coming with her own. At various moments, it sounds like Young Marble Giants on a slight dose of Amphetamine.

“I wanted to infuse rhythms into rock and roll that I wasn’t hearing elsewhere,” she explains. “I wanted to write a Johnny Cash style song, but then dress it up in crazy Max Roach style drumming or Ethiopian rhythms. I was getting a kick out of hearing something that could sound like a catchy indie song, but with a strange reggae kind of feeling.”

Just reading this, can sound a bit preposterous, but actually, Aphek does exactly what she says, coming up with one of the more interesting and original rock releases in quite a bit.

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