Tag Archives: the ninjas

Record review: The Ninjas – The Ninjas (2014, EP)

the ninjas ep

Swagger can take you a long way in music, and garage-rockers The Ninjas have it in spades. But when it comes to the crunch, you have to be able to back it up with great tunes, and luckily the Brisbane quartet have come up with the goods on this five-track debut EP. As with many first releases, it’s a record of two halves; first comes the angular lo-fi indie-rock, before the riff-heavy second half cranks the rock up to eleven. Opener ‘Can’t Go Back’ could have been lifted from The Strokes’ underrated Room On Fire album, while second track ‘Kill ‘Em All’ combines Josh Stewart’s towering Britpop vocals with Pat Ferris’s likely-lad guitar glory à la The Libertines circa 2002. What possessed Ford to use the sleazy bass-driven grooves of ‘Yeah Yeah’ in an advert for their latest gas-guzzler we may never know, but it’s a driving and danceable track that’s more suited to a Happy Mondays gig than a used car lot. Pleasingly, the closing double of ‘Boogie On It’ and ‘Never Had Much Time’ show that this is a gang whose hearts truly belong to the golden Gods of rock and roll and all their resplendent glory. While there’s probably not a jot of martial arts talent among them, it’s reassuring to know this particular band of ninjas are slinking around the shadows of Australian music making tunes that pack a punch as powerful as this. (Independent)

For mX

Interview: The Ninjas

Ninjas2

Until very recently, garage-rock quintet The Ninjas were probably Brisbane’s best kept musical secret, but the release of their excellent new single ‘Yeah Yeah’ may be about to change all that. The band already have support slots for the likes of The Cribs and Sticky Fingers under their belts and with more recordings in the pipeline, the future looks bright for the group. I spoke to Pat Ferris (guitar) and Josh Stewart (vocals).

How are things in The Ninjas camp? What have you been up to recently?

Pat: Things are going great at the moment. We are currently recording some new songs with Sean Cook (Big Scary, Jeremy Neale) at his studio The Plutonium, and experimenting with an old Beta-movie camera and a green screen for our next video to go with our follow up single, ‘Kill ‘Em All’.

You’ve been thrust into the spotlight fairly suddenly with the release of ‘Yeah Yeah’. What’s it been like so far?

Josh: It’s been pretty rad; Ford choosing it as the soundtrack for their new Ranger commercial has been awesome for us. It’s sort of weird though; its not like we haven’t heard our music played back before, but when you’re watching your favourite show on TV and your song randomly comes on it feels kind of rewarding.

Describe your song-writing process. Is it a collaborative effort?

Josh: Our song writing process begins with ideas Pat and I have, then we jam them out with the rest of the band to work out and finalise the structure.

Supporting The Cribs was a pretty big deal. What are your memories of the gig?

Josh: Supporting The Cribs was definitely our favourite show. My memories from the gig are pretty hazy but I remember watching them side-stage and thinking “winning”.

Your music gets compared to a lot of different bands, from The Rolling Stones to The Stone Roses to Oasis to The Vines to The White Stripes. Which or any of these is most accurate?

Josh: They’re all awesome to be compared to, and they’re all pretty accurate in regards to our band’s underlying influences.

What would you rather be: a poor but revered cult band with heaps of critical acclaim, or a stadium-filling international juggernaut that nobody admits to liking?

Josh: Stadium-filling international juggernaut definitely has a nicer ring to it.

What would be on your ideal rider and why?

Josh: Budweiser; the king of beers. Plus some Captain Morgan Spiced Gold.

What are the band’s plans in the short term?

Pat: We’re looking forward to unleashing our next single ‘Kill ‘Em All’ around mid-January, with launches in Brisbane and Sydney around the same time. We have also been in talks with some peeps in the U.S., so another trip over there is looking likely soon as well.

When can we next see The Ninjas live, and what can we expect from the show?

Pat: I believe a sneaky little show at Rics Bar on Friday 13th of December with a special guest appearance by Jason on tambourine.

THE NINJAS PLAY RIC’S BAR BRISBANE FRI 13th. NEW SINGLE ‘KILL ‘EM ALL’ IS RELEASED IN JANUARY.

Check out the video for ‘Yeah Yeah’:

Live review: The Cribs + The Ninjas + Filthy Jackal – The Zoo, Brisbane – 25/10/13

Gary Jarman
Gary Jarman

Reading articles about Wakefield indie guitar trio The Cribs recently, I was somewhat surprised to learn that this current tour marks their tenth anniversary as a going concern. When the turn of the millennium brought the downfall of Britpop and a resurgence in New York hipster bands influenced by the lo-fi guitar lines of Television and street threads of Johnny Thunders, certain U.K. music press – panicked by the thought of their watery scene being left behind – sought to crown a new generation of bands as the great white hopes for British guitar music. Enter a thrown-together group of bands of varying quality and style, consisting of The Libertines, Razorlight, the Jarman brothers of The Cribs, and others. Amid the haze of a million indie bands, the time has passed quickly since their 2004 debut, but are The Cribs still a force, or should they fade into the dark, as so many of their contemporaries have done? Today’s gig would be the only way to tell.

First up in Fortitude Valley’s The Zoo is Filthy Jackal, who despite seeming quite isolated in a sparsely-filled venue put in a decent effort, culminating in their heaviest song of the set, ‘Bereft’.

Following them is Brisbane garage rockers The Ninjas, who immediately up the quality many fold with a quality set of groovy, sleazy, danceable, fat-riffed tunes. Sounding tight rhythmically from the off, their swagger-y songs – including the excellent ‘Yeah Yeah’ – ooze globular hints of Manchester circa 1990 (think Happy Mondays if they could play) and early 2000s indie like The White Stripes; making them a perfect choice for what is to come next.

Releasing a greatest hits record and embarking on an anniversary tour are indulgences for many over-the-hill bands, but within seconds of The Cribs taking the stage, it is clear that the three Jarman brothers (plus touring member David Jones) are anything but past it, and they are pretty damn tour-tight for guys who now live thousands of miles apart. The obvious focus is on singer-guitarist Ryan, who these days could pass for a Dee Dee Ramone look-alike, and bassist-vocalist Gary, but it’s their solidity as a unit and energy that are most impressive throughout the set. Taking songs from each of their five albums, including the excellent ‘Hey Scenesters!’ from Hey Fellas and ‘Come On, Be a No-One’ from In The Belly of the Brazen Bull, the band slash, bash and crash their way through an hour of top quality guitar rock, before heading off stage amid a maelstrom of belly-up drum-kits, dropped guitars, and sweat.

The lesson learned here tonight? The Cribs are in no way a spent force; no f**king way.