ALREADY something of a guitar goddess in her native Tel Aviv, Kill Rock Stars, that seminal imprint that’s hosted the like of Elliott Smith, The Decemberists, Sleater-Kinney and more, have tempted Tamar Aphek through their doors, the better that we should swoon for her. And once you’ve climbed aboard for her new single, “Drive”, you may just find there’s no going back.
Take a listen herein; it mixes the smokey blues poise and vocal delivery of a Polly Jean or a Nadine Shah, with a deep psych meander, as if Khruangbin had partaken of one of Owsley’s sugarcubes and were freeing up at a happening in Golden Gate Park, San Fran, summer ’68. It has depth and smoulder and bags of atmosphere – all the great rock things. Choon.
It’s quite the thing, and follows her first single drop, the six-string twang and sax curl of “Show Me Your Pretty Side”; and precedes her debut solo album, All Bets Are Off, due at the end of January.
The song, she says, is a comment on the tenets of interrelationships between two people. Tamar explains, “The mutual trust gives them the power to face all difficulties in life. Together they can be above the highest wave, dark nights or bad memories.
“Each one of them respects intuitively the space of the other side. It is a kind of recipe for a success story between people.”
Tamar cut her musical teeth singing in a prestigious children’s choir, coupled with a decade of piano lessons and a musical conservatory education.
Next stop? The electric guitar and Tel Aviv’s underground scene.
“I remember when I bought my first really cheap, small amplifier, and my first shitty guitar,” she recalls.
“I will never feel so happy about a guitar and amplifier again. Even if I play the most expensive Fender, nothing will compare to that excitement.”
It’s both a love affair and an exploration to which she’s deeply wedded, with especial pertinence to “Drive”: “During rehearsals before tour I wouldn’t even play guitar; I picked up the guitar only on tour and I started improvising all my parts,” she says.
“A lot of the improvisational freedom we hear in jazz records is missing for me in more current rock bands … I think that’s why we listened to a lot of bebop albums, and a lot of weird instrumental stuff: to open spiritual and artistic freedom and not be too calculated.”
Tamar Aphek’s All Bets Are Off will be released by Kill Rock Stars on digital, CD, trad black and limited violet vinyl on January 29th, 2021, and may be pre-ordered from the label, here.