SHE’S pretty much already Tel Aviv’s favourite guitar-wielding daughter, Tamar Aphek; and if you like your power trios full of flame and energy and neo-psych atmospheres akin to the Jimi Hendrix Experience upon arrival in London – make no mistake, Tamar, bassist Uri Ketner and drummer Yuval Garin are hellish tight – then they will be earning a rightful place in your noisy rock pantheon too.
And today, she’s released the video for “Russian Winter”, a tune that will melt the deepest hoar frost, such is its power.
It’s take from her forthcoming debut album for Kill Rock Stars, All Bets Are Off, which is out on January 29th; watch out for our review here in the days preceding. In fact it’s the album opener, and a potent statement of what’s to follow.
The track sees Tamar, detached, elegant, like Nico but with more immersion in sultry, honeyed rock poise, singing over the crispest hip-hop break: “I know I’m gonna lose the war, in the sea / I know how big the risk is taking you and me / I’ll fight the Russian winter straight into your heart”.
And when that bass kicks the door down it’s frankly dangerous, so abrasively fuzzy is it; it must be on several most-wanted lists. And then the amps howl and the guitar roars and she proves she can wave aside any cool detachment the moment she wishes. It’s guitar bloodied and oh-so-delicious. You can also use it to torch the snow from your driveway.
Tamar says of the track and its accompanying video: “‘Russian Winter’ is my first concept music video.
“It was developed in a few stages: first a visual translation of my personal feelings in light of the collapse of the creative endeavors in which I was involved before the coronavirus, hours of brainstorming with the director Amir Buxbaum on how to transform the ideas into a music video, and finally diving with the animator in a symbolic ocean of images.”
She adds: “We are facing huge changes in our old familiar world – I wanted to include images like the cycle of the four seasons hoping by sticking to the commonplace it will help us move forward into the unknown world.”
She came to the heady delights of rock ‘n’ roll relatively late, charting a course through a prestigious children’s choir, a decade of piano lessons, and a musical conservatory education.
“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. “
That crisp break that underpins “Russian Winter”? Well, she says “I wanted to infuse rhythms into rock and roll that I wasn’t hearing elsewhere. 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.”
Trust us: it’s a cracker of an album.
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’s shop, here.