London’s acerbic post-punk prodigies Nothingheads are poised to detonate with their latest single, “Beam Engine,” into the sonic ether. The band’s avant-garde amalgamation of post-punk, psychedelia, and dark doom undertones has earned them comparisons to an amplified, less fragile iteration of Public Image Limited, mixed with the frenzy of the Dead Kennedys and the chaotic early days of The Horrors. While certainly not folk in sound, “Beam Engine” does have lyrical roots in telling a folk story based on a historical event. In this case, it’s really whiffy.
The infamous “Great Stink” was a grim chapter in Central London’s history during the sweltering months of July and August 1858. The sweltering heat of summer magnified the nauseating odor of untreated human waste and industrial runoff that had gathered along the banks of the River Thames. The crisis was not sudden, but rather the inevitable climax of an escalating issue – the antiquated and insufficient sewer system that was spilling directly into the Thames.
In the common belief of the time, miasma – or bad air – from the effluent was seen as a vector for contagious diseases. This led to the attribution of three prior cholera outbreaks to the persisting issues with the river before the occurrence of the Great Stink. It was an alarming reminder of the consequences of neglecting public sanitation and the impact of industrial progress on the environment.
…What better theme for a punk song? Has anything changed in 160 years?
A turbulent surge of noise, the soundtrack to this serenade o’ stink, “Beam Engine,” is propelled by the ceaseless pounding of metronomic drums, dynamic bass undertones, and the biting snarl of fuzz-laden guitars. The song’s confrontational and raw sound is ignited by the piercing strum of angular guitars that cut through the motoric rumble of tank-like drums and bass. This audacious track pays a gritty tribute to the dark waters of Father Thames and the Great Stink, which nearly brought London to its knees. Crafted in its unfiltered form by Wayne Adams at the Bear Bites Horse studios, “Beam Engine” distills the wild fervor and untamed ethos that Nothingheads embody in their electrifying live shows.
Accompanying the single is a DIY video, a mosaic of pinhole-style visuals that reflect the raw essence of the Thames – its transient spectators and enduring post-industrial tarnish. If you’re lucky, you might just catch the band engaging in a bit of mudlarking on the river’s edge next time around – but don’t forget to bring your gloves!
Since their formation in 2020, Nothingheads have been crafting dissonant grooves and making a name for themselves on the London DIY live music scene. Their performances are a chaotic spectacle, with songs covering topics as diverse as Amazonian mines, modern super sewers, and gambling in Gethsemane. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Mclusky and Wine Lips, and have become regular headliners themselves.
“Beam Engine” is a volatile prologue to their forthcoming EP, “Sunlit Uplands“, slated to shatter the silence on June 9th. The single will make its home on a 10-inch lathe cut under the umbrella of the DIY juggernaut, Just Step Sideways Records, a refuge for musical mavericks like Beige Banquet, Civil Partnership, and Tommy Cossack.
For more Nothingheads, visit and order the single from their Bandcamp link here:
In a rousing celebration of “Sunlit Uplands“, Nothingheads is set to seize the limelight as the headline act at the Shacklewell Arms on June 17th. This is just the first salvo of the sonic invasion they’re planning across London, with an array of electrifying performances slated for the summer. Fans should keep their eyes and ears peeled for the impending announcement of a full-blown UK tour scheduled for the Autumn.
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