The Shills formed around childhood friends Ed Bateson, Dickon Collinson, Rob D'Ath, and brothers Olly and Tom Yates in Cambridge. In 2008 they released their debut single, Raison d'être, with independent Cambridge label, R*E*P*E*A*T records. Shortly after its release, they were discovered by London based Strummerville (The Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music) who gave them artist of the week and posted the single on-line. Raison d'être went on to become one of the most downloaded songs in Strummerville's history.
The Shills spent the latter half of 2008 touring the UK appearing with acts such as Yeti, Tom Hingley, Five O'Clock Heroes and Patrick Jones before being approached by music producer Roger Fife, to record a second single. Their second single, Apparition, was released in March 2009 with Globalnet Records achieving plaudits from BBC Radio, The NME, Artrocker, Organ magazine and caught the attention of Dave Halliwell, former manager of the Verve and The Beta Band who said that "The Shills have one of the most distinctive and original voices around." After the success of Apparition, Strummerville asked The Shills to perform as part of Mick Jones' Rock'n'Roll Public Library exhibition under the west way before heading north to Manchester to perform as part of the world-renowned fringe festival In the City in the shadow of Granada Studios.
In late 2009, Cambridge based five piece, the Shills went into the studio to record their EP with Roger Fife, (Cyndi Lauper, Tricky, Manic Street Preachers, Anthony and the Johnsons). The result, Sweet Inertia, contains four brave, incendiary rock n roll tracks that demand your attention. Each song that makes up their new release positively throbs with fervour, intelligence and frustration forged of their lives in a dead end, Satellite town. Opener Sweet Inertia is the most immediate tune on the EP, an urgent kick-start, fired into life by infectious licks supplied by Olly Yates and Rob D'Ath and the heart pounding rhythms of bassist Dickon Collinson and drummer Ed Bateson. While front man Tom Yates's keening, vocals arc wonderfully between the tremolo of Elvis Costello and the unstoppable passion of Joe Strummer on its inspired chorus line, replete with anthemic ooh ahh backings and cart wheeling guitars that burn into its outro. Sweet Inertia is an undeniable, slab of artful melodic rock, redolent of the Buzzcocks and The Smiths. The Shills talk about the song's inspiration here: Without our band we lack any kind of purpose, focus, or means of expressing our frustration. We use our band to convey and deliver us from our frustration; it is a vehicle to release us from our inertia. Music will always give us such a release. We want our music to give others the same release.
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