Friday, September 22, 2023

Get Wrong - It's So Easy

Yeah, funnily enough the Martha/Spook School collaboration has been fast-tracked into full blog honours, why do you ask? Yes, Adam Todd has returned from the moon in advance of the rest of the band's upcoming tenth anniversary dates, landed in Durham and united with four stringer Naomi Griffin for a self-titled EP to be released on 1st December through reliable old Alcopop! in the UK. Just to make sure we'd really love it it's produced, recorded, and mixed by Field Music's Peter Brewis, with David on mastering duty. And after all that... actually it's not what you may expect, as the pair decided to swerve their well known backgrounds and embrace their love of 80s synthpop (yeah, we know that's not exactly breaking new ground, but keep going) and current pop tropes, producing in its lead track something infectious that pulses and drones like dreampop while finding a new speck of space on the crowded neon dancefloor, while lyrically touching on areas both bands have approached, expressing love and affection through the joy, nostalgia and opportunity in the everyday. It's the most likeable retro-futurist electro track we've heard in a good while, and also features the lyric "you eat crisps louder than anyone I've ever encountered".

bar italia - my little tony
Crumb & Melody's Echo Chamber - Le Temple Volant
The David Tattersall Group - Bright Moon
Emma Anderson - Clusters
Spearmint - Prince And Joni
Sufjan Stevens – Will Anybody Ever Love Me?

Friday, September 15, 2023

Mclusky - unpopular parts of a pig/the digger you deep

Feels like this bit is unnecessary, but here goes. Having reformed, after a fashion given two thirds of them were serving in Future Of The Left in between, in 2014 this is the first new Mclusky material in nineteen years, a four track double A-side/EP/something released to fund a US tour with a full album promised for next year. And... it sounds like Mclusky. Which is to say it thunders like a bastard thrashing its way to the centre of the earth and Falco's lyrics are still far clear of everyone else's in their blast range.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Chemtrails - Business Class War Paint

Concentrating readers and STN Presents... supporters will know how much everything Mia, Laura and the rest do has excited us across two albums of full-on hook-laden acid-psych-garage. Having made their first two albums in their living room and since the last moved to Manchester the third, due early in 2024, was entrusted to Margo Broom, whose credits include both Big Joanie albums and Fat White Family's Songs For Our Mothers among a general selection of cussed noisemongers. It's a good sideways shift too, toned down maybe half a notch as they find a peppy groove to complement the askew melody and ever present creeping existential dread, throwing in a girl group vocal breakdown to complement the harmonies because they can. If you're in or near Manchester, Nottingham, Worcester, London or Sheffield they're on their way to you in the first half of next month.

TVAM - Costasol
Slate - St Agatha

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

ME REX - Giant Giant Giant

After seven EPs and that one album they did comprising 52 song snippets that could be played in any order (Megabear), indie-post-emo titans and headliners of this year's Leicester Indiepop Alldayer* ME REX are finally becoming an album band as of October 20th, which is when Giant Elk is released. Its second single typically sets Myles McCabe's tumbling fountain of ideas and self-examination against similarly post-Los Campesinos! anxious build and release into an impassioned chorus.

(* tickets available for 2024 now! Now! Now! Lineup to follow in a few weeks, and if all goes well with putting it together we're surer than ever it'll sell out double quick)

Grrrl Gang - Better Than Life
HALEY - Walk Among The Dead
HMS Morris - Balls
Lael Neale - I'll Be Your Star
Laurence-Anne - Vitesse
Melin Melyn - I Paint Dogs
Muriel - Lavender By The Frames
Problem Patterns - Poverty Tourist
Swansea Sound - Twentieth Century
University - Notre Dame Made Out Of Flesh

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Away for the summer?

Yeah, we've let things lapse a little. As an apology of musical sorts, here's a 40-strong playlist of (probably) everything we'd have featured since our last post on July 3rd:

(While we've got Spotify open, the Unglamorous Sampler is on there now)

Monday, July 03, 2023

Corinne Bailey Rae - New York Transit Queen

So we were casually looking at Spotify's punk playlist the other day and noticed it included a new track by Corinne Bailey Rae, the Leeds neo-soul singer who nearly became about as big as any British soul talent could. Weird algorithm glitch, right? Well... before falling into the local soul scene and being spotted she was in a band called Helen, which she has said was inspired by Veruca Salt and L7 and nearly got signed to Roadrunner Records, and covered Belly's Low Red Moon on her 2011 covers EP The Love. Her forthcoming fourth album, Black Rainbows, her first in seven years (out September 15th), is inspired by the archive of the Chicago installation artist and Black urban communities specialist Theaster Gates and seems like it will be a genre hopping exercise using her usual sound as a springboard. New York Transit Queen, taking after Thelma Potter, who in 1947 became the first African-American to win the Miss Subways competition in NYC, is sub-two minutes of handclaps, vocal cadence like a schoolyard chant and a big hook riff, all like something that might have been heard in a subterranean dive in Portland or Olympia, Washington around 1990, or indeed the Highbury Garage around 1997 (see posts passim). I f this ends up as a one-off stylistically it's a spectacular one.

Blur - St Charles Square
Furrowed Brow - Outdoors Man
Das Koolies - A Ride
Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam - Apocalypse
LYR - Paradise Lost
Good News - Kishki
DAAY – Top Heavy
Rachael Lavelle - Let Me Unlock Your Full Potential
Trips And Falls - Wandering Thoughts
The Hazmats - Skewed View

Friday, June 30, 2023

66 From 6 - Sweeping The Nation's First Half Of 2023

As it says - now we're officially halfway through, here's a representative sample of the best tracks of the year so far.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Islet - Euphoria

Or as we know them round here, The Band We Once Played A Quiz Machine With. Thirteen years in Islet are not only proven as one of Britain's most underappreciated acts, they're cast iron one of our greatest live bands, kinetic energy in the red creating waves of manicured noise whilst charging around stages and audiences. They're not half bad on record either, whether meditating or heading for the jugular. Back to a four-piece again, Soft Fascination (out 29th September)'s first single picks up many of their previous strands, synths spearing into space following Emma Daman Thomas' cries against rhythmic motorik pressure and increasingly claustrophobia inducing insistency.

FIZZ - High In Brighton
Hand Habits - Gift Of The Human Curse
dexter in the newsagent - The Way
Sasha Adrian - Dog
Swansea Sound - Keep Your Head On
Minor Conflict - Second-Hand Time

Monday, June 19, 2023

Unglamorous Sampler: Velvet Crisis - Scratch That Itch/Glitch Magnet - Jurassic Party Planning

The story so far: Nineties indie survivor Ruth Miller, who has played our Alldayers twice as leader of Po!, decides to found a fresh outlet for new song urges as she approaches 60, forms classically DIY garage-indie outfit The Verinos but struggles to find women of advancing years in her Leicester locality. So she starts Unglamorous Music, a series of gatherings and how-to open houses for anyone else of her rough demographic with no active musical history who might feel the same way, leading to a whole set of bands forming and trading, in their own ways from sweary punk to noisy art-rock, in rawness and lyrical humour and honesty. The press pick up on it, leading to features in the Guardian, Steph's Packed Lunch, 5 Live Drive and two different German TV channels - not to mention the Verinos basically blowing a hole through this year's Alldayer, so much so they're playing the Sheffield Pop Weekender on August bank holiday Saturday.

Meanwhile, as more bands continue to come together thanks to regular showcases and workshops - five new groups, plus five of the existing classes, are playing a fundraiser at Duffy's Bar in Leicester this Thursday - eight of the original set put songs to tape for the first Unglamorous Sampler, to be released on July 7th on vinyl as well as download.

As a taster of a very consistent and exciting snapshot of a unique scene, here's a couple of cuts from the sampler. Velvet Crisis were part of the inaugural Unglamorous intake back in January 2022; you can absolutely hear the lineage from the Raincoats and early Slits through Talulah Gosh and post-C86 bands, sharing the sense that it could all fall apart at any moment but not while they have enthusiasm and something to say. In their words "Scratch that Itch is about how capitalism encourages greed... it tricks people into believing they can have anything and they should want more. When in reality it’s all about making profit and why lots of people get into terrible debt... but capitalism doesn’t care... just a game for the super rich for the rest poverty’s a bitch."

Glitch Magnet meanwhile are from somewhere vaguely nearby but in a different direction, stalking wiry art-damaged post-punk of a type that suggests ATP attendance pasts, live sets that rarely cross twenty minutes, all disturbed sprechgesang and rough edges left unsanded.

Friday, June 16, 2023

I, Doris - HRT

Formed out of the Loud Women DIY empire, the tabard sporting I, Doris - official membership: Doris, Doris, Doris, Doris, Doris and Doris - play what they term "mummycore riotpop kitchenpunx", playful while cutting feminism-driven lyrical concerns like some kind of indiepop Jenny Eclair routine. Having been at Bearded Theory and being on their way in August to Rebellion and Brighton Pride, their new single's poppy keytar hook and instant hit chorus with handclaps brings the lighter side out of the struggle for accessing gynaecological healthcare; the end of the video features two members being thrown out of a TK Maxx, which is about as good an analogy for the band as you could find.

Muriel - Body Of Light