Tuesday, June 18, 2024

New sounds: 18/6/24

Ed Schrader's Music Beat - Daylight Commander
Cryptically politicised synth-theatrical absurdity heralds Baltimore duo and Future Islands running mates' fifth album Orchestra Hits, out September 20th

Hamish Hawk - Nancy Dearest
Speaking of theatrical absurdity plus synth... well, with more stridency. Album A Firmer Hand out August 16th

Hello Mary - 0%
New York trio arrive at fractured spiralling guitar, subterranean bass frequency and some excellent frustrated shouting, then briefly remember they're occasionally a sunny guitar-pop band too towards the end. Clearly contain multitudes.

Joan As Police Woman - Long For Ruin
Blimey, long time since we've featured Joan Wasser on here. Lemons, Limes & Orchids, out September 20th, is her tenth album, heralded by expansive shuffling about humanity destroying itself from within.

Knitting Circle - Losing My Eggs
Excellently titled misleadingly urgent jittery mental health/menopause statement from DIY indiepop supergroup (Milky Wimpshake, Crumbs, Red Monkey)'s debut EP Deciduous Climbers.

New Starts - Asbestos Roof
And in case that DIY indiepop supergroup isn't your thing, how about this DIY indiepop supergroup? Darren Hayman scratches his lovelorn new wave/power-pop riffage itch with members of adults and Tigercats backing up. More Break-Up Songs is out August 16th.

Nightshift - Phone
Meanwhile Glasgow's Nightshift's bass player Andrew Doig went the other way and joined a DIY indiepop supergroup, Dancer. His day job outfit's third album Homosapien, released next week, is heralded by swooning, itchy, country-influenced confliction of the heart augmented into seductiveness by the mighty Ray Aggs (Sacred Paws, Shopping, Trash Kit, R.Aggs, probably another thousand) on wandering fiddle.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

New sounds: 12/6/24

ANONHI and the Johnsons - Breaking
Following our number four album of 2023 My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross, in all its soulful lament to the opposition and end to everything, feels like a difficult thing to follow, so ahead of some American live dates ANONHI has gone even more spare, just delicate Bill Withers-style guitar and woodwind yet again having to narrate climate catastrophe.

Heartworms - Jacked
Joining in at least an EP too late to the hype around Jojo Orme, we know, but with Dan Carey's production aid this feels like the moment her ideas find their fervid metier, paranoid post-gothic soundscapes that seem claustrophobically closing in around her own increasing anxiety.

Johnny Foreigner - Orc Damage
HOLY FUCK WHAT'S THIS WHAT DO WE DO WITH OUR HANDS WAAAAGH. Er... so, no sooner are we getting used to there being a new Los Campesinos! album impending than their sometime running mates are back amongst the recorded living - seems appropriate just as we start to make special plans for next April's STN twentieth anniversary that two primary anchors of its first decade-plus reactivate, we suppose - and still sounding just as wired and zealous as ever. Their sixth album How To Be Hopeful ("a pure product of chaos magic. It compelled us to be made, to harness returning ripples of stones long since thrown.") is due on the almighty Alcopop! on September 13th but ahead of that we find The Sky and Sea were Part of Me (or I was Part of Them), a nine track... EP? Mixtape? Project? What should we call this exactly? "High quality selection of music" covers it in any case, with all the righteous ragers, proto-emo lyrical references, crossthreaded shoutalongs, hyperminiature guitar pyrotechnics and songs built around almost ambient keys and electronics that still sound of a piece that you could ever want, now from a perspective of being old, jaded, cynical and observing all around them turn to shit, especially here as Alexei and Kelly narrate corporate avarice.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

New sounds: 11/6/24

ACHB - Double Agents
Alex and the Christopher Hale Band, to give them their government name. Alex Hale has been around the STN-sphere for a few years, even designing our Alldayer posters for a while, and this upgraded version of his band, now featuring another Alldayer alumnus in SJ Newman, toughens up with nods to ME REX's exuberant post-LC! (of whom more shortly) post-indiepop/emo.

The Jesus Lizard - Hide & Seek
They're back! Back! BACK! Their first album in 26 years, in fact, Rack out September 13th, with David Yow set to soar over/crash into the half-waiting arms of British audiences in January. For now this largely picks up impressively adjacent given the ageing process to they left off, wild eyed and iridescent with classic rock riffs punctured with live wires.

urika's bedroom - XTC
Nobody seems to know much about urika's bedroom, apart from that they're based in Los Angeles and they've got the enormously influential Chris Coady to mix this second single. While the introductory shuffling acoustic guitar comes on disturbingly like Everlast, the rest is pure shoegaze effects, where melodies fly in the reverberated stratosphere and the hopeful, fragile vocals of dark matter blur into it all until disappearing into digital distortion.

And as before, we've just recently told you or you already know who these people are:

Los Campesinos! - 0898 HEARTACHE

My Best Unbeaten Brother - Blues Fatigue
Nilufer Yanya - Method Actor

Thursday, May 30, 2024

New sounds: 30/5/24

Julia-Sophie - Numb
Julia-Sophie Walker fronted turn of the 2010s Oxford-based garage rock band Little Fish and went on to Candy Says, who you have even less chance of having heard of. None of that background in any way whatsoever guides you towards the sound of her new single following three EPs since 2020, in which claustrophobically, hypnotically building layers through propulsive Moroder/house-like electronics and synth pads, unsettlingly intimate spoken semi-whispers and detached singing of no small amount of internalised pain up to conversational voices glitching out at the end. This is special, as may be debut album Forgive Too Slow, out on July 26th.

Okay Kaya – The Groke
Kaya Wilkins by name, born in New Jersey, raised just outside Oslo, three albums behind her, recording this first new material in a couple of years in -25C conditions on a small island. Not that it sounds like it at all, being a quite thrilling combination of strutting R&B rhythm, funk bassline, dramatic strings and alt-pop chorus based on climate change and named after the character from The Moomins who freezes the ground they stand on.

And some people we've featured recently enough for you to already know about them...

Jen Cloher - Annabelle

mary in the junkyard - goop

Mike Lindsay & Anna B Savage - Pretender To Surrender

My Best Unbeaten Brother - Extraordinary Times

nathy sg - Ryan Write Me A Poem

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Frogs

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

New sounds in brief: 22/5/24

We've been very busy this week, not least with preparing for our inaugural visit to the much admired Bearded Theory festival this weekend, so if this is our last ever communication you'll know that we drowned there. So just a quick round-up of embeds - and additions to the 2024 rolling playlist we keep forgetting to link to - for now, but you'll know most of the names already if you're a regular reader or cogent being.

Dayflower - Crush

Los Campesinos! - A Psychic Wound

meija feat. Hand Habits - SEVEN

SAM MORTON - Double Dip Neon

Thursday, May 16, 2024

New sounds: 16/5/24

Cassandra Jenkins - Delphinium Blue
Truth be told we were a bit underwhelmed with Only One, the first single from My Light, My Destroyer, out July 12th. The second... well, that's a very different story. The way it evolves from sparse, gossamer Lynchian layers and electronic hits, through the re-emergence of her Laurie Anderson-ish spoken word bridges into technicolour celestial choirs and guitars like power tools in the background... there's something special here.

Good News - Orange Juice In The Shower
Yet more hyperactive end of skittish post-punk, is it? The Sheffield trio align metronomic percussion with deadpan-monotone vocals in a minimalist whirl and it's done with as soon as it feels done.blurb

Helen Love - Stay With Me
32 years, Helen's been at this coalface of glitter-gun dayglo synth-bubblegum by now. The Ramones were still a recording act back then. Aligned to the mighty Alcopop! these days, her 31st single continues the introspective side developed on last album, 2002's This Is My World, and is an openly Northern Soul indebted love song replete with string stabs, percussion rolls and talc-friendly beat. Still sounds ready for the light-up dancefloor, of course.

Los Campesinos! - Feast Of Tongues
You're reading Sweeping The Nation, don't pretend you don't know. And better yet, they're on the slow burn build path. Album number seven All Hell is out on July 19th and contains a song called To Hell In A Handjob, which is already only a leftfield football reference as simile short of being the ur-LC! song. And they're releasing another song from it today! Emergency afternoon edit ahoy!

My Best Unbeaten Brother - Time On Our Hands, Spider-Man
Ben Parker (Nosferatu D2, Superman Revenge Squad etc)'s current vehicle for frantic verbose excoriations of society and culture moving around him have a debut EP, Pessimistic Pizza, out on 28th June. Driven, as with the former band, by Adam Parker's frantically driving drumming, the first slice (see?) covers the passing of time and memory, processing and legacy, and "trying to be the Spider-Man/Superman figure for someone".

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

New sounds from way out (Focus Wales 2024 to be precise)

Every year of late, at the end of the week that begins with the May Day bank holiday, we've travelled west out to Wrexham for Focus Wales, a conference that discusses big hot topic issues with industry types in the afternoon, exhibits short films and artistic progression and, most importantly for us roadtripping heathens whose idea of a rock'n'roll anecdote is "we once played a pub quiz machine in Wrexham with Islet" - and the pub's shut sometime in the last year, just to completely kybosh it - puts a hell of a lot of varied musical entertainment on for three days at a time. Link-ups with various similar conferences across the world brings in a remarkable array of under the radar international talent and while there's a good few well known names - this year Spiritualized, the Mysterines, Snapped Ankles, Antony Szmierek and Fat Dog because it’s still a festival happening in 2024, Deerhoof if they hadn’t had to pull out - the emphasis is on a wide, and stylistically all-encompassing, variety of Welsh talent. It's pretty much the city festival circuit’s best kept secret, and one where we get to hang out with a good few people we've got to know through this wingding, catch up with old favourites and find new ones.

Most of which for whatever reason have tended to be Canadian. This year Fold Paper, whose recent single we covered a few posts ago, brought their knotty, obtuse take on post-punk over from Winnipeg for a couple of underattended and not greatly mixed sets - they're in London tonight and sticking around for The Great Escape and Get Together - while last year's discovery Laurence-Anne returned in her other guise as guitarist in art-pop outfit La Sécurité, full of electric shock new wave post-B-52s jumpiness (and also doing a Great Escape show) Our real Canuck catch for the year however was Boyhood, the project name of Ontarian Caylie Runciman who's been recording under the guise since 2011. A late addition to the Llwyn Isaf big top main stage after Ben from Seazoo broke his ankle in the week, a woefully small audience got into the Soccer Mommy-recalling emotionaly exposing bedroom guitar pop given a left of centre realignment, the day's second set in the smaller room at The Rockin' Chair emphasising the electronic loop and noise undertows.

Meanwhile the rest of the world also delivered W!ZARD, Bordeaux's more post-hardcore leaning answer to Gilla Band's noise and confusion delivering a packed, ultra-loud set (and the first broken bass string we've seen in a while), Romanian duo Musspell's drifting, spellbound electronic soundscape pop reminiscent of Golden Fable, and some appropriately smeary, serrated sets from Brooklyn shoegazers Punchlove, right down to the Fender Jazzmaster. Something else exciting came all the way from Seoul, in the more than just effervescent Sailor Honeymoon. How the hell did their debut EP, released two weeks ago, bypass our usual 'scrappy shouty melodic but with twists female garage-punk' radar until now? Having things to say pertaining to the pristine image of Korean women they clearly have things to say and fun, innovative ways to say and fire through them in a style within the Raincoats' ballpark - the cover of their free fanzine showed one of them sporting a T-shirt reading 'KOREAN GIRLS INVENTED PUNK ROCK NOT ENGLAND'. Their last song was called Fxxk Urself, is based around a chant of "go fuck yourself/I'm gonna fuck you up" and absolutely collapses in chaos at the end. Because why wouldn't it be? Oh, and they're also in London tonight (Tuesday)! It's only a mile between Sailor Honeymoon at the Sebright Arms and Fold Paper at Strongroom Bar, just run between them.

What about the Brits? Well, we missed a few due to clashes but obviously some of our old Welsh longtime favourites were well represented, with Campfire Social owning the biggest stage and (apparently, we got stuck in the queue outside) being even better in Rockin' Chair two days later previewing an album due in the summer, CHROMA likewise on the former, Mowbird's first gig in years, HMS Morris their usual unorthodox selves, and two sets from Islet that were entirely different in setlist while both capturing their hyperactively charismatic/enigmatic drones-you-can-dance-to idiosyncracies. One hopes fans of the band their second set was supporting Spiritualized were receptive.

Meanwhile, from just across the way in Manchester and playing to a sardine-like room in "indie bar" (and when they say indie bar, they mean they literally exhibit a signed setlist from The Sherlocks) The Parish... once more, how the hell did The Red Stains bypass that self same radar we mentioned up there? They've been around for a few years but in the last eighteen months or so with a settled line-up and some singles they've carved a path through the thicket with provocative dayglo disco-punk, uncompromising anti-consumerism/mental health/queerness-led lyrical torching, onstage energy and banter to spare from charisma to spare singer Natalie Emslie and a guitar played through pedals that make it sound like an analogue synth. Manchester Psych Fest at the end of August appears to be their only currently announced date. They call themselves "cyborg-housewife-glitch-kitsch-supermarketcore". That'll never fit on the HMV divider. But it should.

Monday, May 06, 2024

New sounds: 6/5/24

Gemma Cullingford - Early Hours
This drifting twinkliness that sounds like an even more David Lynchian Broadcast actually came out in February but features on The Komiza Project EP, originally a Record Store Day release of songs written for previous band Kozima that sountracks Home, her 25 minute short film comprising Super-8 footage of her parents.

Knitting Circle - Dance For Peace
The first single by the new project of Milky Wimpshake's Pete Dale, also featuring members of Crumbs, Red Monkey and No Fit State, is two minutes of taut, sharp pointed post-punk about behaviour by certain men at gigs.

Lilith Ai - Riot! Riot! Revolution
Lilith's urgent call to arms signature tune was originally released in 2016 but has been buffed up for Serial Killers Prefer Blondes, out 13th September.

Mouse Teeth - The Original Of Laura
From the Ten Of Swords EP, Nancy Dawkins' uncomfortable ritualistic scab-picking of spoken word/art-rock, a visceral take on of abusers of power.

Neutrals - That's Him On The Daft Stuff Again
Based in Oakland, California but you'd never guess it from Allan McNaughton's voice, 30+ years in America having seemingly done little to affect his Glaswegian accent or indeed the very un-Bay Area use of 'daft' in the title. (To cement the home away from home feel, their forthcoming second album New Town Dream - May 31st on Slumberland Records - is based around life in those utopian developmental ideals and features a track called Steven Proctor, Bus Conductor) There's something of that city's fabled indie scene in their chiming scrappiness of their agit-post-punk with classic power-pop melody.

Orlando Weeks feat. Rhian Teasdale - Dig
He used to front the Maccabees, she still fronts Wet Leg, together they have a conversational argument in harmony amid ripping piano and synth loops and motorik beats.

The WAEVE - City Lights
Whether it's because of Graham Coxon going back to his other job for the best part of a year, James Ford coming in to produce or whatever but his guitar and the synths sound a lot more like Blur's skronkier moments than what he and Rose Elinor Dougall did on last year's debut album, taking on a Scary Monsters takes to the widescreen indie-dancefloor vibe.

Thursday, May 02, 2024

New sounds: 2/5/24

adults - trouble
Streamlined power-pop leading into a fists-aloft chorus and out within 127 seconds, from the upcoming .​.​.​in the big league split EP with Spank Hair.

Adwaith - MWY
Both albums to date by Carmarthen's finest have won the Welsh Music Prize. No pressure, then, for the upcoming as yet unannounced third. They meet it head on with a building limber groove, a burbling undertow and a dark circling chant.

Cowtown - Can't Talk Now
Leeds' long-serving angular post-punk trio are about to release their first album in eight years, Fear Of... out right at the end of this month, and they sound almost calm by their previous jerky post-Devo standards. By which we mean this is more Talking Heads range in its below surface level instability - reflected lyrically as well as rhythmically - and insistent riffs.

Fold Paper - Nothing to Report
It's been a while since we've heard a band who are right out on the hyperactive sonic edge of this whole angular thing, and Winnipeg's Fold Paper fill that gap very neatly. Which is odd, as neat is the one thing they shy away from what with wiry (and Wire-y) guitars, No Wave arrythmia and the declamatory vocal style of Chell Osuntade, all seemingly held together with bungee ropes. They're arriving in the UK for a few dates next week, starting with our favourite haunt Focus Wales, from which we always come away excited about a new Canadian discovery...

Hamish Hawk - Big Cat Tattoos
Edinburgh's eruditely idiosyncratic iron fist in velvet glove previews new album A Firmer Hand, due 16th August.

Loveletter - Prophets
Loveletter are from New York, but who isn't? They have a debut EP, Testament, out on 7th June, from which comes a song which after the Be My Baby drum intro fakeout takes quite a bit from Sleater-Kinney, not least Gabriella Zappia sounding quite a lot like Corin Tucker, but there's something else going on from a generation of female post-punks before them, specifically the groove of the Mo-Dettes and the tightrope interplay of the Raincoats.

nathy sg - Something You Said
Him off Martha again with... well, if we're honest the most like Martha one of his solo tracks has sounded. Touring towards the end of the month. Oh, and this is what was under that headgear all this time! (Nothing. It's nothing.)

Friday, April 26, 2024

New sounds: 26/4/24

The Accident Group - Go Away (Please Come Back)
There's a handful of bands with what could loosely be described as lyrically comic intent at the moment, a few good, a lot more "we already have Art Brut at home". Manchester's The Accident Group, named after a failed personal injury claims company and describing themselves as "on a constant quest to write the ultimate pop song, forever waylaid by rock 'n' roll", seem like they're going to fit into the former category, or more precisely the limited/liminal space between Thank, early Sports Team and some band who released one 7" in 1981 featured on a Cherry Red compilation.

Laughing - Bruised
Classic power-pop shapes that would keep Evan Dando even more awake at night and apply a suntan (despite being from Montreal) to Songs From Northern Britain-era Teenage Fanclub.

The rest we've either written about recently or you already know of, so scooting along...

Les Savy Fav - World Got Great

ME REX - Canada Water

mui zyu - the rules of what an earthling can be

Nilufer Yanya - Like I Say (I runaway)