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

Monday, June 12, 2023

Your Heart Breaks feat. Kimya Dawson & David Christian - These Old Haunts

Your Heart Breaks, the project of Seattle-based renowned animator Clyde Petersen, has been operating since 1998 with more records than you'll ever get to catch up on - The Wrack Line, out on 7th July, is at least their twelfth album - and a fluid line-up and sense of collaboration that has seen Petersen work with Kelley Deal, Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla, Nirvana's cellist Lori Goldston, K Records country rocker Karl Blau and members of drone greats Earth. Another regular contributor has been Kimya Dawson, who featured on the previous track, college rock rave-up Wesley Crusher, and duets after a fashion here with Comet Gain's cussed sole survivor David Christian - throw in that Katherine Paul, AKA Black Belt Eagle Scout, also contibutes musically and that's one hell of a fever dream combination. The track is a typically literate summery shuffle inspired by touring life travelogues, the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland and, er, "the perfect place to take a poo".

Son Lux, Anna B Savage & DM Stith - Pyre (Alarm Bells)
Echo Ladies - Awake
Aderyn - I Wish I Had A Dog
sister - Guts
Celestial North - Otherworld

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Lande Hekt - Pottery Class

Currently trailing The Beths round Europe having been doing likewise in the UK, Hekt is building quite the catalogue of deep introspection negotiating the idea of self-acceptance over two albums and now a new 7", of which this A-side attempts to be upbeat musically but finds her in a slough of isolated despond brought on by an extended period of separation amid the housing crisis.

Saloon Dion - Happiness
cumgirl8 - gothgirl1
Dream Wife - Social Lubrication
John Monroe & Field Music - Driving
Laundromat Chicks - Florida Dream
Sofie Royer - Mio

Monday, June 05, 2023

Grain Mother - 3am

This is technically the Nottingham band's debut single but there's a possibility you came across them when they were the full band of Alice Robbins, whose 2019 EP earned Joni and Daughter comparisons. This new formation has already supported The WAEVE and Trust Fund, and if you're round about Metronome on Wednesday night you could see them supporting Rozi Plain; their strong single a spacious, pristine lament with Americana airs and jazzy inflections, lyrically astute - including a surprising namecheck for a popular home video-based TV show - in its outwardly strong, inward cracked melancholia.

Trust Fund - London
CMAT - Have Fun!
Mt. Yonder - Ones & Zeros
Grian Chatten - Last Time Every Time Forever
The Popguns - Caesar