Thursday, April 04, 2024

New sounds: 4/4/24

Arab Strap - Strawberry Moon
Well, here we go again with another chance to remind you that on 10th May the world will contain an album entitled 'i’m totally fine with it don’t give a fuck anymore'. The third single tries to synthesise two of their main mods of expression at once, cheap drum machine and churning fuzz like Suicide fronted by the temporal opposite of Alan Vega turning into Buckfast-at-literal-dawn club beats, while Aidan sees the moon's waxing and waning as a constant in a time of personal turmoil.

Les Savy Fav - Limo Scene
Speaking of exciting self-questioning returns with new albums out on May 10th by bands originating in the 90s with heavily bearded individualist vocalists, the taut, tense third single from OUI LSF could have come off studio album height Let's Stay Friends. Tim Harrington claims it's about "abducted by the spirit of music past while out looking for the grave of Turner ‘Rocky’ Wilson Jr. — Rocky was bassist for the doo-wop band The Rivingtons. He made up ‘Pappa-Oom-Mow-Mow’ that the Trashmen took and uses for ‘Surfin Bird’."

The Lovely Eggs - Memory Man
Hey, Holly and David are back! Somehow it's been four years between albums, their seventh Eggsistentialism, co-produced and mixed by Dave Fridmann, due 17th May and preceded by a single right in the decaying dayglo centre of their psychedelic wheelhouse, swirling around a Krauty electronic undertow not least with bass bin-bothering robot noises.

Mike Lindsay & Anna B Savage - table
Lindsay of Tunng and LUMP and Savage of Savage's second released collaboration foe the former's 'supershapes - volume 1' out 14th June is based around the imagined history of and around a vintage dining table, wallpapered in arrythmic beats decorated with woodwind and Savage's resonant voice, even when required to declaim the words "errant gravy", before free saxes come in to pepper and disturb the course.

Murder Club - Crybaby
And so the thematic three-track Night Out EP by the breakout stars of this year's Leicester Indiepop Alldayer is complete, following the previously featured joy in ruff-wearing sparkliness of Pictures Of Myself (the before) and Shots?! (the very much during) with the brokenhearted synth-disco last dance at end of the night.

The Pill - Bale Of Hay
You wait years for one... well, not wait because nobody outside reach of Ventnor was actively doing so, but it's odd how over the last two or three years there's been a sudden stream of bands coming across the water from Isle Of Wight. The latest are a duo, Lily and Lottie by name (plus a semi-secret drummer, obviously), who like all the best bands sound like the most fun. Indeed, with their scrappy, self-aware brassiness to the max backroom punk-pop rhythmic'n'riffy hooky-go-luckiness they fit perfectly into that Nu-Glitter Scene idea we talked at length to ourselves about two years to the week ago. The debut single is less than two minutes long and concerns being too pale and blonde and that being alright by her. It's obviously brilliant, though don't then expect us to wear their 'BIMBO BUTTHOLE TITS' T-shirt in polite company.

Two-Man Giant Squid - I Was A DJ In 2015
They're a Brooklyn post-punk band but don't hold that against them. They've already released two albums in each of the last two years, their third trailed with what we can best describe as Cheekface on DFA Records, arpeggiating, aereated electro plus pointedly sardonic jabs at the EDM scene.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

New sounds: 27/3/24

Itchy and the Nits - Beat It Bozo!
Sydney trio Itchy and the Nits' debut album Worst Of, out this week and from which this is a mere representative track, thoroughly channels the spirit of Thee Headcoatees and their pure dirty garage brethren, harbouring no greater desire than to get from one end of the song to another with no extraneous words or musical fat at all - twelve tracks pass in sixteen and a half minutes, the longest 1:47 - and not much more in literary lyrical subtlety. Obviously right now they might be the best band in the world (subs pls check)

Keeley Forsyth feat. Colin Stetson - Turning
Bit weird that the saxophonist to the American stars gets an artist co-credit but such is the coiled foreboding atmosphere around Forsyth's music that any instrumental input seems notable. From third album The Hollow, out May 10th, Forsyth's expressive vocal profundo acts as shafts of blacklight in a void that Stetson helps go from practically nothing but electrical hum to swampy nightmare.

mary in the junkyard - Marble Arch
Everyone involved would rather not see statements like "British Big Thief" doled out willy-nilly but Clari Freeman-Taylor's voice and the way they explode outwards from tentative electro-folky settings into noise bursts evokes the way their songs often develop only with very much their own tight, intense approach. Why is the official video a live version? WHY IS THE OFFICIAL VIDEO A LIVE VERSION?

mui zyu feat. lei, e - Sparky
Returning to Eva Liu's searching for identity this time by means of skittering beats, hyperventilating, vaguely disturbed synths and at-ease considerations of the hunt for happiness in a song named after the dog from Blue Velvet and featuring vocal duets with the enigmatic lei, e, a fellow Hong Kong-to-London emigre with a shared interest in expressing cultural heritage and a delicate way with... oh, OK, it's just Emmy The Great under a new musical identity. nothing or something to die for is out May 24th.

Y Dail - My Baby's In The FBI
It's another of those enigmatic jangle-pop visionaries from south Wales, everybody! This one's twenty year old Huw Griffiths from Pontypridd, who has the right people in his corner - Gruff Rhys, Marc Riley, Huw Stephens, Adam Walton - has a bilingual debut album Teigr out on 5th April and on this double A-side with the similarly inclined Pedwar Weithiau Pump channels classic summery surf-pop in his own image with nods to Gorky's and Joe Meek.

Monday, March 18, 2024

New sounds: 18/3/24

Campfire Social - Swim Swam Swum
North Wales and border's Campfire Social have been around for quite a while, 2017 to be exact, and are only now approaching their debut album, due in the summer. Its first taste synthesises their emo-leant infectiously forceful harmonic folk-pop into bigger shapes that could fit next to the New Pornographers or City & Colour as much as Death Cab For Cutie.

Fast Blood - Sexual Healing
A good scream in the first two seconds, that's the way. Newcastle punks Fast Blood, another band who've been about for years but only just up to an album (Sunny Blunts, out 3rd May) race out of the traps with Amyl & the Sniffers/Descendents level of undeniable forward thrust and a similar attitude to sexual mores ("we wanted to reimagine Black Flag's Slip It In from a woman's perspective" say they), tripping over themselves to establish a huge hook amid the rush.

Mammoth Penguins - Everything That I Write
Ah, Ms Kupa again. Everything she melodically touches is gold, as you should well know by now, and there's still no reason to believe fourth album Here won't add to the pile come 3rd May, once again knowing when to hold back and when to kick into the sharpened riffs.

Mouse Teeth - Rituals
Nancy Dawkins was nearly a teenage singer-songwriting sensation but took time away, then was forced to take tiem away by long chronic illness. She's come out the other side with the bit, possibly a sword, between her teeth, a cathartically poetic semi-howl on grief, pain and the search for meaning through the weight of routine amid a churning, similarly raging backing by members of Maybeshewill. It leads Ten Of Swords EP, out May 3rd.

Vampire Weekend - Classical
This might be here solely because Ezra's guitar part sounds like it should be from a mid-80s Children's BBC theme.

Walt Disco - You Make Me Feel So Dumb
Glasgow's most flamboyant amateur dramatists sort of slipped beneath the waves of the hype ocean over the time it took them to get an album, which was a shame for a band with so many idiosyncratic ideas. The burnt out vulnerabilties draped in clipped Nileish disco licks of the single from second album The Warping, out June 14th, might tell their own intrinsic story but they set the dancefloor lights and hands aloft going anyway and, in the best move of all, it only succumbs to the saxophone at the very, very end.

Monday, March 11, 2024

New sounds: 11/3/24

Crumbs - DIY SOS
Starting with a name we hadn't heard for a while and one you may never have heard of at all. Leeds' Crumbs are long standers on the northern DIY circuit, releasing an album in 2017, but went quiet as so many did post-Covid. But now they're back - well, back properly on May 10th with second LP You're Just Jealous via Skep Wax, and more directly with this track which sets off at a scrappy lick heading into a call and response chorus and jolting post-punk guitar as she used to be writ.

Dumbo Tracks - Daughter Of Flood (feat. Rubee Fegan)
We're afraid they've picked one up from Release Radar again. Dumbo Tracks is Cologne-based producer and former Stephen Malkmus and Owen Pallett drummer Jan Philipp Janzen. His first album in 2022 was dub-inspired electro with a hint towards collaborators The Notwist; this new track utilises Fegan, dark conversationalist from SMiLE who as we keep telling you to no avail released a superb album last year and here sounds absoutely at home amid Janzen's laser electro-motorik.

Holiday Ghosts - Big Congratulations
We already covered Falmouth's finest's previous single, Sublime Disconnect, from Coat Of Arms, out 29th March; the second single brings the clipped surf-rock exuberance and peppy earworm double chorus to existential worry about growing materialism.

King Hannah - Big Swimmer
The Liverpool duo's 2022 debut album I'm Not Sorry, I Was Just Being Me was an underrated sparkle of cinematic dustbowl smokiness; their second Big Swimmer, released 31st May, stays transatlantic now they've actually visited the expanses that record synthesised by starting off as an acoustic country lament and then halfway through allowing Mazzy Star-esque electric guitar to blow it open, lifted by a harmony counter-vocal from admirer Sharon Van Etten.

La Luz - Strange World
Until they re-emerge with a new record you're never quite sure whether the psych-surf wiredness of La Luz is still active given leader Shana Cleveland's parallel solo career. Yet here they are back with fifth album News Of The Universe come May 24th, newly signed to Sub Pop and riding a classic 1960s raw garage riff into spectral harmonies underpinned with organ drone and some unexpectedly arpeggiating synths at the end.

nathy sg - Soft Rains (Things Fall Apart)
It's ya boy Nathan Stephens-Griffin from the back of Martha (and Onsind, and Fortitude Valley), who with Daniel on paternity, Naomi with Get Wrong and JC... probably driving people around released a handful of tracks towards the end of 2023 followed now with all of 87 seconds of meaningful power-pop lyrically inspired by Rat Bradbury short story about the apocalypse, leaning vaguely towards the Cheap Trick in its riff.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Wild God
...I mean, you know who he and they are.

O. - Green Shirt
Not the Elvis Costello song. There was a whole thing a good few years back about jazz-punk, centred around London bands like Acoustic Ladyland, and that's where the duo O. pick up with a noisy, circuit bending only just over two minutes of metal riffing bassline, seek-and-destroy synths and belting drums ready to soundtrack runaway drag racers. Debut album WeirdOs is out 21st June; Dan Carey produced it, but when does he ever not.

Slow Fiction - Monday
As before, someone we covered just a couple of posts ago with the first track taken from an records returns already. In Slow Fiction's case it's an EP, Crush out May 24th, being trailed by a rush of anguished thoughts, dead-eyed determination and cresting shoegazey guitars.

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

New sounds: 5/3/24

agosto - NASCAR
Yeah, let's get the Spanish language one away first. Actually, between the song title, the band name (Spanish for August) and their entire biography reading "maría y nacho" we can tell you the square root of bugger all about them or this even with translator use, so let's instead luxuriate in the intricately insistent guitar that drives it on, the pleasingly buzzy keyboards that push it on further and the central vocal harmonies combining to give the impression you've heard something like all this before, maybe in the late 00s, but can't quite place it.

The Baby Seals - Vibrator
Ah, now this is firmer ground, if in theory only. The Baby Seals are a trio from Cambridgeshire who we hadn't heard from since a 2017 EP of big fuzzy hooks and songs called things like My Labia Is Lopsided But I Don't Mind. That's a very long time to disappear with nothing else to show for it but there's an album finally due on April 19th, entitled Chaos, and a crunchily shouty, trashily punk-fizz single that as you can likely tell already is as free from personal lyrical taboo as before.

Dana Gavanski - Ears Were Growing
Dancer - Bluetooth Hell

While they don't really fit together musically we make no apologies for returning yet again to these two having already written about their upcoming albums - Gavanski's move towards Cate Le Bon-esque quirkiness invading atmospherically twisted indie-folk, Dancer's adventure playground of entangled Life Without Buildings-indebted post-punk angularity - many a time and oft as they seem like they're really going to be something. Gavanski's LATE SLAP is out April 5th, Dancer's 10 Songs I Hate About You 15th March.

Maruja - The Invisible Man
There's been a lot of this Windmill-adjacent experimental indie meets jazz improv inspiration recently and Manchester's Maruja seem intent on breaking out of the underground through sheer force of personality, Harry Wilkinson's poetic intensity examining personal experiences of the mental health crisis as all around shift and try to keep up, wavering all around the melodic line.

M(h)aol - Pursuit
Some - hi! - say nothing good comes out of a band changing frontperson once established. Well, here comes new challenger. No sooner had Dublin's ferociously uncompromised feminist punks M(h)aol released a well received debut album and their 'Ghost A Post-Punk Boy Today' tote bags become a festival staple than singer Róisín Nic Ghearailt, already establishing herself as one of the great onstage talkers to boot, left. Their first track without her has drummer Constance Keane taking over vocals and lyrics, narrating a walk home while being followed ramping up through lyrical repetition and a creeping big noise undertow, bassist Jamie Hyland's work with Gilla Band sounding to the forefront.

mui zyu - the mould
The solo project of Eva Liu, singer from art-garage trio Dama Scout, the spectacularly titled album Rotten Bun For An Eggless Century received a good amount of praise on release pretty much exactly a year ago for its skewed pastoral electropop drawing chief inspiration from her Hong Kong roots. Its successor nothing or something to die for, out May 24th, tries to work out the world and existence around her, this track playing with the several meanings of the title, lyrically anchoring the existential debt amid playful electro beats and found noises.

Vanishing Twin - Life Drummer
The now-trio have quietly racked up an enviable experimental catalogue over the last near-decade which continues with a new Sub Pop Singles Club 7" lyrically adapted from a chapter from The Listening Book by W.A. Mathieu, Cathy Lucas declaiming an inventory of engineering invention over pumping electro-kosmiche insistently driven by percussive MVP Valentina Magaletti (an avant-garde composer in their own right and also member of noise-post-punks Moin)

Arab Strap - Allatonceness
Julia Holter - Evening Mood
St Vincent - Broken Man

Friday, February 23, 2024

New sounds: 23/2/24

Another Sky - Swirling Smoke
Fascinating band, Another Sky. Coming towards a second album (Beach Day, 1st March) they never became as big as some thought they would be on arrival or that their skyscraping sonics suggested. The good thing is, they don't care, they're just going to plough their own furrow driven by Catrin Vincent's distinctively haunted, androgynous vocals. Driven by a ticking electronic loop that almost turns into a breakbeat, dreampop soar and delicate Sundays-reminiscent guitar part it breaks through its own malaise onto the other side of something.

Girl And Girl - Hello
There's almost a Gilla Band thing going on with Brisbane's Girl And Girl's name, in that they do have one female member but she's the drummer. Also she's the singer's aunt, which puts them in the same interpersonal band relationship category as the New Pornographers, Tubeway Army and LMFAO. It's the first of those that's closest to their too jittery for power-pop, too classically melodic for post-punk sounds that seems closest to the more direct elements of mid-00s blog-rock. Debut album Call A Doctor is out on Sub Pop in May. And yes, that's absolutely a great name for the first single on a new label.

Isobel Campbell - 4316
Campbell has over this last quarter-century quietly amassed an interesting, varied catalogue across three collaborations with Mark Lanegan, one with Bill Wells and now a sixth solo album, Bow To Love out May 17th, which in its lightly psychedelic, strummy and whispery way harks back to her Gentle Waves records.

Kim Gordon - I'm A Man
Let it never be said that Kim Gordon, 71 in April, settles down. 2019's No Home Record was practically avant-trap at times, continued on to BYE BYE, the first track from The Collective, out March 8th. In that context I'm A Man takes that idea and runs further into industrial noise with a beat, while still sounding like the same person who drawled through Kool Thing now taking the character of toxic masculinity.

Magana - Paul
LA-based Jeni Magana is an old favourite of ours, turning up in our 2016 tracks of the year list. In more recent times she's found a decent gig playing bass for Mitski, between which being-screamed-at-by-proxy times she's made a second solo album, Teeth out March 25th on the once again active Audio Antihero. Paul is built on frail acoustic guitar and a vocal weighed down by the melancholia of grief, accompanied by strings, woodwind and wheezing synth that push the emotions forward rather than the overpowerment they could easily have become.

mary in the junkyard - Ghost
mary in the junkyard are one of those Brixton Windmill affiliated bands. No, come back. Produced by Richard Russell, not the last time that will feature in this post, theirs is a spidery, spindly world, Clari Freeman-Taylor one of those vocalists who commands both grit and otherworldliness against an intricate, surging or holding back interplay in a way Big Thief fans will find much to spiritually recognise.

Murder Club - Shots?!
A proper live favourite from Newport's bubblepunks from the upcoming concept EP Night Out, a song about new friendship set entirely in a nightclub women's toilet. Because why not? Hey, they're playing our Leicester Indiepop Alldayer next Saturday! It sold out in October. Soz.

SAM MORTON - Cry Without End
Yes, SAM MORTON are named after Samantha Morton. That's because it is Samantha Morton, collaborating with XL's Richard Russell and on this track idiosyncratic saxophonist Alabaster dePlume. Morton actually starts this, the pair's first full-scale release after two 2023 vinyl-only releases, acapella before her sighing, gossamer delivery is accompanied by a ghostly circling emerges that might have qualified as ambient were it not allowing strange frequencies and interjections to butt in.

sunnbrella - have your say
One of our ongoing themes in recent times has been the quality of TikTok-attracting modern dreampop, as in there is very little. The number of times we've heard Souvlaki mined in increasingly lazy ways makes us start to agree with Nicky Wire. Despite having released a slowed down version of his most streamed previous track which usually has us warming up the attack drones, Prague-born, London-based David Zbirka drives a breakbeat coach and horses right through all that on a track that sets itself up as melancholy on loneliness and then assaults it with rushing jungle and electronics as if chillwave had gone glitch or Future Sound Of London were trying to address hyperpop going on word of mouth alone.


Wednesday, February 14, 2024

New sounds: 14/2/24

Dancer - Change
It's this lot again! Etc etc Glasgow etc 10 Songs I Hate About You on March 15th etc a superior slice of askew post-punk that keeps deliberately tripping up over and reordering the constituent parts of itself before getting to its indelible chorus at 1:38, which it obviously doesn't repeat.

Gurriers - Des Goblin
Talking of undeniable post-punk, which this update is full of, Dublin'srecent Slowdive support go to the disco, forcibly tear down the decor and replace it with spiked psychedelic patterns, all with a bassline you could build a tenement upon.

John Glacier & Eartheater - Money Shows
So here's two of the kinds of names that people in the know have been throwing around over the last couple of years that being white suburbanites we'd missed until now. John Glacier is a stream of consciousness rapper from Hackney whose Like A Ribbon EP, out on February 23rd on Young Records (The xx, FKA twigs, Sampha), is led by a track featuring the experimental electronic producer Eartheater and produced by Kwes Darko who did the Slowthai albums, on which her flow dips almost into spoken word over darkly intensive, foreboding beats smartly produced by what sounds like a guitar loop.

Les Savy Fav - Legendary Tippers
Bring forth the hulking mightily bearded either overclothed or barely clothed frame, usually hanging off the girders and/or covered in other people's pints, of Tim Harrington. They're back in the country next weekend and curating a Spring Bank Holiday alldayer at Leeds' saintly Brudenell Social with an album to follow at some time, but before that their first new song in FOURTEEN years piles Seth Jabour's signature firing off at acute angles guitar parts onto their muscular post-punk scaffolding amid Harrington being all gnomic.

Lip Critic - The Heart
Oh, "electropunk". So much of a tendency to fall into shouty abrasiveness just for the sake of shouty abrasiveness that when someone works out what it should be and bends its parameters to their own will you need to pay attention. Such is the case with New York's dual drummered, recently signed to Partisan Records Lip Critic, whose by all accounts spectacular live show has seen them play with rappers and hardcore bands alike. Oft compared to Death Grips, The Heart sounds interestingly like Fat Dog's command of squelching, intense electro and primal, pummelling post-punk as a singular entity, by way of any number of mid-00s bands playing like the pedals are lava. They're playing End Of The Road, marvellously.

Lo Seal - El Pomodor
We became aware of Cologne's Lo Seal as their new EP Blok features a co-vocal from Rubee of SMILE, who you might recall from our end of 2023 list made possibly the best album you didn't know about last year. Its first track doesn't but is an existentially threatening take on dark, jittery noise-pop.

Mammoth Penguins - Species
Hey, they're round ours soon! The Cambridge-based trio's Leicester Indiepop Alldayer slot will be followed on 3rd May by fourth album Here, which itself is preceded by a rattling supercharged jangle with menaces and Emma Kupa's signature smart self-examining.

Parsnip - The Light
Less than two minutes of playfully off-kilter pop that sounds like it might have comb prongs being "played" in the background and in its effervescence really, with the possible exception of Sarah Records' catalogue, could only come from Australia. Melbourne, to be precise. Their second album Behold is out on the mighty Upset The Rhythm on April 26th.

Punchlove - Screwdriver
New Yorker shoegaze revival that understands what the best shoegaze actually sounded like for once - bendy guitar tone, subsumed vocals, pedal abuse, heroic attempts at solos, a noisy soundworld that lends itself to a video in which paint is thrown around in tinted negative, and a bit where it pretends to tune out completely. Their debut album Channels is out on 1st March.

ALSO-RANS (or: these are all just as great but we can't be arsed to write any more and you already know whose these people are)
Beth Gibbons – Floating On A Moment
Iron & Wine - You Never Know
Laetitia Sadier - Who + What
Little Simz - Mood Swings
Yard Act feat. Katy J Pearson - When The Laughter Stops


Thursday, February 01, 2024

New sounds: 1/2/24

Hurray For The Riff Raff - Snake Plant (The Past Is Still Alive)
A new album from the exploratory itinerant expansive sunlight-exposed folk-indie singer-songwriter known to their familiars as Alynda Segarra is always a very good prospect, The Past Is Still Alive out February 23rd being their ninth. The sort of title track strings together a series of desert road trip images into a tale of escape into the yonder land, working up to a personal reckoning.

pencil - The Window
We first came across pencil in demo form when they were the most quietly interesting of the bands put forward for the Green Man Rising contest last year, winning their way through to playing the festival's Rising stage (we missed them. It was pissing down. You would have stopped under canvas for a bit too.) Led by Kamran Khan, who you might vaguely remember as late 10s lo-fi singer-songwriter Fake Laugh, with former members of Swim Deep, Cagoule and the Philharmonic Orchestra, and signed to the storied Moshi Moshi label, their second single exudes a confidence in its regretful acoustic strum before Coco Inman's violin drives it into cinematic territory.

Katherine Priddy - Anyway, Always
Birmingham's Priddy has been the toast of the crossover folk scene over the last few years and keeps things lively with second album The Pendulum Swing, out 16th February, and a liltingly poetic single of lingering regret.

Passing mention for Dana Gavanski's Let Them Row, a second excellent taster of her forthcoming LATE SLAP, but we just wrote about the first one)

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

New sounds: 24/1/24

English Teacher - Albert Road
At last, an album is on the way, This Could Be Texas due April 12th. Heralded by Lily Fontaine's magnificent quote "I want this album to feel like you’ve gone to space and it turns out it's almost identical to Doncaster", this single is them in contemplative mode narrating small town life slowly building in intensity towards something beatific. This band might just be becoming the best of us all.

Bolis Pupul - Spicy Crab
We were hopelessly late to the Belgian musician and Soulwax protege's 2022 collaboration with Charlotte Adigery, like they could care what a bedroom blogger with double figure readership thinks given how critically successful it was and how successfully they carried off its live energy. Now on his own for the first time Letter To You, due 8th March, has already been trailed by the superior synthpop of Completely Half, now followed by a driving instrumental of part-Moroder part-Glass shifting electronic loops and glissando keyboard patterns towards an acid breakdown.

Tomato Flower - Saint
The Baltimore band supported Animal Collective on tour off the back of two 2022 EP's and while not that oblique themselves the influence of Stereolab's more pop-facing moments shines through amid lightly jangling guitars and the kind of oblique tripping-itself-up clatter we've heard in the past from English Teacher, especially at the end when the rhythm section fall down the stairs behind Austyn Wohlers' reaching for the stars vocals. Album No is also out 8th March.

Arab Strap - Bliss
Their second "reformation" album, out May 10th, is called 'I'm totally fine with it 👍 don't give a fuck anymore 👍'. They may finally have reached their final form. As for the song it's Arab Strap, electro-beats version, Aidan reversing on some of his previous implied attitude in exploring the world of machismo and misogyny.

Slow Fiction - Apollo
Brooklyn's Slow Fiction have been around for a couple of years and look set to be fast-tracked by new label So Young Records (Lime Garden, Folly Group, Gently Tender) into a space they belong in, one of explosiveness and quiet-loud crunchiness like a Wolf Alice who can afford to let go more readily, almost anthemic without pandering to festival crowds or anything so craven.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

New sounds: 18/1/24

Adrianne Lenker - sadness as a gift
Big Thief are taking a calendar year off, so obviously Buck Meek immediately released a solo album and Adrianne has one, Bright Future, out on March 22nd. Just to make it more confusing the band have been playing this live since April 2022. (They do this - there's an Adrianne's Version of Vampire Empire on the album and indeed when we saw them on last April's tour they opened with a song called Bright Future that doesn't appear to be on the album) Whatever, it's a heartaching beautiful countrified lament that alongside Ruined bodes excellently.

Lutalo & Claud – Running
Meanwhile Adrianne's cousin Lutalo Jones, whose 2023 album Again showcased a superior form of kinetic politicised bedroom indie, has teamed up with someone else who has a left of bedroom-indie-centrist approach and a celebrity lifter (Phoebe Bridgers signed Claud for Saddest Factory) for a synth-layered insistent story of strained interpersonal relationships with a hint of summer. Yeah, we know.

Jane Weaver - Perfect Storm
It feels a little like Weaver's trademark twisted take on electro-psych-pop is leaning more towards the last element on this from another newly announced album, Love In Constant Spectacle out April 5th being her twelfth, with its big direct pop song structure and lush major key chorus embedded within her usual dreamy, intrinsically melancholic in a spaced-out way approach. How much of this is the pushing of producer John Parish wouldn't be fair on Weaver to speculate as between the retro-futurist flourishes, motorik rhythm and arpeggiating synths this is very much her vision.

Holiday Ghosts - Sublime Disconnect
Falmouth's Holiday Ghosts have been ploughing their garage-surf furrow for a while now, Coat Of Arms due March 29th being their fifth album. They've definitely streamlined what they do in that time, the first single sporting a thrusting chorus, play-dumb insistent riff, Kat Rackin's staccato venting on place and identity and ba-ba-bas in its only just over two minutes second length. And most importantly: singing drummer!

Monday, January 15, 2024

New sounds: 15/1/24

Murder Club - Pictures Of Myself
You may have seen that the Newport 'sugarpunks' are coming round ours in just under seven weeks' time for the Leicester Indiepop Alldayer (tickets long since sold out, soz); what we haven't had from them is any new music since their Sour Candy EP in February 2022. That's changing soon with a second EP, a concept one at that, Night Out describing the titular event starting with the preparation phase, delivered in the kind of melodically classic indiepop, twee as they used to call it if they were particularly brave, that has the kind of semi-buried edge that Peaness fans will recognise. Heavenly do-do-do's too.

Dancer - Passionate Sunday
For a group made up of members of several longer established Glasgow bands Dancer are hella productive, two EPs in quick succession last year being followed on March 15th by an album, 10 Songs I Hate About You. The first cut starts pensively before striking out with an angular, strident bassline, Gemma Fleet actually singing this time around and a yo-yoing synth line that presumably comes from that synthpad contraption those who've seen them live knows the guitarist straps onto his instrument. Splendid.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

New sounds: 10/1/24

We've started a rolling Spotify playlist of everything featured on here this year

Julia Holter - Spinning
Holter's sixth album Something In The Room She Moves, out 22nd March, has already been heralded by the shards of light in Sun Girl; now she finds a weird circularity, a looping percussive glitch around which winds plenty of intricate detail between synths to colour in the corners, woodwind flourishes, cymbal splashes, odd little noises seemingly from the mental image woodlands and Holter's elliptical appeals.

Chemtrails - Bang Bang
We've been writing about Mia, Laura and friends' psych-garage doomscroll rush, and put them on twice, that we fully expect you to be fully across everything they do by now. But just in case... the last single from The Joy of Sects, released 19th January, might actually be the most approachable thing they've done by their own terms an authentically grimy glam stomper with sinister motives aforefront, described by themselves as "from the point of view of a bragging crypto bro".

Enabling Behaviour - Stressor
"Overtly pretentious and emotionally sterile, Enabling Behaviour are probably the most overrated band you've heard all year... their sound has been described as "unbearable noise" by their neighbours - but don't let that put you off, because they need the ticket sales to afford their extravagant and hedonistic lifestyles." Oh, cheers, guys. Yes, the Cardiff ace band factory has whirred its cogs once more and deposited... well, a band who formed in Falmouth, actually, but after a handful of singles in the last two years their emergence to our ears finds them brooding like nobody's business before taking off with the kind of vaulting guitar sounds that both skewer and threaten to make the notion of dreampop worthwhile once more around Liz Allison's part-whispery, part-Rachel Goswell-y vocals.

Stuart Pearce - Nuclear Football
Not that one. We mean, obviously not that one. The possibility of him putting out high quality music in 2024 is remote. No, this is Stuart Pearce the agit-post-punk band from Nottingham, with more than a little early Fall about them but who hasn't these days - actually the Nightingales might be a more accurate comparison, with added radar detection synth and a frantic hair trigger about their politicised compactness.

Dana Gavanski - How To Feel Uncomfortable
We've long admired Gavanski's expansive take on indie-folk so news third album LATE SLAP, out April 5th, was produced by Tunng/LUMP's Mike Lindsay promises much. The first track... well, it sounds quite a lot like Cate Le Bon, which might be as much in the sax parps as the phrasing.

They Hate Change - Wallabies & Weejuns
If anything helped serve to demonstrate End Of The Road's edge away from the alt-Americana that made its name it was the spectacular, energetic for an early afternoon packed Big Top set by the Floridian experimental rap/production duo, swapping hard-edged rhymes over Miami bass by way of British club sounds. The advance track from their Wish You Were Here​.​.​. EP, out 26th January and with a blurb that both explains its inspiration from their transatlantic travels and a shout-out to Greggs breakfasts, is produced by Sheffield/Manchester experimentalist 96 Back and traverses the beats through a d'n'b breakdown and out onto the R&B floor.

Monday, January 08, 2024

New sounds 8/1/24

My Best Unbeaten Brother - Slayer On A Sunny Day
Remember how we wanged on for years about Superman Revenge Squad, Ben Parker's wry and far too close to the bone at times solo project? And then when their album posthumously came out Nosferatu D2, Ben Parker's dynamic preceding duo with remarkable drummer brother Adam? Well, Ben's back recording for the first time since 2015 and the pair have got together with a third member in Ben Fry to deal in not dissimilar and therefore excellent waters, propulsive, heartfelt and philosophical in its awkward charge.

James Jonathan Clancy - I Want You
And another old favourite - we've been long-time supporters of a lot of the music Canadian born but for as long as we've known about him Bologna based Clancy has released in various forms. His first record under his birth name, inspired by the "apocalyptic pastoralism" of comic artist Michelangelo Setola, slips between retro-futurist detuning VHS synths, bucolic ambient folk, Scott Walker avant-garde and on this track a skyscrapingq quasi-spiritual psych-folk reminiscent of John Martyn circa Solid Air getting stranded in space.

Lilith Ai - Burner Phone
One of the stars of this year's Leicester Indiepop Alldayer returns by reframing her intensely personal songs into scrappy garage rock, swiping most of the Hate To Say I Told You So riff for something that could have come out of a mid-west basement in the early 90s as a means of singing about resilience, or as she puts it "conquering fear of showing up as yourself". Oh, what's this?

Buck Meek - Beauty Opens Doors
No sooner have Big Thief announced a year-long hiatus then both their main songwriters head straight out solo, with Adrianne Lenker's album rumoured for early spring and Meek releasing a fluttering prairie country offcut from August's Haunted Mountain album that's better than most of what made it onto the tracklisting.

Ricardo Autobahn - The Hands Of Porsche
It's now a good quarter of a century since Autobahn started mining the intersection of sampling, Eurodance beats and unashamed strain of novelty with the Cuban Boys, then being the power behind Daz Sampson's throne, being half of synth-pop post-ironists Spray, taking the synths in Helen Love, joining up with normal man Phil Fletcher to form TV theme cover duo the Pound Shop Boys and in all likelihood a thousand other things we've missed. This time around, from a forthcoming concept album (obviously), 1960s corporate fast car speak gets the cut-up treatment.

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Trailing in late from 2023

Project Overload - Second Chances
Project Overload - Moving Mayhem
See, this Coventry five-piece who release their debut album New Beginnings on the 19th is the kind of thing people should really have flocked to tip us off at the time (er, November) about given they deal in the kind of bright janglepop with sharp elbows that feels very redolent of post-C86 or the Blonde Movement bands while surely too young to know what exactly those mean.

Jim Nothing - Raleigh Arena
Well, why not make a record about the joy of cycling in this day and age? Especially one that like the Auckland singer-songwriter flirts with psych-rock in several of its forms, switching seamlessly between stratospheric guitar pyro and synth-motorik.

Thorn Dells - Surface
Staying in New Zealand - Dunedin, in fact - for more synths and steady rhythms but of a very different type, layering on the threatening electro that slowly closes its iron claw around you. Those who follow the Sink Ya Teeth diaspora or Shelf Lives may find much to fascinate.

Blanket Approval - You Think It's Funny
They're from New York, and in a funny not-too-cool-for-you way it shows. They have things to say to the wrong people and a synth-lifted, strident quasi-Throwing Muses nerviness where the vocals come in at strange angles helping take it from stomping to jangling to cresting.

VIAL - ur dad
103 seconds of hooky, spiky, brattiness overload punk-pop, a genre that we're fully awareness is almost as debased as a genre term as dreampop these days but this is as they would have understood it in its original form. And yes, the Minneapolis trio want *your* dad.