Monday, July 15, 2024

New sounds: 15/7/24

Cold Specks - How It Feels
There's no point noting it seems to have been a while since we heard from Toronto's Ladan Hussein (who seems to have dropped the Al Spx identity of yore) because it absolutely is, the first Cold Specks track in seven years after a period of mental health issues and manic episodes still exhibiting her extraordinary, raw "doom soul" voice, trembling with emotion on a spare but ultimately triumphant in the wreckage piano ballad reminiscent of the approach on last year's substantial Corinne Bailey Rae album, augmented with Owen Pallett composed strings and Terry Edwards adding yet another name to his attempt to provide brass for every act that has ever existed (OK, you name another direct link between Madness and Lydia Lunch)

Delivery - Digging The Hole
After a debut album last year that found a big fan in Henry Rollins, the Melbourne five-piece just got signed to Heavenly, also hope of compatriots King Gizzard & the Lizzard Wizzard and Confidence Man - quite some chasm musically between those two. Delivery are much on the left hand side, synthesising that strain of garage rock that Australians seem much better at than most with more than a hint of the Flying Nun house sound and just small enough a classic rock influence, coming out somewhere adjacent to Parquet Courts. They're over for some dates in late July/early August including Latitude festuval (and Tramlines, where they'll stand out a mile)

Hello Mary - Three
We were introduced to the NY trio about a month ago where we noted their switch from obtuse post-punk to sunny guitar pop suggested they had plenty of stylistic interest to offer on upcoming album Emita Ox, out on September 13th on Frenchkiss. Now they're something else again, an unspooling quasi-epic that subtly shifts from daydreaming in the melodic glow not unlike the other latter Mary we've taken a shine to, Mary In The Junkyard, then dissolving into dissonant fuzzy noise for a bit. And they're coming over at the turn of the seasons for End Of The Road, Manchester and Edinburgh Psych Fests and somewhere that may well take them to their bosoms more than most, the Windmill.

julie - clairbourne practice
TikTok shoegaze is usually shit, so finding julie are an LA shoegaze band with an atypically large amount of streams might have made us turn back. Luckily we saw them last year so knew better, and the first single from forthcoming album my anti-aircraft friend, with its quiet-loud dynamics where the "quiet" bits are coiled and harmonic whereas the loud bits are surging... well, coupled with general wooziness and drumming that lapses into the arrythmic it's all quite MBV influenced but that's no bad thing, though with the untutored male/female voices and melodic sense they also make us think of a disortion pedalled bar italia. Even look a tiny bit like them.

THE NONE - Pigs Need Feeding
Comprising people who used to be in Youth Man, Cassels, Frauds and, well, Bloc Party (bassist Gordon Moakes), THE NONE are noiserock as all out, bringing Jesus Lizard-recalling earthquake frequences and overarching blistering guitar outbursts to Kaila Whyte's laser focused energies. MATTER EP is out August 29th.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

New sounds: 11/7/24

Cornelius - MIND TRAIN
Last month Keigo Oyamada released his eighth album Ethereal Essence, an inessential extension of the ambient/minimalist path he's been going down in recent years. This soon after he also released a new single that sounds nothing like it, which you have to say is a flex. Instead, nine minutes of Neu!-level motorik, pulsing slow build synths, looping guitar figures leading up to a coruscating solo, incidental sound effects and a spacey intermission. He's popping over for End Of The Road (yay!) and the Barbican in September.

Hamish Hawk - Men Like Wire
More classier-than-you dramatic roar excavation of the psyche and lost opportunity from Hawk's third album A Firmer Hand. Contains the lyric "an uncanny Frankie Valli".

Laura Marling - Patterns
Sort of title track from Patterns In Repeat, the still somehow only 34 years old Marling's eighth album, first in four years and first as a mother (of a daughter, premonition fans), retreating a little to her sublimely woody folky inclinations.

Loose Articles - Are You A Welder?
First of all, incredible title. The Manchester outfit who recently opened for the Foo Fighters at one of their stadium gigs (as did our old pals Chroma, and the two toured together as a warm-up) have been on the fringes of our radar for a while for their early 80s Fall-inspired attitudinal sardonic socio-political oblique punk, finally getting an actual mention as Alcopop! picked up their debut album Scream If You Wanna Go Faster, out 26th July, from which they disassemble gender roles and expectations over a repetitively insistent burrowing riff that, has to be said, sails close to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's Wail.

Nightshift - Sure Look
We wrote about the Glasgow not-actually-supergroup-except-maybe-in-reverse the time before last; the latest track previewing Homosapien on 26th July wears its heart on its sleeve, its tempo knowing when to hold back and when to tumble down the proverbial hill (Ray Aggs' fiddle once again helping set the tone) and its guitar power chords set to stun.

Public Service Broadcasting - Electra
And this fifth time of asking it's... Amelia Earhart's final, failed, attempted solo round the world flight! The Last Flight, in fact, out 4th October, the first taster named after her trusted Lockheed plane which links their electroKrautsample origins - more than a hint of the Everest construction about the effects, we think - to the synth-funk groove of Bright Magic, from which EERA returns on guest vocals.

Screensaver - Permanence
The Melbourne dark post-punks are already two albums down, this being a stopgap ahead of some debut August UK and Europe dates that ratchets up the intensity that accommodates a chorus that sounds ripped from Siouxsie and the Banshees amid racing drums, sci-fi synth and art-guitar noise.

Supermilk - Many Thanks
Another part of that sprawling ME REX/Fresh/cheerbleederz family tree have a third album impending, leader Jake Popuyra laudably not letting his ALS diagnosis get in the way at all. High Precision Ghosts (ooh, Prefab Sprout reference!), out on Specialist Subject come 9th August, has as an advance party 110 seconds or so of jagged riffage and Futureheads/Field Music offbeat vocal arrangement, as if - apologies in advance - they've realised they might not have long left to get all this out here.

Monday, July 01, 2024

New sounds: 1/7/24

Fightmilk - Summer Bodies
Hey, they're back! Actually they came back a couple of weeks ago with a cover of Springsteen's Darkness On The Edge Of Town for Bruce-as-queer-icon podcast Because The Boss Belongs To Us, but approaching third album season - coming via Fika now - this is one of our stroppy favourites further approaching the nexus, some say nucleus, power-pop, arranging harmonies, backing vocals, hooks and power chords in service to... Lily? "It's about how women and femmes are constantly bombarded with media telling us how to be our best and most beautiful selves, or, bluntly, how to bully your mind and body into an image set by constantly moving goalposts — straight teeth, white skin, feminine but not girly, cool but not threatening, skinny waist, snatched jawline. Products that promise to shrink you in the guise of 'wellness'. And if you don’t look like that, you’re supposed to hate yourself until you do. No thanks. Our favourite bit in this song is where we all take turns unleashing a big scream." Furthermore it's got a vibraslap on.

A Ghost Column - Resistance
A Ghost Column is Victoria Hamblett, who has been around for a while in the orbit of the likes of Crack Cloud and Ulrika Spacek and now goes solo with a dreamy, gauzy sound reminiscent in its haunted introspection of the Birmingham retro-futurists of the 90s (Broadcast, Pram) as much as the drifty end of shoegaze.

MJ Lenderman - She's Leaving You
We loved Wednesday's album from last year Rat Saw God, so why has it taken until now to register their guitarist's just as acclaimed solo project, last seen on 2022's Boat Songs? Because we're lazy shites, that's why. The first single from September 6th's follow-up Manning Fireworks is slacker countrified in a vaguely Evan Dando/Built To Spill way with a love that's fortunately far from overwhelming of classic rock leading to a stratospherising finish partially involving Wednesday's Karly Hartzman. And a beautiful passing Clapton diss.

Scrunchies - The Empire
We came across Minneapolis' Scrunchies with their blazing 2022 album Feral Coast; its successor Colossal, out August 23rd, was recorded by Steve Albini, which makes sense given their sub-two minute surge bisecting Muffs-like power-pop and grunge's entrails.

The WAEVE - You Saw
The second Coxon/Dougall collection City Lights is out 20th September; the second single can feel misleading switching from Rose going all Slowdive on the intro and then plunging into choppy electronics but give it time to grow and manifold touches blossom, underlined by strings, top-lined by neon-lit dramatics.

WUT - Talking To Strangers/Mingling With The Thorns
Vancouver's WUT describe themselves as "riot twee", which we're pretty sure is an Amelia Fletcher invention but regardless. They're certainly coming from a similar point, as the two tracks released from second album Mingling With The Thorns, due August 23rd, are harmonic gems of classic indiepop that variously recall Flying Nun records' golden age, Marine Girls and, yes, Heavenly.

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)

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

New sounds in digest: 23/4/24

Not much time to write blurbs due to work, other sites and being full of cold, so you'll have to do without the descriptions for now, just accept that in their own ways these are all great:

Autocamper - Blanche

Belle And Sebastian – What Happened To You, Son?

Fat Dog - Running

Lambrini Girls - Body Of Mine

Loma - How It Starts

Mammoth Penguins - Flyers

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.