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)