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