New Music – VLURE

VLURE – Cut It

I’ve been grappling with writing something about music and grief. When I lost someone close in December, I astutely avoided listening to any of my favourite songs in the fear that they’d forever be associated with that point in time where it felt like I was watching life go by from a distance, detached from the world of Christmas shoppers and giant inflatable snowmen looming ominously over hedges. The first week in the new year brought a long since booked trip to Rockaway Beach. A slightly surreal but welcome distraction, it felt good to see live music again, even if my heart wasn’t really in it. I knew the set of the weekend would belong to VLURE, but wasn’t prepared for the absolute battering back to reality it would bring – sometimes you don’t know you’ve been feeling nothing until you feel something. There are only a handful of artists that fall into this category for me, but there’s no doubt that VLURE join the elite few whose music stops me in my tracks and allows that total escape from everything else.

When they play live, there’s a ferocity that can’t be ignored. No half-hearted measures, they put everything they have into their performance – you don’t watch VLURE, you let yourself be engulfed by what they do, it’s immersive and emotional. And it’s heartening to see the direction their new music is taking, away from the mass of soundalike post-punk bands to unashamedly incorporate the fearlessly heavy beats of the best of electronic dance. New single Cut It, released at midnight, is the epitome of this. Already a firm favourite at their recent gigs, the recorded version is perfectly produced to replicate the exhilaration of a nocturnal anthem sending shockwaves through the early hours of clubland. “Do you see what I see, do you feel what I feel?” fast becoming a rhetorical lyric, as the ever growing pool of familiar faces in the crowd clearly do feel it to the core. Despite the confrontational exterior, there’s something intrinsically beautiful about this song, a wave of nostalgia firmly kicked into place amongst early contenders for track of the year.

So here’s the thing – sometimes life’s a bit shit but on it goes regardless and the best you can do is embrace it, let good things happen, and don’t hide from the music that makes it feel better, it’ll find you anyway and might be just what you need to see through the mist. And if you haven’t already, don’t waste any time in getting onto this band, you’re really missing something very special. Now let’s get 2023 started.

VLURE

Words and photos from Rockaway Beach by Siobhan

20th January 2023

 

New Music – Ist Ist | SUEP

New releases – Ist Ist | SUEP

Ist Ist – Something Has To Give

Once again, Ist Ist master the art of producing something that manages to be complex in its simplicity. The dark undertone of the music is complimented by the clarity of Adam Houghton’s vocal, a puzzle of questions about the uncertainty of life.

Houghton explains, “Something Has To Give is all about new beginnings. It’s a sort of stick or twist situation. Do you settle or go for it?” In the case of Ist Ist, the sensible option seems always to be to go for it. And happily, there’s more to come; UK tour dates begin on 31st March to coincide with new album release Protagonists.

Ist Ist

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SUEP – Just a Job

Taken from their debut mini album Shop, due for release on 27th January, SUEP bring latest single Just a Job to the table. The track is a quirky conundrum of acceptance and angst, described by the band as, as “a lament and an ode to outsiders, late-risers and lost souls, and a protest song against having to do the arduous tasks that tend to pile up in life”.

Nothing arduous though about the entertainment value provided by SUEP, their combined talents showcased here in a compelling few minutes of off-centre art pop. Catch them live on dates starting 30th January as part of this year’s Independent Venue Week.

SUEP

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Words by Siobhan
Photos: Ist Ist by Tom White/Black Rock Creative
SUEP by Josh Cohen and Max Warren

16th January 2023

New Music – Frankie Wesson

Frankie Wesson – Just Friends

Hard gigging Frankie Wesson and her band have just had a launch party for her new single Just Friends. Frankie Wesson started writing songs and performing in her hometown of Abergavenny at the age of 16. Her cinematic songs draw inspiration from her personal experiences of bitter-sweet nostalgia, unrequited love, teenage angst and the complicated reality of growing up LGBTQ+.

Her versatile vocal range and talent for emotive, relatable song writing makes for captivating live performances. Frankie’s original songs have been featured on BBC Radio 6 and BBC Introducing as well as Spotify’s Chilled Pop Hits and New Music Friday playlists. The electro-pop single Reasons from her album Still Got Time has had over 112,000 streams on Spotify. Swansea’s Soundboard magazine described Wesson’s music as ‘timeless; appealing to fans of Fleetwood Mac and Paramore alike without compromising or diluting any of the style that makes Wesson’s music her own’.

Frankie Wesson

We’re really happy to have some new contributors joining us from across the UK – check out more of photographer Del Edwards’ work on Instagram, Facebook and the website link below.

Words and photos by Del Edwards

16th December 2022

New Music – Thomas Truax with Budgie

Thomas Truax with Budgie – Everything’s Going to be All Right

In the left corner – Thomas Truax, multi-instrumentalist, musical inventor and purveyor of all things unexpected. In the right corner – Budgie, the drummer whose instantly recognisable hooks made him the lynchpin of The Banshees and The Creatures. This could never be a dull collaboration. Everything’s Going to be All Right sounds a little as though Sonic Youth teamed up with Sparks at a very, very cool party. It’s clever, it’s fun, it’s an experiment that you’ll want be involved in. Watch the video here, and look out for Truax’s new album, Dream Catching Songs, in the new year.

Thomas Truax | Budgie

Review by Siobhan

21st November 2022

Interview & Album Release – Smut

A rollercoaster of emotions encapsulated in song, the new album from Smut, How the Light Felt, is released today. A far from generic take on the delights of shoegaze, the Chicago via Cincinnati five-piece have created something that feels both melancholic and hopeful at the same time. We caught up with them to chat about their journey so far, favourite places and musical memories…

Hey there, introduce us to Smut – who’s involved and what brought you all together?

Tay: Hello, we are Smut! I am Tay, the singer, Andrew plays guitar, Sam plays guitar and synth, Bell is our bassist and also plays synth, and Aidan is our drummer. Andrew and I started the band a million years ago and Sam was the first to join soon after. Bell joined about 5-6 years ago when we poached her from another band, and Aidan joined the gang last year by sliding into our DMs.

Tell us about the Chicago music scene, venues worldwide seem to be struggling to stay open – how are things there?

Tay: We actually moved to Chicago during the height of the pandemic so we don’t have much perspective on how it was compared to before. As far as we’ve experienced we love playing here and the shows have a high energy and enthusiasm that we definitely missed during lockdown. Sleeping Village is probably up there for me as far as good sound, stage, and space.

And where else would you recommend in the city, where are those places that you wouldn’t find anywhere else?

Andrew: The Music Box Theater is amazing. We all just went and saw Nosferatu with a live band playing an original score. I also want to shout out Taqueria Chingon and Graveface Records/Museum.

You’ve been working with Bayonet Records for a while now, how did that come about?

Bell: A few years ago, we were shopping labels for quite some time and having a really rough go of it. Feeling kind of defeated, I talked (ranted) to one of my old bandmates while at a show we were playing at Elsewhere in Brooklyn. He recommended we reach out to his pal Katie, who co-owns Bayonet. I name dropped him in our submission email to her and the rest is history! I think Bayonet was the perfect fit for us all along, we get along with everybody there so well and really love working with them. I know we’re also all so grateful that they all really believe in us and love our music. It’s a very cool feeling to know you have people in your corner.

The new album How the Light Felt is out today – has it been a long time in the making?

Andrew: Yeah, some of these tracks date back to 2017, and some are as recent as last year! It’s been a hugely eventful couple of years, the worst and best of what life can give; this record really spans that entire period of time.

You deal with some tough subject matter in your songs, is song-writing a cathartic process for you?

Tay: Yeah, I’ve always used writing as a coping mechanism, to be honest. When we started the band it was Andrew who asked me to make music with him because I had so much to say and was constantly writing or ranting about some injustice in the world. I have a lot of passion and no other outlet, so music is my catch all. It gives me control over my emotions.

Tell us about one of the tracks on the album.

Tay: I guess the title track How the Light Felt hasn’t been talked about much. The final version on the record is actually the first demo we recorded of the song and that’s really special to me because it felt like we really captured a bittersweet honest feeling in it that we didn’t even want to try to replicate. And once it was written it made a lot of sense that the album should take the same name because the album as a whole can be summed up in the content of this song. It’s about grieving and loss.

There’s lots of different influences coming through on your songs, what are your early memories of listening to music – at home, in the car, wherever?

Andrew: I grew up in a really musical family, my grandma was a Suzuki instructor and my dad played bass in a ton of great bands in the 80s. My first memory with music is playing Lightly Row on violin with my grandma. I had probably played it a dozen times before, but this time my eyes were closed and I could see these huge, dark blue curtains with homemade silver and gold stars. I didn’t know music could do that, it had been a chore until that moment, When I was in middle school my dad took me to see RHCP, The Police and English Beat and that really solidified it for me.

If you could have any artist cover one of your tracks, who would you opt for?

Andrew: Kids! Like, a not famous kid. I would freak out if I saw a video of someone who took the time to learn one of our songs and post it wherever. I bet Jeff Tweedy would shred a version of How the Light Felt.

And what’s next for Smut – what will 2023 bring?

Andrew: Hopefully a show in every city and more music!

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You can find Smut here. How the Light Felt is released today on Bayonet Records – check out your local record shop, Bayonet’s website or buy via Bandcamp

Interview by Siobhan
Photos by Jaycee Rockhold

11th November 2022

New Music – H. L. Grail

H.L. Grail – Sandman

An accomplished musician now best known as bassist with revered indie quartet Goat Girl, Holly Mullineaux embarks on a new solo project under the moniker of H. L. Grail. Described as ’an honest outpouring of love, pain and disappointment’, debut single Sandman is a sonic reflection of emotions and acceptance that lulls you towards a better state of mind with hypnotic vocals and the subtle overlay of multiple instruments.

The track features special contributions from bandmates Lottie Pendlebury, Reuben Kyriakides and Ellie Rose-Davies on violin, cello and backing vocals, as well as sax by co-producer (with Holly) Euan Hinshelwood and additional vocals from Daisy Goodwin (Token Girl DJs).

Sandman is out today via Spinny Nights’ offshoot Underfoot; watch the accompanying video below and catch pending live dates in Southampton and London if you can.

16.10.22 – Heartbreakers, Southampton (w/ Robbie & Mona/Bingo Fury)
17.11.22 – Bermondsey Social Club, London (w/ Ulrika Spacek)

H. L. Grail

Review by Siobhan
Photo by Maximilian Hetherington

12th October 2022

New Music – The Haunted Youth

The Haunted Youth – Teen Rebel

Making music that reflects the aptly chosen moniker The Haunted Youth, the Belgian band centred around Joachim Liebens, add layers of shoegazey synth and guitar loops to what essentially is a great pop record, taking it to a different level of poignant melancholy. The initial MGMT comparisons are perhaps inevitable, however, as the track progresses it saunters more towards Euro-trance, something to listen to while the rains falls onto the bright lights of the city.

Teen Rebel is newly shared to the UK market and comes from forthcoming debut album Dawn of the Freak, due for release on 4th November via Mayway Records. “It’s therapy, a way of dealing with my existence”, says Liebens. “And I hope this album will be universal and accessible enough for others to enjoy it in the same way.”

There’s a suggestion of UK dates coming soon; with a schedule across Europe for the rest of the year it looks likely that we may have to wait until 2023 for the pleasure.

The Haunted Youth

Review by Siobhan

4th October 2022

New Music – Forgetting the Future

Forgetting the Future – Cigarettes, Cigarettes, Cigarettes 

It can’t get much more indie-rock than Forgetting the Future’s latest Cigarettes Cigarettes Cigarettes, a track that bounces along with carefree danceability, one that’ll give it high praise in the crowds of future gigs. Rather than trying to weave in a joke about forgetting their future gigs (haha), lets just talk about the track, yeah?

With a strongly vibrant intro, Cigarettes*3 begins. Its verses are subdued, giving vocalist Robbie McNicol his first chance to sew seeds of a story that holds some darker, yet titularly related, beats. References to a cold atmosphere where electric bills are replaced with drugs seems to hold its influence in our current CoL crisis, snuck within the happy go lucky tune like poison in your vodka coke.

As we continue, the band are treated to higher distortions. The second verse feels grittier, ‘cooler’, fuelling the fire of both the song and story. It comes to its pinnacle, as expected, in its bridge, with the energy of drums, guitar and bass boosting up to beat rhythm between McNicol’s triplets, exploding into a final four bars of pure rock energy.

With its mingling of fun, worrying undertones and musical bombast, Forgetting the Future have set themselves up for a line of upcoming gigs that are sure to impress, throughout Scotland this November.

Forgetting the Future

Review by Jacob Rose

26th September 2022

EP Review – Lizzie Reid

Lizzie Reid – Mooching

Mooching, the latest EP from Glasgow singer-songwriter Lizzie Reid, captures the strengths of any sophomore project; not only does it catch the highlights of Reid’s previous work, but it explores new tonal realms, allowing the work to capture a weaving landscape of the indie folk artist’s sound. To appreciate the realms explored, it only feels right to cover each within its own space.

To do this EP justice, it is worth exploring each track, beginning with the last single before the EP’s release, titled Love of Her Life. The track showcases some Reid-esque qualities, with the verse taking atmospheric and melodic qualities from her previous EP Cubicle. What makes this track fresh from its predecessors is, strangely enough, Reid’s mastery of the presentation of emotional complexity. The chorus’ lyrics “She told me I’m the love of her life” / “She told me even when she changed her mind” hold true to this; the combination of beautifully reverbarating piano, slowly effective percussion and twangy electric guitar backs the message with a tune that feels both intimate and lost, both mournful and hopeful – a mysteriously captivating way to open Mooching.

Next up is Bible, the first single release. Since its first appearance on Breaking Glass, the tune retains its piercing emotion, feeling just as yearnful here as in its solo debut.

Soda Pop Stream provides a new sensation in the LR discography, being (no matter how old it makes me sound) Cool. The track punches hard, with a tiptoeing 6/8 rhythm that gives Reid a chance to display some suave aspects of her personality. The line “I will heat up your plate with my face” rings in my head as I write, even if I don’t truly know what it means just yet.

From making rhythms with flames to painting in teardrops, How Do I Show my Love details the role that panic attacks have had in harming Reid’s relationships. In her own words, “When I sing this song it makes me feel how hard it has been to stay connected and express my feelings for certain people I care about”. The anguish at the heart of the track rings throughout, but in its message comes a feeling of catharsis. A repeated image of Reid’s painting of a man and his dog becomes an art that brings a feeling of strength. In the talent in her expression, Reid brings pain into a light where it can dissolve into experience. 

Blazing into its finish, Mooching ends with Warpaint. The tune has a pop quality that once again brings out both the old and new of her style. Reid’s ending here adds the same singalong quality of cubicle, almost communally celebrating the triumphs of her record. It’s no wonder, considering the trials faced and strived through within this collection of songs, that this moment feels joyous, adding the frame to the art that she has created. With it, Reid’s portrait of love, connection, heartbreak and adversity is complete, demonstrating an extremely open, divinely performed reflection on life.

Lizzie Reid

Words by Jacob Rose
Photo by Matilda Hill Jenkins

1st September 2022

New Music – SOMEONE

SOMEONE – In Your Arms

It’s perhaps unsurprising that the video for In Your Arms takes a leap into a DIY sci-fi world of discovery as the song itself feels ready made for a cinematic soundtrack.

SOMEONE (aka Dutch/British composer, producer and visual artist Tessa Rose Jackson) presents her creative talents through multiple channels and sonically achieves a dreamy psych-pop  music-scape that is both intriguing and absorbing. This new track starts with a sense of calm then builds to a crescendo of scattered synths without losing its initial serenity.

The video is beautifully shot by David Spearing, and depicts two young girls ‘as they emerge from subterranean bunkers for an adventure in what SOMEONE describes as “A post-apocalyptic world, where the air is toxic and terrifying six-legged creatures prowl the land. What follows is a day filled with fun and play, because no matter what the world may throw at them, kids will always find a way to just simply… be kids. It’s a celebration of the power of joyfulness and love against all odds”.

In Your Arms is taken from upcoming album Owls, due for release in February via Tiny Tiger Records.

SOMEONE

Words by Siobhan
Photo by Bibian Bingen

31st August 2022

Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years

Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years

Dark Horse Records is celebrating what would have been Joe Strummer’s 70th birthday today with Fantastic, available now on all streaming services. The previously unreleased track stands as one of Strummer’s final recordings, with vocals recorded in December 2002 at the famed Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire, Wales, mere weeks after Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros played their last ever live show at Liverpool University on 22nd November 2002.

Continuing the celebrations around Joe’s 70th birthday this weekend, longtime Strummer fan Eddie Vedder has covered Long Shadow from the posthumous Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros album, Streecore. “I just think that what Joe did with the Mescaleros and those records, and those songs, and those words, it was a very communal sound,” said Vedder. “I think when you have a communal sound, the listener feels like they can be part of that community.”

Fantastic heralds Dark Horse Records’ upcoming release of Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years, the first-ever comprehensive collection highlighting Strummer’s work with his post-Clash band, The Mescaleros, arriving everywhere on 16th September on 4 CD w/72-page book and 7 LP w/32-page book, special edition packaging and exclusive 12”x12” art print. Pre-orders are available now here.

Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years includes remastered editions of all 3 of The Mescaleros’ studio albums, plus 15 rare and unreleased tracks spanning the first demos Strummer wrote for the band to outtakes from their final recordings together, as well as songs like Ocean Of Dreams, featuring the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones on guitar. Executive produced by Strummer’s widow, Lucinda Tait, and produced by David Zonshine, the richly curated boxset also includes exclusive new interviews with Joe’s friends, collaborators and Mescaleros band mates, plus never-before-seen handwritten notes, lyrics, and drawings by Strummer taken from the Joe Strummer Archive.

Details via Big Mouth Publicity

21st August 2022

New Music – GIFT

GIFT – Gumball Garden

Hailing from Brooklyn, GIFT blend immersive psych with a softer vocal reminiscent of The Charlatans/Ride in the height of their floppy haired shoegaze phases. It’s a warm sound and new track Gumball Garden flows comfortably into a sea of fuzzed up riffs and scintillating synths.

Speaking about the track, TJ Freda says, “I had a dream in late 2019 where I woke up one day and there was nobody on earth. I was walking around looking for any forms of life to no avail. It was sad but also strangely peaceful. When the pandemic happened, this song took on a whole new meaning. We did wake up one day and the streets were empty. Everyone had gone away. This song is about finding peace in solitude”.

It’s a strong precursor and enough to pique interest in their forthcoming debut album Momentary Presence, due for release on 14th October via Dedstrange. Take a look at the video for Gumball Garden below.

GIFT

Words by Siobhan
Photo by Jena Cumbo

11th August 2022

New Music – Eerie Wanda

Eerie Wanda – Long Time

Paving the way for her new album Internal Radio; Eerie Wanda (aka Dutch/Croatian musician Marina Tadic) has shared her latest single Long Time.

With haunting vocals and a touch of Lynchian quirkiness, the track saunters into the room with the quiet confidence of an artist who understands that the subtle nuances in their music can have a bigger impact than a full on cacophony of noise. Less is more, if you will.

Marina describes Long Time as reflecting the “longing to belong, but also letting go of the past, and the growth that comes from that”.

It’s a song that works its way into your psyche, one to hold in your subconscious. The album teasers so far suggest that we’re in for an artful treat on its release next month. Internal Radio is available digitally and on CD on 23rd September, with a vinyl release to follow in November via the aptly named Joyful Noise Recordings.

Words by Siobhan
Photo by Anna Tadic

5th August 2022

New Music – Collars

New release: Collars – Rabbit Heart

Bumping up even more hype for their debut album Clyde, Rabbit Heart delivers on the Collars’ flavour, providing a sound oozing with intrigue, grunge, and a bit of bounce thrown in (no pun intended).

The track begins, and is immediately thrown into a strong rhythm with a simply bumping drumbeat, creating a verse which rocks an upbeat lullaby. The track acts as a great mattress for lead singer Dan’s voice to bounce along, creating a unique energy alongside the more subdued track, matching a percussively heavy background with lively vocals.

As we hit Rabbit Heart’s chorus, these near-opposing features meld into a pop-centric tune, with rhythms, chords and vocals intertwining into a jumpy melody. The hook of ‘Run away, Rabbit Heart’ especially suits this alt-poppy purpose, creating a singalong vibe with a melody that stands out. 

‘Alternativity’ reigns for Collars, not being too much of one genre to neatly fit into its box. With so many opportunities to surprise even more, Clyde is sure to make an impact when it drops. 

Collars

Words by Jacob Rose

29th July 2022

New Music – GRAVE GOODS

GRAVE GOODS – Come

If Throbbing Gristle and Einstürzende Neubauten had a current day musical love child, it might just sound a bit like GRAVE GOODS. The band, based in Manchester, Dublin and Belfast, race out of the starting blocks with the kind of industrial art-rock that would sit well alongside their much feted predecessors, heavy on percussion and dry spoken word. Featuring current and former members of PINS, Girls Names and September Girls, new single Come is a strong sweetener for their upcoming debut album, TUESDAY. NOTHING EXISTS., set for release on 9th September via TULLE.

Singer Lois MacDonald says of the track, This is one of the first tracks we wrote, and for me the one that helped to cement the feel of the music we make. I wanted to use the guitar in a percussive way, and I wanted the track to feel stressful and furious. I felt frustrated at the time and had so much to express. I wanted the lyrics to reflect all this, and to come from the gut.  The best noise I could imagine for this is ‘Ugh’ which I use towards the end – it represents frustration, disgust and sex.

GRAVE GOODS

Words by Siobhan

1st July 2022

 

New Music – Bad Pelicans

Bad Pelicans – Paris

Sometimes you hear a song that refuses to remove itself from your psyche. That most definitely is the case with the latest track from Bad Pelicans, not that I would want it to go anywhere, as its repeated guttural reminders of the French capital’s tourist hotspots offer up intensity and a smattering of tongue in cheek humour in equal measures. With excellent timing as I showed someone the video, they asked where the band are from. Hang on there a second, I said, and pressed play. For anyone looking for a nod to Bauhaus and The Sisters of Mercy with a continental twist, this could be right up your dimly lit boulevard. Pop your shades on, watch the video below and enjoy. Yeah.

New LP Eternal Life Now is scheduled for release in late 2022 via Géographie Recs and promises more dark distortion for the suppressed goth inside us all.

Bad Pelicans

Words by Siobhan

14th June 2022

 

New Music – Connie Constance

Connie Constance – Miss Power

With her first single of the new year, Connie Constance kicks the generator back into full swing, as she demonstrates her energy and eclectic freedom in the very aptly titled Miss Power. 

The track begins with one of the most lively riffs, that keeps the track in bouncy motion from start to finish. Musically and lyrically, the tune feels like it kicks right back up from 2021’s Electric Girl, especially in the line ‘I’m not the girl that I was before’. That being said, she’s still got the talent, creating an absolutely stellar hook that boosts bass up to a perfectly raw tone, balancing with her classically phenomenal vocal range that dances between expression and conversational tone effortlessly. Matched with drums that are always right when you need them but never how you expect, that energy helps the three minute track feel timeless, seeming a minute long while keeping you engaged for however long it’s been on repeat now

Matched with both a beautifully sombre-turned-surreal video, and released at the same time as a Sports Team song with the same tempo, key and energy (even more interesting considering their co-headline of Sonic Wave in two weeks – conspiracy theorists will go wild), Miss Power will keep long-time fans and newcomers pumped with electricity through the summer and beyond. 

Connie Constance

Words by Jacob Rose
Photo by Joel Palmer

18th May 2022