What We've Been Listening to this Week...SHEAFS, Viagra Boys, Sorry, Do Nothing, Holy F and Laundromat
Links to YouTube in blue.
There may be panic on the streets of London, Birmingham and the rest of the UK over Coronavirus, but that’s not stopped the flow of good tunes from flooding through.
Pick of the week for us is the debut vinyl EP by Sheafs ‘Vox Pop’ which came out on Friday. Two of the tracks Care Less and Total Vanity have been out for a while, and have rightfully been drawing attention to themselves, such is their quality. The full EP has another three tracks Thinking Out Loud WIFA and Shopping, with the former another belting indie rock tune. WIFA and Shopping are more of the pace of last year’s snarling ‘Popular Music’ – WIFA having an almost Loop like riff and Shopping more in the vein of Black Rebel Motorcycle club.
Lyrically the EP lambasts rampant consumerism and self-obsession, highlighting the growing concerns of a generation dominated by having to fit in under the glare of social media. Musically its powerful stuff, fiery vocals over muscular tunes, more than adequately reflecting their excellent live performances.
Also released on Friday was the new EP by the Viagra Boys. Lead track Common Sense is reminiscent of ‘Just Like You’, all introspective and wistful, Lick the Bag the sort of deranged rock that makes the band so special, with Sentinel Island and Blue completing the EP. All good stuff, and the band have just announced more UK tour dates for November so presumably there will be more music out later this year.
The new album by Sorry drops on the 28th March and they released another single Snakes as a teaser to it. Snakes feels like of Massive Attack doing slacker rock, ambling along with an icy cool stare, and a further indicator that the album is going to be very good, and with broad appeal.
Another band with undoubtedly broad appeal who should really be making an album are Do Nothing. Instead we’ll have to settle for an EP ‘Zero Dollar Bill’ which is out in April. Fits and presumably LeBron James are two tracks available to listen to now from the EP, with the former just released. Both are excellent, and I’d urge you to listen to their earlier singles too, Gangs, Handshakes and Waitress. Their quality of song-writing is so mature and impressive, long may they make music like this.
Elsewhere, Deleter the new album by Holy F has been getting extensive plays. The band describe themselves as ‘seamlessly fusing the gauzy drive of krautrock and deep house’s dreamy ineffability, and expertly blending purring motorik percussion with the sort of fuggy synthetic fizz that often sends clubbers into states of unconsciousness rapture’ which is hard to argue against. I really like this album – its like the best noises of the house era cleverly packaged to form a set of great tunes that all come together as a whole.
Another new single that deserves mentioning is Humans by Brighton based Laundromat. Human’s originally came out last year, and then disappeared from streaming platforms only to reappear again on Friday. There had been talk of an album, but an EP looks more likely now by all accounts. Anyway, Human’s is quite sublime, blending krautrock and psychedelia effortlessly. A band to watch out for, no doubt.
Our working week began and ended with songs sung by the same man but different bands. Monday’s listening focussed on the broody, snarling Another Day at the Zoo by Lumer and Friday’s was centred around The spy who came in from the cold, the second single by Document. Alex Evans performs vocal duties for both bands, and long may that situation continue if he can balance commitments as the outputs are excellent. Another Day at the Zoo exudes attitude, anger and contempt for politicians and the state of the nation, and The Spy who came in from the cold’ is a sprawling beast that recalls Bauhaus in their 'In the Flat Field' days, minus the goth schtick. Post punk never felt so alive.
Continuing with post punk, the new singles by Fiende Fatale and Lice are well worth checking out. Fiend Fatale’s Bang! is manic, relentless stuff, and from the looks of the brief clip of gig footage that I saw this week, the band look good live. Lice's Conveyor is not as frantic, but equally as impressive, it reminds me of ‘Wise Up Sucker’ by Pop Will Eat Itself with a little bit more sass. I’d never heard of either band until this week, but they’re firmly on our radar now.
Moving on to swamp rock, The Novus have released a sterling new track this week called Frosty. Driven along by a tasty riff, Frosty is a fine rock tune from this band from Stourbridge. Their 2019 single PMF is good too.
Staying with rock, we reviewed the new album by Slift here. Ummon came out on Friday and it is an absolute beast, taking in heavy rock, prog rock, space rock, psych rock and even a bit of krautrock. You can listen to it in full via the link here.
The wonderful world of Krautrock (albeit in completely different form to Slift) also features heavily on ii, the debut album by Och, out last week on Rocket Recordings. I wasn't sure what to make of the band from the two singles released in the run up to the album release, but they make absolute sense here. If you like your music on the trippy, spaced out side then this is a great go-to album.
Off-kilter synth, repetition, experimental noises, drones and feedback give you a little flavour of what’s in store, and if that’s enough to whet your appetite, dive straight in as this is exceptional stuff. The eight instrumental pieces are quite filmic, as though the album could be a soundtrack to an obscure 70s sci fi movie, or possibly one featuring David Bowie from that era…
The album kicks off with the sound of a train setting off, before a wave of feedback kicks in, underpinned by krautrock, leading to a noisy crescendo and then calm. And that’s just track one! Across the album the music veers from menace to calm in a heartbeat, and in places (such as on album closer Pandemi pa Handelo) disorientation. Those familiar with Och’s label mates The Utopia Strong should be very comfortable with the music on offer here. This is the sort of album made for zoning out to, and everyone should zone out every now and then.
French indie pop outfit Juniore also released a new album last week called Un, Deux Trois. You may have heard the spritely Ah Bah D'Accord which was released as a single last year and featured heavily on the 6 Music playlist, although the album itself is quite a chilled affair. In amongst quirkier tracks like Bizarre there are many laid back, effortlessly cool songs and it’s a very pleasant listen overall. Think of Brigit Bardot, Jean Jacques Perrey, Air and (ahem) Eurotrash and you’ll get the picture.
Staying with indie pop and concluding this week’s round up is the debut single by Forever Honey Christian. It’s taken from their debut EP ‘Pre-Mortem High’ which will be released in April. The band are from New York, and formed over a common love of jangly, guitar driven late 80’s pop and harmony saturated rock of the 60s. Christian is very 80’s, like a cross between Martha and the Muffins ‘Echo Beach’, Tears for Fears ‘Mad World’, Talk Talk’s ‘Talk Talk’ and the Cure’s ‘A Forest’.