By Mark Glenister
March 2020, London four-piece Crows had tracked their 2nd Album, the much anticipated follow up to 2019’s Silver Tongues. They had raised funds to appear at the prestigious SXSW Festival in Austin, and played a sweaty, raucous, triumphant gig at Peckham Audio.
And then the world stopped, everything closed down, including the music industry. And Crows and their loyal fans wondered if they would ever release or hear the 2nd album, let alone ever see them live again.
Now just over 2 years later, Crows finally get to release their long awaited 2nd album – Beware Believers, and it does not disappoint throughout its 11 tracks. It doesn’t let go either, from the opening chords of the first track ‘Closer Still’ to the final bars of the last track ‘Sad Lad’ this album grabs you by the scruff of the neck and throws you in to a live Crows gig, straight into the mosh-pit, with lead singer James Cox standing in front you, screaming his lungs out.
Whilst the first album had moments which felt like their live experience, this album sounds like a Crows gig from start to sweat drenched finish. This is the sound of band feeling comfortable with their sound, and a rhythm section that will pummel you senseless. It needs to be noted that these are the first tracks written with drummer Sam Lister being involved, and you can hear his and Jith Amara’s (bass)influence all the way, add to that the layered searing sounds and feedback from Steve Goddard (lead) and the dark, passionate, angry lyrics of James Cox, you have a very dark but beautiful album. It delivers on every track, hardly pausing for breath until the last few songs, the band wanted this experience for you and they do not disappoint.
No subject is left uncovered, from the disbelief of Brexit to mental health, from the incompetence of the DWP, to the stresses of working and living in London, from American serial killers to a tribute to the late great Daniel Johnston. This album demands your attention, especially with standout tracks like bass driven ‘Slowly Separate’ , the heartbreaking ‘Healing’ with its ‘I feel so lost without you, I feel so good without you’ lament and the pounding ‘The Servant’, these tracks have already become fan favourites and its going to be interesting to see their set list when their UK Tour starts on Tuesday 5th April in Bristol as they have an abundance of astounding live tracks to choose from now.
The wait for this album has been worthwhile, and now the band are working with both Fuzz Club and Bad Vibrations, you can see that they have a team behind them who will push and lead them in the right directions.
Perhaps the album should have been titled ‘Disbelievers Beware’ you would certainly not bet against this band following the footsteps of old tour buddies IDLES and gaining a far bigger audience than they have now.
Information and tickets for the tour can be found at crowsband.co.uk.
By Jon Milton
I remember Ceefax. The information service on BBC that was always pretty rubbish, even before the internet era kicked in. Amazing to think it was only 10 years ago that it ended. And Asbestos, widely used during the 20th century until they found out that it did bad things to your health. Expensive to get rid of too.
Fortunately the latest single from York's Perspex is not as pointless as the two anachronisms that make up its title. 'Ceefax & Asbestos' in fact, is actually rather good, and a further example of the promising breed of new bands who are emerging with lots of exciting new material now that the worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us.
The song itself deals with disposable media and entertainment through the scope of artists "A glam rock flavoured pop song that acts a warning from the past to the future - a scathing response to the flashing wheel of 15 second entertainment from the ghosts of the techno-past". Musically the song sits nicely alongside the likes of the T-Rex, Teenage Fanclub and the Velvet Underground.
Ceefax and Asbestos is the first track to be taken from the band's self-titled debut album and its out now.
You can hear it on the fiver at newmusicsocial.com/playlists at the moment, or click on the link below.
By Jon Milton
Having been quiet apart from the odd show here and there for a year or so, Lumer are back with a bang with their new single 'Hatred is a passion of theirs' and news of a second EP scheduled for release in June.
Hatred...mixes incisive social commentary with a very fresh new sound from the band and is easily one of their best tracks to date. Channeling understandable frustration and disdain for the increasingly polarized nature of Britain / Europe / The World, lead singer Alex Evans says of the single 'We've been to pubs, seen on social media, that old fella who still lives in 1954 and hates the non-white, young and everything in between. Boris is his saviour, Trump's an accessory and If Hatred is a passion then it must be theirs'.
The single will be supported by a music video in collaboration with Fred Perry.
What We've Been Listening to...Sprints, Liberty Valley, Automatic, Horsegirl, Honeyglaze, Crows, Midlight
By Jon Milton
With International Women's Day taking place this week, female / female led artists have fittingly taken centre stage on the new release front, with Automatic returning after way too long with a new single, Sprints giving us an excellent EP, Liberty Valley with their debut (scroll down after this article) and new singles from Horsegirl and Honeyglaze.
LA band Automatic released their cracking debut album 'Signal' back in 2019 but have been quiet since then in new music terms. New single 'New Beginning' picks up where they left off though with its low slung bass, cantering drums, icy vocal and blistering synth stabs. The track is taken from their new album 'Excess' and they'll be over in the UK to play London's Wide Awake Festival and dates in Brighton, Manchester and Leeds before they head off to Europe.
Sprints launched their 'A Modern Job' EP on Nice Swan Records, and its really quite brilliant. Last years' singles 'How does the story go' and 'Modern Job' kick off proceedings and are joined by 'Little Fix' which came out in January and two new tracks 'Delia Smith' and 'Im in a band'. There is a lot of energy in this EP: its noisy, exciting and utterly addictive. The EP was produced by Gilla Band's Daniel Fox, and he's done a grand job too. Essential.
'Sensational Horse Muzak Sound Noise Group From A City (Chicago)' Horsegirl are pretty new to me, but I like their new single 'Anti-glory'. It's taken from 'Versions of Modern Performance' which comes out in June and they're touring the UK and Europe in June/July. 'Anti-glory' has a bit of a 90's slacker indie vibe to it and we look forward to hearing more.
We saw Honeyglaze support Geese last year at the Sebright Arms and were rather charmed by their songs. And charming is a good way to describe their new single 'Female lead', about dying one's black hair blonde and realising that it looks terrible. The song is short and sweet, and kind of reminiscent of a Velvet Underground where Mo Tucker sings.
And what of the gents? Well, we won't dwell, but Crows have issued another impressive single from their new album this week 'Garden of England' and Midlight have given us 'Home', taken from their forthcoming debut EP. Garden of England is a proper 70's style rocker and one to do that funny 70's rocker dance to and Home channels that mellifluous early Coldplay (before they turned shit) vibe that they do so well and continues to explore the theme of anxiety about the future that has featured in their earlier singles.
By Jon Milton
That Leeds is such a fertile ground for alternative music isn't it? Yard Act, Treeboy and Arc, Dense, Eades, English Teacher, Fuzz Lightyear to name but a few of the many, are now joined by Liberty Valley, who today release their debut single 'Crash'.
Crash is lush and languid, a laid back and strung out reminder that summer is just around the corner, providing a welcome if momentary respite from all the shit that's happening across the globe. Taking equally from the immersive textures of 80’s dream-pop, the vulnerable counter-culture of 90’s grunge, and the independent freedom of modem bedroom music, the group have crafted a sound that’s uniquely theirs and undeniably enrapturing. Brought about by a relationship destined to doom, “Crash” is an emotive first look at the band.
A labour of love for guitarist Jack Gilbert and drummer Luc Gibbons, Liberty Valley is a band that has been patiently built up over many years. Facing constant lineup changes and personal difficulties, the band were eventually grounded with the entrance of bassist Adam Bentham and singer Suzie Lefèvre.
Drawing from a palette of influences that holds Sorry, Slowdive, Crumb, and Khruangbin, Crash is the first of a number of releases set for 2022.