By Jon Milton
BIG TUNE ALERT!
After a quiet week just gone for new single releases of note, Manchester’s The C33s kick off this one with an absolute belter. The band came on to our radar when they released their excellent Manic Depression single in 2019, and they now bring us ‘Harpurhey Hostility’, their first new tune of 2020 and its a doozy.
Harpurhey Hostility sees drummer Judy Jones take on lead vocal duties, initially giving the song a kind of B52’s ’52 Girls’ touch to the bands trademark garage punk / surf sound. As the track progresses, the bands other influences (the Cramps, Oh Sees) clearly come through, peppered with a touch of Dick Dale to give it that Tarantino feel that seems to be gaining momentum right now.
Harpurhey Hostility is fresh, cool, and full of energy. If you need something to turbo charge your day, put this on, it rocks.
Harpurhey Hostility is out now. You can listen to it here.
What We've Been Listening To This Week...Pottery, Spider Noises, Superdrone, the Suncharms and Mirrorlakes
By Jon Milton and Ian Smith
This weeks’ been pretty quiet for new single releases, and far more notable for the albums that have come out. And there have been some good ones too.
Pottery released their debut album on Friday and let me tell you, it’s a beauty. The band released an EP last year called ‘No. 1’ with some decent tracks on it but none of those compare to what’s on offer here. It’s as though they’ve come of age. Welcome to Bobby’s Motel starts off at a furious pace and the party pretty much continues throughout. They sound a lot like Talking Heads at times, particularly on tracks like Hot Heater, Take your Time and What’s in Fashion, but a contemporary, souped-up version.
There is a lot of inventiveness going on here, with each song underpinned by some phenomenal drumming and lots of changes in direction – take Under the Wires for example which starts out as a regular song but then breaks out into a funky workout mid-way through before segueing into the song that follows (Bobby’s Forecast) which is funky workout all the way through. Or Down in the Dumps, which begins in a muted fashion before kicking into another frenetic workout and then calms itself down before morphing into the more sedate Reflection. Reflection forms a brief respite as its followed by Texas Drums (Pt I & Pt II), a turbo charged party piece a little reminiscent of Teardrop Explodes’ Reward and as its title suggests, a song of two parts.
NY Inn and Take your Time keep the pace fast and furious, with the more measured What’s in Fashion sandwiched in between, before the album bows out with Hot Like Jungle. Welcome to Bobby’s Motel is a phenomenal album from start to finish, and it will undoubtedly be up there with the best of 2020. There’s a few vinyl bundles out there if that takes your fancy too, I’ve opted for the hot dog mustard coloured vinyl version, with zine, bobby socks and badge! Check out your options here.
Elsewhere this week we wrote about the new album by Superdrone ‘most definitely an album for the summer, grab a martini, a deckchair and some light reading’ and two albums by Spider Noises (their debut and a compilation of tracks from 2016 to 2019, which both show immense promise. We also wrote about a split tape release out last month from Shiny Happy Records featuring Suncharms and Mirrorlakes ‘a rather charming little release’ all in all.
Next week sees a couple of excellent singles from the C33’s and the Novus respectively which we’ll write about nearer the time of release, so keep an eye out for those.
By Ian Smith
There is nothing like an album title giving the game away. ‘Solargaze’ does exactly what it says on the tin. The eponymous opener sets the scene and glides into ‘Rectify’, with its Cocteau-esque guitars. ‘Walk Away’ (thankfully not a Cast cover) carries on the vibe, think of ‘Whirlpool’-era Chapterhouse as a point of reference.
The tracks sit in their own backwater, subtle electronic flourishes wash in and out, none-more-so than on ‘The Loop’, with its lilting vocals carried on an urgent drum track. These guys have clearly been swatting-up on some original ‘Gaze pioneers. The LP finishes with ‘Today’ and the track managements to encapsulate the feel of the album as a whole.
It’s most definitely an album for the summer. Grab a martini, a deckchair and some light reading and let this wash you to sleep.
You can listen to Solargaze here
Spider Noises Album Review: Deconstructed House Cat and Fuckin’ Tune This, Like: An Introduction to Spider Noises, 2016-19
By Jon Milton
‘I only like you when I’m stoned. It’s the only time I laugh at your jokes. We only get by when we’re really fucking high, I only like you when I’m stoned’
I have a friend whose nickname is Reefer, who originally comes from Newcastle, and if he had any musical talent (he hasn’t) or obvious musical inclination (he hasn’t) I think he would sound like Spider Noises, the Newcastle based solo project of Jack Calvesbert whose words appear above.
Reefer’s the sort of person whose mind works in very interesting ways, with his extensive knowledge of literature and current affairs suitably filtered by his enduring passion for herb. From the evidence of the two albums out today on Kitchen Practice Records, Jack seems like the musical equivalent, with his many ideas percolated though days and nights of appreciating one of natures more interesting gifts.
Spider Noises first came to our attention last month with their contribution to the debut compilation EP on Lloyd Bolton’s fledgling Kitchen Practice records, with their version of the Stones’ Let it Bleed. Just over a month later and we now have not one but two albums from them, Deconstructed House Cat their full debut, and Fuckin’ Tune This, Like, a collection of releases made between 2016 and 2019.
Deconstructed House Cat was all recorded in lockdown in Jacks bedroom, the usual location for his recording exploits. There are glimpses of Beta Band, The Beatles, Can, Devendra Banhart, Bob Dylan, and even John Barry across the albums’ nine songs; Warm Moon Residue, the albums opener evokes Banhart with a glitter band beat; Bucket of Sick, the Beta Band; Dust Mask a kind of Don’t Think Twice, Its Alright mixed with Midnight Cowboy; the playful elements of the White Album sneak in throughout and so on. Lo fi throughout, Jack manages to cleverly combine his influences into this material and then add in some wonderfully deranged experimental touches, as if he’s listened back to his own demo’s stoned and identified new and very interested elements as his mind has wandered in the fug.
At times the limitations of recording in a bedroom come across, and your left wondering what the album could sound like with some proper studio time and perhaps with some collaboration, but no doubt that will happen in the future. To have achieved an album of this quality at 21 all by yourself is an impressive feat after all, and from a quick look at the Spider Noises back catalogue, he’s not exactly short of inspiration.
Which brings me on to Fuckin’ Tune This, Like: An Introduction to Spider Noises, 2016-19, which is a compilation of early material, featuring tracks previously available on Bandcamp. It’s a curious mix, with tracks like Equipment Smith sounding full formed (and a vocal line that sounds a bit ‘Sounds of the Underground…!) and others like Since We Died, Weird Sky and She’s Not a Star like demo’s. Reassuringly of course there are more experimental, slightly deranged moments, like Stitched by Bastard, The Lifebox 3, Save Our Skin and Dry Slug, Dry Slug to keep things interesting.
Overall, both albums show immense promise, and are invariably a smoker’s delight. You can listen to Deconstructed House Cat here and Fuckin’ Tune This, Like: An Introduction to Spider Noises, 2016-19 here.
By Ian Smith
This is a ‘split-tape’ release from Shiny Happy Records.
The Suncharms begin with ‘Monster Club’, which has a ‘60’s beat-pop feel. All is present and correct and the guitars jangle around Marcus’ playful vocal. The song is sandwiched by a squeaking door. A beginning and an end. ‘Cosmonaut’ is sparse, with gentle picked guitars. Think McCarthy or The Pastels. The track is interspersed with a buzzing guitar solo which breaks into all-out fuzz as the song develops.
‘Reflection’ is the final track from Sheffield’s finest, starting as a gentle acoustic melody which combines the C86 sound with something approaching a rock ballad. There is a feeling of melancholy and even some Zeppelin-esque touches to finish. With several tracks released of late, surely the long-awaited debut long-player will soon be upon us.
The Mirrorlakes take over on side 2, with a sound firmly intrenched in shoegaze with a jangle-pop topping. ‘Three Song’ recalls late-80’s British Indie acts long-forgotten, a hazy mid-tempo toe-tapper. ‘Kosong’ is the standout, the band creating a plodding feel which at times made me think of Pavement. The release is completed by ‘Untitle’, guitars stand alone for this instrumental (but no lead-guitar wankery. No sir, not likely).
This is a rather charming little release.
Out now on Shiny Happy Records: https://shinyhappyrecs.bandcamp.com/album/a-split-tape-the-suncharms-mirrorlakes