What we've been listening to...The Lounge Society, workfriends, Belishas, Feet, Pip Blom, The Early Mornings, Loose Articles, Gawjuss
By Jon Milton
So, after a little bit of a lull at the start of the month, this week has pretty much exploded with an abundance of cracking selection new tunes, from both rising stars and returning favourites.
Let’s start with the new breed: The Lounge Society blew us away with their debut single ‘Generation Game’ last year, so much so that you wondered just how much they had in the tank to follow it up with. Well, quite a lot it turns out if their ‘Silk for The Starving’ EP is anything to go by. Previous singles ‘Burn the Heather’ released late last year and the ferocious ‘Cain’s Heresy’, released a couple of months are joined by new tracks ‘Television’ and ‘Valley Bottom Fever’.
The band explore different approaches with each track; indie-disco on Burn the Heather; afro-beat on Television; garage-rock on Valley Bottom Fever; and anthemic indie on the standout Cain’s Heresy. Putting aside the automatic hype that any band would expect from having their record out on Speedy Wunderground, this is a remarkable debut for a band so young, who’ve clearly been raiding the record collections of friends and relatives with impeccable taste for some time.
We were also taken with the debut single from workfriends last year ‘Man on the Run’, which snuck out around the point when we started the first lockdown. After that it all went quiet from them for the rest of the year until this February, which saw them release the excellent Sick and Tired. Now they’re back with another belter in ‘Stunt Doubles’, a song that motors along at a frenetic pace, super smart indie music doffing its cap at the likes of Kraftwerk, Devo and the Velvet Underground along the way and doing so with a cheeky grin. More please.
Similarly frenetic and effortlessly wonderful is ‘Whispers’ the new single from Belishas. Whispers is the first track to be released from a double A sided single which gets a vinyl release in mid-August. The second track, ‘Brother’ comes out in digital form on the 23rd July. Whispers ‘is an intense, joyous statement of self-improvement, liberation and rebirth’ according to the band, recorded in August 2020 and produced by Dom Mitchison of IDLES fame. The band cite their influences as late 70s punk, 80s post-punk and early 90s indie, and I’d add a bit of C86 jangle in there too, as Whispers echoes songs like Felt’s ‘Ballad of the Band’, The Bodines ‘Therese’ and the Weather Prophets ‘Almost Prayed’ within its sunny disposition.
Two other bands channelling the spirit of C86 are The Early Mornings, who’ve just released their debut EP ‘Unnecessary Creation’ and Loose Articles, who have a new single out in the form of ‘Kick Like a Girl’. We first noticed The Early Mornings when their impressive ‘Blank Sky’ and ‘Day’s Spent’ singles emerged a month or so ago, which both appear on Unnecessary Creation alongside four new tracks. The Early Morning’s brand of C86 is more akin to the slightly ramshackle yet charming Talulah Gosh albeit there’s also elements of the Joy Division precursor Warsaw and The Pixies going on here too.
Loose Articles take on C86 on the other hand leans more toward Fuzzbox in their early days, albeit more abrasive, in your face and packing more of a punch. ‘Kicks Like a Girl’ confronts misogyny in football, taking a swipe at the narrow mindset of some men toward women in football whilst sprinkling a few footballing references along the way, ranging from Duncan Ferguson to Beckham’s Mohican.
If Deerhunter, Artic Monkeys, The Kills, Mac DeMarco & King Krule and a bit of early Oasis is more of your bag, take a listen to ‘Sleepwalker’, the fine new single from Gawjuss. The latest new music to emerge from those lovely people at Clue Records, Gawjuss’ Kieran Wade Clarke says of Sleepwalker ‘I wrote this song while I had insomnia, it’s a love letter to sleep. Like a reset button when you get lost in the noise of your own head’.
Now, cast your mind back to 2019, when life made a lot more sense than it does today. You may recall that amongst an embarrassment of riches on the album front, were the brilliant debut albums from Pip Blom and Feet, both of whom are now back with a vengeance to remind us that they’ve still got it.
Pip Blom’s ‘Keep it Together’ stays with the winning formula that the band pursued on ‘Boat’, all rousing chorus and uplifting indie all the way. It will be interesting to see whether the band explore any new ground on their new album ‘Welcome Break’ when it lands in October, although part of me thinks if it’s not broken, why try and fix it? Keep it Together is another fantastic indie pop song from them and if the rest of the album is as good as this, then bring it on.
Feet also kept a low profile in 2020 and seem to have switched record labels along the way, now finding themselves at the burgeoning Nice Swan Recordings, home of Courting and the like.
The band are pretty adept at effortlessly appropriating across the musical spectrum, and continue to do so on their new track ‘Library’, impishly merging bits of The Ramones’s ‘Baby I Love You’ with Mink DeVille’s ‘Spanish Stroll’ without ever becoming too derivative of either. On this and previous single ‘Peace and Quiet’ the band seem to have gone back to basics and it suits them well, so we look forward to hearing more from them in the coming months, and seeing them play live too.
What We've Been Listening To...New Candys, Possum, Filth, Mush, The Novus, Roscoe Roscoe, Cowgirl, Scores
By Jon Milton
It’s June already! Wow, that’s gone quick. This year has already seen a couple of excellent psych-rock albums released in the form of Diagonal’s eponymous debut and Mt. Mountain’s ‘Centre’ and now another one has come along in the form of 'Vyvyd’, from Italy’s New Candys. Like Diagonal and Mt. Mountain the band sit on the more accessible side of the genre with a clean production values abundant throughout this record. There’s also shoe-gaze with a healthy nod toward Jesus and Mary Chain and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club going on.
Brooding singles ‘Twin Mime’ and ‘Zyko’ kick off Vyvyd powerfully and the rest of the album moves nicely along, encompassing reflective moments on songs like ‘Begin Again’ and even bringing the blues on ‘Helluva Zoo’. All good stuff.
Next month sees the release of ‘Lunar Gardens’ the new album from Canadian band Possum, and Friday saw them release the third and final taster in the form of ‘Guest of the Moon’. The band were new to me until last month but I was very impressed by their single ‘Clarified Budder’ and this new track sees them continuing to seamlessly meld psych rock with Jazz very nicely, across this wah drenched jam. Think King Gizzard, Soft Machine, Oh Sees, (seventies) Miles Davis and Can coming together to give you some sort of idea of how they sound. We’ll have a full review of the album nearer the time of its release.
Friday was a very healthy day for new singles overall. Promising young band from Stoke on-Trent Filth released their excellent second single ‘Fully Introspective: Love, Truth, Happiness’, which sits nicely alongside Mush’s laid back ‘Peak Bleak’, taken from their forthcoming RSD 2021 single.
If you’re unfamiliar with Filth, their debut single ‘Tangerine Dream’ out last year is well worth a listen and from the evidence here, they certainly seem to be a band to watch. If you’re unfamiliar with Mush, where have you been?
For a more mellow, trippy and psychedelic take on Sixties music have a listen to ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ the second single by Roscoe Roscoe. If you prefer more of a cool Seventies vibe tinged with a bit of 90’s slacker rock, there's ‘Better With You’ the new tasty new single from Cowgirl, and if Eighties post punk with a bit of goth rock thrown in is more up your street you may want to check out ‘Castaway’ the new single from the Novus. The Novus are natives of Stourbridge, famous in the eighties for Pop Will Eat Itself and The Wonder Stuff, but this new single reminds me of another West Midlands based band, Balaam and the Angel, and a bit of Death Cult too. Big and swirly.
Concluding our round up this week is ‘Broaden Out’, the third single from Scores. The band are from LA and Kansas and Broaden Out is beat-driven indie-rock electronica, very much in the mode of Holy Fuck and Caribou. ‘The song is about coming to terms with the fact that some of the things I struggle with in my head, I may never outgrow’ says singer CJ Calhoun of the song’s introspective lyrics and its their best tune yet.