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What We've Been Listening To This Week...Public Body, Compliments, The Wytches, Ian Charles Carter, Perspex, Dense, Pit Pony
By Jon Milton
Leeds and Yorkshire bands have featured quite heavily in our playlists over the last month or so with the likes of Lumer, Mush, Magick Mountain and Yard Act standing out, but this week has seen three acts from the other end of the country (Brighton to be specific) taking centre stage in the form of Public Body, Compliments and the Wytches.
Public Body released their debut single Talking Show in 2019, with Presenteeism and Naughty on My Bike coming out earlier this year. New single ‘Ask Me Later’ is a bit of whirling dervish of a track that fizzes along breathlessly, a little bit like a turbo charged version of ‘Circusville’ from That Petrol Emotion’s debut album. It’s a relentlessly busy song, with spiky riffs flowing throughout, forming a caustic critique of workplace behaviours, and we have a full review of it here.
You may be forgiven for saying ‘who?’ about Compliments as they were only formed this year and have just released their first single ‘Roadblock’ this week. But their debut is an accomplished piece, cool and considered and written about escapism. The band list Joy Division, Queens of the Stone Age and Radiohead as influences, and I also get a hint of Echo and the Bunnymen in this particular single. Compliments have more releases up their sleeve for the coming months, and we will hopefully interview them in the coming weeks to find out more so watch this space. Roadblock was produced by Theo Verney who also produced (and played on) the Public Body single. Verney also produced the debut EP by Home Counties which we’ll have a review on next week on its release – there’s another great set of tunes on that one.
After a long hiatus, The Wytches returned with new singles ‘Cowboy’ and ‘A Love You’ll Never Know’ in June and July respectively, and they now have another new single out in the form of ‘Meat Chuck’. Taken from the new album ‘Three Mile Ditch’ which comes out in early October on their own Cable Code Records, Meat Chuck has some pretty heavy Nirvana/grungy overtones running through it to add to their trademark tremolo heavy sound, which I'm sure you'll agree is a rather nice touch.
East London based Ian Charles Carter released his debut single New Teeth earlier this year and has followed it up with a second single ‘Gold Blood’ this week. The Human Pet frontman’s debut was a bit of ribald post punk, but this new single is far more subtle, slower paced and reflective.
We interviewed Perspex a couple of months ago when they released ‘A Horse Named Stupid’ at which time they mentioned we could expect a few more singles and possibly an EP over the next few months. The first of these is new single ‘Big Cash Child’, a lively little number that perversely reminds me of the 'Do The Hucklebuck', but don’t let that put you off. They’ll never get to 3000 albums at this rate though...
Lastly this week, let’s talk about noise. Friday saw the release of the debut EP by Leeds band Dense (Yorkshire sneaks in yet again). Glorious noise underpinned by subtle melodies said I in my review of the EP and that’s exactly what it is. It does really require the volume to go right up and for all four tracks to be listened to in a single sitting, but it is an impressive debut. Read the full review here.
You might also want to turn up the volume to listen to ‘Opportunity Went’, the new single by North East based Pit Pony. The band made a real splash with their debut single Osaka last year and Opportunity Went is another top tune from them - thrashy, feedback soaked and in your face.
Dense: Abjection EP Review
By Jon Milton
'Like a punishment beating but one that I’ve asked for'. So said Phil Taggart of BBC Radio 1 when he sat on the ‘Come Play With Me’ panel that selected Dense, a statement that perfectly describes the music that the band make, and one that the band themselves were delighted to hear.
Dense’s debut EP ‘Abjection’ is released today, comprised of four wonderfully bruising tracks that simultaneously pummel your senses whilst satisfying your eardrums. The EP’s title describes ‘a bleak and heavyhearted state of mind through subjective suffering’ with each track a short story and a ‘shared narrative of anthropological torment’. In our interview with the band earlier this week, the band elaborated on these themes:
‘Lyrically, the main theme of the EP is tying together short stories telling different narratives on individuals going through suffering. Some songs are more abstract than others such as Dread… focusing more on mental suffering whereas Cleanse/Despair was inspired by Charlie’s tour around the death camps in Siem Reap which are on display, showcasing the atrocities that occurred during the Cambodian Genocide in the 70s’.
Abjection kicks off at pace with ‘Calcium’, a song that properly assaults the senses and sets the tone for the rest of the EP. Dread follows, slowly building into crescendo before launching into ‘Electric Chair’ which appeared last month on the ‘Come Stay With Me’ compilation by Come Play With Me. The EP concludes with Cleanse/Despair, a Sabbath-esque juggernaut. Glorious noise this may be, but beneath that wall of sound there are subtle melodies playing out, that show the band’s song-writing depth and leave you wanting more.
Abjection is out now. You can buy the EP and a really cool t-shirt at their bandcamp page here.
Public Body: Ask Me Later
By Jon Milton
Have you ever been in a work meeting where people talk quickly and aggressively but don’t say very much? Or worked somewhere where people make themselves look busy but don’t do very much?
'Ask me later', the new single by Public Body provides the perfect soundtrack to those workplace scenarios. It’s a relentlessly busy song, with spiky riffs flowing throughout, forming a caustic critique of workplace behaviours.
Racing along at a canter across its three and a half or so minutes, it’s a further missive of sharp observational post punk from the band whose previous output includes the similarly impressive ‘Presenteeism’ and ‘Naughty on My Bike’.
Photo by Chiara Gambuto
According to the band, Ask Me Later is ‘in its simplest form is a ruthless examination of routine. Perpetually stuck in a twisted chain of occupational self-improvement’ with singer Seb scathing in his review of the monotony ‘Morning meeting, weather update / Program shut down, let me out now’.
Production duties on the single sit with Theo Verney, the man behind the new and immense TRAAMS tune, and producer to other favourites of ours, Egyptian Blue and Home Counties. He also plays guitar in the band and appears alongside Seb Gilmore (guitars and vocals), Joe Stevens (bass) and Thom Mills (drums).
Public Body plan to release more music in 2020 before releasing their second EP in early 2021.
An interview with Dense
By Jon Milton
Lively Leeds based noise merchants Dense have been making impressively loud and rowdy music for a couple of years, touring extensively alongside the likes of Prettiest Eyes, Flat Worms, Crows and Strange Bones. Having self-released their debut single 'Displaced Face' and its follow up 'Fever Dream' on Leeds singles club Come Play With Me in 2019, the band are now set to unleash their debut EP 'Abjection' this Friday (28th August).
Dense consist of Charlie Fossick (vocals/guitars), Dylan Metcalfe (Bass) and Sam Heffer (Drums), and we caught up with them to talk about the EP, the bands influences and their future plans ahead of the EP release.
Can you talk us through the songs on the EP (lyrically/musically)?
Lyrically, the main theme of the EP is tying together short stories telling different narratives on individuals going through suffering. Some songs are more abstract than others such as Dread… focusing more on mental suffering whereas Cleanse/Despair was inspired by Charlie’s tour around the death camps in Siem Reap which are on display, showcasing the atrocities that occurred during the Cambodian Genocide in the 70s. Musically, the songs are meant to take the listener on a journey through these short stories and set the tone for what is being said in the songs.
Your songs seem very much based around the rhythm of the bassline - is that the starting point when you write?
There is no set starting point for when we write, which we find to be the best way for us to create something we feel is unique and provides different flavours for each of the songs. For example, Electric Chair was a riff Charlie presented initially and then Dylan’s creative flow when figuring out the bass’s role allowed him to come up with the arpeggiated baseline for the verses and choruses. For Dread… we started with Sam showing a drum beat he came up with and we based our writing of the bass and guitar around that which gave the song a more percussive feel.
Photo by Sarah Oglesby
Name five records that have shaped your sound?
Wand - Golem
Queens of the Stone Age - Songs for the Dead
Metz - II
Fuzz - II
Prettiest Eyes - Pools
What’s next for the band - is an album on the horizon?
One can dream of being able to put out an album in the near future! It all depends on how we progress as a band and if anyone is interested to put us out! It could be a year or it could be 10 years before put out an album, you never know how it’s gonna go. What we do know is that we’re going to keep working as hard as we can to tour and keep writing new songs that we’re proud of and hope anyone listening will enjoy!
We'll publish a full review of the EP on Friday. In the meantime, you can listen to 'Electric Chair' which features on the EP and was featured on the Come Play With Me 'Come Stay With Me' compliation below.
This week saw the release of two singles that will undoubtedly be up there with the best of the year. One marked the return of Traams after a 4 year hiatus, and the other from new upstarts TV Priest who also announced details of their debut album, set for release in November.
Traams last single was the frantic, but quite brilliant ‘A House on Fire’ which came out in 2016. Since then the band have been quiet, but this week brought us ‘The Greyhound’, the first of three new songs set for release in 2020. Just under ten minutes long, The Greyhound is a krautrock meets post punk masterpiece that at no stage outstays its welcome, and in fact flies past before you know it. The addition of saxophone toward the closing stages of the track is absolutely inspired, a perfect foil to the mesmeric guitar, bass and drum rhythm section. Proper head music and simply magnificent.
I had The Greyhound down as song of the month, and then along came ‘This Island’, the new single from TV Priest. Having been mightily impressed by the band after hearing their debut single ‘House of York’ we interviewed the band here in June at the time of their equally impressive second single ‘Runner Up’ and I delighted to say that the new single maintains their high standard of output.
The band describe ‘This Island’ as ‘a song about feeling under prepared in your responses yet powerful in your convictions’ and about ‘nationalism, fearmongering, hate, anger, sadness, loss’. Musically the song also blends krautrock and post punk, but errs more on the latter in the vein of artists such as Public Image Limited and Echo and the Bunnymen. The guitar, from the point that it kicks in on 50 seconds is absolutely sublime, the star of the show that really elevates the song, making it the pure joy that it is. It’s the lead single from their debut album ‘Uppers’ which sold out of its initial run of coloured vinyl within 24 hours, prompting them to release some more, such was the demand. Everyone that I have spoken to about this band seem to have been similarly blown away, so expectations are naturally going to be high for the album, but if they can sustain this level of excellence ‘Uppers’ will undoubtedly be one of the albums of the year too.
Also out this week was the new single by The Schizophonics, the follow up to last years’ immense ‘Steely Eyed Lady’. ‘Black to Comm’ is a cover of the MC5 song, with this version adding punchy garage rock edge. Its rather good.
There was no round up last week due to a mixture of bad internet and holidays, but our choice of tunes was ‘Dead Beat’ by Mush, 'Turbulence' by Lord Loud, Infinity x2 by Magick Mountain and The Sheets by Lumer. Mush's Dead Beat is another excellent tune from the band and taken from their forthcoming EP (which also features previous single Fear Index). The Sheets shows some real progression in Lumer’s song-writing, and an almost Morrisey like element to the vocals. Infinity x2 rocks beautifully, undoubtedly taking inspiration from Osees who are also a key influence on Lord Loud. On Turbulence however there’s a bit more influence from Jimi Hendrix and Red Hot Chilli Peppers at their most reflective.