Anyone who managed to catch SOURDOUGH's excellent single 'Holocene Ending' early this year will be aware of what an exciting, under the radar prospect this band are. The band have just released their debut EP on Vandalism Begins At Home Records which features Holocene Ending along with three more incendiary tunes.
In these volatile, uncertain, complex and uncertain times, SOURDOUGH attempt to provide a voice for the disaffected many, with an EP that pours contempt on governmental abuse of power. And all of this was written before the government decided to issue arguably the most bonkers mini-budget of all time, and in doing so widen the gap between have and have nots.
Opening track 'Ragged Trouser Opinionist' considers the pursuit of power, Holocene Ending the abuse of power and 'Mind and Body' and 'Behind the Screen' the feelings of being powerless. The band's impassioned rhetoric is aptly accompanied by its music which burns with energy, anger and urgency.
Within the first minute of listening to Courting’s ‘Guitar Music’, you may well be thinking that the title was just an elaborate ruse and that an entirely different non-guitar based experience was about to hit you. Album opener ‘Cosplay/Twin Cities’ begins with 30 seconds of uplifting piano, harp and synth and then morphs into a deadpan ‘SexyBack’ like industrial number, replete with dentistry drill noises. Once that initial shock gets out of the way, the six strings make their entry on the excellent single, ‘Tennis’ and pretty much make their presence known throughout the rest of the record. In fairness there was always a hint of the band’s predilection for playfulness with that Cher effect vocal on ‘Loaded’ (included here) and there are little flourishes throughout the album.
The smart lyrics, great tunes and bright inventive ideas on Guitar Music certainly make Courting standout from the crowd and it is a very enjoyable debut album indeed. At times they’re winging a bit, with ‘Jumper’ close to straying a bit too far into mainstream territory and ‘PDA’ almost in danger of getting annoying with that click track, but there again they’re young and I’m not, so perhaps I should just get over myself. At 32 minutes long and with tunes as good as ‘Famous’, ‘Loaded’ and ‘Tennis’ on there you can’t really go wrong.
The latest addition to Blitzcat Records impressive roster of artists (including Gag Salon and Kyoto Kyoto) are Bristol's HAAL, who have just released a new single in the form of 'Janus'.
The song is inspired by the cult 2013 sci-fi thriller show 'Utopia’, whose themes around transhumanism and secrecy adorn the PS2-style graphics video, designed by Will Newcombe. Musically, think Massive Attack fused with a bit of grunge and Marc Ribot's guitar on Island era Tom Waits and you'll be in the right ball- park. Not a bad set of references, eh?
Immersive visuals will take centre stage at two special headline shows - the first in HAAL's hometown of Bristol at The Louisiana with support from Crimewave (Sept 16th), the second in London at Bermondsey Social Club with special guests Waterbaby (Sept 22nd). Check out the video below to give yourself a flavour.
By Jon Milton
The Lounge Society have been turning heads and pricking up ears for just over two years since their outstanding debut single ‘Generation Game’ came out. They set the bar high with that song and kept it high with their debut EP ‘Silk for the Starving’ released last year but has it stayed there for their debut album ‘Tired of Liberty’? Kind of.
The sheer amount of energy and ideas that the band pack into Tired of Liberty is mind blowing. The first nine songs twist and turn, scamper and slow and then scamper again restlessly with such effortless ease. Its easy to lose your sense of time. Brilliant stuff. Then it all comes abruptly to an end with ‘Upheaval’ a significant change in direction and one that doesn’t really fit. The album closes with Generation Game which feels like it’s been tacked on to make up the numbers. Was it rushed out to capitalise on the bands growing popularity? It feels a bit like that, which is a shame.
Despite the disappointing end however, the potential this band have is incredible. I’m kind of reminded of the first Echo and the Bunnymen album ‘Crocodiles’ here in the sense of thinking that this is not the finished article but there could be something great like ‘Heaven Up Here’ just round the corner. The comparison is amplified as both albums feature lightweight production that doesn’t get the best out of them.
Despite minor grumbles though, Tired of Liberty is an impressive debut. And in many ways it’s a good thing that its flawed as it gives them room to target improvement and really nail the next record, and hopefully a couple more after that too.
What we've been listening to...Sprints, Keg, Moreish Idols, Splint, Shady Baby, Tragic, Human Interest, Personal Trainer
By Jon Milton
Nice Swan Records just keep going from strength to strength don’t they? They’ve given a succession of excellent EP’s this year from the likes of Sprints, Opus Kink and English Teacher and this summer they’ve also unearthed new gems in the form of Splint and Shady Baby.
Brighton based Shady Baby are inspired by Madchester and Britpop and their impressive latest single Lonely Town definitely (maybe) has a touch of early Oasis about it, no bad thing. It follows on from Come to Life released earlier this year.
Manchester 5 piece Splint’s debut single is ‘in essence a song about confusion of adolescence and the acceptance of your own failings, each of which lead you to the circumstances you find yourself in’. Its also a darn good tune with slight echoes of their label mates Hallan about it. Hup, two, three, four!
Both Shady Baby and Splint are out on the road playing days this month, if you fancy catching them before they get big.
Like the magnificent Sprints, who have another new tune out this week, ‘Literary Mind’. Literary Mind continues the transition that a lot of band seem to be making from spoken/shouted to sung and the band carry it off well. They’re also touring next month all over the UK.
Not to be outdone by their northern counterparts, Speedy Wunderground Records have also come up trumps this summer with the debut EP from Moreish Idols.
The EP is an absolute cracker from start to finish. It starts and ends with the two frantic singles released earlier this year ‘Hangar’ and ‘Speedboat’ with new songs W.A.M. and When the River Runs Dry sandwiched in between. There seems to be a trend developing at the moment with guitar bands incorporating brass into their sound and these guys manage to do it exceptionally well.
As do Keg who’ve just released their second EP ‘Girders’. Girders follows on from last year’s debut ‘Assembly’ with the gloriously obnoxious ‘Kids’ and ‘Elephant’ and disorientating ‘NPC’ accompanied by three more tracks ‘5/4’, ‘Girders’, and ‘Sing Again’. There’s a bit more experimentation on Girders compared to Assembly and again even a little bit of singing (unsurprisingly on Sing Again’) in among the shouting.
Other tunes worth checking out right now include:
Tragic - Backfoot
Human Interest - Alive
Personal Trainer - The Lazer