What We've Been Listening To This Week...Midlight, Alice Robbins, Courting, Beige Banquet, Psych Against Cancer, Disobedient Records
By Jon Milton
As is usually the case, new releases of note at this time of the year have been few and far between so we’ve been mostly concentrating on bringing our festive fifty together over the last week or two, which you can listen to here.
There have been some tracks of note to emerge however. The first is ‘Pandemonium’, the second single by London based Midlight which has a kind of Radiohead does Latin feel with a white noise outro. The band consists of Owen Beesley (Drums), George Ireland (Vocals, Guitar, Piano), Issac Squires (Lead Guitar) and Ollie Turvey (Bass, Piano), and Pandemonium was recorded in a studio the band have been building in Brixton. It follows on from their debut ‘Sink to the Level’ which was released earlier this year and got airplay by Tom Robinson and Shaun Keaveny by all accounts. Both songs will feature on a limited vinyl release.
Earlier this year the wonderful Do Nothing recommended we listen to the debut album by Felix M-B on their socials, which is a cracking record. This week they suggested listening to the latest single by Alice Robbins ‘Canaries’, a similarly impressive choice. It could almost be a Do Nothing song in fact, but for the vocals, which should give you some indication of what its like. Previous single G.F.D.S. ain’t too shabby either.
London based Beige Banquet released their debut single ‘Wired/Weird’ a week or so ago, which is the first to be taken from their debut album due for release on Just Step Sideways in early 2021. Angular, in yer face post punk the way we like it. A beige banquet by all accounts is a meal made up of mostly frozen food of a similar colour – chips, chicken nuggets, potato waffles, fish fingers, a staple of many working-class children in the 90’s including Tom Brierley, who fronts the band.
Beige Banquet have also contributed a track ‘What is Going On’ to a compilation from Disobedient Records ‘I never told you’ which you can get on Bandcamp for a fiver. The compilation also features quality tunes from Public Body, Cardinal, Hazeydays, Maruja and a host of others, with all monies raised going to Reece’s Line, a charity set up in aid of Reece Spark who sadly took his own life this year supporting those who suffer from mental health issues. Get it here.
Another very worthy comp on Bandcamp comes from Psych Lovers ‘Psych against Cancer’ which is the second volume in a series, and available in two parts. There are 83 tracks on part 1 and 82 on part 2, so we are talking about 16 hours of psych in total, featuring artists such as Slift, Ghost Dance Collective, The Oscillation, Thee UFO, The Vacant Lots, Psychic Lemon, Anthroprophh and many, many more. There’s something for everyone here and all proceeds of this release go to Macmillan Cancer Support so buying it is a no-brainer. Get part 1 here and part 2 here.
Last up this week sees three of the brightest new bands around coming together, with Home Counties and The Lounge Society remixing Courting’s ‘Popshop’. The Lounge Society give the song an 80’s acid house re-rub, and Home Counties house it up 90’s style. I spent parts of the eighties and most of the 90’s in dark and dingy clubs listening to house music of varying shapes and I can't help but imagine the lot of them bouncing around off their faces when listening to this EP.
By Jon Milton
‘The gift that no-one asked for’ say Home Counties of their new EP ‘Dadbod Reworkings’, which unsurprisingly features five different versions of their song Dadbod, recorded by each member of the band during lockdown. Given that comment you might think they’re being a bit hard on themselves of course, but as I found out when I met them in July, they don’t take themselves too seriously and that comment would appear to be firmly in cheek.
Maybe its just me reading far too much into things, but each rendering of Dadbod here seems to be capturing a different mature Dad stereotype, which is all rather clever and just adds to the charm of the band. First up is ‘Will Bod’ an 80’s new romantic take for the Dad who considers himself to have quite a lot of James Bond or maybe even Zoolander about him. It’s like the deep vocal could at any stage could be asking for a vodka martini shaken, not stirred.
Dan Bod takes more of a country / Malboro Man / Saxondale approach, resplendent with a whistled backing and a bit like the Spider Noises take on the Rolling Stones’ Let it Bleed. Thinking they’re cool but are actually slightly nerdy electronic music loving Dad surfaces on Sam Bod, somewhere between Kraftwerk and Pet Shop Boys, and Boon Dad is a drum and bass workout depicting the Dad that used to rave in the nineties but would struggle to look anything but silly trying to move along to D&B these days.
Con Bod concludes matters, and I’d like to think it represents the properly cool Dad taking inspiration from somewhere between Kraftwerk again with its Tour De France breathing sounds and Matthew Herbert. In saying this however, I realise that (as my own children would testify) no Dad’s are actually ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ and the very use of those words as descriptions of this are testament to this.
All in all, its good fun and it’s made me smile, and as you can see think far too deeply into things. It also serves to remind us of the original Dadbod and the fact that Home Counties are one of the best new bands to have emerged this year.
What We've Been Listening To This Week...Shame, White Flowers, Laundromat, Firefriend, Phoebe Green, Viagra Boys
By Jon Milton
Its getting to that time of year when new music output slows right down and makes way for the festive onslaught. There is the serious business of course of some pretty exciting new albums out in early 2021, so we expect one or two decent tracks to emerge in the remaining weeks of 2020 as tasters for those. One of those albums is Drunk Tank Pink, the second album by Shame, which is shaping up very nicely so far. This week they released ‘Snow Day’, the third song to be taken from the album and another cracker. The band have a bit of swagger about them and on the evidence of this new song, ‘Water in the Well’ and ‘Alphabet’ you can certainly see why.
Viagra Boys also have a second album on the way, releasing another taster from it this week ‘Creatures’. It’s OK, although you do wonder whether the band are running out of steam. Ain’t Nice was a good tune, although nothing ground breaking so it will be interesting to see what else they have in their armoury.
A more consistent producer of good tunes is Brighton’s Laundromat. We loved his ‘Blue’ EP earlier this year, and he’s followed it up with another quality EP ‘Green’. The lead track ‘Bureau De Fatigue’ came out at the start of November and the full EP was released a week or so ago adding new tracks ‘Nein’ and ‘Bug Eyed’. I guess you’d describe it as indie but with some shuffling hip hop beats. Very cool. Another artist releasing songs in quick succession is White Flowers. They’ve bought out ‘You Caught Me’ this week, another good tune very much wearing their Cocteau Twins influences on their sleeves, this one I’d place around the Head Over Heels era.
I’d not heard much by Phoebe Green before, and was only aware of her through her connection with Document. She’s released an excellent single this week though ‘Grit’ so a delve through her previous output sounds like its in order. The tune has a slightly doomy feel about it, reminiscent of Madness in some respects, and its wonderfully written and she’s got a great voice.
Finally, this week we reviewed the latest album by Brazilian band Firefriend ‘Fantasma’, which you can read about here. Its an excellent album, very much in the psych rock vein but highly accessible and a really enjoyable listen. The vinyl comes out next year via Cardinal Fuzz, but you can hear it digitally now.
By Ian Smith
Everything has gelled. Sao Paulo’s primary purveyors of psych perfection have dropped a new album upon us without warning and it’s the trio’s best yet. All the signs were there at the Eindhoven Psychfest of 2019, there was a knowingness about the live performance. A band in control of its own destiny. Their time in lockdown has been used more than wisely.
‘Three-dimensional Sound Glitch’ starts this opus, full of disjointed rhythms and guitar runs, languishing beautifully, going nowhere. ‘Hexagonal Mess’ starts with a swarm of tremolo before Julia’s asinine vocal takes over, yearning for something long lost. The song disintegrates into a tangle of ragged guitar. ‘Spin’ is straighter and more upbeat with shades of Sonic Youth rattling around it’s core.
‘Dead Icons’ introduces more of the fuzz and is an instant stand-out for this listener, Yury’s finest vocal performance to date supported by interweaving guitar lines and drone-licks. This track moves seamlessly through its phases and is gonna be a belter live (roll on 2030….). Even finer is ‘Tomorrow’, a plodding, sombre lament of Sigur Ros-esque proportions. It’s glorious.
Which brings me neatly to ‘666 Fifth Avenue’, which starts off rather pop-tastically (insert your favourite mid-‘80’s English act here). There is an urgency which encapsulates the whole record. ‘Ongoing Crash’ is built around a killer bass-hook, embracing Julia’s love of all things Sabbath. A pounding, crashing rush of attitude. ‘Waves’ again hints at the band’s new-found pop sensibility, oddly recalling The Beatles.
The penultimate track, ‘Home Or Exile’ is positively brimful of attitude; their music has never sounded so together. A Stones-esque romp of epic proportions. Closer ‘One Thousand Miles High’ utilises discordant, almost playful guitar, Yury sounding joyous and upbeat to end quite the journey.
It’s rare for a band to make something so fresh this far in. You will have to be content with purchasing the download today whilst we wait for the vinyl to drop around April 2021 via Little Cloud Records (US) and Cardinal Fuzz (UK).