Its been a noisy week over here at newmusicsocial. There were two new releases this week that stood out, the new single by Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs ‘Reducer’ on Rocket Recordings taken from their third album ‘Viscerals’ and ‘Hyperion’ the latest single from Slift, out on Stolen Bodies Records taken from their second album 'Ummon', due out at the end of February. Reducer is an all-out aural assault and Hyperion, a fulsome bit of wah drenched space rock. Great stuff.
The immersive sound of another Rocket Recordings band Bonnacons of Doom also came under the radar this week with Esus from the EP of the same name. The rest of the EP is made up of three remixes, with the JD Twitch Optimo remix of Solus well worth checking out too.
Having been to see the excellent Yammerer last week playing at the Aces and Eight in Tufnell Park, it seemed only reasonable to check out a couple of the other acts on their label Restless Bear, who have an excellent playlist on Spotify by the way. The two bruising tracks that caught attention were ‘Steady as she goes and dies’ by Gravves and Danephesians 4.31 by Deh Yey which came out in October last year.
So there’s no surprises around the corner, I think its only fair that I warn you, about my disorder’.
So begins Disorder, the new single from Shropshire based band Social Confusion. Disorder is the first single from the band as a three piece and its lyrical story focusses on the struggles of mental health and keeping those problems hidden. It’s a good tune too, a reflective, melancholic indie rocker reminiscent of Slide Away by Oasis and Urban Hymns era the Verve.
The band formed in 2012 but only released their first single Come Outside last year. Their debut was swiftly followed up by a self-titled EP, and then the change in line up saw a new sound developing. The band teamed up with producer Sam Bloor and recorded Disorder, and their next single That’s Life.
After the recording session the band spoke about the possibility of filming a video, and possibly making a film for which their music would become the soundtrack for, with the Disorder video the first idea to come from these conversations. The video, which you can see here, was directed by the band and features a nameless character watching them perform Disorder on television in a empty room, alone and cut off from the world. The wearing of a gas mask (kind of an unofficial logo for the band) represents the individuals need to hide his true self, his depression and his demons.
If you play Disorder and Come Outside back to back, you can see how far the band have evolved in a relatively short time. The band seem genuinely excited about exploring new ideas as a three piece, so it will be interesting to see how they progress beyond the next single in 2020.
That’s Life will be released in early 2020. You can see the band play at HMV Shrewsbury on the 15th February at 3pm.
From the looks of things 2020 is going to be another busy year for new albums. Stereogum has listed its 101 most anticipated albums, 6 Music has listed the 20 its ‘most looking forward to’ and Albumoftheyear.org has what seems to be a mostly complete list of 352. ]
1. Idles: Toneland
The album that takes our eye from both Stereogum and the 6 Music lists is inevitably the third album by Idles - ‘Toneland’ which follows on from 2018’s excellent Joy As An Act of Resistance. There’s no release date set as yet , but I guess we’ll know it’s on its way when the singles start coming.
2. Sorry: 925
Another on the Stereogum list that looks very promising is 925 by Sorry due out in the Spring on Domino Records. We know that the excellent single ‘Rock and Roll Star’ is on it and imagine that ‘Right Round the Clock’ will be too, and it should be a very interesting listen for a band who so far veer between sounding like the Pixies, Portishead and Madness.
Our next 3 albums don’t appear to be on any of the lists of schedules, but we know they’re on the way and likely to arrive in the early part of the year.
3. The Eskimo Chain: EXO Incorporated - An Original Motion Picture
The first of these is EXO Incorporated – An Original Motion Picture by the Eskimo Chain. Rather than create a conventional second album the band decided to channel their creativity into making the soundtrack to an imagined sci-fi movie, releasing the first track from it ‘Evacuation Day’ on Youtube only at the start of December. You can find out more about the album in our feature here.
If you’ve listened to the Eskimo Chain’s first album ‘Abnormal Dreams’ you’ll be aware of just how good this band are, and if you haven’t, have a listen and treat yourself. The band maintain a relatively low presence on social media so this album has the potential to fly under the radar, but from the sounds of Evacuation Day (which you can listen to here) this will be an excellent follow up.
4. Slift: Ummon
Next we have Ummon by Slift, due out at the end of February. The French bands’ follow up to ‘La Planete Exploree’ by all accounts is going to be a double album and if the lead, title track from it which was released at the end of November (which you can listen to here) is anything to go by, it will be another beauty. If you’re unfamiliar with Slift, imagine what Oh Sees would sound like if they were more consistently space rock, rather than jumping genres every other song. No dates confirmed as yet but it looks like that Slift will be touring the UK in May.
5. The Black Delta Movement: TBC
The last of our picks is the second album by the Black Delta Movement. We know not when the follow up to ‘Preservation’ is due for release, as the band maintain about the same level of social media presence as the Eskimo Chain (ie very little) but we do know that it has been completed, so can only assume it’s going to be with us soon.
Out of the mooted other releases, a potential new album by My Bloody Valentine looks interesting (although I’d rather a second album from Percolator), as does the new album by Tame Impala.
Albums we hope will be released in 2020 include the debut from Squid and second albums from Crows and the Blinders. We know that Squid started work on their album after their last round of gigs was concluded, Crows previewed a couple of new tracks on their last tour and the Blinders have been slowly introducing new material into their sets for a while but that’s it so far.
There were some cracking albums released in 2019 (click here for our best of the year) so hopefully it will be the same again in 2020.
2019 saw a number of bands releasing impressive debut singles. Here’s a selection of them who we’re expecting great things from in 2020 (no pressure!).
It’s amazing to think that a song as good as La Dolce Vita was the Howlers debut single, and even more amazing that they were able to follow up with Matador, of an equally high standard. Talk about setting the bar high!
There have already been murmurings of another single release around February/March time but the band have been coy over plans for an album as yet. They have announced a few gigs in February (20th at The Horn in St Albans and 27th at the Chameleon Arts Café, Nottingham) and April (taking in the Sebright Arms, London on the 24rd and Acapulco, Portsmouth on the 25th).
For more on the band, read our interview with them from November here which also contains links to the singles. You can see a clip of them live on our YouTube channel here.
Sitting somewhere between the Blinders, Crows and early era the Cure, Saint Ivy released their second single ‘Palms’ in late December and what a mighty beast of a tune it is. BBC Introducing made it their single of the week, and you can hear it here. Debut single ‘Dawned’ came out in 2018 and its also a monster that you can listen to here.
They seemed to have confined their live performances mostly to their native North West so far, and the only gigs lined up for 2020 at this stage appear to be 30th January supporting Deja Vega at the Salty Dog in Northwich and 3rd March at the Night and Day Café in Manchester, but hopefully they will spread their wings further across the UK later on in the year. We also hope they get some more music released in the coming months to follow up on Palms.
Laundromat’s debut single ‘Humans’ only flew past our radar recently and in fairness it only came out in October, but it’s certainly enough to make them a band to watch in 2020. Humans is an excellent mix of Krautrock and indie that reminds us in a way of the early Primal Scream single ‘Imperial’. You can hear it here.
From the limited amount of information available on-line (see Post Trash for what little there is or check their Facebook page), lead singer Toby Hayes was apparently in a few bands prior to Laundromat (Eugene Quell, Shoes and Socks off, Meet me in St Louis), the band come from Brighton, they played their first gig in November and they have an album recorded and planned for release soon.
Working Men’s Club
A bit of an obvious choice this one – Working Men’s Club have been much lauded in 2019 by the music press, BBC Introducing and received extensive airplay on 6 music. There released their debut single ‘Bad Blood’ in January 2019, and followed it up with the mega ‘Teeth’ in August. If you watched the BBC drama Guilt you’ll probably recognise Teeth (it was also used to advertise the show), or you can listen to it here.
The band have a full tour lined up for February calling in at Northampton, Hebden Bridge, Huddersfield, Manchester, Blackpool, Oxford, Cardiff, Exeter, Stoke-on-Trent and Saltaire – see here for details, and are also playing at the Old Blue Last in London on the 21st January.
Indie rockers by night, doctors by day…and night. This Luton based band released their first single ‘Siren’ in December, an anthemic number reminiscent of Interpol, Joy Division and Radiohead. You can hear it here.
The band write songs about their real life experiences of working in A&E, providing an extremely interesting perspective on the world, which we explored in our interview with them here. Two more single releases are planned for the coming months and dates are in the process of being organised.
My last gig of the year, the first time seeing the Utopia Strong and the first time I’ve been to Café Oto. I’d arranged to meet a couple of old University mates at the nearby Victoria pub in Dalston for a couple of pints, so we arrived at Café Oto in good spirits and chatted convivially to the chap who took our tickets, only to be shushed by a member of the audience. In fairness the support band Valve were on and the volume could have done with being a lot louder, but I was somewhat taken aback by this welcome.
Valve finished and we awaited the Utopia Strong. We were chatting with some friendly strangers during the interval who mentioned that the band purely improvise and don’t play their recognised tracks, which made for an intriguing prospect ahead.
The band took to the floor (Cafe Oto doesn’t have a raised stage) and began their set, and it was mesmerising. Accompanied by a fantastic light show, the music was positively trance inducing. The idea of electronica combined with guitar and bagpipes probably sounds really naff, but it worked and was absolutely spell binding. As with all good psychedelia, Kavus Torabi’s occasional vocals were submerged well into the mix, creating a wonderful music and light performance. When the album was released, I made a comment that some of the songs could have been longer, as they stopped before they really got going. In this set each piece of music seemed far more developed and in a long form state, which really let their sound breathe.
I didn’t really know what to expect from this performance, but it was a great night. Knowing what I know now about the venue, I would have approached the evening completely differently but it didn’t detract. Seeing Messrs Torabi, Davis and Yorke so at one with their music was a wonderful thing to behold and it made for a memorable evening.