New music social
Maruja - Knocknarea EP
By Jon Milton
Maruja’s debut EP smoulders. A unique blend of Jazz and Post Punk, tellingly spawned from improvisation sessions, ‘Knocknarea’ is blistering, emotional and utterly captivating.
Added to the previously released singles (Thunder, Blind Spot and The Tinker) is new track ‘Kakistocracy’, a song literally about rule by the least able, where our leaders’ words and actions over the last ten years are decried.
It was your lies
that bought time
A battle cry, till the love dies
With your trade deals
And it’s more lies, I got more lies
Photo: Cal Moores
Clearly designed to take the listener on a journey, Knocknarea is an intense experience but also incredibly rewarding. There is anger and there is sadness in this music, but there is also much beauty and hope.
The band head out on tour in May with headline shows in London (The Windmill) and Manchester (Yes).
What we've been listening to...Treeboy & Arc, Avalanche Party, Cowboyy, Moreish Idols, Eyesore & the Jinx, Saloon Dion, Moonwalks
By Jon Milton
All is well this week in the world of new music. After a long hiatus, three bands have made a welcome return, two young turks have reaffirmed themselves as ones to watch and others continue to deliver the goods.
Eyesore and the Jinx last released new music in October 2020. Their general lack of activity (apart from the odd gig here) suggested that might be it, but no, back they’ve come this week with their new single ‘An Ideas Man’ and what a cracker it is. Produced by Gilla Band’s Daniel Fox it’s the first instalment of a seven-inch single due for release in May.
There was talk of a Treeboy and Arc album back in 2021 after their Life Preserver EP came out, but nothing other than a bunch of remixes of the EP emerged. That debut album is happening however in July via Clue Records, with lead single ‘Retirement’ just out. They are a quality act of course, further evidenced by this track.
Completing the trio of welcome returnees this week is Avalanche Party. Having seen them play a few new tunes last year I knew any new material was likely to be good, and that’s certainly the case with ‘Serious Dance Music’. I believe the contemporary terminology for a track like this is ‘a banger’ – two blissful minutes of all out post punk energy. The band mysteriously haven’t posted about this on their socials so there’s no indication of when their second album will land, but I was given the impression that it would be in May.
Brighton band Cowboyy announced themselves last year with their perky ‘Gmaps’ track, followed at the start of 2023 with the equally bright eyed and bushy tailed ‘Tennis’. Their debut EP ‘Epic, the Movie’ landed on Friday, adding three more tracks in the form of Algorithmic, Plastic and Nothing. The former of these continues the playful theme, poking fun at mullets, playlist algorithms and bands that want to be Black Midi (why would you want to?), while the latter show a more serious side to the band. There’s a lot to this band, and if they can avoid the momentary flashes of Brian May then they are definitely onto something special. This is a very good EP.
Moreish Idols released their brilliant first EP ‘Float’ last year and have certainly not rested on their laurels since then, with a new track ‘Between these Ears’ following from last month’s equally sublime ‘Nocturnal Creatures’. This is a band that are destined to make wonderful albums, and despite setting an extremely high bar last year, they seem to have improved on Float with these two new tracks. The band’s music is intricately crafted and subtly nuanced and just an absolute joy to listen to.
Other notable releases this week come from Saloon Dion and Moonwalks. Saloon Dion have been releasing a steady stream of impressive tracks with the latest being new single ‘Happiness’. Despite the title it’s not exactly jaunty but it is a top tune. Moonwalks were pretty new on me before their latest track ‘Heavy Tears’ launched, but this is the first track to be released from their third album, due out on Fuzz Club in May and it’s a rather enjoyable introduction to the band.
Fake Turins: Yr Made of Gold
By Jon Milton
Back in the early 1980’s, alternative music bands like The Jam, The Ruts and The Clash all started to embrace brass and other instrumentation in their music, and new artists like The Redskins, Dexys Midnight Runners and Rip Rig and Panic emerged with it fully immersed in their sound. Flash forward 40 years and a similar situation has developed over the last year or so, most notably with bands like Moreish Idols, Deadletter and Opus Kink.
The latest of this new wave to come to our attention is Fake Turins, although in fact the band have been plying their trade since 2018, also incorporating clarinet, percussion, synths and noise/FX alongside the traditional guitar, drum and bass. Their latest single ‘Yr Made of Gold’ (released yesterday) is a thing of absolute beauty.
It’s the first track to be released from their ‘Inheritance’ EP, due out in May on Opus Kink’s Hideous Mink label. Dominic Rose’s vocals effortlessly switch between spoken and soulfully sung on the track, accompanied by sublime rhythms. Kind of like Galliano meeting Talk Talk uptown.
Photo by Alfie Bungay
Says Rose of the track: ‘It’s a song about the passing of time, watching ourselves become the heroes/villains we looked up to as children. Mutating into our parents & facing their struggles. This song was written from the anger of my father & how my inheritance of his rage become my own’.
However, just at the point of discovering the band for the first time and becoming a wee bit smitten on this song, comes the news that the band are calling it a day. Inheritance will be their last EP and the band play their final gig at London's Village Underground on June 8th.
Sad news, but I guess the logistics of sustaining an 11-piece band must be pretty challenging. Let's hope these talented individuals re-emerge further down the line in some new format. For now, just sit back and enjoy the music!
What We've Been Listening To...The Black Delta Movement, Geese, JJUUJJUU, Moreish Idols, Gurriers, Gilla Band, Helicon
By Jon Milton
Back in 2020, I optimistically wrote a blog identifying a few bands that I was looking forward to hearing new music from that year. One of those bands was the Black Delta Movement. It’s been 5 long years now since their debut album Preservation came out but now, finally, they’re back with a new single and an album planned for release some time this year on Fuzz Club Records. Was it worth the wait? From the sounds of ‘Fourth Pass Over the Graveyard’ I’d say so. Six minutes of insistent groove, tight as you like beats and a slinky seventies funk feel to boot bodes very well. Frontman Matt Burr is supported on the track (and the album) by Little Barrie, and it’s a fine combination. There’s even some gigs on the horizon, including an appearance at the iconic 100 club.
I thought that was a great start to the month and then I heard the new single by Geese. Kooky title, kooky video but my, what a song. ‘Cowboy Nudes’ sounds SO fresh, SO good and SUCH a step forward for the band. The bands’ first album Projector was an impressive start, although it felt a little rough around the edges in places. This new track is an altogether different ball game. This will be one of the songs of the year.
Last month Wide Awake Festival announced a new round of acts playing at the event in May. I always feel duty bound to listen to those that are unfamiliar, and in doing so was blown away by one of them, JJUUJJUU. Their 2018 album Zionic Mud is an amazing album, well worth checking out and they’ve also just released a top new track ‘Nowhere’ to follow up on the two singles they released last year. I guess you’d probably file under ‘psych rock’ but listen for yourself and make your own mind up. Hopefully a second album is on the way.
A band that has not made it on the bill at Wide Awake and really should is Moreish Idols. Their debut EP ‘Float’ came out last year on Speedy Wunderground and it was wonderful. New single ‘Nocturnal Creatures’ picks up perfectly where that EP left off and is further evidence of the bands’ promise. Definitely one to go and see this year and I’m very much looking forward to hearing more from them.
Other highlights out right now are new singles from Gurriers, Gilla Band, and Helicon.
By Jon Milton.
Last Tourist’s debut album is an absolute smorgasbord of wonderful musical influences.
Imagine if you combined all the best bits of shoegaze. A touch of Ride here, a bit of Slowdive there and of course a hint of My Bloody Valentine throughout. Then add some of the bands that immediately influenced Shoegaze, namely Spacemen 3 and Jesus and Mary Chain. And finally add in some of the bands that influenced them, such as Suicide and The Velvet Underground and you should start to get the picture.
Last Tourist channels that ethereal mix of obscured vocals, distortion and echo beautifully. The vocals draw comparison with JAMC throughout, and across a number of tracks there are subtle elements of both Psychocandy and Darklands. Tracks like Riding Seas and Public Service have elements of Nowhere era Ride. The Slowdive influence comes through on Lemon Twist and Lust, and Cave in the Hills blends JAMC with Suicide. Interlude and Spiritual Cove blend Spacemen 3 and MBV.
The band clearly wear their influences with pride, with Last Tourist more celebration than pastiche. And those were golden eras of music in many ways, so why shouldn’t they be celebrated? This is an album to escape to and is all the better for that.