By Jon Milton
What have tax havens, Aylesbury, middle aged male torso's, media manipulation and gentrified drinking in hipster land got in common? You’d be forgiven for thinking that it might be a salacious story about a Tory MP but no, it is in fact the subject matter behind the rather fine debut EP by Home Counties, released today simultaneously with one of its tracks as a single ‘That’s Where the Money’s Gone’.
The Redevelopment EP, out on Alcopop Records and produced by that man Theo Verney contains five tracks in total – Redevelopment, the song that made us all sit up and go ‘I like this – who is it by?’ in March and introduce the band, Dadbod, source of wry smiles amongst many males of a certain age and undoubtedly among others also, and three new tracks.
Photo by Naz Stone
Latest single ‘That’s Where The Money’s Gone’ continues where its predecessors left off musically, striding wonk-pop that lyrically doesn’t require too much to work out. Will from the band says of the song 'It's possibly the most lyrically simple track of the EP. Its message is so to the point, it probably even seems quite juvenile. It’s about contemporary conversations of where money goes and comes from. It was written very spontaneously around the time of Brexit and the last general election, and presents an oversimplified conversation about tax havens, immigration and welfare'.
The remaining tracks ‘Chuggin’ and ‘Raoul’ however open a new slant on the band’s music bringing elements of Captain Beefheart and Island era Tom Waits to the band’s repertoire. ‘Chuggin’, which explores the double standards of gentrified drinking in Shoreditch is a slightly sinister polka, and Raoul, about the media representation of Raoul Moat as a masculine hero rather than a terrorist (which he no doubt would be if he wasn’t white) some twisted indie take on Latin-jazz.
The cover art on the EP features Aylesbury on market day, designed to ‘encapsulate the mood of the EP, being a colourful portrayal of a grey concrete town centre’. Elaborating further, Will comments ‘This collection of songs tries to find something meaningful and playful in the typically mundane built-up spaces’.
This is a punchy debut from the band, brimming with astutely observed social commentary and inventive, top quality tunes. And there is more to come - as we found out in our interview with the band in July. Their second EP is already written, and a direction has been set to be ‘more Talking Heads and less Parquet Courts’ according to synth/percussion/vocalist Barn. What this means we’ll probably find out sometime next year, but in the meantime there’s enough in the Redevelopment EP to keep us all going for a while, so dig in.
Redevelopment EP is out now. You can buy it on cream vinyl at:
By Jon Milton
RIFFS, RIFFS, RIFFS! If you, like me, love riffs, then you’ll love Timid Beast, the latest album by garage fuzz-meisters Lord Loud. It’s a veritable orgy of riffs, taking its inspiration from some of the greats from the Rock n Roll riff hall of fame.
Across the 11 tracks on show here, there are shades of Jimi Hendrix, Osees, Cream, Led Zep and probably loads more, all expertly put through the garage fuzz blender by this two piece from LA, comprised of Michael Feld (drums and percussion) and Chris Allison (Guitars, Vocals and everything else).
The album kicks off all brash and bold with Dirty Seeds, with the riff in this case like Fishbone’s version of Curtis Mayfield’s Freddie’s Dead. The mean, strutting Hendrix-esque ‘Without You’ is up next, followed by sixties garage sound of ‘Lady Sunday’. The albums’ title track takes matters into Led Zep territory before ‘Imaginary’ kicks in – a song of two parts, the second element of which embraces the bands love of Osees, as is also the case on single ‘Labyrinth’.
With an album so dominated by ballsy riff monsters the band have wisely chosen to place tracks like the glam stomping ‘Wherewithal’ between tracks like ‘The River’ and ‘Glances’ to prevent the album from becoming too one dimensional, although I think I’d like to have the sultry ‘Turbulence’ (which reminds me of Electric Ladyland era Hendrix and Red Hot Chilli Peppers) featured a bit earlier in the running order to break things up a bit further.
Nevertheless, Timid Beast rocks hard, and whilst the band’s influences run amok, their own style comes through (lord) loud and clear.
Timid Beast is out now on King Volume Records (US) and Kozmik Artifactz (Europe). You can buy the vinyl at their Bandcamp:
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.
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.
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.