By Jon Milton
Part of me really wants to hate Wet Leg, mainly due to the excessive media fawning since Chaise Longue came out (which is obviously not their fault at all), but also stupid things like the faux Swedish accent in the vocals when they’re actually from the Isle of White. However, the other, far more sensible half of me recognises that they make really, good music, as evidenced on their latest single Angelica, which has a kind of 60s ye-ye feel to it interspersed with some meaty guitar and is just a really good pop song. Their debut album comes out in a month, and I bet its brilliant, the bastards.
Far more likeable are LIFE, who this week gave us ‘Big Moon Lake’ and announced that their new album ‘North East Coastal Town’ will be out in June accompanied by a full tour. Big Moon Lake follows on last years ‘Friends without names’, and just like its predecessor is absolutely top draw. Big Moon Lake is the sound of a band at the top of their game, and it just oozes confidence. Life and Avalanche Party were the highlights of all the re-scheduled gigs we saw last year, so if you like what you hear of this track and see that they are playing near you make sure you get along to see them.
Fellow Yorkshiremen Eades have just released their debut album ‘Delusion Spree’, which is also worth wrapping your ears around. Half of the album has already been released in single format (Reno, Delusion Spree, Ever Changing, Former Warnings Cluster, Smoking Hours and the just released Backseat Politic) which should give you an idea of what to expect – lots of bright, energetic tunes that are a little bit let down by the albums production, which in some respects is a shame but in others tells you what an exciting prospect they might be in the right hands.
Which brings me nicely on to one of the UK’s finest producers Theo Verney, or rather his band Public Body who have just released their latest EP ‘Flavour of Labour’. The EP features songs about the workplace ‘Hard to Concentrate’; ‘Reset my Password’; and ‘Flavour of Labour’; ‘Formica’ about a Twitter dad and the politically charged ‘Sunburnt’. As we come to expect of the band there’s a lot of energy going on here, agitated synths, wonky guitar lines and propulsive percussion to accompany singer Seb Gilmore’s wry observations.
From art rock to swamp rock, Luton’s Dois Padres return this week with a new single ‘How you Gonna’. Think balls out bluesy rock and roll a la White Stripes, Led Zeppelin and the Black Keys and you’ll be in the right ballpark. The single is out on Vandalism Begins At Home Records and is the first missive from their forthcoming album ‘Comin’ in Hot’. Time to stomp those feet!
We’ve been a bit lax on the articles front lately, (real life paid work just gets in the way, doesn’t it?) so head over to the playlists section and listen/follow the monthly to find out what you’ve missed. There’s lots of good stuff on there from the likes of Traams, TV Priest, Folly Group, Gag Salon, Deadletter to name but a few.
By Jon Milton
Ever been in love with a horse? Introducing Gag Salon: the surviving members of a function band (Palm Honey) gone up in flames, whose exciting debut single ‘Horses’ reprises that bizarre musical fascination with everything that the Byrds first explored on ‘Chestnut Mare’. Musically ‘Horses’ owes more to Beefheart and LCD Sound System, kicking off with a wonky riff then galloping (sorry, had to) discordantly along with its tale of romance and status seeking.
Photo: Rosie Alice Wilson
2021 saw the band cause commotion across London and beyond with their unpredictably kinetic live shows, performing alongside The Cool Greenhouse, Blue Bendy and Hallan, 2022 should see them pick up more admirers if this single is anything to go by. The band consists of Joseph Mumford- vocals/guitar; Tom Dimmock- guitar/keys; Seb Bowden – bass; and Ayden Spiller- drums.
Horses is out now on Blitzcat Records
By Jon Milton
Just over a year ago, TV Priest released their snarling debut album ‘Uppers’. Uppers combined scathing polemic, jagged guitar and motorik beats to firmly announce the bands presence as one of the most exciting new artists to emerge post lockdown. In amongst the anger, songs like ‘Saintless’ showed a greater depth to the bands sound, a side that the band continue to explore on their new single ‘One Easy Thing’.
One Easy Thing further ushers in a new direction for the band, showing they are smart enough to realise that simply replicating ‘Uppers’ for their new material would quickly curtail their shelf life. The song will appear on the band’s second album, due out on Sup Pop later this year. Lead singer Charlie says of the track:
"Writing ‘One Easy Thing’ was key to unlocking a more direct and personal approach to our songwriting. It’s about dealing with the small things of everyday life; the anxiety, pressures, and battles inside your own headspace - and not being afraid to show this in our songs.”.
Photo by Hollie Fernando
The official video has Charlie playing a beleaguered 15th century knight on his return home from battle, and sees the band working again with Joe Wheatley, who shot ‘Decoration’ and ‘Press Gang’. Think ‘Safety Dance’ in a castle shot in 16mm black and white stock...!
One Easy Thing is out now on Sup Pop Records
By Jon Milton
If you cast your mind back to 2017 you may well remember an incredibly promising young band called the Dead Pretties, who had that massive tune 'Confidence' and a couple of other great singles too. The band's enigmatic front man Jacob Slater has kept a pretty low profile since then, but that looks set to change now he's re-emerged with a new venture, Wunderhorse.
Wunderhorse in fact released their first singles 'Teal' and 'Poppy' late last year, but have only just come under our radar with their new single '17' out this week. Written at the age of seventeen, Jacob explains. 'I remember coming back from a party and feeling a bit shit and the song just kind of fell out. It's the oldest song I still play live and so I thought it deserved to get out there’.
Anyway 17 (and the previous two singles) are top quality, so if you're late to the party as I am make sure you check them out. Don't be expecting a rehash of the Dead Pretties though, the songwriting here has clearly matured significantly and lost a lot of raw edges on the way. 'The War on Drugs meets Jeff Buckley with a little of that tightly coiled Thamesbeat energy' is how the press release has it which sounds about right.
Wunderhorse headlines The Lexington in London on Thursday 10th March. Tickets available here via Dice.fm.
By Jon Milton
A few months ago, I received what looked like a pizza menu through the post, which on closer inspection turned out to be the track list for Yard Act’s album, The Overload. A very clever, eye-catching start to what has been an unrelenting PR campaign to promote their debut, followed on by more stuff in the post and daily social media messages to remind one that, just in case you weren’t aware, they have an album on the way, and ‘did you know its available in lots of shiny formats?’.
Fortunately, the self-generated (and media venerated) hype has turned out to be worth it in the end, as The Overload is a fine body of work. Inevitably the largely spoken, acerbic northern vocal and songs written around basslines draws comparisons with the Fall, but the key difference here is that the words make sense and offer poignant social commentary throughout. There’s despair over our Island folk’s xenophobia on ‘Dead Horse’ and ambulance chasing on ‘Witness (Can I get A?)’, disdain for politicians and the whole Brexit process on ‘Land of The Blind’, contempt for capitalism on ‘Rich’ and lots more. All very sharp, and very much welcome in our current climate of enduring political and social malaise.
Out on the same day and to far less heralding, trumpeting and formatting was ‘Archive Material’ the second album from Silverbacks. It’s great too, sitting somewhere Echo and the Bunnymen, Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band and the Velvet Underground in terms of genre with wonderfully inventive flourishes all the way through. I’ve been really impressed with all of the band’s singles from the album (Archive Material, A Job Worth Something, Wear My Medals and Rolodex City) but reminded myself that the bands first album Fad also had good singles but overall wasn’t that memorable. Archive Material is however extremely memorable from start to finish, and the band seem to play with such effortless freedom.
On the singles front this week English Teacher released another excellent tune from their forthcoming EP Polyawkward in ‘A55’ and their cousins Eades released the impressive ‘Delusion Spree’ ahead of their debut album which launches in March. Another with an album on the way are PARK, which looks like it’s a collaboration between Lysistrata and Francois & the Atlas Mountains. Unfortunately, everything I’ve read about them is in French, and my French is pretty limited, but nevertheless the lead single from the album ‘Reveil heureux’ (Happy Awakening) sounds wonderful.
Overall, this month has been pretty impressive for new music, and as this is our first round up of the year, I thought I’d list out some of the highlights so far: