What we've been listening to...The Lounge Society, workfriends, Belishas, Feet, Pip Blom, The Early Mornings, Loose Articles, Gawjuss
By Jon Milton
So, after a little bit of a lull at the start of the month, this week has pretty much exploded with an abundance of cracking selection new tunes, from both rising stars and returning favourites.
Let’s start with the new breed: The Lounge Society blew us away with their debut single ‘Generation Game’ last year, so much so that you wondered just how much they had in the tank to follow it up with. Well, quite a lot it turns out if their ‘Silk for The Starving’ EP is anything to go by. Previous singles ‘Burn the Heather’ released late last year and the ferocious ‘Cain’s Heresy’, released a couple of months are joined by new tracks ‘Television’ and ‘Valley Bottom Fever’.
The band explore different approaches with each track; indie-disco on Burn the Heather; afro-beat on Television; garage-rock on Valley Bottom Fever; and anthemic indie on the standout Cain’s Heresy. Putting aside the automatic hype that any band would expect from having their record out on Speedy Wunderground, this is a remarkable debut for a band so young, who’ve clearly been raiding the record collections of friends and relatives with impeccable taste for some time.
We were also taken with the debut single from workfriends last year ‘Man on the Run’, which snuck out around the point when we started the first lockdown. After that it all went quiet from them for the rest of the year until this February, which saw them release the excellent Sick and Tired. Now they’re back with another belter in ‘Stunt Doubles’, a song that motors along at a frenetic pace, super smart indie music doffing its cap at the likes of Kraftwerk, Devo and the Velvet Underground along the way and doing so with a cheeky grin. More please.
Similarly frenetic and effortlessly wonderful is ‘Whispers’ the new single from Belishas. Whispers is the first track to be released from a double A sided single which gets a vinyl release in mid-August. The second track, ‘Brother’ comes out in digital form on the 23rd July. Whispers ‘is an intense, joyous statement of self-improvement, liberation and rebirth’ according to the band, recorded in August 2020 and produced by Dom Mitchison of IDLES fame. The band cite their influences as late 70s punk, 80s post-punk and early 90s indie, and I’d add a bit of C86 jangle in there too, as Whispers echoes songs like Felt’s ‘Ballad of the Band’, The Bodines ‘Therese’ and the Weather Prophets ‘Almost Prayed’ within its sunny disposition.
Two other bands channelling the spirit of C86 are The Early Mornings, who’ve just released their debut EP ‘Unnecessary Creation’ and Loose Articles, who have a new single out in the form of ‘Kick Like a Girl’. We first noticed The Early Mornings when their impressive ‘Blank Sky’ and ‘Day’s Spent’ singles emerged a month or so ago, which both appear on Unnecessary Creation alongside four new tracks. The Early Morning’s brand of C86 is more akin to the slightly ramshackle yet charming Talulah Gosh albeit there’s also elements of the Joy Division precursor Warsaw and The Pixies going on here too.
Loose Articles take on C86 on the other hand leans more toward Fuzzbox in their early days, albeit more abrasive, in your face and packing more of a punch. ‘Kicks Like a Girl’ confronts misogyny in football, taking a swipe at the narrow mindset of some men toward women in football whilst sprinkling a few footballing references along the way, ranging from Duncan Ferguson to Beckham’s Mohican.
If Deerhunter, Artic Monkeys, The Kills, Mac DeMarco & King Krule and a bit of early Oasis is more of your bag, take a listen to ‘Sleepwalker’, the fine new single from Gawjuss. The latest new music to emerge from those lovely people at Clue Records, Gawjuss’ Kieran Wade Clarke says of Sleepwalker ‘I wrote this song while I had insomnia, it’s a love letter to sleep. Like a reset button when you get lost in the noise of your own head’.
Now, cast your mind back to 2019, when life made a lot more sense than it does today. You may recall that amongst an embarrassment of riches on the album front, were the brilliant debut albums from Pip Blom and Feet, both of whom are now back with a vengeance to remind us that they’ve still got it.
Pip Blom’s ‘Keep it Together’ stays with the winning formula that the band pursued on ‘Boat’, all rousing chorus and uplifting indie all the way. It will be interesting to see whether the band explore any new ground on their new album ‘Welcome Break’ when it lands in October, although part of me thinks if it’s not broken, why try and fix it? Keep it Together is another fantastic indie pop song from them and if the rest of the album is as good as this, then bring it on.
Feet also kept a low profile in 2020 and seem to have switched record labels along the way, now finding themselves at the burgeoning Nice Swan Recordings, home of Courting and the like.
The band are pretty adept at effortlessly appropriating across the musical spectrum, and continue to do so on their new track ‘Library’, impishly merging bits of The Ramones’s ‘Baby I Love You’ with Mink DeVille’s ‘Spanish Stroll’ without ever becoming too derivative of either. On this and previous single ‘Peace and Quiet’ the band seem to have gone back to basics and it suits them well, so we look forward to hearing more from them in the coming months, and seeing them play live too.