What We've Been Listening To This Week...Yammerer, The Howlers, Blume, Cowboy Flying Saucer, Hooverii, FACS, Kestrel Palace
By Jon Milton
This week has been awash with new beginnings and new directions. Several gigs (remember them?) rescheduled and actually likely to happen, festivals announced, and on the music front, some exciting new releases!
Ever since The Howlers released their excellent first single ‘La Dolce Vita’ they’ve drawn comparison with other reverb/tremolo heavy guitar bands like The Blinders and The Wytches. Their new single ‘I don’t love you all the time’ feels like sound of a band really forging their own identity however, and its an identity that suits them rather well. ‘I don’t…’ is a wonderfully written, radio friendly song with a massive, super catchy chorus that bodes well for the host of new material that the band have planned for this year. The band describe the song as an 'ode to the trials and tribulations of love and loss in modern times', drawing inspiration from the west coast psych rock and afrobeat. Will 2021 be a big year for the band? Well, they’re an ambitious, hard-working bunch and on the evidence of this single it certainly could be. When it eventually happens, their gig at the Lexington should be a stormer.
Yammerer were one of the few bands I got a chance of seeing play live last year, and a fine performance it was too. Having sat within the shouty post punk crowd on their previous material, their new single takes a different path, with a vocal line that sounds more like Ian McCulloch than Mark E Smith, emerging from hazy, narcotic tones, slowly building into a feedback laden crescendo where post punk sensibilities and krautrock experimentation blissfully collide. At that gig last year, the band opened and closed with a couple of wonderful long, expansive tunes, and you kind of feel that if they continue to pursue musical experimentation with the more mature vocal delivery shown here, they’re going to be on to something special.
Talking about experimentation, Blume’s debut album is a bit of a doozy. The music project of Arthur Bennell, ‘Synthetic Sounds For The Modern Soul’ provides a great platform to properly zone out and chill, and what a pleasurable experience it is too. There are seven beautiful songs to enjoy here across the album, including the 13 minute closer ‘Oh Lord’ and hazy psychedelia is the order of the day. Its lush - just sit back and enjoy.
What happens when a band that only create in their own company have to find an alternative way of making sound together? IsoMusik, the new album from Cowboy Flying Saucer gives you some indication. It’s quite a departure from their last album Travel Lodge, less song based and more idea led as you would expect, but no less enjoyable. Recorded in bedrooms, gardens and cupboards, the band describe IsoMusik as ‘a collection of the dark, fragmented, introspective, obscure, dissonant, ridiculous and humourous results’. There’s several experimental tracks/interludes amongst the more typically CFS tunes like Iso Disco and Mini SD which makes for quite a diverse listen but its well worth the investment. There’s even a wonderful bit of history chronicled on ‘Sunrise’ which recants the story of the original Sunrise raves, in the days when mobile phones were the exclusive domain of rich bankers. Then, you had to listen to pirate radio to find out which petrol station to drive to on the night of the rave, drive to said station and receive verbal instructions on where to go, or just simply follow the convoy. It was properly exciting and they were truly wonderful nights.
Also out this week and concluding our round up are new singles from Hooverii, FACS and Kestrel Palace. Hooverai’s ‘Cindy’ is the second single to be taken from their forthcoming album ‘Water For the Frogs’ which is out on April 9th, and it’s a quality bit of psych rock. ‘Strawberry Cough’ the latest single from Chicago’s FACS melds electronica with indie rock to great effect and is taken from their new album ‘Present Tense’ which comes out on May 21st. ‘Get Up’ is the debut single from Manchester’s Kestrel Palace, a song ‘about trying to make the most of your life; about making the best of a bad situation’. Its certainly a promising debut from the 18 year old whose vocals sound uncannily like a certain Liam Gallagher, but don’t let that put you off.