Archive for the ‘Indie’ Category

Matt Shapiro’s new six song EP Fade In comes barreling out of the gate with Rockaway Girl – an ultra catchy blend of reverb, distorted synths and pulsating percussion.

It fizzes through just over three minutes of indie-rock perfection and is a perfect tune to kick off the weekend.

Go bounce around the bedroom!

 

MAtt

We’ve followed the chameleon like career of Beth Jeans Houghton with great interest ever since we saw her supporting Phosphorescent in London a few years ago. Since then she’s had the Hooves of Destiny and, more recently, the Du Blonde moniker – complete with an altogether heavier, grittier sound.

She will be releasing her second album as Du Blonde titled Lung Bread For Daddy via Moshi Moshi on the 22nd February, and it is described as a meeting in which her previous two albums, 2015’s Welcome Back To Milk and her debut Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose, take a seat at the table and make amends. Veering wildly between proto-punk, psych rock and the wholesome song writing of the 1970s.

The first single is the autobiographical Angel, referencing the end of a relationship with someone who promises a lot, but delivers very little.

Watch the self-directed video for it below. Pre-order the album here.

 

Timothy Showalter, aka Strand of Oaks, has been through some dark, dark times recently. Times when he felt certain his songwriting days were finished. It was a fact that the therapeutic experience of making records was often short lived, leading him to bouts of depression, and after 2017’s Hard Love, he found himself spent, determined that he would never write songs again.

Thankfully, he says on his website, “Unbeknownst to me, four members of My Morning Jacket and Kevin Ratterman booked studio time to record songs I didn’t think I’d ever write. But they believed I could and pulled me back from the brink. At last, the songs came – and quickly morphed into everything I’ve ever worked toward as this band.

The first taste from Eraserland, his sixth studio record, is Weird Ways – stream it here, and pre-ordering options are here.

 

Having been fortunate enough to cross the pond for SxSW a couple of times, I got a surreal case of deja-vu when I arrived at Coventry Central Library on Saturday night. In Austin, seemingly every available venue than can host live music is utilised and I saw gigs in churches, restaurants, shops, cook-out BBQs, and even front rooms. Entering the library felt just like that, just in the midlands not Texas. Anyway, up three or flights of stairs to a floor, filled not unsurprisingly, with shelves and shelves of books. A stage had been set up in the middle of the room and a small trestle table sold bottles of water for a pound. I’d missed the support band (The Maitlands, which was a shame as they’re really rather good), there was no bar, and positioned between large print fiction and reference tomes, not a whole lot of atmosphere either.

Given the above, you would think the odds would be stacked against Dublin’s Fontaines DC, our favourite discovery of last year, but thankfully the room quickly started to fill, the band clearly on the radar of Coventry’s alternative kids too. They took the stage in a suitably low key fashion, tuning up, hopping off the stage and then a few moments later drifting back on again before being joined by frontman Grian Chatten. Between songs, they are a band of few words, and Chatten prowls the stage nervously looking for all the world like one of the caged big cats at the zoo that endlessly circle the outer limits of their enclosure. He didn’t have much in the way of space either – it wasn’t a large stage – but nevertheless he made the best of it, pacing back and forth, plucking at his shirt, his lip, his hair, eyes roving restlessly over the now full audience.

Each time a song starts though, it is a completely different story. All the nervous energy, agitation, restlessness and adrenalin are channelled into a series of snarling, ferocious blasts of pure punked up rock’n’roll. Big is a snappy, jackhammer of a tune, and the savage put downs of Chequeless Reckless is an early highlight. Sha Sha Sha is a too-short, visceral slab of proto-punk, while Liberty Belle with its opening line “I love that violence that you get around here” just ups the ante and the bar even higher. On through the slower Lotts, and almost Joy Division like TV Screens, and even despite the muddy sound (as the library dispensed with any notion of “quiet please” by turning the volume up way past eleven to distortion levels), the crowd are swept up and along in the band’s thrilling and uncompromising world.

As the set begins to draw to a close Fontaines DC roll out the big guns – Hurricane Laughter is a repetitive, addictive barnstormer like punk smack, and the feral, frenzied Boys In The Better Land is, if anything, even better. Finally, latest single the needling, provocative Too Real ends the show with a flourish of pogoing and (sober) sing-a-longs to the chorus.

Is it too real for ya?

Behind me weighty tomes hurl themselves unbidden from the shelves. For them its all been too much, a library is no place for such shenanigans, but for the rest of us, Fontaines DC have just given us the clearest possible indication, and vindication, that they’re the real deal.

We’d love to give you the dates for their April tour, but no point, all sold out. Just catch them when you can…

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s one from The Maitlands

 

 

Back with a bang – no less than fifteen corking new tunes to check out from last week…

  1. Sleaford Mods – Kebab Spider
  2. The Coathangers – Bimbo
  3. Mercury Rev featuring Norah Jones – Okolona River Bottom Band
  4. Ryan Adams – Manchester
  5. FIDLAR – By Myself
  6. Meat Puppets – Nine Pins
  7. Stella Donnelly – Old Man
  8. Beirut – Landslide
  9. PRIESTS – The Seduction Of Kansas
  10. Cherry Glazerr – Wasted Nun
  11. Abjects – Never Give Up
  12. Ex Hex – Cosmic Cave
  13. Adia Victoria – Different Kind Of Love
  14. TOY – Mechanism
  15. Wintersleep – Beneficiary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There must be something in the water over in Ireland – following on from the excellent Fontaines DC and Silverbacks, we now have some intense, brooding post-punk from Dublin’s The Murder Capital. New single Feeling Fades is a song with menace aforethought…

Have a listen.

 

We’re very much looking forward to Sharon Van Etten’s upcoming album Remind Me Tomorrow (out next week) and the latest track from it is Seventeen, a warm, fuzzy folk-rocker that reflects on her experiences of New York, now and back when she was a teenager.

It is a kind of love letter to the city – nostalgic and romantic, but also touched with the cynicism that comes with growing older.

Down beneath the ashes and the stone
Sure of what I’ve lived and have known
I see you so uncomfortably alone
I wish I could show you how much you’ve grown

Listen below.

 

The marvellous Fat White Family are back with a new album and have shared the first track from it, Feet.

The album is titled Serfs Up! and features, amongst other things, Gregorian chants, jackboot glam beats, string flourishes, sophisticated and lush cocktail exotica, electro funk, the twin spirits of Alan Vega and Afrika Bambaataa, traces of blissed-out 60s Tropicalia, Velvets/Bowie sleaze-making and star-gazing, 80s digital dancehall. Throw in some acid house, post-PIL dub, metropolitan murder ballads, doom-disco and mouth-gurning, slow-mo psychedelia and you’ll be getting a sense of just where the band is heading next…

The single, and album lead-off track, locks immediately into a lush, irresistible groove and although the sleaze is still there (“I could not believe, could not believe my eyes, the thing that I saw down there, down between your thighs“), it has mutated into something sharper and brighter, giving the song a sheen of sophistication that bodes very well for the album indeed.

Stream it here. Pre-order the album here.

 

Round Up

Here is a quick round up of some new tunes and videos to start the year properly.

First up, Los Angeles duo Girlpool has shared the title track from their upcoming album, What Chaos Is Imaginary, featuring strings, synths, drum machines and stream-of-consciousness lyrics.

 

Australia’s Press Club have emerged from the underground punk scene, to become one of the country’s buzziest new bands. This is new single Suburbia, which comes from upcoming long player Late Teens.

 

Similarly born out of a staunchly independent Melbourne scene, The Stroppies meld brash post-punk and highly melodic, catchy indie guitar pop. Drawing on the classic Flying Nun catalogue as well as local pals The Goon Sax and Twerps, their debut was recorded in two days under tight monetary conditions, hammered out in between shifts at the local operating theatre, Turkish kebabs, bouts of existential dread and corporate sabotage. Check out the video for Cellophane Car.

 

Meg Duffy grew up in a small town in Upstate New York and cut her teeth as a session guitarist and touring member of Kevin Morby’s band. The Hand Habits project emerged after Meg moved to Los Angeles; it started as a private songwriting outlet but soon evolved into a fully-fledged band with Meg at the helm. Hand Habits’ debut album, Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void), was released by Woodsist Records in 2017. Two years later, Hand Habits has returned with their sophomore album, placeholder, due out March 1st on Saddle Creek. This is the video for the title track, which on its surface is about a break-up. “Oh but I was just a placeholder/ A lesson to be learned,” a scorned Meg sings over a lush bed of twangy guitars. The blame quickly shifts, though, as Meg begins to take on partial responsibility for the partnership’s collapse: “Oh but now you are just a placeholder/ Blinded by desire/ Oh now you’re just a placeholder for someone wasting time.”

 

Following the release of singles New Moon and Stonehurst Cowboy, Steve Gunn has shared a third song off of The Unseen In Between (out January 18th on Matador Records). The gorgeous Vagabond is named after Gunn’s favourite Agnes Varda film, and could almost be the soundtrack to a Denis Johnson short story or Sam Shepard play, with its rich cast of characters whose lives have gone astray – like Mona who “camped out in a graveyard” and Jean-Pierre who “came from the road, his artwork remains unsold.” Accompanied by gorgeous harmonies from Meg Baird, the song is a meditation on our restless times, an ode to the runaways, drifters, and vagabonds trying to make ends meet. Watch the stylish black and white video for the track.

 

Don’t Hesitate comes from Rat Boy’s upcoming new release Internationally Unknown. It is a blend of anthemic aggro punk with boisterous hip-hop beats, all the while maintaining the personality and attitude that first earned him attention. Meanwhile, the lyrics explore a conflict between outlaws and the police during a post-apocalyptic disorder.

 

The Wave Pictures have shared the video for their new single Shelly, which is taken from their recent album Look Inside Your Heart (out now via Moshi Moshi). Singer and guitarist Dave Tattersall describes the track as, “A love song in the laid back style of late 70s Grateful Dead only with even better lyrics.”

 

Ånge Teenage Angst have released Hanging Party a rather tasty debut single of taut anxiety, angst and darkness from the north of Sweden.

 

Oxford has long had a vibrant and eclectic music scene and our good friend Ronan at Nightshift has been documenting it every single month since before we can remember – ever since Mrs Mackerel introduced us more than quarter of a century ago, he has shared some of our favourite music, film and books with us and even taken us to some Wycombe Wanderers games…

Anyway, here is his track of the year from a brilliant Oxford band called Self Help, and an absolute belter it is too.

Last month Self Help were on the cover [of Nightshift], grinning like the kids who got all the cake and deservedly so, since no other band caused such a frenzy of excitement locally in 2018 as this quartet, who could mix pure, unadulterated exuberance with pure, unadulterated noisy bastardness and make it look and sound like it was as easy as breathing and as much fun as a box of kittens. While their live shows were ebullient celebrations of youthful musical zest and belligerent displays of firepower all at once, the band’s new EP showed they could write cracking pop songs into the bargain, and this track, released as a single in November, was everything we love about Self Help: joy as a musical weapon. A song to leap around your living room to, hug complete strangers in the moshpit to, break all your furniture to and sing along to from the top of mountains or tall building. It’s an absolute blast from start to finish, and since it’s just three minutes long, you can rewind and play it again and again til they come to take you away.

Have a listen. Get the EP here.