It’s Friday and the new music deluge on the internet is unrelenting we know. But in and amongst the noise are some true gems that deserve a sweet pair of headphones or your best home stereo. These songs from the likes of Mogwai, Wand and Anna of the North are what have made our post Glastonbury comedown’s that bit easier.
This week we welcome Vic Galloway from BBC Radio Scotland to the singles review team as well as freelancer Ben Jolley and Welsh indie music legend Griff Lynch. The purveyor of bands you’ve never heard of Nick Roseblade continues his sterling work and Fuzz Club’s Jack Palfrey and Gigwise editor Cai Trefor throw a couple n the hat for you to discover. Get those headphones out.
Authors: Jack Palfrey (JP), Nick Roseblade (NR), Cai Trefor (CT), Vic Galloway (JM), Ben Jolley (BJ), Griff Lynch (GL)
Contrary to popular belief, Scottish post-rock behemoths Mogwai aren’t entirely an instrumental band. They’ve occasionally used vocals, mostly processed, fragmented and distorted beyond recognition, across their 8 previous albums of opaque sonic alchemy. This newest taster from the forthcoming ‘Every Country’s Sun’, is probably their most direct ‘pop’ song yet, influenced in part by The Cure, New Order and My Bloody Valentine – all heroes. Stuart Braithwaite takes lead vocals and there is a lightness of touch as guitars fizzle and mellotron/synth sounds fly into the ether – almost reminiscent of his other band, Minor Victories. Yes, it has a chorus and could well be a veritable Mogwai ‘singalong’ at LIVE shows in the near future. (VG)
Squid are a quintet that combines jazz, post-rock, rhythmic indie and dance elements to create music that pulsates, crackles, fractures, and challenges your conception of what music should be. The first time I saw Squid they sounded like Portico Quartet, then the next time they were Spiritualized. Now on ‘The Dial’ they are something else entirely. ‘The Dial’ starts off as a slow burning instrumental full of breaks that flaunt their capacity for improvisation, then vocals kick in and it’s a totally different song, until it skews into something else. In a world of sanitising bands and uninspiring songs, Squid offer us something different, but they might not be the same band on the next release though… “The dial doesn’t change, But the dial stays the same” (NR)
‘Who Killed Six?’ is a bouncy and brazen two and a half minutes that sees SEXTILE pushing their signature sound of angry rock and roll, surf punk and industrial electronics with a nodding wink to pop melodies, to new terrorises. Named when front man Brady Keehn’s synth died the song ended up embodying how we deal with electronics in the world, through social, economic and political means. This is the second song of their unreleased sophomore album ‘Albeit Living’ with it released 14th July. (NR)
London-via-Bahrain psych-rockers Flamingods have become the most hyped live band in the big smoke and if you’ve ever been lucky enough to see their totally mesmerising show, it’s not hard to see why: their kaleidoscopic, Eastern-sounding psychedelia is about as good as it gets. Earlier this year, the four-piece released an EP titled Kewali on Moshi Moshi Records that included the single ‘Mixed Blessings’. This week they’ve released a new remix of the single by Richard Norris of electronic heavyweights The Grid and Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve. The remix sees Flamingod’s lysergic, tribal psych transformed into a warped, motorik dance number and like everything Flamingods related it’s out of this world. (JP)
Noga Erez is waging a war on boring pop. Well this may not be 100% correct, but if you watch her video for new single ‘Noisy’ conflict is definitely at the heart of it. “Noisy is a video that tells the story of a group of girls who can create havoc even in the most peaceful and civilized places” Erez recently said “The group of girls represent the noise that exists in our minds, the voices that are always there and prevent clear and rational thought.”. ‘Noisy is full of grainy textured synths, atmospheric breakbeats and hooks that get lodged in your head in seconds. Erez sounds like Las Aves being remixed by FKA Twigs or maybe that’s the other way round, either way it’s exciting and awe inspiring! (NR)
Part of the California garage scene that has nurtured the likes of Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segal, Mikal Cronin and Meatbodies amongst many others, psyche-wizards Wand have ploughed their own furrow with direction from extremely prolific frontman and songwriter Cory Hanson. In the past they’ve veered between D-tuned Sabbath-esque heaviness, Hawkwind-loving space-rock and Syd Barrett whimsy. This title track to the new album ‘Plum’ is a more collaborative affair with metronomic, stabbing piano chords giving way to Hanson’s plaintive, melodic vocals, ending in spiralling, acidic guitars and wandering bass. It’s a little sleepy and lop-sided, and yet still ups the ante with a more inclusive, accessible sound that could help them crossover further. (VG)
West London’s Boys are up to their usual tricks and have unleashed another slice of woozy lo-fi surf pop. Bewildered melodies convolute and twist around wistful and melancholic vocals providing the perfect soundtrack to quiet moments of introspection after a glorious day. In short ‘Dreamland’ conjures up walking along the prom as the Sun descends and disappears into the sea on the horizon. The air is slightly cooler and this results in goosebumps on you bare legs. You quicken your pace and head toward the nearest beacon of warmth to plot your next move. Boys are capable of writing music of this quality and emotional depth which hasn’t been heard since some relatives started making music in California in the 1960’s.
Bashy drums, twisted hardcore and dancehall are all put through the ringer on Ossia’s new Gridlock EP. But isn’t this what we expect from the Bristol sonic maverick? Since 2015 he’s put out a slew of bass heavy releases that, along with fracturing your skull, are catchy as hell. ‘Tumult’ is rugged fun dancefloor banger that only gets better with each listen. It can only be a matter of time until Ossia unleashes the long player he’s been hinting at all these years.(NR)
South London’s Childhood unveiled the second track from their forthcoming album Universal High this week – and what a delight it is. ‘Cameo’ isn’t as steeped in the soul influences as the first new single, ‘Californian Light’, because it was the first song to be made for the new album so naturally it attaches itself more to the influences of debut album Lacuna, such as Ariel Pink and Conan Mockasin. But that’s not to say it’s no more progressive. It’s a stunning track and each component is so meticulously recorded. The synth sound has so much character worn into it you can’t help but feel almost picked up off your seat and flown into the room where they’re recording. Romans Hopcraft’s vocal tone is the most impressive yet with a low baritone heard at the beginning and some his experimental use of harmonies throughout is the sign of a musica visionary and not someone who repats ideas. If this track and the single before it are anything to go by then Universal High could well be one of THE albums of 2017. (CT)
If you’re into reverb/chorus drenched jangly guitars and suitably laid back vocal melodies set to a motorik Kraut beat that champions simplicity and heavy use of the floor tom then you’ll love Baywaves. Think Real Estate, first album Childhood but without overly leaning on them it’s just tasteful, laid back guitar pop. Their debut EP, Only For Uz, mixed by King Gizzard guitarist Joe Walker and this new track is their first material since that EP which landed such great critical acclaim they ended up getting a Eurosonic showcase spot which is new band gold dust. Suspect they’ll be a fairly well known band come their debut LP. (CT)
Anna of the North is the latest offering from Norway’s seemingly never-ending pot of musical magic, and the Scandinavian duo’s newest single, ‘Someone’, is yet another slice of effortless dream-pop. “I don’t need to find another, I just need someone who understands me,” sings Anna Lotterud over a cloud of 80s-indebted synths, drum patterns and lightly swirling guitars courtesy of New Zealand producer and bandmate Brady Daniell-Smith. For fans of Skott, Tei Shi and Sigrid, and with streams already in the multi-millions, Anna of the North’s blend of hazy yet cathartic pop is destined to be massive; sooner than you think, too, thanks to a debut album out in September. Before that, though, catch them on the same bill as Justin Bieber and Tove Lo, when they play British Summer Time Hyde Park’s Summer Stage from 5.45pm this Sunday.(BJ)
Hailing from Bangor North Wales, guitar-slinging indie band Yr Eira, have been smashing the tunes out the last couple of years, but yet to release their debut album. With a knack for pop, riffs, rhythm, there’s no wonder they’ve massed a big following within the Welsh music scene. The band have really found their feet sonically and melodically, on their latest release ‘Gadael am yr Haf’ (Leaving for the Summer). Layering the guitars, and stacking the pedals, It’s an aggressive three minute pop ode to the summer, shoving the sunshine down your throat. Think Temples, think Pond, think Circa Waves, think Welsh. Catch the band playing a full set with the 40 piece Welsh Pop Orchestra in the National Eisteddfod this year. (GL)
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