Tracks of the Week #211

Tracks of the Week #211

No sooner have you read, listened and watched one weeks TOTW then the next turns up. Like, a bus or a train that you aren’t entirely sure are running at all but then two turn up one after the other. These are top notch tunes. Stick them in your lugholes.

M(h)aol – Therapy?

Why We Love It: Ireland’s M(h)aol open their 2023 account with the announcement of debut album Attachment Styles out 3 February via TULLE Collective and Rough Trade Publish, as well as the release of their new single ‘Therapy’. It’s an off kilter look at therapy and the reasons for it, in particular the behaviour of others that perhaps lead us to seek therapy in the first place. Is it us or, in reality, is it them that needs to change? The accompanying soundscape is suitably twitchy, the perfect accompaniment to the subject matter, with the vocals rising and falling as if in frustration.

Vocalist Róisín Nic Ghearailt says of the track: “I wanted to write ‘Therapy’ as a light-hearted addition to the album, dealing with a very real subject matter. It came from a conversation I had with a friend who was talking about a loved one not turning up to therapy, even though they were why she was in therapy, and I was thinking about people in our lives who are the reason we go to therapy and how we can often heal in spite of them.” (Julia Mason)

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Fucked Up – I Think I Might Be Weird

Why We Love It: Is it just me or does the title of Fucked Up’s latest single completely resonate? ‘I Think I Might Be Weird’ is from their forthcoming album One Day, due out 27 January on Merge Records. ‘I Think I Might Be Weird’ combines hardcore vocals with a classic rock soundscape. It feels like a track with two layers which effortlessly blend together. Lyrically we all question ourselves, and at times feel completely different from everyone else. The music creates humour with its pacing and live I can already picture the crowd singing the chorus in unison! The Canadian hardcore legends have been known for their epic scale in the past, from towering concept albums to 12-hour performances – however their sixth studio album is their shortest to date, written and recorded in the confines of one literal day (hence the title). The thoroughly entertaining video for ‘I Think I Might Be Weird’ is an ode to OCD and was directed by Maxwell McCabe-Loko and co-written with guitarist Mike Haliechuk. (Julia Mason)

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Enter Shikari – (pls) set me on fire

Why We Love It: It’s been three years since Enter Shikari last released an album so fans will be delighted with the news that their seventh album, A Kiss For The Whole World, will be released on 21 April via SO Recordings / Ambush Reality. The lead single is ‘(pls) set me on fire’ which opens with the lyrics “Please set me on fire”. To be clear this is not a call for destruction but rather a request to re-ignite the spark within and hence set them free. Interesting point to note is that the album was recorded in a dilapidated farmhouse in Chichester which used only solar power. Enter Shakira wanted to strip everything back to basics and if this single is anything to go by, the album should be incendiary. ‘(pls) set me on fire’ is passionate and raw, at times bombastic in scale.

There is a feeling that the band have reconnected and this comes through in the track, the fire in the belly does indeed seem to be there. There is a calm section about two-thirds in which emphasizes reaching out before the demand once more to “Please set me on fire”. Lead vocalist and keyboardist Rou Reynolds comments on the single’s conception: “Honestly, I thought I was f*****. I’ve never felt so detached from my soul, my purpose, my f****** spirit. I didn’t write music for almost two years. The longest I’d gone before that was two weeks. I was broken. It’s almost as if my brain had asked: ‘What is the point in music if it cannot be shared? What is the point in writing music if it’s not to be experienced with others?’ and then promptly switched itself off. ‘(pls) set me on fire’ grew out of that desperation. This song is a projectile vomit of positive energy. Every emotion trapped inside me for two years, finally set free.” (Julia Mason)

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Some Remain – Never Enough

Why We Love It: Never Enough’ is the third single from Irish band Some Remain. It follows ‘Television’ and ‘Walk Away’ and provides a twist to their garage punk guitar noise. They have added a nod to ska although it’s a sharper and more raucous sound than the Two Tone we’re used to. Full of energy and verve, the pace speeds up and gets more chaotic as it progresses. At almost four minutes this is not your typical postpunk blast for a couple of minutes. Being slightly longer gives an opportunity for a shift in vibe as well as the inclusion of a midsection with its call and respond.

By the time the song reaches the final section the vocals are rabble rousing, and that fade out has a hint of Elvis! From all accounts the music released to date by Some Remain manages to capture the high energy madness of their live shows which are noisy, unpredictable and always great craic. Let’s hope there is an opportunity to see this band live soon. (Julia Mason)

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Dougie Poole – Nothing On This Earth Can Make Me Smile

Why we love it: Appearances, as we know, can often be very deceptive. And this much is undoubtedly true when first clapping eyes on ‘Nothing on This Earth Can Make Me Smile’, the latest single to be taken from Dougie Poole’s upcoming album The Rainbow Wheel of Death

As the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter explains: “I initially thought this was just another self-pitying, sad-sack verse I’d written (my notebooks seem to be full of them), but now I think the song is about being in love, and about the stage of love where you start to reveal to somebody a less rosy picture of yourself. There’s a bakery called Lord’s on Flatbush Avenue (by Triangle Junction) that advertises photo cakes. My girlfriend Elizabeth and I would daydream about the photo cakes we’d get when we lived nearby, but we’ve never gotten one.” 

The title of ‘Nothing on This Earth Can Make Me Smile’ may lead you to believe that you are about to hear one of the most depressing songs ever cut to wax, but if you give it a spin you will not only quickly realise this is clearly not the case but also be delightfully rewarded by repeated listens. Immersed in the realities of life, it pursues a line of spiritual enquiry as much as it does the vagaries of love. (Simon Godley)

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James Brandon Lewis – Send Seraphic Beings (Live)

Why we love it: James Brandon Lewis has just shared ‘Send Seraphic Beings’, the final pre-release track to be taken from his forthcoming album Eye of I,  which is due to be released on 3rd February. 

This version of the song was filmed live in the studio where the highly acclaimed American jazz saxophonist and composer was accompanied by an electric cello and drums. Taking its cue from its wonderful title, ‘Send Seraphic Beings’ possesses a blissed-out, angelic quality. It seems to float, tantalisingly just out of reach, somewhere lost in the ether as James Brandon Lewis continues to impress with yet another example of his rich rhythmic and harmonic creativity. (Simon Godley)

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Neutral Milk Hotel – Little Birds (Live)

Why we love it: Neutral Milk Hotel were an American indie rock band formed by singer, guitarist, and songwriter Jeff Mangum in 1989 in Ruston, Louisiana, and alongside Olivia Tremor Controland The Apples In Stereo one of the mainstays of the excellent Elephant 6 Recording Co. collective. 

And Neutral Milk Hotel have just announced the first digital release of The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel, a box set which will be out on February 24 on Merge Records. This edition includes an expanded double LP edition of the band’s 1996 debut album On Avery Island, an exclusive 12” picture disc of Jeff Mangum’s 2001 release, Live at Jittery Joe’s, the ‘Holland, 1945’ / ‘Engine’ 7-inch single on black vinyl with brand-new art, and a previously unreleased live recording of ‘Little Birds’.

Neutral Milk Hotel have rightly established cult status over the years and this intense live recording of ‘Little Birds’ adds to their often strange and otherworldly reputation. (Simon Godley)

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