Tracks of the Week #214

Tracks of the Week #214

Have we all had enough of new music yet? No of course not. We’ve been down a Cure rabbit hole for a week now but we’ve popped up for air, a nibble of grass, a stray carrot and to listen to brand new belters from all the young dudes. After all we, we play for today. In-between days. Anyway, we’ve been slashing through a forest of new stuff and here’s the best bits. Hit it!

Jana Horn – After All This Time

Why we love it: Almost exactly a year after the release of her debut album, Optimism – a record described by The Guardian as “a skeletal marvel” – the Texan songwriter Jana Horn has announced details of its eagerly awaited follow-up. The Window Is The Dream will be out on the 7th of April via No Quarter and the lead single from it is ‘After All This Time’

“I wrote Optimism at a very transient time in my life, when I was in no place at once and everything was slipping through my hands like a wet fish”, Horn says. The Window Is The Dream, however, “was written in one room, essentially. When you have nowhere to go, you go into memory, and memories of dreams… I was in a different headspace.”

And ‘After All This Time’ certainly gives us a taste of the illusory state in which Jana Horn found herself, whilst retaining much of the sparse detail found on her first record. Here her recollections arrive partially hidden, this sense of mystery and obfuscation merely magnified by the subtlety of the accompanying cello arrangement. Wonderful. (Simon Godley)

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Gurriers – Approachable

Why We Love It: The volume of quality artists coming out of Ireland shows no signs of slowing down. The five-piece Gurriers have released their official debut single ‘Approachable’, and what an announcement to the world it is. Punk rock, pure and simple, and loud. There is no place for a gentle introduction into this track, it’s straight in with full force. Fast, ferocious and fierce it’s a wild ride. “I was born in the wrong era” is sung over and over. The guitars are full of static, the raw edge combining with the vocals sung and shouted where appropriate. ‘Approachable’ was produced by Chris Ryan (Just Mustard, Enola Gay, NewDad) and the track takes an inflamed look at the modern world. Lead singer Dan Hoff expands:
“’Approachable’ is a tongue in cheek anthem about the rising far right rhetoric all over the world.”

Gurriers have already been honing their craft onstage opening for the likes of Enola Gay, Surf Curse, Been Stellar, and Goat Girl. They toured the UK last year with Chapaqqua Wrestling, and played various festivals including SWN (UK), Mad Cool (ES), Reeperbahn (DE), London Calling (NL) and Left of the Dial (NL). Formed during the pandemic they have now been let loose. ‘Approachable’ is just the beginning. (Julia Mason)

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Spielmann – The Right Track

Why we love it: As the title of his new single, ‘The Right Track’ suggests, Spielmann is already well and truly bang on course. The new project from Leeds songwriter Ben Lewis (Menace BeachRuthieBruising) only emerged in December yet he has already played a few live shows, the third of which saw him opening for fellow Leodensians, Yard Act at a sold-out O2 Academy in their home city. Spielmann is already looking ahead to a busy summer with performances at Green Man, Long Division and more festivals scheduled.

If radiant synths, a jet-propelled groove, and skyscraper chorus are your bag then ‘The Right Track’ is undoubtedly the song for you. (Simon Godley)

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Opus Kink – Dust

Why We Love It: Brighton six-piece Opus Kink have released the first track to be taken from their forthcoming ‘My Eyes, Brother!’ EP set for release 19 May via Nice Swan Records. The new song ‘Dust’ begins with a clanging bell, sounding an alarm perhaps. It’s a raucous track, even by Opus Kinks lively standards. A concoction of instruments including saxophone and trombone as well as guitar, bass, synth and drums allow the band to make one hell of a racket, which I suspect is exactly what they are trying to achieve. ‘Dust’ lurges from drunken rabble-rousing to chaotic swagger to a frustrated mid-track section which sounds pained to a final plinking-plonking keyboard seeing ‘Dust’ out. To be clear, its flipping ace.

Expanding on the origins of ‘Dust’, Opus Kink shared: “‘Dust’ was written during soundchecks on tour and finished in the studio, recorded live with few overdubs. It’s a nasty little song concocted of several recurring nightmares and a modish death-cult aesthetic, set to an apocalyptic rip-off backing built from Ian Dury, Chas & Dave and a splat of T-Rex”. (Julia Mason)

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Cable Ties – Perfect Client

Why We Love It: Australian post-punk powerhouses Cable Ties are set to return to touring this February, joining hardcore icons OFF! on a string of dates in Europe and the UK. To mark the return to these shores they have released track ‘Perfect Client’. It’s an emotional recognition of society’s refusal to care for those in need, particularly those with addiction and mental health issues. Yes this track is more personal than those featured on their 2020 debut album Far Enough, but perhaps it is powerful because of it. The guitar riff quickly moves into a screeching vocal, bearing out the frustrations of the theme. This is rage expressed through music – and it’s thrilling.

As guitarist and singer Jenny McKechnie further explains: “‘Perfect Client’ is about the inability of the health care system to care for someone who experiences addiction and complex mental health problems. It voices the frustration I have felt watching someone close to me go in and out of detox, rehab and hospitalisation over many years.” (Julia Mason)

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Half Happy – Runaway Girl

Why we love it: 2023 might be quite young, but Cardiff outfit are proving themselves to be one of my favourite new bands. Their new single ‘Runaway Girl’ shows another side to their songwriting. Yes the swooning, longing and jangling guitars are there again, but the lyrical brevity. vocal switch ups and wistful chorus are another step up in their songwriting, and that’s saying something since we loved their first two tracks. A wonderful ode to escaping painful situations, the fluttery harmonies, sepia lined guitars and insistent drums, give way to Rose’s wonderful sighing vocals, guitars coo and baselines bounce like fluttering heartbeats as she tries to find tiny moments of joy in the midst of sad situations, her spoken word switch reminds me of Wolf Alice as she tries to break bad habits. Self reflective, bittersweet and bloody glorious, Half Happy have captured my heart. (Bill Cummings)

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Joanie – Your Kind of Freak

Why we love it: Joanie will release ‘Your Kind Of Freak’ on 1st February through Permanent Creeps. It is the third track to be taken from her forthcoming debut EP ‘Neurotica’, due for release 24th February.

‘Your Kind Of Freak’ pirouettes masterfully across the dance floor, on a backdrop of stabbing synths, slithering guitars, sweeping strings and a striding beat, it delves its hands into elements of early 00s synth pop, disco and 80s pop classicism and remodels them. The track has been produced by Jessica Winter (Jazmine Bean, Walt Disco, Metronomy). Joanie’s vocals have a mysterious and playful edge, the insidious hooks are both extravagant and addictive, it’s impossible to resist its charms.

She has supported a string of amazing artists including Fat Dog, Insecure Men, Black Lips, Sorry, PVA, The Moonlandingz and Fat White Family. ‘Your Kind Of Freak’ is taken from Joanie’s forthcoming debut EP, Neurotica. The record pulls you into the darkness, captivating the listener with its siren songs. (Bill Cummings)

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Kaleah Lee – Out of Body

Kaleah Lee returns with ‘Out of Body’ a haunting and meditive mantra as Lee accepts the uncertainty and tries to finds her way forward. Written by Kaleah and co-produced with Gabe Goodman, it builds delicately from the opening lines: “Confiding in rivers, telling my secrets to the moon.”  Lee’s hushed vocals breath life into the tumbling acoustic motif and atmospheric pianos, it’s a moment of personal revelry and self discovery, in the wee small hours, and it sounds utterly captivating. It’s another mighty fine piece of songwriting that marks Lee out of an artist of brevity and depth.

The Vancouver native Kaleah Lee has been generating quite a buzz following her gorgeous previous singles, her debut and “ode to journaling,” Heavy Handed‘ and  October’s ‘Anchored.’ (Bill Cummings)

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