Tracks of the Week #217

Tracks of the Week #217

Shit a brick. It’s Monday again. Slipped my mind completely. Strike me row. Anyway, lots of choice choons here for you. Two of my picks for Tips of the Year too. I advise you to chchcheck them out. Have a good one. TTFN.

Nixer – Pleasure

Why We Love It: Nixer return with their first new music of 2023. The new single ‘Pleasure’ is driven by a thundering 808 kick. It began as a jam session amongst friends riffing on different themes, and then evolved into its final form through the lyricism of singer Seán Keenan & production dexterity of Gearóid Peggs. This is clubland electronica and demonstrates how the blending of various influences can still produce a glorious unified whole. The prominent pulsating synths and the frenetic bassline are wrapped in an indie rhythm, perfect for the dancefloor.

Lyrically ‘Pleasure’ explores themes both sexual and spiritual. It delves deep into the Irish psyche juxtaposing the physical desires of the individual with historical Catholic guilt, shame and the lack of discourse around sexuality within Irish society. The complexities of these themes create a track which is slightly uncomfortable at times, but only because of, as mentioned, the lack of conversation and the feelings of Catholic guilt and shame.

The line “Tell me what you want” sung in the background is a case in point. If only we could speak more openly then clarity would lead to more ‘Pleasure’, in all senses of the word, and fewer misunderstandings. Nixer have released a track which stands out for bringing such complications into the foreground, but in format that is fun and 100% dancefloor friendly. (Julia Mason)

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Tanlines – Outer Banks

Why we love it: Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Tanlines is percussionist Jesse Cohen and guitarist and vocalist Eric Emm. The duo released two albums, Mixed Emotions and Highlights in 2012 and 2015 respectively. Now they are back with their first album in eight years. The Big Mess will come out on 19th May via Merge Records and it marks their debut for the independent label based in Durham, North Carolina.

To herald the arrival of the eagerly awaited upcoming album, Tanlines have just shared ‘Outer Banks’, the lead single from the new record. “This song is about being a perfectionist. When I was younger, I thought that being called that was a compliment,” Eric Emm says. “But I’ve come to realise it’s actually a liability. This is especially true in any kind of partnership. Making concessions, adjustments and letting things go are all components of a successful endeavour.

Tanlines made a video for the song and Jesse Cohen says, “I’ve spent the last few years in work environments where the deck seems to have become the primary communication tool for young professionals. I wanted to find a way to use that language to tell the story of our song, ‘Outer Banks.’ Hopefully this video resonates and tickles anyone who has sat through the kind of presentation at work where someone in a box on the screen just reads the slides out loud. Welcome to Tanlines’ hybrid work era!”

Sharing its title with the name of the barrier islands that lie just off the coast of North Carolina, and separate the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland, ‘Outer Banks’ embraces the windswept rhythm of land and sea often associated with that part of the world. Tanlines’ familiar synthpop heartbeat enmeshes here with piano, guitar, and drums to produce a highly contagious swell of joy. It is good to have Tanlines back. (Simon Godley)

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Tape Runs Out – Paperback

Why We Love It: because it’s another brilliant single from one of my favourite bands of 2023. It is quite the coincidence that there is several new songs from my tips for the year out at the same time, but as New Music Editor it is my prerogative to have all my favourite new bands in the Tracks of the Week. Tape Runs Out have done a brilliant job of morphing that alt-folk from a decade ago, with beginning of the millennium alt-rock and Shoegaze. This is particularly Interpol especially in the chorus, but is an infectious barnstorming accompanyment to first single, ‘Souvenir’ from their superb debut LP, Floodhead, due in the last days of March. This restless along at a fair old lick with, glittering acoustic guitars, dulcimer chiming away with keys sprinkled over everything. Shimmering.

They say “Paperback is a song about self-doubt and intrusive thoughts, written with a deliberately unusual structure to highlight the themes. It took a few years to finalise – the longest out of any Tape Runs Out song to date – with many discarded versions left along the way. Both the song and the video represent the mental chaos from being overwhelmed with thoughts, which is a recurring theme from the album”. (Jim Auton)

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Shelf Lives – Bite

Why We Love It: Shelf Lives‘ mission statement when they began was to “bring punk back to the house party“. The duo have delivered just that on new single ‘Bite’. Shelf Lives are currently on tour in support of Cardiff band Panic Shack, and the new track arrives ahead of upcoming festival appearances at Liverpool Sound City, The Great Escape, London Calling, FOCUS Wales and Are You Listening? Festival. To be honest I’m delighted to read about all these festival appearances after listening to this song.

Raucous and energetic it absolutely combines punk with a house party bounce. ‘Bite’ was written partly about the endless task of “doing the work” on yourself. The band further explain: “It’s about the battle between your awake spiritual brain that is trying its best to be a better person and to let go of its pride, and catching yourself going back to that angry monkey brain. That’s why it’s called ‘BITE’, because it’s the most primitive thing we can do when we feel scared.”

Originating from Toronto, Canada and Northampton in the UK respectively, Shelf Lives consists of vocalist Sabrina Di Giulio and guitarist/producer Jonny Hillyard – who now both reside in South London. And to be frank re-reading their mission statement and listening to ‘Bite’ I cannot wait to get better acquainted with this party-inducing rabble-rousers. (Julia Mason)

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Noah and the Loners – Protest Anger

Why We Love It: because it’s a fucking brilliant punk rock protest song. Don’t really need to say much more than that. Listen to it. We need a song like this more than ever and I don’t understand why there aren’t more of them, but more importantly, this is the youth getting pissed off with their rights being eroded and writing an angry song about it. Fucking excellent.

Here’s what Noah had to say “Protest anger is about the rage I felt at the severe mistreatment of peaceful protests over the past few years. From women dragged across the floor at a candlelight vigil by police, to a law being passed, essentially banning anti-government protests all together whilst enforcing more ruthless, violent policing; this song is our way of calling out all that is wrong with the system, and in essence is our own form of protest.” A-fucking-men. (Jim Auton)

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The Allergies – Mash Up The Sound

Why we love it: Favourites of Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show on a Saturday night on BBC Radio 6Music, Bristol duo The Allergies have released their new single ‘Mash Up The Sound’. Rackabeat and DJ Moneyshot have grabbed the reggae vocals of Joe Lickshot and re-worked them with house and disco energy, and of course a massive dollop of funk. The stalwarts of the Jalapeno Records label know how to get the party started. Firing off 4/4 beats this is feel-good music to move too, as well as put a massive smile on your face.

And point of note, the track is available as a limited edition 7” with ‘Sometimes I Wonder’ on the flip side. The latter is a vintage soul-sampling track, bursting with stomping horns and a vocal to die for. And as if all this wasn’t enough good vibes from The Allergies they are out on tour with a full band including the unofficial “third Allergy” Andy Cooper, as of the end of April. But be quick, some gigs are already sound out. I’ll see you on the dancefloor. (Julia Mason)

audiobooks – Burnt Pictures

Why we love it: audiobooks, the London duo of David Wrench and Evangeline Ling, returned with the announcement of a forthcoming new EP titled Gulliver. Out April 12 via Heavenly Recordings, it includes the previously released single ‘Tryna Tryna Take Control’, as well as a new track, ‘Burnt Pictures’, featuring OneDa. A charming cultural collision, this track marries impish Euro-electro pop with a slanted Talking Heads-like beats, Evangeline’s inventive, surreal and witty flights of lyrical imagination, this time they are joined by MC OneDa whose freestyle adds a refreshing perspective. It’s another aural riot from audiobooks who constantly delight and challenge with every release.

“’Burnt Pictures’ is unlike anything we’ve written before,” audiobooks said in a statement. “When we toured for Astro Tough we took along the brilliant Oneda to open for some of the shows. We were playing ‘Burnt Pictures’ as part of the set to try and explore different structures, and we invited up Oneda to freestyle with us, and it was exactly what the track was missing.”

Wrench added: “Inspiration for the track came from 60’s Czech New Wave Cinema classic ‘Daises’ which I put on silently on a screen in the studio while Evangeline improvised lyrics to it.” (Bill Cummings)

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Blondshell – Joiner

Why we love it: Los Angeles singer/songwriter Blondshell (aka Sabrina Teitelbaum) recently announced details of her self-titled debut album. Produced by Yves Rothman, Blondshell is coming April 7 via Partisan Records and features lead single ‘Joiner’. A fantastic anthem, that encapsulates the feeling of lying in the gutter and staring at the stars. From chugging verses and bittersweet vocals of the verses colliding into a galloping hook laden chorus, “you’ve been running around with trash, sleeping in bars with a gun in your back/asking can I be someone else?” Teitelbaum sings as a couple join hands and cling on for dear life hoping for more than another day of descent. A rollicking tune with elements of Sharon Van Etten or The Replacements, but has an infectious sound all of its own and gives a sneak peek into her world.

Opening up about ‘Joiner,’ which has a video directed by Alex Thurmond, Teitelbaum says: “I was listening to a lot of Britpop when I wrote this song. A lot of those bands (the Verve, Pulp, Suede, Blur, etc.) channeled dark subject matter, drugs, and all this dirty stuff, but with a fun acoustic guitar under it. I was listening to the Replacements, too. That’s what this song was inspired by sonically. I wanted it to feel like you’re watching HBO, where even though it’s heavy, it’s still a good time.” (Bill Cummings)

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