Tracks of the Week #218

Tracks of the Week #218

Slow Pulp – Cramps

Why we love it: Chicago’s Slow Pulp recently signed to ANTI- Records and shared a new single, ‘Cramps‘, and it’s awesome! Big-hearted scuffed up noise pop, that’s dynamics hints at bands from the ’90s like Celebrity Skin era Hole but keeps its eyes firmly fixed on the horizon. Fuzzy riff trailed, barreling percussion and fists aloft chorus lines, it’s both exultant yet also about searching for more in your partner, the anthemic squall of singer Emily Massey’s “I want everything” scream, is kickass; I love this!

“The song came out of a jam at practice right after I had proclaimed that my period cramps were particularly bad that day,” the group’s Emily Massey said in a statement. “It is about searching for things you wish you had in other people and creating this character in your head that has all the physical and emotional attributes you feel that you are lacking.”

Slow Pulp are about to head out on a European tour with Death Cab For Cutie, and then they’ll be opening for the Pixies stateside in May on this evidence you won’t want to miss them! (Bill Cummings)

Enjoyable Listens – That’s Where The Blood Is

Why We Love It: because he’s a superstar that not enough people know about. If you don’t already have the “best album of 2022” almost permanently going around in a loop in your brain, what the fuck have you been doing with your time?!? You’re probably very busy, but rectify that as soon as possible, not before you have listened to this, the new single, ‘That’s Where the Blood Is’.

For a minute there I thought we’d lost Enjoyable Listens forever, but he was just toying with us like the playthings we are. He announced from the stage last week that this was from “the next release” coming soon. Whether that is an EP or LP we just don’t know yet, and neither did his management. He is an enigma and his output is whatever he wishes it to be.

This is a side step to the left, a “Berlin circa. 1984” and it certainly chimes with the eighties synth pop and Tony Hadley croons.

The press release describes it thusly “That’s Where The Blood Is’ is a sub-three-minute exploration into the aching foundations of a civilisation, crushed under the weight of its own burgeoning legacy. Written in the bleak midwinter, whilst shivering behind a gas stove in a 1992 Talbot Express parked on a horse ranch in rural Oxfordshire, Duffett has saturated ‘That’s Where The Blood Is’ with imagery reminiscent of his desire for a life beyond aesthetic. The aforementioned setting, the pithy lyricism concerning societal breakdown and the pop-driven production are all seemingly at odds with one another, all engaged in a form of graceful combat that’s both beautiful and terrifying in equal measure. It’s this dynamism that makes ‘That’s Where The Blood Is’ a song that can’t be turned away from.” (Jim Auton)

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Jeremy Tuplin – Dancing (On Your Own)

Why we love it: Jeremy Tuplin, the indie singer-songwriter from Somerset, England, will release his fourth album, Orville’s Discotheque on the 19th of May on Trapped Animal Records. Described as a synth-drenched concept album, Tuplin has just shared the first single to be taken from it, ‘Dancing (On Your Own)’.

The track was recorded with Jeremy Tuplin’s band, The Sad & Lonely Disco Band at Marketstall Recording Studio in Star Lane, East London. It features Mark Estall on bass, Samuel Nicholson on lead guitar, and Jason Ribeiro on drums, with Tuplin on vocals, synthesisers and rhythm guitar. 

“This is the first song I started writing after finishing recording Violet Waves, just after the whole lockdown/global pandemic thing hit,” Tuplin explains. “Just chugging away at these chords with no real intention or rush to write or think about the words or what the song could be about, just letting the vocal melody swim over it with word-less sounds.”  He continues to say “The notion to start writing about dancing and “disco”, possibly arose out of some kind of subconscious desire to return to being able to do that kind of thing. Which is interesting because I now see myself as a bit of a recluse.”

In the video filmed and edited by Joe White, Jeremy Tuplin first appears somewhere up near Holloway Road tube, arriving in the midst of a deep claustrophobic groove from which he is always seeking to break free, but such is the nagging insistence of ‘Dancing (On Your Own)’ you sense that is never really going to happen. It’s just as well then that the song remains a pretty good place in which to be confined. (Simon Godley)

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girlhouse – worth it

Why we love it: girlhouse is back. The musical vehicle of US bedroom pop artist Lauren Luiz is on the road again. But not only is girlhouse playing some live dates in her home country this week, she is also bringing us her new single, ‘worth it’. And the wait for her return has most certainly been worth it. An expressive, innovative slice of dark ethereal pop, the song gathers powerful traction as it moves effortlessly into our subconscious. 

Speaking about ‘worth it’, Lauren Luiz said, “I always knew that I could be worthy of love but I had a toxic idea of what loving meant. I’d “fallen in love” with someone who kept telling me I wasn’t enough and yet kept me around. They had so much control over me that even after they weren’t in my life, I still shaped my entire life around proving to them that I could be loved. This was my life up until an interaction after a show in New York that left me completely disenchanted. I don’t even recognize who I was when I was “in love” with them. This song is about that moment and embodies putting words to a situation that I still don’t fully don’t understand yet.” (Simon Godley)

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Scattered Ashes – Battles

Why we love it: Dublin’s four-piece Scattered Ashes return with their dramatic new single ‘Battles’ released via Reckless Records with digital distribution by FUGA. There is an ever-growing number of bands who have a quality singer at their forefront, rather than the spoken shouty vocals of recent times.

Scattered Ashes most definitely sit in the former camp. Lead singer and guitarist Rob Dalton bring a deep dark timbre, reminiscent of quoted influences Killing Joke, Interpol and Joy Division. Along with Tom Dalton (Backing Vocals/Bass), Ben Downes (Guitar) and Cillian Sheil (Drums), they burst onto the scene in November 2020 with their debut single, ‘Love Is Not An Option’. ‘Battles’ is their fourth single and sees the band tackle the subject of addiction. It’s more upbeat than the subject matter would suggest, and actually rattles along at a pace which never lets up. Opening with pulsating guitars and a speedy drumbeat, it’s also a song of hope with the recognition that help is available. Speaking of the single, Rob expands:

“’Battles’ speaks of the dire consequences of addiction. Lost in its throes, you begin to shed your own humanity becoming a slave to both desire and the chaos that accompanies it. Redemption can seem further and further away as you even become unrecognisable to yourself. Despite this, the song puts a spotlight on ‘the Good Samaritan’ who refuses to leave the narrator’s side despite the trail of destruction in their wake. ‘Battles’ is a sombre meditation on despair and fragility in a finite world, as well as man’s capacity for change. “A story of sorrow, a story of shame, broken and hollow, can’t remember my name…” ‘Battles’ casts a rather acute spotlight on the shame associated with addiction and the long road to recovery, hence the title. It has been an issue for the band in the past, but one that bound us together in a lot of ways.“ (Julia Mason)

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Cory Hanson – Housefly

Why we love it: Cory Hanson – vocalist and guitarist with the Los Angeles’ psychedelic rock band, Wand – has announced his third solo album, Western Cum. It will be out on June 28th via Drag City. Hanson produced the album himself, and it also features his brother, Casey, on bass, drummer Evan Backer, and pedal steel player Tyler Nuffer.

The first single from the upcoming album is ‘Housefly’. And it’s a cracker. Bringing readily, and very happily to mind Crazy Horse’s 1971 debut album – in particular, the song ‘Downtown’ – ‘Housefly’ is a bright, breezy, rollicking country-rocker that springs right out of the traps, full-to-bursting with feeling and groove. On this evidence alone, I’m looking forward to seeing him at Green Man in August. (Simon Godley)

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Chroma – Don’t Mind Me

Why we love it: Chroma are one of Wales’s best-kept secrets, this fearsome Welsh three-piece have been producing righteous bilingual noise pop for the last few years, powered by visceral guitars, pummeling drums and Katie Hall’s powerhouse vocal performances. Now they’ve signed to Alcopop! Records, and shared their new single ‘Don’t Mind Me’ It also serves as the first taste of their forthcoming debut album, due out later in 2023. Laced with chunky fuzzy bar chords, and twitchy drums, it serves as a platform for Katie’s incendiary vocals that chart her struggles with mental health, magnifying her personal experiences and raging at the unfairness of the mental health system, it’s a universal struggle and offers an “I’ve been there too” lifeline to many who have suffered with their mental health, especially since lockdown. “Oh my head is hazardous!” she exclaims over this most explosive chorus, ‘Don’t Mind Me’ hits hard in more ways than one!

Katie Hall: “Don’t Mind Me is about my personal struggles with my mental health. When we started Chroma, writing lyrics quickly became one of my main outlets to process my feelings. The song is about recognising when you’re in a spiral and trying to catch yourself. Also, I wanted the lyric ‘Don’t mind me I’m just having a breakdown’ to help people who are feeling isolated feel like they’re not alone. When I’m going through a rough patch, I always turn to music to make me feel better. I want people who are going through something, whatever it is, to listen to the song and feel seen.”

The track arrives ahead of the band’s appearances at SXSW in Texas, which include a slot on the Focus Wales showcase on March 16th, and the Alcopop! Records showcase the following day.

Arthur Moon – Ghost Ranch

Why we love it: Arthur Moon is the moniker of Lora-Faye Åshuvud, who lives and works in Brooklyn, where they were raised. Åshuvud takes an intuitive and unusual approach to composition, melding pop, electronic, and experimental sensibilities to make music that is as unpredictable and playful as it is intricate and controlled. On the inventive ‘Ghost Ranch’ that pops with skittery instrumentals, and swirls with a tapestry of electronica, Moon’s vocals switching from poetic descriptions of a photo of Georgia O’Keeffe, surreal and illuminating this offers a warmth and intrigue that challenges and delights in equal measures. There’s a touch of Mum about this folktronica tapestry or the synth explorations of Kelly Lee Owens; whatever the case it’s a tempting morsel of experimental pop.

In addition to producing their own music, Åshuvud also produces and remixes for other artists (9m88, Kaki King, Oh Land). They collaborate on the Arthur Moon project with Cale Hawkins (Quincy Jones, Raveena), Martin D. Fowler (a composer for This American Life), Dave Palazola (Sinkane) and Aviva Jaye (Dessa, Emily King).

On the single Lora-Faye Åshuvud says:
“I wrote Ghost Ranch while staring at a photo I had taped to my wall of Georgia O’Keeffe sitting in the back of a truck in the desert looking through a piece of swiss cheese. I was thinking a lot about the way she used the holes in sun-bleached animal bones to contextualize the vastness of the sky as a negative space in her paintings–death as the thing that grounds us against the gauzy, open space of living. Later, I found out this 1976 quote from her: ‘I was the sort of child that ate around the hole in the doughnut saving the hole for the last and best. So, probably—not having changed much—when I started painting the pelvis bones I was most interested in the holes in the bones—what I saw through them—particularly the blue from holding them up in the sun against the sky as one is apt to do when one seems to have more sky than earth in one’s world.’” (Bill Cummings)

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