If there was any sunshine, then we’d get more of it now we’ve lost an hour and you can drive home from work in the daylight. Some of these will suit the grey, drizzly skies and some will hark to the sunny afternoons that are incoming. Either way, there are some crackers. Dig in!!
Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Chew
Why We Love It: because Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard have gone Heavy Rock. I’d hesitate to call it Metal, but it’s skirting that precipice. Tom Rees has written a song about his dog, except it’s the opposite to his canine companions demeanour. This girl can “smell your fears” and “you’ve got bones that she can chew”. Following fairly rapidly on from last year’s superb debut LP Backhand Deals the triumvirate of the bird of prey have wanted to move on and are doing a tour that will be primarily new material. When they played the 100 Club last November they debuted a number of new songs, including this one. It’s a monster riff but with those pop sensibilities that they can’t really escape no matter how heavy they go. The chorus is as sing-a-long as they have ever written just backed up by the heaviest track they have ever done. This will be a live favourite, mark my words.
Tom says “I always wanted to write a song for my dog Norma but could never really get it right, it was always a little weird doing a love song to an animal. Instead I wrote a song about how empowered and inspired I feel when people see Norma and cross the street or pull their children in close to them or open their eyes really wide and skip a little to one side. I love that people find her terrifying, she’s so sweet it’s just super funny.” (Jim Auton)
RVG – Squid
Why we love it: RVG are now some six years into their career and the band from Melbourne in the Australian state of Victoria continue to cut a dystopian dash with their visceral take on nebulous post-punk. ‘Squid’, the latest cut to be shared from their forthcoming album, Brain Worms, tells us as much. It is a splendidly surreal, subterranean howl of haunting anguish that lies somewhere between Echo and the Bunnymen, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and wave upon wave of gothic melodrama.
“‘Squid’ is a song about going back in time and stepping on a Tiktaalik and then going back to the present but you have the same job, the same problems you had before except you’re a squid,” lead singer Romy Vager explains of the absurd concept. “We jammed it on a whim and it ended up coming out really well. I left a large chunk of the lyrics till the last minute, finishing them off in Finsbury Park at 6 in the morning before I could get into the studio and record my vocals.” (Simon Godley)
Bully – Days Move Slow
Why we love it: Bully (aka Alicia Bognanno) has released her new single ‘Days Move Slow’ which was written after the passing of her beloved dog and best friend, Mezzi. But this does not wallow in melancholy but rather the pace and energy are upbeat. It feels like a cathartic expression for Bully, full of a passionate vocal which is expressive, powerful and upbeat. Bearing in mind the subject matter, I’m convinced Mezzi would be proud.
Bognanno expands on the background to the track: “As someone who has spent the majority of my life feeling agonisingly misunderstood, there is no greater gift than experiencing true unconditional love and acceptance. I waited my whole life for the bond and irreplaceable companionship I had with Mezzi. She was my best friend and my only constant through some of the most pivotal moments and phases of my life. I was a stranger to the level of love I now know exists because of Mezzi. Love you forever; I’m lucky for you.”
Lucky For You is also the title of her new album with is set for release on Friday 2 June on Sub Pop. Bognanno will be undertaking an extensive US tour in support of the album in addition to the previously announced headlining UK/EU tour (May 20th-28th) and her 13-date, main support for Pixies and Franz Ferdinand (June 8th-25th) (Julia Mason)
HENGE – Get A Wriggle On
Why we love it: Zpor, front-being of HENGE, says:
“Humans, as you may be aware, you have a climate emergency on your home planet. This is a situation that requires URGENT ACTION!
“We have developed a deep love for the human race, and wish to see you thrive… and so, we have written a piece of motivational music for your species – that you may no longer dither in the face of climate catastrophe, but take on this vital endeavour with a spring in your step and hope in your hearts.”
So set the controls for the heart of planet Earth. The extraterrestrial pioneers HENGE are on their way and their message is quite clear. The global impact of the climate crisis is slowly destroying us and they are out to save the world. And ‘Get A Wriggle On’, the latest single from the Mancunian concept band is the sure-fire means by which they aim to do it.
‘Get A Wriggle On’ is the first single from HENGE’s upcoming album, Alpha Test 4 – out on 26th May via Cosmic Dross Records – and it has landed on this planet with a futuristic official video. Filmed in Manchester, the video is a science fiction eco-adventure and features a cast of local human children. These environmentally-conscious youngsters set out to restore and re-wild their native city and the joyously jet-propelled impetus of the new single will certainly head them in the right direction. (Simon Godley)
Chalk – Asking
Why we love it: Belfast post-punk/electronic trio Chalk have shared their new single ‘Asking’ and have also announced their debut EP Conditions set for release on 5 May. Frequent collaborator Chris Ryan (NewDad, Enola Gay, Just Mustard) is once again on production duties, resulting in a razor sharp edge. Raw yet tight its clanging soundscapes come and go, with crisp percussion and yet pulsating chaos towards the end which almost overpowers the vocal. The combination of post-punk, industrial soundscapes and electronica creates a track full of passion. The vocal delivery is monotone, almost droning with its repetition over and over, varying from weariness at having to ask perhaps not being heard, and yet at other times frustrated and impassioned.
Speaking ahead of its release vocalist Ross Cullen stated: “It’s a reaction to feelings of ours that look at the past and a longing for others who aren’t in your life anymore. How we grow as people and those we leave behind as a result. We wanted “Asking” to follow the recollection of someone whose memories are fading when trying to remember about someone in the past”. (Julia Mason)
Ida Mae – When Eden Was My Girl (feat. Marcus King)
Why we love it: The first time I was acquainted with Ida Mae was in August 2021 when they set a lazy afternoon alight with a barnstorming set on the main stage at Red Rooster Festival. The previous month they had just released their highly-acclaimed second album, Click Click Domino. Now the British duo of Christopher Turpin and Stephanie Jean Turpin are back with their first new music since that time, ‘When Eden Was My Girl’.
Featuring the Grammy-awarded artist, performer, and songwriter Marcus King on guitar, ‘When Eden Was My Girl’ is a thundering bluesy-rocker that just smoulders and burns.
Ida Mae say, “Written in a haze as we finished Click Click Domino, we wanted this song to be a simple, raw, deep groove. Cut live to our 1970s drum machines we had our friends Ethan Johns, Marcus King and Nick Pini overdub their parts after.
“We wanted two lead protagonists, two voices male and female and for that to be echoed in my and Marcus’s lead guitar lines. Lyrically I was imagining Nick Cave writing his own, darker version of ‘I Can’t Quit You Babe’ by Otis Rush…with Jack White and JJ Cale chipping in a few words and licks here and there.
“Me and Marcus stood side by side in the basement of our Nashville home with two 5w Fender Champ amplifiers. We took two passes, what you hear from the duelling lead guitars is completely improvised on the spot. It’s always a huge honour and pleasure to make music with Marcus.” (Simon Godley)
Eades – Reno Pt.2
Why we love it: Leeds art-rock quintet Eades are starting 2023 on the front foot. Announced to join Wunderhorse for 7 of their UK tour dates, they now release their new single ‘Reno Pt.2’ – the first since 2022’s acclaimed debut album Delusion Spree. The new single continues where raucous debut album opener ‘Reno Pt.1’ left off. The track follows a sociopathic arsonist from arrest to court case, and his eventual escape “out of the fire, out into the cold!”. Delusion Spree was one of my albums of 2022 and Eades continue with the swagger and untamed energy which their camaraderie brings, as anyone who has seen them live knows. The five piece are having the best time, and this comes out in their music – either that or their acting is Oscar nomination worthy! This is music to lift the spirits, and I can’t wait to hear what’s next from Eades.
Lyricist and co-vocalist Tom O’Reilly explains the thematic origins: “We thought it would be interesting to see where we could take the original story of Reno, trading in the chaotic setting of a crime scene, for the courtroom drama that followed. It’s a departure from what the band once was, and a taste of what’s to come.”
Frontman Harry Jordan adds “As a writer, I’ve become really drawn into the way Lou Reed tells these tales of debauched characters on the fringes of society in the strange settings they find themselves.” (Julia Mason)
Egyptian Blue – Geisha
Why we love it: These days the term “guitar band” can seem disingenuous but with Egyptian Blue they truly are and what a musical soundscape they produce. They return with ‘Geisha’ and it’s an evolved sound as frontman Andy Buss explains:
“It’s a change in our sound. I recorded it on my laptop, brought it to the band and Isaac shifted the rhythm of it completely. Initially that shift changed my feelings about the track, but we persisted and it became a completely new entity in the studio. Now it’s one of our favourites and we wanted it to be the first track back. Lyrically it’s about coming to terms with an incessant cycle of day turning into night; where beautiful parts of life can become bleak so quickly”
Egyptian Blue have been pouring all their collective creative energies into creating this new sound. Expansive and soaring, ‘Geisha’ is the first release and whatever they are doing is working. The instrumentation dominates and this is music to get lost in. And yet there is an edge here too, almost a sense of danger in the music if such a thing is possible. This is the first new music in over a year, and it’s good to have Egyptian Blue back. (Julia Mason)
Lara Jones – Fig
Why we love it: Experimental saxophonist Lara Jones recently announced her new EP Fig out on the June 16th. She’s also shared the intriguing title track, riven with electronic textures and pulsing breakbeats, it splices field recordings of intoxicating vocal refrains, “queer love, it’s just love you know” repeats Jones, lifted from a conversation that took place in the shower with her wife. It’s a track that echoes the likes of Squarepusher, LFO and Orbital. Refreshing and inventive. “I wanted to be bolder with this EP in how I presented my message, I chose to use my voice audibly for the first time and ultimately aimed to start a conversation about queer love and identity from an intimate perspective” adds Lara. (Bill Cummings)
dust – Joy (Guilt)
Why we love it: Australian alt-punks dust have released their fantastic new single ‘Joy (Guilt)’ via Brooklyn based Kanine Records, it’s the last preview of upcoming debut EP et cetera etc. which is out next week on March 29th. Skeletal post-punk fired by a irresistible scorched spoken word delivery from dual-vocalist Gabriel Stove as, ‘Joy ( Guilt )’ gallops across the Australian outback, with echoes of Birthday Party and Fontaines DC, meditating on the themes of mortality, family and social commentary with a hypnotic look inward that reflects the catharsis of aimless driving. Unstoppable.
Gabriel explains “I wrote the lyrics in quite a turbulent and emotional time, collating lines that would come into my head or writing down things that people in my life had said. Lines that I thought were meaningful, funny or melancholy. Although unintentional, I think the lyrics come from an observational perspective or describe what my beliefs were at the time and remembering things that had been said to me in the past to shape those beliefs. I think it expresses the frustration of having no choice in how we’re brought up, what we’re told and the daily intake of information that constantly influences our behaviour. Whether that’s a result of our family, social media or religion.”
Formed against the backdrop of the pandemic in 2020, the project of Awabakal land / Newcastle-based dual guitarist-vocalists Gabriel Stove and Justin Teale, bassist Liam Smith, guitarist and saxophonist Adam Ridgway, and drummer Kye Cherry. (Bill Cummings)
Siobhan Wilson – Unst Boat Song
Why we love it: Celebrating the arrival of Spring, the second single of a brand new series of songs by Siobhan Wilson in 2023 , the haunting ‘Unst Boat Song’, is a unique arrangement of Scotland’s oldest surviving sea prayer sung in Norn and Shetlandic dialect. ‘Unst Boat Song’ comes from the most Northern point of Britain, the Island of Unst. Siobhan Wilson sings with tenderness and swirling intensity to the skies, as choral harmonies and ethereal cellos countermelody with steel string guitar, reminiscent of Fairport Convention.
Wilson recorded and arranged the sea prayer in her home studio in the Scottish Borders. (Bill Cummings)