It’s Easter Bank Holiday Monday so we’ve had a lie in, eaten lots of chocolate, been sick, eaten more chocolate, had a snooze, watched Mary Poppins, now here is Tracks of the Week. Everyone, including technology, is having the weekend off so you’re lucky to have six tracks. This will wake you up tomorrow morning. Have it!!!
swim school – Don’t Leave Me Behind
Why we love it: Edinburgh trio swim school are having a storming start to 2023, with sold out support slots for Pixies and Lovejoy completed, currently on the road supporting Softcult and numerous festival slots scheduled for the summer. The band will also play their first London headline show since 2021 on 30 May at The Lower Third. They have now announced their second EP Duality set for release on 25 May via LAB Records and shared new single ‘Don’t Leave Me Behind’. This track demonstrates such versatility as they quieten down the anger of previous single ‘Delirious’ (Jack Saunders’ Track of the Week on BBC R1). Frontwoman Alice Johnson contemplates the feelings towards someone she sees a future with.
As she explains: “‘Don’t Leave Me Behind’ is the emotion you feel when you meet someone you have a genuine connection with, but don’t quite know where you stand with them. You think they feel the same as you, but you aren’t sure and your mind can’t stop thinking about them. We wanted to write our own version of those cheesy, early 90’s love songs. The harsh guitar tones and soft lyrics resemble the strong ups and downs you experience in that unknown place.”
On ‘Don’t Leave Me Behind’ the heavy guitars make way for synths at the beginning, and the vocal of Alice takes centre stage. However there is a blast mid-track of that scuzzy guitar adding to the overall emotion. The vulnerability returns as its followed by a quiet section and the crystal clear vocal. ‘Don’t Leave Me Behind’ is another stepping stone in the evolution of this trio who will surely be announcing their own full headline tour before the year is out. (Julia Mason)
O Hell – It Heals So Quick
Why We Love It: because it’s another curveball from O Hell, following on from the brilliant slow burning ‘Pixel’, this time it’s a higher tempo, dark, gothic, brooding noir- pop smash. This has more in common with her other project, Projector, than her previous releases, with a full, live band sound, as opposed to the more minimal aesthetic of ‘Pixel’.
This is the second track of the year from O Hell which makes it feel like there is an EP or LP incoming. The eclectic nature of the two tracks suggests it’s hard to tell where the next release will take her. Projector is very much a heavy rock outfit but O Hell has been electronic, industrial and alt-pop. This starts with subdued guitar but a pop sensibility, the title spat out with echoed double tracked vocals. Piano chords give the chorus a dark menace. Another belter. (Jim Auton)
Media Giants – Son Of A Son
Why we love it: Media Giant’s debut single ‘Afraid Of The Dark‘ earned a cult following, with Elton John no less spinning it on his Apple Music show. Continuing with their sartorial look at the world round them the band releases new single ‘Son of a Son’. Here Media Giant comment on how capitalism dehumanises us, erodes our empathy and encourages us to compete against each other for monetary gain. However their instrumentation sits in the space also occupied by the likes of LCD Soundsystem, Talking Heads and The Rapture. Hence this is a groove driven track, opening with bouncing bobbing synths, and continuing with slightly distorted vocals but adding to the electronica vibe. The lyrics are so heartfelt: “It’s not a weakness to cry at the weekend.”
Media Giant say of the track: “At Media Giant, we’re never done innovating. Stream our latest product, ‘Son of a Son’, now and you’ll experience an undeniably catchy synth-pop sound. We guarantee it will enhance your life with minimal adverse effects.” (Julia Mason)
Ciel – Somebody
Why we love it: Brighton trio Ciel have released their latest single ‘Somebody’ taken from their new EP Make It Better which is set for release on 7 July via Jazz Life. It’s a delicious slice of fuzzy indie rock. With lockdowns and winter the desire for connections feels stronger than ever. Whatever our situation this is something we can all relate to I suspect. Ciel are already gaining a reputation for their live shows and having previously played The Great Escape, Green Man and Eurosonic festivals, this year will see them embark on an extensive run of international shows – including a European tour with Blood Red Shoes, festivals, and their own headline show at The Lexington in London on 17 May. This schedule will only enhance their reputation and even though they repeatedly sing “I need somebody” on this single, I have no doubt that by the end of these run of dates they will have an every growing community of supporters to share their music with.
Michelle Hindriks (vocals, bass) further expands on the inspiration behind the track: “’Somebody’ is a song that came together for most part on the spot in the studio. It’s about starting to feel a deep urge to socialise, connect with others, party and be more outwards again after a period of needing solitude. Spring time is always a time when this naturally happens to me – getting out of my kind of winter hibernation and feeling that urge to be around people”. (Julia Mason)
The Bug Club – Picture this!
Why we love it: In the tradition of the nine minutes of 2022’s Intelectuals, ‘Picture this’ scampers across fuzzy riffs, typically playful and wry vocal sparring, if you remember ‘Take the Skinheads Bowling’ by Camper Van Beethoven or the wonky anthems of the Vaselines you would love this, it has the same scuzzy addictive quality. “The loveliest girl in this part of the world is sleeping in my basement” they sing with almost a Dylan-esque lip curl, painting vivid pictures with words and hook laden melodies. The Bug Club are both prolific and givers of offbeat yet joyful tunes.
Their label Bingo Records says “Is it an EP? A single? A tongue-in-cheek two fingers to Daniel Ek by a group of remarkably witty artistic martyrs? Well, a picture famously speaks quite a few words, so a picture is what we’ll call it.” (Bill Cummings)
Hibou – Night Fell
Why we love it : Under the moniker Hibou, Seattle-born Peter Michel’s latest EP Arc is a nostalgic journey through shoegaze and dream-pop. The spiraling guitars and luscious sweep of lead track ‘Night Fell’ are wonderful, framed in shimmering guitars and Michel sighing vocals that recognise the pain of the past, observing the moments of nature, that make the struggle of a life worth living. Consumed by the rush of love he surveys the vastness of the vista the soaring glorious chorus, its the sound of birds spinning across the sky as the sun sets. Reminding me tenderly of the mid period lushness of M83‘s dream pop, or the anthemic ‘Regret’ by New Order. Fall under its spell. (Bill Cummings)