First it’s wet, then it’s cold, then it’s sunny, then it’s hot, now it’s cold and grey. There might be something in this climate change, you reckon?!?! But it wouldn’t be May Day Bank Holiday without rain and wind and crap movies on the TV. Next week we’ll be doing a Focus Wales Tracks of the Week Special, highlighting some of our favourites from the weekend, along with other goodies. Here are some belters to get you through this short week before the next long weekend. Hip hip, huzzah!!
Angelo De Augustine – Another Universe
Why we love it: Complete with an introduction from a French-speaking scientific submarine, ‘Another Universe’ is the delightful lead single from the American musician Angelo De Augustine’s forthcoming album Toil and Trouble which will be out on the 30th June on Asthmatic Kitty.
Toil and Trouble is Angelo De Augustine’s first solo work since Tomb back in 2019 and follows up A Beginner’s Mind, his collaborative album with Sufjan Stevens from two years back.
Yet behind the wonderfully playful video – with fabrication and animation from Owen Summers – that accompanies ‘Another Universe’ there lies a serious message of hope and desire. As Angelo de Augustine explains: “I grew tired of reality and so I decided to make a world of my own. It is a safe world. The kind of place in which only good things happen.”.
Such positivity percolates right throughout the song. Do yourself a massive favour and just immerse yourself in it. (Simon Godley)
Hallan – The Colline Gate
Why we love it: Portsmouth quartet Hallan have released the second track from their forthcoming EP The Noise of a Firing Gun which is set for release on 2 June via Nice Swan Records. The single ‘The Colline Gate’ continues the bands exploration of historical real-life events as inspiration.
As frontman Conor Clements explains: “The sinister and foreboding shadow of ‘The Colline Gate’ remains cast upon the terrifying truth that lurks beneath. Our foray into a more electronic sound comes by way of Ancient Rome’s debauched past times and the Vestal Virgins who met their untimely end beneath this mysterious landmark. The Vestals of Rome embodied both purity and sanctity, tending to the flame of Vesta as untouchable priestesses. Vestals found to break Rome’s strict rules were subject to a live burial beneath The Colline Gate”.
Hallan take these events and give them a high-octane interpretation, all electronic beats and scuzzy guitars. Thought-provoking and thrilling it’s a deadly combination and Hallan are masters at their application. One of the best UK bands to see live at the moment. Looking forward to the EP and hearing what stories Hallan have to share with us next. (Julia Mason)
Green Gardens – Things I Didn’t Do
Why we love it: The Leeds art-rock four-piece Green Gardens have returned with their new single ‘Things I Didn’t Do’ after signing to the award-winning label Come Play With Me as part of their partnership with the groundbreaking new EMI North, a collaboration described as “championing the rich seam of musical talent in the north by providing vital opportunities and long-term support within the industry for creatives who are not based in the convenience of the capital.”
Speaking about the new single, the band’s joint lead vocalist and guitarist, Chris Aitchison says: “’Things I Didn’t Do’ was written almost as chaotically as it ended up sounding. I’d just finished writing another track but felt like I had so much more to say. I felt furious on behalf of the characters from these songs, and let this lie underneath the process of putting this song together. It’s driven by the crunching guitars, with the rest of the song falling into place around them. It’s the closest to outward aggression that we get on the record.”
Out of the anger and aggression that informed the creation of ‘Things I Didn’t Do’ there emerges a strange angular beauty with guitars and voices slicing through the chaos at will. (Simon Godley)
Grian Chatten – The Score
Why we love it: because it’s the poet in charge of some of the most evocative lyrics from a big name indie band that have won Brits and Grammy’s. You might not recognise the name, but you know the voice. That soothing Dublin lilt and street dogrel sharp edges are unmistakable and here he shows he has the musician chops he has spoken about before. Whilst immediately reminiscent of classic troubadour styles, the hypnotic arpeggio acoustic guitar and synthetic beats are similar to Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly.
Chatten explains, “‘The Score’ is a heavyweight bated breath of lust. I wrote it in Madrid between an electric fan and a dying plant and I intend to keep it there. It was inspired by sugar and sunset.” (Jim Auton)
Girl and Girl – All I See
Why we love it: Sub Pop have signed Australia’s Girl and Girl to their roster, which is recommendation enough to check out the new single ‘All I See’ by the four-piece. The band features frontperson Kai James and his Aunty Liss on drums, with long time friends Jayden Williams on guitar and Fraser Bell on bass.
Kai expands on the origins of the track: “Lyrics came last for ‘All I See,’ about 3 years after the track, and when I finally sat down and wrote them, I was pretty anxious about whether I had them right or not. A new Miley Cyrus track played on the radio that afternoon, she too, was singing about houses burning down, and I took that as confirmation. So I thanked Miley Cyrus and her great new track ‘Flowers’ and never looked back.”
‘All I See’ is a rollicking track which canters along at pace. That scuzzy guitar riff is the thread throughout plus the slightly manic, vocal of Kai, full of expression and emotion, is impossible to ignore with its angst. “But the heart is not a home/And how things start to burn/When the home is left alone.” Girl and Girl are currently working on new music for their Sub Pop debut, and with more good news there are plenty of opportunities to see the band live around these shores in 2023 with performances that include The Great Escape, London’s Wide Awake Festival and a support run with Partisan Records act Blondshell. (Julia Mason)
Nice Biscuit – I Feel Love
Why we love it: The Brisbane-based psych/ garage-rock band Nice Biscuit have just signed to the London record label, Bad Vibrations and to celebrate the occasion have released a cover of ‘I Feel Love’, co-written by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte and a huge hit for the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer in 1977.
Brian Eno once said of ‘I Feel Love’, “It will change club music for the next 15 years.” Another thirty years beyond that point and it continues to do so with Nice Biscuit not veering too far from the electronic template of the original song. With its perennial futuristic sound, it still manages to take your breath away.
Expect to hear this and many more exciting tunes on Nice Biscuit’s co-headline tour of the UK and Europe with band members Grace Cuell’s new project Baby Cool. (Simon Godley)
Megan Black – Sweet Bisexual
Why we love it: Scotland’s Megan Black has released her new single ‘Sweet Bisexual’. The track explores her experience feeling misunderstood after coming out as a queer woman. It takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to the stigmas we face in having to label who we are in order to fit in, and instead shines a light on why we should celebrate our diversity. The vocal of Megan take centre stage on ‘Sweet Bisexual’ with its bluesy quality that is both intriguing and beguiling. Megan tends to base her songs on her own experiences, political views, and what is currently present in the world, hence the emotion in the vocal reflecting this human element. It also reflects empowerment and spreads the message of a celebration of individuality.
“I don’t need a label to tell me what to be.”
The instrumentation is blues rock and to learn that Megan names all of her guitars is exquisite:
“I’ve got a few guitars but the one I play at gigs is ‘Phoebe’, a Fender. I call her that, she’s my baby, if anyone touches her! If you name them, you have more of a connection to them, so I name all of my guitars. I have another one called ‘Olfred’ and I’ve got a ‘Florence’, which is what I’d have liked to be named myself.” (Julia Mason)