I’ve been sitting on this for a little while for when I’m struggling to find anything I fancy publishing but when you’ve got an earworm, you’ve got an earworm. For the last three days, I’ve been going back to this track from Melbourne’s Ali Barter, attempting to move on from its impossibly catchy rhythms and failing sadly.
However, let’s not beat around the bush. This is an energetic guitar pop track with catchy rhythms that successfully embellishes a lyrical basis made up solely of misogynistic cat-calls. So whilst the music may have you flinging yourself (or at least myself) around your room with energy and reckless abandon it’s nigh impossible to ignore the vocal lines such as “You don’t understand what it’s like to be a man” or “flash us your pantie lines.” I’m impossibly fortunate. I’m a white middle-class male born in the West. I literally could not be more privileged in the societal hierarchy. I have never experienced racism, sexism or any form of institutionalised discrimination. I don’t want to depart too radically from the track on this point but I feel it is a necessary point to make.
The song provides a strong outlet for education in these areas. The juxtaposition between a bright pop sensibility with an angelic sounding female voice addressing the catcalls is an immediate contrast with a chorus lamenting how “you don’t understand what it’s like to be a man.” I do understand what it’s like to be a man and, to be honest, I’ve had it pretty easy. Sang with a complete commitment the irony of the vocal content shines through and allows this song to really spread it’s wings as a statement of societal fault as well as a really enjoyable pop product.
Ugh. How often is it that you’re looking for a new earworm to guide you through the day and one lands in your lap? Probably more often for me because I run this little operation but man this has got to be one of the finest examples in recent times.
Bryde‘s new track “Wouldnt That Make You Feel Good?” has the somewhat strolling nature of Speedy Ortiz mixed with the quiet fury that Sharon Van Etten manages to capture effortlessly. Instead of scoring a stroll through the park, this track seems to soundtrack a drunken walk home alone when you’ve polished off all the beer available to numb yourself only to fail spectacularly. Bryde manages to capture that darkness we all internalise and live with consistently, most applicable in the crescendo towards the end when all the barely managed fury explodes into a cacophony of emotive attacks. This has got to be one of the best tracks of the year so far.
One of the greatest villain introductions in cinema is that of Scar in Disney’s “The Lion King.” For real, bear with me. As a small mouse scurries around, the aforementioned regicidal lion, pounces on the unsuspecting rodent and laments how life is unfair. As he toys with his prey, the monologue extends to the cruelty of life and despite the mouses heroic escape, Scar remains a lion and the mouse is still a mere footnote on the concerns of this great childhood villain of ours.
How often do you feel like that mouse? Like no matter how hard you try and whatever your successes, life just isn’t fair enough to allow you to ever challenge such odds. Scar remains a lion and the mouse remains a mouse. Thems the brakes kid. So as I sit in my freezing cold studio desperately applying for jobs and attempting to make my own work function I sympathise with this little furry plot element. So imagine my joy when I’m sent this track “Busy Man” by the triumphantly returning RALPH.
The track extends into the emotional anguish we’ve all felt on falling for someone inaccessible and the important personal fortitude one needs to retain their pride, strength and identity. So you can imagine the relation I can make as I attempt to get a foot on the career ladder with this disco-inspired track. Witty and straight-forward, “Busy Man” is a track that could be played through headphones to inspire a resilience after a bad day or played at a bar where you dance off your sodden misery and drown it with cheap vodka. Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming EP. Gonna be special kids.
Life is hard enough. How often when you’ve had a shit day do you close your eyes and pretend you’re in some hilarious offbeat HBO drama about some misunderstood youth? Just me? Am I that self-involved? Well if you’re like me then Miniature Tigers new single Dreaming will almost certainly be playing as the montage plays for the viewers at home. A really laid back synth pop track with enough substance to really play into the perfect accompaniment for a shit day. Not that I’m saying the track should soundtrack misery but its bittersweet swell of shiny Californian vibes alongside a theme of longing lends itself to some form of poetic misery. Not that I ever do that. I’m brilliant and my life is full of rainbows.
The single appears on Miniature Tigers’ forthcoming album I Dreamt I Was A Cowboy, due out October 28th.
A lot of the music I listen to at the moment has an incredibly high amount of production pushed into it. This is not a bad thing, rather, it is a product of our times. When the ability to produce such layered and well-designed tracks is at it’s most accessible it’s inevitable. Believe it or not, I’m a fan. As an artist myself I love the access I have to software and tools that allow me to be ambitious in my freezing cold Edinburgh studio.
Yet therein lies the dichotomy. I can make intense CGI, green screen films in a cold dark room in the back of a warehouse freezing my tits off with a crappy electric heater beneath my legs. I don’t live in the world of prosperity of Rationale’s lush tracks or in a world that allows me to feel like Skott is a wolf howling at my door. Sometimes I feel like the broke artist I am and need someone to relate to that very base level of life I have right now whilst I scrape pennies for a beer at the pub from behind my sofa and here Swan Levitt comes in.
From the Isle of Wight, a place I’ve only ever been to in order to get drunk at Bestival, Levitt gives us the gift of a softly produced track that speaks to something basic that we can all understand. Missing someone. Alive, his debut song released on September 30th, is a track about a friend who had cystic fibrosis. Past tense is appropriate because unfortunately said friend passed. It’s a song that reminds us that there is always a place for wishing, designing and curating the most fantastic lives for ourselves but at a base point, sometimes we need reminding that much of the time we are simply where we are now. At the baseline of something present. A simple lyrical composition with lines such as “Maybe I’ll die before all of my friends” with a genuinely heartfelt voice reminds us that it is prescient to sit in our present place. To be where we are and thanks, man, you really did a number on that.
Until his debut LP is out, give ALIVE a spin courtesy of Organ Records and perhaps get excited. Especially for fans of Postdata and The Red House Painters.