Black Fly | Dipped

Nostalgia is a dangerous thing. It can be a moment of clarity that warms the soul via a transitory song, scent or sensation. However, it can also be a place where we resort to when escaping that which seems impossible. A return to a happier prison than a contemporary struggle. I am pleased to say that Black Fly is certainly the former.

With that in mind, is it just me or does that opening drone remind anyone of the beginning “start-up” noise from the old school, original Playstation? If you’re like me, then you’ll be almost taken aback by its rise into chillwave electric piano chords and disparate percussion. Whoever dropped this in my inbox must have known I’ve been in a mad 80s trip at the moment as the bass kicks in with a Smooth Criminal inspired riff line.

The track blends these nostalgic imprint with a smooth override of lyrical weaving, in which the vocals drift through the various rhythms prevalent in the track. For just over 3 minutes long, it’s almost incredible how “Dipped” manages to swing itself through the vibes of the ballad, anthem, chillwave track and dancefloor filler.

Described as gothic bedroom elctronica, Black Fly, for me, is more of a purveyor of nostalgic influence. Instead of making 70s, 80s, 90s, inspired tracks, the music is dragged from context into a void filled with the lush undulating textures that recall a moment in passing before moving to be replaced by something else vaguelgy familiar.

Mixed by David Tolomei (Beach House, Future Islands, Dirty Projectors), the track is out for streaming now so get your ears on it!

Mt Doubt | Natural Swimmer

I’ve always had an affinity for music of an anthemic quality. Whilst often derided as a tool of sellout chorus grabbers, the anthem rouses the man when buried underneath malaise and offers up something tangible to grab onto whilst a sickeningly slow descent is in place. Or it offers the next platform in a conga line progression of musical narrative to optimism. Regardless, it’s a necessary pillar on the musical landscape.

The Scottish, much maligned for their supposed affectation for melancholy, deliver on this need consistently. Edinburgh natives Mt Doubt (close to my heart considering it was my home city for 3 years) have offered up a free track from their new EP “The Loneliness of The TV Watchers” to scratch that itch entitled “Natural Swimmer.” Combining rich baritone vocals with harmonies that evoke other great Scottish bands such as “The Twilight Sad” and “My Latest Novel,” Mt Doubt bring us into a paradoxical track that offers both sides of the emotional coin. Melancholy blends with optimism, cynicism with hope and passion with lethargy.

Mt. Doubt’s new EP The Loneliness Of The TV Watchers is out now via Scottish Fiction Records and is available to buy and stream on iTunes and Spotify.

TRASH | Migraines

This is somewhat a continuity post with my previous entry here. As much as “The Pains of Being Pure at Heart” have matured and grown as an act, there is still that room for bombastic indie pop that speaks of reckless youth, cut off jeans and unwashed long hair during a turbulent yet brilliant summer. Or maybe I’m just yearning for the days of my youth like a divorced dad with the keys to his single room above a pub.

Enter TRASH. Whilst the name may convey American waste products, the band instead in their latest single “Migraines” master the craft of indie-pop songwriting with the classic combination of simple song structure wrapped up in lazy guitars and an echo chamber of classic summer tunes from the last 15 years.

Comparisons to the likes of “The Pains of Being Pure At Heart” and “The Magic Gang” will be inevitable for any act that brings a millennial vibe to a 90s beach party, yet TRASH seems to transcend the comparisons. “Migraines” is what I refer to as an aspirational tune. I can’t be the only one who imagines a record to soundtrack their walk through the city. Try this the next time it pours with rain on the way back from the tube and just see if the water doesn’t melt before it touches you.

Migraines hit on 13th June (so today dumbos) via Clue Records (Allusondrugs, NARCS, Forever Cult). It is taken from their self-titled EP which will be available on 10” vinyl and all digital platforms.

Live Dates

23 July – Tramlines Festival, Sheffield

30 July – Y Not Festival, Derbyshire

05 Oct – The Lock Tavern, London

07 Oct – Neighbourhood Festival, Manchester

20 Oct – Ku Bar, Stockton

21 Oct – The Leadmill, Sheffield

26 Oct – The Venue, Derby

The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart | When I Dance With You

The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart are one of those artists that just seem to follow me around constantly as I age progressively worse. It’s true, I’m nowhere near as sexy as I was as a frisky 17 year old heartthrob. But, as I’ve matured from under-sexed teenager to wannabe tortured artist, Kip Berman’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have matured alongside me at a familiar rate.

Last month saw the release of the, then latest single, Anymore which was a return to what we all know and have grown to love about the band. Featuring heavily distorted guitar chimes with 80s inspired song structures and a light vocal delivery that trips of the tongue onto the late VHS sun-kissed June evenings that we associate with the band. However, their latest track “When I Dance With You” offers something slightly different.

Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely classic Pains. However, bringing a sonar-like sample and a greater electronic influence, Berman crafts the classic formula into something more discreet. Instead of assaulting us with a wall of teenage inspired pop, “When I Dance With You” sees a more mature outlook combined with the typical playfulness we’ve come to expect alongside the consistent romanticised lyrics. We are still on the Betamax colour tones, but instead it’s the slow burn romantic montage as opposed to the thumping opening credits. It makes me miss a girl a bit.

“When I Dance With You” is the second single from the upcomgin 4th album “The Echo of Pleasure,” due Sept. 1 on the band’s own Painbow label. The album can be pre-ordered here.


Japanese Breakfast | Boyish

What’s uppppppp? It’s election day here, which means I am filled with despair, dread, hope and judgement. To quell the terrified voice that pervades in the back of my head telling me that contemporary politics is going down the toilet quicker than a used condom, I bring you Japanese Breakfast’s new single “Boyish”

Taken from the upcoming LP Soft Sounds From Another Planet, “Boyish” rides over you like a laconic tidal wave. Surrendering you to the depths of the ocean underneath a weight of beautiful melancholy, the track has a gravitational sweep that almost makes you feel that you’re being pulled towards the centre of the earth as opposed to forced under. Whilst surrendering yourself to the fate you can see the waking world through the crystal clear water as synths and a wonderfully measured vocal line narrates your drowning montage.

Following up her first single from the upcoming release “The Machinist,” Japanese Breakfast continues to create a mature minimal sound that gets caught into that wonderful paradox of hopeful melancholy.

Japanese Breakfasts album Soft Sounds From Another Planet is out Juley 14th 2017 on Dead Oceans.

6/7 – Orlando, FL @ The Social *
6/9 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall *
6/10 – Austin, TX @ The Parish *
6/11 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada *
6/13 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge *
6/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echoplex *
6/16 – San Diego, CA @ The Irenic *
6/17 – Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room *
6/18 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel *
6/20 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile *
6/21 – Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt *
6/22 – Portland, OR @ Holocene *
6/24 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court *
6/25 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge *
6/27 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry *
6/28 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge *
6/29 – Columbus, OH @ Double Happiness *
6/30 – Lakewood, OH @ Mahall’s *
7/1 – Detroit, MI @ El Club *
7/2 – Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground *
7/4 – Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz PDB *
7/5 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair *
7/6 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg *
7/7 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *
7/8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
7/15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool ~
7/27 – Halifax, NS @ Rebecca Cohn Auditorium ^
7/28 – Portland, ME @ State Theatre ^
7/29 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom ^
7/31 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues ^
8/2 – Covington, KY @ Madison Theater ^
10/23 – Cologne, DE @ Blue Shell
10/25 – Berlin, DE @ Badenhouse
11/2 – Brighton, GB @ The Joker
11/6 – Leeds, GB @ Headrow House
11/7 – London, GB @ The Dome Tufnell Park

* w/ (Sandy) Alex G & Cende
^ w/ Tegan & Sara
~ Free Record Release Show w/ Yohuna (Starts at 2PM)

SLØTFACE | Nancy Drew

Whoops. So here’s me thinking that moving to London would coincide with a greater lift in productivity. Who knew the 9 – 5 would kick my butt so frequently? Regardless, I should post more. So, in the spirit of an agreement of attempting to be a productive adult with my girlfriend, I will endeavour to post more regularly.

Ahead of their debut album, SLØTFACE have dropped their latest single Nancy Drew. Beggining with an aggressive punk-based guitar line, singer Haley Shea laments about falling asleep to the pickings of singer-songwriter fare. Using the eponymous teenage detective as a barnstoping tour de force to tackle the indie boys club, “Nancy Drew” as a track showcases SLØTFACE at an aggressive self-righteous level that is entirely deserved.

I’ll always be pre-disposed to a strong guitar based track that carries the necessary confidence behind it. The idea of an indie detective keeping the male dominated guitar-band scene in check as a vigilante private mercenary is undeniably a fantasy of many. Theres a great article on The Rockpit on the track which is worth a read in itself.

“Nancy Drew” is the second single from the upcoming debut album ‘Try Not To Freak Out’ which is out on 15/09/2017 via Propeller Recordings.

Low Chimes | Sleepwalking

Press releases are hard. So many come into my inbox but, due to having a full-time job and a desire to spend my free time playing Pokemon, many go unanswered or even ignored. It’s not that I don’t care it’s just that you get so many. You guys are all so PR savvy these days! So, when I do make an attempt to foray into the mess that is my inbox, finding something as good as Low Chimes’ debut Sleepwalking is instantly gratifying and makes me wonder why I don’t make the effort more often.

This debut has the perfect opening. An irresistible guitar tone, the kind I attempt to find whenever I’m playing my own, begins a repetitive groove that becomes the lynchpin riff that singer Marianne Parrish begins to croon over with just enough variation to jar at just the right time. Like a surprise chilli kick in the perfect curry. The track is understandably moody as exploring an empathetic relationship with a former lover moves into existential questions. The single will be released April 14th, but if you can’t wait then catch them on the tour dates below.

Headline tour dates: 

April 6th // The Whiskey Jar / Manchester
April 8th // The Slaughtered Lamb / London
April 9th // The Prince Albert / Stroud
April 10th // The Bodega / Nottingham
April 11th // The Tin / Coventry
April 15th // The Art House / Southampton

Supporting Sam Brookes:

April 24th // The Hope & Ruin / Brighton
April 25th // The Borderline / London
April 26th // Zephyr Lounge / Leamington Spa
April 27th // Band on the Wall / Manchester
April 28th // Ramsgate Music Hall / Ramsgate
April 30th // Mama Roux’s / Birmingham
May 2nd // Gwdihŵ Café Bar / Cardiff
May 3rd // Thekla / Bristol
May 5th // The Cluny 2 / Newcastle Upon Tyne
May 6th // The Hug and Pint / Glasgow
May 7th // The Crescent / York
May 8th // The Cellar / Oxford
May 9th // The Portland Arms / Cambridge