Wilderado | Sorrow

Whenever I get back into this, it takes me forever to start scrolling through the Hype Machine and my own listening habits until I find something that I’m actually in to and want to share. Inevitably I end up posting stuff already in other places, sorry if I’m simply an echo chamber for the time being.

London continues to be grey, miserable and horrifically busy as we slowly slide towards summer but that has yet to dampen my optimism for the coming season. Every spring, like clockwork, I hit a nostalgic turn in my listening habits. It may be Britpop and it’s attendant connotations with a mid 90s Steve, all big forehead and Thomas the Tank Engine toys; or it could be 70s classic rock and my teenage aspiration to be the next Jimmy Page. This year however, I have delved into the last time indie music in Britain was huge, the NME playlists of 2007-2009. In between organising through my desire to be a Libertine or a Franz Ferdinand backup dancer, I spent those years relentlessly copying the single stringed riffs into my own songs on adolescent heartbreak, sadness and sorrow.

Wilderado are a callback to this era of musical endeavour, with a decidedly US flavour. The LA based four piece in their single “Sorrow” dance around simple single string combinations before building into the large choruses that befit the era once it crossed over into the mainstream. It may not be the new Jeff Buckley or Radiohead, but a thoroughly enjoyable callback to when guitar music was the pop genre de jour. Whilst simple and unpretentious, the track gains a maturity via it’s delicate control of volume and degree of restraint. Whilst undeniably uncomplicated, the track’s control of euphoria throws me back to my late teens, where all I wanted was to be in a band that people wanted to listen to.

For fans of Paper Lions. The new EP is out May 25th if this tickles your pickle.

Surf Rock is Dead | As If

Sorry sorry. I know I’ve been away for a bit. Alas, as this is not my primary money-maker, it’s far too easy for me to get lost in the day to day of all my other commitments and totally push back any sort of posting. So, first and foremost, I know I’m late with the July Mix and I’ll endeavour to get that done as quickly as possible. However, today I’m sharing the latest track from Brooklyn based duo, “Surf Rock Is Dead.”

I haven’t featured these guys in nearly 2 years, back in 2015 when I thought the best way to dress was skinny-fit hobo. However, whilst my ability to dress myself like an adult has improved, so has “Surf Rock Is Dead’s” output. Maintaining a guitar tone of wistful summer vibes, the minor chords though infrequent, run out like dischordant conflict against the subject matter of attempting to distance yourself from someone you love. Like the moment of weakness through weeks of strong stoicism.

As If is from the forthcoming EP We Have No Friends?, due to arrive on September 22.

Prism Tats | Used To Be Cool

When I lived in Edinburgh, I was in a punk band. I think I might have mentioned that once or twice here. If not, let me be clear, I was in a punk band. To be perfectly honest, we weren’t very good. In fact, my girlfriend saw some videos of us performing and the only word that came out of her mouth was “babe…” followed by an awkward pause as she searched for the best of way of telling me kindly that we were average at best.

But, the thrill of performing in dingy art school bars has never really left me. Prism Tats taps into the low-fi garage anthemic feeling of standing on stage with a guitar in hand and a microphone in hand. A garage aesthetic is mixed with well harmonized pop structures to create the feeling of a man recounting his glory days of being front and centre of attention in the art school bar

The new EP “11:11” is out July 28th on ANTI- Records.

The Desert | Just Get High

I was sent this in my inbox this morning with the description of  “hungover dream pop.” Not an entirely easy phrase to ignore, with my experience of being hungover somewhat prolific, I decided to take a dive into a band I’ve had absolutely no exposure to.

The Desert, a collaborative duo featuring singer-songwriter Gina Leonard and guitarist & producer Tom Fryer, are purveyors of understated, headphone based dream folk. Their latest single Just Get High is their debut release ahead of their inaugural EP Playing DeadJust Get High, is a morose, pleading track that evokes the moments of regret we all have in the too-hot sun of a hungover Sunday. As you sit over a coffee and an eternally extinguishing cigarette, The Desert soundtrack the regret, desire and innate sadness in overdrawing oneself.

BOYS | Dreamland

Jingle jangle fuck the rain. Seriously, London has got to be one of the most miserable places when the heavens open. It’s like some macabre slate-grey Instagram filter is drawn across the city and people suddenly become frightening automatons hiding their artificial nature behind the facade of an umbrella or recessed into a hooded jacket. In these moments, I lack energy. Being a solar-powered person, ridiculous considering I spent two and a half years in Scotland, I suddenly become frustrated by a lack of productivity yet utterly devoid of the ability to make amends.

BOYS, however, manage to alleviate this feeling with a smart combination of the jangly pop guitar tones with a lo-fi production aesthetic that encapsulates what a warm wet June Tuesday is on their latest track Dreamland. It’s hard to turn their chosen guitar tone into anything that isn’t LA summer rock. Instead, the track is introspective without being morose and just expansive enough in its production values to allow the sparse musical arrangements to filter in behind frontman Ross Pearce’s Real Estate-esque delivery.

Dreamland is, the lead single and title-track from their second EP out later this summer.

Live Dates 

22 July – Tooting Tram & Social, London

18 Aug – The Delancey, New York City

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

Bryde | Wouldn’t That Make You Feel Good?

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.

The Slow Revolt | Lean

Guess who got lazy? Was it me? Yeah, it was. Sorry, not sorry. I’ve been finding my inbox harder and harder to drill through of late. Now fully on the job train, it’s certainly getting harder to maintain this little side-project of mine. I mean this really is something I pursue for fun, certainly not for any kind of career projection. I’m just not that good. So, anyway, listening to my Hype Machine whilst I juggle my own artwork and applying to jobs with the caveat of “PLEASE HIRE ME, I’LL DO ANYTHING” this came on from The Slow Revolt.

That guitar line boys and girls, just that guitar line. Smooth. The guitar line helps deliver you into a misty vocal line that envelopes the whole track into a listening routine that reminds you that not all great guitar music is based around bombastic big choruses and hordes of hairy men dancing like they’ve just discovered their very first cave-woman. Taken off the upcoming EP Sketches out on September 9th, it’s currently available for free download from the Slow Revolt Bandcamp. I’m not going to link it to you when you have a perfectly functional google search capacity on your browser. Unless you use Bing. You silly sausage.

Hater | Radius

So browsing through the Hype Machine today caught me onto this indie gem from Swedish outfit Hater. “Radius” is the eponymous single from the debut EP out on July 8th and goodness me, isn’t it nice? Whilst I trudge through the Edinburgh summer misery rains I can at least transport myself to a jangly guitar riff and pretend that the next few months will include day drinking in the park as opposed to hopelessly counting the pennies until I can afford to buy a single Tesco’s own lager.