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.
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.
I’m not sure if Kidsmoke is supposed to be a name referencing my childhood. Because I certainly was a kid and definitely used to pinch cigarettes when I thought no-one was looking. I know, I’m a total genius. Anyway, it’s been a while hasn’t it? Real talk time. I’ve been off the blogging grid after the death of an incredibly close friend of mine and have been struggling to get back on top with everything else going on. What am I supposed to post here as well? Some Suede because that’s literally the only band he listened to? Gimme a break. I thought about the new Cigarettes After Sex track but man, too depressing.
Then hello Kidsmoke.If you’re anything like me, when processing grief you gravitate to sombre serious musicians who arcticulate your continual recycling of thought patterns. Eventually, however, you need something to blow out the cobwebs so you can rearrange your mind into something productive that you can take forward. That is why Kidsmoke are here and why you should listen to them. Other than the fact that I’m telling you.
Kidsmoke, heralding from my fellow Celtic province of Wales (for their sins), have something of a perfect synthesis between various prevailing “indie” themes. Solitary guitars are lead a rousing progression through aggressive drum beats and the ethereal transforms into the anthemic without straying into the cliche. “Waves” is out on the 27th of January and if you don’t listen to it I’ll pee in your coffee.
I’ll never stop being a happy slappy guitar chappy and this is clearly apparent in the music I get sent on a regular basis by bands/musicians that have channeled some Oasis mimicry in the pursuit of superstar status. Every now and then though you come across something that sits nice in the attention based high chair that is the blogosphere and that was delivered nicely by The Halves recently. I’ve been waiting for this to go public to feature purely because it’s one of the best debut tracks I’ve heard.
There is a dirge of bands that formed for the sheer enjoyment of strapping on a guitar and seeing what you can do. So much is now over-produced with a carbon copy croon pasted over the top. Instead, in their debut single “Are You Happy”, you are brought into a storming indie track through a slightly Hollywood guitar riff that has you wondering if you’re entering a Vetiver or Locksmiths track. However, the track smashes itself through as the tempo picks up and you can imagine yourself shirtless covered in beer in one of the suburban house parties that served as this North Carolina-based band baptism.
The track is important not because it breaks new ground but that it makes you think “hey I could do that.” Except you’re not, they are and they’re having a fucking blast doing it. Recorded using just one mic in a local hip-hop studio, The Halves ask you what you’ve been doing with your life? That degree worth it? Because on limited resources and a bit of nous, you can produce something this good. They’re your mates, they’re your relatives, they’re who you wish you could be sometimes.
If you’re into it, check them in Brooklyn on July 29th at the Gold Sounds Bar. I would, if I didn’t live in bloody Scotland.
As soon as summer hits I become a blubbering alcoholic mess who can’t seem to wash his own clothes but can consume more beer than Homer Simpson on a bender. Not something to be proud of but as I’m attempting to settle back into a degree of normality I thought blogging may be just the ticket. • Seoul’s • debut I Became A Shade came out two days ago on Grand Jury and Real June is the perfect tune for the upcoming beleaguered summer days. As I live in Scotland I often need to be reminded that yes, it is in fact June and not November which this song does brilliantly. Upbeat synth and single coil guitars keep this indie pop delight pushing through the ennui of summer boredom.
I’ve written plenty about Rhodes since I started this including seeing him play a set at King Tut’s, Glasgow, on Halloween. At the aforementioned show he promoted the fact that he was working on his first full length LP. On Boxing Day he dropped this track below as a perfect post Christmas treat which is available for free. Christmas used to be my favourite time of year but has slowly been usurped due to seemingly endless familial ennui. Rhodes drops in nicely for the new year and is wetting the appetite for an LP that you can use to fill out some mixtapes to the attractive boy/girl at the back of Science Class.
Or you could do things less creepy than I did at high school and just listen to it in your car.
Sometimes when an album becomes an evocative reminder of a point in your life it is hard to accept subsequent recordings because they just aren’t quite right. It’s hard to disconnect yourself from it and sometimes you just have to give it a decent amount of time. This was very much my relationship with Dan Mangan after “Nice, Nice, Very Nice” was released way back in 2010. It was the album for that period of my life and so when “Oh Fortune” was released I enjoyed it but it wasn’t Dan Mangan, or at least my definition of what Dan Mangan was.
But man, sometimes we need to remove our heads from our arses and recast a look to what former favourites are still doing. Going by Dan Mangan + Blacksmith now, the band are gearing up to release their new album “Club Meds,” 13th of January 2015 on Arts and Crafts Records. Now I’ve disassociated myself from the arrogance that I can define a musicians ouevre, “Mouthpiece” off the previously mentioned album is fantastic. Darker than old Mangan and haunting whilst still possessing his ability to rouse you out your seat, “Club Meds” could end up making Mangan and co household names.
Until then pretend you’re cooler than everybody else by listening to these guys “first.”