Over the years I have made it no secret that I have an obsession with Scottish indie rock band Frightened Rabbit. I subject everybody to their back catalogue. My girlfriend has been forced to listen to misanthropic layered moody men in my grad school bedroom. My Mother was subjected to hopeless croons of love lost in her car as she taxied me to my various adolescent commitments and my Father, God bless him, even trekked around the country to take me to their shows where I was caught between shyness and a fear of being uncool which resulted in a refusal to dance. Something my close friend, charity worker and fellow Frabbit fan still adheres to.
Depressed that I stood little chance to see them on their 10 year anniversary tour of their breakout record I have been obsessively stalking the band on Instagram hoping for an immediate resale when I saw a post referencing a new project that Scott and Grant Hutchison (frontman and drummer respectively of Frightened Rabbit) have been working on and the result is this debut single by Mastersystem. A collab between the Apprehensive Bunny brothers and fellow brotherly duo Justin and James Lockey. If anyone is expecting the Frightened Rabbit Kid A (something Scott joked about in relation to their most recent record Painting of a Panic Attack) will instead be transported into a rambunctious trip through 90s grunge, punk sensibilities and the trademark handling of lyrical delivery that has lead me to refer drunkenly that Scott Hutchison is Scotlands pop culture Robbie Burns.
The debut single, Notes On A Life Not Quite Lived, doesn’t so much blow away the cobwebs as render them disintegrated. The track starts inauspiciously. An early guitar riff and vocal delivery wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Frabbit track. However, the track soon explodes into Soundgardenesque crescendoes that give rise to a recorded version of the endlessly energetic live shows. I cannot help but imagine the members locked in a garage, Gibson Les Pauls slung over their shoulders, channelling the adolescent rage and anger that never truly leaves us into an entirely new project.
The debut album Dance Music is out 4/6 via Physical Education Recordings.
Live dates that I will defiitely see you all at:
04/25 – Manchester, UK @ The Deaf Institute
04/26 – Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK @ The Cluny
04/27 – Glasgow, UK @ The Art School
04/28 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
04/30 – Birmingham, UK @ Birmingham O2 Institute 3
05/01 – London, UK @ Oslo
“Don’t leave me here, especially not with her.” How many times has one of us said or thought this? I can think of at least a dozen women (and at least 50 blokes for that matter) who I would not want to be left with. Whether that be for my physical safety or otherwise. The Academic, Irish ragamuffins that they are, begin their three-minute dissertation on the matter with that very statement. Dissertation might be a bit grand, perhaps potential hit single entitled “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” is closer to the mark.
The track is a classic example of post-good-NME indie guitar music. Driven but clean sounding guitars bounce off thickened bass loops that flip the momentum of the track that seems to be all pervasive ever since “Pumped Up Kicks” hit. The Academic manage to have a more descendent momentum where bass guitars pick up threads that are allowed to lose themselves in endeavour by driven guitar leads twist, riff and staccato into place.
Indie music is one of those things that’s easy to do but fucking hard to do well. Sure you can learn a few chords get some mates over and write a terrible song about that girl you fancy (note this is what I did), or you can craft a pop masterpiece that layers itself expertly throughout. Like 5 sewing machines producing a single tapestry, it all comes together in the end.
Why Can’t We Be Friends? is out today so grab it on all those usual platforms eh?
I really miss Scotland. As a place, it has such a thriving grass roots creative collaborative reservoir. Edinburgh and Glasgow, for all their much lauded rivalry, are two major cities an hour apart that have two of the greatest UK Art Schools in the heart of the population. Factor in the relatively low-cost of living (compared to London and it’s frankly disgusting house pricing) you have a perfect primordial soup for creative endeavour.
The Dunts are a band at the forefront of a whole new wave of Scottish guitar music that has run in regular cycles of brilliance every 5 or so years. We have been gifted Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad, Teenage Fanclub, etc etc. The list goes on. The Dunts new single, Dimitri, is a marker in the sand for an incoming wave of classic-style bands ready to liven up the musical landscape. In a world of bedroom producers, access to hyper-polished samples, and the contemporary fashion for crooning vocal lines, the classic band has seemingly lost relevance.
The Dunts, however, disagree. Perhaps it’s my former life in a punk band but The Dunts showcase a pace and energy that can only be developed via four people locked in a room with their instruments, a few cans of Tenants (king of beers) and a really good idea.
Dimitri is a banger, make no mistake, and was released today.
I have been a little out of it haven’t I? Sorry about that. I don’t know about you, but when you’re working unpaid internships, maintaining a cross-continental relationship and attempting to at least look after yourself (and failing due to my seemingly unending addiction to Diet Coke) it can be hard to find the time to post regularly when it is a singular enterprise here.
I have been trying to stay on top of things and have been slowly sifting through things to post until IDER dropped into my email inbox this afternoon. I actually went to university with these two. First time I saw them play was a showcase of the Popular Music students for the BA Photography students on a joint project, although if I remember correctly (and I probably don’t) they were in different acts at the time. However, I was there for 2 more years and saw them form a delightfully well-crafted partnership that saw them become the darlings of a small but talented musical well in a sleepy seaside town in Cornwall.
Life goes on and I never really gave it much thought, after all, I didn’t actually know them just saw them pop up in bars and venues around the town throughout university. So, when you’re sat on your tod at work and big ass full reds jpeg comes in of two people you recognise you have to listen.
IDER are a London based duo who immediately juxtapose folk structures with a thoroughly contemporary production sound. Their new single Body Love released on their new home Glassnote Records is a stunning, cascading single that evokes a meditative reflective viewpoint on love lost, attraction and belonging. Expertly harmonised vocals fulfil a host body that allows keys and falling melodies to construct the subject matter of the song.
See IDER at the following live dates:
25 November | DiCE Festival, Utrecht 2 December | CBE, Cologne* 3 December | Lido, Berlin* SOLD-OUT 4 December | Knust, Hamburg* 5 December | Paradiso Noord, Amsterdam* 27 March | Rich Mix, London
I am really starting to run out of excuses arent I? Still, no better way to cease my lack of posting via something new. I covered Tusks a while back in regards to their upcoming debut album, and the latest track has just dropped. Let me tell you, it’s an absolute peach.
Created alongside producer Brett Cox, Tusks (aka Emily Underhill) channels the guitar-driven attitude of bands such as Land of Talk and the Joy Formidable to deliver a feisty and unapologetic track that, in her own words was conceived as a response to someone who had frustrated Underhill. “It was a bit of a fuck you to a person at the time who I’d invested loads of energy and time into who’d messed me around.” We have all fantasised about being able to react to these people in public with righteous indignation, so let Tusks take the mantle for you and deliver the inspiration necessary to give them a well-deserved kick up the backside,
Look out for the debut album Dissolve, coming out October 13th.
Honestly, if you were to go through my posts, there would be an inordinate amount of excuses based around my lack of posting. This time, it’s pretty straight-forward. My girlfriend has been in visiting me in London and I’ve been far too busy being in love. I have no regrets. Sue me.
In that vein, I’m really not in the mood to listen to my usual brand of misery-laden indie rock. Instead, I’ll feature up some Australian power-pop for those optimistic summer vibes that have been infecting my life for the past two weeks. The immediate reaction to listening to this track is similar to the same reaction to records by Telekinesis. Wesley Fuller, who by the way has the best surname in the fucking business, channels the infectious indie pop that is perfect for fans of Chris Walla, Telekinesis and Cruisr.
Taken from the upcoming LP Inner City Dream, you can catch the rest of this album on September 22nd via 1965 records.
I used to take myself really really seriously. When I was 19/20, I wrote about myself on my first artist website in the third person. I told girls I was an artist. I read Kerouac and thought it made me deep and I only used film cameras because it’s authentic darling. It got so bad at one point that when my first-year university lecturer (shout-out to the unstoppable Steph Cosgrove) asked us to define pretentious, the entire class of 70 agreed on her nomination of me as the perfect volunteer. My fault for drinking coffee black and reading Bukowski because I was haunted.
This extended to my listening habits. But, for every National album, there had to be some form of musical escapism. Motherhood inhabit that current space for me with their single Save Me. Think Sundara Karma releasing their summer club anthem. It’s unmistakably a song to dance to. Whether that’s with a beer at the beach, over breakfast in the kitchen or with that person you bought a drink for in your tragic home-town club. Eschewing complexity for simple pop hooks and syncopated guitar rhythms to imbue a carefree status, this Liverpudlian 4 piece transcend a listener’s pre-disposition towards self-congratulation.
Save Me is out August 10th (the same time my girlfriend visits from Florida so fucking about time for some joy right) and will be on their debut EP dropping this autumn.