Tom Emlyn – I’ve Seen You In Town

Some records are intrinsically linked to a corner of the world, a country, a city – if you’ve ever sat on a bus lurching across Manchester with The Smiths playing through your headphones or sped through London on the tube listening to Blur you’ll know what I mean. Well, Tom Emlyn’s second album drips with the spirit of Swansea. The cover art depicting Tom’s great-grandfather working on the docks railway in the 1920s sets the scene with the songwriter carrying the troubadour torch through to the present day with a collection of lo-fi folk songs spinning tales of the city’s turbulent life, history and cast of intriguing characters.

Remarkably, ‘I’ve Seen You In Town’ is both the second album of Emlyn’s career to date, as well as the second album he’s put out this year. Even more remarkable is the major difference between both works, May’s ‘News From Nowhere’ crammed full of upbeat and jaunty psychedelia where ‘I’ve Seen You In Town’ is brimming with hushed pretty, witty tunes paying tribute to the ghosts of Abertawe.

Some of the stories could be told about anywhere, fleeting love, the passing of time, but when they’re told amongst ‘We Know Who You Are’, where the “Factory lizards kept the score”, ‘Strange Days’ telling “The shops were all shut and boarded up, the trees stood around in the wind”, walking in Uplands on an autumn day in ‘Under The Weather’, it makes complete sense that those heartfelt stories take place in Swansea. Emlyn’s songwriting shines out as his expressive lyrics careen into the realms of poetry, equal parts sentiment and humour, over little more than acoustic guitar with the occasional fragment of piano and organ.

The album’s lynchpin, ‘The Ballad Of Tea Cosy Pete’, is an ardent, fingerpicked hymn to a local vagabond, standing in Castle Square, now forever immortalised in song, released as a single to raise money for Llamau homelessness charity, which is then followed up by a gorgeous and nostalgic instrumental named after ‘Waunarlwydd’ village that falls within the city’s boundaries. If you’ve never been to Swansea before, thanks to Tom Emlyn, now you’ll at least have a warm-hearted insight into how the city feels.

The Ballad Of Tea Cosy Pete single sleeve

‘The Ballad of Tea Cosy Pete’ was released on 23rd September 2022 through bandcamp and is still available to buy now backed with exclusive b-side ‘Pigeon’, with all proceeds going to Llamau homelessness charity.

‘I’ve Seen You In Town’ is also available to buy on bandcamp, with a few copies of the strictly limited edition cassette tape remaining to purchase. The LP is also streamable on streaming platforms now.

You can see the video of the lead single ‘Leaving Tomorrow’ below:

Megan Wyn – Jealousy

For the past couple of years North Walian Megan Wyn has spent her time securing a hefty live following, playing venues the length and breadth of the UK, supporting some absolute legends and packing out her own rambunctious shows. Her third single release ‘Jealousy’ sees Megan committing her distinctly soulfully powerful voice perfectly to record, backed with a delectably low-slung bluesy indie rock tune.

With electrifying guitar lines and a beautifully discordant key change when the chorus kicks in, the singer-songwriter battles it out with feelings of inadequacy, comparison and pure anger focused on the song’s subject’s current squeeze and, through the act of writing such a fucking awesome track, ends up victorious, we reckon.

If you wanna check out Megan Wyn’s live show and see what the fuss is all about, you can catch her on tour right at this very moment supporting Gen and the Degenerates and Andrew Cushin – tickets still available (for the time being):

The Moon – Cardiff – Wednesday 5th October 2022 – with Gen and the Degenerates
Gorilla – Manchester – Thursday 6th October 2022 – with Andrew Cushin
The Hope and Ruin – Brighton – Friday 8th October 2022 – with Andrew Cushin
The Joiners Live! – Southampton – Saturday 9th October 2022 – with Andrew Cushin

‘Jealousy’ was released on Friday 30th September 2022 and so it’s available on all streaming services right now. You can have a listen on Spotify through the link below:

Grace Calver – Addicted

On her new single, ‘Addicted’, Suffolk/Essex alternative-pop songstress Grace Calver is extra clear about one particular point – this is not a love song! The track sees Grace take a slight departure from the dream-pop of her last two singles and lean further into her alt-rock influences in order to convey the suckiness of liking someone a bit too much when the other party barely notices you’re alive. Think Beabadoobee getting stuck into some 90s Weezer.

Playfully nudging the line of stalkerdom, the singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist sings of not just craving the attention of the apple of her eye but basically allowing them to consume her every waking thought, the cutesy melody and indie rock finesse ensuring matters remain purely in the realm of sighing, wistful fantasy instead of being-dragged-away-kicking-and-screaming problematic.

The wonderful ‘Addicted’ was released on Friday 30th September 2022 and is available to stream on all streaming platforms right now. Listen to it on Spotify below:

The Great Leslie – All Good Things

Positively obsessed with the silver screen of mid-20th century Britain, London lads The Great Leslie infuse fast-paced and dramatic, energetic indie rock with vintage, old-worlde style, latest single ‘All Good Things’ being their most perfect exemplar yet with the four-piece stitching a quote from Celia Johnson in the 1945 classic Brief Encounter on fighting impermanence together with utterly bang up to date modern sounding Two Door Cinema Club-esque chiming guitar lines.

Vocalist Ollie Trevers compares, with an ardent croon, the end of a party at sunrise to not wanting to let go of a relationship and, not to labour too cheesy a point, after all of the cheery momentum and buoyant rock’n’roll zeal the track delivers we’ll add this song to the list of things we don’t want to let go of just yet.

The Great Leslie have bagged a support slot opening for Franz Ferdinand on their Hits to the Head Tour, along with the equally excellent Los Bitchos at Manchester’s O2 Victoria Warehouse on 19th October 2022, if you fancy checking them out live. You’ve still got time to grab a ticket. A cracking little line up if ever we saw one.

‘All Good Things’ was released on Friday 23rd September. Have a listen on Spotify below:

Softcult – One of a Million

Classically, the more shoegaze, dreampop or covered in fuzzy distortion a band is, the more they care about effects units and experimentation over conveying a world-improving message in their music. Canadian duo Softcult are here to buck the trend with a sound crammed with lush melodies, coated in grunge tinted euphoria, yet packing sheer punk, riot grrrl intention right out of the original revolutionary early 90s Seattle scene.

‘One of a Million’ sees siblings Mercedes and Phoenix Arn-Horn demand humbleness and find equal parts liberation and wonder in the notion that everything’s already been done before, no-one’s a beautiful and unique snowflake, so we can all find something to relate to in each other. And yes, the record is absolutely filled with gorgeous ethereal harmonics featuring an ecstatically magnificent climax before a prolonged fade out back to the grey, real world.

Alongside their rhapsodic records, Softcult put out their own DIY zine ‘SCripture’ that you can sign up to digitally or physically on their website, in which they don’t hold back in taking on the grittiest social, political and environmental issues.

Softcult are currently supporting Incubus on tour, so if you like what you hear you just might be able to catch them while they’re in the UK:

24th September – Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg (Germany)
28th September – O2 Academy, Birmingham w/ Incubus (UK)
29th September – Royal Albert Hall, London w/ Incubus (UK)
30th September – Royal Albert Hall, London w/ Incubus (UK)
2nd October – O2 Apollo, Manchester w/ Incubus (UK)

Take a look at the band’s self-produced video for ‘One of a Million’, shot on location in Thailand, below:

Pyncher – The Saddest Man Around

With their latest single, Pyncher’s message is a simple, succinct and expertly executed one. When over a low slung, slow drag of a rhythm, vocalist and frontman Sam Blakeley declares presumptuously yet authoritatively that he’s ‘The Saddest Man Around’, which also happens to be the single’s title, we must admit we feel inclined to take his word for it.

Thankfully, as well as allegedly being the most miserable fellow in the vicinity, Blakeley is also at the forefront of one of Manchester’s best up-and-coming post-punk bands, which hopefully helps take the edge off his pain little. In summary, Pyncher’s fourth single is a moody belter of gloomy atmospherics and irate despondency whilst maintaining total and utter vital, exhilarating listen status. We emphatically reckon you should give it a listen.

If you like the sound of all of this and wanna catch Pyncher play live, they’re playing Manchester’s Night and Day Cafe supporting King Violet along with The Strangerz and Yasmin Coe on Monday 26th September for the eye wateringly affordable price of £6 per ticket.

‘The Saddest Man Around’ was released on 17th September 2022 and you can listen to it on all the streaming services now. Here it also is on Spotify at the below link:

Static Inc – Brithgofion

Cardiff art rock three-piece, Static Inc, have put out their latest Welsh language EP ‘Brithgofion’, a literal mosaic of mesmeric sound and genres, taking onboard classic and prog-rock, then buffing it up with a contemporary indie sheen to craft a collection of sublime otherworldly and vital melodies.

Recorded entirely in their own home studios, many of the tracks, in fact all of them apart from ‘Ymlacio’, take the listener on adventures of prog-rock levels of sprawl far betraying their humble lo-fi origin. With ‘Reykjavík’ growing from yearning, folky beginnings to flourish into sprawling guitar – we’ve never been, but would hazard a guess the song’s designed as a soundtrack for a train ride through the city, ‘Manwl’ being a procession of powerful build ups, explosions and stilled hushes, ‘Anamorffosis’ at first leading you down a route like Foals at their Two Steps Twice height, switching halfway into an acoustic strum, then launching off for an intergalactically soaring outro. And ‘Sbwng’ is a complete spongy bliss-out. The only track that goes close to bucking the trend is the EP’s single – ‘Ymlacio’, (‘Relax’ translated in English) centring around Californian classic rock styles, the one song takes the record’s potent ideas and whittles them down to one succinct, euphoric song as its centrepiece.

‘Brithgofion’ was released on Friday 26th August 2022 and is available on your streaming platforms now. You can have a listen on Spotify below:

The National feat. Bon Iver – Weird Goodbyes

The National and Bon Iver teaming up on a record sounds like it should be the kind of release that has fanfares going off, a momentous coming together of the greatest minds of the folk-rock scene getting everyone majorly excited, the wet dream of the late noughties indie fan. But a decade on, the release of ‘Weird Goodbyes’ has passed with little more than a slight nod of acknowledgement.

The National

Maybe it’s for the best because The National’s latest single shows the band on top form, no gimmicks needed. Documenting with trademark wry humour ever relatable themes of letting go of the past, severe second thoughts and regret, all taking part in a clapped-out car on a stormy night as some nostalgic tunes play over the radio, Bon Iver joining the group on the poignant chorus of a song largely built on piano and drum machine, as well as featuring the London Contemporary Orchestra, two major indie players slotting together nicely (alongside an orchestra) without demanding any special attention.

Bon Iver

‘Weird Goodbyes’ was released on 22nd August 2022 and is the first single to materialise from The National’s as-yet-untitled ninth studio album.

You can find the lyric video for ‘Weird Goodbyes’ below:

Arctic Monkeys – There’d Better Be A Mirrorball

Arctic Monkeys have finally released their long awaited comeback single ‘There’d Better Be A Mirrorball’ after four years of fans wondering if they should prepare to mourn their heroes, after 2018’s ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ was both a runaway success, hitting number 1 in charts around the world, and at the same time left half of the group’s audience confounded and a little offended by the arguably un-rock’n’roll sounds they were being rudely introduced to.

The first single from the Sheffield boys’ forthcoming seventh studio album ‘The Car’ is as divisive as their last LP, choosing to stick with the lounge music blueprint of that record, and yet again the Monkeys’ fanbase are either tearing their hair out in outraged clumps or stroking their chins, nodding “yeah, I get this, I like this…”, but the question we really want to pose is why are people so shocked that Alex Turner and co have ended up doing this?

‘There’d Better Be A Mirrorball’ cover artwork

Since their primacy, Arctic Monkeys have been vocal about the discomfort the success thrust on them has made them feel, lead singer Turner famously describing ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ as “a bit shit”, the deliciously self-deprecating lead song from their ‘Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?’ EP waiting uneasily with baited breath for the music press to turn on them, summed up by the venomous call to “Bring on the backlash”, not at all seeing what the rest of the world saw in their rudimentary but heartfelt indie rock songs.

2013’s ‘AM’ is potentially the pinnacle of Arctic Monkeys: the rock’n’roll band, where they got properly deep down and heavy, embraced the blues rock fuzz pedals, distilling love, loss, drugs and Northern England down into one album and brought Josh Homme along for the ride. A perfect crystallisation and highpoint of success, an achievement that could give even the toughest band a crisis of confidence over the best way to construct a follow-up.

The first seeds of their current meanderings were sown when the b-sides of 2006 stand-alone single ‘Leave Before The Lights Come On’ included a cover of 1960’s pop standard ‘Baby I’m Yours’ delivered with a laid-back crooner panache and only two years later Turner teamed up with Miles Kane of The Rascals to put out a couple of albums as The Last Shadow Puppets, collections that ranged from James Bond theme material, Burt Bacharach aping numbers and sounds you would imagine hearing in a smoky Parisian jazz bar. Fast forward right up to 2017, the year before the release of ‘Tranquility Base…’ and who do we see co-writing a space age, lounge pop album with singer-songwriter Alexandra Saviour? Yep, Turner’s back tinkering about with the smouldering jazz sounds again.

Another claim put forward is that these records are out of place and at odds with the rest of the current music scene, but by casting your sights a bit further to Father John Misty, Lana Del Rey and the band’s old pal Miles Kane it’s possible that, if anything, these records are far more at home in 2022 than a lot of alternative artists still trying to write the Oasis song that never was. This isn’t entirely the alien ground it at first seems.

The melancholic song itself, then. The indisputable facts are: The melody is suave and angelic, the strings are richly luscious and sparse piano never fails to lend an air of suit and tie sophistication. You can tell Alex Turner savours the opportunity to truly and full-throatily sing and his lyrics are still shot through with dry wit as he tries to keep a glamorous, light-hearted cool while a relationship ends, requesting at least a mirrorball amidst the desolation. In a scene where much of the indie world prefers to dress down, with spoken word or shouty lyrics, Arctic Monkeys are determined to get smartly coiffured, dress up and buck the trend.

The biggest mystery that’s left outstanding surrounding ‘There’d Better Be A Mirrorball’, we’d dare to suggest, is how on earth does one of our generation’s greatest drummers, Matt Helders, feel about being relegated to sweeping drums with jazz brushes rather than bashing those skins up like a virtuoso on ‘Brianstorm’ et al? We’ll give our final hope to Helders getting his moment to shine elsewhere on ‘The Car’.

‘The Car’ cover artwork

If you’ve been living under a rock then you might not know that ‘There’d Better Be A Mirrorball’ was released on 30th August 2022. ‘The Car’ is due to be released on 21st October 2022 and available to pre-order on limited grey vinyl right now.

‘There’d Better Be A Mirrorball’ has its own music video and we thought you might like to watch it below:

Pixy Jones – Hold Your Tongue

If you haven’t freaked out yet today then we recommend you stick on Pixy Jones’ new single ‘Hold Your Tongue’ and save your daily dose of freaking out until then. Err… no, not because of the screwy walrus mask the songsmith and sometime member of South Wales music scene stalwarts El Goodo has donned for his solo project, we mean purely in the 60’s freak scene sense, as the Resolven musician has managed to craft a solid slice of psychedelia that we could easily believe had been committed to wax just over half a century ago.

Boasting hammond organ straight off of a Zombies track, gravelly vocals singing words that don’t make much sense but sound fucking mint, an extraordinary harmony, a magnificently psychedelic blues guitar break and an outro packing reversed drumbeats, ‘Hold Your Tongue’ couldn’t be any more authentically 60’s rock’n’roll if it was actually authentic 60’s rock’n’roll.

Pixy Jones releases his debut solo album ‘Bits n Bobs’ on 16th September 2022 through Strangetown Records and ‘Hold Your Tongue’ is the album’s third and final single. ‘Bits n Bobs’ is available to order on vinyl LP, CD and digitally over on bandcamp now.

You can listen to ‘Hold Your Tongue’ right now at the Spotify link below: