Minimalism, mystery and rabid stylophone abound on Papa Jupe’s T.C.’s newest one ‘Other Men’, the first offering unleashed on the world from their forthcoming debut EP ‘Wetmarket’. Sparsely draped over a mesmerizing bassline, the Cardiffian quintent (we think there are five of them, they keep their faces in the shadows for the blessed glory of Jupe) create tunes like a more mystical Working Men’s Club.
Positioning themselves at the melodic reaches of the post-punk genre, Papa Jupe’s T.C.’s tough to decipher lyrics jack up the grand enigma at play whilst the wavy melody mingled with rugged vocals and stop-start rhythms ensure proceedings stay accessible. If you stick around, we’ve a feeling it won’t be long at all until you too are also falling at the feet of the ever wondrous Jupe.
Also – SOS: Papa Jupe’s T.C. have been nominated on the ‘Green Man Rising’ shortlist. They’re currently battling it out against a load of other quality acts to get on the Green Man festival line up. Please have a heart and donate your last vote to their very worthy cause. Tap the link to get started – ‘Green Man Rising’ vote.
The ‘Wetmarket’ EP is due for release on 28th June, ‘Other Men’ is available right now for the express purpose of your satisfaction. You can find the stalker-torturing video for the track below:
At it’s most powerful and wonderfully vicious, music can act as a mirror to beauty, but also to sheer ugliness in a desperate effort to effect change. Cardiff glam-punks Small Miracles take the second tack on latest single ‘Mercury’, confronting the toxic masculinity of violent fathers, frightened youths and the patheticness of getting a kick out of hurting those weaker than you – especially your own kids.
Wielding new wave panache, unyielding flamboyance and a burly, thunderous bassline to hammer their message home to every fist-flailing meathead in earshot, the South Wales four-piece meld Talking Heads with Pixies and the result is magnificently thrilling. On hearing lead vocalist Finn Pelling’s obliterating primal howl rubbed up against shimmering synths and resounding guitar, even the stockiest fat-necked dullard will crumble.
‘Mercury’ was released on 19th May 2023 via Newport label Dirty Carrot records. You can listen to it in all its ferocious glory on all streaming platforms right now. We’ve conveniently put a Spotify link for you below:
Tom Emlyn is a man of ideas. Many, many abundant ideas bursting out of him. So much so, his latest release, ‘Return Journey Revisited: Scaredycat, Vol. 1’ is his third album release in the short time frame of two years. Even more remarkable when you bear in mind his ‘Scrounger EP’ of original tunes put out at the start of 2023. Unlike previous LP ‘I’ve Seen You In Town’ which documented a life and history steeped in the city of Swansea, his latest work is a collection of material recorded between 2016-2018 that reflect on the inner workings of the singer’s personal world rather than his South Wales surroundings.
The artwork is sparse, containing the album’s title alone in simple white backgrounded black font, ensuring the listener’s full attention is aimed on the music. Revolving around two instrumental tracks that comprise the title – ‘Scaredycat’ and ‘Return Journey Revisited’, this time around Emlyn’s inspirational has no bounds, taking in and using elements of jazz, psychedelia, folk and garage rock, all of which are evident in the singles he’s put out so far – ‘Broken Mirror’ which hears the songsmith’s South Wales lilt over strings and acoustic guitar, lamenting “Beauty is a curse, and ugliness is worse and loneliness is always worst”, ‘Like A Cigarette’ and the gritty, catchy ‘It Doesn’t Bother Me’.
The conventional song structures are here and done really well, like on ‘Serenade’, as well as wonderfully poetic far-out concepts – see ‘The Robin That Went To Space’, but it’s the final two songs that show how far the Swansea troubadour is willing to push the envelope, ‘White Whale’ squalling in with feedback and grungy guitar and final song ‘Every Shadow’, carrying itself at first acoustically, the singer, ever the master of poetic literary devices, graciously describes ‘Every shadow is the sun shining down on everyone’ before picking up a harmonica and giving a whistle to see the LP out to the end.
‘Return Journey Revisited: Scaredycat Vol. 1’ was released on on 5th May 2023 and you can stream it everywhere you normally go to stream music. We’ve got links to the videos of ‘It Doesn’t Bother Me’, ‘Like A Cigarette’ and ‘Broken Mirror’ below, along with a Spotify link to the full LP:
It’s been noted by many a musical philosopher gone before that one of the hardest parts of being a band is you have your whole life until your debut album to write the first record and only a year to write the rest. On their fourth LP, the admiringly (or is it menacingly) titled ‘Look At You All Now’, London via Brighton via the whole wide world’s The Othersbuck that trend, their decade long hiatus serving as fuel to unshackle their selves from their history to this point and come back with their most extensive, strongest, cohesive record yet.
Well gone are the NME cover star punky upstarts of yore, straight-talking controversy-bating frontman Dominic Masters now leading a seven-strong troupe still boasting original guitarist and bassist Johnny Others and guitarist Jimmy Lager, bolstered by two additional guitarist and bassists and a keyboardist alongside their drummer, meaning they’ve a savvier sound than their Barfly-bothering former incarnation could have fantasised.
That fleshed out sound is tantalisingly demonstrated on the first of the collection ‘Nowhere To Go’, a flighty, new wave-esque pop heavyweight, Masters singing about his latterly-found misanthrope over a fun and chirpy guitar line. Put aside the carefree sound of the first track, then, and focus more on the introspective nature of the song’s words and you’ll be on the right track for the rest of the record as, on their latest LP, The Others delve deep into some grittiness, finding themselves largely out of step with mainstream society both on a personal level and with society as a whole.
There are some snarly, industrial-blues numbers, ‘Disdain’ is the angriest track the group have yet committed to tape with some low and lethal guitar parts, ‘Who Cares’ keeps the same spirit but retains a somewhat bouyant melody and some of the LP’s finest points are the bleaker moments that pack a slow intensity and brutal basslines, ‘Decadent Clothes’, ‘Alibis’, ‘You Don’t Even Know Me’ and ‘Paranoid Times’ being prime cases in point.
It’s the handful of truly stand-out songs that really make the record – ‘Rights’ sees the band adopt a snare and keyboard heavy dance beat as Masters’ explores his view on Brexit and the European Union, taking the ‘Lexit’ (left exit) stance and specifically questioning the value of EU membership when “Thatcher sold us out of the EU workers rights”, inviting further discussion by asking “Are you on a settled status or a points system?”.
‘Get Out’ is another misleadingly upbeat creation that deals in the ostracization of the band and their cherished community, and ‘Paranoid Times’ uses a Doors-style hammond organ sound to veer from the singer’s own worries of getting stalked by the police to the wider effect of paranoia on the nation when it comes to Brexit and the fractured United Kingdom.
Closer ‘Billy’ finds The Others at their most candid with a sparse, almost uplifting combination of soaring guitar parts, measured drums and keyboard making space for Dominic to harrowingly contemplate estranged parts of his own family.
Although the release has been their most low-key yet, ‘Look At You All Now’ is evidence that, even though they’ve flirted with a mass-media profile and sizeable record deals, when the camera’s not pointed in their direction they still have it in them to come up with some remarkable goods. If there’s any justice in this fickle world, we hope they regain the wider world’s attention but for the time being we’re just relieved there’s plenty of life in the The Others yet.
The Others are – Dominic Masters,Johnny Others, Jimmy Lager, Joseph Gardiner-Lowe, Eddie Darko, Alex S Tower (Stef) and Steve McCready. ‘Look At You All Now’ was released on 21st March 2023 and you can listen to the record on all the streaming platforms now, along with the rest of The Others excellent back catalogue. Have a listen through the Spotify link below:
Thought the days of bands getting hype and magazine covers before releasing any music was over? That bands like Suede, The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys were an extinct breed, disappearing with the weekly music press? Meet The Last Dinner Party, fresh off of support slots with Nick Cave and The Rolling Stones with precisely zero records available in the public realm, that was until stupendous debut single ‘Nothing Matters’ dropped last month. And as with the aforementioned groups, the hype is every little bit deserved.
Striking out innocuously, vocalist Abigail Morris lends her classical sounding vocals to a calm intro, drifting along with synths, harp and lilting guitar, but the track soon takes an unlikely turn as the raunch advances and the song becomes a vaudevillian celebration of femininity and forthright, tender, loving lust with the incredible chorus refrain of “You can hold me, like he held her, and I will fuck you, like nothing matters”. It even includes a decent, old-fashioned guitar solo and the most satisfying brass backed outro since the 90s. Easily, easily our favourite thing since Wet Leg put out ‘Chaise Longue’.
Produced by the legendary James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Florence and The Machine, Klaxons), ‘Nothing Matters’ was released on 19th April 2023 and came along with an incredible video, using the energy of films The Virgin Suicides and Black Swan as inspiration. You can give it a watch below:
Dipping our little toe into the emo-punk universe feels like an alien endeavour, but when we got our earholes around Failstate’slatest song ‘Another Ghost’ we had no choice but to give it a feature. The initial release from the Newport foursome’s debut EP ‘Sad Truth’ is a perfectly abrasive, visceral rocker. Anthemic, speedy guitars, emphatic vocals and heartbreak clash amongst expertly proficient songwriting, weighty melody and heaps of gritty catharsis.
An essential listen for followers of Funeral For A Friend, Deftones and Reuben, Failstate have already garnered support from the Radio 1 Introducing Rock Show and Kerrang! Radio during their first 6 months of existence and the ‘Sad Truth’ EP looks to catapult them even further after it’s release on 9th June 2023, featuring caustic scorcher ‘Every Cloud’ and the cautiously reflective ‘Are You Lonely’.
For now, ‘Another Ghost’ was released on 12th May 2023 and you can find it on all of the streaming services right now. Have a watch of the track’s video below, brilliantly cutting footage of the band along with 1950’s rock’n’roll TV footage:
The year is 2023. Having escaped largely unscathed from a worldwide pandemic, western civilisation finds itself again in peril, this time under threat of Satan 2 intercontinental ballistic missile attack from Russia and covert cyber warfare via lustrous social media apps funded by the Chinese government. On ‘BLADE RUNNER BOOGIE’,Fate of the Sunwatches perplexed as the nation’s collective wilfully witless response seems to be “another box set, another night, another smoke, I need a light/ we hit the town every Friday night, drink pints till we’re sick and fuck or fight”.
Long-term F.OT.S followers will be aware of this exasperated thread running through his output, ‘BLADE RUNNER BOOGIE’ working as a psyched-up sequel to 2022 anthem ‘BLADE RUNNER 1999’. This iteration boosts apocalyptic soothsaying with fast, fuzzy beats, electronic bone-convulsing bass and eerily insouciant given the gritty subject matter “la-la-la-la”s, providing the masses with the kind of tune they could have a knees up to as their neighbourhoods burn down all about them and they crack open another Stella can. Like an antidote Pied Piper to the ChatGPT hellscape, our vocalist offers up a hopeful “come on, follow me…” but as his words fade out at the track’s end we fear he knows that nothing’s going to get in the way of “Super Sunday, let’s get wasted!”
‘BLADE RUNNER BOOGIE’ was released on 12th May 2023 and is available to stream at all of the usual outlets right now. While you’re here though, you may as well tap below and have a listen on Spotify:
Chicago singer-songwriter Claud’s first single from their forthcoming second album is a brittle, heartbreaking affair. ‘Every Fucking Time’ sees all of the bedroom-pop playfulness of debut ‘Super Monsters’ stripped away, leaving a slightly more electrified version of their Saddest Factory Records label boss Phoebe Bridger’s ‘Boygenius’ bandmate Julien Baker’s poignant sound.
Tender acoustic guitar, Claud’s exasperated vocals and candid lyrics instil the track with a smidgen of ironic humour and a tonne of punch-in-the-gut sadness, further revealed as the song tells of arguing with a partner about the merits of Regina Spektor and getting let down when they don’t make the effort to arrive at Claud’s gigs before the final song, with the tired and resigned pay-off “but I believe it every fucking time”.
‘Every Fucking Time’ was released on 2nd May 2023. ‘Supermodels’ will be released on 14 July 2023 via Saddest Factory Records and you can pre-order it now. The album track list is below:
1 – Crumbs 2 – Dirt 3 – Every Fucking Time 4 – Wet 5 – Glass Wall 6 – It’s Not About You 7 – Paul Rudd 8 – The Moving On 9 – Climbing Trees 10 – Spare Tire 11 – All Over 12 – Screwdriver
With the single comes the track’s official video, also directed by Claud, that sees the artist team up with comedian pal Grace Kuhlenschmidt and their alter-egos to form their own band – The Every Fucking Time’s. Have a look at the video below:
In some ways a radiant sister-song to the record that originally brought Vona Vella to the wider public’s attention – ‘Sun’, the duo have named their new single ‘Divine’ and we’d gladly call it the same. The second single to be taken from their forthcoming self-titled debut LP sees the pair, described in some quarters as Leicestershire’s answer to Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsborough, focus on what they do best, coming up with a blissed-out, heavenly, jazz-style number with gentle vocals, easy strummed guitar and soothing flute.
The pure simplicity of the catchy melody is exposed when the track opens with what sounds like a lo-fi demo of singer Izzy Davies performing the song, bolstering the layered production that begins in the chorus with warm keyboards, calm drums and Davies’s sighing vocals. Aside from the gorgeous divinity of the sound, the song is an interplay between Izzy and partner Dan Cunningham, one trying to install euphoria in the other with the bittersweet couplet “Maybe it’s already too late to let you down, but I don’t feel so safe when you’re not around”, Dan lending his sonorous vocals to bring the record to a close. A divine sentiment behind a pure pop tune.
Vona Vella have announced the release of their debut self-titled LP, due out on 28th July 2023. You can pre-order it in a range of coloured vinyls and limited edition sleeves over at the band’s official store. See the track list below:
1. Divine 2. Thought We Were Falling In Love 3. Ariel 4. Intertwined 5. Kim 6. Telephones 7. Stop Running In The Dark 8. I Would Do Anything You Want Me To 9. Anchor 10. Old Girl 11. What We Could Be 12. Roll Into Forever
The song’s music video takes images of the group on tour – onstage, on the bus and eyeing up between-gig snacks. You can view it below:
Cowboy-psychedelia. This is apparently a real genre, and we reckon new Cardiff four-piece Mantisneed to lay claim to it, as their astoundingly brilliant debut single ‘Magnolia’ perfectly fuses the unlikely sounds of Western and psych-rock, rendering any other way of explaining it inadequate. We reckon there’s a hint of blues-garage in there too. A heady mix, all told.
Latin guitar flourishes are bolstered with out-there poetic lyrics from the off, with the lines “Silver moonbeams from your eyes, well I found that they only came from the sky” delivered in a husky garage rock bark, but then the magnificent weirdness makes way for a chorus built around traditionally pleasing pop harmony, veering bang off again to some intergalactic cosmos of echoey solos and dreamy rhythms.
Mantis formed in 2022 and have been making severe waves in Cardiff and the Welsh music scene ever. ‘Magnolia’ is their first single and an expertly accomplished one at that. It was released on all streaming platforms on 4th May and you can take a listen on Spotify below: