Skullcrusher – Whatever Fits Together

Underneath layers of sun-bleached and melancholy, echoey anti-folk guitar strums and blissfully distorted keyboard, New York solo artist Helen Ballentine, also known as Skullcrusher, delivers an emotion tugging new single, ‘Whatever Fits Together’, about leaving home to search for something without knowing what that something is, a notion further poignantly compounded by Skullcrusher’s floaty, otherworldly vocals.

The celestial effects laid over the main song get stripped away from the track toward the end, releasing Skullcrusher’s cherubic, transcendent vocals from the layers of sonic contortion to ask the ultimate, basic overarching questions “Do you ever look back? Does it all fit together? If we’re here, does it matter?” and the fact the song fades out leaving the query hanging there meaningfully in the air before a short piano outro, we’ll hedge a self-educated guess that the answer to the final question is “no”.

Skullcrusher’s long anticipated debut album ‘Quiet the Room’ is due for release on 14th October 2014 and is available to pre-order now on bandcamp on pink glass translucent vinyl and other formats. The track list can be found below:

  1. They Quiet The Room
  2. Building a Swing
  3. Whatever Fits Together
  4. Whistle of The Dead
  5. Lullaby in February
  6. Pass Through Me
  7. Could it be the way I look at everything?
  8. Outside, Playing
  9. It’s Like A Secret
  10. Sticker
  11. Window Somewhere
  12. (secret instrumental)
  13. Quiet the Room
  14. You are my House

‘Whatever Fits Together’ has a spell-binding video and you can watch it below:

Sugarstone – That’s Intense

Fuzzy distortion. Low rumbling electro squelches. Dance-metal beats and mosh-rock screams. The title of Manchester dreamy-electro hard-rockers Sugarstone’s latest single sums up the vibe entirely in two words – ‘That’s Intense’, although if the record was named after our reaction on our first listen the title would be: ‘Woah, That Was Fucking Massively Intense! Lemme Listen To It Again’.

Their new synth punk single has a bit of Nine Inch Nails, a bit of The Prodigy and even indie-dance, like a more hardcore version of Friendly Fires, all adding up to a tune as suited to a hot and sunny summer festival rave-up just as much as it would be a beery evening at the Night & Day.

‘That’s Intense’ was released on Friday 5th August and is the first single from their forthcoming EP. There’s a music video coming in the next few days, 16th August, but for now we’ve added the Spotify link below. Get it in your ears:

This is War! – Exile Poet

Liverpudlian quintet This is War! have crafted this excellently catchy tribute to Bob Dylan – named ‘Exile Poet’. Piecing together sounds as scattered as The Stranglers and fellow Mersey-wonders The La’s, the band, who only formed in the second half of 2021, do their musical idol justice by creating a truly tuneful anthem expressing their exaltant hero worship of the fella.

Even though the band are in their infancy they’ve still managed to pump out 7 singles so far with a plan to release a single a month until Autumn of this year, each release building on the last with ‘Exile Poet’ being potentially their most accomplished release yet. We’re sure if the cantankerous troubadour sixties icon himself were to stumble across the track whilst pottering about on Spotify even he’d be a little bit chuffed.

This is War! play EBGBS in Liverpool on Friday 19th August 2022 if you’re roundabout the area. Tickets are purchasable by tapping this link.

‘Exile Poet’ was released on 29th July 2022 and you can take a listen on the Spotify link below:

Grave Goods – Source

Existentialism and the post-punk genre go hand in hand. What better way to express the emptiness and therefore fullness of existence than through visceral and abrasive musical soundscapes and thought provoking lyrics free from the usual critical boundaries of other media? Taking full advantage, Grave Goods have grasped the medium of post-punk by it’s wilful wrists and on new single ‘Source’ have used it to explore the depths of Jean Paul Sartre’s philosophy, depths they’re due to dive further into on forthcoming debut LP ‘Tuesday. Nothing Exists’.

For now then, ‘Source’ sees the band who feature members of PINS, Girls Names and September Girls consider, with robotic, austere vocals, the flow of nature, following it back to the point of genesis that it came from, an expedition underpinned with piercingly angular guitars and shuddering bass, before shrugging leaps and bounds of mental gymnastics off with a casually simple “I don’t care”.

Grave Goods debut album ‘Tuesday. Nothing Exists’ is due to be released on 9th September 2022. It’s available to pre-order on limited red 12″ vinyl and digital release now through Band Camp. The record’s full track list is below:

1. Come
2. Source
3. Miles
4. None
5. Story
6. Eneeway
7. Die

‘Source’ was released on 3rd August 2022 and you can watch the single’s video below:

Himalayas – Alone

Cardiff five piece Himalayas have managed to pick up massive momentum over the past few years with a string of gut-punchingly brooding rock numbers culminating in 2020’s delicious ‘We Love To Hate’. Latest single ‘Alone’ sees the lads firing on all cylinders yet again, as it’s a gloriously sleazy sounding leviathan of a tune right from the opening machine gun blast of riffage.

The guitars are as hard as the guitars on a Himalayas track have ever been (which is incredibly fucking hard) with several gleefully satisfying solos and singer Mike Griffiths commits some nightmarishly creepy lyrics over ear-drum destroying musical craftsmanship. If you want your rock’n’roll to scare you a bit whilst making your ears bleed beads of pure ecstatic joy, ‘Alone’ is the track you want to put on right now.

‘Alone’ was released on 29th July 2022. The video sees the band playing for their lives in front of a hoard of grabbing shadows, visuals as ominously foreboding as the song itself. You can take a look for yourself below:

Baby Queen – Nobody Really Cares

The title may sound apathetic as fuck but actually Baby Queen is being punk as hell with new single ‘Nobody Really Cares’ aloofly smashing through walls and walls of self-consciousness and fear of looking silly to say nobody’s really paying attention to what you’re doing anyway so you may as well do whatever the hell you like.

The song leaps between grunge-flecked dirty pop-punk guitar breaks, rapped verses and sung chorus hooks, to deliver the timeless and revolutionary message to do whatever it is you will, even if that’s crashing daddy’s car, getting kicked out of bars, “sabotage your two months sober, spend a weekend on your sofa”, because when all’s said and done – everyone’s more interested in their self. A freeing message indeed.

‘Nobody Really Cares’ was released on 4th July 2022 and you can watch the single’s video below:

Canary – i used to write you love songs

Canary are an alt-pop duo from Nashville, Tennessee – Vocalist Kat Leverenz and Guitarist Zach Dennis, and their second single ‘i used to write you love songs’ is an emotional, chilled out indie-pop work of art. Describing an ill-fated, fading love, Leverenz’s mesmerizing vocals and Dennis’s lilting guitars convey a blissfully sad sense of calm before destroying that uneasy peace with a chorus that comes crashing in out of nowhere with a heavy blast of sound and realisation, hitting you right in your poor unsuspecting heart.

The band describe their influences ranging from Phoebe Bridgers, Cage the Elephant and Kacey Musgraves, all strong influences on ‘i used to write you love songs’, but we’d also throw in Canadian rockers Metric and some emo like Paramore in there too for the sheer strength behind their guitars and the lofty levels of heartache.

‘i used to write you love songs’ was released on Friday 29th July 2022 and you can find it on all the streaming platforms right now. You can see it on youtube below:

Manic Street Preachers – Rosebud

With a crackly, muffled intro, like a mysterious demo cassette found in a dusty shoe box clicking into motion on a vintage tape deck, ‘Rosebud’ is the sound of Manic Street Preachers at their claustrophobically gritty greatest. The previously unreleased track from 2001 has been chosen as the launch single for the 20th anniversary (well 21st anniversary really) re-release of their sixth album ‘Know Your Enemy’ and to think a song of this calibre has been hoarded away unheard for two decades is pure sacrilege.

After the band’s mainstream success with 1998’s ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’ the Manics went undercover for a while to regroup, on their return deciding to eschew the widescreen, string-soaked ballads that had made them super-famous and embrace their C-86 indie and spiky punk roots like they’d never been allowed to before.

‘Rosebud’ is a choice example of what they were trying to do, taking a funky, baggy rhythm section and draping it in heavy, oppressive guitars with melancholic lyrics about destroying something delicate and beautiful, managing to avoid the sense of doom and hopelessness that abounded on their 1994 masterpiece ‘The Holy Bible’, in it’s place retaining the halcyon sense of hope they nurtured over the past two LPs. Sludgy drums and guitar effects keep the band chained to the ground as the chorus and James Dean Bradfield’s vocals try like mad to loose the song soaring off into the stratosphere.

The ‘Remixed, Reconstructed and Re-issued’ version of ‘Know Your Enemy’ is coming out on 09/09/2022. Unlike your average re-release, this 20th anniversary version sees the group hacking the original 16 track album and splitting it into separate parts named ‘Door To The River’ and ‘Solidarity’, taking the original tracks, swapping album tracks with b-sides along with the addition of another unreleased song ‘Studies in Paralysis’, adding an additional CD of demos for good measure. Find the full and extensive track list below:

DISC 1 – DOOR TO THE RIVER

  1. The Year of Purification
  2. Ocean Spray
  3. So Why So Sad (Avalanches Sean Penn Mix)
  4. Door To The River
  5. Rosebud
  6. Just a Kid
  7. His Last Painting
  8. Let Robeson Sing
  9. Groundhog Days
  10. Epicentre
  11. His Last Painting (LA Mix)
  12. Epicentre (TLA Mix)
  13. So Why So Sad (Original KYE Version)
  14. Royal Correspondent

DISC 2 – SOLIDARITY

  1. Intravenous Agnostic
  2. Found That Soul (TLA Mix)
  3. We Are All Bourgeois Now
  4. Freedom of Speech Won’t Feed My Children
  5. The Convalescent
  6. Baby Elian
  7. Masses Against The Classes
  8. My Guernica
  9. Studies In Paralysis
  10. Dead Martyrs
  11. Wattsville Blues
  12. Miss Europa Disco Dancer
  13. Fear Of Motion
  14. Pedestal
  15. Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel
  16. Locust Valley
  17. Masking Tape
  18. Ballad of the Bangkok Novotel

DISC 3 – DEMOS

  1. Ocean Spray (Studio Demo)
  2. So Why So Sad (Cassette Demo)
  3. Door To The River (Cassette Demo)
  4. His Last Painting (Air Version Home Cassette Demo)
  5. Let Robeson Sing (Home Cassette Demo)
  6. Groundhog Days (Home Cassette Demo)
  7. Epicentre (Cassette Demo)
  8. Intravenous Agnostic (Home Cassette Demo)
  9. Freedom Of Speech Won’t Feed My Children (Studio Demo)
  10. The Convalescent (Studio Rehearsal Demo)
  11. His Last Painting Baby Elian (Studio Demo)
  12. Masses Against The Classes (Studio Demo)
  13. My Guernica No 1 (Home Acoustic Demo)
  14. My Guernica (Studio Demo)
  15. Dead Martyrs (Home Cassette Demo)
  16. Wattsville Blues (Home Cassette Demo)

‘Rosebud’ has been given a fantastic new video and you can watch it below:

Wez King – We Were Young

Cheersome reflection on the changing face of solid friendship is the order of the day on Wez King’s latest record ‘We Were Young’. Reminiscing about getting into scrapes with an old pal, ending up in fights on nights out, “a puff of smoke, a white line”, all night and day partying and drinking, the singer-songwriter acknowledges his warm feelings about those lost days but decides he much prefers the lives and the companionship they share now.

King soundtracks his message of enduring affection for his mate through the lows and the highs with carefree strumming acoustic guitar and tambourines, a positive and upbeat sound that’d have any group of mates hugging and shouting along at the end of a, maybe older and slightly less raucous but no less memorable, summer’s night.

‘We Were Young’ was released on 8th July 2022 and is available to hear on the streaming platforms now. Have a listen on the Spotify link below:

Fate Of The Sun – Rogues Gallery

Cardiff DIY recording artist Fate Of The Sun has had it with the current crop of lead politicians and on new single ‘Rogue’s Gallery’ he lines them up against the wall, along with some individuals he considers their moral kin, placing Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak, Matt Hancock, Trump and Putin next to killers Fred and Rose West, Harold Shipman and Dennis Nilsen in this scathing political takedown.

Angry, scuzzy synth and F.O.T.S’s distinctive sung-rap vocals create a menacing atmosphere in which Margaret Thatcher is compared to Jeffrey Epstein’s friend – the Duke of York and if you’re left with any lingering questions over how the solo artist would like them to be dealt with, the repeated satisfying gunshot sound effects should provide answer enough.

Fate Of The Sun’s Tim put it this way: “Just because you wear a Eton tie, it doesn’t make you above the Law. Rogues Gallery is a reaction to the recent bollocks we are having to put up with from our politicians. It seems like scumbag is the number one attribute needed to become a political figure so I’m just lumping all the Scumbags together! The decisions these people make can have a generational effect on people’s lives and families, as do the crimes committed by the other disgusting individuals who make up my Rogues Gallery.

The rogue’s gallery or gallery of rouges in my mind is like a shooting gallery at the fair but in a fucked up Black Mirror type alternative dystopian world. Instead of a target to aim at, you get the chance to shoot the actual rogue. Very brutal, but think Running Man, Battle Royal or most recently Squid Game. Rogues Gallery would live in that type of universe.”

‘Rogues Gallery’ was released on Friday 22nd July on all the streaming platforms and you can hear it on Spotify below: