Topsy-turvy, swooning, warped, skewed, lilting, oblique, haywire, crooked, blissful, contorted, breezy, floating, rowdy and sedate is what Pregoblin’s next single Big Hitters is. All of those things. On their latest release, Pregoblin are helped along by US guitarist and radio host Armand Schaubroeck and together they want to empathise with those who have had their songs chewed up and discarded by the music industry, making way for them ‘big hitters’.
Alex Sebley is bolstered by a ragtag multitude of musicians and co-songwriterWill Barker, to make sure their seething guitars meander, their gusty keyboards drift, their besieged drums spring and the vocals get packed with moony sentiment about not letting the bastards steal all the hard grown, plump, sweetly melodious, harmonic apples from the songwriting tree.
Released on 13th September 2023, Big Hitters is the second track Pregoblin have put out on Strap Original records and the second song to get an outing from their forthcoming sophomore LP – Pregoblin II, due for release on 12th January 2024. You can pre-order the LP now. Take a little look at the track list below:
1 – Big Hitters – feat. Armand Schaubroeck 2 – Roma 3 – Everybody’s Ill (At The Moment) Part 1 & 4 – Moving On 5 – Nobody Likes Me – feat. Jessica Winter 6 – Make Luv (I Like To Party) – feat. Erin Lawrie 7 – Alpha Business 8 – These Hands AKA Danny Knife – feat. Pete Doherty 9 – Sort It Out Down There 10 – Wimpy (album version) 11 – Two Kinds Of Music 12 – Big Hitters (Reprise)
There’s also an ace video for Big Hitters that you can watch below:
“Half a lager top, some ready salted crisps/ Pastel coloured polo, bumbag on their hip”, there’s a type of bloke that winds Fate Of The Sun right up. For the sake of F.O.T.S’s new single, we’re calling him Mr Beige. He’s not an arsehole, he’s definitely not evil – a predilection for crusty rolls dipped in crème of mushroom soup, driving the family about in a Volvo minivan with a bike rack on top and never pulling a sicky doesn’t a scoundrel make, Mr Beige is just fucking bland.
With his latest single, Penarth’s finest music-making son makes it fiercely clear he refuses to bow down to the culture of mediocrity, choosing to denounce the trappings of dull, wage-slave suckerdom, delivering his severe spoken word reprimand to the drab like a clearer headed Mike Skinner, over dark, unsettling keyboard, ascending and descending synth tones and eerily distorted backing vox. If Mr Beige doesn’t at least go for a bag of Flamin’ Hot Monster Munch instead after hearing this tune then the bloke’s got no hope left.
You don’t simply listen to Sufjan Stevens. When he’s at the top of his game, hearing a Sufjan Stevens release is a spiritual, nay evangelical experience. And ‘Will Anybody Ever Love Me?’ is the Detroit alt-folk artist at the very top of his game, with all of the finger picked lute and soft, sensitive vocal sighs you could hope for.
Backed with full gospel choir, Stevens conceptualizes unconditional love through having himself sacrificed at the stake in order to find out: “Will anybody love me, for good reasons, without grievance, not for sport?”, ramping up the burning heart religiosity like a man on a mission to have his whole audience baptised in the holy spirit.
Since 2015’s ‘Carrie & Lowell’ the singer-songwriter has put out a stream of collaborations and experimental releases but ‘Will Anybody Ever Love Me?’ and former single ‘So You Are Tired’ suggest his 10th solo LP ‘Javelin’ will see the artist back to his rapturously stirring best.
Sufjan Stevens new album ‘Javelin’ is due for release on 6th October 2023. The track listing is below:
1 – Goodbye Evergreen 2 – Running Start 3 – Will Anybody Ever Love Me? 4 – Everything That Rises 5 – Genuflecting Ghost 6 – My Little Red Fox 7 – So You Are Tired 8 – Javelin (To Have And To Hold) 9 – Shit Talk 10 – There’s A World
Release date: Thursday 21st September 2023via Oldcastle Books – Order here
If you’ve heard of the Pub Rock genre at all, it’s most likely in unflattering terms from the snarled mouth of Johnny Rotten in a Sex Pistols documentary or tales of Joe Strummer’s improbable origins, pre The Clash; a musical movement to file alongside prog-rock and the overblown glam scene that Punk Rock came along and obliterated.
In ‘Before It Went Rotten’, music author Simon Matthews takes the much overlooked era to task and, through a tonne of research and interviews with the folk who lived through it, uncovers the whole vibrant story of what went on in 1970s London between the demise of the Swinging 60s and Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s black-eyed golden dawn, bringing to life an array of characters and venues that very nearly slipped out of the pages of the history books.
Through the stories of a bunch of bands like Brinsley Schwarz, Bees Make Honey and Brewers Droop, the humble histories of many of London’s much treasured venues past and present – Islington’s The Hope & Anchor, Camden’s Dingwalls Dance Hall and The Dublin Castle, Kentish Town’s The Tally Ho, Herne Hill’s The Half Moon, amongst others and recreations of the scene’s defining moments (like US band Eggs Over Easy’s first London show in the back room of The Tally Ho in April 1971), Matthews reanimates an indefinable scene that took in aspects of americana, surf rock, latin, funk and soul, largely performed by young men in their mid-20s, in Irish Pubs or venues looking for new ways to offset extortionate brewery rents.
The author rifles through connected scenes, such as the Southend scene that spawned Kursaal Flyers, proto-punks Eddie and the Hot Rods and Wilko Johnson’s own Dr Feelgood, the potentially lucrative but ultimately under performing record deals bagged by groups who would instead go on to build solid reputations through free performances across the small venue circuit, reluctantly eschewing the frivolity of copious record sales, supported by regular Radio One sessions for the legendary John Peel, beside coverage in the NME, Melody Maker and ZigZag music press, journalist Nick Kent regularly cropping up.
Many writers would have us think the punks created their scene from nothing but Matthews finds seeds sewn earlier on, with Brinsley Schwarz’s original version of ‘(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding’ decrying mid-70s England and Chris Spedding decking himself out in leathers for his 50s throwback growl ‘Motorbikin’. Brian Eno steps out of the art school and shows his face fronting The Winkies, Elvis Costello watches on from the audience and Ian Dury begins his musical life in Kilburn and the High Roads.
In fact, with The 101ers ditching their old name and debut single ‘Keys To Your Heart’ before adopting new moniker The Clash along with new member Mick Jones, and pub rock regulars Brian James, Raymond Burns and Chris Miller taking on new alter-egos, plucking scary looking Dave Vanian from the crowd and naming themselves The Damned, it becomes clear that Punk Rock was just Pub Rock but a bit meaner… and with less chords.
This Wales-based blog would also like to give a special mention to the fact that many of the pub rock records were recorded at Monmouth’s remarkable, historic Rockfield Studios as well as noting that an early incarnation of The Damned, fronted by Nick Kent and his girlfriend Hermine Dermoriane played Cardiff’s Chapter Arts Centre under the title of The Subterraneans in May 1976 (we won’t focus on the mentions of Penarth’s own Shakin’ Stevens and The Sunsets).
Packing out the book with a host of interview transcriptions from faces who were there – from Horace Trubridge of Rocky Sharpe and The Razors to Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, eight pages of photos documenting the scene’s evolution from woollen jackets, beards and long hair to Jordan onstage topless with Steve Jones sneering next to her and a Spotify playlist code to gather the many hard to come by singles together in one place, Before It Went Rotten successfully fills in the gaps of a lost, missing link decade of British Music, the decade-long ramble from Waterloo Sunset to Anarchy In The UK finally explained.
‘Before It Went Rotten’ is released through Oldcastle Books on 21st September 2023. You can order a copy directly from Oldcastle Books now.
If you’re looking for something to listen to as per usual at the end of our reviews, you can take a listen to Dr Feelgood’s ‘Down By The Jetty’ below:
If we somehow physically could in writing, we would start this review off with a massive welcome back round of applause, with heaps of whoops and cheering, to Hugo and Felix White, ex-members of the dearly missed Maccabees, thank them profusely for coming back with new group 86TVs, and for coming back with an utterly joyful dazzler of a record like ‘Worn Out Buildings’.
The first material we’ve heard from them yet, after spending time touring with the master that is Jamie T, along with younger brother Will and Noisettes/Stereophonics drummer Jamie Morrison, ‘Worn Out Buildings’ sees all four members sharing vocal duties, the resultant harmonious amalgamation sounding not unlike Arcade Fire, with ascending piano chords and some offhand lyrical quips of deep human insight providing permission to feel wonky.
With 86TVs, it seems as if the Brothers White are here to regain the indie music throne they gave up before, and we don’t think there’ll be anyone challenging them about it.
‘Worn Out Buildings’ has been out for a month already, released on 17th August 2023 (surely there’ll be a follow up soon) and you can watch the record’s video on the YouTube link below:
Ballsy Manchester rockers Alias Kid are on a majestic roll. After the storming comeback single ‘She Don’t Yeah Yeah Yeah’ saw the self-assured foursome return in a maelstrom of screeching, life-affirming guitar, latest single ‘Gonna Be A Star’ has them proving they have the dexterity and sheer skill to put together a bonafide anthem too.
Giving The Verve and Ride a run for their money, while harnessing the accessible rock’n’roll audacity of Slade, reverb-soaked drums and shimmering riffs bolster singer Maz Behdjet’s salutation to brash, single-minded ambition and the utter certitude of getting to the top. If their current trajectory is anything to go by, this track looks like it may well end up as an incredibly satisfying self-fulfilling prophecy.
‘Gonna Be A Star’ was released on 25th August 2023 and you can find it on all of the streaming platforms right now. You can also check out our interview with the band from last year. We’ve got the YouTube lyric video for you below:
Gritty industrial realism looms large on Greek-Welsh punk hip-hop artist Minas’ latest single ‘Chatty Patty’. The exasperated rapper spits a raging discontent over the state of unfussed acceptance the general populace gives to gentrification when they could be rioting, “But I still don’t have much to say, order a flat white, discuss the weather, something I saw online…”, whilst considering his Cardiff hometown’s urban sprawl in a way many shy away from, “It’s a small city in a small country, a few high rises but nothing like London, but kind of stinks the same, still plenty of violence”.
The self-produced grinding electronic beats and repeating arabian-style background vocal offer a suitably harsh base for the track’s unflinching, disillusioned take-down of inner city life and resulting self-medication, “Mum’s disappointed, but I’d rather get high than think about dying all the time”, like a darkly heavy post-dubstep, acting as a coarse and brutal introduction to Minas’s next abrasive chapter, the upcoming ‘Grazes’ EP – due for release on November 3rd.
‘Chatty Patty’ was released on 7th September 2023 and is the first release from Minas’s new EP ‘Grazes’, the follow-up to his phenomenal Welsh Music Prize nominated debut LP ‘All My Love Has Failed Me’. You can take a listen to the track on the Spotify link below:
Occasionally, very occasionally, a record comes out with an absolutely outrageous, fiercely driving, fucking heavy guitar line that it makes you burst out in borderline-unhinged laughter, not because it’s silly funny but because it’s ridiculously incredible. Well, Statues of Men’s latest release ‘Before I Go’ had us doing just that.
More than doing justice to their Catfish and the Bottlemen and Nothing But Thieves influences, the Cardiff foursome deliver some stunningly intense guitar sounds, high energy drumming and a perfectly sleek melody, with twin brothers Matt and Dan Maloney divvying up guitar and vocal duties, Matt’s cherubic incantations acting as an unlikely but actually excellently fitting counterpoint to the dirty, fuzzed up mayhem going on all over the rest of the track.
‘Before I Go’ was released on 1st September 2023 and is available on all of the streaming services as we speak. You can take a listen to it on Spotify below:
We thought Newcastle lad Andrew Cushin’s career was destined for massive things when his third ever single release was produced by Noel Gallagher and he signed a record deal early on with Peter Doherty’s record label. As if just to round off that nosebleed-inducing level of endorsement, the singer-songwriter is currently finishing off a slew of tour dates supporting One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson in the US and mainland Europe, in the run up to his debut album release ‘Waiting For The Rain’.
To ready us for the long player’s release, Cushin has put out piano-led anthem ‘Just Like You’d Want Me To’, an emotional chant of defiance seeing the singer consider some seriously low moments and, in the chorus, the hard won highs: “Well won’t you see me now/I’m stood here smiling, the world gets by/And we’ll do no wrong, if you keep singing along”, taking the soaring and affecting sentiment of a pop song and infusing it with the authenticity and grit of Northern English indie rock. We’re hoping to get an album’s worth of heart-shredding bangers like this.
Andrew Cushin’s debut album ‘Waiting For The Rain’, is due for release on 29th September 2023 via Strap Originals records. You can pre-order it now in all of it’s many ltd edition colours and bundles. Find the tracklist below:
1. Let Me Give it To You 2. Just Like You’d Want Me To 3. Comedown 4. It’s Coming Round Again 5. 4.5% 6. Broken Love Song 7. Waiting For The Rain 8. Wor Flags 9. Dream For a Moment 10. I Want You To Be There 11. You’ll Be Free 12. The End
You can find the video for ‘Just Like You’d Want Me To’ below:
Let’s be honest, the warm summer nights are likely all behind us now, but if September does have a treat or two in store or you’re heading off to sunnier climes for a few days, you may have just stumbled across the perfect radiant soundtrack for some cocktails by the pool or a gin and lemonade on the recliner in the garden.
Welsh girl living in London Elli Glyn’s third single release, ‘Pretend’, is a sparkling, summery pop record built around a breezy tropical beat and shimmering melody. Glyn’s serene vocals portray the struggle to move on and feel alright again after a break up, tough feelings obscured by the track’s uplifting, paradisical rhythm.
‘Pretend’ was released on 11th August 2023 and is available to stream on all of the streaming platforms now. We’ve put the Spotify link below for you to take a listen: