Wez King – M.H.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, Maidstone singer-songwriter Wez King has recorded and released the gorgeously uplifting ‘M.H’. A frank confessional salutation to the gulf of depression and the determination to overcome it and stay alive, King’s hefty, resolute vocals rendered over a heart-bursting melody and life-affirming guitar lines and piano.

The track particularly empathises with male experiencers of mental health problems – “And I know that you never want to talk, at the end of the day that’s what makes you sad” with the solo artist digging deep into his own experience of addiction and breakdown to encourage anyone who might be struggling with the same.

Rather brilliantly, Wez King is using the release of ‘M.H.’ as an opportunity to raise awareness for Mental Health Foundation, a charity providing vital support to people in mental health crisis and excellent resources improving the public conversation about mental health issues. Funds raised by the record will also be donated to the charity.

If you want to buy the song and support the cause you can find the track on iTunes and Amazon. You can stream the song on Spotify below:

Drool – Misery

Written by Laura Day

‘Misery’ is Drool’s latest, and final tease, from their upcoming EP ‘Songs for The Sad Kidz’. Widely anticipated by many a Drool fool, we were not disappointed. It’s bloody delicious.

Beginning with languid chords that are reminiscent of Nirvana’s ‘Come As You Are’, the listener is absorbed into a narrative where Misery becomes a mistress mirroring the human paradox.

“I think I always knew that she wasn’t good for me, but she was all I knew” reveals the tendency to crave familiar situations, regardless of how destructive they might be. Followed up with the vulnerable confession about “It’s good to be back but I don’t feel right, there feels something weird about it…” challenges us to consider how we find comfort in what we know, even in sorrow.

Overall, the melody is seductive, the refrain is dreamy, and Joey’s voice is the familiar anchor we cling to as he begs “I hope that you take me away.”

If anything, this latest single is a clear demonstration of how Drool are constantly pushing the boundaries of themselves. Misery has its own DNA but remains underpinned by Drool’s undeniable talent for expressing in music what cannot be composed in words.

The ‘Songs for The Sad Kids EP’ is still eagerly awaited. ‘Misery’ is available, however, to listen to right now. Hear it by tapping below:

Wet Leg – Wet Leg

When ‘Chaise Longue’ appeared on several hundred Spotify playlists in the middle of last year the music sphere collectively dropped the glass bottle of diet coke they were cooly drinking and jaws fell open aghast at this witty, chic, new wave hit appearing out of the furthest reaches of nowhere, also known as the Isle of Wight. Built around a joke about saucily pulling the wool over the eyes of naive parents, delivered with unfussed, deadpan sexiness, the record grabbed the attention of everyone who gave even the vaguest fuck about guitar music and several tonnes of expectation found it’s way firmly onto Wet Leg’s icy shoulders. Creating a record under those conditions would be a task.

Thankfully, Wet Leg already had their self-titled debut in the can, so any mounting pressure remains to be fought with down the line, in a hopefully less urgent climate – their debut LP all conceived and committed to tape during a time the duo, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, decided to just create a band for fun and see what happens.

No wonder, then, that provocative fun, playfulness and allure are the order of the day here. Finding inspiration in French disco 12”s and Jane Birkin mashed into Talking Heads and Franz Ferdinand, Wet Leg create a mise en scène from a diverse pool of suave influence. If there’s a sun-drenched and swoonsome song about love, it’s peppered with reluctant cynicism. Rather than singing about dancing and nightlife, ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Out’ is a grunge-lite whir about feeling over “getting off my stupid face” and obliterating already-made plans. ‘Angelica’ could be a sugar sweet rewrite of 90s MTV cartoon ‘Daria’s theme song turned into a tribute to the lead character of 70s horror movie ‘Carrie’.

For much of their self-titled debut, Wet Leg move away from the art school leanings of ‘Chaise Longue’ but if their lead single has a sister record it would be ‘Wet Dream’, an aloof and filthy description of some sleaze’s nocturnal imagination used in a misguided attempt at seduction, slipping in an awkward reference to Vincent Gallo’s divisive avant-garde film ‘Buffalo 66’ to get things steamy.

There are islands of sincerity where the spoken word haughtiness makes way for sung authenticity of ‘Convincing’ and ‘Loving You’ – the sincerity of the latter heightened by the blissfully venomous execution of the line “I don’t wanna meet your girlfriend, I hope you choke on your girlfriend” over echoey surf guitar. And then so much genuine disclosure of deep and painful feelings gets followed up by a song called ‘Ur Mum’, closely followed by ‘Piece of Shit’.

‘Supermarket’ is a discordant slacker rock attempt at Pavement covering Afroman’s salutation to getting too off your face to do anything constructive. Which acts as a satisfying set up to the record’s end piece as the Wet Leg girls declare a smart mantra on ‘Too Late Now’, an intense, building crescendo of a tune, “I don’t need no radio, no MTV, no BBC, I just need a bubble bath to send me on a higher path”. Outside of their world of indulgence, Nouvelle Vague and 70s pop, Wet Leg give very few serious fucks about much else. And may that last for a very long time!

Wet Leg’s self titled debut was released on 8th April 2022 and is available to buy and stream now. The group are also on a far reaching world tour of venues and festivals. Much of it is already sold out but it’s worth checking their site for the dates anyway – you might be lucky.

Have a look at the video for latest single ‘Ur Mum’ below:

Fontaines D.C. – Skinty Fia

Alternative music, whatever that now means, has been missing some true new festival headliner-worthy giants for a fair while – Wolf Alice have nudged into that territory but it’s population is undoubtedly tiny. Enter Fontaines D.C. with their third and as-yet most accomplished record ‘Skinty Fia’.

The Irish lads’ debut ‘Dogrel’ nestled comfortably in the Idles’ post-punk landscape and sophmore record ‘A Hero’s Death’ was a sobered up, thoughtful progression from their toilet venue ready origins. ‘Skinty Fia’ – the title, an old Irish Gaelic curse term translating to ‘the damnation of the deer’ – sees the group become something else again. Moving a fair distance on from their original straight-up punk song structures, the band now have more in common, sonically, with gothic experimentalists The Horrors than Britpop inspired Sports Team.

When word first started to spread about the third Fontaines D.C. LP, the band themselves put out a false rumour that this would be their disco album, but there is some substance to their retracted claim, with a strong groove of an undercurrent flowing strongest in opening tracks ‘In ár gCroíthe go deo’ (‘in our hearts forever’), into title track ‘Skinty Fia’ and onto ‘I Love You’ but to call the whole record dance-worthy would be a bluff. ‘Big Shot’ and ‘How Cold Love Is’ sound more stoned rock than club ready. ‘Jackie Down The Line’ is the undisputable big single of the record and ‘Roman Holiday’ is the closest thing to the Fontaines of before. ‘The Couple Across The Way’ is an accordion lead tribute to a pair of dysfunctional lovers. Closer ‘Nabokov’ is the heaviest rocker, like Happy Mondays if they had only ever taken downers and never tried uppers at all.

Lyrically, ‘Skinty Fia’ is difficult to get under the skin of but there’s a gritty critique of Irish urban reality stitched in there, aware of Gaelic tradition and the course side of city life, along with the damnation of the innocent. A gloomy backdrop to launch a band into a new stratosphere, maybe, but much less commercial and dense albums have sent bands into the big leagues before.

‘Skinty Fia’ was released on 22nd April 2022 and is available to buy in all of the formats over at Fontaines D.C.’s official online store if you want it on your music shelf.

Find the video for title track ‘Skinty Fia’ below:

Jamie T – The Old Style Raiders

We all thought five years was a stupendously long time to wait between Jamie T’s second LP ‘Kings & Queens’ and 2014’s follow-up ‘Carry On The Grudge’ but, while our attentions were being grabbed by other pressing events on the world stage, the original urchin singer-songwriter spent an eye-watering six years polishing up his latest effort ‘The Theory Of Whatever’ and new single ‘The Old Style Raiders’ is the first snippet we get to hear.

A widescreen affair, more ‘Power Over Men’ than early storming firecracker singles ‘Sheila’ and ‘Sticks ‘N’ Stones’, ‘Raiders’ is an audacious, stirring indie-rock anthem, with Wimbledon’s Treays digging deep to sing about hope and finding something/someone/some cause worth fighting for in a world that could easily have no meaning. Potentially high-concept then, yet amidst the hymnal quality, heartfelt lyrics and epic chorus Jamie T’s rough and ready, rag-tag and earthbound stylings fizz unmistakably about. The six-year wait truly was worth it.

Produced by ex-Maccabees guitarist Hugo White, ‘The Old Style Raiders’ is released TODAY – 6th May 2022 – with album ‘The Theory Of Whatever’ coming out on 29th July 2022 through Polydor Records. The album’s available to pre-order with a load of bundles and a baseball cap over on Jamie’s website.

Find the video for ‘The Old Style Raiders’ below:

Panic Shack – Baby Shack EP

There’s nothing more punk rock than mastering the raw power of three chords fused with simple, effective rhymes and on the Baby Shack EP Panic Shack prove themselves skilled artisans of just that. With a healthy dose of humour and an audible sense of fun, the Cardiff four-piece take a handful of, in less-adept hands, potentially sombre and wrenching feminist subjects and turn them into fearless, celebratory, booming anthems.

Every bit the last gang in town gleefully taking on a rock scene of dull lads, Panic Shack rip their way through explaining how much more of a sin nicking a lighter is than borrowing some tobacco on ‘Where’s My Lighter?’, giving some pervs a violent lesson through martial arts with ‘Jiu Jits You’, ‘I Don’t Really Like It’s power of self-assertion, politely explaining what will happen if anyone ever tries to make their non-maternal arms hold a baby – you better know a decent plasterer (if the warning isn’t enough then hopefully their ear-shredding baby wails will halt you), boring Mannequin Men in boring London bands and the self-fulfilling danger of avoiding giant great big red danger flags in a relationship on latest single ‘The Ick’, even when the flag is putting milk first in the tea cup.

This is riot grrl punk with a Welsh bent and a sense of humour to help the medicine go down.

Panic Shack’s Baby Shack EP was released on 8th April 2022 is available to buy through their bandcamp right now on limited edition pink splattered 12″ vinyl.

The group are also playing a SOLD OUT headline show at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach on Saturday 7th May supported by Try Me and Alice Low.

Find the video for latest single The Ick below:

The Others – The Grace, London, 30/04/22

Twenty years have passed since mid-00s London scene favourites and NME cover stars The Others got together and set about making their mark on the musical world. To celebrate the fact that they are still very much still in existence and filled with as much life as ever, tonight’s gig sees the band break an eight year silence by getting back to their grass roots in the low light, low ceiling venue of The Grace in Highbury, London.

The show is sold out and the room is stuffed full with one hundred and fifty original fans gathered beneath a ceiling of static glitter balls, waiting to see what tunes from their three album and a newbie on it’s way catalogue the group have prepared for tonight. Rumours across social media for the past couple of weeks have claimed they would be delivering a two hour set spiked with favourites from all throughout their career.

Ever the supporters of new talent and their rabid ‘853’ fanbase, The Others’ support band, Ilford quartet The Neversheds, are up first featuring long-time Others supporter Dan Edmunds as frontman, putting on a show of exuberant, sharp 70s UK and NY punk rock inspired tunes.

The Others performing tonight are a newly expanded band of 7 and they fill the stage like no time has passed – frontman Dominic Masters still in a trademark stripy polo shirt, bassist Johnny Others still with brilliantly coiffed Robert Smith hair, Jimmy Lager still with shades atop his head, the new members fleshing their sound out fuller than ever.

Fuelled by the boisterous love and cheering from the crowd, the lads manage to make good on their promise of a two hour set which gets split across three sections to afford Masters a short regroup and breather between each part, at times the frontman appearing to yank himself up and away by his own collar as if to stop himself from launching into the middle of the audience every time he gets the urge, other times handing the microphone over to the audience to perform singing duties. The first two parts see tracks dropped from albums number two and three ‘Inward Parts’ and ‘Songs For The Disillusioned’ – a full gusted chant along of fan-favourite ‘Probate’, the ominous and concerned ‘Thick as Thieves’, ‘Penny Chews’, ‘Double Pernod’, ‘Where Is The Love?’, ‘The Truth That Hurts’ as well as a few exciting newbies from in-progress album 4.

The third part is an unashamed time machine back to 2005 and a hefty dose of their self-titled first LP. When the drums of ‘Lackey’ kick in the 853 are up and bouncing, out in force and a moshing force that doesn’t stop until much of the record is ticked off. In this part, the much adored “CHIKA-CHIKA-CHIKOWS” are screamed back at the stage in ‘Psychovision’ and the greatly anticipated ‘This Is For The Poor’ and ‘Stan Bowles’ are received by now-slightly-chunkier-than-two-decades-ago 853 kamikaze stage diving division members and Dominic himself making a success of crowd surfing a complete lap of the venue.

By the end of show, the stage has been invaded full of dancing fans and a yellow and blue Ukraine flag is draped over The Others’ singer’s head. He takes the microphone, announces an invitation for the after party to the whole venue and then stalks away beaming, leaving a re-energised and enthusiastic 853 hoping they won’t have to wait another 8 years to witness their favourite songs played again. The ace and unusual thing with The Others is there was no split, no major falling out, this is no reunion show but an anniversary gathering, so the likelihood is they will be back together and performing again before anyone can say “QPR Ninety seventy fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive”.

The Others first two albums ‘The Others’ and ‘Inward Parts’ are available on all streaming services. The Others third album ‘Songs For The Disillusioned’ is available to buy for as much or as little as you like on The Others bandcamp.

Columbia – Embrace The Chaos

Many artists try hard to bury their influences under heaps of avant-garde experimentalism, misjudged kooky angles and cringe worthy vocal gymnastics when, truly, it was the monolithic greats who brought us all kneeling at the altar of rock’n’roll. Columbia see no merit in hiding where their sound comes from and boldly plaster their influences in massive letters all across their work.

Not being shy to celebrate their idols, ‘Embrace The Chaos’ is equal parts Led Zeppelin without the caterwauling and Oasis at the peak of their first swaggering and riffed-up wind. Songs like ‘Fall Into The Sun’ and ‘Glory People’ take full-blown, pumped up rock and metal sounds from the sixties right up until the nineties, stirring in baggy rhythms and shoegaze feedback and managing to turn them into something still new, still with bags of buzz and electricity.

There are moments of comedown genius, like ‘All the Streets Are Silent’ with the spirit of U2’s ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ or ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’, and ‘Devil On Your Shoulder’, redolent of Radiohead at their most ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ fragile and these are tempered with life affirming indie vanquishers like ‘Something More’, the most Mancunian sounding song a bunch of welshmen have ever written (think Courteeners, Stone Roses and Liam Gallagher all compressed within four joyous minutes).

In lifting their musical deities up as high as their superbly honed talents allow, Columbia have crafted a record out from which their multitudinous heroes of the past five or six decades brightly and proudly shine.

Columbia are a four piece group from Cardiff, Wales. Their debut album ‘Embrace The Chaos’ was released on 11th March 2022 and is available on all streaming platforms right now. Find it down below, along with the official video for standout track ‘Glory People’:

The K’s – Hometown

Opening with a brash stomp of a T-Rex riff, The K’s are back with ‘Hometown’, a rough and ready tale of life in Suburbia set to a rabble-rousing pop punk roar that The Enemy might have delivered in the mid-00s.

The tune zips up, the riff goes off and the Earlestown four-piece vividly dissect an everyman character charging around his hometown, taking too much coke, getting into scraps and debt, drunkenly charming girls, before realising that “he’s emptied all his wages/ into the pockets of the boys that he hated” and wishing back to simpler times “playing all his favourite sounds in the sun”.

‘Hometown’ was released on Friday 22nd April 2022 on all streaming platforms.

Included for your listening pleasure below are the Youtube video (viewable only from 18:00 – 27th April 2022 – press the reminder button if you’re lurking around these parts before then) and a Spotify link:

Fate Of The Sun – Blade Runner 1999

Fate Of The Sun reckons we live in a dystopian mess of a world, so much so he feels like he’s living in the cruddy future originally envisioned in 1982 sci-fi flick Blade Runner, and who are we to argue when he cries he’s “had enough of this crazy spice infested town”, “they gambled it all away, they put it in the slot”, “and as those robots rise it’s us who count the cost”.

The outspoken Cardiff DIY solo recording artist spits sung rap vocals like a more ebullient Ian Brown or Kasabian at their ‘Empire’ height, over slow booming bass, Lust for Life drum beat and handclaps, ‘Blade Runner 1999’ plummets into an ominous distorted voiced warning “there ain’t no time for pointing fingers or turning back, just getting another Stella before the final blast” and a speeded up outro before fading out to nothing, the same ending he foresees for a mislead and stumbling society.

If the world is ending then Fate Of The Sun is giving us some A-grade quality music to soundtrack the robot apocalypse.

‘Blade Runner 1999’ was released on 15th April 2022 and is available to stream on Spotify below: