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:

The Big Moon – Wide Eyes

The Big Moon’s first single taken from third album ‘Here is Everything’ is a sweeping, anthemic story of finding an innocence and sense of wonder amid a time of burn out and tiredness. The bones of the song were written when the group’s main songwriter Juliette Jackson was swamped in the exhaustion of nurturing a newborn baby and the tumult of feelings that came with it, aching to write a song of sheer happiness while being tugged down by exhaustion, yet still managing to appreciate the wide eyed joy at the centre of it all.

And with her bandmates let loose on ‘Wide Eyes’, what would maybe be a personal little hymn to the anxiety and magic of bringing new life into the world gets transformed into an upbeat, soaring epic about rediscovering beauty when everything’s gone haywire.

London’s The Big Moon are on the cusp of releasing their third album ‘Here is Everything’, due to be released on 14th October 2022 via Fiction Records and you can pre-order it on all of it’s wonderful formats now. The tracklist is below:

  1. 2 Lines
  2. Wide Eyes
  3. Daydreaming
  4. This Love
  5. Sucker Punch
  6. My Very Best
  7. Ladye Bay
  8. Trouble
  9. High & Low
  10. Magic
  11. Satellites

‘Wide Eyes’ was released on 13th July 2022 and you can see the video below:

Sam Fender – Alright

To mark his monumental headline gig at Finsbury Park last Friday night, Sam Fender, the Geordie king of indie, has re-released one of his favourite tracks from his ‘Seventeen Going Under’ album sessions, ‘Alright’. Missing from the finished album release and originally playing second fiddle to A-side ‘Long Way Off’, the track was put out on vinyl only in 2020 and again as a Record Store Day release backed with a live version of The Kitchen in April of this year, but the emotive tearjerker has now been given a much deserved release of it’s very own.

Fully embracing his newfound status as a universally adored indie-crooner extraordinaire, Fender digs deep to harness vocals that would make Jeff Buckley do a double-take, delivering a heartfelt and clearly deeply sentimental song about “cheating death” and fighting depression. A song that would no doubt have sounded spine-tingling sung to 40,000 people in London last weekend and will sound similarly spine-tingling belted out from Wembley Stadium’s stage when he makes it there in a couple of years time.

‘Alright’ was released on all of the streaming platforms on 15/07/2022. There’s a Spotify link handily included just below this article for you, along with a video pinched off of Youtube of the track performed with his band at Finsbury Park on Friday night:

Lissy Taylor – She’s a Stunner

Lissy Taylor is an up-and-coming new singer-songwriter from Stoke-on-Trent via the USA via Manchester and her new single ‘She’s a Stunner’ is an empowering guitar track about a really fucking powerful and commanding, stunning and unidentified woman.

With her north-west accent preserved, Taylor’s voice has the dreamlike brittleness of Ellie Goulding coupled with all the raw brashness of Chrissie Hynde, fastened onto potent, tenacious guitar lines and an infectious chorus, the perfect recipe for a tune to embolden listeners who’ll want to adopt the track as their own sass-fuelled theme song.

‘She’s a Stunner’ was released on 24th July 2022 and you can hear it now on all the streaming platforms. You can watch the official video right here:

Also, if you like what you hear, an awesome sounding Gab Hydes remix of Lissy Taylor’s previous single ‘Young’ was released yesterday (15th July). We’ve put a Spotify link below for you to fill your ear cavities with:

Cosmorat – Cool Down

For starters, this may be the only song ever recorded that uses a telephone dialling tone as percussion. Secondly, and most importantly, Cosmorat’s latest single ‘Cool Down’ is a completely fun indie emo-pop tune – a bit like Be Your Own Pet, or No Doubt before they took themselves seriously.

The trio formed in Boston, Massachusetts, but now base themselves in London and their most recent track is more hi-speed and abrasive than their previous lo-fi output, with vocalist and bassist Taylor Pollock clearly sounding like she’s having massive a laugh, touching on heterogeneous subjects like getting naked, awkward handshakes and a bit at the end reminding men not to be arseholes, whilst keeping the party going. In their live set, this would be the song that causes a mosh pit, but a mosh pit where everyone’s grinning, patting each other on the back and making goofy faces instead of elbowing each other in the head and getting black eyes.

‘Cool Down’ is out now and you can hear it on all the streaming services. We’ve put the Spotify link right here on this page so you can give it a listen.

Dry Cleaning – Don’t Press Me

Excellently innovative London post-punks Dry Cleaning are usually famously unfussed, frontwoman Florence Shaw delivering spoken word vocals that barely rise above the volume you would talk into a handsfree phone-mic when trying to keep inconspicuous in the quiet carriage of a train, whilst their guitars drive and clang away like the very best of them.

However, on latest single ‘Don’t Press Me’ Shaw has been riled enough to actually sing a few notes. And what, you may reasonably ask, has got up her nose? To be honest we’re not too sure, but it seems to be something about someone messing about with her PC gaming mouse, with the vocalist crossly rebuking “Don’t touch my gaming mouse, you rat”. So yeah, leave Florence’s gaming hardware alone – if that is actually what the song’s about.

‘Don’t Press Me’ is the first single from Dry Cleaning’s second album ‘Stumpwork’, following on from their 2021 debut ‘New Long Leg. ‘Stumpwork’ has a release date of 21st October 2022, via 4AD records. It’s available to pre-order now. The tracklisting is below:

1. Anna Calls From The Arctic
2. Kwenchy Kups
3. Gary Ashby
4. Driver’s Story
5. Hot Penny Day
6. Stumpwork
7. No Decent Shoes For Rain
8. Don’t Press Me
9. Conservative Hell
10. Liberty Log
11. Icebergs

You can watch the video for ‘Don’t Press Me’ below:

Damian Luke and The Sweet Beast – Mighty Muse

Damian Luke and The Sweet Beast are a brand new four piece group from Sheffield. Having only formed in March 2022 they’ve already got it together marvellously to write and record brilliant chant-along debut single ‘Mighty Muse’, a rock’n’roll demon encompassing xylophone and a boldly anthemic guitar solo.

Frontman Damian Luke encourages the listener to switch off the news and instead listen to their own inner Mighty Muse for encouragement, whilst also finding time to heap credit on Manchester band The Blinders and their singer/guitarist Thomas Haywood’s alter-ego Johnny Dream for shaking him up and inspiring him to form his own band. Cheers Johnny!

Damian Luke and The Sweet Beast are lined up to play a whole host of festivals in 2022 including Tramlines in Sheffield, Bee Kind charity festival in Barnsley, CoachELLA charity festival in Huddersfield, Summer of Love festival in Doncaster and Croxfest festival in Croxley Green.

‘Mighty Muse’ was released on 8th June 2022. You can see the video below:

Alvvays – Pharmacist

It feels like we say this on every other review at the moment (COVID genuinely screwed everyone’s release plans up, huh) but, after a five year absence, Canada’s Alvvays are back with swoonsome new single ‘Pharmacist’. Gorgeous breathy vocals and an indie-pop melody that would fit right at home on one of Camera Obscura’s finest records are positioned over an unyielding wall of keyboard and shoegaze distortion that breaks down and burns up into a chaotically delectable guitar solo.

With lyrics that are impossible to pin down but have something to do with bumping into an old flame’s sister at a chemist and then wanting to get back with them, alongside a reference to Nicorette anti-smoking products and a chorus that sounds suspiciously like trying to reassure a partner about his impotence or prematurity, in trustworthy fashion Alvvays cloak ruminative lyrics in exquisitely perky instrumentation and, like the possible subject of the chorus, it’s all done and dusted in just over two minutes.

‘Pharmacist’ was released on 9th July 2022 and is the first single from Alvvays’ much anticipated third album ‘Blue Rev’, due for release on 7th October 2022 through Polyvinyl/Transgressive and available to preorder now. You can see the tracklist below:

1. Pharmacist
2. Easy on Your Own?
3. After The Earthquake
4. Tom Verlaine
5. Pressed
6. Many Mirrors
7. Very Online Guy
8. Velveteen
9. Tile by Tile
10. Pomeranian Spinster
11. Belinda Says
12. Bored in Bristol
13. Lottery Noise
14. Fourth Figure

And you can listen to ‘Pharmacist’ on YouTube below: