The Mysterines – Hung Up

I wonder if The Mysterines were sat on their sofa in Liverpool one evening when The Supremes ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’ came on the radio and as a group they decided “let’s take the sentiment of this sugary Motown classic and turn it into a full throttle heavy fucking grunge rock assault”. Even if that wasn’t the real genesis of the record, that’s exactly what they went and did. Lia Metcalfe’s voice is a fierce, deep dark howl and George Favager’s bass is turned right up loud as a clear, straight forward invitation to the centre of the mosh pit.

The Mysterines have put out some absolutely slamming tracks since 2019 (see I Win Every Time, Bet Your Pretty Face and Who’s Your Girl if you want evidence) and have now announced debut album Reeling for release via Fiction Records on March 11th 2022. This is looking like a classic in the making.

Pioneers -The ‘What Have You Got To Prove?’ Interview

Pioneers – Sam Watts (vocals/rhythm guitar), Toby Gathercole (lead guitar), Sam Over (bass guitar), Charlie Filde (drums).
Photo Credit: Connor Mason

“Possibly we now understand how everything isn’t so straight forward and easy as it seemed when we were young with the debut single.”

What Have You Got To Prove?’ is the latest single to be released by Pioneers, Southampton’s current finest indie rock group. Written during lockdown and recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Monmouth – birthplace of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, Bohemian Rhapsody, Coldplay’s Parachutes and subject of the recent BBC documentary, it’s a single in the vein of Two Door Cinema Club, Bloc Party, Editors and has been blasting out of Edge of Arcady’s headphones since we caught wind of it.

After the madness of lockdown livestreams, recording the single, and rocking Isle of Wight festival this summer, the boys agreed to take some time out to answer a few questions for us. We opened up the floor to them, discovering more about their latest single, the inside scoop on the Southampton scene, the highs and lows of life in Pioneers, as well as managing to uncover a loud, proud and unashamed love of country music in the process…

Tell me about What Have You Got To Prove?
WHYGTP was written in the first lockdown. It was such a weird time for everyone as we lost the ability to do so many things. I think this is where the idea of the song came from; we were stripped away from so much, but I think it gave me the time to appreciate the here and now. It’s great to look and strive for things, but I also think it’s so important to face your flaws and appreciate who and what’s around you now.

From listening to the song’s lyrics, it’s evident you value authenticity. Has there been a time in your life where you’ve had to fight for that in yourself? What advice would you give your younger self or anyone else who is battling to remain or become their authentic self?
I think when you grow older you start to care less about how you’re perceived. I think when you’re just turning into an adult there’s an expectation of what you should be into and what you should be doing. I think once you begin to grow you begin to find your individuality and instead welcome your differences a lot more. I think this runs alongside our songs; at first we maybe thought what our songs should be, rather than what they naturally are.

What was it like recording at Rockfield Studios?
Rockfield was surreal, it was amazing being able to record in the same room as some of our favourite artists. The location is so lovely but the drive there wasn’t – we have a thing for coffee so it probably took a bit longer than it should after stopping at every Starbucks available. We recorded 2 singles over 2 days: ‘What Have You Got to Prove?’ and other one which you will get to hear in the near future.

You also played at Isle of Wight Festival this year. What was performing there like? Any stories to tell?
It’s still weird to think we played a major festival this year, especially after the couple years the music industry has had. We had initially planned to stay for the entire weekend, which we really really wanted to do, but we had to get back to the mainland not long after our set. There were a couple of bands that had pulled out of the festival due to COVID reasons, meaning we got asked to play another set on the Friday night, but were already back home and working again. It was an honour to play and we hope to be back in the future – all our thanks go to This Feeling for letting us open their stage!

How did the band begin?
It’s weird to look back now and realise we formed back in late 2017. Myself (Sam W) knew the other three band members individually and when deciding to start a band, we knew that we all shared the same influences and interests. Toby could play Guitar, Charlie was learning Drums and Bailey picked up a Bass after joining the band! Since then, Bailey has gone onto other ventures but we now have Sam O with us that has enhanced us musically for sure.

Photo Credit: Connor Mason

Your music has changed a bit and has progressed since Take Time. Has this been intentional? How do you feel as a band now compared to when you began?
I think that’s fair to say and I think it’s for a few reasons really. Firstly, it’s just time. With Take Time we were very young around 17/18 years old and that song and flow reflected who we were then. We were experiencing things for the first time and going out for the first time and things like that, this influenced the writing of Take Time as well as the fast-paced lyrical flow. However, as we’ve grown older and reflected, we’ve started to explore different components when writing. Now, as adults, our day-to-day life and experiences are different to what they were back then. Possibly we now understand how everything isn’t so straight forward and easy as it seemed when we were young with
the debut single.

Which bands and artists are you into and what inspires you?
We’re all into slightly different stuff weirdly enough. Sam W is into early 2000s indie which I think you can hear in our tracks. Artists like Jamie T and The Strokes have definitely influenced our tracks heavily in the past. Apart from that we all like different bands and even different genres. The only genre which we all seem to agree on is country music so that is what gets played if we’re on the road and when we’re altogether.

What is the Southampton music scene like? I’ve read that you play at the 1865 venue?
The Southampton music scene is thriving at the moment, and it’s great to see. People like Gavin Foord and Tyrone have done a lot to put Southampton’s music scene on the map. It really is our favourite place to play, whether it’s Heartbreakers, Engine Rooms, The Joiners, The 1865 or The Loft, every venue seems unique to one another with its own history and characteristics. If you’re planning on touring, make sure you come here.

Which other bands from Southampton or elsewhere do you admire and feel close to and why, if any?
We have always admired Djuno, who also played Isle of Wight Festival this year. Courtney’s voice is iconic, and they always put out top-drawer tracks. On a slightly bigger scale, Band of Skulls – we’re a sucker for a good riff and they provide us with plenty.

You wrote ‘What Have You Got To Prove’ during lockdown, how did you find lockdown and did you and the band come away from it with any personal insights?
I think lockdown helped us comeback with a different point of view and that is just to enjoy what we’re doing. It can be quite stressful and a lot of pressure, being in a band. It taught us to appreciate the little things like all meeting up and rehearsing, not to mention playing live. Some of our strongest tracks so far came as a result of it too which is nice. It also allowed us to just focus on our own instruments a lot more and play stuff which we wouldn’t have done otherwise. When you have other stuff going on in life, sitting down at or pick up your instrument can be hard so when you do it tends to be for stuff revolved around the band. It allowed us to play and learn other stuff which is different to Pioneers and come back to our music refreshed.

How was taking part in a lockdown livestream?
It kept us going! Ideally, we wanted to be touring toward the end of last year, so we were understandably frustrated (like every other band). The livestreams gave us an opportunity to get close to playing live again and were useful to keep our content up. We also think they were exceptional to boost morale and give people something to look forward to.

How has lockdown affected Pioneers as a band?
It has and it goes back to what we said about finding lockdown in general. I feel like we appreciate it for what it is as opposed to looking at streams and ticket sales all the time. I just hope we hold onto that going forward as we didn’t start it to get streams etc, we started it just because we loved music and thought it’d be fun to play it ourselves.

What has been your highlight of being in Pioneers so far?
This is going to seem a bit hypocritical after saying we’re now not watching ticket sales so much but the highlight is always sold out hometown shows. We’ve done a few big ones now like Engine Rooms and The 1865 and they are just unreal.

Photo Credit: @indyebrewer

What has been your worst experience being in Pioneers so far?
There’s been a few which could have been really bad, but we tend to laugh it off when we’re all together. There’s been the typical playing to one man and his dog scenarios but not many to be honest. For that reason, I would have to say one of our first gigs we played at a bigger venue. We supported someone at The 1865 and everything what could have went wrong did. We had a broken drum pedal and broken guitar by the end. We got through it, but it was and is such a big venue for us that we built it up so much only to ruin it by drinking a bit too much before.

What plans do Pioneers have for the near future?
We’ve been working hard recently to get our tour rescheduled; There are so many places we want to visit up and down the country, starting up in Scotland and hopefully finishing down south with a hometown show. We’re also preparing for our next huge show at The 1865 on 19 November, alongside releasing some more music before the new year, if you’re lucky…

Find Pioneers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Buy tickets to see Pioneers at This Feeling, The Edge Of The Wedge, Portsmouth – Monday 8th November 2021 – click here.

Buy tickets to see Pioneers at The 1865, Southampton – Friday 19th November 2021 – click here.

Barking Orders In German – Free At Last

Cancelled flights, uncertain times and boredom do not sound like the obvious recipe for a punchy, glam punk stomp of a record, but those are allegedly the ingredients that helped new Munich five-piece Barking Orders In German start a band and come up with their brand new full-throttle single.

They describe their output as “fuzz-riddled ohrwurms”. We’ll describe Free At Last as the Stones and Marc Bolan getting together to jam a 1 minute 50 Miles Kane inspired party tune with a filthy bassline, while also taking some time to mull over the fate vs free will debate. All taking place in a basement somewhere in Germany.

Barking Orders In German’s debut single is out today, 7th October, on Australian label Hell Beach Records. Stream it now on all streaming services.

‘EP I of III’ will be out on 7” vinyl soon. Keep an eye on for more info.

Let’s Eat Grandma – Hall Of Mirrors

Let’s Eat Grandma’s latest single Hall Of Mirrors is mystical, enchanting, pure rainbow-pop with a tinge of sorrow.

The first taste of the Norwich duo’s as-yet-untitled third album is a synthesiser-soaked, electro, shimmering fairground of flashing fairy lights and whirling waltzers, backed with a pumping drum machine, proclaiming a secret, dizzying and confusing love that ends up being a pandora’s box when brought out into the open, sweetly declaring “there wasn’t a girl that had made me shy until I talked to you”.

A bio somewhere describes the group as ‘sludge pop’ and we reckon that is a brilliant summation of Let’s Eat Grandma’s sound. You can find the single out on Transgressive records now.

Bandicoot – Worried Blues

Citing John Lennon, Bob Dylan and krautrock as major influences, Bandicoot‘s musical utopia sounds far further afield than their South Wales hometown of Swansea. On Worried Blues they bring their idols home with them to soundtrack life in the self-same city.

With a handful of scuzzy, blues rock numbers, two of which are sung in Cymraeg, and an album of covers on their bandcamp, their new single is further proof that these boys know how to conjure up true dirty, dark rock’n’roll noises.

The record features sparse lyrics revolving around the track’s title, an avalanche of drums, saxophone solo and a vocalist who has mastered the sublime art of crooning. If we had to compare them to their contemporaries we could say they’re a little like Foals at their grimiest, but really Bandicoot have dug their sound up from a much earlier era, owing more to Nick Drake and John Cale than musicians from the last couple of decades.

If you like what you hear, be sure to stick 4th March 2022 in your diary as that’s the release date for their debut album ‘Black After Dark’ on Libertino records.

Idles – The Beachland Ballroom

When a band reaches a certain level of success, all the rules that applied at the start of their career are off. The fans are committed for the long term so the band can play around with their sound. This is where Bristol punks Idles find themselves as they enter fourth album Crawler.

New single The Beachland Ballroom, unexpectedly, is a post-apocalyptic, wall of sound waltz. Vocalist Joe Talbot’s punk pronouncements and growls still firmly in place but this time over a slow soul song, played out over the speakers of some old ruined ballroom on a crumbling seaside pier.

Idles are at a place few bands with their spit and sawdust origins currently end up arriving at and now they’re about to have fun with it. New album Crawler is released on 12th November 2021.

Wet Leg – Wet Dream

Wet Leg have become the indie phenomena of 2021. Debut single Chaise Longue crept up on an unsuspecting alt-music world this summer and took over. Wet Dream is another slice of art rock to make you blush and, with it, the Isle of Wight duo’s grip on the music scene remains secure.

A bit like a female led Franz Ferdinand with the effrontery of Peaches, vocalist Rhian Teasdale pokes fun at the highbrow pretensions, or maybe the wincing sleaziness, of a bloke who declares he seduced her in a seedy fantasy with boasts of owning a DVD copy of Vincent Gallo and Christina Ricci film Buffalo ‘66. It seems this indie phenomena may have many more danceable, cringeworthy scenarios to share with us yet.

Want to read more?
Check out our review for Wet Leg’s debut – Chaise Longue.

Myles Morgan – Ikywc

Myles Morgan’s influences are vast. On the face of it you could presume he was another gunslinger with a guitar, but ‘Ikywc’ contains a whole breadth of styles. The five-minute track is underpinned by a flute and saxophone jazz symphony while Myles’ vocals are Jeff Buckley singing Jamie T, coming to terms with the fact that his lover is not going to come over (Ikywc means I Knew You Wasn’t Coming, btw).

In the same vein as artists like Jack Penate, Morgan’s style steps up with each release. Ikywc is his fourth single – 2017’s debut Circles showcased a Sufjan Stevens sound, Fool took a lo-fi minimal turn, Left Here was drenched in layers of Editors guitar. The jazz-indie of Ikywc is further forward momentum and we cannot wait to hear what the London singer will come up with next.

Sprints – How Does The Story Go?

Karla Chubb has no more fucks left to give. She’s simply done, with a partner who sounds quite frankly a bit of a headfuck. And thankfully she’s the frontwoman of Sprints, a band who can muster her up a cutting, chiming post-punk backing of a track to deliver the message to said headfuck that she’s packing up and moving on. A backing she can use to emphatically declare to said headfuck that she really isn’t fine!

In the process the Dublin band manage to create a triumphant elegy to upping and leaving a toxic situation and a damn fine song for you to shout along to next time you’re just as pissed off. Out right now on Nice Swan records.