Pigeon Wigs – Death of a King

Cardiff’s most extravagant six-piece have graced us with their second proper single ‘Death of a King’. Although the pomp and hubris of debut single ‘Near The Knuckle’ is fully intact, their newest dispatch is, in Pigeon Wigs world anyway, a slightly more restrained affair. Wrapped around a spirited piano line and some brash saxophone blasts, at one point a full sax solo, the song proves that, although big glam statements are what Pigeon Wigs are all about, they can tone it down a notch if it suits the occasion, just like when Queen go all hushed in bits of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Pigeon Wigs debut EP ‘Rock by Numbers’ of which this is the first puzzle piece, will be released on 10th June.

The video for ‘Death of a King’ is another masterwork, based on the French Revolution and featuring a food fight between King Louis XVI and a couple peasants, as well as Mary Antoinette buried under and eating loads of cakes. It’s here to watch below:

Krush Puppies – Love Kills The Demons

If ‘Love Kills The Demons’, then this song will have a fair crack at taking out the oppressive blighters as well. South Londoners Krush Puppies have turned the vibrato-fuzz up and peppered their latest track with flutes and an empowering message to fool the ghouls out of the netherworld with an ethereal three chord ditty before sending them straight back from whence they came. Like Warpaint with a covert sense of humour and an overt sense of hope and effects pedals.

Krush Puppies are newly signed to Sports Teams’ Holm Front records. ‘Love Kills The Demons’ is the title track of their recently announced ‘Love Kills The Demons’ EP – for release on 6th May 2022 – a limited edition pastel pink 12” version of which is available to pre-order. The track listing is:

1. Throw Me On The Fire
2. Love Kills The Demons
3. Why
4. Everybody Wants To Be A Cowboy

The video was filmed on a £30 budget and is based on the symbolic concept of love conquering demons via adult baptism, replete with a creepy zombie Christian rock band at the end. We’ve included it below for you to take a look:

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Backhand Deals

Like us, you may have been bracing yourself for a highly sexed, 70s prog-rock inspired, throwback debut LP from Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, but the little wonder of an album they’ve pulled out the bag is a far different thing.

Using glam and psychedelic rock tricks from T-Rex to Slade, the Cardiff boys have coupled up traditional corduroy and denim upbeat boogie stylings with political and cultural zeitgeist capturing lyrics. Now don’t get us wrong, charisma and confidence are still in plentiful supply, there are plenty of sassy, bolshy choruses, hip shaking verses, and so much confidence, in fact, that they have casually tossed aside some of their biggest scorers to date – past releases ‘Hollywood Actors’ and ‘John Lennon Is My Jesus Christ’ for starters, but in doing so they have put out into the world a cohesive and consistent contribution to the Welsh musical canon.

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard are (L-R) Zac White – guitar, Ethan Hurst – drums, Ed Rees – bass, Tom Rees – vocals and guitar.

Much of ‘Backhand Deals’ takes a wry look at current popular and consumer culture. The new aeon is witheringly dissected in ‘New Age Millennial Magic’, placing themselves in the shoes of a Western individual couched in luxury and convenience while the wider world festers. ‘Good Day’ takes a look under the cover of toxic positivity and the odds forever stacked in favour of the richest kids, and so the topics go, keeping firmly on the side of the disadvantaged majority trying to make their way in a world of privilege, gleefully suggesting on buoyant rouser ‘Break Right In’ that the beaten and downtrodden “go for a good old smash and grab” in the “nearest hardware store or Ikea shop floor” but keeping it considerate and only rioting after closing time.

‘Backhand Deals’ is no throwback, retro-obsessed record. It does take solid cues from rock music committed to vinyl several decades ago, but Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard polish those sounds up and breathe new life into them, infusing them with the libido, turmoil and social conscience of the twenty-first century. Brand spanking good as new.

‘Backhand Deals’ was released on 25th February 2022 and is available to stream and buy NOW. Head over to the Official Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard store for a whole bunch of dazzling bundles you can buy. We’ve included the band’s latest video – Good Day below for your visual and audial entertainment.

Drool – Teenage Skin

Written by Laura Day

Drool’s long awaited single, ‘Teenage Skin’, comes off the back of successful UK shows and follows their ‘Runaway EP’ released June 2021. And, as always, the boys have smashed it.

‘Teenage Skin’ is a beautiful sonnet dedicated to nostalgic yearnings for youth. However, more than that, it acknowledges the emotional complexity of the human experience in general. The depth of feeling is captured in a dreamy track which transports the listener to their most treasured times.

In a musical genre which often prefers to hide vulnerability behind defensive retorts, Drool bare all. They weave delicate layers of musical melody around the words which confess the difficulties in sharing ‘what’s gone wrong, waiting for some ears to prick up and hug you and make you at home.’ Surely this echoes the longing we’ve all felt during the past two years alone.

Teenage Skin solidifies Drool as a band who are robustly astute with an intuitive talent for communicating emotional depth in both lyric and melody. All this, without compromising the feeling of good old rock and roll. This is no easy feat. If anything, it proves to be a refreshing departure from what we’ve come to recognise as being at the heart of modern music. In sum, this is a song that needs to be listened to but, ultimately, demands to be felt.

Drool are playing their next gig in London on 31st March 2022 at The Victoria in Dalston and there’s still time to bag yourself a ticket. You can view the wonderfully emotive video for Teenage Skin, filmed on location at Brighton Pier, below:

Florence + The Machine – King

After her magickal second album ‘Ceremonials’ and the monumental ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’, Florence + The Machine’s fourth album ‘High As Hope’ hit a little lower against a personal, fragile line. ‘King’, then, is Florence Welch back up at her full-throated, anthemic greatest.

The song has all the burning heart emotion of a coming of age teen movie centrepiece but battles a very adult theme – a woman’s stark sacrifice of self, and potentially her art, to take on the identity of mother and wife. Amongst ritualistic drums, clashes of cymbals, quivering harp and violins whipping up into a frenzy, Florence finally declares “I need my golden crown of sorrow, my bloody sword to swing, I need my empty halls to echo with grand self-mythology – cos I am no mother, I am no bride, I am King”.

Welch’s album number 5 is yet to be officially titled and no release date has been announced, but it seems like it could be another solid classic. ‘King’ was written by Florence Welch with Jack Antonoff of Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift, Lorde and Bleachers fame but is probably the least Jack Antonoff sounding song he has been a part of yet. You can find the single’s Autumn de Wilde directed video below:

Dead Freights – Hey Hatred

Lurching from out of the shadows into yet more darkness, Dead Freights come fresh from supporting The Libertines on tour, headlong into the launch of their first official single on Gary Powell’s 25 Hour Convenience Store label – ‘Hey Hatred’.

Seething with blood-curdling tension, the record’s gothic, bass-heavy rumble and dark lyrical imagery tap into a dangerously moody, sexual vein with a collection of twisted stream of consciousness lines like the slinky allusions: “I was mocked, fleeced, drugged like a beast, I have jealousy tainting my memories and pricking my needles” and “I smile like Hitler in hell, like Jesus in jail” that go on to make way for a savage, animalistic breakdown before the careening guitars cut short for a curt and unapologetic ending.

Dead Freights have proven themselves to be a nefariously mesmerising live act and Hey Hatred is the full realisation of their brooding performance on record. As if to reiterate the group’s live dexterity, the b-side is the previously mailing list-only studio performance of ‘Bat Man’, reviewed by us previously

Both tracks are available to stream everywhere now.

Cat SFX – Rodeo

Like the rest of us, Cat Speranza is pissed off at the state of the world. Unlike the rest of us, she has a podium to stand on and preach. And, by God, she is using it well! Cat SFX are lead singer Caterina Speranza, guitarist Giancarlo Mariani, bassist Jacob Morris, drummer Gordon Mills and together, on established live favourite ‘Rodeo’, they channel their inner Sleater-Kinney, bolstered with sharp political observation and a rollocking chorus declaration of hard-headed, defiant, punkish skepticism.

If you’re curious to hear the song in all it’s live glory, Cat SFX are regular performers at the legendary Death Disco, Notting Hill Arts Club, London and are next booked in to play on Tuesday 8th March along with Ray Noir and Cape Orange.

Bandicoot – Early in the Morning / Mynedfeydd

‘Early in the Morning’ wakes up slowly. As gentle keyboards softly ease us in, vocalist Rhys Underdown coos our eyes open as he describes his lover rousing to consciousness after slumber. Delicate chiming guitar builds stronger and more echoey, taking the song up to a cathartic crescendo as the singer’s croon grows more emphatic, eventually totally ecstatic as he declares to the now completely conscious sweetheart “I saw you in a dream” and the song kicks into a full rhapsody. Then, boom, it’s over. The keyboards are gentle again, and we’re drifting back to sleep.

If you want a more succinct summarisation, think The Velvet Underground’s ‘Sunday Morning’, but energised and celebratory instead of stoned.

And no-one’s staying asleep for long, because b-side ‘Mynedfeydd’ is a sub-two minute, fully charged welsh language adrenalized wavy rocker that you’re gonna need to be well strapped in for.

There’s a lush little video for ‘Early in the Morning’ filmed in Roath Park in Cardiff and you can watch it below. Bandicoot’s long awaited album ‘Black After Dark’ is coming out on 4th March and we can’t wait to hear it. You can pre-order it on vinyl by tapping here.

The Alphabetamines – Drink Too Much

The ‘Drink Too Much’ picture starts serenely with a short section of lulling strings, but very quickly mayhem ensues. Drums and gritty guitar tumble in as Natasha Sparkes realises all is not well in the Alphabetamines camp and she’s pushed to the point of screaming ferociously at frontman Adam Edwards about his out of control imbibation.

The Alphabetamines second single is a snapshot of Adam’s journey to sobriety and looks back over the devastating effect alcoholism can have on a young fledging rocker’s potential. The singer’s gravelly growl veers between regaling dizzying highs and bitter self loathing as his fiancée begs on the side lines for him to snap out of it. Thankfully we know the story ends well but The Alphabetamines expert rockabilly punk craftsmanship puts you back in the midst of Edwards’ most haywire years all the same.

‘Drink Too Much’ was released on January 21st 2022. The video sees the group grappling with sanity in the middle of a grand, dilapidated mansion house and you can watch it by tapping below:

Stone – Stupid

Their social media bios state they’re “Post Apocalyptic Scally Rock” and I admit to only just stumbling across them seconds before writing this review here, but if first impressions count for anything this sounds like a bob on description of Stone’s latest track ‘Stupid’.

This is The La’s playing Happy Mondays, with a chorus like Oasis but heavier and weirder, administering a solid, hard punch to the jaw of those who would underestimate the Liverpool lads through the ballsy, straight-up chant “You think I’m stupid, I’m not so stupid”, their taunts drifting and bobbing around in layer upon layer of droning, heart-pausing guitar.

Stupid’ is the fifth single from Stone and was released on 9th February 2022. It’s available on all the streaming outlets and we’ve included the song’s video below as a little treat for your ears: