The K’s – Picture

One of the perils of 21st Century living, when you’re casually, nonchalantly scrolling through the instagram account of an old partner and, horror of horrors, your clumsy sausage fingers tap the screen on a picture from 36 weeks ago. You try to tap again to undo it but, in the fluster, end up sending over a second heart alert.

It’s such a painful scenario that The K’s have turned it into a hi-octane, dancefloor indie smash, part Panic! At The Disco, part Editors. Singer and rhythm guitarist Jamie Boyle tries to shrug off the whole debacle, hoping it’ll just make the girl smile, but in the next breathe confesses that it’s stopped him sleeping so really, Jamie, your aloofness isn’t fooling anyone!

You can listen to The K’s latest stadium-sized indie anthem on Spotify, below, and if you want you can catch them on tour they have a string of appearances through the rest of this year and into the start of next. Visit The K’s website for more details.

The Mysterines – The Bad Thing

The Mysterines keep hitting higher and higher heights of lowdown dark and gritty garage rock. In ‘The Bad Thing’, the Liverpool four-piece plumb their deepest depths yet. Frontwoman Lia Metcalfe, in a jaded, baying serenade, imagines digging up a long-dead lover from the grave in order to commit some nefarious deed. A slow burning single starting with slow distorted, echoey guitars, the song accelerates in the style of Patti Smith’s Gloria, eventually evolving into a churning rock’n’roll ball of riffs, heavy bass and frantic drums as Metcalfe wonders incredulously “Who in their right mind/ would do the shit you’re asking?”, seemingly now becoming disturbed by her own crooked fantasy.

‘Reeling’, the debut album from The Mysterines, will be released on 11th March 2022 via Fiction Records.

The Bug Club – Pure Particles

The most delectable thing about ‘Pure Particles’ is it sounds as if The Bug Club have recorded their album with a cheap microphone and cassette machine, so lo-fi that it has been designed to sound best played through an old transistor radio. The second most delectable thing is the entire 9 song mini album is dusted and done in under 20 minutes, no drawn out and long guitar wankery here, ‘Pure Particles’ made up of pure, short and snappy pop songs, not unlike Moldy Peaches if they came from Caldicott, Monmouthshire instead of NYC.

Guitarist Sam Willmet and bassist Tilly Harris provide the garage rock duets and pepper their music with quick-witted accounts of daily humdrum life. Within those short 20 minutes, along with drummer Dan Matthew, they bring us a Velvet Underground inspired ‘My Baby Loves Rock’n’Roll Music’ (i.e the song. Possibly the genre too, but specifically the song), the only track to ever quote M-People’s ‘Proud’ alongside a skiffle solo in ‘Vegetable Garden’, a mix of raw speed-paced deadpan-punk in ‘The Fixer’ and light-hearted existentialism in ‘Pure Particles’, ‘If My Mother Thinks I’m Happy’ is an immense impression of Jonathan Richmond having a go at playing Squeeze and ‘A Love Song’ takes the time to mock Bob Dylan while also answering the question “How many times can you say fuck in a love song?” – you’ll have to give them a listen to get the answer. To bring the listener back down after a few minutes of high adrenaline, The Bug Club are wise enough to bring the LP to it’s terminus with a lullaby instrumental of the album’s title track.

‘Pure Particles’ has been out since 12th November 2021 on Bingo Records. The Bug Club have played a couple sessions with Marc Riley on BBC 6 Music and are going to be touring loads in the new year. Head over to their bandcamp now to find out all you need to know about them and if you want to buy some stuff I’m sure they’d be chuffed.

Point A – Cross Me

Point A is alluringly mysterious. After her debut single ‘Cross Me’ appeared online at the far end of October a buzz set alight across certain reaches of the blogosphere and social media, fascinated with the composition’s strutting, self-assured confidence and determination – Point A’s own fusion of spoken word, rap and song articulating her ruthless certainty of large-scale success over modern day pop tune beats.

To add fuel to the fire of intrigue, the singer/songwriter has now put out a video to soundtrack her debut track, largely comprising footage of her carrying out day-to-day tasks in a humdrum semi-detached house before heading off to explore a curious old turret in some unspecified park, all while wearing a plague doctor’s beaked mask, her visage remaining obscured.

Point A’s new promo is being exclusively hosted over at The Songbird. Click the link to go and watch. You can also hear ‘Cross Me’ on Spotify, below.

Black Country, New Road – Concorde

The ascent to lofty heights of indie success for Black Country, New Road has been swift. Since forming in 2019 as part of the Brixton Windmill scene, they have already received massive acclaim from all and sundry and put out a highly revered eight track debut album ‘For The First Time’. A few short months later, the seven-person strong troupe has returned with a selection of songs from their next record, ‘Ants From Up There’, the latest of which is ‘Concorde’.

For BC, NR, known for their clash of classically trained musicianship, meandering jazz and alternative guitar, ‘Concorde’ is, believe it or not, a restrained, orthodox song. Singer Isaac Wood’s voice hits somewhere between The National’s Matt Berninger and Conor Oberst, his words contemplating grief, the song careening between quiet verse and loud chorus, with saxophone flitting in and out of the mix.

When, for other bands, the song might have ended at the 3 minute 20 mark, there’s a short lull and a delicate mandolin break as Wood has some tender, confessional words for the object of the song’s attention before, in more familiar BC, NR style, the track builds to a grand, orchestral end.

If you like what you hear, new LP ‘Ants From Up There’ comes out on 4th February 2022.
Before that date comes you may be able to catch them live, as they’re currently touring.
For more information on the album’s release and to try to find a tour date that’s not yet sold out, head over to Black Country, New Road’s website – click here.

Spector – I’m Not Crying You’re Crying

Spector’s third studio album, the appropriately titled ‘Now or Whenever’, has been delayed for months after its original October release date, with blame laid firmly at the door of the current vinyl shortage, but to keep us attentive the London lads have been drip feeding us a stream of classic singles.

Keyboard led ‘I’m Not Crying You’re Crying’ is the latest instalment, a sense of foreboding hangs about as the group adopt a Tame Impala flair. Fred Macpherson’s singing approaches Flaming Lips vocalist Mark Coyne pitch during the levitating chorus, as the lyricist considers the end of a seemingly doomed relationship in the haunting couplet “I’ve been having nightmares/ wishing they’d come true”.

The brilliant video for the track is a happy leap from the song’s solemn sound with Macpherson and synth/guitarist Jed Cullen appearing with puppet doppelgängers (created by Evelinka Puppets) in scenarios and tourist spots about the capital, including eating an eggs benedict and iced coffee breakfast, travelling about on an open top bus and getting squiffy on bottles of Asahi.

You can find the video below and, hopefully, ‘Now or Whenever’ will be released on 7th January 2022 via their own label, Moth Noise. If you want to pre-order a copy in a range of formats, bundles and a host of other merch you should definitely click here.

Horsegirl – Billy

Chicago noise-pop trio Horsegirl make shoegaze indiepop music like Kevin Shields writing songs for Belle & Sebastian. Billy is a largely uncomplicated record with rolling drums, a fuzzy, repeating guitar chime and Penelope Lowenstein’s simple, lazy backing vocals. Yet Nora Cheng’s deliciously impassive vocals flip the track into a filmic dimension when she tells us about a day in the life of a misanthropic character named Billy, a story that the band, who have an age range between 17-19 years and are fanatics of underground 1980s and 1990s alternative music, have said is “a love letter to past music scenes we wish we could have witnessed”.

Photo Credit: Todd Fisher

Billy is Horsegirl’s first release on new label Matador records and only the fourth song of their gradually expanding collection. Watch the single’s homemade video below:

Turtle Park & Drego G – Peace of Mind

Pittsburgh, PA via Manchester, UK grunge pop maestros Turtle Park have bestowed on us their new EP, Peace Of Mind, this time specifically the creative work of members Addy P and Chicago’s Drego G. Addy P takes care of the complex beats and sings, as Drego G lends his distinctive, conscious rap to each and every solid pop gem, none of the songs clocking in over the three minutes fifty mark.

The songs mix into each other without a millisecond of inter track silence, taking off with ‘Casting’, a speedy, celebratory number recalling making it out of their home town and manifesting success. ‘Tell Me What To Do’ is some brief breathing space respite, slowing down proceedings before ‘Remember When’, the collection’s shining jewel, eases us back up with a softer, partial love song, as Drego observes the rhyme “I devised a perfect plan for you and I to touch the sky/ feel like Kanye in his prime” and Addy delivers a brilliant emotionally lilting verse “clearly you see/ I can’t be a reject/ I want you so badly/ but you will not have me” over incessant, shuddering deep bass beats.

‘Til We Could Drive’ takes us back to their early teens in Pittsburgh, a sparser track about getting out of the city, even if only for a while on a bus. ‘Peace Of Mind’ is led by Drego G, bleaker but the EP’s central focus, with sped up vocals and an atmospheric classic rock guitar break. The following track considers the rough and grind of life before collapsing into a rage filled diatribe of “fuck that, fuck that, fuck that, FUCK THAT”, as ‘I’m a Stone’ tops off the record with ice cold pitched up vocals, seamlessly merging hip hop, grunge and pop.

As proven on Peace of Mind, Turtle Park are becoming ever more accomplished and adventurous with each release, so right now is an essential time to get onboard.

The band finally have a couple live shows lined up over the next two weeks: Blues Kitchen, Manchester, Sunday 5th December and Below The Bridge X-Mas Sprecial all-dayer at The Thirsty Scholar, Manchester, Saturday 11th December.

Check out our interview with Turtle Park from earlier in November and hear the Peace of Mind EP below.

Evan Williams – When The Shutters Rise Again

Strap Originals Two-Parter: Part 2 – Last Friday, 26th November, Strap Originals released two fantastic new singles – Vona Vella – Rainy Days and Evan Williams – When The Shutters Rise Again, and we’re bringing you reviews of them both. In the second instalment, we bring you Evan Williams – When The Shutters Rise Again.

During the not-so-long-ago depths of COVID-19 lockdown, one meager optimistic hope was that some bloody good art might come from it. ‘When The Shutters Rise Again’ is one such creation.

Described by the label as “space-age cowboy punk”, East Kent singer-songwriter Evan Williams’ lyrics are a poetic outpouring of frustration and hope, both in the overt chorus encouraging the listener to love their neighbour a bit more when society gets back on track and the shrouded verses, containing theatric imagery of ballerinas with sore feet, dead colonels and blinded regiments. Williams sounds as if he takes his cues from The Libertines, Billy Bragg or The Smiths, with a catchy as fuck chorus and rampant guitar flourishes straight out of a classic spaghetti western.

Watch the song’s brand new lo-fi video right below:

Vona Vella – Rainy Days

Strap Originals Two-Parter: Part 1 – Last Friday, 26th November, Strap Originals released two fantastic new singles – Vona Vella – Rainy Days and Evan Williams – When The Shutters Rise Again, so we’re bringing you reviews of them both. First up, Rainy Days by Vona Vella.

Vona Vella’s second single, Rainy Days, is an expressive piano melody documenting the dying embers of a relationship. This time around the duo utilise harmonies in The Staves fashion with stripped back keys and Dan Cunningham’s haunting Nick Drake vocals take the lead. The words and melody imbue the song with a melancholy sadness, observing of an estranged partner “there’s no light in your eyes, you’re more like a rainy day”.

The austere video highlights Davis and Cunningham’s remarkable talent, with the pair performing in a vast music hall filled with grand pianos and nothing else. The video’s available to watch below.

Coming up tomorrow – Strap Originals Two-Parter: Part 2 – Evan Williams – When The Shutters Rise Again