Getintothis‘ Matthew Wood revels in a fresh collaboration from some old friends, tempts his sweet tooth with some melodic fuzz and strikes gold with a prolific shoegaze quintet.
Single of the Week
Mild High Club – Skiptracing
Jazz studies major, all round musical perfectionist and Mild High Club founder Alexander Brettin marks his return with the title track from the band’s upcoming second album, Skiptracing.
A simple pattern of deliciously warped chords and a scintillating jazz-ride beat kickstart the track, but it doesn’t take long for the song to take a quick detour to dabble in some salsa-infused rhythms; the transition is flawless.
For those of you who’ve heard Haruomi Hosono’s perfect 1978 album, Pacific, you’ll no doubt note similarities in it’s all round pleasantness, giving you the feeling that nothing could possibly go wrong while you’re hearing this track. One of the most mellow solos you’ll hear tops off the track, and you can’t help but envision a beach shack and the accompanying ebb and flow of the gentle tide.
Oh yeah, the album artwork is wicked, also.
Lungs – Seagulls
Minimalist in its approach, Seagulls bounces on a buoyant beat and rides smoothly on savoured chord strokes while a superior vocal towers over the simple construction. The track titters on the edge of light and dark; one chord shimmers, and a later stroke is it’s binary opposite, but it’s the lyrical prowess that is stand out in this track- recalling baritone greats Ian Curtis and Paul Banks (Interpol).
Made up of former members of The Courteeners and Bicycle Thieves, Lungs are from from new to the music game and this cleverly crafted track emulates their experienced approach. It’s tight, slick and fantastically disciplined, the later stages of the track see it elate to a higher level joined by a sweet riff that closes the track, leaving a mark for things to come.
EDEN – Drugs
EDEN will charge you with emotion I guarantee it. Whether you become disappointed when the cool opening guitar chords fade ; or maybe you scream ‘I’m a fucking mess sometimes‘ along with him because you can totally relate to it; or maybe you’re just a sucker for the strobe-lit atmosphere he creates. EDEN makes flipping powerful music.
Vocally, it’s a squeeze of Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange and a more coherent Drake laid over a hectic track that brings to mind sweaty warehouses and behaviour that can only be permitted when the lights are strobe.
Cowtown – Tweak
Aptly named Yorkshire dwellers, Cowtown, produce a brand of D.I.Y. punk that packs a softer punch than some, but its a skilfully executed punch no doubt.
Quick-fire bursts of snare and rapid chord interplay nod to the classic, legendary punk of Black Flag, while the track is given a more playful edge by youthful vocals and infectious ‘ohweyohs‘.
The band race through an influx of melody and squeeze in a token pause and some rumbling tom-tom fills in a mere 1 minute 32 seconds – well worth your time.
Palm Honey – Bones
Palm Honey are an NME lover’s dream; oozing and dripping with that sickly sweet guitar sound that’s often favoured by the younger generation (think Peace and Swim Deep), while the veteran music lover would turn their nose up at it like they would a Brain Licker or a WKD Blue.
However, that is not to say Palm Honey are as repulsive as a blue concoction of E numbers: Bones is a quality track. A warm fuzz pervades the track creating an appetising backdrop, while punchy drums and twangy riffs fizz and pop throughout.
The chorus is stand out, breaking into something a bit less rigid, letting those chords ring and sounding a lot like the talented psych act, Splashh. So while they may not be a fine wine or a glass full of class, their glass is brimming with potential, melodic fuzz and a young, gig hungry fan base.
The Wicked Whispers – If I Set You Free
Here stands the marvellous single from a double A side you’re gonna want to wrap your claws around. The splendid psych-crazed Scousers, The Wicked Whispers, expertly weave kaleidoscopic tapestries that borrow distinct patterns from classic Kinks and shimmer in the mesmerising fashion of current psych pioneers, Temples.
A jangly, surf-tinged riff opens the track, joined by a subtle synth that provides a solid undercurrent, allowing those strings to ring and resound gracefully giving the track a texture that is a sumptuous as it is powerful. Vocally it’s crisp and eloquently written, again bringing to mind the mastermind James Bagshaw but these guys are far from copy cats; their sound is distinct and the buzz surrounding these guys is not undeserved.
That’s right, it gets better; tour dates! For those of you heading to the Coral curated Skeleton Coast Festival you’d be daft to miss these fellas but otherwise get your tickets for the single launch at Buyers Club on October 21 now!
Flying Ibex – Away From My Mind
An iconic, Bowie-esque synth wobble repeats throughout London’s Flying Ibex latest track, marking a distinctly funky return.
Away From My Mind is certainly a box ticker; it’s pounding beat is strong and danceable, vocally it is smooth and brimming with harmony, and a dark bass line imposes itself amongst the tamer psych elements holding up a sign reading ‘If you want to dance, follow me’… probably.
Keep your ear to Best Laid Plans Records for more funk infused psych!
Heavy Heart – Fruitfly
Being a Heavy Heart fan in 2016 is like having a birthday every month. The London quintet have been releasing a track every month and the mathematicians amongst you will have figured out that July’s is the band’s 7th of the year, and by far my personal favourite.
Fruitfly is a no nonsense taste of kraut infused shoegaze that sounds somewhere between the blissful Slowdive and a Sonic Youth that adhered to some pop conventions in a parallel universe. The track glides along magnificently, lyrically grueling yet musically soothing; I can’t wait to hear next month’s track.
Thom Sonny Green – Preach
I can only describe this one as what I’d imagine a touchy-feely book for your ears would sound like, you can literally feel Thom Sonny Green’s musical concoction wriggling through your ear canal and tickling your cerebral cortex.
For those of you who don’t know, Green is also the mesmeric percussion element in that band Alt-J, whom you may have heard of. In this project, Green seems to have tossed aside the sticks and turned to creating rhythm via keys and samples. Preach works on a plodding beat, while swirling synths warp and groove, becoming a percussive element in themselves.
His debut album, High Anxiety, is out this August and you can preorder yourself a copy now!
Massive Attack (feat. Hope Sandoval) – The Spoils
Sometimes collaborations become a little bit hard for the human mind to fathom, you see two names separated by a plus sign, and then your eyes move along past the equals sign and the mind just seems to malfunction, wondering what on earth that is going to sound like, and whether it is potentially going to change your life.
For me this was the case with Massive Attack and Mazzy Star vocalist Hope Sandoval the first time they collaborated back in 2010 with Paradise Circus. I thought the outcome, was, well, spectacular. Fast forward six years and the dream becomes reality once more.
The Spoils is beyond beautiful, Sandoval’s vocal can melt a heart as quickly as it can sew it back together and the accompanying track is a deeply sentimental, colossal overflow of strings that may induce tear flow for some, you’ve been warned.
Amethysts – My Love
It’s hard not to draw similarities between this band’s name choice and the nature of their new single. Amethysts, those alluring precious stones, shrouded in myth and mystery, said to prevent intoxication. My Love is a track glowing with elegant clusters of delightful pop that soothe and stimulate with the purest of sounds.
Aside from the obvious precious stone comparisons, this is a seriously stunning track; the duo’s vocal capacity is a perfect match for their dream pop elements. Refusing to play it safe, the lavish guitar licks add a texture to the track, separating it from many supposed dream-pop acts, who just can’t quite get that dreamy texture.
Amethysts have got that texture down, whether or not they were hoping to imitate an amethyst itself, they’ve done a pretty good job of doing so.