With festival season now just around the corner and our next Deep Cuts Live a week away, Getintothis bring a wave of fresh new music for your Spring playlists.
Being a consumer of music has changed a lot over the years. While gigs have remained largely the same, buying, owning and collecting recorded music has changed in ways that my teenage self would have thought were beyond the minds of even the most fantastical sci-fi writers. And where it goes next is likely to blow my mind even further.
But still at the root of it all is the music itself. A good song will shine through no matter what format is used as storage.
My own journey into collecting music started at the tender age of ten, when I bought a second hand copy of Atomic Rooster’s Tomorrow Night off a friend for 10p. Little did I know what a long path this simple transaction would lead me down. Other records followed in small doses; an Elton John single here, a Slade album there, but I was a long way from being a collector. Plus I had an older brother who would take care of that side of things and I could play his Bowie and Led Zeppelin albums when he was either out or in a good mood. When he left home at the tender age of 16, I inherited a ready made collection until he, rather selfishly, returned home one weekend and took them all with him. From then on I knew I had to fill the gaping void where his records once were.
Shortly after this, I was almost instantly converted to punk after buying Sex Pistol’s God Save the Queen, and here was a movement made for collecting records, with picture sleeves, coloured vinyl and a constant stream of new releases to fall in love with. At the time I got £2.50 a week pocket money: this converted nicely into a return ticket to Liverpool, entry into Eric’s and two 7” singles. My collection grew each week, buying records that now go on eBay for frightening sums of money.
When pocket money gave way to wages, I calculated how much of each pay packet I could devote to records. Albums were now affordable and not something to save up for or put on Christmas lists. The thing about record collection is that, apart from a bit of pruning now and again, they only get bigger. Each new record expands the collection and makes you more of a collector. Even during my spells on the dole I always thought that I’d rather have another record in my collection than a pound in my pocket.
Tracking down records that I missed/couldn’t afford when they were first released became a favourite pastime and many happy hours where spent in Probe, Scene of the Crime and Backtracks flipping through their racks. I developed my flipping technique and memorized album covers so I could work my way through records quicker.
Some records were of enormous importance, so much so that a trip into town was necessary to just pick one up, and I can well remember intently studying each new Smiths or Public Enemy album on the train home, as if I could somehow get the music to jump out of the grooves if I stared hard enough.
Moving house, already identified as a major source of stress in a person’s life, became a logistical nightmare as each time hundreds and hundreds of records and CDs had to be packed and unpacked and storage space had to be found.
I was dedicated to records, myself and a few friends measured our collections by length rather than by number. But then along came the mp3. Suddenly the amount of music that was available increased by an unimaginable amount. I was at Uni at the time and a few of us installed Napster on some of our PCs and downloaded ridiculous amounts of music, burning it to disc and taking it home, almost causing the University’s network to crash and buckle under the strain.
Then the unthinkable happened. I realise that I was mostly interested in hearing music. That it didn’t matter if it was on record, CD, cassette or on a computer. My records were going unplayed as I invested in tiny mp3 players and burned downloaded albums to disc. After another house move, my records were temporarily stored in the loft, and were still there five years later. I realised I could have sold them all for a very tidy profit, but that was one step too far. If I was going to lose them, they had to go to a good home, one where they would be played, and looked after and loved. So I gave them all away. About 2000 of them. They all went where they would be more appreciated than they were in my loft.
And the difference it has made to my listening habits is minimal. I listen to as much music as I ever have, I still buy albums, still go to gigs and still look out for new music. But what matters most is exactly that – the music. The rest is the trappings. Music still has the power to soundtrack your smiles and your tears and to remind you of all the times of your life.
Hopefully in the rest of this article you will find something that will do that for you now. Whether it’s on vinyl, CD, mp3 or streamed, the music is still there and it is still the case that good music will out. Banjo
The Wools – Heard It All Before
As the warmth of the sun begins to surface on the horizon, a fresh dose of Vitamin D has surfaced from Merseyside in the shape of slacker pop upstarts, The Wools. The quartet have recently released their debut single Heard It All Before and with it shattered any remnants of Winter’s bite.
Hazy melodies are awash throughout the track as it brings in elements of groove filled 60s soaked goodness, with dreamy harmonies that intertwine around luminous jangly guitar licks and create something instantly addictive.
For a group very much in their infancy, they sound years ahead of where they are and we can only wait with baited breath for their next offering. In the meantime, let this near three minutes of brilliance carry you on a tidal wave of daydreams.
- Craig MacDonald
Shy Billy – Shoelaces
For those not au fait with Shy Billy, you may well be familiar with their previous title, Lying Bastards, but despite the remodeling of their name, they are still very much the pulsating juggernaut we have all come to love and know, as latest track Shoelaces demonstrates.
Compellingly menacing, stabs of lof-fi garage rock guitar licks pierce into you as its sharp melodies take hold. Bold as it is broad, Shoelaces is a suckerpunch to the gut, with brutal rhythmic delivery that once again show the progression that Shy Billy continue to make.
With Henry Pulp’s animalistic vocals on scintillating form, not to mention a beat that would snap the Churchill dog in two, the group have delivered another mounted dose of fierce guitar laden rock to sink your teeth into.
- Craig MacDonald
Bye Bye Fishies – Hour Glass
You can’t really go wrong with a twangy guitar.
Mix that with a scuzzy Pavement-like buzz saw rhythm and a choppy tune that sticks in your head for days then you’re nearly there. Throw in laid back and wry vocals – vocals that have a distinct Alan Rickman-esque nonchalance underneath them – then you have it made. A sure-fire thing.
This is what Bye Bye Fishies have with Hour Glass. It’s a song that’ll find you humming at stray moments, when you least expect it. It’ll just pop into your head at random.
Way back in the day this would be the first track you’d stick on a C90 mix tape. Or maybe the third or fourth one. Build up to it. Friends would ask you ‘what’s that track, you know the one that goes…’ and you’d tell them it’s Hour Glass by Bye Bye Fishies.
Well, we might not be making mixtapes on cassette any more but still tell your friends about this one. They’ll forever be in your debt and be friends for life.
- Rick Leach
Wide Eyed Boy – Wolves
With Liverpool as their adopted home, Wide Eyed Boy have taken their diverse band line up and settled in the multi-cultural city. They have been working on their debut EP with Rich Turvey (who has worked with bands such as Blossoms and Darlia) and this combination has brought out a great sound from the band.
Their debut single Wolves creates a haunting vocal combined with the melody which has an electric quality of building tension reminiscent of 80s new wave. In the Indie new wave tradition the darker lyrics paired with the heavier distortion in melodies creates a great track in capturing a moment.
With a great single out and an EP on it’s way, Wolves is an indication of more to look forward to from Wide Eyed Boy.
- Jess Borden
Sink Ya Teeth – If You See Me
Sink Ya Teeth have dropped their debut single on 1965 Records, and it’s a blinder.
The Norwich duo of Maria and Gem have given us a track that’s excellently perched somewhere between ESG and Tom Tom Club, with superbly dreamy vocals. If You See Me positively bounces along, with sweeping synths floating above a rhythmic bassline and understated beat.
The duo are onto a winning combination of downbeat, intriguing lyrics against an post punk, minimalist and hypnotic production.
With their harmonic and almost ethereal combination of voices Sink Ya Teeth are a fascinating and exciting prospect right now – having been performing for over a year now. The band seem to be developing pretty quickly and may have found an ideal home at 1965.
- Chris Burgess
Denio – Cait
The latest from Liverpool four piece Denio is a clanging post-punk study in a sterilised test tube where Foals are shaken up with The Cure’s DNA.
Cait comes on as an dancefloor-oriented indie stomper mixing synthy Interpol-ish intrigue with a uniquely British radio-ready charm. It really has it all, crossbreeding dynamic drumming and jangling guitars with gang vocals, all polished to a scratchproof fine sheen.
Following recent shows in London, Denio are certainly in the ascendency, and you can expect them to crop up on local radars increasingly often. The quartet will go on to play a headline show of their own at Liverpool’s 24 Kitchen Street on Monday, May 1.
- David Hall
Hicari – Stellar
Hicari have made some big ripples around already having warmed up crowds at the Eithad stadium for football matches and provide energetic shows on several other occasions. Their new single Stellar attempts to capture that energy along with the glittery neon persona they emit on stage.
Stellar is a good representation of Hicari’s sound that is intelligent pop catering to a younger audience with its well-composed instrumental hooks and synth layers backing up catchy vocal lines that are garnished with romantic lyrical content which almost exhibits the innocence of a fairy tale fantasy. Add in a rhythm section that likes to rock out, and you get the energy the band’s fans are used to.
With its intelligent composition, consistent development of energy content and on-point voice acting in the vocal duet, Stellar proves to Hicari to be one band you wouldn’t mind finding your thirteen-year-old kid listening to.
- Amaan Khan
Sigrid – Plot Twist
Having burst onto the scene earlier this year with her debut single on Island Records, Don’t Kill My Vibe, Sigrid has further cemented her status as one of the most exciting rising stars in pop with her latest track Plot Twist.
Where the more understated sounds of Don’t Kill My Vibe earned the Norwegian youngster comparisons with Lorde, Plot Twist is just a straight up pop banger that feels ready made for the top of the charts.
Packing real punch with its electronic beats and sharp synths, what really makes the track stand out is Sigrid‘s vocals. She’s energetic, fresh and packed with attitude.
Sigrid is certainly a name we’ll be seeing more of in the future. Just remember you heard it here first.
- Adam Lowerson
Dialect – Monument Myths
“Made from a collage of field recordings, fm synthesiser improvisations and semi generative software jams, Loose Blooms is a weathered fossil of sound. One day our phones will be rocks” is the caption accompanying Dialect’s forthcoming record Loose Blooms, an album with a sound self described as ‘earth noise’.
Kicking off with sharp, stabbing string sounds reminiscent of Radiohead‘s Burn the Witch, the track warps and winds around your mind, bringing together a collection of discordant sounds. The result is quite disorientating to say the least.
It’s a world away from Andrew Hunt‘s more familiar work with Outfit, but is a sign of his creativity and diversity as a musician and composer. It’s ambient, chaotic and mesmerising, and well suited to the ‘earth noise’ description given, reflecting the ever noisier world that we live in.
- Adam Lowerson
The Racket – The White Ace
Widnes four piece The Racket can certainly make a lot of noise. But terrible puns aside, the indie rock newcomers are certainly creating a bit of a buzz, and with a sound recalling some of the most popular indie bands of the last decade, they’re certainly going to pick up a lot of fans.
Their latest single The White Ace feels like an instant festival favourite with it’s jangling guitar hooks, catchy melodies and raw energy. Despite the fact The Racket could well have been transported to us straight from 2005 when Libertines offsprings were commonplace, their tunes make them very likeable and it’s not hard to see them enjoying similar success to Circa Waves if they keep putting tunes out like this.
Up The Racket.
- Adam Lowerson
AGP – Hollywood
Armed with a decidedly surrealist video that opens with an almost Hockney-esque simplicity, AGP‘s latest tune, Hollywood, offers an understated lysergically-enhanced take on modern life and the emptiness that lies at its core.
With its layers of echo-laden guitars delivered with an almost phased dreaminess you’d be forgiven for being sucked into a lazy, druggy haze as the sound of foggy-headed, hangover-blurred, blinded-by the-sun mornings is effortlessly evoked. Yet its lyrics reveal a darker message, one of thwarted dreams in which creativity seems to be stifled, “I used to be a maker / but now I just wanna dream“. It’s a vision of eroding mental health where sleep finds victory over all efforts to wake up and face the day.
The powerful work contrasts the forlorn everyday with thoughts of sunshine-dappled Hollywood. It shines a light on our escapist desires for fame and fortune as a solution to our ills, the irony being that beneath Hollywood’s on-screen beauty lies a less sunny reality.
- Paul Higham