As winter darkness slowly starts to lift, Getintothis’ Roy Bayfield finds light and shade in the landscape of singles.
Single of the Week
Pip Blom – Daddy Issues
Right now we’re living in the fuzzed-up gorgeousness that is Pip Blom’s moment, with an album coming out on Heavenly (Boat, to be released at the end of May) a tour of Europe (last seen at Birkenhead) and a growing reputation for infectious tune-creation. Daddy Issues is a driving garagey mini-epic with a chorus as emotive and compelling as all the pop there ever was. Judging by this single the Dutch indie outfit will have an irresistible 2019.
Eyesore & the Jinx – On an Island
Eyesore & the Jinx’ abrasive exciter On an Island deals out a no-bullshit garage-level view on the Brexit-ravaged landscape. The lyrics are a curt and pitiless poem listing pointless socially-mediated splintered-off roles – ‘body shamers, social climbers, empty actors’ – reduced to existing as mere ‘surface dwellers on an island’. It’s like like a bleakly funny inversion of Reasons to Be Cheerful set in a half-closed-down windswept shopping mall. Musically Eyesore & the Jinx show some Fall and Parquet Courts influences but the music – listen to the Beefheartian rambling guitar after the sublime two-note break – is totally them.
Lambchop – Everything for You
Tender and somewhat melancholy, Everything for You is the second single to be released from forthcoming Lambchop album This (is what I wanted to tell you). The current incarnation of the Nashville-based country-soul musonauts comprises Kurt Wagner, bassist Matt Swanson, and pianist Tony Crow. The song, which Wagner trails as being “a collection of imperfections on the road to a better day,” spins its intimate tale in some strangely spacious trippy lounge on the distant outskirts of country.
The Parrots – Cigarette Burns
Madrid’s garage noisebringers The Parrots start their ramshackle assault on 2019 with Cigarette Burns, a riotous three minutes and two seconds that scatters its gruff joy around an irresistible looping riff. The instructions on the packet read “People grow, the city shrinks, love is like a wave, hits you again and again… fight against the predictable or fall into boredom, don’t give in to the meaninglessness of some relationships and take control of your own decisions.” The band are now in a full US tour and an album from Heavenly is in the works.
Penelope Isles – Chlorine
Penelope Isles bring the dreamy wooze in Chlorine, the single from their forthcoming album on Bella Union. Wistful yearning gives way to soaring guitars and a weirdly destabilising end section in this expansive and hypnotic DIY track. Described as ‘Isle-of-Man-via-Brighton’, this is a band who are never based too far from a seaside pier and – like those strange fun-palaces jutting into the sea – their bright charm has a melancholy undertow.
Property – Jumping Off
London-based four-piece Property deliver an urgent, fractured take on urban life in post-punk noisemaker Jumping Off. Anguished vocals and driving, shrill guitar pull us through a flickering slideshow of a cosmopolitan existence that’s in contact flux. A song to discard your Oyster card to. An interesting band with live shows coming up in March (London, Glasgow) and April (Liverpool).
Emilie Kahn – Will You?
Will You? is a song that shimmers quietly but beautifully on the threshold of life and death, the second single to come from Montreal singer-songwriter-harpist Emilie Kahn‘s second album Outro, due out February 22nd. It’s a lush evocation of end-of-life entropy, the sad sound of existence dissolving (with a harp – this is what it might actually sounds like when the time comes.)
Joni Void – Dysfunctional Helper
Time for some plunderphonic electronica. Dysfunctional Helper comes from forthcoming album Mise En Abyme, which is that thing where a copy of an image is placed within itself, again and again so it looks like an infinite sequence. Simultaneously absorbing and disturbing, Dysfunctional Helper features found sound and a female voice layered and layered, into a track that builds powerfully to create an introspective kind of beauty.
Boy Harsher – LA
Boy Harsher’s LA layers yearning synths around propulsive beats to produce a compelling slice of electronic melancholia. They’re billed as being ‘morose pop’ and there is indeed a bit of a ‘Lost half a crown and found a sixpence’ atmosphere about this one – don’t put on the turntable if you’re expecting a jolly knees-up.
Daniel Johnston – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Grievances
Fun though they are, there’s a bit of an undercurrent of despair and melancholy in this crop of singles: Brexit, parental issues, overhanging loneliness, infinite abysses, becoming an empty shell…
So here’s a song that prescribes a remedy for sadness and struggle: ‘do yourself a favour / become your own saviour and… Don’t let the sun go down on your grieviance’ sings cult outsider artist Daniel Johnston on this 1983 reissue. Sound advice from the Austin Texas lower-than-lo-fi DIY genius.
Third Lung – Sooner or Later
Let’s finish with a party to dispel any last residue of wintry blues. Sooner or Later is joyous, anthemic ROCK from Reading four-piece Third Lung, its grungy crunchiness is undersold by the video but don’t let that put you off if you want some growly optimism in your ears. Full EP to follow next month.