Like a day of mad weather with sunshine, clouds, wind, and rain, recent releases are a strange and sometimes delightful mixture. Getintothis’ Roy Bayfield scans the horizon to find the good stuff.
Single of the Week
Nova Twins – Devil’s Face
Nova Twins unleash a bass-heavy blitz on Devil’s Face, a lurching attention-getter that’s raw, raucous and beautiful. London duo Georgia South and Amy Love’s swaggering sound is such an individual creation that it defies categorisation.
21st-century grime-infused punk bursting from a musical universe that includes The MC5 and Rihanna, the Nova Twins’ sound is a fierce and fantastic force.
Punching hard for unity and diversity, these powerful women are getting everywhere over the coming months with a string of appearances including international festivals, support slots with Prophets of Rage and a UK headline tour in September.
The Juan Maclean – Get Down (With My Love)
Like the ghost of Donna Summer haunting a shopping mall, Get Down (With My Love) is clean, spacey and distantly soulful. This squeaky, squirting banger is a brand new track from a forthcoming compilation album featuring six years’ worth of 12” singles re-edited and remastered, due out in September: The Brighter the Light.
Blood Cultures – Best for You
This single from ‘anonymous psych/pop artist’ Blood Cultures comes with a manifesto, as if the release is a revolutionary movement in art or politics. The manifesto sets out the rationale for keeping themselves hidden from view: ‘We choose to be the blank canvas. We want our listeners to find their own significance in the pieces by looking inwardly and seeking the answers within themselves rather than from us…’
Setting aside these mystery-forming moves, the record is a compelling, destabilising, multilayered affair – staccato pomp falsetto backing vocal drives an electric, soulful collage. Bonkers and brilliant, the single comes from forthcoming second album Oh Uncertainty! A Universe Despairs.
The Paranoyds – Girlfriend Degree
As the season for uni graduation ceremonies begins, how about a single referencing an academic qualification? Girlfriend Degree is that record – though the degree in question is being shredded and stomped on in this three-minute segment of garage feminism. Slackly enticing and fuzzily camp there’s a hint of Akron sound and The B-52s in this demolition of domestic second-best lives. The Paranoyds are an LA DIY four-piece with a debut album Carnage Bargain due out in September on Suicide Squeeze.
Pijn & Conjurer – High Spirits
The often dark and doom-laden world of metal might not seem the obvious place to look for an uplifting, blissful and summery tune, but here we are. High Spirits is an epic collaboration between two young British bands, a massive anthem of positive philosophy roared over earth-moving riffs. ‘At last, I’ve learned to live inside all of this beauty, and bask in the glow of high spirits!’ From Pijn & Conjurer‘s superbly titled collaborative album, Curse These Metal Hands.
the black watch – Mad
Google ‘the black watch band/music’ and you’ll find many stirring recordings by the band of the Black Watch regiment, featuring the martial sounds of bagpipes and drums recorded in parades and military tattoos. If that’s your thing, great! And to be fair they do have a rather fetching green and blue tartan.
But look closer and you’ll find the black watch, three decades of Anglophile indie goodness lovingly made by LA-based John Andrew Frederick and his collaborators. Mad is the latest offering, a wry emotive fuzzy gem taken from the black watch 17th album Magic Johnson.
Angie McMahon – And I Am a Woman
Australian solo artist Angie McMahon won a Grulke Prize at this year’s SXSW, tipping her as a notable developing act. The raw directness of this single, her expressive vocal range and distinctive lyrics confirm that she is definitely an artist to watch. And I Am A Woman is gutsy intimate storytelling, making a powerful statement, inspired by the inability of a guy on a dinner date to get what she was saying ‘about women feeling safe at gigs, in public spaces, and having a right to our own bodies.’ From debut album Salt coming in July.
Sigrid – Mine Right Now
Mine Right Now is an exuberant single from Norwegian pop star Sigrid, a fresh and expansive slalom of electropop. Not to enjoy it would be like sneering at a puppy. Apparently the making of the video was a ‘disaster’; the misfortunes involved in making it are explained in the video itself which you may find endearing, amusing or cutely annoying according to mood.
HUNJIYA – Give It / What I Get
HUNJIYA, AKA singer and producer Alice Kim, creates colourful spaces on soul/pop hybrid Give It / What I Get, follow-up to her debut EP Lineage. Warm vocals flow over uplifting synth and guitar figures in a song about turning on some self-care in dislocated times. The track jumps, switches, becomes a different song altogether but the whole thing is beautifully crafted to be effortless and graceful.
Newmoon – Let It End
Let It End is a dreamy melodic shimmerer from Belgium’s Newmoon, channeling 90s and 2000s indie to produce an anthemic adrenalin rush. The Antwerp-based five-piece have smoothed the edges off the racket of earlier releases, aiming for something ‘More Oasis, less My Bloody Valentine’ and arriving in Ride territory. A promising glimpse of a planned next album.
Grey Hairs – Tory Nurse
‘How can someone be a public sector punk in 2019?’ ask Nottingham ‘punk rock lifers’ Grey Hairs on new album Health & Social Care, reflecting on the daunting tasks involved in balancing ‘creative impulses against the commitments of impending middle age.’ Tory Nurse is a queasy off-kilter odyssey through a painkiller-dulled landscape of obscure threat. Best ‘burying a dead clown in the woods’ video seen this week.
Whiskey Myers – Die Rockin’
Meanwhile, in the escapist fantasy world of rock ‘n’ roll, the act of dying is still a romantic trope. ‘Gonna rock until I die / Gonna die rockin’’ sing Whiskey Myers on this Southern rock anthem. It’s good times rock doing its thing in fine style, grinding out the old school gratification. The East Texas exponents of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle in its undiluted legendary form release their self-titled, self-produced album in September on Snakefarm Records.