As the Getintothis crew get set for a week of gigs, an EP launch and a night of good old fashioned Krautrock with 10 000 Russos, we had a quick scan of the horizon for some brand new releases.
It is hardly surprising that as new music editor at Getintothis HQ I can get caught up in music rather a lot.
I’m immersed in it as a result of a passion that we on this site, and our readers alike, share for it.
But it’s easy to lose sight of it being just one element of the wider artistic sphere.
With this in mind, I have over the past few months been keen to explore an area that has excited me for a good while now.
It’s not one I haven’t touched at all, indeed at Getintothis’ Deep Cuts we have had performances of spoken word and poetry on several occasions.
Indeed, we’re joined by Jessica Cooke this coming Thursday at Phase One.
A taste, then, was enough to sharpen my interest.
It took me to The Jacaranda earlier this month, for October’s renewal of the monthly poetry night Give Poetry A Chance.
The often chaotic Jac Basement was on that night focused, as nine poets each took to the stage to recite original work based on everything from government abuse to south Liverpool bonfire night scraps in 1973.
Love, of course, family, friendship; over the course of the evening lines broke attentive silence to question and probe. And to inspire, too.
In truth, it exceeded expectations.
Jimmy Bongo and his tales of school canes and Thatcher’s Britain, Louise Evans‘ explorations of romantic, and not so, desires, Jo Dickins’ observations of grief. At times highly charged, at others plain funny – but at all times entirely inclusive.
Inclusive, primarily, in the sense that with barely a verse told; this first-time goer felt entirely comfortable, and very much part of this small monthly meetup that provokes so much emotion.
Perhaps the most notable spoken word artist in this city is Roy, whose La Violette Societa nights often feature himself and other artists like him.
There’s Amina Atiq, a Deep Cuts alumnus who was given a spotlight by BBC Radio 6 Music earlier this year.
The Everyman hosts an evening, often Leaf too, numerous communities part of one much larger that can, admittedly, be overlooked, if nothing else, I learned something this month.
It’s very much worthwhile to Give Poetry A Chance. – Lewis Ridley, new music editor.
The Sonder: Into The Light EP
Fresh from headlining a packed out Jimmy’s for the EP’s launch party, relative newcomers The Sonder unleash their second release of the year, and they have come on leaps and bounds from the debut.
It’s four tracks show off the path down which they have chosen and is a collection of songs which wear their inspirations very much on its sleeves.
But they are in no way derivative or one-trick ponies.
Opener Knocking Down My Door makes good use of live gig footage on the intro, and although there’s stronger to follow, it perfectly sets the tone of the record.
An extra point for an excellent use of the word “scoff”. It manages to keep the catchiness at a high level.
As does Have Mine. It is probably the most mature sounding of the four tracks and would fit perfectly on Dodgy’s Homegrown album with its summery verse and strong, singalong chorus.
The only mis-step would be the sequencing of the EP, you have to wait longer for the better songs, instead of going straight at it from the off.
The best track of the lot is Is It Any Wonder, a simple yet effective ditty, a Mavers vocal with some very early Marr-esque swirls.
It would be very easy for The Sonder to rip-off their influences wholesale, as so many young bands fall foul of doing, but they add so much of their own character to it that they will no doubt soon be an influence to others.
A great leap forward. – Steven Doherty
The Merchants: Demos
It’s a big moment, one such as this. When a band you have followed live pack their music up off stage, and open it to listeners worldwide. After a summer which saw them play their first half-dozen gigs, The Merchants have this month given us the first sound of their work in the studio in the form of a collection of demo tapes.
Five tracks appeared a couple of weeks back, as the fourpiece set their eyes on developing on impressive live performances across Liverpool.
An opener, or at least what SoundCloud decided should be, kicks off in the form of the at-first-melancholic Forbidden Fruit. Here, vocalist Harry Bowness takes the lead an exposes his lyrics, before the track develops into a different beast and ascends over a bridge to a riff-led anthem. A five and a half minute one, too.
Take Control does, and to a different area of The Merchants‘ work, jazzed up and well in the groove, just two tracks in we can form the opinion that they’re no one-trick ponies.
Hostile and no rest at half-time, bouncy and fizzing with energy it would make even the hardest to please fighting a reluctant toe-tap. Castro comes next, perhaps sounding the most polished and single-ready of the fistful – it’s the track that turned this writer’s head at District in August, I was joined and will continue to be so.
By the time Glum Struck Fool arrives, it’s hard to imagine a band that would have been able to better build on their early victories.
The Merchants play The Jacaranda on Saturday 9 November, supporting Sarpa Salpa, before supporting The Mysterines, no less, with Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard on Saturday 7 December. You really should get on board this one. – Lewis Ridley
Vidar Norheim: X-Ray Eyes
As a live prospect, Vidar Norheim plays a range of lesser-spotted instruments, a vibraphone, synths, various sources of electronic beats that are held together by a gentle vocal. He is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer from Norway, who calls Liverpool home.
He is a busy man, he’s been releasing music in one form or another since around 2012, he works with a host of artists and collaborates with others when there are a spare fifteen minutes.
He was a core part of the Wave Machines phenomenon, he works across Norway with his own label and works closely with Lizzie Nunnery (the duo is currently on tour in Norway). He has worked with Laura J Martin and he is a member of China Crisis. Really. He is that busy.
Fear not though, Norheim will be back in Liverpool to release his new record, X-Ray Eyes at Deep Cuts in Phase One on Seel Street, all being well. (Tickets here)
Given that he released his last record, Blind Carbon Copy at Deep Cuts in Buyers Club we’re looking forward to his return for this release. Speaking of the record, it sees the light of day on the 11th of November, which is why we’ve added his last record below, sorry about that.
X-Ray Eyes is a very different beast to Blind Carbon Copy, Norheims’ voice is front and centre, there are layers of electronics and unusual noises but this is wonderfully put together, everything works on its own and as part of the collective.
X-Ray Eyes is a beautiful slice of eighties synth-pop where the story is king, Sweet in His Pocket comes marching at you with an energy and urgency that is new to us, it’s another synth-led piece but the snare drum, constantly urging you to get a move on, makes it a wildly catchy song.
Weather Map wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack of The Breakfast Club, The Pink Echo is a little more experimental, a little trippier, darker almost, lots of sweeping bass tones and soul and closer, Floating Memory, is gloriously chirpy and energetic, and here again, Norheim‘s voice is at its clearest yet.
X-Ray Eyes is a perfectly manageable introduction to an intriguing and skilled artist, one that has to work fairly hard to make his music work on a stage. Did we mention he’s playing Deep Cuts on Thursday?
You’d be a fool to miss it. – Chris Flack
Meilir: It Begins
Classically trained Meilir Tomos is a bit of an oddball, creatively speaking anyway.
He creates simply gorgeous electronic soundscapes with the help of all manner of objects and knick-knacks, his notorious experiments with a tray of gravel the example first springing to mind.
With a new single, It Begins the clunk-clink of a vintage manual typewriter, the sort you see in old movies and junk shops and a hipster bar or ten adds an off-kilter strangeness to the synth, drum and piano introduction. It Begins builds yet cleverly stays fragile with Meilir’s high eerie vocal leading the way, layered on top. Ghost-like female harmonies add to the sense of melancholy and absolute prettiness.
This year has seen an unexpected rush of activity from the musician, playing the Future Yard festival in Birkenhead over the summer and Tom Robinson’s BBC 6 Music Fresh On The Net show in Liverpool this last weekend, plus supporting The Joy Formidable in the UK and Europe.
Meilir may work at a glacial pace – some of the songs on his forthcoming debut album were demoed 8 years ago – but some things simply can’t be rushed. The record, IN TUNE, produced by Charlie Francis (R.E.M, The High Llamas, Sweet Baboo) in Cardiff, is due this coming March and will no doubt be a delight to savour.
It Begins is released on November 8. – Cath Holland
Lennie Dies: Bits
Lennie Dies‘ latest single Bits begins as it means to continue, a wonderfully chaotic mess of scuzzy guitars drenched in rich distortion.
Once the full mix kicks in, with punchy drums galore, it’s clear that this track is something special.
The innate sense of energy and chemistry displayed by the group surges through the track, giving Bits a real sense of passion.
The expert blend of dynamics and contrasting sections heard in the track marks a clear attention to detail to the form of the track, never feeling repetitive. The laid back tempo contrasts with the high energy levels heard within, giving the track a unique drive and bite – all delivered through a gorgeously crisp mix.
Guru: Don’t Talk
Brighton’s GURU have released what they call a double A-side single (how lovely, do they still do that these days?) Don’t Talk/LTD.
Don’t Talk is a slice of high energy punk riffola. Starting with a frantic bassline, Don’t Start quickly kicks things up as the guitar and vocals surge in.
Interestingly, this sounds like a band who don’t feel the need for effects pedals, the bass and guitar driving out of their amps without relying on something to dilute or alter their sound.
The vocals have a link back to late 70s punk in both their delivery and the anger with which the roar at the listener.
Fans of Fat White Family will find much to admire here and doubtless, GURU would also be an interesting live band. It is easy to imagine them sound the same live as they do on record, a fierce indie punk band with something to say. – Banjo
Wizold Sage: The Banquet
The debut offering from Wizold Sage.
For the past couple of months, we’ve been teased by Wizold with Instagram posts that blend folk tales with psychedelic visions, think Michael Reeves‘ Witchfinder General and Ari Aster‘s Midsommar and you’ll start to get the gist. And now he’s invited us all to his debut single The Banquet.
An acoustic-led psych-folk track that gently canters while a feeling of menace bubbles underneath before bursting forth at the end. Wizold‘s falsetto vocals add to the feeling of unease: “you’re invited to the banquet, where we’ve been waiting for you…” doesn’t feel like an invitation but more like a summoning.
Wizold‘s voice reminds us at times of Hayden Thorpe and the whole track has a similar vibe to early Wild Beasts both enchanting and slightly sinister.
It’s an intriguing introduction to an artist who clearly has a vision for their music and we look forward to seeing where he takes us next, hopefully, it’s not into the belly of wicker ma. – Michael Maloney
Amongst Echoes: Daylight Robbery
Newcastle’s Amongst Echoes’ debut EP, Daylight Robbery, offers a range of different tracks which highlight their strengths.
The six tracks are honest and discuss both the negative and positives of life. First Aider is a great opener to the EP, with deep vocals by lead singer, Kegan Rowland, contrasting the overall sound of the song excellently.
The tracks sets the tone of the energy that runs throughout the EP, with the Gateshead band certainly discovering a particular sound.
Many influences seem apparent, with early 00s indie mixed in with Imagine Dragons.
The EP finishes with lead track, Going Nowhere, which rounds things off nicely with it’s up beat tune and quick lyrics. – Amos Wynn
Yank Scally: Don’t You Feel Like Numbers?
The Yank Scally sonic conveyor belt keeps on churning – and boy, does he feel tired.
But perhaps his ever-increasing malaise is something we can all jump on board with. I mean, don’t you feel tired – don’t you feel like a number? If not, count yourself lucky, because it’s grim out there.
Don’t You Feel Like Numbers? is redolent of his ever-more woozy down-tempo stoned-to-bits melancholic wheezy-breezy keys-led outings since his superb debut album There’s Not Enough Hours in a Day released at the start of 2019.
Yet, this is even further down the back of the couch material.
While it’s no cry for help, there’s a definitive sense of climbing up the walls, or perhaps mild malevolence of where we’re at in 2019.
Recent tracks Traffic Jam (Late Again) and the largely instrumental Lightyear were both imbued with the sense of despondency yet Don’t You Feel Like Numbers? feels like he’s descending further into the abyss.
Let’s hope while he’s retreating, he can continue to produce music this empathetic with the world around him. We feel you, Yank Scally. – Peter Guy