As we bid 2019 farewell, Getintothis contributors are here with a selection of December delights.
So here we are.
The December iteration of our Deep Cuts column, meaning that another year is coming to an end.
Of course, this time of year lends itself handily to reflection. There are lists aplenty, we’ve done some ourselves, and lots of rose-tinted looking back on the 12 months that have passed.
We’re keeping it short this month, but with an important message.
It’s been a tough year for grassroots music, and it’s seemingly not getting any easier any time soon. Venues continue to fight bravely but often lose against those that own the places they make home, fighting against conversion to offices, or housing, or profit margins.
Many spaces have had to change tact, revisit their strategies to try and ensure there is an environment in which new music can thrive. It is there, but it cannot be underestimated just how difficult the role of those behind the curtain is.
It is a kick in the teeth, therefore, when individuals walk up to the door and attempt to shave two quid off their entry money, or when people talk through a support band, or choose to head back to a mates rather than endeavouring to find something new and perhaps make their six quid in a bit better value.
Nobody that reads these pages needs to be told of the work that goes on to put gigs on in our or any city. To record, promote and create opportunity as a band or artist remains challenging despite the support from music lovers.
It wears some down, but one November week just a fortnight ago Liverpool came through.
A week like no other, that saw Fontaines D.C., brought by EVOL, sell out an upgraded O2 Academy, Calexico and Iron & Wine play one of the city’s grandest venues up at The Philharmonic Hall, and Modern Sky outfit SPQR sell out two nights at Stockroom.
We needed that week. Not only because it was great fun, but because around town during those seven days there was a brilliant feeling of togetherness, and a pat on the back type collectivity.
For bands and artists who work tirelessly doing what they love, those by their side that help guide them and spread their word, those that host them, those that write about and take photos of them.
Of course, those that get down the front and enjoy them, those that serve us on the bar while we’re doing so, all deserve credit.
So, as the end of another year looms, let us reflect in a way that recognises the difficulties that this thing we have faces, but that 2019 has saw a local, national, international community get by quite alright.
Here’s some new tunes. All the best, and thanks as ever for reading. – Lewis Ridley
Låpsley: Ligne 3
More hearbreak, more great pop music.
You have to kinda worry for Låpsley (Holly Fletcher to her ma) that if she finds emotional stability the well of mighty heart-string-snapping pop my dry up.
Ligne 3 – named after a part of Montpellier’s tram system – is the second track from her Three Elements EP and autobiographically relays a specific day which saw the breakdown of a long-term relationship.
And somewhat characteristically, she sounds crestfallen while plying her trademark multi-tracked vocals which trade off against each other like a fractious yet tender conversation.
Always sneaking Peanut into the echelons of pizza establishments. My angel. So pure. pic.twitter.com/PsKdL9bWsH
— Låpsley (@lapsleyyyy) November 24, 2019
“It’s not that easy letting go, it’s not that simple,” sings the lower register before a pained falsetto breaks through the chopped beats and piano letting out the cry, “just sink into the solitude, I can carry both of us…”
It’s another beautiful statement of intent from one of the region’s brightest talents – and makes us yearn for her second album even more. Thank heavens she’s still got Peanut.
Låpsley Live January 2020:
January 27 – Badehaus, Berlin, Germany
January 28 Cinetol, Amsterdam, Netherlands
January 29 – Le Boule Noire, Paris, France
January 30 – Chats Palace, London, UK – SOLD OUT
Hot Dreams: This Town
This Town is the first and lead single taken from this London indie quartet’s forthcoming debut EP, The Hideaway.
Right from the opening melody, you can see this song takes the band through a slower, softer passage compared to their previous releases. This makes sense of course when hearing the meaning behind the song.
With the lyrics following the love between two people going through some changes, This Town is a love letter aimed at the studio the four-piece have recorded all of their material so far in. Losing a place that meant so much to the band, frontman Kai Fennell’s vocals project the sombre tone of the decision perfectly.
Accompanied by the heartfelt instrumentals of the band, it is clear to hear the emotion running through this ballad.
After successful support slots with the likes of Palace, this debut EP will no doubt bring the band through and through and capture the hearts of plenty. I can’t wait to see where it takes them and what the other three tracks will sound like. – James Baker
Motel Sundown: Chicago
Liverpool trio Motel Sundown drop their debut single Chicago this week following a debut gig at Getintothis’ Deep Cuts back in November.
It’s fair to say you wouldn’t have guessed that was the first outing for a band that has managed to capture the comfort of country folk from across the pond with a youthful Americana sound that nobody needs telling in their city has been a winning card to play recently.
This track emits that live energy beautifully, ebbing and flowing to a degree that moves us to a place away from frost and wind but instead to sunshine and parched fields.
Mind-blowing, no, but mind-settling in a way that we hope that its spirit is bottled and a dose given to each release from now. There’s a lot of good to come from this band. – Lewis Ridley
Chicago is released 6 December.
Hushtones: Where Is The Line?
Hushtones’ new single, Where Is The Line, is a perfect reflection of the band’s name, soft and reminiscent
It’s a song that leaves you torn between going to sit in a beer garden with your mates and putting your earphones in and thinking of your year 9 boyfriend. It forces me to think of
A little different to the slightly distorted voices we’ve heard from them recently, the song sounds stunning live, as seen from their performance for BBC Music. Its chorus forces me to think of The Beach Boys’ God Only Knows, with the backing vocals only complimenting the sound.
Their previous appearances have proven that their sound is something that has to be witnessed live. Their headline show in the Shipping Forecast on 14 December is followed by their next song being released on 15 December – if Where Is The Line is anything to go by, neither of these are to be missed. – Leah Wilkinson
Ask Elliot: She
Storming onto the scene, Ask Elliot have come forward with a more heartfelt sound in their second single She.
The up-coming indie band broke out into the industry releasing 2032 as their first single and bagging over 40,000 streams, and it looks like they are in line for another hit.
She is a real easy listener, you can find yourself instantly head bopping to the captivating tune and rhyme. The band have clearly taken an emotional turn into this song and have really concentrated on their catchy riffs.
This track is an instant pleaser, and it’s not hard to imagine this a song that you’ll be hearing on the radio everywhere you go. The authentic sound throughout the track makes for a sing-along anthem, although the vocal doesn’t fluctuate too much, the interest is picked up from the memorable instrumental.
It is your typical indie breakthrough track, and it will not be a surprise to see these guys making a pretty quick advance into the industry.
The band have already been seeing themselves quickly take off in Liverpool, in just under a year they have played in one of the city’s biggest music events Sound City – and have managed to sell out their own headline gig in Zanzibar as teens.
It’s not long until they’re back too, the O2 Academy on December 6, supporting SPINN. – Kimberley Mitchell
Hook: I love the world because you’re in it
Hook are a three-piece band based in Dublin, Ireland made up of Eoin O’Donnell – vocals, guitars; Morgan O’Brien – drums; Danny Spelman – bass, vocals. They have recently released their first debut single I love the world because you’re in it.
Hooks catchy new single identifies the brutality of love and how it captivates your existence. The upbeat rhythmic drums and guitar riffs portray love as small simplistic moments within one’s life.
The Irish band play new wave indie rock, and their sound has drawn similarities to Arcade Fire, Neil Young, Elvis Costello and The Velvet Underground.
Produced by the band with Colin Reid, they have recorded in the world-famous Camden Recording Studios, Dublin and in the band’s own studio with I love the world because you’re in it, mixed and mastered by the Grammy award winning Ciaran Byrne.
Hook, having just released their promo video on YouTube and have over a thousand monthly listeners on Spotify, are definitely a band to keep your eye on. – Hattie Hitie
Still from Los Angeles release their debut eponymous ep at the beginning of December
Opener Control features synth washes over slow, slightly jangly guitar and a late-80’s drum sound, before songwriter Daniel McDonough‘s somewhat feminine, hypnotic vocals take charge.
There are definite hints of the late, lamented Her’s, as well as low-key mid-period New Order album tracks in this number, perhaps something off side two of Low-Life.
It’s the kind of song that could easily sit in a forgotten Hollywood drama flick, playing over a montage of scenes of the protagonists angrily packing up to leave for a new adventure.
Divinity is more upbeat with the words rushing to be contained within the blossoming tune, and is perhaps the best of the four tracks, though all are well worth a listen.
The whole thing has the influence of early 90’s shoegaze/dreampop all over it, but less full-on guitar haze than contemporaries such as Wild Nothing or DIIV, alongside the likes of the new wave synth-pop of early Simple Minds. – Will Neville
Still‘s EP is released on 6 December.
This eight and a half minute monster from Birmingham’s Matters is an instrumental masterpiece. Starting with a one chord guitar riff, its nearly two minutes before the drums and synths kick in, building layer on layer of urgency as the track progresses.
The band impressed at Supersonic Festival in Birmingham during the summer and this is a demonstration of why. It’s a pulsating, repetitive backdrop to an ever changing rise and fall of the melody from the electronics. Finishing in a massive climax that grabs as hard as it can, before gently calming down for the final 30 seconds or so. The whole song is the perfect metaphor of a sexual congress and a glorious thump to your senses. – Peter Goodbody
goldenbloom have released their debut EP LIFE this month, the cumulation of work just since May this year.
The trio is made up of the vocals of Jordan Walker strung out over the guitar of Will Young and drums of Justas Pugaciauskas, recording in Young‘s home studio in London.
The band have been grinding out songs in Will’s home studio in North West London.
Crafting their own shows over the past few months, these three tracks are tried and tested and span punk, indie rock and romantic post-punk. Aside from the slacker anthem title track, LOVE especially has gained support from streaming sites, becoming a feature of their live set. While BOOTS arrives last with its fist-pumping chorus.
This is a superb start. – Lewis Ridley
FloodHounds: Out of Town
Sheffield trio FloodHounds are finishing 2019 with a brand new track.
The rock heavy group will release Out of Time on 6 December, with the song providing passion and power.
Recorded at Broadfield Studios in Watford, the song has a big sound and an anthem feel to it.
The three-piece have certainly channelled a fine mixture of influences from other acts from their hometown.
If you wanted an example of northern grit then this track provides just that, with catchy lyrics and strong vocals to match a snarling guitar riff.
FloodHounds have an excellent song here which could prove a springboard to more in 2020. – Amos Wynn
Out of Time is released 6 December.