It is a new month and that means a new Deep Cuts, Getintothis contributors unleash another set of brand new music for you to enjoy.
A very happy February, one and all.
The grimmest month of the year is behind us, and as my colleagues at work are being reminded every late afternoon, the night’s are getting lighter.
We’ll soon be in the Baltic Triangle mooching around Sound City, who just announced the bulk of their 2020 lineup last week.
That’s not to say there haven’t been gigs aplenty in the early doors of the new decade.
Independent Venue Week tore through Liverpool as it did on a national scale, as a team we watched performances at Phase One, EBGBS, Craft Taproom, The Handyman, The Zanzibar, Some Place and more.
Thankfully, the majority were great, really great. But what happens when they’re not?
“Tedious beyond belief.” slammed Doherty, to the dismay of long-time fans of the Welsh outfit, he was branded as “unprofessional” and his review a “hatchet job”, it was certainly one of the less positive posts on the Getintothis page last month.
He, as Mr Writer, was just telling it like it really was, though.
And why not?
After all, we hope, that people come to these pages for honest criticism just as they do for honest praise, we spend a lot of time backing music we think is ace, supporting art we think is worth checking out and culture we think worthy of discussion.
But, if circumstances require, we have a duty to report back what we witness, such is the wonderful game of opinions that is life.
And for that, Steven – at our February Deep Cuts at Phase One on Thursday – yes, I will take a pint off you.
Getintothis new music editor.
Talking Slowly, the latest release from Hoylake-based producer Borth, has the rare quality of being both rich and complex while simultaneously managing to be ingeniously simple.
Beginning with a fade from silence into a steady groove with electric piano, a sequenced drum part and a suitably jangly guitar part, the silky smooth vocals of Borth effortlessly merge into the instrumental parts, providing a gorgeous sonic palette on which the track is built.
Influences seem diverse, and difficult to pinpoint. Maybe think of a combination of Mac Demarco with dashes of Prince, and elements of the production of instrumental electronic music – all of which meld into a lush, unique style.
Talking Slowly doesn’t simply revel in instrumentation and sound, with the lyrics being sung seemingly given equal attention by Borth. This attention to detail really does shine through to the listener – it’s clear that this is a passion project as opposed to just something slapped together.
The gorgeous lofi tinged production of the track once again brings comparisons to Mac Demarco and gives it a certain charm which is so hard to come by authentically.
Talking Slowly revels in this hazy lofi charm, and immediately manages to sound nostalgic – even on the first listen.
Borth’s latest single is refreshingly unique, unquestionably cool, without even trying to be. – Max Richardson
Ladybower: Nature Finds A Way
Sheffield based band, Ladybower, celebrated the release of their second single at the start of January. Nature Finds a Way has a dramatic feel to it, it sounds like it comes straight from the 70s, with a glam rock vibe.
The band say: “we write songs for people who are obsessed with music, and can appreciate the passion, hard work and musicianship that go into songs and live shows.”
Their latest release is written about those who exploit popular trends, matched with interesting vocals and a distinct sound.
The song builds up to a big ending with the powerful words: “things are gonna change.” – Amos Wynn
El Misti: The Rose That Poisoned the Ground
This track has unnerved a hunger for a swagger to rear its head in Cheshire. – Lewis Ridley
The only thing better than quality pop music? Quality synth pop.
Ormskirk duo The Joyride provides this in spades, and The Night We Ran Away is no exception, if nothing else, this song is a simple reminder that you don’t need a huge team of people to produce and write stellar synthpop music.
Listening to it, you’d be forgiven for thinking this track had come from a group with all the resources and experience in the world at their disposal.
In reality, this is just two super talented artists from Lancashire producing the kind of music that seems to be dominating the pop industry right now, and they do it so well.
Reminiscent of The 1975 and Betty Who with a dose of 80’s nostalgia, The Night We Ran Away is chart material, and I don’t see a reason why they wouldn’t be able to get there. In fact, I’d bet that in a year’s time we’ll all be talking about The Joyride’s debut album.
Electronic synth pop can often fall flat, but these guys have got bite.
A little bit of edge courtesy of some electric guitar and some great pacing that keeps you on your toes a bit, this one’s going to be on repeat for a while. – Kris Roberts
The Kairos: Teetotal
Liverpool indie rockers The Kairos have dropped their second single, and aren’t messing about on it
at all,Teetotal sets a fast tempo right from the off and continues the youthfulness and pace all throughout.
Heavy guitars soaked in reverb and a ferocious chorus, this is a single you could imagine ringing out at any venue in the city to a good reception. It’s the kind of tune that would stick in your head after a gig, one that would be perfect to close a set on.
The song is based around enjoying your youth, and this band look to be doing pretty much just that, having already played a good percentage of the wide range of venues Liverpool has to offer, their next gig is a massive support slot at Invisible Wind Factory this month, supporting fellow indie-rockers Rats.
If you’re not daft you’ll probably end up getting a ticket to see them after listening to this. – James Baker
Scrounge: Ideal EP
Scrounge are Luke and Lucy, and they are a South London wall of noise.
It’s some sound to be coming out of just two people, and it’s seen to some effect on Ideal, the first four track opening salvo. Night Stand starts off like a band mission statement, the crushing drums cutting through the relentless guitars.
Purpose is equally gripping, it’s soars and swoops whilst a watertight chorus lines entwined betwixt massive riffs, sounds like the White Stripes if they’d put the effort in.
Starve starts as if it’s going to be a broodier version of Walkmen’s The Rat, and its calmness is a breather after the first two tracks, the fury is still there, it just manages to keep itself beneath the surface. Badoom takes it to a different level, already receiving much attention, via plays on the likes of 6 Music.
It’s one word chorus explodes into life throughout the song.
It’s some kind of opening shot, as huge as it is recorded, one can only imagine how it’s going to translate and how many heads and roofs it’s going to blow off. – Steven Doherty
When you grow up in Ireland you have this sixth sense, a name can conjure up dozens of reference points, when someone says the words Lucy and Gaffney in conversation you immediately think, aye, she’s a Nordie.
Then you see a picture, remember her brother, remember their duo called MMode, you remember an earlier incarnation called Southern and a busking competition in Belfast, a gig or two you put on aeons ago.
Lucy Gaffney has been at this game for a while, she has recently toured with She Drew The Gun and Bill Ryder-Jones, and found herself in Parr Street Studios with James Skelly of The Coral on her debut record.
In each of the variations I’ve heard of her work, the one thing that has remained as the look, vibe and outlook has shifted, has been the voice. Gaffney has an incredible voice, and it would appear a gift for telling a tale.
To date, we’ve heard two unreleased tracks, Send Me Away and Can’t Escape and they have a depth and a soul that is hard to fake, even in a good studio.
Lucy has had a chance or two at huge success over the past few years and life has a habit of getting in the way, in this new incarnation, and with these songs, hopefully, she will have another shot at the top because this is beautiful stuff.
Lucy Gaffney plays Deep Cuts at Phase One on Thursday, tickets below. – Chris Flack
New Mexico have not been breathing for long, having been formed in late 2019 and debuted on stage in December. What they lack in experience they compensate with a great feeling for good stories and song-writing.
Cai Thomas (guitar, vocals), Ben Court (drums) and Peter Wilson (bass) play melodic rock with a pop-soul that drinks from different sources – as long as they have strong tunes which cherry-pick influences from Oasis to The Libertines, John Cooper Clarke to Alex Turner.
Subjects range from girlfriends, parties, trips, hangovers – simple things we all enjoy but feel much more exciting when you’re young and just starting to rock.
And through Cai’s eyes, he adds sparkle and magic which makes it feel a world away from the Saturday night humdrum of ordinary life.
“I write songs about what we live, about our lives”, says Cai, who seems to be taking their journey into the music scene easy, step by step. Inspired by a trip to Mexico, the band also gets creative stimulation from the sun of more tropical lands. Who thought that Merseyside bands just enjoyed the cold and the rain?
Just like any other group of young lads should, New Mexico like the sun, so let them have a sunny career.
With an Ali Horn debut support slot under their belt – they make their debut gig proper at Deep Cuts on Thursday, February 6 at Phase One in Liverpool. – Rogerio Simoes
From the blackened ashes of Sheer Attack and Salem Rages comes Coughing Vicars.
“It’s the new voice with an old voice calling” growls the refrain on opener Neu Realm and in keeping with their previous incarnations, the Vicars are a malevolent bunch trading barking vocals, screaming guitars and a relentless percussive pound which just yearns to be heard in a filthy club setting.
What marks them out against those early sounds, is Coughing Vicars‘ diversity.
There’s a glorious, near disco beat euphoria on Effigy which melds clean guitars and a spiky rock & roll punch-the-air melodicism while retaining the attack of say, At The Drive-In.
Elsewhere, on their first releases – the brilliantly titled Post Omission Overtures – Arachnid Eyes is a funeral procession of death march doom which explodes into hardcore screamo delivered with blistering verbosity as Russ unleashes the guttural cry, “we’re all just cobwebs hanging around”, while Redefined Zero is near three minutes of hammering, serrated post-punk.
They play their first gig at Drop The Dumbulls in Liverpool on February 28. We suggest you attend and get an aural enema heading straight for the soul. – Peter Guy
Listen To Her Speak sits very comfortably among some of the best tracks this month. The London-based electronic pop group have provided us with a truly wild listening experience, one that exudes atmospheric synths and booming drumbeats.
With a slowly building heartbeat that climaxes with an eruption of airy vocals and an almost overwhelming mix of aggressive guitar and drums and ethereal, spiritual synths, this one’s trippy in the best way.
Speaking to the current, sad state of our environment and the positively lacklustre response from our government, Listen to Her Speak references mother earth and the importance of listening to our planet.
“We need her, she needs the moon, hydrogen meets oxygen to make the droplets we consume”
It’s a sad state of affairs when we have to rely on our favourite artists to raise more awareness about climate change than the very people that hold the power to affect such change, but at least we have groups like Paint Factory that care enough about social issues to speak their minds.
If this track is anything to go by, we can look forward to more cutting social commentary and exquisite electronic pop from this truly unique group. – Kris Roberts
Tilly Louise: Be Like You
Scouse alt-popper Tilly Louise’s is here with her debut track Be Like You. Aiming to create “hits to make the ass shake” this impressive debut is a lot of fun and sold out EBGBs in the process to launch.
Guitar grooves carry a track about selfish and ignorant people as fresh licks complement the vocal melody as Louise’s winning voice moans about people believe the world revolves around them- preach it!
The track was written a year ago after watching Paramore’s video for 2017 track Rose Coloured Boy and the influence is clear as guitarists Magnus Dahlstrøm and George Gaskell replicate their alt-pop heroes.
It’s not quite a dance floor anthem but it has got that fuel that creates sways at gigs which end up turning into something more lively as the track dances into a happy-go-lucky solo and leaves you grooving into the outro. The eyes are on the prize as she has supported the likes of Fickle Friends at Phase One and Macclesfield indie hotshots Cassia.
She is set to play Invisible Wind Factory’s Melon Yellow Fest and Sound City as part of Bitch Palace’s showcase on Friday May 1.
She and her band – including Flick Roe on the drums and Marco Jose Rodriguez on bass- are part of the strong emerging Scouse talent alongside Fickle Friends and Nikki And The Waves as the Baltic Triangle weekender returns in May.
Be Like You is carefree, fun and we’d recommend keeping your ears locked to this. – Will Whitby
Late January saw the debut single release from Tom McConnell’s new musical project Novelty Island.
The single, released on the 24th of January, is called Saturn Alarms and was recorded in Abbey Road Studios in 2019.
It’s the first single from Novelty Island’s debut EP, Welcome To Novelty Island which lands in March 2020.
Regarding the title of the new single, Tom said: “A while back I spotted “Saturn Alarms” written on the back wall of my mum’s house in Liverpool. She still doesn’t know it’s there…”
Saturn Alarms is a warm dip into the psychedelic, dreamy pop that Tom’s become renowned for over the past few years, with a big sing-along chorus, atmospheric synths and devious sonic diversions all expertly realised in its 3 minutes 34 seconds.
Despite being based in London, some may be more familiar with Tom as the creative force behind former band TV ME, who had been a popular presence on the Liverpool gig scene over the past few years with their trippy melodic ’60s early ’70s inspired pop.
So, If you’re a fan of TV ME or just love a bit of quality psyche pop, then Novelty Island will be playing The Shipping Forecast in Liverpool on March 26 to coincide with the launch of their EP. – Lee Grimsditch
DENIO: There I Said It
Liverpool band DENIO (pronounced “denny-oh”) put their home studio to good use to produce this expansive funky pop deluge of a track. Bright and chiming, squelchy and insistent, There, I Said It is an uplifting song, with something of an epic feel.
Having spent a year working on their sound and process, this track is the product of a confident band ready to step out. Ironically for such a definite sounding track, it’s a song about indecision, “people openly admitting when they haven’t got any idea what they’re really talking about.”
Singer Mike Davis explains: “The song touches on being a young person who is confused about everything that’s going on. Possibly because of the noise and relentless opinions in the world, who knows?”.
DENIO play The Kazimier Stockroom on February 22. – Roy Bayfield