Deep Cuts #36 Monks, WOR, Mason Owens, SPQR, Ashen Reach, MIG 15 – best new music March 2020

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Deep Cuts #36

As we hurtle towards spring in actual sunshine, Getintothis contributors bring you a stack of new tunes for March, Lewis Ridley was charged with herding them along and introducing their selections.

February is over.

The month of Storm Dennis, Coronovirus and Valentine’s Day.

It’s been grim.

It’s also been, apparently, a month of films. In fact, as I write this I’m about to head to the flicks to see 1917 – the third of three films I set out to catch on the big screen this month.

The first, Jojo Rabbit, a hilarious yet often dark comedy about a Nazi fanatic whose best mate was an imaginary Adolf Hitler.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Taika Waititi‘s Best Adapted Screenplay winner at the Oscars, but headed back down the escalator in Liverpool One (complete with kids scaling the adjacent brickwork) knowing it was the best thing I’d seen in years. Go and catch it, quickly.

The second, Parasite, one that gave me an over-riding feeling of guilt that it had taken such a highly-commended film to make me re-enter the world of subtitled foreign language cinema for the first time since Zhang Yimou‘s House of Flying Daggers when I was doing my GCSE’s.

It didn’t disappoint. Beautifully filmed, enough wit to lighten what is a representation of the great divide, reflected on a global scale now more than ever. That too is not one to let slip by.

Back in the real world, well, the semi-real world of politics, where at any other time in the last century the resignation of Chancellor Sajid Javid would shake the country.

The news that he was leaving without carrying his lovely little budget suitcase next door for tea and scones and public service slashing barely outlasted the Leasing.com Trophy scores the following morning.

However, it seems headlines such as this nonchalantly blur into the continuum of a batshit crazy country we’re currently living in. But there we go.

I recieved my Labour leadership ballot last week, fellow members and I have until April 2 to decide which path we should choose to take the long walk back.

Enough of that, though, we’re here for music, after all.

That, I’m afraid, doesn’t mean positivity, though. Last week saw the announcement that European bands wishing to tour the UK would require the new Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting visa (Tier 5), no doubt to me matched by the EU themselves.

The costs now for bands to come to the UK to play has skyrocketing and put much of our country’s global festival programming at risk.

But, not to be downtrodden for long, that news arrived in an afternoon when we were preparing for our first Getintothis Social at District.

COW, Bandit and Louise Evans set for Getintothis Social in March at District

If you missed it, a quick recap won’t do it justice, however, delights included our host and resident Coffee Shop John and the Silver Spoons mixing Bob Dylan with their own originals, Douglas Savage opening the evening with tales of love, loss, ballerinas and plenty of hip shaking on the dance floor.

Getintothis book columnist Cath Holland shared her sensual and sexual stories while Motel Sundown closed with beautiful Americana and a quite uproarious cover of The Chain by Fleetwood Mac, complete with outrageous solo and exquisite harmonies.

The Getintothis Social is a free evening for all – every third Thursday at District on Jordan Street.

  • The Getintothis Social: Thursday March 19 at District, Jordan Street, Baltic Triangle – COW, Bandit, Louise Evans, PG’s Tremendous Quick Fire Quiz, Coffee Shop John and the Silver Spoons plus more – FREE entry.

The event comes as an addition, of course. to our longstanding Deep Cuts night, the next of which is tomorrow (Wednesday March 4) at Phase One.

  • Getintothis‘ Deep Cuts returns to Phase One, Seel Street on Wednesday March 4 at 7pm featuring Rossa Murray and the Blowin’ Winds, Kalima, Slye, Mason Owens and Rachael Jean Harris. £5 ADV and £8 OTD. Tickets just £5 and on sale now.

Ashen Reach (credit: Joe Stanley photography)

Ashen ReachPrey

Liverpool based hard rock quintet, Ashen Reach, celebrated the New Year in style with a headline slot at the inaugural Liverpool Moshfest followed by a set of UK tour dates in support of Fahran.

If all that wasn’t enough, they found time at the beginning of February to release a rather fiendish new single in the form of Prey.

Something of a departure from previous releases that have tended to display the fist-pumping trademarks of the rock anthem, Prey takes the listener on a seven minute journey that becomes increasingly sinister.

Gentle flowing guitar during the introduction is immediately off-set by the creepy theatrical vocals of Kyle Martyn Stanley, who gives us an immediate insight into the dark tale of obsession that is about to unfold.

The precise pulsing riffs in the verses suggest footsteps creeping up on an unsuspecting victim and serve to complement the narrator’s gradual descent into what we can only assume is murderous obsession.

Although the soaring chorus, which recalls the likes of classic progressive metal artists Queensrÿche, offers the band an opportunity to cut loose it still serves to expertly build the tension.

The impressively maniacal vocalist Stanley is the driving force behind the track. His increasingly unhinged narration, which culminates in him screaming “If I can’t have her nobody can”, imbues Prey with just the right amount of theatrics.

Such unsettling moments on this track would not be out of place on some of the latter day Alice Cooper albums and the fact that Ashen Reach can evoke a genuinely haunting feel without sacrificing their overall melodic rock edge is testimony to their growing maturity as song-writers.

The band is hitting the road again in March alongside Nocturne Wolf, Kilonova and A Ritual Spirit. Catch them at EBGBS on March 15. – Nedim Hassan

Bandit

Bandit: Dorothy

Having spring boarded from exposure via BBC Introducing, Liverpool four piece Bandit return with their latest single, Dorothy.

Following up from last year’s very popular sophomore single, I’d Try Anything Twice, Dorothy is a teenage infused love song with a psychedelic tinge.

There’s echoes of Arctic Monkeys here, but with a Scouse edge.

Rather than the straight-up garage assault of their previous ditties, with Dorothy the instrumentation is toned down somewhat with more of a whirring quality, particularly with guitars that a cloaked with reverb.

Having already supported the likes of the Vile Assembly, make no mistake, this poetic pop music.

While released in January, Dorothy further demonstrates that Bandit are very much a summer time concern and wouldn’t look out of place on the festival circuit around the country in 2020. – Simon Kirk

SPQR

SPQR: Just Sumfin’

This may seem a strange thing to say about a band, especially one who you adore, but the best thing about SPQR are the lack of immediacy of their songs.

Let me explain, but first the facts.

This is the second track to be taken from their upcoming third EP No Brain No Pain, which is to be released on April 30, just ahead of what promises to be a special set at  Liverpool Sound City.

Just Sumfin’, just like the majestic EP lead track Nuthin Gud, has so much depth and substance to it, it takes a number of listens to get to its very soul.

So much out there at present reveals itself on the first listen and then leaves you nowhere to go.

This what makes SPQR standout special and why they are starting the climb into the mainstream.

Just Sumfin carries on in the great tradition of SPQR singles, it’s stays in your head for days, with it’s brooding beginnings, exploding with synths rather than the usual guitars, another sign of a maturing band.

They are on an upward climb, it would be a foolish thing to ignore, get on board. – Steven Doherty

 

FFALL

FFALL: Shadow

Emerging in 2012 with his Afternaut project, York-born, Liverpool-based Adam Rowley was a frequent presence in people’s speakers and on the live circuit throughout the 2010s.

His nous for melody woven into widescreen cinematic ambience making him a firm favourite within Merseyside electronica circles.

Having played Music Week, Sound City, a variety of events for Deep Hedonia and Emotion Wave, while also having a piece of work commissioned by Getintothis for the Giant Spectacular visit of the Giants to the streets of Liverpool, Rowley took time out to regroup and recharge.

He’s back with a new project called FFALL and a debut EP at the end of March – and Shadow is his first offering.

While Shadow isn’t exactly a departure from his earlier material, there’s oodles of space to get lost amid this jarring yet seductive patchwork of beats and jagged grooves.

Jon Hopkins is the immediate point of reference – and that can only mean one thing: it’s very good indeed.

Welcome back – and welcome to FFALL.

 

Rossa Murray and The Blowin Winds

Rossa Murray and The Blowin’ Winds: Crush

During the melee of Independent Venue Week, I found myself on Smithdown Road at The Handyman, for a night of new music which featured Rossa Murray and The Blowin’ Winds.

The five piece took the crown as the highlight of that night, and were very quickly penned to play our upcoming Deep Cuts gig this Wednesday, 4 March. Not before they could release Crush, though, a typically ethereal yet powerful folk rock ballad that stands as their fifth single following three releases in 2019.

The tune is split craftily into two, at half-time snare quivers and Crush transforms to prove that the altogether engrossing experience isn’t exclusive to their live performances.

The song, just like the band, seem to take on a different form in an instant – jamming away for the remainder of the seven minute long single as if nothing else mattered.

That may well be the truth, come and find out at Phase One tomorrow night. – Lewis Ridley

 

WOR

WOR: Digital Soldier

Digital Soldier is the latest release by independent Liverpool-based producer WOR, a man who clearly likes his capital letters.

Following on from debut release Annual LeaveDigital Soldier oozes with effortless coolness, drenched in a fuzzy lofi sound reminiscent of the early works of Joji.

The vocals of the track are simply charming, delivered in the distinctive Liverpudlian accent which cuts through the instrumental, giving a really biting focal point to an otherwise subdued instrumental.

The distinctly autotuned vocals heard in the latter half of the track of course draw comparisons to the sung-rap style of artists such as Drake and Kanye West – but are delivered in such a way as to deliver a British spin on the iconic style.

Where Digital Soldier really excels is its sheer simplicity. The track is really not built around a lot of elements, instead relying on a sparse collection of samples and loops which are taken in and out of the mix so as to create variation.

Combining this simplicity with the crisp vocals on top of this instrumental, and the listener is left with an infectiously catchy track which is difficult to forget once heard.

Compared to the more complex style of previous release Annual LeaveDigital Soldier is a more stripped back, chilled track – showing the range of styles in which WOR appears comfortable working in.

With only two releases as of yet to his name, it’s safe to say that producer WOR is sure to be a name to watch in coming years, with the high quality of these releases providing a promising foundation on which to build. – Max Richardson

MIG 15

MIG 15Interstellar

MiG 15 are a new name to us, but their profile is pretty high already.

As well as releasing new single Interstellar, the band will be taking to the road to support Love Fame Tragedy, the new solo project from The Wombats‘ front man, Matthew Murphy. As well as this, MiG 15 have been announced as support for Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark on their upcoming European live tour.

This latter news may not be quite so surprising when we consider that MiG 15 feature amongst their ranks one James McCluskey, who is the son of OMD frontman and producer Andy McCluskey.

So does this familial connection extend to the music MiG 15 make? Well maybe a little.

Interstellar features 80s sounding drum machines and keyboards that are placed fairly high in the mix, but once the songs moves beyond this initial retro feel it reveals itself to be quite a rocker.

It is easy to get the feeling that these 80s flourishes are there to make the connection to OMD explicit and to get them some exposure, but it is even easier to feel that, once this exposure has been achieved, MiG 15 will take off as a fully fledged rock band in the U2 mould.

They certainly have a handle on creating a soaring, anthemic chorus and with Interstellar have come up with a song that gets its hooks into you and refuses to let go.

Urgent, driving and insistent, I may go out on a limb here and say that Interstellar will do much to propel MiG 15 away from the shadow of famous parents and into the hearts and minds of the public at large.

MiG 15 is a name we are preparing to hear a lot more of in the near future. – Banjo

 

Alffa – Ashleigh Knight

AlffaDevil Boogie Woogie

Devil Boogie Woogie! A phrase shrouded in both humour and frivolousness, yet with a hint of a sinister undertone, that lurks in the confines of the detail and the closeness of the lyrics.

The video which in the words of the director, Hedydd Ioan, explores the influences of “Faust’s history” and draws inspiration from recent features, including Ida and The Lighthouse.

With Hedydd Ioan having been given full creative-power over the project, it allows for the development of an intriguing and interesting narrative – which delves into the ideas of sin and the principles of morals.

Similarly, to the old stories of Faust, it suggestively follows the concept of the protagonist having sold his soul to the Devil. “He’ll get inside your mind, and poison all your ways”, echoes in our ears as we marvel in the unfolding story.

We’ve followed Alffa with great interest over the last few months, particularly, after the release of their debut, Freedom From The Poisonous Shadows, and the preceding three music videos which supported the album; Gwenwyn, Black Angel and Full Moon Vulture.

It will be exciting to see where they lean next, and with rumours of production on a fifth music video for Babi Mam, a song which covers the troubles of mental health within young men, in collaboration with Kim Hon frontman Iwan Fôn; It is going to be a busy few months for Alffa– Cai Thomas

 

Glass Peaks

Glass PeaksNever Really Left

Social Media. Whether you love it or hate it, we can all agree it can be a pretty toxic environment. London-based alternative band Glass Peaks are here to talk about it.

The trio have returned with their first offering of the recently announced debut EP It’s Raining On The Wrong Side Of The Window which is due to drop on May 1st, an EP which for me has been a long time coming.

A grunge-pop sound with a riff that will rattle right through your system is paired perfectly with the powerful vocals from lead singer and bassist Alfie Jefferies. He said about the release: “There’s a huge, delusional, false pretence that exists on the internet. Never Really Left is written about how I can now look at that with different eyes. It’s a sarcastic song, I feel even in the vocal delivery you can tell that.”

To coincide with the release of their EP, the band will be headlining the Old Blue Last for a special launch-night gig you won’t want to miss. Glass Peaks kicked off their year with a sold out show at St Pancras Old Church, a gig that blew the roof off the place (not literally though, we know what church roofs can be like…). – James Baker

Monks

MonksCorduroy

Monks are a familiar name to many around Liverpool, playing some major shows of late, including their sell out O2 Academy 2 show last October.

They’re well known for their blend of psych rock, dream pop and jazz, with their ability to sound like a band who’ve been playing together longer than they’ve been alive garnering them a reputation of being one of the best live bands in town.

This latest effort, Corduroy, shows why Monks are so great in a single track. It transports you to a by-gone time, with its experimental psych sounds reminding us quite a bit of some of Pink Floyd’s efforts.

It’s a song that transforms section by section, feeling restrained and kept back in the verses, before allowing all hell to break loose in the choruses, with time signature changes and the incredible fills we’ve come to expect from drummer Kali Diston-Jones, picking up our main attention.

There’s a cool little rhythmic synth pattern that is repeated throughout the track, mainly throughout the choruses, that holds most of the melodic structure to the song, with everything else fitting in around it.

After the four-minute mark is where the song starts to excel, not that it hasn’t already, but this is where we become really impressed.

We’re suddenly transported into this underwater world, or that’s what it sounds like, with trumpet sounds of Joe Fay beginning to break through that sound. As the sound flows out of this underwater-ness, Nathan Johnson is there with his delay pedal attached to his guitar, creating some trippy repetitive sounds that enhance the whole experience.

This is a seriously impressive track from the incredibly young band, every member is still a teenager – remember that when you give it a listen. – David Hughes

 

Mason Owens

Mason OwensWaiting For You

Over the past year or so Liverpool’s acoustic soloist have really come to the fore. Ali Horn blasted off at the back end of 2019 playing the Arts Club and footy fan favourite Jamie Webster is taking off far beyond the city. On the undercard of Webster‘s last gig was Mason Owens, who himself is in the slipstream of troubadours.

Waiting for You is the follow up to his debut single I Am Not An Englishman, which itself was only released at the beginning of February. A punchy, honest and assertive single that comes from the bottomless well of inspiration that is the treatment of the city by the current government and, sadly, some of its disciples.

This release, though, is more mellow and really shows Owens musicianship to better effect. At a time when artists such as Michael Kiwanuka are picking up awards and nominations on a national level for soulful, well-crafted music – it’s clear that this lad has the talent to be able to follow in their footsteps. It’s out on March 20, Liverpool might just have a gem here. – Lewis Ridley

The Slow Day

The Slow Day: Home

Throw away every single prejudice you’ve ever held about ballad-style Rock and prepare for your soul to feel a little fuzzy before delving into the emotively-bruising latest single Home from Manchester-based Indie Rock trio The Slow Day.

Adam Moss’ vocals had quite the impact on me in their previous two singles The Poet and I Can’t Sleep. Both Americana-inspired tracks allowed them to earn their Rock n Roll heavy riff stripes, but this time, Moss set his vocal cords to inflict maximum damage. Even my-jaded-stony-self didn’t stand a chance.

Home is a track born from pure sincerity and soul, it unravels through deftly measured progressions which boast anthemic levels of tension and anticipation. The instrumentals may be gentle, yet, the captivating nature of them ensures that every masterfully placed note amplifies the evocative resonance.

Many things about the music industry baffle me, but nothing has left me as perplexed about the lack of local hype around The Slow Day. Their radio-ready sound has been celebrated on European, Australian, Canadian, and American airwaves, yet The Slow Day is one of the most criminally-underrated acts in Manchester right now.

As Morrissey once said (when it was still acceptable to quote Morrissey) “Oh Manchester, so much to answer for…”

 

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