It’s hard to believe it’s May already but as is customary each month, our madcap collection of contributors have the best new music for you and Getintothtis Lewis Ridley is on introductions.
There is no doubt the coronavirus has massively changed the way we’ve interacted over the past few weeks.
Earlier this week, on Getintothis LIVE, we spoke about the importance of the pub, and how interesting it was that the ‘pub quiz’ has made its way into living rooms across the country as a source of entertainment.
Equally, some families and friends have turned their homes into the pub itself, in an attempt to fill the hole of human interaction which we are all missing very much.
One of the things that has been a constant over the past few weeks are the ‘challenges’ popping up on social media. First, I found myself doing keepy-uppies with a toilet roll, then running 5k for NHS charities, before I drew the line at four footballers that made me love football, four albums I love in their entirety, the four best goals I’ve ever seen, the list goes on.
One challenge I did go for, though, was the 30-Day Song Challenge.
So, on April 1, I began a daily journey through my record collection, or rather Spotify. The challenge: to hunt down a song each day, with no band or artist featuring twice, according to the given cue.
“A song you like with a number in the title”, “A song from when you were born”, “A song you like by an artist no longer living”, you know the drill.
I imagine this was supposed to be one of those stay at home activities that was a stress-reliever, something to avert the mind from the current ongoings globally.
Of course, because it’s me, it was a nightmare.
Each night, I could have spent up to half an hour going through potential tracks with a fine-tooth comb, wondering what each track said about me, whether x band deserve to be in, if I was going to leave a band out undeservingly.
What materialised, is a thread of 30 songs and a subsequent playlist that represents a hastily put together mixtape, but is actually the fruits of hours of toil.
The toughest pick was Day 30.
I was challenged by, er, myself, to pick a track that reminded me of, er, myself.
I did a bit of reflection on the previous 29 days, what each track meant (sometimes everything, sometimes very little), my music taste in general, and how I feel having gone without gigs for the longest time this past month for probably a decade.
In the end, it was a tune I first heard when I was 12 years old.
I saw it live the year after, and have done around 40 times since. It reminds me of every person I’ve ever listened to the track with, and the moments I’ve had hearing it been played whether at home or abroad, in an academy, an arena, a muddy field or a pub jukebox.
Perhaps, most of all, it reminds me that once all this is over, we can be out and enjoying music together once more. Never should we take that for granted.
Without further ado, here’s a fresh batch of new music for the month of May. – Lewis Ridley
Henry Jones: As Soon As I
It has been inspiring to see musicians from all over the world trying to connect with their audience while on lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
Yet, this wealth of streaming and uploading has also resulted in what some may find a forced sense of engagement. The need to produce or connect for sheer necessity.
Just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should.
Henry Jones, a new artist from Liverpool, has taken a different route. On his debut single, As Soon As I, Henry draws inspiration from isolation and having an audience of one.
A playful trinket of a track sprightly jumps amid an airy backdrop which appears on the brink of collapse before blossoming into a full-blown swell of harmony-laden somnambulant pop.
Overlaying what sounds like xylophone and recorded telephone messages to friends, Henry says: “I originally set out to create an EP, but drove myself insane putting pressure on myself to write so quick as I wanted a release to be during lockdown… I concluded I’d rather have music I’m proud of, that is from a pure place rather than it get lost in a collection of mediocre songs that were forced and insincere.”
On this opening offering he’s done exactly that: create a track to lose yourself to, drift away from the distractions of the outside world and white noise of what doesn’t matter. Just focus on the music. And be. – Peter Guy
Hooton Tennis Club: Monsoonal Runoff / People Want People Who Want People
Hooton Tennis Club reappear after a too-long hiatus with a captivating duo of poetic guitar-pop heartstring-twangers. For those yet to join this particular Club, the Hootons slipped onto the scene in 2014 with a single on The Label Recordings and a memorable appearance at Sound City in Kazimier Garden.
Signing on to Heavenly Records the Wirral foursome released a likeable album, Highest Point In Cliff Town, in 2015 – spawning a run of slackly scintillating singles. 2016’s Big Box of Chocolates kept up the woozy standard and Hooton Tennis Club seemed to be a solid bet for continued growth.
Then it all went quiet. Until now, when we have this delightful intervention into our lives, the original lineup – Ryan Murphy (vocals/guitar), James Madden (vocals/guitar), Callum McFadden (bass) and Harry Chalmers (drums) – serving up a surprise Double-A side.
People Want People Who Want People opens with some offbeat lyrical observations delivered over plangent acoustic figures, opening up into an epic sidelong cascade of garage fuzz.
Seagulls usher in Monsoonal Runoff, a track that makes their “Definitely, defiantly pop!” statement on a summer postcard. You’d need a heart of stone not to crack a smile at this off-kilter ode to joy.
Hooton Tennis Club are back!
A top reason to celebrate. – Roy Bayfield
TIËRNY: I’ll Wait
TIËRNY is back in the form of I’ll Wait, an ethereal, melodic track that marks her second single.
When we first heard TIËRNY on her debut track Solid Ground, released just over a year ago. We were overcome with a rhythmic, bass-led hymn that explodes on listening.
Her 2019 closed out with two big support slots. One, with Lydia Ainsworth, while she joined the bill with electronic trio Stealing Sheep to complete a breakthrough year to celebrate.
It is no doubt her sheer vocal ability that blew us away, so we were delighted to hear it so prominent this time round. Her vocal range is almost gospel, and it’s a spiritual atmosphere that she has created with I’ll Wait, produced by her with long time collaborator MINAS (Dead Method, Agris).
On the track, TIËRNY explains: “All of my songs are about me coming to terms with myself in one way or another. I wanted to reflect the duality and irony of hate\love and that fine line you tread when in an all consuming relationship. The person in question didn’t love me anymore. This was my way of trying to reconcile with one final declaration of love. It was me saying I’m still here if you ever change your mind. It’s a sad banger, heartbreak you can dance to.”
The refrain that takes over the last two minutes is nothing short of sublime, as the track ebbs out. There’s no doubt we’ve been party to something beautiful. A sad banger indeed. – Lewis Ridley
Sophie Bernice: Leave Our Skins EP
Singer-songwriter Sophie Bernice reaches straight to the heart with her debut EP Leave Our Skins, released this month via Klee Music.
On five tracks the delicate traceries of her vocals sketch out territory reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, Martha Wainwright or Rickie Lee Jones, yet Sophie Bernice is an original if enigmatic artist.
Simultaneously fragile and mighty, her voice swoops and swirls in unexpected directions like splashes of paint in an abstract painting.
Sophie was seen earlier this year in a series of subterranean videos, shot in Liverpool’s Williamson Tunnels – a setting which suits the direction of the lyrics which seem intent on sinking down deep through layers of narrative and imagery to reveal an emotional truth.
Tracks like I Am A Machine and Song for Myself reveal her lyrical concern with personal identity and the elusiveness of relationships, run through with melancholy playfulness.
The North West based artist has frequently been seen busking in various town centres swathed in a huge furry jacket (back when going outside was a thing). Hopefully, the EP will prove to be a route towards more indoor appearances. – Roy Bayfield
Guevarism: Moonlight (Kept Us Up)
Released via Super Weird Substance, the latest effort from Guevarism titled Moonlight (Kept Us Up) is a corker, a real dance-floor filler that’s sure to be spun late into the night.
The track fuses so many hints of different genres that it’s difficult to properly unpick what’s going on. We’ve got jungle infused drum breaks interspersed with piano that’s definitely borrowing from 90s house anthems – beyond that your guess is as good as mine.
Around halfway through the track, we’re treated to a hint of a dub section, with a sub shaking bass sequence accompanied by those pounding garage drums.
Moonlight (Kept Us Up) is ever-evolving, with the nearly seven-minute runtime of the track passing by in an instant.
This is one of those rare tracks that works equally well through headphones or out on the dancefloor, with a carefully crafted production giving the track real weight and substance.
For lovers of electronica, you’d do far worse than to give this a spin. – Max Richardson
The Subtheory: Ventura Blvd
The Subtheory’s creator Andy Hill’s Instagram feed is an array of brooding black and white cityscapes, abandoned buildings, and retro video-games, and there’s a metaphor there for ‘Ventura Blvd’; no sun, sea, and sand here, straight away from opening track Shiny Things and its 1960’s TV announcer intro we’re led into sparse, dark ‘80s electronica, precise electronic drum beats and swelling, swirling synths.
There’s little in the way of traditional ‘vocals’, voices being movie-like samples treated as one more instrument punctuating the industrial synth-pop of Venger’s Revenge, before it gets darker still with Two Years and title track and closer Ventura Blvd.
It all sounds at once like a sci-fi soundtrack, Bladerunner maybe, or the animated Ghost In The Shell, and a grittier version of the music from the old Outrun coin-op, or maybe Ridge Racer:Type 4; close your eyes and you can see the rain streaking the windows, the tarmac outside black and shiny between the neon reflected in the raindrops.
It’s that evocative; this is a moody, atmospheric EP, full of dark and shade.
Hill wanted to create “a journey through the underbelly of Los Angeles, the night time economy full of street corners and their cast of characters, danger and adventure lurking in equal measure”.
He’s succeeded, in spades. – Alex Holmes
Mal Hijo: Mal Hijo
Mike Blue is a throwback. Spending a lot of time dotted around the city centre busking, Blue has never hidden his homage for 60/70s music. After all, those who have heard him busking on the streets will be hard pressed to claim that there is anyone better in Liverpool who can cover Bob Dylan better.
However, with his band, Mal Hijo, who also consists of guitarist Billy Price, bassist Tyler Swindley and drummer Jacob Hackett, Blue shakes off the troubadour leanings and goes into full-on rock mode.
And what a time to do it.
Mal Hijo‘s eponymous new single from their forthcoming album, Superstar Crematorium, is an unforgiving ode to early 70s hard-rock luminaries.
After two minutes where Price‘s precise riffs swirl around your head, the barrage continues with mind-frying keyboards and Hackett’s wild drum fills where you are tricked into thinking that this is an off-cut from Blue Oyster Cult‘s Secret Treaties.
There’s even a cheeky nod to Pink Floyd‘s Money in there, too. Only a Liverpool act could get away with that.
Mal Hijo is derivate but when it’s done well, these facts are of little concern. Ma Hijo is five minutes of wig-the-fuck-out good times. – Simon Kirk
Lure In: Atonement
This Manchester-based five-piece have been developing a reputation as a savage and energetic live act on the metal and hardcore scene in the North-West since 2019.
Having been on the bill at recent festivals such as Unearthed 2020, Lure In look set to make a major impact with their debut album.
The first two singles from that record are sumptuous slabs of metalcore that pierce into the listener with precision, rather than bludgeon them with outright raw aggression.
Atonement, in particular, is a remarkable achievement for a band this young. The sonic journey they are able to construct within a track that is just two minutes and fifty-two seconds is highly immersive.
The gloomy intro sequence is interrupted by a barrage of machine-gun-like guitar riffing that is then punctuated by part-spoken, part shouted vocals within verses that gradually ratchet up the sense of despair.
Cameron Wilson’s vocals become increasingly agitated towards the climax of the song and his guttural roar is eventually submerged within disorienting echoed voices and jarring riffs.
Blueprints is shorter still but no less sweeter. It gets straight to the point with a rumbling, riotous opening before amplifying the sense of desperation as the echoing refrain of “You run away from me” provides a satisfyingly haunting conclusion. – Ned Hassan
Fumar Mata: El Kapp
Describing themselves as a “tobacco infused, nicotine drenched garage fuzz five-piece”, Liverpool’s Fumar Mata (which includes local favourite son Alex Wynne of Strange Collective), release their debut single, El Kapp.
El Kapp has got many a tongue wagging around the current virtual traps and for good reason.
With its Oh Sees-inspired frenetic brand of balls-to-the-wall speed-rock, El Kapp also finds Fumar Mata subtlety infusing nice psychedelic echoes which simmer nicely under the surface.
Let’s be honest here. Oh Sees fans are a bit fucking mad. A bit obsessive. To the point where they’ll gladly love anything resembling John Dwyer‘s sonic oddities.
Fumar Mata are certainly that, so we suspect many a nutter will climb aboard this freak train.
And so they should, El Kapp is a gnarly banger that could well be the track of the summer. Even if we are stuck indoors to experience it. – Simon Kirk
There was a time when every city had its own flock of indie bands and Liverpool was perhaps better represented than most cities with regards to this scene.
Many of these, such as The DaVincis, Walking Seeds and Benny Profane, went on to make some brilliant records and play memorable gigs. Others, of course, were denied this level of the local spotlight.
One such band is Ryan, who were part of the Vulcan Street rehearsal studios gang. Their time as a band was fairly short and they have become one of Liverpool’s many lost bands.
But Ryan have now reformed, older and wiser.
Their track Hollis is a tribute to much loved Talk Talk singer Mark Hollis and is moody, atmospheric and haunting. One gets the feeling that Hollis himself would approve of the space and the sparse nature of the track.
Hollis is an incredible piece of work and shows Ryan to be a band that has matured rather than grown old.
Ryan may have missed out on fame and acclaim the first time around, but on the strength of this and their other new demos, it would be fitting if this were not the case 2nd time around.
A beautiful song and a beautiful tribute. – Banjo
Alice Mae: Inside I’m Who I Want To Be
Folk-pop singer Alice Mae shared her personal, striking songs at live gigs over the last year including Deep Cuts back in November before releasing her debut EP Inside I’m Who I Want To Be last month.
The five track EP focuses on personal issues but without relying on its topic too much Mae manages to subtly intertwine her message within the ambiguity of song-writing.
The self-produced style of the tracks adds authenticity to an already unique and crafted vocal.
Psyche Oh opens with unnerving audio extracts before abruptly relaxing into a delicate guitar intro, The Darkness In Me taking a similarly uplifting approach with sweet sounding guitar picking and chimes.
Baggy Clothes takes a different direction with darker melodies and a low rumbling drum beat reflecting Mae’s ability to transfer conflicting emotions through music.
Title track Inside I’m Who I Want To Be releases waves of positivity complete with trumpets, whistles and freestyle vocals from Mae in a refreshing release of self-positivity. – Naomi Campbell
Roxanne de Bastion: Erase
Motel Sundown: Light of My Life
Light of my Life is the second single to be released by Americana folk-rock band Motel Sundown, who played a stunning set at Getintothis’ Social back in February.
The single comes after the release of debut single Chicago in December 2019.
Light of my Life is a beautifully smooth tune, incorporating soft, country-style vocals with classic acoustic guitar.
Upon listening, the vocals are simultaneously delicate and confidently bodacious, this diversity makes the track euphoric and admirable.
The combination of traditional country style and powerful vocals makes for a sensational listen. Notes of melodic, Americana folk qualities are present throughout the track, giving it a distinctive, pleasant undertone. – Sian Ellis
Mono Sideboards: Fleetwood Mix
Two years and eight months feel like a long time in the music business – the Sex Pistols didn’t last that long -, but not if you produce timeless tunes.
Having been in the studio to record their second album, Shame, Regret, etc, back in September 2017, Mono Sideboards are finally ready to share it with us all on May the 8th. The first available track, we’re glad to say, is a gem.
If their first album, 2015’s The Pains of Being Frank Lamb, sounded like the raw birth of a very promising band, Fleetwood Mix is a track that places them on a higher level.
The Merseyside five-piece continues with themes of sadness and suffering. Words like: “You can cut me off /You can break my heart in two / In two” are sung over a slow-paced gorgeous melody and impeccable mix of guitars and keyboards, with Nick Mason-esque drums setting the mood.
Mono Sideboards sound now more psychedelic than Americana, more Dead Meadow than Grandaddy, more studio than garage. They’ve grown beyond expectation.
2020 is very different to 2017, but one has the feeling that the band recorded the track last week, as it suits perfectly our lockdown days. Fleetwood Mix is not just timeless, it probably sounds fresher today than when it was recorded. It might just be one of those tunes that get better with time. – Rogério Simões