Track Of The Day: Black Surf – Oh Weird

Track Of The Day: Black Surf – Oh Weird

While the whole slacker vibe is a definite part of Black Surf, Oh Weird just sounds laaaaazy. Not in a bad, can’t-be-bothered way; more in a Tuesday-morning-off-work, no-need-to-get-up-quickly way. Which may explain why it’s taken me until the evening to get around to writing this. After the first verse, an arm attempts to extricate itself, but winds up straight back under the duvet. By about halfway through the track has picked up vigour enough to roll over and switch on the bedside lamp. After a brief slump then, we find we’re finally crawling out of bed; suddenly our feet hit the floor, the song over and our day begun. Oh Weird is currently available for free (well y’know, in exchange for your email address, natch) from the band’s website, which also features a countdown clock to… well, you’ll just have to follow and see!

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Track Of The Day: Ysgol Sul – Elsewhere

Track Of The Day: Ysgol Sul – Elsewhere

One day, I will get round to learning Welsh. In the meantime though, I just have to be grateful that Ysgol Sul have dumbed things down for the sake of monoglots like myself; the songs on their new EP are written in the English language. Due for release on September 30th, Eventide is characterised by a subtle capriciousness, that draws on and accentuates the most whimsical elements of classic indie.

Elsewhere acts as an anchor in the middle of this release, and is the obvious choice for a single, its gentle but propulsive rhythm driving the song decisively beneath hazy guitars and languid vocals. The rest of the EP floats around this point somewhat formlessly, fluctuating gradually so as to avoid jarring its listener from the lulling state that these songs evoke. Perfectly timed as autumn draws in, there’s an erratic element here that’s just a bit too unexpected for a summer daze, and a slight sullenness to the vocal that suits the fall of the year.

New Release: Fizzy Blood – Summer Of Luv

New Release: Fizzy Blood – Summer Of Luv

Opening with a few seconds of static and dissolving into tuneless la’s by its third line, Pawn sets the scene on an EP that’s not for the faint-hearted. Fizzy Blood have had an element of unhinged weirdness since first single January Sun, after that though everything seemed to become bit more restrained. For a while at least – over the past year or so the derangement has been getting gradually less subtle, as if they’d gently slid a knife between our ribs and are now twisting it.

That’s not to suggest that every moment on Summer Of Luv is is frenzied madness; this band know how to use space to enhance their impact, with sometimes the calmest sections coming across as the most eerie, particularly towards the end of Haunted. Then the title track jumps in, jarringly blithe, albeit through heavy distortion. It’s the ‘pop’ song of the release, if such a thing needs to be observed; before the final track sinks once more into darkness. Generally the idea of a band reverting back to a manner they’d moved away from is quite odd, but the way that everything they’ve learnt in the meantime is incorporated maintains a sense of progression with this release. It’ll be interesting to see where they go next, hopefully even weirder (if that’s possible).

New Release: Ghost Of The Avalanche – Obsessive Compulsive Gender Dysphoria

New Release: Ghost Of The Avalanche – Obsessive Compulsive Gender Dysphoria

Alright, so I’m a week behind, this was actually out last Friday. Blame festivals… Although that’s not a valid excuse really, as my pre-order turned up days earlier. Complete with stickers, badges, and a cherry Maoam – didn’t I feel loved to be sent the best flavour!

With a running time just over ten minutes (or fifteen if you get the special edition CD with its hidden bonus track), there’s no messing about here. Amalgamating high-tempo punk and grooving basslines into a ferocious but disarmingly seductive racket, this EP is everything you’d hope for from Ghost Of The Avalanche. The breakneck speed eases a little after two songs for ironically ‘pop’ midpoint White Noise, and the dark tale of a sleazebag getting his comeuppance in Snake Charmer.

The issues highlighed by the record’s title Obsessive Compulsive Gender Dysphoria have subtly rather than obviously influenced the songs here. As such the atmosphere is one of general alienation and maybe some confusion at the world, making it relatable regardless of whether you’ve been through specifically similar experiences. There’s harshness here, that echoes the world; but with this EP to listen, dance and scream along to, you get the feeling that things might just work out alright.

New Release: Pinact – The Part That No One Knows

New Release: Pinact – The Part That No One Knows

I know I’m far from the first to say this, but there’s always that fear when you fall hard for a band’s debut album, that they won’t quite ever reach the same dizzying heights again. Obviously only time spent with Pinact‘s sophomore record The Part That No One Knows will prove whether it really lives up to the strength of predecessor Stand Still And Rot, but based on the few listens I’ve had so far, I’d say there’s a damn good chance this could be one of those rare miracles.

The overall sound here doesn’t stray from what they’ve done before, but where so often that would be a weakness, it’s the strength of the songs themselves that make this band so beloved to me. Half-buried beneath the fuzz and and pounding indie-punk, at their heart these tunes are real little pop gems with genuine and easily familiar emotion behind them. The most immediately noticeable earworms are singles Seams and Separate Ways, but already new favourites are developing with every play; right now particularly Against The World but if this is anything like last time, I’ll fall in love with each track one by one.

Video: Press to MECO – If All Your Parts Don’t Make A Whole

Video: Press to MECO – If All Your Parts Don’t Make A Whole

The internet has made it easier now than ever to compare our lives to those of others’, and allows greater control over how we portray ourselves too. Of course, the natural reaction then is to present the most exciting, happy and well-adjusted version of your world at all times; yet it can be hard to remember that those you are scrutinising are also doing the same, that there is far more to them than the complete, ‘perfect’ selves you are permitted to see. If All Your Parts Don’t Make A Whole targets this thinking, and how easy it is to hold yourself to unattainable standards, because it can seem like everyone else has it together and you’re the only one struggling. Likes and follows have become the new social currency, replacing the number of real-life friends you might’ve previously judged a person’s popularity by. It’s easy for these to be used to measure ourselves against what we think we should be, for the acquisition of them to become an obsession, when that time could be better used living our real lives.

Although you should obviously take three minutes of that to watch the video below; and in the real world, Press to MECO will be self-releasing second album Here’s To The Fatigue on November 11th.

New Release: Clue Club Vol 3

New Release: Clue Club Vol 3

If you didn’t know, Clue Records are a Leeds-based independent label putting out some of the most captivating new bands around that area at the moment. Recently they’ve launched a singles’ club, no not the lonely hearts type but a musical one, putting out bi-monthly AA-side releases.

Having previously featured splits from Fighting Caravans/Colour Of Spring and Tea Buckley &/Team Picture, this latest edition comprises newbies Mini Skirt and a now-expanded Night Owls. The former have provided a song titled French Kiss, which exactly matches the feeling evoked by its title, emanating the warmth of summer nights and the blissful innocence of youth. Its companion Honestly is a fair amount rowdier, an ode to more mature relationships and the importance of trust. While sounding less amorous on the surface, lyrics such as “I’ll catch you when the ceiling falls right through” show the sort devotion absent from adolescent romance.

Whether chosen intentionally or not, the similar-but-contrasting themes result in these two songs balancing each other perfectly. This single is available now on its own, or a subscription to Clue Club will get you a bunch of bonus goodies as well as all the year’s releases.