I couldn’t tell you the last gig I went to where every song on the setlist was familiar to me. Ok, I mean before Wednesday last week, or I wouldn’t be mentioning it now. The down-side of finding ridiculous amounts of great new bands and artists is that, well, there are still only twenty-four hours in each day, and I still have to work, eat and sleep. I have so little time to pay attention to all the songs I’d like to, that I can rarely keep up – somehow with Bryde, I managed it.
Jumping on her bandwagon fairly early (thanks to Adam Walton’s radio show), I’ve caught everything from solo gigs to the evolution of the full band, recognised ‘new’ singles having already heard them live, and so by the Cardiff leg of debut album Like An Island‘s launch tour I’m fully knowledgeable. The record itself documents the change in line-up – a couple of songs have been included from previous singles and EPs, enough to give a nod to tried-and-tested favourites without retreading the same ground. The decision not to rework these with the full band says that this is still very much Sarah’s project; I hope later releases hold onto that as I have to confess, I’m personally biased towards the tracks that she’s clearly written alone. The depth of emotion and expression in her voice just hits harder when there’s less going on musically.
Hence I couldn’t believe that, back some years ago now when the band featured just Sarah and her electric guitar (I don’t remember if I was ever around quite early enough to have seen the acoustic), in a corner of the City Arms I had to shush two people chatting in front of me. There was no need for that last week at Clwb Ifor Bach; nothing but rapt silence through every poignant moment, as a packed room appreciated the winding journey that led to the creation of this wonderful record.
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.
An adjective or phrase expressing a quality or attribute regarded as characteristic of the person or thing mentioned; e.g. “Britain; home of the ignorant, arrogant, and scared”.
Alright, so that last bit is the final lyric of Let, one of two new Cassels songs shared alongside the announcement of their debut album. The first part of that duo, Coup, is an angry beast rallying against pre-Brexit apathy; calling for us to be more aware of the state of the world before it’s too late. Its counterpart grew from a rant written the day after those results; and starts vitriolic, then abating some as it sinks into despair.
Twin lyric videos adhere to the band’s DIY motif, as the pair flick food colouring at each other atop an urban roof terrace. The two songs will be included on forthcoming record Epithet, released October 6th via Big Scary Monsters. Alongside a couple launch shows around this date, Cassels have been added as UK support for Single Mothers’ tour the following month, which includes a Cardiff show at Clwb Ifor Bach on November 23rd*.
*That date may or may not be the author’s birthday. She may or may not have danced around her house for a full ten minutes following the announcement. If you’re going to the gig, feel free to buy her a drink! ;p
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.
Well, where to start – it’s been a long couple years, boys. In the time Samoans have been away, Four Bars has shut; the venue where I both first, and most recently (nearly said ‘last’ there, but hopefully not!) saw them. Watched the band live, that is – as for the individual people involved, most of them tend to turn up fairly frequently around Cardiff, occasionally in my work which is cool if always a little awkward.
Rescue, the group’s debut album, has been spun half to death though I’m still sure I’ll never get bored of it. The split with Freeze The Atlantic in the interim was a fun little snack, but something more substantial is definitely overdue. And so we look forward to Laika. This second full-length record has been announced for release on September 29th via their own Apres Vous Records, and is preluded by the aerial Patience.
I half think this song reminds me of something else, or is it akin to that curiosity where you meet someone new who it feels like you’ve always known, fresh yet familiar at the same time? Alternatively, maybe I’ve just listened to the damn thing too many times already. You can’t really blame me for that, as from its sudden intro the track softens into a swirling, undulating dream which holds you in a trance you’ll never want to leave. Even after it finishes, when you find yourself hitting play again… If it’s not obvious by now, I’m loving this and pretty keen to hear the rest of the new album; I hope they’re as glad to be back as we are to have them.
Coming to my attention last year as Pines, a subsequent name change seems to have upped the band’s productivity as they’ve already recorded and released debut album Dixieland under new moniker Greet Death.
It’s been the best part of three years since Single Mothers unleashed the incendiary treasure that is their debut album Negative Qualities. Following a mostly-changed line up for last year’s Meltdown EP, they return with a second record Our Pleasure, out now via (in the UK) Big Scary Monsters.