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.
Twenty years ago, The Immediate believed their chance at superstardom to be over. Despite a solid local fan base and live reputation, the demo tape they sent to a label failed to get them a recording contract; and falling victim to the stresses of being an unsigned band they grew disenchanted with the industry and began to hate one another. Two decades later, they’ve let go of those hopes and reunited to play music just for the love of it. Not that they aren’t taking it seriously or don’t care about their songs being heard as widely as possible, but the youthful dreams of ‘making it’ have given way to a satisfaction with music being a hobby. Two EPs on, and the band are finally putting out their debut album (well it’s normal to self-release nowadays, isn’t it?).
There is great risk with bands reforming that they end up sounding like overgrown adolescents, trapped forever in memories of their ‘glory days’, viewed of course through a heavy rose tint. In terms of the music here it’s possible that little has changed – though I don’t know how the band sounded first time around, as it probably won’t make them feel good if I mention how old I was(n’t) then. The point is that while I’m sure their individual tastes have far expended in the interim, the main influences behind these songs are likely the same ones they grew up on, having the feel of classic pop long outdating anything likely to be bothering the charts today. The lyrics on the other hand represent how that band have changed – subjects such as family holidays, sharing child custody and overcoming mental health issues probably wouldn’t even have crossed their minds at an age of getting drunk and suffering their first heartbreaks. However maturity isn’t just about growing up and having families, it’s about understanding your place in the world, and what is really important; and in existing to share stories just for the joy of putting them out for people to hear, it’s this that Manbuoy really shows.
I’m generally averse to hype bands – if too many people are raving about an artist, they tend to turn out not to be worth my time. Now, call me a hipster if you like, but the truth is that niche music is more interesting and anything that’s accessible enough for all the new music places to love equally, probably isn’t. Occasionally though, something comes along that everyone is talking about just because it’s impossible to ignore. That was Kamikaze Girls‘ Sad EP last year, which as the title suggests, tackles mental health difficulties head on. Now they’re back with debut full length Seafoam , which expands to face a more general disillusionment with being a young person in this modern world, particularly highlighted in the video for Deathcap. While personal factors have contributed to the mood of this album (opener One Young Man is based on real events), it’s the general attitude of just having had enough with the way things are that gives a sense of relatability, and the reason everyone is listening to them. The album is out now via Big Scary Monsters, and the band are on tour next week, including Buffalo in Cardiff on June 29th for DIY Cardiff.
Alright, so there are a lot of punky-noise-pop bands kicking around at the moment, and yes I love a fair few of them. Pinact though are a level above most, debut album Stand Still And Rot being loaded start to end with flawless, introspective indie songs. New single Seams follows their lead, if anything a tad less fuzzy, which serves to allow the beautifully simple pop song at its core to really shine through. I’ve listened to this maybe a dozen times now and each play it hits me again how special it is, sounding almost like an early-00’s Ash b-side (or maybe I’ve just been listening to Cosmic Debris too much lately!). Anyway this song will be on the band’s second album, The Part That No One Knows, released on August 25th.
If you live around Cardiff, then you know My Name Is Ian for one song; and if you don’t, well then you probably haven’t heard of them at all. I’d say that new album Cincinnati Cola is about to change all that, but if that’s what the band were aiming for, they’d’ve made something a lot less… well, odd. From orchestral/electronic/spoken-word-sounds-like-a-film-quote opener Spring Grove Cemetery, it’s clear this record isn’t meant to be accessible, at least not in any mainstream sense of the word.
That’s not to say that these songs aren’t catchy – in fact, some of the more pop-orientated tracks among the collection are instantly recognisable if you’ve seen the band live recently, Shangri-La And Paradise and lead single Fight, Drink And Watch People Die On TV are two that particularly spring to mind as having been in their set for a while. Once upon a time, great pop music was recognised by earworm songs rather than autotuned vocals and the ‘right image’ – any argument in favour of these songs being considered such though is scuppered anyway by lyrics often constructed of nonsense rhyme. Then take into account that even around the sing-a-longs, the rest of this album is mind-bogglingly strange – as you’re ultimately reminded by final track Merlot Ego (If I Was A Gentoo Penguin, I Would Find You The Smoothest Pebble) ending on two-and-a-half minutes of nothing but erratic bleeps and blips.
But that’s the fun of it, being a fan of My Name Is Ian is almost a cult wherein once you can sing along to In The Best Case Scenario We’d Die At The Same Time (from their previous album), it feels like you’re ‘in’. Saying that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fight, Drink… becomes the new festival anthem; you can check out the What’s My Age Again-inspired video for that one below. Oh, and if you do live in Cardiff, keep an eye on where they are at the end – working out the punchline before the camera pans up makes it even funnier. Back to the record – Cincinnati Cola is out now via Bubblewrap Records, available digitally by itself or as part of a t-shirt/download/artwork bundle from the label’s website.
So I know that everyone was raving about Kamikaze Girls last year after the release of their Sad EP, but somehow I still kind of missed it. Then I watched the video for Berlin and it still didn’t quite click – thankfully somehow I ended up watching it again, and it felt like I’d always known that song. Nope, doesn’t make much sense to me either. Anyway, their debut album Seafoam will be out June 9th, and I’ll definitely be paying attention this time. They’re playing Cardiff not long after too, at Buffalo for DIY Cardiff on June 29th with a bunch of other great bands.
Wrapping up everything you need to know from the early days of Cassels into one neat package, Foreword is what the title suggests, a precursor to the band’s forthcoming debut album proper. Including three brand new songs so even those of us who’ve been following for a while haven’t heard it all yet, this release not so much closes the door on one chapter as opens a bigger one ready for the next. The record is available now via Big Scary Monsters and the band are heading out on tour with Meat Wave this month, including a Cardiff date on the 24th.