Like An Island

Like An Island

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.

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Track of the Day – ‘Hey You’ by False Advertising

Track of the Day – ‘Hey You’ by False Advertising

Listen to the new tune from False Advertising a few times and it’ll be buzzing ’round your head like – well, incidentally, with a similar momentum to three people racing bicycles ’round the city. Which fittingly enough is exactly what the video for Hey You depicts, as the band escape the daily grind to battle it out on Mobikes.

The song, which highlights a slightly more mellow but intensely catchy side to the band’s lively grunge-pop, features as the opening track on their new EP. I Would Be So Much Happier If I Just Stopped Caring was released yesterday and includes recent singles Not My Fault, It’s Been A While (So Sick) and Honest, alongside new song I Think I Got My Wish.

Track of the Day – ’72 & Sunny’ by Wylderness

Track of the Day – ’72 & Sunny’ by Wylderness

I have to confess, by the time Wylderness got around to releasing their debut single, I was concerned it might be a little late in the year for a song titled 72 & Sunny. However while the temperature might not be quite there, October is proving today that it can still be pretty bright!

The name may be very slightly misleading anyway – while there’s no denying the prominence of hazy vocals and washed-out guitar, there’s also an underlying element of the garage rock of (previous project featuring most members of this band) KUTOSIS. This added bite actually asserts the track as fairly fitting for a crisp-but-clear autumn afternoon.

Track of the Day – ‘Cable-Built Dreamland’ by White Room

Track of the Day – ‘Cable-Built Dreamland’ by White Room

It’s not uncommon for bands that have built up their reputation through playing live for the same energy to transfer to their records; but with White Room it’s that little bit more, a glorious enthusiasm that permeates everything they do. Cable-Built Dreamland, despite actually being a critique on society’s infatuation with our own online appearances, bounces and glides along with all the enjoyment that it fears people are missing out on by not spending enough time in reality.

Self described as ‘sky-gaze’, the band mesh the most colourful traits of psychedelia into perfect indie-disco pop songs. With double-EP Eight on its way and a near-endless touring schedule, this writer recommends you get off your phone and immerse yourself in one of their gigs asap.

Track of the Day – ‘Oh Weird’ by Black Surf

Track of the Day – ‘Oh Weird’ by Black Surf

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!

Track of the Day – ‘Elsewhere’ by Ysgol Sul

Track of the Day – ‘Elsewhere’ by Ysgol Sul

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.