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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Where have Bloody Knees been? For a while even their twitter went quiet, granted previously most of it seemed to be them playing hide-and-seek in bins but still, it was news of a sort. When that stopped it begged the question whether something serious had happened, given the bands attraction to injury (note both their name, and the true story behind previous EP title track Stitches). However they seem to be ok as there’s a new song, and skinny-dipper on the single artwork appears healthy enough.
Oh yeah, music. Aside from I Want It All last spring, this new EP will be the first release from the band in more than three years. Maybe It’s Easy is out on October 13th, with Not Done being the first cut from it, and available now. There’s something a little bit sad about this song, but ultimately it refuses to give up and rages back into grungy indie life ending with the words ‘I don’t care anymore’; as if the band have decided that whatever was holding them back (presumably the same reason they temporarily vanished) doesn’t actually matter. And rightly so, don’t let anything keep you away from what you care about.
Now onto their sixth EP, it feels like Trampolene will never release a full album. And honestly, whilst it would be a lovely thing to have, the shorter format seems to work so well for this band and at a rate of a couple a year, they’re giving us more songs than most manage through the traditional cycle. ‘Beautiful Pain’, the latest addition to their collection, is out now.