When a band generates a buzz of the level that’s surrounded Estrons for a while now, it’s quite easy to get distracted and start celebrating that, rather than the band themselves. Sometimes it can be necessary to take a step back, listen to the music rather than the hype, and remember what matters – that they just write damn good songs.
Cold Wash is the b-side to recent single Glasgow Kisses, and showcases exactly what it is that makes this bunch of former ‘strangers’ stand out from all the rest. Direct and passionate, the track captures the band’s untameable energy and autonomous spirit; that’s why I listen to them, not the amount of magazine coverage they get. And not that their being from Cardiff matters all that much, but it’s great to remember how damn lucky I am to have bands so important that I can consider local.
Speaking of which, if you’re around this area you can catch Estrons at their live best next month, as they play a hometown show with CHROMA and Palomino Party at Clwb Ifor Bach on December 9th.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alright, so it’s by my judgement and depends what’s available at the time on soundcloud. Hence there’re actually sixteen songs here… you’ll see at the end. I’ve added some self-explanatory, and some more imaginative descriptions, but don’t worry too much about reading those; better to just hit play and listen for yourself.
Artefact Siren – Simultaneously taut and ethereal, like a kite in a breeze.
Bryde Less – Always transfixing, her voice soars and rages with emotion on this tale of unequal love.
Chain Of Flowers Flesh Blood And Bone – Slightly more upbeat and jangly that we’re used to from this gloomy lot. I did say just slightly.
DISJOY Divided – Building starkly to crash in a wave of frenzied noise, ebb and repeat.
Estrons Strobe Lights – Boisterous shout-a-long from a bunch of Strangers.
Excellent Skeleton Think I’ll Run – Give it two listens and you’ll be singing this in your sleep, desperately trying to remember where you heard it.
Florence Black The One – Classic rock with a hint of grunge, for people who aren’t old enough to remember either.
GRAVVES My Pet Rihanna – I hope the pet in question is a Tasmanian devil crossed with a hurricane, as there’s no way this song is about a gerbil.
Himalayas Thank God I’m Not You – To be fair, I wouldn’t want to be anyone else if I could write songs like this, with so much venom yet compelling the listener to dance like nothing’s wrong.
The Immediate Not Shabby – Beneath some intriguing metaphors, is an uplifting ode to coping with less-than-perfect mental health.
Lastigband Jelo – The sound of a summer morning spent stumbling joyfully, maybe lightly intoxicated, through the Welsh countryside.
My Name Is Ian Fight, Drink And Die On TV – Cardiff’s new favourite late-night festival singalong. There’ll be tees with this on everywhere next.
Neurotic Fiction Generals – Gently choppy pop, like the sun sparkling off a breezy lagoon.
Silent Forum Trust – Relentlessly agitated post-indie* that you know just from listening is explosive live.
SUNS Wear Me Thin – This drowsily beautiful slice of summery bliss hides unexpectedly agonised lyrics.
And the bonus track: Twisted Ankle Netfix & Loathing – EP Eat A Phone was released last year, but wasn’t on soundcloud then to make the appropriate list; I wanted to give it a shout anyway, so here’s an extra.
*Term stolen from TRAAMS, I think it was.