Estrons continue to blaze brightly, tearing their way vividly as always through new single Strobe Lights. The video was filmed at their local rehearsal space with help from a few friends, so if you know Cardiff’s music scene pretty well then look out for some familiar faces (and the ever-recognisable My Name Is Ian shirt). The band will be on tour through autumn, including a set as part of Hoyfest at Cardiff’s The Gate theatre on September 30th.
To celebrate the release of their new single, Chain Of Flowers have posted a video for one of the songs, Let Your Light In. It and second A-side Flesh, Blood And Bone are available now digitally or on 7″ via ALTER.
Picking up their pace in terms of releases, Silent Forum shared their second single within as many months. Darkly fretful, Trust is held back from outright despair by its jaunty guitar melody, a delicate balance that sounds much more contained on record than their visceral live shows. Speaking of such, they don’t have any gigs lined up at the moment that I know of, though I did hear a rumour that plans of one with surf-punk wunderkinds HODAD could be in the works…
From the beginning, Trampolene have never stuck to one style – with each EP or ‘pocket album’ comes a mix of energetic indie rock, gentle acoustic pieces and spoken word poems. More recently though, they’ve starting mixing these diverse elements within the same songs. Latest single Beautiful Pain starts off sounding like one of singer Jack’s solo tracks, just simple guitar and his soft voice; gradually the rest of the band join in, though through this evolution it retains much more delicacy than their full-band songs usually have. The title track of a forthcoming EP, this song is available now with the remaining three released on July 7th.
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.
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 don’t know who Himalayas new single is about or what they’ve done, but I’m pretty sure from this Clockwork Orange-inspired video that I’m glad I’m not them too! Thank God I’m Not You is out now, though the official launch show for it isn’t until June 8th in Clwb Ifor Bach.