New striking strokes
31 August 2023
Hadsel is a Norwegian city where Condon stayed
for 2 months during the first lockdown in 2020.
Along with the announcement, we get the first single, titled SO MANY PLANS.
Condon: “The song was written during the first lockdown in 2020, just when I came back from a two months long period of writing and recording in northern Norway. A friend’s lament on their many plans that had to be put on ice became the initial inspiration for this song’s title. That phrase still stuck in my head, I sat down in my attic studio with my newly rediscovered baritone uke and started playing the first chords to the song. I then added pump organ and some french horn to it, which became somewhat of a triptych for the record. I finished it off with bass and percussion from the modular synth, my big obsession at that time. During the writing process the simple sentence that had started the song came to mean much more than its original intent.”
Condon has one of the most moody/melancholic voices I ever heard and it fits his moody/melancholic music like a glove. So Many Plans is a very familiar-sounding Beirut
lullaby. Sepia-colored as usual, and again flavoured with mourning Mexican trumpets.
The best of the best of the month
1. ‘The Sinner’ by THE CORAL (Liverpool)
Suppose David Lynch wants to make a Spaghetti Western then this wistful lullaby should be part of the soundtrack. I’m sure he would like it for the shadowy vibe, the psychotic sinner (he likes psychotic sinners) and for the guitar reverberating sparks, thinking that’s it his fav nostalgic Casanova Chris Isaak on guitar (note: Lynch directed Isaak‘s Wicked Game video that featured flashes from his 1990 Wild At Heart movie).
2. ‘Constance Street’ by KRISTIN HERSH (US)
The stirring Throwing Muses/50 Foot Wave songstress has her
new solo LP, titled Clear Pound Road out on 8 September.
Hersh about the song: “I lived on Constance Street in New Orleans
when that song’s story happened. Buying slips in the Irish Channel/broken
prince in fluorescent camo is a very Southern day. I was born a hick and
I guess I’ll always be one.”
It’s a subtly groovin’ beauty
with Hersh poetic storytelling
adding a magical touch.
3. ‘Huevos Rancheros’ by THE IRRATIONAL LIBRARY (The Netherlands)
This Dutch-American rock band has its roots firmly planted in both the regional
and international counterculture. They produce a raw, dirty groove influenced by
punk, Provo, and punk icons. Their poetry is packed with social criticism.
The IL have canned their 4th LP. It’s named Good Busy and arrives via
Floprecords, digitally on 11 September and physically (vinyl/CD) 4 days later.
This first single is a tremendously catchy and melodic tune that mesmerizes from the kick-off. Stimulated by a sparkling and melancholic guitar riff à la Kurt Vile, a foot-stompin’ beat and word-smith Joshua Baumgarten‘s expressive storytelling, it becomes an electrifying pop gem, after a couple of spins. One for which the repeat button was invented for. One that invites you to stop for a while and look around to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
4. ‘We Did Nothing’ by GRAHAM PARKER (UK)
No retirement yet for the imperishable, now 72-year-old, pop-rock songsmith.
From the early 70s on he wrote/recorded/released a countless number of LPs
featuring several masterpieces.
His brand new one, called Last Chance To Learn The Twist,
featuring his new band The Goldtops shows up on 8 Sept.
Ahead of it comes this vintage Parker pearl.
5. ‘I Am A Wave’ by DEATH VALLEY GIRLS (Los Angeles)
Last February the Los Angeles‘ psychedelic garage pop/rock darlings
released their 5th longplayer Islands In The Sky. Their best ever to
my satisfied ears.
I Am A Wave is a new standalone single.
It’s a haunting mid-tempo psych jam, a sonic torch in the dark. The combination of the characteristically high-pitched Bloomgarden vocals, her 60s-sounding Hammond organ, the weeping guitars, the howling backing vocals, the steady drum beat and the glowing finale is just riveting and engrossing.
This is not a Mexican wave, it’s Bonnie‘s wave.
Follow her flow, she’s really kind of amazing.
6. ‘Everybody’s Save Until…’ by PARIS TEXAS (US)
This sharp-rap-cutting Los Angeles duo released their highly acclaimed riot-gun album
Mid Air last month. This 3rd single is nothing less than fucktastic, with a sickly sticky flow, a killer guitar riff and the tandem’s adrenalized vocality.
7. ‘METALLI!!’ by BABYMETAL (Japan)
The kawaii metal girls teamed up with Rage Against The Machine
guitarist Tom Morello for this new head-banging blast. Their mix of
glam metal, pop-punk melodies and pithy/screamy vocals are an
Hell bloody metali yeah!
8. ‘Bauhaus Staircase’ by OMD (UK)
The beloved synth-pop duo is around since the late 70s, and they have no
intention to go and sit in their lazy rocking chair counting their money.
On 27 October their 14th LP, baptized Bauhaus Staircase comes out.
The title track is the 3rd appetizer. A happy-go-lucky summer tune.
Irresistibly infectious. These two manoeuvres in the dark still come
up with vitalizing electro thrills.
The accompanying video is an animated spectacle, that features a nod to the imagery
of various sci-fi films, notably Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Run Lola Run, and Blade Runner.
9. ‘Your Side Of Town’ by THE KILLERS (Los Angeles)
10. ‘Blue Shadow’ by ASALONE (US)
Asalone is the solo project of singer/songwriter/producer
Adam Stanley Putzer from Buffalo, NY.
His new song is a reflection on returning to the place you
grew up, only to feel like a stranger in your own hometown.
Uplifting tunes like this one are always welcome on my busy headphones.
It’s a richly orchestrated melody that grabs your aural attention straight
away with its jaunty piano touches, scintillating guitar play, a bracing refrain
and last but not least Asalone‘s impassionate voice.
Amplified pop melancholia is what you get here.
Don’t be a stranger, enjoy and embrace the shadow.
11. ‘Fingerprints’ by : TREMENDOUS (Birmingham, UK)
Fingerprints is a post-break-up love song starting slowly and smoothly, only with
frontman’s Dudzinski‘s heartbroken voice and his weeping guitar, but 45 seconds
in, the emotions and the decibels go up and turn the song into a goosebumps power ballad, proving once again that lovesickness can lead to compellingly cathartic music.
Think the romantic vibes of The War On Drugs mixed with Noel Gallagher‘s raw guitar
play of the early Oasis days. To my persuaded ears Dudzinski has a torch-burning gem
on his hands. In a normal world, it would be a hit. Hands down.
Check it out.
12. ‘Cosmic Dance’ by COMMON FLAWS (Italy)
Common Flaws is the solo project of Giacomo Oberti,
the singer/songwriter from Italian synth-pop outfit
Cosmic Dance offers ambient vibes, jungle-esque drum beats, scintillating
synth sparks, and echoing vocals. It trips in your mind from the get-go.
Its tempting, playful flow and its melodic resonance have a tranquilizing
effect. A dream-stimulating effort.
13. ‘Prize’ by GHOST PATTERNS
This London-based quartet formed in 2019. They blend psychedelia,
shoegaze and post-punk influences into their music.
Prize is the first 2023 music following a couple of new ones
last year and their excellent 2019 debut album Infinite.
I wonder if they invited Interpol‘s stellar guitarist Daniel Kessler and
give him a license to overdub the guitars at play on Prize. The result is
a wall-of-shoegaze vibrancy that progresses in slo-mo and grows in
intensity along its route, with foggy vocals all over it.
More melodic than My Bloody Valentine, tighter than Slowdive. Is it real or
fantasy? No idea, but who cares when it’s as ear-and-mind pleasing as this.
14. ‘ExtraTerrestial’ by SMALL MIRACLES (Wales)
Small Circles is an indie act from Cardiff, Wales. Inspired by the early New Wave movement, they infuse elements of Punk, Blues and Grunge into their genre-bending sound. Their music has a distinctly queer, underground feel, finely balancing heavy grooves and breakdowns with catchy hooks and choruses.
Mirari tackles all war-greedy political leaders. You can feel/hear
the anger, the frustration and the in-your-face rage on ExtraTerrestrial.
Its cast-iron slow-mo drones, its vocal aggression, its ear-piercing guitar furor
and its razor-sharp Mirari rap sequence combine for a volcanic knockout.
We need big miracles to end all the Warshit!
Feel the heat.
15. ‘The Light At The End Of The World’ by IAN WILLIAMS (UK)
Williams started his music career in Edinburgh (Scotland) in the mid 1980’s as a founder
of Beautiful Pea Green Boat, whose ethereal, atmospheric sound pre-dated the vogue for dream pop by at least twenty years. He is now based in London and more recently, he has worked with singer Claudia Barton aka Gamine, releasing two albums of dark, piano-led torch songs and lullabies.
This new piece will feature on his new, forthcoming
full-length ‘Slow-Motion Apocalypse’, out in October.
Think Vangelis sharing ideas with Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre.
Cinematic, with spacey, melodramatic vocals. It could be part of the soundtrack
of a nature documentary about an eagle flying between the sea and the sky. Proud, mighty, fearless and untouchable. These are the images I see on my screen in
16. ‘Body’ by STRESS DOLLS (Buffalo, NY)
Stress Dolls is the moniker of alt/pop/rock artist Chelsea O’Donnell.
Her new single is a fully electricity-charged stunner with O’Donnell
expressive vocals adding a poignant resonance.
17. ‘Rosebud’ by SWAN HILL (UK)
These busy British indies have a new double
A-side single out, with Rosebud and Landlines.
Rosebud is my favorite.
A riff-loaded ripper with a vibrant pop edge.
18. ‘Deadweights’ by SEADOG (Brighton, UK)
The dream-pop duo from Brighton, UK enthrall with their new musing that
will be part of the new, forthcoming album, named Internal Noise, out in
the autumn via Austerity Records.
It features the vocal harmonies of Jack and Lily Wolter,
both from the band Penelope Isles, while Jack also
drums on it.
Singer-songwriter Mark Benton encapsulates his psychologically and physically
crushing insomnia experiences in a bittersweet and melancholic pop tune that
babbles like a sparkling brook, yet underlying this humdinger resonates as if
the after-effects of the sleepless years are still wandering around. In the end
here’s proof again that music can be healing. Beautiful.
19. ‘Alphabet City’ by THE NATIONAL
Last week they dropped two new gloomy ballads to keep
the momentum going. One of them is Alphabet City.
Lit a candlelight.
20. ‘My Submission’ by DEXYS (Birmingham, UK)
Now, after 45 (!) years, several line-ups and several hiatuses Dexys released (only)
their 6th album, the highly entertaining and feel-good full-length The Feminine Divine.
Mastermind Kevin Rowland celebrated his 70 birthday a couple of weeks ago,
and still has the gift to write a goosebumps balledis about. My Submission is
a diamond of a song.
31 August 2023
The infamous London post-punk misfits THE ONLY ONES, fronted by then
hedonist Peter Perrett (now aged 71 and still active solo) made an impressive
and productive mark between 1976-1982 with 3 LPs. Their self-titled debut (1978),
the outstanding Even Serpents Shine (1979) and Baby’s Got A Gun (1980).
Their most famous single was/is ANOTHER GIRL, ANOTHER PLANET (more than
24 million streams on Spotify), from the band’s debut album. A 24-Karat classic,
that hasn’t aged a bit. Timeless nugget.
Watch the video.
Daily noise that works faster than any stimulant
31 August 2023
Who: 5 noisy pop/rock indies
from Bologna, Italy.
Following their incendiary 2022 debut album Fiesta, the band just announced the
delivery of an even more provocative and sophisticated record with the follow-up,
titled SMALL TALK. The new one finds Leatherette breaking free of the post-punk straitjacket some were keen to strap them in, indulging their love of wild noise and
twisted pop. The new album will be released on 3rd November via Bronson
The first single off the LP is called RONALDO
A song that explodes in jazz and shoegaze elements, a desperate scream that leads
to new romantic riffs, a tormented sax solo and melancholy vocals. A tune of inspired action and emotional turbulence, that talks of separation and of deep malaise.
Emotive, gloomy and estranged.
Impactful and fiery thrill.
I wonder if Cristiano Ronaldo would like it?
“Oh had I written that book that I was talking about!
All I’ve done is looking for a title that I still haven’t found!
Oh messy life, messy life, I’m Cristiano Ronaldo
But I’ve never ever ever had a ball
Oh had I written that book that I was talking about!
All I’ve done is looking for a title that I still haven’t found!
Oh messy life, messy life, I’m Cristiano Ronaldo
But I’ve never ever ever had a ball
I remember the last time you saw my face
And it was looking kinda twisted
Jumping to conclusions never led you anywhеre else
I can nеver tell when to surrender so I never get involved
In anything, in anything at all
I didn’t write the book that i was talking about!
All i’ve done is looking for a title that i still haven’t found!
Oh I’m losing my temper and i’m not gonna miss it!
I ain’t gonna miss you neither if you don’t want me to!
But I’ve never ever ever had a ball!”
30 August 2023
Sturdy and avid rockers You Me At Six have become a king-size band
They started their rowdy ride in 2004 and with 8 studio LPs since then, with
this year’s Truth Decay, as the most recent one (released on 10 February),
they build a massive fanbase (almost 2 million listeners per month on Spotify).
Last weekend the hefty hit team set Reading/Leeds Festival in the UK, on fire.
30 August 2023
Great AI father.
Full NME interview here.
Daily electricity to load your batteries
30 August 2023
1. Nightboat2. Black Moonlight
3. Love Voudou
4. Bury A Friend
6. Danse Macabre
7. Secret Oktober 31st
8. Ghost Town
9. Paint It Black
10. Super Lonely Freak
12. Psycho Killer (feat. Victoria De Angelis)
13. Confession in the Afterlife
Pre-order info here
DD always reveled in the shadows, playing with artistic, aesthetic, and emotional extremes. As much as you can move and shout along to the timeless chants of Hungry Like the Wolf, Ordinary World, or Rio, it feels most natural do so under the cover of night. They’re the ultimate soundtrack to sharing secrets in close whispers on the dancefloor before the lights go up. Now, the iconic UK quartet—Simon Le Bon [lead vocals], Nick Rhodes [keys, synthesizers], John Taylor [bass], and Roger Taylor [drums], unearth bright melodies from darkness as they thread together new tunes, covers, and alternate versions of classics on this new album.
Nick Rhodes: “The song ‘Danse Macabre’ celebrates the joy and madness of Halloween.
It is the title track of our forthcoming album, which gathers together an unusual mix of cover versions, reworked Duran Duran songs and several new compositions. The idea was born out of a show we played in Las Vegas on October 31st, 2022. We had decided to seize the moment to create a unique, special event…the temptation of using glorious gothic visuals set to a dark soundtrack of horror and humour was simply irresistible.
That evening inspired us to explore further and to make an album, using Halloween as the key theme. The record metamorphosed through a pure, organic process, and not only was it made faster than anything since our debut album, it has also resulted in something none of us could have ever predicted. Emotion, mood, style and attitude have always been at the heart of Duran Duran’s DNA, we search for light in the darkness and darkness in the light, and I feel we have somehow managed to capture the essence of all of that in this project.”
Simon Le Bon: “It’s about a crazy Halloween party. It’s supposed to be fun!”
John Taylor: “After all these years, Danse Macabre offers an interesting
insight into the personality of the band. The music packs a real punch.”
Roger Taylor adds: “I hope you take a journey with us through the darker side
of our inspirations into where we’re at in 2023. Maybe, you’ll leave with a deeper
understanding of how Duran Duran got to this moment in time.”
TUTV: The first single is the album’s astounding title track. It’s one of the best pieces
DD ever wrote. They take another sonic direction on this sublime master blaster. Danse Macabre is a funky/groovy earworm that combines Goth, psych-otic darkwave, and some hip-rap-hop fragments. Freaking ace. This year’s Halloween will be different, Duran Duran different, it will be a horrortastic party.
1. ‘The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons’ by THE HIVES
TUTV: Expect a tsunami of Molotov cocktails, punk-o-rama riffage, and yell-along
refrains spit out by primal screamer Pele. No rest for the wicked. Beware, this explosive record can damage your speakers. On the other hand, it’s the ideal soundtrack for banging your poor head against a wall of your choice and/or jumping up and down like a madman/woman.
KEY SINGLE: Countdown To Shutdown
2. ‘The Poolest Of The Mall’ by SWIMWEAR DEPARTMENT
Band: SWIMWEAR DEPARTMENT
Who: 4 kooky indies from Houston.
“It’s their sophomore LP. Recorded with Grammy-winning producer Steve Christensen.
The 10 tracks discuss only two topics: swimming pools and shopping malls. Although
the themes initially appear whimsical or even trivial on the surface, Swimwear Department skilfully sculpts experiences laden with emotional depth and profundity.”
Learn more about the band, via this video.
TUTV: The summer is not over until it’s over. Enter Swimwear Department and their new jump-up-and-down pool party soundtrack. Expect bouncy, brisk, and bold stuff you can hip-and-hop to like a kangaroo on E. Think post-Devo-punk weirdness combined with rap-rant Beastie Boys lunacy translated in 10 instantly infectious tunes (except for coming down closer Memall). If you’re a punk surfer, this is your kind of stimulant to brave the waves.
They spice up all the excitement with schizo 70s-organ glow, non-stop pumping bass turbulence, steadfast drum hits, agitated guitar fragments and an expressive vocalist sneering a bit like The Fall‘s late legend Mark E. Smith used to do for a living. Frequently
all-together-now chants pop up, which you want to be a part of. Sounds like big fun, right? You betcha.
3. ‘Mommy’ by BE YOUR OWN PET
Nashville‘s inflammable garage rockers had some loud fun between 2004-2008,
vanished into oblivion afterward, but last year they couldn’t stop themselves from
coming back and starting to play an endless series of gigs ahead of their brand new
3rd LP, titled Mommy released last week.
TUTV: After 2 albums and 15 years (!) BYOP still have tons of vitality, pizzaz
and sinewy corkers to offer. Battle-axe frontwoman Pearl still has demons to
fight with, and I assure you, you don’t want to be one of them. 11 spunky cry-outs.
Combative, bad-tempered, sharp, raw and LOUD. They truly have a great mommy.
KEY SINGLE: Hand Grenade
4. ‘Nostalgia’s Glass’ by THE UNDERGROUND YOUTH
Dyer about the LP: “The aim became to create a collection of songs that paid homage
to our back catalogue and attempted to dissect not only the positive but the negative
elements of nostalgia, primarily the romanticisation of the past – be it the politics of
a country, the controversial legacies of film and musical icons or the sentimental
idealisation of long dead toxic relationships.”
TUTV: To be honest, I needed several spins to get into the new TUY album and in
Craig Dyer‘s world. Of course, he’s the only one who knows exactly what happens in
his mind, in his soul and his heart. But as he said he looked back to times gone by.
Great/gratifying moments, bad/sad moments. I guess for so many of us, nostalgia
can be both depressing and heart-warming. Dyer opened the door to his past, that
evokes those mixed emotions.
His sombre vocals, the overall gloomy tone and slow, shadowy pace (except for
Another Country that sounds like a splendid tribute to The Velvet Underground of the
music feels like he got lost in a labyrinth of uncomfortable memories most of the time leading to a spellbinding and bone-chilling opus. Melancholic poetry in motion. You can
file Nostalgia’s Glass next to Nick Cave‘s 2016 mourning masterpiece Skeleton Tree.
KEY SINGLE: In Another Country
5. ‘Look Out’ by LOBSTERBOMB
TUTV: After a series of stormy singles this turbulent Berlin-based released their debut LP this summer. A manic mixture of left/right punk uppercuts, garage glam swagger, and riot grrl dynamics, stoked up by roaring riffs, a frenetic bass/drum tandem and high-pitched vocals, think of Poly Sterene, Kathleen Hanna or Bonnie Bloomgarden. All limbs-activating ingredients you need for a bonkers moshpit.
KEY SINGLE: What About Never