TURN UP THE VOLUME’s 20 Best Tracks – MARCH 2023



1. ‘Freedom’ by CHIC CHOC (NYC)

Who: Three musically seasoned Amazons from NYC using drum machines,
synthesizers, guitars, voice and a variety of sound filters and pedals to make
their point.

It’s an incredible shame that women still have to fight for so many fundamental rights.
It’s bloody 2023 and so much female injustice is still a reality. So, it’s great that female artists get up, stand up and fight for their right to tackle this human disease.

Chic Choc do it right away on their fantastic debut single. They travel around the world looking for freedom with an electronic-booming EBM knockout to fill dance floors with. Boosting beats, catching chorus, sensuous vocals, and a protesting choir, combine for a sassy stunner. Bang-on. Le freak, c’est chique choc.

Tune in.


2. ‘Lipstick’ by GHOST FETISH (Seattle, US)

Who: A synth-fueled post-punk
trio from Seattle, WA.

“Lipstick follows the obscure path of desire. Stretched between the lingering
impression of a touch lost to time, and the unshakable sense of its inevitable

Lipstick is both a sensuous and affectional tune with gripping vocals
up front and melancholic ones in the back. At times it feels like the track will
erupt into an avid disco stomper. Maybe this debut is a foreplay teaser and
the follow-up will be an orgastic energizer. Anyway Ghost Fetish have my aural
and hip-shaking attention and will have yours too.

Tune in.


3. ‘Right Wing Beast’ by SLEAFORD MODS (Nottingham, UK)

(Cover of new album ‘UK Grim’)

It’s Sleaford Mods by very good numbers. They slam the remorseless Tories and Brexit once again with knife-sharp ranting. Sonically, their characteristic catchy simplicity still activates your limbs. The mods never disappoint. Best track on their best album so far, named UK GRIM.

Move here, folks.


4. ‘Open Invitation’ by LOU REED (NYC)

This a previously unreleased track from the immortal NYC legend, from the
sessions of his 1984 album New Sensations, one of his rare upbeat LPs.

So great to hear something old/new for the first
time from one of my all-time fav songsmiths ever.

Listen/dance here to the funky groove.


5. ‘Mousehouse’ by DOCE OPERATOR (Seattle, US)

Who: 2-piece members who have been playing music around Seattle and the west coast of the United States in various incarations for years, and recently stumbled upon the formula that became Docé Operator.

These are the lets-go-bonkers bangers we need in these fucked-up times. Mousehouse
is a kooky disco floor knockout you can jump up and down to like a kanagaroo on E. Middle-finger to reality, bottoms up, ladies and gents. I don’t know who’s the mouse or who’s the rat, but I do know that this tune will bounce in my head for a while.


6. ‘Hello’ by GROUPLOVE (Atlanta, US)

Grouplove, Atlanta’s beloved indies are gearing up for their
5th longplayer, called I Want It All Right Now, out July 7.

First single Hello is a euphoric booster expressing a desire for human connection
and a feeling of being lost in the world. This upper will put a smile on your face,
from left to right.


7. ‘Cello Song’ by FONTAINES D.C. (Ireland)

(Photo by Turn Up The Volume – Antwerp 2022)

The by-now pretty famous Irishmen are part of a notable cast that cover a song
of the late troubled troubadour Nick Drake (1948-1974) for a new tribute album.

They picked Cello Song from Drake‘s 1969 debut LP Five Leaves Left.

Their electrical take is nothing less than sublime.



8. ‘Flume’ by HELICON (Glasgow, Scotland)

Photo by Sophie Barrott

Who: Psych rock outfit
from Glasgow, Scotland.

They launch their 3rd full length named God Intentions on 28 April. More info here.

Ahead of it comes this astounding psych-jam that goes on like forever with motorik,
Kraut-rock-like dynamics. Jangly riffs, 60s resonating organs, floating vocals, and an extensive wall-of-guitar-extravaganza sound to end this intoxicating symphony.
Yes, all ingredients for a mind-bending trip are here at work.

Get high here.


9. ‘Magician’ by DESMOND DANDIES (Belgium)

(Press photo via VI.BE)

Who: Robust noisemakers from Limburg, Belgium.

Magician is about having a crush on someone and doing all that’s needed to score. Sonically, it’s a garage rock riff sledgehammer. A mean psych-groove monster doing your head in the way you like it. It goes wham bam bloody wham bam with its manic drum/bass force, its helter-skelter hooks and its hungry vocals. Bring on the album, motherrockers!

Don’t miss the debut LP, entitled 57 Heaven. It arrives on
Record Store Day, April 15, both on vinyl and digitally.

Turn up the heat.


10. ‘Black Heart’ by ANSWERMAN (Boston, US)

Photo: Pat Piasecki

Who: Firm indie rock 4-piece from Boston.

“It’s a reflection of how we’re all feeling, trapped in ongoing patterns of depression and anxiety. It’s also the lead single and aural appetizer to our debut album ‘Black Light Poster’, out on April 21.”

No whistles and bells for these four sharp-edged hombres out of Boston. After a short, jangly intro it’s all riff-rotating cylinders and all garage rock burners on. Psychobilly hooks and surf licks swirl side by side with manic magnetism. Black Heart is a roaring steamroller with a buzzing bluster, an electric-energetic flow, and snappy vocals. As the cliché goes, it’s only rock ‘n’ roll but they and I like it any day of the week. So should you.

The road gets so lonely, got nothing to say
Will the sun shine? Well I hope and I pray
Oh yeah!


11. ‘Polarized’ by THE ULTIMATE DREAMERS (Brussels)

(Photo by Xavier Marquis)

Who: Longtime darkwave act from Brussels.

They have a new 6-track EP out, named Echo Reverie.
More info here.

The EP is a characteristically post-darkwave-punk affair with
infectious twilight melodies embedded in a whirlpool of booming
beats, scintillating synths, gloomy stories, cinematic orchestrations
and tenebrous vocals. Footstomper Polarized is my favorite piece,
and probably yours too.

Let’s roll.


12. ‘Can’t Outrun The Truth’ by PETE TOWNSHEND (UK)

Townshend didn’t release solo work for 30 years, and now, out of the blue
comes this brand new song. It’s composed and produced by his partner
Rachel Fuller.

It’s an irresistible, bluesy tune with a country feel.
A little pearl with heart-wrenching Townshend vocals
and melancholic harmonica play.

All proceeds of the song go to Teenage Cancer Trust.



13. ‘Getting Old’ by FROM THE TIGER’S MOUTH (London, UK)

Who: Harry Sullivan, a seasoned
London-based singer-songwriter.

A majestic melody. A stellar orchestration. A sterling vox. Three matching ingredients
that guarantee an epic composition. And it’s all here. Getting Old progresses with tension and passion, forth and back, and magnetizes all the way through. Epic!

The song wrestles with the idea of us freezing in the moment, gripped by anxiety as fear takes over our ability to do the things we really want to. Familiar thoughts for many of us. But affecting music, as always, uplifts a moody state of mind.

First-class accomplishment.



14. ‘From The Start’ by LOST IN JAPAN (Canada)

Who: Canadian pop/rock team that
released their debut full length in 2018.

This new punchy piece jumps up and down in your head and elevates your mood from
the kick-off. It’s a contagious foot-stomper with a poppy chorus vibe inviting you to play
air guitar and sing along with all the force your lungs can come up with. Wowzers!

Anthemic stroke

Check it out.


15. ‘Paradise Is Mine’ by SWANS (NYC)

(Photo by Turn Up The Volume)

Mastermind Michael Gira and his swans will share their 16th LP,
baptized The Beggar with the world via Young God Records
on 23 June.

Along with all this news comes an almost 10-minute hypnotic
slo-mo jam called Paradise Is Mine that gets under your skin
slowly but surely.



16. ‘Always Wrong’ by THE BANKROBBER (Italy)

The Italian synth-guitar pop siblings released their 6-track EP, named Lighters
last year. An exemplary accomplishment of skillful songwriting. Sparkling, breezy,
and varied. Turn Up The Volume named it the best EP of 2022.

And the family isn’t done yet. This year another EP, titled Lovers comes our
way. Afterward, Lighters and Lovers will marry and become one full album.

First single, titled Always Wrong. It’s another skilfully crafted
mid-tempo pop tune with glowing guitar sequences echoing

The Bankrobber are right again.



17. ‘Morire’ by EMMA HUNTER (Oxford, UK)

Who: Singer-songwriter, 1950s-inspired guitarist, and loop-maker from Oxford, UK. Assisted by trip-hop-inspired percussionist Tom Bruce, she creates complexly evocative soundscapes, filled with dramatic Lynchian atmosphere.

OMG! Emma Hunter‘s vocals reach for the sky on this flamenco-influenced, breathtaking tour de force. She has truly an overwhelming vox that sends shivers down your spine. Mourning trumpets and Chris Isaak-like guitar sparks add a haunting timbre. Morire (the Italian word for ‘to die and fade‘) is what goosebump songwriting quality is all about. It wouldn’t be out of place on the melodramatic soundtrack of western classic
Once Upon A Time In The West . Capisce?



18. ‘Until The Vague Takes A Form’ by MARIVON

Who: An eclectic group of international recording musicians
assembled by Canadian artist Jill McKenna. They joined forces
to make an album of music surpassing geography and genres.

Until The Vague Takes A Form is part of that recently released
album, titled None Of This Mine. More info here.

The song is an intimate, tender and vocally superb collection of romantic balladry, piano/cello/violin/banjo musings, and some intriguing pop experimentalism. Think
Regina Spektor and Big Thief. Discover it all, it’s a great companion for relaxing


19. ‘Why Did You Go’ by CHVRLI BLVCK (London, UK)

Who: London-born singer-songwriter known for his vocal prowess and emotionally raw style. His music reflects his personal struggles with mental health, with an eclectic but immediately recognisable sound, influenced by artists such as Jeff Buckley, The Maccabees, and Fiona Apple.

This is an emotive post-break-up pearl. Heartfelt reflections embedded
in a goosebump musing that resonates like a bittersweet symphony. BLVCK’s
highly passionate vox reminds me of Antony Hegarty‘s sensitive ardency. The
whole-souled tristesse and mixed emotions at play here make you silent.

Tune in.


20. ‘Call’ by DARKCAR (NYC)

Who: Fresh NYC dream pop duo featuring voice
Ashley Selett and musician David Terranova.

Imagine driving your car in the middle of the night, on the Talking Heads‘ road to nowhere while listening to Massive Attack with Portishead‘s singer Beth Gibbons on vocals and Interpol‘s Daniel Kessler playing trippy guitar lines all along. Sounds pretty intriguing, right? You betcha. Darkcar hypnotizes and magnetizes. Useless to try to resist. Trust me, you’ll join them on their ride the moment they call you.

Tune in.

See/hear you next month, music junkies