Tag Archives: indie

Here, Hear Some Great New Tracks from OMD, The Orielles, Routine Death, Katy J. Pearson, and Siamese Twins

It’s been a long time, we shouldn’t have left you, &etc. Please accept our apologies for the wait between posts, in the form of some phenomenal new tracks.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, “Don’t Go” (Universal/UMG)

“Don’t Go” represents the 40th, and most recent, single from new wave legends Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), whose music has been a constant companion to yours truly for longer than I care to admit. “Don’t Go” glides in on an arpeggiated melody that carries with it a whiff of Yaz(oo), but the achingly romantic textures are quintessential OMD. Andy McCluskey’s voice (which is in amazing form) remains as shot through with desperate emotion as ever. Paul Humphreys’ arrangement is stellar – the fill at the 1:25 is tear-inducing, either from the wistful tug of memory or the fresh pain of something more recent. Feels like it would fit equally well alongside tracks like “Hold You” (from 1985’s Crush) as with more recent tracks like “Metroland” from 2013’s English Electric. Gorgeous.

“Don’t Go” serves as 2019’s musical corollary to 1988’s “Dreaming” – i.e., the new track appended to OMD’s new (and massive), greatest hits collection, Souvenir, which is out now.

Web: site fbook twitt 

Routine Death, “Tubeway Revolution” (Fuzz Club)

Routine Death are the husband/wife duo of Lisa and Dustin (also in Holy Wave) Zozaya. The track “Tubeway Revolution” is taken from their sophomore long-player, 2 Weeks to 4 Months (the follow-up to 2018’s excellent Parallel Universes), and it’s a great mélange of the hypnotic and the terse. Tensile synths and a woozy bassline lull you in before a jagged guitar scrawl jars you awake – while Lisa’s multi-tracked vocals beguile throughout.  There’s a bit of a “lost 80’s” vibe in the arrangement, its icy cool goth-new wave veneer peppered with with exhales of psych vapor. The press release accompanying the track mentions a shared drive through a desert as a catalyst for the song, and it feels apt for anyone who’s experienced time in such vastness.

From 2 Weeks to 4 Months, which is out now on Fuzz Club.

Web: label fbook

The Orielles, “Come Down on Jupiter”

The Orielles are, without doubt, one of our favorite new(er) bands here at tgh hq. From the first time we heard 2017’s “Sugar Tastes Like Salt” we were hooked, and the band haven’t let us wriggle free since. Excitement, then, for “Come Down on Jupiter”, the (now) quartet’s dizzying new track – and it proves justified. While adding depth in its arrangement, the track happily retains the insouciant charm of earlier efforts. As with those previous tracks, “Jupiter” sees the band donning several musical styles over the span of 5 minutes or so – bouncing back and forth between cinematic psych that sounds like the soundtrack to an impossibly cool, 60s bohemian movie, the dreamiest, Lush dream pop, and a full-on freakout of an extended outro – and doing so seamlessly. It’s marvelous, each member in top form – though, for my money the (not so) secret killer is Sidonie Hand-Halford’s drumming, which rearranges each of these scene changes with aplomb. Can’t wait for the record.  

Taken from forthcoming long-player, Disco Volador, due February 28, 2020 from Heavenly and available for pre-order here.

Web: label site (store) fbook twitt insta

Katy J Pearson, “Tonight”

Bristol, UK’s Katy J. Pearson recently released the brilliant single, “Tonight” – billed as her first solo effort following the end of a joint project with her brother.  Arriving on an inspired, strings-based melody, the track weaves a vignette in which the characters are made to choose whether to take the proverbial leap, in spite of all while being “so vulnerable/in the eyes of our beholder”. Pearson’s voice is sweet without being saccharine and, while carrying a bit of a twang, the song isn’t country – I kept hearing a bit of Gwen Stefani, a dash of Kirsty MacColl. The chorus will follow you around for days, and you won’t mind a bit. It’s light (but not lightweight) indie pop that should be popular – make it so. 

“Tonight” arrives November 15, courtesy of Heavenly, and will be paired with a cover of “Poison Cup”, by M. Ward.

Web: label fbook bcamp twitt insta

Siamese Twins, “Listless/Second Skin” 7” (self-released)

Siamese Twins are a “cross-continental” band, currently based out of Leverett and Cambridge, MA and Chicago, IL and featuring members of bands including Ampere and Libyans (a personal fave). Their bio suggests that the group “don’t get together often”, which helps to explain why new 7” single, “Listless/Second Skin” is arriving roughly five years on from their debut full-length, Still Corners. However long it took, it was well worth the wait for these two new tracks. Both feature haunting vocal interplay and guitar melodies reminiscent of early Cure under heavy washes of synth. Slight edge goes to the b-side, which adds rockabilly noir to an otherwise wistful beauty. Death-dream rock? If Beauty and the Beat had been produced by Martin Hannett? Ladytron goth? You decide – I’m going to keep listening. 

Out now – get yours here.

Web: fbook bcamp site

Check Out “Some Beautiful Species Left”, the New Album from Melbourne’s EXEK

Cover photo by Robyn Daly

EXEK, Some Beautiful Species Left (SDZ; Anti-Fade; Digital Regress)

Melbourne, AUS five-piece EXEK released their latest long-player, Some Beautiful Species Left,  last month. A follow up to last year’s double, A Casual Assembly and Ahead of Two Thoughts, the album finds the band further fine-tuning their kitchen sink production approach (the promo for the album mentions use of kitchen appliances in the recording, so I couldn’t resist) – and the results are phenomenal.

“Hobbyist” opens the proceedings along a discordant whine that sounds produced by something hand-cranked, unfurling into a full-on motorik headbuzz. Amidst the din, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Albert Wolski teasingly invites the listener to ‘go on/have a second guess’, like a spaced out Mark E. Smith fronting Clinic. It’s a fittingly bewildering start to a record that’s equal turns arresting, unsettling, chaotic, caustically hilarious and inspiring. Strings, horns, guitars, bass, drums, and persistent echo chambah effects swirl into a musical trail mix including dub, abrasive post-punk (pre-Brix The Fall, Wire, Metal Box-era PiL), jazz, and Syd-led Floyd experimentalism.

Highlights are many: the jittery dub of “Lobbyist”; the intriguing guitar/vibraphone (I think?) interplay on “Plastic Sword Retractable”; “Iron Efficiency”’s rugged narco-psych; the lightheaded, infectious melody of “Unetiquetted”. Instruments traditional and non- at times sound as if they’re being played forwards and backward simultaneously, Wolski’s gnomic sing-chant recalling bits of the aforementioned Barrett and Smith, Robyn Hitchcock and Jah Wobble in tone. 

The magic of Some Beautiful Species Left lies in how it all hangs together – even for a listener who maybe has a more punk-inclined/birdlike musical attention span (cough). Veering from sprawling to terse, short blasts, the album’s eight tracks go in many directions. But for all the experimentalism on display, EXEK’s jammier tendencies enthrall rather than disappear too far into the navel. Perhaps a cheeky reference can be found in closer, “How the Curve Helps” (at 8:11, the longest track on the album), Wolski intoning ‘about an hour ago/I should have left’. We’re good to hang out longer.

Some Beautiful Species Left is out now, courtesy of the good folks at SDZ (Europe/Africa), Anti-Fade (AUS/Asia) and Digital Regress (North America).

Highlights include: “Iron Efficiency”; “Commercial Fishing”; “Lobbyist”; “Unetiquetted”.

Web: bcamp fbook label label label

Fade Into “Gun” and “On the Attack”, from Moon Panda

Moon Panda, “Gun”; “On the Attack” (self-released)

Moon Panda is a quartet based in London and Brighton, UK. Led by vocalist/bassist Maddy Myers and guitarist Gustav Moltke (George Godwin and Alfie Webber round out the set), the band features members from the US, Denmark and the UK. They’ve self-released a trio of singles over the past year plus, including the two latest – “Gun” and “On the Attack”.

The group describe themselves as making ‘dreamy space pop for dreamy space people”, and you can’t accuse them of false advertising. The gauzy feel of “Gun” pushes the band towards a sound reminiscent of trip hop bands like Morcheeba or Zero 7, as well as Parachute-era Coldplay. Myers’ fragile, whispery vocals complement the mood, a pleasingly dark undertone provided by lyrical musings on the non-greeting card aspects of love (‘even the sweetest thoughts/get twisted’). The slightly more in focus “On the Attack” comes off a bit like a velvet-gloved PJ Harvey, a psych nibble on quietly lush chords invoking Bête Noire-era Bryan Ferry.

Both tracks illustrate Moon Panda’s aptitude for building engrossing tunes on serpentine grooves and echo-laden melodies. The band’s website mentions that these tracks, together with others, will be released as the Pastel Pools EP later in 2019. Looking forward to it.

Web: site fbook soundcloud youtube bcamp twitt

Check Out “Manic Static”, from New Zealand’s Warm Leather

Cover art by MF Joyce

Warm Leather, Manic Static/Vocabulary 7” (self-released)

Warm Leather are a trio of initialed gentlemen hailing from Auckland, New Zealand (to be more precise, AT (guitars/vocals, JP (drums) and MF (er, ropes?)). We don’t know much about them, aside from what’s on their fbook and the fact they recently played Gonerfest, which is how we had our heads turned by their excellent debut single, Manic Static.

Don’t let any preconceptions of Warm Leather’s home country lead you astray – this is defo not the jangle-pop you’re listening for when you reflexively think of bands hailing from this part of the world. Instead, what you get is a punch straight in the gob (that’s the right term, n’est pas?). The a-side charges in on a riff that had me thinking of a heavy take on ‘Rock Lobster’, AT weaving a tale of insomnia  (“I got a buzzin’ in my head/tossin’ and turnin’ in my bed/… but the needle keeps on swinging into the red”) over rough guitars and a heavy, compact rhythm section (the drum sound, in particular, packs a wallop). The band cite such luminaries as The Birthday Party and Wire as influences, and who are we to argue? But the rather maniacal breaking point in AT’s vocal delivery on both tracks (b-side, “Vocabulary”, is equally good) reminds of Kurt Cobain at his weirdest/best (see, e.g., “Turnaround”). In fact, that’s what this single felt like most – early Nirvana, at their rawest. Tuneful, yes, but shot through with a paranoid energy. All good; rec’d.

The Manic Static single is available now, order your copy here. Warm Leather have a show upcoming November 1, at Cupid Bar in Port Chevalier, New Zealand – details here.

Web: fbook bcamp

Follow North Carolina’s ISS Down the “Elevator Shaft”

ISS, “Elevator Shaft” (Sorry State)

ISS is the North Cacalack-based duo of Rich Ivey and Eddie Schneider. Vets of local punk bands like Whatever Brains and Brain F# (a/k/a ‘Brain Flannel’), as ISS they make ‘punk’ (in the ‘outsider’ sense as much as, if not more so, rote musical form) that is among the more interesting out there. 

The band’s forthcoming long-player, Alles 3rd Gut (reference to third release and all’s good? I only took German in high school) features the streamable preview track, “Elevator Shaft”. It sounds like a brilliant, lost 80s cut, built around a conversation between Ivey – laying prone at the bottom of the titular shaft – and guest vocalist, Miss Lady (sounding a bit like Victoria Jackson). Questions abound: how did he fall (doesn’t remember)?; any damage done (lots of blood, gnarly looking ankles)?; will she lend a hand (maybe…or maybe she’ll push him back in)? A risible take on poppy, guy-girl indie, “Elevator Shaft” seems like what Jane Wiedlin might have done if she’d collaborated with Whammy-era B-52s, instead of Sparks. Righteous. 

Alles 3rd Gut will be released on Sorry State Records.

Web: bcamp label

Check Out “Mind Cancer”, from Virvon Varvon

ARTWORK BY @deuteromali ON INSTAGRAM

Virvon Varvon, Mind Cancer (Girlsville)


Assuming the internet isn’t lying to me (again, bastard), the words “virvon, varvon” form part of a ‘spell’ cast by young Finnish children dressed as witches during Easter, by which they offer decorated willow twigs in exchange for candy or other rewards. Fascinating, no? More pertinent to this review, Virvon Varvon are a five-piece wrecking crew of a band based – I think – in London (reading between the lines of a fine feature over at 50thirdand3rd.com). They’re debut EP, Mind Cancer, was released last month, and it’s been on repeat here at tgh hq ever since. 

Mind Cancer is chock full o’ turgid, roiling tracks best described by the umbrella term ‘rock and roll’. Like fellow travelers including NYC’s Vanity, Olympia’s VEXX (rip) and Perth’s Zerodent, Virvon Varvon decant a heady mix of punk (the hardcore, ℅ ’77, proto- and post- varietals), NWOBHM, guitar-oriented new wave (see, the chiming guitars in ‘Listen’), and 70s ‘hard rock’. At various points, I heard bits of Dead Boys, B52s, Black Flag, Judas Priest, Love Battery, and the Damned. While there’s plenty of roughness on display, some absolute melodic gems can be uncovered by sifting through the production’s layers of dust – but the real revelation here are the vocals of Hanne Highway, who has a knack for a tuneful roar. 

Highlight, “Radical”’s opening riff sounds like a revved up “Livin’ After Midnight”, guy/girl vocals rapidly going off in different directions – like trying to listen to two people simultaneously describe how that fist fight last night really started. Another personal fave, “What Did You Say?”, marries a Damned-worthy drum crunch underneath a B52s-y guitar melody, all crescendoing to an absolute rager of a chorus. There’s even a rousing shout-along about allergies. The whole thing is damn good and, flying by in a little under 20 minutes, doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Go get it. 

Mind Cancer is available now, courtesy of the good people over at Girlsville. Haven’t seen anything yet about a tour, but would be great to hear these tunes live.

Web: label

The hooks leave a mark on “EP2”, from Sydney’s Body Type


Sydney-based quartet Body Type was a ‘new to us’ band when we stumbled upon their fantastic EP2. Released in May, it’s quickly become a favorite here at tgh hq.

Self-described as “scuzz//rock” (or, alternately, “scuzzzzzzz”), the tracks on EP2 trace a majestic arc through driving, mid-90s indie rock to spikier, more 80s indebted post-punk. The blistering opener, ‘Stingray’, sets the tone nicely – the band’s taut, bright hooks counterposed against Sophie McComish’s vocal delivery, whose languid quality thinly veils a sneer as she warns that the titular, spineless fish is nonetheless able to “sting just fine”. Elsewhere, the slower pace of standout tracks like ‘Insomnia’ feel almost humid, but never cloying. The lead guitar melodies – in particular – are transfixing throughout and will rattle around in your brain for days. Sounding a bit more polished than last October’s EP1, there is more than enough of a Breeders-y off-kilter approach to the arrangements to keep it from feeling too safe.

EP2 is out now, courtesy of Partisan Records and Inertia Music. Head over to Partisan’s website, and you can purchase both EP1 and EP2 as one, long-playing vinyl release. Long live the “two ‘fer”!

Highlights include: “Stingray”; “Insomnia”; “UMA”.

Web: label label bcamp fbook twitt insta

Check out the video for ‘UMA’:

New Music from Working Men’s Club, Dehd, Crumb and The Pretzels

Working Men’s Club, “Bad Blood” (Melodic)


“Todmorden-by-way-of-Europe” trio, Workingmens’ Club, released their debut 7” in February. ‘Bad Blood’ arrives with an almost “Maniac[al]” opening, adding scratchy guitars until developing into a full-blown early new wave/post-punk stomper. The talk-sung vocals, punctuated by energetic backing interjections reminds of Brix-period The Fall (and, somewhere, I kept hearing a bit of Thompson Twins?). There’s a bit more gloss on show here than your average post-punk but, fear not, there’s grit ‘neath the polished nails. “Be happy when the sun shines”, indeed.

‘Bad Blood’ is being repressed April 26, courtesy of Melodic Records The band is also touring soon, including as opener for the mighty Fat White Family – dates here. (Psst – the band’s guitarist, Julia Bardo, also has solo music out that is worth checking out, over at The Line of Best Fit).

Web: bcamp fbook twitt label

Dehd, “On My Side” (Fire Talk)

Chicago’s Dehd offer the latest taster from their forthcoming album, Water, with ‘On My Side’. A halcyon jangle underpins lyrics that feel like an open, possibly unsent, letter to someone missed – lines like “let me know/if you’re coming/back again” delivered with a mixture of wistfulness and detachment. The sedated feel is broken, here, with a wall-crumbling chorus from Emily Kempf, there with playful bass runs and elsewhere with a jittery, bent guitar solo. It’s lovely, reminding in spots of bands like Posse (RIP).

Based on this and previously shared, equally fab track, ‘Lucky’, Water – due May 10 from Fire Talk – is going to be one to covet. Dehd have a bunch of upcoming tour dates, which can be found here.

Web: site label bcamp insta

Crumb, “Nina” (self-released?)


Crumb are a four piece, formed in Boston (well, Medford) and now based in Brooklyn. “Nina” is the band’s latest, and presents us with a dreamy slice of psych-tinged indie pop that shows off the band’s gift for hazy, infectious melody. There’s a bit of a gallic tint (think Melodys Echo Chamber or Stereolab), paired with an r&b vibe that gives a throwback feel to the days when hip hop, trip hop and mellow jazz swam in the same waters. Lead singer/guitarist/writer Lila Ramani’s diaphanous vocals stitch it all together beautifully, at once above and dead center in the mix.

“Nina” is taken from Crumb’s debut album, Jinx, which is due June 14 and is now up for pre-order. Catch the band live on one of their upcoming dates.

Web: site bcamp fbook twitt insta

The Pretzels, “Kick it with K”


Hailing from Montréal, The Pretzels bring a twisted (Ed.: insert eye-roll emoji) take on proto/punk/garage in the form of ‘Kick it with K’. Flinging together bits of sassy, discomfiting punk, experimental noisiness and slightly-hinged rock (think Flipper, Dead Kennedys, early Butthole Surfers, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster), the track is an apt aural accompaniment to the (presumably) titular anesthesis. Oh, and it suddenly left turns at the 1:40 mark into a long, doom metal-style outro for the remaining 2:30 or so… you’re welcome.

Brilliantly deranged. Must be amazing live – see for yourself if you’re near Quebec and let us know.

Web: fbook bcamp insta

Barcelona’s Fatamorgana Beguile on “Terra Alta”

Artwork by Monika Proniewska (Hekla Studio).

Fatamorgana, Terra Alta (La Vida Es Un Mus)


Fatamorgana is a Barcelona-based project featuring Patrycja Proniewska and Louis Harding, whose previous endeavors ranged from the sandblasted hardcore of bands like Good Throb and the gothic, post-punk textures of outfits like Belgrado. Following on last year’s excellent, self-released demo, debut long-player Terra Alta finds the duo striking a midpoint between the sparse, new wave mood pieces of bands like Visage, Yaz(oo), or early Human League (think Travelogue, or Dare tracks like ‘Sound of the Crowd’ – not ‘Human’) and the later, lushness of later 80s bands like Propaganda or Book of Love.  

A fata morgana is a type of complex mirage, its layers of distorted images at times resulting in certain shapes on the horizon appearing to float (and named, apparently, for Morgan le Fay). This seems a fitting name for the band, as the surface-level simplicity of these 11 tracks often beguile and distract from the complexities beneath. Nowhere is this clearer than on album highlight, ‘10 Minutos de la Tierra’, whose leveled beat and floating vocals must surely make Vince Clarke wish he’d written it 35-odd years ago. Elsewhere, ‘Universo’ shifts an elongated, processed vocal left and right for so long it becomes disorienting. Closer ‘El Desvanecer del Futuro’ is a strobe-lit dance floor epic built upon the sturdiest of synthesized bass and rhythm that gradually fades off over the horizon.

The lyrics are mostly in spanish, and mine is not good; however, a quick review of the titles suggests a lyrical focus on the magical/mystical places and times (Atlantis, labyrinths, the dawn, the universe/deep space) that fit well with the album’s feel. Terra Alta is out now, courtesy of the always fab La Vida Es Un Mus discos.

Highlights include: “10 Minutos de la Tierra”; “La Atlántida”; “El Desvanecer del Futuro”.

Web: fbook bcamp label insta

Check Out Tracks from Peel Dream Magazine, Pigsx7 and Goatman

Peel Dream Magazine, “Shenandoah” (Slumberland Records)

Peel Dream Magazine is the nom de musique of NYC-based musician Joe Stevens, whose debut album, Modern Meta Psychic, will be released by the venerable Slumberland Records. “Shenandoah” is one of three trippy, psych-tinted dream pop confections – the driving “Qi Velocity” and spectral “Levitating Between 2 Chords” being the others – released to promote the album, and it’s our (current) fave. “Shenandoah” is the musical equivalent of a lazy drift down the titular river on a blazing summer’s day, staring at the sun until vision blurs and thoughts change shape with the clouds – Stevens’ cloaked vocals invoking the humid haze in the air; the persistent background drone the sound of cicadas thrumming along the banks. There’s much to be felt in this languid beauty of a track. Bring on the album.  

Modern Meta Psychic is due October 5, on Slumberland – pre-order a copy here. Follow along with Peel Dream Magazine on fbook and twitter.  

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, “Cake of Light” (Rocket Recordings)

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs (mercifully shorthanded Pigsx7) is a Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK-based quintet. Stoner, psych, metal, doom – however you want to classify, the band’s chalice is full to the brim from the river Sabbath, and the resulting racket is glorious. Where previous efforts displayed a penchant for the long-form jam (2017’s Feed the Rats featured two tracks north of 15 minutes), the first offering from the recently released King of Cowards comes in at a tidy 3:45, and it’s all the better for it. It’s a masterclass in heavy – the drums fairly swing a la “Fairies Wear Boots”, the wailing vocals reminiscent as much of Ozzy or Lemmy as Jaz, feeling like an invocation (which would make sense, as the titular pastry is part of a eucharist associated with Alistair Crowley and possibly comprised of honey, red wine lees, oils and, um, bodily fluids of some sort – serve warm?). 

King of Cowards is available now, courtesy of Rocket Recordings. Follow Pigsx7 on fbook, where you can also find upcoming tour dates.

Goatman, “Jaam Ak Salaam” (Rocket Recordings)

The hooded Goatman is a member of the Swedish musical collective known as GOAT. “Jaam Ak Salam” was the first track released to promote his forthcoming long-player, Rhythms (since followed by the hippy gospel workout, “Carry the Load”). The track is an exhilarating, inspired fusion of African jazz, psych and middle eastern moods and textures. Lifting off on a furious wave of conga drums and sharply picked guitars, it quickly feels as though the players can barely contain themselves in the midst of the uplift (though, since Goatman himself plays most of the instruments, perhaps it is he whose control is suspect – and who can blame him?). Much is going on in the mix – declaratory horns, questioning keys and responsive palm wine (maybe?) guitar – all marshaled by guest vocalist Seydi Mandoza. Like the track itself, Mandoza’s heady voice flits from style to style, sounding a bit like a mix of Youssou Ndor and Charlie Chaplin (the toaster, not the actor) at points, before barreling through the last third of the tune with all of the fiery righteousness of a Richie Havens. It will leave you spent, and then have you hit ‘repeat’.

Rhythms is due October 12, also on Rocket – you may, and should, pre-order a copy here.