Quarantine. The days of wine and more wine – oh, and bleach. Looking back through these past bleary weeks, we’ve mostly been putting out playlists. While fun, this seems to have detracted from actually putting some words out around the music we’ve been enjoying lately. While we love them all, we wanted to focus on just a few of the tracks from those lists here – be sure to take a listen to all the great artists and visit our Spotify page.
Special Interest, ‘Don’t Kiss Me in Public’ (Night School; Thrilling Living)
One of the most exciting bands to emerge in the last few years, New Orleans’ Special Interest released their latest single, ‘Don’t Kiss Me in Public’, on Valentine’s Day. Their 2018 debut, Spiraling, ground together elements of punk, new wave and no wave into a thrilling mash. ‘Don’t’ doesn’t waste time picking up where Spiraling left off, riding a rugged, industrial dance beat and messy stabs of guitar. What’s more noticeable to me on this track is funk. There have been many bands down the years mining inspiration from both punk and funk, but Special Interest set themselves apart by more deeply engaging with the ‘funk’ portion of that formula. Funk’s gritty, greasy qualities – the ‘staink’ (if anyone still says that) – is a remarkably powerful unifier with punk’s at times desperate intensity. Both are fully throttled on this track, with Alli Logout’s vocal pleas crescendoing like some kind of studded leather-clad Teddy Pendergrass. It’s sweaty, cathartic, and amazing – and it’s out now, courtesy of the remarkable labels Night School and Thrilling Living.
While you’re at it, do yourself the immense favor of checking out Spiraling, which was re-released last year on Anxious Music and remains on regular rotation here at tgh hq. Hoping for more from them soon.
[Featured on ‘February Discoveries’ playlist]
bdrmm, ‘Happy’ (Sonic Cathedral)
Leeds-based quintet bdrmm has been releasing music for a couple of years now, but we’ve only just caught up with them now, through ‘Happy’. Serving as a taster for the band’s debut full-length, Bedroom, the track is a shiny blast of dreamy post-punk along the lines of DIIV. The track’s hushed opening bars, all lithe bassline, whiplash drums and flanged guitars, call to mind classics like ‘A Forest’. This greyscale beginning, however, soon morfs into a kaleidoscopic arrangement – lyrics painting a picture of separation, realizing you might have done more but now just want the ‘other’ to be happy – before dissolving into a soaring instrumental outro and extended solo. It’s a great track which bodes well for Bedroom, due July 3 on Sonic Cathedral.
Check bdrmm’s bandcamp page for more tracks, and be sure to stick around long enough to hear a phenomenal remix of ‘Happy’ by one our favorites, the mighty International Teachers of Pop.
Dianas, ‘Million Dollar Baby’ (Blossom Rot)
New music from Melbourne, AUS-based Dianas. The band’s first since 2017’s Leave Love, ‘Million Dollar Baby’ is life-affirming jangle. From the first hard-strummed chords, the track recalls dreamy 60s ‘girl group’ pop up through bands like Vivian Girls and Terry. Lush, intertwined vocal lines stay tethered in the measures before the string is released into a heady chorus, a psych edge keeping things beautifully off-kilter. Lyrically, Dianas focus attention towards making someone see their own self-worth (“you’re only failing/in your own head”) – something we could all use more of.
‘Million Dollar Baby’ is taken from Dianas’ forthcoming long-player, Baby Baby, due May 4 courtesy of Blossom Rot, a new label run by Nathalie from Dianas and Sophie from Body Type. Pre-order yours here.
The track serves as the opener to the great Stay Inside – Songs from the Great Indoors compilation, a coordinated effort of Blossom Rot and several other Aussie labels – including Dinosaur City, Osborne Again, Spunk, Hotel Motel and Inertia Music. All proceeds go directly to the artists.
[Featured on ‘More Fun in This Weird World’ playlist]
Devon Williams, ‘In Babylon’ (Slumberland)
In support of his forthcoming full-length, A Tear in the Fabric (his first in six years), Devon Williams has graced our ears with ‘In Babylon’. A masterclass in charming, dreamy indie pop, the track is all elevataed emotion. Guitars chime and jangle, the bass veritiably glows, drums swish, all pushed skyward by a gossamer thin synth line. Dead center in the mix is Williams, sounding like a lost Finn brother, his vocal melody tripping lightly amidst the song’s delicate intricacy. There’s more than a bit of the more glossy end of the ‘college radio’ genre in feel and tone – think The Church, Prefab Sprout – together with more newer emotive pop like Cherry Ghost.
It’s our favorite of the taster tracks for the new album, so far – though they’re all very good. Roll on May 1, when A Tear in the Fabric is released by the fine folks at Slumberland. In the meantime, why not pre-order your copy.
[Featured on ‘A Room With a View (of the Room)’ playlist]
The Lounge Society, ‘Generation Game’ (Speedy Wunderground)
A new group from Hebden Bridge, UK, The Lounge Society recently unleashed a track full of gritty, totemic post-punk in the form of ‘Generation Game’. Lyrically, themes are heavy: a generation under siege and ignored (the band’s members are all students, between the ages of 16 and 17); a general lack of empathy amongst the ‘humans’; a retreat and reliance upon false comforts (poisonous beliefs) and falser idols (looking towards the U.S. to “save our soul”). Musically, the track builds from a gentle strum to a boisterous roil as frustrations are catalogued, takes to the skies for a spacey (but, far from light) bridge, before landing a four to the floor ending. The track bears audible similarities to contemporaries like The Murder Capital, but I also heard a bit of older heads like The Stranglers or The Godfathers. It’s an eye-opener of a debut, and one that has us looking forward to more.
‘Generation Game’ is out now, courtesy of Speedy Wunderground.
[Featured on ‘A Room With a View (of the Room)’ playlist]