Andy Holden, Roger Illingworth, Johnny Parry, John Blamey and James MacDowell have been playing together in various line-ups since they were 12 years old. Seven solo albums, one book and numerous art exhibitions later, they became The Grubby Mitts. From the band’s upcoming album, ‘What The World Needs Now Is The Grubby Mitts’ is ‘Worm of Eternal Return’. All a bit at odds with itself, it is a seamless piano-driven pop song of sadness and longing, which begins with a clunky glockenspiel and is composed of lines like: “The Reindeer of Arrogance” and “The Polecat of Clarity”, but this all works together to the song's advantage. Playing among the piano are a jumble of various percussive and robotic sound effects that give a more experimental, DIY finish to what is otherwise a perfectly safe and simple song. The noise of someone playing on empty tin cans is like the sound of wriggling cartoon caterpillars, though it could be anything from “The Octopus of Generosity” to “The Chaffinch of Deceit”. The chorus’ repeated refrain, “Whatever Else I Am/I Am Not In Your Arms”, is so evocative it can fill you with a strange and sudden nostalgia for a love you’d long forgotten. Calling the song 'Worm of Eternal Return', then, makes poetically perfect sense.
What The World Needs Now Is The Grubby Mitts is out on 9 March on Lost Toys Records
Words by Holly Warren. Read more of Holly’s writing here
Diagrams’ Sam Genders, former member of Tunng, returns with ‘Gentle Morning Song’, taken from Diagrams' new album ‘Chromatics’, out in the UK now. The song’s charming, honeyed electronica lends itself to comparisons to The Shins and is probably closer to what you expected from Belle and Sebastian’s new single than the song Belle and Sebastian actually released. In the verses, Sam Genders’ distinctly accented voice sounds as if it’s running across a landscape inhabited solely by Stuart Murdoch, and, as with every offering from Diagrams, the chorus is an endless jug of joy. Its soft, lilting melodies, guitar and strong drum line are strewn with psychedelic sci-fi sounds, which, when combined, create a song that’s both spacey and grounded, like floating just above a city. The lyrics capture this in the line “Im in a safe but frightening dream again”. It ends with a fade into the sounds of a busy street and morning birds, like you’re being carefully landed back to the ground.
'Chromatics' is out now on Full Time Hobby
Words by Holly Warren. Read more of Holly’s writing here
Follow the example of the jovial spectators in Generationals’ speedway-centric new video and you'll find plenty to cheer in the band’s typically upbeat new release, taken from their latest album, ‘Alix’. ‘Reviver’ is a synth-led work of quirky disco-pop, whose brightly textured tones, like a squeak-free MGMT, are embellished by a reverb-steeped vocal melody sounding not unlike War On Drugs, were they taking Prozac. There’s much aesthetic joy in the technicolour promo too, encompassing desert landscapes, cheerleaders in slo-mo and the momentum of man and machine as the New Orleans duo ride off into the sunset. Good times indeed.
Alix is out now on Polyvinyl.
Words by Nick Mee Follow @Nickjmee on Twitter
Any band defining themselves by the sub-genre ‘sandwich metal’ warrant attention, and one glance at Shark Dentist’s Facebook page is enough to know theirs isn’t the vibe to accompany earnest soul-searching. The north London teens disingenuously cite their influences as Toto and Snow Patrol, but you really can’t imagine either of those MORish bores being bold enough to address the hazards of the wet-shave in song. So, for sandwich metal read nimble psych-punk fired by six-string squeals, tumbling toms, excessive use of phaser and deadpan doomy humour. ‘Cut Myself Shaving’ is three minutes and 30 of, well, razor-sharp poppy grunge, a full o’ beans salvo from this unsigned quartet who’ve hopefully started as they mean to go on.
Words by Nick Mee Follow @Nickjmee on Twitter Photo: Milo Edwards
At a time of year when heavy grey skies seem only to be an apparition of daylight, the spectral sonics and hazy visuals of The Acid’s latest release, taken from last year’s ‘Liminal’ LP, is fittingly austere. The video to ‘Ghost’, shot among sand-dunes, is a shimmering template of surreal focal points and balletic choreography, reflecting a sensory unease that chimes with the sparse, minimal electronica of this transatlantic production trio. Featuring a wounded vocal melody supplied by Ry Cuming, ‘Ghost’ pulses slowly, fizzing and sparking steadily over ominous leftfield downtempo, like the soundtrack to a late-night speakeasy session where Andy Stott and Darkside share sinister tales and hard spirits. The Acid’s hypnotic original has a haunting allure of its own, but two remixes (below) usher it gently towards the dancefloor and dress its skeletal frame a little brighter. Hamburg-based producer Oliver Schories injects a botoxed beat, resulting in some swollen deep-house, while London’s Maya Jane Coles turns on the trance, managing to invert the agitated strains of ‘Ghost’ into a euphoric clubland banger.
Ghost is out now
Words by Nick Mee Follow @Nickjmee on Twitter
It’s a question that’s vexed all but the least self-aware of us at some point, its intensity frequently amplified in direct correlation to recreational substance use. Which may explain why Yorkshire quintet Allusondrugs appear to be having such a tremendous grin during their self-made promo for ‘Am I Weird?’, in which their studio forms the low-budget backdrop for absorbing hyperactivity, and there are cameos from an emu and a cat. The track’s slapstick psychedelia is fused with grunge and stoner-rock, zipping along on a recurrent wiry guitar lick and glam-rock rumble, diverting briefly to take an elegantly blissed-out break. As immediately addictive as a chocolate mephedrone bomb, ‘Am I Weird?’ is understandably an Allusondrugs live favourite; gigs in Sheffield and Liverpool before Christmas offer the chance to get hooked.
'Am I Weird?' is available as a free download here
See the band live: Wed 17 December – Liverpool, Camp & Furnace Fri 19 December – Sheffield, Corporation (Xmas Party)
Words by Nick Mee. Follow @Nickjmee on Twitter
We don’t have much to tell you about Shiners as they are about as enigmatic as they come; we suspect they are a four-piece (but don't hold us to that!) and they describe themselves as ‘Britwave', which only keeps us guessing. What we do know is that this track is something worth talking about. 'Just Got Paid' casts a strange kind of romance over paycheque-to-paycheque living, telling a brilliantly Britpop tale about sitting in a clapped-out sports car outside a leisure centre, waiting for a girl. The vocalist sounds so Damon Albarn at points, and the line: "Cos her mother worries/He’s over 30 and in a hurry" couldn't sound more Blur if it tried. Its guitar sound is straight out of the Nineties and a ska-style organ riff dances on top of the chorus. Although this one song is all we have to go by, we say bring on the Britwave!
Just Got Paid is out now
Words by Holly Warren. Read more of Holly’s work here
'Repurposing shoegaze from the Baltic's eastern banks,' Pinkshinyultrablast are a St Petersburg band whose debut album, 'Everything Else Matters', is out on 12 January. You can read a full review of their 'colourful emissions of propulsive space-rock' by Lost in the Manor's Nick Mee in this month's London In Stereo, but the group's excellent single 'Umi', below, supplemented by an appropriately dreamlike promo, is the perfect taster.
Everything Else Matters is out on 12 January on Club AC30
There’s something of the Manic Street Preachers to the classic alt-rock intensity of Desperate Journalist's ‘Control’, and not just because bassist Simon Drowner is a kohl-eyed shoe-in for the tribute act. It has more to do with the full-bodied confidence of the band’s sound and the way, a la Manics, that the robust tune leans so heavily on the twin highlights of guitar and vocal. Rob Hardy’s fretboard scamperings provide an unusual contrapuntal hook to grasp the listener’s attention, and his later fiery soloing evidences a guitarist of some flair, the 12-string he wields adding welcome resonance. Jo Bevan’s voice, articulate and commanding, has range to spare as she ups the gears through stylish post-punk surges into a stirring chorus. Rounded and melodic indie-rock, this new taste of the band's self-titled debut LP, out in January, suggests that Desperate Journalist won't need to fret about filling those column inches.
'Desperate Journalist' is out on 26 January 2015 on Fierce Panda.
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No easy feat, a well-placed whistle can be a boon to a tune. Think Otis Redding (naturally), Air, Peter, Bjorn & John (begrudgingly), and put Bryan bloody Ferry firmly to the back of your mind. Here’s another contender, new FatCat signing C Duncan, who purses his lips as if conducting a pleasingly mellifluous march during new single ‘For’. That’s not the only thing to recommend this soothing release, though, which touches near-Simon & Garfunkel levels of spiritual folk thanks to psalm-like rounds of perfectly enunciated vocal. The beautifully layered melody is as much evidence of this Glaswegian’s classical training as the inventively fluid progression that circles an unfussy guitar loop (evoking Paul and Art again), while its bubble-wrap rhythm track helps to place it in the present day. C Duncan’s debut album will be released next year; this taster has us licking our lips.
For is out on 24 November on FatCat.
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A riotous mash-up of almost every rootsy vibe you might encounter on a bar crawl from the Black Sea to Brixton, the debut album by South London’s Gypsy Hill has been out for a couple of months now, but it’s always worthy of a quick blast to clear the pipes. Mixing Balkan swing with Big Beat by way of strident brass, guitars, bass and rhythmic breaks both turntabled and trad, Gypsy Hill’s ‘Our Routes’ is sure to get the limbs flailing. Their punk-funk take on itinerant jazz and Eurasion folk is of similar stock to that aced by Melt Yourself Down, but Gypsy Hill’s is perhaps the more accessible collection. ‘Caciula Pa Ureche’ itself kicks in with a greasy tuba lick stalking a clatter of percussion and Eastern vocalisms, before exploding in a surge of grimy synth-bass that could blow the woofers in a pimped-up Beemer. It’s a creative piece of genre-bending by this duo, who, fleshed out by a host of instrumentalist allies, have cooked up some internationalist party grooves of the most amiable order.
Our Routes is out now.
See Gypsy Hill live: Fri Nov 7 – Exeter Phoenix Fri Dec 19 – London Clore Ballroom
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Their fuzzed-up DIY garage-pop is the talk of every East London bar, and the NME is calling them Europe's most exciting new band. Madrid four-piece Deers are the spunky, hedonistic girl group every woman dreamed of being in back when they were a kid and 'girl power' was the mantra. Most bands who appear to explode on to the music blogosphere overnight actually turn out to have been touring and releasing tracks under the radar for years, but that isn't true for Deers. They say they uploaded two tracks on to Soundcloud one night and then started receiving emails, and it's totally clear why it happened so quickly when you listen to their songs. Their latest release, 'Castigadas en el Granero’, from the 7" limited-edition debut ‘Barn', is a scuzzy, sugarcoated, reverbed guitar spree. The lo-fi production and accompanying video all ooze a carefree, punk attitude. In typical Deers style, the video is deliberately DIY – get ready for Powerpoint-style editing complete with star-wipe transitions as the girls perform against a spray-painted backdrop. If you wanted to drown in the bubblegum surf of Alvvays, Best Coast and Splashh, a love affair with Deers is imminent.
Barn is out on Lucky Number on 3 November
Read more of Holly Warren’s work here
Glass Caves started out busking relentlessly around the cobbled streets of Yorkshire and built up a following, honing their boisterous British alt-rock on their travels. They scored a coveted spot on the BBC Introducing stage at this years Reading & Leeds Festivals, but with hooks as good as theirs, Glass Caves could have easily held their own on the Festival Republic stage.
Their debut album 'Alive' is out on 27 October and lead single 'Go' is a fiery and frenetic taster that will tear up venues across the country on tour this month. The track's fierce voluptuousness is a sound that courses through the whole album. Its fast, hard guitars and psychedelic choral falsettos underlaid with a fun electronic beat are reminiscent of Foster The People's 'Supermodel'. The single was mastered by John Davis, who did the same for Catfish and the Bottlemen and Royal Blood, bands whose debuts both rocketed up the album charts this summer, seemingly from out of nowhere, to prove that among the current trend of synth-based pop gems there’s still a place in everyone's hearts for rock’n’roll. Glass Caves’ debut has all the makings of an album that will follow suit.
Alive is out on Tri-Tone on 27 October
Read more of Holly’s reviews here
If there’s one band in Brighton guaranteed to host the best Great Escape after-party, as well as be a consistent burden to plasterers in the area after causing ceilings to cave in with their uproarious sets, it has to be Demob Happy. Due to the sheer quantity of bands in the city, you have to be a cut-above to get noticed and Demob have rattled enough cages and massacred enough nights at Brighton’s Late Night Lingerie club to warrant this attention. Grotty, feral and lucid, ‘Succubus’ is the debut single to be released from Milk Parlour Records, the band’s own label, on November 17. These boys are a clan, you can tell they live out of each other’s pockets and this consequent camaraderie and brotherhood brings unmistakable cohesion to their sound and chemistry to their live set, facets that reinforce their ability to carry the same intensity in any live setting. Whether playing live out of the back of their van, at a student party or at Concorde 2, Demob Happy should not be missed. Starting with the distinctive DH fuzz bass sound, the opening riff makes you feel uneasy but wanting more, like there’s a devil on your shoulder licking your face with its sandpaper tongue. Complemented by ‘Era Vulgaris’-era QOTSA-like guitar tones, ‘Succubus’, dissected by frontman Matt Marcantonio as being a “love-sucking demon who leaves your front door open but your mind on pause" delivers enough promise and excitement to justify Demob as being one of the most lauded new bands in NME recently. Marcantonio wields his bass with the same vigour and demeanour that would make The Datsuns smile, and this aptitude is backed up with enough songs, in the same calibre as ‘Succubus’, that’ll make you crave their debut LP. Succubus is a female demon or supernatural entity in folklore and is derived from the late Latin term succub which means to ‘lie under’, the polar opposite of what Demob Happy will be doing next year - they have the potential to be one the best breakthrough bands of 2015.
'Succubus' is out on Milk Parlour Records on November 17
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See Demob Happy live in October 5: Manchester, Eagle Inn 6: York, The Duchess 7: Hull, The Adelphi 8: Sheffield, Southsea Live 9: Guildford, The Boileroom 10: Maidstone, The Rafters 11: Sunderland, Independent 13: Newcastle, Think Tank 15: London, Birthdays 17: Brighton, Bleach
‘I think I would like to play chess with the devil’ rasps Liverpudlian Louis Berry over the opening salvos of his debut single’s lean psychobilly shuffle. And, sounding like Dan Sartain turned Scouse and streetwise, or a modern-day P Paul Fenech from The Meteors, Berry has a malevolence to his voice that insists you believe him. It’s the spark that illuminates this lively slice of unidirectional rock’n’roll.
45 is out now as a free download
Words by Nick Mee: Follow @Nickjmee on Twitter
Candy Darling are named after Lou Reed’s transgender muse, so it’s perhaps no surprise that their debut single is all brash melodrama. Yet the camp theatrics of the Bristol trio’s grinding electro noir is shot through with malice on ‘Money’, a spurned lover’s defiant stand given edge by the cold-hearted clarity of Emily Breeze’s powerful vocal (reminiscent of Karen O’s), as she proclaims: “Next time I see you I’ll be laughing/and you’ll be shot down with regret”. Her memorable couplets adorn an industrial meld of serrated synth oscillations, distorted glam guitar and piercing snare claps shattering a lazy 4/4 that gives the track an unhurried, peacocking swagger. ‘Money’ is a sleazy, bittersweet egocentric shout-out which, like all the best comebacks, is delivered with a good deal of wit.
Money is out on 1 September
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