Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Feel good hits of the 2nd March

15. '#3' - Nissenenmondai
AKA what happened when the Battles-beloved Japanese masters of motorik quasi-techno post-punk met dub producer Adrian Sherwood. If you're looking for verses, choruses, lyrics, hooks or variation, you'd be advised to look somewhere else instead.

14. 'Shoveling Sons' - Radar Brothers
This blast from the past - a graceful slice of stoned Americana - popped into my head recently as a rare example of a non-Scottish band who released records in the UK through the Delgados' Chemikal Underground imprint. I sat in on an interview with them before a gig at the Highbury Garage in 2000, after which they went on to play at the inaugural ATP at Mogwai's request. I had no idea that frontman Jim Putnam used to be in Medicine, the US' answer to My Bloody Valentine.

13. 'Nocturnal Koreans' - Wire
The title track of the veterans' forthcoming album, on its way just a year after the last. The song is reliably decent without being mindblowing, and had me reaching for Pink Flag rather than looking forward to the new LP.

12. 'Hungry' - White Lung
This track appears to be garnering a lot of attention (relatively speaking) for White Lung - some of it admiring, and some of it critical from disgruntled punks unhappy at the poppier direction (in the same ball park as Best Coast and fellow Canadians Metric). The presence of Deafheaven's George Clarke in the video is also bound to upset any death metal fans preoccupied with notions of kvlt...

11. 'No' - Yak
If - like me - you can get over the fact that singer Oli Burslem sounds a lot like Johnny Borrell and persuade yourself that he's actually much more like David Byrne, then you might well like 'No', which thrashes about with sufficient psych-punk gusto that Ty Segall would be proud. Thanks to Nightshift editor Ronan for tipping me off about them - and the fact that they're paying Oxford a visit in May.

10. 'Melody In High Feedback Tones' - Cavern Of Anti-Matter
From one recommendation to another - this time from my friend Jez, whose advice I've vowed not to ignore again after failing to follow up his tip-off to investigate Courtney Barnett. It wouldn't take a particularly perceptive ear to hazard a guess that Cavern Of Anti-Matter might feature a member of Stereolab among their ranks (Tim Gane). 'Melody In High Feedback Tones' is also slightly reminiscent of Deerhunter, whose Bradford Cox features on the album (having already collaborated with Gane's Stereolab colleague Laetitia Sadier on the Atlas Sound album Logos).

9. 'California Paranoia' - Lawrence Rothman feat. Angel Olsen
Two years ago the Guardian's Paul Lester described Lawrence Rothman as an "LA wild card who is equal parts conceptual/performance artist and warped R&B wunderkind" - I don't really hear either aspect in 'California Paranoia' (though the video is quite something), but to be honest it was Angel Olsen's involvement that drew me in in the first place.

8. 'One Of Each' - Maiians
At some point, 'One Of Each' will be displaced as the climax of Maiians' set - but, as their performance at the Independent Venue Week gig at the Cellar in January proved, it'll take one hell of a song to do so.

7. 'The Pressure Keeps Me Alive' - Kowloon Walled City
Returning to last year's LP Grievances left me keen to dip a toe into Kowloon Walled City's back catalogue. This track opened their 2012 album Container Ships, and container ships are an apt metaphoric descriptor for their songs - metallic, extremely heavy, fixed on a particular course, and yet with a terrifying kind of gracefulness. As with the material on Grievances, there's something in here for the Codeine fan, as well as doom/sludge/post-metal aficionados.

6. 'Oh Lord' - PINS
Arguably the best thing that the Manc quintet have committed to record so far, two albums down - but, on the evidence of 'Trouble' at last month's Bullingdon gig in support of Wild Nights, it won't be long before it's eclipsed.

5. 'I Do' - Bat For Lashes
The first taster of new material from Natasha Khan, which suggests that she's determined to retain a relatively strict division between her work as Bat For Lashes and her psych-folk project Sexwitch. It's a deceptively simple song, but the radiant positivity of the song's surface is somewhat undercut by the menacing drones that loom up occasionally in the background.

4. 'Hating Is Easy' - Cassels
It's a love song, you know, with a soft, sensitive bit where they briefly turn off the Drenge - though it's one whose lyrics are never likely to feature inside a Hallmark Valentine's Day card.

3. 'You Are, You Are' - October Drift
'You Are, You Are' is one of those songs that sounds almost too good to be true: stacked shoegaze guitars coupled to a driving rhythm section and vocals courtesy of someone doing a decent impression of The National's Matt Berninger. Sadly (though perhaps inevitably), there's nothing else that comes close to matching it on their Soundcloud page - still, there's time yet.

2. 'Deeper' - Arab Strap
I'd always had the songs on The Week Never Starts Round Here down as fleetingly great but often irritating juvenilia. However, I'd forgotten about the track that closes the album, a dark seven-minute-long tale of seduction that, with hindsight, points clearly towards the albums to come, and Philophobia in particular.

1. 'The Noisy Days Are Over' - Field Music
Lead single and lead track from the Brewis brothers' sixth album, Commontime, which was a focus for discussion on the second episode of the Sounding Bored podcast, recorded on Monday night. The title and lyrics suggest that the duo are coming to terms with the realities of fatherhood, and the song itself is one of the best things they've ever done, chucking in saxophone, strings and funk guitar but never sounding overloaded or like anything less than a lost Talking Heads classic. Don't just take my word for it - Prince took to Twitter to reveal himself to be a big fan too.

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