Sunday, October 30, 2016

Feel good hits of the 30th October

1. 'Divers Of The Dust' - Marissa Nadler
Marissa Nadler's Strangers came out in May. The fact that I've only just recently got round to checking it out is unforgivable - and even more so in light of how stupendously good it is (not that that should have come as much of a surprise). As for its predecessor, 2014's July, metal producer Randall Dunn was at the controls. This LP feels rather fuller sonically, though no less sumptuous and beautifully poised.

2. 'Right Now' - Amber Arcades
When Annelotte de Graaf and her band dropped this gem just two songs into their set at the Cellar last week, I was immediately fretting about whether it would all be downhill thereafter. To say I needn't have worried would be an understatement - but 'Right Now' remains Amber Arcades' best song, a shimmering and breezily melodic jangle that it's surely impossible not to love pretty much instantly.

3. 'Blessed Night' - Howling Bells
Amid all the fuss and froth over the anniversaries of the likes of Nevermind and Screamadelica (to which I've contributed, admittedly), the fact that 2016 marks ten years since Howling Bells released their self-titled LP is likely to pass most people by - as did the album. A crying shame, as it was a debut of both high quality and significant promise (promise they've been unable to live up to, sadly). Single 'Blessed Night' is the first track by the Australian emigres that I ever heard.

4. 'Kids' - Dream Wife
Last year it was Dials, this year Southsea Fest. Dream Wife were the undisputed stars of both, thanks to effervescent songs such as 'Kids' that, like Le Tigre, recall riot grrrl but inject it with colour, playfulness, exuberance and pop nous.

5. '10:56'/'Second Son Of R' - Oathbreaker
Ever since Deafheaven appeared to the delight of many and the disgust of others, death metal and melody/beauty have no longer been sworn enemies. This bunch of Belgians, who rejoice under the sort of name that David Brent might give to his metal side project, have been going for the best part of a decade but, with this track and new album Rheia, seem to be intent on making hay while the sun shines.

6. 'Starlight' - Gone Is Gone
When I wrote about both Crystal Fairy and Gone Is Gone for the last installment of this feature, I suspected that of the two supergroups it'd be the former who would go on to monopolise my attentions. Not so. 'Starlight' doesn't have the skull-crushing drop of 'Sentient', but it does have the sort of gargantuan chorus that might have Matt Bellamy listening in with envy.

7. 'Honey' - Pumarosa
Technically speaking, I'd say 'Honey' represents diminishing returns for the London quintet - but that's much more reflection on the unadulterated brilliance of 'Priestess' and 'Cecile', and is extremely rough justice for another fine single. The debut album, whenever it finally drops, will almost certainly be worth the wait.

8. 'Don't Cry' - Mogwai
Thanks to Avalanche Records for alerting me to this surprisingly faithful and emotive Guns 'N' Roses cover, recorded as part of a Peel session in 1998, back when Stuart Braithwaite generally fought shy of vocal duties. The song suits the band's trademark hefty hit of guitar, while Braithwaite sounds as though he's enjoying the solo - a rare indulgence for a post-rocker.

9. 'The Upper Reaches' - Year Of The Kite
Speaking of post-rock, here's an atmospheric track from Year Of The Kite, as recommended recently by fellow locals Ghosts In The Photographs. A completely new name to me, but another reason to rue the fact that we'll be leaving Oxfordshire in the next couple of months. Whether it's a paean to the now boarded-up Abingdon hotel of the same name is yet to be confirmed.

10. 'The Zoo' - FEWS
The highlight (by some distance) of this month's rather disappointing gig at the Bully - the one moment when the Joy Division comparisons and enthusiastic write-ups actually made much sense.

No comments: