Tag: January 2019

Track of the Day: Red Rum Club – TV Said So

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Red Rum Club – TV Said So

Ages ago I wrote a review of Red Rum Club’s debut album Matador, an album that really took me by surprise with its (excellent) style and pop sensibilities. At the time I was really struggling to decide what my favourite track on the album was, there were plenty of good ones to pick from. Well, now I’ve decided…

TV Said So really reminds me of the Lightning Seeds (one of my favourite bands of the 90s), with its gentle swagger, catchy vocals and subtle-but-striking lyrics. On the surface, this is a catchy and upbeat pop track, but lurking just below are questions about conformity (“I’ll take my medicine, I’ll stand in line, Now take your pills coz the TV said so”) society (“I like the clothes she said, the ones in the magazine, She’ll pay the pounds for her self-esteem”) and the distorting impact that television can have (“Nothing’s ever gonna be as it seems when you see it through a television screen”).

At a time when the impact of fake news and social media is under the microscope, I think this track sits rather nicely alongside the more serious news stories. It is, for lack of a better comparison, a Coronation Street style storyline examination of the issue, rather than a Panorama documentary film, in that it focuses on the people and the emotions rather than the technicalities or politics.

Oh, and did I mention its catchy?

Track of the Day: Lily Byrd – Don’t Move 

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Lily Byrd – Don’t Move 

From her Number EP released in January, New Hampshire’s Lily Byrd does something rather magical with Don’t Move. It is simultaneously familiar, sad, and hypnotic.

The gentle strumming of the guitar and soft vocals are beautiful, but the distorted saxophone (at least I think its a sax) keep disturbing the slumber of the track, the paralysis of sadness that the song speaks of. “Hypnotised by a lack of love” she sings at the end, and you realise you’re living every heartbeat with her.

Track of the Day: G Flip – Killing My Time

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G Flip – Killing My Time

Melbourne-singer G Flip recently a four track EP called Drink Too Much, and Killing My Time is the third track on it. It was actually also released in 2018, but I’m overlooking that as I’ve only just heard it…

This song is just effortlessly cool. The vocals are gorgeous, and whoever produced it was wise enough to make sure they stay front and centre, but there’s some nice production touches in the background. Superbly catchy, this is pop music that you can just sit back and enjoy.

Track of the Day: Sunflower Bean – Fear City

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Sunflower Bean – Fear City

I’ve been a fan of New York three-piece Sunflower Bean for a few years and they’ve produced some impressive songs along the way, but I’d happily suggest that Fear City is their best song yet.

On first listen Fear City took me back to the late 1990s. 10 Things I Hate About You was one of those movies my friendship grouped watched on repeat, and a huge part of the appeal was the awesome soundtrack, in which Letters to Cleo featured prominently. Around the same time, my best friend got into the Riot Girl movement, playing me awesome punk tracks where the female vocalists always sounded so confident and assured.

Fear City has that same assurance, that same imperceptible swagger. It sounds timeless; it could easily have been made in the 1990s or the 1970s, and it takes the essence of Veruca Salt and Joan Jett (and many other pioneers) and simply builds on that legacy.

The guitars subtly drive the track, the chorus is instantly familiar and ready to be sung by audiences everywhere, and the underlying message is of empowerment and breaking away from fear.

Fear City comes from the King of the Dudes EP that Sunflower Bean released in late January.

Enjoy!

Track of the Day: Anna Clendening – Dead End

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Anna Clendening – Dead End

“I don’t know whats worse
That you walked in my room smelling like her perfume
Or that I called you first”

Sometimes pop music can be devastating. Sometimes lyrics just jump out of a song and into you, where you feel every emotion the songwriter felt.

North Carolina native Anna Clendening has penned some masterful lyrics for Dead End. Simple, effective, devastating. The sense of guilt, the shame the desire to be stronger – better – shine through in every line. I was particularly struck by:

“You lie in my sheets then lie to my face
I lie through my teeth and say I’m okay”

Dead End is a pithy two and a half minutes and the minimalist production lets the lyrics shine. She also has an EP ‘waves’ out on the 22nd February, which I’m very much looking forward to.

Enjoy!

 

Track of the Day: Lil Peep, iLoveMakonnen, Fall Out Boy – I’ve Been Waiting

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Lil Peep, iLoveMakonnen, Fall Out Boy – I’ve Been Waiting

One of the difficult things about digesting music in the way I do (largely following certain artists and playlists on Spotify) is that it’s perfectly possible to miss artists who you really should know more about. Lil Peep very much falls into that category.

Descriptions of his work fall between hip hop, rock and emo, three genres that I like a lot. Very sadly he passed away following an overdose in 2017. Before his passing, he’d stated that:

One of my favourite hip-hop artists is Makonnen. One of my favourite bands is Fall Out Boy. You put those two together and that’s Lil Peep [laughs].

In a posthumous release, we get to hear exactly what he meant. This is the first single from the forthcoming album Diamonds, a collaborative project between Lil Peep and ILoveMakonnen. In the case of I’ve Been Waiting,  it was recorded in the summer of 2017 before iLoveMakonnen invited Fall Out Boy to add their efforts to the track.

Whilst the collaboration would indicate a bit of a genre mashup – and I’ve always enjoyed music that falls between or extends beyond genres – I’d say this track falls outside of emo, hip hop and rock and firmly into the pop category.

It’s a summer song through and through, with breezy instrumentation and laid back vocals. I particularly like Patrick Stump’s vocals and the pre-chorus refrain from Lil Peep, which is just drawled vocals at their finest. In the back of my mind, I’ve Been Waiting reminds me a little of Future Islands.

Enjoy!

The A List – the best 10 new music tracks around right now (3rd February 2019)

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It’s all change on this week’s A List, with a whopping 6 new entries including a brand new top 3. We’ll be losing the Lucy Rose track this week as it has reached its three week limit, but next week’s new entries will struggle to compete against this list.

1. Plastic Mermaids – Floating in a Vacuum [New Entry]

Tuesday’s Track of the Day is my favourite of 2019 so far. From the orchestral introduction to the playful synths, this is a track that grabs your attention. But it’s the vocals and the chorus that really gets me. There’s something deeply sad and realistic living within the simple words, well beyond the alien visuals and space vibes. “the gravitational pull, only gets stronger, and every time that we fall, it hurts even longer, somewhere up in the sky, we float like a feather, but we just live out our lives, trying to hold it all together.” It’s a message of quiet stoicism. And it really, really gets me.

2. Gary Clark Jr. – This Land [New Entry]

Friday’s Track of the Day, This Land is venomous. You can feel the frustration and anger pour out of every single note. The video is superb. The lyrics are hard-hitting and personal. And the energy is off the chart.

3. Dua Lipa – Swan Song [New Entry]

For my money, this is the best Dua Lipa song since 2015’s Be The One. From the tribal percussion and vocal snippets, this is a song of defiance and power “this is NOT a Swan Song”.

4. James Blake, ROSALIA – Barefoot In The Park 

Down four places this weekend, but it still sounds enchanting. There’s something magical about the track. It feels so enticing, but never quite real. You don’t want to move in case the spell is broken.

5. Bonobo – Ibrik [New Entry]

Ibrik is the first track from the forthcoming ‘Fabric Presents Bonobo’ record, due for release on the 22nd February. As you’d expect from Bonobo, it’s full of intricate beats and an excellent melody, but there are so many layers and snippets throughout to tantalise your ears.

6. Lucy Rose – Conversation [Final week]

Conversation is full of atmosphere with some beautiful strings. Simple and yet hard-hitting, there’s an air of strength and finality surrounding the delicate vocals.

7. The Cinematic Orchestra – A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life [New Entry]

Featuring the unmistakable vocals of long-term collaborator Roots Manuva, A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life is an emotional journey that only gets better with every listen. “Why would you hide from yourself, Belief is here to f‌ind you” Manuva sings, over the soaring sonic landscapes underneath.

8. Jenny Lewis – Red Bull & Hennessy [New Entry]

Jenny Lewis has returned with her first single in five years and it is giving me seriously good Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks/Lyndsey Buckingham vibes – possibly with a little dose of Kate Bush thrown in towards the end – which is just about the highest compliment I can give.

9. Florence + The Machine – Moderation [New Entry]

“Want me to love you in moderation, Do I look moderate to you?”  Florence returns with a cracking single encompassing superb lyrics, a bluesy-pop vibe and her usual stunning vocals.

10. Me & My Toothbrush – Just Release Me 

A supremely catchy dance track that builds and dips, the guitars keep it bopping along and the vocals sound properly old school.