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?
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.
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.
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.