New music, new artists and Hard Of Hearing Firsts.

This week’s deep discovery issue arrives overflowing with new talent.

NEW MUSIC | FIRSTS |PHOTO OF DEAD PONY | WORDS BY KARL JOHNSON


Manchester venue’s The Gorilla and The Deaf Institute have been saved, for now. Music venues The Welly and The Polar Bear in Hull have already fallen through the COVID-cracks. A £2.25 million “cultural rescue package” is set to land in the next few weeks specifically to save grassroots venues from immediate closure, with socially distanced indoor gigs allowed to return from August 1st. As we inch closer to the idea of live music again, there’s no shortage of new music on offer to fill those stages.

Firsts is a weekly deep search, a collection of intriguing new releases and first features that have occupied the Hard Of Hearing stereo this week. Tracks featured here find their way onto our new music playlist on Spotify, which you can follow below.



Bottled Up
‘Kilo’

Arriving from Washington D.C, USA we welcome Bottled Up and their new single ‘Kilo’. Led by vocalist Nikhil Rao, the band’s new single moves both hard and fast. The duelling guitars of Michael Mastrangelo and Beth Cannon fuel the band’s intricate sound and add knotted detail to the unstoppable rhythm section. ‘Kilo’ and it’s relentless drive expresses not only it’s new wave influences, but also it’s love of punk. The chorus doubles down on heaviness and combines a shout/ sing vocal projection that gives the track the grit it threatens throughout. Fans of OMNI, Preoccupations or even Meat Wave will find a lot to love here.


Dead Pony
‘Sharp Tongues’

Via Manchester’s LAB Records, ‘Sharp Tongues’ is the latest release by Dead Pony. Being one of the latest bands making noise within the Glasgow circuit, the Scottish newcomers deal in heavy slabs of rock guitar with a post-punk propeller attached to it’s formidable rhythm section, topped off by vocalist Anne Shields’ spirited delivery. The quartet know their way around a pop melody, but also contain the instrumental grit, and gear shifts to slip through heavy genres with ease – a dangerous combination.


Neurotic Fiction
‘Happy Goth’

Hailing from the South West of England, Neurotic Fiction are a joyous sounding bunch. The quartet’s part jangle pop, part driving post-punk rhythms are beautifully intricate and wonderfully crafted, let’s not forget about the detailed vocal delivery and those blissed-out backing vocals. The track in question is called ‘Happy Goth’ and is cut from their EP ‘Romance’, out now on Bristol’s Specialist Subject Records (Dogeyed, Fresh, Garden Centre). The overall sound harks back to that of late 70s South Bronx legends ESG or more recently that of Shopping or Dry Cleaning.


Braille Face
‘Softly Spoken’

Braille Face hail from Australia. ‘Softly Spoken’, the Melbourne outfit’s new single, rides a perfect wave of indie rock. Slow-burning then soaring, anthemic then intimate, Braille Face’ throaty vocal performance and touching lyrical sentiment is what made the 90s such a heavyweight indie decade. I’d be happy to turn on mainstream radio and hear moody Braille Face track after moody Braille Face track. With just the right amount of pop sheen and an effortless vocal delivery, dig deeper into Braille Face’s back catalogue for a more textured, electronic-leaning sound.


Sunny Disposition
‘Rain On Your Parade’

‘Rain On Your Parade’ comes from Sunny Disposition’s new EP ‘Full of Reasons’. The calmly crafted and cello-led sound is jam-packed with jarring moments of guitar and fluid instrumental shifts. When it comes to bands such as Sunny Disposition, the devil really is hidden in the details. The atmospheric tension and subtle shifts in instrumental weight lead to the final 1/3 of the song being the melodic, mellow rock pay-off that we hadn’t realised would be so affecting.



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