This week’s discovery issue arrives with intriguing new sounds aplenty.
FIRSTS | PHOTO OF ALL THINGS BLUE | WORDS BY KARL JOHNSON
Some people may feel hard done by to have swapped the unworkable summer heatwave for a windswept landscape and floods in UK – thank you storm Francis – we’re still lucky in certain aspects. There’s never been a better time for new releases.
Hard Of Hearing, alongside our friends and London promoters Egyptian Elbows, have been putting on gigs within the pub garden of The Victoria pub in London. The shows have been in aid of Music Venue Trust and the #saveourvenuescampaign. While we miss indoor gigs so much, Sunday afternoon seated shows have provided a perfect dose of normality into such strange times. More info here.
Shows have begun inside at The Windmill, Brixton to a limited capacity seated audience, which is encouraging in terms of venues getting back on their feet – though the overall picture isn’t as rosy as the above sentences may make out. Anyway, on to the music. Here’s a bunch of new releases and Hard Of Hearing first features that our deep searches have thrown up. All of the tunes we feature find their way onto our playlist below, which you can follow here.
Formed out of Oxford University back in Autumn 2018, Mandrake Handshake have shared their new single ‘Mandragora’. The track’s tentacular approach to instrumentation and groove is truly beautiful, each electronic texture finds itself at home next to space-age guitar sounds, robust bass grooves, detailed percussion and so so much more. Tactically minimal yet rhythmically full-throttle, the nine-piece outfit offer up unconventional excitement with just their second ever release.
The new release by London artist Brijs may leave you in post-listen pensive state of mind. ‘River Swimming’ is instrumentally hypnotic yet frighteningly well organised. The track’s vocal floats over an ocean of calm as evening crickets furiously buzz around our ears, with superb attention to detail and swelling electronic textures, Brijs are reminiscent of London art rock outfit Django Django. Delve into the spongy depths of ‘River Swimming’, lean into the delicate vocal delivery and take flight.
‘Red Brush In Danger’
Part of Jill Lorean’s debut EP ‘Not Your First’, latest single ‘Red Brush In Danger’ conjures diverse emotion – ranging from unsettling anxiety to tangible fury – as Lorean constructs a bubble of instrumental tension which must burst and be confronted. Vocally balancing both a delicate and then fierce delivery, ‘Red Brush In Danger’ brings about a storm of haunting sound, melding passion and sentiment. An incredibly exciting move from the Glaswegian artist.
All Things Blue
‘White Lady Dogs’
Led by frontwomen India Coombs, All Things Blue are a groove-heavy psychedelic rock outfit from Los Angeles. With the sort of raw and mind-bending vocal style Alabama Shakes fans might enjoy, Coombs floats between smoother R&B tones and the grit of an alternative rock delivery. The vocal rides shotgun to the venomous bass grooves and snaking psychedelic textures that underpin the band’s sound, guitars splash in and out of the mix before finding their own in a solo.
Jaws The Shark
The drums sound like they were recording in an auditorium, the bass a deep cavernous growl and the guitars scratchy, fuzzy-laden and so soaring that you may be shocked to know that Jaws The Shark’s is the lo-fi brainchild of one human, Olly Bailey. Having toured the world as an artist manager and tour manager, Bailey has naturally taken a dive off the deep end and recorded his own music, the result is melody match made in heaven (or maybe the bedroom). The subject matter regards retired Scottish football pundit Andy Gray, the track itself is an all out garage rock anthem in the making. Think Hackney outfit Splashh or Manchester’s Spring King in all their glory, to get a taste of what newcomers Jaws The Shark have to offer.
Coming up somewhere between the oddball pop of The Antlers and the momentous instrumental builds of The National, ‘1821’ by Familial is a tale of a murderous family during the industrial revolution. The track is taken from an EP (also entitled ‘1821’) created by brothers Andrew and Calum Stewart, the latter being a member of Glasgow outfit The Ninth Wave. The EP is a collection of stories written from the point of view of different characters. Recorded at Post Electric Studios in Edinburgh, the track sees the duo work with piano at the forefront of their sound. Familial utilise electronic textures and deftly executed vocal harmonies to create a haunting atmosphere of spacious instrumentation and unique story-telling.