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Fresher Sounds - The best new music - 10/12/18


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Whether you’ve got December exams on the horizon or the delightful prospect of assessment to go back to after the Christmas break, the first semester is ambling towards its conclusion.

Image courtesy of Indigo Velvet via A Badge of Friendship

As a pre-festive treat most of the streamers among us will have “unwrapped” our Spotify statistics and have had ourselves reflected back at us, having to face the fact that raw data doesn’t lie, and we really did listen to ABBA for over 100 hours in the previous year.

But hang on a second, the year’s not out yet! Consider that the tune of 2018 might not even have been released yet and let this selection of the best new tracks into your ears.

Anteros – Fool Moon

Anteros are from London and their new single ‘Fool Moon’ takes up the tropes of Glaswegian funk rockers Franz Ferdinand and injects them with fresh vitality, adding chorused guitars and sci-fi synths under witty and original lyrics. The refrain vacillates on who is culpable for a damaged relationship with the parties first holding their counterpart responsible, then the ‘fool moon’, settling on collective accountability. This latest track comes from the debut album When We Land.

BLOXX – Sea Blue

If you’re looking for your indie fix and want something that stands out from the crowd then you’ll be well served by London-based quartet BLOXX’s new single ‘Sea Blue’. With its keen, attacking bass tone and crisp drums the track catches your attention and sustains it to the close. Featuring some nice vocal harmonies and inventive bridge you can tell the band isn’t just dialling it in. Give it a shot if you like your alternative more melancholic than twee.

Chain Wallet – No Ritual

Chain Wallet’s new single ‘No Ritual’ grabs from the beginning with an engaging drum pattern that keeps the energy high throughout the track. From Bergen in Norway, the band cites The Jesus and Mary Chain as an important influence in their sound, and this is evident in the dreamy, ethereal quality of the vocal mixing over a wall-of-sound approach to instrumentation. The layering involved brings to mind contemporary acts such as The War On Drugs and M83, who share a comparable desire to achieve a lushness not present in much popular music of today.

Chris Cohen – Edit Out

Playing guitar in various indie outfits including Deerhoof and The Curtains, Chris Cohen has honed his songwriting technique and ventured into solo material as of 2012. ‘Edit Out’ shares similarities with Chris’s label-mate Mac Demarco in its laid-back tone and chirping drum machine, which sounds quite like the one on ‘Dreams from Yesterday’ from his 2017 album This Old Dog. It’s a very classy track with a gorgeous saxophone feature, perfect for de-stressing when exam tension starts to smart.

Indigo Velvet - Nineteen

Originating from Edinburgh, Indigo Velvet is a “tropical pop” quartet who are here to bring their sunny vibes to the bleak midwinter in the form of their new song ‘Nineteen’. It’s not only in their colourful sound that they evoke the pleasant rays of this year’s global-warming spurred June, July and August but also in the lyrics which mention the titular 19-year-old’s being in the narrator’s ‘brain for most of the whole summer’.

Juan Wauters – A Volar

If winter’s not your style, then Mexico’s Juan Wauters might also help you escape the bitter winds and horizontal rain. ‘A Volar’ which means “to turn” is an upbeat, traditional accordion jam with closely mixed vocals that help you imagine Wauters right there in the room with you. The rhythmic acoustic guitars provide a percussive backdrop to a song that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, even if your knowledge of the Spanish language is limited. It’s the second single from the forthcoming album La Onda de Juan Pablo, or “The Wave of Juan Pablo” in English.

Pedro the Lion – Model Homes

Pedro the Lion is the brainchild of David Bazan, who started the band in the mid-90s. The group put out several albums in the early 2000s to critical acclaim and then Bazan split off to work solo. Reforming in 2017, the band started working on new material and ‘Model Homes’ is the second single released this year. The track features expressive drums and roomy production that remind one of Canadian band, Wintersleep. Bazan’s vocals are highly engaging and speak to a sense of dissatisfaction and restlessness that come hand in hand with a dynamic mentality. He’s “never not dreaming big”.  

Tallies – Easy Enough

Speaking of Canada, this next band is from Toronto, but they seem to draw influence from the emphatic jangle of British bands The Pretenders and The Sundays. Although espousing the twee shimmer these 80s groups, another component of their sound incorporates the arena theatrics of shoegaze. ‘Easy Enough’, the latest single is a detailed soundscape with plenty of distorted noise-play going on in the background to fill things out. From the three minute 50 second mark of this five-minute track, it starts to turn into a live jam with phaser guitar all driving towards the weird effects-meltdown that closes the song.

Xiu Xiu – Scisssssssors

Fair warning – if you are at all squeamish, do not watch this music video! However, if you want to terrify yourself, then go ahead. ‘Scisssssssors’ is the latest experimental, tribal ritual inspired track from the uncategorizable duo comprised of Angela Seo and Jamie Stewart. Its claustrophobic breathy vocals and the panicked onslaught of drums remind one somewhat of Death Grips or Nine Inch Nails.


La Dispute has helped carry the hardcore tradition into the twenty-first century by reinvigorating it with other genres such as spoken word and giving it a melodic twist. ‘FULTON STREET I’ is a track loaded with menace and dramatic tension, with synthesiser noise bubbling away in the low frequencies over a steadily building instrumental. The poetic lyrics are never allowed to quite crystallise into a definite image, but the emotion ratchets up nonetheless and breaks out into emo-inspired screamo at points. It feels like an album track, and indeed it will appear on 2019’s Panorama on Epitaph Records.

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