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Fresher Sounds - The best new music - 02/07/19


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As graduation ceremonies are underway all across the UK, many are already well into the swing of things working summer jobs.

Fresher Sounds // Cover by Meddies 

For many, the summer is a chance to earn a bit of extra cash, see a new country or attend festivals before the start of the new academic year. Graduates, however, (at least those who missed the competitive scheme deadlines and are not going down the master’s route just yet *cough cough*) often face the prospect of a protracted job hunt before gaining that dream/reasonably paid role.

This week’s playlist of new releases features one song addressing precisely that situation and many more tunes to keep your spirits up through the raft of rejections.


ackerman – 84 Palms

ackerman is an experimental trio whose membership extends beyond the people playing the instruments to include the many creative collaborators working on their album art and videos. The new single ’84 Palms’ is based around several vocal samples layered to create a choral landscape that shares sonic similarities with Bon Iver’s expressive falsetto.


Ada Lea – what makes me sad

Ada Lea’s ‘what makes me sad’ is typical of her instrumental adventurousness and opens with wailing saxophone and an answer to the title’s implied question – “I don’t know”. She struggles to pinpoint her melancholy’s origin and the track’s arrangement reflects the tentative fumbling towards an understanding of her own psyche with an ascending synth line that distorts as it climbs. Every idea is given the chance to evolve into something interesting and the song conveys a frustrated lethargy that betrays great creative potential. There are some fantastic lyrical one-liners too, like “give me your wild and taciturn eyes”.


Alarmist – Expert Hygiene

If you’re a fan of the jazz fusion of BADBADNOTGOOD or Kamasi Washington, then this new single from Alarmist is worth checking out. ‘Expert Hygiene’ features an impressive use of synth arpeggiators over complex time signatures to create something challenging yet undeniably groovy and melodic. It’s mellow math rock with just enough bite to massage the brain.


Blanck Mass – No Dice

Blanck Mass is the solo project of Edinburgh-based musician Benjamin John Power and ‘No Dice’ is the second single from his forthcoming album Animated Violence Mild due out on 16th August. Comprised of chopped-up vocal samples, the track has an almost tribal feel. Power says the theme of the song is doubt and self-denial – “the separation between your heart and your head”.

Decay – New Again

‘New Again’ is the latest single from Liverpool emo-rockers, Decay. The band is due to release their debut EP Modern Conversation on 5th July, showcasing a revitalised take on post-hardcore. This track is saturated with thickly distorted guitars but with as much an ear for melody as the Foo Fighters and features intriguing lyrics such as, “You planted flowers in my skin/ and let the colder seasons in”.


Gross Net – Gentrification

Gross Net is the project of Belfast-based musician, Philp Quinn and the title of his latest single is typical of his not shying away from complex topics in songwriting. It’s a search for the particular in an increasingly homogenised world as Quinn sings that he can “travel for miles and still be at home”. Instrumentally, the track is based around a stupendously squelchy synth bassline. The new album, entitled Gross Net Means Gross Net, is out on 30th August.


James Leonard Hewitson – Deader

James Leonard Hewitson has managed to create a pop-rock anthem out of the post-uni existential crisis and for this, we salute him. He ponders the possibility of hiding “behind a wall of academia” and gets himself into a depressive state about it all. Hewitson’s song is not all indulgent self-deprecation and draws attention to the undervaluation of undergrad degrees in today’s job market. Acknowledging, though, that this is a first world problem, he laments that his “life is like a low budget indie movie”.


KAZU – Meo

The solo project of Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino has released the eerie track ‘Meo’ and it makes no apologies for its disturbing aesthetic. Beginning with breathy vocal layering, the song moves through several stages before reaching its almost jazzy climax. The main body of the tune is backed by a simple synth organ that turns Makino’s hushed, delicate vocals into something of a twisted Christmas carol. It’s as engrossing as it is weird.


KUMMER – 9010

KUMMER is yet another solo endeavour, this time of Felix Brummer from the indie rap-rock outfit Kraftklub. In this Deutschrap track, he expresses his frustration with the victim mentality of many of the now AfD-voting population of his hometown of Chemnitz in Germany. ‘9010’ features an industrial synth-pop instrumental reminiscent of MGMT and as he contemplates the misfortune of one of his peers, he finds he feels no Schadenfreude in self-righteousness.


lily among clouds – Love U 4ever

lily among clouds is the alias of yet another German songwriter, this time of Elisabeth Brüchner from Bavaria. Love U 4ever begins with punky palm-muted guitar and an upfront vocal performance with gentle synth flourishes in the background. Again, the tone here is self-deprecation and denial of a relationship that will solve all the partners’ respective problems as Brüchner sings, “I can’t give you freedom/ I can’t give you peace/ I’ll only love you forever”.

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