If you’ve not already melted into a puddle of despair on account of some the hottest UK temperatures ever recorded or, indeed, the transfer of office from the Wicked Witch of the West to the Great and Powerful himself on Wednesday, then you may be in need of something cool and refreshing to quench your thirst.
Fresher Sounds // Cover by Meddies
Yes, the above characterisation may not be strictly accurate, as despite her own description, the aforementioned sorceress vaporised – fizzling rather than thawing and the incoming warlock merely projects any grandeur to which he aspires. What’s not all bluff and bluster, however, is this week’s playlist, which like a welcome breeze after stagnant mugginess will re-inspire your soul.
Ariel View – Friday Nights
Ariel View is a pop-rock quartet from Ontario, Canada that has built up a reputation playing DIY nights across southern California. The new single ‘Friday Nights’ is indicative of their melodic, up-tempo approach to the softer side of emo and pop-punk and lyrically explores the shock of re-encountering someone who used to “adore” you and now “ignores” you.
Baked Beans – Avalon Speedway
Baked Beans’ ‘Avalon Speedway’ opens with the bluesy swagger of classic organ tones and harmonising guitars. The nonsense lyrics, “He’s a mister speedster/ He’s got burnout fever/ Foot down on the gasoline-ah” set the tone for carefree retro-glam the band offers up. Hailing from Australia and sharing a drummer with King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard spin-off, The Murlocs, these psych-rockers add to the burgeoning scene down under with their Hammond-driven sound.
Black Belt Eagle Scout – My Heart Dreams
For fans of lo-fi guitar balladry, Black Belt Eagle Scout’s new single ‘My Heart Dreams’ invites the listener into Kathrine Paul’s downtrodden, grungy world. The song’s sweet sentiment of unfulfilled longing is conveyed by delay-saturated vocals and driven by warm, purring guitar tones as she sings of “screaming loudly” and “screaming softly” – the latter of which is this song epitomised.
Black Country, New Road – Sunglasses
Sharing stages with the likes of black midi and Fat White Family, Black Country, New Road are well-placed to ride the latest wave of cutting-edge UK guitar music. This latest behemoth of a track shows that the band will not be held back by the constraints of radio. Beginning with tentative synth strings, the guitar line follows politely as dry drums usher in the bass and the frontman declares, “Welcome to the best new six-part Danish crime drama”. From here it’s a progressively more unhinged spoken-word piece descending into manic saxophone and angular rhythms reminiscent of early Biffy.
Here Lies Man – Long Legs (Look Away)
‘Long Legs (Look Away)’ is the latest single from LA riff-based quartet, Here Lies Man. It’s the second track to be released from the forthcoming album No Ground to Walk Upon, due out on 16th August. Driven by bluesy fuzz guitar, the song gallops away over cool congas in the manner of The Black Keys or White Denim.
Holy Hive – If I Could See You Now
Holy Hive is a trio comprised of musicians spread across the US – vocalist Paul Spring from Minnesota, drummer Homer Steinweiss from Brooklyn and bassist Joe Harrison from California. Together they create a crystalline mix of heartfelt folk-inspired lyricism and impeccable soul grooves. Spring’s limpid falsetto cuts through over a gorgeous 60s style instrumental with superb organ tones and fantastic dub bass on ‘If I Could See You Now’; this is a reinvigorated take on a classic sound.
Iguana Death Cult – Bright Lights
Bass tones don’t get much rawer than this. On ‘Bright Lights’ Iguana Death Cult create a frantic punkified Wild West soundscape in which the twangy guitars of the brooding plains hurtle towards the city. As the lyrics speak of an anarchic lifestyle of indulgence from “double vodkas in the shower” to “barely mak[ing] it to my bed”, the band’s angular approach suggests comparisons with Parquet Courts.
Julie’s Haircut – Until The Lights Go Out
Veterans of spaced-out rock from northern Italy, Julie’s Haircut has released a new single in the form of ‘Until The Lights Go Out’. Right from the off, the track exudes a spookiness reminiscent of garage rock stalwarts, the Oh Sees but also nods to the originators of the genre The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Its escalating organ and rapid drumming match the vocals’ repeated insistence to “dance to the thunderstorm”.
Lauran Hibberd – Frankie’s Girlfriend
Lauran Hibberd is an exciting new songwriter, specialising in gutsy stories related in the medium of grungy gems. In this compelling track, she tells the story of her childhood friend’s jealous new love interest who accuses the protagonist of interfering in their relationship. The song’s narrative develops from sly comments to outright confrontation, which forces the confession, “I love him like a child”. This powerful realisation goes unresolved but certainly whet’s the appetite for a full album on which the next chapter might appear.
The Paranoyds – Carnage Bargain
The Paranoyds derive their name from the quite legitimate anxieties surrounding modern surveillance tools in the internet age. ‘Carnage Bargain’, their latest tune, appears to be about business and governments striking a deal that will benefit them in the short term but cause an environmental and humanitarian crisis. They snarl, “there’s filth in the swimming pool/ they’ve thrown away all the tools” over gritty bass tones. This is a garage rock jam of the ecological emergency.