Tracks of the Week #187

Tracks of the Week #187

The choiciest of choice cuts for this weeks Tracks of the Week, naturally. Supercalifragilisticspankmyarseamazing.


The A’s – He Needs Me

Why We Love It: The A’s are Amelia Meath from Sylvan Esso, the American electronic pop duo from Durham, North Carolina, and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, a member of the American singing trio of women, Mountain Man. And The A’s will release announce their debut album Fruit on 15th July via Psychic Hotline, a record which “combines wild cosmic versions of cowboy songs, lullabies and unique takes on the great American songbook.”

The first single to be taken from the forthcoming album is ‘He Needs Me’, an inspired interpretation of the Harry Nilsson-penned song that first appeared on the soundtrack for Robert Altman’s 1980 musical comedy film Popeye, sung by the actress Shelley Duvall who took the part of Olive Oyl. Here The A’s retain all of the simplicity and charm of the original song whilst adding a further off-kilter, otherworldly dimension to it. Magical. (Simon Godley)

Siv Jakobsen – Birthday

Why We Love It: because in a world where war, death, poverty, autocratic governments and uber rich stalk the world and toy with us like we are their play thing, we are in desperate need of calm and tranquillity whilst also describing a nightmare birthday. Because real life doesn’t stop. There’s a fantastic sustained guitar creating an atmosphere like an orchestra, the swells after a gentle intro that reminds me of Fenne Lily which is obviously a very good thing. The echo double tracked vocals are also done with great effect, coupled with a harmony backing vocal from the second verse onwards. With this and previous single ‘Most of the Time ” the new LP is shaping up to be a belter.

Siv says “I imagine a vast pool of ended relationships where both parties sit at their own gloomy ends, greatly disliking or even hating the other. I wanted to write a song with this in mind, that there are often two deflated and angry hearts involved, both feeling the same anger, the same sadness. 

“The song is also a retrospective look at a hard time in my life – my 25th birthday -, with a strong realization that I would never want to go back, no matter the circumstances. To me it encapsulates a mutual feeling of wasted effort and time toward something that was doomed to fail from the beginning.” (Jim Auton)

Been Stellar – My Honesty

Why We Love It: New York’s Been Stellar have been causing quite a stir on this side of the pond. Building on performances supporting The Goa Express plus a stirring set at The Great Escape they have now released their new single ‘My Honesty’ on So Young Records.

Is it possible to describe music as large scale? ‘My Honesty’ is an epic 4 minutes. Inspired by the search for authenticity, the irony is that you sense Been Stellar are providing an honest portrait of themselves and the New York City they now call home. Loud and quiet, sung and spoken, creating tension and destroying it again, soaring and dipping, the 4 minutes are a microcosm of the complexities of life itself. This has an indie-rock sensibility but with a passion and emotion which sweeps you along.
Expanding on the song, Been Stellar say:
This is the first song we wrote after having been separated due to lockdown. We had just moved into our bunk bed apartment on the lower east side and started rehearsing in Ridgewood. It was a summer of long blistering days, since no one was quite able to work yet, so the only real space where we could do anything productive was there. After trying a bunch of different musical hats on for a week or two, this sort of just spilled out of us. That initial instrumental bit reminds me so much of the restlessness those few months brought us – it sounds like the tension of us being isolated from one another finally breaking”.

Lyrically, the song is about the search for authenticity in oneself. The pandemic really made us realize that we were previously really trying hard to achieve someone else’s vision artistically – i.e. the sounds and aesthetics of our influences. This sort of serves as an oath to ourselves that the only things worth pursuing are those that we can confidently claim are our own”. (Julia Mason)

Pit Pony – Sinking

Why We Love It: Tyneside’s Pit Pony have released their new single ‘Sinking’, taken from debut album World To Me set for release on 1 July 2022 via Clue Records.  Their home of coastal North-East of England gave Pit Pony some respite from the restrictions of Covid, and this filtered into their creativity.  ‘Sinking’ is raw, drawing on the unexpected anxiety that can creep into us.  That tingling edginess found in anxiety is expressed in ‘Sinking’.  With this track the 5-piece are straight into the heart of the matter. “I never thought I’d get like this” sings Jackie Purver accompanied by scuzzy guitars.  This song is an honest expression and creativity is the perfect outlet to process such feelings.  I love the scratchy end to the track.  Who on earth wants slick sharp finishes?  Art quite rightly imitating life here.

Jackie further expands on ‘Sinking’:
“There’s a lot more layers and textures to this than most on the album and it was a welcomed contrast and learning curve as it’s not something we’d really done some much with previous tracks.  We have a lot to thank Chris MacManus and his production for with this one.  The doubled 60s girl group style vocals in particular were his idea, and it’s something we all instantly loved being such big fans of that genre and its sound.

I think that on the surface this is influenced in its imagery by the fact I’m from a coastal town (South Shields) and have always been by the river so the whole album has a theme running through it with water (see what I did there?).  I think when all we were allowed to do was go on walks we spent a lot of time walking our beautiful North East coast and that seeped into the writing.” (Julia Mason)

Mary And The Ram – Black Cat And Staircase

Why We Love It: An ominous, intoxicating instrumental track full of menace and building tension, Mary and The Ram‘s new song is not for the faint-hearted, taking its cues from Nine Inch Nails and pulsating with a fervour that put me in mind of Scottish rocker Rico‘s brilliant 2004 album Violent Silences. The studio project of Viaperformance founder Kiran Tanna (vocals, guitars, keyboards, and programming) and former Seep Away member Dom Smith on drums, the duo explain more about this thumping beast of a tune here:

Black Cat and Staircase is a doorway. That is, it’s the entrance to a sprawling collection of tracks that we’ve been working on over the last two years in the background, privately but with purpose. There’s enough material now for a double album but we’re being selective and releasing tracks on a drip feed. Each drop informs the next, helping us decide who we’ll collaborate with, what instruments to work with, where we’ll record, how we’ll assemble those recordings, the artwork, the mood. That approach has given us a chance to explore some new territory as a band – and Black Cat and Staircase seems like a good entrance point.” (Loz Etheridge)

Turnstiles – Bow Down

Why We Love It: Sadly the track ‘Bow Down’ is the last single from Galway’s Turnstiles.  The 5-piece are calling it a day and with last week’s release ‘Dig It Out’, these are the last two tracks they will release.  The post-punk band comprised London born frontman Callum Mitchel, guitarists Colm Sweeney and Cillian Ryan, drummer Luke Mulliez and bassist Jake Tiernan.

They recorded their first single ‘Moving Forward / Wasting Away’ in August of 2019, following it up with headline slots in Dublin’s Whelan’s, Galway’s Róisín Dubh and Limerick’s Kasbah.  The second ‘Tantrum‘ was released in February 2020 and was their first track to receive airplay on Irish national radio.  With summer festival slots at Forbidden Fruit and KFest Covid-cancelled, Turnstiles concentrated on creating new music.  They released ‘I.D.C’  during lockdown in April 2020 and ‘Same Old Stories’ in July 2020.  ​In January 2021 they released their self-titled 4-track EP which saw them achieve their first play on UK national radio on BBC Radio6 Music Steve Lamacq’s Recommends show.

The first track they ever wrote was also their shortest ‘Wasting Away’.  And thus how neat that the final song they release is also their longest.  ​‘Bow Down’ opens with a complex drum break beat.  Frontman Callum Mitchell, also on lyric writing duties, opens with:
“shunned from the world upon your arrival, let into the country with hope of survival”
Turnstiles are finishing as they have always been.  Snarling and kicking out at the political systems and the state of the world at large.  Here aiming at Ireland’s egregious Direct Provision refugee system:  “shake the hand of the falsifier and bow down now to the decider”.
They unashamedly confronted the current issues and frankly this is one of the best tracks they have produced.  The chorus is hardcore punk and yet the beat of bass and drum, and the layering of the guitar create an electrifying soundscape about 2 thirds in.  The final minute blasts forth, until all too soon it is over.

Turnstiles played four dates in England in Autumn 2021 and I was delighted to have been at their gig at the iconic Golden Lion in Todmorden where there were supported by Splint.  They go out with a bang, and I wish them well. (Julia Mason)

The Queens Head – Teach Me To Dance

Why We Love It: The Queen’s Head have released new single ‘Teach Me To Dance’, the follow-up to the Dan Carey produced ‘Your God Owes You Money’ released via Speedy Wunderground.  This new track is an ode to inebriation and the joys of movement.  The Queen’s Head create songs that are musical short stories.  They are not afraid to mix genres and indeed this is slower paced than ‘Your God Owes Your Money’.  It’s aim is to generate some movement, any movement and there is humour within the lyrics: “I wanna taste your teeth when I breathe”.  The combination of dual vocals, spoken word and electronica, seems to accentuate the growing torment: “Somebody teach me to dance”.  The soundscape is warped and woozey, as if alcohol-fuelled.

The Queen’s Head say of the single:
“At the heart of ‘Teach Me To Dance’ is a power-dynamic.  The title doesn’t end with a question mark: it is a command, with one sorry soul (us, unfortunately) instructing another (a front-row audience member, a would-be lover, literally anybody) to provide them with choreographic know-how. It is pathetic, really, to request the teaching of something as natural as moving to a rhythm: a dance should grow, like a flower, no matter how ugly, away from the dirt and into the sky.  A command? Yes.  Desperation? Most certainly.”

The 5-piece from London create raucous and unpredictable live shows.  They are about to embark on a multi-month residency at The Windmill, Brixton.  Each show will focus on a specific theme, impressively including the premiere of the band’s mixtape film, acts utilising the power of sprechgesang, a fundraiser for a mental health charity and more, all alongside a diverse group of artists and acts that The Queen’s Head admire.

Being commanded to dance…..  Where do I sign up?

(Julia Mason)

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.