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Tracks of the Week #233

Hands up everyone who over did it at Arctic Monkeys last night and had to spend £150 on a taxi home because all the tube stations were closed?!?

Yeah this morning hasn’t been fun but fortunately, even though it’s Monday, again, that does mean more Tracks of the Week and there are some absolute belters in here. Special mentions to my choice from the constantly fantastic Divorce and also for Big Special which is a brilliant slice of…. well I’m not sure what you’d call it, but it’s fucking ace. Enjoy!

Sparklehorse – Evening Star Supercharger

Why we love it: The notion of the posthumous release is one that divides opinion. At one extreme there lies the view that it is all about barrel-scraping avarice. At the other, it can offer an opportunity to re-evaluate an artist’s work as well as introducing them to a newer audience. ‘Evening Star Supercharger’ lies much nearer the latter end of that spectrum. 

On the 6th of March 2010 Mark Linkous, the man who was Sparklehorse, died by suicide at the age of 48. The previous year he had already begun work on what would have become Sparklehorse’s fifth album. Years later Mark Linkous’s brother, Matt and sister-in-law Melissa began to sift through boxes of tapes to catalogue and preserve Mark’s unreleased recordings and bring to life his posthumous album, Bird Machine, the title having already been given to the record by Mark.

Bird Machine will be released on 6th September through Anti- and ‘Evening Star Supercharger’ is the first track to be taken from it. It is undeniably poignant, and not a little disconcerting to finally hear music from Sparklehorse that is new to our ears. As Mark Linkous himself had once previously and so accurately said, it’s a sad and beautiful world. (Simon Godley)

Ciel – So Scared

Why we love it: Brighton indie trio CIEL share new single ‘So Scared’ the second from their Make It Better EP, set for release on 7 July via indie label Jazz Life. Speaking ahead of their latest single release frontwoman Michelle Hindriks explains:
“’So Scared’ is about being scared to be vulnerable and open up yourself towards someone else. But at the same time it’s about actively wanting to change that part of yourself and working hard to be able to be vulnerable, as it’s an important part of making valuable connections with others. The song started out with just one cute sounding synth line with the vocal part over it and in the studio we kept adding layers of guitars to create a much bigger sound”.

Ciel have created a deliciously emotive soundscape on ‘So Scared’. The track begins with bobbing percussion but quickly the soundscape soars, driven by the soft and icy vocals of Hindriks. The tracks weaves its way twisting and turning with changes in pace and atmosphere. The midtrack full blown instrumentation is a joyous expansive sound. Ciel are heading out on an extensive list of international shows including a European tour with Blood Red Shoes kicking off in September. With the EP due out in a matter of weeks, it’s the perfect time to see this talented trio. (Julia Mason)

Divorce – Birds

Why we love it: because Divorce are making some of the most catchy and fascinating pop with brilliantly observed song writing. This is their first single after their debut EP dropped at the end of last year, and it continues the genre bending and splicing that made Get Mean so special.

The co-lead vocals, morse code like guitar hook, the counter melody on the bass and gently distorted rhythm guitar make it perfectly impossible to pin down. In an interview last year with God Is In the TV, they described themselves as Alt-Country/Grunge(ish) which covers some of the bases, but probably not all of them.

They say about the track: “The song isn’t really about birds at all, but I feel as a metaphor they represent both chaos and hope, so having hyper-realistic bird makeup and business person suits seemed like the logical way to go.”

“I was carrying a lot of insecurity that felt like it was piling in on me from all angles but this song was an attempt to reshape those feelings into something positive. I wanted to remind myself and all of us in the band how much belief we have in each other and in the truth of what we’re doing together.” (Jim Auton)

Molybaron – Something Ominous

Why we love it: French/Irish alternative rock-metal outfit Molybaron return with their most intense track to date. ‘Something Ominous’. The song describes a fabricated invasion unleashed upon an unsuspecting public. Designed to instill widespread panic, meticulously orchestrated events are broadcast, creating a convincing illusion of extraterrestrial aggression, strategically deploying staged encounters and simulated attacks. As fear spreads, the population succumbs to the manipulation, allowing the state to exploit the chaos and implement their agenda of control. As perhaps expected from the theme, this is a relentlessly riff heavy track with a layered vocal which expresses the outrage and anger at the situation described.

They’ll say it’s time to come together as a nation
To save the planet from certain annihilation
Fear porn media the perfect ingredient
For total control total obedience

Formed in Paris in January 2015 by Dublin-born singer/guitarist Gary Kelly, Molybaron are an intriguing band, not just in the modern metal scene. The final minute of the track is all consuming and sends out an uncompromising and raw warning to be vigilant in thee troubled times. (Julia Mason)

Emma Robin – Good Times

Why we love it: the melifluous blending of cool pop, elegant soul and R&B and effortless jazz on this new single by Emma Robin is both seductive and ambitious, and simmers with glamour. The song is smooth sophistication itself, yet lyrically deals with the pressures and challenges in the pursuit of, and finding personal happiness. Defiant and gently taking the mick, it’s a sparkling and highly relateable contemporary gem.

Hailing from the Netherlands, it was Emma’s a childhood love of Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, and Aretha Franklin informed her effortless, remarkable vocal stylings. Moving to London in 2018 shifted her music-making forward, working with acclaimed songwriters James Essien (Clean Bandit) and Jonny Rockstar (Amy Winehouse). (Cath Holland)

Big Special – This Here Ain’t Water

Why we love it: Big Special have released their second single ‘This Here Ain’t Water’, and the listener will be immediately captivated by this track. The extraordinary lead vocal of Joe Hicklin sees the shift away from the dominance of spoken word post-punk continuing. Alongwith Callum Moloney (drums) the duo are difficult to pigeon-hole. ‘This Here Ain’t Water’ almost has a gospel element to it, but with a rawness and vulnerability which is striking.

This – here – ain’t – water!
But it was offered me to drink
When everyone you know is thirsty
What – am – I – to – think?
This – here – ain’t – water!
But it keeps me off the brink
When everyone you know is thirsty
What – am – I – to – drink?”

The band expand on the themes of the track:
It’s basically an inward sermon, when you’re stuck in your head egging yourself on about how rough times feel. It’s about media and politics. It’s about self-medication. It’s about a lack of options. It’s about the thinning of the common understanding between the social classes of England, and feeling stuck, watching it all happen.”

The pounding of the drums provide an ominous beat throughout, perhaps emulating trudging through the daily grind. Big Special have quickly gathered attention with their live performances and have already played with Deadletter, Benefits, and at The Great Escape. They are set for 2000 Trees, as well as performing with Soul Glo and Creep Show. This track will see an army of fans onboard by the end of the year. (Julia Mason)

Powerplant – Beautiful Boy

Why we love it: London-based quartet Powerplant release the first single from their new EP Grass which will be released on 14 July via London’s Static Shock Records (Uranium Club, Sheer Mag, Chubby and The Gang, Warthog). Powerplant began in 2017 as a solitary bedroom project of Theo Zhykharyev, a few years after he came to London from Ukraine to study. Initially equipped with only a drum machine and a synthesiser, he proceeded to finesse minimalist post-punk. The new single ‘Beautiful Boy’ is a high octane raucous gallop through two and a half minutes of scuzzy melodic punk. It’s opening is dominated by dancing synths but that soon gives way to thrashing guitars and pounding drums and a vocal seeped in the punk vibe.

Beautiful Boy’ tell of pain and loss as Theo further explains: “I had the melody and the lyrics more or less written for quite some time but it didn’t mean a lot to me, until so much was lost and taken by the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year. The carcass of ‘Beautiful Boy’ was what I had to process the loss personally.”

The energy and twists and turns on ‘Beautiful Boy’ are thrilling and I’m already keen to hear more on the new EP next month. (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.