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Tracks of the Week #257

Ok, now it’s Christmas. Deck your balls with bows of holly tra la la la la, la la la la. Hope you’ve eaten all your Advent Calender chocolates already, because who can wait for the 24th to get to the last one when it’s just so much fun to do it as soon as possible. Couple more normal TOTW’s, then it’s a Chrimbo special and then a break for the holidays. These are proper Bo I tell thee!! 

Bess Atwell – The Weeping

Why we love it: Because Bess Atwell’s star is in the ascendency. There has never been any doubting the Brighton-based singer-songwriter’s talent – as two albums are firm testament to this – but her new single ‘The Weeping’ consolidates all of that earlier promise and sees her move onto a higher creative plane. It arrives on the back of her performing two shows at the Royal Albert Hall as main support to Ed Sheeran and ahead of next year’s dates opening for The National.

The song is inspired by Bess Atwell’s childhood memories, in particular growing up alongside her sister who has severe autism. It is a deeply personal, heartfelt message to love, one that acquires an even greater poignancy given that Atwell found out earlier this year that she is also autistic, albeit, in a far less debilitating, disabling way.

Produced by The National’s guitarist Aaron Dessner at his recording studio in upstate New York, Bess Atwell’s voice has never sounded so pure and so clear as she enunciates the complexity of the emotions that lie at the very heart of the song. 2024 is going to be a big year for this wonderful artist. (Simon Godley)

Cherym – It’s Not Me, It’s You

Why we love it: Derry-based Northern Irish trio Cherym have released their new single ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’, the latest to be taken from their debut album Take It Or Leave It, which is set for release on 16th February 2024 via Alcopop! Records.  Cherym have the most glorious sound, pop punk with introspective relatable lyrics but delivered with such passion.  With a zest for life and an energy in the instrumentation, their skill is that they make it seem effortless.  The vocal harmonies along with the tight guitars and drums create a soundscape to lose yourself in.

“So don’t say you’ll stay,
You’ve already walked away.”

Commenting on the single, drummer Alannagh Doherty explains:
“This song definitely has a bittersweet taste to it. You know when you want to help someone so bad but they won’t even help themselves? This one is for those of us who realised we just can’t continue to let ourselves get dragged into other peoples problems—as much as we want to help them, we just can’t.”

“This song represents that moment when you know you just have to walk away from someone because the longer you hold on, the more you get hurt, sometimes you just have to take care of yourself first. This song’s also a special one because it wasn’t even supposed to be on the album; it was written and recorded in 24 hours as a last minute addition to the record and it sounds like it came straight outta 2006 Kerrang! Magazine’s greatest hits.”

Taking influence from The Smashing Pumpkins, Bikini Kill, American Football, PUP and Pixies, the trio formed after meeting in college over a joint love of garage rock, pop punk and a desire to be the biggest band in the world.  Those plans are right on track as not only do they release their debut album early in 2024 but they have a bunch of UK and Netherlands headline dates for February and March 2024, ahead of their support slot with Enter Shikari on their 2024 Irish tour dates. (Julia Mason) 

Emma Gatrill – Offshore Disco

Why we love it: Because it is good to have Emma Gatrill back on TOTW. Last here in September with ‘Seed’ from her forthcoming album, Come Swim, now the Brighton-based harpist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist returns with another song from that record. Far more experimental in nature, ‘Offshore Disco’ sees Gatrill merge her harp with a bedrock of syncopated drum grooves and innovative modular synths, over which her expressive voice cascades. With its fluid structure and deep idiosyncrasies, ‘Offshore Disco’ further removes any doubt – if any should still remain – that her harp is merely there as an instrument to be gently plucked. (Simon Godley)

Death Pill – Monsters

Why we love it: New Heavy Sounds recently announced a very special team up between their favourite punk sisters, Shooting Daggers and Death Pill. Both bands have recorded a new song to produce a split single. Death Pill, the hardcore punk trio from Ukraine, comprised of Mariana, Anastasiya and Natalya, recorded brand new track ‘Monsters’.  Now the band have unveiled a live video for the single which was filmed at the start of their recent Over My Dead Body tour at The Crown Bar, Kyiv, Ukraine. 

The band comment: “This is a live video from our first show which was a charity gig after more than a 1 year break.  We are very proud of the fact that even in such difficult times our underground family still finds an opportunity to support our defenders, and at the same time attend a concert. We thank everyone who was with us that evening and those who make it possible to hold such events! It was amazing!”

Death Pill certainly made a stir when they hit the UK as part of their first ever European tour. Whilst in London, the band also had time to cut ‘Monsters‘ which was recorded live in the studio with Wayne Adams (Pet Brick, Big Lad and producer of Green Lung) at the helm.  ‘Monsters’ is a short, sharp shock. An angry, sardonic and skewed amalgam of riffs and full-on blast beats. The band adds:

“This track is about how our parents knowingly or unknowingly lose their children. As an example – here are the most painful things you could hear from your folks:  “When will you finish your music games?”

“You will never achieve anything!”

“When are you finally going to do something useful?”

Therefore, when there was an opportunity to record a one live song in London, the choice of a song became obvious.  Just imagine the “surprise” on the faces of our mums…” (Julia Mason) 

Josef van Wissem – The Devil is a Fair Angel and the Serpent a Subtle Beast

Why we love it: Because Jozef Van Wissem is a renaissance man. He brings the lute back to vivid life, relocating the ancient stringed instrument in the presence of contemporary music. Here it arrives in the sinuous form of ‘The Devil is a Fair Angel and the Serpent a Subtle Beast’, the opening track from his forthcoming album, The Night Dwells in the Day which is set for release on January 19th on Incunabulum Records.

Speaking about his latest offering the Dutch minimalist composer now based in Brooklyn, New York says “the track grapples with the world as it moves on and all the dualism and dichotomies that follow. It combines darkness and light, happy and sad at the same time.”

‘The Devil is a Fair Angel and the Serpent a Subtle Beast’ has a strange, hypnotic charm as it moves effortlessly across the airwaves, changing shape and sound as it does so. It exists in another protean world all of its own. (Simon Godley)

Sweltr – Known As

Why we love it: Dublin based duo SWELTR have released their fourth single ‘Known As’.  Tony Keyes and Noel Dempsey create what perhaps may be called grunge punk, but whatever it is, it’s darn good.  This single has a slightly calmer pace than the previous singles but is no lesser a track because of it. The lyrics set the scene: “I think I’d say I saw you coming from a mile away,” conveying the anticipation of an impending struggle.  The echoey guitar riff opens the track before the percussion joins in, the lightest of touch on the cymbals.  The vocals vibe is dripping with grunge, adding to the authenticity of the emotive journey being travelled.  The band share that: “a recurring lyric encourages listeners to ponder the song’s mood: “All on good form, we move along.”  This line reflects how one might perceive their mental state as unimportant, secondary to daily life—a common sentiment in modern Dublin. Using “good form,” an Irish phrase, anchors it to the location. The repetition emphasises the necessity to “keep face” in this world.”

Such acquired behaviours can put so much pressure on our mental health, the acknowledgement of which can help us move forward.  The noise soon builds on ‘Known As’ perhaps signifying increasing tension.  And then a sharp stop before the contemplative lyrics begin again.  The scuzzy guitar and final scream leads into the outro, where amongst the chaos slowly calm descends and comfort is found. (Julia Mason) 

Erika Angell – Dress of Stillness

Why we love it: Because this is strangely unsettling. Having just joined the ever-excellent Canadian independent label, Constellation Records, Erika Angell, the acclaimed Montréal-based Swedish singer/composer from experimental band Thus Owls shares her debut solo voice/electronics track ‘Dress Of Stillness’. It is our first opportunity to hear a track from her debut solo album which will be released next year and the song promises much for the forthcoming record.

Erika Angell’s fluttering, hypnotic voice is hidden with further meaning as it seems to just float along on a gently oscillating sea of avant-electronics, always tantalisingly out of reach. Originally composed as a paean to God – see below for Angell’s wider explanation for the genesis of the song – it transforms itself into something that is altogether more disquieting  and foreboding.

“‘Dress Of Stillness’ was composed around a poem by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. I found it in this little pocket book called “Poems From the Book Of Hours” that I used for years whenever I needed some words to improvise around. I have now lost this book of treasures, and this song is what’s left of it. Even though this is originally a love poem to God – affirming and beautiful – it holds a tone of something exaggerated and overbearing to me. How something overly generous can all of a sudden feel overwhelming and imposed.

I’m playing around with this fine line and shift of perspective in this composition, where the added lower octave in the voice and the arpeggiated synth holds a streak of something ominous. A reminder of how love is sometimes used recklessly to defend actions that are not loving.”
(Simon Godley)

YINYANG – Kill Jester

Why we love it: YINYANG (aka Lauren Hannan), the Ballymena-born artist has been mostly London-based, yet has been spending more and more time within the Belfast scene. Currently ripping up stages on tour as a support to Enola Gay, she has found time to release ‘Kill Jester’, the seventh character in the YINYANG saga. ‘Kill Jester’ does not follow a straight line but sharply goes hither and thither. Layered vocals are one minute hip-hop, the next spoken, the next seemingly taken over by a wild spirit. With bass heavy beats there is no obvious verse and chorus, this is unconventional song-writing that rips up the rule book. Distortion comes and goes, and somehow the whole does gets it ferocious positive message across: “Don’t pursue it, if it’s not a fuck yes.

With the promise of more music and live dates in 2024 its going to be intriguing to see just where YINYANG goes next. (Julia Mason) 

Mary Shelley – She’s A Star

Why we love it: because Mary Shelley were one of the best bands at Focus Wales this year and this is a belter of a single, further illustrating the eclectic and diverse styles they are happy to bound from one to another. It starts with a monotone vocal and simple one or two note hook that sounds so very reminiscent and comforting. 

Compared to their previous single ‘Goin’ To The Beach’ this seems to be a more serious subject that needed some brevity, and whilst what makes Mary Shelley the chaotic and writhing beast that they are on stage is still bubbling underneath, this suits them well. 

The whole song is a metaphor for pouring your heart out. I think in today’s world there’s so much talk about how rewarding and important it is to be open and honest, true to yourself. But what if doing that is the very reason a relationship is ruined? The character in the story is standing up against their own impulse to close themselves off to the world, and questioning that Bukowski meme ‘Find what you love and let it destroy you,’ because it did. I promise the song is a lot more fun to listen to than this explanation…” (Jim Auton)

King Casio – So Much More

Why we love it:  What a sweet, sad song. Dipping into melancholia without falling in is always a tricky excursion, but with ‘So Much More’ Aaron King gently beckons and welcomes us over into the collective warm, seducing us with simplicity and echoes of nostalgia.  

The song is about: ‘the sense of restless frustration I feel. On one hand, the song yearns for “something more pure,” echoing my desire to understand how people operate and to help those around me. However, “the walls are padded white and pink” implies a sterile, controlled environment. It is here that I feel the song conveys the paradox. While on one hand, a sense of control can lead to us feeling safer, it can also null our sense of freedom and creativity—a sense of being stuck and not giving a shit,’ he says.

‘So Much More’ is the first single from King Casio‘s upcoming debut album ‘Passing Time With King Casio’ which is due for release in the spring. The album is inspired by Harry Nilsson‘s ‘The Point’. 2024 will also see King Casio supporting friend and collaborator L.A. Salami.

‘So Much More’ is produced by Oli Barton Wood (Porridge RadioMolly PaytonDeclan McKenna). (Cath Holland)


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.