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Tracks of the Week #258

Welcome to the last regular Tracks of the Week for 2023. Fair play to all those artists releasing tracks as the lists of best of the years are being collated. We leave it as late as possible to pick up any stragglers at the back. Next week will be a Chrimbo special, some new ones and some not so new but you might not know them. It’s been another stonking year for new music, we need to support it as much as we can. Buy the tracks on Bandcamp, go to a record shop and buy the vinyl or CD, go to a gig, buy a tshirt, help out our grassroot venues that are struggling so much. Let’s have a belting 2024. 

Dekker – I Know, I Know

Why we love it: Because Brookln Dekker’s solo career continues apace. One half of the Anglo-American Indie-Folk duo Rue Royale, Dekker has just released ‘I Know, I Know’ the fifth single to be taken from his forthcoming album Future Ghosts (due 16 February 2024). 

‘I Know, I Know’ finds Dekker continuing to work with his long-time collaborator Stefan Wittich (drummer/co-producer), and enlisting Zach Hanson (Bon Iver, The Staves, Whitney) in Wisconsin for mixing and mastering duties. The song’s deceptively contagious beat conceals much of the melancholy and personal vulnerability that lies at its heart. On ’I Know, I Know’ you can hear just exactly why the American musician has recently completed a hugely successful tour of the UK and his future is looking extremely bright. (Simon Godley)

Big Special – Trees

Why we love it: Big Special have released their fourth and final single of the year ‘TREES’.  It follows ‘Shithouse’, ‘This Here Ain’t Water’ and ‘Desperate Breakfast’ and caps a breakout year for the duo.  Each of the singles have had a different vibe and presence, each standalone yet each distinctly the Big Special.  ‘TREES‘ is no exception.  Opening with a pumping beat, it starts calmly enough but always with a hint of what’s to come.  The combined vocals provide almost a sense of togetherness and that “Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa Pow” grows in intensity and passion.  By the end the cry of “No peace, No peace” is so emotional.

Vocalist Joe Hicklin had the following to say about the new single: “‘TREES’ is about ritual. The song is about routines and objects we start to depend on to cope with our life and times and the journeys we take to fulfil that dependence. It’s about how life catches up with you whilst trying to balance those cycles of responsibility and self-gratification. But I think it’s about not feeling guilty about what makes us human; life’s hard, there’s no peace and we all need a slice a cake here and there.”

Big Special have built their reputation not only on their music but from their live performance.  As well as playing free shows for charities including Mind and Change Into Action, they have just spent a week on the road opening for Sleaford Mods. Their own UK headline tour in December is on the cusp of selling out. They have now been announced as headliners on DIY’s Now & Next UK tour for April 2024 and have shared news of their biggest London headline show to date for May 2024, at The Jazz Cafe.  Bearing in mind Big Special were practically unknown this time last year, it all bodes well for continuing their rise in 2024. (Julia Mason) 

The Hanging Stars – Let Me Dream of You

Why we love it: Because if we thought that last year’s album Hollow Heart was a wee bit special, then on this evidence alone it’s follow-up, On A Golden Shore (out on 8th March via Loose Records) will be even moreso.  ‘Let Me Dream of You’ is the first single to be taken from the forthcoming album and it is a cracker. It just soars away. Complete with a magnificent steel guitar hook, the song reels you right in before carrying you away with its vivid imagery. The album and next year’s UK tour dates cannot come soon enough. (Simon Godley)

Owls – Bury Me

Why we love it: Irish producer Owls has had a busy year with a headline show in Pawn Shop Dublin, Summer festival appearances and a slew of underground events.  The Longford based artist has now released his new single ‘Bury Me’.  It opens with a skittish few seconds at the start.  Then the sharp fast beats grow as the vocal begins to kick in.  The synth dominates and it’s almost eerie as the techno beats overshadow the vocal.  It’s a haunting yet mesmerising track.  It evokes a sense of darkness, especially with the title being repeated over and over, but the beats are made for the dancefloor, especially as the track progresses and the euphoria builds.  But do listen closely at the final few seconds, as the skittish sounds from the beginning close out the track.  Live I can imagine this would have the crowd baying for me and if this is synth-punk then I’m in.

The official video for the song was shot by Nathan Sheridan on location in Longford.  Intriguingly it features a decrepit primary school, a Ford Cortina and aubergines.  A very special 12″ limited edition vinyl is now available via Blowtorch Records.   Owls plays live in the Pawn Shop Bunker Dame St. Dublin 2 Sat 16 December. No doubt it will be a sweaty affair. (Julia Mason) 

Slift – Nimh

Why we love it: Because nine minutes and 39 seconds of your time is most gainfully spent when listening to this. Slift return with ‘Nimh’, another high-octane slice of dark, combustible metal. It is heavy, progressive, and shakes the very foundations on which we stand. It is taken from ILION, the third full-length album from the French heavyweights which will be out on January 19th next year on Sub Pop.

The band said of the song and it’s accompanying video: “‘Nimh’ is the second track on the record; it follows ‘Ilion.’ It’s a piece that talks about men’s slow but certain descent towards total madness. To illustrate this, the song tells the story of the drift through space of a ship, the ‘Nimh,’ and its crew, which is made up of leaders of huge corporations and anyone who has accumulated a lot of money on Earth. They set off for what they think will be a new world but never arrive at their destination. The gods of Time are facetious. The song is sung by the people left on Earth, prophesying this failure, abandoned to live on this barren planet entering the last millennia of its existence. As surprising as it may seem, we had Nina Simone in mind when writing a good part of the piece, especially the second part. To support the song’s subject, we also pushed our psych-rock towards bands like Converge.”

Couldn’t put it better myself. The upcoming tour dates will be something to behold. (Simon Godley)

Soho Rezanejad – Topic

Why we love it: Because ‘2Pablo’ makes for perfect Sunday morning listening. The latest offering from Soho Rezanejad assumes an ethereal quality as it gently washes over the listener. Here, the American performance artist, composer, and vocalist has joined considerable creative forces with fellow musicians Agnese Menguzzato and Simone Antonioni to produce what is very accurately described as “a lean setup consisting of guitar, cello and vocals to generate two resonant surfaces of sound and bare emotion.”

Recorded this year between Berlin and EMS in Stockholm, this evocative piece of music is out now on Silicone Records. (Simon Godley)

Uche Yara – Sophie

Why we love it ‘SOPHIE’ by Uche Yara, is an inventive and hooky slab of sound that reveals its wares on repeated plays. The influence of r&b and grunge hold true as abrasive guitars and crunchy textures are stamped with an impactful vocal that is infected with a inventive coating and possessed of a vulnerability at its core. Inhabiting a short-fused, self-absolving scorned lover frustrated at the actions chosen by his former paramour. A classic tale of a relationship going sour, albeit threatening and harsh in tone, there’s an unexpected vulnerability in the single, an ode to Ushe Yara’s versatile songwriting capabilities. “The first idea for the song came to me in a friend’s kitchen, riffing around with an unamplified electric guitar. A line appeared: ‘Sophie, you’re so mean!’ and I knew immediately; this is the hook.” (Bill Cummings)

Katie von Schleicher – Montagnard People

Why we love it: Brooklyn’s Katie von Schleicher weaves pure aural gold on this gorgeously subtle opener from her new album A Little Touch of Schleicher In The Night.

Montagnard People‘, trots statefully framed in tender brass and garnished with von Schleicher vocal that’s delicate and vivid imagery offers a warmth and a soothing quality that beguiles. Empathetic and quality, the world needs more of this.

Produced by Katie von Schleicher and Sam Griffin Owens (Sam Evian) – A Little Touch of Schleicher in the Night was recorded with a bunch of poker buddies the two accumulated during the pandemic. Lyrically wry and classically lush with strings and horns, in narrowing the gap between her personality and her songwriting, von Schleicher has made her most untroubled album. (Bill Cummings)

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.