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Tracks of the Week #262

Thank Christ we’ve got January out the way, now we can start enjoying ourselves as it begins to get a little warmer and it pisses it down all day every day. Yay.

Not to worry, we have some absolute stonking Tracks of the Week to get you up and raring to go and assaulting small woodland creatures. Huzzah!! (NB don’t go assaulting small woodland creatures, it’s not very nice. Unless they take the piss out of your jeans. Listen to the first song, it’ll make sense)

Enjoyable Listens – Tear Up The Picture Of My Kids

Why we love it: because it seems Luke Duffett is incapable of releasing a duff single. This time he’s regaling us of an incident where he was ambushed by a group of pesky grey squirrels whilst feeding the ducks, they steal his watch, his wallet, and tear up the picture of his little cherubs that was enclosed. He then decides to hatch a plan to enact his revenge by KICKING THEIR FACES IN and turning their screams into a ringtone. Perfectly reasonable response.

This is rumoured to be the next single to be taken from his hugely anticipated second album which is allegedly due in the next month or two but he’s holding the cards very close to his chest for fear of another verminous critter species try to rip them from his grasp and scupper his plans.

This is probably his popper most single to date, synthy to the max and the most sultry song ever penned as an ode to kicking the Sciurus carolinensis in the Boat Race. Not that there have been many, maybe any. Mores the pity, they’re bastards, I hate them with their long tails and stupid twitchy noses (*shotgun reloads*) (Jim Auton)

Flip Top HeadIntro 98/1st July 2006

Why we love it: Brighton seven-piece Flip Top Head kick off 2024 with a haunting double release ‘Intro 98 / 1st July 2006’ via cult London label Blitzcat Records.  The band have branded their sound “Orchestral Cult Rock” which is intriguing.  Their music is like shifting sands, one moment ethereal spoken word, the next soaring shoegaze, the next indie-folk.  There is an originality here in the songs as a whole, with the instrumentation including trombone and synths as well as guitar, bass and drums. Haunting and yet compelling the listener is pulled in by their musical spell.  ‘Intro ‘98’ is the first the band wrote together, and ‘1st July 2006’ was created “after a night with a bottle of whisky and Songs of Love and Hate by Cohen on repeat on the turntable.”

Vocalist Bowie Bartlett shares the following on ‘Intro 98’:“The intro lyrics were originally used in an old song, ‘Screaming Joe’ – versing on owning, wearing and ruining the coat of a lost loved one.  We don’t play that song anymore but we carry the life of ‘Screaming Joe’ over in ‘Intro 98’.  Bertie’s lyrics came as a reflection of the motions and the fear and anxiety of starting a new project; digesting the new musical dynamic balance internally and the shift of roles and ideas to create something new – positively speaking.  It’s also about my own struggles of how to project an image of individuality whilst maintaining confidence and trueness in myself.” (Julia Mason)

Chris Helme – Too Bad

Why we love it: because Chris Helme, once of The Seahorses, has re-emerged with new music just as his old bandmate has also reappeared with a famous opinionated frontman of a legendary British band of the past 30 years.

Whilst that particular colaboration are claiming to be releasing the best album since Revolver (and it sure sounds like they’re trying to replicate it, just with Jimi Hendrix on guitar) Chris is quietly utilising his brilliant white soul voice with a 60’s inflected number that has a Walker Brothers feel.

Whilst back in the late nineties Chris was hammering out indie pop with Mr Squire in a vocal delivery more in keeping with the period, since then he’s embraced his inner Rod Stewart (ooooh la la) and is ploughing the troubadour furrow with a mixture of his penned Seahorses songs, a few choice covers and his own solo stuff which hasn’t had the exposure it deserves.

Hopefully, this will now change as his new album will be with us this year. (Jim Auton)

The Short Causeway – On My Way Home

Why we love it: Hebden Bridge trio The Short Causeway, release new single ‘On My Way Home’.  The return of the band both to the studio and stage comes after a year of immersion in the necessities of A-Level textbooks, revision and exams.  The new track is an off-kilter expression of the restless days of youth. 

The vocal of Claudie Nicholson (guitar/vocals) opens ‘On My Way Home’ and it’s light touch hits the perfect pitch for the song.   Along with Rufus Stott-Leach (drums) and Hayden Davey (bass/vocals), the trio then use guitar off-beat riffs to add to the desire to travel to a desired destination. 

The band says of the single:’On My Way Home’ is one of the songs we are most proud of and really connect with – we all teared up when we first heard the mix of it. It touches on mundanity in a melancholic way, telling a story that is filled with boredom, waiting while on a journey and longing to be anywhere else. But it’s really just a fun track, mimicking the journey itself. It’s better describing being at a loss in the past than being at a loss in the present.”   The Short Causewayside began as a house band at the renowned Trades Club in Hebden Bridge, staying up late on school nights to pick up regular support slots and masterclasses from touring bands including Katy J. Pearson and Peaness.  Now that’s a cool education but I suspect there will be more headline shows of their own in 2024. (Julia Mason)

Leyla McCalla – Scaled to Survive

Why we love it: because ‘Scaled to Survive’ lives and breathes love and happiness. It is one of two tracks that the American classical and folk musician Leyla McCalla has just shared from her forthcoming album Sun Without The Heat which will be coming out on the 12th of April via ANTI-. The other track, ‘Tree’ is equally fabulous, by the way.

‘Scaled to Survive’ is about the connection that exists between parents and their children – something illustrated perfectly on the song’s accompanying performance video which features McCalla, her own children, and some of their friends – and the joy that this can bring.

The new album has been described as Leyla McCalla embracing elements of Brazilian Tropicalisimo, Afrobeat, and Ethiopian folk and both the radiant ‘Scaled to Survive’ and ‘Trees’ give us a strong early indication of what we can expect to hear on Sun Without The Heat. On this evidence alone alone the new record promises to be a more than worthy follow-up to McCalla’s similarly ambitious last album, 2022’s Breaking the Thermometer. (Simon Godley)

Easter – War Chest

Why we love it: because Easter’s new single ‘War Chest’ is pretty darn good. Taken from the Mancunian rockers’ forthcoming album Facsimile of a Dream – out 23rd February on Scratchy Records – and with its deft melody and chiming guitars, it is a song that holds true to the very best North West of England indie tradition.  

Speaking about ‘War Chest’, the band’s frontman Tom Long says: “It is probably the centrepiece [of the album], the threads that run through it run through the whole album: digging out of the lockdown hole, moving from North Manc to South Manc (big change for me), and just getting ready to fight the good fight again, knowing there’d be big battles ahead.”

A staple of their local live music scene the current incarnation of Easter comprises Tom Long (Vocals/Guitar), Gavin Clarke (Guitar), Paul Flieshman (Drums/Backing Vocals), Graham Blyth (Bass) and if ‘War Chest’ is to be our sonic barometer then the four men show that together they can create tunes that bristle with energy, passion, and a strong anthemic leaning as they neatly blur the lines between alt-rock, grunge, and indie. (Simon Godley)

Frontier Ruckus – I’m Not The Boy

Why we love it: because in less than a fortnight the Michigan-based indie folk trio, Frontier Ruckus’s new album On The Northline will be upon us and one listen to ‘I’m Not The Boy’ – the third excellent single to be taken from the upcoming record – quickly tells us that the 16th of February can’t quite come soon enough.

Lead singer and lyricist Matthew Milia observes, “‘I’m Not the Boy’ is a really raw encapsulation of the band’s identity: long songs that course circuitously through strange chapters. Melodies and moods seemingly at odds with each other, representing a mercurial journey through the Midwestern psyche. This song somehow contains both the darkest and most ebullient moments on the record. It kind of crackles with that neurotic, minor key energy on which we’ve always thrived, but arrives to this moment of catharsis, this more mature musical rapture, uplifted by Davey’s banjo and Zach’s lovely horn arrangements.”

On the Northline will take Frontier Ruckus six albums into their recording career and the latest single to be taken from it affirms that since their creative life begun back in 2008 they have lost none of that unerring ability to tap into a different time and place and effortlessly relocate it to the present day through their ear for a great melody and a rich accompaniment. (Simon Godley)

Imaginarium – Airloop

Why we love it: ‘Airloop’ skitters accross the sky like a nebulous cloud, with almost breakbeats style drums, flute flourishes, pungent basslines and standout vocals from Barazilian-Belgian Helena Casella that reel you in and won’t let go. With echoes of the soul-pop of Morcheeba and the trip hop of Massive Attack, given a modem spin, building to a brass laden chorus, it’s an illuminating empowering shot of melody to wake you from your Monday blues. It’s lifted from Dutch contemporary jazz and electronic project Imaginarium forthcoming self titled debut album (March 15th).

Led by producer, songwriter and instrumentalist Anton de Bruin (renowned for his work writing string arrangements for Disney+ series, playing, producing and writing for acclaimed bands including Dragonfruit and Peter Somuah Group), Imaginarium see’s Anton flex his creative muscles in a colourful whirlpool of explosive jazz instrumentation, electronic elements and high energy creativity. Explaining the project, Anton explains: “The Imaginarium is a place where reality and fiction fuse into one. That is the goal of ‘Imaginarium’, to intertwine the worlds of Jazz, Dub and club culture.”

Speaking on the track, Helena and Anton explain: “Airloop is based on the image of a Castle in the Sky. Seeing yourself as a dominant force in the world and meeting situations head on with confidence. Floating above the physical world and tuning into a higher frequency. The track itself is based on a dark, mystical image of an unknown place floating between the mists.” (Bill Cummings)

Ski Lift – Double Yellow

Why we love it: Double Yellow features vocals from Ski Lift bassist Elizabeth Walsh, this fuzz trailed gem, shuffles pleasingly along the motorway into the comforting arms of welcoming, harmony laden hooky slacker pop. Written during the 2021 lockdown, and inspired by Tranter’s daily encounters in his local area of Croydon, building into a chorus that has echoes of 90s records by the Breeders or Pavement it glides through more meditative sections into a lilting chorus that meditates on slowing down.

Welsh songwriter Benji Tranter, Ski Lift offers all the endearing power-pop that you could ever desire. Joined by friends Elizabeth Walsh on bass and vocals, and Adam Fletcher on drums, together they create their own spin on nostalgic three-chord rock and roll – a refreshing yet familiar soundtrack to the highs and lows of day-to-day life.  (Bill Cummings)

Lila Zing – la di da

Why we love it: Lila Zing‘s new composition is effortlessly intoxicating, spinning on a bossanova beat, entwined with Spanish guitars tip toeing across which are Zing’s melliferous and delicate melodies that are at once mysterious, intimate and alluring, it has echoes of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Berkin’s classic ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ yet refocussed into Welsh language treat. It’s a sweet delight that shows limitless promise of Zing’s artistry.

From start to finish Lila Zing creates and finishes her own music. Production, mixing, writing, mastering, performing she crafts it all from her home studio in Pen Llyn with her preferred tuning frequency of 432hz. (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.