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Tracks of the Week #269

Hands up, who’s already had some hot cross buns? Some weirdos think you should have them on Good Friday, but they’re also the maniacs putting their Christmas Trees up on All Saints Day. Absolutely slather that fucker in butter. Four day week, four day weekend. Let’s have it. Here’s some bangers to get you going, ready to relax and recline into the bank holiday. Thanks Jesus.

Knives – Headcase

Why we love it: Bristol-based sextet Knives have released their new single ‘Headcase’.  An opening pounding beat and scuzzy guitar are joined by vocals spat out with disdain.  The tirade continues with a self-deprecating stream of observations.  The punk aesthetic is ramped up as the vocal spits and shouts its message, with almost siren-lyric soundscape adding to the emphasis of frustration. That beat is maintained throughout and becomes more thunderous until a surprising quiet section towards the end with a choral vocal until a final couple of seconds of static to close out ‘Headcase’.

“The second single, Headcase, is about this new age punk movement of people that think they’re living this carefree lifestyle, going around terrorising places, being loud and brash when truly that isn’t a true reflection of what punk is within the modern day.  One of the original lyrics we wrote was “a punk could be a man in a suit and tie, not just a man with head tatts, braces, and a crooked smile”. The final lyrics came from a moment where we were in a pub and watched someone vocalise how he was a punk, but also in the same night was smashing glasses and demanding the bartender to bring him drinks to the table, which we believe to be not very punk.”Headcase’ is the second track from their EP What We See In Their Eyes which is inspired by their experiences with people in Bristol who subvert the city’s welcoming reputation.  Can’t wait to hear what Knives do next. (Julia Mason)

Michael B. Thomas – Test Tube Baby

Why we love it: because here Michael B. Thomas affirms that not all popular songs have to mine lyrical themes of love, heartbreak, disillusionment, and death. Here the Leeds’ musician Thomas Barr steps away temporarily from his role as keys player with art-rock quintet Eades to assume the identity of Michael B. Thomas and reflect upon his own experiences of what it means to be an IVF child. ‘Test Tube Baby’ is the conception and it is a mighty fine example of how to create an intuitive tune, slightly off-kilter both lyrically and musically but all the better for that. The strangeness of the man-sized baby in a checked shirt gently gyrating behind Thomas in his back garden in the song’s accompanying video merely adds to the quirky charm of this record. After a quick spin on the Rock-Ola Tempo II, the Juke Box Jury panel would surely have voted ‘Test Tube Baby’ a hit. (Simon Godley)

Nihiloceros – Krong

Why we love it: Nihiloceros have released ‘Krong’ the second single from their forthcoming album Dark Ice Balloons set for release on 3 May via Totally Real Records.  Putting music in genre boxes is a double edged sword.  The aim is to encourage listeners but of course it can also alienate.  Initially apprehensive of its pop sensibility, the band decided the song was the perfect follow up to the much darker and angular lead single ‘Skipper’.  ‘Krong’ opens with a plucking guitar but we are soon thrown into the unpredictable world of Nihiloceros.  Punk pop this may be but it’s delivered with a twist.  This is not a track loaded with lyrics, and then the final guitar section is the antithesis of the intro. Mike Borchardt (guitar/vocals) and Alex Hoffman (bass/vocals) crossed paths over a decade ago playing in different bands in Chicago and Alaska. After they both ended up in Brooklyn, New York, the pair struck up a collaborative creative friendship.  With the addition of drummer Glenn Gentzke, they now write music together “about the imminent evolutionary unraveling of the human condition and the absurdity of the end of the world.”  The band continue:“Heaven indeed can be a place on earth when we reframe our perspective to capture each experience that passes us by. These seconds may be forever gone, but need not be squandered as we invite you to spend the next 170 of them with us.”   Time well spent indeed. (Julia Mason)

Melts – Waves of Wonder

Why we love it: Dublin’s MELTS continue to experiment with glorious soundscapes and instrumentation.  Their latest single ‘Waves Of Wonder’, is the third to be taken from their second album Field Theory which is set for release on 12 April via Fuzz Club.  Crisp beats quickly give way to the lead vocal of Eoin Kenny.  ‘Waves of Wonder’ explores how the ripples of human connection can go well beyond a singular relationship.  The synths (Robbie Brady) lead the way here, oozing with the cool bobbing vibe of the cutting edge 80’s electronic scene, and yet pulled right up to date with the addition Kenny’s distinctive vocal and the drums of Gaz Earle and guitar of Hugh O’Reilly.

As vocalist Eoin Kenny explains:“The song ‘Waves of Wonder’ is about the impact another person can have on how you see the world and experience everything around you.  How, being in awe of someone can change your relationship with every other part of your life.  The creation of a new life and destruction of the old one.”

MELTS spent 2022/2023 touring their debut album Maelstrom across Europe, the UK, the US and Ireland, including festival appearances at Wide Awake and SXSW.  For their second album they have dates booked in April in Birkenhead, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Bristol before headlining the Moth Club.  Don’t forget your dancing shows. (Julia Mason)

Martha Rose – The Same Feeling

Why we love it: because Martha Rose manages to coalesce darkness and light quite beautifully on ‘The Same Feeling.’ The new single heralds the arrival of her debut album Close to Close which will be out on the 31st of May via the Neukölln-based label, Mansion and Millions.   

The English instrumentalist, now living in Berlin, says: “l have always struggled with holding back my tears, and have often been called oversensitive. This song is a dark nod to these maleficent powers, which I long to harness one day. There is a feeling of nighttime danger and glamour, and a relentlessness to the melodies in this song, which keep pushing through the emotional walls they are trying to understand.”

And exactly as Martha Rose describes,The Same Feeling’ inhabits an emotional space that echoes with a sense of isolation and susceptibility. Yet by contrast the musical framework in which these feelings lie breathes purpose and poise, all vintage drum machine samples, Yamaha keyboards, and the confidence and clarity of Martha Rose’s voice. (Simon Godley)

Personal Trainer – Intangible

Why we love it: because it’s a big, bold, brash, brassy, bastard. Not what you’d expect from Personal Trainer but funky as fuck and as infectious as a dose of crabs from an Amsterdam brothel.

Personal Trainer are principley Willem Smit with an interchangeable line up. A collective if you will. Having signed to Bella Union in December just gone, the second LP is expected this year with this the first single to come from it.

Willem says “I tried to make a song that is something I wouldn’t normally do and experiment with that. I like how it turned out because it’s also probably one of the first instances where I had the chorus first and the other parts later, which rarely happens.” (Jim Auton)

Razkid – Ragz

Why we love it: “I’m not British I’m Welsh,” offers Ragz a Cardiff MC on this vital lively ode to Cardiff living and the complexity of Welsh pride. Witty, acapella and free flowing Razkid has a unique delivery that hop scotches through this stripped back minimal beat and popping samples, he built the track with layers a departure from the typical beat-first approach. He says “This single acts as a love letter to Cardiff, encapsulating the essence of local living and challenging the broader British generalisation.”

As the last single before his new EP, Welsh Weather, set to drop in late March/early April, promising a continuation of Razkid’s distinctive sound and a wave of accompanying shows in the near future. (Bill Cummings)

Spunsugar – A Flicker In My Lights

Why we love it: Clocking in at just under two minutes, ‘A Flicker In My Lights’, is one of the standout album tracks from Swedish trio Spunsugar ‘s second album album A Hole Forever which was released at the tail end of last year.

With traces of distortion skittering across the sky and threaded with a bittersweet vocal that tries to cling on despite the roughest ride. It intersects elements of gaze and indie rock, despite the vocals embers of sweetness, it possess a pleasing grit of industrial landscapes and is underscored by a weighty melancholic theme. They say it ” mirrors the track’s theme of hopelessness in watching the world burn in a capitalist flame, flickers of oil and rubber, smoke, and big booming buildings symbolise the suffocation of hope in the modern world, and watching visions of a life go up in smoke.” (Bill Cummings)

Kee Avil – do this again

Why we love it: because once more Kee Avil affirms that sonic deconstruction is where it’s at. Ahead of the release of the Montréal guitarist and producer’s album Spine (out on the 3rd of May through Constellation), we get to hear the shape of things to come through new single ‘do this again.’

Speaking about the upcoming album – the follow-up to the critically acclaimed 2022 debut, Crease – Kee Avil says “these songs are minimal, written with 4 elements each, or less. I wanted to show their core, to strip off the excess, to dig myself out.”

And ‘do it again’ certainly fits that profile. It is raw, skeletal, and strangely strange in a most compelling sort of way. Redolent of Rid Of Me-era PJ Harvey it manages that difficult dichotomy of sounding as if it is a thousand miles away whilst still remaining up close and personal. (Simon Godley)

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.