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Tracks of the Week #274

Goodness gracious great balls of fire, we’re rattling into May quicker than Laurence Fox into a court case. Next week we’ll be pottering off to Focus Wales in Wrecsam but we’ve got a bumper edition this week, you lucky lucky people. Have a good old delve into these beauties. 

Laura J Martin – Living On The Wall

Why we love it
: We do like it when Liverpool and Wales get together and create something bountiful. Laura J Martin‘s duet with Iwan Morgan (producer for Cate Le Bon, Euros Childs and Gruff Rhys) is beautifully layered, pop eccentricity with wonderful call and response. Morgan’s mellow vocals marry wonderfully with Laura’s sincere sweet tones, the piano giving a reliability, the flute and edgy keys adding quirk and humour. It’s a song about songwriting – very meta!‘This is an upbeat song about the perils of momentum and the push and pull of “The Muse”. How you can spend all day working on one and not come up with anything then all of sudden something appears. I also liked the idea of tackling another classic song writing task – “The Duet” and managed to persuade my co-producer Iwan to sing with me on this song,‘ says Laura. She and Iwan recently performed the song in session for Marc Riley and Gideon Coe on 6 Music.

‘Living On The Wall‘ is from forthcoming album, Prepared via Summer Critics on 17 May.Laura J Martin appears at FOCUS Wales in Wrexham on 11 May. (Cath Holland)

Mock Tudors – Hair of the Dog

Why we love it: because there is nothing artificial about this. The new single from Mock Tudors is good old fashioned, authentic DIY rock’n’roll.

Hair of the Dog’ is the first track to appear from the forthcoming debut album by the Sheffield three-piece. Good Drinking Times is the name of the album – due out in September to coincide with a 12 date tour of the UK – and on the evidence of the new single it’s a fairly apposite title. With its rattling rhythm, growling vocals, and infectious chorus, ‘Hair of the Dog’ comes on strong like some of the very best British pub rock sounds of the early to mid-1970s, stripping rock music back to its very essence as it does so.

‘Hair of the Dog’ and its accompanying video continue in Mock Tudors’ grand aesthetic of Do It Yourself. Everything they create, be it music, videos, artwork, even hand-made leather and ceramic merchandise, is done in-house. The band also act as their own private booking agent and tour manager under the guise of D.A.D. management. Such a fierce independent spirit deserves some recognition and ‘Hair of the Dog’ will go a long way towards achieving that for Mock Tudors. (Simon Godley)

Slate – Shade In Me
Why we love it: Welsh quartet Slate have released the second single from their debut EP, Deathless, which lands 17 May on Brace Yourself Records. ‘Shade In Me’ is a song of compassion inspired by a speech from Chung Mong-hong’s film A Sun (2019), and a monologue where the character talks of how his friends can always find shade to shelter from the glaring absurdities of life, but he can never find it himself.   Bearing in mind the theme, however, this is not a melancholy track.  Dense and impassioned it maybe but the pace is more upbeat than expected.  Lyrically introspective but musically uplifting.  The guitars add to the atmosphere, especially towards to the end with a thrilling outro.  And the vocals of Jack Shepherd dance around throughout the song.  The track explores offering refuge for someone, whilst also acknowledging that this shade also implies an internal darkness.

Expanding further on ‘Shade In Me’, Shephard offers: “When someone needs refuge, you can offer them your shade. The song itself, ended up gentler in sound compared what we have been used to writing. Sentimental songs like this one can make you feel vulnerable.  But perhaps that is appropriate for a song about opening up yourself for someone.”

With a number of live dates scheduled in for 2024 including festivals, and the release of their debut EP, it’s shaping up to be a good year for Slate. (Julia Mason)

The Joy Hotel – Jeremiah
Why we love it: because it’s like a gospel inflected bastard love child of Arctic Monkeys‘ ‘Black Treacle‘ and ‘Dear Prudence’. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. 
The Glaswegian seven piece formed by Emme Woods and Luke Boyce six years ago, The Joy Hotel make an epic, expansive sound, co-lead vocals, there is big sixties psych element with the harmonies reminiscent of The Hollies and the ilk. It’s a big bold and brave opening gambit. 
They describe it as “a song for the end of the world from two opposing perspectives; one side welcoming the end, believing God will be there to meet them and judge them mercifully, the other in a state of existential anxiety as the world spirals towards collapse.” (Jim Auton) 

retropxssy – All The Things
Why we love it: All The Things, is the excellent new single from enigmatic rapper and singer retropxssy. Like a late night walk through the dark London streets, switching from reflective and soulful to intense and vibrant weaving through a soulful and looping sample. Inventive and idiosyncratic it’s redolent of urban poetry of 90s and early 00s hip hop, mixed with elements of trip hop.
London based artist makes everyday emotions seem otherworldly and intriguing. It’s real and in the real world, but it’s retropxssy’s world and the reality is very much hers She is a huge talent, has recently been longlisted for Glastonbury Festival Emerging and is in with a great chance of playing at the farm. 

Sonically inspired by legendary producers like Madlib and Alchemist and Griselda’s innovative  Mach Hommy, retropxssy was sent the beat through a chance encounter with producer Tony Bontana on Reddit. She was also aided on production by JoeJas, whom she met by chance on the London Overground. Subsequently, JoeJas has gone on to be her closest creative partner, shooting and co-directing the visual for ‘All The Things’.

She explains more: ” ‘All The Things’ is about feeling your back against the wall. Monsters in the shadows. Your mind screams run! But where to? I wrote it when I needed to escape from an intolerable place and realised I had nowhere to go. It also mirrors the hostile place my mind can be,  I realised,  to quote modern cult classic ‘We’re Going on a Bearhunt’:  “..we’ll just have to go through it! Squelch through the mud and see where we find ourselves.” (Bill Cummings)

Aisha Kigs – Unattainable 

Why we love it: Cardiff’s Aisha Kigs recently released a new EP Fire Hazard the standout track is the brilliant and addictive ‘Unattainable’  effortlessly blending r&b, and hip hop sounds of the early naughties and garnishing it with her vocals that are at once powerful and rippling with soul.   Taking clear inspiration from heavy-weights like Beyonce, Missy Elliot, Whitney Houston, and Janelle Monae. ‘Unattainable’ surfs from a looping beat, plucked guitar motif and  excellently empowered lyrics, growing into a anthemic track that scratches for something just out of reach, with a string stings, dappling beats and a soaring chorus in the tracks second portion, its a refreshing melodic shot.

She dares to experiment and go beyond Pop and R&B; bringing her Welsh upbringing and Tanzanian heritage to the forefront unapologetically and unfiltered.

She introduced us to her vibrant tongue in cheek lyricism and rap abilities through her own take of Ms Dynamite’s ‘Dynamitee’ on SoundCloud in late 2020. Aisha has co-wrote and featured in collaborations with London based rapper Noah Bouchard on ‘Red Wine Headaches’. Aisha Kigs performed her debut single ‘Dime a Dozen’ on S4C series Curadur (available to stream on BBC iPlayer). (Bill Cummings)

Deadbeat Girl  – Who Are You 

Why we love it: Deadbeat Girl’s new offering ‘Who Are You?’ is a cathartic pop track that takes elements of the 90s alternative sounds, yet is intensely personal a reminder to always be your authentic self. Simmering from intimate beginnings nagging guitars and muted drums, introspective and vivid lyrics it’s possessed of elements of the likes of Soccer Mommy,  before delivering a chorus that backs a punch of chunky bar chords and a defiant and diaristic lyric that rails against, the false idea that you should change for your partner.  Hooky, and riven with passion and self awareness it’s the best moment yet from Deadbeat Girl a  Sharing more, Val said: “I started the song with a little random thought I had written in my notes app, “change myself for you,” and I decided to write a song about what it feels like to be in a relationship where you feel like you need to change who you are for the person you’re with. It’s about watching your partner, as well as yourself, change into a different person I think the best kinds of songs to listen to are the ones where you can just scream/belt out all of your anger and pain.’

Deadbeat Girl release sees Val Olson become more established as they find their feet as your new favorite artist. Maturing in real time, Who Are You? marks a milestone in their progression and confidence. Releasing fresh off the back of an electrifying performance at SXSW, the 20-year-old is quickly proving themself to be someone who is here to stay. (Bill Cummings) 

Emily Breeze – 1997

Why we love it:  Emily Breeze returns with ‘1997’, crafting a tapestry of spindling keys,  guitars that splutter like a misfiring car engine and twitching drums,  Breeze’s delivery is both affectionate, wry and bittersweet, it vividly calls to mind the rituals and habits of teenagers in the late 90s in “1997” one can almost smell the cheap cider and alcopops. Capturing that time when music meant everything in your early teenage life,  the first time you heard alternative bands, that tattoo you regret, and being a latchkey kid. She sketches out all the nostalgia and conflicted angst of being a teenager in the 90s (“nobody knows where the time goes/but me and you know”), it’s an anthem for Gen X kids who are now that bit older and look back with both fondness and faded regret. 

“1997”  is the second single from her new E.P. Second Rodeo “It’s about being a teenager in the 90’s when I used to skive school and read the NME down by the canal and sneak into the indie/metal nights under age where I heard The Beastie Boys and Rage Against  the Machine for the very first time and it blew my tiny mind. We are a strange generation brought up on 80s John Hughes movie optimism and 90’s slacker nihilism which meant we thought everything would magically work out whilst also cynically side eyeing the world and refusing to participate. Flashforward and here we are in this weird new world a little bewildered to be on wading into our 40’s but still raging against the machine”

Emily’s songs are beautifully illustrated through the talents of producer Stew Jackson (Massive Attack) and all-star band Rob Norbury (lead guitar), Andy Sutor (drums), Helen Stanley (keys/synth) and George Caveney (bass), who have collaborated with Emily to craft a cinematic pop-noir fantasy that draws influence from Patti Smith, Pulp and Baxter Dury.

Susanna – Everyone Knows

Why we love it: because everyone knows, the secret is out. And the secret is, ‘Everyone Knows’ is great. It is the first single to be released from Meditations on Love, the new album from Susanna which is due out August 23rd via her own label SusannaSonata.

It shouldn’t come as any real surprise that the Norwegian singer and composer has produced yet another stunning piece of work, after all she has a long history of creating bold, innovative, and expressive music. And we can now add ‘Everyone Knows’ to that illustrious lineage. Over a sublime cocktail of percussion and clarinet moored to a metronomic beat, Susanna’s voice swirls.

Susanna explains of the song: “I tried to capture the very vulnerable feeling of leaving a relationship and the shame that one comes with being betrayed. Your world is suddenly turned upside down and you are left with the aching feeling, ‘how can I go on without my love?’ And the ʻlove’ is not just that specific person, but all the things you identify with the relationship, and very often how you identify yourself, who you are.” (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.