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Tracks of the Week #275

Woke up this morning, der ner ner na ner, wished I was still at Focus Wales. The body is weak but the mind is soaring. Still. It seems the summer ordered for the festival has run out and we’re back to slightly chilly Spring. Grey clouds. It don’t like Mondays. I wonder why?!?!

Anyway, as it’s here again, it’s TOTW time. A couple of the newly found acts from the weekend here too. Emerse yourself.

Rain Parade – Surprise Surprise

Why we love it: because Rain Parade are making up for lost time. And that is one helluva good thing. Last year the seminal neo-psychedelic group who were one of the leading lights of the Paisley Underground scene in Los Angeles in the early ‘80s released Last Rays Of A Dying Sun, their first studio record in 38 years.

The album, thankfully, was not to be some last hurrah for Rain Parade as they have now just released ‘Surprise Surprise’, the lead track to be taken from Last Stop On The Underground, a brand new EP that is due out on 24th May, just ahead of a European tour that takes in five UK shows and eight on the mainland that culminates at the Azkena Festival in Vitoria, Spain.

And with its hazy, chiming guitars and beautiful vocal harmonies ‘Surprise Surprise’ is yet a further reminder that Rain Parade are right back where they belong, seeping deep into our consciousness. (Simon Godley)

O. – Micro 

Why we love it: O.are the London-based duo of baritone saxophonist Joe Henwood and drummer Tash Keary.  They have released new single ‘Micro’ taken from their debut album WeirdOs, which is due out  on 21 June via Speedy Wunderground.  Produced by Dan Carey the aim of the album was to  replicate the feeling of being at one of their gigs.  ‘Micro’ opens with a buzzing static, building tension before the drums kick in.  The saxophone seems to have a slight distortion to it, and therein lies the utter delight of O.  One of their more experimental tracks perhaps and combining lots of weird and wonderful sounds it’s still accessible to the ears.  It’s insane to think O. have just two instruments, but the creativity employed is breathtaking.  The speed of the drumming plus the deep bass of the saxophone are a perfect combination.  Full of loops and beats until towards the end everything falls apart into chaos – but what fabulous chaos this is.

There is plenty of opportunity to see O. live this summer as they have a full festival schedule plus headline dates both here and the EU early autumn.  Remember your dancing shoes and expect the unexpected. (Julia Mason)

Quivers – Apparition

Why we love it: because Quivers are knocking on our door with ‘Apparition’ and they aren’t going to go away any time soon. The band have just signed to Merge Records; will release Oyster Cuts, their debut album on this illustrious independent label come the 9th of August this year; and, by way of celebration, have now shared a shot-on-VHS clip for ‘Apparition’, the upcoming record’s lead single. It is all happening in Quivers world as they will be supporting Superchunk on their US tour in October, followed by series of their own UK and European live dates come December.

‘Apparition’ brings with it a big open sound, full of punchy, hook-laden moments and a fervent promise of so much more to come. (Simon Godley)

Scattered Ashes – Ether

Why we love it: Scattered Ashes have released their new single ‘Ether‘ which was recorded and mixed at Darklands Audio Studios in Dublin.  The band share that the track is “a meditation on paranoia, psychosis, and being haunted by the past.”  The atmosphere created echoes this perfectly.  The guitars lead in building the sense of personal claustrophobia, dark and moody with riffs which are haunting and doom laden. The repetition in the vocal re-enforces the rumination that occurs with reliving the past over and over.

A distant moment in a distant life, a distant voice from the other side, a past forgotten but the wounds remain, like gasoline to a naked flame.”

As ‘Ether’ progresses it goes from an echoey and haunting midsection to grow with increasing anxiety and frustration, a layer of relentless drums pounding continuously.  The track is the latest to be taken from Scattered Ashes forthcoming debut EP ‘All That Is Solid Melts Into Air’  which is set for release on 14 June via Blowtorch Records. (Julia Mason)

Casual Drag – Can You Hear Me Now

Why we love it: Casual Drag have released their new single ‘Can You Hear Me Now?’  The Scottish trio formed over a mutual love for the Amazing Snakeheads and Idles.  The new single is full of the bombastic elements we would expect from such influences.  The untamed energy is raw, just listen to those pounding drums and scratchy guitar riffs, full of edgy static.  This is a track to be played loud.   The vocals are snarling, demanding an answer to the question ‘Can You Hear Me Now?’ however coming from a more vulnerable place than the energy first implies.  Thus the song is a reminder that first impressions are not always correct.

Lead singer Richard Clarke expands on the track sharing: “The song is about coming through hard times – be that trauma, personal tragedy or prejudice – and saying: take a look at me now, can you hear me now, can you see me now? – This is a rallying call for the beat down, and anyone who has had to deal with the hard brutality that life can dish out-and come through it the other end as a victor – not a victim, the first line sets the tone.”  (Julia Mason)


The Drunk Astronomer – Planetary Motion

Why we love it: because The Drunk Astronomer’s marked self-deprecation is quite clearly misplaced. On his Instagram profile The Drunk Astronomer describes himself as the fourth most popular act in England’s third smallest city. On the evidence of ‘Planetary Motion’ alone the three artists above the Ripon-based singer/songwriter must be pretty special indeed.

‘Planetary Motion’ is the new single from Nathan Fox, the man who is The Drunk Astronomer.  It is the lead track from an upcoming EP which will fully see the light of day later this year. The track was recorded over two days at Church Lane Studios in Harrogate with production overseen by Matt Davison, mastered by Robin Sutherland, and accompanied by a video created by Sam Wisternoff.

Stereoscopic sound and slightly surreal. This is life as seen, and heard, through a 3D View-Master. Almost a quarter of a century on, with its cosmic texture and interstellar groove ‘Planetary Motion’ is caught in the celestial backdraught of Grandaddy’s classic album The Sophtware Slump. The song similarly pursues musical explorations of technology and environment, observing them through the creative prism of the present day. If there were any justice to be had in this world ‘Planetary Motion’ would surely move The Drunken Astronomer at least two places further up the Ripon popularity scale. (Simon Godley)

Punchlove – Guilt

Why we love it: Punchlove were one of the fantastic finds of this year’s Focus Wales. We were tipped off to see them by our very own Stephen Birch and they performed three times across this years festival. This Brooklyn collective craft some of the most fearsomely beautiful sonic gutpunches we have felt in some years. Abrasive yet bittersweet, crunchy and exultant, capturing the distortion peddle nirvana of acts like early My Bloody Valentine and sewing it with elements of intricate and shifting post-rock dynamics of bands like Slint, yet retaining an imagination and spirit all of their own. ‘Guilt‘ is a standout from their new album; serrated guitars scale sky scrapers whilst melodic peaks and valleys are shattered and intoxicating, this is arresting and fantastic! We are definitely punch drunk and in love with them!

For the five members of Punchlove — multi-instrumentalists Jillian Olesen, Ethan Williams, Joey Machina, Ian Lange-McPherson, and visual artist Viz Wel, moving into a maze of a house in Brooklyn together was the transition that created the album they had been writing their whole lives. Quietly evolving from a bedroom project to a headlining live phenomenon, Punchlove gears up a densely layered bed of emotionally serrated pain-pop songs that coalesce around a digitally-stimulated, emotional brand of modern neo-shoegaze. (Bill Cummings)

Niques – Mate

Why we love it: Another artist at Focus Wales this year was Niques aka Shanique Pearce. The Welsh artist told me she likes to explore nostalgic musical directions whether it’s hip hop, r&b or garage she brings them bang up to date, stamping each cut with her own style that’s crammed with her effeverscent personality, addictive hooks, quickfire rapping and a constantly inventive ear for melody.

Her new single ‘Mate‘ does just that. A summery garage banger that bounces on a dance floor beat and cut up horn samples, with Niques’s witty and impish bars bursting into a empowering chorus. It brings to mind the work of the Artful Dodger, yet given its own Niques twist. Catchy and playful, but delivered with a grim and a don’t-mess-with-me attitude. This is the best single yet from the fast emerging Cardiff artist. (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.