Five Things We Liked This Week – 29/07/2016

Further Listening: Ramsey, Goat, Jenny Hval, Teen BrainsLivy,  Blind Pilot, Luke Roberts,  Infinity Crash, Chris Staples, John Grant, The Medicine HatTomemitsuVomitface, Yohuna, HunckDaniel WoolhouseNatural Child, Mass Gothic, Mountain RangeDouglas DareXylouris White, Places Erupt, PfarmersSoft Hearted Scientists, The Big Moon, Japanese Breakfast, Frankie Cosmos and an excellent new video from Ryley Walker.

5. Don’t Ditch Doe

It was only a few weeks back we were stumbling across London-trio Doe, and their wonderful track Sincere, the first to be lifted from their debut album, Some Things Last Longer Than You. This week the band have shared the second taste of that record in the shape of new track, Last Ditch, and it’s every bit as good.

The accompanying video, shot in that brief snap of summer we just had, is resplendent with ice lollies, pugs, sunglasses and going outside without a sweater, and the track itself certainly has a slightly Summerish feeling to it. Indeed the band have jokingly described it as “a summer-jam”; even if it is a summer of yelling your feelings in someone’s face to the sound of a delightfully angsty-punk-pop racket. The hook-laden outro, which finds singer Nicola Leel repeating, “on and on, I’m feeling helpless”, is particularly special; and if 100 Broken Windows-era Idlewild meets Veruca Salt sounds like your cup of tea, Doe are the band for you. The track was the last one written for the album, and nearly didn’t make it, Last Ditch in more ways that one, but worth waiting for.

Some Things Last Longer than You is out September 9th via Specialist Subject (UK) and Old Flame (US). Doe tour the UK in August and September, click HERE for details (slightly more date announced but seemingly not online, so keep checking back if they’re not confirmed in a city near you).

4. Nots So Inherently Low

Cosmetic, the second album by Memphis quartet Nots, purports to, “fearlessly attack the rough edges between desire, deceit, appearance and reality.” Which all sounds very intense, but then looking at the state of the world, and listening to the latest single from Cosmetic, Inherently Low, maybe Nots music and attitude is exactly what we need now.

Whilst we won’t hear Cosmetic in its entirety until later in the year, Inherently Low suggests Nots have, if anything, further streamlined the abrasive and minimal sound of their debut album.  The guitars remain a whirling dervish of fervent riffing, the drums and bass still carry a guttural, gravelly punch and the vocals are as yelping and in your face as ever. Lyrically the track touches on the topics of depression and grief, but also takes aim at the establishment that aims to keep so many people low, as it treads on the masses ensuring the lucky few remain in charge of the world’s outcome. A visceral musical and lyrical scream, a resurgent Nots might just be the band the world currently deserves and requires in equal measure.

Cosmetic is out September 9th via Heavenly Recordings. 

3. Mercury Drifts

One of the most intriguing results of the internet has been the coming together of like minded individuals from across the world. Music, arguably has no better example than the ongoing collaboration between America’s Slumberland Records and Britain’s Fortuna Pop. Two bastions of all things indie-pop, they’ve co-released numerous albums and generally shared musical ideas across the Atlantic for a number of years. This fruitful relationship continues with the release today of Continental Drift, a sampler showcasing what the two labels have to offer, featuring the likes of Tigercats, The Spook School and Wild Honey.

Despite the competition, arguably the pick of the bunch is new music from Philadelphian indie super-group, Mercury Girls. This week the band have shared a new track, Holly, which features on Continental Drift, and it’s bloomin’ marvelous. The track bounces by in a rush of urgent rolling drums, rapid fire jangling guitars and echo drenched, multi layered vocals; the fact that they contain members of Literature should surprise no-one, but courtesy of Sarah Schimeneck’s soaring, perfectly produced vocal they inject the track with enough fresh ideas to keep this at once charmingly familiar, and intriguingly new. Now if they could just stop releasing their songs two at a time and give us an album and a UK tour, we’ll be delighted.

Continental Drift is out August 29th via Slumberland Records(US)/Fortuna Pop (UK). Click HERE for all upcoming Mercury Girls shows (currently all North America).

2. Rivers Of Industry

Continuing the surprisingly slow burning build up to new album Away, Okkervil River have this week shared a second track from it, The Industry. Will Sheff, the band’s songwriter, has described the record as an emotional and musical turning point. Coming out of a period of loss and change in his personal life, as well as showcasing the playing of an almost entirely new band of musicians, Will has said the album is, “me taking my life back to zero and starting to add it all back up again, one plus one plus one.”

The Industry is a swaying swoon of a song, the subtle musical touches of Grandaddy or Scott Walker inject Will’s downbeat melodic delivery with the feel of glitter balls and empty dance-floors at the most heartbreaking of high school proms. Lyrically it’s nostalgic and bitter in equal measures, recalling how music made him feel but also how he now has to interact with a music industry that seems entirely alien to him. The accompanying video, which has something of Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy feel about it, casts Will as a spaceman returning to earth and finding it entirely different to the planet he left behind, a fitting metaphor for the tracks lyrical content. Taking a pot shot at the music industry could be seen as something resembling biting the hand that feeds you, but like so much about the new Okkervil River material it sounds like Will Sheff is taking a plunge into uncharted territory, brave and risky perhaps, but undoubtedly thrilling!

Away is out September 9th via ATO Records. Okkervil River tour the UK in November, click HERE for details.

1. Flag Of Dimes

Flock Of Dimes is a musical project from the always intriguing, and always busy Jenn Wasner. Best known for her work in the duo Wye Oak, Jenn also creates textural electronic music under the pseudonym Dungeonesse. In September this year Jenn will release her first solo album, when Flock Of Dimes’ debut record, If You See Me, Say Yes comes out on Partisan Records. Written shortly after Jenn left her native Baltimore to start anew in Durham, North Carolina, the record deals with the intensity and ecstasy that such a huge life change brings, she describes the feeling as, “diving into the new while looking back at what you left behind.”

This week Jenn has shared a new taster of the record, in the shape of new track, Semaphore. It may lift its name from an almost archaic communication method, but it deals with a problem no amount of technological advances has broken down, as Jenn describes it, “the struggle to communicate with each other, over distances literal and figurative, great and small.” Built around ringing guitar chords, shuffling drums beats, processed hand claps and the best disco-tinged bass line we’ve heard since about 1987, it’s a thrillingly different sound from the one you’d expect from Jenn. There are nods in the direction of Roisin Murphy or Jenny Lewis’ more recent output, and in the beautiful simplicity of the huge pop chorus, there’s enough to suggest Flock Of Dimes are going to make equally seismic waves in the alt-pop world.

If You See Me, Say Yes is out September 23rd via Partisan Records. Flock Of Dimes play The Victoria in Dalston on October 4th, Click HERE for details of all upcoming Flock Of Dimes shows.

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