Further Listening: Enderby’s Room, Real Numbers, You Want Fox, Saw Black, Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger!, Strawberry Switchblade, Fred Thomas, Haunter, QTY, Team Picture, Maybe Don’t, Great Ytene, Alessi, Oxblood, Porridge Radio, Neurotic Fiction, Thula Borah, Pavo Pavo and the farewell video (sob) from Allo Darlin’.
5. Gulp Find Love
Cardiff based garage space-pop band Gulp are the project of Super Furry Animals’ Guto Pryce and Scottish vocalist, Lindsey Leven. They released their debut album, Season Sun back in 2014, and this week have (finally) returned with brand new single, Search For Your Love, which is out via Tim Burgess’ label O Genesis.
Describing the influences behind Search For Your Love, Lindsey notes, “it’s a timeless love story really, but nods towards an eager search for love and empathy in an increasingly surreal and chaotic world.” The world may be chaotic, but Search For Your Love soundtracks it beautifully with meancing percussion, overlaid with sweeping 1980’s tinged synths and Lindsey’s sweet and almost ethereal vocal stylings. Gulp are currently working on their second album with producer Luke Abbot, which should be with us next year at some point.
Search For Your Love is out now via O Genesis
4. Sloppy Heads Share The Suck
Being a musician from Brooklyn must be a bit like being a fish in the sea: it’s pretty hard to stand out. One band who look ready to stick their head above the parapet are the lo-fi trio known at Sloppy Heads. Their new album, Useless Smile, produced by Yo La Tengo’s James McNew is out early next year via Shrimper Records, and this week they’ve shared a new track from it, The Suck.
The Suck is delightfully unpolished; a blur of chugging guitars, clattering percussion that sounds like it was recorded somewhere between a cupboard and a small box and easy half sung, half spoken vocals. Sloppy Heads are part Moldy Peaches, part Bratmobile and every bit as raw and good as that sounds. While the Q&A that accompanies their new single was basically a series of bad jokes and refusals to tell the world much about Sloppy Heads, it does implore us all to be sloppy, and once we’ve worked out what exactly they mean by that we’ll let you know.
Useless Smile is out January 20th via Shrimper Records.
3. Irma Runs Slow
The press release for the new Irma Vep track, It Runs Slow, is a somewhat confusing one, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where Edwin Stevens ends and his alter-ego, Irma Vep, “a joker, a roamer, a ribald construct riddled with both earnest anxiety and mercurial songwriting talent”, begins. Add in a slightly muddled discography of various releases, moonlighting in various acts across the Manchester DIY scene, and a live band of various musical luminaries – including but not limited to Kiran Leonard – and you’ll basically be none the wiser about who or what Irma Vep is – but you kind of think he likes it like that.
What is considerably clearer is the talent of Edwin/Irma, because It Runs Slow is fabulous. Lifted from his upcoming debut album, No Handshake Blues, It Runs Slow is a gently unfurling piece of songwriting, all gently meandering guitar lines and Edwin/Irma’s vocal, that like MONEY’s Jamie Lee is part choral revelation, part a bit pissed. If No Handshake Blues, Edwin/Irma’s tribute to his hometown of Llanfairfechan, wasn’t one of the most anticipated records of 2017 before this, it most certainly is now.
No Handshake Blues is out January 13th via Faux Discx & Comfortable On A Tight Rope. Irma Vep tours in the new year, click HERE for all upcoming dates.
2. Stef Chura Strikes Gold
As the thoughts of music writers everywhere turn to 2017’s next big thing, we could do worse than take a listen to Detroit’s Stef Chura. Ahead of the release of her debut album, Messes, which will be with us in the new year, Stef has this week shared the latest taste of the record, in the shape of new single, Spotted Gold.
Spotted Gold is a sparkling piece of power-pop, all overdriven guitar chug, and steady drum tick; the star of the show though is Stef’s easy, drawl of a vocal. Lyrically, the track builds around the imagery of tarnishing gold as an analogy for a fading friendship, “There is this clear narrative in the song of acting like you don’t care, when actually it kills you. I wrote it about a girl I was playing in a band with a few years ago. I could tell our friendship was going sour and I didn’t know how to fix it.” A testimony to both the power and pain that can be found in friendship, Spotted Gold is a superb jumping off point for the music of Stef Chura that suggests her upcoming album is going to be another fine Messes she’s got us into.
Messes is out January 27th via Urinal Cake Records. Click HERE for all upcoming Stef Chura live dates.
1. Hurray For New Riff Raff
Rewind to 2014 and you might remember what a wonderful breakthrough of a year, Alynda Segarra, aka Hurray For The Riff Raff was having. Two years of pretty solid touring later, Hurray For The Riff Raff have this week announced the release of their new album, The Navigator. Alynda has described the record as a concept album about, “a street kid named Navita traversing a perpetually burning city in search of herself.” The record takes in themes of identity, gentrification and the cultural co-opting of minority cultures in the US.
Ahead of the release, Hurray For The Riff Raff have this week shared the first new material from it, Rican Beach. In her own words, the track, “addresses the gentrification of the South Bronx and the co-opting of Puerto Rican culture in NYC and beyond.” It serves as a call to arms to, “heroes, who, despite suffering generations of oppression, are protecting the land and the future of our humanity. Rican Beach is a fictional place, but it was written with my ancestors in mind. It’s time to call on yours and to always remember: this land was made for you and me.”
Musically, Rican Beach is something of a departure, infusing Alynda’s previous Americana-sound with distinctly Latin rhythms and the soulful pulse of an upright-bass. Alynda’s vocal has never sounded better, a soaring and robust tone, it somehow simultaneously transmits anger, defiance and sadness. Rican Beach ends fittingly with Alynda repeating the line, “I’ll keep fighting ’til the end” – a politically active, emotionally powerful and utterly inspiring songwriter, 2017 might well be a time for new heroes, and Hurray For The Riff Raff might just be ours.
The Navigator is out March 10th via ATO Records. Hurray For The Riff Raff tour the UK next year, click HERE for all upcoming tour dates.