5. The Envious Talents Of Say Hi
Somewhere in a box, somewhere in a place we’ve lived at one point, is a CD copy of Oohs & Ahhs, by Say Hi, or Say Hi To Your Mom as they were known at the time. A spur of the moment purchase, that is actually rather wonderful. We must admit though, until this week we hadn’t though about Say Hi for probably the best part of a decade. Then, as they do an email landed in our inbox, declaring a new album on the way, a new single to listen to and we were instantly propelled backwards, to a box room in a Leeds flat, and it was every bit as exciting as we remember it.
The track, Green With Envy, is the latest single to be lifted from Say Hi’s upcoming album, Caterpillar Centipede, which is out next week. With it’s Teenage Dreams like guitar riff, glitchy electronic pulse and emotive vocal, it’s just a fabulous alt-pop song. As Say Hi frontman, Eric Elbogen recalls, “‘riffage’ and ‘anthem’ were the two words going through my mind once the tape was rolling”. He’s not wrong; it’s a stone-cold indie-disco floor-filling banger, just about 10 years after they went out of favour with the mainstream. Still, with an album inspired by being visited in a dream by a centaur called David Bowie, Say Hi might just be the band to bring it back into fashion, or at least have those of us too old for dancing dreaming nostalgically of a youth well lived: either way it’s a triumph.
Caterpillar Centipede is out September 7th via Euphobia Records. Click HERE for more information on Say Hi.
4. You’ll Be Pleased They Let You Know About Lights On Moscow
Featuring familiar faces in unusual settings, Lights On Moscow are a little like the world’s smallest supergroup. Coming together when they lived near to one another in Newcastle, the band consist of Justin Lockey, a member of Editors, Minor Victories and Mastersystem, and Hazel Wilde, vocalist from the wonderful Lanterns On The Lake. The pair are set to release their debut EP, Aorta Songs Part 1, later this year, and have this week shared their debut single, Lord Let Me Know.
The pair initially worked together many years ago, however it is only recently they’ve been able to find the headspace to finish this record, and to feel comfortable sharing it with the world. Lord Let Me Know is a spectacular piece of production; rich, wall-of-sound drums boom out from the distance, as warped found-sound, and buzzing organs come together to create layer upon layer of beautiful sound to engulf Hazel’s, frankly stunning, vocal performance. There’s a questioning quality to Hazel’s vocal, a certain insecurity that perfectly matches the songs lyrical content, a plea for a sign from a deity you don’t even necessarily believe in. “If there’s a god in the sky, then help me to learn, oh give me a sign”, Hazel’s vocal seems to be practically begging for anyone, any power to show her a path and pull her our of this all engulfing sound. If all of Lights On Moscow’s music sounds this good, it’ll be more than worth the wait.
Lord Let Me Know is out now via Physical Education. Click HERE for more information on Lights On Moscow
3. The Western Den Offer A Sparkling New Single
A pianist from Virginia and a guitarist from Bermuda stumble onto a message board, sadly not the opening line of a really good joke, but the start of a beautiful musical relationship. The pianist, Deni Hlavinka, posted a half finished song to a college forum, and the guitarist, Chris West, liked it so much he sent back a finished version the very next day. The pair met up, found they had a lot in common both musically and personally, and without ever really discussing it, formed The Western Den. Some seven years later, the pair have completed their debut album, A Light Left On, due for release next year, and have this week shared the latest single from it, Spark, Set Fire.
Spark, Set Fire, comes many years on from the pairs first date, yet it harks back to that first moment, when the first seed of a budding romance is planted, and a single spark becomes an emotional forest fire. The imagery throughout is fantastic, you can almost picture the fire-lit bar, eyes meeting across the room, hearts fluttering as conversation flows between the two souls, strangers or at least something like it, “corresponding creature, we’re a similar kind, a symptom of a flutter of a spare set fire”. The whole thing is set to a beautifully produced piece, the result of the band taking time to hone their sound. The initially folk influences remain, yet there’s something eerier, richer and more textural than that suggests, as cyclical guitar lines, form a frame around which other instruments drift in and out of view, and layers of hazy vocals sit at the heart of the whole thing. A thing of subtle, timeless beauty, Spark, Set Fire feels like the start of something very exciting for The Western Den.
A Light Left On will be out early 2019. Click HERE for more information on The Western Den.
2. Jeremy Tuplin Brings The Long Hot Summer To A Close
Listen up people, climate change is real, and if we’re not careful we’re all going to die. That’s our conclusion, and listening to his new single Long Hot Summer, Jeremy Tuplin shares our concerns. Released this week, with all proceeds going in the direction of Friends Of The Earth, Long Hot Summer, is Jeremy’s first new material since his acclaimed album, I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut.
A cursory listen might have you wondering what all the worry is about, with a sashaying rhythm, bright, breezy guitar line and the repeated epitaph, “it’ll be a long hot summer”, you could easily mistake this for something positive. Jeremy pictures a bleak future where the coral reefs are dead and you can’t go outside in November, but at least you can grow papayas in Kent and make warm booze out of them. Ultimately, Jeremy tapers his vision of a burnt out future, with a damning summary of us watching on from our heat waves, and, “looking for someone or something to blame”. Now stop, “melting butter on your lover”, and go forth and save the world.
Long Hot Summer is out now. Click HERE for more information on Jeremy Tuplin.
1. Fightmilk Return With A Four Star Smash
What do you do when your long term relationship grinds to a halt? If you’re lifelong friends Lily Rae and Alex Wisgard then you form Fightmilk. Coming together in 2015 as a heady mix of angst, alcohol and Kirtsy MacColl, the duo set about writing the songs that would soundtrack their break-ups and, reference It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia wherever possible. Following two well received EP’s the band are set to take the full-length plunge in November, with the release of their debut album, Not With That Attitude.
Ahead of Not With That Attitude’s release, the band have this week shared their brand new single, Four Star Hotel. The track details how, towards the end of both their relationships, Lily and Alex had independently booked holidays to Amsterdam, which ended with the same conclusion, a holiday will never save a relationship. As Alex explains,“almost every line is based on one of our two true stories, from the shit-eating grins in the holiday photographs to having to push two twin beds together in a hotel room”. Their tales of sexless nights in swanky hotel rooms, fleeing from weed cafes and, “kissing for the camera”, are set to their usual blend of ferocious riffing, and pounding drum beats. With a sound equal parts Weezer and Diet Cig, and lyrics so acerbically comic that Art Brut would be proud of them, Fightmilk are bringing a fresh take on the oldest, angstiest subject known to songwriting, and it sounds wonderful.
Not With That Attitude is out November 2nd via Reckless Yes. Click HERE for more information on Fightmilk.
Header photo is Fightmilk by Marcus Jamieson-Pond https://www.jampondphotography.com