5. Buggs Put The Flaws In Flawless
Buggs last appeared on these pages, at that point known as BUGS, back in the Spring of 2020, around the release of their debut single Nick Gowland, on the ever-excellent Sad Club Records. The South-East London based quartet have been quiet since then, a fact they thankfully changed this week with the release of their stunning new single, Flaws.
In many ways Flaws is Buggs’ take on a particularly unhealthy lockdown activity, self-loathing, as the band lead singer Alice explains, “I wrote Flaws about spending too much time chipping away at yourself in the mirror – obsessing over all of your faults and insecurities, thinking back over and over things you’ve done or said, and becoming paranoid that your friends and family think you’re a bad person“. Despite being quick to suggest nobody follow her down that particular rabbit-hole, there is a sense of shared experience about the track, “feelings of insecurity and paranoia are one of the things that unite us all as human beings“. Those feelings manifest in a track that in some ways sounds oddly joyous and connected, distant organs floating around the ether as the prominent bass and girl-gang vocal harmonies bring to mind the likes of Totally or The Wharves. As the track draws to a close, Bugs seem to unite on a shared sense of being perfectly unproductive, “I have looked and I’ve found flaws I hadn’t seen before, and I’ve wasted so much just spent wondering about nothing at all”. A reminder we’re all flawed, and fabulously so, you can spend hours staring at every dent and dimple if you like, just remember most people aren’t even paying you any attention at all, a fact that just like the music Bugs make, is sad at first, yet also strangely liberating.
Flaws is out now via Sad Club Records. For more information on Buggs visit https://bfan.link/flaws.
4. This Is The Dawning Of The Age Of Cherry Blaster
A product of the ever-fertile Toronto music scene, Cherry Blaster is the brainchild of songwriter Iulia Ciobanu. What began as a laptop synth project has since morphed into the current three-piece lineup, with Iulia joined by Scott Given and Tasker Hull. This week Cherry Blaster shared their first track in their current incarnation, New Age.
As Iulia explains, New Age is a song about ageing and the fear of becoming irrelevant, “as I approached my thirties, I couldn’t shake the feeling that my “time was up” as an aspiring musician”. While the track didn’t exactly come to her in a dream, it was inspired by one, “I woke up from a dream in which my silver hairs were turning pink and I was struck by the image. I turned this into a song that extended the dream into an alternate reality where I could transform myself into a forever young cyborg”. That sense of detachment from humanity plays out in the music too, with the slightly erratic synth flourishes providing a processed counter-point to Iulia’s lightly distorted vocals, bringing to mind acts like Mitski or Magana with its fusion of organic and electronic textures. The track really comes to life when the rhythm section comes into full force, the rolling bass shifting the whole feel of the track, as the vocals become more and more distorted and robotic around the repeated lyric, “baby you’re a teenage dream”. It might detail an all-too-early midlife crisis, yet in Cherry Blaster’s pink-hued dystopia, a fear of getting older never sounded quite so alluring and unmissable.
New Age is out now. For more information on Cherry Blaster visit https://cherryblaster.bandcamp.com/
3. The Klittens – Now In Cans
Hailing from Amsterdam, The Klittens emerged back in the Summer of 2020 with their three-track debut cassette, Pigeonhole. For the quintet, who describe their musical background as, “untrained but unbothered”, the EP was their first studio experience, and despite the global pandemic limiting their opportunities, they’ve already managed to capitalise on its success, sharing stages with the likes of Pip Blom and Personal Trainer. This week saw the band return with a brand-new single, Canned Air, which they premiered in fascinating fashion, having it played on a Carillon in The Hague’s The Great Church as part of De Haggse Popweek, which sounds an awful lot of fun!
Described by the band as, “a sensitive song about loneliness”, Canned Air was written by the band’s Winnie Conradi in response to a heavy breakup and reflects on the struggle to, “give in”, to being comforted by your friends. Musically, the track is a typically ambitious and eclectic affair, starting with a one-note guitar solo, before chunky chords, luscious vocal harmonies and the steady intensity of the drums send it into a spiral of sonic intensity. Walking the line between Warpaint’s melodic post-punk and the distorted fuzz of Sonic Youth, The Klittens sound both reassuringly familiar and not quite like anyone else you’ve heard before. It’s early days, yet already The Klittens feel like a band who are onto something special, don’t be surprised if these new Dutch masters end up making a very big splash.
Canned Air is out now. For more information on The Klittens visit https://theklittens-epk.hotglue.me/.
2. Give In To The Mediocre
Hailing from Culver City, California, Mediocre are the musical union of Piper Torrison and Keely Martin, high school friends turned bandmates. Having already been making music together for half a decade, the band have now teamed up with Dangerbird Record’s, who will release a trio of singles as part of the label’s Microdose Series. This week the band shared the second instalment in the shape of the fabulous new single, Give In.
The first song that Piper and Keely ever wrote together, Give In was given a second life when the band went into the studio with producer Danny Nogueiras, with the freshly formed collaboration breathing new life into the oldest material. Discussing the inspiration behind the track, the band suggest it is an attempt at, “telling the story of a fleeting first love”. Beginning with a delightfully echoing drum-clatter, the track takes a turn for more melodic climes, as the shuffling guitar-line collides with the two-part vocals, the whole thing coated in a wonderfully thick layer of reverb giving the track a dreamy-haze, perfectly mirroring the ups, downs and confusing middles of loves first fleeting glances. Despite their self-deprecating name, Mediocre are showing themselves to be anything but, a band that seems to have emerged fully formed and ready to impress the world.
Give In is out now as part of Dangerbird Records’ Microdose Series. For more information on Mediocre visit https://linktr.ee/mediocretheband.
1. I’m Over The Moon With This New Night Palace Single
Hailing from Athens, Georgia, Night Palace is the musical project of Avery Draut. Growing up on a diet of Joni Mitchell and Harry Nilsson, Avery explored various creative paths from visual art to the theatre before settling on Opera as a student of classical voice. After five years she describes as, “fruitful but intensive”, Avery found herself burnt out and began exploring the local alternative scene, singing Jackson 5 songs with of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes, and opening for Kishi Bashi performing Hebrew folk songs. After a successful period composing music for experimental theatre and working at The Metropolitan Opera in New York, Avery returned to Athens with a series of melodies and set about turning them into her debut album, Divine Rings. The album will see the light of day next year on Park The Van, and this week Avery has shared the latest single from it, Enjoy The Moon.
Recalling the inspiration behind the track, Avery notes it came from a moment on tour, “I was half-sleeping on someone’s shoulder while watching a curtain of fruit-shaped beads dangle in the breeze of a fan backstage, I loved plastic beaded curtains when I was a kid, and I set this song in the dreamspace that alchemized between my memories and that moment”. Entering on the computerised richness of waves of Beach House-like keys, the track takes a playful turn courtesy of stabs of strings and fluttering woodwind, coming across like the middle ground of Joanna Newsom and The Divine Comedy. With an excellent accompanying video which, “pulls visual inspiration from the worlds of Romeo + Juliet (the iconic 1996 movie), Star Trek, and your middle school’s staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Enjoy The Moon is Night Palace’s most intriguing offering yet, and a reason to mark her upcoming debut album as one that might just take 2022 by storm.
Diving Rings is out February 11th via Park The Van. For more information on Night Palace visit https://www.nightpalacemusic.com/.
Header photo is Night Palace by Caroline Marchildon.