The new music which made its way our way over the last month is as eclectic and unpredictable as the summer itself. There’s classic pop, alt rock, new wave, old faves, and some very welcome “new to SWH!” bands as well. It all adds up to a rather exciting soundtrack, one which will work especially well for those of you tramping up and down the streets of Edinburgh as many do this time of year. If that applies to you then SWH!’s Pick of The Fringe and Pick of The Book Festival may be of interest.
But no matter where you find yourself we hope you enjoy what you’re about to hear. Make sure you stay with it to the bottom of the page for not only one of the best songs of the summer, but a video which is a work of art in its own right.
We begin with Radiophonic Tuckshop, who are perhaps best described as an indie-pop supergroup with members whose roll call of bands includes Ette, The Martial Arts, The Owsley Sunshine, The Fast Camels and more. Their EP Running Commentary is out on Last Night From Glasgow. The title track shows that these are musicians steeped in the history of pop – opening with power chords which immediately give the listener context bringing to mind everyone from The Kinks to The Cars. The song moves on to channel Beatles and Beach Boys, but also classic Stiff Records artists such as Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and Elvis Costello. Radiophonic Tuckshop take all of their influences to make music which simultaneously sounds classic yet utterly contemporary. This is ‘Running Commentary’:
It’s a long-awaited and very welcome return to Miss The Occupier, one of the better things in life. Their new single ‘Thanks A Million’ sees them in a more reflective mood with Roz Baynham’s vocals never more affecting while the rest of the band slowly build the music beneath to bring things to a suitably dramatic conclusion. The title track to an EP of the same name, ‘Thanks A Million’ confirms that Miss The Occupier are back and better than ever:
There’s nothing quite like a great pop song to make all right with the world, and that’s just what Bdy_Prts have released in the shape of ‘Rooftops’. If you don’t know, Bdy_Prts are Jill O’Sullivan from the much missed Sparrow & The Workshop, and Strike The Colours’ (& indie collaborator extraordinaire) Jenny Reeve, so their musical pedigree is impeccable. If Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis had produced Kate Bush then the result would be something like this, and who wouldn’t want to hear that? Well you can, here and now:
In recent years rock music has often been derided or, even worse, ignored, perhaps because it all too regularly deals in clichés and clunky lyrics. Step forward Terrestria to save the day with their latest single ‘Things You’ll Never Know’. You’ll detect ’90s Radiohead, but they also had me dusting off albums by The Gin Blossoms, Nada Surf and Weezer. That may make you think they are a band playing in the past, but such classy and classic music is eternal, there just hasn’t been much of it around for a while (with obvious exceptions such as the mighty Dialects). More of this sort of thing:
Turbulent times call for angry responses, and that’s exactly what Blood Language promise with their forthcoming album Voices. They are Ben Chatwin and Euan Alexander Millar-McMeeken, perhaps best known as Talvihorros and as one-half of Graveyard Tapes respectively. Voices is their debut album and combines the song writing of Millar-McMeeken with Chatwin’s production, and, if the first two tracks (‘Wires’ & ‘Springshots’, below) are anything to go by it will be a fascinating, intricate, experimental, dark slice of electronic pop.
Already mentioned above, those good, good people from Last Night From Glasgow continue to suggest they are incapable of releasing anything less than stunning records. Exhibit LNFGd8 is ‘Smirk’ from Sun Rose, who feature members of that fine electro-pop band Nevada Base. ‘Smirk’ takes you back – way back, to resurrect memories of when indie music crossed over with dance to create club anthems the like of you had never heard before. It’s reminiscent of the best of The Shamen, The Beloved and Leftfield but with a healthy dose of funk thrown in for good measure. If ever we needed another summer of love it’s now, and Sun Rose could just be the band to spark it.
Campfires In Winter‘s album Ischaemia is not just one of the albums of this year, but of recent years. It’s one of those rare records that gets better and offers up something new with each listen, and if you don’t yet own a copy do yourself a favour and you can thank me later. If you’re still unconvinced they have released another track ‘Greeted By The Storm’, which makes the case with more eloquence than I could ever muster.
However, the story does not end there as the accompanying video is one of the best I have seen. With the demise of music TV, videos have arguably lost the importance that they once had but this is a film which stands on its own as a work of art. Reminiscent of the work of Anton Corbjin, it’s a glorious celebration of lives lived away from the mainstream, and the passion and commitment of those who reside there. It’s a while since a piece of music has matched the imagery as well as this. Watch it, greet – then repeat:
That’s all for now, folks. Be back soon…