In the first post of this series, I warmly invite you to pull up a pew, throw on a pair of your best headphones and have a listen to ten of the best new tracks that have headed my way this past month…
1. Tame Impala – Let It Happen
Their new album “Currents”, has recently been released to rave reviews all round. There’s plenty to take in on their latest effort, and it certainly requires a good few listens to soak it all up. Highlight so far is the brilliant lead track “Let It Happen”, a near eight minute barrage to start proceedings. Like their best material, the track twists and turns in multiple different directions over it’s course, though it never sits still long enough to become self indulgent, there’s always a sharp ear keeping the melody on track.
2. Bourbon Street Beat – Crossing On A Bend
This Manchester based three piece formed in 2012, and have just released their storming new single “Crossing On A Bend”. The band takes influence from some of the greats of rock and roll, namely Elvis, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones amongst many others – however, rather than simply sound indebted to their predecessors, their sound is firmly in the present, with a drum-tight rhythm section driving the tune along. ‘Crossing on a Bend’ was recorded at Blueprints Studios in Salford, engineered by Tim Thomas and mastered by Gary Hadfield.
3. Little Sparrow – Wishing Tree/Garden
Since the release of her debut album “Wishing Tree”, singer songwriter Katie Ware aka Little Sparrow has been steadily growing her fan base with a series of spellbinding live performances (one of her dates at the Sacred Trinity Church in Salford last year was one of my live highlights of 2014). She has just released the brilliant title track from the album as a single, alongside a brand new song“Garden”.
Upcoming live dates include Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th August at the Green Gathering Festival in Chepstow, and Sunday 30th August at the Liverpool International Festival in Sefton Park.
The album “wishing Tree” can be bought now via her official website www.littlesparrow.net
4. Foals – Mountain At My Gates
Another week, another smashing Foals track comes our way, building up to the release of their fourth LP “What Went Down” on August 28th. If this and their previous release, the epic title track are anything to go by, then by all rights we should be looking at the Oxford bands finest effort to date. And that’s saying something from the band whose previous three releases have been three of the finest albums of their respective years.
5. Liam McClair – Honest
Of the many male solo singers currently crooning their way around Manchester, Liam McClair stands out as one of the ones to watch. Currently building up to the release of his third EP “Honest”, the title track is built around an immediately memorable refrain, and builds to a great chorus. Liam’s rich, soulful voice fills the song, and his accompanying band warmly expands on his sound from his previous EP “Honey”. Liam launches his new EP with a gig, his first with a full band, at Gullivers in Manchester on Friday 25th September. Support comes from Robbie Cavanagh, Johhny Woodhead and spoken word artist Tom Kwei.
6. Rum Thief – Dirty Shoes
Another Manc solo artist with a new EP on the horizon, this one comes with a bit more swagger in his step. Jot Green aka Rum Thief is gearing up to release his second EP “Reach For The Weatherman”, following on from the mass acclaim that met his debut “Clouded Mind”. With a fantastically keen ear for melody, the four tracks on the new EP whittle along with gusto, “Rum” playing guitars, drums and vocals on the record. One of the lead tracks “Dirty Shoes” starts off like a northern Johnny Cash, before exploding into a blistering chorus, the pace barely letting up throughout it’s three minutes. The EP will be launched with a gig at Night and Day on August 21st, with support from Second Hand Guns, Uno Mas and High Horses.
7. Los & The Deadlines – Feel At Ease
Every so often a band comes along who’s sound simply pummels you into submission. That band is Los and the Deadlines. Currently based in London and sporting an international line up, the band have recently released their third EP “Perfect Holiday”. These guys pack a real punch, with instantaneously catchy riffs clashing over a groovy rhythm section. They’ve also got brains to boot, with smart lyrics filled to the brim with dark, mischievous Nick Cave-esque tales detailing the numerous declines of Western civilization. They won’t be troubling Radio 2 listeners any time soon, and all the better for it.
8. Elbow – Lost Worker Bee
Manc legends Elbow snuck in this wonderful little release towards the end of the month, the EP taking their home town as it’s lyrical inspiration. Its a lovely collection of songs, true to their sound. It’s unlikely to win them any new fans – rather, it feels more like an interesting annex to their last LP, “The Take Off And Landing Of Everything”. The tracks are fleshed out wonderfully, each band member really getting a chance to find their space and explore loads of interesting audible nooks and crannies. The title track is in frontman Guy Garveys words “about finding love far away from home”. With talk of another EP set for release before the end of the year, there’s plenty of love here on the home front for the chaps.
9. Fold – Two Past Midnight
Fold are a funk & hip-hop influenced experimental four-piece based in Leeds. At the start of May they released their latest single “Two Past Midnight”, a stunning tribute to civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, whose efforts helped push through the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Both sides of the single are constructed around her empowering sampled speech. There’s something brilliantly original about Fold, in the way they sample material and construct something brand new and contemporary out of it. Nothing about them comes across as forced, the song itself has a real groove that feels completely organic. Check them out live in Leeds on September 25th at Drop@The Primmy Club, and on October 30th at 360 Club@The Library.
10. Laura Marling – Warrior (Directors Cut)
Laura Marling released her fifth LP “Short Movie” earlier in 2015 to near universal acclaim. Now she’s back with a “Directors Cut” of the album – a sceptical first glance would view it simply as a marketing ploy, that is until you hear the sheer difference in the tracks on show. Case in point, Warrior, the opening track, was originally a wandering, ethereal number, Marling weaving a Joni Mitchell esque tale around a swirling, swelling sound scape. Here, however, the track takes a completely different tact, Marling sounding more raw, snarling, PJ Harvey-like than ever before. Her band tears full pelt through the number, leaving you stunned, in awe of a completely new take on the song. Companion track “I Feel Your Love” takes a similar, more gospel route, whereas bonus tracks “David” and “Daisy” stick to safer, more familiar territory. Well worth an investigation.
For a weekly round up of some of the best new music around, listen to my weekly show on Salford City Radio, Mondays 8-9pm. Tune in to 94.4FM in the Salford area, via the website
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