It’s me again, your friendly neighbourhood indie kid, ready to put some great musical-based items straight into your brainbox. Are you ready? No? Well, it’s too late now, isn’t it.
I won’t lie to you: if the press shot (above) wasn’t amazing, this track might not have made the cut as a Thing We Loved This Week. As it stands, I can see three puppies. You do the math. Wolf Parade’s Against The Day is a catchy synth-pop number with an earworm of a main melody that it strangely reminiscent of something else, something poppy, big and bold… like if Future Islands made something a bit more stompy.
Get out your gym shorts and weightlifting paraphernalia, because the new one from Beach Slang is HEAVY. Like that classic American heavy rock of the 1970s, we’ve got tightly wound distortion and simple rhythms for some storming guitar riffage. Excuse me while I get my Harley Davidson from the garage.
Beach Slang will tour North America supporting the Goo Goo Dolls this fall.
Our dear friend Matthew Berninger has announced a solo album! Best known as the frontman of the National, he’s also worked on numerous projects over the years, like El Vy with Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls, and just yesterday put out a collab with Phoebe Bridgers. Although no date has been confirmed yet, we do know the LP will be called ‘Serpentine Prison’, and that production and arrangements come from Booker T Jones.
Today’s edition of Things We Love This Week comes to you sponsored by Laura “Riot Goth” Johnson, but vetoed by yours truly.
Quiet Slang – Dirty Cigarettes
James Alex of Beach Slang has returned with his stripped back off-shoot, Quiet Slang. After putting out the ‘We Were Babies & We Were Dirtbags’ EP under the new moniker last year, Alex has been drawn back to the acoustic guitar, cello and piano based sound with his latest single Dirty Cigarettes, a re-worked version of a song from 2015’s ‘Broken Thrills’.
On releasing the track, James Alex announced the debut Quiet Slang LP, ‘Everything Matters But No One Is Listening’, which will hit shelves on May 18 through Polyvinyl, and will comprise of softer reincarnations of Beach Slang’s back catalogue. Sweeet.
Teen Creeps – Mercury
“Huh. I definitely recognise that name. Where have I seen it before?” You ask me with intrigue.
“Ah yes, that crafty Belgian punk trio you featured back in February!”
You got it.
Teen Creeps have released the second single, Mercury, from their upcoming debut album, and again it deserves a mention.
Check out those two fuzzy, grumbling guitar lines. Doesn’t it hit you with all the feels? The video certainly will – it’s made up of footage from guitarist Joram’s great-grandparent’s 40th wedding anniversary in 1975.
Beach House – Dive
Weightless, airy, dreamy… and a whole host of synonyms could be used for the latest track from Beach House (and, to be honest, most of their back catalogue). If you’re looking for something more, the gusto kicks in half way through the song. The floating synths reign on in the background, but are taken over by a rhythmic, bassy guitar line that adds much more depth to the whole track.
The alluring indie duo have also announced their seventh LP, aptly titled ‘7’, which will follow up last year’s ‘B-Sides and Rarities’ collection when it arrives on May 11 through Bella Union/Sub Pop/Mistletone. The new record will be accompanied by tour dates in the UK, Europe and North America. If you wanna catch those slippery synth lines first hand, check out all the tour dates here.
Gengahr – Burning Air
The last track to be released from ‘Where Wildness Grows’ arrived yesterday, prior to the album dropping today. So far, from the cuts we’ve had the pleasure of listening to, it seems the record is taking a step away from vocalist Felix Bushe’s delicate falsetto and branching out. Fair enough, it must hurt after a while, he could probably do with a good rest in these new lower register songs.
Still, it’s good to see they aren’t avoiding it completely, as that’s what makes Gengahr sound like the adorable Pokémon-loving indie band they are. Bushe’s impossibly high melodies contrast with rich, full guitars in the chorus of Burning Air, and are complemented nicely by the twang of arpeggio-esque runs in the verses.
Their awesome album artwork is painted by bassist Hugh Schulte. I met him at a Gengahr and Friends exhibition back in 2015, and he was lovely. They’re re-creating the event next week at Hackney’s A Side / B Side Gallery between March 14 and 20. I recommend attendance, as it’ll also showcase work from Alt-J, Mystery Jets, Marika Hackman, Slaves, Toothless and Puppy.
Plus, if it’s anything like last time, THEY MIGHT ALL BE THERE!
I’ve survived another year! In the process I’ve gained a few pounds and new friends, lost my voice after screeching along at numerous gigs and a shedload of money by spending way more than I should on fantastic records and merch.
It may be a sombre subject, but I didn’t feel I could reflect on the year without commenting on how I’ve been inspired by the strength of the victims who have stood up against their abusers within the music industry, and elsewhere, throughout this year, and many more prior. It is heartbreaking that we cannot go a day on Twitter without another instance surfacing, but I am glad that the true extent of the problem is finally beginning to be seen and challenged.
That being said, I refuse to let those awful humans detract from what has been an otherwise great year for new music. Check out what caused my ears to prick and heart to swell, Grinch-like, below.
You know the drill, another year has passed, new records have come out, some I’ve liked, some not so much. Below is a list of those that struck a chord with me in 2016. I also ventured out to some gigs so decided to share the best of that bunch too, along with all the shameless selfies I took with bands this year, and some other bits and bobs.
Heck @ Camden Rocks – Underworld, London – June 4 (pictured below)
Skating Polly – Moon Club, Cardiff – June 15
L7 – O2 Forum Kentish Town, London – September 13
Weaves (supporting Dilly Dally) – The Globe, Cardiff – September 20
The Julie Ruin – KOKO, London – December 2
ALL THE AWFUL BAND NAMES I’VE HEARD THIS YEAR
The String Cheese Incident
Basement Torture Killings
Make Me A Donut
Anal Floss Is Boss
Bad II Dreems
Palace Of Worms
Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing
Grilled Human Brain
Marianne Toilet & The Runs
Mountain Of Wizard
Fat Stupid Ugly People
Faces Of The Bog
MY STOCK OF SHAMELESS SELFIES
Alex Rosamilia – The Gaslight Anthem/Brian Fallon & The Crowes
Ben Kowalewicz – Billy Talent
Jasmyn Burke – Weaves
Kenny Mellman – The Julie Ruin
Mish Way-Barber – White Lung
OTHER STUFF I’VE ENJOYED THIS YEAR
FESTIVAL: ArcTanGent – Fernhill Farm, Compton Martin – August 18-20
VIDEO: Heck – Good As Dead
FILM: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
BOOK: Tranny – Laura Jane Grace & Dan Ozzi
FOOD: Frank’s RedHot Original Sauce
DRINK: Black coffee
MERCH: Tacocat T-shirt (pictured below)
Follow @riotgoth on Twitter for my reviews, features, shameless selfies, pictures of my dog, etc.
This was the year pop went mainstream in my music collection. It had always been there, on the periphery, but never run the show until now. After nearly 15 years of loyal service I guess I just got a little bored with what indie and punk were giving me and I looked elsewhere.
Taking a rather broad view of its definition, and enjoying the darker side of pop, I was attracted by the shininess, with synths, bright colours,and sometimes glitter. Largely, it offered something that I’d not realised I’d been missing: more diversity in terms of music, lyrics and performers.
Things that caught my interest in pop this year included the GQ interview between Ryan Adams and Taylor Swift, which was a great discussion on on creativity. See that below. Swift also did a Grammy listening session, where she detailed the production of ‘1989’. Her songwriting partner, Jack Antonoff, appeared in Charli XCX: The F-Word and Meto talk about his experiences with people’s differing perceptions of his and Swift’s songwriting and production talents.
Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry, too, had some insightful and elegant responses to being a woman in music, as did Jehnny Beth of Savages and Bjork. Also, Halsey gave an interesting interview with Popjustice, where she – possibly unintentionally – deconstructed the self-construction of a pop star’s media image.
Pop has also been ridiculous this year. Tom Hanks appeared in a Carly Rae Jepsen music video, Kanye West said he’d run for president, Tidal was a thing that happened, and there was Justin Bieber, again. If i’ve learned one thing from this year it’s that as long as we have Grimes we’ll probably be OK.
Here’s a list of some of my favourite things from this year, it’s not all pop, but there is a lot of it.
Grimes – ‘Art Angels’
Chvrches – ‘Every Open Eye’
The Wonder Years – ‘No Closer To Heaven’
Beach Slang – ‘The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us’