Things We Love This Week: Wolf Parade, Beach Slang, Matt Berninger

Photo: Wolf Parade by Pamela Evelyn andJoseph Yarmush

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.

Wolf Parade

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.

Wolf Parade are touring the UK in March 2020, and tickets are available now.

Beach Slang

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.

Matt Berninger

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.

 

You don’t need me to tell you that the National are hitting the UK in December, because you’ve already got tickets for the Cardiff show, haven’t you!? SNAP.

Is it acceptable to be squealing with excitement? Yes.

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Things We Love This Week: Quiet Slang, Teen Creeps, Beach House, Gengahr

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!

 

Over and out x

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Staff Picks: Laura ‘Riot Goth’ Johnson

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.

ALBUMS

Alex Lahey – ‘I Love You Like A Brother’

Beth Ditto – ‘Fake Sugar’

Bully – ‘Losing’

Diet Cig – ‘I Swear I’m Good At This’

Downtown Boys – ‘Cost Of Living’

Idles – ‘Brutalism’

Japandroids – ‘Near To The Wild Heart Of Life’

Kamikaze Girls – ‘Seafoam’

Sacred Paws – ‘Strike A Match’

Weaves – ‘Wide Open’

Worriers – ‘Survival Pop’

GIGS

Beach Slang – The Exchange, Bristol – January 20

Petrol Girls – Le Pub, Newport – March 16

Idles – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff – April 5

Meat Wave – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff – April 24 (pictured at the top of the page)

Japandroids – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London – May 6

Kamikaze Girls (supporting Gnarwolves) – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff – May 17

HCBP (debut headline show) – The Moon, Cardiff – June 1

Sad13 – The Big Top, Cardiff – June 25

Ho99o9 (ArcTanGent Set) – Fernhill Farm, Compton Martin – August 18

HCBP (ArcTanGent Set) – Fernhill Farm, Compton Martin – August 19

Asphalt (Japan) – Le Public Space, Newport – August 28

Dead Arms/Twisted Ankle/ Eva Bartok/ Salt Bath – The Moon, Cardiff – September 15

Sacred Paws – Transport Club, Cardiff – September 22

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Bournemouth International Centre – September 24

Baby In Vain – The Moon, Cardiff – October 13

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – O2 Academy Bristol – December 1

Marilyn Manson – Newport Centre, Newport (Wales) – December 8

DIY Cardiff’s Third Birthday feat Apologies, I Have None/Kamikaze Girls/The Doublecross/Masts/Esuna- Cathays Community Centre, Cardiff – December 16

THE WORST OF ALL THE AWFUL BAND NAMES I’VE HEARD THIS YEAR

Yes Lad

Elephant Stone

Evil Triplet

Mr Irish Bastard

Bum Freak In Egypt

Exactly Violent Style

Rat In  A Bucket

Spunk Volcano and the Eruptors

Hello Moth

The Buttery Trio

Warcrab

Incontinence

Cocaine Piss

Mexican Chili Funeral Party

Drug Honky

Prosthetic Cunt

Corpsefucking Art

Egomunk

Henry Metal

Soul Enema

Terror Pigeon

Glory Hole Guillotine

Spiritual Bat

Teen Mortgage

Dildo’s Panda Fight

Bed Wettin Bad Boys

Infected

Torso Murder

Septic Flesh

Pile Of Priests

Cyanide Sundae

Infected Syren

Fistula

THE BEST OF THE AMAZING BAND NAMES I’VE HEARD THIS YEAR

Foetal Juice

Tyrannosorceress

Hallouminati

OTHER STUFF I’VE ENJOYED THIS YEAR

SONG: First Aid Kit – You Are The Problem Here

TV: Big Mouth

PODCAST: My Brother, My Brother And Me – I don’t listen to nearly enough podcasts so feel free to send me recommendations!

MERCH: Kamikaze Girls’ ‘Nervous Millennials’ t-shirt and ‘I’m not your fucking sweetheart mate’ tote bag.

FOOD: Red’s Devil Wing BBQ Sauce

DRINK: Almond Butter Crunch Shake from Anna Loka in Cardiff

COMEBACK: Me: “Dad, when you die if we cremate you we can put your ashes into a vinyl record of your favourite song if you want? A band called Idles did it recently!”

Dad: “Are you joking? I don’t want to be going around in circles forever!”

**You can find Laura on Twitter and Instagram

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Staff Picks: Laura ‘Riot Goth’ Johnson

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.

ALBUMS

‘Paradise’ – White Lung

‘Shape Shift With Me’ – Against Me!

‘A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings’ – Beach Slang

‘Afraid Of Heights’ – Billy Talent

‘Painkillers’ – Brian Fallon

‘The Bride’ – Bat For Lashes

‘Hit Reset’ – The Julie Ruin

‘Skeleton Tree’ – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

‘The Big Fit’ – Skating Polly

‘Lost Time’ – Tacocat

‘Weaves’ – Weaves

GIGS

Funeral For A Friend (farewell show performing ‘Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation’ in its entirety) – University Y Plas, Cardiff – April 6

Brian Fallon & the Crowes – O2 Academy Bristol – April 10

Tacocat – Moon Club, Cardiff – May 5

Iggy Pop – Royal Albert Hall, London – May 13

White Lung – Start The Bus, Bristol – May 25

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
Holocausto Cannibal
Basement Torture Killings
Bangover
Scum Pulse
Premature Birth
Destiny Potato
Make Me A Donut
Penguin Prison
Dog Chocolate
Anal Floss Is Boss
Bad II Dreems
Palace Of Worms
Cancerous Womb
Girth Control
Cry Wank
Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing
Rectal Smegma
Infant Death
Grilled Human Brain
Oozing Wound
Marianne Toilet & The Runs
Breast Massage
Mountain Of Wizard
Fat Stupid Ugly People
Faces Of The Bog
Witch Vomit

MY STOCK OF SHAMELESS SELFIES

Alex Rosamilia – The Gaslight Anthem/Brian Fallon & The Crowes

Ben Kowalewicz – Billy Talent

Chris Farren

Demob Happy

Tacocat

Jasmyn Burke – Weaves

Kenny Mellman – The Julie Ruin

Mish Way-Barber – White Lung

Skating Polly

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

TV: Atlanta

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.

 

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Staff Picks: Jennifer Geddes

grimes_hb_101215

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 Me to 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.

Best Album

  • 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’
  • Halsey – ‘Badlands’

Best Song

Leon Bridges – Coming Home

School of Seven Bells – Open Your Eyes

Lim Kim – Awoo


Savages – The Answer

Bloc Party – The Love Within

Best Live

  • Taylor Swift – Manchester Arena, Manchester
  • The City On Film – Little Man Coffee, Cardiff
  • Sweet Baboo – Thekla, Bristol
  • Moose Blood – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
  • Single Mothers – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

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