2020 is hotting up for new music and Getintothis contributors have the pick of the lot for this month’s column, Lewis Ridley is on introduction duties.
I don’t subscribe to the view that the coronavirus has been “a great leveller” as some suggested, and Emily Maitlis‘ introduction of a Newsnight back in April hit the nail on the head about the root cause and indeed consequence for the class structure in how it has succumbed to the pandemic.
She’s been subsequently hushed, for daring to criticise what is, as I write this, a government out of control but very much tightening their grip on the way in which they’re allowed to be perceived.
Experts, the vital voices in our daily updates, Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallace, were gagged and denied the ability to comment on the Dominic Cummings saga.
Indeed, many first-time Conservative voters from December have seen a different side to the party and its leadership in this past month.
What many of us on the left have known as a party that at its core is deceitful, unjust, and has a leader that is a mere puppet and caricature of the seedy underbelly that Mr Cummings orchestrates.
We have all learned a great deal.
The popular Netflix series The Last Dance, critically acclaimed, shows a team in the Chicago Bulls performing under pressure. When the chips were down, they made the right decisions and lived and died by them.
In sport, within a team, success requires honesty.
That honesty may often be uncomfortable, it may create riffs and it may cause issues – but it should always be in the interest of the team. When the team crosses the line onto the court, it is that honesty which they live and die by, and what will lead them to success.
A little bit Al Pacino‘s Any Given Sunday locker room maybe, but there were correlations watching that, in comparison to what is a government that have failed to deliver any success to its supporters, its people.
The public have been very honest with themselves, and each day we have learned more about ourselves than we might have expected. That too may have been an uncomfortable experience, it ain’t all claps in cul-de-sac’s, yoga and home baking.
It’s been hard, too.
I never expected Boney M‘s Rivers of Babylon would pick me up on a shit day, I’m not sure I expected to laugh out loud at the Getintothis LIVE mystery object round.
But, unlike he or she on the middle podium of the three at 5pm, we have, by and large, been honest.
By and large, we’ve answered the call to do the right thing.
By and large, we’ll be a stronger team for this.
We may not hold aloft the NBA title, but we won’t half be able to celebrate.
And with that, here’s the best new music that we have the pleasure of sharing with you for June, just to help us all along.
Stay safe, play it loud. – Lewis Ridley
Kuiama: Hold My Hands Up
It’s been some time since we heard from Andrew Gordon Parry.
Since starting life in around 2014, AGP existed in the Merseyside musical ecosystem like an alien operating out of step with everyone else yet ever-present within the world he found himself.
Mixing krautrock, ambient-barely there electronica and sometimes thrashes of garage-rock the only constant an understanding of melody and how to make whatever the noise resemble some kind of experimental pop.
Perhaps the other characteristic which remained was an innate self-destruct button which meant as one project began to gather momentum it was abandoned or lacked focus and resulted in a flurry of impossible-to-keep-up-with stream of music, or sometimes, complete fresh beginnings.
It was part of the appeal.
A constant game of chase you couldn’t keep up with.
AGP, WYWH and Where We’re West are the projects we wrote about, but his music and involvement (most obvious with the likes of Strange Collective) across Merseyside meant he was a ubiquitous and much-loved presence.
Kuiama marks the latest development. And while it is unmistakably Parry the creator – there’s enough here to vividly see the growth.
Mastered by Danny Whiteward at Whitewood Studios, When I Inhale is perhaps the most indicative of his earlier incarnations, a dreamy, whimsical lullaby which bursts into brilliant technicolour.
When I Am Walking, similarly, is almost submerged in an ocean of textured discordance but give it several spins and there are the characteristic pop hooks imploring to be released.
“It’s defiantly a continuation of AGP,” he told Getintothis, “I guess it’s a timeline of my own development as an artist, finally recording and playing everything myself – it’s far from perfect, but I’d hope to improve over time.”
Elsewhere, Never The Same, is perhaps our favourite of the five new tracks already peppering the Kuiama YouTube channel – like MBV quietly jamming with Storm In Heaven era The Verve with his most confident vocal and a sublime mantra of a chorus.
Almost inevitably, there will be a raft of new songs, new ideas, perhaps new projects all waiting to be unleashed for AGP represents that rare commodity in music – an artist completely outside the constraints of what the industry wants or expects from their musicians.
Frustrating, fantastic and free at all costs in equal measure – it’s great simply to have him back. – Peter Guy
Dixie Day: Tonight
The opener from the new self-titled EP from Dixie Daye, Tonight, kicks the record off as it continues, a wonderfully complex work of contemporary songwriting ability shown at its fullest potential.
The record effortlessly fuses elements from a dizzying assortment of genres from right across the board, seemingly ranging from 90s dance music straight through to rock – and stopping at everything in-between.
The one artist that probably draws the easiest stylistic comparison is Prince, with the opening of Shivers sounding straight out of the legendary Sign ‘o’ The Times – yet even this bold comparison is a stretch.
Of course, we’ve got snippets of others dashed liberally throughout the record; Zing is reminiscent of some Parliament tracks, and there’s a definite Whitney Houston vibe to Shivers in addition to the Prince feel.
Dixie Daye truly has something unique going on in this record, with such an eclectic blend of styles surprisingly never managing to feel overwhelming to the listener.
Amazingly, amidst the genre-defying chaos, there’s a surprising sense of cohesion and calm to the record, with nothing sounding too far-fetched or jarring.
Dixie Daye’s sublime vocals are the glue that binds the eclectic record together, arguably utilised to their highest extent on Shivers.
Shivers oozes with 1980s coolness, with squelchy synths, Nile Rodgers-esque guitar and crisp drums topped off with a clearly contemporary production which really makes the track pop – this is one that can easily be imagined in beer gardens in the coming months.
The retro charm of Shivers is simply top-notch. This is definitely one that stands out among its contemporaries, in no small part due to the lush vocals of Dixie Daye.
This is an amazingly refreshing track to hear in this unique situation we all find ourselves in, with the relentlessly upbeat track really coming as a welcome form of relief in a strange time for all. – Max Richardson
Green Tangerines: Tangerines
Liverpool based five-piece ensemble Green Tangerines have this month dropped this brand new EP, a feel-good record for trying times. Their jazzed up funk grew in the city in 2019, and this marks their first release since August’s The Boogaloo.
We kick off with Funk Detective, a quick-stepped groove that tells new listeners exactly what they need to know about Green Tangerines. It’s intense, stylish, and great fun.
Second track Interlude takes us into more familiar jazz territory and serves as a prelude to the silky smooth Wired – which turns up the funk once more. Their 70s inspiration is prominent here, and there are notes of Liverpool’s other promising jazz fusion outfit Samurai Kip at times in the track.
They close this ambitious EP with Disco, a near-six minute fiesta of brass and percussion that twists and turns down a meandering avenue of possibilities before coming to a celebratory climax. The record ends leaving you desperate for more, those who know Green Tangerines and new listeners alike will find cheering for more at their gigs a frequent activity.
Just great fun. – Lewis Ridley
Aviator: All You Haters
Pete Wilkinson has been a member of Cast, The Bunnymen, and a solo artist in his own right. A fine pedigree of course, but as we all know, solo projects can be the most revelatory of the shortcomings from the sum of their parts.
It’s refreshing that the latest solo track from Aviator is a metallic airship which entices not through its immediacy, but through virtue of its songwriting. A frantic callback to the glam rock of the seventies with a neo-noir twang which prickles all the right parts while carrying some rich vocal and instrumental harmonies which are sure to get stuck in the ears of those in the know.
A far cry from the daisy age oneness of cast, this is a cosmic, and caustic, Babelfish of metallic harmonies and sly eyed fuzz folk.
The song is You Do Something to Me by Paul Weller channelling Lou Reed, a tsunami of technical and musical freedom as opposed to surfing the banal wave of Britpop and landfill indie washing ashore. All Around You pulsates and engages, lending melody and depth to what would in lesser hands be seen as an easy win.
In short, better than the sum of its parts, and something worth seeking out. Anyone who holds a torch for Liverpool’s nineties heyday would do well to witness this, while future tastemakers would do well to take note and enjoy. – Graham Cammack
Thrillhouse: Ready When You Are
Although only formed last year, Brighton newcomers Thrillhouse sound like they’ve been at it for years. Fusing Talking Heads inspired grooves with sun-soaked synths to rival Arcade Fire, the trio have crafted a sound that feels fresh yet familiar.
Their latest single, Ready When You Are is a dreamy summer bop that could be straight out of an 80s coming-of-age film. Combining atmospheric synths, grunge-y guitar and very David Byrne-esque vocals, Thrillhouse take the indie rock blueprint and give it an electronic twist.
But this isn’t even their best work – and that’s coming from the band themselves. In an Instagram post accompanying its release, they admit that their latest is: “better than the last song but not as good as the first one”.
Indeed, with a debut single as impressive as Lesser, expectations for its follow-up were always going to be high. It may be more of a mood-setter than a showstopper, but Ready When You Are certainly marks the start of what can only be an upwards trajectory for Thrillhouse.
They are quietly but confidently carving out their own corner of the indie rock landscape and- more importantly, providing the Talking Heads/Arcade Fire mash-up we didn’t know we needed. – Alice Williams
Sheerbuzz: Who You Are/Darkside
Sheerbuzz are an Irish 4 piece that was established back in 2017, made up of long-time friends Lachlann Ó Fionnáin, Evan McGinty, Adam Grady and Lughan Devenny.
Listening to their music, especially this EP, it’s hard to believe that the boys behind these tunes are only 17-18 years old.
Their latest releases, Who You Are and Darkside showcase the youthful energy and sense of fun that is practically overflowing throughout all of their tracks. ‘Darkside’ is a loud, fast track, full of twangy riffs that will be stuck in your head from first listen.
Who You Are brings distinctive vocals to the forefront, which when combined with the twinkling of piano making this track a perfect Summer anthem.
This band is certainly creating a (sheer)buzz, having already played to sold-out crowds across Donegal and Northern Ireland, and All Our Time and Money has already racked up over 100,000 streams.
Hopefully, it won’t be long before we can catch them at shows across the water. – Claire Cook
Barney Goodall: Take Your Time
Take Your Time is a radiant single from Liverpool artist Barney Goodall.
The track is a celebration of life and growth, featuring on his upcoming album Above.
Take Your Time entails a progressive soundtrack, with added sounds of nature that give it a peaceful undertone. The layering of soft harmonies and shimmery synths adds a nostalgic quality.
The vocals are sturdy and calming, the overall effect makes for a euphoric listen, eliciting feelings of tranquillity.
The transition between vocals and soundtrack throughout Take Your Time is a perfect balance, allowing both to be appreciated individually and simultaneously. The feel-good aura of this track makes it stand out, its’ soothing quality is enjoyable and relaxing.
Take Your Time is out now on all major platforms. – Sian Ellis
The Roswell Project: Demos
As many artists scale back on releases and postpone announcements in the current climate, many have continued as normal.
New tunes continue to be apart of our lives, luckily, and one band contributing to that is one of Liverpool’s finest, The Roswell Project.
Formerly known as The Gear, the band are back under their rebranding with two brand new tunes, and Getintothis has the exclusive listen.
Their first releases since 2018, and they were definitely worth the wait.
New single Chestnut Sea shows them to be at their best; lyric-heavy and intense.
Vocals take centre stage from the start, yet as they break into the chorus you’re instantly captured – you’ll find yourself chanting “and now he’s swimming in a chestnut sea” after one listen.
Chestnut Sea allows howling vocals, strong guitar riffs and catchy lyrics to come together in a way that you instantly know this is one of your new favourite tunes.
Next up is second new single, Modern Slave.
Modern Slave starts off quiet, but you know you’re waiting for what’s to come, and it’s going to be good.
As their vocals trail off, “Take your pills and go to school..”, it comes, guitar-heavy and powerful.
Modern Slave continues with quiet, eery moments and contrasting loud, catchy choruses, a new take on 2018’s There’s A Place.
Their lyrics remain to be a reflection of the northern working-class lads, giving you an early Arctic Monkeys feel, whilst their vocals could give Catfish & The Bottlemen’s Van McCann a run for his money.
Both singles demonstrate how time out, (and maybe a name change), can result in some of your best material.
The Roswell Project appear to be back better than ever, and if Chestnut Sea and Modern Slaves is a taster of what’s next, they’re definitely one to watch. – Danni King
As far as opening lines go, “cherry wine sits at the bottom of my spine” is pretty impressive; a song has to be more than half-decent to keep up with that. Handily, Cherry Wine by Edith Rose is more than half-decent, to say the least.
In writing this review, I couldn’t find much information about Edith Rose, which seems to be somewhat apt for this song, which swirls around the room like a trail of smoke, at times barely there.
A ghostly, shimmering, reverb-drenched guitar intro is pierced by Rose’s haunting voice and some understated lead guitar before the main vocal is joined by some slightly distorted harmonies that are slightly out of time – that’s not a criticism, it works a treat, adding a sinister mood to the song and bringing to mind PJ Harvey and Florence Welsh in their more eerie moments.
Similarly, from a lyrical point of view the refrain “I’ll break my back just because I love you” is a haunting sentiment, straight out of the Tom Waits book of all things twisted without veering into cliché territory.
At two minutes, there is a danger that the song trails away, so the explosive addition of reverb-heavy drums and spaghetti-western Johnny Remember Me style guitar is a welcome change of dynamic.
The song was produced by Bootle-based producer Ryan Tyrell and any further collaborations would be most welcome round these parts.
Pass me the Cherry Wine, I’ll have another glass. – Matty Loughlin
Husband Material: Husband Material EP
A band I was fortunate enough to review, back in the good old days of going out, Husband Material have now released their four-track, self-titled debut EP.
The power trio have been honing their songs since forming at the tail-end of 2018, and are now finally ready to show their opening hand.
Quilt is first up here, and after a short instrumental intro, it bursts into life.
The excellently-named drummer Posh is doing the heavy lifting on this track, powering his way through.
Spring is the lead single, and it’s a wise choice of teaser, as it sees the trio wig-out, bringing to mind, in an old indie band reference, Idlewild.
It’s given time for the song to breathe, and when the drums eventually drop out it gives the whole thing a sense of even more gravitas.
Mono No Aware sees the pace drop a touch, showing a more melodious side, but there’s no drop in quality, if anything it suits them more.
The highlight here comes in the form of the raw What A Beautiful Ghost You Are, with the haunting backing vocals adding a layer of sound, it broods and shimmers in all the right places, bringing to mind The Cure in their pomp. Good things are ahead for these chaps. – Steven Doherty
The Racket: No Shine From The Sun
Widnes rockers, The Racket, returned last month with a brand new punk-driven track.
No Shine From the Sun follows on from December’s For The Many Not The Few, and produces another strong political rant, this time towards The Sun newspaper. The snarl of the four-piece sounds like a hybrid of The Sex Pistols and Oasis, with anarchy well and truly on their minds.
Through both the lyrics and the vocals, the anger towards the controversial rag, the scum, is blatantly clear. The track comments on the lies told by the paper, with desperation to get the message across clearly in the voice of lead singer Callum Codd.
As well as it’s political message, it also holds a catchy riff and a great sound. Musically this song represents a progression for the Widnes outfit, as they continue to demonstrate there is plenty of meaning behind the noise. – Amos Wynn
Having studied music at LIPA, SKIA is looking to carve her own way in her adopted hometown of Liverpool. And after selling-out her debut live show in the city in March, the release of her debut EP Apricot is further cementing her stake for pop greatness.
Apricot is a journey, it’s clear SKIA has a story to tell; a story of love and letting that love go. The opening and closing tracks (Lost, Apricot) are beautiful a Capella tracks perfect for the setting of a scene and the closing of a chapter respectively.
Delving deeper into the rest of the 7-track EP, you find a delightful mix of both energetic, floor-filling bops (Selfish, Anyone, IDWTAI), and slower more gentle tunes (Not Anymore, Ferris Wheel).
Many can be accused of just throwing together some songs for a debut EP, but Apricot is clearly well thought through and needs to be listened to as one single play-back. A notable mention going to Anyone, being penned with a musician born and bred on Merseyside, that man being Sir Paul McCartney.
The standout song for me is track 2, Selfish. A song you can imagine hearing in a sunny field among thousands, and a song that will probably forcibly have you dancing around in your pants.
SKIA said about the track: “Selfish is a bitter jam about feeling a little hard done by after a breakup, and calling someone out on their behaviour. I think breaking up is inevitably gonna feel icky no matter what side of it you’re on, but I don’t think there’s a better way of dealing with these feelings than compressing them into a song and making it danceable #bitternessbutmakeitchic”.
Having performed as part of the Liverpool Digital Music Festival in May, the energy SKIA projects will have her performing up and down the country. When it’s allowed of course… just watch this space. – James Baker
Electronic music has been on an eventful journey since the 1970s, Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder. We’ve seen so many genres and so much labelling, that it became an exhausting effort to try and put every new stuff into any sort of box.
That’s definitely the case with Southport producer Dan Ellis, formerly known as V E E D, who’s just released three new tracks under the unassuming name of May Music. They travel through different styles and tempos, navigating from chill-out to drum & bass and… Oh, no, not that useless labelling again!
First track, Crusher, starts quite spacey, the way proper electronic music should, and quickly gains pace and rhythm. With drums and beat apparently inspired by Caribou’s early days, it offers a great balance of being still and moving, of sitting and standing up, before ending perfectly.
Crusher is followed by, well, Follow, which is speedy, its metallic drums taking us fast through a road, filling our heads with flashing lights. It’s repetitive without being boring, as the drumming stops and goes, and then stops and goes again, in a composition that owes as much to jazz as to electronic pioneers.
After that amount of velocity, Until Thenn’s trip-hop mood, howling sounds and relaxing bass line are quite welcome.
The importance that Dan Ellis places on drumming is consolidated on the track, with the beating slowing things down this time, while still offering a similar amount of energy to that present in the rest of May Music.
We couldn’t find any evident weakness in May Music’s exciting three tracks.
What we’ve found was freshness and inventiveness, things that have been missing in a lot of stuff we hear nowadays in the electronic scene.
We’re done with electronic genres and labelling, we just want great music, and Dan Ellis has produced just that. – Rogerio Simoes
Brian Bordello: Boris Johnson Massacre
In his latest track, Brian Bordello shows his frustration with the figure we just can’t seem to avoid, Boris Johnson.
In his self-described ‘no-fi’ style, Brian takes out on Boris, the Tory government and how their current handling of the coronavirus epidemic is a ‘total hash’.
Brian isn’t kicking or screaming though. The track is a mellow, almost lackadaisical, take on the government. While there’s no fiery punk energy to be found here, Brian’s comments certainly don’t hold back.
Attacking conservative voters with the repetition of “if you voted tory, you might as well have voted for Kenneth Williams reading Jackanory”, it’s fair to say BoJo probably isn’t the figure Brian would have liked to have seen taking the reins of the country during this crisis.
The track is barely clear enough to be even labelled lo-fi. Brian’s own coined term ‘no-fi’ seems to get the impression of its quality across a lot more clearly.
With lots of hissing and the hazy audio only coming out of one speaker, the deliberate choice of quality might seem confusing but is well-intentioned as a nostalgic throwback.
Brian says the song was “recorded on one track of my old tape 4 track and in such a way it will only come out of one speaker, to capture the magic of me listening to pop music in my youth on a tiny transistor radio.”
As Brian says that “Jake Thackray, Daniel Johnson and Ray Davies influence takes hold”, you can definitely connect the dots when those names circle around your head while listening along.
Particularly, the incredibly raw production and cheery innocuous sound of Daniel Johnson’s work can be heard very clearly as an inspiration.
Whether or not you agree with Brian’s politics, the track makes for a joyfully quirky and easy-going ditty to help you through these hard times. One thing’s for certain though, it sure would be interesting to see if Kenneth Williams would give Boris a run for his money. – Jason Simon
If there was any doubt that the 80s were making a comeback, Liverpool’s Callum Crighton has made it abundantly clear in Fame.
Without any prior context, you could be forgiven for thinking Fame was a lost relic of 80’s New Wave – from the distinctive synths and drum beat to even the vocal performance and song structure, the only giveaway is the lyrics referencing making music and dressing “like they did in the 80s.”
Even the title – by accident or by design – is a reference to the iconic 1980 film of the same name.
The music video takes it all a step further, set up as a Top of the Pops performance from 1986, complete with neon lights and an audience donned head-to-toe in the best of the decade’s fashion, including Crighton in a jacket and ruffled shirt that look straight out of Adam Ant’s wardrobe.
When inspirations are so obvious, it can sometimes be hard to make it feel convincing, let alone for it to be actually good. Yet the execution here is flawless. It’s even more impressive knowing that Crighton writes, produces and records everything himself without any label backing.
Anybody who caught his fleeting set during Liverpool Digital Music Festival last week could tell that it’s an era and a style the self-styled “soft synth space prince” is deeply invested in and pulls off very well. Other tracks he performed such as Space and Witchcraft follow a similar style and are done just as well.
We might not be at the stage where we can go out and party like it’s 1986 quite yet, but Fame is such a fun, upbeat track that it’s what it deserves. For now, it will just have to settle for being played loud in the back garden, sun shining down, drink in hand. – Mia Hind
Living Gate: The Delusion of Consciousness
There’s a satisfyingly low-fi aesthetic to the debut single from new death metal project Living Gate.
The decision by the band, which includes members of acclaimed acts YOB, Oathbreaker, Amenra and Wiegedood, to foreground breakneck riffs over a polished over-produced sound pays off on this record.
With a timbre that evokes Cannibal Corpse and early Suffocation, the listener starts in familiar old school death metal terrain.
Yet there’s an unhinged aspect to The Delusion of Consciousness that reflects the otherworldly subject matter.
Maybe it’s the way that the hypnotic, churning central hook makes way at the mid-section of the track for passages that witness frenetic, rabid riffing and screamed vocals.
Or perhaps it’s the way that the way that the climax of the song features a weird guitar solo that seems to herald a transition to another plane of existence.
In any case, this is a track that digs its dirty claws into the listener and satisfies both fans of classic death metal and those of the new wave bands like Blood Incantation and Tomb Mold who are melding old school sounds with bold experimentation.
Living Gate’s debut EP, Deathlust, is set for release on 12 June. If twisted love letters to old school death are your thing then be sure to check it out. – Nedim Hassan
Kindness Circuits, the latest release from electronica act Magic Spells, also known as Tommy Husband manages to channel a fresh take on the effervescent sound of classic period Warp Records by filtering analogue synths and beats through a hypnotic prism.
He recently came to our attention via a sublime remix of local heroes Stealing Sheep track Just Do where he managed to strip the track back and cut to its core with scattershot yet driving percussion and slight gossamer vocal harmonies.
His own track Kindness Circuits opens with the sounds of impactful squelching synths and is propelled by a visceral beat which breaks and builds multiple times before finding a mesmeric rhythm. Along with off kilter melodies, throughout there are echoes of adventurous electronic acts such as Autechre and Basic Channel.
The similarity there being that as a track it doesn’t seem overly concerned with being pigeonholed into a specific genre, never falling into the more austere elements of techno is a difficult trick to pull off when dealing with the attack and decay of synth sounds but this is something warmer and more enveloping. Also managing to clock in at less than three minutes never managing to outstay its welcome is quite the feat.
A similar quick-fire cut and paste vibe is employed in the video. Cutting swiftly between apocalyptic explosions from half remembered action movies and those digital countdowns complete with tense cutting of coloured wires. A fitting visual accompaniment.
Taken from the EP Bubbly a joint release with Eitha Da’s Fizzy EP via Hot Apology, this is a fitting title for this take on sparkling electronica. – Si Jones
John Witherspoon: On You Go
Liverpool singer-songwriter, John Witherspoon, continues his solid run of form with latest single, On You Go.
Having been a staple in the Liverpool acoustic scene for quite a number of years now, Witherspoon‘s previous two singles, the 2019 releases in Mr Low Down and My Dad, have seen his stock rise considerably and with On You Go, that trend continues.
Witherspoon‘s folk-leanings and Dylan reverence shines through with On You Go, a song drenched in meandering harmonica, gentle acoustics and equally soft pianos that arrive like gentle waves lapping up to shore.
The production of On You Go is slick, yet far from overstated. For music released independently, you won’t hold an ear to a better produced ditty.
Witherspoon‘s greatest song-writing attribute is his knack to carve out old-world melodies and like his previous two singles, On You Go drips with them, possessing one of his catchiest chorus yet.
With three singles down in less than twelve months, hopefully Witherspoon‘s debut album isn’t too far away. – Simon Kirk