Juice – ‘Sugar’

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The Tories are in power, a mighty footballing power appears to be on the wane and if we we’re in need of a soundtrack to this bastard early ’90s re-visitation – Birmingham three-piece Juice are likely to provide it.

A serendipitous discovery on a ramble through the interwebs, or more succinctly, while reading the excellent blog, The Metaphorical Boat. And my, what a find Juice have turned out to be, or more to the point, the band’s debut single, ‘Sugar’. Unleashed online a few weeks back, their debut single is a spellbinding indie-rock tune, navigating a perfect path between sugar-sweet pop and riotous noise. It’s got everything you could want from a song; attitude, aggression, a whirl of scorching riffs, pounding percussion, and a bubbling bassline. Not to mention the concentrated, succulent verses and a chorus that would have the shyest festival crowds singing along. Yes, there is a serious tang of early to mid ’90s British guitar bands, yet it doesn’t sound dated, rehashed or recycled. This is just a tune.

There’s no firm details of a release date as of yet but sure you can stream ‘Sugar’ to your hearts content below. 

Gruff Rhys – ‘American Interior’

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Gruff Rhys is back with a new album, American Interior, and will be accompanied by a book, documentary film and app for a “multisensory experience telling the incredible true story of John Evans”.

The Super Furries frontman’s latest record is inspired by the unusual journey of 18th century explorer John Evans, a young farmhand from Snowdonia who traveled through lands that would eventually become part of today’s USA, in search of a Welsh-speaking Native American tribe called The Madogwys living there. Lead single and title track from the upcoming LP, ‘American Interior’ reminds us how captivating a storyteller Rhys is, who wistfully spins a narrative of being carried through new worlds and visions amid the luscious and beautiful instrumentation. The song suggests that beyond all the chatter about multimedia extravaganza – an exciting album’s worth of new material is on the horizon. 

American Interior is released via Turnstile on 5th May – check out the title track for yourself below.

Keys – ‘Bad Girls’

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Keys (formerly The Keys) have unveiled their brand new single ‘Bad Girls’, the first to be taken from forthcoming album Ring The Changes, due sometime this May through See Monkey Do Monkey Records.

The band, who hail from the Welsh capital of Cardiff, are kindly giving away new single, ‘Bad Girls’, as a free download. Apparently inspired by Matth Keys’ late night journeys home from college, where he’d be propositioned by ‘ladies of the night. Whatever the case, the single is a glorious, swooning psych-surf pop brew, a tune so catchy, it will stick in your head for days. The surf pop and psych influences run free, harmonious, melodic and subtle; but swirled with psychedelic patterns and freewheeling colourful splashes. It’s fair to say this would sit rather comfortably alongside the likes of Super Furry Animals, The Coral and The Bees. 

You can download ‘Bad Girls’ below & Ring The Changes will be released later this year via See Monkey Do Monkey Records.

Cate Le Bon – ‘He’s Leaving’

Cate Le Bon

Welsh songstress Cate Le Bon has released new track, ‘He’s Leaving’, as a sort of thank you to fans after she wrapped up her touring duties during the week.

Previously unreleased, ‘He’s Leaving’ was recorded during the Mug Museum album sessions in LA and it’s hardly surprising to find some of the album’s sparkle has rubbed onto this track. As with Mug Museum, there is a sparseness to ‘He’s Leaving’, along with a cool, controlled confidence that showcases her knack for the wonderfully weird and surreal. Incredibly bittersweet, it is etched with a mournfulness as her quivering Welsh accent gently gives added life to the most touching lyrics. It is bestowed with all the wondrous majestic brilliance that made her last album an utterly bewitching, beguiling and beautiful record.

You can stream / download ‘He’s Leaving’. Cate Le Bon’s latest LP Mug Museum was released late last year and it comes highly, highly recommended. If you’re in the UK, you’re in luck as she has announced a slew of tour dates for later in 2014, see here.

The Rifles – ‘None The Wiser’

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For the past decade or so The Rifles have been plodding away, doing their mod (The Jam in particular) influenced indie thing and picking up a loyal fan base along the way. Since their formation in 2004, three albums have been released – debut No Love Lost in 2006 introduced the quartet’s aforementioned style, follow up The Great Escape did much the same while 2011’s Freedom Run shifted towards more grandiose, orchestral pop in places.

It’s been far from plain sailing, having to overcome financial problems, rows with banks and enforce line-up changes. Yet a full decade since their first gig and eight years on from their debut, The Rifles are still with us when many of the 2006 vintage are long since gone. With the original line-up back in place following the return of bassist Robert Pyne and drummer Grant Marsh to the fold alongside Joel Stoker and Lucas Crowther, The Rifles have resurrected their early sound, energy and enthusiasm.

There is an abundance of upbeat, punchy melodies and spiky guitars, riffs and hooks you could hang your hat on. It feels as though the band have just reverted back to where their strengths always lay and embraced them. The incessantly catchy ‘Minute Mile’ leads the super-charged opening, with the bouncy two minute injection of indie power pop of ‘Heebie Jeebies’ and ‘Go Lucky’ continues the momentum, and the latter nodding towards their fondness for The Jam. ‘All I Need’, ‘You Win Some’ and ‘The Hardest Place To’ offer a less exuberant side to their personality; preferring to fill the air with some subtle but energetic strumming, spritely drumbeats and luscious harmonies and melodies. While the albums finest moment ‘Shoot From The Lip’, isn’t too far removed from the catchy, heartfelt, quirky pop of Pete & The Pirates.

While it’s unclear if None The Wiser will be enough for The Rifles to transform their cult status; this is highly enjoyable, infectious, tight and melodic indie, done ever so well, and you know what? Sometimes that it’s quite enough.

Douga – ‘Kids of Tomorrow’

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Manchester’s Indie-psych extraordinaire’s, Douga have announced they will release their debut LP, The Silent Well, in May.

Predominantly revolving around songwriter Johnny Winbolt-Lewis, Douga proved their caliber for charming and clever jams with debut EP, Mono No Aware. Latest track and album opener, ‘Kids of Tomorrow’ is on a whole other level. It vastly surpasses anything they’ve produced in the past and suggests something rather special may be upon us come May. ‘Kids of Tomorrow’ is a mesmerising marathon of Krautrock, warm psychedelia and Americana which hurtles along with an energy that electrifies and never fails to capture your attention. It is a stunning reminder of their talent that combines melodic harmony, understated arrangements and an ocean of warmth, leaving us with a blistering jam and an appetite whet for more.

You can stream ‘Kids of Tomorrow’ below or download it free here. There’s no exact date yet for The Silent Well, but it’s penned in for release in May sometime. 

Blood Red Shoes – ‘Animal’

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“How does it feel, to reveal what you already know?” snarls Blood Red Shoes’ Steven Ansell on the savage, rampaging beast that is ‘An Animal’. It’s a pretty apt utterance from Ansell, as it reaffirms what we’ve known for a rather long time, the Brighton duo are one of the best in the business when it comes to full-blooded indie-rock.

‘Animal’ is the second track to have been unleashed from Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter’s forthcoming self-titled album, which is out on March 3rd. The track certainly indicates a return to top form after 2012’s somewhat underwhelming In Time To Voices. Brilliantly raw and heavy, this is the duo sounding as big, brash, boisterous and obliterative they’ve ever sounded in the past. Hating that shitty job hasn’t sounded that compelling for sometime. 

You can check out ‘Animal’ & the accompanying b-side, ‘Wretch’, which features Drenge’s Eoin Loveless and Ian Clement.

Radstewart – ‘Insane Parties’

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Praises were sung from rooftops when paths were last crossed with Radstewart and their wonky and wonderful, ramshackled lo-fi indie adventures a few weeks back.  

The Cardiff four-piece kick off 2014 with news of a new EP Wiccans & Beatlemancers, out March 17th, and have released new track ‘Insane Parties’ to get us all in the mood. ‘Insane Parties’ is lo-fi, slacker pop, as fresh as it is irresistible and laced with clever songwriting, dry-witted and sardonic lyrics. It also contains the fabulous line, “If you go out and get drunk, in an native American headdress, then you’re a cunt”. One the best incidentally, since HMHB’s “Is your child hyperactive, or is he perhaps a twat?”, in their song, ‘Surging out of Convalescence. An insidiously catchy, plucky and utterly fun slice of lo-fi indie.

Wiccans & Beatlemancers  will be released on March 17th through Alcopop! Records. Until then? Plenty of time to lap up ‘Insane Parties’, available to download free below & ‘Garage Faery’, a fizzing track taken from a recent split 12″ release on Art Is Hard / Reeks of Effort.

Introducing: Saint Max and the Fanatics

Saint Max and the Fanatics

Saint Max & The Fanatics are Max, Eliot, Fraser, Muir, Scott and Aldo, who hail from both Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland.

Together they create a joyous little racket. A quintessentially British sound with an open door policy on influences, incorporating a whole raft of luminaries from a rich pop family; Ala The Libertines’ devil may care attitude, the bouncy ska-pop rhythms of Madness and soulful horns of Dexys Midnight Runners. These echoes are never too much to bear, rather, they are effectively stitched together with swooping vocals, frenetic choruses and razor sharp lyrics, marking 18-year-old frontman Max Syed-Tollan as a songwriter beyond repute. While spritely gems such as ‘Soul Surrender’, ‘Afraid of Love’ & ‘Glasgow’ set the agenda for their insidiously catchy debut album, Saint Max is Missing and the Fanatics are Dead, there are pensive and emotive moments between the rhythmic frenzy of this indie-punk-ska-soul combo. Emotive and stirring renditions of ‘Sadsong’ & ‘Book Review’ offer a wistful and wilful insight, and display an added capacity to his songwriting.  An insidiously catchy, plucky and utterly loveable band, who manage it all with swagger and style. 

You can check out some choice picks from Saint Max and the Fanatics below or give their debut LP a listen here.

(Video) Malachai – ‘I Deserve To No’

Malachai - I Deserve To No

Bristol duo Malachai have announced news this week of a new album entitled, Beyond Ugly, set for release on March 31st.

The forthcoming LP serves as a closing chapter to the ‘Ugly’ triptych, an unplanned trilogy of albums and predated by the excellent Ugly Side of Love (2010) and Return to the Ugly Side (2011). Accompanying this news is ‘I Deserve To No’, the first track from the album to emerge. As far as tasters go, there’s no major surprises. It is a psyched out belter of a track, featuring a signature sonic brew of psychedelics and trip-hop, fused with some Asian inspired sounds. Malachai’s music has always exhibited a notable rawness and rasp, even so, ‘I Deserve To No’ goes one step further. A passionate anti-war message permeates the lyrical content with a relentless anger to the delivery, administered in a raspy sort of reggae style by Gee Ealey. An absolute belter as usual from Malachai. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the third and possibly, final album (hopefully not).

Check ‘I Deserve To No’ and it’s psyched-out video for yourself below. Beyond Ugly is released on March 31st through Domino imprint Double Six.

Introducing: Sen Segur

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Sen Segur are quite the pop music recycling plant. These Welsh psych-rock wonders – Benjamin Ellis, Sior Amor, Dafydd Evans & Gethin Davies – melt down bit ‘n pieces from past decades of the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s & ’90s, and press it all into something new and rather exciting.

Performing in both Welsh and English, the four-piece already have a number of releases under their belt, constituting to a fun and supremely engaging collection of modern psych-pop. Sen Segur’s own reserved dreamworld of odd ball wizardry is one of psychedelic playfulness, splotches of spaced out throwbacks and straight-up riffs which spills over into our dimension to produce lovely, soft and dizzying psych pop songs. When they find their groove, as they do with their latest singles ‘Love Zebra’ & ‘Get On Up (And Get Back Down)’, it is a blissfully enjoyable experience. Sen Segur have happened upon a sound sparkling with enough ingenuity and charm, to make the past seem like an undiscovered country, well worth taking a trip to. Oh yes. This is great stuff indeed.

All aboard for the wondrous and imaginative world of Sen Segur? You can listen to and download some choice cuts below. 

Introducing: Radstewart

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Radstewart are a puntastic four-piece – Chris, Jac, Dylan and Calvin –  from Cardiff (or near Cardiff at least).

Their’s is a wonky and wonderful, ramshackled lo-fi indie adventure, with clever songwriting, often laced with dry-witted lyrics. Radstewart’s sound is something approaching a mixture of Pavement with a touch of Parquet Courts and Pinkerton era Weezer, although one can imagine they’re probably sick to the back teeth of such comparisons. Regardless, it’s not bad company to be in with the latter particularly noticeable on ‘Arabesque Bedouin’. While there’s no doubting many bands have attempted a similar formula with the outcomes varying from the inspired to the woeful. Radstewart have however, got it spot on and found a neat sound, a perfect place between being too tight or too sloppy. Radstewart provide us with some lo-fi indie worthy of a furore and to rejoice in. In short, this stuff is so, so good. 

There are a few choice selections below. If they tickle your fancy, you can ‘name your price’ and download their Whig Crooks & Beer Swindlers EP now, from bandcamp.