Juice – ‘Sugar’

juice band uk

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’

gruff-rhys-american-interior1

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’

keys-3308535

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’

The-Rifles-None-The-Wiser-COOKCD595-1015x1024

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’

Douga UK 2014

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’

blood-red-shoes-1024x713

“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.