Read Time:9 Minute, 10 Second
Ummmm, are you ok hun? Have you made it through the day yet? It’s ok, it’s just me and you now, no more pranks, just me, you and the music. Breathhhhhhh.
PSYCH. As if I care about your precious wellbeing! Pffft, if you have only fallen victim to April fools day pranks today because you didn’t get your shizz together to pull any pranks on unsuspecting, innocent people then you’ve only yourself to blame my good friend, yeah that’s right, I’m victim-blaming, so sue me. (I’m being very obnoxious, please forgive me – it’s the nature of the day).
The world is getting darker and grittier out there, haven’t you seen the latest Batman film yet? (Ok but seriously, when are we going to talk about how much influence they took from like every David Fincher film) but anyway, the point is the world is merciless and you have got to level up. And leveling up is obviously about improving your stealth ability, stealth is key to pulling off the perfect prank because at the very least you can use it to jump scare your friends and loved ones. Also, don’t underestimate the impact of setting up a fake email account. I once used this to pretend that I was HR at the company my best friend works at and implored her to return to work whilst she was on furlough (sadly, it didn’t work) but it was amusing and that’s what counts.
This month, we have a lot of post-punk alongside some alt-synthy stuff and a weeny bit of grime. Musical picks are from myself (K.H) Mike Turner (M.T), Cath Holland (C.H) and Jordan Dowling (J.D).
UV-TV – Back to Nowhere
There’s so much to love about this NYC based art-punk/ noisepop band. UV-TV have evolved from scuzzier, punkier sound to a cleaner, indie, janglier sounding group and they’re certainly no worse for it. Although I would urge you to check out their older releases especially Happy which is pretty great and more shoegazy than this release.
Always Something [DEMOS] sounds a little bit like New Order meets The Pastels which is no bad thing. The group are actually on a mini UK tour from the 4th April this year and are scheduled to play dates in Bristol, Chelmsford, Hastings and Hull before heading to Germany, venue details are on their Bandcamp page and I’d urge you to catch them if that’s your town or you’re nearby because you’re surely in for a treat. (K.H)
Joy Cleaner – Spent Flowers
If there is a single band that captures the overall vibe of Jigsaw Records it might be New Jersey’s Joy Cleaner. Their simple 90s slacker-rock vibe meets indie-pop means that the trio easily walk the line between Superchunk, Velvet Crush, and Sugar. And whilst a lot of early to mid-90s indie rock might not be a household name now, in a few records, this band could really break big time if they keep going.
Spent Flowers pulls together tracks from compilations, early tapes, and random early tracks to create a very solid “how we got here” type of album that is much in keeping with indie-rock classics like Tossing Seeds or Fossils. Spent Flowers is a youthful soundtrack for people of all ages to drive around their hometown air drumming and pumping their fists into the air while singing along at the top of their lungs. (M.T)
Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems
On ‘Coming Correct Is Cheaper’ Soul Glo’s lead vocalist Pierce Jordan states “I don’t like being appraised. I don’t fucking like it”. Well, hopefully, he’ll forgive me. The band rage against apathy with a blistering blend of hardcore and which on ‘Coming Correct Is Cheaper‘ has a vibe of controlled chaos that fans of Gilla Band will appreciate. Diaspora Problems is one of 2022’s best heavy albums to date, and ‘Coming Correct Is Cheaper’ is the perfect entry point. (J.D)
Vaxxers – Suite for CT310
Vaxxers have been around for some time in the house show and tape label scene. Mostly a single-person performance project of Durham, North Carolina, musician Alex Riggs, that outside of this release is heavy on tape-loops, found sounds, ambient drones, and electronic glitch work, but Suite for CT310 walks the line between ambient new age and modern classical.
The album came about from Alex buying a Casio CT310 at a thrift store and writing music solely on it for a festival performance. The album, which is available digitally and on a limited CD, sounds surprisingly like a cassette tape filled with layers of warble and hiss making these electronic songs feel otherworldly and from another time or dream state. It’s an album that reminds me a bit of Durutti Column but on a Casio that you can just happily chill out to. (M.T)
Charles Howl – Hanky Panky Nohow
A man in a pub not too long ago delivered an unsolicited one-to-one lesson at me, about The Velvet Underground. Throwing “John Cale is 80 this month, how mad’s that” in his direction seemed like a good idea because what does one say to mansplainers? Very aware this little tale has ‘didn’t happen’ written all over it, but he laughed uneasily and came out with ‘who’s John Cale?’.
Anyways, someone able to answer such a question is Charles Howl, who has handily covered Cale’s ‘Hanky Panky Nohow‘ from the 1973 album Paris 1919. The surreal world within Hanky Panky Nohow was delivered soberly in the original, with the low posh strings of a symphony orchestra, buttery soft guitar and a Mellotron – maybe, may how.
Howl’s interpretation is decidedly lo-fi, synths wheezing a little and a drum machine ticking away. This treatment is a blessing more than a curse, giving the space to breathe and reflect and bringing with it a delicate melancholy. Nice pastiche of the album artwork too. Get this song free when you buy recent single ‘Dreamer In A Bad Way’. (C.H)
Hiperson – Bildungsroman
Hiperson’s 2020 album is an interesting blend of light and dark tones, it takes it cues from the Pixies and their mantra of loud/quiet instrumentation but ultimately the band bears the strongest similarity to cult Glaswegian band Life Without Buildings (you know, the one that was trending on Tik Tok not long ago).
Originating from Chengdu, their song lyrics draw inspiration from Chinese and foreign literature. Bildungsroman is not afraid to exceed the average song length and many of the tracks are around seven minutes long, often introduced with quiet spoken word vocals which explode into emotion. It’s raw, honest and just the type of thing that would fit well in the Discord records canon. (K.H)
Mick Trouble – It’s Mick Trouble’s 2nd LP
There is a total bullshit story about a fictional character that is Mick Trouble and almost everyone at this point knows who is behind Mick Trouble, but yet for some reason I still won’t name them and think this silly lie should keep going, but I mean if you are fans of shambling indiepop of My Teenage Stride and the Jeanines then, well, maybe I’ve said too much.
Mick Trouble is basically that Television Personalities album we always wanted that was produced by Chris Knox, though maybe that’s just something I always dreamed about. So enjoy this hybrid of early Squeeze and Jam melodies through the home recorded DIY filter of TVP’s and Flying Nun. I mean if that doesn’t make you order this right now, then maybe everything really is doomed.
Ecko Bazz – Mmaso
‘Mmaso’ kicks off Ugandan rapper Ecko Bazz’s debut album in a furious style. There are many of the traits of southern US hip-hop found on the track but these traits have rarely (if at all) been delivered with such volume and venom. Bazz’s unpolished and unrelenting flow more than matches up to the beats, at times finding ground similar to early UK grime. (J.D)
The Holograms were a Swedish post-punk band circa 2012-13 and whilst the majority of the UK was still in indiesleaze party mode, they had already predicted that the world had nothing to celebrate. Instead, they came forth with this fierce self-titled release that struck me as embodying the kind of urgent energy that seemed like a much more appropriate response to the beginning of a global economic shift towards oligopolies and an ever-tightening stranglehold of social and financial gain for the middle and working classes.
To be fair, Britain did have a sort of equivalent in Leeds-based band Eagulls who were also unsmiling, angry and far too short-lived. There’s a great gig out there in an alternate universe with both these bands on the line-up whist a revolution of the people takes place in the background. (K.H)
Lande Hekt – Romantic / Octopussy
If you’re part of the UK DIY scene you already know but for everyone else: Lande Hekt is about as real and genuine as it gets. A music scene lifer who, after a decade, is finally getting noticed. Hekt released her debut solo album Going to Hell in 2021 on the queer/trans label Get Better Records which put Lande on the radar of a lot of bigger press outlets.
Romantic/ Octopussy follows up and delivers even more of the promise made on the debut. Fans of Snail Mail, Try the Pie, and early Waxahatchee will fall head over heals for this 7”. Oh yeah, and the B-side ‘Octopussy‘ is a Wedding Present cover that removes the wrist shattering jangle and reduces the song to a heart-crushing lament. (M.T)