Posts Tagged ‘UK DIY’

Comet Gain

It’s been a long time since the last Comet Gain LP graced the turntable, and in that time the world’s sought to smash itself head-first into the walls as often as possible. The woven comfort of their last album, while perhaps providing shelter from the storm, wouldn’t be quite what’s called for in this year of eroding centers, our own personal hell of 2019. So it’s only fitting that Fireraisers Forever! is here to save us from ourselves. David Feck is back with his knuckles bared, a la Réalistes, a companion piece in discomfort and disillusionment to their new slab. The record raises its teeth against politicians and the body politic, idiots and ignorance in all it’s greasy splendor. There’s a relentless restlessness to the album – turning their jangle n’ strum into a shield against the everyday dig of the doledrum foxhole.

Feck doesn’t feint as the record bursts open with a declaration that “We’re All Fucking Morons” and the rhetoric only gets more sizzle from there on out taking down the scumbags and scroungers on “The Institute Debased” and knocking the very core of nostalgia from its pedestal on “Mid 8Ts”. That said, it’s not all invective and gnash, there are moments that soften in the sun (“The Godfrey Brothers,” “Her 33rd Goodbye”) but they only balance the stiffened resolve of the rest of the album. This is a classic clash of Comet Gain impulses — melodic, melancholic, misanthropic, and mad and mellow. What’s clear is that Feck and co. have never lost a step over the years and every new Comet Gain just adds to the legacy.



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Hygiene – “Bring Back British Rail”

UK punks Hygiene scrape the scabs off of what they do best – wiry socialist punk that’s indebted to the legacy of Wire, Gang of Four and Wolfhounds. On album closer “Bring Back British Rail” they drape a veil of static over their Ted Talk punk pound for a nostalgic ode to public transit hammered through with piano and gang vocals. While the song’s a bit of a departure from the rest of the album’s cleanly clipped swagger, but it acts as a kind of rallying cry that crumbles to the ground in a cascade of chaos and discord. The record is out May 24th on Upset the Rhythm.



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The Pheromoans – “The Sixth Bell”

UK DIY outfit The Pheromoans have been a lot of things over the past few years, but consistent is not one of them. The band is historically chameleonic – adapting to fit whims rather than trends, swerving through garage, autumnal pop, and the more driven sound that fits their current iteration. With a new album on the way for ALTER, the band unleashes a breathless single, “The Sixth Bell,” that’s clenched to the teeth with an itchy beat that only relents as the song skids to a close on a dirty mattress of relief. Shot through with siren stabs of synth and puffs of flute, the song jostles the listener around the room, careening and curving at the edges, but driving them nonetheless like base impulses that can’t be ignored. I’m always keen to see where The Pheramoans are at when a release lands and this seems like good ground to chew for nine tracks or so. I’m all in to see where this one leads.



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Sacred Paws – “How Far”

On their sophomore LP, UK duo Sacred Paws continues their thread of simple, yet sunny indie pop. “How Far” practically skips into the room on its acoustic strums, twirling in the sunlight like a kid let out of school early. The song’s so loose and airy it barely has bones but the pair keep it together with the charms of vets who’ve been honing their pop pedigree longer than their years would let on. The song approaches the edges of afrobeat before pulling back towards the indie-pop garden and the skittering lilt that guitarist Rachel Aggs adds to the song’s burbling beat is all the better for it. Definitely looking forward to this album as it rolls out from the band May 31st.




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Martha

Jumping up another rung from their superb and well-received sophomore LP Blisters In The Pit of My Heart, UK power pop shakers Martha are proving to be the piners to keep a constant eye on. The band’s latest infects 2019 with the kind of hearsick stomach ache that accompanies lost loves, long nights, dour days, and the terrible creeping feeling that you’ll never survive the next couple of months unchanged. Despite covering some of the bands most heavy territory, they make go down pretty easy, swishing down sweet hooks garnished with singalong swoons and whoa-oh choruses that help mask the bitter poison swimming below the in the band’s lyrics. While the hooks are noting to slough at, the band’s bare and bracing subjects elevate them from slipping into the punk undertow.

They’ve always had their hearts on their sleeve, tugging gently at the emotional tags that can sometimes be a brush off for folks. Yet they knot their wordy wallows into decorative lanyards that can’t help but win over listeners with the shared trauma of youth. Every song in Martha’s canon feels like they’re barely getting out alive and its hard not to nod along -whether the listener’s in the throes of high-stakes youth or just moisturizing the scars from it as part of a daily routine. The band is the embodiment of bittersweet, begging the listener back for more with earworms that nod the head but rub the soul raw.

To build those earworms they’re pushing aside the prattle of punk’s latter-day indulgences, keeping in the parachute lite pop billow, but discarding the repetition and cheeky charms. They supplant these with a touch of jangle stripped right out of the English tradition and the wistful cool that comes in tow with their clouded demeanor and introspective bend. While Love Keeps Kicking is easily a record that could facilitate any windows-down car trip for the summer, its just as likely to find you pulled over by the roadside crying off old wounds. For every tear they spill, though, Martha’s there to wrap an arm around and wipe it away. The record is knife and stitches all in one and despite my best intentions, its hard not to listen, lash and repeat.



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Vital Idles – “Break A”

Last year Upset The Rhythm had a banner run, issuing great LPs from Terry, Primo!, Sauna Youth, and the affecting debut from Vital Idles. The latter was steeped in the best hallmarks of post-punk, churning slow-burn tension into the kind of album that winds up collector fodder for those with the right kind of ears. The band now doubles down on their sterling n’ sparse debut with a follow-up EP that’s got more of the rubber band snap of bass and bent metal beam guitars that make the best post-punk. Doing one better, though, the vocals of Jessica Higgens are tinged with just the right mix of aloof, angst, and accusations. Lead-off track “Break A” slithers through the speakers with a nighttime slink – icy, reserved, and brittle as crushed glass. The track proves that their debut was no fluke – its as good as anything that appeared there – and maybe even a head above. If this is only sharpened point of the EP, I can’t wait until the rest cuts deep and draws blood.



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