September 2020: What’s Playing.

Welcome to a first on Jude’s music moods! Today we’re getting together with Tiggerligger for our first collaborating post to spill the beans on some great sounds for your September, this could prove to be fruitful!

I’m in my post punk mood (as per usual) so we’re reviewing a few punky records and an interesting experimental cloud rap record. Enjoy! Tiggerligger is in reflective autumn mode so expect mostly chilled lofi vibes. We both have different tastes and writing styles so it’s gonna be fun finding out how this goes.

Dogs bollox or Dogs breakfast, you decide.

MarionvilleModels: Punta Prima (album review) – Tiggerligger 

If you want lo fi melody in spades, breathless low key vocals and a cool early Tame Impala/ War On Drugs vibe then Edinburgh duo (Jake Barry and Jack Davis) MarionvilleModels and their freshly released album Punta Prima will cheer up any weather challenged  breezy wet day. This is a perfectly chilled album to watch leaves turn yellow to.

Punta Prima is one of those albums where you pick up something new to wonder at each play. National Joke is a short instrumental as is title track Punta Prima. They might be but gentle whispers of a song, but they set the moody tone of this album.

The quality shines through on tracks like the guitar tingly Over So Soon with a nice swirling riff which lingers in the brain like a sweet word from a loved one. Summer Fur meantime has indie credentials in spades. If Jesus and Mary Chain ever turned country, then it would sound like the delicious Summer Fur.

Hotel Lux – Barstool Preaching EP Review – Jude

British post-punk is really kicking off! Hotel Lux are a 5 piece post-punk group hailing from London and earlier on this year they released their debut EP Barstool Preaching, I was unaware of it at the time but it has really been catching my ear as I replay it more and more recently; and it’s become probably the most fun EP I’ve heard this year.

The best way I could describe hotel lux’s sound is pub-post-punk (a mix of pub punk and post punk). The vocals have an emphasis on speaking in a very classic English spoken word way but with a fun rhythmic edge to them, especially in cuts like ‘Charades’ and ‘The Loneliness Of The Stage Performer’. The trademark vocals are one of the standout things about Hotel Lux which sound classically English and are able to communicate a lot of emotion and feeling while having a very singalong quality to them also. The EP has a very fun feel to it, they’re not reinventing the post punk wheel here or anything but in this solid collection of 5 songs and 17 minutes they manage to deliver some enjoyable English post punk with some very catchy and memorable melodies and choruses. Clearly at this stage in Hotel Lux’s career, this being their debut EP, they want nothing more than to have a bit of fun and it definitely shows here.

This EP also marks themselves out from other British post punk bands most similar to them such as Shame who have a lot more of a darker gothic sound, Squid who have a more experimental sound, whereas Lux come across care free and happy – the essence of the pub aspect of their sound. The lyricism is very simple: from singing about the mundanities of their lives, them going about their days, to getting pissed and dancing in ‘Eddies Gaff’, their distaste for UK tabloid media, and just general musings about English life in a very humorous way. Hotel Lux, even in the least accessible songs of the bunch, manage to carve out a very memorable and catchy choruses which is a mark of talent in this early phase.

Overall a very fun debut EP which have made Hotel Lux a band to look out for if you’re into your English post-punk and your classic pub punk. Barstool Preaching is just an EP from a bunch of London Lads having a good time making some music, and the result is some very jolly and entertaining post-punk, whilst also maintaining that element of social criticism in there as any wry English post punk band should enjoy.

Favourite Tracks: Tabloid Newspaper, Eddies Gaff, Charades, Ballad Of You & I

Least Favourite Tracks: None 😊

San Francisco Just Friends (single review) – Tiggerligger

Although there is currently just one track to his name, another act that has captured my ears this past month or so is Leeds based San Francisco. Iwan is San Francisco and moved  from North Wales to attend Leeds Conservatoire just last September.

While I might question the wisdom of using a name like San Francisco that makes him a beggar to find on the tinterweb, there’s nothing insensible about the quality of the sound he makes. I adore the complex but really banging guitar and the deep confident voice of Iwan. This is a lush soundscape but with a jaunty cutting edge. It’s hard to think this was a lockdown bedroom recorded track, although mixed and tidied up outside.

The track is called Just Friends, and you would have to be made from stone not to know about all the complexities of putting some distance into a once close relationship, particularly when one of the couple has feelings still greater than just friends. The lyrics give a beautifully real image of some of those confused thoughts. Did I misunderstand the relationship, did you mislead me, I’m not worthy of you anyway. The line “you were 17 I was the last thing you needed” hits me right in the heart every time.

Iwan describes plenty of fresh bright influences from Zuzu, Bloxx, The Skinner Brothers to the grander fuller sounds of the likes of Sunset Sons, Red Rum Club and Night Cafe. I predict a bright and interesting future for San Francisco, and I’m excited to hear more from him shortly.

No Age: Goons Be Gone Album Review – Jude

Prolific Californian noise pop / rock duo No Age released their fifth album in June titled Goons Be Gone. This album marks a shift from the more distorted shoegaze’y and noisy approach that no age have had on their previous 4 albums and instead have gone for a more polished approach to their song writing, particularly contrasting from the chaotic noisy approach they introduced to us on their debut Nouns just over a decade ago. The vocals on Goons Be Gone are much clearer and mixed more to the fore of the track than they have done previously, and this works out really well for them. The song writing is also still just as strong, with the more polished approach allowing us to hear their instrumental work more audibly which is one of the main strengths of this album. However don’t be under the impression that just because it’s polished it departs from their trademark sound, No Age still incorporate cool noisy backdrops to their songs and the song writing and structures are still in the punky noise pop style that they do so well. The guitars are noisy, but their textures sound soft, lush and detailed, with a tasteful use of layering which tantalises the listeners ears, uniquely hitting that spot between abrasive noise pop and ambient music. The contrasting use of language in the song titles reflect this in between spot as well, Working Stiff Takes a Break, War Dance, Agitating Moss in particular show a deliberate juxtaposition between tension and peace.

There is also a refreshing variety of tracks on this album, from the guitar riff focused cuts such as Sandalwood and Agitating Moss, the punky bangers such as War Dance and Turned To String whose guitarwork are highlights for me; there is also the slower songs like Smoothie which is a laid back restrained cut with a backdrop of soothing floaty noise which works really well, alongside quirky little interludes such as Working Stiff Takes A Break. The standout track for me – Head Sport Full Face, has an amazing driving noisy rhythm alongside relaxed Californian almost spoken word vocals, a combination that’s got to be one of my favourite tracks of the year.

Overall this albums strengths lie in the complementary combination of hard and soft sounds (can we say ambient punk?). No Age achieve the perfect middle ground between the beautifully textured and detailed ambient as well as noise from the guitar work whilst maintaining the strong song writing skills that they have perfected over their career.

Favourite Tracks: Head Sport Full Face, Sandalwood, Feeler, Smoothie, War Dance, Turned to String, Agitating Moss

Least Favourite: Toes In The Water, A Sigh Clicks

Sylvette – Stiller Than Still (album review) Tiggerligger

I have published a full review already, but I’ve played Manchester’s Sylvette and their recently released album Stiller Than Still to death over the past month and there’s plenty more for me to explore. It’s a rare artist that can achieve grand rather than the more overblown grandiose, and this majestic album glides effortlessly to that sweet spot.

Those into Radiohead, The War on Drugs (again) and the likes of Pink Floyd will be very persuaded by Sylvette.

I have to confess on first play I wasn’t quite sure that Stiller Than Still was for me. But aren’t those albums that demand unwrapping and exploring before it grabs your heart the best? The voice of Charlie Sinclair has warmth, range and elasticity. The music meanwhile has its own style and it isn’t going to age with the fashions. I can see a future generation discovering Sylvette.

Anyone wanting just a single taste of Sylvette to see what they are about could do far worse than to start with their single Kelpius. The song’s eponymous fellow was an early USA immigrant from Germany who founded a religious cult living in caves, meditating, studying botany, astronomy and the occult. You have to admit there’s worse hobbies. Kelpius and his followers believed the end of the world would happen in 1694. They were celibate and unsurprisingly died out; I guess they found their own end of the world.

The lyrics on Kelpius are magical: “On the other side the stream thickens and now there’s treacle on the bank” is beautifully poetic. The delicious part is that Kelpius is just one of any number of delights to disect and savour.

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