Into Music Reviews: More New Music August 2023
We are well into summer now and the good news is the top tunes keep coming, making for a great mix tape of aural delight. So read on and then go seek these sounds out, guaranteed you won’t be disappointed.
Artist: One Thousand Violins
EPs: John Peel session 25.09.85/John Peel session 02.12.86
Label: Precious Recordings of London
There was a period in the mid to late 1980s when One Thousand Violins seemed to be on the cusp of great things to come. Forging a burgeoning reputation in their home city of Sheffield and beyond, the band mixed ’60s melodies with an ’80s outlook, their music attempting to transcend the two periods in question.
The first Peel session sees the band at their most optimistic and the music has a clear groove and feel, particularly on The Candle Man where we get jangly guitar, modish keyboards and John Wood’s dark, rich, swooning vocal.
The band of course took their name from an Orange Juice lyric and their influence can be heard on the session though there is variety too, their cover of The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore is delightful, bass heavy and comfortably insouciant.
Interestingly, band members Colin Gregory and John Wood both mention in the sleeve notes that the songs are played too fast. I’m not sure I would agree with that on the first session but the December ’86 session does come across in that vein, when listened to. That said, the songs remain strong and still shine through on melody and harmony. That session is more hard-edged, as exemplified on I Was Depending On You To Be My Jesus, while the band are truly rocking out on the polished and precise No-One Was Saving The World.
They still retain a genuine love in the indie world and these two releases will be welcomed by fans old and new. Head over to the Precious Recordings of London Bandcamp page here to order.
Artist: Lost Ships
Album: Atoms Collide Forever
Lost Ships have been on the go for some time, in one format or another. Initially as The Kites in the late ’80s/early ’90s. The band have since changed their name to Lost Ships and have already recorded three EPS for the Subjangle label. Pleasingly, we now have a fully formed album from the Plymouth band in the shape of Atoms Collide Forever.
What we get is fourteen songs around the 45-50 minute mark and plenty to get into. It’s no surprise that BBC radio stalwarts like Steve Lamacq and Mickey Bradley have played the band on their shows.
Brittle Heart Foundation is a cracker, the guitar crackles and bristles with an intensity in, what is, a great album opener. Swiftly followed up with the exquisite I’m In Love With Your Girlfriend, a track that floats with squalling guitars and sonic vocals, it wouldn’t sound out of place in a Teenage Fanclub set.
Across the album we find part jangly pop and part elements of Britpop, though not the ‘lads’ type bravado some bands on that scene were known for. Think more of the nuances of Blur and the charm of The Bluetones.
The variety continues with the woozy laid back (j)angular musical shapes of Taking The Day Off while the band veer to post punk on Toaster Song. Any album worth its salt needs a “la la la la la” in their somewhere and we get that on the excellent Fixed For Daylight, an unashamedly poptastic tune though with dark lyrics.
A confident and consistent debut album from Lost Ships. To order the album, visit their Bandcamp page here.
Label: Perfect Cast Records
If you’ve got your finger on the pulse when it comes to the Scottish music scene, you’ll know that Gourock’s SLIX are beginning to make quite the name for themselves. A steady stream of singles and a reputation for leaving nothing at the door in their incendiary live shows has led to the four-piece being regarded as ‘one to watch’.
Recent single Rewind is an excellent introduction to the band. One hundred and fifty seconds of unashamed post punk rockiness. At times raw, but retaining an encompassing energy that is uplifting, hitting you between the eyes (in a good way).
With young bands like Gallus, Vlure and now SLIX on the go, there is a real vibrancy in the Scottish music scene at the moment. More please…
Having sold out King Tuts and played at the recent TRNSMT festival, SLIX now play a headline show at Glasgow St. Luke’s on 1 March 2024. Tickets available here.
Artist: The Dentists
EP: Janice Long session 02.04.87
Label: Precious Records of London
The Dentists were part of the famed Medway scene and were active for 10 years or so from the mid-80s through to 1995. Support slots with the likes of Go-Betweens, The Pastels and Del Amitri followed and the band made one Radio 1 session for Janice Long, which is represented here.
First track is a cover of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now which featured in their set list for a period of time and it’s great, the band really giving it their indie-esque stamp. (We Thought We’d Got To) Heaven features a compelling guitar break which slows things down before the vocals kick back in sublimely, the “take me to the forest” line sung with vim and verve.
The highlight though is A Strange Way To Go About Things, the band are really tight and everything, guitar, bass, drums, vocal are on point which rounds off the EP well. Head over to the Precious Recordings of London Bandcamp page here to order The Dentists EP.
Single: Touch Of Gold
Label: Livesay Records
Whoever said guitar music is on the wane was talking bollocks, right? LUNARCA blow that theory right out of the water with the release of their new single Touch Of Gold, out on 11 August.
The Sheffield four piece have only got a couple of singles out so far, this will be their third and best track to date. It is no accident that LUNARCA are beginning to get noticed in the music press and on the live circuit, making an impact at the Reading & Leeds Festival for the past two years.
Touch Of Gold is just that, a three-minute slab of sunshine, Conor Berry’s vocal straining with passion while the drums crash and the guitars slice through the middle of the track, producing molten energy that few bands can muster in comparison.
Speaking of the track, Berry said “Touch Of Gold is a real anger-built track which captures the frustration of being overlooked. Though there’s a constant reminder of hope “nothing’s grey with a touch of gold”. This song sums up the state of the world and I feel that a lot of people will relate to it“.
One thing is guaranteed, on this form. LUNARCA certainly won’t be overlooked. Keep an eye out for the band, big things beckon. To pre-save the new single Touch Of Gold, head over to the link here.