Into Music Reviews: New Music May 2022
So here we are in May. We’ve just had the Bank Holiday and the promise of better weather is still to materialize. I write this with a heavy duty jumper on, usually reserved for winter and with energy prices soaring, it seems the sensible thing to do. Music however, remains a constant in our lives and the right type continues to give the warm, fuzzy feeling that is difficult to replicate. There’s been quite the plethora of new releases recently and Into Creative have a batch of choice cuts for you to read about and hopefully check out.
Artist: Fontaines D.C.
Album: Skinty Fia
This is a band I’ve been a fan of for quite some time, seeing them live at Rockaway Beach in early 2020 and a couple of times since including a scorching performance a few months back at Glasgow Barrowland. Their first album Dogrel was raw and exciting and the follow up A Hero’s Death was certainly not the difficult second album that many bands experience.
The new album Skinty Fia however, sees Fontaines D.C. take their all round sound and musicianship to a totally new level. Opener In ar gCroithe go deo beats menacingly, the track building with hints of reverb as singer Grian Chatten provides a passionate vocal, based on the story of Margaret Keane whose proposed Gaelic inscribed headstone was deemed overtly political by the Church of England.
One thing that stands out about the album is the production by Dan Carey which allows for a more expansive, heavyweight and broader sound than its predecessors. Bloomsday is a case in point, a slow burner with dominant guitars in complete symmetry with the rhythm section of heavy hitting drums and pulsating bass.
With the band relocating to London, it’s no surprise that it’s reflected in songs like Roman Holiday where Chatten sings about the Irish community in the English capital finding solace in each other while still facing prejudice. The Couple Across The Way is perhaps the one track that stands out in comparison to others on the album. Its accordion led, sparse with a lament style vocal really bring it to the fore.
A band at their absolute peak, Skinty Fia (out now on Partisan Records) is destined to be one of the top album releases of 2022. Fontaines D.C. are currently touring the USA before returning to Europe and the U.K. including dates in Glasgow (TRSMT) on 09 July and two nights at Glasgow O2 Academy on 17-18 November. For details on the album and tour, visit their website here.
Album: Happy Graffiti
In many ways a remarkable album, Happy Graffiti is the work of Julian Pitt aka Armstrong and from the opener Disinformation onwards, there is not a duff track to be had here. Indeed, having listened to it endlessly over the past few days, I’ve reached the conclusion it’s the perfect antidote to a bad day at work or when your life needs a pick-me-up, Armstrong’s sense of melody, harmony and uplifting vocals, which often feature weather, nature and the environment, just reach the parts that others can’t.
Songbird with its keys/strings and acoustic guitar break really showcases Armstrong’s skills in pulling together component parts to create a simple but subtle track, sometimes that’s all that’s needed. When We Were Young bounds along extolling the virtues of loving your heart and loving your life looking back on that time in life when anything and everything was possible. It’s got a real hook and the makings of a pop classic.
There are of course influences and I detect elements of Lloyd Cole and Roddy Frame coursing through Pitt’s veins as he constructed the songs from seed idea through to the finished album.
An absolute earworm is This One, a laid back track that is probably my stand out track over the other 13 on offer here but that opinion will probably change by next week! With a stellar back catalogue, it’ll be interesting to see what Armstrong does to top this record.
The album is a joint release by The Beautiful Music and Country Mile Records and is out now. Keep up to date with Armstrong via his Bandcamp page here.
Artist: The Anomalys
The Dutch purveyors of garage punk are back following their 2019 release Trooper with a full length album in Glitch. The album kicks off with Smart Patrol with the drums dominant on the track before neat guitar inflections creep in. Definitely a garage punk classic and somewhat reminiscent of The Stingrays, it’s a solid thumbs up from me.
Anomalys Rise has a cool but sparse guitar hook before the track explodes into a psychobilly infused rollercoaster, not often an instrumental manages to continually grab the attention but this one certainly does.
The three piece hail from Amsterdam and feature Remi on drums, Looch Vibrato (formerly of Magnetix) on guitar and Bone on vocals/guitar. Dead Friends is probably the heaviest track of the nine on offer here, slower with a distinctive rocking bluesy feel, it shows the band can mix it at both ends of the dial.
Panic sees the band channel there inner Link Wray/Poison Ivy with a guitar assault on the ears that is just sumptuous. Elsewhere Bleed For Me is straight forward rock and roll, garage and rockabilly, a heady mix that really hits the nail on the head. The nine tracks come in at a whirlwind 25 minutes so, wow!
In this day in age, it’s great to hear bands are still out there taking influence from that primitive rock and roll and for that, I absolutely salute The Anomalys, you should too. Glitch is out now on Slovenly Recordings. Keep up to date with the band via their Bandcamp page here.
Another stellar release from the LNFG label is the self titled debut album from St.Dukes which has just landed. The Glasgow four piece have been around for a number of years and their sound touches on a few genres including americana, folk, garage and rock.
The opening salvo of Animal Glue and Take What You Want are simply fantastic, the latter especially which rolls along with joint vocals provided by Sarah Connor and Lewis Douglas, the accompanying guitar interplay (kinda Breeders/Pixies vibe) binding the track together perfectly. Other songs see the two singers share vocal duties and this really works well, the chemistry evident and it surprises me that more bands don’t do similar. Douglas takes the lead on Soft Play, a slab of Americana with Connor providing backing harmonies, the rhythm section of Fraser Hamilton (bass) and Max Orr (drums) fully complementing the track.
Flip over to side two and the consistency just doesn’t stop. To Be Home having previously been showcased by BBC Radio Scotland as their song of the week and no surprise, it’s perfect pop. Modern Culture stands out for its lyrics, delving into the continual fluff aired by the national broadcaster against a backdrop of Trump era right wing politics.
There is no doubt the music scene in Scotland is buzzing with talent at the moment and St.Dukes are a big part of that creative scene. Keep up to date with the band via their website here.
Artist: His Lordship
EP: His Lordship Play Rock’n’Roll, Vol.One
Six songs coming in around fifteen minutes makes up this release from His Lordship. The tracks are all covers and are delivered in a scuzzy, downright garage punky way by a band that definitely know their rock from their roll.
His Lordship comprise of James Walbourne who has played with a who’s who of bands and artists (including The Pogues, Edwyn Collins and The Pretenders) and Kristoffer Sonne (Chrissie Hynde, Willie Nelson). For a two piece, they don’t half make a racket, with Walbourne on guitar and vocal duties belting out classics from the likes of Link Wray (Run Chicken Run) and Gene Vincent (Cruisin’).
The band are also recording original material which will be released in the future. Previous single I’m So Bored Of Being Bored came out late 2021 and is two and a half minutes of primal rock and surely bodes well for the promised new material.
His Lordship are a band that have been on my radar for a bit now and have even had noted writer John Niven commenting that they “make The Cramps sound like yacht rock“. Now, I’m a huge fan of The Cramps and I have no fucking idea what yacht rock is, but this certainly piqued my interest.
Having gigged in and around London, His Lordship are about to hit the road and will play Glasgow McChuills on May 20th and Edinburgh Voodoo Rooms on May 21st. I’m hoping to be at one of these gigs and will report back on the gig. Meanwhile I’m away to listen to some yacht rock.
His Lordship Rock’n’Roll Vol.One is out now on Psychonaut Sounds. You can keep up to date with His Lordship via their Bandcamp page here.