Into Music Reviews: New Music October 2021
Change. We live in a constant state of it, or so it seems. So much going on, so little time to devote to it, working through the clutter, the noise, the drivel, to unearth those diamonds in the mud, those gems that make it all worthwhile. That’s part of what we do at Into Music and you’ll be glad we did as we bring you some scintillating new music that’s just landed (or about to).
Artist: Midnight Ambulance
We first came across East Lothian alt-rock band Midnight Ambulance at the recent Vibrations Festival in Falkirk (see our review here) and were knocked for six by both the ferocity and tenderness of the band’s live show. Early single 5am was a highlight and I made a mental note to pursue them further.
Fast forward a few weeks and single number three has just been released. If the first two singles were hot, Rust is off the scale molten. Rocking guitars and brash, hard drumming are the ideal backdrop to Amelia’s vocal which swings from angelic to devilish with consummate ease.
The track explores the foibles and issues of an unravelling relationship and was written during the isolation of lockdown when things were collapsing and falling apart. Someone once sang about self doubt and ‘selfism’ and those themes are linked throughout the song.
Rust is big, it’s bold and has a full on rock out feel as the track reaches its climax. Without doubt one of the bands to watch going into 2022, check them out now.
Keep up to date with Midnight Ambulance via their website here.
Artist: Dirt Byrds
For a record label that describes itself as low-key, it’s fair to say that Dammit Records are making more than a few waves in their quest to bring unsigned bands to the masses. Based in South East England, the label have been championing local and international bands to sound effect.
Having contributed four track to the Dammit, Blast and Other Expletives compilation album, Dirt Byrds now get a release of their own and it is packed with raw power punk, filled to the max with attitude, energy and riffs.
It’s fast, in your face and the band don’t pull any punches with either their music or their lyrics. Tracks like Dangerous and Addiction are hard hitting thematically and while both come in at under 2 minutes, they provide a platform for solid drums, bass and scathing guitars.
Highlight is perhaps Bastards which in many ways reminds me of Stiff Little Fingers era Inflammable Material, a song I’d love to see played live to capture the essence of what this band is all about.
Dirt Byrds release the 12 track album Dirt on 1st November with pre orders available from 18th October via Dammit Records Bandcamp page here.
It’s pretty much a year ago that Into Music reviewed Blake’s HMS Blake release on Subjangle Records (see link here). That was a 40 track double CD release which laid bare the talent that is Julian Pugsley A.K.A. Blake.
Fast forward twelve months or so and new album Kaleidoscope is out and if the former laid the foundations, the latter has built on that by reaching upwards towards the sky where it dances with Lysergic Lucy on a hallucinogenic voyage to the stars.
So Good kicks off the album and the title is apt for a feel good pop track with tinges of rocksteady and a catchy chorus. Next up Blake takes us down a country lane with the effervescent Whatever You Do, before title track Kaleidoscope takes us on a psychedelic trip, a real stand out surely influenced by The Beatles and Jagwar Ma, Blake’s vocal ideally suited to the swirling, twisting, hazy music.
The Lost Art Of Writing Letters is one of the best named songs I’ve heard in a while and the track does it justice. Lyrically adept, Blake provides a simple but effective vocal, the tune a modern twist on twee C86 era music.
The album has 15 songs, all encompassing hooks, melodies, sweet harmonies and influences. The album was recorded on an ex-Abbey Road Studer 24 track two-inch tape machine and Blake had this to say about it:
I aimed to write songs for the album in contrasting rock and pop genres so that, when recorded, it would feel like a musical kaleidoscope. I was inspired by Spirit’s 12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, The White Album, The Velvet Underground’s Loaded and Donovan’s Hurdy Gurdy Man LP.
Those influences and styles are certainly intertwined throughout, the instrumental Snowfall on Nazareth is full of eastern promise whereas Sunshine Celebration would be right at home with the Laurel Canyon vibes of the 60/70s bands on that scene. Revelation Blues is another highlight, an infectious backbeat with lyrics reaching for the Lord.
Kaleidoscope by Blake is out now and can be ordered via the artist’s Bandcamp page here.