We come together once again to cast intrigue driven ears over another handful of songs which delve into the imagination of host and inquisitor alike. They are singles which come courtesy of the equally enthralled attention and support of Shauna of Shameless PR, herself one halve of the ocean of imagination that is the band Ummagma.
First up we have the drama soaked ear gripping offering from California’s Black Needle Noise. The project is the cinematic woven rich atmospheric contemplations of legendary producer John Fryer and one half of This Mortal Coil. His new single is a stunning version of What a Wonderful World, another legendary moment in musical history immortalised by Louis Armstrong. Taken from Black Needle Noise’s upcoming covers-based EP, These Mortal Covers and featuring Tom Berger on vocals, What a Wonderful World is a richly dark and haunting proposal. Its breath is apocalyptic and ill-fated, its emotive trespass anathematizing yet at its heart is a light, a glimpse of hope and soulful encouragement.
Instantly keys envelope ears and thought, their touch gentle yet provocative as too the swiftly joining tones of Berger. Within the immediately dark claustrophobic climate of the track the landscape builds, the familiar magnetism and heart of the original nestling perfectly yet dangerously within the rising atmospheric tempest of threat and invasiveness.
By the second the track simply grows and overwhelms, simultaneously seducing and intimidating in a billowing tapestry of sound in some ways akin to a fusion of Bauhaus and Nine Inch Nails. What a Wonderful World proved a riveting and irresistible slice of intimation meaning that These Mortal Covers cannot come soon enough.
Similarly aligning light and shadows is The Sea at Midnight within its new single, Afterglow, the song a blend of post punk and synth pop which also had the senses enthralled.
The band is the creation of LA-based Chicago-bred songwriter Vince Grant. The solo project draws on the inspirations of bands such as The Cure, Joy Division, Psychedelic Furs, Siouxsie and the Banshees, New Order and Echo and the Bunnymen; hues of influence which can be openly heard in the weave of his latest single yet only to colour its uncompromised individuality in sound and character.
Afterglow is the latest in a recent acclaim loaded line of singles, following the highly praised likes of Medicine, Melancolia, How Many Times, Edge of The World, and most recently We Share The Same Stars. Grant describes his new song as “…a love story. Sunsets to me are nature’s expression of romance. If I could, I’d give someone a sunset instead of flowers.”
There is a certain romance to the song, its breath classic and caressing the senses even within its dark walls clad in melancholic shadows. Grant’s vocals share an earnestly longing heart as his guitar weaves a similarly engaging web of jangling suggestion, the surrounding embrace of keys just as captivating in their hold and with its eighties wrapped lures. Fair to say, Afterglow quickly and firmly had ears fascinated and thick pleasure sparked; The Sea at Midnight leaving another richly potent mark on 2020.
Continuing in a similar vein of darkness in life and emotion within post punk bred imagination we eagerly suggest exploring the latest offering from The Wake. This is a band which also will have been a potent influence of those above, the band becoming a rich landmark upon the postpunk/gothic rock landscape since emerging in the mid-eighties. The end of October sees the band release their first album in almost 25 years and it has become one highly and eagerly anticipated proposition in no small thanks to the release of its lead singles.
Featuring Red Lorry Yellow Lorry’s Wolfie, Everything is the second song taken from Perfumes and Fripperies, a track which instantly had us licking lips through James Tramel’s steely bassline. Immediately the single’s shadows close in courting the classic genre elegance of Rich Witherspoon and Wolfie’s guitars as Daniel C’s beats prowl and manipulate the senses. The familiar evocative Wake creative breath just pulls on ears and imagination, the poetry in Troy Payne’s words and tones encapsulating the beauty and darkness of the song’s heart and the emotive sounds it bears.
We also have to mention its recent predecessor, Hammer Hall, which equally has fuelled a hunger to check out the upcoming full-length. Unsurprisingly the track is also an embrace come trespass of dark and light, the haunting romanticism which colours the band sound aligning with a lively canter which effortlessly got under the skin.
Already an inspiration to a great many, The Wake will only continue to be so with tracks like Everything and Hammer Hall and if their suggestion is borne out the Ohio band is about to leave another memorable moment in time courtesy of their new full-length.
Sometimes unplanned moments and creative accidents can produce some of the most fascinating and thrilling propositions and so it is with Coup de grâce, the debut track from PXPRS, part x part r section. Vocalist for British electronic outfit Client, Nikki Thomas, revealed how the project and song came about before its recent unveiling. “While working on the new Client album with producer David Francolini and the Pylon King in lockdown, this just fell out but it didn’t quite fit stylistically with the record we are making, so we did some extra remote recording with Angelo Bruschini from Massive Attack (guitar), Dayna Fischer (bass) and Aaron Forbes (guitar) and the racket that is…part x part r section was born.”
It is one of the inadvertent results which really grips attention when face to face, the song a raucous punk infused rock ‘n’ roll roar thick in attitude and noisy dissonance. It challenges in breath and grips in touch, guitars a clamorous trespass within rhythmic harassment; their insurgency emulated in sort by the radiance and beauty of the vocals which rides their tempestuous waves.
The song is superb and instantly had us hoping that this is not a one off incursion but just the first of many eruptions to escape the captivation that is PXPRS.
Finally we send you the way of a single for many reasons no one should pass by. The Mission classic, Tower Of Strength, has been one of our all-time favourite pleasures and is a song which has been adopted as an anthem by some NHS workers for strength in their on-going battle with the world’s pandemic. Finding that out has been one of the sparks to the band’s Wayne Hussey to do his part to support their unrivalled efforts and those of all front-line workers. Linking up with Michael Ciravolo (Beauty in Chaos), Hussey drew on the help of numerous friends to create ReMission International and bring the irresistible TOS2020 to our ears.
We feel there is no need to describe one of The Mission’s most recognisable and revered songs but its strength as an anthem and emotional uplift can be declared as empowering. From that first familiar jangle of guitar nostalgia swept the senses, Hussey’s tones as potent a trigger before the following tapestry of voices, each seamlessly evolving into the next, bewitches. The track itself is as mesmeric as it is haunting; a rapture with muscular spirit and defiant energy.
With all proceeds going to a host of charities personally chosen by each contributor to the track, TOS2020 is a must.
What a Wonderful World is out now via Cleopatra Records and available @ https://blackneedlenoise.bandcamp.com/track/what-a-wonderful-world with These Mortal Covers due 30th October.
Afterglow is out now; available @ https://theseaatmidnight.bandcamp.com/track/we-share-the-same-stars
Everything is out now with Perfumes and Fripperies released via Blaylox Records on October 30th, both available @ https://thewakeus.bandcamp.com/album/perfumes-and-fripperies
Coup de grâce is out now through Komplex Recordings.
ReMission International – TOS2020 is out now through SPV Records; available in various packages @ https://themissionukband.com/order-here
“Dedicated with love and gratitude to the frontline workers of the world” – Wayne Hussey
TOS2020 nominated charities currently include:
St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Memphis
Music Venue Trust UK
Covenant House, New Orleans
Disasters Emergency Committee
Liberty Hill Foundation
The Shrewsbury Ark
Memorial Sloan Kettering Center, NYC
Prostate Cancer UK
The Teddy Bear Clinic
Help Musicians UK
Venice Family Clinic
The Anthony Walker Foundation
Projeto Cáo Communitário
The City Of San Francisco Covid-19 Fund
Collaborators include: Andy Rourke, Billy Duffy, Budgie, Evi Vine, Gary Numan, James Alexander Graham, Jay Aston, Julianne Regan, Kevin Haskins, Kirk Brandon, Lol Tolhurst, Martin Gore, Michael Aston, Michael Ciravolo, Midge Ure, Miles Hunt, Rachel Goswell, Richard Fortus, Robin Finck, Steve Clarke, Tim Palmer, and Trentemøller
Pete RingMaster 22/10/2020