Firmly in the hands of a new year but equally the less welcoming restrictions and isolations of the last 12 months, we also immediately found ourselves in the face of some stunning and exciting encounters in the shape of new tracks. We have plucked out a quartet which truly had body and imagination bouncing though they are just the tip of a surge of goodness already marking out the oncoming year as one exciting proposal.
First up we offer you UK trio Swivel Head Ted and debut single Pass The Mic. This is a trio from Basildon with a band name in tribute one of the real-life stand out characters of their home town. It was hard not to be drawn to the release just because it contains former members of JacksonsWarehouse, one truly underrated and probably fair to say ignored indie rock band; indeed one of the underground’s finest full-stop from songwriting to infection fuelled songs.
Quickly that instinctive curiosity was rewarded with a song which instantly teased and swiftly seduced. From its first breath, Pass The Mic is devilish temptation, the guitar springing a mariachi-esque lure matched in the darker tone of the equally infectious bass. Melodies continue to gather as the track blossoms in body and catchiness, the familiar dusky tones of vocalist/guitarist Stu Brown soon in their midst escalating the contagious persuasion.
There is a nagging quality to the song which only increased the addictiveness, a united hook which burrowed under the skin with relish as the body moved to the swing of a song which in swift time joined our all-time favourites from not only Stu, and the equally inimitable exploits of Jake Hogg (keyboards/synths/guitar/beats) and Simon Brown (keyboards/vocals/synths) but from anyone else in recent times.
Having marked 2019 with a couple of ear tempting tracks, pandemic restrictions like for most had left UK outfit Drop Down Smiling in the shadows but now they are back and with one cracking song which reveals the time away has only given them the chance to evolve their potent sound once again.
The Fear of Missing Out is a rousing, emotively fired slice of their alternative rock bred sound; a song which blossoms in craft and imagination whilst exploring “the social pressures of ‘fitting in’ and the self-destructive habits we form while under constant bombardment from ‘the-grass-is-greener-rose-tinted-glasses’ lifestyles presented to us on social media.”
The Coventry hailing band has long established their prowess at merging muscular alt rock and infectious pop with a fresh and inventive imagination, a fusion often embracing the bite of punk and open heart of melodic rock. Peter Dowsett produced The Fear of Missing Out is a compelling mix of all and more. From opening orchestral keys soon entangled in sonic intimation it rises up though emotive shadows to contagiously immerse the listener in virulent pop lined rock ‘n’ roll.
Persistently adventurous and skilfully unpredictable, The Fear of Missing Out is quite simply Drop Down Smiling back bigger and bolder than ever.
Following the attention grabbing exploits of debut single Obsidian, UK metallers Of Concrete Gods have just unleashed its successor, a track which devours the senses like a primal predator whilst entangling them in rich imagination.
Luton hailing and emerging in 2018, Of Concrete Gods unleash a multi-flavoured sound, one as keenly embracing extreme, classic and melodic metal enterprise as stoner and alternative imagination. Even that in some ways is a narrowing of the character of sound breeding Good Samaritan, the track a ferocious, at times savagely heavy tempest which is as fertile in alluring unpredictability and virulent temptation.
Its relatively calm entrance is soon an esurient trespass, vocals and rhythms leading the sonic rapacity of the song. Grooves and riffs unite in a wall of badgering temptation, beats landing with shuddering prowess as Of Concrete Gods weave a tapestry of textures and flavours within the onslaught. As suggested, expectations are given nothing to embrace, the track fluidly twisting in design and imagination, never lessening its intensity and animosity but only flourishing in fresh flavouring and viral temptation.
If their first track impressed and hooked keen plaudits, Good Samaritan should have all boiling over.
Emerging from the East End of Glasgow, Speak Easy Circus is an experimental indie/funk posse which nagged our attention courtesy of a few introductory emails and demanded it with a new track which swiftly manipulated body and imagination.
The foursome of Jack Avison (guitar/vocals/keys), Jon Wallace (sax/keys), Frazer Laurie (drums) and Chatonda Ridley (bass) stoked keen interest for their fusion of indie rock/pop and funk/jazz through debut EP, Bravo Tango Charlie in 2019, its success surpassed by that of last year’s single, Neon in Daylight. Acclaim and radio play of the latter especially escalated the support and reputation earned across their city and further across Scotland through the band’s live performances.
New single Lions Should Hunt feels like the key to much broader praise and success, a wake up nudge to the rest of the UK which with thanks to the band we have certainly stirred to. The song makes a gentle entrance, caressing ears with guitar spun melody as Avison’s potent tones open up the heart of a track inspired by a TV advert and from “feeling pissed off that so many people bought into this idea of what a man should want and should be” which arose from it.
In swift time the band had the body bouncing and thoughts rising as brass and rhythms build into an irresistible stroll as energetic as it is magnetic. The bounce of the song proved ridiculously contagious as too the ever twisting body of enterprising creating it’s rich and warm temptation but equally the bite it also carries wormed under the skin.
Lions Should Hunt is superb, a crescendo of rousing sound and fun fuelled adventure with a spikey snarl and surely pushing Speak Easy Circus to the broader attention of the nation.
All singles are out now and you can check out all bands and tracks at….
Pete RingMaster 26/01/2021