Bearing sonic fruits, Shauna of Shameless PR and her own mesmeric band Ummagma recently came a calling. No surprise, in her hands was a compelling collection of tracks she had come across for us to consider and now, in our humble view, for you to eagerly explore.
First up we offer up Oh, Ballerina for your keen consumption. The track is the new single from Canadian duo TRAITRS, a dark and moody slice of emotion fuelled suggestion and temptation providing a compelling teaser for the band’s upcoming new album, Horses In The Abattoir.
Based in Toronto, TRAITRS was formed in 2015 by Sean-Patrick Nolan (Synths, piano, sequencing, programming) and Shawn Tucker (vocals, guitar, bass guitar, lyricist). They brew a fusion of post-punk, goth, alternative and post-rock; a proposition bearing a mesmeric cinematic quality and melancholic elegance which richly fascinate within their new single.
Oh, Ballerina also has an eighties breath to its animated lament, one reminding of bands such as The Cure, Modern English, and The Sound yet equally a character and drama which is nurtured in the darkest corners of current pop and rock. Recorded with producer Josh Korody (F*cked Up, Japandroids, Dilly Dally, Beliefs, Nailbiter), who also provides additional percussion, the song slowly slips into view. Already emotive intensity and shadow coated intimation involves ears and imagination, a contemplation quickly escalated by Tucker’s similarly soul-stirred tones.
It is a union of mesmeric beauty and inner darkness, the tenebrific grace of keys lying alongside the longing, even obsessive impurity of passion and the lyrical suggestion bearing it, an alignment which remains just as intense as a driving nagging energy of rhythmic manipulation breaks free to infest the senses.
Oh, Ballerina is superb; a gripping slice of sound and drama which has ensured here that thick impatient anticipation awaits the ready to be pre-ordered Horses In The Abattoir.
Already out is The Hardest Battle, the new single from XTC legend Colin Moulding.
Co-frontman and equal principal songwriter of the Swindon hailing greats, the band our first and still leading passion within music, Moulding has created some of the most essential pleasures and moments within British pop/rock and has continued to spark the imagination more recently with TC&I alongside XTC drummer Terry Chambers. Inherent excitement was accompanied by intrigue and surprise that this new release was his first fully solo outing in four plus decades and all rewarded by what could be really called an EP in that it offers three fascinating songs.
Moulding has proven an inimitable songwriter with a similarly individual invention and sound even within XTC, and there was no surprise that The Hardest Battle instantly recalled familiar experiences. That is not to say that surprise and fresh imagination did not envelop ears and imagination, the song a poignant and whimsical reflection on personal struggles especially apt for the past eighteen months or so for the world. Strolling along with vibrant energy and a creative smile, the track swiftly slipped under the skin as twists and turns united in keen enterprise to court the imagination…the result another unpredictable and unique Colin Moulding infestation of pleasure.
The song is accompanied by the fascinating The Hardest Battle (First Exploratory Demo) to provide a compelling insight into the evolution of a song and between the two, Say It (original version). This is a track which was written by Moulding for a XTC album that never came to be and comes in the version and character which its author truly intended at the time. It is a warm and radiant shimmer of Beatles hued sound with a bolder breath and hand of individuality and fair to say it just seduced body and enjoyment to enrol in its gentle but eager swing.
Produced by Colin Moulding and Stuart Rowe, The Hardest Battle is available now via Burning Shed.
You Still Mean Too Much To Me is the new single from acclaimed post-punk stalwarts Pink Turns Blue and comes ahead of their album, Tainted. It too is a moment of temptation which makes you want to hear and know more, meaning the September release of that new full-length cannot come soon enough.
Formed originally a duo in Germany in 1985, Pink Turns Blue naming themselves after a Hüsker Dü song, the band has released eleven albums to date and seen their sound evolve with increasing maturity, imagination and fascination. Consisting of Mic Jogwer (vocals, guitar), Reubi Walter (bass, keyboards) and Paul Richter (drums), the band weave eighties new wave and post punk influences inspired by the likes of The Chameleons, Joy Division, The Sound, Clan of Xymox, and The Cure into their alternative rock adventures with You Still Mean Too Much To Me one of their most captivating moments yet.
The single calmly opens up its tempting through guitar and soon after voice, that simple but thick coaxing soon joined by the equally teasing touch of rhythms and the suggestive implication of synths. It is a highly suggestive and alluring mix which as the second passes escalates in temptation and nagging energy, the track increasing in organic contagion simultaneously.
It is a soulful, melancholic proposal with a rousing vibrancy and spirit that had us hooked within its first minute of the first listen, only subservience hooked thereon in.
You Still Mean Too Much To Me is out now with Tainted due September 24th on limited edition vinyl, CD and digitally; all via Orden Records. Both can be pre-ordered exclusively via the band’s website.
If one thing enjoyable has risen from the covid pandemic and our intensive months in isolation it is the online collaborations which have arisen and encounters bred without the creators in person never having actually physically met. One such adventure to arise is the collaboration and debut album from Harry Stafford and Marco Butcher.
Stafford and Butcher met online primarily to exchange ideas and talk about their musical influences, the former the frontman for legendary Manchester band Inca Babies and the Sao Paulo hailing, North Carolina living latter renowned for his outfits like The Jam Messengers, Chicken Snake, and The Jesus and The Groupies and numerous collaborations with members from the likes of the Horseheads, Pussy Galore, Gumball, The Gories, Gibson Brothers, Jerry Teel, The Oblivians and The Workdogs. Their imaginations connected and fermented into songwriting and creating music, the result the upcoming full-length Bone Architecture and firstly lead single There’s Someone Tryin’ To Get In.
Both are bred in a fusion of urban punk blues and garage trash rock, the single a sonically invasive proposal with a raw seduction and captivation to its feral infection. It prowls the senses whilst sparking the imagination, a rockabilly seeding to its swing as potent as the blues saunter fuelling its dirty punk trespass.
There’s Someone Tryin’ To Get In is another taking little time to ignite the passions and a hunger for more, an appetite ready to devour the upcoming Bone Architecture.
Both There’s Someone Tryin’ To Get In and Bone Architecture come via Black Lagoon Records, the first out now and the 12-track latter on September 3rd digitally and on CD with pre-ordering available now via Bandcamp and the Louder than War shop.
Lastly we offer up the new track from Irish singer-songwriter Cat Dowling. The unapologetically infectious Freedom is a slice of soulful indie pop with a varied mix of flavouring in its magnetic enterprise and again a captivating teaser of a bigger outing, in this case an Autumn released album from the Kilkenny-born, Dublin-based artist.
Maybe inspired by and certainly well-timed for the relaxing of pandemic bred restrictions in this part of the globe, Freedom is a rousing lift from any kind of restraint, emotional and physical. The song has an inherent lively swing which manipulated the body and sparked the senses as all the while melodic enterprise and Dowling’s seductively infectious tones captured thought and imagination.
As suggested within that pop and indie evoked temptation there is more, a country/folk hued warmth just as inviting and indeed an air of familiarity which is never defined but adds to the virulent contagion of the song.
Produced by Gerry Horan with Dowling as co-producer, and mixed by Ger McDonnell (The Cure, U2, Van Morrison, Martha Wainwright, Shane McGowan, Sinead O’Connor), Freedom is an anthem for voice and emotion to enrol in and for this moment in time to grab in their celebration of emancipation .
Freedom is out now.
Pete RingMaster 12/08/2021