Still feasting upon her last selection of singles suggestions, we have another handful of joys to share courtesy of the one of a kind Shauna of Shameless PR and the band Ummagma. With an unerring sense for something out of the ordinary and imagination rousing, the lady has once more searched and found some of the finest new offerings around the varied aspects of pop/indie, ambient and the electronic scene.
The first is a burst of feel good incitement soaked in positivity and just as upbeat nostalgia from Irish singer songwriter Gavin Murphy. Alive is his new single, a song which slipped under the skin with a smiling demeanour and swiftly stoked the embers of despondency in its heart and sparked them into a flame of cheer loaded buoyancy.
Hailing from Dublin and now Sligo based, Murphy made his major introduction with 2020 debut album 45 RPM (Replay Past Memories). It was a very well received release embracing a host of eagerly raised and supported singles though to be fair any track within his self-released full-length would have provided a rich standalone temptation. There is an inherent catchiness in his music which whether within a spirited pop nurtured song or a piece of emotive drama bubbles with infectiousness.
Alive is no exception, indeed as its predecessor, The Sound of Heartbreak, casting an even greater contagion with relish within a flume of sentiment which in turn ignites heart-warming thoughts and reflection. Recorded with bassist Robbie Malone (David Gray), drummer Paul Byrne and the backing vocals of Saoirse Kavanagh, also being co-produced by Murphy with Ger McDonnell (The Cure, U2, Van Morrison, Martha Wainwright, Shane McGowan, Sinead O’Connor), it instantly strolls in with that gait of reassurance and melodic self-esteem.
As his guitar bred jangle and similarly the melodic courting of his keys, Murphy‘s vocals and thoughts shimmer with hope and cheer, a persistent burn of beauty in life and the affirmation of good times past and to come. Even with its more rock bred swing and rhythmic tempting, the song never breaks its calmly rousing stance, another aspect which confirms its arm round the shoulders breath.
Crowded House is cited as a major influence on Murphy’s music but as the Mighty Lemon Drops like lining to melodies and hooks within Alive, it only adds an easy to embrace hue to the artists’ rich individuality. In these times when shadows still too often become a major part of everyday living within the pandemic, this is a song that chases the clouds and draws the sun.
Recent news announced that UK power pop outfit The Speed of Sound will be unveiling their fifth album Museum of Tomorrow this autumn, a release which will come 32 years to the day the band released their 1989 debut EP. Coming on CD and Deluxe LP via Big Stir Records, it is sure to be an eagerly anticipated encounter especially when the Manchester band uncage lead single, Tomorrow’s World, on September 17th.
The band’s sound has a character which different people can draw different inspirations from. It embraces sixties pop/balladry in its breath and eighties power pop/new wave in its imagination and contagion. The new track had our ears and thoughts especially grabbing the latter, Tomorrow’s World getting under the skin like a mix of Martha and the Muffins, The Mo-Dettes and Television.
A track which looks at the deceit the future has brought to that assumed it would offer courtesy of past cinema and storytelling alone, Tomorrow’s World arrives like a visitor from beyond, intrigue and suggestion dripping from the melodies and chords of guitarist John Armstrong and the keys of Henry Armstrong. In turn Ann-Marie Crowley’s vocals paint the picture of past intimation turned less appealing reality, a truth backed by the earthier rhythmic gait of bassist Kevin Roache and drummer John Broadhurst.
For less than three riveting minutes it bares its infectious despondency and then in an instant it flees like a departing spaceship disappointed in what came to be, though for that same length of time Tomorrow’s World left ears eagerly satisfied.
A track which teases, taunts and tampers with the senses is Ancient Scottish Legend, the new single from Brooklyn-based Pas Musique. It is taken from the band’s upcoming new album, Amateur Radio, and gives a rich glimpse of the rich adventures and experimental trespasses it surely has in store.
Casting suggestion fuelled tapestries of electronic, experimental krautrock influenced sounds, Pas Musique was formed in 1995 by Robert L. Pepper, a solo project eventually becoming a collective constantly exploring new avenues and borders with their creativity and releases. Now consisting of Jon V Worthley, Michael Durek, Jesse Fairbairn and Pepper, the band on the suggestion of this new track alone have invaded another aspect of their avant-garde inspired imaginations to ignite one’s own thought and anticipation for the October 1st released, via Alrealon Musique, Amateur Radio.
The instrumental instantly incites the senses, its electronic spotting intrusive yet compelling. It is seduction and threat entwined, mystery and intrigue rolled into something which at times seems a dystopian reflection of our times and in other moments an evocation of atavistic almost pagan bound intimation. From its first to last breath, through every psych twisted turn, the imagination is evoked into new thoughts which themselves evolve and weave fresh ideas with every listen, every moment of its nagging infectious drone adding to that pleasure and strident beauty.
Ancient Scottish Legend left us bewitched and bewildered, captivated and uncertain of our thoughts and ultimately greedy for more.
Last month we had the pleasure of covering the new and richly fascinating Nick Hudson album Font Of Human Fractures, now with similar delight we have the new single from his ‘day job’, The Academy of Sun to explore.
The two track offering from the Brighton based outfit epitomises the adventure and diversity in Hudson’s songwriting and equally the dynamic dexterity and devilish character of the psychedelic post-punk quartet’s sound. Released upon Heaven’s Lathe, digitally in mid-August and already available on Ltd Ed (100) hand-numbered 7″ lathe-cut vinyl, It Is Finished When It’s Destroyed/Ghost Foxes proved pure captivation, compelling attention and ears to swiftly close in.
It Is Finished When It’s Destroyed breeds its individual magnetic draw from pretty much its first breath, the song rising up into an intrigue ridden stroll in seconds, one wrapped in a sound seeming draped in the inspirations of Bill Nelson’s Red Noise and John Foxx. Hudson’s familiar tones are soon in its midst, his keys a provocative dance around the bombinate nag of Guy Brice’s guitar and the darker hum of Kianna Blue’s bass. There is an atmospheric brush across the imagination too which soon grips ears as the track reveals its two-part persona, its two movements unique yet linked by the band’s invention and the persistent rhythmic lure of drummer Ash Babb.
It is a striking and unpredictable venture into the unknown, alluringly dystopian by its end and increasingly haunting throughout which is more than matched in temptation and suggestion by Ghost Foxes. Like an off kilter post punk shuffle caused by a meeting of The Tuesday Club, Spizz Oil and early Adam Ant but forging its own unique incitement of unhinged staccato guitar and equally disturbed rhythms ridden by the just as maniacal tones of Hudson, the track is quite superb. It is a song which was written for the band’s last acclaimed album, The Quiet Earth, but did not quite fit. Thankfully it has its moment to persuade now as part of a release that had the imagination beaming and pleasure grinning.
Lastly we have the new single from Ireland’s Emperor of Ice Cream as a suggestion for your exploration. Released via FIFA Records August 24th, Weather Vane is a spirited indie /dream pop crafted temptation which seduces ears as it worms under the skin.
Consisting of Edward Butt (bass), John ‘Haggis’ Hegarty (vocals), Graham Finn (guitars) and Colum Young (drums), musicians based in Cork, Waterford, New York and Amsterdam respectively, Emperor of Ice Cream released their debut album No Sound Ever Dies last year. It was a record that Sony Records had shelved 25 years ago after signing the band and came 30 years after the band first emerged. Retouched with the craft and experience of the band today, it soon sold out drawing praise and attention along the way and is soon to have its second pressing. Though not from it, Weather Vane is a potent teaser for the sounds it offers and in its own right a radiant pleasure to behold.
From its angular jangle and warm vocals soaked in emotive reflection to roving bassline and snappy beats, the track has a dextrous air and presence drawing on eighties/nineties indie pop and the more intrusive call of modern indie rock. In full roar it leans on the clamorous to escalate its potency, a raw yet warm mix that commands keen attention.
The download of the single also provides a bonus track in the shape of High Rise, Low Rise; a calm seduction of a song with its own fine line in resourceful flames of invention which did appear of the band’s first album and only confirms the band one rather captivating proposition.
Pete RingMaster 27/08/2021