THIS week’s New Music Radar features a strong batch of new tracks from around Scotland further afield. Check out new offerings from The Ninth Wave, The Van T’s, Snack Villain, MOY, Dream Wife, IDLES, Khruangbin and more below.
The Ninth Wave ‘I’m Only Going To Hurt You’
After retreating to the Outer Hebrides earlier this year to record a new EP with Faris Badwan of The Horrors, The Ninth Wave presented themselves at their most raw and emotionally exposed with the release of ‘Happy Days!’ last month. Re-emerging from that same place of intense self-reflection, the band have unleashed another track from those sessions up north – new single ‘I’m Only Going To Hurt You’.
While ‘Happy Days!’ was a dark, sullen and strikingly minimalist introduction to their new material, ‘I’m Only Going To Hurt You’ channels all of its intensity and foreboding into a loud barrage of noise – throbbing bass lines, twitchy, industrial-sounding beats and cascading synths skit around one another yet remain one and the same, driving towards the same shared purpose. Seemingly more accessible than its predecessor, the music still carries the weight of Park-Patterson’s incisive lyrics. Originally written by the frontman as part of a poem titled ‘My Severed Heart’, his words hit even harder when placed against the track’s harsh instrumentation, as if designed to represent the inner conflict that rages within. The band told Paste Magazine that the song “is centred around an internal conflict faced after realising the difficulties of a relationship that seemed to be damaged even before it was allowed to flourish.” With the release of ‘I’m Only Going To Hurt You’ The Ninth Wave continue to take leaps and bounds into exhilarating new territories and we’re hugely excited to see what comes next.
The Van T’s ‘Seeing Stars’
Over a year on from the release of 2019’s ‘Control’, The Van T’s are back with a healthy dose of hazy, riff-heavy optimism. Teaming up with Glasgow’s prolific 7 West Music for the first time, the track is a striking continuation of their vibrant and defiant brand of alt-rock. Drenched in waves of reverb and distortion, ‘Seeing Stars’ is a firm rejection of apathy and complacency – an ode to self-preservation delivered via soaring guitar lines, warmly effected vocal harmonies and powerful grooves. The Van T’s are back.
Hannah Van Thompson says “So, I wrote ‘Seeing Stars’ off the back of an ongoing battle with mental health issues. After a year-long slump I started off with the lyrics ‘I want to believe in something inside me’. It started off as words on paper and grew arms and legs until eventually I had a song. I’m happy with the way the music itself resonates a sense of growth in strength. I wanted the song to be punchy and bright, it sort of reflects the way I want to progress in getting better. I hope those who have the same issues can relate to this song.”
MOY ‘No Talk’s The Best Chat’
Glasgow band MOY continue to show a different to themselves with each release with a small but diverse catalogue that so far includes the impassioned indie stomper ‘Start Me Up’, the contemplative ‘Aeon Island’ and the electronically enhanced ‘Techno Party’. Latest track ‘No Talk’s The Best’ is perhaps their most emphatic offering to date as they throw our expectations out of the window once more and journey further into their eclectic array of influences. Fuelled by fuzzy, distorted basslines and super grungy guitars, the track emanates the same kind of swagger and slacker passion as Pavement and modern indie bands like Bloc Party. Bathed in a glow of synths, it explodes into a monster of a chorus that should be played with the speakers up.
Snack Villain ‘Friend Group’
Following the announcement that he will be digging up a few long lost songs from his back catalogue, Snack Villain has re-released ‘Friend Group. Originally featured on last year’s ‘Vision Vortex’ EP, the track falls alongside some of Snack Villain’s more guitar-driven material, channelling elements of 90s Britpop and the playful power-pop of bands like Twin Peaks.
SPINN ‘Stuck On A Feeling’
Merseyside quartet SPINN have unveiled their first single since releasing their eponymous debut album in May 2019. Built on a strong groove and prominent bass lines, the band revisit their signature jangle pop sound with more drive, lush guitars and heaps of swagger. Inspired by a period of anxiety and lack of sleep, frontman Johnny Quinn says “I’ve recently been struggling to get asleep a lot, which to be honest I’m kind of new to, so at first it was such a frustrating and anxiety inducing thing, that I felt I had to write about it. This song is like a prayer for sleep, although I think when you listen to it, you’ll find the music itself has the opposite effect.”
Dream Wife ‘Temporary’
With their new album ‘So When You Gonna…’ arriving in a couple of weeks on 3rd July, Dream Wife have shared another new preview from it called ‘Temporary’. It may be a far cry from the fiery punk anthems we’re used to hearing from the trio but the track still has an incredibly powerful impact on the listener. A deeply moving look at the struggles of miscarriage and pregnancy, the gently swooning number sees them broaden their songwriting once again with Alice Go’s seet guitar lines a perfect accompaniment to Rakel’s empathetic lyrics.
Phoebe Bridgers ‘I Know The End’
Since releasing her brutally honest debut album ‘Stranger In The Alps’ a couple of years ago, Phoebe Bridgers has become something of a cult phenomenon. Perhaps one of the most eagerly anticipated records of the year, her second album ‘Punisher’ arrives today and it finds her stepping away from the predominantly acoustic feel of her debut and pairing her characteristically candid lyricism with more grandiose, experimental arrangements. Already receiving widespread critical acclaim, one of its many highlights is the album closer ‘I Know The End’ which demonstrates this sonic shift wonderfully – a six minute beauty that opens quietly before gradually building into a raging crescendo, featuring backing vocals from Conor Oberst, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, a soaring string section, a flourish of horns and a big singalong chorus. We recommend you tune into the full album as soon as you can.
IDLES returned this week with the second single to be taken from upcoming third album ‘Ultra Mono’ due out on September 25th. ‘Grounds’ kicks off with an intro that wouldn’t sound out of place on The Streets debut album and although it’s a more electronic sound it still packs a punch with frontman Joe Talbot asking “Do you hear that thunder?” followed by “That’s the sound of strength in numbers” repeatedly throughout with the same raw energy we’re used to.
Houston trio Khurangbin continue the roll-out for their upcoming album ‘Mordechai’ with the release of a Japanese movie-inspired track called ‘Pelota’. Less contemplative than their previous two singles, ‘Pelota’ is all skittering rhythms and fast-moving percussion – more on the funkier side of their catalogue than the psychedelic. Sang entirely in Spanish, it’s another creative insight into ‘Mordechai’ which arrives next week on 26th June.
Songhoy Blues ‘Worry’
Songhoy Blues made a life-affirming return this week with the utterly brilliant ‘Worry’. Known for their unique blend of Malian cross-rhythms and fuzzed-out desert blues, their latest offering is the perfect antidote to these troubled and uncertain times – a song of optimism, hope, strength and vigilance fuelled by finger-shredding guitar riffs. Set to feature on their upcoming third album which will be released later this year, they say “The harshness of life still weighs on our societies and sinks many young people into a dead end. ‘Worry’ is a positive energy that Songhoy Blues want(s) to be a ray of hope for humanity. Worry is about not stopping fighting because at the very end you will find the light.”
L.A. WITCH ‘I Wanna Lose’
L.A. WITCH have announced their second album ‘Play With Fire’ with the release of its suitably biting lead single ‘I Wanna Lose’. Drenched in waves of reverb and distortion, the track is a fiery slice of desert rock and a very promising indication of what to expect from their second album. They say “‘I Wanna Lose’ is about feeling free and feeling stronger because you’ve lost everything and now you’ve got everything to win. It’s about being a punching bag in a martyr-like way, and losing a fight to move on.”
milk ‘Treat Me’
Fans of The 1975 will be drawn to Dublin outfit milk. Patching together a collage of subdued R&B textures, electro-pop and guitar-driven indie, the band’s latest single ‘Treat Me’ is brimming with vocal hooks and bright guitar lines. A song about young love, it pinpoints milk as a band with a knack for euphoric and anthemic songwriting. The said ‘Treat Me’ is about being in a young relationship with both people not really knowing what they’re doing or how to be in a relationship, unknowingly treating each other unfairly and unfairly asking each other ‘why you would do that?’ When you both know neither have the answer but you hope the other does.”
DMA’S ‘Learning Alive’
DMA’S new single is a proper lighters-in-the-air moment that lends us another preview of their third album ‘The Glow’, out on 10th July. The piano-driven ballad shows a softer, more melancholic side to the trio, gradually scaling up with the addition of a poignant string section. Accompanied by a new video shot on a recent UK tour, it’s a track that will undoubtedly incite a mass singalong when live shows do return.
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