THIS week’s New Music Radar touches down on both sides of the Atlantic with new tunes from Gallus, Fiskur, Declan McKenna, Another Sky, Bully and more. Check them out below.
Gallus ‘Eye To Eye’
Whether showing off their whimsical side or delving into broader societal issues, Gallus’ credo has always been one of taking no prisoners and laying waste to any expectations placed upon them and they have triumphed once again with the release of one of their most ferocious tracks to date in ‘Eye To Eye’.
Never a band to hold back, ‘Eye To Eye’ is particularly striking in its immediacy. Led by the guttural, pugnacious roar of Barry Dolan, the five-piece take aim at the increasingly polarised world we live in, where the selfish needs of the few often outweigh the needs of the many; where stark injustices are felt on a daily basis.
Recorded at 7 West, the track opens with a sharp and sinister circular riff before frontman Dolan takes off in typically imposing fashion, “I wanna be the one that fits in the rest” he roars over galloping drums and a foreboding bassline. Such is their penchant for deviation, it’s a track littered with playful moments – the vocal ‘woos’, the searing dual guitar parts, the deep growls, the chanting choruses and climactic bridge section all throw some weight behind Barry Dolan’s commanding performance. “The virus is spreading, it comes out at night, waits till you’re sleeping and bites” he maniacally roars in one of his most prescient lyrics.
Ferociously incisive yet brilliantly addictive in its review of the current climate, Gallus are back and in fine form on ‘Eye To Eye’. With a spark of ingenuity that separates them from the pack, they continue to thrill and excite with each new release.
Fiskur ‘Cold Hands, Burn Slow’
Comprised of singer-songwriter Ross Clark and multi-instrumentalist Andy Monaghan of Frightened Rabbit fame, Fiskur have firmly gripped our attention since the release of their debut single ‘Too Slow, Too Far’ back in 2017. After retreating into their craft for the last couple of years following a flurry of single releases, today marks the arrival of their long-awaited debut album ‘Cold Hands, Burn Slow’ and fans will be pleased to know that it retains all of the captivating sincerity and inventiveness that made them such a promising prospect in the first place. With airs of The National, Frightened Rabbit, Massive Attack and more across its ten eclectic tracks, Andy Monaghan’s instrumentation provides the backdrop to Clark’s soulful brogue and heartfelt songwriting as they touch down on brooding electronica, icy synth-pop, heart-rending balladry and deeply resonant alt-rock to craft a record that refuses to be confined by any genre or scene. Featuring all five previously-released singles such as the dark and brooding ‘You Know Me So Well’ and the inventive pop of ‘Too Slow Too Far’, other highlights include the driving alt-rock number ‘Servant’ and the deeply atmospheric ‘Klinkhammer’ with its soaring vocals and brass sections.
Aaron Smith ‘For My Father’ EP
Scottish singer-songwriter Aaron Smith has today unveiled his second EP ‘For My Father’. Featuring recent singles ‘Your Turn Now’ and ‘Brother’ alongside two new tracks ‘Unconditional’ and ‘Doubts’, the EP lends even more emotional depth to his heart-rending balladry as the singer opens up fully about his childhood and the troubles he experienced throughout. Impressive in its its slick, pop-focused production, ‘For My Father’ features some of Smith’s most intimate, strikingly vulnerable songwriting to date in what feels like exercise of complete soul-excavating catharsis. With his eyes set firmly on mainstream success, it surely won’t be long before Aaron Smith finds himself playing among pop’s big hitters.
GRAVELLE – ‘OBSESSIONS’ EP
Following the release of their debut EP, ‘Liquid Skin’, in 2018, GRAVELLE have dropped the ‘OBSESSIONS’ EP this week, a thrilling, at times haunting, assault of industrial-driven power. Kickstarting the record, ‘Disappear’ sets the scene for not only this EP but the band themselves – a lustful longing for a failing relationship, it shifts effortlessly from jagging verses to cinematic choruses. Just like their previous releases, this duo show an incredible talent of hiding a dark, painful idea within a gothically glamorous and glittery exterior, with fuzzy guitars providing a dream-like antidote to harsh percussion and haunting vocals from the start of the record and throughout. Drawing on the idea that fixations can become destructive obsessions, GRAVELLE explained “It is a fight. We found it fascinating that almost everything people do is driven by an obsession, so much so we got obsessed with how people got obsessed.” The longest track on the EP, ‘Waste Your Time’ brings this collection of tunes to a triumphant close. Released back in January as a single, this track perfectly sums up this EP’s inspiration, with a murmuring pre-chorus that repeats obsessive sentiments of desire as synths and powerful percussion lead to a theatrical chorus.
The Bleeders ‘I Love You (You’re Beautiful)’
On their first single of 2020, Glasgow-based duo The Bleeders unleash the kind of thunderous desert-rock that would appease even the most ardent fans of Queens of The Stone Age. Initially throwing us off the scent with the wholesome sounds of children’s choir at the start, the band pull absolutely no punches when the track really kicks off. All monstrous riffs, gritty vocals and pounding drums, it’s a track that needs to be cranked up loud.
After bringing out ‘Care’ just a couple of weeks ago, rising star Beabadoobee has unveiled a confessional new track called ‘Sorry’. Reflecting on a broken friendship, the wistful, strings-adorned opening soon explodes into something louder with a quick onslaught of electrifying guitars and pounding drums. She says “‘Sorry’ is an apology, confessing my mistakes in a friendship and watching someone who I love breakdown and fade away as a person. It’s the idea of dismissing something because it felt too close home and a personal reminder to never take for granted what that person could have had.”
Beabadoobee has also confirmed the release of her debut album ‘Fake It Flowers’ on 16th October.
Oscar Lang ‘Get Out’
Dirty Hit signee Oscar Lang is back with a fuzzy, guitar pop banger called ‘Get Out’. A track that was written at the start of the year but has since taken on a whole new meaning in the current climate, the singer implores the listener to get out and enjoy life with sugary melodies and dreamy, psychedelic textures. It’s a fun and upbeat hit of adrenaline, perfect for summer listening.
Remi Wolf ‘Monte Carlo’
A few weeks after the release of her acclaimed EP ‘I’m Allergic To Dogs!’, the prolific Remi Wolf has unveiled another infectious summer pop banger in ‘Monte Carlo’. Full of colour and her signature bounce, the upbeat track presents the singer at her most playful and in her own words is meant to “make you feel like you are on a rainbow cloud above the world.”
Caro ‘Cat’s Pyjamas’
Caro have shared another taster of their upcoming debut album ‘Burrows’, slated for release on 25th September via YALA! Records. ‘Cat’s Pyjamas’. Often gaining comparisons to Alt-J thanks to their intricate and experimental brand of art-rock, this latest offering is as unpredictable as the tracks that came before it – anxious verses making way for vibrant choruses with handclaps and stabbing guitar parts as the band try and drive away their deepest, darkest thoughts. “To me the song serves as a way to get those thoughts out of your head,” frontman Adam Pardey explains. “When we play it live and get a room full of people to sing and clap along it helps combat the loneliness that often perpetuates those feelings. As the wise sage Shrek always says; ‘Better out than in.’
Bully ‘Hours And Hours’
Alicia Bognanno slows things down on the third single from her upcoming album ‘SUGAREGG’. A track that delves into the personal, the singer reflects on her relationship with her mother with sombre verses bursting into big distorted choruses throughout. Staying true to their nineties alt-rock roots, it’s all about Bognanno’s vocal performance – pained and moody reflections lead into passionate cathartic shouts as she takes full advantage of the loud and soft dynamics.
Declan McKenna ‘Be An Astronaut’
The latest single from Declan McKenna’s upcoming album Zeroes is a multi-layered, piano-driven number that suggests the new record could feature some of his most ambitious songwriting to date. A natural successor to last month’s ‘Daniel, You’re Still A Child’, McKenna pushes his material even further into the same cosmic sonic sphere as David Bowie – the majestic arrangement flying off into space with electrifying guitar solos, harmonized choruses and rallying lyrics. It’s a humongous track that’s testament to Declan McKenna’s ambitious and creativity.
Matt Maltese ‘Madhouse’ EP
Following a flurry of single releases, Matt Maltese has unveiled his new ‘Madhouse’ EP. Known for his idiosyncratic wit and rich, luscious laments, the EP has even loftier aspirations as he digs deep into human beings’ “ever-hopeful quest for meaning and love”. Featuring ‘hi’ and ‘queen bee’ among its six home-brewed tracks, the singer-songwriter effortlessly captures a feeling of collective solitude throughout – swooning and dreamy on the sixties-inflected on ‘queen bee’, wistful on the twinkling ‘hi’ and effortlessly cool on the rich, melodic title track. Featuring input from The Lemon Twigs’ Brian D’Addario on guitar and Sorry’s Ash Lorenz on vocals, it’s another highly enjoyable addition to his impressive catalogue.
Songhoy Blues ‘Badala’
With the news that their third album ‘Optimisme’ is on the way, Songhoy Blues have unveiled the blistering ‘Badala’. With a title that translates to ‘I don’t give a fuck’, it’s a suitably ferocious number driven by rapid-fire drums and beefy guitars that sees itself out with a thrilling psych-blues solo.
Willie J Healey ‘Twin Heavy’
Willie J Healey delivers the ultimate indie-pop soundtrack to summer with his slick second album ‘Twin Heavy’. A bold and assured follow-up to ‘People and Their Dogs’, the new record cherrypicks from Healey’s biggest influences and puts them together in a timeless splendour, dusting off the likes of The Beatles, Bowie, 60s glam, Elvis Costello and more and channelling them entirely in his own quirky, whimsical vision. Most noticeably though, ‘Twin Heavy’ features Healey’s strongest songwriting to date. Offering a mix of tongue-in-cheek optimism and stark honesty, the album opens with a blast of ultra-catchy power-pop in ‘Fashun’ before taking itself off into other unpredictable territories – other highlights include the jaunty, funk-filled ‘Songs For Joanna’, the floating, psychedelic ‘Condo’ and then the stand-out confessional love song ‘For You’. It’s an album that’s testament to Healey’s passion for his craft and a massive leap forward that will surely propel him onto even greater success.
Another Sky ‘I Sleep On The Floor’
Well-versed in occupying the pages of TTV with their majestic post-rock soundscapes, Another Sky have unveiled their debut album ‘I Slept On The Floor’. There’s plenty of reasons to love this intense, endlessly compelling debut – one of the main being the staggering voice of Catrin Vincent, completely incomparable and seemingly existing entirely in its own realm. A cornerstone of the album’s beauty, she can be fragile, soulful and viciously angry within seconds with the record exploring weighty issues such as mental health and toxic masculinity with uncompromising honesty and defiant strength. The rich, constantly-changing instrumentation is every bit as potent – deftly shifting from the delicate and contemplative to the thunderous and vertigo-inducing as they prove themselves intuitive and dexterous throughout. A beautifully crafted piece of work, Another Sky’s debut album is a powerful statement of intent.