Girl Band – ‘Shoulderblades’
Small families love to squabble over nonsense, as anyone who has siblings knows, and the Irish music scene is smaller than most. So when the current golden child Fontaines D.C., having cockily show off their shiny report card in the form debut album Dogrel, slipped up, it all kicked off. In an interview with Noisey, singer Grian Chatten paid tribute to Girl Band for having “modernised Irish music massively”, but crucially, made the sacred error of saying “Before that, the only way to sound Irish was to be fuckin’ ‘diddly-diddly-aye’”. He’d made his first mistake, tall poppy syndrome kicked in and suddenly Fontaines had not only sold out the national dignity to the English press but also insulted every local band that pre-existed the release of Girl Band’s France 98 EP, and 2019 had a new Diarmait Mac Murchada.
To be fair, Irish people are justifiably sensitive about recent UK press coverage that tends to depict it as a place that only put down the Guinness and rosary beads long enough to pick up a guitar about 12 months ago, and Chatten’s statement was a clumsy as a trolley falling down the stairs. But his point is pretty solid – Girl Band did change everything. For people my age, now mid-20s (or maybe just me), they were the first Irish band we came across that had their own style. That didn’t sound a like a xerox of a famous foreign band. That had that special charisma, the indefinable factor that makes music magic. And crucially, they also met acclaim abroad, proving that they were more than one of a very small pond’s bigger fish. Of course, that’s not to say they were the first Irish band that had these qualities, or that a musical desert existed around them and before them, but for a lot of people just growing up as they arrived, they were a lighting bolt, a big bang moment that showed that we could also produce great bands like anywhere else. And a whole lot of amazing bands followed in the space they left in their wake.
But back when Chatten made those comments, Girl Band were on the ice as far as anyone knew, having for various reasons gone quiet after 2015 debut album Holding Hands With Jamie. So just their return at all was good news. But returning with a song as good as Shoulderblades really is reason to celebrate. Shoulderblades sizes up the listener like a boxer made of guitars and noise from the guts of hell, and knocks them down over a six-minute round that’s a spectacular showcase of how you build and break tension, a song that lurks in places before snarling into bursts of violent force. It’s a song that shows the band that opened the doors for Irelend’s current post-punk crop have no intention of ceding their throne to them any time soon. Girl Band‘s new album The Talkies is out on September 27. (Austin Maloney)
Editors – ‘Frankenstein’
I’ve been saying that for years and now it looks like I’ve been finally proven right: Editors are officially becoming the heirs of Depeche Mode. Their last two albums – 2015’s In Dream and 2018’s Violence – already moved more heavily into synthpop-infected dark wave territory and this brand new single is another testament. According to Tom Smith its “a song of joy and escapism – a cartoon song for the freaks, the different and for the night” and that’s exactly how the fittingly titled Frankenstein sounds like. It takes the notion of Editors‘ previous hit singles Papillon and Magazine even further – more four-to-the-floor (they reuinted with An End Has A Start producer Jacknife Lee for this one), more aggressive synths, less deep lyrics. It’s indeed a party song but at least it’s a proper goth party. And I mean somebody has to take that job and as a lifelong fan of Editors I really enjoy the increasing fanbase the five-piece manages to align behind them. And they are constantly evolving away from their own post-punk roots which means we will probably never get another The Back Room anytime soon but on the other hand it really makes things exciting and I’m curious to see what their next move might sound and look like. (Norman Fleischer)
Bleached – ‘Kiss You Goodbye’
With their last album the sister duo Bleached celebrated laid back 70s music revival in groovy California slacker style. Now with their latest releases they are invading a more pop tinged territory, nevertheless, the video to ‘Kiss You Goodbye’ reflects their admiration for the era. Drop tops, sun glasses, and rollerskates – do I have to say more? The strange and funky backyard BBQ video is just as much fun to watch as the song is to listen to. The groovy bass-heavy track fits the punchy message of the lyrics. Singing of letting go of negative relationships, Jennifer and Jessie Clavin chant unapologetically ‘Kiss you goodbye / for the last time / return to sender / feeling so alive / some things are meant to die’. Bleached admitted to a more raw and courageous approach to songwriting talking about the forthcoming album Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? on on July 12. This image certainly fits these two cool kids well! So hop into your car, roll down the windows (if you don’t have a convertible), pack some friends, and find the next best thing that looks like a palm-tree-framed LA boulevard because that is the way this song should be played – alternatively if you feel inspired by the BBQ backyard party in the video, dust off the old cocktail shaker, dice the lemons, and hop into a swimsuit because this is going to be a hot one. (Liv Toerkell)
Trentemøller – ‘In The Garden’
Every time when Danish producer Trentemøller returns with new music I kind of get excited, not just due to being a longtime fan but also due to the fact that his sound is constantly evolving. A few weeks ago he already gave us Sleeper, a gloomy ambient-textured piece of cinematic sweetness, now another new track arrived. In The Garden is surprisingly tender and minimalistic; a dark wave ballad carried by vocalist Lina Tullgren. The beat feels almost like a constant dripping in the background while the rest of the music is surprisingly organic for Trentemøller‘s usual sound. It’s just proving how much he grew as a musician over the past years and it’s exciting to see how this will sound and feel like on his upcoming new studio album which will arrive in the fall aka the perfect time for this dark and haunting sound. (Norman Fleischer)
Spoon – ‘No Bullets Spent’
The indie rock icon Spoon’s career spans over almost thirty years. Could there be a better occasion to release a Best Of compilation of the band’s biggest hits? Probably not! And this is not the only surprise the Austin rockers revealed. Accompanying the news of the compilation out in July, Spoon surprised us with a completely new addition to the record – the groovy rock single ‘No Bullets Spent’. Starting out with some retro-tinged electrically distorted vocals and rhythmic energy, it is clear that this one is already a Spoon classic. Britt Daniel’s raw and fuzzy vocals reference social problems and oblivion towards the truth ‘All we need now is an accident / No one to blame and no bullets spent’. Screeching guitar riffs and a steady drumbeat, which won’t let any feet stand still, make this one a worthy addition to the album. Other classic songs like ‘Got Nuffin’, ‘The Underdog’, and 2017’s ‘Hot Thoughts’ will also be part of Everything Hits At Once. Cementing their indie rock legacy once in for all with this album, they still stay true to their beloved sound even 27 years after the beginnings of Spoon. (Liv Toerkell)
Find the 50 most essential fresh tracks in the ‘Nothing But Now’ Playlist!
Our Daily Tunes from June 2019
Ain’t it wonderful to start your day with a fresh piece of music? Every day the writers of NBHAP pick a new song for you, present them on our page and add the to the playlist you’ll find below. You can also sign up right here to receive them via your Facebook Messenger.
These have been our highlights from the past weeks.
- Plàsi – ‘Mystery’
- Birgitta Atilda – ‘When I’m With You’
- Eloise – ‘Left Side’
- Hanne Hukkelberg – ‘Crazy’
- The Night Café – ‘Turn’
- Lennixx – ‘Sunsets’
- Mansa – ‘Komfort’
- lodet – ‘Calling’
- Easy Giant – ‘Sunriser’ (Diskobeistet Remix)
- TOGGI – ‘Dancing Alone
- Black Belt Eagle Scout – ‘At The Party’
- Maris – ‘White Knuckles’
- Róka – ‘Overgrown’
- Olympia – ‘Hounds’
- Miynt – ‘Peaches’
- Lune – ‘Talking Truth’
- Henrik Lindstrand – ‘Havet’
- COMA – ‘Snurrebassen’
- Stef Chura – ‘Scream’
- KRÍA – ‘Pathogen’