Let’s Talk Music – February 2020

February was a busy month for releases and I have enjoyed listening to a bunch of new tunes. This post has fair bit of surf pop and trios in hindsight so perhaps not as varied as usual however there is a lot of material for your to check out: six singles, an EP and an album. So here is some of what I was listening to last month.

“Surf N Turf” (Single) by Lime

I am pretty new to the surf-pop genre but thanks to this blog and people sending me tracks it is one of many genres that I have been introduced to. I think it is pretty great – this debut single by Lime is no different.

The four-piece have been doing bits by amalgamating together different genres, writing indie-pop melodies with psychedelic surf edges. What I particular dig about this track is the underlying cool bass line and the pace-y beat.

It makes sense for a surf pop band to be from Brighton. Maybe the reason why I am pretty new to this genre is because of being from the Midlands; might be slightly strange to have a surf band from Birmingham. However, listening to this band I get excited by what I am hearing.

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“Brain Cell” (Single) by AutoPilot

Coventry rock trio, AutoPilot have released a brand new single for you to sink your teeth into and it is called “Brain Cell”. It is their fourth single and it is another banger. Loved it immediately after the first listen.

They’ve incorporated a slightly more electronic sound for this track as they’ve used synths which is a bit different for this band. The backing vocals have also been put through some sort of effect adding to that texture. Strong riffs, stomping drums and powerful vocals are factors which all bring this great song together.

It feels like a crowd pleaser – and there is nothing wrong with that. Looking forward to hopefully hearing it live in the near future.

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“Camino” (Single) by Calva Louise

An earworm after the first listen, one of my favourite artists Calva Louise have released a new single, “Camino”. My brief research tells me that the word camino is Spanish for road/path – meaning a path of travel.

This band’s sound has changed over the years, from indie roots transforming into more punk vibes with a dash of something else. Perhaps a more electronic sound. Although whilst listening to this you know that it is a Calva Louise song, it is very different to anything they’ve previously released with that electro sound pumped up on steroids.

When I first had a listen it took me a minute to get past how different it is but now I cannot get enough. Been listening to it on repeat. This trio keep pushing themselves to new levels and it is great to see that it is paying off. If only other acts were as ambitious as they are.

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“What Can I Say?” (Single) by Pioneers

Southampton indie rockers Pioneers have released their fifth single and they have described it as the best thing they’ve done so far. “What Can I Say?” certainly has that promise to entice new listeners into their business.

Opening with howling guitar and a head banging drum beat I immediately liked what I was hearing. The vocals are very clean, sounds like the frontman has a good set of pipes, the lull of the gentle BVs which very subtly tie the sound together are pretty ace. The use of percussion in the bridge is also very powerful.

Made for live performances – and it sounds like the band are smashing it on that front – I can seriously visualise a bunch of sweaty gig-goers going nuts to this song.

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“Skinny Dip” (Single) by Pretoria

Peering at their stats on Spotify it is quickly apparent that this surf-style alternative rock outfit from Michigan are doing alright to say the least. On first listen of “Skinny Dip” I can hear why.

Pretoria have created a track which encapsulates summer making it very brave to release the track in February. It has me craving for those longer, sunny days and positive atmosphere. “Skinny Dip” has great vocals and clear surf guitar lines – plus they have the ability to change the pace throughout the track effortlessly showing their obvious talent.

The single feels upbeat and warm giving it the power – I think – to turn anyone’s frown upside down. So if you feel like you need a lift then make sure give this tune a listen.

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“Empty Swimming Pool” (Single) by Voodoo Bandits

Last month’s music round-up included a review of indie four-piece Voodoo Bandits latest single “Psych Beach” which you can read here. Since then, the band have sent me a mix of their next single “Empty Swimming Pool”.

Sticking to that blend of surf-pop, rock and psychedelia, the band from Isle of Man have produced another absolutely cracking tune. The track is uplifting, energetic and full of catchy indie hooks. I challenge you not to have a little dance to it. I honestly believe it would be impossible not too.

I believe they are a band to watch. Simply, their music is fun. Makes rainy days feel sunny – certainly made my February brighter. I think in a world where things are more times than not a bit rubbish this band could come and help save the day. That’s what music is for…right?

The single is out 13/03/20. When it has been released I will embed a link here.

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“Birth of Joy” (EP) by RAMAN.

Having seen this band support Kaiser Chiefs in Antwerp a couple of weeks ago, I am now enjoying listening to their debut EP “Birth of Joy” on repeat hoping that one day they bring their talents to the UK. Alternative rock trio RAMAN. absolutely killed the support slot and had me more than gripped on their every lyric, note and guitar solo – they like a guitar solo.

From what I have read about this band, it sounds like a release of some sort has been a long time coming with the trio having been gigging for a few years now. This release was out in November last year and I am so glad that I have come across it.

The EP opens with single and title track “Birth Of Joy”. A five minute track which certainly does not overstay its welcome which is a rarity for longer songs in general. In fact, each of the tracks are around the five minute mark if not longer – they have a serious talent for having me hanging on every word for that length of time.

They love their blues with “Maestoso”, “Without Whiskey” and “Pieces” all having a very strong and sort of classic bluesy feel. This is guided by the stunning guitar and, at time, eerie vocals.

What I love about how the tracks have been mixed is that they don’t sound too different to how they sounded live. They have kept that raw feel that I loved when enjoying their set a few weeks back. More people need to hear about and appreciate this band.

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“Deathrow Disco” (Album) by Tensheds

Towards the beginning of February I witnessed the brilliant Tensheds support Beans On Toast (you can read my review from that night here). Since then, I have been listening to “Deathrow Disco” and it is a fantastic album.

On the face of it, how would I describe this album? It is punky. It is gritty. It is almost scary at times but also on the flip side can be uplifting. It is an album which almost tells a story, a journey of trying to find freedom but with a sometimes dance-like feel – this certainly explains the title, “Deathrow Disco”.

There is definitely a love of organ on this record, first two tracks “Youngbloods” and “Gold Tooth” both use the instrument in an interesting way – the latter of the two tracks has more bluesy vibes with the organ sounding almost guitar-like.

“Slag” is an extremely interesting track and might be my favourite off the entire album. The varying sounds throughout the song is not only incredibly gripping but also very clever. It kicks off quite rough with a harsh sound, his gravelly vocals working incredibly hard but then there is a rapid tinkle of keys and I am engaged. When the piano solos and there is a gentle snare beat I challenge anyone not to be captured by the brilliance that is Tensheds.

“The Letting Go” follows which is a much calmer track and gives the listener a pause for breath. I remember enjoying “Black Blood” live a few weeks ago and recorded is no different – although it definitely has more of dance feel on the album. “Troubleshooter” is pure funk whilst “Sharp Threads” has serious rhythm.

Both “Secrets” and “The Picture Book” are more emotional songs sung from the heart. They’re sad songs about heartbreak and really add another depth to an already impressive album.

Closing the album is another melancholic tune with “Forever in Dreams”. I would describe it as majestic – as is the entirety of “Deathrow Disco”. Give it a listen for yourself.

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Thank you for reading. See you all soon!x

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