Listening Post: 7th February 2016
Between bubblewrap and the never-ending torrent of new music, it’s tough to keep up with what you should be listening to. Luckily, we’ve collected the very best tracks from the past seven days (you can picture us using a butterfly net if you *really* want) and displayed them in one handy location. Sit back, turn the volume up and delve into this Week’s Strongest tracks.
Not only are Lonely The Brave back but with ‘Black Mire’, they’re clearly bolder than ever.
That teasing guitar line kicks-starts the track and opens the door before standing guard as the band set about tearing the place apart. Those big, mountain-sized choruses that put Lonely The Brave on both festival mainstages and heart-shaped lockets are still raging. ‘The Day’s War’ saw the band easing up around those huge, upwards moments, eager to make sure they were light enough to soar but with ‘Black Mire’, Lonely The Brave throw everything they’ve got behind it. The result is a twisted, jagged hulk of a comeback that sets its sights firmly on the horizon.
Despite the shuddering weight, the first taste of Lonely The Brave’s second album two is defined. Crystal clear layers stack up with purpose as the band surround themselves with space to get down. ‘Black Mire’ is busy, shifting and gnarled but instead of claustrophobia, the band craft comfort in forward motion.
And that’s where things get interesting with ‘Black Mire’. The band has created such a sense of belonging with their music in the past and this present-day Lonely The Brave are clearly on the move. ‘Black Mire’ is proof the band are unafraid to rock the ship but still offer the same open-armed sonic embrace, just on a much grander scale. Think you know Lonely The Brave? It’s time to say hello.
Brooding, atmospheric and threatening. We know this is Deftones long before Chino warns of there being “a new strange” but familiarity isn’t the enemy here. Moving on from the shuddering all out blitz that was ‘Koi No Yokan’, the first taste of the much-anticipated ‘Gore’ finds Deftones in a new space and throughout ‘Prayers/Triangles’ they make every inch count.
From the urgent warning of “you will never be free” to the splintering percussion and wild swings of guitar, the band takes their time. It reeks of confidence and with the track swerving between beauty and warning with callous disregard to expectations, this is the sound of the kings returning.
Against The Current are no strangers to subtle, heart-felt intimacy but ‘Running With The Wild Things’ couldn’t be further from that point. The track starts with chirping ‘ooh-ohh’s and builds from there. This is Against The Current at their glittering, shiny peak.
From the hyperactive crash of drums and the buzz-laden guitar to the soaring cries of “We got too big for the cage,” the band is swinging harder than ever before. Even with this increased velocity, the band never sound pushed or close to the edge. Gang vocals and rainbow vibrancy, ‘Running With The Wild Things’ is a warning. Against The Current are only just getting started.
The vitality that rages through the Philly quintet’s music remains unrivalled. Part garage, part punk, part hair metal, the group’s characteristic sound, helmed by the astounding vocals of frontwoman Christina Halladay, has surrounded them in a whirlwind of hype. Not that the band seem to take much notice. Disregarding the buzz that circles their very name, they simply continue to do what they do best. Characteristically forsaking drumroll or fanfare, Sheer Mag have burst back on the scene with something brand new.
Wild and unhinged, Sheer Mag are challenging the notions that surround them. The message is vital, and its medium is key. Near primal melodies instinctively race with the same potency and need to be heard as the vocals that empower the song’s weighted lyrics. A hairbrush anthem for the modern age, ‘Can’t Stop Fighting’ is raw power put to poignant use. Challenging the patriarchal nature of the culture we live in, Sheer Mag present their own raw take on “just what’s at stake”.
Demonstrating the band at their most potent yet, the track boasts guitar riffs that blaze with a near demented fury, the perfect compliment to the track’s ferocious lyrics. “You say you don’t understand,” Christina screeches towards the track’s end. “I can see the blood, it’s on your hands.” It’s a rousing call to action against anyone who doesn’t see the need to fight for a better state of things.
Portraying messages as spirited as the music that carries them, Sheer Mag’s time is undoubtedly imminent – if they keep this vow to carry on fighting, it won’t be long until they have the world at their feet. From what we’ve heard from the five-piece so far, that seems like a place worth fighting for. (Jessica Goodman)
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Parquet Courts have returned to our consciousness once more with the imminent arrival of new album, ‘Human Performance’ and the instant hit of a stomping new track. With ‘Dust’, the NY four-piece narrate the swirling, ever-present menace of the unseen enemy.
The track loses itself in waves of hypnotic dance but there’s more than enough to drag you down the rabbit hole with them. The main driving force within the song is the guitars which compliment every verse with a small, but infectious riff. The lyrics concern dust and its ability to be absolutely everywhere, “It come through the window / it comes through the floor / it comes through the roof / and it comes through the door”. It even features a taunted order of “Sweep!”, as if we even needed telling at this point.
In the final quarter you get the sonic equivalent of a nervous breakdown. It turns to a chaotic stream of bells, synthesised horns and piano, which is played more furiously the further we delve into this sonic breakdown.
Everything about this song is classic Parquet Courts, from the almost nonsensical lyrics to the quaint, yet at time menacing instrumentation. (Steven Loftin)