Nobody’s Empire // Belle and Sebastian
After five years off the scene, Belle and Sebastian returned in January with their ninth studio album ‘Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’. Nobody’s Empire is the opening track, and stays true to Belle and Sebastian tradition. The instrumentals are gentle, like a shy marching band. As usual, it’s Murdoch’s words that give life to the song. Belle and Sebastian aren’t trying to prove anything, they’re just observing, storytelling from their own angle.
Standing in the Cold // Drenge
Drenge’s second album brought (some) maturity and an extra addition to the band – and they are definitely better for it. Standing in the Cold is everything you expect from a Drenge track and more – sulky and loaded with self loathing, embellished with echoing riffs that get progressively haunting throughout the track. Eoin’s lyrics slowly unveil a sort of dysfunctional relationship, ‘I was half your age and I thought we were in love’, demonstrated with sadistic biblical images images of burning cars, being nailed to trees and stained glass windows. You could look for some ‘deeper meaning’ in all of this, but you’d be wasting your time. Meanwhile Eoin would be laughing at you like a satisfied child. Nevertheless, Drenge dominate on this track.
She’s a Witch // Gengahr
Gengahr’s sound is quiet and shy, yet somehow it manages to tease you at the same time. Give it a listen.
West Coast // FIDLAR
This song needs no explanation – it’s your standard driving along the motorway in July, windows down and the speakers full blast. It exudes teenage immaturity, ‘got drunk and barfed on my shadow’ to the point of envy. I’m also pretty sure just the intro gives me endorphins. Everything about it is brilliant.
Lousy Connection // Ezra Furman
I wouldn’t ordinarily listen to music with trumpets in it, but Furman’s witty lyricisms make it irresistible. What drew me in was his attitude – he shows awareness of all that’s shitty about modern life, but doesn’t take himself too seriously, ‘The century seems like it’s turning out okay
It’s like a game of worldwide karaoke, and my rich friends and me just sit and blow smoke rings. There’s nothing happening, and it’s happening too fast’. It seems I’m not the only one who’s been drawn in… His album received 5 star reviews from numerous music press such as NME, Rough Trade and Pitchfork to name a few.
No Fun // The Magic Gang
If you listen to this once, you’ll probably find it catchy. Listen to it a further 10 times and I challenge you not to sing along with the riffs (air guitar is optional). It’s plain to see that good things are to come for The Magic Gang in 2016.
Two to Birkenhead // Bill Ryder-Jones
Bill Ryder-Jones’ is a romantic with a guitar. In his latest album ‘West Kirby County Primary’ he gives a voice to his quiet seaside his hometown, West Kirby. With the ambiguity of his lyrics, it seems as if he’s returned as a fly on the wall to favourite streets, bars and even old friends’ living rooms, taken notes, then at the end of the day crafting these overheard conversations into a monologue, and setting them to guitar. Two to Birkenhead is my favourite from the album, a love song in denial; full of the adolescent urge for escape and independence, its emotion amplified by the electric guitar, gathering up so much tempo throughout the song that by the end it feels powerful enough to set a match to and let it burn.