Penguin – ‘Fiction’

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Penguin are protopunk-influenced alt-rock newcomers from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who made their musical introduction with debit single ‘Not A Problem’ back in May.

On that occasion the Geordie outfit delivered a cut of anthemic, indie-rock brilliance; and they are at it again with latest single. ‘Fiction’ is an irresistible three-minutes of relentless, fast-paced alt-pop fizzing with a lively electricity. Propelled onward by clattering percussion, driven guitars, meaty riffs and playful rhythms, ‘Fiction’ is as infectiously sing-a-long as Futureheads at their very best. And if that comparision where not enough, the wonderfully exuberant breakdown finale brings to mind the late, great Beta Band. An utterly marvellous fun and riff-filled adventure to a place of sheer joy! If this doesn’t warm your heart and plaster a delirious grin across your face, nothing will.

‘Fiction’ is out now, listen to it below.

Introducing: Stoat

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With an extensive back-catalogue, an indie/post-punk sound similar to HMHB meets Sultans of Ping FC and Irish to boot, it is a mystery how Stoat existence remained unknown (to me at least) until very recently.

After taking a breather for a few years, so far in 2017 Stoat have been revealing new material with a view to releasing an LP called Try Not To Think About It later in the year. The latest single lifted from the forthcoming record is the title track, providing a welcome introduction to both band and LP. Spearheaded by militaristic drums, jerky and somewhat jagged punky-reggae guitars and wry, sardonic lyrical quips. Delivered with hawkish precision, they tap along in perfect time regaling tales of the downside of fatherhood, domesticity, and steady employment. Striking a balance between bashing out a memorable jam and being light-hearted is a tough ask, many have tried and many have failed. But thankfully – like the aforementioned HMHB & Sultans – Stoat deliver the goods. Hopefully there’s more to come from Stoat in 2017, an excellent – if somewhat belated – discovery.

Check out ‘Try Not To Think About It’ & other recent single, ‘Talk Radio Makes Me Feel Alone’ below.

Something for the Weekend: New Music Playlist #1

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A brand new feature on the Gruff channel, a weekly 15-track Spotify playlist series featuring some of the finest new music to prick my ears.

Clocking in at under and hour, it’s an easily digested slice of new music, just in time for the weekend. There’s a nice mix of genres and styles too, allowing me to share more great tunes for your ears, so hopefully it can be a regular feature. We’ll see how it goes, I guess.

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Chick Quest – ‘Down in a Crypt’

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Self-described ‘Spaghetti Western Post-Punk Dance Party’, Chick Quest are an unconventional punky foursome – Ryan White (vocals, guitar), Iris Rauh (drums), Marcus Racz (trumpet, keyboard), and Magdalena Kraev (bass) – hailing from Vienna, Austria.

Chick Quest explore rather unusual realms of music, taking in parts punk, post-punk, ska, funk, b-movie and spaghetti western soundtracks. The Austrian foursome are readying their second album, Model View Controller. Ahead of its release later this month, Chick Quest provide a preview with ‘Down In A Crypt’. Its all dance-y and fuzzed-up post-punk with a spooky b-movie-esque organ riff, crunchy guitar riffs, brisk bass-line and dynamic beats. Catchy, infectious and simultaneously rather creepy; it’s a hard act to pull off but pull it off they do.

Model View Controller is out February 24th via Triangular Sounds. Until then, why not give ‘Down In A Crypt’ a spin below.

Dead Naked Hippies – ‘Lights Out’

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‘Lights Out’ is the debut single from Leeds trio Dead Naked Hippies.

Produced by Matt Peel (Eagulls, Pulled Apart By Horses, Autobahn), ‘Lights Out’ offers a thrilling introduction to the raucous sound of Dead Naked Hippies.

This trio – Lucy Jowett – (vocals), Joe Clarke (guitar), Jacob Marston (drums) – trade in scintillating, punk-tinged indie-rock brilliance. ‘Lights Out’ blaze forth with coiled riffs, terse drums, insistent bass and Jowett’s impassioned vocals. Drenched with pent up emotion, ‘Lights Out’ slowly uncoils, revealing itself as an unflinching, focused three minutes of gritty, cathartic and rage-fuelled fuzz-drenched rock ‘n roll abandon.

More new music is promised soon – which is great obviously – but for now get your ears around the frenetic, electrified and scintillating master-class that is ‘Lights Out’.

Playlist: Best Songs of 2016

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Lists, lists, lists and more lists. Yes, it is that time of year when lists become more common place than overly optimistic Liverpool fans in August.

Time, or lack of it, truly is the enemy once again but I’ve compiled a 100+ strong song Spotify playlist; selection of personal favourites from throughout the year. Pretty self-explanatory this, but there’s loads of great stuff in there from many styles and genres and, from across the globe.

I hope to have an ‘Albums of 2016′ post completed this week. Anyway, for now, I hope you enjoy the playlist.

 

Introducing: False Heads

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London grunge/punk trio False Heads have marked themselves as noisemakers supreme over the course of the past 12 months.

They have released a slew of blistering singles and their latest ‘Weigh In’, is as ferocious an intro as possible. ‘Weigh In’, and indeed their grunge/punk hybrid, is rammed with vicious hooks, fierce, crunchy guitar riffs, hammering percussion and banging bass line. Three-and-a-half-minute burst of coiled up aggression, delivered with a primal energy; this is raspy, aggressive, and downright infectious. The companion to ‘Weigh In’, ‘All Eyes’ leans toward the grungier end of the spectrum yet similarly menacing, viscerally snarling and hard to resist. False Heads certainly sound like a trio with fire in their bellies, and with a bunch of singles and live dates planned for the coming year, these guys look like an exciting prospect.

Three lads who make a whole lot of noise, what’s not to like? Well, for now, check out ‘Weigh In’ & ‘All Eyes’ – as good a start as any.

Introducing: Sean OB

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Sean OB – aka Sean O’Brien – is a songwriter, multi-talented musician and producer.

His name be unfamiliar but his work will not, fronting the decidedly brilliant and criminally underrated Dublin punk-ska trio Trap Door, before joining Raglans in 2012. O’Brien has now returned with a brand new project under the moniker of Sean OB. Described as “Buddy Holly meets Jamie T” – and there is some truth in that statement – heralding this project is debut single, ‘Alive’. It marks an evolution of the punky-indie sound he carved out with Trap Door. Amid the rumbling and rattling guitars of this spiky piece of punk-tinged-indie, it is O’Brien’s gripping way of telling a tale that, like before, wins the day. ‘Alive’ is an excellent intro to a project with plenty of promise. There’s an EP in the works with producer Rob Kirwan (Hozier/The Horrors) in 2017, so keep an eye out for that in the new year.

For now though, you can listen to ‘Alive’ below, and if it is to your liking, Sean is playing Whelan’s Upstairs, this Saturday, November 19th | Doors @ 23:00 & more details here.

 

Whenyoung Share Scintillating New Single ‘Actor’

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One of this year’s HWCH standouts, London-based Irish trio, Whenyoung have shared a brand new single, ‘Actor’.

Penned for release on November 25, it follows-up their brash but brilliant debut single ‘See How They Run’. A stinging pillory of projecting artificial images of oneself through social media, ‘Actor’ is another infectious and fiery piece of punk-flavoured garage-rock. Guitars screech and wail amid a squall of distortion and fuzz which engulfs everything in its wake, but punctured by a powerful beat and sweet, yet punchy vocals. Bursting with vitality, melody ‘Actor’ is bristly, driven and of course, totally irresistible! Whenyoung’s second single adds a far greater weight to the their ever growing rep.

‘Actor’ is officially released on November 25 with a headline show, at London’s Shacklewell Arms on the 24th. Stream ‘Actor’ below right now.

Jinx Lennon to Release Two New Albums in October; Shares ‘Past Pupil Stay Sane’

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Jinx Lennon is a unique talent, a national treasure to be exact. Influenced as much by post punk and hip hop, he is the embodiment of a modern folk singer. Whether it’s played on a one string guitar or sampled disco beat, raw garage noise and blues, his are songs of raw truths that kick back against the humdrum bullshit of modern life.

Needless to say, it has been far too long since we’ve had a new record from Jinx – the last seems like a distant memory – so news of not one, but TWO new Jinx records this month, is cause for serious excitement. Recorded with Liverpool experimentalists Clinic, Past Pupils Stay Sane & Magic Bullets of Madness to Uplift Grief Magnets will be released simultaneously on October 21st. Ahead of the double release, we’ve been afforded a glimpse of what’s to come in the shape of ‘Past Pupil Stay Sane’ and it is typically brilliant and typically Jinx. His way with words and delivery is unique and backed by a steady electronic beat, synths, twangy reverberating guitar and acoustic strum ‘Past Pupil Stay Sane’ is Jinx at his very best. There’s no one quite like him anywhere in the world – brilliant as always.

Both Past Pupils Stay Sane & Magic Bullets of Madness to Uplift Grief Magnets will be released simultaneously on October 21st. For more info / pre-orders go here.