MEMES – ‘J.O.B.S.’

Glasgow lo-fi post punk noise-makers, MEMES, introduced their fiery, furious and feisty sounds with a series of scintillating singles last year with ‘Blah Blah Blah‘, ‘Funny Man‘ & ‘Happy Shopper’ making them one of the finest new discoveries of 2019.

However, amid the silly season towards the close of 2019, another MEMES single slipped into the world without me noticing, until just recently. ‘J.O.B.S.’ is of a similar ilk to what we’ve quickly come to recognise as MEMES’ sound; fast, feverish and exhilarating post-punk fury – and cousins John and Paul McLinden have nailed it again. Hurtling off at breakneck speed along a frenzied rhythmic surge as meaty, bubbling bass riffs duel with fevered drums and short, sharp, jerky guitars as sneering vocals are spat out above. A thrilling, raw and exhilarating jam that will leave you breathless and have you hooked from the get go.

Check out ‘J.O.B.S.’ below (one especially FFO Sluts of Trust, The Fall & HMHB):

Death Hags – ‘Be Who You Are (Skyforest edit)’

Death Hags is the multifaceted project of Los Angeles-based, French electronica artist, Lola Jean. Working mostly from the secluded hideaway hills of East LA, Jean crafts hypnotic, futuristic and minimal electronica inspired by the likes of Brian Eno, Björk and Twin Peaks.

An enigmatic creative force for sure, Jean’s singles to date have been nothing short of sublime, and new one ‘Be Who You Are (Skyforest edit)’ is no different. It is lifted from Big Grey Sun #1, the first instalment of an ongoing seven-volume multi-media project, one “centered around the idea of a post-human utopia.” Hushed, dreamy vocals hover above deep, burrowing bassline groove that meanders slow while distorted guitars burn slowly amid a haze of warm fuzz – ‘Be Who You Are’ is lush, lavish and dripping with rich melody. Hypnotic and transfixing, residing in a moody atmospheric world of rich textures and dreamy allure, ‘Be Who You Are’ offers a much less tense and terse take on Death Hags’ brand of dream/synth-pop.

Tune in below:

Yammerer – ‘Seasons 13-31’

Liverpool-based outfit Yammerer are a band with a preference for sharp, angular, high-energy, unhinged and raucous psych-punk fury.

Their audacious, boisterous and snarling sonic adventures are there for all to see (and hear) on their debut EP Reality Escape Resort, released toward the close of 2019. Forged from a swell of free-flowing psychedelia and hammered out in an incandescent rage, the EP is a whirlwind of off-kilter, frenzied psych-punk and none more so than ‘Seasons 13-31’. It is a nine-minute spectacular; a highly charged cacophony of pent up post-punk fury. A hyperactive frenzied blitz of bone rattling drums, furious, jerky guitars, buzzing riffs and spiralling effects, with frenzied vocals uncoiling above. A stunning intro to the Liverpool-based five-piece, it is a chaotic, wild and arresting jam.

You can listen to ‘Seasons 13-31’ below and the debut EP is here too

Happy Out – ‘Deadhead 2’

Happy Out are a post-punk trio from Letterkenny, Co Donegal, and are noise-makers supreme.

The trio have just released their debut EP Is, Was, Wasn’t, and oh my, it is a serious statement of intent. It is a powerful, potent and buzzing blast of scuzzy indie-rock/post-punk alchemy. A proverbial kick in the bollocks if you like, taking in post-rock, indie, post-punk and pure unadulterated noise, single ‘Deadhead 2’ leads the fuzzed-up charge. Vocals roar to heard above a thunderous concoction of fuzzed-up, rampaging guitars, soaring riffs and barrelling barrage of loud, pounding drums – and all drenched in fuzz and distortion. ‘Deadhead 2’ is a phenomenon; a rampaging riff-fuelled monster – hold on to your hats.

Listen to ‘Deadhead 2’ below and the EP here.

City Victim – ‘Screaming’

City Victim are an Irish alt-rock band currently based out of Galway who since forming in early 2019, spent the year drip feeding singles – four in fact – and they are kicking off 2020 with their best release to date; ‘Screaming’. 

‘Screaming’ echoes the style of previous but sees a further evolution of their sound. While channelling classic post-punk influences – Television, Wire and The Cure – combined with more contemporary bands such as Interpol and Beach Fossils, the single is fleshed into a bold and peerless bout of slowburning aggression that thrives on the darker side of post punk. Amid the intensity, ‘Screaming’ is a real groover as it swaggers along driving, meaty basslines with layers of shimmering guitars keeping pace with the burrowing rhythm as hushed yet passionate vocals float stridently above. It is a huge tune, and one that wields a mighty power, and is utterly brilliant.

Listen to ‘Screaming’ below. City Victim will hit the road in February / March for a tour with the great Eoin Dolan, Dylan Murph and Sheepy – dates below.

01/02 Craft Taproom, Liverpool
02/02 Stamps (Crosby)
21/02 Pharmacia, Limerick
12/03 Roisin Dubh, Galway
13/03 Sin E, Dublin

Guest Post: Johnny Feeney’s Albums of 2019

Aside from compiling my own lists, I really enjoy looking over other people’s albums of the year rundowns and none more so than Mr. Johnny Feeney.

An insightful musical sage, Johnny’s guest appearances are always interesting and bring added flavour to the blog and I look forward to reading his contributions – of which, surely I’m not alone?

Yes, we’re a bit late with this one but sure better late than never, right?

A huge thanks to Johnny for taking time out to compile this list, and on that note, I’ll leave you with his favourite records of 2019.

10: DIIV – ‘Deceiver’

Following up 2016’s supreme Is the Is Are, Brooklyn shoegaze quartet DIIV’s third album Deceiver draws obvious comparisons to My Bloody Valentine with its multiple layers of shimmering, squalling guitars and lead singer Zachary Cole Smith’s dreamy vocals. Expect plenty of loud / quiet / loud moments on this dazzling return.

Listen in full here.

09: Hot Chip – ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’

Although their newer material has perhaps lost some of the menace of their early output, ultra-consistent Hot Chip prove they are still adept at releasing dance-pop of the highest calibre. A perfect antidote to the grim global political and environmental situation we find ourselves in today, I challenge anyone to listen to the likes of ‘Positive’ or ‘Melody of Love’ and not feel a wave of joy wash over you.

Listen in full here.

08: Black Midi – ‘Schlagenheim’

The Mercury-nominated debut album from this four-piece experimental-rock band hailing from London is definitely not going to be to everyone’s taste. From the brutal opening salvo of ‘953’ to the wonderful closer ‘Ducter’, this relentless record is one that never lets go. A highly ambitious record, understandably it doesn’t always quite come together. But when it does hit the mark it’s absolutely thrilling. Improvised mayhem never sounded so good.

Listen in full here.

07: Marika Hackman – ‘Any Human Friend’

The latest LP from Marika Hackman certainly has a much more pop-leaning sound than her early fans would expect from the English singer-songwriter. Hackman’s usual vocals and guitar lines are regularly joined by jaunty synths to create upbeat tunes merged with deeply personal lyrics exploring themes such as same-sex relationships (‘All Night’) and masturbation (‘Hand Solo’). The jaw-dropping title track that closes the album is beyond staggering.

Listen in full here.

06: Drahla – ‘Useless Coordinates’

This bludgeoning debut record from Leeds post-punk outfit Drahla comes with driving guitars, a pummelling rhythm section, and Luciel Brown’s breathy vocals. Viciously, skewed saxophones add to the overall sombre atmosphere. Clocking in at a breathless half an hour, Useless Coordinates starts off dark and doesn’t veer off course once.

Listen in full here.


05: Mattiel – ‘Satis Factory’

The highly accomplished second album from the Atlanta-based singer-songwriter prominently features Mattiel Brown’s distinctive, booming vocals and some delightful, grooving and soulful blues-rock. Brown has an uncanny ability to create expertly crafted sub three-minute rock songs with an infectious hook. A very impressive piece of work.

Listen in full here.

04: The Murder Capital – ‘When I Have Fears’

The superb debut album from the Dublin post-punk five-piece is a moody, atmospheric affair. Brooding, menacing guitars and percussion are paired to pulsating effect with the haunting, angst-ridden vocals of lead singer James McGovern. A formidable live act, the group’s sound has been captured masterfully on record by UK producer Flood. Along with Fontaines DC and Girl Band, the Murder Capital are at the forefront of an exciting wave of great new Irish rock bands.

Listen in full here.

03: Aldous Harding – ‘Designer’

New Zealand folk artist Aldous Harding’s third studio album is the epitome of easy listening – nine tracks of blissful, exquisitely arranged songs. Harding’s tender vocals are accompanied by multiple layers of instrumentation and backing vocals to devastating effect throughout. A gorgeous album that gets better with every listen.

Listen in full here.

02: Vampire Weekend – ‘Father of the Bride’

After a six year hiatus and losing a key member in multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij back in 2016, Vampire Weekend fans could be forgiven for worrying if maybe this was the beginning of the end for the New York indie-poppers. Instead Ezra Koenig re-emerged with an exceptionally strong set of tracks, enlisting the help of the likes of Danielle Haim on vocals and guitarist Steve Lacy. The result is an immensely enjoyable, if overlong, album.

Listen in full here.

01: Fontaines DC – ‘Dogrel’

The eagerly awaited debut of Dublin punk rock quintet Fontaines DC delivers emphatically on every level. An extremely diverse and lyrical record, lead singer Grian Chatten’s miniature vignettes of Dublin City are accompanied by an ever-changing soundtrack from the rest of the group. From the piledriving punk of ‘Chequeless Reckless’ and ‘Hurricane Laughter’ to the jangling stomp of ‘Sha Sha Sha’ and ‘Boys in the Better Land’ via the tender ‘Roy’s Song’ and ‘Dublin City Sky’, not a single foot has been put in the wrong place. In a new Golden Age of Irish guitar music, it’s the Fontaines DC’s star who’s shining brightest at the moment.

Listen in full here.

Cuesta Loeb – ‘Immerse Inverse’

‘Immerse Inverse’ is the new single from NYC native Cuesta Loeb

Currently residing in LA, Loeb explores a love of dark, haunting melodies with dreamy, ethereal instrumentation and vocals, and in doing so, creates a brand of beautiful, layered and dark shoegaze indebted alt-rock all of her own. This approach is captured with spellbinding precision on the new single; and it is all-out bombast from the off. Powered by a relentless surging rhythmic energy and wall-of-sound, ’90s-styled shoegaze, ‘Immerse Inverse’ goes all in on powerful, layers of guitars, which come in wave after wave interspersed with meaty bassline and snappy drums that are matched by taut, twisting chords. Amid this admittedly massive whirring wave of fuzz and distortion, there is a sweetness; due to the understated melody of Loeb’s hushed, honeyed voice. And like that, it is over, and you’ll be reaching to repeat.

A surging, electrified blast of fuzz and distortion fuelled anthemic brilliance – tune in below:

Hippies vs Ghosts – ‘Tarw’

January can be a bit of a dour month to be fair but for all the reported new year blues, there is always plenty of new music and forthcoming album news to lift the spirits and new Hippies vs Ghosts – that is something special. 

Regular patrons of the blog will be well acquainted how highly thought of Hippies Vs Ghosts are around these parts. Under this guise, Owain Ginsberg, has routinely blown us away with his exhilarating,kaleidoscopic, Morricone meets krautrock sound.

Ginsberg has returned with his first new material since 2018’s No Left No Right, with ‘Tarw’. The single continues the evolution of his kaleidoscopic pallet that emerged on the aforementioned record; offering a less frantic, fevered and frenetic side to his sound. ‘Tarw’ is delivered with a slower tempo and is unusually very vocal, powerful and passionately delivered vocal, which combine amid a sea swirling atmospheric tones, spooky feedback and twangy riffs, and fuelled by seductive psych rhythms. ‘Tarw’ is yet another stunning Hippies vs Ghosts jam, and one that indicates the continued evolution and experimentation from a unique and enigmatic talent.

While there is no word on whether a new album is set to follow but here is hoping we see a new Hippies vs Ghost record in 2020.


Catholic Action – ‘People Don’t Protest Enough’

Glasgow outfit Catholic Action – Chris McCrory, Ryan Clark, Jamie Dubber & Andrew Macpherson – will release their second LP, Celebrated by Strangers on March 27 next year.

In building excitement they have already shared ‘One Of Us’ which took aim at the billionaire-owned media and their Bullingdon Club buddies, latest single is no less potent or politically charged. Entitled ‘People Don’t Protest Enough’ it is an upbeat call to get organised for a progressive, positive future – and it is simply sensational. Built around insatiable lockstep groove, propulsive bassline and kinetic rhythms ‘People Don’t Protest Enough’ is urgent, pulsing and also, incredibly catchy and danceable. Jerky art-rock riffs dart in-between twitchy vocals while all peppered with shimmering synths, hand claps and Casio tones completing the stunning sonic onslaught. Unleashing a relentless propulsive energy, it hits the sweet spot between melodic repetition, pent up aggression and danceable infectiousness – a la a fortuitous coming together of Franz Ferdinand, Django Django and LCD Soundsystem.

Listen to the phenomenal ‘People Don’t Protest Enough’ below now – and keep an eye out for Celebrated by Strangers in the new year.


Cousin Kula – ‘MIMO’

Bristol six-piece Cousin Kula specialise in explorations of dreamy, jazz-influenced psych-tinged pop, and with latest single ‘MIMO’ they do that with aplomb.

MIMO is the final single lifted from second EP STROODLES, follow up to 2017’s OODLES, and it is a smooth, smouldering and seductive slice of proggy psych-pop. Taking in an eclectic blend of music from pop and jazz through to psych and prog, it slinks languidly through a cosmic world of colourful synths, frazzled electronics, bubbling bass and free form rhythms. It is simultaneously laid back and bursting with passion as empowering lyrics flow over this exploration in sound collage. It is an amazing track with layers upon layers of intricately pieced together components revealing more and more with each listen – and by the same virtue, rewarding more with each and every listen. 

Check out ‘MIMO’ below – and the entire EP is here too.