Four Best New Releases:
Telegram are a band that aren’t contented to march to the beat of someone else’s drum. Though ostensibly they seem to be part of the neo-psychedelic wave happening in London, or at least their skin-tight black jeans would suggest so, Telegram have far more depth and independence than this. Telegram’s singer Matt Saunders is not afraid to sing in his native Welsh accent, indeed, their most recent single, Taffy Come Home, shows the band displaying their heritage on their sleeves. As with all of Telegram’s releases so far, it’s a glam-rock joy-ride with a driving beat and a fantastic chanted chorus. However, this single sees the band experimenting with harmonies and more complex song structure which is heartening to hear. Their debut album ‘Operator’ is due to be released in early 2016 and if ‘Taffy Come Home’ is anything to go by, it will definitely be one to pre-order. Catch them at Headrow House on the 22nd of Feb.
Fat White Family
‘Whitest Boy On The Beach’, the Fat White Family’s first single from their impending sophomore album, ‘Songs For Our Mothers’, quells any fears you might have had that the Fat Whites would release one fantastic album and implode in on themselves. The song opens with an organ drone before an infectious drum groove kicks in. Already this sounds like a real evolution in sound from the primal garage squalls of the first album and whets the appetite for the new album even more. Though the production is a little more slick than previous releases by the South-London band, the single still captures the energy and sleaziness of the Fat Whites, with singer Lias Saoudi crooning ‘Who’s the whitest boy on the beach now?’. What’s more, the Fat Whites seem to be evolving well with elements of krautrock and electronica coming to the fore in a heady smorgasbord of musical flavours. The song exudes vitality and has what all great Fat White Family songs have- a slight sense of humour and cold menace, with a knowing flicker of an eyelid over one dilated pupil.
Andrew Weatherall’s first release, ‘The Confidence Man’ from his most recent album since 2009, is a banger. It’s a psychedelic masterpiece with flavours of Coil and Primal Scream. This track displays Weatherall’s sheer talent, the production is spot on, with strange guitar feedback noises and an entrancing trip-hop beat and bassline. For those who only know Weatherall in relation to the remixes he did of Primal Scream’s ‘I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have’ (which became ‘Loaded’), the Happy Mondays’s ‘Hallelujah’ and (the most perfect fusion of shoegaze and acid house ever made) his version of My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Soon’. Though ‘The Confidence Man’ is a little more laid-back than some of the other material he has released, as with everything Weatherall does, the track still carries with it a kind of hands-in-the-air energy, and could be played anywhere from a funeral to Ibiza.
Though the name ‘Sunflower Bean’ might suggest insufferable, insubstantial, fragile indie nonsense, the track ‘Wall Watcher’ is anything but. It’s a blistering fuzzed-out slice of aggressive rock ‘n’ roll, with the ghost of Debbie Harry on vocals and a definite nod to The Ramones and The Stooges. Though the slightly simpering vocals start a grate a little towards the end, the majority of this track is excellent. This, the first release from their forthcoming debut album, does a good job of laying down an aggressive, punky marker that does more than enough to justify their position amongst more established label-mates like Spiritualized and the Fat White Family.
David Bowie’s latest release ‘Lazarus’ was released with little fanfare, much like his previous album ‘The Next Day’, and is quietly setting the tone for Bowie’s twenty-fifth studio album ‘Blackstar’ due in early January. ‘Lazarus’ has flavours of Low-era Bowie, with industrial-sounding guitars and abstract lyrics, however it also sees Bowie experimenting more (towards the end of the track) with a kind of free-jazz feel rooted in a driving rhythm that’s reminiscent of 1970s German bands like Can. The track is sax-heavy, but don’t let this put you off, it works well within the track and provides for some of the song’s more interesting moments. This song proves that Bowie’s lyric-writing chops have not disappeared, indeed there are some classics on this album like ‘I’m so high it makes my brain whirl/ dropped my cell phone down below’. ‘Lazarus’, is weird, majestic, weird, lyrically fantastic and weird. Would you expect anything less from pop’s chameleon prince?