£50.00Visit product page →
# PLEASE READ:
You cannot combine the purchase of the Jukebox 45s Club with other items.
If you wish to purchase more items please proceed to a separate order. #
- Limited to 150, coloured vinyl, jukebox hole, record middle, tote bag, badge, mp3 download
1. Sleeping In The Backseat - Tigercats
2. Enabler - Evans The Death
3. Pretty Fucking Sick (Of It All) - Joanna Gruesome
4. The New Adam And Eve - Simon Love
5. Mr. Music - Pete Astor
6. Binary - The Spook School
7. Come Back To The City, Babyface - Cinema Red & Blue
8. I've Been A Bad, Bad Boy - Darren Hayman and Papernut Cambridge
9. Say 123 - Flowers
10. Propped Up - Mammoth Penguins
11. The Winter Fuel Allowance Ineligibility Blues - Martha
12. The last ever Fortuna POP! single... TBC!!!
What do you get?
- Twelve limited edition 7 singles, pressed on coloured vinyl with a jukebox hole
- Exclusive B-sides
- A custom-made glow-in-the-dark Fortuna POP! Jukebox 45s record middle
- A Fortuna POP! Jukebox 45s tote bag
- A Fortuna POP! Jukebox 45s fridge magnet
- Free MP3 download of all tracks
Artwork for this edition of the Jukebox 45s Singles Club will be by Matt Ashton of The Leaf Library.
Subscriptions are limited to 150.
£11.99Visit product page →
Martha return with their second album Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart in July, via Fortuna POP! (UK/EU) and Dirtnap Records (US). Produced again by MJ from Hookworms, the album explores the difficulties in staying political, staying passionate and staying punk over the course of eleven expertly crafted pop songs.
Hailing from Pity Me near Durham, Martha play energetic, impassioned power pop with intricate vocal interplay and lush four-part harmonies, informed by 90s indie rock and contemporary garage punk. The band is comprised of J. Cairns (guitar), Daniel Ellis (guitar), Naomi Griffin (bass), and Nathan Stephens Griffin (drums). All four members sing and write the songs. Daniel and Nathan also play in Onsind, while Naomi also plays in No Ditching. Their debut album “Courting Strong” came out in 2014 and was included in NPR's top 50 albums of that year, winning them the epithet “One of Britain's best rock bands”.
If the band’s first album, 'Courting Strong', was about punks growing up, then 'Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart' is about grown-ups staying punk. It's an album about trying to stay creative and passionate and making the most of everything in spite of the many obstacles that get in the way. It documents the way things like work, money, expectations and mental health issues can impact on your ability to do the things you want to do and be the person you want to be. It’s about resistance to those things. It's about finding strength and solace in friendships, love, and taking motivation from the people in your life who really inspire you.
As Nathan explains: “Playing music is something that is really important to all of us, but it’s also something that takes a lot of time and energy and emotional strain. This record is for everyone who leads a secret double life, devoting every weekend, every day of annual leave, all of their disposable income, every drop of creative energy to something as ethereal as music and art. It’s about persevering and still doing the things you love, even when most normal people can't understand why on earth you do it.”
Taking inspiration from such likely and unlikely sources as The Replacements, Heart, Billy Bragg, Thin Lizzy, Cheap Trick, The Go-Gos and Radiator Hospital, the album bursts into life with “Christine”, “a love song filtered through the messiness of anxiety and night terror” that takes inspiration from “Threads”, the British TV drama of the 1980s about nuclear war, and is followed by the rousing “Chekhov's Hangnail”, with backing vocals from Ellis Jones of Trust Fund.
The catchy “Precarious (The Supermarket Song)” finds romance in the washing powder aisle, while “Goldman’s Detective Agency” shows the band’s playful side as they re-imagine 19th century anarchist Emma Goldman as a private eye vanquishing corrupt cops and politicians. Nearly every song here is a potential single, from the infectious “Do Whatever” and “11:45, Legless In Brandon” to outsider anthem “The Awkward Ones” and the Billy Bragg / Coronation Street-referencing “Curly and Raquel”. The album concludes with “St Paul's (Westerberg Comprehensive)”, a song about being caught up in the toxic culture of a Catholic comprehensive school. “It’s for the kids who had the guts to be queer at school and for those who didn’t figure themselves out until they got out of school. “
Following a Glastonbury appearance last year at the personal invitation of Billy Bragg, the band will be playing UK dates in July and August before taking to the stage at End Of The Road in September. It’s going to be a busy old time for the band, what with double lives and everything, but, with passion and love dripping out of every second of “Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart”, you know they’ll find a way.
2. Chekhov's Hangnail
3. Precarious (The Supermarket Song)
4. Do Whatever
5. Goldman's Detective Agency
6. The Awkward Ones
7. Icecream And Sunscreen
8. 11:45, Legless In Brandon
9. Curly & Raquel
10. Do Nothing
11. St. Paul's (Westerberg Comprehensive)
£11.99Visit product page →
London five-piece Evans the Death return with Vanilla, their most ambitious and experimental album to date, eschewing the more traditional pop structures and hooks of their first two albums, 2012’s self-titled debut and 2015’s critically acclaimed Expect Delays. While Expect Delays was a step towards something more interesting, more collaborative, experimental and abrasive - a bleak, introspective kind of album that still retained a pop sensibility - Vanilla sees the band veer in an ever more adventurous direction: more aggressive, extroverted and raw.
Named after the undertaker in Dylan Thomas’ radio play, Under Milk Wood, the band was formed by brothers Dan and Olly Moss after meeting singer Katherine Whitaker at a Let’s Wrestle show. After numerous line-ups, the band is now completed by James Burkitt on drums and Daniel Raphael on bass. The new album was recorded at Lightship95 in London with producer Rory Attwell, who worked on both of their previous records. Highly variegated in style and mood, brimming with extreme contrasts, from noisy to funky to melodic, energetic to dejected, full of chaos and restlessness, the album was the result of a carefully planned recording strategy, as Dan Moss explains:
“We deliberately booked very little time in the studio, and we pretty much did everything live, together in the room – there was no trying to fix any mistakes. What you hear is very close to what we did in that moment – so technically, while it isn’t overly polished or slick, it’s a very high fidelity recording – an accurate reproduction of the original source. I think that gives it more of an urgency and honesty than the first two. We decided to limit ourselves to 8 tracks and this meant we were restricted in how much we could alter things after recording, and the amount of overdubs we could do – which is what we wanted.”
With no specific musical reference point, the songs on Vanilla veer wildly in style, lending a real energy and vitality to the flow of the album. There’s the psychedelic snarl of “Haunted Wheelchair” built around dissonant, ominous, jazz-like chords, which build a sense of dread and paranoia but also a strange excitement. Dan explains: “I wasn’t getting enough sleep. Then before recording the song, while on my way to a party I got assaulted out of the blue, and I had to have surgery for a broken jaw. I used that incident to hang the lyrics on, but really it’s about that strange feeling I was already having anyway.”
There’s also the no-wave party vibe of “Suitcase Jimmy”, a semi-improvised portrait of a fictional down-at-heel actor built around a Wilko Johnson-ish guitar part. “Hey! Buddy” is an “unintentionally mean-spirited” askew pop tune from the point of view of a cloying and over-zealous fan of the band. While the wartime dancehall of “Cable St. Blues” is an odd duet between two parts of the psyche, representing “an argument you have with yourself, about depression and extreme self-criticism and self-doubt, struggling to function”, and named after the site of the 1936 riots where the band wrote the album. “I wanted the end to sound like a New Orleans jazz funeral”, says Dan.
Newest member Daniel Raphael’s present to the band, “Hot Sauce” is led by a groovy, capacious bassline, while Olly’s “Armchair Theatre”, the quietest, prettiest song on the record, starts out like a soft rock classic and turns in to a gorgeously mournful song with the lyric “I took you to the park / kickin’ through used Johnnies and dry leaves”. And “Welcome to Usk” drews on Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western soundtracks and parts of Vivian Kubrick’s score for Full Metal Jacket, with a banging disco section thrown in for good measure. “When we first got this song right I got so excited I threw up my dinner”, says Dan. “It has three different time signatures!”
A dark, howling, ragged storm of an album, impossible to categorise, Vanilla is anything but – a far cry from the bland, unimaginative music that pervades the airwaves. It is a brittle, brilliant new chapter in the story of a band who never fail to surprise.
1. Haunted Wheelchair
2. Suitcase Jimmy
3. No Imitations
4. Hey! Buddy
5. Cable St. Blues
7. Hot Sauce
8. Armchair Theatre
9. Welcome to Usk
10. European Bison
£11.99Visit product page →
Dublin quintet September Girls return with an impassioned musical and political statement in their new album Age of Indignation, a title that succinctly sums up its inherent anger and restless dissatisfaction. The ten tracks bristle with atmospheric textures and dark-hearted noise, tackling complex subject matter such as feminism, religion and life in Ireland at this point in history along the way.
Formed in Dublin in 2011 and named after the Big Star song (by way of The Bangles), September Girls share songwriting and vocal duties amongst each of the band members. They comprise Paula Cullen on bass, Caoimhe Derwin and Jessie Ward O’Sullivan on guitar, Lauren Kerchner on keys and drummer Sarah Grimes, who debuts her first composition for the band with the closing track “Wolves”. Oliver Ackermann from A Place To Bury Strangers contributes vocals to “Jaw on the Floor”.
Age of Indignation follows September Girls’ debut Cursing the Sea (2014), an album that enjoyed considerable critical acclaim from the likes of The Guardian, The Fly, NME, The Sunday Times, The Observer and Uncut amongst others, with Time Magazine naming them as one of the 11 best new bands in the world. Since then the band have played slots at SXSW and CMJ as well as UK festivals such as Beacons, Great Escape, and Liverpool Psych Fest, not to mention a mobbed show in Berwick Street for Record Store Day. In late 2014 the band released a four-track EP Veneer, building on the foundations of Cursing the Sea and anticipating Age of Indignation, as they headed down a darker path.
As opposed to their debut album, which was recorded mainly at home, Age of Indignation was recorded at Dublin’s Orphan Studios, lending it a more assured, powerful sound. The album opens with the starkly bleak guitar riff of “Ghost”, before the band’s political views come to the fore with songs such as “Jaw on the Floor”, which is inspired by both the feminist movement and the 1916 Rising in Ireland, and “Catholic Guilt”, which deals with anger towards the Catholic Church, particularly from the viewpoint of being a woman, referencing the W.B. Yeats poem “September 1913”. Title track “Age of Indignation” addresses the ugly side of social media, while lead single “Love No One” comments on the vacuousness of modern society, mourning a narcissist's inability to see true beauty.
Brutally honest and brilliantly realised, Age of Indignation is a masterful album from a band confident enough to leave their influences behind. Still retaining the swirling psychedelia and intensity of their debut, this time round they are tighter and more controlled, whilst underneath something much darker and urgent is at work. This is music at its most riveting and atmospheric.
2. Jaw On The Floor
3. Catholic Guilt
4. Blue Eyes
5. Age of Indignation
6. Love No One
8. John of Gods
£11.99Indie powerhouse Fortuna POP! is proud to announce the release of Old Magick, the second solo album by Steven James Adams, former songwriter/singer/guitarist from the critically acclaimed Broken Family Band. Old Magick is proof that Adams’s gift for marrying exceptional lyrics with inescapable earworms is very much intact.Visit product page →
With minimal instrumentation, Old Magick is, in part, a reaction to Adam’s first solo outing House Music (2013), an album recorded in his living room and featuring an array of musical friends, including members of bands as disparate as pop-rockers The Vaccines and folk-idols Lau.
This time around, he relocated to The Premises studios in Hackney with producer Dan Michaelson at the helm. “The irony of going somewhere a bit more high-tech to make something with less people and instrumentation wasn’t lost on me”, notes Adams. With Michaelson also adding guitar and piano - lending his distinctive, pared-down style to many of the songs - and drums from Daniel Fordham (The Drink) the recording process was consciously self-contained. “We worked in a bubble”, says Adams, “Michaelson wanted to make a record that sounded like me, not me trying to do something I don’t normally do—and all I wanted was to make a record that sounded like him recording me.”
While the album title hints at Adams's interest in the dark arts, the lyrical content of Old Magick covers a lot of ground. Opening track “Togetherness” is a topical meditation on how our society treats people from other countries, set to a disarmingly pretty tune. On the upbeat “Kings of The Back of The Bus”, Adams contrasts the posturing of youth with the choices we make as we get older (“Now it’s just massage music”.) Elsewhere, desperation is in the air, as the deluded protagonist of “Ideas” tries in vain to rescue a relationship gone wrong, a theme echoed by “French Drop”, an old conjuring term for a trick in which an object appears to disappear without having gone anywhere. The bad, sad trip of “Sea of Words” pilfers the phrase “the news from nowhere” from William Morris, former resident of Walthamstow, Adams's adopted home, while “The Golden Bough” is “a rock 'n roll song about neuroscience and the "spiritual" choices people make in Western culture.”
Old Magick sees Adams playing with new sounds and ideas but he has a message for fans of his earlier output: "I've still got the old magic" he says. "I also have some new magic. And some crap jokes".
Adams takes Old Magick on the road in the UK this March, with some magic (and magick?) related surprises. His shows are wonderful to behold: funny, intimate and wildly unpredictable. According to a recent Guardian article "you'd struggle to find a British songwriter of the last 15 years who's had such consistently good reviews." A genuine entertainer, a truly gifted songwriter, and perhaps the closest thing there is to a British Bill Callahan, Adams has produced a high watermark of a record in Old Magick, proof that his reputation is deserved.
2. Kings of the Back of the Bus
3. Modern Options
5. French Drop
6. More Togetherness
7. Sea of Words
8. The Golden Bough
9. An Ending
£9.99Visit product page →
Spilt Milk is the brand new album from indie auteur Pete Astor, previously of The Loft, The Weather Prophets, and other esteemed acts. It was recorded onto ½ inch tape at the home studio of James Hoare of Ultimate Painting, The Proper Ornaments and Veronica Falls, with James playing guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and singing backing vocals. “He was”, says Astor, “an amazing band.” Other contributions came from members of Astor's live band, with Pam Berry (Black Tambourine, Withered Hand) supplying vocals, Jack Hayter (Hefner) on pedal steel, Alison Cotton (The Left Outsides) on viola, and Robin Christian (Male Bonding) and Susan Milanovic (Feathers) on drums.
The album has all the hallmarks of a future Pete Astor classic, drawing together key strands and tributaries of his work over the years, blending intuitive songwriting, acute lyrics and incisive melodies. After many years making more experimental, electronic music Astor has come full circle to the sound that made his name. He explains, “I’m back to being myself, bringing together sounds that I’ve used over time to make a record that sounds more like me than me!”
From the opening track “Really Something” to the recent single “Mr Music” (a favourite of Marc Riley and Gideon Coe on BBC 6 music) the album’s re-connects Astor’s bespoke guitar pop with his long-standing embrace of The Velvet Underground’s musical DNA. Other standout tracks include “My Right Hand”, a hymn to everyone’s best friend, with guest appearances from Tony Hancock, Marvin Gaye, Philip Larkin and a host of ex-girlfriends; the slow burning drama of “The Getting There” recalling the atmospheres of Astor’s 80s kindred spirits, The Go-Betweens. Also, there is the wry drive of “Very Good Lock”, summed up by Astor as “a description of an injurious medical condition that often affects the male of the species”. Elsewhere there are the gorgeous harmonies of the grown up country lament “Good Enough”, which wouldn’t be out of place on one of George Jones’ most heartbroken albums.
Spilt Milk is part of a continuum: from Astor’s beginnings with The Loft and The Weather Prophets on Creation Records in the 1980s, via his solo work through the 1990s and his more left field albums with The Wisdom of Harry and Ellis Island Sound on Matador Records, Heavenly and Peacefrog, through to his return to solo work with the Songbox album in 2012. As well as this ongoing musical activity, Astor is also Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, where he teaches, researches and writes about music; 2014 saw the publication of his study of Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Blank Generation as part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series.
Astor remains in touch, engaged and vital in a way that is rare with someone with such longevity. The album continues the story of one of one of England’s most respected and significant songwriters. As Astor says, “time passes, shit happens; some losses, some gains. Don’t cry – but I did!”
This is Spilt Milk."Quintessentially English yet Cohenesque pastoral folk-pop songs bent the way of French chanson. Lovely, every one - and a striking reminder of Astor's influence on artists from Belle & Sebastian to Luke Haines" - Uncut
1. Really Something
2. Mr. Music
3. My Right Hand
4. Perfect Life
5. The Getting There
6. Very Good Lock
7. Good Enough
8. There It Goes
9. Sleeping Tiger
10. Oh You
£9.99Visit product page →
There’s something great about a three-piece – think The Cocteau Twins, The Clean, Galaxie 500 – and the way that irreducible nucleus takes its strength from its limitations, making a virtue of its purity. And so it is with London trio Flowers, returning with their second album Everybody's Dying To Meet You in February 2016 via Fortuna Pop! (EU) and Kanine (US). Over the course of ten intensely thrilling pop songs, singer Rachel Kenedy's ethereal vocals and Sam Ayres textured guitar are backed by the powerful, metronomic beat of drummer Jordan Hockley.
Flowers began with Sam’s year-long search for a singer, and when he posted one last fateful advert, stating he wanted to make pop songs like "early Madonna through a broken tape machine", this led him to Rachel. Right away the two fell into a deeply creative and romantic partnership. Currently sharing a flat in East London with their adorable dog Batman, they restore vintage musical equipment and feverishly record demos.
The first batch, polished up by none other than Bernard Butler, turned into debut Do What You Want To, It's What You Should Do released in 2013. Created during a period of illness for Ayres, the result is an album that, while exquisite in its own way, is necessarily subdued in tone.
For Everybody’s Dying to Meet You the band retreated to Bark Studios in Walthamstow to work with producer Brian O'Shaughnessey (The Clientele, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine), a return home for Sam, who was born and spent most of his life in the area. It proved to be the perfect fit for Flowers, the sessions enabling them to capture the essence of both their dynamic live sound and their distortion-laden home demos. Effortlessly blending pop songs with noise while leaving space for more stripped back elements, the recordings strike a perfect balance between the sweetness of Rachel’s voice and Sam’s abrasive guitar stylings. Their musical inspirations, from shoegaze, C86 and New Zealand’s Flying Nun label, are now evident.
The infuriatingly catchy first single and opening track “Pull My Arm” nearly didn’t make it onto the album. Written during rehearsals for their tour with Luna after album recording sessions had finished, the band hastily booked another day at Bark and laid it down the day after the tour finished. Band favourite “Ego Loss” began with Sam playing with a new guitar pedal and writing a punk number… before the addition of Rachel’s words saw it morph into something completely different. Other highlights include the pop rush of “Bitter Pill” and the mesmeric, slow-burning “Intrusive Thoughts”.
Armed with a youthful intensity and determination that shows in their songs, Flowers have succeeded in harnessing their singular magic. Exuberant and electrifying, Everybody’s Dying To Meet You crackles with confidence.
1. Pull My Arm
2. Bitter Pill
3. Ego Loss
4. All At Once
5. Intrusive Thoughts
6. How Do You Do
8. Russian Doll
9. My Only Friend
10. Bathroom Sink
Wednesday 6th January - Fortuna POP! Winter Sprinter @ The Lexington,
London Friday 12th February - Album Launch, Rough Trade East,
London Friday 11th March - Sebright Arms, London
£11.99Digipak CD / LP 140gm black vinyl.Visit product page →
Fortuna POP! are delighted to welcome London-based noise pop quartet Chorusgirl into the fold, with their ST debut album. The brainchild of German songwriter, singer and rhythm guitarist Silvi Wersing, Chorusgirl blend the shimmering dreaminess of 4AD bands like Lush, the noir pop of The Cure and the bittersweet electricity of The Breeders across 10 songs that sparkle with melody and pop nous but are stealthily subverted by something darker.
After several years playing in bands that either split up or fizzled out, fed up with being someone else’s bassist and feeling like the eternal chorus girl to other people’s dreams, Silvi Wersing decided to strike out on her own. Naming her own band with a heavy dose of irony, she recruited Udo Westhoff (bass), Michael Boyle (drums) and Diogo Oliveira (lead guitar) to flesh out the demos she had made on her laptop, polishing the recordings to a hi-fi sheen in Bear Cave Studios in Cologne. Dig beneath the surface of the perfect pop songs on Chorusgirl and you’ll find heavy lyrics about saying goodbye, giving up, grief, alienation and loneliness.
It’s all deliberately coded though, shrouded in the metaphysical poetry that Silvi does so well. As she explains, “Most things in life are complex, so lyrics should be too. I like subversion and the non-obvious. Like the best kind of horror films.” “Oh, To Be A Defector”, the catchy as hell opening track, is about “not taking part, about not playing everyone’s game. Of not belonging, of dropping out and of being ok with that and shouting that back at everyone”, and takes its cue from the opening sequence of The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; “No Moon” is about the death of a loved one and the intense loneliness straight afterwards; “Girls of 1926” is about Silvi’s best friend: “We were like sisters, grew close, grew apart. It’s a complex bond with unfinished business.
I found a photograph of my grandmother and her best friend in the 1920s; they looked just like me and my friend. It’s as close to a love song as I’ll ever get, a love song to my best friend”; and “Sweetness and Slight”, bubbling over with barely suppressed anger, is about intense disappointment and choking someone with sweet words that are not meant in such a sweet way after all.
With their debut album Chorusgirl breathe new life into guitar pop, reinvigorating the genre with fresh hooks and sharp-edged songs full of heartache, anger and grit.
No longer the eternal chorus girl to other people’s dreams, Silvi Wersing is creating the soundtrack to her own – and perhaps her nightmares too.
“Chorusgirl take up the female-fronted fuzzbomb art-pop baton that Lush and The Long Blondes help patent - jangling guitars carrying along a bucketful of big hooks, Silvi Wersing's strident, cool-as vocals, joy camouflaging the pain.” Sweeping The Nation
“A shimmering brand of 4AD-inspired noir pop” Drowned in Sound
“’60s pop music distilled through a bit of new wave, and perhaps a dash of The Vaselines. If that doesn’t sound good to you, you can just fuck right off.” Overblown
“Maybe it’s just me, but when I see The Cure, Breeders, Bangles and Echo and the Bunnymen all in one influence list I start to slide off my seat a bit.” Noisey
“An exotic pop delight, Chorusgirl cite standout 90s bands like Lush and The Breeders among their influences, and can happily live alongside them.” Louder Than War
"Through influences ranging from grunge to the artier end of brit-pop, Chorusgirl are a surf-inspired jangling joy, all twanging guitar and dead-eyed vocal delivery.” For The Rabbits
1. Oh To Be A Defector
2. No Moon
3. Girls Of 1926
4. This Town Kills
5. Sweetness And Slight
6. We Care About You
8. Dream On Baby Blue
9. Arrows And Bones
£11.99The Spook School return with their brand new album. Try To Be Hopeful is brim full of noisy, tuneful and triumphant queer pop songs about identity, sexuality and being awesome.Visit product page →
The Spook School are Anna Cory (bass/vocals), Adam Todd (guitar / vocals), Nye Todd (guitar / vocals) and Niall McCamley (drums). Since forming in 2012 they’ve become increasingly involved with the DIY queer punk scene, taking inspiration from the passionate, like-minded people they’ve met along the way, and from bands such as Martha, Joanna Gruesome, Trust Fund and Tuff Love. Citing influences including Buzzcocks, T-Rex and the noisier end of C86, the new album is louder, bolder, fuller-sounding and captures more of their live sound—aided and abetted by producer MJ of Hookworms. It follows The Spook School’s critically acclaimed debut “Dress Up” which received plaudits from the Guardian, Uncut (“a rewarding, multi-layered debut”) and Loud and Quiet (“this is music for the young and disillusioned, but identifiable to anyone who’s ever been frustrated by the grievances of identity and growing up.”)
The Spook School have since seen their music used on TV, having recorded the theme tune for BBC 3 series “Badults”. They have also toured the US, where they became the subject of a Rolling Stone documentary and met Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! Lyrically, its more direct than their debut, exploring issues around gender and identity, the destructive stereotypes that are generally accepted as the norm, and the difficulties of fighting them and building alternatives. Nye was undertaking his own personal journey during the making of the record too, beginning to really embrace his trans identity and starting testosterone therapy, a side effect of which meant that his voice kept changing throughout the recording process. The Spook School are a band in the most communal sense of the word. Songwriting is split between all 4 members, giving a different perspective and energy to each song. “Richard and Judy” talks about conservatism and how easy it is to accept that this is what “normal” is and how schools are “such horrible little places of enforced heteronormativity”.
The opening track, “Burn Masculinity” (on a new Plan-It-X Records comp), is an empowering anthem for our time that challenges male privilege. The first single proper, “I Want To Kiss You”, captures the excitement and anticipation of meeting someone, thinking they’re the most interesting person ever and not wanting to wait to see them again. “It’s totally about kissing people,” concludes Nye. Perhaps the standout track is “Binary”, a song about questioning gender norms, something that Nye’s experience of coming out as being trans has forced him to think about..”I’m so proud and fortunate to know quite a few amazing people who openly identify as non-binary, genderqueer or other non-binary identities - they exist in the world on their own terms and consistently challenge something that so many people just take as read. This song has quickly become a live favourite, prompting massed choruses of the “I am bigger than a hexadecimal” line.
Try To Be Hopeful is the sound of a band growing up, embracing their identities, and taking charge at the world. The Spook School are the shot of optimism we’ve been hoping for.
1. Burn Masculinity
2. Richard and Judy
3. Friday Night
4. Speak When You're Spoken To
5. August 17th
6. Everybody Needs to Be in Love
7. Vicious Machine
8. I Want To Kiss You
9. Books And Hooks And Movements
11. Try To Be Hopeful
£11.99`Gatefold CD / Vinyl LP (180g vinyl + DL, ltd to 500).Visit product page →
The debut solo album from Simon Love, formerly of John Peel & Marc Riley favourites The Loves, is a sweary and irreverent tour de force, full of catchy hooks and offbeat lunacy. Taking its inspiration from maverick Seventies singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson & The Lovin’ Spoonful, the album features guest appearances by comedian Stewart Lee and 60s pirate radio DJ Emperor Rosko, while indiepop ensemble for hire A Little Orchestra contribute lush strings and Rob Jones of The Voluntary Butler Scheme provides brass.
Described recently by the Guardian as being “more early Kinks than the early Kinks”, Simon formed The Loves in Cardiff in 2000. After releasing their debut single on Radio One DJ Huw Stephens’ Boobytrap Singles Club their second album Technicolor was made Album Of The Week in The Sunday Times. The band went on to play 4 Peel Sessions and as many for Marc Riley on BBC 6 Music before calling it a day in 2011.
Full of giant pop songs and peppered with bitter love stories about bad relationships, It Seemed like A Good Idea At The Time opens with the expletive-heavy “**** (Is A Dirty Word)” before moving on to jubilant lead single “The New Adam and Eve”, in which Simon threatens to “punch a man in the face, with fists made out of jellyfish” before going on to “deny him any of my piss”. There’s a Paul McCartney cover version (“Dear Boy”) a song about the voluntary removal of Simon’s penis (“My Dick”) and a song about people who fuck you around (“Motherfuckers”), before side one closes with the 5 minute long psychedelic wig-out that is “Wowie Zowie”.
Side 2 opens with the gorgeous, string-laden “Sweetheart, You Should Probably Go To Sleep” and the mid-paced 60s pop of “Don’t Get The Gurl No More” before Simon and band pull out their best Booker T groove for “The Meaning Of Love”, featuring comedian Stewart Lee reciting the definition of love straight from Wikipedia. This is followed by what in the late 70s would be called a rocker, “You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?”, resplendent with sax solo, before the song most likely to lead to litigation, the epic “Elton John”, written from the perspective of Elton John’s ex-wife Renate.
The album closes with the title track “It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time”, with the album credits read out over the outro by 60s pirate radio DJ Emperor Rosko.
Love's debut solo album is daring, unique, and definitely a good idea.
1. **** (Is A Dirty Word)
2. The New Adam & Eve
3. Dear Boy
4. My Dick
6. Wowie Zowie
7. Sweetheart, You Should Probably Go To Sleep
8. Don't Get The Gurl No More
9. The Meaning Of Love
10. You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?
11. Elton John
12. It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time
£11.99Visit product page →
Gatefold CD / LP (Repress now on Fizzy Pop Blue Vinyl!!, Gatefold LP 500 only)
The debut album from Mammoth Penguins, the new band fronted by Emma Kupa, formerly of BBC 6 Music favourites Standard Fare.
The album is an exhilarating collection of indie anthems, with Emma's candid songwriting and heartfelt vocals at the fore. Chugging away like a great lost Weezer record, the songs are bold, loud and outrageously catchy, with lyrics that hit just the right chord, exploring the burgeoning responsibilities of being in your late 20s/early 30s.
When the much-loved Standard Fare called it a day after nine years and two albums, Emma Kupa upped sticks and moved from Sheffield to Cambridge, where she recruited Mark Boxall (bass) and Tom Barden (drums). Previously the bassist and lead singer in Standard Fare, Emma relished the switch to guitar in Mammoth Penguins, allowing her the space to deliver her trademark soaring vocals and to indulge in the occasional mean guitar solo.
Recorded by producer Owen Turner (Magoo, Factory Floor), Hide and Seek captures the band at the age they're at right now, reflecting on different aspects of being in their late twenties. Some songs explore the more serious side of life and relationships, such as "Make a Difference". On the other hand, the jaunty "March of the Penguins" deals with having to act like an adult when you still feel young. Elsewhere the rip-roaring "Propped Up", with call-and-response backing vocals, talks about how we're all dependent on others to distract us from negative thoughts, and the infectiously poppy "The Hermit" tells the story of trying to get in touch with a friend who has withdrawn from society.
Encapsulating the album's dilemma is the final track, "When I Was Your Age", a gloriously messy and loud song about feeling inadequate about one’s achievements.
1. Work It Out
2. Propped Up
3. Cries At The Movies
5. Strength In My Legs
6. We Won't Go There
7. Chewing Gum
9. The Hermit
10. March Of The Penguins
11. Make A Difference
12. When I Was Your Age
£11.99Visit product page →
Click the drop-down menu above to see bargain priced CD and LP + limited edition screenprinted T-shirt bundles.
Due to rising international pressure, Joanna Gruesome’s new album Peanut Butter will finally enter the world via Fortuna POP! (UK/Japan), Slumberland (US) and Turnstile (RoW). Rival groups will be disappointed to learn that the record is a further experiment in combining hyper-melodic pop music with sonic violence. Officials have confirmed that the album contains a record number of hooks, traces of nut and elements of jangle pop, British hardcore punk, atonal music, screaming and drone organs. Yet they have issued warnings of "a marriage of radical politics with peanut butter spread". One authorised statement reads: “Weighing in at a concise 25 minutes, the album hurtles through its ten songs, each one a succinct, powerful gem.”
Like their debut, the new album was recorded by MJ from Hookworms, with the aim of heightening the group's "pop" and "aggressive" elements to excessive and hitherto unrecorded levels.
As songwriter Owen Williams explains: “We tried to make it shorter, more economical and attempted to pack as many hooks and screams in as quickly possible in order to avoid short changing the consumer or wasting her/his/their time. Lyrically it’s more obtuse and surreal but also attempts to mock trad masculine rock themes whenever things do get more lucid. But sometimes musically we embrace them by doing embarrassing guitar solos. I'm not sure how much else I'm at liberty to say but one thing I will disclose is that the record is a response to threats posed by rival groups."
The record has also seen the group explore new and potentially dangerous lyrical territory. Opener Last Year is reportedly about experiencing personal tragedy and the occult in a waterpark and a pizza restaurant. Yet Jamie (Luvver) is a straightforward pop song about having a crush on someone named Jamie, queer literature and Welsh public transport. These tracks are followed by the incredibly catchy Honestly Do Yr Worst, a song about espionage, rival groups and the radical possibilities of peanut butter spread.
Things become surreal on There Is No Function Stacy, a song about “someone called Stacy who wrongly believes a party is happening that she’s been invited to. The narrator has to painfully explain to her that there was never a party and she fabricated it all”, while on Crayon Williams addresses his approach to lyrics directly. “Sometimes you can undermine hetero macho rock shit through nonsense words, obtuse statements, action, melody, sound or aesthetic rather than through traditional lyrics.”
Speaking confidentially, one official confirms that “The sixth track, I Don't Wanna Relax, is yet another hook-filled potential single. This is swiftly followed by Jerome (Liar), a fan favourite based on a subversive folk tale.” On Separate Bedrooms, the group cover a song by Bristol DIY act Black Terror (now performing as “CUP WINNERS' CUP”), a group known for their attention to melody. The penultimate track is the “crushing, sparkling” Psykick Espionage, a song about telepathy and the occult in rock’n’roll, and “the first time I ate an avocado”.
The record is brought to a close by Hey! I Wanna Be Your Best Friend, a heartwarming number about radical friendship and Thin Lizzy appreciation. Under media interrogation, guitarist George Nicholls confesses to the themes of the record: “It’s about radical politics, fancying people and espionage. The first record was more about violence and revenge fantasy, whereas this one is more about peanut butter."
Comprised of Alanna McArdle (vocals), Owen Williams (guitar), Max Warren (bass), George Nicholls (guitar & organ) and David Sandford (drums), the band members originally met on a wine tasting holiday. Their debut album Weird Sister took the world by storm when it was released in September 2013, and went on to win the 2014 Welsh Music Prize. Overwhelming press support saw glowing, hysterical reviews across the board with particular interest from media outlets 'Pitchfork' and 'the NME'.
On the radio their singles have scored a remarkable four out of four on the 'BBC 6 Music playlist' and the band have played sessions for both 'Lauren Laverne' on '6 Music' and for 'Huw Stephens' on 'BBC Radio One'. Since the release of Weird Sister the band have been constantly hounded, surfacing from hiding only to release split singles with Bristol’s Trust Fund and New York’s Perfect Pussy, as well as touring with Los Campesinos!, Speedy Ortiz and Stephen Malkmus.
1. Last Year
2. Jamie (Luvver)
3. Honestly Do Yr Worst
4. There Is No Function Stacy
6. I Don't Wanna Relax
7. Jerome (Liar)
8. Separate Bedrooms
9. Psykick Espionage
10. Hey! I Wanna Be Yr Best Friend
£11.99East London’s Tigercats first release for Fortuna POP!, Mysteries, is vividly emotional and sonically expansive, blending the very best of indiepop with complex song structures, lush production and beautiful arrangements.Visit product page →
Tigercats combine the talents of songwriter, singer and guitarist Duncan Barrett with his brother Giles on bass, Laura Kovic on keyboards and vocals, and Jonny Evans on drums, as well as recent recruit Paul Rains from Allo Darlin’ on guitar. And on Mysteries they’re joined by living legend Terry Edwards (Gallon Drunk / Tindersticks), who contributes saxophone and trumpet on several tracks.
Mysteries is the second album from Tigercats, described by The Sunday Times in a review of their 2012 debut Isle of Dogs (Fika Recordings) as “a very, very good band…. The kind of band that make you want to be a teenager again, so they can be your band.” Isle of Dogs fizzed with jangly punk, afro rhythms and spoken word sections, while Mysteries is a sophisticated pop record, effervescent and spirited, with care and love poured into every song.
What makes a very, very good band even better? Two years of heavy touring for one, bringing them closer as a band but also pushing themselves and honing their skills. Many of the songs on the album have been live staples, starting off one way and mutating in to something totally different, giving the songs time to grow and develop before heading in to the studio. And once they did head in, bassist Giles Barrett’s day job at London’s legendary Soup Studios allowed the band nearly unlimited time to get deeper in to the recording process – so deep that it verged on insanity. As Giles says, “We took every song as far as it could possibly go. There was a lot of speeding up and slowing things down with the tape machine, and the arguments over fractions of a bpm would get heated. There were a few times the tapes were mysteriously wiped overnight."
Highlights include album opener “Junior Champion”, a pop gem in the shape of bishops, knights, kings and queens - a Bobby Fischer-referencing love song and anthem for chess fans everywhere - and “Wheezer”, of which Duncan says cagily, “I don’t want to say what this song is about, the record’s not called Mysteries for nothing. Although this one is just a small, silly mystery and it should be pretty easy to work out - the clue is in the title”. The album closer, the gorgeous, woozy “Wendy & Lisa”, sees Duncan referencing another of his musical obsessions, saying, “This is the result of reading too many terrible Prince biographies and conflating The Revolution’s private lives with my own in dreams. There is a dream logic to the song that made sense when I wrote it, but I can’t figure it out now.”
Although Duncan is the vocalist for most of the songs, Laura takes the lead on two, the dreamy Saint Etienne-esque “Laura & Cesar” (based on two minor characters in Roberto Bolaño’s novel The Savage Detectives), and the forthcoming single, the fabulous “Sleeping in the Backseat”, of which Duncan says, “I’ve always wanted to write a good driving song, but I don’t have a license so this is probably the closest I’ll get.”
Mysteries is the sound of a band of outstanding musicians fulfilling their potential and using their talents in the studio to realise their musical vision, retaining their infectious hooks, their heart and their sheer danceability, and coupling it with a bright new contemporary sound. Superbly crafted and full of personality, Tigercats’ second album suggests that they won’t remain a mystery much longer.
1. Junior Champion
2. Laura And Cesar
3. King Of Vic
4. Globe Town
5. Call Me If You Need Me
7. Too Sad To Tell You
8. Sleeping In The Back Seat
9. So Haunted
10. Wendy And Lisa
£11.99Evans the Death return with their second album Expect Delays in March via Fortuna POP! (Europe) and Slumberland (USA). Recorded again with producer Rory Atwell (Test Icicles, Warm Brains), the album bristles with an underlying tension and veers from rip-roaring noise to quiet contemplation, underpinned by Katherine Whitaker’s extraordinary voice.Visit product page →
Still barely out of their teens, there’s a tremendous sense across Expect Delays of a band coming in to their own, honing a plethora of influences to make a sound that is uniquely them. Each song on the album has a different feel to it: some of them are melodic and pretty; some of them heavy and dissonant; and some of them are, to quote guitarist Dan Moss, “a bit strange”. While retaining the post-punk and 90s alt-rock inspired elements that peppered their debut, the music is more expressive, heavier and more experimental, and the lyrics more nuanced, the sense of despair leavened by sharp wordplay and humour.
The unsettling undercurrent of melancholy and hopelessness that pervades the record has its roots in the last three years, spent eking out an existence on the poverty line in Cameron’s Britain. On the cusp of finishing school when their debut was released, the band rejected the opportunity of higher education in favour of focusing on music, a decision that backfired when the album failed to take off in the way they’d expected, leaving them with a succession of minimum wage jobs and unemployment benefits interviews. As guitarist Dan Moss relates, the album is about “being in London and feeling hopeless and a bit lost. Not having any money, relationships falling apart, things just not connecting or going anywhere and getting absolutely wasted all the time.”
Named after the undertaker in Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood, the band’s 2012 eponymous debut saw critical acclaim from the likes of Q, Uncut and Artrocker as well as radio play on BBC Radio 1, BBC 6Music and XFM. Following the departure of bassist Alanna McArdle to Joanna Gruesome and drummer Rob Mitson the band regrouped around the core of brothers Dan and Olly Moss and singer Katherine Whitaker for the recording of Expect Delays. Previously songwriting duties had been the preserve of the elder Moss brother, Dan, but with Olly now bringing his own songs to the table, the brothers resolved to switch between guitar and bass on a song-by-song basis. Drummer James Burkitt was recruited from Leeds’ band The ABC Club to complete a new lean and taut four-piece.
Exploding into life with live favourite Intrinsic Grey, its incessant rhythms and squalling guitars a feral cry from the heart, Expect Delays contains more than its fair share of heart-stopping moments. The ebullient Sledgehammer is following by Idiot Button (named after the buttons at street crossings that don’t actually do anything) and what is perhaps the key lyric on the album of “I can’t explain these gaps in my employment record / I’m an idiot for trying”. As if they were demonstrating their virtuosity and versatility the Stereolab-esque title track Expect Delays is followed by the grunge-heavy Enabler, which in turn is followed by the achingly beautiful ballad Waste Of Sunshine, while elsewhere the (late) Beatles-y Don’t Laugh At My Angry Face deals with alcoholism and a relationship at its absolute bitter end. The album ends with a “secret” track Don’t Beat Yourself Up (“we would have listed it but I didn’t want to have 13 tracks” – Dan), written on the night Lou Reed died.
More ambitious and focused than their previous record, whilst sacrificing none of their spontaneity and vitality, Expect Delays is a supremely inventive and intelligently crafted album from a band who have suffered for their art, and used that experience to inform and nourish their work. Expect no more delays, Evans The Death have arrived.
1. Intrinsic Grey
4. Idiot Button
5. Bad Year
6. Just 60,000 More Days 'Til I Die
7. Expect Delays
9. Waste Of Sunshine
11. Clean Up
12. Don't Laugh At My Angry Face
£11.99Visit product page →
Prog-influenced Nottingham quintet The Chemistry Experiment are set to release their second album, the intriguingly titled “Gongs Played By Voice”, through Fortuna POP! in January, some ten years after the release of their debut album “The Melancholy Death Of…”. Housed in beautiful artwork by the Bulgarian artist Gyukov, a set designer in communist Bulgaria, the new album sees the band conclude the transition from their indie roots with nine beautifully arranged and recorded songs that encompass such influences as Will Oldham/Bonnie Prince Billy, Tindersticks, King Crimson and Soft Machine.
Formed by songwriter Steven J. Kirk (vocals, guitar) and Paul Stone (bass) and completed by Emily Kawasaki (keyboards), Lee Tombs (flute, vocals) and Martin Craig (drums), two of the band have long since departed from their Nottingham origins with Kirk now resident in Bologna, Italy and Kawasaki living in Brighton where she plays in krautrock grrrlgruppe Slum Of Legs. The release of “The Melancholy Death Of…” in 2005 saw critical if not financial success with the NME awarding the record 8/10 and describing it as “Strange, gargantuan rhythms, weird instrumentation and a singer who sounds like Kurt Wagner under ten feet of snow”.
If the geographic dispersion of the band wasn’t challenging enough, in 2009 drummer Craig was diagnosed with MS. “It has made drumming somewhat tricky”, he says.“I still gnash my teeth to the rhythm of the music though, and I feel honoured to join the company of Ronnie Lane, Clive Burr, and Don van Vliet.” All of which may go some way to explaining the My Bloody Valentine-like gestation of their second album, although Tombs posits a more positive explanation, saying, “ ‘Difficult second albums’ are difficult because people spend 5-10 years gathering up what they need for the first, and then have to knock out the next one in a matter of months. We overcame that problem by taking ten years.”
Loosely based around the theme of seasons, elements and the sea, the album opens with the wondrous “Hung Lam”, followed by the track “Rainy Day”, on which Stone employed the little known technique of water percussion. “Martin and I started swirling water in saucepans and tapping the edge of the pan to make the woooo noise. I’d heard something similar on an Edith Piaf record”.
The fantastically catchy “Leo & Magician” has an even more fantastical plot. “It’s about a scarecrow who runs away from his farm, leaving the farmer (Leo) without a way to protect his crops from the birds,” says Kirk. “Luckily Leo’s friend Magician comes along, and although he can’t help him with the scarecrow due to union rules, he turns Leo into a cat to scare away the birds, and that is why birds to this day are scared of cats. The scarecrow also abducts Leo’s wife but I didn’t want to go into that in the song.”
Other songs include the beautiful “We Have Seasons”, “Jandek Bakery”, “The Event and the Experiment” (“It’s kinda the same story as Valis by Phillip K Dick”) and a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Story of Isaac”, but perhaps the standout track on the album is “Channel Light Vessel” which Kirk describes as the best song he ever wrote and says, “This is about the sea, and sailors, and a boy I read about on BBC news who impaled himself on a fence trying to pick conkers.”
The album concludes with the nine minute long “A Good Wind”, describing a windy day on the coast of Australia and the classic battle between good and evil, nature and synthetic, human and vocoder. Like many things about The Chemistry Experiment it’s unique, slightly odd, and shouldn’t really work but somehow does. In the ten years since their last record a thousand faceless indie bands have made a thousand dreary records, while The Chemistry Experiment have ploughed their idiosyncratic furrow to produce “Gongs Played By Voices”, the perfect distillation of their strange and distinct vision.
Tracklisting:1. Hung Lam
2. Rainy Day
3. Leo & Magician
4. We Have Seasons
5. Jandek Bakery
6. The Event And The Xperiment
7. Story of Isaac
8.Channel Light Vessel
9. A Good Wind
£11.99Visit product page →
Initial copies of the LP ship with a limited edition Risograph art print and bookmark designed by Allo Darlin' guitarist Paul Rains.
The 3RD full-length recording from the much loved Anglo-Australian four-piece is made up of smart, beautiful pop music, with lyrics that resonate with experience and melodies that chime, echo and soar.
The album combines the eagerness, urgency and immediacy of their 2010 debut with the contemplation, sophistication and ambition of their 2012 follow-up Europe, and yet it goes beyond either both sonically and in song. It was written at a time of considerable change for songwriter Elizabeth Morris, a time during which she fell in love, moved to Italy and got married - not that that seems to have hindered the songwriting process. They then returned to their spiritual home of Soup Studios.
The intention was to capture a more instinctive and fluid live studio sound and to play as well as possible while the red button was on, a different approach to the more piecemeal recording of their previous two albums. Or as Paul Rains put it, “We've used three years of touring to try and get some of that sweat and grime and togetherness and sweetness and anxiety onto a record.” One of the themes of the new record is new beginnings and things drawing to a close. ”Nothing feels the way it did before and I am grateful for that”, sings Elizabeth on "Crickets in the Rain", a song written after her move to Italy and which she describes as “anti-nostalgia”. Built along the same lines is the gorgeous “History Lessons”, of which Elizabeth says, “I guess at some point I became a bit tired of everything seeming better in the past, from music to relationships to buildings to societies. We´re a bit obsessed with it and it can become overwhelming.
We don´t live in the present. This song is trying to express that frustration.” Among the highlights of the album is “Bright Eyes”, a duet with guitarist Paul Rains. Elizabeth again, “I wanted to write another duet, but the only problem with doing that is that when you play live it´s very rare that the person you recorded it with can be there. So I thought it would be great to write a song with Paul singing the other part. Another standout is the Twin Peaks-referencing “Half-Heart Necklace”, based on a true story from Elizabeth’s hometown. “There had been some murders, and this girl who was my age was missing and presumed killed. It turned out she had been hiding for years in her boyfriend´s cupboard, and she was charged for wasting police time”.
Other notable tracks include the rollicking “Kings and Queens”, inspired by a show they played in the USA with their friends and kindred spirits The Wave Pictures, and “Romance and Adventure”, originally earmarked for a film soundtrack and written in response to a challenge from Paul to write a pop song in a minor key. Allo Darlin’ were formed by Elizabeth Morris, fellow Australian Bill Botting (bass), Paul Rains (guitar), and Michael Collins (drums).
Their debut album was named No. 2 record of the year by eMusic. Their second album ‘Europe’ scored 8.1 on Pitchfork, was made USA Today’s Album Of The Week, and garnered praise from Uncut, Q, NME, The Quietus and The Guardian. It was named Rough Trade Shop’s Album Of The Month and was their biggest selling album of the year. The band have been playlisted at BBC 6Music and have recorded many sessions for 6 Music & XFM, as well being Steve Lamacq’s personal pick for BBC Introducing. Allo Darlin’ have produced a wonderful record - thoughtful and exciting and exquisitely played – that will please their existing army of fans and newcomers alike.
"Breezy rom-pop brilliance." 8/10, NME
“Classic indie pop... doesn't rewrite the formula for wistful bedsit charm as much as show that it can still be carried out masterfully.” Pitchfork
“A masterclass of modern cult pop.” The Guardian
£11.99Heavyweight Vinyl LP with free download.Visit product page →
Gatefold all card digipack CD.
Produced by Bernard Butler, London trio Flowers' debut album Do What You Want To, It's What You Should Do captures the intensity of being young in fourteen deceptively simple pop songs that take their power from their brevity, elevated by Rachel Kenedy’s extraordinary voice.
Flowers are Sam Ayres (Guitar/Synths), Rachel Kenedy (Vocals/Bass/Synths) and Jordan Hockley (Drums), brought together by Sam’s advert for a singer to make music like "Madonna through a broken tape machine". The three of them immediately moved in together and spent the following weeks writing pop songs, practicing daily in their living room and recording through the night, barely sleeping with the excitement of it all and amassing a huge collection of over a hundred songs in demo form.
When they posted the results of their feverish recording online, word quickly spread and within weeks they were touring Europe with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, despite never having played live before. More shows followed, including a support for Young Marble Giants in London at the behest of another fan who had discovered them via the internet, Young Marble Giants guitarist / songwriter Stuart Moxham. Appropriate first supports, as Flowers' live performances draw a line between the joyous fuzzpop of The Pains and the minimalist brilliance of Young Marble Giants. The reception at the shows was nothing less than rapturous, with audiences blown away by their intensity and compelled by their sparse beauty: Jordan a physical yet inventive presence behind the drum kit, Sam a constant blur of kinetic energy on guitar and Rachel utterly still. The shows would often end with the stark and mesmeric “Stuck”, with Rachel alone, accompanying herself a one-string bass guitar, soul laid bare.
It was clear that Flowers needed a producer to help them capture the emotion and simplicity of their live show and that search led them to the door of Bernard Butler, whose track record and love of the Cocteau Twins marked him out to be the perfect choice. That and his love of the Gibson ES-355 guitar that Sam also plays. And so it was that Flowers’ very first foray into a proper recording studio was at Butler’s 355 Studio – a daunting prospect for a young band, softened by Butler’s sensitive production and access to his collection of beautiful analogue synths and Vox organ. Band and producer worked in harmony to produce a set of songs much cleaner and clearer sounding than anything they had recorded before, dispensing with the “wall of sound” that characterised their home recordings and providing the clarity to allow the songs to breathe.
Across these fourteen songs, Flowers explore the gamut of emotions that come with youth. As Rachel says, “We were young writing this album (we still are I think!), so all the songs reflect the emotions of being young, which covers just about everything to the extreme; loneliness, happiness, rejection, love, torment, excitement... “. For every song about the carefree, halcyon days of youth (“Young”, “Forget The Fall”), there is another about the pain of relationships (“Drag Me Down”, “Lonely”). The album closes with a run of three exquisite numbers: “Be With You”, “a song of reassurance, about knowing that everything will get better somehow, because it can't not, some things are too good to ever end.”; “Plastic Jane”, “about someone who wears a facade with nothing underneath” (lyric: “Your plastic pain / just like Novocaine”); and the aforementioned “Stuck”.
Most of the songs weigh in at less than three minutes, a deliberate strategy for a band that seeks strength in simplicity. “Our songs tend to be quite short - if there's something that doesn't need to be there, take it out! Just leave in the best bits”, explains Rachel. “We love all kinds of things, Ramones, Madonna, The Misfits, Iggy & The Stooges, Joy Division, all sorts! The album doesn't sound too much like any of those, but the songs are short and simple pop songs, and all those artists we love write songs like that.”
Indeed, Flowers’ genius is in their ability to convey a remarkable amount of emotion with minimal instrumentation. Rachel possesses one of those beautiful pop voices to die for, with echoes of Elizabeth Fraser, Hope Sandoval and Harriet Wheeler, whilst Sam’s guitars chime and churn with an incredible intensity and Jordan’s drums rip right through with urgency and precision, resulting in a beautiful album that conjures up a strange and entrancing sort of magic. Haunting, mesmerizing and intense, Do What You Want To, It's What You Should Do is an impressive calling card from a sensational new band.
2. Forget The Fall
3. Drag Me Down
4. Worn Out Shoes
7. If I Tell You
9. I Love You
10. All Over Again
12. Be With You
13. Plastic Jane
£11.99Available on Heavyweight Vinyl LP + MP3 Card and CD.Visit product page →
Recorded at Soup Studios with producer Simon Trought at the helm, and inspired by the psycho-geography of walks in North London woods and in the forgotten grey hinterland of the city’s back streets, Comet Gain's seventh album “Paperback Ghosts” comes soaked in autumn melancholy. Tender-hearted but not miserable, defiant but not angry, it maintains the delicate balance that has always been Comet Gain’s strength.
The album is about ghosts: the half-forgotten spectres of lost loves; the people who live inside their own sepia-tinted memories; the mystical phantom presence of previous owners retained by used books, the paperbacks haunted by old fingerprints. Blending psychedelia, folk-rock, garage muscle and 4am sadness, the songs draw on the esoteric that lies behind the ordinary. All contain a hope or sweetness. “Sad Love and other Short Stories” is about being haunted by memories of a lost, unrequited love, while in “An Orchid Stuck in Her Throat” a living ghost reflects on a life of missed chances. Stranger still is “Confessions of a Daydream”, wherein a mystic mod magician wanders Limehouse conjuring up the ghosts of Margaret Thatcher and flame haired 50s witch goddess Marjorie Cameron to wage a perpetual psychic war in the phantom back streets of broken London, before the defiantly undead John McKeown (The Yummy Fur / The 1990s) pops up at the end to intone some words of wisdom.
Comet Gain are David Charlie Feck (vocals, guitar), Ben Phillipson (guitar), Rachel Evans (vocals), ex-Morrissey/The Meteors drummer Woodie Taylor (percussion), Anne Laure Guillain (keyboards) and new recruit, Clientele bassist James Hornsey – a motley group of like-minded romantics, taking pride in an abject failure to care about the normal band model. Inspired at times by early Creation Records, Television Personalities and mod culture, drawing from the same ideals as Dexys, The Style Council and Vic Godard and from the lineage of The Velvet Underground, The Byrds and the 13th Floor Elevators, their mystic anarchist principles blend French New Wave with English kitchen-sink heart. For years they have drifted through scenes picking up people and emotional ties - from Riot Grrrl to acid punks, C86 to lo-fi - yet somehow outliving their peers and in turn inspiring a younger generation of DIY musicians like The Cribs, Love Is All, Veronica Falls, and Crystal Stilts.
On each album they record, Comet Gain bring together their myriad of influences, creating a cohesive aesthetic between sound, artwork, liner notes and ideas. "Paperback Ghosts" is no different, offering us a glimpse into a haunted half-world with its strings, yearning harmonies, 12-string acoustic guitars and half-focused vision of pianos in reverb, while remaining at heart a pop record, a richly textured affirmation of Comet Gain’s twenty-year anti-career.
1. Long After Tonite's Candles Are Blown
2. Sad Love And Other Short Stories
3. Behind The House She Lived In
4. Wait 'til December
5. Breaking Open The Head Part 1
6. The Last Love Letter
7. Sixteen Oh Four
8. (All The) Avenue Girls
9. Your Haunted Heart
10. Far From The Pavillion
11. An Orchid Stuck Inside Her Throat
12. Confessions Of A Daydream
- Page 1 of 9