SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND?
RELEASED via the ‘Old Bad Habits Label’ at the end of the month the debut EP from Stoke’s THE HERMITTS is now available to pre-order from their Bandcamp site.
There’s no denying the hint of Jesus and Mary Chain that runs through their music, and the label ‘shoegaze’ which will probably follow them for some time, but believe me, there’s far more to the band than that.
“The Hermitts were formed in Stoke in the middle of the tepid summer lockdown of 2020,” said founder, Matt Hicks. “I’d like to think our songs capture the weird times we seem to be hurtling through, from the perspective of living at a screen’s length from global events in a decaying post-industrial city.”
Citing influences as wide-ranging as Sonic Youth, Pavement and Dinosaur Jr, writing on the EP began during lockdown, but there were other elements at play during that process.
“The generally surreal situation in the world at present is another big influence,” added Hicks. “It felt like Bowie dying caused some sort of rupture in reality that’s been getting wider by the week. There’s some of that in our lyrics, but also the general feel of the music is an attempt to try and capture the weird feeling of being adrift from the norm we’ve all experienced in recent years.
“I want to keep making music we’re as happy with as the new EP. Doing more releases with labels like Old Bad Habits would be great too. It’s awesome that there are cool people across different elements of DIY music that are helping each other out at present. Long may it continue.”
T W O
HANGZHOU-based Welsh psychedelic indie pop genius BLOKEACOLA today releases his new album, ‘Mango Insane,’ a collection of his previously released, outstanding singles.
The 1960’s dreaminess is spellbinding, and perhaps unsurprisingly given his location, there’s a trace of the Far East in there too. And as much as I hate using the ‘B-word,’ could that be the distant sound of the Beatles?
How a solitary artist retains the ability to consistently produce work of such high standards is staggering. Many attempt the feat. Few succeed.
“It’s very kind of you to say I keep high standards, all I would say, whilst trying to stay modest, is if you work hard at something for many years you will get good at it,” he said. “Making music is fumbling in the dark, particularly at the beginning of your journey.
“You must keep a massive amount of faith to believe you will ever make anything you are truly proud of, and I am fine with the ‘60’s and Far Eastern comments, my dad weaned me on groups such as The Beatles and obviously people such as George Harrison became very influenced by Indian music and that was absorbed into pop culture.
“For me I’m quite tongue in cheek in the way I use those kinds of motifs because I’m self-aware enough to know it’s something of a cliche in the realms of airy-fairy psychedelic pop. At the same time though, I just love the kinds of textures it can add to my music.”
The album has clearly been far more than the proverbial, labour of love. It’s taken time, it’s been created with passion, it’s been planned to perfection.
“I finished this album a couple of years back so it’s been quite a journey, exhausting but very rewarding. I made sure I finished it before my daughter was born because I knew time would be limited once she arrived and I’d be better off trying to promote it whenever I got a spare moment on my smartphone!
“It was written as an album, but I realized if I just released it like that, very few people would hear it. I loved these songs so much I didn’t want the LP to sink without a trace, so I made the difficult decision to release the songs as singles in album order, one a month, to build some momentum.
“And I feel like it worked and a lot more people have heard the music than would have otherwise. I’m hoping this will lead to a few album purchases as a show of support for all the hard work I’ve put in, but you can’t expect anything these days – we all generally stream music which results in negligible cash for the artist that recorded it – it’s just the way things are and I don’t want to be judgemental about it as I do it myself.
“People are skint – you can’t blame them for wanting stuff on the cheap. It is worth a download from Bandcamp though if anyone reading this enjoys the music and words, because it comes with a nice PDF including album artwork and lyrics you can look whilst listening.”
T H R E E
EENIAN DREAMS return with new single, ‘Dream Producer,’ their fourth to date and the follow up to previous releases, ‘Summerland,’ ‘I Dreamed of You,’ and ‘Someone Like You.’
The indie music project ‘Eenian Dreams’ was founded in 2021 by T. C. Newman and Pauliina and the new song retains their trademark style while mixing it with some pop-rock elements. The idea for ‘I Dreamed of You’ came from an idea from Pauliina’s daughter, while she was wondering about the source of her unusual dreams.
“She was wondering about the source of her unusual dreams and came up with the concept of a dream producing company,” explained TC Newman. “Pauliina wrote the concept down, and with time the idea started living its own life. The final lyrics describe real dreams combined with the original idea of a dream producer. You could say that the song is autobiographical, and the lyrics were the biggest inspiration for writing the song.
“The dreamy parts of the song were written as if the score for a scene in a fictitious movie, after visions of people parting against the light of a sunset. The vocals were recorded in Pauliina’s home studio. Everything else on the track are virtual instruments that were mixed with the vocals using a laptop.”
F O U R
OUT now via Recordiau Dewin Records, ‘Long Time Ago,’ the new single from WOODOOMAN, Cardiff’s multi-instrumentalist, Iwan Ap Huw Morgan.
Morgan was one of the young faces of Cardiff’s underground scene in the nineties and noughties, when he was resident riff-master with Mondo Trans Shop, and later when he formed Black Cesar with Chris West (Taint, Made of Teeth) and Huw Clement (Mondo Trans Shop.)
‘Long Time Ago’ is the second single to be taken from forthcoming Album ‘Y Nos,’ – due for release June 24 – and follows in the wake of the Welsh language track ‘Y Nos Mewn Cariad.’
Learn more here: Music | WoodooMan (bandcamp.com)
F I V E
OUT soon from SLEEPS UNDER BEAMS, a new EP featuring lead track, ‘There’s No Going Back.’
The musical project was formed in the autumn of 2020 and consists of song writing partners Lisa Swain Bennett and Drew Campbell.
“’There’s No Going Back’ is on one level of course a simple message of love and commitment, but I always approach such things with the idea that all beauty contains an element of tragedy, and hope for the future, counterweighted with a fear of regression to the past,” said Campbell.
“Musically I tried to play with ideas of time and nostalgia. There are instruments recorded backwards, half, and double speed and certain combinations such as a 1960s mellotron, typical 80s synths and odd orchestral instruments such as the cimbalom which evoke for me memories of old vinyl records stashed away in attic suitcases.
“The lyrics were written in southern California by my song writing partner Lisa, vocals in England and Poland by Grant and Malwina, and the rest recorded in my home studio in the Netherlands.”
Despite labelling themselves, “symphonic post-punk, emotional, intense and cinematic,” ‘There’s No Going Back’ is undoubtedly an ambitious release, but sadly fails to live up to expectations.
If it were part of next week’s ‘Eurovision’ event it would probably score fairly well, the song ideally suited to lovers of all things kitsch and Europop, but ‘symphonic post-punk?’ That would be somewhat wide of the mark.
(Fancy a feature in a future edition of ‘Something For The Weekend?’ Get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.)