One of our most enjoyable and rewarding Twitter features is the New Song Task Force – where one group of community members suggest new songs for another group of members to vote on. The songs are showcased throughout the week with the results of the vote being issued on Sunday evenings.
We are always looking at ways to improve or expand our interactive features and so for the New Song Task Force we asked regular EIO40 contributor Rob Morgan @durutti74 if he would pen capsule reviews as he listens to each song for the first time (and second time just to make sure) then pick his three favourites. We also wanted to showcase each week’s songs with a bit more depth by seeing them from a listeners perspective.
We will publish Rob’s review of the week’s songs on Sunday afternoons after the voting has taken place. In the build up we are also asking people to rank their Top 3 of the week with prizes up for grabs if you match Rob’s Top 3 in order. So you may discover you have won a prize when you have finished reading this.
There is also a playlist of the songs at the start and links to any songs not on Spotify so you can listen along with Rob.
So here is Rob’s review of the Week 12 songs.
Shoeb Ahmad – Washed Air
Subtle introduction, reminds me of early 90s US rock… But once the vocals and guitars start… Nicely hazy, wasn’t expecting vibes, or cool waves of backing vox. A gentle summer drift. I’m enjoying this, it matches the humid feel of this sticky summer’s afternoon. Not sure what the relevance of “battleship” is but the words are intriguing. It’s a wash of sound. Really nice. Those overlapping vocals at the end are cool. Sounds a bit like Robert Smith in places. And a nice clean end. Second listen…. yes very nice. Not much to add to that.
Frøkedal – David
From Oslo, says Bandcamp. And instantly I’m in love with this. That twinkle of vibes, then on to the descending chord sequence. Delicate guitars and drums and vox… Subtle extra vocals on the chorus. It’s the ‘Autumn Leaves’ descend, and that’s lovely. They don’t force it though, only dropping it into the bridges. Vocalist has hints of Sandy Denny in place. Nice rolling drums too. The whole song rolls along gracefully… I’m really loving this song.
Second listen. I’m not sure whether it’s “Autumn Leaves” or “Windmills of your Mind” or something else. Either way it’s great. This is just gorgeous pop music. (Checks out Sinatra’s version of “Autumn Leaves”) Yes, it’s that… The circle of fourths, if you will. (Starts listening to song again) This is fantastic. An early favourite this week. I’d like to hear more by these folks.
Helena Hauff – No Qualms
Ah electro pop. Always welcome around here. The question is…. Are there vocals or not? Doesn’t seem like it. In which case let’s listen out for changes…. This reminds me of Severed Heads actually. I like how the bass drops away, and that melody is definitely insistent. It is also a different length of bars to the chord sequence, making it loop around itself. No way is that three minutes. Second listen. That really is quite clever, there’s lots of incidents along the way – crashes and baselines. I totally approve of this piece of music.
Juniore – Magnifique
This already sounds great, I love the intro, lots going on here. Obviously I’m not going to understand the lyrics, but this is really good. I’m desperately trying not to say “French disco”… Oh drat. That high lying bass is great, the distant organ noise, it’s like an update of 60s french pop tropes. As such it’s fantastic. So many little parts act as hooks and all merge into one huge memorable song. The build up in the instrumental break is great. I absolutely love this, head nodding and toes tapping. God, if I wasn’t so British I might even dance to it.
Second listen. Still not going to pick up any lyrics, I gave up French as soon as I could. This is just great. So many little interlocking pieces contributing to the sound of it. Oh there’s handclaps too. I’m still picking up details. What a great song. This instrumental section is brilliant, really keeping the tension building – are there ghost backing vocals going on? Oh yes this is fantastic. And how it all collapses at the end. Wow.
Emily Yacina – When The Sun Goes
Sort of glitchy start which is either intriguing or annoying, but it becomes part of the rhythm track which is clever. There’s gentle guitar strums and a bass drum pulse and Emily’s vocals which are mixed low… Ah now it seems to be getting somewhere, there’s more layers added and drums and synths. This is nice. It’s making more sense now. And.. oh. It’s over. I misread that as four minutes not two. Second listen while reading the lyrics and it makes more sense again. This is rather sweet. The hook is doing its job this time.
The Twilight Sad – I/m Not Here [missing face]
I’ve not heard this actually, which is odd considering I’m a fan. Those walls of droning guitars are there… This song sounds quite emotional, but that is one of their traits. The way the chorus words twist around is clever, but heartfelt. Is James singing about himself? Whatever, it’s a universal feeling. Layers are building on the song and it powers onwards… There’s such tension here. “Why do you do this to yourself?” Ouch… Touching nerves. Not sure I need a second listen to that, it’s too close for comfort. Scary. That’s how powerful music is sometimes, it can show you aspects of yourself you’d rather not see. I’d prefer silence after that, just to think for a minute.
Jack Jones – Swim Up
No, not that one. Intro is nice, then it turns moody and quiet and Jack (I presume) starts intoning. This sounds like a good story. Then the intro turns into a sung chorus. It’s like a home made electro indie pop Tindersticks. Only happier. I really like this. Might take a few listens to fathom out. That chorus is great, reminds me of Elliot Smith at his most poptastic. Second listen – that lyric is quite sweet, as is the song in general. The second verse is genius! Very good indeed.
Tomorrow Syndicate – Another World
Interesting visuals and name. Ah this sounds cool, an old drum machine, some synths, acoustic guitar… This is the kind of thing I dreamt of making in my teens. There’s a really cool uneasiness about this song, which I like a lot. It’s weird, I keep thinking of the drone in “Set Free To Be Me” by The Clouds – it’s the same key and mood. Don’t know what the intoned female vocal is on about, but it’s not disturbing the flow. I’m seriously intrigued by this, I must check out the rest of the album. 17 year old me would have killed to make something like this. That’s a high compliment. (Starts accidentally listening to the next song on the album) That sounds even better to be honest.
Second listen to the designated song… This is right up my street, in case you’d not guessed. Nice filter sweeps and synth sounds. So many hooks. Really nice. One for future investigation.
The Ophelias – Lover’s Creep
Ok they are confusing me here, so much happening in the first 30 seconds. Ah, it’s settled down into a song now. Jangle and strum… Hang on, just when I get a handle on it, that choral vocal breakdown followed by a violin. What IS going on here? Intriguing …. Stung by a talented wasp? More choral vocals and strange interjections. I really haven’t got any comparison points. The breakdown is cool, lots of echoing vox, and then everything comes in at once, the vocals and violin… I have no idea what just happened. Will a second listen help? Let’s see…
Frankly no. Still too much happening. But at the song’s heart there’s melody and structure. I’m slowly getting the hang of it. This is insistent though, there are clear melodies coming through which are catching in my mind.
Gold Muse – Flower
Lush intro, that descending second chord is unexpected. Does this count as shoegaze or dream pop? I don’t know. Reminds me of very early Lorelei or Ecstasy of St Theresa or Fur or early Disco Inferno or anyone who put their guitars through delay pedals and added reverb. This is really nice, there’s additions to the sound as the song progresses. The vocals are now double tracked, there’s extra synths and pianos. I could easily listen to this again. There’s more additions to the music, this is really quite well thought out, it’s changing in a good way, heading towards a climax, but not in a noise overload way which is refreshing.
Second listen… Checks Bandcamp band description… Oh members of Elephant, Soccer Mom and the Swirlies. Well that makes sense then. They definitely know what they’re doing and it shows with that kind of pedigree. Beautiful music.
A wide spectrum of music on offer this week, very enjoyable again. Quite hard to pick a top three as there were six contenders for three places, the top spot was assured as soon as I heard “Magnifique”, it was just the rest of the songs fighting for second and third. In a perfect world “Magnifique” would be in the proper charts, played on the radio and soundtracking this long hot summer.
1 – Juniore
2 – Frokedal
3 – Gold Muse
Thanks again to all the contributers, I enjoyed every song this week.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rob writes about music and other less important subjects at his blog A Goldfish Called Regret (https://agoldfishcalledregret.wordpress.com) and also creates podcasts for Goldfish Radio (https://m.mixcloud.com/robmorgan589) and hosts the Everything Indie Over 40 album listening parties over at @eio40LPParty
He never achieved his ambition of making a Sarah Record.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading Rob’s review of the Task Force songs. If you want to follow the New Song Task Force and get involved head over to @indieover40 on Twitter and check out the feature hashtag #newsongfaceoff