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 14 songs.
Cédric Pin / Glen Johnson – It Was Not Meant To Be
Instantly I’m thinking early Cocteau Twins, drum machine and chorused bass. But even though that doesn’t happen, I do like this a lot – the vocal tone and melody and there’s some odd harmonies in the background. Nice synth melody in the chorus, this could also be me in the mid 80s. Hell, the lyrics mention “earnest” which was the name of my home studio.
I’m really liking this a lot. Even the melodica solo is the sort of thing I would do (and still do, my melodica regularly get a play). This is such a weird throwback – and I absolutely love it. Even more layers towards the end of the song, and they all work. Lovely start to the week.
Mitski – Nobody
Now this is an album on my “to listen to” list (ever expanding due to the New Song Task Force). Already I’m kicking myself for not listening before. The verse is great, that opening line is genius. So simple at the start, the lyrics are clever and intelligent. I like the Chic guitar adding into the bridge, and the chorus is that circle of fourths again, in a way. This is perfect modern pop, the drums are really kicking the song along nicely. Oh a modulation halfway through the chorus – genius… And another one! This is ticking all my boxes!
Second listen to pick up more of those lyrics – these are really good lyrics, and I love her voice, “give me one good movie kiss” sounds like a line from a Furniture song which is high praise.. (Pushes the Mitski album towards the top of my “to listen to” list)
Pete International Airport – Western Shouting
Hmm, nice sitar to start then into deep bass and drums, this is cool modern psychedelia and I’m already interested. Vocals in the distance, heavy on the delay and reverb. I can’t wait to hear how this develops. There’s a lot of incidental information around the song, but the beat and drums keep it anchored. Not even sure what is happening at this point two minutes in but I’m grooving. Where’s my joss sticks? Whoever the artist is, they’ve captured my heart. I want to hear more. Even the sudden end doesn’t disappoint.
Second listen, while reading about the artist – the Dandy Warhols connection makes perfect sense. This song exists in it’s own world, melodically and sonically. Definitely another one to investigate.
Average Sex – Ne Moublie Pas
another band I’ve seen mentioned in dispatches. This is straight ahead indie rock and there’s nothing at all wrong with that … Oh hang on it’s stopped and restarted at an increased tempo. I like the call and response vocals in the verses. A chorus in French, then hang on it’s stopped again and started back at the original tempo. Good all round musicianship to carry out these transitions. And here we go again, uptempo again. Lots of head nodding from me, I really don’t know which way this song will end. Like that? That’s really great.
Terry – Bureau
Well that will be easy to find on the internet. I like the simple intro, that ascending chord sequence and bassline. Multiple female vocals, intriguing lyrics…. Is this the bridge? Can’t wait to hear what happens next. The tempo change is a great device to build up tension. Seems to be more guitars layered on as each verse progresses. Are they singing “The diamond mine”? Lots of drum rolls and moving from one note to another before the close. Hang on that’s not the end? Where did that little coda come from? Cheesy! Was that nearly four minutes? Didn’t feel like it. Let’s listen again.
I have no idea what the words mean. Sounds heartfelt. Definitely think that turnaround for the chorus is a great idea. I was right, there’s more guitars added each verse. Really enjoying this one.
Jungle – Heavy, California
Well this is unexpected, in a very pleasant way. Very funky indeed. It makes me think of last year’s excellent Thundercat album. Two and a half million monthly listeners on Spotify! That’s a bit more than the usual music I listen to. I’m sorry I’m not writing about the music because quite frankly I’m too busy getting down and throwing some shapes. In my living room. If I was the partying type this would definitely get my party started. It’s just great summer funky music. I love it. Another name to add to the list marked “further investigation”.
Jonathan Bree (feat. Clara Viñals) – Say You Love Me Too
A scene setting bass and drum intro, looping and funky, and a female vocal full of intrigue and cool. The chorus is richer, more dissonant layers of keyboards and whispered vocals. Second verse – oh this must be Mr Bree. So it’s a duet then. More dissonance in the second chorus. I love how this is building up … Oh and it all drops out as I type that. It seems to have turned at that point, that middle section really adds a lot, more melodic interest too and back to that insistent chorus. Cool outro too, emphasising the piano melody. A definite grower.
Dehn Izen – What It Means
A count in is always good… A sudden shock of sound, midtempo and loping, kind of Crazy Horse meets MBV. For some reason I’m concentrating on the vocals on the first listen and I like them, deep voice with interesting words, they sound quite deep – the lyrics, I mean. The guitars are strange, smothered in reverb, they sound out of phase too. A neat trick. The drums are upfront too. That little keyboard coda is cool. Second listen – this is quite a subtle song, a large sound from not many elements, and the vocal melody really hooks in. Very good indeed.
Mush – Gig Economy
A nicely punky song, very much in the line of Idles. Vocals suitably blurred, but the general gist gets across. I’m really liking this actually, even if the vocals don’t have much in the way of melody, the chorus is hooky. Lots of energy, again I know nothing about the artist but they sound young and enthusiastic, and I like that.
Second listen and I still can’t make out much of the vocals but who cares. I like how there’s little changes in the rhythm and guitar strum patterns from time to time, that’s a clever move to maintain interest.
Massage – Oh Boy
Sometimes I can tell from the first twenty seconds if I’m going to love a song and this hits lots of my sweet spots within those seconds. Once the harmony vocals kick in, it’s like total bliss for me. Lots of guitar hooks, lots of guitars, a happily shaken tambourine or two, this is really cool. Obviously influenced by Sarah Records bands like the Field Mice, there’s a certain spark here which pulls the song in different directions.
The Bandcamp page isn’t giving much away (or I’m not reading it properly, always a possibility), so there’s not a lot of information to work on. Sometimes that’s better, allows the listener to concentrate on the music. After one listen those guitar hooks are pulsing around my head. Lovely.
Wow, what fantastic songs this week. At this stage of two or three listens per song I have no idea which three to pick because there’s something positive to say about all of them. I’ll have to give them all another few listens before making my decision.
(Disappears with headphones on for an hour)
I’ve deliberated, cogitated and digested all ten songs and after much thought the results are…
1 – Mitski
2 – Jonathan Bree
3 – Jungle
Thanks as ever for all the suggestions, a tough choice picking three from ten outstanding songs.
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