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 17 songs
Hi there, nice to be with you, glad you could stick around….
Max Band – Means To An End
A sharp start to the week, a bassless intro, just a riff and drums. Once everyone else comes in, the riff keeps on going and going and let’s face it it’s a good riff. I like how there’s more guitars added into the chorus. At least I assume it’s the chorus. Yes, it must be. The guitar on the right hand of the stereo spectrum is really cool, works well with the riff. There’s lines I’m picking up on the vocal. That riff is as primal as Lou Reed and as catchy as a cold. It also owes an unconscious debt to Mott The Hoople.
The instrumental break is simple yet effective and when they lower the dynamics it ratchets up the tension, as does adding dissonance. God, this reminds me of something and I can’t place my finger on it (that’ll be Mott The Hoople) I love how it feels like it’s falling apart and is slowly collapsing on itself. That’s how to end a song!
Steady Holiday – Nobody’s Watching
This is sweet! Within 30 seconds I’m grinning like a kid with a new crush. What’s unusual is that I can’t think of anything to say. I’m just letting this lovely little song wash over me. I think I’ll come back to this one later.
I still feel exactly the same, this song is absolutely delightful and I love it, and it’s instantly infectious, and I can’t find anything to say about it. It’s just a great little pop song. They seem to have found a sound which is their own, I can’t even give any antecedents or comparison points. It’s just great pop music.
I’ll give it another two days and come back to it.
This is such a conundrum, because the song has been floating around my head all week now and I still can’t find anything to say about it. It’s just a delightful song. Well done to Steady Holiday for making me lost for words. But heck, they’ve got a lovely song here.
Oscar Blue – Madrugada
God Lord for a millisecond I thought that was going to be “Yellow Submarine”. Is that an actual campfire? Sounds like it. Acoustic guitars strumming, the other instruments slowly entering the picture – I like how this is progressing. I have no idea what Madrugada is – a thing or a place. I’m really enjoying the relaxed nature of this song, every so often something new is added – a harmony vocal, an extra guitar… Delightful.
Oh no, it’s finished. That’s getting a second play immediately, oh, Madrugada is Spanish of “early morning”, now it makes a little more sense. This is lovely.
Sauna Youth – No Personal Space
A warm fuzzy start with tribal drums, then the song starts and it’s garage rock. Lots of energy and a primal riff, I can see these being a cracking live band. The chorus is so simple and perfect, there’s some strange noises going on during the chorus, and the instrumental break. What the hell is that noise? It’s distracting in a good way … Oh hang on, is it a distorted live recording of them? The coda going back to the riff is great, with added keyboard and a dropped in spoken part .. oh whoops I’ve carried on listening to the next song “The Patio” which is the same riff. Back to “No Personal Space”.
It’s only two minutes but it packs in so many elements. Loving it. Ah, and it’s finally clicked what that noise dropping in and out reminds me of…. There’s sections of noise in Medicine’s first two albums which sound like that, overdriven and over the top. Nice!
The Growlers – Orgasm of Death
Well the orgasm is La Petite Mort, you know. If this is a demo then it’s very professional. I like the contrast between the jangling guitar on one side and the fuzzy guitar on the other side, and the bass is upfront and cool. This is melodic and catchy, and I think it’s great. Is that a sax after the chorus?
The lyrics are intriguing too, lines leap out and capture the imagination. The song is straight ahead but the chords keep swerving, which works well. The entry of the keyboard is cool, as is dropping the bass. By the third chorus I’m singing along, which is quite some achievement. I want to hear more of The Growlers.
Bill Ryder-Jones – And Then There’s You
An instant start, shuffling drums, guitars beautifully recorded and played, and Ryder-Jones whispers…. I’m only thirty seconds in and loving this. The song rises and falls, there’s a real mastery of the guitar here, a knowledge of how to extract great sounds and parts and how they fit together. It’s odd, the chorus reminds me of Red House Painters for some reason. A warm hug of guitar heaven, absolutely delightful.
Ryder-Jones has been making music long enough to know precisely what he’s doing, and he’s showing his skills here. Glorious.
Tunng – Dark Heart
A name I know but have never heard their music. An intriguing intro, pastoral field recordings and acoustic guitars, then it goes electronic, thumping drums and sequenced bass jumping around. There’s all kind of things happening, and I’m loving them all, the snatches of samples, little sequences and percussion hits. It reminds me of a more electronic SFA, which is cool with me.
Dropping down into the middle eight there’s all manner of strange noises becoming more apparent. The chorus is insistent, as is that sample of a female vocal going “La la”. So many hooks here. Really enjoying this. Is this representative of their work? If so, I think I need to investigate. Cool sudden ending too, with a bit of bingo too.
Deerful – Sunset Drive
Ok I’m remiss here. I meant to listen to the Deerful album after John Hartley’s excellent review elsewhere on EIO40, but I’ve not got around to it yet. Looks like I’ve missed out, this sound right up my street. Synths pulse, drum machines thump out, but there’s a subtlety to the music, it’s not forceful but makes itself known. Like Tunng there’s a lot of tiny elements which act as individual hooks into the song. There’s a graceful flow here, I like Emma Watson’s voice and the lyrics hint at mysteries.
That fade out is great too, I initially thought it fades too soon, but it highlights a synth trumpet melody which may have been lost in the mix. Very clever. I’ll definitely head back to the album based on this song.
Bokonon – Voices
The first 30 seconds of this review is wasted trying to get spell check to accept the band’s name isn’t “Bikini”. So I’ll let this one flow over me on the first listen. Which turns out to be quite an apt response to the music. I’m loving the song already, there’s all kinds of hints of other musics in their stew, a bit of shoegazing, the drums are skittering around, the bass carrying everything in the first verse, and as the song progresses more instruments join in – and I honestly can’t decide if they are synths or guitars or whatever, but they’re great.
I also like how the tune is weaving around itself, the chords and melody seem at angles to each other but work well. So much reverb! I love reverb, by the way, so that’s not a criticism. That song is over way too soon. Another band I want to hear more of.
IDLES – Television
I’ve mentioned Idles a few times in previous Task Force reviews so it’s inevitable that they would turn up eventually. I’ve already been giving this album heavy rotation at home, it’s a powerful piece of music. Idles are one of the few bands speaking about how the world (and the UK) is right now, and I’m pleased they are getting exposure and respect.
This song is one of the album highlights – a rocking affirmation of individuality, to looking like yourself, not some made up reality TV star… You get the idea. It’s basic, it’s heartfelt, it rocks, it makes its point (and quite frankly I’ve no problem with profanity, here it adds power to the message) and it gets out of there ready for the next important song.
Idles are one of the best bands around at the moment, their songs should be cherished and absorbed into modern culture. Listen without prejudice.
Quite a variety of music this week, thank you to the team for all their suggestions. Here are my top three
1 – Idles
2 – Tunng
3 – Bokonon
Very tough choice under Idles, hard luck to Maxband, The Growlers and Bill Ryder-Jones who came very close too.
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.