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 9 songs.
The Essex Green – Don’t Leave It In Our Hands
Nice intro, reminds me of “Cannonball”. Wasn’t expecting the mixed male female vocals, that’s a good mix, nice harmonies on the chorus. Oh, hang on, is this the chorus? No – THIS is the chorus. This makes me think of the last New Pornographers album. Nicely building up in the second verse. The final chorus … Oh it does that thing I love, chucking in a new modulation on the melody and chorus at the end. That is fantastic, really didn’t expect that. I could play that guitar solo. I want to hear that again immediately. (Listens again). That’s going to take some beating. (Plays for a third time) What a great song.
Simmer – Juno
Gotta love some chorused guitar strumming. Intro has got my head nodding. Nice vocal mix, that little guitar lick is tasty. The guitars drone and jangle in a shoegazing way. Vocals too low for comprehension on first listen, which encourages another listen. I’m enjoying this. I bet they’ve worn out their copy of “Vapour Trail”. Those harmonies on the chorus really push things forward, very good.
(Listens while reading the lyrics)
This reminds me of Afterglow, a little known Australian shoegaze band on Summershine. That isn’t a criticism. This is growing on me. Nicely atmospheric.
Gruff Rhys – Oh Dear!
Gruff Rhys – energetic start, I need that this morning. Unexpected but rather cool string arrangement. Lyrical ideas intrigue. Reminds me of Glen Campbell for some reason. That is good. Ooh it’s doing that modulating thing I adore. Ends too soon for me. That means I’ll have to listen to it again. Not a problem. There’s something naggingly familiar about this song. It will come to me eventually. In the meantime this is great.
Whimm – Not My Kind
Good intro, rising tension… Oh hang on, that wasn’t what I expected to happen. This reminds me of the Very Things. A bit gothic, but recorded in my garage. Nicely discordant guitar. Ah, here’s the drummer, better late than never. Still sounds like the Very Things. Very peculiar mix. Where’d did that piano come from? And the saxophone. It’s not a piano? Oh. Dark and moody. This is winning me over, I want to hear it again. Overlapping vocals always a good idea. Second listen. Oh, the sax has been there all along. I can see this fitting into a Peel Show from 1985, I can almost hear him back announcing it.
A Lily – Paint Me With Your Blood Again
“Rolling?” “Rolling”. I love that kind of thing. Quiet tension, lots of interesting little touches already, pizzicato guitar plucks… Is this the chorus? No? Ok the bridge into the chorus is fantastic. The chorus itself resolves the tension. There’s a lot going on but it’s well arranged, not cluttered at all. Second verse – I miss the bridge. I like the vocal a lot, subtle harmonies on the chorus. The middle section nicely combines the quiet and loud contrasts. I’m saying nice a lot, this is really interesting, I want to hear it again. Five minutes? Didn’t seem like it was that long at all – a good sign. Second listen, I still think that bridge is the best and could have been expanded. What do I know?
Poppel – Conceived Ideas
A name I know from Josh Meadows’ It’s A Jangle Out There show. It’s possible I’ve heard this before then. It does sound a bit familiar, or maybe that’s the general vibe of early Teenage Fanclub. I’m guessing they are American, based on the air of slackerdom. I do like the build into the chorus – the arpeggio guitars are great. Good head nodding summer music. Hang on… It’s over? Too soon for my liking. Second listen while reading their Bandcamp page…. They’re Belgians? Well it doesn’t show. Definitely like that chorus and the guitar interplay. And that ending.
The Chills – Complex
No introduction necessary here, I’ve loved the Chills for many years, and there’s an instant familiarity to their sound. Martin Phillips still sounds conflicted and confused, the song rocks as passionately as “Male monster from the Id”. And of course I’ve heard this before, Pete Paphides played it on his show earlier this week. What can I say – it’s the Chills! Love the fairground organ on the instrumental section. The kind of intelligent melodic pop we’ve come to expect from the Chills. Hope the album is all as good as this.
Andreas Doraus & Gereon Klugs – Feelingsgefühle
This is just pure pop! Within seconds my head is nodding and my toes are tapping. My O Level German is being pushed too, spotting a few words as the second verse progresses. Subtle string arrangement and Beach Boys harmonies…. This makes me think of the long hot summer of 1976, for some reason. Perfect summertime pop music. Nice little breakdown towards the end… And a key change! Absolutely wonderful.
Mazzy Star – Quiet, The Winter Harbor
Again no introduction necessary. Woozy, waltzing and graceful. It sounds like… Mazzy Star. The fact they’ve defined their own sound which has influenced so many since doesn’t diminish the power of their music. When the slide guitar and brushed drums come in, it’s really quite heavenly. I can see this soundtracking some moody scene in a film – the heroine gazes into a sunset…You get the idea. That’s lovely.
Mikey Collins – Falling
Simple opening allowing the lyrics to be heard immediately and they catch me straight away. Another song with male female vocals, especially the chorus. Oh I like the introduction of synths in the second verse. Use of the word “pricks” is a surprise, in such a gentle way. This is rather sweet, not in a sickly way. Second listen – the lyrics are becoming clearer. Intriguing. It sounds like falling in love. That’s appropriate I suppose.
3. Gruff Rhys
2. The Chills
1. The Essex Green
Though I do feel bad for Poppel – if the Chills and Gruff Rhys hadnt been in this week they’d be number two. Definitely a band to listen out for. But oh boy that Essex Green song is tremendous and I listened to the album after that and it’s all just as good.
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