For reasons of which we are not aware, there seems to have been a good lot of great new singles/videos released in the past week or so by bands from up, down and across the country. While we can’t be sure of the cause of this phenomenon, (if it can indeed be called a phenomenon) we thought we’d take the opportunity to gather together a few of our favourites for you to check out…
Rather Be Me (The Naked Feedback)
First up is another offering from those talented fellows in The Naked Feedback. The boys have been delighting their fans with a new single and accompanying video every couple of months over the last year and here’s a new one, just ahead of the band’s debut at the famous Glasgow King Tut’s this Saturday.
Rather Be Me is something of a departure from previous singles Who’s She and Creaking Floorboards both of which followed a more or less grungy hard rock direction. The new track is perhaps the band’s most experimental cut yet, with a more ambient vibe and a cacophony of strange, weird and wonderful sounds bubbling just below the surface.
None of which is to say the band have lost their edge or course and, though there are some echoing, ethereal backing vocals near the beginning, the track actually starts with some big, thick drums which thud into being courtesy of sticksman Derek Whiteford. There are almost alien/computerised sounding swells of guitar in the background which give an intriguing feel, but the greatest effect of the more subtle instrumentation is that it gives lead vocalist Dean Anderson free reign to really show off his talents.
The frontman’s voice is front and centre in the mix, and he stretches himself to the max, really putting on a show with some superb high notes, especially in a chorus backed by crashing chords more reminiscent of the band’s usual style.
The big hook dissolves almost as suddenly as it appeared, as further snaking guitar lines take precedence. After the next verse/chorus there’s a final twist, as the song morphs into an almost prog section where the lead guitars twist and intertwine with serpentine glee while the rhythm section hold the groove tight and solid.
This time out the band have paired the single with a moody, evocative lyric video which perfectly complements the track. A record player spins the song in the foreground of a static scene, all bathed in scarlet, as the band congregate around a table, out of focus in the background but still moving, talking, laughing. The lyrics flash up brightly until Dean Anderson gets up to wander over and lift the needle as the song ends.
Rather Be Me is quite a change from a band who never stand still. That’s something fans can only appreciate, and this single is once again never less than compelling. Catch the band this Saturday at King Tuts, it’s guaranteed to be a great evening!
Outset (Chris Small)
Next up is another artist who’s new single is an even bigger departure from what he has produced previously. We reviewed Perth musician Chris Small’s debut EP (released as Chris Marshall) last year and found it to be ‘a seriously impressive record, with a solid folk/Americana vibe that helps maintain cohesion among an excellent group of songs that display a tremendous array of styles and moods in a short space of time.’
His new work, however, is something else entirely. It’s a much more ambient offering, and completely instrumental. It’s also enormously atmospheric and fascinating. It begins with a slow fade in featuring stirrings, rumblings of a multitude of sounds – chiefly including various synths and keyboards.
A stately drumbeat enters, with a great reverb heavy sound to it. Small recorded this track himself in his home studio, but you wouldn’t know it, the production is bright and clear and allows the listener plenty of space to immerse themselves in the sound.
The song slowly builds, sounding almost sci-fi – like a backing track in Blade Runner perhaps – as extra elements are continually added. It never rushes itself though, seeming to grow organically even as the vibe switches to a more eastern flavour, resplendent with twanging strings and pulsing backing sounds.
In what seems like a fourth distinct section, that still somehow completes a cohesive whole, an epic sounding mood overcomes the rest, giving a widescreen feel that opens the song right up.
The track is like a journey, in fact it takes you on a journey, evoking many different moods in a short three and a half minutes. Interestingly it gave me images of various movies as I listened, from the sweeping glens of Highlander or Rob Roy at the start, to the sci-fi dystopia of Blade Runner as mentioned, then some kind of samurai epic before finally suggesting the stirring widescreen shots of the Titanic putting out to sea in the eponymous film as the track glides to a big finish.
Whether this was intentional, or whether it’s just me being fanciful I don’t know!! But the tune is certainly evocative and another triumph for a superlatively talented artist who seems more than able to succeed at anything musical that he turns his hand to.
Buy the single now here: http://bit.ly/2vPilHQ
Like Chris Small’s music page on Facebook
Hearse Me is the third (or maybe 4th?) single from Wick/Thurso three-piece Pure Grief. As with their previous releases, Hearse Me subverts the downbeat nature of the band’s name, the song title and even the somewhat desolate setting of the video with another supremely catchy slab of heavy alt rock.
Pure Grief are led by former Cactus & Cardigan duo Peter Bacon and Marc Sutherland (joined here by drummer Darren Macleod) and they generally eschew the off beat, raucous, sometimes shocking stylings of their previous project in favour of more melodic, hook filled music. The multi-talented Bacon proves, for example, that he can sing as well as he can scream and his vocals here – kicking off the track accompanied only by some fairly clean rhythm guitar – are superb and expressive.
It’s not long before the drums slam into full gear and the band slip into a staccato stop/start groove in the verse. This is quickly followed by a massive chorus where Bacon finds a new level to sing at. There’s a cool bit of swing to the beat and great harmony vocals from Sutherland through the next verse, and the guitar solo – when it arrives – is both melodic and typically off-kilter thanks to Bacon’s signature upwards-picking technique.
The song closes with shades of Biffy Clyro as the group deploy overlapping harmonies and heavy chords as they sing ‘I’m not, I’m not having fun.’ They sort of sound like they are though…
The video, meanwhile, is simple but effective. It depicts the band, blindfolded and playing the song in an otherwise empty barn. The piece opens with a masked gunman about to shoot the lead singer. For some reason he restrains himself and leaves, walking away into the windswept fields outside before checking himself, returning and menacingly lifting the gun towards Bacon’s head. The song ends, the gun jerks and the screen cuts to black.
Pure Grief on Facebook