If Bevo is anything to go by it must have taken Manchester’s The Hipshakes all of three seconds to agree upon a name. A beeshive of a track and full of pent-up hyperactivity, it’s fidgety 50’s/60’s influenced garage rock is perfect to dance around to in your bedroom with gay abandon. Having teamed up with MJ from Hookworms and producer of two of AHDTR’s favourites from 2013, we’ll be keeping a close eye on The Hipshakes in 2014.
Fat Cat have just shared While We Let Go, a demo from London’s (by way of France and Italy) dds. Impressive in scale and full of warm rhythm, like a firefly around a candle it bristles with ambition and grace. Imagine the National drinking white wine instead of red, and you won’t be far off.
Dios Mio are another London band who deal primarily in majesty, as perfectly showcased in recent single Proto. Burning with sensation, the intro wastes no time exploding into life, warming our wintery souls in the process. As Helena Coan’s vocals are introduced to the mix and the guitars become a jagged edge of tension Proto takes a darker turn, bubbling along with imagery of decay while in turn floating, soaring and simmering.
Brighton’s The Magic Gang dropped Shallow on Wednesday and it does a lot to justify the recent hype (which included a spot in the NME’s 40 to watch for 2014). Combining just enough skewed weirdness with anthemic grandeur, Shallow is the kind of song that slowly creeps into your subconscious, makes itself a cup of tea and by the final refrain you belatedly realise it has moved in.
Black Gold Buffalo also appeared on the NME list. Their only song online is from 2012 – the gorgeously rich Magnets. Full of alluring reverb, vocals that shine through like a lighthouse, luscious beats and guitars strung so tight you feel like at any moment the song might go up in a puff of smoke, Magnets draws you in as it caresses your ears.
This recent trend of 90s retrospection has left me with mixed feelings: Joy at hearing sounds I grew up with, despair at realising I have got so old that I have hit my first cycle in life. Fortune Teller is Leeds based Menace Beach slightly scuzzy take on the less mainstream sounds from the 90’s, with keys that waltz around like old wurlitzers, deliciously fuzzed-up harmonies and a slightly experimental glam feel that isn’t a million miles removed from Mansun. Which is apt, because Paul Draper is an occasional addition to the line-up.
I saw Dublin’s Girl Band at the Green Door Store on Wednesday. It didn’t take long to realise we were witnessing something very special. The sound they managed to contort from three instruments was bewildering; bass that sounded like industrialised crunching guitars, guitar stuffed through the pedal shredder, machine gun drumming and vocals delivered in a captivating and utterly persuasive manner. It was abrasive, challenging and totally compelling: Girl Band had an irresistible intensity – so much that it felt like we were witnessing the start of something. Fuck it, whole scenes were created on less. Lawman is their new single, and it’s incendiary.
I want to end this weeks WTW by saying thank you to Benjamin Curtis for his music, both in School of Seven Bells and particularly for me – Secret Machines. Now Here is Nowhere is an album that is incredibly special to me, whenever I listen to it I’m returned to the days I found it and whenever I listen to it in the future I’ll say a silent thank you to Ben.