… What F**king Ian Guy? started scrappily, slowly, and with great naivety as the bastard passion project of two movie nerds with an unquenchable love of music, who soon afterward adopted a die-hard music nerd (Steve) who made us appear half-competent. It was fun but, sadly, we all reached a point where there was little time to nurture a fully-functioning music blog. Six months later and, nice as it would be to dedicate myself to Ian, current life arrangements mean that I can only intermittently post feature-length reviews, and even less cultivate an entire themed series or sustain a running feature (as was planned long ago). But I am desperate to share with you the sounds which are defining my day-to-day, and this weekly roundup will do exactly that – document the music, old and new, which has been pumping through my stereo during the past seven days. Here we go… Mike
This week’s first order of business is to announce that the spirit of Joy Division and ’70s post-punk is alive and well in ‘Flesh & Bone‘, the first track taken from Swedish outfit Holograms sophomore full length, Forever (out September 3rd). I love the texture of this track, how dense and gloomy it feels (Sweden is doing this really well at the moment; remember to check out Iceage, who I mentioned in last week’s mini reviews), and of course the fact that its opening riff sounds so much like the one which propels ‘She’s Lost Control‘. It sounds raw enough to indicate that Holograms are sticking close to the recording style and litter of influences which defined their first LP, but also feels refined and matured, instrumentally and lyrically. I’m hoping for great things.
And while we’re on the subject of future releases, I’d like to point out that you can stream the new Honningbarna album on EMI Norway’s Soundcloud. I’ve heard unconfirmed whispers of this one getting a May release in the UK, but for now let’s enjoy the sounds while they’re available. It’s a rough, electrifying hardcore album with some poppy hooks, and doesn’t let up for any one of its 32 minutes. Its first couple of tracks are best, but this is a record bristling with energy, and the choruses on this thing are HUGE. I’ve played it at least once a day every day since Monday, and I suspect you’ll soon be doing the same.
I’ve also been busily compiling the first half of my summer playlist this week, and along the way rediscovered one of my favourite ’90s bands – Veruca Salt. Their 1997 album Eight Arms To Hold You is a masterpiece, and that it (and the rest of their back-catalogue) isn’t better known is inexcusable. ‘Awesome‘ is its catchiest track: a full-throttle anthem boasting thrashing grunge guitar and star-gazing pop hooks in perfect sync, best exemplified by the scratchy guitar solo and schoolgirl choral complementing each other on the breakdown. It has so many seamless gearshifts, seemingly boundless energy, and a lovely outro. All in all… awesome. (Other tracks worth checking out are ‘Volcano Girls‘, ‘The Morning Sad‘ and ‘One More Time’, which sadly isn’t on YouTube).
Sam already did a good job of documenting this week’s Thatcher-inspired charts story in Does Pop Music Suck?, but today (her funeral) feels like the (im)perfect time to visit the topic again, and rediscover Wah’s eerily prophetic party anthem ‘The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies‘. I very much doubt that this was sitting alongside the hymns at today’s service, but it’s fascinating to listen and see how the lyrics mirror recent events. If any song will go down in history alongside her death, it should be this one, for so accurately foreshadowing the celebratory mob which exploded upon the news a week ago. As it turned out, history had written itself – three decades ago! Above all though, this is a really cracking pop tune.
Finally (this week’s entry has been shortened because of the intro; I’ll cover more in the future), the new single from Camera Obscura, ‘Do It Again‘, was uploaded onto 4AD’s YouTube yesterday, and it’s a wonderfully upbeat return for the Scottish five-piece. It’s been four years since My Maudlin Career, so let’s hope this one lives up to expectations. Tracyanne Campbell’s vocals sound as sweet as ever, soaring over one of the band’s most confident melodies to date. Great.