Gigslutz tracks of the week 2.8.13

Excitement and anticipation has greeted the arrival of Catfish and the Bottlemen onto our airwaves. The Communion Records-signed newcomers release their second single, ‘Rango’ on the 16th September, and it has already been highly received, with plenty of attention from the likes of Radio 1’s Zane Lowe and BBC 6music’s legendary Steve Lamacq. The young rock band met at school in Wales, and have recently been touring as much as possible with plenty of festival dates, support for Glasvegas, and their own headline dates in the pipeline. With an indie-rock sound and catchy melodies, reminiscent of indiesters such as The Strokes or Vampire Weekend, ‘Rango’ is an energy-filled delight, with a unique rough edge. At the mere age of twenty, singer MCann’s smooth vocals are a treat for the ear drums and, combined with plenty of 90s-sounding reverb-filled guitar and pressing riffs, make for a rock song that will appeal to the masses. Zane Lowe thinks that Catfish and The Bottlemen are ‘quickly becoming one of the most exciting bands around’, and I can’t help but agree (plus, Van MCann might just be one of the coolest names I’ve ever heard!)

The heart throb of the folk world, Johnny Flynn, has released new song, ‘The Lady is Risen’, as a taster of his new album ‘Country Mile’ (released 30th September), the follow up to 2010’s ‘Been Listening’.  And this song is as poetic, beautiful, and utterly delightful as the rest of his back catalogue. With an archaic feel, ‘The Lady Has Risen’ combines catchy Trad Folk with blues guitar, alongside Flynn’s consistently enchanting, smooth vocals. Despite characteristically poetic and profound lyrics, reminiscent of fellow bard, Leonard Cohen – ‘Calloused pride come to die in our hands as we touch. And so soften me now, let me take as it’s given. For the wind’s started up and the lady is risen’ – ,with the addition of brass, keys and harmonious backing vocals, Flynn’s current sound seems slightly more upbeat and dramatic than his usual folky ditties, though thankfully retains his trademark irresistibly charming voice that could make any song in the world sound perfectly gorgeous.

Half German, half Croatian, Antun Opic creates uniquely enthralling songs. His new single, ‘Moses’, is filled with intricately beautiful classical guitar and pretty harmonies. But it doesn’t stop there. ‘Moses’ provides us with an amalgamation of traditional sounding balkan melodies with Opic’s bluesy, husky vocals, backing gospel singers and complex flamengo-inspired picking; successfully fusing Gipsy Folk with rock, pop and blues, Antun Opic has thus succeeded in creating an entirely intriguing piece of music. With such a hugely diverse range of sounds and influences, I’d hate to pigeonhole this unique artist into any particular category, though – if I did have to make any comparisons – I could glimpse moments when similarities can be heard to fellow blues-inspired musicians such as Ben Harper or Xavier Rudd, and the use of world music and eclectic references are vaguely reminiscent of Paul Simon’s more African-inspired offerings. Featuring Tobias Kavelar (guitars) and Horst Fritscher (acoustic bass), Antun Opic has been enjoying considerable success all over Europe, and we’ll hopefully be hearing a lot more from this creative and experimental artist here in the UK in the near future.

Mysterious outfit Society’s second single, ‘14 hours’, follows the runaway success of their vinyl-only debut ‘All That We’ve Become’. Having received major plaudits across stations like Radio 1and 6Music, Society seem skilled at creating electro-indie- pop fused with string-laden soul. Twenty four year-old London-based singer songwriter, James Girdler offers an intense and cinematic ballad, with a variety of eclectic influences audible:  ranging from hip-hop to indie, electro to soul, gospel to groove. The result is that ’14 Hours’ sounds a bit like Portishead meets Alt-J with a touch of Richard Ashcroft-esque crooning, though really Society seem uniquely gifted at creating their own exclusively distinctive songs. Society’s intriguing music thus reflects their mysterious status in the music world, as – until now –  nobody’s known anything about who or what Society is. But I would definitely keep an eye (ear) on them, as Society’s debut live shows are fast approaching, in addition to a filmic follow-up in the promo video for ’14 Hours’, as well as an array of other surprises.

Old-timers, Nine Inch Nails, recently previewed new song, ‘Copy of A’ at Japan’s Fuji Rocks, their first live show since 2009. Taken from the new album ‘Hesitation Marks’, released 3rd September, ‘Copy of A’ is still very much recognisable as a product of Trent Reznor, but with a fresh, contemporary feel. With its pounding, industrial electro-rock, the new single is characteristically intense and emotive; combining the typical use of sound effects and synth, alongside the incessant drum machine, electric guitars and Reznor’s haunting vocals, I find Nine Inch Nails’ latest offering simply spellbinding. Reznor never fails to be innovative and aspirational, and certainly doesn’t do things by halves. Personally, I really like this song, but I tend to love everything that this man creates; and, if you’re feeling a bit hard done by or angsty, this song is the perfect accompaniment to some aggressive fist-clenching and foot-stamping.

Mari Lane