Tracks Of The Week 17.02.14

Hailing from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Nic Armstrong now resides in Austin, TX, composing his eclectic range of alternative rock and roll. Currently finalising the arrangements of five years’ worth of compositions, a taster of the first bit of new material for quite some time has now surfaced. ‘Set Pieces’ is a hook-laden offering with a retro vibe. Clearly influenced by his newfound homeland, Armstrong’s latest track is filled with a sunny garage-rock vibe, but stays true to his roots with a Beatles-esque romanticism and intricate, Brit-Pop reminiscent riffs. Exuding a dedicated energy and soulfully smooth vocals (which still retain a vague Northern twang, despite Armstrong’s time in the States), ‘Set Pieces’ is a catchy tune that will leave you wanting more.

So, if you have been missing Armstrong’s dulcet tones for the last five years, fear not – he is back to caress your eardrums, along with his band ‘The Thieves’. EP, ‘Pocketless Shirt’ is out now. You can listen to ‘Set Pieces’ on Armstrong’s Soundcloud page.

And here is some footage of Armstrong and co recording the EP:

It was with great excitement that I discovered that former Distillers and Spinterette frontwoman, Brody Dalle, had blasted back into the music scene. And the first single to come from her debut solo offering, ‘Meet The Foetus/Oh The Joy’’, certainly proves my excitement justified.

Recording the album with her husband’s big mate, Alain Johannes, and featuring appearances from Shirley Manson, this first taster of what Dalle has in store is not quite the angst-filled, pounding punk that we may be used to from her past projects. However, filled with buzz-saw guitars, thrashing beats and Dalle’s own distinctive, sensuous, husky drawl, ‘Meet The Foetus/Oh The Joy’ is all that you could hope for from this timelessly cool lady. Fuse this crunching, climatic tenacity with heartfelt lyrics, a mellow tone and evidently Manson-inspired melodies, and what you get is something truly wonderful. As Dalle ends the song by characteristically, repeatedly chanting ‘Oh, the joy…’, I can’t help but relish in my own joy at hearing her voice once more.

‘Diploid Love’, Dalle’s first solo album, is out on 28th April. I literally cannot wait.

I may be a bit late to the party on this one, but since first hearing Speedy Ortiz on the radio last week, I have become an immediate fan.

Last year, Speedy Ortiz debuted with their album ‘Major Arcana’; a charming collection of songs filled with profound lyrics and dramatic dis-chord. With a slight change in direction, latest single – ‘American Horror’ – sees Sadie Dupuis look into herself and reflect on her flaws and failed relationships. However, contrary to being your average post-breakup tale of misery, this track has an upbeat, garage-rock vibe and is filled with playful witticisms, bleeding guitars and driving distortion. A kind of Pavement-meets-Elastica slice of geeky indie that it’s hard not to love.

Speedy Ortiz’s new EP ‘Real Hair’ is out now on Carpark Records.

London-based duo, El Born, have recently completed their debut album with help from legendary producers, Chris Potter (Urban Hymns) and Dom Morley (Back To Black). An adrenalin filled, pop-rock ballad, latest single – ‘Kangaroo’ – is charmingly catchy.  With reflective lyrics, intertwined with classically inspired keyboard fills and rushing guitar melodies, it is reminiscent of the anthemic, stadium rock of the likes of Kings Of Leon, but with an endearingly rugged, distinctly British edge.

Having recently received acclaim from the likes of Coldplay, and being featured on a TV drama starring everyone’s favourite Northern Irish gent – James Nesbitt -, it would seem that big things lie in store for this band whose namesake is a bohemian district of Barcelona.

El Born’s debut EP, ‘Kangaroo’ is out now, on the band’s own label Kangaroo Zoo. And, if you like what you hear, you may be able to catch them on their UK tour, which they are currently in the midst of.

Mari Lane


Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.