Sennen – Autopilot

At this special time of year, the minds of music fans everywhere are taken up with the all-important, all-consuming task of coming up with the definitive account of the last twelve months in music (aka The End Of Year List Of Best Albums Bar None). Little room is left to take on new sounds, except those that would make their list even better than best.

It takes a momentary jolt, like seeing the name Sennen in your inbox and knowing you have no choice to find your way to the stream and hope it will be as layered and beautiful as you remember. And it’s worth the jolt, well worth the jolt. In fact, that’s part of song’s message. Singer Lawrence Holmes explains:

You can cruise through life surrounded by aspirational nonsense wherever you turn, losing yourself and falling asleep indefinitely. Those ultra-happy 60s airline ads seemed suitably mad and creepy to accompany this thought – especially when filtered through an extra layer of close-up television. But underneath, there’s always part of you trying to shake yourself awake.

Better than better than best: a new album is on the way next year: stick it on your Best of 2016 list already.

“Autopilot” is taken from Sennen’s new album First Light, released on February 26th, 2016 via Indelabel.

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Wry – Waves

With influences including Shoegaze, Punk and Britpop, and a career spanning fifteen years, Wry are still as new to me as they perhaps are to you. If Waves is anything to go by, they’ve spent that decade and a half wisely, perfecting a relaxed shoegazing vibe based around shimmering guitars and gently shimmying chord changes. Fighting back waves (uh-huh) of nostalgia, I’m nonetheless bound to admit that Waves delivers an ocean (uh-huh x2) of memories of the first time I heard music like this and knew I needed it in my life. Getting its point across without jabbing a finger in your face, it’s an introvert’s dream of telepathy without unwanted intrusion – unspoken agreements, unsignalled but understood.

Whales & Sharks / Deeper in a Dream is avalaible as a digital release now. Vinyl is out on January 15th, from Sonovibe Records. You can order the album on vinyl or digital from Sonovibe HERE, or from iTunes.

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Butterfly Child – Holding On

With a first album in nearly eighteen years on the way, Joe Cassidy, aka Butterfly Child, has announced a second track from the album. “Holding On” is dream pop with a classic twist: something a reflective Richard Hawley and Jason Pierce might come up with, it contains harmonies, heavenly gliding strings, and a hint of old-time twang.

It’s a sad song, but one that smiles. As Cassidy writes:

A lot of songs are about past relationships – like most everyone, I’ve gone through happy and sad times, and you rebuild and move forward, toward the future, which is where the album title comes from. It’s like I’m looking for light at the end of the tunnel.

And as he translates this into a lyric:

Though we want to make it we won’t make it on our own
Because this love may not be coming home
Still we keep holding on
Still we keep holding on

“Holding On” is taken from the album Futures, out on November 27th 2015, on Dell’Orso Records.

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Public Service Broadcasting – Sputnik

By my reckoning, this is the 1000th track here on Record Rewind Play.

[wait for applause to die down]

It’s an entirely arbitrary and somewhat fudged landmark, of course, since some of the tracks actually pre-date the launch of the site and were copied from the Facebook page (hint: click HERE) of the same name. There are also hundreds of other tracks posted as part of playlists and articles here, but for single track posts, the counter has reached the stage where we need to bolt on a fourth digit. Which we will do promptly, and damn the expense.

It all started, really, with the Facebook page, which I set up in 2012 while I was deep in the writing phase of what was to become a book, also of the same name. And whereas the first track to appear here was “Happy Hour” by The Housemartins in November 2012, you have to go all the way back to April to find my first musical offering.

Taking a break from the 80s today, skipping forward to 1993, when I started going to gigs. Catherine Wheel was my first…

Posted by Record, rewind, play on Tuesday, 24 April 2012

In between tracks I made some over-excited milestone posts about how many words I’d written up to that point, very much in the “never mind the quality, feel the width” spirit. These petered out after the sixty thousand word mark, and to date I don’t yet have a book published, although I do now have two partly written. In a sense, I suppose, I could count that as progress.

The website came into being on August 25th, 2013. I don’t know that because I particularly remember the moment, but because I found the tweet in which I mentioned it. I’m not one for fanfare in general:

Starting out, this wasn’t really a new music blog, more of a loosely themed old-stuff-that-I-like blog. I added a track each day, and a playlist each month, and pretty much failed to tell anyone what I was doing, other than a few friends who’d liked (possibly under duress or a sense of loyalty and obligation) the Facebook page. I wasn’t even using twitter, really, and only changed my handle to @recrwplay in February 2014. That’s when this site really started to become what it is today: a promoter of new music of no fixed genre, with occasional album reviews and articles. It might not change the world, but all I really want is to connect musicians and music fans: any time someone discovers a new musical love that resonates with them, which maybe they, too, want to share with their friends, that’s an achievement unlocked.

So, to everyone who has contributed words, liked the Facebook page, followed on Twitter, retweeted, liked, commented, sent me a track or a link, shown an interest, or generally supported Record Rewind Play in any way – a hearty and sincere thank you. This doesn’t exist without all of your input.

I probably imagined that I’d have more twitter followers by now, and more average daily page views, but then as a mildly space (and trains, of course I was into trains… and computers… also: spying) obsessed kid growing up in the 1980s I thought we’d be at least taking regular trips to the moon, if not actually colonising it by now.

Which brings me neatly [are you sure? Ed.] round to Public Service Broadcasting, and “Sputnik”: a band name and a track that epitomise progress and growth. Now, it might be a tad lofty to suggest that Record Rewind Play can match the remit of Public Service Broadcasting – “Inform – Educate – Entertain” – but I like to think that each of those has been attained at least once in the last three or so years. Failing that, I’ll settle for one example from any category.

Also, in putting the first artificial satellite into low earth orbit in 1957, the Soviet space program achieved, it’s safe to say, somewhat more than a little music blog chuntering on about how Moose were unfairly denied greatness, that Tindersticks are the one band you absolutely have to see live if you get the chance, and that [redacted x 3] are my picks and the best picks for #blogsoundof2016.

“Sputnik” is the literally pulsing first half of a double a-side, the fourth release from Public Service Broadcasting’s 2015 album The Race For Space. It’s a mesmeric, metronomic track that brings to life the awe and wonder that must have been felt around the world after the launch of this strange, beeping creation, so alien, to the western powers a little surprising, and – given the politics of the day – so threatening. Like the tracks that make up the bulk of The Race For Space “Sputnik” creates waves of atmosphere from small gestures, perfectly timed audio snippets, and a clear love and appreciation of its subject matter; you feel the “the voice of the Russian moon” throughout the track, even though its signal comes and goes. It’s a sylph-like presence in the sky, tiny and cosmologically insignificant, but on a human scale, a powerful force that inspired and motivated people and governments: four months after the satellite’s launch, President Eisenhower responded with the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA / DARPA)

Sergei Korolev (cloaked in secrecy, and referred to only as “The Chief Designer” at the time) is the subject of the release’s other a-side. He was “the talismanic figure spearheading the Russian Space program”. During his lifetime, and under his stewardship, the Soviet space program put the first man in space, and the first man in space outside his craft (Alexey Leonov). After his death in 1966, the balance of extra-terrestrial power swung away from his nation.

You can buy Sputnik from the Public Service Broadcasting store HERE, and tour tickets HERE.

Otherkin – Feel It

How do you fancy some indie rock very much in the “fuck it, let’s go” style? Yeah? Why not, I suppose. I mean, tbh (TBH!) being playlisted on Radio X (manzone! hng!) doesn’t really do it for me. But hey, if they’re giving air time to Otherkin and their rapscallion ilk (assumptions: they have ilk, they are rapscallions. Probably true) they can’t be all bad.

“Feel It” is taken from The 201 EP – out today, via Rubyworks, available on all digital and streaming platforms.

Tour Dates

Nov 13 Studio 2, Liverpool
Nov 14 Cavern, Exeter
Nov 16 Underground, Plymouth
Nov 17 Oslo, London
Nov 18 King Tuts, Glasgow
Nov 19 Quids Inn, Scarborough
Nov 20 Nation Of Shopkeepers, Leeds
Nov 21 The Rocking Chair, Sheffield
Nov 25 Oakford Social, Reading
Nov 27 Tram & Social, London
Nov 28 Night & Day, Manchester
Dec 4 Coventry Empire, Coventry
Dec 5 Hope & Ruin, Brighton

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Saltwater Sun – Wild

First there was the blistering “Habit on My Mind”, then came the Foals-meets-The-Cardigans of “Making Eyes”. Now Saltwater Sun have completed the release cycle for their debut release Wild with the EP’s title track. Happily and predictably, it’s another corker, all textures, depth and harmony, and some sort of alchemy by which they get a guitar to ride alongside Jennie Stearnes’ vocal like a swan disguised as a shark (or possibly the other way round) cruising in the wake of a crumbling analogy passing itself off as a metaphor. Again, possibly the other way round. The point being, we hope Saltwater Sun can keep building some sort of momentum through 2016 so that whenever their debut album is out, they achieve the same levels of wide acclaim as a certain female-led band with occasional male vocals and a name consisting of two words has done throughout 2015.

Wild is out on November 13th, via Hand in Hive. So that’s tomorrow, if you’re reading this today, and today really is today and this post is fresh off the presses.

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Fieu – Running

If you’ll allow me, for a moment, to indulge in discussion of the pointlessness of tags and genre descriptions…

These days I seem to be a partially lapsed indie kid with a penchant for music variously described as “synthpop” or “electropop”. Quite where the boundary lies between these I’m not sure, but I tend to feel a softness in synths, and an energy to electro. Because alliteration is awesome (also, appropriate). But even so, two things called or calling themselves synthpop did not necessarily fall from the same tree and you’ll find yourself jarred and jolted should you compile a playlist solely on the basis of one tag. This will not be news to anyone who’s let an algorithm choose the background music for their latest society soiree.

Case in point: “Running”, the new single from Australian singer Fieu. It’s the first fruit (enough with the analogies already!) of a collaboration with Eskimo Joe’s guitarist and Western Australian based producer Joel Quartermain. Calls itself synthpop, but don’t let that lull you into looking forward to a quiet evening in – “Running” is fizzing with electropop sparkle. Synths shoot up and down, meeting stunning vocals coming the other way, and occasionally some huge bass leaps out grabs you by the shoulders, shakes you up then calmly lets you go, picks a speck of fluff from your jacket and sends you on your way again.

To celebrate the release of “Running”, Fieu has announced an east coast tour, including two showcases at this year’s Australian Music Week in Sydney.

Live Dates

Nov 18th – The Pier, Port Macquarie
Nov 19th – Australian Music Week Showcase, Sydney
Nov 20th – Australian Music Week Showcase, Sydney
Nov 22nd – Element Bar, Coffs Harbour

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Meilyr Jones – How To Recognise A Work Of Art

Normally when the press release comes swaggering in, all talk of glorious years and rave reviews of live slots supporting the great and good I have to take it on its word, but leave it. Not so when it comes to the hugely talented and charismatic Meilyr Jones: he supported Richard Hawley on his recent tour, and I have first-hand and not soon-to-be-forgotten knowledge of the utterly fantastic joy of experiencing his live, full band set.

How To Recognise A Work Of Art, the new single from the former Race Horses frontman, is no less of a thrill. Exploring authenticity and the cult of the artist, the song makes a soulful indie star of Jones and bursts with sounds and ideas. Its effect is roughly what you’d get if you multiply the excitement of discovering Belle & Sebastian going Northern Soul with the clipped thrills of the percussive precision of Field Music.

As Jones says:

I wrote the song about the preposterous world of art collectors, the panic of what is popular, what will succeed, telling people what to like, what to eat, and the recycling of pop culture. I also wanted to make something light and fun, and full of humour.

The video, meanwhile, was inspired by Fellini’s 8 1/2:

I imagined the story of the video to the song really clearly and worked with Theatre director Wils Wilson to bring to life the ideas in my head. I love getting people together. My grandmother was an amateur theatre director and I loved going to watch her rehearsing plays in the evenings when I was a boy, you’d see people from the town making the costumes, and singing, my granddad would have designed the set, and the spirit of the whole thing was great. We worked with a group of 12 actors, and over a period of 4 days, transformed a warehouse in Cardiff from scratch to a film set, building and painting the sets.

“How To Recognise A Work Of Art” is out on January 8th, via Moshi Moshi.

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The Lonely Wild – Snow

Just the other morning I was sighing dejectedly at the thought of all the potentially great and to-be-loved-by-me albums that I had overlooked, been ignorant of, or set aside for later never to then reset afront this year. And then I started watching the new video for Snow, the opening track to The Lonely Wild’s 2015 album Chasing White Light, and I knew that I had to add one more to the fuzzy list I keep. So that’s infinity plus one I have to worry about now, and that, as you know, is a pretty large number.

But what can you do? Or what can I do? Except buy the album (tick!), listen to the album (coming soon!) and share the opening track, with its gambolling folk-rock coming across like the best of Okkervil River (who are much loved around these parts, by the way) with a glorious video in tow. Why wouldn’t you take the time to listen? As they themselves sing – “there’s nothing on the television”.

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Ski Lodge – Heaven is Now

In the past Ski Lodge vocalist Andrew Marr has declared his love for The Queen is Dead (his tour bus album of choice), and gone all Morrissey on “Our Love Is Over Now”. For “Heaven is Now” he and Ski Lodge make the transition from mid-to-late 80s indie pop to a slightly earlier new wave period in the same decade. While the guitar owners union might gently weep at such a move, in reality it’s a gentle, subtle shift – a differently shaded polo neck perhaps. Lyrically, it speaks of similar human emotions, and the guitar/synth swap is the difference between a shy kid telling his bedroom wall his woes and his more grown up, outwardly mature equivalent speaking to the object of his affections.

By the way, guitar-men – those strings on The Queen is Dead? Totally synthed.

“Heaven is Now” will appear on Ski Lodge’s next EP, due out in 2016 on Old Flame Records.

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Palm Honey – Bewitched

Like a swirly lollipop or a stick of rock with one more colour than you expected, “Bewitched” melds pinches of psychedelia with strands of indie rock and bakes a sweet confection out of the resulting mix. And just at the end, a little umami to savour in the slowed-down wind-down.

Palm Honey play The Horn, St Albans for Juicebox Indie on 12th December. “Bewitched” is out now, and available to purchase on iTunes and stream on Spotify.

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Naives – No Way

At the end of a year of festival slots and tour support, and ahead of their debut EP due out next year, Anglo-French synth pop trio Naives have revealed their latest single, “No Way”. Essentially, you could classify it as funky feelgood synthpop. You might, if you don’t think it’s too spoilery, mention how it seems to wryly nod to Guns ‘N Roses a couple of times, but maybe you’d rather focus on the overall feel: smooth and slinky.

Naives are: Marc Jacc (vocals/multi-insrumentalist); Lapo Frost (bass); Benji Huntrods (drums)

“No Way” is out on 27th November and will be available to purchase on iTunes and Spotify.

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