Tracks: Palma Violets, David Bowie, The Men And More

DIY writers and radio presenters take their pick of the week’s new music.

It’s been a bit of an eventful week, hasn’t it. Timberlake got us all excited with the threat of new music, the jeepster, Destiny’s Child announced a new album, and David Bowie decided to awaken from a decade long slumber. Not too shabby for only the second week of January. With so much going on, you might think that what you really need is someone to filter it all for you; pick the wheat from the chaff so you don’t have to. And you’re in luck, because that’s exactly what DIY’s writers and radio presenters have done for you, yet again, out of the goodness of their hearts.

So without further ado, we present for your listening pleasure; this week’s Tracks.

Palma Violets - ‘Step Up For The Cool Cats’
It has been promised that guitar music will be back and better than ever, in 2013. Well perhaps not better than ever. But definitely back, considering the mainstream’s significant lack over the past few years. And after a string of brilliant live performances, movement leaders Palma Violets have unveiled a brand new song - ‘Step Up For The Cool Cats’.

Having caused a stir before their electrifying debut single ‘Best Of Friends’ was even released,  they now have a fourth recorded track in their weaponry. Opening with a haunting organ that harmonises with Samuel Fryer’s cavernous vocals, until a steady rhythm section and pounding drum-beat comes along and sweeps the track into the indie-punk style that they’re becoming renowned for.

‘Step Up For The Cool Cats’ might not be quite as astonishing as their debut, but remember that those iconic bands that Palma Violets have already drawn comparisons to, The Ramones, The Libertines and The Sex Pistols, all had first singles amongst their finest. Place your bets now; how long until Palma Violets fans start referring to themselves as ‘Cool Cats’? (Jonathan Hatchman)

The Men – Electric
Months of road testing their last LP seemed to have paid off for the Men in serious melodic dividends. ‘Electric’ is the first sample of their new record ‘New Moon’, which they recorded in a rural house with limited technology and a special connection to the cosmos. Despite the celestial intervention and the cosmic album title, don’t expect a psychedelic romp from ‘Electric.’ You’ll be happy to know the Men are still very much a punk band. (Matthew Putrino)

Midnight Bonfires – Voodoo Eyes
Midnight Bonfires may well be getting missed off a lot of ‘B-Town’ articles but that’s just testament to the fact that they are ploughing their own field within the city of Birmingham. ‘Voodoo Eyes’ is the opener to the band’s self-titled debut EP that followed on from their single ‘Misbehave’. It shows off the band’s playfulness and showcases the vocals of lead singer David Langley, whose vocal expressions are just the right side of falsetto. Midnight Bonfires will inspire all the things that bands should inspire in music fans; they make you want to dance and sing along. (Jack Parker)

Misun – Harlot
This corker of a track comes courtesy of Misun, a trio hailing from Washington DC. Fusing their self-described ‘Aquawave’ sound with the blues/funk of a Mark Ronson B-Side, Harlot is a smooth, jazzy number that bounces from one staccato guitar strum to the next. Vocalist Misun Wojcik’s glorious vocals are underpinned by a hip-hop beat that flows seamlessly alongside bluesy guitar chords, drenching the track in a sense of nostalgia. It evokes a sound that is somewhere between Curren$y and 1920s New Orleans. (Tom Watts)

David Bowie – Where Are We Now?
Never has a ten-year silence sounded so loud as it did with David Bowie’s step away from the limelight. Now he returns to us, not thankfully with a Grime or Chillwave track, but with an understated and elegant song that befits a 66 year old. It sees him ruminating on the past and his life in Berlin, and the fall of the Berlin Wall; the expectation of a brighter future. Whatever it’s about, ‘Where Are We Now?’ is a touching and wistful song that improves with each listen. And as the closing mantra and flourishing climax of “as long as there’s me, as long as there’s you” swims through your head, pouring some light on to the melancholic darkness, you just take pleasure in the fact that he’s back. Bowie is back.(Danny Wright)

Fawn Spots - Watered Down
Japandroids’ last album is very good, there’s little denying that. But it’s quite a lot different to their first record. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it might leave those ‘Post-Nothing’-lovers wanting a bit more of that more rough and ready sound. Usefully, up step York band Fawn Spots to re-install some of that filth into your already pretty mucky ears. ‘Watered Down’ is taken from a forthcoming Bad Paintings split release with the delightfully-named US band Cum Stain - but don’t be fooled by the song’s title. This is far more like drinking undiluted, double concentrate Robinson’s orange squash than its healither, hydrating alternative. Fawn Spots are loud and energetic and naughty and bad for you, and that’s part of the charm. (Jake May)

Issues – Princeton Ave
After forming just last summer, this Atlanta band have been very busy. An EP was released last year and they’re back with a full-steam-ahead 2013. With a US tour under his belt, they nabbed the @Issues twitter handle (nicely done boys!) and they’ve caught my attention. With what I can only describe as rock with a proper vocalist in the line of Fall Out Boy / Panic! At The Disco behind it, supported by some proper screamo too to give it a nice edge. My favourite part of the track is the Linkin Park ‘Hybrid Theory’ record scratch. A retro treat for the ears. (Elise Cobain – Alive And Amplified)

Jeremy Greenspan – Drums&Drums&Drums
Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan is a man with a real appreciation and knowledge of the mechanics and processes behind electronic music and its ability to warp computer based sounds into something transcendent. Greenspan has used his knowledge to take a piece of music from legendary electronic auteur Laurie Spiegel and re-edit it into a piece of thrilling dance floor electronica.

‘Drums’ was originally composed by Spiegel in 1975 and is a beguiling piece of proto techno. It is a truly pioneering work. Greenspan’s re-edit, ’Drums&Drums&Drums’, is credited to both himself and Spiegel and seems him taking the track’s structure and rhythm while adding numerous synthesisers. Primitive sounds mix with the progressive almost effortlessly. It is a mind-bending exercise in taking something experimental and avant-garde and giving it renewed focus in a contemporary context. (Martyn Young)

Tyrannosaurus Dead – Sadie
Brighton band Tyrannosaurus Dead have been knocking around for a few years now, going about their business of putting together catchy, fuzzy indie pop songs with a relative quietness. But that could all be set to change with new EP ‘Pure//Apart’. Set for release through London independent label Odd Box Records in May and recorded with producer-extraordinaire Rory Attwell before Christmas, the six-track release hears a band growing in confidence and feeling more comfortable in their sound, and the songs pay off as a result. ‘Sadie’ is the first track to be made public from the EP: opening with the delightful hiss of the hi-hat combined with delicious guitar distortion, it breaks out through rumbling bass and some urgent harmonised vocals excellently. It’s a bit more in your face and less timid than their previous songs (some of which you can hear on bandcamp, the song’s slightly more bold sound working in its favour. This is catchy, fun, and a great preview of more to come. (Jake May)