Another week done and dusted, and it’s been chocka-block with new releases. It could be more overwhelming than trying to hunt down one solitary pastel pink can full of QT in the country’s largest Tesco Extra (Walkden takes that accolade, FYI) but luckily the discerning scribbers of DIY have got your back. Energy drink hook-ins aside, there’s a highlight from a rising talent’s debut EP/album/project thingy-ma-bob, a straight-up pop banger from Broods, and much more to boot. Have a listen, have a read, and if you’re thirsty for more, you can find a comprehensive selection of this week’s releases over on the DIY Listening Hub
QT - Hey QT
It seems very fitting that the generation of harrowing indirect Facebook statuses, late-night Snapchats and ‘message seen’-induced breakdowns have recently been blessed with PC Music, a label forging its own computerised brand of future-pop. Now the label’s founder A.G. Cook, and SOPHIE – the enigmatic producer who converts fizzy drinks into songs – have joined forces for QT, a project of Qwerty-keyboard deifiers making the usual brand of carbonated-pop. The duo’s first track is ‘Hey QT’, a sassy-as-fuck anthem that twists and turns with sickly-sweet synths and places its hands on its hips, watching everything spontaneously turn to Skittles. Although the vocals are the standard emoji-talk of PC Music, they are injected with an ironic meta-narrative that cracks smiles all over the shop; lines such as “I’ve got this new song / and it’s the only one I want to play” and “I played your new song / it’s like nothing I’ve heard before” certainly don’t go amiss. Sure - its relentless energy is more saccharine than Hello Kitty on a bubblegum binge, but when everything is this fun it’s hard not to slam your wireless mouse and tap your modem in sugary delight. (Kyle MacNeill)
Death From Above 1979 - Government Trash
Death From Above 1979 aren’t someone you bring home to meet the parents, they’re your dirty little secret. They’re almost the reason parental advisory stickers were invented; not for the language, but for their brutal honesty. However, wrapped up in all that noise and chaos is an unforgettable familiarity. It’s a bit like bumping into an old friend after ten years - of course things have changed - but it feels as though you never parted ways. ‘Government Trash’ is a sonic sucker-punch and the drums aren’t just being hit, they’re being taught a serious lesson in noise making. Cutthroat riffs urge crowd surfing in even the most inappropriate social situations, while intertwined vocals pull at the seams of the speakers. The more astute will also spot that the outro sounds distinctly similar to ‘Turn It Out’ from the bands first album – a super secret handshake between pals. Lets not leave it so long next time, yeah? (Joe Dickinson)
Hookworms - The Impasse
Beginning with brief, bleeping calm ‘The Impasse’ might start life from a disconcertingly tranquil place, but it quickly wrenches into brutal psychedelic no-man’s land with no option of return. Blistering and roaring like an over-heating dinosaur armed with access to Jurassic Park’s secret synth room, it’s as brutal, bizarre and fixating as you’d expect. MJ seems to hurl every ounce of his energy into everything he does, slinging down a checkmate challenge to the floor, and lately Hookworms seem to have grown barbs and hundreds of Venus flytrap mouths, too. This is ferocious, and terrifying stuff, but like Danny’s damn tricycle grating over the lino floors in The Shining, it’s impossible to shake. Not many bands could keep up with this kind of ferocious pace, releasing two fully-formed and realised albums in as many years. Mind you, not many bands are like Hookworms. (El Hunt)
Foreign/National - Life Tourist
The last couple of years, there’s been an explosion of artists arriving from Down Under. Gotye smashed the charts and eventually the planets’ ears, Iggy Azalea’s rap-with-attitude has proved increasingly exciting and everyone from Tame Impala to Courtney Barnett has been charming the indie world with hefty handfuls of chilled-out vibes. Melbourne four-piece Foreign/National have contributed to this by continuing their holiday-inspired sound, with ‘Life Tourist’, a woozy track that splashes liquid sun-rays onto a cocktail of Bombay Bicycle Club and The Flaming Lips. It’s gorgeously psychedelic and sunny, with its mix of underwater sounding synths and trippy vocal flecks making it sound like the final breath of summer. Although they may be from the other side of the world, as their oxymoronic name suggests, we’ll take them in into the cosy-cottages of our ears as if they were sonic locals. (Kyle MacNeill)
Broods - Four Walls
Broods debut EP was so glassy and minimal that it was almost made for playing in Ice Hotels, and since then the Kiwi siblings have retained the glossy sheen, but pushed in a direction clearly signposted as ‘Pure Pop Bangers’. ‘L.A.F’ is perhaps their most anthemic yet, piston-driven by a clacking, percussive foundation, while Georgia Nott’s vocals bounce around octaves like a toddler on a bouncy castle. Less dark and brooding, and more sugary than a vat full of Hubba Bubba, looks like Broods are just Nott going to stop coming up with the pop goods. (El Hunt)
SOHN - The Chase
It’s testament to SOHN’s ability that, in the eighteen months or so that he’s been around, despite countless chancers, nobody’s quite matched his bleep-centric, melancholic synth pop. There must be a trick to it, because even on this “demo”, ‘The Chase’, he manages to outshadow the competition. Blame it on the direct songwriting, the layer-upon-layer of vocal loops, the ‘Silent Shout’-like synth line - ‘Toph’ has a way of going about things that’s tough to replicate. It might help that he essentially lives in a gadget-lined studio in nearby Vienna wilderness. The fact that debut album ‘Tremors’ is still spreading probably gives him a boost too - whatever reason, here’s a producer on top of his game. Even when the sound he sports is reaching saturation point, he manages to stand out in a crowd. (Jamie Milton)
Raury - Woodcrest Manor
He’s got an outstanding feature spot on SBTRKT’s hotly awaited new album, a handful of singles, and now 18 year old Raury has his own mixtape, ‘Indigo Child’, too. It’s messy with different influences, bursting with potential, and it’s well worth downloading the whole thing – if you think you’ve got it in you to beat Raury’s video game. A particular stand-out comes in the shape of ‘Woodcrest Manor’. He’s got a wonderful flair for narrative, has Raury, and he charts falling out of love with love with unfussy imagery and a relaxed delivery, slinging cliche into the bin. “Will the bright lights in times square always astound me?” he asks, “or will I just get so used to them that I forget they’re even there?” If it wasn’t already clear that Raury is a new name to watch, output this promising confirms it. (El Hunt)
Get your copy of the latest issue
More like this
Nearing twenty years in the game, Death From Above 1979 are taking total control for the first time and pulling their genre-shredding approach forward with menace.
An album which sees the pair attempt to build upon the mythology of their past - and reclaim a little of it, too - it’s a move that largely pays off.
Death From Above are back with their new album, and they’re pushing themselves further than ever before.
The Toronto twosome have fully found their groove.
Records & Merch