Hello and welcome to the last edition of Freshly Squeezed in 2017! I think it’s been a good year for this segment – a lot of very interesting, exciting music has been covered and I’ve actually managed to do one of these every months.
“But,” I hear you say, “there is still one more month left in 2017. How will this be the last Freshly Squeezed of the year?!” Well enthusiastic readers, December is officially *airhorns* LIST SEASON! *airhorns* So FrSq will be on hiatus until the end of January 2018 in favour of some good ol’ end-of-year-lists. Anyway, let’s get into some of my favourite tracks from November 2017.
Boy Azooga – Face Behind Her Cigarette
Ever thought about how cool funk legend William Onyeabor would sound if he tried out his hand at making snappy 3-minute pop tracks? Then look no further than Cardiff band Boy Azooga, who have channelled Onyeabor’s classic sound into the joyous song ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette’: even going as far as to say that, “This song is basically just a celebration (rip off) of the late great William Onyeabor”.
The newly signed Heavenly Recordings band’s debut single nabs all the best bits of Onyeabor – the long strands of signature psych-funk synth and pounding percussion – and condenses it down into a more traditional pop track ready for the dancefloor in line with Hot Chip (no pun intended).
Essaie Pas – Futur Parlé
Philip K. Dick is one of my favourite writers of all time. Marie Davidson is one of my favourite electronic producers working right now. So when I heard that Marie Davidson was writing a song about Dick’s 1977 novel ‘A Scanner Darkly’ (as told to Clash), my expectations were already extremely high.
And ‘Futur Parlé’ does not disappoint. Working under the moniker Essaie Pas alongside producer Pierre Guerineau – who also worked on Davidson’s last album, the astonishing Adieux Au Dancefloor – ‘Futur Parlé’ is as fitting a heartbeat of a dystopian future as there is. Not straying too far from Davidson’s solo work, the track is a dark, minimalistic march complete with a brooding percussive backbone and Davidson’s signature matter-of-fact delivery, topped off with synth flashes straight out of a horror movie.
FRIGS – Doghead
Toronto outfit FRIGS have shared ‘Doghead’, a Nick Cave inspired quick burst of energy ahead of their debut album that will drop in 2018. Taking from from Cave’s novel And The Ass Saw The Angel, ‘Doghead’ is a an exploration into lust and power dynamics centred around a spiralling post-punk instrumental.
Led by the growls of Bria Salmena – whose vocals share a passing resemblance to that of Savages’ Jehnny Beth during the calm before the storm – ‘Doghead’ whirls around a mesh of guitar licks and ever-increasing drums to climax in a cyclone of psychedelic punk.
(Disclaimer: I work for Caroline International, who worked on the release of this track.)
Palm – Dog Milk
One word to describe Palm’s 2017 musical output would be “fantastic”. The band signed to Carpark Record and then put out the Shadow Expert EP earlier in the year – which opened up the band to a ton more admirers of their loose, arty style of rock.
Where the Shadow Expert EP mapped out Palm’s outline of playing math-y, unhinged style of art rock, the two lead singles from forthcoming album Rock Island – ‘Pearly’ and especially ‘Dog Milk’ – are more ambitious and cognitive in their approach. When you focus in on the finer details, there are still those details of chaotic beauty, but the wider picture unveils a band willing to push the limits of a track and see where it goes in brilliant fashion. An early contender for favourite album of 2018’s first quarter.
Pardans – When Come The Rats
Ever had one of those nights out that comes to a finish walking through the quiet streets as the sun starts to rise? Stick that into an orchestral piece of avant-garde punk and you have the lead single from the as-of-yet-unnamed album by Danish six-piece Pardans.
‘When Come The Rats’ mixes the abrasiveness of the late 70s New York no-wave scene pioneered by the likes of James Chance with gruff unrelenting vocals that post-punk outfits like Protomartyr have made a staple in recent years. The track nicely weaves together a delirious meeting of saxophone, viola and unrelenting percussion before closing out in a wall of epic noise.
If ‘When Come The Rats’ is anything to go by, Pardans are set to become one of the more interesting punk bands to watch out for going into 2018.
Ruthven – Evil
I, like many others across the internet, are fascinated with the story of Jai Paul. The mysterious Paul put out two astonishing tracks, signed to XL, may or may not have leaked an album (which was great by the way) then denounced it, and has been in hiding ever since.
So when Jai and his brother A.K. set up a “project” called the Paul Institute, my ear pricked up. After releasing A.K. Paul’s debut single ‘Landcruising’ early in 2016, the second wave of output from the Paul Institute comes in the form of two tracks: ‘Mystery’ by Fabiana Palladino – produced by Jai – and ‘Evil’ by Ruthven, a professional firefighter by trade (but I’m guessing not for long).
It is Ruthven’s track, produced by A.K. Paul, that has really caught my attention. Channelling early 80s Prince via scintillating electric guitars and synths over a vocal loop, Ruthven (named after the vampire Lord Ruthven, perhaps?) is as cool as it comes, bouncing along playfully while crooning, “There’s a consequence to keeping me around / Why don’t you see I’m evil baby”.
And if all those didn’t fill you up, here are some more great tracks to get in to:
- Anna Burch – 2 Cool 2 Care
- Josiah Steinbrick – (Four Synthesizers, Two Bells on Tuned Wood)
- Marmalakes – Vittoria
- The County Liners – Oklahoma
- True Blue – Bad Behavior
- W.H. Lung – Want