One of our most enjoyable and rewarding Twitter features is the New Song Task Force – where one group of community members suggest new songs for another group of members to vote on. The songs are showcased throughout the week with the results of the vote being issued on Sunday evenings.
We are always looking at ways to improve or expand our interactive features and so for the New Song Task Force we asked regular EIO40 contributor Rob Morgan @durutti74 if he would pen capsule reviews as he listens to each song for the first time (and second time just to make sure) then pick his three favourites. We also wanted to showcase each week’s songs with a bit more depth by seeing them from a listeners perspective.
We will publish Rob’s review of the week’s songs on Sunday afternoons after the voting has taken place. In the build up we are also asking people to rank their Top 3 of the week with prizes up for grabs if you match Rob’s Top 3 in order. So you may discover you have won a prize when you have finished reading this.
There is also a playlist of the songs at the start and links to any songs not on Spotify so you can listen along with Rob.
So here is Rob’s review of the Week 9 songs.
Kodiac Island – The Narrows
10 seconds in and its head nodding time, warped rhythm and guitar and echoing vox. Already I’m interested. That little acoustic guitar lick is catchy as hell. Each little section is a delight, there’s so much going on. Even the breakdown is interesting. There’s strange ethnic percussion whizzing around my ears. Great production and the song deserves it. Lyrics intrigue too. I’d like to hear a dub mix of this, or an extended mix. Is Jo Bartlett singing about the Underground at the end? Second listen – hearing how the song builds up over time now. Loving how elements drop in and out, maybe I don’t need a dub mix after all. Really enjoying this, moody mix of electronics and guitars. I’d like to hear more like this.
Her’s – Harvey
A gentle introduction before… Hang on… Is that my old Casio? Well stone me! And whoever the artist is, they’ve programmed their drum machine in the exact pattern. I am DEEPLY impressed by that feat. Ok, let’s get back to the song. Deep spoken vocals remind me of the Magnetic Fields and the verses are quiet and – I’m sorry that Casio is so distracting for me because it’s mine. I can play you my old tapes with it on… Concentrate, Rob…. This song is great, I love the change from quiet verse to expansive chorus. Second listen. Ignore the Casio, Rob. I’m guessing the lyrics are based on the film “Harvey” which is a personal favourite. Or maybe it isn’t. Why would an invisible rabbit make a phone call? This is a cute little song. I’ll be singing that chorus all day. Delightful.
Fufanu – Listen To Me
Oh the joy of listening on headphones, that intro whizzing around my head. And the rhythm seems out of kilter at the start. Very nice electro pop. I would have killed to make something like this when I was younger. Moody vocalist too. It even dares to almost completely stop with only a sustaining note playing (like the godlike “I didn’t mean to turn you on” by Robert Palmer). I like this a lot. Oh hang on, there’s a section with proper singing – that was unexpected but good. And it doesn’t end there. This is fab. A one note guitar solo? This keeps getting better. Sudden stop surprises me. Second listen. That intro is fab. This second listen is only going to confirm how great this song is, really. How the one note guitar solo changes to a strange up and down scale – great idea!
Black Honey – I Only Hurt The Ones I Love
Nice synthetic intro, then glam rock drums and bass and surf guitar. I can imagine this going down well on 6Music. I like this – modern smart pop music. Sometimes keeps nagging me that it reminds me of Transvision Vamp. Only better than that. Lots of cool surf references and Morricone spaghetti westerns, quite a melange but it all works. That vocal melody in the chorus is catchy as hell. Oh that’s an ending! Lyrics are clever too, I think this would be a proper hit if the charts were more amenable these days. Really great pop music.
Jetstream Pony – Self-Destruct Reality
A band I know of. Nice intro, sets up the main riff gently before the rocking main part. Lots of head nodding and toe tapping here. Not as hazy as previous Jetstream Pony songs I’ve heard, almost sounds like the Wedding Present in places. Lines of lyrics leaping out… Interesting. I do like the way the rhythm changes slightly on the chorus. “Keep the world outside”… Hang on, I wanted that to go on longer than that! Let’s listen again. Definitely like the move from intro to muscular verse. This has the air of a late Sarah Record (which is a high compliment). The guitar riff is so simple and so insistent – that will ring out in my mind for the rest of the day. Is this going towards an album? I hope so.
Trust Fund – Kind of CM
Sweet little introduction, wasn’t expecting what happens after that. Lovely fuzzy guitar pop, with handclaps. There aren’t many songs that can’t be improved by handclaps. Maybe not Durutti Column songs. That’s a debate for another time though. That guitar solo! Second verse is cute and quiet, makes the return of the fuzzy guitars more powerful. Where’d those backing vocals come from? PCSOs? I think a second listen may reveal what the hell this is about. Great chorus, mind. What’s CM? And that closing “it feels very important” vocal at the end grabs attention. Second listen being distracted by reading the quite hilarious notes on Bandcamp. Still not sure what the lyrics mean, but I think a few more listens may make things clearer. That’s a great ending. That’s a great song too.
Hotel Lux – Berlin Wall
The intro sounds like a Britpop I can’t identify, but there’s enough dissonance to make it different. Lyrics already intrigue. There’s an odd vibe to this song I like. Reminds me of Idles in a way. I take back the Britpop comment to be honest, it’s nothing like that. More Gallon Drunk than Shed Seven. I don’t know what to think about this, I like it but I don’t know why. That closing chorus is insistent, just on the verge of annoying. But I still like it, I just don’t know why. Sorry… That’s a weird one. Second listen. What the hell was I talking about before? Britpop? This is better second time around. I still don’t understand it, but sometimes you don’t have to understand something to know you enjoy it. I want to hear more, to see what else they can do.
The Beths – Future Me Hates Me
I know the name (yes, Josh has played them before on It’s A Jangle Out There) The title makes me smile. The fuzzy guitars are great, the verse brings the tension… Hang on, they’re throwing a brief chromatic descent in and I LOVE that. Ah, here’s the chorus, going in directions I didn’t expect which makes me happy. Probably shouldn’t mention that the singer reminds me of Katy Perry. This is fab, really enjoying this. That chorus is fantastic, for not being expected. Lots of “baa baa” vocals in the middle, like Teenage Fanclub channeling the Association. And then they turn into proper backing vocals at the end – this has been a constant and very pleasant surprise, brilliantly constructed and perfectly executed. Second listen confirming all of the above-mentioned points. As I would say in my diary…. “SONG!”
(Post-listening note – after two plays this song continued to reverberate in my head for the next hour or so. After two plays!)
Avey Tare – When You Left Me (Geologist Remix)
Well this is different! Moody background noises, heartbeat bass drums, is that a… sitar? Very interesting. (Looks at Bandcamp page) Eleven minutes??? Ok. I’ll make myself comfortable then.
Oh, hang on, there’s something happening. This is progressing in such infinitely tiny ways that any change sounds huge. There’s odd things passing by and never appearing again.
(More minutes pass)
(Checks Bandcamp page)
Only seven minutes left. I’m being unfair to this, I’d rather hear the actual song than a remix of it. It might give me a better idea of what’s happening.
Oh, that cowbell type noise has stopped. Hang on, is that a guitar? Or a synth? They’ve really thrown the effects boxes at this. I wish it had got to this part sooner, this is more interesting. But still this niggling doubt that I would rather hear the song than a remix. And welcome back cowbell thing. And we’re back to strange drones. This is a palindrome of a song, as far as I can see. Only by going back to the start I realise I’m wrong on that.
(Second listen? Second listen is the actual song not the remix. And it’s a lot more my thing. I don’t hear any of the source material in the remix. I suppose that’s normal these days)
The Irenes – Paper Thin Excuses
Rumbling bass into nicely clipped guitars and a solo melody, intriguing mix of lead and backing vox in the verse – are they talking to each other? Oh that wasn’t the chorus…. Sounds like too many words in the chorus . I like this a lot, how it builds back in the second verse. That bridge is growing on me too. I really can’t think who this reminds me at the moment. It’s going to bug me. Classic guitar solo. Oh it’s all dropping away again…. And back again. The chorus is really sticking now. Second listen…. That opening riff! It’s classic but original too. That’s it…. The vocal interplay, the choppy chords…. It’s “Subway (Smokey Pokey World)” by The Tickle. You may laugh, but that is a brilliant slice of psych pop. Filter that through 90s indie and this is what happens. I’d like to hear more by these folks.
There’s something to be said for all of them really. Fantastic spread of songs. But my favourites this week are….
3 – Trust Fund
2 – Jetstream Pony
1 – The Beths
That song by The Beths is one of the best songs I’ve heard this year, instant, catchy but with depths and swerves. They’re definitely ones to watch.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rob writes about music and other less important subjects at his blog A Goldfish Called Regret (https://agoldfishcalledregret.wordpress.com) and also creates podcasts for Goldfish Radio (https://m.mixcloud.com/robmorgan589) and hosts the Everything Indie Over 40 album listening parties over at @eio40LPParty
He never achieved his ambition of making a Sarah Record.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading Rob’s review of the Task Force songs. If you want to follow the New Song Task Force and get involved head over to @indieover40 on Twitter and check out the feature hashtag #newsongfaceoff