Late July round-up featuring Cassels, Annabel Allum, Black Surf, Harley Alexander, Joanna Gruesome and Navy Gangs

Annabel Allum new music Tricks

Once again, real life has got in the way of regular blog posts but hopefully this selection of the best of our inbox will make up for radio silence. Remember, you can always submit music to us via spectralnights@gmail.com. Now, who will we be seeing at ArcTanGent, Reading and Always the Sun?

Cassels – ‘Cool Box

Cassels blew our minds when we saw them play in the early afternoon at 2015’s Great Escape and now they’re set to release a new EP called ‘You, Us and They’ on BSM in August. ‘Cool Box’ is a song that covers the important and devastating issue of domestic abuse with honesty and passion. Around riffs that fit somewhere between MMISL and Tangled Hair, the spoken-word lyrics tell the abuser (who’s been beating his wife): ‘You hit my brother because he saw straight through. All of your bullshit and bluster… I think it scares you that he’s not scared of you’.

Annabel Allum – ‘Tricks

With fuzzy Carina Round-style guitars to kick it off, ‘Tricks’ finds Annabel Allum in very confident and bullish form. Towards the start of the song, Annabel declares: ‘I’m alive, I’m alive, you and I will survive’ and you’d be a fool not to agree. The song then slows down almost to a halt when a full band joins in the proceedings, with some frantic drums picking up the pace. A song about finding hope in moments of weakness, there are also some Nick Cave vibes as Annabel sings about sticks and stones and how it’s a good thing to be resistant to being like the other kids.

Black Surf – ‘Sink

Spiky and addictive grungey indie from a Leeds band that we have covered before. ‘Sink’ is a song that recalls The Xcerts’ ‘Shaking in the Water’ in its power-pop attitude but combines it with the balls-out attitude of ‘Richard III’-era Supergrass and the boisterous enthusiasm of The Cribs.

Harley Alexander – ‘Staring at Photographs

Featured on an EP coming out on our friends at Sports Day Records, ‘Staring at Photographs’ is a wistfully nostalgic folk song that reminded us of everyone from Willy Mason to Fleet Foxes. Harley Alexander helped create a thriving DIY indie community in Halifax, Canade before heading to an isolated cabin in Quebec to record the EP and you can hear the influence of this setting. There’s also a lo-fi edge which makes the lyrics of ‘Baby if you want this love, open your mind, come in for a hug’ even more heart-wrenching.

Navy Gangs – ‘Special Glands

Brought to you by the ever-reliable Super Fan 99 Records, Navy Gangs are an Omaha band who have a knack for kicking out delicious Dinosaur Jr-esque riffs combined with early Strokes-style attitude. In ‘Special Glands’ they talk about changing your mind and showcase their dark humour by claiming ‘when I’ve blown my load, it’s going to stain on your clothes’. It’s a thrilling two and a half minutes.

Joanna Gruesome – ‘Pretty Fucking Sick of it All

Following a line-up change, Joanna Gruesome are back with a punch-the-air anthem that expertly blends moments of C90 tweeness and jangly melodies with distorted punk riffs and an edgy attitude. The perfect band for Fortuna Pop, think Bearsuit meets Babes in Toyland via The Sundays and you’re halfway there. Oh, and if you live in or near Aldershot, come and watch them at the Westy on 30 September.

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