New Music Friday Round-Up featuring The Xcerts, Natalie Evans, The Spook School, Loma and Friendship


The Xcerts – ‘Hold on to Your Heart

‘Hold on to Your Heart’ is the title track from The Xcerts’ eagerly awaited fourth album (not too long to wait now, folks – January will be here before you know it) and it fits somewhere in-between Twin Atlantic’s hook-laden anthems and the finest power ballads of the ’80s. Murray MacLeod sings about how ‘We had the sun but we chose the night, we couldn’t trust the daylight’ before delivering some fiery woos and then admitting ‘I hate falling asleep without you’. It’s a song about the power of love and missing someone who has moved on with their life.

Natalie Evans – ‘In Trees

Singer-songwriter Natalie Evans has played numerous shows with so many awesome bands and even made an appearance at this year’s Dengfest. She’s now signed to Brighton’s Small Pond Recordings and ‘In Trees’ (out 8 December) showcases her talents. Although it’s only 2 and a half minutes long, the song combines her talents on the guitar and harp as she loops the instruments and discusses whether she’d be better off alone but how, when she’s in her own house, she doesn’t know how to live like this.


The Spook School – ‘Less than Perfect’

Now signed to Alcopop! over here and Slumberland in the States, The Spook School have unveiled ‘Less than Perfect’ ahead of their new album release and US tour with Diet Cig. Opening with the lines’You say you wish that you had gone out more when you had had the chance’, it’s a song about how nothing in adult life lives up to the expectations of youth. However, the chorus reassures you that this is nothing to worry about: ‘It’s alright now, not what you hoped but that’s OK. Teenage hopes are never less than perfect anyway’. It’s reminiscent of The Primitives’ ‘Crash’ but also has a charm that reminded us of the likes of The Spinto Band and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.
Loma – ‘Black Willow
Hushed melodies and group vocals signal the start of Loma’s ‘Black Willow’. Signed to Sub Pop, the band is comprised of Shearwater singer Jonathan Meiburg and Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski of Cross Record and are all set to release their debut album in February (how good is 2018 looking already?). The band sing about carrying diamonds and how there is ‘A spark is in the air’ before then revealing ‘You’re always singing in my head’. There’s something creepy coming out of the sweet voices. Subtle and draws to a close.
Friendship – ‘Skip to the Good Part
We get Casiotone for the Painfully Alone meets a chilled-out Big Thief vibes from this emotional song by ambient Philadelphia indie-rockers Friendship – a band whose album ‘Shock Out of Season’ is starting to appear in a fair few ‘best of the year’ lists. There are also elements of Elliot Smith with the confessional and personal tone of the monologue-style lyrics and it’s a song full of hope and kindness. It opens with metaphors about smoke coming out of ears and changing gears before Dan Wriggins directly asks the subject: ‘What gives you hope? What makes you scared?’. At almost 6 minutes long, there are many feelings to express, but you can’t help but want to give a warming hug when he pleads: ‘Please don’t call it a night’; ‘I hope you hang around, you are always welcome, you are everything. You can take as long as you want.’

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