Track Of The Day: Cheerbleederz – ‘Nail Biters’

With their new track ‘Nail Biters‘, London trio Cheerbleederz have released an anxiety anthem that perfectly captures what it’s like having an internal monologue hell bent on torturing you.

The song feels simply constructed. It’s got a steady rhythm, lively guitar and backing vocals that weave around each other beneath the lead lines. Its complexity creeps in as the track goes on until it echoes the anxiety at its core; whilst the vocals begin softly, the lyrics describe anxiety that persistently nags at you and – while it lingers in the back of your mind as you go about your day – it never goes away. While the lead vocal puts the general pressure into words, the backing vocals reflect the teasing voices behind the scenes that induce the undue stress.

As anxiety finally takes over, the song ramps up into a panic. The lyrics stay the same, but everything gets louder, with the lead vocals becoming sharper and more emotive – you can feel the distress as it all finally becomes overwhelming. The repeated line “no worries if not” as the energy builds really captures the way anxiety makes you feel. It’s desperate to not take up space, not to burden anyone, not to cause any unnecessary problems. It’s insistent that there are no worries when the song as a whole is, in fact, about all-consuming worry.

‘Nail Biters’ encapsulates what anxiety feels like, in a fun way – a way that makes you feel seen. It’s reassuring to know that there are other people out there who overthink, and a gift to know that some of them are so talented that they can boil the awful experience down into a two-and-a-half minute indie-pop banger.

Cheerbleederz are set to release their upcoming debut album, even in jest, this summer via Alcopop! Records.

Kirstie Summers
@Actually Kurt


Photo Credit: Rich Mandell

Track Of The Day: Queen Cult – ‘Beautiful Psycho’

The very earliest opening notes of Queen Cult’s new track ‘Beautiful Psycho‘ drop you into the song’s fiercely unique duality. The combination of heavy, rumbling chords and lighter melodic notes over the top juxtapose darkness and playfulness that feeds every choice made in the track.

The contrast is reflected in the structure of the song; the bright, chirpy verses crescendo into the throbbing, heavy chorus, before returning to the upbeat poppy sound. The potentially conflicting styles work together really well to leap between churning emotions.

This creates the perfect backdrop for the lyrics. Delivered with rich, powerful vocals, they embody feelings of obsession. Without naming the object in question, the song is left open for you to project whatever dangerous thing captivates you into its narrative, but its careful choice of words and bold delivery absorbs you into the feeling behind it so effectively that you hardly notice the lack of specificity. It evokes exactly the feeling you need it to.

Together, the different elements of the song draw you into a pattern of infatuation that cycles between thrilling high points and lows in which you are forced to recognise the looming, painful end. The desire to cling to the experience battles against the knowledge that it is ultimately doomed to a tragic collapse, but in the meantime it (and the track) are a wildly fun ride.

Creative and intelligent from the very first bars, ‘Beautiful Psycho’ establishes Queen Cult as a band with a distinctly intense sound and a flair for crafting depth.

Catch Queen Cult live tonight opening our night at The Shacklewell Arms with The Menstrual Cramps and pink suits! Tickets still available on Dice.

Kirstie Summers
@ActuallyKurt

Photo Credit: Madeleine Fisher

Track Of The Day: Honey Joy – ‘Raising Boys’

A band that pulls no punches either in their sound or their subject matter, Honey Joy’s latest track is a heartfelt and heartbreaking exploration of the damage toxic masculinity does to generation after generation of men.

Raising Boys‘ sees the innocence and softness in little boys and laments the cold, hard process they grow through as they are raised to fit the shape of masculinity that an inherently problematic society thrusts upon them. It reminisces about “the softest soul, a loving heart” – evoking the ideas of strength and safety, and juxtaposing them against the damaging things boys are taught to internalise as they grow up. The lyrics plead for a resistance, but the way the two vocal lines wind around each other highlights the futility of it in a culture determined to bend you to its will. As one begs “Don’t change yourself for him”, the other is very aware that the “you” in the narrative is already infected by toxic expectations.

The raw passion of the vocals is heightened by the music. Screaming guitars roll over heavy drums that thrust extra layers of emphasis onto the most profound moments of the song. Riffs whip between the throbbing beat and the swells of energy in the vocals.

‘Raising Boys’ begins and ends with the same phrase: “Did he ever tell you that he wasn’t okay?” It introduces the mission statement of the song perfectly. The callback at the end lingers with you, heavy with unspoken questions. It is loaded with the pressure put on men to bottle up their emotions, to never be seen to cry, to not talk about their feelings in public until it has torn them apart from within. It reinforces the power of the song – making not only the message, but also its importance, impossible to miss.

Kirstie Summers
@ActuallyKurt

Track Of The Day: First Frontier – ‘Insist’

If you’ve heard any of the other tracks that Birmingham based duo First Frontier have released so far from their brand new debut EP, you might have an inkling of what to expect from ‘Insist‘; but the relatively gentle opening bars do not prepare you for the depth and power the duo have managed to inject into their latest song.Whether you’re familiar with their work or not, though, you can make the reasonable assumption that this is a track that is going to stay with you.

From the beginning, ‘Insist’ is made of the kind of stuff that seeps into your mind and lingers, though not in a way that is at all unwelcome. The track builds until the rich, wailing guitar and throbbing drum beat uplift the comparatively soft vocals. The song as a whole encapsulates the churning, roiling emotion that both causes and is hidden by the stoic exterior of someone who would never let on, on the outside.

‘Insist’ is a love song – though it’s not like other love songs in many ways you might expect, but it still has a very recognisable emotion. Instead of treating the hypothetical lover in the song as an object of pursuit, First Frontier makes them the inspiration to grow: it depicts love as a driving motivator. 

The lyrics are simple but heart-wrenching. The way the two vocal lines echo around each other create an image of the relationship that exists. One is tempted by the kind of desperate decisions that can destroy a life, while the other is beckoning them towards better, healthier things. Together they evoke an incredibly vivid picture of someone in the depths of despair, but who is starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. This is the kind of love that hurts, but it’s the kind of pain that you can channel into growth and use it to propel you to a better place.

First Frontier use a simple combination of just guitar, drums and vocals to create a unique and moving sound. ‘Insist’ a genuinely beautiful song – it aches to be consoled, but leaves you confident that there is hope very nearby.

Just Matter, the debut EP from First Frontier, is out now! Listen here.

Kirstie Summers
@ActuallyKurt