LISTEN: Joanna and the Dropouts – ‘Bad News’

‘Bad News’ by Brighton-based Joanna and the Dropouts is a breath of fresh air. With its rather addictive opening riff, garage drums and retro Wurlitzer-style keys, it transports you to a stupidly fun world of badass b-movies – and, in times like this, that’s a pretty wonderful place to be.

Singer Joanna’s cool vocals drip with attitude, channelling the Cramps’ Poison Ivy, as she sings about having her heart broken. Yet despite the subject matter, her anger and directness make ‘Bad News’ more of a battle cry than a pity party.

The song’s raw and dirty production, which makes it sound like it was recorded in a (probably haunted) basement somewhere, seals the deal and makes ‘Bad News’ feel like a proper rockabilly anthem. It’s nostalgic, but with a kick-ass attitude that brings it bang up to date. And I’m gonna have that riff stuck in my head for days!

‘Bad News’ is out now. Listen on Spotify.

Vic Conway

LISTEN: CIEL – ‘Pretty Face’

A hazy dream-pop tune inspired by an unusual type of unrequited love, Brighton trio CIEL have shared their latest single ‘Pretty Face’. Produced by Jack Wolter of Penelope Isles and mixed by Austin Tufts from BRAIDS, the track is a poetic rumination on the true story of a man who lost his wife to a cult.

“I really got into watching documentaries about all sorts of cults during lockdown 2.0, the psychology behind it really fascinates me,” explains CIEL’s vocalist & guitarist Michelle Hindricks. “This one story really struck me, about a man who lost his wife to a cult and now ten years later he’s continuing life, knowing that she’s still somewhere out there having to let go of her.” Through her soft vocals and hazy guitar riffs, Hindricks gently considers what it would be like to move on from this trauma.

“Most people probably can’t directly relate to something as extreme as losing someone to a cult,” she continues, “[but] a lot more people can relate to the experience of choosing to care for themselves, even if that is a very tough decision.” Through polished production and their dream-pop melodies, CIEL transport listeners away to a world of pleasant distractions on their latest single.

Listen to ‘Pretty Face’ below.

Follow CIEL on InstagramTwitterFacebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Julia Nala

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: ĠENN – ‘Feel’

For Brighton-based four-piece ĠENN, the new year brings the release of a new single, the second from their forthcoming EP Liminal – but also, a freshening, furthering and more fully rounded version of their sound. The last couple of years have been something of a wild ride for the group, who released debut album Tittymonster back in 2018 and have supported the likes of PINS, The Orielles and Honeyblood. That list’s blend of post-punk and garage largely typifies the sound of Tittymonster, whilst their singles from last year showed other strings to their bow. The new wave-y ‘Duda Dance’ and the grungy, more political ’23rd March’ with its Nirvana-style riff. But it’s their sometime support of psych rock legends Acid Mothers Temple that makes the most sense in light of the strong psych influence on latest track ‘Feel’, which sees the band moving into less angular, and more free-flowing territory.

The track opens with a rattle of drums and picked percussion, settling into a garage-y groove, and the kind of funky bass-line that pops up on many a Tarantino soundtrack. There’s something a little Death Valley fried about the guitar riff that sits over the top of everything as well, resting with an other worldly grace, like oil on deep water.

Through it, Leona’s vocals cut, riding the sonic waves like a yacht. “I can’t see / but I can feel”, she sings in the song’s chorus – typical of the lyrical simplicity of the song (another psych hallmark), but no less effective for it. If anything, this is exemplar of the best things about a genre that focuses on release, often with a side of intoxication – or, as Leona sings: “I’m blitzed / I’m finally letting go”. She gives up on the lyrics and moves to straight-up vocalising throughout the song’s middle eight and its instrumental desert rock-meets-Savages outro. When all the guitar lines and percussion fall away, the last two aspects of the song are Leona’s vocals, barely above a whisper, and that bass-line, deep and enticing.

The video for the track – directed by Leona – features a woman musing whilst in a launderette, finding herself in different locations, intermixed with animation, before walking into a room where ĠENN are performing. It’s a nod to the way that fantasies are often born out of the most humdrum of activities, as well as introducing the surreal fish-headed creature from the cover of Liminal. But it’s also a kind of tacit acknowledgement of the times we’re in: the empty spaces, the distance between people, and the covering of faces (albeit not usually with fishes). Even the sight of a band performing seems somewhat wistful and nostalgic at time of writing. Psych is at heart – about the connection, on a deeper level, between people, across distance, through music. With that in mind, ĠENN might have just found the sound we need.

 

Feel‘ is out now, taken from ĠENN’s upcoming EP Liminal, set for release 30th March via Everything Sucks Music.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

Track Of The Day: Currls – ‘Winter Time Blues’

Usually known for their scuzzy garage rock offerings, Brighton band Currls have now shared a stirring festive ballad.

With all proceeds of the single going to Mind Charity UK, ‘Winter Time Blues’ flows with beautifully twinkling melodies and sweeping, soulful vocals. Oozing a nostalgic sense of romanticism, shimmering harmonies and a lilting, uplifting energy, it offers a delicate sense of hope and unity to those who might be feeling alone or struggling with their mental health right now. The band explain:

“… We understand that this has been a very difficult year for everyone and has taken a massive toll on many people’s mental health, physical health and well-being. We thought  that in all of this madness the only thing to do at this time of year was to try and spread a little love and encourage others to do so, and remind each other that togetherness can be our greatest strength.”

 

‘Winter Time Blues’ is available to buy exclusively on Bandcamp with all proceeds being donated to Mind UK, we will continue this until 7th January and hope to round up the amount and donate this to Mind.

Mari Lane
@marimindles