Track Of The Day: Boarder – ‘Strangers’

A riotous garage-rock tune inspired by the characters frontwoman Lucie Blair encountered while working behind a busy city-centre bar, Boarder have shared their latest single ‘Strangers’. Released via Amateur Pop Incorporated, the track probes at the way strangers often use bar staff as unofficial therapists after they’ve had a few too many, and how female staff are more prone to taking on this emotional labour.

“‘Strangers’ feels almost symbolic of the times we’re living in” explains Blair, even though the track was penned before the current covid-19 pandemic. “It’s a song I wrote while working in a bar on minimum wage & contemplating what it really means to be alive.” The Leicester-based band explore these contemplations via distorted riffs and crashing percussion, with Blair venting her frustrations through her sardonic vocals.

‘Strangers’ is the first track Boarder have produced by themselves, with the swaggering guitars and pounding drums reflecting the shifting moods of the drunken characters the song is based on. As Blair notes, it’s hard to feel “alive” or even nostalgic for this old way of life in 2020, when leaving the house “could mean the difference between life and death.” Let’s hope when things are genuinely safe again, bar staff won’t have to keep mopping up after customers who continuously spill their thoughts.

Listen to ‘Strangers’ below and follow Boarder on bandcamp, Spotify & Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Shyla Rose

Kate Crudgington

Track Of The Day: First Frontier – ‘Take Cover’

Having been creating music together since last year, South London duo Helena Poole (who has previously played for us at The Finsbury in her other band Macadamia Sluts) and Paul Stafford – aka First Frontierpride themselves on choosing hope over fear and play over fight. Now, having spent time writing together throughout ‘lockdown’, they are ready to share their debut single with the world. 

Focusing on what we can control and devote positive energy to, ‘Take Cover’ is propelled by scuzzy hooks and thrashing beats, creating a catchy slice of fuzzed-out garage rock, tinged with dark ‘80s nu-wave vibes and swirling harmonies. A truly uplifting offering, urging us to live in the moment to avoid burnout, its driving energy and shimmering spirit showcases a band to get excited about: I can’t wait to hear what First Frontier come up with next. 


Engineered by Brett Shaw (Florence and The Machine, Foals), ‘Take Cover’ is out 18th September. Pre-save here. And find out more about First Frontier on their website.

Mari Lane

WATCH: DOLLS – ‘Bubble Bath’

London duo DOLLS’ latest single ‘Bubble Bath’ is as pleasingly frothy as its name suggests. A sugary slice of garage rock, delivered with bucketloads of attitude, it rallies against impossible beauty standards and “toxic nice guys” who feel they are owed a relationship after spending precious time getting to know you as a friend.

With their badass, bubblegum vocals and shout-a-long harmonies, the band, made up of Jade and Bel, turn their anger at these injustices into an empowering, inspiring anthem. Backed by scuzzy guitars, they cry, “we are sisters, mothers, daughters, teachers. Anything. Anything. Anything.” It’s power pop in every sense of the word.

As the band sing “We are either goddesses or whores, beautiful or sluts”, they tackle society’s stupid expectations and contradictions so skilfully – and show everyone that you can have a brilliant time while you do it. Who says you can’t start a revolution on the dance-floor?!

Watch the uplifting, fan-filled, DIY video for ‘Bubble Bath’ now:

‘Bubble Bath’ is taken from DOLLS’ Eggshells EP. It was released as part of the Love Record Store Day event on a beautiful limited edition multi-coloured and etched vinyl LP via iconic soundtrack labels Mondo/Death Waltz, and will be released digitally on 28th August.

Vic Conway

Photo Credit: Keira-Anee Photography

Track Of The Day: The C33s – ‘Harpurhey Hostility’

Surf-rock doesn’t always need a beach. For Manchester three-piece, The C33s, the genre that grew out of the Californian coastline is perfectly suitable for their rattling takes on contemporary life. In latest single ‘Harpurhey Hostility’, turning their collective eye on the area of their home town named “the worst place in England” in a 2007 headline by the Manchester Evening News. Throwing the genre’s snappy guitar lines in with a blast of Anglo punk lyricism gives the band’s observations on deep-seated urban decay all the power it needs to be stuck in your head for weeks.

Dogs bark, a siren wails and a dirt bike engine revs – as introductions go, this one’s about as uncompromising as the song that follows. There’s no gentle lead-in for ‘Harpurhey Hostility’; it’s straight into the riffs, slamming into top gear, replete with a few quintessentially surf yelps courtesy of drummer Judy Jones, who takes lead vocals here.  There’s no verse-chorus-verse either: just twelve lines sung either side of an instrumental section. That being said, there’s an appeal to the sparseness of the lines – reflecting the setting of the song, and its video – and the mentions of local politician and Harpurhey councillor Patrick Karney and “wasps instead of worker bees” are a fond ribbing of Mancunian sensibilities. Pleasantly raw as it develops, the track reveals it owes as much to garage as it does to surf, with kicking bass and blamming drums that only lull slightly to allow for a trigger-finger lead guitar solo, before kicking back in for the song’s final twenty seconds. And, after the music echoes out, it closes out with a magnificent vocal snarl – what else?

The accompanying video opens with a quote from one-time Harpurhey resident, and literary explorer of society’s disenfranchised, Anthony Burgess: “It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil”. It’s a fitting choice – a defiant and seemingly contrarian statement about human nature under pressure, much like the track that follows it. The narrative of the video features three Harpurhey residents, and their activities, culminating in a lager and crisps-fuelled revel. That too, seems a conscious choice by the band (who cameo, offering a fag at a bus stop), almost as if to say that those three people could be them, or anyone, if born and raised in a hostile setting, living off their wits. Fortunately for us, Judy, Cav and Ste play music instead.

John McGovern