Track Of The Day: Alice Mary – ‘Surgeon’

Smooth and woozy dream-pop at its finest, Alice Mary’s latest single is the perfect tune to wind down to. Shimmering and effervescent, ‘Surgeon‘ will leave you feeling all kinds of things.

Alice Mary’s gorgeous mellow vocals draw you into the track, bringing to mind vocalists like Weyes Blood and Laura Marling; creating an immersive psychedelic musicality driven by a female voice. The opening lyric “the surgeon who loved you sewed you back together” sets the melancholic mood: beautiful, understated and effortlessly honest. Singer-songwriter, producer, and guitarist, Alice Mary explains:

‘Surgeon’ is about something I never thought I’d write about until I did. I ended up writing the lyrics in this really simple, almost childlike style, because that’s the only way I could look back at what had happened…

The jangling guitars, fuzzing throughout the chorus, create an instantly immersive atmosphere. It’s as though you’re floating calmly downstream. The music works as some kind of antidote to what inspired the song; any tension you might have is sure to flow away with the soothing effect of the descending chord sequences and the dark humour in Alice Mary’s vocal harmonies. The psychedelic synth textures and deep lyrical expressions contrast against the honey-sweet, catchy pop-inspired melody in a way that’s both eerie and carefree. In this way, ‘Surgeon’ is reminiscent of the brighter side of Portishead, or St. Vincent.

From dancy bops and funky riffs, to psychedelic sad girl soft-rock, Alice Mary has shown us so many sides to her witty music and we can’t wait to hear more! 

Jaz Kelly
@surfjazz

Photo Credit: Peter Catchpole

Track of The Day: The Crystal Furs – ‘Miss Hughes / Please Fade Away’

Having previously charmed our ears with their debut album Beautiful and True, Portland’s indie jangle pop band The Crystal Furs have spent their career channelling their growth as individuals and as a group into their music. Their sound reflects the shifting, unpredictable nature of life and deftly changes with each curveball thrown. Their two new tracks, ‘Miss Hughes’ and ‘Please Fade Away’ show that same keenness to embrace change and throw the full weight of their creativity behind their own growth.

Both songs are built on a foundation of The Crystal Furs’ ’60s-inspired pop sound, with high lilting vocals harmonising over a chirpy combination of strings and keyboard. This is complemented by a more contemporary-sounding reverb and deep bass, blending the old and new styles in a way that marry together to create something unique and exciting.

Miss Hughes’ opens with the rich boom of an organ, striking a decisive and powerful note that rumbles beneath the lighter vocals and strings as they jump in. You can feel the vintage influences soaking into the sound in the way the harmonies dance around each other, as the delightfully simple yet immersive riffs play around the chord progression. The reverb lends an almost club-like vibe to the track underlying the chirpy upbeat singing, which creates a fun contrast that sees the two styles balance each other out into a playful whole.

‘Please Fade Away’ is another wonderfully constructed song, playing off vocals teeming with attitude against that same bright ‘60s sound. The vocals are absolutely fantastic, with the relatable premise of wishing someone would stop being so clingy and just disappear. The snark comes through the wording in a way that is effectively juxtaposed against tones that are otherwise very gentle in their sound and rhythm. These seemingly simple structural decisions give the track’s details so much character. The delicate tambourine jingles feel almost sarcastic, so lightly played against the lyrics, given power by the throbbing drums and signature chirping guitars.

Both tracks show an evolution in The Crystal Furs’ sound. The way the more contemporary musical elements enhance the effect of the vintage style gives the songs a distinct and timeless flavour that feels at once familiar, yet novel. Two dreamily uplifting offerings that leave us longing for more of The Crystal Furs’ playfully honey-sweet creations.

Kirstie Summers
@ActuallyKurt

Artwork: Kara Buchanan

Track Of The Day: th’sheridans – ‘Awesome Summers & Kate’


Following a decade on the scene, indie pop duo th’sheridans have now announced the release of an epic, career-spanning compilation – Piece Of General – combining both old favourites and some newer treats. Accompanying this announcement, they have shared an uplifting new single.

Propelled by scuzzy hooks, jangly drum-machine induced beats and a swirling, danceable energy, ‘Awesome Summers & Kate‘ reflects on the tentative anticipation of possibilities as restrictions start to lift. With shades of the stripped-back hype-pop/dance-punk of Le Tigre, it offers a perfect smattering of effervescent euphoria – something that is much needed in these uncertain times. Oozing a shimmering sense of nostalgia and quirky colourful spirit, ‘Awesome Summers & Kate’ leaves me harking back to certain ‘awesome summers’ I’ve had – floating around the fields of Derbyshire in an enraptured haze, accompanied by the dreamiest of tunes from my favourite bands (at Indietracks Festival).

Of the upcoming release of Pieces Of General, the band comment:

We never expected to be able to give these tracks this kind of treatment. We’re proud of our output to date, but the chance to remaster these songs and put them together as a compilation that works as an album has really been wonderful. This album is who we are, who we’ve been, and a glimpse of who we’re gonna be.” 

Pieces Of General is set for release on 10th September via Reckless Yes. Listen to more th’sheridans on their bandcamp in the meantime.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Track Of The Day: Fortitude Valley – ‘Cassini’

What is it about the North East that inspires such perfect pop? Following their 2019 debut, Durham’s Fortitude Valley return with an ode to NASA’s Cassini–Huygens satellite. ‘Cassini’ is two and a half minutes of blistering bubblegum punk that’ll have you simultaneously bouncing around your front room, while frantically scrolling back issues of ‘National Geographic’ for more information.

Frontperson Laura Kovic’s lyrics are witty, original and surprisingly heartfelt as she reflects on science’s ultimate rejection of Cassini after years of studying the satellite closely. “I just wanna know what it’s like down there,” she laments. As she sings, her sugary vocals collide ferociously with crunchy guitars and punky, pacey drums, like an astroid.

The band’s sweet, sing-song harmonies buoy Cassini’s impact further and make it clear that Fortitude Valley are something very special indeed. It’s hardly surprising, then, that the band are essentially an indie-pop supergroup with Kovic backed by the brilliant Daniel Ellis and Nathan Stephens Griffin from Onsind and Martha, and Night Flowers’ Greg Ullyart. With an album on the way in the coming months, they’re something to get really excited about. 

‘Cassini’ by Fortitude Valley is out now. Their self-titled debut album will be released on Fika Recordings on 3rd September.

Vic Conway