LISTEN: Sweeping Promises – ‘Pain Without a Touch’

An irresistible slice of punk-infused synth-pop, Kansas-based duo Sweeping Promises have shared their latest single ‘Pain Without A Touch’. Released via Sub Pop and Feel It Records, the track is a rush of brooding riffs, punchy electronics and crystalline vocals, designed to get listeners moving on to their next adventure.

Formed of Lira Mondal and Caufield Schnug (and live touring drummer Spenser Gralla), Sweeping Promises came to life in a “disused and reverberant concrete laboratory” just before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The pair released their debut single ‘Hunger for a Way Out’ in 2020 – which was mixed in mono and with their “self-devised single-mic technique” – and now they’re back with the vibrant ‘Pain Without a Touch’. With shades of Le Tigre and Yeah Yeah Yeahs thanks to Mondal’s clear-cut vocals, the track fizzes with a euphoric energy, driven by infectious beats and chant-worthy lyrics.

Sweeping Promises will be touring the UK and Europe in 2022, so make sure you catch them live in a city near you. Listen to ‘Pain Without a Touch’ below.

Follow Sweeping Promises on bandcampSpotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Sweeping Promises UK Tour Dates 2022
Tue. May 24 – Brighton – Hope & Ruin
Wed. May 25 – Bristol – The Exchange
Thu. May 26 – Glasgow – Hug & Pint
Fri. May 27 – Leeds – Hyde Park Book Club
Sun. May 29 – Manchester – YES (Basement)
Mon. May 30 – Birmingham – The Hare and Hounds
Tue. May 31 – Portsmouth – Wedgewood Rooms

Photo Credit: Jackie Lee Young

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Five Favourites: Beth Cassidy (Sea Fever)

Set to release their debut album next month, Manchester band Sea Fever is a collective of musicians who are no strangers to the music scene. Fronted by Beth Cassidy (Section 25) and Ivan Gronow (Johnny Marr, Haven), the band also consists of New Order’s Tom Chapman and Phil Cunningham, as well as Elliot Barlow. Talking about the formation of their latest project, the band explain: “We’d wanted to work with each other for ages, so when we finally sat down in the studio, the band just seemed to come together naturally. It felt like we were really free to explore the kinds of music that have always inspired us, we dug right through the record crates of our minds to shape the sound of Sea Fever.

Ahead of the release their debut album, Sea Fever have recently shared a stirring new single, ‘Under Duress‘. Flowing with a sweeping otherworldly allure, it showcases the collective’s ability to create captivating multi-layered soundscapes; feeling both futuristic and nostalgic in its cinematic sonic majesty.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the upcoming album, we caught up with Beth from the band to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that she loves the most. Check out her choices below and scroll down to listen to the spellbinding ‘Under Duress’.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell
This band were the soundtrack to my college years. I went to see them live at Manchester Academy 3 when they’d just released their debut EP, and they’ve been a staple of my record collection ever since. I remember seeing Karen O on stage and she wore a piece of neon netted fabric over her face the entire gig – like a veil. She seemed mental. Fever To Tell has so much energy and chaos mixed with this sweetness that comes through with the softer vocals. This band are a true force of nature.

Booka Shade – 2006 Pete Tong Essential Mix Session
I stumbled across this session after getting hooked on Booka Shade’s melancholic ‘In White Rooms’ track, and after that I was searching through their whole back catalogue. Their sound is percussive, dark, but also surreal and really kind of imaginative, and from there I discovered minimal techno. I don’t really listen to them anymore, but they paved the way for my love of dance music. I moved out to Berlin soon after, on some kind of pilgrimage to German techno! In this particular essential mix, they DJ for half and play live for the other half, so you can really hear how their own influences play out in their music, it’s so interesting. And the tracks they mix, man! Laurie Anderson, Aphex Twin, Yello… It’s sublime.

Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
I played this record on repeat for months, listening through headphones while I was moving around Manchester on public transport. I was juggling a lot in my life at that time and felt a bit mixed up with what I was doing – studying for an MA, working in a job I hated, my Dad had died a few months earlier – and this album definitely helped me escape into my own head. The lyrics are so easy and playful, colloquial but profound at the same time, and he describes those really small moments in life that we all experience; the little things that make us human, and he puts them on a pedestal. It’s very clever.

Bjork – Post
‘Hyperballad’ was the first cassette tape I ever bought. I was nine so it must have come on recommendation from my older brother, and it probably went over my head at the time but I loved the electronic sounds. Bjork’s vocal melodies and the way she moves through the music at her own pace, it feels so confident, like she’s carving out a space for the vocals. I come back to Bjork a lot, she just seems to empower me and make my own work more purposeful.

LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
Every track on this album is an absolute banger, and when you listen from start to finish it takes you on a really expansive trip through different moods. The layering of different beats and loops is so intricate, and James Murphy’s vocals drive the whole sound. I just hang off his every word. Even though they are hugely popular, I still feel like LCD Soundsystem are a cult band, in that, you’ve either never heard of them, or you fucking love them! There’s no in-between!

Massive thanks to Beth for sharing her five favourites with us!

Folding Lines, the debut album from Sea Fever, is set for release on 22nd October (CD/DL) and 29th October (vinyl). Pre-order here. And you can catch Sea Fever live at Rough Trade East in store to celebrate on 29th October – tickets here.

Photo Credit: Anthony Harrison

ganser

FIVE FAVOURITES: Ganser

Formed of Nadia Garofalo (keyboards/vocals), Alicia Gaines (bass/vocals), Charlie Landsman (guitar) and Brian Cundiff (drums), Chicago-based Ganser have garnered comparisons to the likes of 90s noise-makers Fugazi, Shellac, and Sonic Youth. The band have recently shared their new album, Just Look at That Sky, via Felte Records and it’s a defiant fusion of jolting rhythms, confrontational vocals and manic riffs.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with bassist & vocalist Alicia Gaines to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that she believes have inspired Ganser’s song-writing techniques on their latest record. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to watch Ganser’s video for ‘Projector’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Date With a Night’
There is a songwriting mode we’ve utilized at times which I’ve jokingly called “Doom Hoedown” or “Doom Shuffle.” Before really getting into The Birthday Party and their ilk, my first concert back home with my high school friends was Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I remember being blown away by their raw delivery and Karen O’s command of her particular vocal style. It took us a while to tease out what songs lean into Nadia and my strengths as vocalists, but man the music’s like a glove for O’s voice here. Listening to this really makes me miss the chaos of playing live.

2. Ultravox – ‘Distant Smile’
For Ganser, it’s about contrast. The violence and serenity in this track really compliment each other. Red looks more red against green, and so on. In a way the form of this one is a backwards version of our track ‘Emergency Equipment and Exits’. I love how the back half of this song sounds like its running away from itself.

3. Talking Heads – ‘Life During Wartime’ (Live in Los Angeles 1983)
This live version has an inevitability that’s hard to escape. The faster tempo and incredible work by the band’s support vocalists adds to the urgency on this classic. Tina Weymouth is just a monster. I have a strained and complicated relationship to the history of particularly Black women backup singers for white bands, but my affinity for this song and album (Stop Making Sense) remains.

4. These Immortal Souls – ‘The King of Kalifornia’
When there isn’t really a template for voice or perspective, it’s a journey to find what feels natural or what you need to try on to see how it fits. I think this album (I’m Never Gonna Die Again) is the first time we’ve really waded into “cockiness” as an attitude, which isn’t something women are encouraged to do. It felt really good to really absorb the energy of Rowland and some of the 90’s British bands we love. Bravado feels like a lounge lizard to me. We free associated in that direction and that attitude crept into several songs on our new record.

5. Liars – ‘No.1 Against the Rush’
I’m so amazed every time I look at Liars’ range. I have a soft spot for ambivalent tone bands like Liars and Radiohead have. There’s always a sinister edge, a wistfulness to their music throughout their discography that’s extremely admirable. Our album Just Look at That Sky is really comfortable for ambivalence, but that takes time and living in the grey. We’re just here to eavesdrop.

Thanks to Alicia for sharing her favourite songs with us.
Watch the video for Ganser’s latest single ‘Projector’ below.

Order your copy of Ganser’s new album here.

Photo Credit: Kirsten Miccoli

FIVE FAVOURITES: Mentrix

Born in Iran but now based in Berlin, Mentrix blends her experiences of eastern and western culture, along with traditional Sufi instrumentation to create her beguiling, bold soundscapes. Her extensive travels and multiple influences – from Latin and French Literature, to The Qu’ran and traditional Persian poetry – give her music a diverse and fascinating edge. She’s set to release her debut album – My Enemy, My Love – on 3rd April via her own (female-led) record label, House of Strength.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Mentrix to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that influenced her song writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to watch the video for ‘Nature’ at the end of this post.

Mentrix: “It’s hard to narrow things down to five favourite records. I love soul, funk, blues, rock, punk, hip hop. I have adored James Brown, Mick Jagger, Erykah Badu, Candi Staton, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Patti Smith and Mariah Carey (yes yes, l love Mariah). Who can deny the global phenomenon that was Michael Jackson’s History? And no matter what genre of music you are into, Bob Marley will always have a place of its own in your music-consciousness. As of pop and electronic music; MIA, Santigold and The Knife are among artists I consider pioneers. But when it comes to albums, strangely enough I surprise myself with what popped up. Suddenly, some albums that I had not thought of for a long time came back to mind. I know every note of Smoker’s Delight (Nightmares on Wax) and Fink’s first album Biscuit for Breakfast is a significant one for me. But, as I began to ask myself which were the 5 albums that stood out the most; some forgotten memories returned with their very own soundtrack. Here are my top 5 albums as I remember them today…”

1. Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman
The first record that comes to mind is the one that blew my mind – although 10 years had passed since its original release, it was a discovery for me and probably my introduction to songwriting. I would teach English lessons to an older lady in Tehran using the lyrics of this album. I miss that woman and hope to find her some day…

2. The Police – Greatest Hits
Another album that had a huge impact on me was The Police Greatest hits released in 1992. Every track an undeniable hit. Probably my introduction to what a hit is.

3. Radiohead – In Rainbows 
I discovered them much later in life and they won my utter most reverence with the album In Rainbows. Radiohead know how to make that kind of record.

4. Bjork – Vulnicura
Bjork has been a constant inspiration and Vulnicura is my favorite album of the artist. Although I m a huge Biophilia and Medulla fan, I relate much more to the love and pain topic of the artist’s most bold album in my opinion.

5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell
I discovered the Yeah Yeah Yeahs a bit too late to be honest… When I did, I listened to this record over and over again. It gave me the confidence to make music and inspired me at so many levels. I consider Karen O a bit of a guru… And this record remains sacred to me.

Thanks to Mentrix for sharing her favourites with us. Follow her on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Gilles Estève