Photo Credit: Eliot Lee Hazel

CHVRCHES – ‘Dead Air’

Featured on the soundtrack for the upcoming Hunger Games instalment Mockingjay Part. 1; ‘Dead Air’ is the usual upliftingly cheerful CHVRCHES sound. A relentlessly breezy synth pop sound cut up by deceptively dark lyrics.

Where usually CHVRCHES have an incredibly summery sound, ‘Dead Air’ catches a more stormy and sinister tone. This is probably because it’s a bit slower than the bulk of CHVRCHES songs. That said, it’s still a great stand alone track from a band who deserve way more recognition than they get.

Callum Cornwell @CallumJack93

Father John Misty – ‘Bored In The USA’

When Josh Tillman performed ‘Bored In The USA’ on the Letterman show he was almost a mere cigarette away from resembling William Shatner in his ridiculous take on Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’. Tillman navigated his stage with an actor’s precision before perching on his comically self-playing piano for the song’s climax. Every move was made to emphasise the sheer theatricality that the track boasts with its crying strings and canned laughter.

Not as much of a Bruce Springsteen parody as you’d think, ‘Bored In The USA’ instead is simply a bare and beautiful song which wholly displays Tillman’s claims of singing his ass off on this new album I Love You, Honeybear. He covers a range of topics in its runtime including some of the insignificant complaints we find ourselves muttering from day to day but despite the applause and change to back to major key at the song’s conclusion there is no happy ending in this play. ‘Bored In The USA’ is the kind of song that seems as if it redefines it’s creator.

James Barlow @BassOddity

Migos – ‘Cross The Country’

Migos are a phenomenon that often find themselves unfairly lumped into a place in hip-hop reserved for viral sensations and one hit wonders. They may regularly employ humour and stuff their tracks full of ridiculous ad-libs, but they’re also fairly competent rappers with a patented flow – something which isn’t easy to conceive in 2014.

With the opening track of their new mixtape, ‘Cross The Country’, the enigmatic trio trade bars for six and a half minutes over a sly beat that tip-toes and scuttles around like an estranged cartoon villain. It has its fair share of absurdities – Takeoff compares himself to Justin Bieber whilst Offset utters the nostalgia-inducing line “two glocks on my hip like Tomb Raider” – and yet it sharply steers clear of descending into parodical territory by exerting the group’s lyrical chops.

Joshua Pauley @PutUp0rShutUp

BenZel – ‘Touch (ft. Ryn Weaver)’

If ever a production duo was to exist as a subsequent result of a mutual adoration of socks, a chance encounter on a sock lover’s forum online would prove to be a likely internet origin story – and it’s exactly the case for BenZel, a secretive project stemming from the imaginative minds of Japanese teenagers Umi Takahashi and Yoko Watanabe.

On their latest offering ‘Touch’, they hook up with fellow pop quirk Ryn Weaver to create a concoction that could’ve been whipped up by the likes of the equally saccharine Ryan Hemsworth. Slurring and contorting Weaver’s syrupy vocals amidst waves and waves of vibrant synth patchwork, the end result is a delectable triumph that can be rinsed for repeat pleasure.

With the insurgent rise of PC Music this year, there’s been no shortage of cutesy and clever electronic music – but ‘Touch’ floats right to its sugary surface like a pristine ice cube in a tall glass of deeply-clouded lemonade.

Joshua Pauley @PutUp0rShutUp

Glum – ‘Life’s Been Better’

You might have seen their posters around Southampton. This 3-piece Alternative Rock trio from Winchester who describe themselves as Grunge have recently been promoting their – so far – only released song to the public, “Life’s Been Better”. They’ve already managed to get an article on and are selling shirts despite their small catalogue of songs.

The band clearly have taken a leaf out of the Pixies’ book for this song, as the bass riff which makes up the intro and verses sounds just like something Kim Deal would have come up with. Frontman Rory Nash drawls along like J Mascis in the verses, and when the catchy chorus of crunchy 3-chord guitar work kicks in, he goes into Frank Black style shriek mode.

It’s nice and refreshing to hear something Pixies-like from some student aged individuals in an era of generic chugga-chugga breakdowncore high school bands, but although these guys have potential, they certainly need to expand their repetoire more and write more songs rather than trying to promote the one all the time. Also check out Rory’s solo song “Cliff”, it displays that hidden potential that could be used for the band.

Greg Hudson


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