On Pins and Hot Sand

The last time I saw Fever Fever, it was 3AM, the waning hours of Canadian Music Week and the end of a long day including a wake for the White Stripes and more coffee than should ever be consumed by any reasonable human being. And though I’ve been pretty much useless since I left them in the narrow cramped corridor backstage at Toronto’s Rivoli nightclub, with major festival appearances on both sides of the Atlantic and a new album in the works, the band have been anything but. I said a while back that I was really excited about some stuff coming up on new Norwich label Gravy Records – well, this is what I was talking about.

‘Pins’ is the first proper single to be lifted from the Fever Fever’s upcoming album and, like the free single (‘Teeth’) released earlier in the summer, finds sees band in the studio with producer Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey; Anna Calvi). It’s a formula that seems to be working, because ‘Pins’ finds the Norwich trio in top form. It’s the sharpest thing we’ve heard since ‘Monster’ broke out and bashed our faces in 18 months ago. Have a listen and maybe you’ll begin to understand why I ran halfway across downtown Toronto at 2AM to hear them. Just be careful you don’t hurt yourself.

‘Pins’ is available as a digital download and a (very) limited screen printed CD single.

Speaking of big things from tiny labels, Hollows (from my old home, Chicago) have put out a couple of domestic releases – a 7-inch on Trouble In Mind and an LP on Addenda (good luck getting your hands on that one) – but now they’ve taken their organ-driven pseudo surf across the pond to Soft Power Records (indiepop offshoot of online record shop Soft Power UK). Now the kids at Soft Power have been making a valiant go at it since the label launched about a year ago, but imagine my surprise last week when I learned they had managed to release a single by one of my favourite bands from here in the good old Midwest without me noticing.

However it happened, I’m glad it did. They’re an ideal pairing (this from a guy who’s spent the last week caught in a C86 vortex). The recent disintegration of The Like has left a gaping hole in the 60s girl group sound. They’re some pretty big shoes to fill, but, for my money, Hollows are the band to do it. And with another dark December looming ahead of us, the summery sounds of Hollows are just what we all need to keep us warm through those grey Scotland days and frigid Chicago nights (not to mention, ‘Hot Sand’ is the perfect soundtrack for that ironic midwinter beach party I know you’re all planning).

The single, ‘Hot Sand’ b/w ‘Shapeshifter’ (limited to 300 copies) is available from a handful of retailers, including Soft Power UK (naturally).

A Sinister take on Hardware

Another Halloween and my pitch-perfect J Alfred Prufrock costume still hangs in the closet gathering dust. One of these days, I swear, someone will finally invite me to that esoteric modernist literature-themed costume party that simply must exist somewhere in the folds of civilized society—but, as it stands, this year is looking like another night indiscriminately hurling candy at strange children and ensuring full holiday bookings for all local practitioners of dentistry.

But, to get things started, how about a little Halloween double-feature, beginning with the latest video from Birdeatsbaby. We brought you the first single from the new album back in August and now they’re back with the second (the title track) “Feast of Hammers”. Of course, if you’re already familiar with these Birdies, you know they’re music is always streaked with a dash of the macabre. But with the video for ‘Feast of Hammers’, they’ve really outdone themselves—so much so, in fact, that they’ve produced a censored version of the video. And, out of respect for those readers who may be somewhat prone to squeamishness, I’ll only include the PG-13 version in this post. You can watch the explicit version here. All I can say is, Lars Von Trier would be proud.

Then there’s our old friends from Chicago, The Cell Phones who’ve always had a flare for the darker side of life. They’ve got their own Occultish Halloween epic making the rounds. The only thing missing here is an altar of naked virgins. And, if that’s not enough, they’ve also done a 27-minute haunted house soundtrack (which you can find here) and a brand new EP (Hospital Spaceship) which includes the gruesome, Phil-Spector-does-in-the-Ronettes closer, ‘Husband’.

Still not enough for you? Well, out today, just in time for Halloween, is a free bit of dingy foreboding from Norwich breakcore artist Sukoshi. From exciting new Norwich label Gravy Records, ‘Claw Hammer’ is but a taster of things to come from Sukoshi’s imminent debut on the same label, due in February. In fact, there’s plenty of exciting stuff to look forward to from Gravy HQ, but that’s another story for another day. With his spoken-word samples and dark and dirty, sinister embellishments, it’s easy to imagine Sukoshi as the evil twin of Mr. PSB himself, J. Willgoose Esq. It’s no wonder, then, that Rob Da Bank is such a fan.