BlackBook Tracks #35: Melodies Calling

While 2013 has seen the UK music scene continuing to produce fresh takes on R&B like AlunaGeorge and London Grammar, they’re also probably not talking about the death of rock music on the other side of the pond. The month of August has a reputation for being boring, but it’s certainly been livened up by these Brits armed with guitars. Check out these highlights of the past few weeks.


Los Campesinos! – “What Death Leaves Behind”

The Cardiff-formed indie rock stalwarts Los Campesinos! are readying the full-length follow-up to 2011’s Hello Sadness. Entitled No Blues, it looks like things might finally be turning around for the prolific purveyors of well-detailed, evocative laments. On the just-previewed track “What Death Leaves Behind,” frontman and former cemetery caretaker Gareth Campesinos! is just as concerned with mortality as ever, but he’s finally looking forward to rebirth. No Blues is out October 29 on Wichita Recordings.    

Cheatahs – “Cut The Grass”

After releasing Stateside debut Extended Plays in February, Cheatahs are back for more. On “Cut The Grass,” the London-based fuzz aficionados drive harder than their more laid-back previous offerings. Most of frontman Nathan Hewitt’s matter-of-fact vocals are muffled by reverb, but the mist gets wiped away to let the song’s clean melody shine through. Extended Plays is out now on Wichita Recordings.    

Temples – “Stay In The Dark”

On the other the world from Tame Impala, Temples are making England’s psychedelic dreams come true. Hailing from Kettering, the quartet sticks close to its retro roots. Latest track “Stay In The Dark” could have been lifted from the 60s, but it’s given a pumped-up modern edge. Listen closely, and wait for the voluminously-coiffed band to share a secret or two with you.    

The Vaccines – “Do You Want A Man?”

Earlier this month, the Vaccines quietly released the Melody Calling EP. It features three new cuts of breezy guitar pop, a fine fit for closing out the summer. “Do You Want A Man?” is the best of the lot, with its easygoing jangle and simple, singalong-friendly chorus that won’t leave your head anytime soon. With these new tracks, the garage rockers have certainly raised the bar after their second album Come Of Age was met with mixed reception last year.    

Swim Deep – “Colour Your Ways”

Swim Deep describe themselves as “Birmingham boys making sun kissed noise,” and it’s hard to sum them up better than that. If you don’t want to be a rocket scientist, why even try? The quartet’s ambitions lie in defying the clouds, and debut LP Where The Heaven Are We is a fitting soundtrack for a lazy afternoon lull.

BlackBook Tracks #22: Be Thankful For These Songs

Insert joke about tryptophan here. I’m thankful that I made it through my entire family dinner without anyone asking me if I was “seeing anyone special.” I’m also thankful that I am sane enough to have zero desire to line up outside Target to try to buy stuff that I don’t actually want. Thanksgiving’s over, let’s move on to this week’s tracks.

Saint Michel – “Katherine”

This swoon-worthy synth-pop duo is hard to resist. Hailing from Versailles, France, Saint Michel just made their American debut in New York City, and they’re sure to make more magic happen soon.

Villagers – “Nothing Arrived”

Irish folk outfit Villagers is prepping a new album, entitled Awayland. “Nothing Arrived” shows that main man Conor O’Brien still has plenty of straightforward charm.

Grizzly Bear – “Boy From School” (Hot Chip cover)

This mournful, stripped-down cover of one of Hot Chip’s breakout singles has a haunting effect that makes it just as powerful as the original.

Jens Lekman – “The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love”

Jens Lekman cures all ills.

Holidays – “Only In Dreams”

This Roman band charms effortlessly with a jangly, new wave-influenced take on indie rock. Is it summer again yet?

Cheatahs – “The Swan”

British guitar bands are supposed to be coming back, or something along those lines. London’s Cheatahs are set to lead the pack, armed with plenty of fuzzed-out pop hooks.

Girls – “Big Bad Mean Motherfucker”

Sure, Christopher Owens has gone solo now, but it’s nice to look back at when we first started loving him with Girls. With riffs rolling like the hills of San Francisco, “Big Bad Mean Motherfucker” is still a highlight from Album.

Graham Coxon – “What’s He Got?”

The story of being second best is a familiar one, but Mr. Coxon sounds surprisingly optimistic about it. If you can’t be dancing with tears in your eyes, mope with a smile on your face?

Lush – “Single Girl”

This one goes out to everyone who wasn’t lucky enough to avoid all of their aunts asking why they don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet.

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