SQ Magazine

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The SQ Showcase: October ’13

Posted on Thursday, 24 October by

The SQ Showcase - October

The fireworks are blazing and the costumes are out. But you’re out of ideas for fancy dress? You only need to look to previous star pick The Flash Gordons or should I say, a wizard vampire and a space cat.

It’s another stupidly good month, perhaps the best yet? Or do I say that every time? Anyway, here are ten rather tasty tracks.

P.S. Any ideas on your favourite track/artist/band of the year yet?

Shabby – I’ve Got Robin Friday On My Mind

Nothing begins a showcase like a heavy dose of power pop. Shabby have recently released their debut EP simply titled 4 Songs. Like The Dials (further down), their influences clearly stem from prominent bands of the 60s and 70s – anyone fancy a bit of Cheap Trick smashed against the rough edges of The Jam with a hint of Journey? Shabby has captured that raw energy of pop-punk with crunching guitars whilst the power-pop structures keeps it admirably upbeat. It’s the kind of sound you’d play at an obnoxious volume while hurtling about your room trying to piss the parents off. If you need a sharp injection of buoyant energy right now, try this.

Octopuses – Ghost In The House

By far the most appropriate track on the showcase for Halloween, this is spook-pop (yeah I’m going with that) with a dancey edge. ‘Ghost In The House’ is only Octopuses’ second single (due for release 31 October) and anyone planning to hold a Halloween party needs this track. The C-86 influences of debut single ‘Sarcastic’ aren’t as prevalent but what it lacks in jangly guitars it makes up for with searingly rapid vocals and a spooky bassline. It’s thoroughly infectious hooking you in with its many tentacles and suckers until you start to dance the night away. It’s probably the only track that could bring together citizens of the undead world into a harmonious dance-off. My bets are with the surprisingly nimble Frankenstein.

Lonesome Heights – Run

Lonesome Heights weave a wonderful mix of sounds from indie-pop to blues courtesy of Dan Markland’s eclectic taste for song building. In their self-titled debut album, you have to be ready for the auditory step from tender ‘Don’t Look At Me That Way’ to slide-driven anti-folk track ‘She’s A Leaver’. But down the spine of every track is Dan Markland’s vibrant lyrics and amiable vocals. The Brighton three-piece already have another album in the pipeline which ‘Run’ is set to feature on. There’s a delicate echo of C-86 about it and along with the soft female vocals, fans of the debut album might see this as a directional shift. But it’s just a mark of Dan’s diverse songwriting and what must be an abundance of ideas in his head.

Cat Fire Radio – Pornography

Math-rock always seems to have a tough time broadening out from its grid of loyal supporters but Cat Fire Radio want to break that mould. They want to make it more dance-floor friendly and, with subtle pop melodies, easier on the ears too. Their latest track ‘5-4-5-3’ however isn’t going to charm those who like their sounds smooth and refined especially as it opens with a mechanical buzz and an intermittent screech. So instead, here’s ‘Pornography’. It’s full of math-rock’s trademark angular guitars with echoes of Battles’ ‘Atlas’ and drums more precise than laser surgery. Beneath the scintillating delivery, Mishkin’s serrated vocals give the track an edge that could cut titanium. But it’s still inherently math-rock and proudly so. So get used to it.

The Dials – Rose Marie

After a slight hiatus (four years that is), The Dials are back with a third full-length album The End Of The Pier. Quite frankly, nobody does farfisa-driven psych-surf with more conviction. ‘Rose Marie’ epitomises the slight sonic shift the four-piece have made – it’s faster, harder and if you’re not moving to that franticly charming farfisa, I’m afraid your legs might be broken. Like venom, once it’s in your system it’s not long before it consumes your entire body twisting and shaking in every direction. There’s a reason why the 60s is so lovable and the sound The Dials have captured right here is exactly why. Still hate new music? How about new old music?

Tourist – Together

We welcome back February’s star pick with a brand new track. Despite being occupied with a busy touring schedule across America, Will Phillips still finds time to produce – ‘Together’ will be featured in forthcoming EP Patterns. It builds patiently and with deliberation before bringing you back down so you can feel the warm vibes brewing all over again. It doesn’t have the vibrancy of ‘Placid Acid’ or the heavy purple hues of his Tonight EP but it is perhaps his most dance-floor ready track to date. It is simply impossible not to feel euphoric as the beat boils over the top while subtle textures provide a gloss you just want to stroke. It’s going to be yet another great EP.

Momotaro – Reverie

If you like your electronica silkily dubbed out and swathed in reverb, Momotaro deliver just that. Their latest track ‘Reverie’ isn’t quite as dark as previous tracks and unfortunately, unlike the others on their SoundCloud, isn’t available for download either. We can only hope that this means an LP is imminent. ‘Reverie’ feels like a psychedelic deep-sea dive through a lost city where intrigue bubbles in every corner helped no doubt by the undulating tones and warbling textures. It’s a beautifying synergy between textural density and subtle layers that will have you peering into every dark recess as it entices you deeper and deeper into its mutating arrangements.

Birkwin Jersey – You Will Always Have Your Secrets (Feat. Vienna)

Birkwin Jersey is the brainchild of Graeme Coop who you may have heard of from Partpanda. His latest track featuring vocals from fellow panda Vienna is the same folk-induced electronica he’s made before with an added of dose introspection. It’s got a lovely autumnal hue perfect for nights in by the log-fire and the understated instrumentation ensures the layers of playful vocals don’t overcrowd the track. But this is a track that’s all about the delicate arrangements full of charming secrets like a little stoat that’s just popped its head out of the burrow. Listen carefully and you realise it’s quite dense in texture but without smothering you. The clever juxtaposition between the Asian-inspired spiritual tones and electronic bloops are particularly neat and always entice you back for more.

Cave Painting – It Was Me, It Was You

Cave Painting are back again with new track ‘It Was Me, It Was You’. It’s difficult to say whether a directional move has occurred with this new offering. Certainly, the instrumentation is more minimal and the effects more woozy. It sways along serenely carrying you along its wispy tones that seem to fade endlessly into the vast expanse. There’s no denying that this is a Cave Painting track though; it’s confidently plaintive while guitars daintily shimmer. My benchmark for music is whether or not to buy it in vinyl. I’ve yet to purchase debut album Votive Life…but this, now this is a track I could see spinning the days away. Hopefully, this is the first hint of a new EP.

Star Submission

Yumi And The Weather – Must I Wait

Coming from the sun-dappled roots of reggae, Ruby Taylor now produces effects-drenched electronic pop under the guise of Yumi And The Weather. ‘Must I Wait’ is the highlight of three-part debut EP All I Can. Just grab your best headphones and shut your eyes. Ruby’s pacifying vocals and twinkling melodies swirl around each in an enchanting wonder of rumbling tones and wavy layers creating an atmosphere that seems tantalising out-of-reach yet positively tangible. And beneath it all is the bedrock of crisp beats designed not to obscure the carefully painted soundscape. A truly stunning track that must be absolutely mesmerising when interpreted with a live set. Don’t forget the name because this is big.

The SQ Showcase is our attempt to provide a platform for some of the best unsigned talent in Sussex. We’ve received tens of thousands of plays since launching this flagship feature in late 2011 and this year, we’re aiming for even bigger and better things.

To get involved, submit your tracks here, or send a message on Facebook with a bio.

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Matt Yau

Matt Yau

Showcase Critic at SQ Magazine
Freelance music journalist with a reputation in Sussex for uncovering new music. Has led SQ Magazine's 'Showcase' since 2013. Obsessive thinker, habitual music listener and timid photographer.
Matt Yau

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