Ex-Display Model – “Immaculate Rip”
I will freely admit that writing about music is never something I thought I would ever do. I fell into it by accident, and I’m humbled by and grateful for all the mad experiences and all the inspiring conversations I’ve had as a result. On occasions, I’ve been genuinely thrilled to be speaking to someone I admire. An artist who has soundtracked a key time in my life and will forever be associated with that experience… and then I talk to them about how Postman Pat is actually a really shit postman!
David Best from Brighton krautrock-dance gods Fujiya and Miyagi is just such a person. After releasing the band’s phenomenal self-titled, sixth album last year and touring heavily in support of it, Best decided to go back to his musical roots and write music for himself. Shifting away from the more club-ready sound of the band’s self-titled album, Best tapped up Ed Chivers from fellow Brighton band AK/DK to add his contributions.
Rolling on a loose-limbed grooving bassline as incessant as a wasp at a picnic and squalls of post-punk guitars, the backing perfectly frames Best’s slow, whispered delivery. On “Immaculate Rip” he again displays that unerring ability to pull out a superb vocal hook from a metaphor or non-sequitur. In this case, it’s the line, “can’t calculate happiness with a measuring cup” that lodges itself firmly in the brain.
With just guitars, bass and vocals the song would be good but with input from Ed Chivers from fellow Brighton band AK/DK it hits a whole new level. With his electronic scuffs and smudges, the track threatens to rip itself apart if things ever get too comfortable. Outside of their own bands, it feels like a fresh move into a new house for the pair as they revel in the unfamiliarity of it all. As Best explains, this meant the pair were able to seize the moment during recording.
“The process used to make the songs was based upon the idea ‘first thought best thought’. We wanted to capture the immediacy of creating music and not to concern ourselves with ironing out all the creases. Having said that ‘Immaculate Rip’ is the song that sounds most like my other group. I suppose an element of that is unavoidable. I hope that new listeners who don’t know either AK/DK or Fujiya & Miyagi stumble upon Ex-Display Model and enjoy it on its own terms.”
Ex-Display Model’s debut album is coming in the autumn.
Fatherson – “Charm School”
Kilmarnock based band Fatherson is preparing for the forthcoming release of their follow up to 2016’s Open Book, the more varied, dynamic and all round stunning third album Sum of All Your Parts.
“Charm School” is a powerful, muscular rock song that strikes hard from the off, crashing forward with a self-assured, crunching riff. The initial charge and anthemic thrust of the music recall the heavier moments of alt-rock heavyweights Biffy Clyro with a shared understanding of melody and pop dynamics. Lyrically, the song doesn’t hide its insecurities as frontman Ross Leighton soon reveals, “I don’t have a punchline I can hide behind.”
Lyrically the song uses the idea of a charm school to explore a simple axiom: That you can do what people expect of you. You can tow the line, keep in step and play it by the book but eventually, you need to do what’s right for you. To be happy. To be all that you can be, you need to stop conforming to other people’s expectations or ideas of you and discover your own path, or as Leighton puts it in the song, “Find a way to live outside.”
Sum of All Your Parts is released on 14 September.
Stratz – “Likkle More”
North London rapper Stratz knows what it’s like to hit rock bottom. Having narrowly avoided a prison sentence and struggling with alcohol and depression, he has thrown himself wholeheartedly into his one true love, music.
At the heart of the song is a simple message and one that we need to remember. Whoever we are, whatever we do, there are always others to thank for helping us get there. Stratz encourages everyone to give a little bit back to those people and to offer encouragement to those that need it most.
Musically, “Likkle More” brings a bit of grime authenticity to contemporary R&B all fused together with Jamaican dancehall. The minimal backing shows off plenty of production flair with smartly smooth beats and bouncy percussion all coated with a glorious soulful female vocal turn. At the heart of it, all is Stratz who shows off his intuitive flow as he bunches together rhyming couplets before letting them relax, like a conductor standing before a grand orchestra.
The whole thing is a slick, late summer anthem that sounds as fresh as cool night air swirling through an open skylight.
Model Man – “Alone”
“Alone”, the first single from brothers Mark and Rob Brandon (aka Model Man) is a song that seems to exist in the darkness of early morning. Beautifully crafted from elegant piano notes that puncture the thick post-dubstep beats like clusters of stars in the night sky. The pair matches intricate layers of emotive piano, dark vocal loops, and shadowy, trembling beats to create an atmospheric, otherworldly soundscape.
Each component is skillfully stratified to create something with a distinct emotional pull. A song that suggests loss, hope and possibility all over the course of its running time. A mesmerizing debut from an extraordinarily exciting electronic act.
Petrie – “June”
And now for something to add a little sunshine to the drizzliest of days. At first, the new single from London duo Petrie, “June” comes over as a banging summer party anthem. Built from the kind of neon synths, laid back rhythmic section and elastic wah guitar riff that sound best during sunshiny days and long summer nights. It’s a sun-drenched celebration of carefree summertime shenanigans.
However, it soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems behind the Ray-Bans. Scraping off the factor 30 and you realize that “June” is actually about a stagnating relationship. A relationship only being held together by the promises and possibilities of the summer. However, as the days get warmer, the heart gets cooler with neither party wanting to face up to the harsh reality – that the relationship will fall with the leaves come autumn.
As always, it’s been a joy putting this together. Hope you like the tracks on here and please support the artists by chucking them a few quid for all their hard work in whatever way you see fit. Until next time.
Welcome to another edition of Brits in Hot Weather. As with before, the premise of this feature is simple. Five songs from five new British artists that I hope will make your day a little better.
As It’s been far too long since the last edition, it seems only fair that I shut up and get straight to the music. In this edition we have some stunning new sounds from Fujiya and Miyagi frontman David Best, anthemic alt-rock from Fatherson, Fresh dancehall influenced grime from Stratz, emotive post-dubstep from Model Man and a sun-drenched banger from Petrie. Enjoy.