I love doing things on my own. The enjoyment of reading a book or making notes with a pint of Guinness in your own company is blissful, particularly if you frequent an establishment with a regular, slightly eccentric and elderly clientele. I do this at least once a week. Recently, on one of my solo jaunts, a man in his late fifties sat at my table to ask why I was alone. He was perplexed because his daughter, who is a similar age to me, would never do this. The times when I go to the cinema, mosey around town, or have dinner by myself are imperative. You don’t have to worry about making conversation, or unknowingly talking through the remain of a burrito wedged between your teeth. I’m far from a misanthropist, I’m the complete opposite. I love spending time with friends and family, making up stupid jokes to amuse them or play pool to get in some exercise of some description. However, there’s nothing like mentally switching off and not having to construct a sentence, ask and answer questions about what’s going on in my life, articulate ideas and feelings and avoid confrontations or opinionated debates about trivial things. Instead, you can eavesdrop on conversations, watch awkward dates or Arsenal play in total solitude. Being able to do these things on your own is not easy for everyone. I’m always surprised by the reactions I’m met with when people learn that I’m a lone ranger. It’s a mix of confused pity, yet I’ve had numerous people say that they wish they could do it, too. It’s not an ordeal though, it’s probably the easiest thing you can do and it’s so remarkably beneficial to your sanity. I’d go insane if I was denied my solo Guinness expeditions.
The same goes for bands when they are independently creating and releasing music. This week there was an astonishing amount of bands on the cusp of releasing debut LPs through independent labels. The freedom and support given to young musicians allows them to experiment with arrangements, the limits of their instruments and how the synergy between band members can effortlessly create a sound that will become synonymous to their discography which they can develop and hone throughout their career. There’s a lot to be said for being granted that independence to do and be completely comfortable with yourself and your own company because it translate to every aspect of your life, especially your work.
Forth Wanderers – ‘Slop’ (Father / Daughter Records)
Think of the ways you tried to get the attention of someone you felt amorously towards. Did you make them a mix-cd compilation brimming with songs that you carefully curated to convey your affection? Maybe you sent them a Valentine’s card, or did what everyone does and got your friend to be the go-between cupid and plant a seed of love only for the tomato feed to be withheld, never giving love an opportunity to bud. Ben Guterl is the principle songwriter, guitarist and founding member of Forth Wanderers, a group of five friends (all under the age of 21) from New Jersey, and back in 2013 he wrote music as a way to talk to singer, Ava Trilling. Three years later, Ava has just graduated from high school and Forth Wanderers unveiled Slop, their EP which is due for a mid-November release. The single sounds like that wonderful noncommittal, indie-garage that you would expect from a group of angsty teens. The self-made video indicates that even though they look as though they are taking themselves a little too seriously they are actually having fun writing and making music as a group of friends.
Japanese Breakfast – ‘Everybody Wants to Love You’ (Dead Oceans)
Watching Japanese Breakfast’s video for the current single ‘Everybody Wants to Love You’, from debut album, Psychopomp is the closest that I have had to an outer body experience, kind of. Mastermind Michelle Zauner enjoys the antics of a weekend evening on her own. Dressed as a Geisha she plays pool, drinks at a bar and rambles around town in the dark. Japanese Breakfast is the side-project Zauner devised when she returned to Oregon to spend time with her sick mother. Taking a break from her band, Little Big League, she decided to challenge herself by writing a song everyday as well simultaneously revamping old material and demos that she had made. The result is a collection of nine fuzzy dream-pop indie songs (lasting twenty-five minutes) that are equally infectious and sombre.
Dirty Projectors – ‘Keep Your Name’ (Domino)
‘Keep Your Name’, is the first single to be released by Dirty Projectors since their 2012 album, Swing Lo Magellan which provided somewhat of an insight into the direction of music that they would continue with in the future. Think of the dense use of drum machine from that record’s opening track, ‘Offspring Are Blank.’ Admittedly, Dirty Projectors return with ‘Keep Your Name’ had me frowning at my screen for the entirety of the video because I was, on first impression, left a little confused. Dave Longstreth’s vocal has been tampered with, sounding like the world around him is crumbling in slow motion. It’s a bit disconcerting, especially when the song sounds like it’s trying to emulate Bon Iver’s musical make over of late. No doubt, ‘Keep Your Name’ has increased intrigue amongst fans with how their forthcoming eight album will sound. Hmmmm….
KLLO – ‘Sense’ (Different Recordings)
Kllo are Melbourne based duo comprised of cousins, Simon Lam and Chloe Kaul. The video for ‘Sense’ follows the band on various expeditions on a beach, a shopping centre, drinking bubble tea, hanging out on a balcony and performing. Their music moves between retro inspired, sweet melodies that would not sound out of place played alongside mellow garage songs from the early 2000s. Their debut EP, Well Worn, was released earlier this year and, in truth, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, but ‘Sense’ is a lovely lullaby to ease your weekend to yet another untimely end. The video is incredibly relaxing, too.
No Monster Club – ‘Do The Mess Around’ (No Monster Club)
I really do love No Monster Club. They’re extremely fun to see live and they always make the most entertaining music videos. In their latest video for ‘Do The Mess Around’, the guys are making their way to play a big gig. Excitedly they take to the road, squeezed close together in a van, and make some pitstops along the way at a petrol station and stretch their legs and instruments to perform the single by a stream with inflatable animals. The mood of the journey takes a sinister turn when, taking a bathroom break in the woods, one member is struck and killed. One by one, No Monster Club are killed off and by the end their cadavers have been collected by a crazed fan who constructs a stage in his lair and enjoys a marionette style private show from the deceased band. Yikes.