Noise Annoys: New music from FRUITY, Jim Bob and Neil Brogan, plus a re-released classic from grungefathers Mudhoney
:: FRUITY – UPS (single, self-released)
DAN O'Rawe, aka FRUITY, is back with a new tune from his forthcoming eponymous debut EP: those who enjoyed his pleasingly noisy/wonky/woozy lo-fi pop/rap number Pigeon Heart on the Bangers N Breakups compilation will want to be checking out UPS.
Marketed as "a hazy summer-comedown single", UPS is an altogether smoother musical proposition than Pigeon Heart. A collab with fellow Bangers N Breakups contributor Aidan Reynolds, aka Worry Head (whom we need more music from in the very near future), it's a mesmerising head-nodder seemingly inspired by obsession and self-destructive behaviour.
UPS delivers (sorry) a confection of slack beats and swelling synths based around its hauntingly simple keyboard riff and Dan's trademark speak-sung vocals, including the hook line "insomniac days, they keep repeating / I can't get no sleep 'til the weekend".
Judge for yourself today at 2fruity.bandcamp.com and keep an ear/eye out for more from the upcoming EP which is due for release on August 5.
:: Jim Bob – Song For The Unsung (You're So Modest You'll Never Think This Song is About You) (single, Cherry Red)
I WAS going to start this review with a joke based on the fact that Mr Bob's former Carter USM cohort Les also went by the moniker 'Fruity' (as in 'Fruitbat' – see the first volume of Jim's excellent rock and roll memoir In The Shadow of My Former Self for reasons why), but to be honest I quickly thought the better of it.
Instead, let's just face the music and pogo, for Jim Bob's latest is a hand-clappin', back slappin', punk rockin' and pop stompin' anthem for the selfless, the folks who put the needs of others before their own without fuss or humble-bragging social media posts.
That's reflected by the bit of the song title in paranthesis, which might be the first alternative rocking nod to You're So Vain since the Neds actually quoted the chorus of Carly Simon's classic 30 years ago.
"The world is so dark we'd be lost without you / this comes from the heart, it's so long overdue" is what Jim is belting out on the big rousing chorus of the second single from his upcoming album Who Do We Hate Today? – and it sounds like he means it (maaan).
It's very 2021 and very good indeed – as was the first single from the LP, Jim's rocking lockdown 2020 anthem The Summer of No Touching, another catchy hand-clappin' pop number which came with its own Covid-safe aerobic dance routine ideal for staying mobile while trapped indoors again during the inevitable fourth wave this winter (see the rather good promo video for details).
The album, the follow-up to last year's superb Top 40-bothering Pop Up Jim Bob, is due out on August 20 and is available to pre-order now on all formats – including limited edition cassette – via Jim-bob.co.uk.
Order an extra copy for your nan/postman/dog and you'll be treated to a free special covers album called Who Do We Love Today?, which features Jim and his band The Hoodrats tackling tunes by the likes of The Kinks, Fun Boy Three, 999 and our own The Frank and Walters. After all, he really loves you.
Look for an interview with Jim to appear on this very page sometime before then.
:: Neil Brogan – Magnolia Day (album, self-released)
YOU read about its excellent lead single and title track last time around: now it's time to reckon with the entirety of former Sea Pinks leader Neil Brogan's new album Magnolia Day.
For the follow-up to last year's Weird Year demo collection, Brogan has taken a more uniform approach in terms of musical style: the album was written and recorded at home earlier this year utilising a pair of acoustic guitars, an electric bass, basic drums and Brogan's instantly recognisable croon.
The songs were 'put down' in roughly chronological order, giving Magnolia Day an organic flow and momentum that's in keeping with its lyrical focus on outdoor flora (and the occasional bit of fauna too).
Gentle opener Monochrome Time sets the tone with its pretty Spanish guitar flourishes and slightly melancholy yet oddly uplifting mood – "optimism shaded by doubt" as Neil himself puts it in the virtual liner notes – and lyrics about colouring inside and outside the lines.
Broken Record was nearly the title track and is a stand-out moment, a pretty, playful indiepop strummer with a hugely infectious chorus: on the subject of which, Neil bravely 'goes there' with his tongue-in-cheek Covid-specific tune Not Until We're Vaccinated, laden with references to Astrazeneca and the like.
The "eminently whistle-able" title tune/lead single is the first of the record's explicitly gardening inspired numbers, followed by the arboreal anthem Between Two Trees, an ode to the simple joys of creating/encouraging order in nature. For sure, Magnolia Day is an album best enjoyed in your favourite outdoor space.
Story song Hill of Cloud is a groovy, dreamy affair with references to "flying blind", peppy, lounge-y new single New Development is a strummy, optimistic rumination on rubble and regeneration ("there will be a place we'll fill with love"), a subject the breezy, "la-la-la-la" laden Unofficial Countryside picks up on with its words about "roses growing in the places where the bombs used to fly".
Fledgling is a rhyme-y, whimsical ode to our avian friends (and their feline enemies) with yet more easy-on-the-ear "la-la-la-la"-ing, while Green Recovery reclaims a lockdown buzz phrase for more twinkly nature worship before the deceptively upbeat, hand-clapping Belle and Sebastian-esque closer Screening Cherry wraps things up with Neil admitting "when I'm on the run, I feel OK – but I'm not OK" before signing off with a casual "thanks for listening".
You should indeed listen, repeatedly, at Neilbrogan.bandcamp.com, perhaps in the company of friends, as Magnolia Day is surely the ideal soundtrack for socially distanced garden parties this summer.
:: Mudhoney – Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge Deluxe 30th Anniversary Edition (album, Sub Pop)
OK, SO any self-(dis)respecting Mudhoney fan already owns this on at least two or three formats by this stage, but the spanking new Deluxe 30th Anniversary Edition is the perfect excuse to re-visit the brilliant Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge once again.
The album itself remains a time capsule of these Seattle grungefathers at their punky best, capturing Mark, Steve, Matt and Dan at a moment when they scrubbed off some of the pedal-riding/stomping rock grime which encrusted their earliest tunes in favour of embracing a leaner but no less meaner lo-fi-informed musical aesthetic.
Opening in fine style with mock-pompous organ-infused instrumental intro Generation Genocide, the record is start-to-finish great and boasts a raft of Mudhoney classics like Good Enough, Into The Drink, Let It Slide, Something So Clear, Thorn and Who You Drivin' Now? – all prime, sneering/searing mosh fodder for 'the year punk broke' – their fine bruised and battered ballad (and Neil Young hat-tip) Broken Hands, storming mouth-organ smeared ode to infidelity Pokin' Around, bluesy blow-out Move Out, wonky fuzz bomb Don't Fade IV and moody Spacemen 3 nodder Check Out Time.
In its deluxe incarnation, you also get a 15 track side-serving of rare and previously unreleased material like non-album single You're Gone, early attempts at a few EGBDF tunes on fancy-pants 24-track equipment ("It didn't sound right to me" is guitarist Steve Turner's spot-on assessment in Keith Cameron's illuminating liner notes) before they opted for 8-track gear operated by Conrad Uno at his home basement studio Egg, plus newly remixed versions of Billy Childish tribute b-side Paperback Life and Singles soundtrack contribution Overblown.
It's out on July 23, so get your order in now at Mudhoneyloser.bigcartel.com.