Posts Tagged ‘Specialist Subject Records’

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A favourite discovery of the year, Soot Sprite The band have recently signed to Special Subject, the Exeter-based sad-gaze trio are set to put out their debut EP, “Sharp Tongues”, next month, and have this week shared the latest taste of the record, new single, Vs. Self.

Like much of Sharp Tongues, Vs. Self is a reflection on themes of self-esteem and anxiety, as songwriter Eli Cook explains, “when going through times of heightened anxiety, it’s sometimes difficult to recognise that you’re your own worst enemy”. Lyrically, the track seems to be battling with the danger of constant comparison and the swirling feeling of life tumbling by all too quickly: “I’m tired of fighting with myself, lost sleep and writing doesn’t help, it’s not just one thing spinning round got more plates than a circus clown”, before the track ends with the repeated plea, “slow it all down, slow it all down”. The chaotic tumbling in the lyrics is reflected in the music too, with waves of bright-guitar and propulsive bass creating dense spirals of sound, only settling down at the tracks end into a contemplative stillness. At once familiar and forward thinking, Soot Sprite’s music dips one toe into the late 90’s alternative scene and then sprints forward into 2019, sounding fresh, intriguing and very, very exciting.

From Sharp Tongue 12″ EP out 11th October on Specialist Subject Records.

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Formed back in 2013 as the brain-child of drummer Emma Wigham and guitarist Mark Jasper, Witching Waves have been one of the most thrillingly brutal acts on the London DIY scene ever since. Now relocated to Yorkshire, and with quite possibly music’s busiest person, Estelle Adeyeri adding some bassy brilliance, Witching Waves have recently announced the release of their third album Persistence, and shared the latest single from it Eye 2 Eye.

Persistence was recorded completely live in just two days at Sound Savers, the East London studio Mark co-ran, and which was such an important hub for so many of the records we cover on this site. As the title would suggest Persistence, is in some ways a record about the power of carrying on, a record about change, distance and making things works: perfectly captured here on Eye 2 Eye. The band have described the track as, “an ode to conflict”, that energy matched in the typically frenetic playing, three minutes of breathless, guitar riffing, driving bass and quite possibly the most thrilling drum sound we’ve ever heard. Emma and Mark share vocals throughout, breathlessly spitting out lyrics, barely giving them time to register, only revealing themselves on repeat listens, “when did we decide to talk about it? how do we begin to talk about it?” The energy, the drive, the beautiful, brutal noise of it all, Witching Waves are everything we want in a band, and have never sounded better.

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From Witching Waves new album, Persistence out 5th April on Specialist Subject Records.

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It’s probably not possible to dislike a record that opens with the lyric, “I’m so angry, I’m going to get a tattoo, that says ‘fuck Jeremy Clarkson, and fuck you too” . In case it passed you by, Exeter trio Muncie Girl’s 2016 debut ‘From Caplan To Belsize’ was one of the most special indie rock records to emerge . It was a record that recalled all manner of bands from an era when indie rock was called college rock (Veruca Salt, Throwing Muses, Buffalo Tom to name but three) and succeeded in every song delivering the feeling of a close friend leaning into your ear and telling you a secret. Muncie Girls were part of a gang of British bands who were of a similar ilk (Doe, Personal Best, Happy Accidents to name another three) who shared similar musical aesthetics and political concerns.

At the fulcrum of its brilliance was singer/bassist Lande Hekt, whose lyrical observations bounced from feminism, to Sylvia Plath, to the sort of political awaking that occurs when you realise you’ve spent a decade at school and you haven’t really learned anything of very much importance at all. This time round, there’s a more coherent theme to Lande’s songs. She’s largely concerned with the concept of health, largely of the mental variety. ‘Clinic’ will be familiar to anyone who’s ever woken up with a head feeling like a test site for Trident, only to be told by the doctor’s receptionist “there’ll be a three week wait”. Then there’s the frenzied ‘Picture Of Health’ which not only shares the viewing platform for the abyss with the aforementioned number, but serves as the best argument for fuzz pedals to be given out free to children we’ve heard all year. You’ve probably got a pretty good idea what songs like ‘Laugh Again’ and ‘Falling Down’ are about. Not that it’s relentless horror. The song ‘Bubble Bath’ uses actual bubbles as a musical instrument of sorts.

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released August 31st, 2018

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The Exeter, UK, punk band remain political and critical—on their sophomore record ‘Fixed Ideals’ while showing us what personally makes them tick. It is no secret that the Exeter, UK, punk band, which includes Hekt, Dean McMullen, and Luke Ellis, often draws inspiration from the American poet and novelist Sylvia Plath’s works and then craft eardrum-shaking rock songs from them. “Gas Mark 4” from their stunning debut, From Caplan to Belsize, is a referential of The Bell Jar, Plath’s first and most famous novel. The group is readying the release of their sophomore, Fixed Ideals, out August 31st via Buzz Records. At 13 tracks in length (cut down from a hefty recorded 19, Hekt says) it doesn’t feel long or linger too much.

“Falling Down,” Hekt wrote more personally about drinking, which she hasn’t done for almost a year. “‘Falling Down’ is funnily enough… I didn’t know what it was about,” she says with a laugh. “This happens a bit where I’ll write a song and not know what it’s about until, like, months later. But it turns out to be about is drinking. It’s about a hangover, which I didn’t realize. There’s a line in it: “Go to bed / Wake up smart.” So it’s kind of like talking about having a hangover and waking up the next day and knowing not to do it again.” The track is surprisingly tender, while at the same a bit biting about some dumb shit we usually do to get through our youth. The song sounds fuller, largely due to the three-piece trying their hand at a four-piece without any additional person. Hekt learned guitar in addition to playing bass. It’s a smart, pop punk tune—jaunty and cheeky, almost, with an earnest and infectious chorus that is absolutely sure to get stuck in your head.
Band Members
Lande, Dean and Luke

“Falling Down” is from Muncie Girls’ “Fixed Ideals” LP out August 31 via Buzz Records (US/CAN) and Specialist Subject Records (UK/EU).

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Muncie Girls have announced their triumphant second album, Fixed Ideals, set for release on August 31st (Buzz/North America, Specialist Subject /UK+EU, and Lost Boy/AUS). To celebrate, they’ve shared the video for lead single, “Picture of Health” .

The title, like the band’s first LP, From Caplan To Belsizewas inspired by the writings of poet Sylvia Plath, in this instance drawing from a line of Plath’s Sonnet: To Eva regarding “perfume, politics and fixed ideals.” It was produced by Muncie Girls’ longterm collaborator Lewis Johns (Funeral For A Friend, Rolo Tomassi, Gnarwolves) at The Ranch

From Caplan To Belsize, the debut album from Exeter’s Muncie Girls, was one of the better pop-punk albums of 2016, a heady fusion of razor-sharp lyrics and wonderfully subtle flourishes (not to mention endlessly sing-along-able refrains) that elevated the band’s four-chords-and-an-attitude into something special—and making our list of 2016’s best music along the way. Now they’ve followed it up with Fixed Ideals, an album that doubles down on the anthemic spirit of their earlier work while becoming more musically adventurous in both sound and style. With a lengthy recording process that found singer Lande Hekt often playing both guitar and bass during the songwriting, the group created a record that if excellent leadoff single “Picture Of Health” is any indication—will be even catchier and more inspired than the last.

“Picture of Health” is the lead single from Muncie Girls’ “Fixed Ideals” LP out August 31 via Buzz Records (US/CAN) and Specialist Subject Records

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Irish quartet Pillow Queens are releasing a new EP via the Bristol-based Specialist Subject in March, and its new single ‘Favourite’ 

It was in the inimitable “Indietracks” festival in Derbyshire that we first stumbled across the music of this Irish, indie-types, Pillow Queens. Now signed to Specialist Subject, the band are set to release their new EP, “State Of The State”, in March and have this week shared new single, “Favourite”.

Described by the band as, “a maniacal composition about self-delusion”Favourite is a fine example of the Pillow Queens sound, comprising of stunning over-lapping vocal lines, fizzing hook laden guitar lines and quietly complex rhythmic ideas. The product of a year spent touring and crafting their sound, State Of The States looks like it’s going to be a giant step-forward for Pillow Queens; a band discovering their sound and learning that with their music, there truly is no limit to what can be achieved.

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Pillow Queens is Cathy, Pam, Rach & Sarah, 

State Of The State is out March 16th via Specialist Subject Records.

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London-based Great Cynics are back with a brand new single ‘Only In Memories’. The first chance to hear the song was in a live stream last night via the band’s Facebook page . The band performed the track no less than 50 times in a row. It’ll be etched into their memories from that experience for sure.

Great Cynics’ vocalist and guitarist Giles Bidder says of the inspiration behind the track  “After the first shift I worked at the pub where I am now, one of my beer pouring colleagues and I got the bus back to Peckham to go do some karaoke at Canavans (a local pool hall). On the bus there he told me his granddad once told him “it doesn’t cost anything to be polite”. This should be a London-living mantra. We’re surrounded by arseholes – we’ve got to make ours and our neighbours’ lives as pleasant as possible.”

‘POSI’ was recorded in a warehouse in Philadelphia over one week. The lead up to their time spent in the studio was in stark contrast to the recording itself, as Bidder explains “we rehearsed in our friend’s basement in South Philly and went to shows every night, just generally had a nice time spending money on food and beers. The actual recording process really took it out of me – this is a really emotional record and it physically hurt singing some of the parts. I got ill as soon as we finished tracking, and that’s the only thing I can put it down to. We gave ourselves to this record.”

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GREAT CYNICS is:
Giles Bidder – Vocals / guitar
Bob Barrett – Drums
Oliver Ward – Bass
Gillie Rowland – Keys / vocals

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Is this an EP or simply a split single? “When it rains, well it really fucking pours” sing Martha and they’re right, if an EP with one brilliant band on it counts as raining then this EP with two brilliant bands on it definitely counts as pouring. A total deluge would be more accurate. This record is a marriage made in indie/pop/punk/lo-fi heaven. Bonus Points for breaking down the North East England / Pennsylvania divide .We are a rock band of rockers who love to rock. We also can be just one person who is much quieter but still loves to rock.