ORGAN: Five Music Things – New Märvel, fresh Agvirre, the beauty of Widowspeak, the bite of Cosmic Ninja, Brad Mehldau, The Awful Din, new Die! Die! Die!, Le Seul Element, was that five?

All the striving and the doing it, on we go, the Five music things thing yet again for whatever it still might be worth. Five? There’s something rather compelling about five, cross-pollination? Five more? Do we need to do the editorial bit again? Is there another way? A cure for pulling cats out of hats? Is there a rhyme? Is there a reason? Was there ever? What do reasons make? Five more, same as last time (and the time before) five, and no, we never do and the proof of the pudding is in that proof reading. When we started this thing, oh never mind, it doesn’t matter and like we asked last time, does anyone bother reading the editorial? Does anyone ever actually look down the rabbit hole or is it all just method acting? We do listen to everything that comes in, we do it so you don’t have to, we are very (very) picky about what we actually post on these pages or play on the radio or hang in a gallery. Cut to the chase, there’s loads of music further down the page, well five or so pieces of music that have come our way in the last few days and cut cut slash and cut to the damn chase, who needs an editorial? Here’s your five for today.

Agvirre (and some Dafydd Jones art)

1: Agvirre, the post whatever you want them to be band from Manchester have another fine release, another bath in their light and shade, their delicate noise, their ambitious boundary pushing. True, some of that screaming can be a tiny tiny tiny little tedious but there is more than enough space for things to breath here and this may well be their finest release so far. Are they almost getting Spagetti Western about it now? A bit cclassic early original line-up Huge Baby? Well no, no one ever gets to be that good but Agvirre are pushing in those dynamic directions (and they do have some great artwork again, do like that they care about the look of things, art by Dafydd Jones yet again). more via Bandcamp should you need it, you can hear the richely textured ten minute long cinematic track of three there right now, we expect the other two tracks are as good, everything they’ve done so far has been worth your time.

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STOP PRESS: It would seem something not too good has happened in the Agvirre camp, the single has been withdrawn and the video removed….

2: Widowspeak – There’s something very sooting about this song, soemthing about the way it glides, the way the details illuminate it, the Mellotron flavours help of course. Here’s the music video for While You Wait by New York’s Widowspeak, from their album The Jacket, out March 11, 2022. You can find more about the album, Widowspeak’s sixth album, an album that started out with loose strings of a concept, a story about a fictional band, via Bandcamp or down there underneath the video

“Today, Widowspeak share “While You Wait”, the second single off their forthcoming sixth studio album “The Jacket”, to be released March 11 via Captured Tracks. The track features Mellotron plug-in flutes drifting over a hypnotic and buoyant motif, and an angular chorus that repeats the phrase “while you wait, we’ll have it done today.” The duo (Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas) say, “the song itself is maybe one of the more narrative remnants from when the album might have been a true concept record; it’s sort of the opening credits scene, when the main character is going to their job and seeing the shift change of the city in the very early morning. Then in the second verse, they are leaving work and seeing nightlife start up again.  Those simultaneous experiences are like cities within a city; there’s always someone ending their day as someone else’s is starting.  It’s also about the day-to-day work that supports more creative pursuits, and how when that’s out of balance it can feel like you are on the outside looking in.”  The “While You Wait” video, directed by OTIUM, features the band’s longtime touring bassist Willy Muse roller skating through the Miami landscape. “While You Wait” follows the first single “Everything is Simple”

“The Jacket” started out with loose strings of a concept, a story about a fictional band:

A chain-stitcher working in the satin district of an unnamed city, a neighborhood of storefront tailors devoted to elaborate costumery for country-western, art rock, ye-ye cover bands that populate the street’s bars after dark. The narrator joins one such outfit, “Le Tex” and feels a sense of belonging and momentum, movement beyond what was previously a stable, predictable life. A relationship with a bandmate materializes. Eventually, the group start to write originals. They generate goodwill and momentum, and venture out on the open road seeking new opportunities beyond what the satin district can offer. But the vibrational energy that got things moving is the same that shakes the whole thing apart: the relationship, and the band, disintegrate upon finally reaching their destination, the end of the road. The chain-stitcher heads back to the city, settling back into the rhythm of work, old standards and a familiar place.

The story is self-referential on purpose: it speaks to the absurdity of ego, codependency and shared visions even as it celebrates them. “The Jacket” finds Widowspeak navigating these contradictions, and although its ten tracks now trace a more abstract arc than the campier initial concept, strands of that earlier narrative remain: “stitches in satin”, American cities after dark, glimpses of the open road, dark bars, and backstages where things get left behind. The resulting album is a wizened meditation on performance and past lives from a band who’ve seen their fair share, hitting their stride now over a decade in.

Written in the months before and after the release of their critically acclaimed 2020 album Plum, “The Jacket” feels like a full-circle moment for the duo. Thematically, it considers Plum’s broader questions about the values ascribed to one’s time and labor through the more refined lens of performance and music-making. This is due in part to the band’s recent return to New York City, the site of their own origin story, where they recorded “The Jacket” at the Diamond Mine with co-producer and noted Daptone Records affiliate Homer Steinweiss. In addition to Hamilton and Thomas on guitars, the album features founding drummer Michael Stasiak, as well as J.D. Sumner on bass, and piano and keyboard contributions from Michael Hess.

Sonically, “The Jacket” finds the band at their usual and best: the album breathes deeply, balancing moments of open lushness with a straightforward, Velvets-y approach. Dynamics shift seamlessly between gentle, drifting ballads and twangy jams, built up from layered guitars, dusty percussion and ambling bass lines. Elsewhere: whimsical flutes, choral textures, and basement organs. Thomas’s guitar playing is as lyrical and emotive as it’s ever been, and Hamilton’s voice: comfortable and effortless. This seamless dynamic is amplified perfectly in the mix by Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beach House). The band still wears the same perennial influences on its sleeve: cornerstones like Yo La Tengo, Neil Young, Cowboy Junkies, Cat Power, and Richard and Linda Thompson. They expertly pepper in slow-core, dream-pop, pacific northwest indie, and outlaw country, resulting in a 60s-meets-90s aesthetic. But the duo also wield their own aesthetic feedback loop as a tool of its own, a way to better tell multi-layered stories in their own RIYL language. This sense of sonic nostalgia adds another layer to lyrics that reflect on old selves, invented and true.

“The Jacket” is a present and comfortable record, imbued with a sense of collective pause and the ease of a band at the top of their game. For all its familiar textures, it still feels entirely fresh within that canon: proudly a guitar record, a rock record, a songwriter’s record. A Widowspeak record”.  

Here’s some more Widowspeak, this time from 2020…

3: Cosmic Ninja have announced the release of a new EP. The Bristol band, Tamsin Cullum, Jonny Angelini, Robin De Wandelear and Danny Watts, pride themselves on their riotous, queer punk energy, and well, here’s a taste of the EP as premiered yesterday by the always worth checking out Get in Her Ears, fire it up (do they have a touch of Sensor about them? Good stuff!)


“‘Lies’ is about the dishonesty and corruption rife in UK politics. The endless lies and lack of integrity has reached an extreme level… Politics has lost sight of trying to make a better place for everyone and, instead, those with influence climb to the top and pull up the ladder by any means necessary… In most lines of work, you would be held accountable for lies, but, for politicians, it seems acceptable practice… This song is about calling out those lies, seeing through the misconception and positively challenging those walking blindly through corruption.”

4: Brad Mehldau – Now how beautiful is this delicate Sea Nymphs-like version of a Rush classic? It is the only track we can hear from a forthdoming album right now, the album is out in March, all we can see are song titles at the moment, are those Gentle Giant covers next to the Rush covers?

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5: The Awful Din sound like they have an escape plan or some such thing, the band from Phoenix, Arizona say “This album has been sitting on the proverbial shelf for years. Anachronisms was created with the idea that things were going to be out of time–whether by human error in the music or by the concepts implemented in the compositions. The irony, and coincidence, is that the album’s relationship with its name would become much more literal. Here is the music that three people sweat, puked, bled, and actually shit violently for. I hope someone finds joy in it”. Bandcamp is where you go…

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5: Die! Die! Die! are a band from New Zealand that we covered on these pages and played via our radio waves rather a lot back in their early days, who knew they were still out there doing things? Losing Sight, Keep on Kicking is from Die! Die! Die!’s seventh album This Is Not An Island Anymore. Here’s their Linktree that should take you to all the places you need to go to. ignore the awful image on the video there, they’re far better than that, go expore their Bandcamp.

You do know these things are in no partivular order don’t you? Have we found five yet?

6: Le Seul Element are from France, Metz actually, this is brooding, moodly, dark, the explosion we’re waitingfor hasn’t got here yet, we are just a few minutes in, a first taste of Juste une idée obscure de ce qu’est la fierté and we’re hoping the moves aren’t going to be obvious, so far so good. And a day later and several listens the whole slow moving thing, they didn’t let us down

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Märvel

5: Märvel – “Sound Of Life Slipping Away” is the fourth single from Märvel’s ninth album “Graces Came With Malice”, jrvideo was let loose this morning, the album is to be released on The Sign Records in 2022, it sounds like typical Märvel, that is a good thing of course, sometimes to jsut need a band to do more of what they do bess, they’ve been making far better Kiss records than Kiss for a good few years now, don’t know how they get away with it, do like that they do though. Find everything you need from the fine fine fine band from Linköping, Sweden via Bandcamp. We like Bandcamp, we don’t like Spotify. We don’t really like Facebook much either but it is where you can keep yourself updated

And while we’re here…

Nonalignment Pact’ from Pere Ubu’s 1977 album ‘The Modern Dance’….

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