Indie/Indie Rock New Wave Why We Love

Why We Love: Working Men’s Club

If you’re currently missing proper, atmosphere-filled nights out (and let’s be honest, who isn’t given the current state of the world?) then fear not as I’ve found the perfect antidote and their name is Working Men’s Club.

I recently read The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club by Peter Hook and thanks to the part-owner/bassists amusing accounts and vivid imagery, craved nothing more than to experience the iconic venue back in the day. However, I reluctantly came to terms with the fact that that was never going to happen and so decided to seek out the next best thing- some top acid tunes. 

I listened to everything that I could find from the time but having grown up in the home of the club it was all quite familiar so didn’t fully satisfy this newfound buzz; I needed something fresh and exciting that still contained the original heart. This was harder to come across than I’d first anticipated but finally had a Hallelujah moment at the beginning of this month when Working Men’s Club released their self-titled debut album and answered all of my prayers.

I was hooked (pardon the pun) from the second that opening track Valley’s first kicked off but at the 1.50 mark (0.30 in the video should check out below) something really special happened when the pounding bass cuts for a synth riff just before the lyrics kick in. In that moment I felt the closest that I believe I ever will to first experiencing the height of the movement back in the 90s and from then on I was in a trance for the rest of the record; treated to further squelching acid infusions as well as many more musical delights…

Falling Somewhere between the two bands that helped to fund the legendary ‘Hac’, Working Men’s Club clearly have a post-punk edge (just give Cook a Coffee a listen) but despite having a natural ability for creating this sound they didn’t play it easy and simply follow the classic Joy Division route; instead incorporating synth and electro to give things a New Order-esque spin. 

It would be a crime to only liken these guys to other bands though (no matter how great) as they seem to be exploring everything on the spectrum in between and actually credit the Detroit house scene as major influences. The result is their own new sound that can leave you charged and ready to dance one minute then lost and daydreaming the next.

Encapsulating the sounds that I grew up with but bringing something from my generation into the mix, I felt a kindred spirit in the band. There was something in the name and listening to their first few tracks that gave me the feeling that they were fellow Northerners (and once I saw that their third was titled John Cooper Clarke I had absolutely no doubt about it). I figured that this might have also contributed to that close connection because despite being from Yorkshire rather the home of the punk-poet and FAC51, things growing up in Todmorden feel just as small and grey (but equally hopeful). 

Like all great bands from the North, you can really hear this in their sound; the bleakness and claustrophobia in lead singer Sydney Minsky-Sargeant’s lyrics; being ‘trapped inside a town’ ‘running out of time’ but also the sense of working pride and excitement that there’s something beyond, in the sounds that they’re backed by. 

Minsky-Sergeant is now the only original band member left standing but at the fresh age of just 19, commanding you to watch him in his SOCIALISM print t-shirt he’s definitely not backing down any time soon. Originally joined by guitarist Giulia Bonometti and drummer Jake Bogacki the first line-up released debut single Bad Blood in 2019 which gained comparisons to the Totally Wired band The Fall and flows into B-Side Suburban Heights, a song filled with a jangly Smith’s-like sound. The tracks were greeted with great acclaim but success didn’t mean that Syd was ready to settle and he eagerly continued to explore and develop.

The fired-up front-man gravitated towards a new electronic noise however, this wasn’t for everyone and led to the departure of Bogacki, whilst Bonometti also moved on to focus on a solo career rather than the evolution of WMC. This, in turn, forced him to change things up even more than anticipated; sequentially swapping out the drum kit for a machine and expanding the club’s membership to three new musicians in the form of bassist Liam Ogburn, Mairead O’Connor on keys, guitar and vocals and Rob Graham joining Syd on guitar and synth.

Together they took on this new angle drawing them in; each member boldly bringing their own flourish and when combined with production from Ross Orton- the same Yorkshireman behind tracks from the Arctic Monkeys (and rather ironically The Fall), bedroom-recorded demos were transformed into a well-polished LP.

Wise beyond their years, you can already hear that the band know what music they want to make and have a great skill for executing it. The tracks on their album come together to create a cohesive experience but each is individually fresh with a mix of elements.

There’s the Stand out Acid House infusion on the likes of Tomorrow and plenty of upbeat rhythm in White Rooms and People. In addition to this optimistic sound, you’ll also find balance in a darker side; where they channel the grit that’s sung about on Teeth in its grunge guitar and evoke doom in the striking beats of Be My Guest

Also incorporated is a touch of afrobeat, funk and even indie on Outside where they sing about reminiscing in the sunshine, delivering lyrics about a ‘technicolour daydream’ whilst hardly needing any words at all on the pulsating A.A.A.A…That isn’t all either, as just when you think they’ve proven their capability they top things off with Angel, a 12-minute journey filled with swooping psychedelic sounds that creates a deservingly epic finale.

Speaking the honest truth and producing music that’s simultaneously nostalgic and now, they’re only one album in and hard not to love. Although they might have captured the sound of the North and named themselves after the places they originally strived to play in, Working Men’s Club look well and truly set to take on the wider world.

Check out Working Men’s Club on Spotify

Jazz/Blues Soul/R&B Why We Love

Why We Love: Orgone

‘Orgone’ is a term best described as an esoteric energy or universal life force but more importantly, it’s an incredibly well-fitting name for this musical time machine of a band, that’s continually bringing a magnetic power to groove and soul…

I was genuinely taken aback at how well the West Coast collective capture the sound of classic 60s/70s funk, perfectly delivering an essence that I was searching for more of- specifically from current artists. Their time travelling isn’t just to the heyday of funk though, upon further listening, so many more influences surfaced from New Orleans jazz to modern hip-hop. Perfectly melted together, their sound has resulted in comparisons to not only legends such as Chic and Earth, Wind & Fire but also 21st-century stars like Childish Gambino.

I already recognised a few of their biggest hits (as you might too) but since properly discovering the band I’ve had their tunes playing non-stop. Blending from one to another as seamlessly as their styles are combined, I often find myself in a trance when listening to their mixing pot of sounds. Sometimes it feels like only a fleeting moment has gone by before I’ve made it through an album; always leaving me ready and raring to start the journey all over again. Their bold, flowing mixes and ability to take you to another time and place go to show that it’s not just me in need of their sound in my life as they’re guaranteed to satisfy any musical void that you’re looking to fill or just breath some new life to your playlists.

The California bands’ only consistent members since forming in 1999 are founders Dan Hastie on keys and Sergio Rios on guitar and engineering duties. However, the group has now stood at a solid five members for their last five albums, with Dale Jennings on bass, drummer Sam Halterman and singer Adryon de León joining Hastie and Rios in 2013 to form a more permanent set up. 

Many of their mesmerising tracks tell a story without a single word being sung but León takes things to the next level-shining brighter than ever on their 2019 album ‘Reasons’ with vocals on every track (We Can Make It is a personal favourite of mine). A variety of additional talents from Fanny Franklin to Jesse Wanger are often brought on board for vocal contributions as well; also helping to take things up a notch and ensure a consistently changing sound.

Always fresh and exciting the band are amazing in the studio where they produce their popping tracks and even work with artists such as ‘Queen of R&B’ Alicia Keys. The excitement doesn’t just stop there though as up on stage they really come into their element. Creating a kind of party atmosphere that would have fuelled Studio 54 back in the late 70s they clearly thrive off of their live audience grooving out to their glorious performances. Whether they’re in front of fans, working with top talents or on their own, there’s always an electrifying vibe in the room, as evident in the clip below-

In late September of this year, the band put out ‘Connection’, their appropriately named tenth record that instantly creates a relationship with its audience and bonds together all of their best elements. Kicking off with The Vice Yard you’re hit with powerful horns, sleek guitar licks and a pounding rhythm section; immediately locking you into the experience. The album goes on to provide a more futuristic vibe with tracks like Love Will See Us Through; evoking the the-sci-fi elements of time travel with electronic experimentation and making it clear to see why people are reminded of albums such as Gambino’s ‘Awaken, my love!’. Other stand out songs include The Truth, featuring a marvellously groovy riff and outstanding display of Kelly Finnigan’s husky voice, This One Time; a sweeping Motown dream and the reggae-infused This Space.

Although ‘Connection’ might be the finest exhibition of their greatest strengths it certainly wouldn’t exist without all efforts that came before, where these elements began to materialise. Whether it was using steel drums or synthesizers, Orgone have been making hits since the early days with their self-titled debut album back in 2001 displaying their ability to genre jump and produce superb songs from the very beginning. Truly breaking ground 6 years later with their full length follow up ‘The Killion Floor’ they’ve continued to create hit after hit and I don’t see them stopping any time soon.

Perfect for a chilled-out groove or conquering the dancefloor I strongly urge you to get listening Orgone anytime or any place and be transported by their universal energy.

Listen to Orgone on Spotify now

BRIT School New Wave Pop/Indie Pop

Premiere: F4ÇADE – Look Like Me

We’re super excited to announce that today a very favourite band of ours is back with a smashing new single. F4ÇADE are an Art-Wave band from London characterised by their psychedelic melodies and bold on-stage performance style. Their new single ‘Look Like Me’ is out right freaking now!

I’m here with the band who have come to tell us a bit about them, their new single and how this all came to be.

J: Hey guys! Great to speak to you, so for those who haven’t heard the music of F4ÇADE, introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about you and your music.

Angel: Hiya, we describe our sound as ‘Art Wave’; New Wave meets the art world meets the future..?

Henri: Yeah, and we’re inspired by lots of things, including romantic poetry, the surrealist art movement, David Sylvian, David Bowie, Dave Gahan – lots of Davids!

Angel: And David Byrne! Hahaha oh dear…

J: It’s great to hear how your sound has changed and developed since the band began, this new single feels different from your earlier stuff, tell me a bit about how this song came about.

Angel: I wrote this around the time I dropped out of Camberwell Art College. It’s kind of about being an outsider to those who have everything planned out for them and those who do things just because others do – usually my lyric writing is a bit more vague!

Sacha: This was the first song that me and Lani worked on just after we joined nearly a year ago. Our writing process is collaborative and I suppose we just fleshed out the demo in our own individual ways. My background is Jazz music and although you can’t really hear that on the record, my playing has developed through certain influences which has led to the sounds you hear on the track.

J: How have you been experimenting with instruments or your production techniques with this track? Has it been difficult or strange recording during lockdown?

Henri: We actually recorded this track in a studio January before the lockdown! But during lockdown we recorded a cover of ‘Tainted Love’ for fun, which we released a couple of months ago – We all recorded our tracks in our own houses and then sent the files to each other, which I then mixed and mastered. Pretty weird!

Lani: We had a lot of fun experimenting with instruments, especially as playing the fretless bass is relatively new to me so the whole thing was super fun. Once we finished recording all the track we had in mind we realised that we actually had some recording time left so we scrambled around the studio looking for some weird pedals to create a small hidden track for us to release another time. We found a Moogerfooger bass pedal and decided to use that to create some strange sounds. Everyone said ‘Alright Lani just fiddle around and Sacha will mess around with the pedal’. And we ended with this really strange almost robotic bass tone, it was an awesome time.

J: This year has been hard for almost every band, but how has it affected you guys and your creative process? It’s a shame it may be a little while longer before we can see this played live.

Angel: A big part of F4ÇADE is playing live!! We have met so many amazing people through gigs and it felt like we’d really started to progress. We had an ‘arty party’ gig at an amazing private art club called Vout-O-Reenee’s just before lockdown – anyone who remembers would agree that was a crazy night…

Henri: We’ve actually got our first post-lockdown gig coming up really soon! It’s on the 4th of October at Dalston Roof Park and we’re really excited to be able to play live again, it’s going to be so fun!

J: What’s been the most rewarding thing about being in the band together and your music so far?

Angel: Sacha drawing on a Salvador Dali moustache and insisting on a ‘pizza party’ on the night of the video shoot.

Sacha: We recorded this song just before lockdown and it’s been frustrating having to keep music that we’re so proud of under lock and key. It’s a great feeling to be able to release it into the wild.

Lani: The most rewarding thing for me about being in the band so far has been all the awesome opportunities, whether that’s playing gigs or recording music in the studio. Being in the band has also opened my eyes to some different styles of music that prior to being in the band I wouldn’t have listened to. And you also meet a lot of lovely peeps!

J: We loved this track and we’re dead excited to hear more! Can you give us any hints as to anything that may be on the horizon for the band?

Henri: All I’ll say is, we recorded more than one song in the studio in January…

J: Thanks, guys. We can’t wait!

Look Like Me is available on Spotify right now!

Punk/Rock Why We Love

Why we love: Fontaines D.C.

It would be a bold statement to compare any band to music legends such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth or The Cure, but let me say this – I think Fontaines D.C. are one of the most exciting bands to form in a long time.

In 2017, while studying music in Dublin, Carlos O’Connell, Conor Curley, Conor Deegan, Grian Chatten, and Tom Coll quickly bonded over a love of poetry and together, soon began turning that common interest into music.

After they started gigging as simply ‘Fontaines’, they quickly learnt of another band with that name and so added the D.C (Dublin City).

The band signed to Partisan Records and their debut album Dogrel was released in April 2019 to much critical acclaim, earning them a nomination for a Mercury Prize, a Choice Music Prize and many more titles rarely held by such a young band.

Their second studio album, A Hero’s Death, was just released in July 2020 to just as much praise from fans.

I love a band who sing in their own accents, and their roots and common interest in poetry which brought the boys together certainly sets this band apart from the rest for their intelligent lyrics – something which seems to be underestimated today but reminds me strongly of the origins of Joy Division and Ian Curtis’ attitudes to love and loss in ‘70s working-class Manchester. I recently took a trip to Dublin and stayed not far from where singer Grian Chatten had grown up. The similarities I recognised between Dublin and Manchester in terms of the people’s music culture and pride for their city became very clear to see – evidently, this dynamic has produced many great bands in both these areas.

Being stuck inside during the recent pandemic has been difficult for a lot of bands, and cancelling the tour of their new album was never going to be easy. But it seems that the band have been busier than ever, releasing a fantastic cover of Darklands, directing their own music video for their recent release and most interesting of all, creating Spotify playlists comprised of their many influences which I’ve not been able to stop listening to.

With a wide taste in music, bringing together the best of rock, punk, indie and more, it’s easy to see where the inspiration for their own great songs have come from, and the genius of bands from before their time is certainly reflected in their music today.

These boys flying the flag for Dublin have seemingly captured the attention of an audience not only their own age, but the generation that came before them too – the ones who grew up seeing those great bands, and who are now reliving their 20’s. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve seen gigs where my own friends, the ‘younger’ generation are standing alongside people their parents’ age. That’s exactly what truly good music should do.

It’s incredibly refreshing to see a band drawing so heavily on the influence of much older bands, but doing so in their own very unique way. I’d go so far as to say that If these boys had been around in the ’90s, they might now have the same legendary status as some of the bands they look up to, and there’s absolutely no reason why they couldn’t still put themselves up there.

I’ve already seen how far these guys have come over the last year since I first heard them on the radio, and I’m excited to see where they go next. In a lot of ways, it feels like watching one of my favourite 80’s rock bands form before my very eyes.

The next time you see them playing near you, I strongly advise you to get out there, there are not many people I can safely say will go down in music history, but Fontaines D.C. will be one you’ll be telling your grandkids about.

Their new album ‘A Hero’s Death’ is available now.