The Round-Up (10/07/20)

Emotional and dramatic, Saud Khalifa, a.k.a SUAD’s ‘The Door’ packs a lot into a four-minute runtime. It’s feel-good, melodic and will certainly get your foot tapping. However, there’s a depth behind the melody. The Finnish singer, replete with a honeyed vocal quality that’s sincerely touching, sings in a very memorably chorus “Place your feet between the door, hold it open until I fall.” ‘The Door’ seems to speak of transitionary periods, the familiarity of one place versus the new and unknown. There’s only one transitionary period you should care about – going from being unfamiliar with SUAD’s work, to having this track on repeat.

Boniface – Happy Birthday
Big Bleachers energy from Boniface here on ‘Happy Birthday’ (god, that’s a lot of Bs). It’s pure poppy goodness and was practically made to soundtrack any coming of age movie – extreme grab your hairbrush and bop about vibes. 

Bully – Every Tradition
Who doesn’t love grungy, hectic fun? Boring people, that’s who. Bully invite us to mosh with them on this smashing single. Guitars wail and frontwoman Alicia Bognanno delivers her usual striking vocals. It’s heavy, blaring and all around brilliant. Get that head banging.

Chappaqua Wrestling – Football
A bittersweet mellow guitar tune. Not a hint of football hooligan chant in earshot, just a hatred of friends.

Christian Gray – Baby
See, as someone who adores the original Emerson bros track, I can whole heartedly say Gray truly does the siblings justice. The silky harmonies and added blues just enhance the seering romance in the lyrics. Let’s just say, the lights are turned low and there’s a bottle of red waiting for ya.

Dance Lessons – New Job
I’m a terrible dancer. Can’t dance, won’t dance. Nearly didn’t listen to Dance Lessons due to my fear of dancing. I’m worse than a dad dancer. Got some shocking ‘moves’. ‘Moves’ that came out as soon as this song started playing. It’s what the kids are calling ‘a vibe’.

Declan McKenna – Daniel, You’re Still a Child
Oh Declan, you really know how to rock a synth! In it’s rippling guitars and funky basslines, the highlighted blur between reality and online dystopia is brighter than ever. It’s one of those tunes you bop along to, then listen to the lyrics and start to think ‘oh damn Dec, you okay?’ It’s a technicolour tale in the shape of a fable.

James Humphrys – Memory Palace
Just like a palace, this EP is full of larger-than-life tracks of elegance and just all around fun. Loaded with everything from trumpet solos to funk fuelled rhythms, it embodies Humphrys positive outlook on the struggles of life, and makes you feel like you too can overcome it. So, just a quick thank you to James for now being my DIY gym playlist when I feel like that extra plank might do me in.  

Jeremy Tuplin – Break Your Heart Again
With green screens as floral as the blossoming instumental, Tuplin lets us in on the encounters of his heart. In lyrics like “Gotta let someone in / Bet she’ll break my heart again”, its one for aching lovers across the country just waiting for that second chance at finding someone special.

lindsay ell – make you
Nothing cuts raw like powerhouse vocals over a building piano. Ell lets us behind the album cover with her personal lyrics, stapling her heart on her sleeve for all to see, and with the grit behind each word, she wants the whole world to see. The chronological chorus is one to sing out the open window on a long drive.

Matt Costa – Last Love Song
If you were ever sit atop a hill and watch the sunset, this is the song to do it too. You can already see the red and orange hues in the warm vocals and chiming guitar that play on. Costa is no stranger to a powerful harmony, and ‘Last Love Song’ is no exception as the gentle ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ fill up your peripheral.

Naaz – Mute Love
At just 21, Naaz holds an old soul in her distinctive voice and melodic songwriting. ‘Mute Love’ blends that Lana Del Rey Californian warmth and the calm chill of a slow burning pop song. Her love may be mute, but Naaz is not one to be quiet about.

Selmer – Before You Marry a Person
Selmer’s latest is sweeter than an old-fashioned sweet shop – you know the ones that have the big jars full of boiled sweets and bonfire lollies? So cute. Arguably, the kind of vibe you’d want your song to have. Listen to Selmer whisper saccharine “I love you, I do”’s and you’ll feel as though you’re right there, nestled amongst the Love Hearts.

Oscar Lang – Apple Juice
A claustrophobic and nightmarish song about apple juice. Just what I needed to end this week. Sweet.

PYNCH – Somebody Else
In 2015, someone asked me to play a really fun song. I stayed silent for five years until Pynch released ‘Somebody Else’. Writing the song during the pandemic, singer Spencer Enock, said “The song is sort of a mediation and reflection on that and me figuring out whats going on in my life.” The fun synth-pop betrays a self-reflective mix of emotions that battle in the background, scored by upbeat drums and simple guitar licks. Pynch succeed in creating something is both fun, and food for thought.

Sarah Walk – Unravel
As the TV couple break apart, you can hear Walk’s heartbreak tinged melody playing softly in the distance. It’s cinematically visual as its lyrics paint a black and white story, one that you follow at ease with her tender voice. As it builds up, her words burn with a new colour and the spectrum takes over you. If you can’t feel goosebumps, you have to listen again.

Shaun – Play Dead
Shaun. Shaun. Surely there isn’t a punkier two minutes and eighteen seconds on the market at the moment? Play Dead’s ‘Shaun’ delivers everything you could need – grunge garage punk and even grungier, no-frills lyrics. “Punching men, off their bikes, can’t be arsed, to fix the light – Shaun!” A name evocatively repeated throughout this fast-paced track, almost as if it’s a mantra. Does this track celebrate Shaun, or does it critique him? The beauty of punk comes from it’s interpretive nature.

The Goa Express – Be My Friend
Injecting their lively teenage year memories, from playing in a mates garage as well as nearly collapsing the first venue they played, The Goa Express channel that scrappy happiness into a garage-rock ‘Be My Friend’. Even though the venues aren’t open for a live gig any time soon, you can already feel the thrown pints and bumbling crowd shouting along with the chorus. Safe to say, they’re doing the North proud with this one.

The Academics – Acting My Age
The sun’s setting, you’ve finished your last tin, and you’re feeling reflective. In the latest track from some of Ireland’s loveliest indie-rockers we’re subjected to a happy, nostalgic hit, rife with sunny riffs and quirky vocals. It’s a song that’s just waiting, along with the rest of us, for summer to finally come around, and I can’t wait.