Sprints may be the latest to emerge from Dublin’s fertile stable of guitar-wielding new heroes, but their two-fingers-up, no-nonsense rattle’n’roll arrives as the natural heir to Amyl and the Sniffers’ grot punk rather than Fontaines mk II. A wry, unimpressed eyeball-roll at the prowlers and predators that roam any given All Bar One on a Wednesday night, ‘The Cheek’ takes four minutes of big, scuzzy riffs, pummelling basslines and singer Karla Chubb’s throaty, sarcastic vocal and turns it into a mic-drop anthem to paying the bad guys no mind and carrying on your own sweet way. (Lisa Wright) DIY
Chromatica by Lady Gaga holds on to Number 1 for a second week in a photo-finish Official Albums Chart race.The UK’s fastest-selling album of 2020 so far retains the albums top spot finishing ahead of its closest competitor by less than 600 chart sales.
It means midweek leaders, indie band Sports Team score this week’s highest new entry at Number 2 with their debut album Deep Down Happy. The six-piece do however seize the title of the biggest seller of the week, leading on physical sales as well as having the edge on digital downloads. Sports Team score the best seller of the week across UK independent record shops and Number 1 on the Official Vinyl Chart after shifting 4,300 copies on wax.
The six-piece, who formed at Cambridge University, took their loss in good spirits – comparing the week-long competition to 1995’s “battle of Britpop”, when Blur’s Country House beat Oasis’s Roll With It to number one.
“It was Blur vs Oasis, and we were Oasis,” they wrote on Twitter, next to a picture of them sharing a beer at a picnic table. Took it closer than we had any right to. Will be paying back the IOUs well into our forties but… what a ride. Love you all.”
Overall an absolutely fantastic achievement for a debut record! Everyone here at Nice Swan is extremely proud of all that you have achieved over the last few years.
NSWNi002: Courting – David Byrne’s Badside
Liverpool-based four piece, Courting are the latest new act to emerge from the city steeped in such fantastic and diverse musical heritage. The band, who write and rehearse in the basement of a city restaurant, find much support and inspiration from the creative melting pot of Merseyside, and with fellow locals The Mysterines making waves, this could be the dawn for another exciting wave of scouse bands.
Courting draw influences from the likes of Parquet Courts, Pavement and LCD Soundsystem, yet maintain a very British identity. Alongside the likes of Sports Team, they’re fuelling the long-awaited Britpop revival we’re seeing, as evident in ‘David Byrnes Badside’ – showcasing all the characteristics of the genre, and announcing the emergence of Liverpool’s most exciting new band. Recorded live with Robert Whitley at Whitewood Studios in their hometown, the song is classic British storytelling at its best; cheeky, fun and witty lyrics laced with social commentary are complemented by the essence of the Britpop sound – energetic, catchy and raucous rock ‘n’ roll. Britpop is back and Courting are leading the charge.
Lead singer and guitarist Sean says on the single; “David Byrne’s Badside has nothing to do with the Talking Heads frontman. It’s about class tourism and the casual racism that exists in Britain today. It’s a portrait of the type of person who votes UKIP and wants to close our borders yet promises they’re not a racist. The type of person who says to buy British yet owns a Porsche. At the same time, we’re referencing and poking fun at more lighthearted aspects of British culture, like the collective rage when somebody takes the low of er on The Chase, and Twitter spats about Blur and Oasis. We also really just wanted an excuse to have a saxophone solo.”
Having supported the likes of Sports Team, FEET and Heavy Lungs, Courting have also started to build an army of local fans, with their last few shows around Liverpool selling out rapidly. Courting are now set to unleash their ferocious and witty take on britpop to be the latest in succession of this great city’s artists.
Sean Murphy-O’Neill (Guitar/Vocals/Cowbell)
Sean Thomas (Drums/Vocals)
Michael Downes (Guitar)
Sam Brennan (Bass)
NSWNi001: Jelly Cleaver – Feeling Fine
Nice Swan Records are excited to announce they are joining forces with the team from RIP Records in launching the new monthly Nice Swan Introduces… series. The two labels have discovered and released debut tracks from some of the finest talent over the past few years including Sports Team, Pip Blom, FUR, Phobophobes, Peluché, Dark Bells (Haai) & Black Manila (Mellah), Hotel Lux and many more. The series will introduce a new and exciting talent on a monthly basis – spanning genres – and present a stepping stone for acts yet to have any team around them. The first in the new series comes from South London’s Jelly Cleaver, the latest musical sensation to emerge from the exciting Jazz scene of the capital. Her new track ‘Feeling Fine’ features rapper Shunaji, a graduate of Gilles Peterson’s Future Bubblers, and Maddy Coombs, a rising saxophonist on the London Jazz Scene. It’s due for release April 28th via Nice Swan Introduces Series:
The self-taught multi-instrumentalist has been playing guitar ever since she was old enough to pick one up and with a wide range of musical influences including classical, soul, “world”, folk and experimental. Jelly’s sound has naturally headed into the musical freedom of jazz with hip-hop elements born from previous projects that included a punk band and an African drumming choir.
This is the second single from Jelly’s innovative new project Reimagined, following on from They Don’t Know released in November 2019. For this mixtape she has produced tracks based off sampling her last critically acclaimed album The Dream Jazz Manifesto (played on BBC 1xtra, Rinse FM, Worldwide FM and others). Feeling Fine samples her tune Angela, reimagining it as a chilled-out, old-school hip-hop track. Jelly, who recently won the Steve Reid InNOVAtion Award, has previously been called “the next artist to make an impact on the London Jazz Scene” by Supreme Standards and been compared to Moses Boyd, Esperanza Spalding and Hiatus Kayote, but this mixtape sees a radical departure from her jazz/DIY roots and her first strong statement as a producer and beatmaker. The project has been funded by Help Musicians Do It Differently Fund, and the full mixtape is due for release in May 2020.
‘Feeling Fine’ is a woozy track about the good times, dreaming about summer days and being your best self. Her two collaborators definitely share in this vibe. Having met as part of the house band for a jam session at Brainchild Festival several years back, Jelly and Vanessa Saul (artist name Shunaji) became good mates and frequent collaborators, with Jelly supporting Shunaji for her Blue Melon EP release and featuring on a track from her upcoming EP. Jelly knew Maddy Coombs though Tomorrow’s Warriors, the jazz education organisation credited by many for creating the current London jazz scene, with alumni including Ezra Collective, Moses Boyd, Shabaka Hutchings, Nerija and Nubya Garcia.
Hotel Lux release debut EP ‘Barstool Preaching’ via Nice Swan Records
Hotel Lux share their debut EP ‘Barstool Preaching’ via Nice Swan Records. Following an aptly timed UK and France tour in February which saw the band pack out the likes of The Waiting Room & The Windmill, London and L’Olympic Cafe, Paris, the five piece release their debut EP along with the news of a November run of live shows.
Formed on the south coast in Portsmouth, frontman Lewis Duffin moved to London alongside pals Sam Coburn, Jake Sewell, Craig MacVicar & Cam Sims to form Hotel Lux. Since then the band have gone on to release a string of singles which have developed and defined an unmistakable sound, personality and feeling. Released via London’s Nice Swan Records (Sports Team, Pip Blom, Fur), ‘Barstool Preaching’ features the self reflective single ‘Tabloid Newspaper’ which gained critical acclaim from the likes of Radio 1’s Annie Mac as she named the band as one of her ‘New Names’. Further attention followed on the radio with the likes of Steve Lamacq (6Music), Huw Stephens (Radio 1), John Kennedy (Radio X) and Matt Wilkinson (Beats1) all giving the track regular spins.
“Sizzling “pub rock” gems” – DIY
Hello and welcome to DIY’s introducing feature, Get To Know… getting you a little bit closer to the buzziest new acts that have been catching our eye as of late, and working out what makes them tick.
Recently we’ve met Nice Swan record newbie Phil Madeley, LA-based collective Peach Tree Rascals, experimental artists GLOWS, Aussie alt-rockers Loose Fit, and now we’re introducing you to gritty five-piece Hotel Lux.
Raised in Portsmouth and now a solid staple of the ever-blossoming South London scene, the group create sizzling “pub rock” gems, blending indie grooves with darkly intense lyricism, and are currently gearing up to release their debut EP ‘Barstool Preaching’ on 24th April.
Sharing the animated vid for recently released stomper ‘Eddie’s Gaff’ today, created by the band’s own Cam Sims, he explains, “The video for ‘Eddie’s Gaff’ is the result of boredom during the COVID-19 lockdown. It features stuff that we all took for granted a few weeks back.”
We caught up with them to find out a lil’ bit more about what makes them tick.
Describe your music to us in the form of a Tinder bio.
Like to try a variety of things, average around 3 minutes.
What’s your earliest musical memory?
Madness – Baggy Trousers. Used to think the lyrics were jokes as a kid. Still reckon it’s the only song bar our own (and even that’s debatable) that I know word for word.
Who were some artists that inspired you when you were just starting out (and why)?
Just all the bands that we loved collectively. I remember making a playlist on Spotify titled ‘London Band’ when we decided we were gonna give Lux a go when we moved up to London. Can’t recall exactly what was on it but I know there would’ve been a bit of Dr.Feelgood, a bit of the Blockheads, the Stranglers, Specials blah blah blah. To be honest, the list of bands all five of us can agree on is very slim. Maybe those four were the only four.
You’re from Portsmouth! What do you think of the music scene there at the moment?
I’ll be honest, I don’t know enough about what’s going on there to answer that question. There’s a real lack of venues in Pompey which makes it hard for a scene to really thrive. It’s in dire need of a decent 100 cap to really push something there – it’s a big uni city so there’s room for a good scene à la Bristol, Brighton etc. As much as it pains me to say that other city up the M27 looks better at the minute but that’s because they’ve got the venues. Southampton, that is.
Are there any other artists breaking through at the same time that you take inspiration from?
I wouldn’t say that there’s anyone about that we’re taken inspiration from directly but it’s inspirational to see those in the circles around you doing well for themselves. Fair play to Sorry for releasing the album of the decade in its opening year though.
Who would be your dream collaborator?
Damon Albarn full stop.
Musically or otherwise, what are you most looking forward to this year?
In the current climate I’m just looking forward to seeing the pals for a pint again. Nothing more, nothing less.
If people could take away one thing from your music, what would it be?
That ‘any fucker can do it’ mantra ain’t a myth.
As promised every few weeks we are refreshing this humble playlist purely for your aural pleasure. Best of the best only!
We’ve decided to add a load of our new discoveries that have been recently released from some amazing acts such as Cabbage, Hotel Lux, Cable Ties, Home Counties, The Lounge Society, The Homesick, Ikebe Shakedown, Sports Team & many more….
Brummy troubadour Phil Madeley has revealed a brand new creepy video for his single ’21st Century Witch Hunt’. The folksy alternative tune was released back in November on cult label Nice Swan.
Medieval tropes mingle with American pilgrim vibes for a visual filled with bandages, braces, string and damp henley shirts. We’d definitely rate it a PG for its mild threat and seriously sinister groups of people toting burning torches.
There’s exorcism in there, wide-eyed white people sinking to their knees to pray, candelabras. You get the gist. See it here:
The song, meanwhile is a bit like if Catfish and the Bottlemen did a spaghetti western.
On the tune, Madeley said:
“21st Century Witch Hunt is inspired by the notion that in spite of what you believe in or stand for, you will be persecuted regardless…In one way its really about the unfathomable standard to which we have to conduct ourselves to escape this. And the narrative of the song stems from my own perspective of eventual reclusiveness due to this fear. Ultimately there are no winners in this climate of persecution. We are all subject to the 21st Century Witch Hunt.”
An EP titled 21st Century Witch Hunt arrives later this year on Nice Swan records.