Tuesday 28 February 2023

Spiral XP - It's Been A While

No question Spiral XP have the first two Ride EPs and Whirlpool by Chapterhouse. Deja Vu (maybe that's tongue-in-cheek self-referential) is a pure vortex of crashing guitars, melodious mayhem and a thunderous call to the indie disco dancefloor. I can hear the riotous uproar of early Dinosaur Jr in there as well.

Free Thinking and The Hunger are more adventurous, hinting at a working knowledge of My Bloody Valentine's Soon - glide guitar, disorientating rhythm and ghostly atmosphere.

There's a lot of shoegaze revival (at least no one's using 'nu gaze' anymore) and most of it's pedestrian retreads of faded songs. Spiral XP, though, have stuck fireworks under old sounds and sent them into the stratosphere. Definitely ones to watch. My £5 says Sonic Cathedral are preparing an album deal for summer 2023.

Monday 20 February 2023

Dwaal Troupe - Lucky Dog

The Chicago wing of the Elephant 6 fan club? Maybe - they share Masters of the Hemisphere's skewed pop, Apples in Stereo's narcotic bliss and Elf Power's hazy hypnosis.

But there's also anti-folk friction here - think Kimya Dawson or Adam Green solo, rich psych desolation and romantic solitude. Dwaal is Afrikaans for "a dreamy, dazed, absent-minded, or befuddled state" (thanks, Google), so full marks for self-awareness and full marks also for the brass section.

Dwaal Troupe have an especially strong knack of writing tender ballads, revealing greater depths to the all-out pop assault and suggesting there's even better and brighter things to come.

Saturday 18 February 2023


The talk-singing reminds me of Sue Tompkins' (Life Without Buildings) antsy defiance, matched by fidgety post-punk guitars and taut sprung bass like the the first two Go-Betweens albums. You know all the other reference points - Talking Heads, The Fall and The Raincoats if you're old; Dry Cleaning, Black Country, New Road, and Display Homes if you're still paying off your student loan.

So others do it and others have done it, but Dancer are special. And not just because they rhyme "couple of glasses" with "catharsis" or have a song called Chris Whitty's Inner World. Don't ask me to explain their alchemy. Sometimes - rarely, that's the point - a band turns up, traps lightning in a jar and leaves you gaping.

All of Dancer are in other bands who you, being cooler than me, already know everything about. You'll surely agree, though, that they might just as well have a song called We're Better Than Other Bands And You Know It. They've given themselves the search engine-proof name Dancer with a self-titled release. No matter. I'm certain Domino and Rough Trade have their chequebooks open in the first round of a bidding war. Dancer are, after all, the best new band in Britain.