Wednesday 29 March 2017

Sullivan & Gold - Guatamala

The first album by Sullivan & Gold, "For Foes", was well received on its release, being nominated for the Northern Ireland Music Prize and spawning great songs like "Jigsaws". Since then, Sullivan & Gold has gone from being a duo to being the solo project of Ben Robinson, who has now left the North Coast to relocate to Durham. He's spent some time in between travelling to places a far flung as Uganda, and Guatemala, the latter of which has inspired his first single in quite a while.

"Guatemala" is a song that twists the personal and the political into one package, with its soaring strings and tender vocals underpinning a song filled with both pain and hope. It's a strong song with a soaring melody, and quite possibly the strongest single that Sullivan & Gold has given us to date. A wonderful return.

"Guatemala" is out now, with an album to follow later in the year.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Banfi - Rosedale House

Three months in to 2017, and we at The Metaphorical Boat have already enjoyed what will be our favourite gig of the year - Bear's Den at the Limelight in Belfast. A fantastic mix of their older folksy songs and their newer, more synth-pop inflected tunes, alongside some moments which you wouldn't get at any other gig, such as when the entire band came off stage to perform "Isaac" completely unplugged in the middle of the crowd. Plus, "Auld Wives", this blog's favourite song of 2016, nearly reduced us to tears, something that we don't usually allow to happen to ourselves in public places.

The support act were pretty decent as well, a London based trio who go by the name of Banfi. We enjoyed their set, with two songs in particular standing out. The first one was "June", a catchy as heck song that reminded us quite a bit of The Police in places. Alas, that song hasn't been released as a single, but the second song that caught our attention, the song they closed their set with, has.

That song is "Rosedale House", a driving piston of a song in the mold of Bruce Springsteen, or Ten Fé at their more rocky. The band are currently signed to Communion Records, the same as their tour buddies Bear's Den, so should expect to hear more from them over the next few months.

"Rosedale House" is out now.

Sunday 19 March 2017

Little Lapin - Wake Up With The Sun

Cornwall based singer-songwriter Lucy Hill, aka Little Lapin has picked up quite a bit of love across several different releases, picking up airtime on 6music, Amazing Radio, and getting played on Radio 2 by Bob Harris. She has a new album coming out next month, and one of the tracks featured within has really tickled our fancy.

"Wake Up With The Sun" is the kind of folk-tinged music that we absolutely love, a Joni Mitchell-esque track that mixes the beauty in Lucy's voice with the bright and optimistic lyrics to great effect, like a folk version of "Walking On Sunshine" with an earworm activating melody.

"Wake Up With The Sun" is the title track to Little Lapin's 3rd studio album, which is released on 14th April.

Saturday 18 March 2017

Hot Shorts - metaphor for [something]

We haven't written about Manchester band Hot Shorts since the release of their "Web Design" E.P three years ago. Although they have been keeping themselves busy, releasing an album near the end of 2016, and recording sessions on 6music for Mark Riley.

They've also just released a new single, which as good a time as ever to venture back into their world. "metaphor for [something]" sees the band mix Guided By Voices-esque slacker-rock with sardonic, stream of consciousness lyrics, tackling issues such as hair loss, teeth pulling, and trying to make money from blogging (the latter of which is something we would know absolutely nothing about). It's a great, tickling song of scuzzy loveliness.

"Metaphor for [something]" is available as a postcard single through Art Is Hard Records.

Monday 13 March 2017

WASPS - Future Endeavors

The members of Belfast duo WASPS (not to be confused with the similarly monikered American metal band) decided to form a band together when Danny McClelland (ex-Born Only Yesterday) and Charlie Cairns (formerly of Lost Avenue) realised that they both had tattoos of And So I Watch You From Afar, which anyone who has ever watched Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny can tell you is the only way you are allowed to start a rock band.

They created an early buzz* with the single "Godzilla Is Dead", and they are following it up with "Future Endeavours", and from the sounds of it, they do wear the influences on their sleeves, both literally and metaphorically. There's the DNA of ASIWYFA throughout the song, with its intricate guitar playing and ever-shifting rhythms and time signatures, although its impassioned, emo vocals do allow it to be a good entry point for people who may find other math-rock to be a bit too inaccessible for them. It's a great song from a band whose music has a real sting** to it.

"Future Endeavours" is released on March 17th.

*I am not sorry. I am not sorry in the slightest. 
**I apologize for nothing.

Saturday 11 March 2017

The Good Water - Mansaid

It was the opening rhyming couplet that really drew us in to "Mansaid", the latest single from Birmingham duo The Good Water. After hearing it for the first time, "Now is the time to be intelligent, that's what the man said to his elephant", we found ourselves chuckling internally at its unexpectedness. It's a great blues-rock song, underpinned by a simple yet effective guitar riff, wryfully humorous lyrics, and the occasional slip into psychedelic moments.

"Mansaid" is out now.

Friday 10 March 2017

Confidence Man - Bubblegum

Normally, when we write about new songs and bands that we like on The Metaphorical Boat, we very much hope to see the band do very well, very quickly, and that the band in question end up becoming a much bigger deal over the coming months. However, for our own selfish reasons, there is a reason why we don't want band responsible for the song we are writing about today to become massive, at least for the next few months or so.

We'll get on to that later, but for now it's time to introduce to you the Australian four-piece Confidence Man. They've already captured hearts Down Under, being named a One To Watch by Triple J off the back of their single "Boyfriend (Repeat)". However, it is their latest single "Bubblegum", which came to our attention through our friend at Breaking More Waves, which has got us really excited indeed.

Why? Because it the kind of bonkers, hyperactive, cut & paste pop that we absolutely love to pieces. As well as calling to mind artists mentioned elsewhere, like The Go! Team, and Deee-Lite (it's been called by some as a modern-day updating of "Groove Is In The Heart), it also reminds us very much of The Asteroids Galaxy Tour in how its constituent parts slip and slide out as the song progresses. We are also convinced that the song's chorus samples "Hello" by fellow Antipodeans The Cat Empire, another pop song that we really love, although this is mere speculation on our part. It's a joyously fun song, and one that stands a fairly strong chance at being our #1 song come the close of 2017. We very rarely listen to songs on repeat, but "Bubblegum" is a very welcome exception.

So in spite of our love of "Bubblegum", why do we not want to see Confidence Man to hit the stratosphere in the short term? Simple - they're playing The Great Escape this year, and given how incredibly infectious their sound is, we're worried that if they get too big too soon, then we won't be able to get in to see them in Brighton in May. A bit selfish, we know, but when you've got a sound as fun as this, you really want to see it at the earliest possibly opportunity. So Confidence Man, if you do intend to becoming the biggest band in the world, could you possibly wait until around June time, pretty please? If you continue to grace us with boppers like "Bubblegum", there's a great chance it could happen.

"Bubblegum" is out now on Heavenly Recordings (the home of St Etienne & Hooton Tennis Club, among others)

Thursday 9 March 2017

Public Service Broadcasting - Progress

We have been fans of Public Service Broadcasting almost as long as this blog has been running, ever since we heard the multicoloured sounds of "Roygbiv" five years ago. Famed for their re-purposing of old vocal samples from public information films, the band have taken a somewhat niche concept and become a big deal off the back of it, with two albums that smashed right in to the albums chart (including one album, "The Race For Space", which has been certified Silver by the BPI), and selling out Brixton Academy. It's been a pleasure at The Metaphorical Boat watching the band going from humble beginnings into the stratosphere, and it has been a real pleasure to be able to write about it every step of the way.

The band are now gearing up for the release of their third album, which for the first time sees them expand into a trio, with JF Abraham joining the original core line-up of J Willgoose Esq. and Wrigglesworth (the latter of whom we really should have entered into our auto-correct by now). The first single to be taken from the album is "Progress", a song that for the first time in a PSB single, features a guest vocalist, with the main vocal hook being provided by Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura (although this isn't the first PSB track to feature guest vocals, with "Valentina" from their previous album featuring Smoke Fairies).

As of yet, it is not clear what the theme is for the band's 3rd record, as the band claim that it is a "closely guarded secret", although based on "Progress", we have three potential theories.

1. This is going to be an album about Public Service Broadcasting - this is the least likely of our theories, but we're going to run with it anyway. The use of samples in "Progress" could be interpreted as being an updating of the operating statement from their first album track "Theme From PSB". Also, the use of the sample stating "These men look the same as they have always looked...but before your eyes they are changing" could be interpreted as a statement introducing JF Abraham as a full-time member to the band. However, as the band don't strike me as the sorts who would be into navel-gazing, this is very unlikely to be an album all about themselves.

2. The album is going to be about the assembly line, manufacturing, and/or Henry Ford - The song has a somewhat mechanical feel to it, with the use of vocoders leading to some comparisons to Kraftwerk, and given that the samples seem to reference the creation of machines, the idea that the album is centred around manufacturing seems to take shape.

Furthermore, as someone pointed out on Twitter earlier this week, "Why I Believe In Progress" is the title of a book by the forefather of the assembly line, Henry Ford, this theory gets a little bit stronger. We could even read into the colour of the single sleeve for the song and take it as a reference to the famous misquote from Ford about only selling cars that were black, but then we're probably taking this deeper than we intended it to go.

3. The album is going to be a political one - although Public Service Broadcasting's music to date hasn't been overtly political in tone, in the past year the band have been much more vocal about their own political leanings. As well as citing the Manic Street Preachers as an influence, the band recently played a gig for the Corbyn-affiliated People's Assembly, and J Willgoose has been a lot more vocal on Twitter on his own political leanings (and woe betide anyone who tries to tell him that musicians should shut up about politics). Giving the title has echoes calls to mind "progressiveness", perhaps this album could be an overview about the artist's political beliefs, or perhaps an album about the history of progressive politics, which given the current upheaval on the world stage, would make this quite timely.

Tangentially, before this track was announced, we had a feeling that the album would be about the European Union, although given that this track doesn't give any indication of this, German musical influences aside, we're going to bury this theory for the time being.

But whatever the third album happens to be about, we're just glad to see Public Service Broadcasting back, and we are confident we are going to really love what they have to offer.

"Progress" has an impact date of 5th May.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Owen Denvir - You Don't Want To Love Me

It's been a few months since we last talked about Belfast singer-songwriter Owen Denvir following the release of his "Green Light" single. As well as continuing to please local crowds with his live performances, he also enjoy a mini-blitz of media attention when a music video he made of himself playing a mash-up of Coldplay songs went viral after the band themselves tweeted about it.

Owen recently released a music video E.P, "Motion Picture Soundtrack", with each song on the record being accompanied by a live video of the track. The E.P seems to have gone down well, and one track in particular has been so well received that it has been promoted to full single status. "You Don't Want To Love Me" has been described as his tribute to "Eleanor Rigby", and you can hear why, with strings being brought to the forefront of an Owen Denvir single for the first time. It's a really lovely, heart-tugger of a song, and the triplicate of violas really give it that extra level of pathos.

"You Don't Want To Love Me" is released as a single on 10th March.