New Music Roundup, 31 August – Featuring Frank Turner, Family of the Year & Beach House

The last two months have been an absolute whirlwind of amazing releases, stellar live performances and exciting comebacks. This means that, as we reluctantly leave the sun and head for rain, things are going to start getting drearier. That’s why it’s always important to look on the bright side of the moody weather – there’s going to club tours in abundance, exciting new albums every week, and even the first announcements for 2016’s festival season. As we slowly but surely depart what’s been a fantastic summer, it’s time to take one last look at what the sunny season has produced musically. Read on for more.

Our Track of the Week comes courtesy of folk/punk troubadour Frank Turner, who recently put out the exciting studio album Positive Songs for Negative People. The one song on this record which stands out more than most is Get Better, which Turner has been playing live for some time already this year. It’s a full-on anthem from the word go, with Turner’s bold proclamation of, “I got me a shovel, and I’m digging the ditch” setting the scene for the rest of the song. “I’m gonna fight for this four square feet of land like a mean old son of a bitch” he continues, the percussion pounding and the guitars colliding with one another. Turner’s vocals sound as euphoric as ever, with the song only building up intensity over its progression. Live, the song has already garnered rave reactions from fans and critics alike. On record, the song does this live energy every inch the piece of justice that it deserves. “We can get better, because we’re not dead yet” proclaims Turner powerfully during the chorus, before hints of piano and jumpy guitar lines intertwine during the breakdown. On its own, Get Better is a short-but-sharp rocker; in the context of Positive Songs…, though, Get Better connects its calm opening with the rest of the magnificent album. Turner is the voice of a whole generation who need to be heard, and he’s well on his way to breaking through his cult status and rising to the top. Stream here

Picture: Jack Parker, All Things Loud

One band who can proudly claim the award for Transformation of the Year are Sheffield quintet Bring Me the Horizon, whose upcoming record That’s the Spirit demonstrates a drastic sonic shift from brutal metalcore to stadium-ready hard rock. Lead single Drown, which was released before any sign of a record was present, encompassed an anthemic choir, whereas comeback track Happy Song utilized in-your-face riffs and sharp instrumentation. Now, the Oli Sykes-fronted group have unveiled another new track from their upcoming opus – the Linkin Park-meets-Radio 1 True Friends. An opening salvo of jangly guitars and Sykes’ scrawny vocals are followed up by a signature heavy riff, swashbuckling strings and Matt Nicholls’ pounding drums. When put up alongside previous That’s the Spirit cuts (Drown, Happy Song and the electro-heavy Throne), True Friends sounds the most reminiscent of 2013’s Sempiternal. The riffs, courtesy of Lee Malia, are sprawling and forceful, whereas the well-timed gang chants and strings hark back entirely to BMTH’s mainstream breakthrough. It might be a world away from the brutal metalcore they emerged with all those years ago, but it’s still a formula exciting enough to keep the band going until they get where they deserve to be – the dizzying heights of festival headliner status. Stream here 

On new album What Went Down, Oxfordshire outfit Foals demonstrated a polished, rawer sound which contrasted drastically from their subdued indie math of old. One song which stands out on the record is Albatross, a sprawling banger spearheaded by dusty synths, intricate guitar work and Yannis Philippakis’ demure vocal tone. “You’ve got an albatross around your neck” sings the frontman during the first verse, before the song slowly builds up thanks to the introduction of carefully placed synths, extremely precise percussion and a huge outro. One thing which Foals do great is build up their songs so much that they end up hitting a glass ceiling, subsequently smashing right through it. Albatross might not be the most straightforward song on the record, but it’s definitely one of the most haunting and brooding pieces of work which Foals have ever put out. Stream here

Dream pop duo Beach House, who hail from Baltimore, recently spent nearly three years in the dark as they hammered away at new studio release Depression Cherry. People have always come to expect the same things from the Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand two-piece, and Depression Cherry is no different. The nine-track record utilizes all of the elements which originally made Beach House so attractive, including haunting buzzsaw synths, hypnotic vocals and an overall sense of nonchalant beauty. On Sparks, Depression Cherry’s lead single, Legrand’s vocals are as hypnotic and woozy as ever, whereas the instrumentation has taken a turn for the rawer. A distorted guitar accompanies Legrand’s looped vocals as booming percussion slowly enters the frame. A hacksaw-esque synthesizer backs the whole intro up, before Legrand’s sweet voice helms the rest of the affair. It’s nothing unique or out of the ordinary, but for Beach House standards it’s definitely a step towards the more lo-fi side of things. And it sounds fantastic. Stream here

Picture: Digital Spy

Don’t be fooled by the name – vocalist Låpsley isn’t actually Scandinavian. The singer, real name Holly Fletcher, is actually a 19 year old from Liverpool, a city which isn’t exactly the first on someone’s mind when it comes to haunting electro pop. She’s still in the early stages of building up an exciting career, but she’s definitely taken a step in the right direction on RnB-tinged single Hurt Me. If you’re gonna hurt me, why don’t you hurt me a little bit more?” asks Fletcher during the chorus, with sharp percussion, haunting vocal samples and melancholic chords underpinning her downbeat vocal tone. “Never thought I’d lose my grip” sings Fletcher later on as her vocals become manipulated by grizzly effects boxes. Although we don’t know an awful lot about Låpsley just yet, we do know that she’s a star in the making. At the young age of 19, she definitely still has a long way to go, but all signs currently point to her smashing it in the near future. Stream here

Picture: The Line of Best Fit

Our final track this week is courtesy of the LA indie pop collective Family of the Year, who sprung to mainstream attention on the back of anthemic ballad Hero. The track, which was prominently used throughout blockbuster movie Boyhood, is only one snapshot of a band who actually veer down various paths on their self-titled third album (out now). Facepaint is just one of the many sun-kissed tracks which graces the record, encompassing upbeat guitars and percussion to accompany frontman Josh Keefe. “Feathers and face paint is all that she wears” sings Keefe during the chorus, his vocals harmonizing nicely with the rest of the band for the duration of the song. As the song comes to an end, it builds up in a cacophony of sun-kissed positivity which was more than made for main stages the world over. Although it’s clear that Family of the Year won’t be gracing arenas any time soon, it’s definitely evident that the quartet are just what many people need to brighten up their day. Stream here

Picture: Catie Laffoon, New York Post

Check back in two weeks for more new music. Jack Parker