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BOOT WATCH NOVEMBER 2021: New music from BLAB, Cage Park & Harvey Jay Dodgson
Even if you're not a fan of the cold and wet UK Autumn weather you can't deny that it is the peak time for new music! New albums from IDLES, Pip Blom, Zuzu and Courtney Barnett this week have given us a whole lot of new music to digest but there might be a few artists that have slipped under your radar. So, here are our three artist picks to check out this month. Enjoy!
As the name suggests, the music of Essex girl BLAB is driven by her thickly accented and pleasantly arrogant vocal persona. She gained attention at the start of the year with her punchy rock single 'Casual Sex' and has since produced a stream of tracks all embossed with the same vibrant pink artwork. The latest of these, 'Gemini', leans more on the bedroom-pop side of things and has the same introspective atmosphere that is comparable to the likes of Phoebe Green. It is a very textural track that wraps dreamy guitar tones around the verses to build a spaced out sound. These guitar melodies are subtle but after the chorus they get a brief solo moment in the limelight and then you can fully appreciate what they add to the track. Lyrically, BLAB is an extremely modern project with constant references to 2021 culture, no more so than in 'Gemini' where she states "you're such a Gemini" with an almost sonic roll of the eyes.
Although this is a much more lo-fi release than her earliest singles like 'R.I.P' it still has moments of danceworthy energy. For the chorus the rolling drums give a good intensity and the guitar gains a little more grit. With the bedroom pop tones of the new track contrasting the viscous in-your-face attitude that resides in some of her other tracks we can see the versatility that BLAB has in her locker. Let's hope there's more to come in the new year!
9am cans of Red Stripe, shorts regardless of weather, teenagers off their face and lots and lots of mud! This is the blissful (to some) image of UK festival life that Post-Punk outfit Cage Park convey in their latest single. The track, aptly named 'MUD', offers lyrics that summarize those bittersweet festival days when you are "standing in the rain" and your "ankles start to ache" but they are still "memories built to last". It a drudgey yet whole heartedly euphoric experience that the track replicates sonically.
The big opening drums stabs make way for quite a Grungy atmosphere with a rolling riff that has dark undertones and provides a platform for the warbling vocals that are reminiscent of modern Post-Punk acts like Black Country, New Road. The next move is a pleasant surprise as a new female vocal takes the reigns and provides a lovely contrast in pitch. The actual flow of the vocals is really satisfying itself, managing to avoid conforming to the same formulaic sentence structure throughout. The chorus maintains the same monotone Grungy guitar but reinforces it with a hugely energetic drum sound and a cutting vocal line as both vocalists join forces. Together these elements create an atmosphere that is worthy of the joyous festival days the song is written about. One of the best newcomers on the Post-Punk train, Cage Park certainly have a distinctive edge. Whether that is the two contrasting vocals or the fun-hearted spirit of their lyrical content they are definitely one to watch in the coming months.
Harvey Jay Dodgson
At just 19, Portsmouth based singer-songwriter Harvey Jay Dodgson has already received a wide range of national recognition, featuring on the BT Sport playlist and earning Clash Magazine's Track of the Day with his new single 'Caroline'. Although you'll be able to find the stripped-back fast-paced sounds of his 2019 release 'Indigo' on streaming platforms he is billing 'Caroline' as his official entrance onto the scene and you can easily see why it has gained all this attention.
The track has a youthful swagger that is comparable to the steady Rock arrogance of The Skinner Brothers. Harvey's vocals dominate the early verse with their rich tone whilst the instrumentals are simply made up of pounding toms and a rumbling deep guitar that create a marching feel. Elements of Sam Fender can be heard in the build up to the chorus as he becomes more expressive and the subtle backing vocals build a brighter atmosphere. Then, the chorus catches you completely off guard! The steady groove is replaced by a more up-tempo bouncing rhythm that offers an energetic Indie mosh pit atmosphere to contrast the earlier thoughtfulness. Although the next verse returns to the original tempo, the energy of the chorus is carried forward as Harvey begins to spit out a string of tightly wrapped vocals. The flow and phonetics are quick and direct and you can just imagine a lively crowd trying, but perhaps struggling, to recite the lyrical entanglement back in time. It is perhaps this verse that makes this track what it is. It shows a true desire to inject energy and spirit into his music and it has built up a strong anticipation for what he can produce next.
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