Post Punk update ft. Soup!, KEG, Teleforme & more!
Manchester's sparky post-punk quintet Soup! emerged in the middle of last year with their debut single '6=3'. It was rough around the edges in a charming way and was built on funk infused guitar/bass lines that intertwined to create a straight faced danceability similar to Yard Act.
They carried forward this form until the back end of the year but continued to develop their sound with two new tracks. ‘Acrobat’ offered a richer and denser tone likely down to more advanced production. The guitars almost become percussive, working in tandem with the regular dings of the cowbell to pepper the track with little moments of brightness. Meanwhile, the vocals attack with a dead pan swagger that is captivating and drags you into the strangely euphoric rhythm of the song. 'Self Care' brought a nice balance, shifting between riff-driven Garage Rock and more intricate base and drum patterns that build a complex soundscape.
Now, they are back with their first release of 2022, 'Only Time'. This track is their most vibrant to date, capturing the weird and wonderful abstract pattern of the single's artwork. It instantly radiates an infectious funkability with its up-tempo beat and clean guitar riffs. Spaced out synth notes are what give the song its lushes flavour as they ring around with a bright resonance. The vocals still land with an intentional monotony at times and it is this contrast between sunken-eyed vocal charisma and upbeat, danceable instrumentals that gives 'Only Time' its distinctive character. A great new addition to their discography.
If this new release from Soup! is sounding a bit too upbeat for your current mood then look no further than the gloomy depths of 'Digging', the new EP from Nothingheads. The title, and opening, track emerges with a gritty riff that is dangerously hypnotic before the vocals jump in, fractured and unforgiving. That is a definite Psych Rock energy running throughout as all elements blend together in a dizzying ball of fuzzy tones in the biggest moments. It is intentionally scrappy at times and always in-your-face. It's a bold statement of an opening. Track number two, 'Mdish', takes on a slightly more abstract turn reminiscent of Cabbage as the haunting, punk preacher tones warble over an abrasive back and forth between guitars.
The three track EP comes to a finale with 'Jukebox'. It is a song that fully explores the gloomy chasm in which their music resides and best demonstrates their technical proficiency. It entices you with its hard Rock riff and dance Punk rhythm before culminating in a hectic final minute of cutting solos, tight guitar rolls and powerful vocal shouts that drown in a wave of angsty distortion. A really immersive experience that you may just get lost in.
The new Southend outfit Teleforme take a more considered approach to Post Punk. Their debut single 'Drowning' was released at the end of last year and immediately laid down the blueprint for their distinctive style. A rolling pattern that sits right on the edge of electro and acoustic tones, acts as a base for a swath of washy guitars to flood the scene. The vocal style is perhaps what stands these guys apart from most of their peers in the new Post-Punk genre. It is is delivered in long, drawn out expressions that are dripped in a humble melancholia reminiscent of The Smiths. This provides an almost gothic undercurrent throughout.
Although things have been slightly quiet in 2022, their follow up single 'Tired' is just around the corner. Set for release on June 10th, the new single has a more obvious riff to it that drives it forward. It rumbles along in a manner that can be heard throughout the recent Fontaines D.C. album 'Skinty Fia'. The lyrics are more poignant here than in their previous release too. The band describe the track as "a call to arms, a commentary of current times; doused in dismay at political ineptitude and greed" and this comes through both in literal lyrics and sonic aesthetics. Elements of despair, hope, frustration and bliss all combine to create an anthemic single full of complex emotion.
It's hard not to be instantly taken aback by the barrage of complex instrumentation that KEG throw out at you. Their debut EP last year made them one of the most exciting new Post-Punk groups. It was a rampant bass led track with fast rolling instrumentals and erratic vocal flurries. The scratchy guitar tone and angst of the vocals made a statement from the off as to what kind of band KEG would turn out to be.
Made up of seven members, the Brighton collective have the tools to create an insanely complex and intricate sound. The single 'Presidential Walk' sees them use this ability to full effect. The track bursts out at a blistering pace with the frantic drum roll paving the way for a fast paced conglomeration of instrumentals that bend and tangle together in a similar vibe to the new Shame record. The horn sounds add a real depth of character to the track adding a level of tension at times and with all this combined a hectic atmosphere ensues.
They are now back with their new single 'Kids' and it is bright and wacky as you'd expect. The cowbell pops out of the dense mixture and carries a bright rhythm throughout whole the vocals are delivered with a somewhat erratic and angsty energy that jump right out of the speaker. The final moments are a high-octane of of vocal shouts, blowing horns and palpable ecstasy. Their infectious live energy is translated to a tee in this new single and keeps their momentum rolling as their following grows.
Bristol outfit DRAG also like to in the retro aesthetics of New Wave, operating in the more electronic influenced, Joy Division esc, corners of Post-Punk. Self described as "cloured in goths" it only takes one glance at their appearance to see the eclectic vibrant attitude that they radiate. They take gothic undertones and then twist them to their liking, blending a cool darkness with a expressionistic splash of colourful sound. Their first single 'Dracula' was a punchy debut that set up their knack for combining unapologetic nostalgia with slick modernism. Now, their follow up, 'SOPHIE', is on its way and it is bigger and bolder.
The anthemic echoed drum tone and pulsating electro vibrations create a performative drama that screams of the 80s. The deep vocal resonance demands attention from the first line and continues to lead you through an entrancing sonic journey as endless layers of synth textures swirl around you. This may not be a track that leaves a specific melody tumbling around your head all day, yet the almost otherwordly atmospherics with captivate you from start to finish. It is the drama, the flamboyance and the power of this new track that makes it fit for any stage. A really exciting showcase for what DRAG could have to come.