S'sotD - Lights And Lines, Summer Singles Series

You lucky people! Not just one but FIVE songs of the day today, courtesy of those lovely folks over at Lights And Lines record label. Susan Omand had a sneak preview of all of them and, now, so can you...

Yes, that's right, the wonderful Lights and Lines are releasing a series of singles over the summer [in what is imaginatively being called the Summer Singles Series - Ed] from their eclectic roster of independent musicians to celebrate their first anniversary as a music collective and independent record label. There'll also be a part 2 announced shortly, and all of the singles will be available as a collection on CD and/or Download as a special one-off anniversary label sampler this autumn. 

The first five tracks are listed below, with a very familiar name to us here at AlbieMedia at the top of the list. I've included what the record company said about each track too, in italics [including news of a very muso competition - Ed], and you should be able to listen to each track via the Bandcamp link before you get to my comments, after which you can tell me if I'm talking rubbish [ooh that's polite - Ed] or not. First up then is...

This is Gozer Goodspeed... but not as you know it!

Gozer is always moving forward, developing his distinct sound, and experimenting. Full Tilt Revival is the first Gozer Goodspeed track to feature him exclusively playing slide guitar. It's also the first 'full band' release recorded entirely at Gozer's home studio, with him playing all of the instruments.

Fans will be pleased to hear that Gozer's contemporary and soulful mix of Blues and Folk is still ever present, rooted firmly in storytelling and remodelled for 2022 with added bravura style.

We've also included the song Gozer and GRIM17 did together for our charity compilation last year as a B-Side, Things That You Know You Can't Say Aloud.

If you're a long-time reader of AlbieMedia, you'll know that we've been following the rise and rise of Mr Goodspeed for many years now and the opening statement above is correct... wow, this is different! Gone is the acoustic folk rock feel to be replaced by a syncopated, multi-layered, rhythmically complex but very laid back feel that brings a Beach Boys vibe to the usual Nashville blues sound we know and love. I've listened to it several times now and, once the shock of the new has worn off, it's definitely a grower and I can see it being a festival favourite.

The 3rd single from Torrid (A Love Affair)'s heavy grunge debut album Poems From Mars is the beautiful (see what I did there) live acoustic track, I Can't Be Beautiful. Full of Alice In Chains Unplugged vibes this track was actually recorded live in studio garden one hot summers day last year.

There'll also be a video ready for the release which we'll share when it's ready! AND as a special treat the band recently recorded a live version of the Portishead song Glory Box which we've included as a B-Side.

Oh, this really is beautiful. By the fourth acoustic chord in the intro I was already smiling as the backing did exactly what I wanted it to - that unresolved grunginess FTW. Then you add in an unexpected vocal, with lovely harmonies and a real folky feel, and it lifts way above the ordinary. I'm going to dig out their album now, off the back of listening to this.

Fans familiar with his back catalogue will know that there are many sides to GRIM17 - he is far from 1 dimensional. With Bitter Shine we are served up a guitar driven alternative track with a post-rock feel. There's even a guitar solo, but not as you might expect!

Fear not though, we aren't ripping up the rule book completely. GRIM17's trademark touches are all over this with a glitchy industrial drum beat, a poetic sadness in the lyrics, and multi-layered vocals that showcase his incredible range.

Here's what GRIM17 had to say about the track: "You know, Erin (Ms. 17) asked me what Bitter Shine was about earlier today. I had no answer for her. It was okay, though, she only asked because she said, "rather than dealing with your emotions you just let them build up until you write a song about it and you consider that a decent alternative to therapy"

As part of the release we recently shared the track stems as part of a remix competition! We're asking independent musicians everywhere to make either a #BitterGrimRemix or a #ShineGrimRemix of the song. All the submissions will be added to the Bandcamp page as a collection of B-Sides for the track! And we'll pick some favourites and and give out some cool prizes. You can find out more about the remix competition HERE.

Well, dear reader, you're welcome indeed. [that's Bitte Schön not Bitter Shine - Ed]. I must admit, I've been a low-key fan of Grim17's work for a few months now and this, for me, is one of the best things he's ever recorded. It really gets under your skin in a wonderfully disturbing way, that "grunge vs mosquito" sound of the guitar is stunning and I'm a little bit in love with the vocal, with hypnotic self-harmonies that walk an incredible but careful line of being near disharmonic. When the beat drops, as the heavy guitar and that surprisingly proggy organ sound kicks in, it's just astounding. 

Give me drums... Give me bass... Setting up some... Track and trace...

A perfect introduction to South London's most prominent post-punk poets Crushed By Pimps, the popular track Pimps Run Free is being re-released this summer with a brand new video.

Pimps Run Free picks up the threads of the general dissonance and chaos of society explored in the debut album, bringing them up to date in the context of the pandemic. A mix of poetic nuance and anger with layers of satire and a whole load of NOISE really help hit the nail on the head with this one...

In guitarist Ben's own words: “Pimps run free is a song about the pestilence virus times. Pimps will continue to run free regardless of pestilence virus times.”

Gird your loins for this one as there's no holding back, right from the off. Having pogo'd through punk the first time round, this is very redolent of the early days of that scene and bands like The Stranglers. The "noise" is on the right side of musicality for me, reminding me of early seventies glam rock and the lyrics, while beautifully intelligible, still manage to convey an anger like the performance poetry of John Cooper Clarke.

From the mountains and isolation of the Isle of Skye...

This is Scottish singer/songwriter Shaun Panda Nicolson's debut release, and a preview of the upcoming album which will be out on the label in the near future. I think you will be pleasantly surprised and slightly stunned by the simple beauty of this track!

Panda's music is filled with beautiful indie-folk vibes that give a nod to traditional music and add a modern twist. His beautiful voice is filled with effortlessly rolled R's and broad Scottish isles intonations, all softly packaged up in rich harmonies and outstanding melody.

Plus we've asked GRIM17 to work his magic and give us an alternative version of the song... and it's very different! A cool B-Side to give you something interesting and special for this unique release.

Everything Ends is a superb way to round out this first part of the Summer Singles Series. It's always wonderful for me to hear an excellent Western Isles voice (Shaun is from Skye from what I can find out) sing a cappella and this track proves what a stunning singer Shaun really is. It is a gorgeous wee song, with a lyricism that reminds me of Runrig and a musical lilt that pulls heather with the best of the Scottish traditional scene [this is a compliment - Ed], and I confidently predict, if this is a sample, that Shaun and his upcoming debut album, like so many other Scottish artists before him, will be a huge hit on the festival circuits as well as garnering lots of radio play with this as a single. Everything Ends is my favourite track of the lot and one that I'll be raving about to all my friends (and whoever else is listening) over the summer.

So yes, a very eclectic mix of songs and artists in this first batch and it's a really clever way to showcase all the talent involved. It has given me several new names to look out for, as well as new output by old favourites to follow up on, and makes me excited for the future of independent music in the hands of small labels like Lights and Lines.

All of the singles are available as pre-orders on the Lights and Lines Bandcamp page HERE and will be released on all platforms on their respective release dates.

Images - Lights & Lines
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