Birmingham's prince of indie, Sam Lambeth, takes a look at the songs that defined February 2017.
Girlpool – ‘It Gets More Blue’
Since 2015’s acclaimed Before the World Was Big, Girlpool have grown. With drums anchoring their blissful harmonies, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad plough the impacts of adulthood into the forlorn fuzz of ‘It Gets More Blue’, which explodes into a wonderfully grungy chorus.
Paramore – ‘Hard Times’
Being a member of Paramore has enough drama to fuel an entire Netflix series, but from such tumultuous circumstances comes great songs. ‘Hard Times’ is bathed in an ‘80s sheen, kaleidoscopic rhythms and Hayley Williams’ nimble vocal work. They continue to divide opinion while offering impressively consistent tunes.
PWR BTTM – ‘Answer My Text’
One of the live circuit’s most exciting bands, PRW BTTM are also gaining rapid plaudits for their music. ‘Answer My Text’ juxtaposes a jaunty, choppy guitar riff with Ben Hopkins’ downtrodden tales of adolescent longing, teenage angst and the hellish anticipation of waiting for a reply.
Phoenix – ‘J-Boy’
If 2013’s Entertainment! was a case of gilding the lily, for comeback single ‘J-Boy’ the French electropop alchemists dial down the frenzied synths. While not as thumping as ‘1901’, ‘J-Boy’ revels in its wistfulness, a love song that allows room to breathe while propped onto a steady bass bounce.
Father John Misty – ‘Total Entertainment Forever’
Pure Comedy showed the Father’s cynicism towards twenty-first century life, and it’s précised handily throughout ‘Total Entertainment Forever’, a caveat about our dependence on technology, set to tongue-in-cheek lines like “bedding Taylor Swift every night inside the Oculus Rift.”
The Big Moon – ‘Sucker’
Originally released as the band’s first single way back in 2015, The Big Moon resurrected ‘Sucker’ for their debut album. Now tougher, more expansive but just as thrilling, ‘Sucker’ packs a punch that kick starts their record in anthemic fashion.
Diet Cig – ‘Bite Back’
With their hi-octane live shows and equally energetic records, duo Diet Cig have become one of rock’s most endearing bands. Their debut album Swear I’m Good At This was a breakneck blast of punky riffs and vitriolic lyrics, with the scuzzy ‘Bite Back’ a standout.
Splashh – ‘Waiting a Lifetime’
Aussie indie rockers Splashh originally promised a record of experimental electronica, but while that album has been scrapped, Waiting a Lifetime instead fine-tunes their thumping fuzz. The title track is a taut, contemplative chug pocked with pulsating keyboard lines and a ragged guitar riff.
Anteros – ‘Cherry Drop’
With support slots with dancefloor-invading indie types Two Door Cinema Club and Sundara Karma behind them, Anteros’ star is beginning to rise. Their new EP Drunk contains their unique brand of bitter dream pop, with ‘Cherry Drop’ a particularly potent slice of riff-laden regret.
Thurston Moore – ‘Smoke of Dreams’
A taster from his five-track record Rock n Roll Consciousness, ‘Smoke of Dreams’ morphs from hazy indie-rock guitar textures to a churning post-punk attack. Moore conjures images of "smoking ghosts" drifting through New York City, echoed by the clip's blurry shots of people rushing down busy sidewalks.
Bad Wave – ‘1955’
Longing for a simpler time has paid dividends for Bad Wave. The duo go back and return to 2017 with a song dripping in old school melodies. ‘1955’ is delicate but unpredictable, wrapped in wobbly synths before erupting into a euphoric call-to-arms chorus.
The Aces – ‘Physical’
HAIM may have announced their comeback, but that doesn’t mean their contemporaries can’t enjoy a moment in the sunlight. ‘Physical’ may sail a little too close to HAIM’s polished pop, but its glossy guitar licks and strutting vocals mean it can proudly stand on its own terms.
Pond – ’30,000 Megatons’
If ‘Sweep Me Off My Feet’ was blissful dream pop, ’30,000 Megatons’ is a much darker, more introspective beast. Squalls of feedback slither over a jabbing beat that builds to a gloriously multi-layered crescendo, before settling back into a more serene synth and bird song.
Foster the People – ‘Pay the Man’
After a three-year absence, Foster the People dropped a brand new EP comprising of three tracks. The most recognisable is ‘Pay the Man’, which is a continuum of the trio’s usual styles – think rigid, taut beats for the verse before an uplifting, shimmering chorus.