T-Shirt Weather – Flutter Through the Winter / Don’t Hold Your Breath (Tape / DL)
Chorusgirl – No Moon / Dream On, Baby Blue (Ltd 7″)
All Available now via Oddbox’s Bandcamp.
All on Odd Box Records.
The days are getting warmer and venerable London indie Odd Box Records is ready with three great new releases to soundtrack your Springtime. Glenn Airey forgets about Lent and gorges himself.
On the face of it, Leeds four-piece Nervous Twitch are another name in the long tradition of bands paying homage to the Ramones and their favourite 60s girl-groups via the medium of punky pop songs. And, make no mistake, that’s a perfectly fine thing to be. There’s actually a bit more to the Twitch than that might suggest, though – that extra bit of proficiency and imagination a band needs to make them stand out. Their scope is well illustrated on the current Odd Box album Get Back in Line. The previously-released This Modern World, for example, fits more readily in the post-punk category, building tension with an isolated, sinister bass before riding an expertly deployed synth line into its euphoric chorus. Tarrantino [sic] Hangover is as deliciously authentic a surf instrumental as its title suggests, while And We Did features a lovely Velvets jangle to lighten its melancholy mood. Piece of my Heart is an organ-driven gem with some killer handclaps lifting the middle eight into pop-heaven territory. I love good handclaps, me. Elsewhere there are straightforward punk stompers like In the Street (If This is the Future) and Jonny’s Got a Gun. The superbly-titled All Those Crazes and Fads Have Taken Their Toll rounds the album off in proper ’77 style. Flip the tape over and start again, if you’re quick enough to nab one that is.
And while the cassette player’s warmed up, why not pop in the new release by Durham trio T-Shirt Weather? It includes two helpings of lean, tuneful punk and it’s a belter. Flutter Through the Winter is a defiant, punch-the-air anthem featuring yet more well-deployed handclaps. Handclap gods, you have blessed me today. Strain an ear and It’s also got a rather more poetic lyric than might first be apparent. The second track, (Don’t) Hold Your Breath, brings to mind 80s punk deities like the Descendents. Buzzing guitars battle for your attention with full-throated mob vocals. T-Shirt Weather sound like a proper gang-band, and all the better for it. I’d even call them a proper lad’s band, if that didn’t imply something a bit duller and Gallagher-esque. A cracking release anyway, so do give it a listen. There’s an album coming on Odd Box soon, I gather. Put me down for one of those.
Last but not least, Chorusgirl provide the latest entry in volume 3 of Odd Box’s 100 Club singles series. A-side No Moon is an exotic pop delight. Chorusgirl cite standout 90s bands like Lush and The Breeders among their influences, and this track can happily live alongside them. ‘No moon tonight, no-one to talk to,’ ponders vocalist Silvi as the song gets underway, and that sense of existential cool pervades what follows. A hypnotic, perpetual ripple of drums underpins gliding synth lines and animalistic noises-off. Sparing shimmers of tremolo guitar add to the noir mood and the whole thing becomes impossible to shake off. A terrific single and one that’s only being produced in tiny numbers so don’t hang about if you want one. The label deserves great credit, as usual, for sourcing such a diverse range of quality sounds, and delivering such nifty products. It’s tougher than ever for small labels right now, and Odd Box continue to be one that deserves your support.
All the above are available now via Oddbox’s Bandcamp.