Now Hear This: New music from Nick Cave, FEET, Niall Horan, BLOXX and Stereo Honey, plus spotlight artist The Murder Capital

In her weekly column, our music correspondent goes through the best new releases

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Friday 04 October 2019 16:08 BST
Irish post-punk band The Murder Capital
Irish post-punk band The Murder Capital

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Louise Thomas

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While it would be completely understandable to want to listen to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ exquisite new double album, Ghosteen, all day, there are other songs to check out too.

Let’s talk about that album first, though. It really is stunning, from the delicately spun arrangements to Cave’s voice, which achieves a remarkable range even at this stage in his career (those shivery high notes on “Spinning Song” are breathtaking). Our critic Helen Brown has written an excellent review that you can read here.

If you do manage to drag yourself away from Ghosteen, I’d recommend King Princess’s buzzy new single “Hit the Back”, and Camila Cabello’s defiant “Cry for Me”. Che Lingo is back with “Distance”, a smooth-running rap track that recalls some of Drake’s most recent cuts.

One new band I’m really taken with is BLOXX, whose intro for “Go Out With You” first made me wonder if Hard-Fi had reformed with a female vocalist. But no, this is a pop-rock troupe signed to Chess Club Records, and they’ve absolutely nailed the spirited party vibe that’s been lacking from the slacker-rock bands dominating the scene right now.

Quite a few of my favourite 2019 newcomers have released their latest efforts this week: Stereo Honey are back after a year in the studio recording their debut album, with “You Are a Monster”, and FEET just released their own debut, What’s Inside is More Than Just Ham.

At 10 tracks, the FEET record is a perfectly pitched collection of quirky, joy-inspiring garage-rock with a psychedelic twist. Where certain bands take themselves far too seriously, FEET’s whimsical nature and musical quirks are completely endearing. I love “Outer Rim”, a raucous fire-starter where the police sirens are replaced by a keening guitar line, and the deep-dive of “Chalet 47”.

If you're looking for reading material this weekend, you could try Debbie Harry's memoir Face It, or Unicorn by the wonderful Amrou Al-Kadhi who has written a poignant and frequently hilarious memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen that's out via 4th Estate Books.

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I don’t know if there’s a rule that all the One Direction boys have to release music at the same time, but they all seem very busy right now. Niall Horan and ZAYN both have tracks this week: Horan with the pulsing, piano-based “Nice to Meet Ya” and ZAYN with yet another low-key collaboration, this time with Sabrina Claudio on “Rumors”.

I really love Ali Gatie’s “Used to You” – I worry that too many male artists have started mimicking Post Malone’s quavery, sad-boy delivery but I think Gatie, who hails from Toronto, has enough distinction in his voice that he gets away with it.

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My spotlight artist this week is The Murder Capital, an Irish post-punk band who released their debut album When I Have Fears (titled after the John Keats sonnet) earlier this year. They're about to head out on a sold-out tour of the UK, which starts at The Exchange in Bristol on 7 October and concludes at Swn Fest in Cardiff on the 20th.

They’ve put together a video of live versions of their songs “Green & Blue”, “Don’t Cling to Life”, “Feeling Fades” and album closer “Love Love Love”. You can watch that and check out my Q&A with Gabriel P Blake (bass) and James McGovern (vocals) below:

Hey guys, how's your 2019 so far?

It’s been wild. Everything’s happened gradually in a sense from the inside, but in hindsight it’s been like lightning. Recording with Flood, Richie & Tom in Assault & Battery is a time that will live long in our memory. Those three, and everyone at that studio brought the tracks to life, and creating the record there was pure pleasure for all of us. Touring and festival season as well have been unreal, got to meet a lot of cool people and see some interesting towns. It’s been mad, but we know in the van on the road is the best place to be.

What are the biggest things on your minds right now?

Making time to write more in the midst of all the touring is probably the main one. Getting some done as we go. Good times.

How are you feeling after the release of your debut record?

It’s a good feeling. Before the record was out Damien described it as having a dark secret that no one knew. Now after releasing it, good or bad, people know you for who you are.

The record belongs to anyone who listens to it now. It’s for them to decide what it is to them, if anything at all. There’s a freedom in that.

What's happening for the rest of the year, and do you have any plans for 2020 yet?

We’re going to be touring flat out. The U.K. is sold out which is very humbling. Can’t wait to travel Europe off our own back as well. Festivals season brought a lot of new faces to shows so hopefully we’ll see them again and more.

Apart from that, just spending time with each with each other and investigating where else we want to go with this together.

There are some very exciting things planned for 2020. Bizarre at times when we look around the same room at the same 5 boys and think of how the conversations of what we’re doing next have came to what’s happening next year. Can’t speak of it at the other end of the door just yet though.

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