Time for another look at the best new tracks that have caught my attention in the last month…
And I'm stunned to report that among the most astonishing pieces of work to catch my ear is "Zero Triptych", a near eleven minute single issued by Belfast band Girls Names. Epic singles are usually, it has to be said, the last resort of the creatively bankrupt, the work of people who believe that a long, repetitive and overwrought song might make more of a splash in the underground than a radio-friendly track. But this is brilliant - the band don't waste a single idea, taking the listener on a journey through icy eighties synth atmospherics to krautrock to psychedelic rock, all topped up with their own neo-gothic drama. Like Lusts, who we explored last month, this is the noise of people who have clearly dipped and dabbled heavily in the past to create their sound, but ended up with something that sounds definably 21st Century.
Not since InAura's "This Month's Epic" in 1995 has a deliberately epic track been approached with an overload of brilliant ideas. Sadly, due to its sheer length, I fear that "Zero Triptych" may be guaranteed the same ignoble fate - but it's an impressive way to fall.
Brighton's Magic Gang are much more trad-indie in their stylings, touching on both the lo-fi scratchiness of Pavement and - yet again - a certain amount of early nineties British indie slouching. Have all aspiring new bands in the UK bought copies of "Happy Daze" off Amazon in the last few months?
Nonetheless, their new B-side "It's Alright" in particular is the sound of slightly stoned youths joyously kicking around ideas like empty coke cans. It slacks in a slightly urgent sounding way, even though that makes no sense whatsoever, and has a jewel of a chorus.
Meanwhile, Norway's Team Me have shown unexpected volumes of generosity by giving away "F Is For Faker" for free. Normally I have a tendency to react badly to anthemic alternative rock, but "Faker" is so joyous it's impossible not to be swept along. Like the firework blasting finale to a headlining set in front of thousands of people, Team Me will probably have to suffice with a few plastic pint glasses of warm lager being held aloft at their club gigs instead - at least for now - but there's no questioning the energy and ambition here.
"F is for Faker" is also unmistakably pop enough that it may reach an audience beyond the alternative fringes given enough of a chance. This is the stuff crossovers are made of.
That's it for this month, although I have to admit that this trawl for new bands is throwing up more obstacles than I ever anticipated. Naming no names, but the quicker online bloggers and critics and indeed musicians themselves realise that twee mandolin-inflected twaddle should now only have two places left in society - mobile phone adverts and the Eurovision Song Contest - the easier life will be. And God knows it's ruining the Eurovision Song Contest for me as well.