By now, the hangover of 2018 should have long subsided, and 2019 should now begin to be as familiar to everyone as much as your work colleagues, classmates, or friends you go clubbing with, are. We’ve conversed, debated and voiced our collective opinions on what the best of the best of 2018 was, and ahead, we look into the eyes of 2019 longingly, yearning for continued musical excellence as this decade draws to a climax. So bearing that in mind, the site has put together 20 bands and artists bearing a variety of new musical fruit in 2019, that you should absolutely sample, and hopefully savour and find immense pleasure from.
Let me take you back a few years, to the turbulent time of 2009-2010. I was at sixth-form, but arguably the most critically influential time in my life for music. My listening habits in these years I can safely say have contributed enormously to not just my tastes, but my personality and identity as a twenty-something male living in the United Kingdom. I have always been a bit of an oddball, and in time, I have come to accept my quirks, my eccentricity and flaws and have learned to love myself as the person I have become. And I am proud of that person I have become, 90% of the time at least. I can safely say that there was a lot of albums, probably far too many to recall right now, that had an effect and an influence on what I grew to like musically, but without a shadow of a doubt, on what has become one of my all-time favourite albums, You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into remains as important as it ever has to me. Sure, I was a little late to this party at first, but there’s something about their blend of electro-punk ferocity and rhythmic indie deliveries that still stays inspiring, ever since its inception in 2008. A true hybrid style if one could be deciphered into.
2011’s Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You was a mellower affair granted, a more mature evolution if you will if being mentored by The Prodigy’s Liam Howlett has anything to do with it, but still contained some thumping anthems nestled within. I cannot thank them enough for making Wrestler, one of my eternal DJ set staples and dancefloor annihilators. But, after two years or so touring the album and travelling around the world in incredibly high profile support slots, they turned the project off at the switch to focus on other endeavours. DJ sets under the band alias happened during that hiatus but fans had always hungered for a full return one day. Fast forward to 27th July 2015, and prayers to various deities were answered. Sort of. A one-off show was announced for December and excitement clamoured around all corners of the globe for a ticket release. Myself and friends of mine, along with around 1,000 other lucky recipients are fortunate enough to be able to be in attendance for their Electric Ballroom show. But while they hype their show, something of an added bonus, is that unreleased tracks are making their way to the light of day also.
Bringing us here, to All Eyes Over Me, technically the second song after I See Lights On The Horizon, informally referred to as With A Heavy Heart Part 2. The reward for whomever was able to correctly identify the exact clips and order of the montage in I See Lights Over The Horizon. Whatever you may be expecting from the band if you know of their previous material, disregard that completely. The only vague comparison point is their hip-hop short Wondering featuring their collaboration with Trip, and even so is a complete far cry from anything they’ve ever released or produced. You can tell just from the very instance of quiet hi-hat against complete silence, this will be an entirely different experience far from the bombast we’ve grown akin to. Bursts of bass lead in a very ambient, chilled and minimal pseudo-trip-hop beat, shaken percussion coolly sitting behind it as if waiting for a story to be recited. But that spoken word never really materialises. Instead we get a high-pitched refrain of ‘Eyes all over me,’ altered and manipulated through the course of the track to provide an additional melody to the bare bones exhibit. Something has to be said of the synth ambience too. The brightness and breeze that flows through it, kinda makes feel it as powerful and emotionally investing as watching ascension or a resurrection. Sonically though, the tone seems darker, far more cloaked in shadow than the fire, intensity and occasional introspective we know of their entire back catalogue before it. This doesn’t mean that it’s exempt from some of their trademark quirks and sound effect interjections, as some do squeeze their way in there. I’d be very interested to know when this track was actually written, as it would answer a lot of questions I feel the track raises. Not everything should have to have context, but certainly intriguing.
Understandably, as people are finding out about this track, a lot of fans are disappointed by it, dare I say, offended by it. But they’re disappointed by it, because it’s not another We Are Rockstars or The Monkeys Are Coming. Unfortunately for those, we’re never getting another You Have No Idea… and could never get any more material at all if they make good on their word of disbanding in December. You could tell that from buying Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You. We never could’ve had this track whatsoever if it wasn’t for the kind gesture of the competition winner, so big props to Drew Rogers for letting this track surface in the first place. What I appreciate about this track is how understated its beauty is, it does such a stellar job of invoking a reaction with minimal elements. For me, despite being a relaxing listen, there’s a sense of melancholy or soul-searching done in this track, and one that hasn’t been anywhere near as effective in any song they’ve written previously. Honestly, if I’d have written this, I’d be proud to have written it. Art. Art is the only thing more I can say. Judge for yourselves.
Eyes All Over Me, courtesy of the generous Drew Rogers and of course Does It Offend You, Yeah? can be downloaded for free from his Soundcloud. Does It Offend You, Yeah? supported by the superb Hounds and Them & Us play their final show at the Electric Ballroom on 12th December. There are still tickets available the last time I checked, so go get because it’s going to be incredible.
Go show them some love:
And if you think I’ve done any justice to this band or this track, you can also show me some love too if you so wish, entirely your call: