New music, new artists and Hard Of Hearing Firsts #17

As the summer swings to an end and a select few festivals steal the 2021 limelight, it’s time to reflect on some of the most exciting and varied releases of the last week (ish). For those who missed out on festival season, that being most of us, there are a couple of multi-venue festivals of note set to go ahead this Autumn – October’s Sound City in Liverpool and November’s Mutations Festival in Brighton (check them out).

From the psychedelic-dance of Sydney’s Bronte Public House to the heartfelt synth-pop of ex-Milk Disco man Malvis Key, there has never been a more interesting time for new music. We kick off with Average Life Complaints – featured on the cover – who’ve just released their debut single on Disobedient Records.

Average Life Complaints
‘Wealth Gap’

The immovable – and Sleaford Mods-esque – bass groove that flows through Wealth Gap, the new single by Average Life Complaints, acts as the lifeblood pumping through the London band’s sound. It feeds it’s limbs, the dreamy and jagged guitar parts, the minimalist vocal drawl and those pummelling drums – yet it’s the hypnotic chant of “wealth gap” as the song reaches it’s final third that really gets under your skin. This particular brand of post-punk recalls the likes of Northern outfit’s Drahla, Vulgarians or LUMER who capture the early spirit of the genre incredibly well. “The lyrics discuss the unrealistic standards of wealth and beauty that can be seen today across social media,” mentions vocalist Charlie Weight. Wealth Gap is a frank and hard-hitting debut for even harder times.

Bronte Public House

We all know that Australia has a love for electronic music. Not just EDM, even within the band-style set up, the country continues to produce immense homegrown talent. But what’s interesting about Sydney outfit Bronte Public House is that they feel like a rock band, with a seemingly innate groove and a flair for the gritty and mind-bending nature of psychedelia. Jagwar Ma‘s psych-dance legacy left the door open for someone to further push the envelope between the two genres, Bronte Public House take percussion-heavy, minimalist builds to new chapters while keeping one foot in the realm of woozy, sun-scorched and carefree psychedelia.

Malvis Key

Having fronted the riotous and now sadly-defunct London outfit Milk Disco and been part of Frank Ocean‘s live band while he toured Europe, Nottingham’s Malvis Key turned his focus inward. The result is Bitter, a slow-burning and brooding left-field synth pop nugget that reflects the mood of a nation over the last year or so (for obvious reasons). On his debut release, Malvis Key echos the intimacy of Hot Chip‘s Alexis Taylor or the minimalist synth sounds of Nights Out-era Metronomy, as he bounces between bedroom pop and a brand of swelling electro. Vocals bend as an underlying anxiety flows through the sound, kept at bay only by a pulsating heartbeat that underpins Bitter. Introspective and sincere, it’s the debut that fans of his previous project might’ve hoped for.

‘Butterfly Room’

The noise element to Shattercones‘ music is haunting in a way you don’t often hear or even enjoy. The immediate nature of latest single Butterfly Room catches you off-guard, emulating the fear of being a passenger on a plane nose diving to it’s doom. A viola screeches and guitars reverberate and chime as a spoken-word vocal is delivered in an almost inaudible frenzy – the experience is exhilarating and it ends purposefully too soon. The London quartet bring an intoxicating energy, which when performed live can only be a thrilling experience. Butterfly Room finds the band sidestepping from their heartfelt and cinematic back catalogue to something more tense and primal. Shattercones will release an EP on October 1st entitled This Septic Isle via Gare Du Nord Records.


A storm is brewing in California, Los Angeles outfit julie have unleashed their furious debut EP Pushing Daisies. Opening with lead single april’s-bloom, the band’s sound is immediately anxiety-inducing, placing the listener on a knife-edge of muscular instrumentation and an underlying darkness that rips through your soul. The sheer power of the track is startling, julie don’t get overly lost in their noise rock or shoegaze influences and find themselves lean and dynamic through the verse and chorus – complete with a supernatural vocal presence that echoes that of Luciel Brown of Leeds heroes Drahla. Check out the EP in full for further proof.