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Funny thing about kicking: it’s one of the first and last things we do. In the womb, a fetus kicks to announce an immanent arrival. Meanwhile, laid out on a stretcher, the dying man is “still kicking” up until his final moment, when the last thing he kicks is the bucket. All through life we take our kicks: teenage kicks, modern kicks, kicks in the gut. These days, with the worldwide rise of fascists, demagogues, abusers, and hypocrites, the kick we feel most often comes while we’re down.

From their sudden and deliberate first chord on Love Keeps Kicking, beloved British punk collective Martha announce their intent to kick back. Across 11 tracks, these daughters and sons of Pity Me, England, show that, while our world might be in spiral, there is still plenty worth fighting for. In many ways Love Keeps Kicking is a breakup record, with each song inhabiting different parts of the process. “This year blew my world apart” sings guitarist/vocalist Daniel Ellis on album opener “Heart is Healing.” With lush vocal harmonies (and one of the best riffs in Martha’s discography) “Healing” explores the uncomfortable period between love’s end, and when the heart is ready to move on.

Elsewhere, the opening chords of “Orange Juice” (arguably the best song Martha have written to date) echo the kicking of it’s narrator’s heart, as they suddenly realize with fearful clarity that their longtime relationship is ending. “I didn’t know it then, but you were falling out of love with me / It’s a new development in the plan / a painful change in circumstance,” Nathan Stephens-Griffin sings, wringing out the imminent meaning in each word. Ending just as it begins, “Orange Juice” is Martha at their most heartbreaking, hitting a tender, bittersweet, middle ground between Paul Westerberg and the Pastels as Stephens-Griffin confesses “I don’t know what to do now.”

But while many songs are openly about romantic breakups, most could just as easily about the pain of seeing the world swing dramatically towards the far right. As Pitchfork noted in their glowing review of 2016’s Blisters in the Pit of My Heart, Martha explore the “intersections of reality and emotionality.” For a band whose identities are political whether or not they want them to be, daily life in 2018 is often a kick in the teeth. On Love Keeps Kicking, this vulnerability becomes one of Martha’s greatest strengths. Again and again, the band lovingly gives voice (all four voices) to lives lived on the edge: institutionalized children (“Mini Was a Preteen Arsonist”), outcasts (“Wrestlemania VIII”), lovesick demonologists (“Love Keeps Kicking”), and feminist sci-fi writers (“Lucy Shone a Light On You: The Ballad of Lucy Connor Part II”). These are the people Martha celebrate, reminding them (and us) that love might not be there now, but it’s still kicking.

Maturity in punk is often code for “boring”. Sometimes that’s true, but if Love Keeps Kicking illustrates anything, it’s the importance of growth in a stunted world—of knowing how to love what you have, and how to celebrate the loves you’ve lost. Martha have already made a case for themselves as this generation’s Buzzcocks (if not this generation’s Clash), and with Love Keeps Kicking fans will likely find themselves discovering even more about the band to love. Because even if the world’s going to shit, love keeps kicking.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Channelling the spirit of late 90's skate/pop-punk Matt and I have been rinsing a bit of late, Martha have a singular talent of bringing the chord sequences and progressions of American frontrunners firmly into British territory with a wry, anglican wit and a warmingly Northeastern accent. Snappy drums and soaring, fuzzy thrashed guitars condensed into three-minute bursts of energy and optimistic glee.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive blood red vinyl.

There aren’t many stories like the American Football story. They formed in the late ’90s as one of the many bands of frontman Mike Kinsella (who had already drummed in Cap’n Jazz and Joan of Arc beforehand, and who started his Owen solo project shortly afterwards, among other things), released one EP in 1998, one album in 1999, and broke up the following year before ever really making much of a widespread impact. Owen became Mike Kinsella’s most prolific and longest-running project, but American Football’s debut album became his most legendary over time, gradually gaining a cult following that got so big it caused the band to reunite in 2014 and play their biggest shows ever.

American Football (LP3) is the third album from scene giants acclaimed American Football (LP2), and features an array of guest turns from such collaborators as Rachel Goswell (Slowdive), Hayley Williams (Paramore) and Elizabeth Powell (Land of Talk). 

We Were Promised Jetpacks

The More I Sleep The Less I Dream

    The More I Sleep The Less I Dream marks a new chapter in We Were Promised Jetpacks’ career. It’s about going back to the heart of who they are, a high school band that never stopped. It’s about four people who have grown up together, making a conscious choice to keep writing music and seeing where that takes them. Sometimes you have to go back to basics in order to find yourself again. But once you have, then what? It’s one thing to say you want to take a step forward, it’s a much more daunting prospect actually doing so. The More I Sleep The Less I Dream contains the essence of what the band have grown into, both as artists and as people. They’ve taken their experiences, both from their ten years as a touring band and from the changes in their personal lives, and forged them into an album that represents a new phase for the band.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Swooning shoegazey melodies, throbbing bass guitar and those unmistakeable vox, We Were Promised Jetpacks provide a thrilling and multi-faceted listen, dynamic and exciting but eminently listenable. Brilliant stuff.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive clear/purple splattered vinyl.

    Quiet Slang (Beach Slang)

    Everything Matters But No One Is Listening

      Since Beach Slang came into being, bandleader James Alex has taken to performing his group's heartfelt anthems as more intimate solo renditions. Appropriately dubbed "Quiet Slang," these alternate reality versions of Beach Slang's music have now simultaneously been stripped down and fleshed out in the studio to include piano and cello. Following on from the recent We Were Babies & We Were Dirtbags EP, Quiet Slang now bring you a full album of such songs - 'Everything Matters But No One Is Listening' .




      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive coloured vinyl.

      Beach Slang's second full-length is a crash-and-thunder collection of songs about what it takes to keep yourself going, to make it through the rest of the night—hell, through the rest of your youth—and beyond. Frontman James Alex wrote much of A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings on their first album’s support tour, during which he spent a lot of time with the kids who’d picked up the record.

      “A lot of the songs [on Loud Bash] are the stories of the kids who got turned on to Beach Slang by the first album,” says Alex. “They’re autobiographical, too, but kind of at a remove—I’m not that young kid anymore, but I used to be. You know how it is; rock and roll is a new crop of 15-year-olds picking up guitars every year and having at it. There was something really cool about documenting someone elses life, but seeing myself in it. I suppose that’s why we connect. We’re all kind of one big gang.”

      The Dudley Corporation, were summed up nicely in the much respected record collector magazine: "The Dudley Corporation purvey toe-tapping melodies, great vocal harmonies and crystal-clear guitar behind a voice so gravelly that it makes Leonard Cohen sound like Julio Iglesias". Querelle have been described as a cross between the Lapse, Blonde Redhead and Unwound, and have picked up a reputation for amazing live performances with words such as "beautiful", "powerful" and "blown away" often being uttered in their direction.


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