The problem when trying to write any column which purports to highlight new music, is how to define ‘new’’. The days of a band keeping themselves to themselves have been cast aside with Britpop and Kangol hats, and instead we live in a world where acts’ every breath, guff and snapped string is pored over, shared, commented on, vaunted or decried as being ‘different from their other stuff’ (‘other stuff’ being the 47 second debut single they recorded in their mum’s kitchen).
Which in many ways, of course, is great because it means we get to inhale all the new music we wish and rarely pay for it; whilst at the same time hoping that the good will out, and that the best acts will eventually get the wider recognition they deserve.
Regardless, with the aim of this being a regular column with its already-stated intentions, there’s some sense in setting boundaries (albeit vague ones). So, in general, it’s going to concern acts who haven’t released an album (themselves or through a label who have paid actual money to do so). Additionally, if someone has already attracted a fair amount of attention- let’s say for instance Flyte, whose debut E.P went batshit over the blogs a couple months ago, helping them land a deal with Island and an almost certain place on the BBC Sound Of 2014 list- they won’t be here, as, realistically, most of the people interested in a column like this will already know about them.
Awks intros out the way, it’s time to crack on. Now, if you call your band Naked (On Drugs), it’s not too much of a stretch to see them as boys nailing themselves to a particular mast. It's not, for instance, the sort of song that Vernon Kay would play at his Christmas table (saying that, I sure as fuck wouldn't play it at mine either). However, there’s parts of lead single ‘Lee Anns Skin’ where things are nigh-on jaunty: the tracks opens with surf-licks which’ll appeal to fans of Growlers, and when singer Sebastien Perrin croons “wooh-ooh, she’s so mean” it’s done with a wink and a smile and though there’s some dreadfully ominous violin-tweaks in the background, you don’t think it will end up how it does; which sounds exactly like Nick Cave trying to schmooze his way out of a K-hole. White noise! Stuff about “rage is burning!” Doom sountracked by the unbearable thrall of feedback! Possibly the end mine and your (though not theirs, being the actual devil) days!
With this in mind it really shouldn’t work but they’ve fallen on a sound which is unlike anything else I’ve heard this year- part 50s psyche, part vaudevillian tech-house horrorshow. Listen to b-side ‘Araki Dinosaurs’ and you probably won’t have a very nice time in the traditionally nice sense, but it’s totally compelling. I’ve got no fucking idea what they’re talking about and I’m not sure I want to, but I do know I’ve listened to it ten times in a row through ear phones and I haven’t killed anyone but I have thought most of my friends would freak out were they to listen to this naked, and on drugs.
Info-wise, there’s not a great deal about them. This is their debut single and they apparently live in Manchester. Vocalist Sebastien hails from Lyon, whilst guitarist Luke Byron made the very wise decision to leg it out of Milton Keynes as soon as he could. Interestingly, their press release is actually written by a chap who I’ve just discovered writes for this very publication. He's an excellent writer by the name of Austin Collings, and he describes them as “a living, breathing, skinny link to the past, to the way music once was, when small venues smelled of girls piss because they couldn’t hold it in after seeing Brian Jones.”
So that’s cleared that up, then.
Lee Anns Skin is released on 2nd December through Sway Records