Tag Archives: Utmost Good

All We Are – “Feel Safe”

21 Mar

All We Are - Feel Safe

It’s been a while since we last heard from Liverpool’s All We Are, in fact it was quite a while since we’d heard from them before that as well. Popping up once a year with an amazing tune and then disappearing again, they were beginning to resemble some mythical creature, like a Unicorn perhaps, that people aren’t 100% sure ever existed or not. Well, nearly a year on from the release of the storming disco funk of “Utmost Good” (one of our tracks of 2013) the trio are back, newly signed to Domino imprint Double Six and all doubts over their existence have been expunged.

When we first encountered them, they had recently returned from the Norwegian woodland, cradling the (now sadly no longer online) wonderfully folky sounds of “Cardhouse”. Then last year they strutted down the street in their white suits all full of laidback funk and uber-cool grooves with the aforementioned “Utmost Good”.

For 2014 they have retained the funk vibes but turned it down to an even more chilled out setting, dialling down the dirty fuzziness a little, almost as if they have taken their underground disco back to the woods of Norway and don’t want to disturb the wildlife too much. Bet the animals would all come to the party for a dance of their own though.

From the opening lick of guitar you are taken away on a heady ride of late night funk, a soft shoe shuffle of deliciously smooth and relaxed grooves that will have you on your feet and indulging in a little swaysome and smile filled boogie. Deep within the guitar lines, the gently impulsive beats and the hushed vocals are random elements of yesteryear, hidden away. Little glimpses of Beats International’s “Dub Be Good To Me” spring to mind as well as the more obvious disco, indie and pop references.

There’s a gorgeously relaxed summer vibe to “Feels Safe”, a vibe that you can’t help but love and one that makes you feel great. It’s a wonderful piece of modern indie-funk that we know we’ll be coming back to time and time again over the year and with songs this fantastic, we can forgive All We Are for taking a year at a time to make them. We just hope they’ll be back a little sooner next time.

”Feel Safe” is out now on Double Six and can be bought from iTunes.


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2013 Tracks Of The Year – #25 – 21

9 Dec

Tracks of 2013 - 25-21

After spending the last week or so looking ahead in excitement at our top 15 artists to Listen Out For in 2014 (21 artists if you include the honourable mentions as well), it is now time to take a look back at some of the brilliant music we’ve enjoyed in the last 12 months. As is now the norm at Alphabet Bands, we will be looking at our favourite tracks, EPs and Albums of the year. This week will be Tracks (starting right now) and EPs, next week we’ll do albums.

So, we start our countdown of our 25 favourite tracks right here and now with numbers 25 – 21, but what exactly do we mean by a track, does it have to be a single? Well no, no it doesn’t. That may seem a bit of a cheat, but there’s a reason behind it. We have purposefully used quite a loose definition of ‘tracks’. We are not looking at singles only but tracks that were released in one capacity or another over the last 12 months. Though we should note, if a track was released online this year but will become a single next, then it won’t be included (“Anomaly” by Paper Crows fell foul of this rule for example). The only other arbitrary rule we have implemented is, one song per artist.

These then are the tracks that really stood out and stayed with us across the year, and we mean the whole year, many of these tracks have been out a number of months and we keep coming back to them time and time again, that’s how good they are.

We hope you like them and hopefully even find some you hadn’t heard before.


#25 All We Are – “Utmost Good”

We don’t know where Liverpool’s All We Are had been hanging out before making “Utmost Good”, but we figure it involved time travelling to a disco-funk club in the seventies where the lights are as low as the ceilings and a slightly-sweet smelling smoky haze sits motionless above the patrons. It grooves like the coolest hepcat in the coolest part of the city, with not a care in the world. It’s a white-suited John Travolta walking down the street at half-speed with a bassline that exudes cool and a beat that nudges your shoulders from side to side while the trio sing lovely falsetto shapes. The whole thing makes for quite a superb piece of dreamy psychedelic laid back funk that’ll make you want to break out the lava lamps, joss sticks and giant yin yang tapestries.



#24 A Weekend At The Feelies – “Lowly Buzzard”

We’ve been big fans of Jordan Campbell’s musical alter ego, A Weekend At The Feelies, since the moment we heard the level of depth and consideration within his debut single, “Lowly Buzzard”. It’s gloriously languid in style and almost shoegazy, dreamy and intangible, smoke like almost. Smooth vocals dissipate into its eerie chasm of sonic wistfulness. There are gentle depths and rises, twists, turns and dark corners of sound hidden away, waiting to be discovered. It’s a bit like looking into the mouth of a cave; dare to go in and the song will reward you with the echoey beauty of fragile synth highs and caressing bass lows, like aural ancient stalagmites meeting mystical stalactites.



#23 Marika Hackman – “Bath Is Black”

We did say, when reviewing Marika Hackman’s recent collaboration with Sivu, that while we’d never blogged about her, we are fans and thoroughly enjoyed her That Iron Taste EP and especially the wonderfully quirky and enchanting “Bath Is Black”. Showcasing Marika’s delightful way with words with playful yet heartfelt lyrics, “Bath Is Black” is a catchy and upbeat gem, and incidentally at times, vocally, she even sounds like Jem (remember her? Not of the holograms). It’s a fantastically visual track, more like a novel or short story layered over a sumptuously intricate musical arrangement. It’s gorgeous and one of those rare tracks you find that you just don’t skip and always listen to all the way through.



#22 Horse Party – “Back To Mono”

The first song ever played at an Alphabet Bands presents… gig, we’d already heard and loved the catchiness of Horse Party’s debut track, “Back To Mono”, and found it stuck in our heads for an eternity afterwards. It’s the simplicity of the beat and the opening riff, the repetition that just gets under your skin and won’t come out. Also, it kinda rocks. The pound of the drum, the crash of cymbal, the grind of guitar and the slight element of challenge in the vocal, a smidge of attitude that is almost defiant. Perfectly, it conjures up images of three people rocking out on stage, nothing fancy, just three people having a great time playing their tunes, which is exactly what Horse Party are doing. It’s not the most complicated song you’ll ever hear but frankly, when it is this good and this enjoyable, who the fuck cares?



#21 TV Girl – “Laura”

Taken from TV Girl’s excellent Lonely Women EP, “Laura” is a fantastically vibrant piece of throwback pop music, infectious and melodious throughout. Often mistaken for a song about a current or ex-girlfriend, it was actually written for and about late singer Laura Nyro, whose track “Lonely Women” also provided the name of the EP. It’s an upbeat and summery affair and ridiculously catchy with a danceable hip-hop style beat entwined with cascading piano melodies and twinkling xylophonic sounds. On an EP of fantastic tunes, “Laura” stands out, and that is saying something.



Check back later today for the tracks that reached numbers 20 – 16.

Listen: All We Are – “Utmost Good”

29 May

When last we met Liverpool’s All We Are (almost a year ago in fact), they had recently returned from spending some weeks holed up in an isolated cabin, lost within the wilds of a Norwegian forest. They said at the time that their surroundings had rubbed off on their sound and as a result, their music (as evidenced in single “Cardhouse”) had a particularly isolated, folky feel to it.

As they return now with new single, “Utmost Good”, we can only assume that they have been hanging around in entirely different surroundings. Presumably some underground disco-funk club from the seventies where the lights are as low as the ceilings and a slightly-sweet smelling smoky haze sits motionless above the patrons. Wherever they have been, the shift in musical direction from “Cardhouse” to their latest track, “Utmost Good” is as remarkable as it is wonderful.

From the moment that woozy, chilled out bass line comes ambling along you know you’re not in Kansas (or Norway) anymore. It grooves like the coolest hepcat in the coolest part of the city, not a care in the world. Imagine the slowest strut you can but not so slow that it loses any semblance of cool, that’s this bassline. It’s a white-suited John Travolta walking down the street at half-speed. Not far behind in the mellow stakes and just as funky is the simple beat that nudges your shoulders from side to side while the trio sing lovely falsetto shapes. The whole thing makes for quite a superb piece of dreamy psychedelic laid back funk that’ll make you want to break out the lava lamps, joss sticks and giant yin yang tapestries.

“Utmost Good” will be released via Obsenic on 17 June 2013 and the vinyl can be pre-ordered here.


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