The second Friday of the year brings about a sizable chunk of hotly-contested album launches from the likes of:Circa Waves, Gaz Coombes, The Subways and … The Second Hand Orchestra.

Billy Nomates__CACTI.

The right shade of alternative brings about tee-total BBC Radio 6 playlist material, Nomates’ CACTI. Appearing as a resident guest on many-a Sleaford Mods track, Billy is no stranger to the work of songwriter/producer. Featuring Pearson-esque post-punk alternative blue bones (deathwish) and timid symmetry balance is gone, Tor Maries – who performs with the Brit slang phrase – delivers a stalwart collection of 80’s synth grooves plucked from the dusty archives of DEVO, magnetic vocals from Kate Bush and compulsive compositions offering intrigue to the casual passer-by. “Some days I think I’ve done something good, the next I’ll set fire to it.” You can catch her in March with an European tour starting in Paris.

Circa Waves_Never Going Under.

Euphoric resilience.” Nothing shouts frenetic indie like Circa Waves. Reaching buzz in the 2010s with T-Shirt Weather and Stuck in Your Teeth, Circa Waves were a perfect Summer companion. This time around, they’re releasing new music in the depths of Winter with a more modest, straight-edged number channelling being a father and climate change worries. Hell on Earth and Living in the Grey are two fine figures of a darker mode of transport for the Liverpudlian four-piece. It’s important to note that they are still knee-deep in the simplistic pleasures of indie alternative though. With the album release, they were set to jump on a record-release tour after the frontman Kieran Shudall was admitted to hospital. Ouch. That hasn’t stopped the momentum from flowing freely for their most recent, which is perhaps their strongest affirmation yet.

Gaz Coombes_Turn The Car Around

“I run on vibe. I always have.” Former Supergrass frontman Coombes comes in clutch with the return of Turn The Car Around. An expansive soul rock-epic epilogue of modern life, as it honours another crooked path of evolving and delving into new signature sounds for the beloved UK singer-songwriter. The album was written and recorded in the midst of Gaz fronting his old band across the heady foothills of Glastonbury and sprawling Alexandra Palace in London, but shows no signs of it being rushed. It’s a highly evocative work of creativity. From the slow slumbers of opener Overnight Trains to the guttural guitar-led Don’t Say It’s Over landing on the Radiohead-enfused sound spell of Feel Loop (Lizard Dream), it is a highly-enjoyable listen. An explosive year is certainly set for Gaz.

The Subways_Uncertain Joys.

2023 sees this highly-spirited band earmark 21 years making music in the industry, but it also sees the band return with new music since the self-titled and the self-made in 2015. The Subways will forever be integrated into the might of noughties indie-rock with their ’05 shining example, Young For Eternity, hardening their British roots with 4 Top 40 singles. Now, as an Ode, they naturally return into their carved-out plaques with Uncertain Joys, and it’s been longly-awaited. Not strapped with their blitz of hard noise, it’s a momentous occasion listening to The Subways in ’23. You Kill Me Cool, Black Wax and Fight are gut-punching stand-ups consumed by good fast fun. They’ve certainly not lost their tongue-and-cheek pizzazz either with Influencer Killed The Rock Star. A stab no doubt at social media to the world of music and a nod to The Buggles ironic MVT debut.

Welcome back guys! A 6-year break doesn’t come with just a record either. The three-piece are on tour from the back end of January to April this year: TOUR 2023.

The Second Hand Orchestra_The Great White Sea Eagle

The Great White Sea Eagle. For this weeks’ “hidden album”, it comes from the hands of an uniquely warm and a deceptively enthralling collection of instrumental music by the people, for the people. James Yorkston and his Swedish outfit encompass the delicacy of harmony befitting to simply phenomenal vocalists. Universally known in their home countries, their biggest following comes out of Taipei Taiwan, interestingly. Let your intrusive thoughts seep in with the majestic providence from this collection of highly-apt musicians. A significant understatement to say the least, but still – one hell of an album. Bringing it to the forefront of relatability, it’s almost like the underground listening post to rough demos from Black Country, New Road’s for the first time. It’s nothing like the sort really, as it’s better than that. It’s simply marvellous.

CVC_Get Real.

Get Real. A band incessantly on the rise, CVC (Church Village Collective) – aptly named after their sleepy Welsh town – are a six-piece musical composite who are right now, have no means of stopping. A cacophony of Snoop Dogg and Stills & Nash – with a bit of Kiedis’ Peppers drizzled in, CVC announce a year to surely not forget with the release of their longly-awaited debut album, Get Real. It generally sounds great, simply because it sounds so familiar. From 60’s psych-pop to the next, while wandering aimlessly into a slab of soul-funk, the once-slick wedding band are on track for a fast cultivating career eagerly affirming their sights to the top. A polished set of soon-to-be cult classics brings about a monster surfacing for a band seemingly swamped among the rest – if not for the affirmed love and adoration from the community who just loves music for what it is: Feel-good. With Rough Trade Records hailing it with the Album of the Month status already, it won’t be long before CVC are littering your socials either. A band suited to algorithm, not just because they attempt to cover all corners of music’s alter-egos and multi-genres, but because they’ve done the work. Grafting endlessly within the live scene, making a name for themselves close to home, all the while with hope for international stardom. With it, comes their first London headline show in April at The Camden Assembly. Mightily good. Whether it be funky Sophie, rag-tag bluesy Docking My Pay or the straight-rock whipping of Good Morning Vietnam … it’s a bubbly band for bubbly people.

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