Down The Wire #3


Every fortnight, The Corner’s Gavin Coughlan will highlight the latest indie music releases with his new column Down The Wire. For the latest in the series, he focuses on tracks from Hamilton Leithauser, King Dude and Chelsea Wolfe, The Horrors, Damaged Bug and Protomartyr.


Hamilton Leithauser – Alexandra

The last time time we did Down The Wire, we talked about The Walkmen’s Walter Martin and his first solo offering, ‘Sing to Me’. Not to be outdone, The Walkmen’s lead singer, Hamilton Leithauser, has followed suit and put out his own debut solo single, ‘Alexandr’a. The album, Black Hours, will be out May 6th, and until then we have this upbeat track which was co-written with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij. There is a little bit of a Vampire Weekend feel to the song, and it’s a lot lighter then you may expect if you are familiar with Leithauser’s previous output. It must be hard fronting a well-loved band and going solo, as your voice acts as a huge reminder of what came before, and will inevitably draw comparisons each time you release something new. But this track deserves to stand on it’s own merit and it will be interesting to see if the album is all as perky as this single.

King Dude & Chelsea Wolfe – Be Free

King Dude pairs up with the wonderful Chelsea Wolfe for the second time and the results are enough to make you hope that they collaborate more regularly, and hopefully get around to putting out a whole album together. ‘Be Free’ is off an upcoming seven inch, Sing More Songs Together, which comes out in late March, and it’s a 50/50 split between Wolfe’s gothic tendencies and King Dude’s dark, backwater folk. It brings to mind Nick Cave’s collaborations on his Murder Ballads album as King Dude’s voice has that same ominous deep quality, and Chelsea Wolfe comes across as more PJ Harvey than Kylie Minogue.

The Horrors – I See You

The Horrors can be a little hit or miss at times, but when they hit they do so in a big way. I wasn’t bowled over by their last album, Skying, but the previous effort, Primary Colours, still gets regular play and has a handful of phenomenal tracks on there. Each release presents a new version of the band, and it’s always fascinating seeing what’s up next.

Judging by the first track we are getting to hear, ‘I See You’, it’s hard to tell what we may be getting on May 5th (the release date for the new album). I hear some Simple Minds in there before the halfway mark where it all gets very reminiscent of Deerhunter as the track builds to a euphoric instrumental climax. It’s certainly a little chirpier then a lot of The Horrors previous material, and no worse off for it.

Damaged Bug – Photograph

Thee Oh Sees John Dwyer throws away the guitar he has been abusing for 16 years with that now defunct band, and goes all electronic on us as Damaged Bug. It’s quite a departure for him, although it’s equally as trippy as some of Thee Oh Sees more psychedelic output.

His new solo album is called Hubba Bubba. I had already heard one track off it, ‘Eggs At Night’, which was vaguely nuts, and ‘Photograph’ is no less so, with a great electronic hook that gets repeated throughout the track. It’s enjoyable, makes the head nod and sounds like it was made in a smokey atmosphere, but I suspect an entire album in this style could begin to grate.

Protomartyr – Come and See

The second track this week with a slight whiff of Nick Cave running through it. I loved Protomartyr’s single, ‘Scum, Rise’, which came out at the start of the year, and I was looking forward to hearing something new by the Detroit band.

‘Come and See’ is single number two from their upcoming Under Color Of Official Right album, and it’s another triumph. They take their time for the first two thirds of the song until it explodes in to a beefy finale. It’s rare to come across a band that gets you excited on the strength of two songs, I don’t know how they passed me by when their debut came out in 2013, and I’ll be first in line to grab their second release.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *