Any regular readers of this blog will know that I adore Art Is Hard Records and by the looks of it that isn’t going to change any time soon! While we’ve all been slaving away they’ve continued to churn out more and more gold (in some cases literally).
A few years ago Art is Hard introduced four bands on a compilation titled ‘Family Portrait’. One of these bands, Joanna Gruesome, went on to win the Welsh Music Prize for their debut album, Weird Sister. Another, Playlounge, have gone on to become one of the key figures of UK DIY and have even hopped across the pond once or twice.
It is unsurprising then that the thought of a ‘Family Portrait Volume 2’ sent shivers of joy down my spine. Once again four bands came together for the compilation, which was for each of them their first physical release.
Kicking off are Canada’s Living Hour who provide a thick fog of shimmering shoegaze. Brighton’s rowdiest new boys Abattoir Blues follow with gangling guitars and farce vocals aplenty. The pair are joined by DIY band of the moment Bruising, who’ve exploded onto the scene receiving bucket loads of love from the likes of DIY magazine, and Fruit Bomb who share members with Nai Harvest and provide suitably up-beat indie riffs in tracks ‘Normcore Girlfriend’ and ‘Naked’.
In more recent Art Is Hard news, last week the label announced it’s latest release from Early Ghost. Single, ‘Now I Always Wander If I Like It Here’ is a laid back gem from the band who’ve been seen supporting Neutral Milk Hotel. Soft, questioning vocals lie fittingly over velvety guitar twangs and a tapped out drum beat. Released on a suitably gold cassette, this is just really, really good.
Lastly I don’t think I’ve had a chance to write about the new singles club, the Hand Cut Record Club. Following on from last years pizza club this provides a new hand cut 7’ every three weeks, of which just 50 will be made.
Falmouth’s surf punks The Red Cords where the proud makers of the first single in the form of ‘Scratch It Off’ and have been joined more recently by the likes of Double Denim and Dignan Porch. Totness’s Dog are behind the latest single and it really is something special. 'All Dressed Up Not Dancing' is only the second song the band has put out and mixes a continuous sharp keyboard poke with soft vocals. Fans of Happyness will adore this track and the bands other online material.
It’s perhaps fitting to end this catch up series with Dog, a band who I believe we will be seeing a lot more of. Definitely a band who are worth keeping an eye on.