Music of Lockdown, by Charlie Brock.
April. We’ve all been waiting patiently for the halfway point of the month, when pub gardens, and “non essential” shops can open their doors and welcome the masses back. This means that our beloved record shops can have us back (I’d argue that they’re the most essential shops of all). Lockdown has been hard: boring, stressful and at times, scary. Personally, I’ve relied on music more than ever over the last 12 months; whether that’s accompanied me around the supermarket, on a run or if I’m spinning some records following a day spent working from home.
The amount of music put out over the lockdown period is staggering, there have been countless, brilliant singles, EP’s and albums. There has of course been no live music, which has pushed bands back into the studio: the lack of revenue streams has led to artists putting out more physical music. This is great news for the vinyl collector, more records and you get to support your favourite artists through a tough time? Win-win.
I wanted to take this opportunity to write about a few albums that helped me get through the last year of lockdown. I’ve put together a little playlist too, which I’ve made collaborative so feel free to add in your own tunes.
Fontaines DC, A Hero’s Death:
I absolutely adore Fontaines, their debut, Dogrel, was probably my AOTY for 2019 and the follow up is just as good. They’ve moved away from the spikey, post-punk sounds of album one into a more pensive and eerie setting for the sophomore. The songwriting is more mature and more introspective, you can really tell that the Dublin band have grown in the months between these releases. They played a couple live streamed sets over lockdown, which were totally brilliant.
Working Mens Club, Working Mens Club:
I discovered these through 6 Music play, who knew that they originate from nearby Todmorden? This debut is so good, the New Order influence is key here, but they blend it really nicely with prime indie rock guitars and bass. The album is full of incredibly strong tracks, which they’ve hardly had the chance to play live. WMC have bagged themselves the support slot on New Order’s massive Heaton Park show, however.
Arlo Parks, Collapsed in Sunbeams:
Arlo Parks’ first album came out at the start of this year and its a brilliant cure for the January blues. Parks’ way with words is truly something else, she’s a poet at heart and her lyricism shines through on this album. She describes the mundane, every day aspects of life with such detail that you can’t pull yourself away, Arlo pulls you into her world so eloquently. It’s a superbly chilled out album too and will soundtrack sunny days exceptionally.
Shame, Drunk Tank Pink:
Similar to A Hero’s Death, Drunk Tank Pink is a real step up from the rough around the edges, punk and shouty Shame. They’ve really matured and written an album that is packed full of tunes that will sound fantastic in a live setting. The punk influences are worn firmly on the sleeve here, it's loud, it's big, it's going to sound fabulous in the mosh pit.
There are of course, plenty of other albums from the last year that could go on this list. I’ll pop a link to my playlist below, it includes some that would have made the “honourable mentions” section if I’d written one.
As I write, it's April 11th, so I can’t wait to see you all in Wax and Beans very soon.