It’s time for another installment of Fresh New Tracks, and this week I’m showcasing three terrific new singles, one by Bealby Point, a Canadian alt-rock band I wrote about twice last year, and two by Irish acts I’ve not previously featured – Big Sleep and pMad.
BEALBY POINT – “Say It Anyway”
Named after their favorite beachside vacation spot, Vancouver, Canada-based Bealby Point consists of four childhood friends, Jack Armstrong (lead vocals), Clayton Dewar (lead guitar), Jordan Studer (bass), and Zack Yeager (drums). I love their buoyant, high-energy style of alternative/garage rock they cheekily describe as “music to fold laundry to“, which has earned them favorable comparisons to such bands as The Strokes. Since the release of their debut single “I’m So Bummed Out Right Now” in February of last year (which I featured in an earlier installment of Fresh New Tracks), the engaging four-piece have continued dropping a series of excellent singles every few months, including the brilliant “Talk To Me”, which I reviewed, and also earned a spot on my Top 100 Songs of 2021 list.
Now they’re back with their fifth single “Say It Anyway“, which will be included on their forthcoming EP, due out this summer. Like all their songs, it was produced by Matt Di Pomponio, and features the guys’ signature intricate guitar noodling and lively rhythms we’ve come to love and expect. The bouncy, upbeat vibe contrasts with the rather biting lyrics about struggling to get over a former romantic partner whose hurtful words still sting: “Cause I don’t really care about this. Like anyone, I’m trying my best. But I don’t want to hear your bullshit. Reminds me of that thing that you said ‘Do unto others as they do to you’. You don’t have anything nice to say? Say it anyway.” As always, Jack’s colorful emotive vocals perfectly convey the frustrations expressed in the lyrics, and make for a compelling listen.
BIG SLEEP – “Tutti Frutti”
I recently learned about the charismatic Dublin-based duo Big Sleep when they followed me on Twitter, and I’m glad they did because I love their brand of alternative indie pop, infused with elements of synth wave, funk and folk. Comprised of Irishman Rónán Connolly and Florence, Italy-born Matteo Poli, they met in at school when Poli came to Dublin on an exchange program to learn English. Together, they honed their musical chops spending countless hours playing open mics, charity gigs, battles of the bands and busking on the streets. In time, they’ve earned a reputation for their energetic live shows, performing weekly as a four-piece with some of Dublin’s most talented musicians.
They released their debut single “Paint on Cars” in January, 2020, and like Bealby Point, have just dropped their fifth single “Tutti Frutti“. The delightful song is the lead single from their forthcoming EP Feel Something Someday, and features Jacopo Stofler on lead guitar and Aidan Gray on bass. Connolly also played guitar and Poli played drums. Featuring a deliriously infectious groove, “Tutti Frutti” is their most upbeat song yet. A colorful blend of swirling jangly guitars are layered over Gray’s propulsive bassline, accompanied by Poli’s assertive thumping drumbeats, creating an exuberant sonic backdrop for Connolly’s charming Irish brogue. The lighthearted lyrics speak of being attracted to someone and wanting to get to know them better: “Tutti Frutti, now won’t you take it easy, cuz I’ve been dying just to see your other side / And you seem hard to keep ahold of, and I don’t mind going where your breeze blows.”
Big Sleep will be performing a show at the Sound House in Dublin on May 21st. Tickets can be purchased here.
pMad – “Broken”
pMad is the solo music project of Irish singer-songwriter Paul Dillon. Based in County Galway, Paul is a lifelong lover of music, and has been involved in songwriting and performing for years, previously as a member of the bands Starve the Barber and The Suicidal Dufflecoats, and currently a member of The Greeting as well as his recently-begun solo project pMad. His eclectic sound, which is a glorious blend of darkwave, post-punk, alternative and goth rock, is heavily influenced by some of his favorite acts like The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy, Sonic Youth, Suicidal Tendencies, The The and Tom Waits. With his music, he aims to “follow a path of introspection with a unique view of the world & what we are doing to ourselves and the planet.”
When the pandemic lockdowns impacted his and every other musician and band’s ability to make and perform music, Paul created a “The Best of Irish Indie” page on Facebook, in which he ran a series of ‘Best of Irish’ polls. Energized by the response, he unearthed his own music collection, which inspired him to rework and record some of his previously-written songs, along with some newly-written ones. Taking advantage of modern recording technologies, he created a number of singles and a full album he plans to release later this year. Without ever being in the same room together, he created the songs remotely in collaboration with Zedakube Recording (Ireland), Protonaut Studio (Germany) and Elith Mastering Labs (Mexico). He released his debut single “Who Am I” last December, then quickly followed in early February with “Medicine”, both of which have received critical acclaim and airplay on radio stations around the world. Now he returns with his third single “Broken“, a dark and powerful song that speaks to today’s troubled times.
As to the meaning behind the song, Paul explains: “None of us are built without cracks or faults, we all hurt, we are all human. pMad is ‘broken’ in some form or another, just like everybody else. Knowing and understanding that we are all broken, and being comfortable with that, is the way to save ourselves.” To convey these strong emotions, pMad starts with a deep pulsating bassline and pounding drum beats, over which he layers grungy guitar notes and haunting industrial synths. The result is a lush, darkly beautiful soundscape that’s the perfect accompaniment to his commanding vocals that sound ominous, yet reveal glimmers of optimism. The video he’s created for the track is every bit as impactful as the song. Featuring a cast of androgynous youths, people of color and others dealing with emotional trauma, interspersed with footage of street protests, it’s a powerful representation of the song’s message of human vulnerability and perseverance.