I love the lads in Proto Idiot; they’ve been pushing out satisfying blends of punk and pop for some time now, and they’ve got a new LP coming out next week! Their latest single has the same steady jittering guitar riffs I’ve come to associate with the group, but I love their patience on this tune. You can feel the tension building, and they shake it up a little bit in the chorus, but there’s this restraint making room for the pop sensibility to shine through here. I love the backing vocals, giving this sort of catchy barbershop quartet feel to this bouncing rocker. Look for FUB next week via Rigamarole Records.
I love Andrew Anderson. For starters he’s part of both Proto Idiot and Hipshakes, two band’s I quite enjoy. He hails from Manchester, home to great music and my favorite soccer team. But, he’s also filled with ambition, like his latest, Be My Guest LP. It’s an album of 14 songs, each one featuring Andrew composing a track with a featured guest from all over his local scene. Of course, my jangle tendencies had me fawning over “High Window,” which sounds like it’d fit right along tons of the Aussie stuff we’re all into over at ATH. You get some disco-funk along the lines of something Kevin Barnes might pull off in “Tell Me About It,” or you can check in on the calm of “Under the Trees.” Just imagine a playlist full of the sounds that influence your favorite artist, only this time, that artist is playing on the record! It’s cool, plus all the money earned is being split between Booth Centre and Black Lives Matter UK. Stream it all below!
We’ve been covering Proto Idiot, as well as their offshoots, for some years, though due to life we probably didn’t cover their 2019 LP, Find Out for Themselves as well as I might have liked. For me, it took their garage rock antics and sort of ushered it through secondary school, leaving the band with bits of their youth while illustrating huge growth in their songwriting. Why does that matter now with the new single, “Mountain?” Well, one listen, and you will hear a completely different band, still bold in their attitude, but brandishing this maturity that’s really impressive. Squalls of guitars and crashing cymbals fill your speakers, with the vocals sort of stomping their way through the noisy fog. It all opens up in this brilliant chorus that’s filled with pop sensibility and hooks; back and forth they go between entrancing noise prog and circular pop antics…this is the band at their very best.
Andrew Anderson is one third of Proto Idiot, but today let’s talk about his brand new solo record, Clean Yourself. It’s a pretty dynamic listen, and one that’s marked by brief songs, so you’re definitely not going to get bored as Anderson bounces from track to track here. There’s a light-hearted garage rocker in “It’s Not for Me,” but move down the line and you’ll find the frantic “You’re too close.” At times, it kind of feels like Andrew’s channeling Television Personalities, valuing clever word play in spots over musicality, like in “Cannot Repeat;” it feels like the sort of thing I would have expected Jay Reatard to pull off. Oddball pop punk numbers, garage rockers and mini-ballads; Clean Yourself has it all! Grab it as Name Your Own Price via Rigamarole Records.
I love listening to Freak Genes, the hottest UK act you might not have heard about before; it’s made up of equal parts Red Cords/Proto Idiot members, with final mastering touches done by everyone’s hero, Mikey Young. III is the group’s third outing, and they’ve got plans to keep things interesting, throwing in heavy synth focus this round to switch the mood. Every song definitely has its own vibe, from starting off sounding like Jay Reatard to walking down the line of experimental synth pop a la Liars; it’s scattered but interestingly so, encouraging you to revisit time and time again. If you’re into it, III is available via Drunken Sailor Records.
Freak Genes is a new Manchester project made up of members of Proto Idiot and The Red Cords. The entirety of Playtime walks the fine line between old school punk and power pop, delivering these insatiable slices in quick succession that begs you to come again. There’s a bratty indifference, giving the impression that the group really is taking the title to heart; put your ear to the speaker and you can hear the band having fun. “Mind the Gap” was the group’s single for this release, but “Nothing’s Plain to See” is my personal favorite with its furious power pop tendencies. You like Dirtnap Records? Wish Burger Records had better bands? Listen to Freak Genes. The album’s available via Alien Snatch as we speak!
Michael Seal cuts his chops in one of our favorites, Proto Idiot, but his solo offering wears a slightly different pair of pants. To me, this reminds me of the Kinks, especially back in the old days. It’s got these careful little plotted notes and emphatic little “ooh la la las” lurking in the back, making it a catchy ditty. It seems it’s easy to go on and rehash old sounds, but to execute it with such a classic vibe is something quite special. Give a listen, and stay tuned for more, I hope!
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The Hipshakes came my way via their connection to Proto Idiot, another UK act that I absolutely adore. In two minutes the band blasts through an energetic bit of rock; it’s as infectious as it is edgy, but what really sold me on the song is the band’s video. Whether it was shot with this in mind or not, the band are just having a blast playing; you can feel their joy coming through your screen, which always make rock n’ roll more endearing…we care because they care. This song comes off their Maximum Growthand Vigour LP on SMF Records, which you can pick up right HERE.
I’ve been hot on the heels of Proto Idiot since the project first crossed my path a few years back (via a 7″ on Trouble In Mind). It’s a pretty prolific act, releasing a slew of singles and albums in quick succession; now there’s a new EP. The songs on The Technique and Its Use in Daily Living are definitely in the vein of garage rock, though there’s a bit more of an artier/spastic side, not to mention some inherently catchy hooks that have you singing along. If anything is going to make your Monday kick ass, it’s going to be to just turn up your speakers (or headphones) and rocking out.
Ever since I first heard Proto Idiot via his Trouble In Mind 7″ I’ve been hooked on the sound he’s been creating. He’s changed things up here and there, but there’s still a very elemental bit of punk rock that comes through your speakers when you press play. There’s a tinge of garage rock, but things are definitely of the more refined sort; I might even hear a bit of J Reatard in the vocals on this new album, Also Known As. If you’re looking for something to stream today at work, give yourself a few spins with this release; you’ll be enjoying the next 20 something minutes of your life.