Our favourite tracks from August 2023, featuring: SOFT PLAY, Miles Kane, The Hives and more.
Welcome to the latest edition of a blog that counts down the best new songs from the month that's just been.
In this article, we count down eight indie tracks worthy of attention from August 2023...
7. Miles Kane – 'Troubled Son'
A couple of early tunes aside, Miles Kane was always one of those singers I never quite understood the fuss about. An artist I always felt was only given publicity for being mates with Alex Turner (granted I have enjoyed much of their collaboration as The Last Shadow Puppets). But his new album One Man Band (which was released at the start of the month) has been receiving a lot of plays here of late - definitely a back to basics record full of indie bangers. Opening track ‘Troubled Son’ is an infectious curtain raiser featuring a dirty indie sleaze era riff and an earworm chorus. Maybe I was wrong to write the Merseyside indie singer off just yet…
6. Future Utopia – 'This Time'
Fraser T. Smith, aka Future Utopia, dropped his latest single ‘This Time’ earlier in August and it's one which has had its fair share of plays and acclaim from BBC 6Music. Smith is a multi-award winning producer, songwriter and musician responsible for seven UK number one singles having worked with the likes of Adele, Dave and Stormzy. His side project couldn’t be further in sound from those names though. ‘This Time’ is the latest song from his We Were We Still Are EP and is pure Tame Impala-inspired, late-summer vibes - hazy, chilled-out brilliance. The kind of tune you can imagine soundtracking a sunny afternoon on a rooftop cocktail bar. Just the vibe to get on board with.
5. The Sherlocks – 'Remember All The Girls'
I’ve been saying it for years now, The Sherlocks should really be bigger than they are. Yes, the tunes aren’t exactly the most complex, but their output over four albums has been consistent – crowd-pleasing indie anthems which can’t help but create a sense of nostalgia and euphoria. The Sheffield band have just released their fourth album People Like Me & You, another record full of uplifting rock tunes. Opening track ‘Remember All The Girls’ is further evidence of their appeal: singer Kieran Crook reminiscing back to his school days and his desire to escape. He builds the tension within the opening verse before a typically explosive chorus (‘Don’t believe what they’re saying / Everything is gonna change / How could it ever be the same?’) raises neck hair levels to new heights
4. The View – ‘Footprints in the Sand’
The View released their sixth studio album Exorcism of Youth on 18 August. The run up hasn’t exactly been conventional. The coverage surrounding the Dundee lads latest wasn’t the music, but instead singer Kyle Falconer’s onstage attack on bandmate Kieren Webster. It happened during a May gig in Manchester and looked so brutal the very existence of the band looked dead and buried. Somehow they recovered and their new collection of songs is a mixed bag - some familiar, crowd-pleasing indie bangers (‘Arctic Sun’, ‘Neon Lights’) and some forgettable tracks (‘Black Mirror’, ‘The Wonder of It All’). We’ve heard a lot of this before so when they try something entirely different, my interest was piqued. Penultimate track ‘Footprints in the Sand’ is a moody, synth-pop delight that hopefully hints at their future direction. The track is like nothing else on the album and has surprising earworm/listen-back capabilities. More of this please boys...
3. Bleach Lab – 'Nothing Left To Lose'
This one shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. I’ve been bigging up Bleach Lab since seeing them support We Are Scientists at Oran Mor in February and am counting down the days to hearing their eagerly anticipated debut album Lost In A Rush of Emptiness (22 September). Their latest single ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ dropped at the start of August is more of the same – Jenna Kyle’s love-torned lyrics supported by a sound both jangly and atmosphere. Like their previous singles, this is another one which can’t help but force you to take notice.
2. The Hives – 'What Did I Ever Do To You?'
The resurgence of Garage Rock legends The Hives has been fantastic. I saw the Swedish band supporting Arctic Monkeys on their UK tour back in June and – having not seen them before - was pleasantly surprised at their energy and showmanship. Their sixth studio album The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons races through 12 songs in just over 31 minutes and is a whole load of fun – quirky garage rock tunes that ensure there’s rarely a dull moment to be had. Arguably the best song on their latest is penultimate track ‘What Did I Ever Do To You’ with its groovy riff, electronics, false finish and emphatic horns.
1. Soft Play – ‘Punk’s Dead'
Finally, Isaac and Laurie are back! Following a name change from SLAVES to SOFT PLAY, Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent returned with ‘Punk’s Dead’ on 21 August, their first new music in five years. The new track is a parody, taking the viewpoint of a critical fan levelling ‘woke’/’PC’ insults in their direction: “I don’t like change / Punks dead pushing up daisies / Come and get a load of these PC babies” goes the chorus. Amazingly, Robbie Williams offered his services to the band and they take a further left turn on the song’s bridge with the use of the former Take That singer’s vocals to reinforce the message (“snowflake, snowflake / cherries on the woke cake”). A thrill to have these two producing music again.
You can hear the above songs and more on our regularly updated Blinded By The Floodlights 2023 indie recommends playlist.