2022’s People Need Love was the fifth full length release from Aberdeen’s The Little Kicks. Synonymous with the North East the band have now long been more than merely a Scottish concern though. And their latest record showed a new depth and clarity to the four-pieces songwriting. Their most technically accomplished work also exposed their rawest lyrical themes. As the band continue to tour in support of its release Secret Meeting caught up with frontman Steven Milne to find out his five top tracks at the moment.
Whim – Scrolling
I love everything about this song. The wonky synths, the 70’s feel and the melody/lyrics. But the icing on the cake is 100% the slide guitar solo at the 2:20 mark onwards – it’s arguably way too high in the mix but that’s what makes me love it – such a great bit that really stands out. We know Liam a little from playing together when he drummed for Miaoux Miaoux and crossing paths at festivals or shows and he’s a lovely, talented guy. This is his first single and I’m looking forward to hearing more- we have had this on in the van a fair bit.
Steady Holiday – The Balance
This is a (rare) example of a positive benefit of Spotify as a listening device – that thing it does where an album finishes and it says “you may like this” and randomly streams something for you can bring some gems and it brought me to this song. I have to say I find a lot of music that way; it’s scarily clever at working out what you may like but haven’t heard. This song comes from a great record called Newfound Oxygen which I can recommend, I have been trying to obtain the vinyl but it seems like it’s only available in the US so as it’s expensive to ship it I have instead been streaming this a lot. It reminds me a bit of Martha Ffion and 00’s indie and it’s really catchy. I just love the feel of it and it stays in my head for days.
Durand Jones – Gerri Marie
Durand Jones last LP Morning In America was an absolute banger of a modern soul record and I still play the title track weekly- it’s so good. I still need to dig into his new LP which came out recently but this song (the opener) is quite something. Way over the top strings and almost McCartney piano chords under it. It’s really short and very pretty but his vocal performance is amazing on it. It almost reminds me of a Harry Nilsson vibe, and what a way to open a record. I like the fact his music is smooth but not TOO smooth (i.e. blanded out by the production) – there’s always an edge and energy to it which gives it life.
Blur – The Narcissist
Not exactly a band who need a leg up or an “up and coming band” but in the spirit of being honest and looking at my most played new music this is up there. Also I am just back from Primavera in Porto where myself and some pals including the rest of The Little Kicks had the fortune to see Blur play live – it was amazing. When we were young I was always 50/50 Blur and Oasis and I forgot how much they meant to young me. Songs like The Universal and To the End are so special but to their credit they dropped this in the encore between two classics and it didn’t feel wrong. It’s a strong comeback song and they looked like they were having so much fun on-stage which is impressive after all this time together. To be making new music that’s still interesting is impressive and Damon is obviously a very talented man. Surreally the band were on our flight home the next day after the festival and at the gate other than a very hungover polite hello there wasn’t much chat – 14 year old me was internally freaking out.
Arctic Monkeys – Perfect Sense
I know this isn’t “new” as it came out last year but thanks to watching their Glasto set last week I am firmly back to rinsing The Car LP which this song closes out. I love the record and think it’s such a grower. They seem to get a hard time now from all sides but it goes above me as I only got into them around AM then really loved Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino and this one. I don’t have the same vitriol for their “new direction” as the older fans do. I love the way they sound and identify the influences (70’s, Serge Gainsbourg, Brian Wilson, Stanley Kubrick, David Axelrod) but also think the live band is great both in their look and in sound. I also think if you join the dots in some of the older albums along the way their new style is maybe not a surprise. In general I’m a sucker for strings and a lot of their new songs including this one really lean into an orchestrated sound which I love. Alex Turner is a bit of an enigma too which is rare these days, he is clearly a very talented person as his solo work is also fantastic (the Submarine OST is also a favourite of mine).
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