Recently the subject of Brand New’s mysterious air has made me think about a band whose very career is shrouded, even more so, in an enigmatic cloud. This band is none other than Baltimore, MD post hardcore act Lungfish. Since 1987, this group have delivered a vast output that is mesmerising, innovative, repetitive and cryptic. It is all guided by the seemingly omniscient and modest mind of frontman Daniel Higgs. This rare 2005 interview with Higgs from WYPR’s The Signal, which followed the release of their tenth album ‘Feral Hymns’, takes a curious peek into the inner workings of the band.

Interspersed with cuts from their discography, it is an interview that sees Higgs offering a contemplative and thoughtful lecture into Lungfish’s origins and their music, as well as his thoughts on the impact, interpretation and legacy such art has on people and culture as a whole. Definitely a must hear documentary into one of the alternative scenes’ most profound and spiritually strung groups.

Over a week ago, after a few years of my friends harping about how great their live shows are, I finally witnessed the relentless energy of Tokyo’s A Page of Punk in Manchester. The band’s performance was an unwavering spectacle to behold, going hand in hand with their anthemic, melodious and tenaciously fast punk. If you don’t believe me, then watch this footage of their performance in Newcastle on their recent UK tour. It testifies to the ever hopeful and fun, fist in the air antics, these Japanese punks are capable of. If you still are sceptical, go and see them next time they tour our shores and let me know what you think. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

To my knowledge, Leeds has pretty much had a strong hardcore scene since the beginning of this century, perhaps even earlier. The latest band to spring forth from its pits are Hex. After showing much promise on their 2016 demo, last month they released their debut proper EP, ‘La Voisin’, and fuck me does it tear your head right off. The raw production goes hand in hand with Hex’s fast, no-nonsense visceral delivery. In under ten minutes, you can feel a surge of adrenaline obliterate your veins and nerves. Highly recommended ones to watch, especially since they display humour with their vitriolic rage.

In a similar way to how Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr. would inspire acts like Superchunk and Pavement, Modern Baseball and Joyce Manor appear to have brought an inspirational rise to some great young bands in the last few years. One of these acts happen to be a small London indie punk trio called Fresh. For the past weekend, the whimsical guitar melody from their latest single, ‘I’ll Be Back’, has clutched my senses.

The music itself comes off as up beat and melodiously charming, whilst the lyrics and themes are melancholically sincere. It’s this contrast which hits a one’s emotional psyche with a serrated edge. Even the video reflects this, painting a vivid picture for the track’s themes. It testifies that as soon as their debut album drops next month, Fresh will be another band from the healthy UK DIY scene who’ll be ready to take off and touch everyone’s hearts.

Continuing as a natural progression from their work in The Blue Period, Chris Moore (formerly of Soul Structure) and Celia MacDougall are emotionally endearing in their new band Radiant Heart. The Nottingham duo released their debut album ‘Goodbye First Love’ in May. It is a wonderfully textured record involving strings, violins, keys, percussion and acoustics, delivering timidly moving harmonies, glassy eyed moods and beautiful ambiance. Two personal highlights are ‘The Wide Open Nothing’ and ‘June ’09’, both of which compliment each other so well in their searing anxious honesty. If you’re a fan of such emotively reflective indie pop, particularly the sort that Death Cab for Cutie craft, then you’ll be sure to be enchanted by this.

The European mainland is often an undervalued treasure trove for new artists in my personal opinion. One of the shiniest gems in this collection is a trio from Milan, Italy who swim graciously and earnestly in emotive melodiousness. This group are called Dags! and they require your attention. Featuring ex members of emo punks Verme (who you should also check out), the band deliver a refreshing, shimmering style of math-tinged emo/indie rock which will suck you into a whirlpool of sentimentality. Listen to their 2016 debut album ‘Snowed In / Stormed Out’ and go see them on their UK tour this week with football, etc. at the following shows.

04 BRIGHTON The Hope & Ruin
06 GLASGOW Broadcast
07 MANCHESTER Fallow Cafe
08 BIRMINGHAM Wagon & Horses
09 BRISTOL Milk Thistle
10 LONDON The Black Heart

Like with any genre tag, post punk gets chucked around on a lot of artists until the original definition gets lost in a confusing blur. Upon listening to Artefact’s recent released debut LP ‘Votive Offering’ however, you get reminded at what the term originally meant when it was first sprung up in the late 70s and early 80s.

For some background info, Artefact rose from the ashes of several now defunct DIY punk/emo bands in 2014, including Plaids, Mars to Stay and Twisted. I first stumbled upon them in April 2015, when they supported fellow Cardiff band Chain of Flowers in Manchester along with Sievehead, Gut Model and Commonplace. Their live set was unnerving, gloomy and uncomprisingly raw in it’s delivery. All this was marvellously captured on their original seven track demo, which suffice to say has continued to be the glorious case for their album.

From the very moment ‘Siren’ opens the record, you feel transported into a gothic dark dimension. The energy is calculatingly natural and precise as both guitar, drums and bass fight it out in an eerie yet foreboding tone, with lead vocalist Hannah Saunders leading the way, bringing up images of a hooded wraith encouraging you to delve into the dark depths that tracks like ‘The Morrigan’, ‘Boudicca’ and ‘Witching Hour’ bring. Am I being melodramatic about the impact this record has on me? Perhaps, but the forefathers of this particular brand of post punk, including Siouxsie Sioux, Joy Division and Bauhaus, relished in such theatrics. Bearing that in my mind, it is in this writer’s opinion, that Artefact have accomplished such “replication” from a natural place, where so many other bands fail.