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New music review with Divorce and Dream Nails

Our weekly fix of the best new music as Julia Mason brings us her review of new singles from Dream Nails and Divorce

Logo for Blowtorch Records blog series Cool Sounds From The Underground

Artist: Divorce

Track: Scratch Your Metal

Nottingham four piece indie band Divorce
Credit Meadow Florence

Nottingham’s Divorce announce their second EP Heady Metal set for release on 17 November via Gravity/EMI, and share new single Scratch Your Metal. Led by songwriting duo Tiger Cohen-Towell and Felix Mackenzie-Barrow, the group’s forthcoming EP provides a striking portrayal of insecurity and questioning whether to trust oneself or your new surroundings.

It’s produced by Matt Peel (Dream Wife, Eagulls, Pulled Apart By Horses), and mixed by Grammy-nominated producer Catherine Marks (Foals, The Killers, Wolf Alice). The new single begins calmly enough but grows as it progresses. A hypnotic vibe weaving its way forward and yet with an edge to it. The four piece sit on their own in terms of their sound. Indie yet they have something else which is very difficult to define. Co-vocalist and bassist Tiger further explains on: “I think this is probably the closest thing to a love song that’s been written for Divorce. Scratch Your Metal means showing the most difficult and sometimes unbearable parts of yourself outwardly, because the sound of something scratching against metal is the most unpleasant noise I can think of. To be earnest, the song is about the duality of relationships, and accepting a partner as flawed and human in the same ways as yourself. It was written on a cheap Casio keyboard at a friend’s house I was staying at in London, and its Divorce’s own little stab at synth pop banger”.

The video is mesmerising, simple in its format but completely captivating. Drummer Kasper Sandstrøm adds: “For this video, we worked with our good pals Clump Collective to create something really free flowing. The theme of the song is based on identity in all its forms, so we decided that instead of coming up with a choreographed dance that we needed to practice beforehand, we'd move in ways that felt natural to each of us, no matter how it looked! It turns out we're all secretly professional dancers, which made the process extremely easy and not at all time consuming.

Our future counterparts were casted brilliantly, and they all got so into their roles as us. The loose feel on the day meant they had to stand and watch us do our thing, and try to mimic it to the best of their ability. We think they did an incredible job, and we can't wait to grow up to become them."

Divorce have a UK tour scheduled for the autumn. Full details below:

Divorce Live Dates 22nd Sept – New Century, Manchester^ 21st Oct - On Margate Sounds, Margate 22nd Oct – SWN Festival, Cardiff 26th-28th Oct - Echolot Festival, Lucerne, Switzerland

9th Nov - Chalk, Brighton* 10th Nov - O2 Academy, Oxford* 11th Nov - Hangar 34, Liverpool

22nd Nov - The Social, London – SOLD OUT 23rd Nov - Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham 25th Nov - Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow 26th Nov - Headrow House, Leeds 27th Nov - YES (Basement), Manchester

16th Dec - Rescue Rooms, Nottingham *supporting Willie J Healey

^supporting Warmdusche

* * *

Artist: Dream Nails

Track: Ballpit

Queer punk collective Dream Nails with new single Ball Pit
Photo Holly Whittaker

Queer punk collective Dream Nails release new single Ballpit ahead of their second album Doom Loop produced by Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, Amyl and The Sniffers, The Fall) and set for release on 13 October via Marshall Records. It addresses the defiant act of self-care, forcing us to be present, slow down and enjoy life. This theme is delivered with a disco-punk attitude. Indeed there is a hint of ESG in the dollop of funky guitar and bobbing beats.

Drummer Lucy Katz expands on the theme: "This song is about having fun for the sake of it. It’s about the pursuit of hedonism as a radical act. Sometimes the dread and hopelessness caused by the succubus of late-capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy and environmental devastation feels overwhelming.

“These problems aren’t going to be solved by acting silly in a ball pit or writing a song about it, but part of breaking through the doom loop is learning how to have self-compassion, to carve out moments and spaces where we can play and simply exist."

Bassist Mimi Jasson explains the track’s sticky plastic origins by adding: “After a show, with the band tired and depleted, Anya started begging everyone else to check out this adult ball pit, aptly named Balls Deep… She was honestly desperate to go. We caved and ended up spending an ecstatic hour surrounded by ‘sticky coloured plastic,’ laughing and jumping in, over and over again… drowning in colour is the ultimate goal.”

The video was filmed in an Essex meadow on the grounds of a youth music project the band are collaborating with on their Arts Council England-funded project Dreams of Revolution, which facilitates youth engagement with zine culture, political music and aims to increase access to the music industry. It features a leather-clad character (portrayed by bassist Mimi Jasson) representing someone seeking pleasure on their own terms, while simultaneously depicting an image that the mainstream would understand as sexualised from the latex and fetish attire.

"...the giant Zorbs we used looked like alien eggs," explains lead vocalist Ishmael. "This concept aligns with the idea that Mimi's character gave birth to the band, who, in turn, frees the creature searching for its own pleasure and autonomy, guided by our sound."

What Dream Nails seek out is greater than idealistic, punchy anthems. Instead, they want their music to inspire change, action, and hope. They have spent the last few years reflecting on their communal roots and driven dream of “making the world a better place” and sharing a message they truly believe in. And in Ballpit that message is one of the most important in our turbulent modern world – self-care.

The band will be performing a series of intimate in-store shows this October ahead of their full UK and European headline tour.

Dream Nails 2023 Tour Dates

*UK in-store show


02 Copenhagen, DK – Luna Riot Ball

08 Birmingham – The Rainbow


13 Kingston – Banquet*

14 Liverpool ­– Jacaranda*

15 Cambridge – Cambridge Junction

16 Birmingham – Beyond Vinyl*

17 Leeds – Crash Records*

18 Nottingham – Rough Trade*

19 London – Rough Trade East*

26 Glasgow – McChiulls

27 Manchester – Canvas


02 Nottingham – Bodega

03 Bristol – Rough Trade

04 London – Omeara

24 Paris – L’International

25 Baden, DE – Werkk Kulturlokal

26 Bern, CH – Rossli Bar

28 Koln, DE – Blue Shell

29 Hamburg, DE – Hafenklang

30 Berlin, DE – Schokoladen


01 Langenberg, DE – KGB

03 Munster, DE – LWL Museum

06 Rotterdam, NL – V11

07 Antwerp, BE – Trix

08 Amsterdam, NL – Cinetol


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