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New music review with Slap Rash and Spiritual Cramp

Our weekly fix of the best new music as Julia Mason brings us her review of new singles from Spiritual Cramp and Slap Rash

Logo for Blowtorch Records blog series Cool Sounds From The Underground

Artist: Spiritual Cramp

Track: Better Off This Way

Spiritual Cramp with their new single Better Off This Way
Credit Carlos Gonzalez

Spiritual Cramp release their self-titled debut album on 3rd November via Blue Grape Music. It was produced by Michael Bingham and Michael Fenton of the band and includes additional production from Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, M83, The Linda Linda's, Cherry Glazerr) who also mixed the album. The final single from the album is Better Off This Way.

What a belter of a track - it should come with an earworm warning. Full of scuzzy energy, this is rock n roll punk, if such a thing exists. A combination of tight if frantic instrumentation it powers along at a breathless pace. The vocals match this frenetic vibe, and seriously this is one of those tracks as soon as it finishes you immediately play again. Is that a roaring engine you can hear midtrack? Bingham and Fenton grew up in San Francisco's Bay Area and this seeps into their music which has fire but is also informed by personal struggle.

The music video was directed by Sean Stout, and features the band members as Guy Ritchie-esque characters as they chase one another through the warehouses and canyons of LA, trying to take possession of a mysterious suitcase. The video also features friend of the band Ian Shelton of Militarie Gun.

By all accounts Spiritual Cramps live shows are a wild experience. This December, the band will tour in the UK and Ireland with Militarie Gun. See you down the front.

Tour Dates

Headline @

With Militarie Gun $

With Unbroken ^

With Soft Kill %

27/10 - Los Angeles - 1720 Club %

28/10 - Philadelphia @ The Church ^

30/10 - Baltimore @ Ottobar @

3/12 - Bristol - Thekla $

4/12 - Manchester - YES $

5/12 - London - Tufnell Park Dome $

8/12 - Leeds - Brudenell Social Club $

9/12 - Glasgow - Mono $

10/12 - Dublin - The Workmans Club $

* * *

Artist: Slap Rash

Track: This Note Is Useless

Slap Rash with their new single This Note Is Useless
Photo Charlie Barclay Harris

SLAP RASH, the Manchester-based brother-sister duo of Amelia and Huw Lloyd release their EP Catherine Special via Open Tab / Fire Talk on 27 October. Ahead of the EP they have shared new single This Note Is Useless. Written as a retrospective cry for help and ready-made to be screamed in the face of the person who's wronged you, the track is a raw, off-kilter affair, all chopped up basslines and a vocal that surprises at every turn. The energy is palpable and when unleashed at various points along the track it simply sizzles. It’s intriguing to learn that the soundscape is production by incorporating only bass, drums and minimal electronics.

On the track, Amelia says: “This Note Is Useless is a retrospective cry out for help. Things I wish I could’ve said, things I wish I did. This song was written to be screamed in the face of the person who wronged you. It’s me saying you didn’t listen to me then, you silenced me so I couldn’t speak, so here it is. This is what I would’ve said.”

Slap Rash formed in 2019 and have released a slew of singles which reflect their growing reputation as a visceral live act. Huw’s bass playing deftly paints in at least one guitarist, while Amelia then grounds the track with her drums and carries it forward with her vocals. Interesting to note that Amelia was trained on the classical viola from a young age - imagine that in the world of Slap Rash.

Tour dates

27/10 - The White Hotel, Manchester 28/10 - The Hug & Pint, Glasgow 29/10 - Xerox, Newcastle 31/10 - Sidney & Matilda, Sheffield 1/11 - Dareshack, Bristol 2/11 - The Green Door Store, Brighton 4/11 - Bodega Social, Nottingham


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