LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask artists to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…

Today is a most welcome return to Velvet Sheep for Estuarine songsmiths The Wolfhounds.


They’ve recently been engaged in trying to reclaim publishing rights for many of their old hits including absolute crowd pleaser “Anti Midas Touch”, but there is some light at the end of the Dartford tunnel there, after a successful petition, so we’re keeping our fingers and fumbs tightly crossed. On an even better note, there’s plenty of future hits on The Wolfhounds brand new record out on OddBox Records, called “Untied Kingdom (…or how to come to terms with your culture)”. It’s an autocorrectors nightmare as the land it portrays is anything but united, as so beautifully encapsulated by the photo by Joel Goodman of Manchester New Year’s Eve carnage. A photo whose framing fits the Fibonacci spiral associated with renaissance works, and favoured by Leonardo DaVinci, the prone guy reaching for his pint is on the periphery, but his akimbo legless legs still enjoy an amusing cameo. And such is the album, carefully, nay classically crafted (song writing wise) and yet simultaneously a canny snapshot of dysfunctional Britain (content wise), with equal parts wisdom and humour as we all go to Hell on a handcart (or shopping trolley outside the Arndale at least).


Its therefore timely to get The Wolfhounds David Callahan back on these here pages to choose some other contemporary nuggets….

Photo by Andrew Springham

Photo by Andrew Springham

so I’ll put you in his capable hands…

“I thought I’d pick relatively modern music for this feature, as I expect people are fed up with old fogeys choosing classics all the time, and I want to encourage others to get out and see new bands and listen to new recordings as much as the chase down the past. Of course, ‘new’ to me is anything form the last decade, as I’m still playing catch-up …

1. This Is The Kit – “Two Wooden Spoons” (Disco-ordination Records)

I discovered This Is The Kit belatedly through hunting down everything the excellent Rozi Plain has done, after seeing her at the Hangover Lounge last year. She also plays with TITK, which is really the project of Paris-based Kate Stables, who has the knack of making heartbreakingly universal songs of domesticity, backed by deceptively simple music, largely unpolluted by effects. She has an effortlessly moving voice, and if anyone can see the world in a grain of sand these days, it’s her.

2. Tirzah & Micachu “I’m Not Dancing” (Greco-Roman)

Tirzah is Mica Levi’s singer of choice when she’s not doing Micachu and the Shapes, who are also excellent. Mica has the knack of making idiosyncratically novel catchy tracks from just a few samples – a mistress-class in digital economy. Here, what sounds like the neck of a bottle being blown and a stick hitting a table makes up a genuinely danceable minimal song, when multiplied and transposed. Tirzah on vocals has the knack of sounding soulful and colloquial all at the same time, a skill most British singers lack. She doesn’t seem to have many records, and I definitely want more.

3. Evans The Death – “Telling Lies” (Fortuna Pop!) 

By far the best of the current crop of indiepop bands, largely because they push the walls of the genre at every available opportunity. Dan Moss writes entertainingly fucked up but classic pop songs, which often take unexpected directions. Telling Lies is probably their most conventional song and showcases the band’s trump card, which is Katherine Whitaker’s voice, distinctive and with a depth largely unknown in modern indie music. Which is why I begged her to sing on the new Wolfhounds LP. She did.

4. Girlband – “Lawman” (Rough Trade)

Girlband have a rather novel take on the post-hardcore guitar music that started in the 80s, having been influenced by electronic dance music, too. The guitar and bass are treated and played so that they rarely make orthodox noises, rather the grinding and screeching of machines come to life. Even the singer is reduced to an anxious shriek at the best of times, while the drums are Roland metronomic. Great stuff, even if they are a bit annoyingly young and good-looking.

5. The Wharves – “Renew” (Gringo Records)

A power trio that doesn’t rely on volume. Wharves music is strangely psychedelic despite being mostly effects-free, and swoops back and forth like a porch swing in a stiff breeze, with emotive adenoidal harmonies pushing out groovily gnomic phrases. One of those voices is Dearbhla Minogue from the similarly excellent The Drink, who I also recommend.

6.Stick In The Wheel – “Common Ground” (Static Caravan)

For me, Stick In The Wheel are livening up the folk scene in the same way The Pogues did many years ago. Rough but ready, with proper London/Essex voices doling out sandpaper harmonies, and a neat line in handclaps, SITW are bringing the music back to the people where it belongs. They know their history and use that to attack modern targets, while still keeping on tune and covering the odd pointed trad number. They probably wouldn’t think so, but I heard something in common with our own take on indie guitar music, which is itself pretty much a tradition nowadays, of course.

7. The Wolfhounds – “My Legendary Childhood” (Odd Box Records)

Because we’re as old as the hills, or at least as old as that Legoland estate in Dagenham, I get asked a lot about the supposed glory days of C86. Actually, as they are now, things were pretty shitty for youths then too, but we had escape routes by ganging together and we had a safety net in the welfare state. From our new LP, this is my take on the media aggrandising of a relatively impoverished and frustrated youth, with the knowledge lurking in the background that things are worse for many now.