Free and legal MP3: Goldheart Assembly (energetic & smile-inducing)

Nothing is better than music that makes you smile not because it’s funny but just because it makes you smile.

Goldheart Assembly

“Oh Really” – Goldheart Assembly

With slinky-swingy energy of elusive provenance, “Oh Really” is irresistible well before the gang-style vocal response in the chorus makes further opposition futile. Nothing is better than music that makes you smile not because it’s funny but just because it makes you smile.

Beyond those fetching “Oh really?”s of the chorus, the song’s charms are rooted, to my ears, in the way the melodies snake in and around the 4/4 time signature; routine avoidance of the downbeat (i.e., the first beat of the measure) gives “Oh Really” the momentum of a slippery incantation. At the same time, the slightly over-modulated mix pushes the ear in a not-unpleasant way, adding to the goofily hyped-up ambiance. All in all a winner that needs to be listened to more than written about. (That’s your cue.)

“Oh Really” has been around since at least 2010 but did not appear on either of the band’s first two albums. It was officially unveiled as a single in January. Goldheart Assembly is a five-piece band based in London. Thanks to Lauren Laverne at BBC 6 for the head’s up, and to the band for the MP3.

Free and legal MP3: Bromheads (sharp, economic neo-post-punk)

Something in this song’s scrappy immediacy and complex simplicity brings me back to the post-punk glory days of the late ’70s.

Bromheads

“Holding the Gun” – Bromheads

With its tricky way of counting out 4/4 time, “Holding the Gun” grabs hold of the ears quickly and does not let up for two minutes and sixteen seconds. Something in its scrappy immediacy and complex simplicity—and yes also the itchy guitar sound—brings me back to the post-punk glory days of the late ’70s. But nothing about this song wallows in nostalgia. It’s too playful for that. Playfulness is incompatible with nostalgia. I just made that up but it sounds about right.

The beauty of Bromheads’ particular brand of light-heartedness is that it’s all between the lines, if not completely intangible. The words vocalist Tim Hampton is singing aren’t jokey or humorous and yet, in and around the words, something about his delivery makes me smile. Same with the odd rhythms, which allow the song’s most accentuated moments to happen halfway between beats—it isn’t funny but it makes me smile. That’s one of the best things music can do, in my book: make you smile but not because it’s funny. This whole song is kind of like that, and it’s so short that there’s no point in my going on any further about it.

Bromheads are two guys (Dan Potter is the other) who used to be called Bromheads Jacket when there were three of them. A duo since 2009, they are based in Sheffield. They released 12 free singles in 2010, which were then collected on a CD called The Lamp Sessions. “Holding the Gun” is the title track from their new EP, which was released at the end of October. You can download the song via the link above, as usual, or go to the band’s SoundCloud page for the download, and to hear more songs.