Single Reviews - 20 September 2022 - Joan of Arkansas, Rook Monroe, Herman Hitson, Longheads, Josh Cana

Joan of Arkansas - Erase Me 

indie rock

Joan of Arkansas immediately get points for having a pun as a name. Thankfully, wordplay is not the only source of amusement from this sludge pop band from Phoenix, Arizona, who claim to have formed "through Tinder and Craigslist". The group sound just as characterized and confident as 90's reference points Superchunk and Built to Spill. Their jangly and dry guitar tones are distorted and turned up over snappy drums and melodies that progress and arrive at emotionally satisfying conclusions. From the new album "¡Distortionista!"

Rook Monroe - I Did Drugs For You


Rook Monroe is a songwriter and producer who has worked with the glitterati of the pop music sphere, including Rhianna and The Chainsmokers. His latest "I Did Drugs For You" is driven by a playful sense of melody, effective one-liners ("it put heaven into focus"), and impactful production buttressed by groovy guitar lines and trippy backing vocals. Even if the chorus hits a little cutesy, it's a tune that could add a little happy stimulation to your day.  

Herman Hitson - Let the Gods Sing


A brilliant line in the movie "Amadeus" is when Salieri describes Mozart's music as "God, speaking to us through music." It's easy to see why humans tend to associate music with deity. Music, like God, is invisible and exists in an unseen realm to which we have limited access (if we accept that a belief in God is in itself a spiritual experience akin to the appreciation of music). On "Let The Gods Sing", Hitson does just that; the capricious and unquestionable beauty in nature and the human experience is spread across an immersive performance. Hitson's guitar work here is splendid; he plays the notes quickly and emotively. If music is "God speaking to us through music", then musicians must accept that they are simply the couriers of the message. Hitson should have no problem accepting this designation; he's excellent at it.  

Longheads - One Step Further

psychadelic rock

The word "farther" relates to distance, whereas "further" is a definition of degree. On their recent single, North Anglian outfit Longheads take one step further into the unknown and nonphysical world with their mind-numbingly fantastic brand of progressive psych rock. For over four minutes, Longheads display a deft skill for creating atmospheres. Exuberant bass lines offset searching guitar melodies as obscure vocals are shouted into a reverb chamber, and expert percussion pushes everything towards its climactic finish.


Josh Cana - We Will Meet Again


The Faroe Islands' rugged beauty has imbued Josh Cana's music with a sprawling quality. His composition "We Will Meet Again" speaks of yearning and reflection in its meandering and beguiling nature. Yet, there's joy and hope to be found in the softly played notes and the surprisingly uplifting and introspective passages.