Thursday, 19 September 2019

LISTEN: Roman Lewis - 'When I Was Yours'

Roman Lewis has shared the first track from his upcoming second EP! The 18 year old singer-songwriter released his debut EP earlier in the year and played a gorgeous set early in the day at Bushstock Festival back in June. There's a lot of promise in his beautiful vocals (which are somewhat Fil Bo Riva esque, I find) and songwriting, so I'm looking forward to hearing more of the new EP.

For now, Roman explains of the new track that "I was getting over someone and got to a place where I was just a little sad all the time, so I sat down and thought a little and realised how funny it all was. I was getting caught up on all these things that didn't matter and realised how ridiculous I was being so just kind of laughed then wrote this song. Writing it put me into a really good mood and listening to it does too now."

Roman Lewis is touring in support of Bloxx in October, before playing a headline show at London's Courtyard Theatre on 23rd October. Tickets via Communion Presents here.

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Wednesday, 18 September 2019

LISTEN: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Orby' and 'Prefusify'

Worth checking out for the absolutely brilliant artwork alone, I'm delighted to say that there are two new tracks from one of my favourite artists, the ineffable Cosmo Sheldrake. First up, Orby features Andrea Vargas on vocals - she sang on Cosmo's track Rich on an EP he put out back in 2015. As Cosmo explains, it is "a track I made as a birthday present for my friend Orban Wallace in 2013. I tried to design him a bespoke dance tune! It features Andrea Vargas singing a version of an old sacred harp song. It also features the sound of me dropping a log off a bridge into a frozen pond, slowed down and played backwards, among many other things." 

The second track, Prefusify, is different in sound, but still identifiably a Cosmo tune. It was made way back in 2008 when he was 18, one of the first tracks he shared online (back in the Myspace days I imagine?!) He adds that it "features many things including some Mongolian throat singing!" One of the best things about listening to Cosmo's music is wondering about the source of the different sounds within the tracks - when you hear something that sounds like a simple bass note, it is more likely to be a recording he's made of an animal up a mountain while abroad, or of some slate being smashed together. The seemingly endless realm of noises that the natural world offers creates a really exciting soundscape and a really unique collection of tracks.

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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

LISTEN: Rose Cousins - 'I Would Die 4 U'

It was a joy to find this track in my new release playlist on Friday... there's no hiding how much I love Bear's Den and Christof van der Ven, and I'm loving this gorgeous cover of a Prince track that they recorded with US artists Rose Cousins. In a moment of "serendipity" as Rose describes it, the band and Rose landed in Toronto at the same time in May and got together to record on a day off from touring. The result is a beautiful cover with sublime harmonies.

In her post online sharing the track, Rose wrote of Prince that "the legend died on my birthday. He was beyond bold and daring in all moves both in presenting himself physically and in his music. A ground breaker. But there's so much we never see and his death was so vulnerable and tragic. Hard to know anyone's whole story, isn't it? I love this song and these gentleman for using part of their day off to come sing with me. Enjoy." 

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Monday, 16 September 2019

ALBUM NEWS: The Big Moon - 'Walking Like We Do'

With two big support tours coming up The Big Moon have just announced news of their debut album's follow-up Walking Like We Do, which is due for release 10th January via Fiction Records. Following recent single It's Easy Then, new single Your Light is, in short, a bit of a bop. It was premiered as Annie Mac's Hottest Record on BBC Radio 1, and is becoming a bit of an earworm for me, cementing its spot at the top of the blog's playlist for the week alongside the likes of Cosmo Sheldrake, Ghost and Annabel Allum. The track also has a cracking video with the band cycling through the Essex countryside, with some unexpected furry friends (honestly: have a look for yourself!)

The band's vocalist and songwriter Juliette Jackson explains the track - "I was thinking about how hard it is to tell if things are worse now or if they have always been this way and I just grew up and started paying attention. To me, it feels like we are at this tipping point that is unprecedented, but then it occurred to me that every generation before us probably had a moment when they thought they were going to be the last generation on earth. This song is about freeing yourself from all of it, just for a moment. It's a thanks to the one person or thing in your life that knows how to come in and open your curtains and light up the darkness and restore your strength so that when you clatter back down into the real world you have the strength to fight your battles, whatever they are." 

The Big Moon just kicked off a UK tour with Pixies, and support Bombay Bicycle Club on their tour at the start of next year. Take a look at dates and pre-order the album from their site here.

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Friday, 13 September 2019

LISTEN: Patawawa - 'That Guy'

Need some funk in your life? Of course you do. Get on this sublime new single from Derbyshire trio Patawawa. They came onto my radar when they toured with Franc Moody (equally funky) earlier in the year but this is my first time sharing them on the blog and what a first track to be getting behind. The guitar lines and undeniably funky vibes have seen them gain comparisons to Chic as well as the likes of Two Door Cinema Club and Foals and they've recently had their track Patagonia soundtracking Millie Bobby Brown's new brand, exposing them to millions of potential new fans. 

While their last EP saw the trio recording in a studio, they've headed back to their 'bedroom' roots with new single That Guy and the results are pretty epic. Beth explains "we decided to go 'back to bedroom' with this track [...] we drafted in a good Matlock mate of ours, Karma Kid, to give the song a bit of xtra pizzazz and I have to say we are more than made up with the result. We just can't wait to share this absolute bop with you all!" 

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Thursday, 12 September 2019

WATCH: Overcoats - 'The Fool'

One of my favourite PR companies sent me this track from a duo who were a new name to me and I loved it on first listen. Overcaots are a Brooklyn duo made up of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell, and they're heading out on tour with Two Door Cinema Club across the US soon. They've recently shared new single and video The Fool, full of lots of lovely synths and disco beats to sink your teeth into, but made all the more special for me with vocal harmonies reminiscent of the likes of First Aid Kit, and a really empowering statement behind the lyrics.

The video (below) is well worth a watch - a DIY home video showing the duo shaving their heads and "igniting the next phase of their career with fearless honesty." Talking about the track, JJ explains that it was written "based on 'The Fool' tarot card. It signifies taking a leap of faith and jumping into the unknown. Conceptually, it felt like the beginning of the project. We wiped the slate clean and decided to jump. That's why the video includes the footage of us shaving our heads. We're 'The Fool', and we're taking our leap." Hana adds that "it's an empowering message. I don't need to be defined by the opinions of others or go with the status quo; I can f*****g be myself."

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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

LISTEN: Marcus Hamblett - 'Lost At Sea' (feat. Kate Stables)

The Bear's Den fans among you may know Marcus Hamblett for his work on stage with the band, as well as for his production and musical contributions to Christof van der Ven's recent album. Exciting news - Marcus is grabbing a bit of the limelight for himself (deservedly so) and has just announced his second solo album, Detritus. It's due for release via his label Wilkommen Records on November 15th and first track Lost At Sea features Kate Stables of This Is The Kit. Taking inspiration from the various bands and artists Marcus has produced and played with over the years, the album forms a sort of patchwork, a collage of genres, including electronic music, jazz, post-rock and modern composition. I'm certainly excited to hear more!

The first single was originally written back in 2006 for guitar, flute and clarinet, and this version of the track emerged when Marcus recorded the album's drummer Tom Heather playing in a soundcheck. He explains that "this song is sort of a cornerstone of the record, the idea of 'detritus', all the broken off crumbs, dust, leftovers that ended up staying in. I've known Kate Stables for a long time [...] now I sometimes play brass and occasionally electric guitar with This Is The Kit. I'm so glad she did the vocals for this so I could bury mine." Listen below...

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Tuesday, 10 September 2019

WATCH: Geowulf - 'Lonely'

Geowulf continue to deliver gorgeous tune after tune with latest release Lonely. I'm absolutely loving the refrain "I'd rather be lonely than be alone in love"  - preach it. The track is taken from the duo's upcoming second record My Resignation, which is due for release via PIAS on 25th October and also features recent singles I See Red, Round and Round and He's 31

Talking about the track, vocalist Star Kendrick explains that "in a way, 'Lonely' epitomises a lot of what this album means to me [...] A bold and welcomed acceptance of myself and my own company. Feeling less and less like I need the approval of others. That's one of the many nice things about getting a bit older." 

To support the release of the album, Geowulf play a run of shows in the UK this November, dates below & tickets available here.

18th Nov: Oslo, London
25th: Deaf Institute, Manchester
26th: Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
27th: Exchange, Bristol

Follow Geowulf - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 9 September 2019

ALBUM NEWS: Matthew And The Atlas - 'Morning Dancer (Unplugged)'

Some very exciting album news to share today! Specifically of the acoustic, unplugged nature. Matthew & The Atlas shared their beautiful album Morning Dancer earlier in the year and a couple of months ago they headed to Bristol and recorded an acoustic version of the entire album (!!) They did this for last record Temple and the result was sublime so I'm really chuffed to hear this news! The first two tracks Low and Pyres were shared last week and they're as lovely as is to be expected. Morning Dancer (Unplugged) is set for release on November 1st so... set your alarms, mark it in your diaries?! First up, here's Low...

As possibly my favourite track from Morning Dancer I am particularly enjoying Pyres with added harp from Emma Gatrill which you can hear below!

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Friday, 6 September 2019

LISTEN: Christof van der Ven - 'You Were The Place'

I am ridiculously excited by this one - Christof van der Ven releases his second solo album You Were The Place today on Planet Zog Records. Please do yourself a favour and set aside some time to listen to it. I'm impressed at how quickly this album has come into our lives - juggling work as a chef, solo musician and playing live with Bear's Den, Christof made his way onto my albums of the year list last year with his debut Empty Handed. He's already released one of my favourite EPs of this year in the shape of Beneath The Ordinary Load and somewhere between that and some pretty extensive touring with the Bear's Den guys, he found time to recruit a talented ensemble of musical friends and create this record.

You Were The Place was recorded, produced and mixed by Christof's Bear's Den bandmate Marcus Hamblett (who is equally busy with an upcoming solo album of his own just announced) and features musical contributions from Tommy HeapJools OwenTommy SheenEmma Gatrill and Andrew Stuart-Buttle (you can spot most of these in the live videos below!) Between them they play with Matthew & The Atlas, Bear's Den, This Is The KitLucy Rose and more - an enormously strong foundation for an album and one which is audible in this album. The instrumentation is top notch!

The album was written and recorded over the three month period following the end of a brief and intense fling, and the result is a collection of tracks which cycle through the raw emotions that you might expect. As such it is incredibly personal and emotional, sad in places but full of hope and optimism in others. As his PR beautifully describes it, Christof "manages to harness a tentative optimism both sonically and lyrically throughout the album, reminding us to be thankful for the ability to love at all and that there will always be someone out there who can awaken even the most subdued of souls." 

In keeping with the raw themes at the heart of the record, Christof booked time in the studio and set himself a three month deadline to make the album before a single track was written. Far from it feeling rushed, the result is an album which says everything that it needs to about a situation which is deeply personal, while remaining relatable and offering listeners an opportunity to explore their own emotions through the tracks. Christof explains that "I think for people who've found themselves in this situation before, they can listen to the album and find that it helps them through a tough time. If that's something that I can do with this project, I'd be very grateful." 

It's hard to 'review' specific tracks on the record because it is clear both through knowledge of the creative process behind it, and from listening to it, that the album works best as a whole. Created in such a short and intense period the tracks sit beautifully together, building a story lyrically until the last few lines of closing track A Stranger with "the strangest of it all is you're a stranger to me now." To look at them, the lyrics read more like a collection of poetry than an album - he's a really talented writer and my sentiments surrounding his EP earlier in the year most definitely still stand, I really appreciate the honesty and integrity that is tangible throughout the writing. 

After a couple (alright, lots) of listens over the last couple of months I think that I've picked out 4AM as my stand out track on the album. One of the louder and busier tracks sonically, I love the live version in the video above and can imagine it getting a strong reaction in the live environment. Another track I'm loving is Fucking Loser - a pretty clear message in the name of the track and the refrain "I really am a fucking loser" but there's some hope in this one - "you were the place I stood, the day my feet were sore. A reminder I could love one still." Elsewhere I'm absolutely loving the horns section in Pill too. 

Christof heads out on tour in Europe and the UK in a few weeks, with shows in Brighton (The Hope & Ruin on 7th October) and London (The Lexington on 8th October) to launch the album. It's a full band tour and if his Waiting Room show earlier in the year is anything to go by, it is sure to be a gorgeous evening - full dates and tickets here.

Listen to the album on Spotify here and grab your physical copy through Christof's site here

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