Wednesday, 8 July 2020

WATCH: Halloweens - 'Divinity Pools'

A lot of exciting Halloweens news and content over the last couple of weeks!!! Just days after we were treated to the first single from Timothy's solo project T Truman, there's a brand new Halloweens tune too. Both are so so good. I love HalloweensDivinity Pools is the first track taken from the duo's new 6-track EP Maserati Anxiety Designed, which is due on 21st August. Check out the video below for some lockdown jogging action...

Once you've had your fill of the new tune, there's a beautiful lockdown version of Ur Kinda Man here, filmed "for the Glasto that never was." Again - did I say that I really love this pair? That video!!! Last but not least - their debut album Morning Kiss at the Acropolis was previously just released online, but there's a limited edition red (signed!) vinyl coming soon and you can join me in pre-ordering that here.

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Tuesday, 7 July 2020

albums of 2020 (so far...)

An albums of the year (so far) post!!! Compiling lists of my favourite records in 2018 and 2019 brought me a lot of joy and as we've just passed the middle of the year I figured I would shout about the records I've been loving this year. I'll go into more detail at the end of the year and pick out my favourites (and ramble a bit about how brilliant they are, of course) so for now I just wanted to share a list. There are twenty superb records here (in release order) and a taster from each album on the Soundcloud playlist below - I'm experimenting using Soundcloud a bit more so follow me there for more playlists... possibly.

There are lots of records still to look forward to this year... this month we've got debuts from Oscar Jerome, Rhys Lewis, Love Fame Tragedy, new Dizzy (YES!) a live Stornoway record (it's gorgeous) and more from the likes of Everything Everything, Siv Jakobsen (also gorgeous) IDLES and plenty more later in the year. Can't wait!! 

The Big Moon - Walking Like We Do
Bombay Bicycle Club Everything Else Has Gone Wrong
Gengahr Sanctuary
Franc Moody Dream In Colour
Brooke Bentham - Everyday Nothing
Halloweens Morning Kiss at the Acropolis
Laura Marling Song For Our Daughter
The Strokes The New Abnormal
Hailaker - Holding
White Tail Falls Age Of Entitlement
Bryde The Volume of Things
Gia Margaret Mia Gargaret 
Jack Garratt Love, Death & Dancing
Orlando Weeks - A Quickening
Richard Walters Golden Veins
Phoebe Bridgers Punisher
HAIM - Women In Music Pt. III
AJIMAL As It Grows Dark / Light 
Dream Wife So When You Gonna... 

Check back in about six months for the albums of 2020...

WATCH: Japan, Man - 'Cautious'

Very glad to find this in my inbox - Japan, Man (AKA 14 year-old Beirut-based artist Leaticia Acra) just released her debut EP Bad Days, featuring the absolute tune Cautious. Having added it to the playlist back in March, I had intended to share the track to the blog itself but never got round to it, so this is a perfect opportunity - a 6-track EP and a wonderfully heartwarming animated video for the track, directed by Lily Shaul. Creating music while living and growing up in war-torn Lebanon, Leaticia's perspective is a unique one. The result is reflective music which is catchy and full to the brim with charm.

Cautious is Leaticia at her most endearing, calling for empathy and compassion atop a catchy beat - you can't help but move to the track. She describes it as a song "about desperately wanting people to understand the struggles one might experience within themselves. It's a call for emotional intelligence in our counterparts and patience when it comes to getting into any sort of relationship with another." 

Follow Japan, Man - Facebook | Instagram.

Monday, 6 July 2020

WATCH: Dizzy - 'Roman Candles'

For a moment there, I'd forgotten that Dizzy had a new record on the way... remembering brought a lot of joy. I adored their debut Baby Teeth and can not wait to hear the new record when it is released at the end of this month. The Sun and Her Scorch follows the path set by the debut album, exploring themes surrounding the restlessness of suburban living, feeling lost in your youth, etc. In that vein, they've just released new track Roman Candles, alongside a stunning music video featuring frontwoman Katie Munshaw - easily one of the best videos I've seen so far this year!! 

Talking about the track, Katie says that it "is about how insecure I feel being someone who’s pursued music as a job. I’ve often felt jealous of friends who’ve taken more traditional paths in life. Some have gone to university and have 9 to 5 jobs already and have to buy funny things like lawnmowers and cutlery. I know that sounds silly but I have a real fear I’ll never own a home or be able to support a family because of the decision I’ve made, so of course, that’s scary. I think I’ve quit the band a dozen times since we started and then wind up taking it back an hour later because I know it’s just fear talking.” 

Dizzy release The Sun and Her Scorch via Communion Records on 31st July - pre-order here.

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Thursday, 2 July 2020

LISTEN: Haux - 'Accidents'

One of my favourite discoveries of 2020, the ever enchanting Haux (AKA rural Massachusetts-based songwriter and producer Woodson Black) just shared new single Accidents. It's the third track to be taken from his debut album Violence in a Quiet Mind, releasing via Color Study on 17th July. Recorded between a Scottish seaside studio and Reservoir Studios in NYC, the record was co-produced by Haux, his longtime collaborator Jamie Macneal and Thomas Bartlett. Acting as a sort of self-therapy which he hopes may be relatable and offer hope to listeners, the record, Black explains, "is about honesty after hiding for so many years." Bartlett describes the process as "a privilege, like being invited into a secret, hushed room filled with someone's most intimate thoughts." 

Talking about the new track, he explains that "'Accidents' is one memory that remained [from childhood]; driving with one of my crushes in the back of my mom's ex-boyfriend's car while he was pretty buzzed wondering if we crashed, would it actually be worse than how we were feeling at the time (being 13 or 14 years old). It's messed up but sometimes when you're dealing with someone struggling with addiction you kind of welcome rock bottom because then at least something might change."

"It takes a lot of energy to sift through the past. I feel like this album has allowed me to retell my childhood with all the parts I chose to forget back then. It's scary to know that the way I cope with difficult times is to forget them. I guess part of growing up is shedding those old coping habits and learning that remembering is actually ok, that it's healthy."

Follow Haux - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

WATCH: Holly Humberstone - 'Overkill'

A new Holly Humberstone track? Yes!!! I loved Falling Asleep At The Wheel earlier in the year, and I'm really enjoying new track Overkill. Written with Rob Milton and Benjamin Francis Leftwich, the track, Holly explains, focuses on "all the thrill and uncertainty and confusion and the many other emotions that come with falling for someone for the first time." 

The video is a lockdown project, which Holly filmed at home with her sister Eleri, explaining in a post online that "my sister Eleri decided to put me through my paces during lockdown. We took an old VHS camera and a torch out at dusk into the forest near our home. She had me follow her through the trees and bushes, as I played along to Overkill. It was basically my version of a 5k run except I had no idea where I was going, it was pitch black and impossible to see anything and I was tripping over twigs n stuff the whole time hahaha." Enjoy!!!

Follow Holly Humberstone - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

LISTEN: Novo Amor - 'Decimal / Halloween'

Rewind a couple of years to 2018, and I was just about to have the absolute joy of discovering Novo Amor, AKA Welsh artist Ali Lacey. Skip through what is probably a couple of hundred (at least) listens of his record Birthplace, a Union Chapel show and getting to look after Ali and the band at Bushstock last year where they played a stunning headline set... and I am very much still adoring the tunes. A treat, therefore, to have not one but two new tracks last week - a double single to make me ecstatic and to overwhelm me with all the sad feelings (... the perfect mix!) 

Both tunes, Decimal and Halloween, are gorgeous, unsurprisingly. I could say more, but in this instance, I very much want to let the music do the talking - and I'm writing this at midnight when I should definitely be asleep. Just know that Ali is without a doubt my favourite musical discovery of the last couple of years. Once you've listened to the new double single below, and cried a little, listen to Birthplace and figure out for yourself why I love it so much (and while you're there, you should most definitely check out Holding from Hailaker and Nano from David Grubb - projects from members of the Novo Amor family.) 

While Ali usually likes to leave the tracks up to fans' interpretation, I grabbed a quick quote from him about Halloween"it's a song I wrote on Halloween night of last year, the day that ended what was quite a bad month for me personally. I hadn't felt motivated to pick up my guitar in a little while and when I did I just felt like all the good things had left my mouth, I was out of things to say, which birthed the first line of the song." 

"The chorus calls back to Halloween of 2011, when I fell and hit my head on the sink and had to have it glued back up. The song was originally just five verses about how shit October was for me and it just got me thinking about that old Halloween and how I'm kind of feeling the same 9 years later. I usually don't like to have such obvious lyrics, but I like how the song lets people in to a more personal side of me, in a way. I feel like the line "I miss my friends that I pretend I don't need" sums me up completely." 

Follow Novo Amor - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 29 June 2020

LISTEN: Matilda Mann - 'As It Is'

Love love love this. New from Matilda Mann, As It Is is the first track taken from her forthcoming EP, the follow up to If That Makes Sense, which has so far amassed over 1.7m streams... crikey! The new EP sees Matilda, who at 19 years old has already racked up support from the likes of Mahogany and BBC Introducing, support slots with Arlo Parks and The Staves, working with Rich Cooper (Billie Marten, Lucy Rose), Rob Milton (Easy Life, Holly Humberstone) and Matt Maltese. Writing her first song at 11, she's been writing ever since, taking inspiration from conversations with friends, and those overheard on the tube or whilst working in a pub.

Talking about writing the new track, Matilda explains that "at the time my boyfriend was in America for a month and I spoke about how I missed him (and how in relationships before, I had never actually missed them when they were away, and it was always a big sign for me.) I had a few friends at the time who were coming to the end of their relationships, mainly due to long distance, but it was dragging on because they didn't know how to let go. I think sometimes it can be quite daunting to imagine yourself single and to lose a part of your life that you've just grown accustom to always being there." 

Follow Matilda Mann - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

WATCH: Leon Bridges - 'Sweeter'

I've got so much love for this track from Leon Bridges and Terrace Martin, released a couple of weeks ago. Originally written and recorded for a future album, the pair felt compelled by recent events to release the song at once, as it is written from the perspective of a black man taking his last breath and feeling his spirit leave his body. 

The video for the track (below) was directed by Leon's longtime photographer and collaborator Rambo, and was filmed in the neighbourhood he grew up in in Texas. It's a family affair, featuring his father and friends from childhood - Leon explains "I wanted to shine a light on the black community in Fort Worth, and specifically my childhood community from the Southside of Fort Worth. I had my friends and family with me; this is a celebration of our Blackness." 

Leon says "growing up in Texas I have personally experienced racism, my friends have experienced racism. From adolescence we are taught how to conduct ourselves when we encounter police to avoid the issues of police brutality. The death of George Floyd was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. It was the first time I wept for a man I never met. I am George Floyd, my brothers are George Floyd, and my sisters are George Floyd. I cannot and will not be silent any longer." 

Terrace adds that "it is always an honor to share a platform with my dear brother Leon Bridges. This is meditation music; it is not music for the ears but rather music for the heart. I truly believe that eyes have been deceiving us for so long but the heart always tells the truth. The heart needs to be repaired. Black folk have been deceived so many years, the only thing that can turn it around is a heart full of love." 

Follow Leon Bridges - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

WATCH: T Truman - 'Holiday'

I'm currently adjusting back to full time work (the real world is really tiring, no?) so apologies for the slightly quieter social media feeds and fewer posts... I'm currently on a day off, crying along with the new Phoebe Bridgers record, eagerly awaiting new Novo Amor premiering in a few hours, and having a boogie to this debut track. An alter ego in place to escape accountability for his lyrics, T Truman is the solo project from Timothy Lanham, one half of Halloweens and keyboard player for The Vaccines, and I am very much here for it. 

Holiday is the first track taken from an upcoming EP co-written and co-produced by his friend and long-term collaborator Geoff Roberts, and features ex-Vaccines drummer Pete Robertson on drums. The track paints a lyrically care-free picture with lines such as - "cos I just wanna forget about things, and have a good time ... take a holiday man, just cos I can, let tomorrow take care of itself." Timothy adds that "if I were to take the lyrics completely seriously, I don't think I'd like me." The video for the track is very DIY, "like an Anchorman feat. Joe Exotic unofficial tribute video, but that's what you get when you leave me in self isolation with a handycam." Loving it!

Follow T Truman - Facebook | Instagram.