Thursday, 2 April 2020

WATCH: Holly Humberstone - 'Falling Asleep At The Wheel'

This has bene out for a couple of weeks now, but what is time at the moment anyway... it's the new track and video from Grantham based singer-songwriter Holly Humberstone. While she's spent the last couple of years performing at festivals around the country and supporting Lewis Capaldi in Europe, she's a new name to me, coming onto my radar recently when she was announced for the new Tracks Festival from Communion (sadly now cancelled and launching in 2021 instead.) With her artist bio citing the likes of HAIM, Phoebe Bridgers and Lorde as inspirations, you can hear those influences and more in this lovely new track, her second single.

Sharing the track online, Holly wrote "this song means so much to me. I wrote it a while ago and it was probably the first time I felt like I knew who I was within the music I was making. I loved creating it at my weird home, where the seasons were shifting, with the legend Rob Milton."

Follow Holly Humberstone - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

LISTEN: Pêtr Aleksänder - 'The Something Else'

News of an incoming Pêtr Aleksänder EP is very welcome indeed - Another World is due for release via Kin Records on May 20th. The classical contemporary duo, made up of all-round legends Tom Hobden and Eliot James, has recently shared The Something Else and for want of a better phrase it is... well, something else. Beautiful. I appreciate classical music but it isn't really a genre I've ever explored much, but I love the work that this pair do to bring classical music to a new audience, with a contemporary spin. It's all a very clever mix of strings and piano with electronic beats and is unlike anything else I post about here.

On the new track, Eliot explains that it is "an instrumental arrangement for piano and strings built around 16 repeating notes which were originally inspired by Pachelbel's Canon. Our 16 notes provide the backbone for a sweeping string arrangement which ebbs and flows around the central theme, accompanied by some slices of vocals and electronics which allude to the wider theme of our EP. It is a piece of music we have been playing and experimenting with live and became a natural starting point for the new wave of music we have been working on recently." 

Follow Pêtr AleksänderTwitter | Facebook | Instagram.

Monday, 30 March 2020

LISTEN: Charlie Cunningham & Sophie Jamieson - 'Climb'

I love this! Charlie Cunningham, having shared his second album Permanent Way and a live EP last year, has just shared the second single from forthcoming Pieces EP. The new track Climb features guest vocals from Sophie Jamieson, who was supporting on Charlie's recent European tour. In a lovely and piece of gig-based serendipity, I first discovered Charlie when he opened at a Stornoway show in a church in Oxford in late 2015. Earlier that year, I'd seen Sophie opening for Sivu, in a church in London. In early 2018 I saw Sivu live in London with my friend Oli, from Stornoway, and who should be sitting next to us... Sophie! Small world, small industry, and all that.

While the first release from the EP was a sparse piano-led track, the new single sees Charlie returning to the sound that he is beloved for, and which I most associate with him. The acoustic guitar, with intricately finger-picked melodies creating a backdrop for a blend of the pair's vocals. As the press release for the track accurately posits - the result is intoxicating!

Follow Charlie Cunningham - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.
Follow Sophie Jamieson - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

EP NEWS: Roo Panes - 'Pacific'

We all need a bit of soothing music at the moment, right? Well, let's look no further than brand new Roo Panes. He's just shared not one but two (!) brand new tunes from his upcoming Pacific EP, the title track and Colour In Your Heart, which you can listen to below. The full five-track EP is due for release on CRC Records on May 22nd.

While the title track, Pacific, brings us five and a half minutes of exactly the sort of track we've come to expect from Roo - the beautiful simplicity of acoustic guitar and those gorgeous trademark vocals - Colour In My Heart is something new. Without a guitar in sight (or earshot) there are electronic beats aplenty - Roo himself explains that "the reason I liked the idea of releasing this a and b side is because on this EP I've tried quite a lot of new ideas and textures, but also have some songs which are more traditionally me. 'Colour In Your Heart' is a new sound experiment and whilst being excited to share that as a single I also wanted 'Pacific' to be there to show the continuity with my other work. Together I think they make a really nice pair - both meditative and sound-scapey in their own way but one which is upbeat and the other more drifty and reflective." 

Follow Roo Panes - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 27 March 2020

WATCH: White Tail Falls - 'Fake News'

Last night, I should've been seeing one of my favourite artists on the first tour of his new project White Tail Falls in the beautiful confines of London's St Pancras Old Church. Instead, I had to make do with a live performance, via the wonders of the internet, from his (shed) studio. Pretty magical, and I didn't have to leave the house, or get dressed up. I quite like these internet gigs. It also happened to be launch day for his video for the track Fake News, the title track of his recent EP.

The video is the first part, but the third to be released (keep up...!) in a trilogy of videos, with the previous parts arriving alongside tracks Give It Up, Son and Disintegrate. Filmed in Barcelona, the video brings together footage of a New Year's Eve beach party (fireworks and all) and the sun-drenched morning-after. Crowds contrast with the near empty beach, with footprints ready to be washed away by the sea. It's all a bit profound.

Irwin explains that the video "created entirely by Craig 'Attacks' Young, begins the three-part story of how our demons haunt us, through hedonism, through time and through space. Whilst the lyrics flirt with optimism in how: 'If everyone's lying, someone must be, accidentally, telling the truth', the video reflects the sorrow of how what was will never be again." 

The tour has been rescheduled (phew!) for this September, with tickets still valid and for sale here for shows in Brighton, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and London.

Follow White Tail Falls - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 20 March 2020

EP NEWS: Rosie Carney - 'i dreamed i was the night'

EP news to share today, with Rosie Carney recently announcing the i dreamed i was the night EP to follow-up her debut album Bare. The EP is due for release on 10th April via Color Study, an indie label founded by her manager Spencer Kelley. The first track to be released is when i look at you, a track with themes of "heartbreak, betrayal and destruction." The video for the track reflects these themes, with Rosie explaining that "I never felt comfortable being in front of the camera, it's like I wrapped myself in chains, and I knew in order to really tell this story I had to break myself free from them." In the video, Rosie, alongside dance partner Tylor Deyn, uses subtle and minimal movement to portray the discomfort she has lived with for some time, describing the process as "the therapy I didn't know I needed."

Follow Rosie Carney - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

LISTEN: MF Tomlinson - 'You & Me, Babe'

"You and me are always going to have a place called home." 

One of my favourite discoveries of last year, MF Tomlinson has been gradually releasing singles for a few months now, and has just released the final piece of the puzzle, You & Me, Babe, alongside the full Last Days of Rome EP - listen to the EP here. On the track and the EP more widely, this project calls on a community of collaborators - with MF travelling from London and LA to his homeland of Australia, with Japan's Ami Koda on flute, UK's Connie Chatwin on violin and backing vocals, Finland's Viljam Nybacka on bass and Turkey's Yigit Bulbul on guitar and percussion. It's a big old family, and it sounds lovely. MF adds "during my time in London I've been lucky enough to meet all these amzing people - it's an honour that they wanna play music together." 

Talking about the final track, he explains that it is "a story of how I (and many others) live now in love, surrounded by people they love - about how people, not places, are your real home no matter where you are. About the happiness we find in each other, romantically, and in friendship. Some of the most powerful & important feelings we have aren't ruled by the big forces that shape the world, they're sparked and expressed by little moments. That's what I'm trying to capture." 

"I wrote this song about my wife, each line in the song relates to something specific but I wrote in broad strokes because I like to think that everyone has someone close to them who this song could be about. I want whoever is listening to be able to think about their own memories and fill these moments in with their own details." 

Follow MF Tomlinson - Facebook | TwitterInstagram.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

WATCH: Alice Phoebe Lou - 'Witches'

Absolutely loving this one from an artist who is a new name to me (love me an ace new discovery!) Witches from Alice Phoebe Lou is currently sitting at the top of the 2020 playlist - get listening and following that here. The track arrives following the release of her second album Paper Castles this time last year, which saw Alice rack up 102 shows in four continents across the year. Trialling new tracks on the road, Witches came to life, and it is all sorts of lovely. The track, produced by Ziv Yamin in a DIY studio at home, and mixed by Noah Georgeson, is accompanied by a music video shot by Alice and her bandmates on an 8mm camera while on tour last year.

Talking about the track, Alice explains that it is "in a different world to my usual sound, a stand alone song that leans towards a punk attitude while holding on to a gentle feminine energy. After being gifted a one inch tape machine, we decided to use this song as the first try at recording in this tasty analog way. I've never been so inspired by a recording process as I have with recording to tape, especially in the DIY nature in which we did it (2 people in a living room). Watching the song come to life without a computer, listening to the tape whirring backwards [...] there's nothing quite like it!"

Follow Alice Phoebe Lou - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 16 March 2020

WATCH: MarthaGunn - 'Heaven' (acoustic)

You don't need me to tell you that everything is a bit of an apocalyptic nightmare at the moment - I hope you're all staying safe and keeping your heads. All I can say is thank goodness for music. No matter how dark times get, it's always a great relief to know that music will be here to bring joy through those times. On that note, as gigs get cancelled (understandably) around the world, lots of artists, including many of those who I write about here, are placed into difficult situations, as in an age of streaming, they often rely on income from live shows. If you're in a position where you are able to, be sure to support your favourite artists at the moment - buy their CD, buy their merchandise, support their online pages if they're on Patreon or similar, and stream them to your heart's content.

Back to the new (ish) music! MarthaGunn, the total stars, recently shared a gorgeous acoustic performance of Heaven. It was the first track they released a few years back, and they've recently released a new version of the track. I'm adoring this live version. Abi's vocals are, as ever, sublime, as are those 5-way harmonies. Also - if ever a band screamed 'hair goals' - just saying.

As currently stands, MarthaGunn head out on a UK tour this month with a bunch of brilliant support acts across the tour, tickets here. Be sure to follow the band on their socials below in case of cancellations.

Follow MarthaGunn - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 13 March 2020

WATCH: Oscar Jerome - ‘Sun for Someone'

From the first listen to Smile On A Screen a couple of years back, I've had a lot of love for Oscar Jerome. The Trinity Laban trained guitarist and member of afrobeat collective Kokoroko has been putting finishing touches to his debut album, and has just shared a politically and environmentally charged track, Sun for Someone, as his first new offering of 2020.

Talking about the track, Oscar explains that it is "about the extinction of the human race and it being a good thing for the planet. Once we are gone the earth will right itself and carry on like it always has. The Sun will keep rising for someone, be it animal or planet. It just won't run on the watch that we keep for our stubborn and unadaptable lifestyles. We often forget we are just a spec in time." 

The video for the track is directed by Joel Barney, and stars dancers Mukeni Nel and Antoine Sturge. Of the video, Joel explains that "initially when we first heard the track I knew that there needed to be dancing, however, after speaking with Oscar about the meaning behind the song, we found there needed to be a darker underbelly to the video. The surreal animal people were our tongue-in-cheek representation of the animals on earth watching on as we humans carelessly move forward with an innocent naivety." 

Follow Oscar Jerome - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.