Friday, 30 October 2020

WATCH: Mellah - 'Hitchin'

Since finding his previous single in my inbox a little while back, I've wanted to share a post introducing Mellah. He's new to me but seems to have a string of singles reaching back a few years, and has just shared his third of 2020. His tracks are cheery indie-pop on the surface, exploring themes like social media, psychosis and suburbia within the lyrics. If you missed Habit, the video is here - fair warning: you might need a strong stomach for it. 

New track Hitchin is a breath of fresh air, with a similarly breezy new video bringing me a lot of joy. A self-directed 'Merman odyssey' the video features friends and collaborators of Mellah - Lianne La Havas, Alaskalaska's Lucinda Duarte-Holman, Tiña's Josh Loftin and Barnaby Keen

Writing about the track, Mellah explains that it "is about relinquishing control. Forever pining and searching and digging for contentment, meaning and joy when in reality it's in your back pocket, all you need to do is stop looking for it to notice the free ride. The video is the best way I could think of to hammer that point home. It's a reminder to let yourself be who you are. It's so easy to compare yourself to others these days and you always come out second best. Contentment isn't over there, it's in here."  

Follow Mellah - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 29 October 2020

ALBUM NEWS: Arlo Parks - 'Collapsed in Sunbeams'

I sat down to write this post and saw that Arlo Parks has been crowned the Artist of the Year by BBC Introducing. Absolutely delighted - from the tracks that I've heard (and adore) and interviews with Arlo speaking about her music, it feels like it couldn't happen to somebody more deserving. I'm so so over the moon to share that she is releasing her debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams on the ever-brilliant Transgressive Records on 29th January 2021. Speaking on the record, Arlo says "my album is a series of vignettes and intimate portraits surrounding my adolescence and the people that shaped it. It is rooted in storytelling and nostalgia - I want it to feel both universal and hyper specific."

The album news comes alongside brand new single Green Eyes which I am absolutely loving at the moment. She describes it as "as song about self-discovery, self-acceptance and adolescence. It is supposed to uplift and comfort those going through hard times." With backing vocals and guitar from Clairo, the track has a video directed by Louis Bhose. As ever, brilliant. Is 29th January here yet?

Pre-order/pre-save the new record Collapsed In Sunbeams here

Follow Arlo Parks - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

LISTEN: China Bears - 'Jolene'

China Bears have been busy through this crazy year, playing streaming shows and recording performances for blogs, radio stations and labels alike. I adore the stairwell performance of I'm Not Eating Like I Used To that they sent in for the blog's fifth birthday earlier in the year, which you can catch up on here. A few weeks back, they've just shared their third single of the year, taken from their upcoming second EP Statue Still, due early next year. Jolene is everything I've come to love from the band, a lovely heartfelt (if a little sad) slice of indie - or as the press release so beautifully puts it - "a lithe indie mini-drama". China Bears are the band I'll head towards if I want to feel a little sad but be surrounded by great music. 

Talking on the track, the band explain that it "was written about facing the difficulties of separation and the vulnerable positions we tend to put ourselves in for one another. It's sort of making light of the pain that comes with healing, but at the same time feeling proud you were able to give your all to someone, even though it doesn't work out sometimes." 

Follow China Bears - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

ALBUM NEWS: The Staves - 'Good Woman'

So it looks as if The Staves will be coming in with a very early contender for album of the year in 2021... I am over the moon with this news. They've just announced their record Good Woman, due for release via Atlantic Records on 5th Feb. Their first record in six years, there's a whole lot of experience, both individual and collective, packed into it. The ending of relationships, the birth of Emily's first child and the loss of their beloved mother. Self-produced mostly, with a little help from John Congleton along the way, the album stands as a sign of the trio's strength. The announcement is paired with the release of the title track, and I am LOVING this live performance of it, below. Warning, you might be singing this track for days after hearing it first... I know that I still am!

Talking on the record, the sisters share: "we have been working on this for a long time and are thrilled to share the title track with you. When we think about making this album we think about moments and snapshots of all the different contexts we were in as it was made. Living in each other's pockets and then living with oceans between us. On voice notes and field recordings and ideas in emails sent across continents. We think of homesickness and family. Of being an outsider. Of endless notebooks and scraps of paper. Of studios in the winter and recordings under the summer sun. Of rainy London days and long American night with coffees and beers, dogs and cats. We think of love. Big, big love. Our Mum. Our Dad, Our friends. And of loss. Death and birth. Womanhood, motherhood. Sisterhood. And coming home." 

Good Woman is released on 5th February 2021 - pre-order the record here.

Follow The Staves - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 26 October 2020

LISTEN: Lucy Gaffney - 'Send Me Away'

Back in April, I found (and loved) a track from Lucy Gaffney in my inbox. The Belfast-born, Liverpool-based songwriter had just released Can't Escape, her first solo track, having been part of the band Southern previously. She's back with Send Me Away via Frictionless Music. Really digging this one. Only her second single, she's already played alongside Bill Ryder Jones and She Drew The Gun and had radio support from BBC Radio 1 and local BBC Introducing shows. On this track, her Southern bandmate and (actual) brother Thom Southern plays electric guitar and bass, with Jim Sharrock on drums, and The Coral's James Skelly producing. 

Talking about the track, Lucy shares that "for me the track really encapsulates the dreamy element in the idea of love, getting lost in intoxicating moments and the electric excitement of the unknown. With the recording I wanted to capture the garage band rawness from when I wrote it in the rehearsal studio. There's an honest naivety to it that fizzes with electric quirks and kinks from start to finish, igniting an in the moment carefree edge." 

Follow Lucy Gaffney - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 23 October 2020

WATCH: MOY - 'At My Door'

Submissions to the blog seem to be constantly growing week on week (a brilliant thing but also... woah) and this makes finding tracks and artists that I enjoy even more of a rewarding prospect. I loved this from MOY which landed in my inbox recently. A slightly mysterious band who have shared few details of their background, what I do know is that they're a Glasgow based band fronted by a New Zealander, and from this track, I'm getting a bit of a Twin Atlantic vibe. It's fully possible that the Glasgow connection has me distracted. Listening to previous singles No Talk's The Best Chat and Start Me Up however, it's clear that this is a band exploring their sound as they make their first steps out into the world.

The new track is very much a guitar-led affair, with 'loud-and-quiet dynamics' (exactly the term I'd have searched for and been unable to find, so thanks to their PR Kat for that one). A bit of an indie-grunge amalgamation, it's unlike their previous releases, and probably my favourite so far. I'm all for those All-American Rejects esque shouty vocals. 

Talking about the track MOY explain that it "was written about escapism, a chance encounter with someone significant who takes you to a new place, wanting to return and when you can't, the reflection and understanding of the truth that is staring you right in the face. That you can't go back. We spent just over a month animating the music video which consists of over 3200 unique hand drawn images layered on top of each other. There's a hidden story woven throughout the animation which shows the track in a different light."

Follow MOY - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 22 October 2020

LISTEN: AM Shanley - 'Redshifting'

It feels quite exciting to be sharing a lot of debut singles and artists who are new to me (and therefore by extension, the blog) at the moment. While I love to ramble about how much I love my favourite artists, the blog is primarily here to share brand new music and it's quite a buzz to think that I might be the first place where somebody hears about an artist. Several years of running the blog and I still can't quite envisage that anybody has actually ever made a discovery via the blog, but it must have happened... once or twice? Maybe send in some fan mail about that. 

A couple of weeks ago saw an almost three-way attack of promo for this track, with fate (and the internet) pushing it onto my radar. The artist himself followed the blog online, almost simultaneously as his PR sent along a press release, and one of my favourite artists sent a personal recommendation telling me that I might want to check it out. All at once. Kind of serendipitous. 

The track in question is Redshifting, the debut single from AM Shanley on Analogue Catalogue Records. Released for the latest Bandcamp Friday, it's the first track from his upcoming record Hellacious, a collaboration with producer and engineer Julie McLarnon, with whom he recorded the track direct to tape (in ways far more technical than I'll profess to understand, but it sounds pretty cool.) Analogue, vintage, lap-steel and synth-y vibes reside in the DNA of the track. It'll warm you up inside, that's for sure. 

The video was shot by and stars photographer and visual artists Loredana Raffa

Follow AM Shanley - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

WATCH: Millie Turner - 'Eye of the Storm'

This new Millie Turner track has been on my list of things to write about for a few weeks (oh, reader, if you could see the backlog...) Since first listening it has been circling in my head intermittently. I popped it onto the new girls allowed playlist I've created where I'm celebrating some of my favourite women in music alongside new discoveries for me, in an effort to diversify my listening habits (as written about here) - but knew that I wanted to share it to the blog if I found the time. So: here it is!

The title track of Millie's forthcoming mixtape, due next March, Eye of the Storm is a four minute earworm (you've been warned.) Written after a 24 hour plane ride to the other side of the world, the track is euphoric, an emotion we haven't seen much of this year. A track to make pop fans sad (again) about the lack of festivals this year - this is sure to be a crowd pleaser once Millie gets back to the stage.

Talking about the track, Millie shares that "the entire process of writing it was a blur amongst illness, homesickness, heartache and jet lag, but for me, that's the beauty of the song. The eye of the storm is a focus point amidst the storm where everything around you feels out of control and chaotic, which is what I wanted to capture in the urgency of the drums and the chorus. There's something beautiful about chaos when you have that focal point of calm that you can grow from." 

Follow Millie Turner - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

LISTEN: Lizzie Reid - 'Seamless'

"your head is in the sand while I'm trying to keep mine above water. you still stay on land while I'm drowning out here in the water..."

Without picking favourites, there are certain publicists and PR companies who consistently send through brilliant new releases, and in whose hands (and emails) I feel pretty safe. For years now, one of these has most definitely been Stay Loose. They've introduced me to the likes of Novo Amor, Siv Jakobsen and Leif Vollebekk, as well as sending across early listens of music from firm favourites. An email from Paddy is genuinely a cause for celebration in my inbox - something which I'll either rush towards or try my best to save until last, a reward for wading through the inbox in its entirety. I was delighted this week to find this new track from Glaswegian singer-songwriter Lizzie Reid.

A new name for me, another sure sign that I might like what I heard here came in the first lines of the email - Lizzie has recently signed to Seven Four Seven Six, a label that has Matilda Mann and Matt Maltese on its roster. Seamless is exactly that - exposed vocals pair with strings (and we know that I love a string section) to highlight Lizzie's emotive songwriting. And if you try hard enough, you can hear her cat at the end of the track, I think. I hope they're getting royalties.

From Lizzie - "I listened to the demo on the train from London to Glasgow. I had tears streaming down my face. That was when I realised, I had written something deeply personal to me." 

Follow Lizzie Reid - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 19 October 2020

WATCH: Novo Amor - 'I Feel Better'

Just over a couple of weeks until the new Novo Amor record is out... I'd say how over the moon I am about this (because I am) but in a very very exciting turn of events, I've had a stream of it since early September. Madness. In such a bonkers year, doing little other than travelling back and forth on public transport to my (busy and understaffed) retail job and with no gigs on the horizon it takes something special to bring some much needed joy, and having this record two months before release is just the ticket. For the last album, I'd heard and loved a couple of singles and it was more a case of "oh, that new Novo Amor album is out, I should listen to that..." whereas this time I have been eagerly awaiting this for months. To have listened to it many times already, before Ali's almost 3 million (!) monthly listeners on Spotify get the chance, is really exciting. 

Ali just shared I Feel Better, the fifth single to be taken from the record (my favourite is yet to come - you're going to love it) with a video directed by Lisette Donkersloot. The director has shared this quote about the video - "I was inspired by several things. One being a Spanish performance artist and of course the track which I’ve really come to love, but mostly I wanted to capture the idea of recovering from heartbreak and betrayal. This paradoxal feeling where you on the one hand are dying to reconnect/feel affection but simultaneously are equally afraid to let anyone new in due to trust issues and the fear of getting hurt again, so you continue to shut people out and suffer in solitude. In my opinion this represents a universal feeling so I wanted to tell it from a gender fluid point of view. I am super grateful and pleased to have collaborated with Ali, he respected my vision from the get-go and gave me a lot of creative freedom."

When I was thinking about sharing the track to the blog, I came across Ali's post. I intended to pull a quote or two from it, but feel inclined to share the whole passage. It's rare to see an artist opening up so much about the creative process, and the struggles that ensue:

I felt an incredible rush of joy and direction when I initially wrote the piano and chorus melody. At the time it felt like this song would define the album, which hadn’t been written yet. I thought it would set the tone for a more positive and joyous step forward, but months down the line the record grew this backbone of indecision, jumping from feelings of self-affirmation to self-pity, from joy and celebration to feelings of boredom and anxiety. It’s not something I really wanted, but those feelings naturally manifested themselves within what I was creating. I think that spectrum of emotion appropriately mirrors how it feels to make an album, at least for me anyway. It’s a mess and can cause a lot of grief. It gives you life, then drags it back out of you. It gives you happiness, the best days, the worst days, and makes you question your purpose and abilities. These words feel unnecessarily dramatic when describing nine months of just making music, but hey, that’s how it feels. 

By the end of the album recording, the song felt like an outlier, another one of these ideas that didn’t really need to be heard. I’d worked on it too much. It felt like I was making it worse with every day of recording. It felt like the album had shifted too far away from this uplifting piano line that I’d gotten excited about months before. So, I was ready to throw it away until my friend and collaborator Ed Tullett stopped me. He gave me encouragement to at least see it though and try to make something we could be happy with. I think he (thankfully) saw more importance in this song being on the album than I did. Like most of the other tracks on the record, we worked on it together and it’s a much better record because of it. The song, while still feeling like a bit of an outlier, actually came to represent so much of what this record is for me, this range of emotion and indecision, the building up and tearing down of ideas, this clash of happiness and sadness and affirmation from others. As the song sings - “just tell me that it’s alright and I'll be fine”.
The new record Cannot Be, Whatsoever is due for release on 6th Nov - pre-order here.

Follow Novo Amor - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 16 October 2020

EP NEWS: Dizzy - 'Basement Covers'

Not content with releasing one of the best records of the year (verified fact) Canada's Dizzy are back with a four track EP incoming - I audibly gasped at finding this news in my inbox... I adore this band. It's a selection of covers with tracks from The National, Talking Heads, Sylvan Esso and Britney Spears, but feels like it could be a set of Dizzy originals. Love love love. Released via Communion Records on November 13th, the EP is led by their cover of the TH track This Must Be The Place, which they'd recently shared to Youtube, along with their cover of Sylvan's Slack Jaw

Discussing the Talking Heads cover, the band's vocalist Katie Munshaw says "This Must Be The Place took on a new meaning once quarantine hit. We chose to cover it because it seemed like the perfect push and pull between being on the road and missing home and missing being on tour with your band while being stuck in quarantine." 

Follow Dizzy - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

LISTEN: Ed Nash - 'Think You Feel The Same'

Receiving an email into my submissions with the subject 'Bombay Bicycle Club - new project' last week certainly grabbed my attention. I was really intrigued to see that the band's guitarist Ed Nash is releasing some solo music over the coming months. I love Good Day from the band's recent record, which Ed wrote. Having released a record under the moniker Toothless back in 2017, this time around he's stripping the disguise and releasing under his own name. I've heard a couple of unreleased tracks (....ahh!!) and I'm sure that you're going to love them. This news is all worth sharing for Ed's own label name alone... Bangers & Nash. Genius.

On the thoughts behind the project, Ed shares that "after initially spending some time writing and recording a follow-up to the first Toothless album, I realised I wanted to do things differently. The music I was writing felt increasingly more personal, both lyrically and sonically. Labouring over a record for years no longer feels productive for what I'm doing, where I want to just write songs and get them out to you as quickly as possible. I'm also going to be releasing music under my own name going forward [...] I don't want to use a moniker when everything else about the project is so personal and homegrown." 

First track Think You Feel The Same is out now - Ed shares that it was written "at the start of last year on one of the writing trips I took with Jack to work on the most recent Bombay album. It marked a real change in the music I was writing and sparked my move into wanting to try something new. It's been a long old road from that point until now but I can honestly say I have enjoyed putting together this music more than anything I have done before."

Follow Ed Nash - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

LISTEN: Charli Adams - 'Didn't Make It'

I've been listening to this one quite a bit over the last week - Charli Adams is a new name for me, but I'm really enjoying Didn't Make It, the lead single taken from her upcoming debut album Bullseye, due for release in 2021 on Color Study. The record name, rather casually, comes from a nickname given to Charli by Justin Vernon (yup, that one) while they played darts following a chance meeting at a Nashville dive bar... oh, America. The nickname took hold among friends, representing a more liberated version of Charli following a conservative upbringing in Alabama. The record's tracks document this coming of age and if this first track is anything to go by, it's going to be pretty special. 

Talking on the new single, Charli explains - "I wrote Didn't Make It about trying way too hard to be with someone and cutting your losses. When there's memories and nostalgia tied to someone it's hard to let go and accept it for what it is. I was stuck on a loop with this guy when we were 17 and we just kept fucking it up."

"I love a song with hidden references (even if I'm the only one who knows it's there), so "You were racing in the streets" is a reference to my favourite Bruce Springsteen song and "We were kids we broke the chain" is a reference to Fleetwood Mac. Growing up I was basically only exposed to what was on the radio in the 2000s and it wasn't until this relationship that I discovered the classics."

Follow Charli Adams - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

LISTEN: Rosie Shaw - 'Sometime Soon' EP

With recent posts on my musical loves BE GOOD and Low Island (who are both absolutely smashing it) I'm really embracing the Oxford scene on the blog currently. It's always felt a bit like the blog belongs to Oxford and that it has a bit of an affinity to homegrown talent, even if I am living 90 miles away now...

The desire to share brilliant music from the city isn't stopping anytime soon, and I'm really excited for you all to hear Oxford born singer-songwriter Rosie Shaw. Her debut EP Sometime Soon was released last week, with previous singles Temporary Love and Summer Doesn't Feel The Same alongside two new songs. The title track is a highlight for me, a stripped back acoustic which packs an emotional punch. 

I'm not really one for a 'if you like this...' comparison often, but this is certainly one for fans of the likes of Phoebe BridgersBrooke Bentham and Maggie Rogers. A varied set of tracks offer a stunning showcase of Rosie's vocals and songwriting. It feels inherently sad, but simultaneously like a warm musical hug... I can't wait to hear more!

Listen to Sometime Soon on Spotify here.

Follow Rosie Shaw - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 13 October 2020


Quickly - I should mention some blog news which is pretty cool and overwhelming - in an effort to get the blog seen by as many people as possible, I submitted to Feedspot a couple of weeks back, and got an email recently saying that it had been chosen as one of the Top 80 UK Music Blogs. The blog is number 39 currently which is wild. You can check the list out here, and if you sign up to the site, can follow the blog there and subscribe for email updates on new posts.

Back to the music: I am so so so excited about this!!!! A brand new track from NYC collective MICHELLE. They're one of my favourite 2020 discoveries, with their track THE BOTTOM getting a little resurgence earlier in the year, before their single SUNRISE dropped in July. UNBOUND is their second single of the year, and was premiered as the Hottest Record in the World on Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 show last week, before the video premiered on The FADER. It's glorious to see them getting such brilliant press for it because the track is superb - a giant hit of nostalgia in a slice of 90s-esque R&B. Dreamy in every way. 

Talking about the track, the band shared that "UNBOUND came alive really fast. It's about desire: the kind that oozes for the person you do want and the kind that evaporates for the person you don't. We wanted to make something groovy and colorful, that could access nostalgia while also giving our listeners something new and danceable in a way we haven't before."

Follow MICHELLE - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 12 October 2020

LISTEN: Low Island - 'Don't Let The Light In'

Kicking off the week beautifully with a new tune from one of my favourite bands in the world... Oxford's Low Island have recently shared their first new track in over a year and I am loving it. If you noticed a later than normal playlist update this weekend you can blame both the fact that I was working on Friday, and that I kept listening to this one on repeat. As distractions go, it's all kinds of lovely. Don't Let The Light In is released on the band's own label Emotional Interference, and features on the new FIFA 2021 soundtrack (huge!)

Coming into life originally three years ago, the track was finished earlier this year in remote France, where the band were recording until the day that a national lockdown was announced. Written, produced and engineered by the band themselves, the track was mixed by Matt Wiggins and has artwork made in collaboration with cinematographer Ann Evelin Lawford. Listen below... 

Talking about the track, singer Carlos Posada explains "it's a song about trying to preserve the moment of falling in love, but ultimately being unable to. I fell quite deeply in love with someone who didn't love me back, and it set off a pattern that started to continually repeat itself; a flying start and then an abrupt ending, as if someone had just switched off a light with no explanation. This song is about trying and failing to capture that initial moment in time; of pressing pause and holding the frame before it falls apart." 

I was delighted to hear recently that the band had been awarded the PPL Momentum Fund bursary by the PRS Foundation, which they're using to help record their debut album (ahh!!!!) Having spent lockdown working on new material, they've also been using the time to learn everything that they could about the industry, choosing to set up their own label in order to have, the band says, "the freedom to make whatever we want, to take risks, and to only have ourselves to answer to." 

Follow Low Island - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

LISTEN: T Truman - 'Born To Be Right' EP

It's finally here! Born To Be Right, the debut EP from T Truman, the solo project of The Vaccines keys player & half of Halloweens, the all-kinds-of-talented Timothy Lanham. The EP follows singles Holiday (a certified bop) and Rock 'n' Roll and was co-written and co-produced by Timothy's friend and long-term collaborator Geoff Roberts. It's genius. Cleverly playful songwriting sits across tunes mixing influences of modern indie and 70s rock, where the piano headlines, front and centre. Born To Be Right is a highlight at the moment, but this is certainly one of my favourite EPs of the year.

Along with the EP release, title track Born To Be Right has an equally brilliant music video to match... from the press release - 'mirrored walls, check. Chequerboard floor, yes sir. Entourage of dancers, naturally. This is T Truman in his natural habitat.' On the new single, T Truman shares "I'm just having a joke about being a know it all and wondering why no one likes my company. Naturally the video needed a disco scene. So my mate and I cleared out a garage in Australia, put on safari suits and begged our friends to come."  

Listen to the Born to be Right EP on Spotify here.

Follow T Truman - Facebook | Instagram.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

LISTEN: I See Rivers - 'Deep & Rolling Green'

Really excited to share that the brilliant debut album from I See Rivers is finally out in the world! A while in the making, it's a triumphant record charting the several years of the band's existence so far, since meeting at university in Liverpool (though they're all originally from Norway). Loving it. The record was made in the renovated chapel StudiOwz with Owain Jenkins, Toby Couling, Alec Brits and Emilie Krogh Johannessen

On the record, the band explain that "preparing for and recording this album has been a really long process. Since this is our first full length album some of these songs were written while we were still in uni 7 years ago, while some of the songs were written especially for the album. All three of us write songs for the band and for the album we decided to write most of the songs individually. We wanted to explore how it would sound if we let our individual style come through in the writing and then making it sound 'like I See Rivers' in the way we produced the songs in the end. When we started recording the album we decided that we would have no boundaries and let the music flow in the direction it needed to." 

Following recent singles HowCollide and Helios, the album arrives alongside the single release of Grow & Go, a track written during the university years, but finished up in the idyllic welsh countryside that the band have settled themselves into. On the track, the trio explain "the song is about waking up in a relationship that's gone stagnant without realising how you got there, standing on the edge of letting it go. It's about understanding that everything in life has an expiry date, and that there's beauty in that as it offers opportunities to grow and evolve amidst the sadness, grief and loneliness."

Listen to Deep & Rolling Green here.

Follow I See Rivers - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

WATCH: BE GOOD - 'Dark Glasses'

"if there's someone out there could you make some kind of signal..."

As I usually work on Fridays, I can't help but feel a huge sense of impending doom (or is it just sleepiness) if I stay up late enough to listen to new tracks on a Thursday night. A week off last week meant getting to wait up for the new Dawes record once it was released - but not before having a little cry along to the new BE GOOD tune at midnight. I've mentioned more than enough times how much I adore this band, but really - how good is this new track?! That vocal effect at the end. Aaaah. Mixed and mastered by Kevin Tuffy and Gethin Pearson  - also really digging the video and those little snippets of central Oxford.

Over to frontman Ash Cooke with some words on the new track - "the words 'Dark Glasses' popped up a lot in the Patrick Melrose novels that I was reading during summer, and was definitely in my mind when we began writing this song which attempts to explore different ways we obscure ourselves in plain sight. For the artwork, we reached out to a photographer in LA (Jeremy Thomas Bryant) who had taken an oddly beautiful photo of a car full of rubbish. It somehow felt appropriate to the idea of the piling up of words and thoughts that we don't know how to share with other people."  

Follow BE GOOD - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 5 October 2020

WATCH: Red Moon - 'Dreamer'

Consider me more than a little blown away by the vocals on this one. I was intrigued by Red Moon on the release of her single Dogma earlier in the year, and new single Dreamer has left me stunned. Musically it is an epic track, a bold step from a relatively new artist, who recounts the likes of Sia and Imogen Heap as strong female influences in the early moments of her career. The track is taken from the upcoming EP Phase I:XI which is due on 9th October.

Raised in an artistic household in Nittedal, Norway, her mother and grandmother were both accomplished painters and an interest in music was sparked in childhood. Spending time between Norway and Switzerland, she attended a music academy, and has spent a lot of her adult life travelling the world in order to shape her own musical style. I really really like what I'm hearing.

Talking about the new track, Red Moon says "I consider myself a sceptic and highly curious semi-realist and this paradox is explored in the lyric's examination of the human condition; the constant struggle between despair and hope. Now more than ever, when the world can often feel its darkest, we recognise it is a privilege to be able to dream and have hope. The love and unconditional support of my mother was a huge inspiration for me when writing this song and this is echoes in the feeling of power and freedom I feel when performing it. Needless to say, this song is very close to my heart." 

Follow RED MOON - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

WATCH: Sophie Jamieson - 'Release'

"strewn on the beach or spinning round the city, oblivion never looked so pretty..."

I wrote about the long awaited and much welcomed return of Sophie Jamieson back in August and I'm delighted to share that she's got another track out now. Release is the second single and title track of her upcoming EP, due on 1st December. A delicately pulsing and almost trance-like wonder, Release shows us an artist at the top of her game lyrically, trying out a new style and relishing in it. There's a video below, filmed just after restrictions were lifted in London, showing the crowds in Soho. 

On Release, Sophie explains that "this song is a search for peace by any means necessary. I wanted to escape how I felt, to blur it and take the edge off it, to indulge in it and then leave it behind. It reflects the constant effort to balance feeling too much and feeling nothing, the desperate search for equilibrium that only ever ends in chaos." 

Follow Sophie Jamieson - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

LISTEN: Tempesst - 'Must Be A Dream'

“With this LP, we’ve created something we’re really proud of that truly cements our identity as a group, at least.” 

As the days (and nights, and, well, all of the time) start to suddenly get chilly, a record which appears audibly sun-drenched is exactly what we need, right? Luckily, London via Australia quintet Tempesst are on the case with their debut album Must Be A Dream, released today via their own label Pony Recordings. Produced by the band’s longstanding collaborator Elliot Heinrich and mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer, the record explores themes of ‘identity, purpose, ageing, love, loss, substance abuse, the death of loved ones and remembering the beauty beneath it all.’ 

For me, it’s a soundtrack for sunnier days. Years in the making and long anticipated but more than worth the wait. The band describe the process - “over the past four years we’ve been carving our own path, finding our feet and forming our identity. It was pretty obvious that a traditional path in the music industry couldn’t provide us with the autonomy and potential for longevity that has always been important to us.” 

“So, we’ve built our own studio, created our own record label, filmed our own videos and set ourselves up to keep doing this for as long as we want to. The luxury of having our own space has allowed us to evolve creatively and to experiment in ways we haven’t been able to before. Musically, there is an element of surprise and it never gets too comfortable, as if in a dream.” 

The quintet started life more than a decade ago in the small Queensland city of Noosa, on the Australian coast, with twin brothers Toma and Andy Banjanin. Coming from a musical family and members of the Pentecostal community, their first steps into the world of music were as members of their church band at fourteen. Performing four times a week for four years, Toma recounts that they “picked up a lot from that whole experience, including working with older guys who taught us music theory and important things about playing as a band.” It is also where they met Kane Reynolds and Blake Mispieka, now the keyboard and bass player for Tempesst

Leaving home to explore a wider world of music, the brothers took to the UK, before leaving for Brooklyn, NY - the heart of the indie movement in the 2000s, figure-headed by the likes of The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Vampire Weekend. A furiously creative and community driven DIY scene, through which the brothers expanded their musical interests, discovering as much as they could. 

With the expiration of the visas bringing them back to the UK (Hackney, more specifically) the band was formed, with Kane, Blake and Eric Weber completing the line-up. Andy explains the band’s desire to create their own studio space in which to record and practice - “we had a really kind of basic production studio that Toma kept at his house, and at the time we actually were looking for rehearsal space because in London - one of the biggest challenges that you have is that you can’t really make noise. So we came across this warehouse and it was way bigger than anything we were looking for but it had us wondering what it would actually cost to set up a studio. So we decided on this space thinking that into the future, we can use this to enable our creativity.” 

Desiring to carve their own paths in the industry, they set up Pony Recordings while piecing together their studio. Without the time or financial pressures that a regular studio set-up would bring, owning their own made the process far more free, creatively. Andy explains - “we’re quite hands on anyway, so to record in our own studio just makes sense [...] with the studio, we have the time to work on all these key things that are quintessential to our sound but also experiment and add an element of surprise, whether that is a weird synth solo or a key change. It’s those little departures that keep the listener on their toes.” 

The record is recognisably Tempesst, taking elements that I’ve come to love from the tracks of their two EPs, but it is filled with exciting new sounds and influences. Must admit that I was not expecting a saxophone solo but that I am completely here for it. Stepping slightly sideways from psychedelica in parts, the record incorporates various sonic influences, with Phil Spector and “everyone from Scott Walker to Jeff Buckley to Nick Cave” proving influential in the record’s creation, while the vocal arrangements “were definitely inspired by Eagles and the first Crosby Stills & Nash LP, as well as the narrative storytelling of Joni Mitchell and Blue.”  

The album manages to keep you on your toes, not falling at the hurdle of being a bit same-y. Currently, as I write this at 1am on day of release, a favourite track is Age of the Bored but I’m genuinely loving the entire record. I feel like I write that about every record that I ‘review’ - but I don’t review albums, I recommend them, so… you know. This one passed the test. It’s superb. Now I just need to while away the time before we can see them performing it live!

Follow Tempesst - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

WATCH: Dawes - 'Didn't Fix Me'

My fave Americans Dawes are releasing their seventh (!!!) studio album Good Luck With Whatever this Friday. They've been a favourite band of mine for a while now, since I caught them opening for Mumford & Sons in 2012, and at many shows of their own since, and a new album is always a cause for celebration - especially in such a strange year. It's hard to talk about their music without nodding towards their incredible lyricism - frontman Taylor is for me one of the greatest songwriters of our generation. Latest single Didn't Fix Me is a song focusing on mental health and personal survival, where that lyricism is at its best. I love them and absolutely can't wait for the album on Friday!! 

Frontman Taylor Goldsmith says of the track "it feels very natural to outsource our problems. Telling ourselves 'once I have this job, this partner, this amount of money, etc, I will be happy' is really effective and convenient. Unfortunately no one's life actually works that way. I'm sure we all know plenty of miserable people who seem to have it all and plenty of blissful people that seem to have close to nothing. This song is about the efforts one makes to find some easy fix, unable to recognise that it will never work that way, that we are in the end our own responsibility."

Good Luck With Whatever is due 2nd October - pre-order/pre-save here.

Follow Dawes - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 28 September 2020

WATCH: Mumble Tide - 'Love Thing'

Let me introduce you to Mumble Tide. They're a Bristol duo comprised of Gina Leonard and Ryan Rogers. Following recent single Bad Match, they've just shared Love Thing, the title track of their forthcoming debut EP, which is due out on 13th November via Nothing Fancy

On the track, one of first written for the project, Gina explains that "we had tried a bunch of different versions of it in the studio when we were still figuring out our sound but nothing was really sticking. In the end we took it back to my folks' in Cambridge and spent a week working on it and everything clicked into place."

Having both worked on other projects, Mumble Tide came from a desire for some more creative freedom. Gina explains that it was born "during a tricky time where I was feeling quite restricted in other projects. Lots of what I was writing was getting rejected for being say... too sweet, or too silly, or too simple. It became increasingly frustrating binning songs and to find that Ryan was up for embracing a no rules, no questions approach turned out to be just the ticket. Creating Mumble Tide allowed me the chance to tip everything upside down and shake it. I was reminded of why I love writing songs." 

Working from a home studio (in Bristol originally, and in Cambridge during lockdown) Gina starts the process by bringing a song to the room, while Ryan focuses on the production side. On some creative insecurities, he shares that "at first when Gina and I decided to do some tracks together, I was very focused on just capturing her songs without over-complicating them. But the more we experimented and collaborated, the more we wanted to embrace the DIY production world we were creating together. We stopped trying to be technical or serious and stopped worrying about not knowing the right way to do things. We both played everything how we wanted, recorded it how we wanted and mixed it how we wanted. Just fun and easy and messy." 

It sounds as if the past few months have been a creative and lucrative time for the duo, so I'd expect that lots of new music is on the way - for now, the Love Thing EP is due 13th November and you can pre-order it here.

Follow Mumble Tide - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 24 September 2020

WATCH: Premium Leisure - 'Remedies'

I often preface a post like this, but I am really excited to share this track. Seriously. It's a year since I was last in Oxford, on a short solo trip before starting my new job, but I still feel such an affinity to the local music scene there. This project is about as close as Oxford is getting to a supergroup... the solo project/brainchild of Chris Barker, a local songwriter/producer (and guitarist for Willie J Healey) - Premium Leisure. The project sees contributions from Ash Cooke of blog fave BE GOOD, Casper Miles and Jack Kendrew of PETSEMATARY, and WJH bandmates Harry Deacon and Mike Monaghan, as well as Willie himself. 

Remedies is the first single taken from an upcoming EP due for release in early 2021, a feel good call to "do whatever makes you feel good" amidst the fog of pressures that society, and ourselves, put upon us. On the track, Chris notes "Remedies considers a more laid back and outward looking mindset - to do what makes you, and people around you, feel good." 

The track is produced by Oli Barton-Wood, the first release on his new South London label plum cuts. Having worked with Porridge RadioMellahALASKALASKAObongjayar and Nilüfer Yanya in his Little Legs studio in Peckham, Oli decided to set up a label to share some of the music that he'd been working on. He explains "I was sitting on all this great music that I'd been working on with friends, and realised it might not find its way out there unless I did something about it. A few artists seemed reluctant to do the self-release thing because it can be daunting to take it all on, so I just thought 'screw it, why don't I just help them do it.' There's a really exciting little community of musicians and artists that come through the studio, so it feels really natural to pull them together for the label." 

Grab the new single digitally on the plum cuts Bandcamp page here.

Follow Premium Leisure - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

WATCH: Christof van der Ven - 'You Left It Too Long (Rework)'

Having just celebrated the first birthday of his second album You Were The Place (they grow up SO FAST), the all round lovely (and almost frustratingly talented) human being Christof van der Ven is back with new music - sort of. The Reworks EP is due on 30th October, featuring piano versions of four tracks from his catalogue made with friends, including Jed Parsons and Camilla Staveley-Taylor of The Staves, earlier in the year. The first to be released is You Left It Too Long, one of the first Christof tunes that I discovered (and loved) a few years back, and probably still one of my favourites. On this one, Christof's pal and Bear's Den bandmate Marcus Hamblett is working some sweet sweet magic on the modular synths. The video, below, is a rework of the original video for the track, with 8mm film footage shot on a holiday in Ireland and Scotland played in reverse. Clever, I like it.

On the origins of the EP, Christof says... "like many others, I soon realised that I had much more free time than usual and I started to look back at songs that I had written at different points in my life and tried to rework them to make them sound more like where I'm at now. I wrote the parts for these tracks on MIDI, but since I can't really play the piano and wasn't able to get someone to record them properly at the time, I decided to use a good piano plugin instead. It's cheating but piano plugins these days just sound good and it was a great alternative when people were limited in their movements! When some of the restrictions were lifted my good friend and sound engineer Scott Humphries came over to my flat where we finished recorded and mixing the EP." 

Follow Christof van der Ven - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

WATCH: Ferris & Sylvester - 'Knock You Down' (Iive)

Loving this. There's nothing quite like live music, right? Finding myself missing gigs on a daily basis currently. It's been SO long. A live video capturing that live energy is a treat at the moment, that's for sure. Taken from their upcoming I Should Be On A Train EP, the ever-wonderful duo Ferris & Sylvester released single Knock You Down recently. They've just shared a live video for it, the second in a series recorded during lockdown at Streatham Space Project in London. They're due to headline at the venue as part of the Streatham Festival - just as soon as it can be rescheduled. Despite filming in an empty venue, the video captures the energy of a F&S live show perfectly. For now, this will just about quench that thirst for a live show. 

Pre-order the I Should Be On A Train EP here.

Ferris & Sylvester Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 21 September 2020

EP NEWS: Patricia Lalor - 'Covers EP1'

It's a very good week for covers fans... Marika Hackman just announced her Covers album (due 13th Nov) and the ever glorious Patricia Lalor has announced Covers EP1. At 14, Patricia has been releasing music via Youtube since she was just 11, with over 150k subscribers there. Due on 2nd October, the EP features covers of tracks by Radiohead, Alex G and Mac DeMarco, as well as I Don't Know You by The Marías, which you can listen to below. This cover in particular was released to Patricia's channel back in March, and has racked up the small total of over 680K views...! If you enjoy this, there are two EPs from this year - I loved Do It Again - listen here.

Follow Patricia Lalor - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

LISTEN: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Wake Up Calls'

How about something a little different? It's no secret here that I'm an enormous fan of Cosmo Sheldrake and his music. Since my first real introduction to his work when he opened for Johnny Flynn at the Roundhouse in 2017 - consider me blown away and the Pelicans We EP hastily bought at the merch stand - I've been pretty much constantly mesmerised by all that he has released into the world. 

A London-based multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer and producer, Cosmo is also, put simply, a musical wizard and genius. His music is unique, pulling together sounds from the world around us, twisting them into magically quirky tracks. His work sits beyond the realms of genre. 

It probably isn't for everyone (but what music is?) - in fact, one of my favourite Cosmo related stories is about a time that I played his debut album The Much Much How How & I at the HMV store that I worked in. It sounded frankly glorious across the speaker system, but a customer sought out a colleague and asked who had chosen to play it - you could say that they weren't a fan. Fear not though... my love for the record more than made up for it. 

I still listen to that record frequently, most recently on a commute to work, while reading a chapter from Cosmo's brother Merlin Sheldrake's new book Entangled Life (like the Sheldrake family fangirl that I am rapidly, and unashamedly, becoming.) The book is about the genuinely fascinating hidden world of fungi. In a crazy and genuinely quite mind-boggling turn of events - the pair released a piece of music to coincide with the book's publication, on which you can hear mushrooms devouring a copy of the book. 

That is a slight indication of just what you're getting yourself into when you choose to listen to Cosmo's music. It's nothing if not educational - just wait until you hear about tardigrades. His latest album, Wake Up Calls, is set to be released tomorrow. The record's thirteen tracks feature a gloriously rich ensemble of birds and their songs. The record is intended both to celebrate the sounds of those birds around us, and to simultaneously highlight the peril that they face. About the record, Cosmo says: "I hope that this music may serve as a wake up call: to help us become more aware of the glorious polyphonic soundworlds that surround us before many of these voices become extinct in Britain, and to remind us not to take any of these creatures and the music that they make for granted."

Created across a nine-year period, the record has evolved through many different stages. Some pieces started life as presents for Cosmo's friends and family, intended as a peaceful alternative to traditionally jarring alarm clock sounds. A couple of the tracks were written for the People's March for Wildlife in September 2019, with the title of the album coming as a suggestion from acclaimed nature writer Robert Macfarlane in a conversation in the run up to the march. Nightjar, similarly, was written for an Extinction Rebellion protest in London. 

Across the record, we hear the song of birds found on the red and amber lists of endangered British birds (with the exception of the Robin and Blackbird, which aren't endangered... yet.) The full cast is (deep breath): Robin, Blackbird, Willow Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Ring Ouzel, Mistle Thrush, Nightingale, Dunnock, Sheldrake (Cosmo remarks "I couldn't help but include a recording of a Sheldrake, the bird that my family is named after, which is also on the amber list"), Nightjar, Short Eared Owl, Long Eared Owl, Little Owl, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Turtle Dove, Cuckoo, Skylark, Teal & Bittern. The album sees us travel through a day in the life of these wonderful creatures - from night with the Nightjar and Nightingale as the record opens, through dawn and day time, round to evening chorus, and drawing to a close with night again. 

It's difficult to pull a record like this apart, to highlight a favourite song or two. The project is best listened to in its entirety, given your full attention. I adore it from start to finish, and I'm frankly over the moon to have been allowed to listen to it early. I love Cosmo's work but there is something particularly important and pressing about this. I'm desperate for the first listen on my record player, to take some time out of my day to let the sounds of these birds fill my room and my ears. 

Finally - a couple more things to love about this record. The vinyl is made from recycled materials at one of the most environmentally friendly pressing plants in Europe, Deepgrooves. You can grab a copy from Bandcamp or Music Glue and pre-save the album digitally here. Some of the proceeds from the record will go to a number of of conservation charities which work with endangered birds, including Wild Justice, Birdlife International and The British Trust for Ornithology. 

Follow Cosmo Sheldrake online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

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Wednesday, 16 September 2020

EP NEWS: Fickle Friends - ‘Weird Years (Season 1)’

Fickle Friends are back... their new EP Weird Years (Season 1) is set for release on 15th January via Cooking Vinyl, and lead single What A Time is below. With two singles - Eats Me Up and Pretty Great - already under their belts earlier in the year, the band had been working towards a 2020 release for their second album. Then... lockdown. Very much a band who thrive from the buzz of live shows, it didn't feel right to release a full record at the moment, so they're releasing this EP, with more instalments following next year too. 

Frontwoman Natti Shiner says of the EP that it is "the weird story of the last three years of our lives. It covers everything from waking up and feeling horrendous, to being stuck in lockdown and feeling anxious, to being heartbroken. There's a lot in there that I think people will relate to." 

Talking about the new track, she goes on to explain that it is "an anthem for escapism. With everything that has happened over the last six months, everyone has needed a little time away from the outside world. It's felt like the world is going to shit, but you need to take some time out for yourself. Shut your bedroom door, turn your music up and dance around the room." 

Following on from their last self-produced music video, the video (above) is filmed and edited by the band themselves - skills nurtured during lockdown. They headed into Brighton after dark, capturing the feeling of heading into the outdoors for the first time in months. 

Pre-save/add the EP here - white vinyl available on their store here.

Follow Fickle Friends - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

WATCH: Novo Amor - 'If We're Being Honest'

I was reminded yesterday (by the trusty Instagram archive) that it was two years since I first posted about Novo Amor, with a slightly gushy love letter to the tunes Utican and Birthplace, and a bit of marvelling at Ali's sustainable practices as an artist. With his debut album on the way, I was pretty sure that I was on the way to falling for his music. You could say that was an accurate prediction. 

I'm over the moon about the upcoming release of his second record Cannot Be, Whatsoever on 5th November (pre-order it here.) Recent single If We're Being Honest is the fourth track to be lifted from the album and as ever, it's stunning. My words from that first post continue to ring true about this latest offering - "his falsetto vocals are striking, accompanied by music that is vast, atmospheric and often cinematic in its nature, making use of some really exciting instrumentation." 

As an aside: two years on, and the vast majority of artists are yet to catch up with Ali and his team when it comes to sustainability. Excited to receive the new Cosmo Sheldrake LP some time this week - made from recycled materials as Ali's are. There's still so much that the music industry - particularly in touring, when that happens again, can do. Ditching single use plastic bottles, leaving behind excessive riders, sustainable merch, recycled packaging for CDs and vinyl - the opportunities are somewhat endless!

Grab tickets for the upcoming Novo Amor tour here.

Follow Novo Amor - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 14 September 2020

LISTEN: The Staves - 'Trying'

Something rather lovely to start the week off... The Staves are back, following up recently single Nazareth with Trying. Self-produced by the trio of sisters - Jessica, Camilla and Emily Staveley-Taylor - it's a complete treat. They're the absolute queens of three-part vocal harmonies. Sublime as ever. It's five years since their last studio record (If I Was, which you should certainly check out if you haven't yet) and I am so very ready for the imminent (I hope) announcement of their third studio album. I love these ladies. 

Camilla Staveley-Taylor says about the track "I wanted to write a song about the state of things in the world and how broken our ability to communicate with each other had become as a society, but it became impossible as I was writing to separate my personal life from the broader message. I was living in America away from my family in a relationship that was failing. The state of America (and in Britain for that matter) and the state of my relationship seemed to become one and the same. The song became far more about my own situation. 

I feel like trying is what we spend most of our lives doing really. Just trying our best. Trying to be better, to make things work. This was definitely a time where I was nearly tried out."

Follow The Staves - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 11 September 2020

LISTEN: Me, Charles - 'Like and Share'

"all the world becomes too much and I dip my head under..."  

The reality of running this little blog is using my one day off in a stretch of eight days to listen to a bunch of submissions and write posts. Days off... what are those? So it's almost 11pm and I'm trying to write a post which has been circling the top of my to-do list for a couple of weeks. I hope that Me, Charles won't mind me saying that I was entirely flattered upon finding his email in my inbox. 

Within it, he said some of the kindest things that anybody ever has about the blog. Talking about how he had first been introduced to the blog and how it influenced him...  I was kind of blown away, to the extent that I thought it might somehow be spam. Turns out that he is in fact a genuine human being and is just really lovely (and loves the blog...!) 

Me, Charles is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer from South East London, and he's just released his debut LP Like and Share. Eight years in the making, the record reflects his interests in genres such as alt-rock, bossa nova, jazz and experimental electronica, as well as influences like James Blake and Jeff Buckley. This record, however, isn't easily categorised. It's an exploration, musically and personally. An album which is incredibly intricate. At times delivering a huge soundscape, and then piercingly intricate. This record demands your attention for 36 minutes, if you want to get the most out of it. 

The record is made all the more sweet when you read Me, Charles story. Some of the songs started to spring into being when he was just 17. The year prior, he lost his mother to breast cancer. As it does to so many people, music became an invaluable outlet for him. The tracks, in their depth, carry an emotional weight, and allow for reflection. Having just emerged from seven years of addiction, we find Me, Charles really beginning to realise his potential with this release. 

Take a listen to Like and Share on Bandcamp and Spotify.

Follow Me, Charles - Facebook | Instagram.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

LISTEN: MF Tomlinson - 'Everything is Cancelled'

It was a delight to find this in my inbox last week - MF Tomlinson is back with the soundtrack for our times - Everything is Cancelled. The lyrically clever and amusing track pokes some much needed fun at the situation, and is *very* relatable. The first track from the (equally-poignantly-named) EP Strange Time, due on 2nd October, this is the first of a string of releases that he is sharing on Bandcamp Fridays, from which the proceeds will be donated to people and industries affected by the virus. For now, funds are going to London's superb independent music venue The Lexington - download the track here.

Over to MF Tomlinson... "I was unable to let go of the pace of life before the lockdown and threw myself into frantically documenting the situation [...] Writing songs gives me purpose - my other therapy at that point was learning the saxophone. I did manage to do a bit of saxophone practice but that was quickly (and justifiably) veto’d. I decided I was going to go folk - that just made sense. [...] This song is full of jokes, trying to put on a brave face in a time where things seemed scary. [...] It’s also touching on the hope that as a society we might learn from the mistakes that contributed to this crisis and try do things differently, which at this stage isn’t looking likely."

On the process behind the track, he explains that "I reached out to all of my collaborators, we would normally work on stuff together in the studio. Instead I sent the skeleton of a song out and a rough demo of the part, they as usual sent back pure gold. Alistair Welsh did the amazing horn arrangement you hear on this song - he’s on the trombone, and that’s Ben Manning on the double bass. I love that this is a big band in isolation - the tuba, clarinet etc all in separate people's bedrooms! Arie van der Poel took these bedroom recordings and mixed and moulded them into something amazing. He flew out to New Zealand just before the lockdown so we’d talk nights and early mornings. He’s amazing and his contribution here can’t be understated. I’m especially grateful to artist Chiara Baima Poma who sent this beautiful painting from her home in the Canary Islands. I strongly feel that music is better when it’s made together. One of the best things about the project was making contact with all the contributors, catching up on how they were. When I was stuck at home and after returning to work, it got me through the stress and made me feel connected."

Follow MF Tomlinson - Facebook | Instagram.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

WATCH: Matilda Mann - 'Happy Anniversary, Stranger'

Time for some new Matilda Mann, and by far the cutest thing that I found in my submissions inbox last week. Happy Anniversary, Stranger is the third track to be taken from Matilda's upcoming Because I Wanted You To Know EP, due for release later in the year. Co-written by Matt Maltese, it's a really sweet track about fancying for a stranger who you see regularly, but never talk to - in this case, on a bus. While you're here - there's a new video of Matilda performing Robbed by the Thames here. Lovely!

About the track, Matilda said "I used to get the bus to school every day and there would always be this guy who I'd see every morning. We never spoke but I always thought it such a cute love story - to have a crush on someone from a distance and eventually getting the courage to say hello. The 266 to Hammersmith was the bus I got to school every day, so I've always wanted to work it into a song."

Follow Matilda Mann - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

WATCH: Francis of Delirium - 'Equality Song'

"Sometimes it feels like a fact of life, you're born, get your period and you'll get raped some time." 

As well as being a brilliant song - this is SO important. Luxembourg-based Canadian-American duo Francis of Delirium, who released their first track back in January and their debut EP in June, are back with a rightfully angsty track, fighting against systems which offer little help to victims of abuse. To see 19 year-old Jana Bahrich singing this track fills me with a whole wave of emotions, good and bad - it's a really powerful song. Funded by the Ministry of Equality in Luxembourg to celebrate 100 years of women's voting, the track is on Bandcamp a week before streaming platforms, with proceeds from downloads going to Femmes en Detresse, a domestic abuse charity in Luxembourg which provides protection and therapy.

About the track, Jana explains that it "was written mainly out of anger, at how absurd it is that sexual abuse is so normalised, and the systems that are in place just essentially shit on anyone that comes forward with their story. The Brett Kavanaugh hearings had just happened and then every week it felt like another story came out and it seemed like no-one cared. You grow up learning to be sceptical of other people and spend a lot of time in fear of the people around you. So, the song is meant to be lashing out about how broken structures and systems are."

Follow Francis of Delirium - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.