Thursday, 14 October 2021

LISTEN: Francis of Delirium - 'All Love'

Psssssssst. Good news. A new track from Francis of Delirium arrived yesterday. Rejoice. The brainchild & alter-ego of Luxembourg-based 20 year-old Jana Bahrich, FoD has been one of my favourite discoveries of the past year, courtesy of Stay Loose, with EPs All Change and Wading. A torrent of creativity has ensued across the year, with various self-made music videos that are well worth your time over on Youtube. The new track arrives just in time for the UK tour, starting in a couple of days... 

Mixed by Jolyon Thomas (Royal Blood, Slaves) and mastered by Joe Lambert (Sharon Van Etten, Deerhunter) the track is genuinely one of my favourite Francis tunes yet.. I think I say this every time but they're all just so damn good. 

On the track, Jana shares that it is "about dissociating from what your present moment really looks like. Sonically, I wanted the song to sort of reflect that and feel like a big wave of sound that sweeps you up and carries you away from that reality and anything that feels painful to think about. That suspended feeling is meant to be shown via the looping video I made to go alongside the song, which highlights that feeling of floating then falling away." 

The UK tour starts in Brighton on Saturday (16th) taking in some solo shows before a run of dates with Coach Party, concluding at Omeara on the 28th. If you can't make the shows over the next couple of weeks, a headline show has just been announced at Sebright Arms on 3rd Feb. All dates here.

Follow Francis of Delirium - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

WATCH: Voka Gentle - 'TV Bra'

Londoners Voka Gentle are back with one of my favourite releases of last week, the brilliant (and slightly bonkers, but in the best way) track TV Bra. It's the final preview of new album Writhing, due via Leafy Outlook on October 22nd and for me, it is the trio at their best. Eccentric and a bit chaotic, but completely alluring - just like the TV Bra itself. 

William's character asks in the track "are you lacking high quality content?" With this video, we're certainly not. If you're going to watch one music video this week, make it this one. In the clip, William takes on the role of a somewhat demonic (and all too believable) salesman in a 'QVC fever dream' alongside bandmates Ellie and Imogen. 

On the track, the band share: "TV Bra began as a joke improvisation inspired by the Korean artist Nam June Paik, who collaborated with the cellist Charlotte Moorman on a piece called TV Bra, where ostensibly she played the cello naked except for two small TV screens over her breasts."

"The idea was to imagine something like that being commodified and advertised, incorporating the familiar small print and customer surveys and things that you'd expect with something like that nowadays. It's pretty nonsensical, but we liked the way it almost went down the JG Ballard Crash route of exploring how technology threatens to pollute sex and intimacy in a really violating way. Maybe it's kind of a cheesy 'observation on the state of the world,' but with a bit of humour in there. You can hear the junky prepared piano we created in the studio - we shoved nails, cutlery, Game Boy cartridges, string, crisp packets and all sorts of things into an upright piano." 

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Monday, 11 October 2021

WATCH: The Vaccines - 'Paranormal Romance' (Live at Abbey Road)

Did I mention I bloody love The Vaccines? On the release of their new record Back In Love City recently I was instantly and utterly smitten. Several listens later and I wasn't sure that I could love the record more, but then discovered (through the Tim's Twitter Listening Party they did for the record) that one of my favourite humans, the one and only Rae Morris, sings on the track Paranormal Romance. A new favourite? Maybe. (Don't tell Wanderlust though... that song!!!!) 

It's a month since the record came out, and I'm still very much in love... and somewhat obsessed with the live performance the band shared a few days ago. Back in July, they took to Abbey Road to record a special version of Paranormal Romance for Amazon Music. Sadly no Rae, but I can forgive that because there is SO much to love here, and I've lost count of the amount of times I've watched it over the past few days. Justin's performance (that charisma, damn)! The orchestra!! The DRAMA!!! Good god. Favourite live performance video of the year?  It just might be.

Here's hoping they found time to record some more tracks with the orchestra that day...

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Friday, 8 October 2021

LIVE: The Staves at Rock City (6/10/21)

I’ve been struggling a little to get back into the rhythm of writing posts regularly lately, but I have something pretty exciting to write about. In a dreamy and somewhat spontaneous turn of events (hey - remember spontaneity?) I went to an actual real life gig on Wednesday night. My first gig in almost 600 days. Long overdue and a completely joyous experience!

There have been a few shows lately that I’ve wanted to go to and haven’t for one reason or another… it has felt a little as if I’m doing nothing but working, interning and failing at being a blogger at the moment. It’s difficult to describe quite how much of a gap live music has left for the past year and a half and just how much I needed this show - but if you’re here, you know that exact feeling.

Like many, getting out into nature has been a bit of a lifeline through all of this and has, I guess, unintentionally filled that gap a little. It’s not too dissimilar - both are an escape of sorts, an opportunity to come across people with similar interests, not to mention the glorious birdsong. (Ps, if you’re interested, I’m posting some nature pics to insta here.)

It was such a treat for my first gig back to be The Staves, honestly. Their latest record Good Woman has soundtracked 2021 for me, and it is no spoiler to say that it will very likely be featuring pretty highly on my albums of the year list.

First up, though, was Samantha Crain. A good woman indeed. And hilarious too. Together with Kyle Reid (“I brought him over from Oklahoma with me”) she performed tracks from last year’s record A Small Death and this year’s I Guess We Live Here Now EP. A genuinely delightful performance. Once I’d got past the novelty of being feet away from somebody performing live music I was blown away by the skill on show. Sam’s vocals are incredible. I’ve (foolishly) not done a deep dive into her back catalogue before, but will certainly be making time to now.

The mind boggles a little at the man behind us who was there specifically to see Sam, and loudly told somebody all about this during a couple of the tracks. Gigs are back and… so are the obnoxious people who think that the artist somehow won’t notice you talking loudly over their set, apparently. Joy. Don’t get me wrong - he sounded as if he really loved her music and I love that energy but... really?

After a quick change around, it was time for The Staves. Just two of them for this tour, Jess and Camilla - Emily, as the pair jovially proclaimed between songs, is selfishly skipping the tour to look after her baby. While it’s a shame not to experience those beautiful three-part sisterly harmonies, the show was pretty darn special regardless. Backing the pair up on stage were their ‘beautiful baby boys’ (their words, and who am I to disagree) Marcus Hamblett, Glyn Daniels, Chris Dagger and Rob Pemberton.

I’ve seen the trio once before, when they performed a secret set in the wine bar at Bushstock Festival in 2015. It was a stunning acoustic set but I’d never actually listened to them before then, and have been desperate for an opportunity to see them again now that I’m pretty besotted with their music. Performing the majority of the new album alongside a few older favourites, the set was a stunner. I think I’d probably have thought any live music was pretty magical after so long away, but this bunch are genuinely on another level.

My biggest takeaway from the show, though, was just how happy everybody on stage looked to be there. To be back performing live and finally sharing their new record with fans in the live setting. Their joy was infectious - I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense that I was exactly where I should be in that moment. And more than a little bit weepy too. All of the emotions. Now… when can I go to another gig?

Follow The Staves - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.
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Wednesday, 6 October 2021

WATCH: IMOGEN - 'Sleeptight'

Poking my head above the parapet to share a track I'm a little bit in love with at the moment... taken from the upcoming Bloodbag EP (due 28th October via 7476) the track is Sleeptight from IMOGEN. Transitioning from the tender piano-ballads and acoustic numbers of her earlier releases, she's experienced somewhat of a musical and personal rebirth - the tracks, videos, performance and image all combining to present us with a powerhouse to be reckoned with. 

Following complex surgery for a condition she was born with, Imogen became temporarily infirm, and the experience inspired her to investigate the agency that women have over their own bodies and health. Title track Bloodbag and follow-up Lioncub looked at questions of identity and bodily dissociation.

On the new track, she shares: "Sleeptight deals with the societal treatment of women's bodies and the reluctance we have to believe women's accounts of misconduct. The premise being 'if you don't believe me, I hope it haunts you.' It was a conscious decision to set this anger against a big pop track. I guess I found the easiest way to process and deliver the message was to create something that people could dance and lose themselves to. My favourite pop songs are often like Trojan horses. In 'Sleeptight' I want people to be able to find empowerment and release. It's definitely one of my favourite tracks to perform live."     

IMOGEN plays an EP launch show at Bermondsey Social Club on 27th October - tickets here

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Tuesday, 28 September 2021

ALBUM NEWS: MICHELLE - 'After Dinner We Talk Dreams'

Brilliant news klaxon... NYC-collective MICHELLE have announced their new album!!! Genuinely the most joyous of news. After Dinner We Talk Dreams is due for release in the UK via the dreamboats Transgressive on 28th January. They've been one of my favourite discoveries of the past few years, bringing joy with recent singles SUNRISE, FYO, UNBOUND and latest offering SYNCOPATE. For me though, it was this live performance of first album track THE BOTTOM which got me hooked. Pure love at first listen. 

On new track SYNCOPATE, the group share: "the song at its core is about desire. Communicating your desire can feel vulnerable, so we wanted to have some fun with that and show our funky and seductive side. It really feels like we're hitting the street for the first time by putting this song out into the world."

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Monday, 27 September 2021

WATCH: Orlando Weeks - 'Look Who's Talking Now'

Be right back, just off to find 2017 me - singing and dancing with my best pal and having the time of my life feeling overwhelming emotions at the farewell Maccabees gig at Ally Pally - and tell her that all is fine, Orlando Weeks' isn't that easy to get rid of, musically speaking. Thank god for that!

I haven't got a press release for this one, nobody else's fancy words to use to talk about it, but I felt a compulsion to share the news of one of my favourite tracks of the last week, and the delightful album news which accompanied the release. The track is Look Who's Talking Now - and it, and the accompanying video, are pure joy. Through his work with the band, Orlando's vocals have soundtracked a long stretch of my life, and this latest single feels like the return of an old friend. There's a nostalgic vibe to this one and I am, once again, feeling all of the feelings at the hands of this man. 

Orlando's new solo record Hop Up is due for release on 14th Jan - pre-order here

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Friday, 17 September 2021

LISTEN: The Vaccines - 'Back In Love City'

A quick glance at my listening habits on would tell you that I've listened to little else besides the new album from The Vaccines this week. Back In Love City and this band have my whole heart. Sometimes I find it a little unnerving waiting for a favourite artist to share a new record... I enjoyed the singles, sure, but what if I didn't like the record, or react to it in the way that I hoped? 

Any worries were quickly dispelled last Friday on the first listen (and the many consequent listens) - the record as a whole is a sonic journey, it's got everything that I adore about the band but with some exciting new twists. The 'heavy' Wanderlust is a favourite of mine at the moment, and those Ennio Morricone / Western soundtrack vibes on a few of the tracks speak of the influence of the Texan studio that the record was created in. An added joy to find that Fryars had a hand in producing a few of the tracks and that Rae Morris is singing alongside Justin on Paranormal Romance, too!

It's so clear that the band had a lot of fun making this one, and it's been a delight to see the positive response to it this week. (Fingers crossed for a top 5 album in the charts later today!) I only wish I was able to make one of the live shows they're doing at the moment to promote it... next year, maybe!

Follow The Vaccines - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

LISTEN: The Staves - 'Good Woman' (Be Kind Version)

A recent (ish) development in my music taste (or at least, a theme I've noticed developing) is that I listen to a LOT of projects where Marcus Hamblett is involved in some way. Maybe he's just reaaaaally prolific. A brilliant solo artist in his own right, he performs live and on record/in sessions with a lot of brilliant artists (as I'm quickly discovering) and you know you're in safe hands when Marcus is involved... 

One of the bands he performs and records with is The Staves, who I adore. Imagine my delight at reading a post online from the band, announcing that they'd been in the studio with "bandmate and long-time collaborator" Marcus, revisiting some of the songs from their recent record Good Woman, with the aim of exploring "some of the more soft and tender parts that are there." I'm ridiculously excited to hear more of the reimagined tracks (the record is easily one of my favourite releases of the year, so I've naturally rinsed it a little) but for now I'm really digging the new version of title track Good Woman

On a related note, The Staves are touring the UK soon - with support from the equally superb Samantha Crain - dates and tickets here

Also - on another related note, Marcus joined the trio for a special Tiny Desk Concert performance live from their family home (the desk being the kitchen table) which you can and very much should watch here!

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Follow Marcus Hamblett - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 13 September 2021

WATCH: Mathilda Homer - 'If You Were On Fire'

"I couldn't hate somebody more if I tried, let me put it real nicely: if you were on fire, I wouldn't put water on you, I'd just watch you die. Truly I wish you a bad, bad life." 

I worked my way through about 200 submissions to the blog on Friday - as you can imagine, it can take something pretty special to stand out amongst those. When I haven't been listening to the new record from The Vaccines on repeat, the chorus from this one has been circulating my head a lot this weekend... 

The track is If You Were On Fire by Mathilda Homer, taken from her new EP of the same name, which also features previous singles Rock Bottom, I'm Sorry and Something Sentimental. The unique blend of Mathilda's broad vocal range and the humour found within her lyrics makes for something pretty magical. 

Inspired by Martha Wainwright's Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole, the track sees Mathilda venting her feelings of frustration towards the events of 2020 and people in power. She explains: "I had my coat on ready to leave and then asked Matt and Danny [The Six] if they'd ever heard 'bloody mother fucking asshole'. It was around the time that people were storming the White House, and I felt a heavy weight of all of the injustices that were going on in the world. It's a song about the horrible people in high power. We wrote it in about 30 minutes, it was one of those! It just made sense." 

Follow Mathilda Homer - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.