Thursday, 29 July 2021

EP NEWS: Melin Melyn - 'Blomonj'

Blimey. I love Melin Melyn so much that they're unwittingly making cool music and things history... I am almost certain that this is the first time I have ever featured a track performed in Welsh (perhaps even in any language other than English?!) A big day. I deliberated - I have very little idea what frontman Gruff is singing, but it's too difficult not to share when the band, and track, are this good. With one other Welsh track (Mwydryn) under their belts from 2019, they came onto my radar with the completely raucous Rebecca last year, and followed it this year with Lucy's Odyssey. Those three, and the brand new track - Dewin Dwl - feature on the band's upcoming Blomonj EP, due August 17th on Bingo Records.

Traversing between languages, the Welsh 6-piece exist in a space of their own making within the industry, pulling together aspects of folk, rock, pop and psychedelia to do their bidding. Intense, passionate, furiously melodious... I can only imagine what it would be like to see the tracks performed live. 

Frontman Gruff has this to say on the new track... "Dewin Dwl. It means Silly Wizard. We've all met a Silly Wizard in our time, and when they depart, I've often wondered, where do they go? This is a tale of legends: of bards debating upon a hill, dancing with skylarks and smoking a big fat pipe in a pub. It's also the name of a smash hit cartoon from my childhood. Tan y tro nesa ! / Until next time!" 

Follow Melin Melyn - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

EP NEWS: Chartreuse - 'Is It Autumn Already?'

It's happened again - completely shocked that I've never featured Chartreuse on the blog... how?! Their Keep Checking Up On Me EP was one of my favourite releases of 2020, the title track easily one of my favourite tracks of the year. There's a familiarity to their sound, a relatability in the stories they tell through their lyrics - and yet they sound unlike anything else I'm listening to right now. They've just shared Things Are Changing Too Quickly, the first track from the upcoming Is It Autumn Already? EP, due 19th November. 

Chartreuse are Hattie Wilson, Mike Wagstaff, Rory Wagstaff and Perry Lovering, and if you've not listened to them before - now is as good a time as any. Check out the video for Things Are Changing Too Quickly below. (You can thank me later.)

To support the release of the EP, Chartreuse are heading out on a run of headline shows kicking off at The Lexington in London on 30th November. Dates and tickets here. Yep, still feels weird to say that.

Follow Chartreuse - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

ALBUM NEWS: Aquilo - 'A Safe Place To Be'

Busy day at work. Sits down to write a blog post in the evening. Falls asleep at/on the laptop. Repeat.

Somehow being at home more since I've reduced the hours I work in my day job to do an internship has made me more tired. In a snatch of consciousness before sleep, however, I'm typing away at this...

The lovely Aquilo guys are back with a new track, and have just announced their upcoming record A Safe Place To Be. An incredibly moving track, my heart feels all aflutter listening to the strings on it. Stunning! Written a couple of years ago when the duo returned home to Lancashire from time in LA, it was recorded just before Christmas, in the basement of Ben's family home, where they made their first ever music together. 

They share: "When we made this song it felt like a defining moment for us and the album. It was one of the first songs we made where it all clicked into place for the two of us. We started playing this melody on an old, dusty, out of tune piano. Within a few hours of going with the flow it just poured out! We hope it can do the same thing for people listening that it's done for us." 

The new record, A Safe Place To Be, is due on October 15th - last word to the duo, who share "it really does feel like a new phase for the two of us. The start of something new. We're just eager to get it out in the world." 

Follow Aquilo - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 26 July 2021

LISTEN: Liz Lawrence - 'Babies'

Is it just me that's a little bit overwhelmed by the volume of superb music being released at the moment? As is probably predictable if you know me, I've got a spreadsheet list of records (which started last year as a lockdown boredom project, a list of classic albums & artists that I had never listened to, and is now a sort of release calendar on top of that) and, more than half way through the year, there are still SO MANY brilliant artists releasing records in the next few months. Big Red Machine, the newly announced James Blake, the debut MarthaGunn, new Bess Atwell, Public Service Broadcasting, LUMP and Jungle to name but a few....

One of my most anticipated albums of the year is The Avalanche from Liz Lawrence. Each new taste of the record is bringing with it such elation, and Babies is no exception to the rule. While previous record Pity Party (a complete gem if you're new to it) saw Liz drawing on herself and her experiences, the new record takes more of a distanced approach. In Babies, Liz inhabits a character 'dragging themselves away from drudgery' - she describes "I thought of a man who's driving to work every morning and saying goodbye to his wife, kissing her on the cheek and then going to sit in his car, even though he lost his job months ago." 

"I've been singing pretty for a long time, and I wanted to try new things. So I've machoed it up. Babies is one of my favourite tracks on the record. I felt like I was exorcising some demons with it, just for fun." 

The Avalanche is due on September 17th (pre-order/pre-save here.) 

Follow Liz Lawrence Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 23 July 2021

EP NEWS: Connie Constance - 'Prim & Propa'

I'm confused to find that past me didn't write about either of Connie Constance's previous singles (James and Electric Girl, both of which are excellent.) I'm remedying my past mistakes in keeping her music a secret from you all with this post... exciting news: she's just launched new track Prim & Propa and announced an EP of the same name. An artist to be reckoned with, last year saw her finding inspiration from her upbringing, melding Nigerian folk and rock music with the British guitar-driven music she grew up with. She announced her own label Jump The Fence and released the The Butterfly Club EP too. She describes her new EP as "a safe space to feel good, to be pissed off, to harness the future and to be - or not to be - Prim and Propa." 

On the single, Connie shares: "This song is about owning community culture, family and friendship. It's about looking at that big white house and the perfect grass and saying 'Yeah, nah, not for me, mate - not without my people enjoying it with me.' It's an anthem for everyone that feels betrayed and let down by this country. It's for the single parents, the people that work their arses off every single day and can barely get their head above water. It's a reminder that we've got what's important right here with us: 'When you want more then look around, if you've got love you know you're good / cause when the grass is greener, the people are meaner.'" 

Follow Connie Constance - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

WATCH: Luna Morgenstern - 'Tonight'

In (very) exciting and slightly meta events that have happened in the past week... I had a hand in writing a bit of the press release for this video! Writing a paragraph for a press release for the first time is, it turns out, incredibly daunting - despite all the rambling I do here. Made easier however when the thing you're writing about is this good. Luna Morgenstern released her Taking the Blow EP recently and it's genuinely a stunner. 

Before the EP, Luna found herself working as a music producer at a music agency specialising in advertising. Feeling unable to write music, she took the job after the loss of her mother, but lost sight of herself amidst intense working hours and very little downtime. Quitting and working on the EP was an all or nothing decision - "if I don't do this now, I never will." In a fairly unique position among her (female) contemporaries, Luna is an engineer and producer alongside being a performer and writer, and the body of work is a beautiful and incredibly powerful reflection of her talents in all respects. Vast soundscapes combine with intimate writing, there's something almost filmic in the tracks. 

The video for current single Tonight is just that, recorded by Luna's film student boyfriend Ties Bruins. Luna explains - "we wanted to take this rather romantic and dreamy theme and flip the mood in the video to something unsettling, by shooting in a gritty location resembling a cell, thus reflecting the jail that your own thoughts can be."

Follow Luna Morgenstern - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

LISTEN: Ski Lift - 'Teenager'

I'm a teeny bit late to the party with this one, but I've really been digging Ski Lift this year, and as I shared Portal and Moaning Again, it seems only right to share Teenager - the third of a trilogy of tracks they've released this year. It's warm and I'm more than a little bit exhausted physically (.... hot) and mentally (hooray for that one horrible anti-masker who is desperate to spout ridiculous views towards retail workers - woo!) and I'm trying to write this far too late in the day, so I might just let the track do the talking. There are some pretty relevant themes at play... 

Vocalist Benji Tranter, who fronts the project alongside a rotating group of musicians as live back-up, explains of the track - "Teenager represents the mindset of youth, the optimism, the cynicism, the freedom, the rebellion. That time in your life when everything is ahead of you, and life is exciting and you believe that you can change the world - while at the same time you're imprisoned by it. There's a bittersweetness to it but it's visceral and real and tangible. Life can beat you into submission and apathy, but the young will always fight that. This is me refuting the mundanity and conformity of adulthood, even if only for two and a half nostalgic minutes at a time." 

Follow Ski Lift - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 19 July 2021

LISTEN: Ailsa Tully - 'Sheets'

Pure magic: Ailsa Tully has done it again. Released last week, Sheets is taken from her forthcoming EP Holy Isle, due via Dalliance Recordings on 20th August. Close your eyes, lie back on your own sheets and let those stunning vocals transport you - "we have nothing but time." I'd like to write some long descriptive sentences but I'd rather you just listened... let the song do the talking. 

On the track, Ailsa shares: "Sheets is about restlessness and trying to let yourself be still. It's about waking up and feeling the anxious urge to be productive, to wash your clothes, to make your bed, but forcing yourself to slow down in order to share a moment with someone." 

Concentrate just hard enough, and you'll hear the (topical) whir of a washing machine - elsewhere across the upcoming EP, other field recordings bring together the tracks. Winds, bristling leaves, the song of a cuckoo (hell yes!) and more tying together Ailsa's harmonies and instrumentation. I can't wait to hear more of it. 

Follow Ailsa Tully - Facebook | Instagram.

Friday, 16 July 2021

WATCH: Luca Firth - 'Dancers'

Well this is a dream to ease you into the weekend... I'm firstly completely confused as to how it's already three months since Luca Firth arrived with debut track Wings. (And yes, still in love with that one, in case you needed to ask.) He's just shared second track Dancers, and it's just as much of an indie-folk dream. Recorded in his uni-halls, the track arrives a little rustic, with layered vocals sitting atop acoustic guitar and a percussive beat. If you close your eyes, you could be sat around a campfire with Luca performing... there's an intimacy in the performance and the lyrics which makes it really endearing - in the video too, recorded and edited by (and featuring) Luca's best pals. I absolutely can't wait to hear more (and I'm kind of glad to have something to alternate Wings with...) 

On the track, Luca shares: "Dancers is about the first summer I spent with an ex-girlfriend. Specifically one night that we just randomly started dancing together outside. That moment has stuck with me for a long time. The song tries to encapsulate that moment and feeling, and how that summer was." 

Follow Luca Firth - Facebook | TwitterInstagram.

Thursday, 15 July 2021

LISTEN: Bess Atwell - 'Nobody'

You all know how much I'm adoring the new music from Bess Atwell by now, right?! Her new record Always, Always is due via Real Kind Records on September 24th, and she's just released another taster of it, in the shape of Nobody. For the most part marrying Bess's vocals with just a Spanish guitar, it's a delicate and minimal track to close the record, reminiscent of Real Kind founder Lucy Rose or Laura Marling in places. Strong, emotive and reaaaaally lovely. Safe to assume that you'll need to make space on your album of the year lists for this one, I reckon... 

On the track, Bess shares: "I wrote this song very quickly which is probably why it's one of my favourites. Writing can sometimes feel laboured and emotionally draining but this felt so easy and cathartic, sort of like it just fell out. It encapsulates a specific type of loneliness, a loneliness that I think I had probably been getting closer to conveying with every song on the record, but that finally felt solidified in this one which is why I decided to close the album with it." 

"Often, the harder you try to figure yourself out, the further you get from knowing yourself. Without knowing yourself it can feel impossible to know and love other people. I was desperate for answers about where and who I was meant to be. Nobody focused on a specific relationship, but I hope it taps into something more universal - the feeling of lacking a sense of belonging. 

Something about the simple Spanish guitar part reminded me of a little of 'Orange' by Big Thief which inspired me to keep the production minimal. We recorded drums but decided to take them off, and left mostly just a subtle electronic soundscape that I had put on the demo - synth pads and bass. I wanted something a little more special for this song, so we asked the wonderful Marcus Hamblett to play some brass towards the end."

Follow Bess Atwell - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.