Tuesday, 20 April 2021

LISTEN: Matilda Mann - ‘Doomsday'

What a joy to have the beautiful sound of Matilda Mann back with a new tune last week. Despite the name, Doomsday is in fact a soothing tune, full of love and hope. Completely enchanting as ever. It's Matilda's first release since her 2020 EP Because I Wanted You To Know and was written during lockdown, a track celebrating the small things that make life good, and the importance of holding onto those in the darker times. 

On the track she shares: “Doomsday was written in December in lockdown. During that time, we really had to cling onto the small things in life, and sometimes it just felt like it was never going to get better. So Doomsday was written to help people feel, that during the worst times, things are going to get better. We have each other and the small things that make life good.”

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Monday, 19 April 2021

ALBUM NEWS: MarthaGunn - 'Something Good Will Happen'

Joyous news last week from my faves MarthaGunn. After around 7 years of being a band, lots of touring, many brilliant singles and EP releases, they've announced news of their long-awaited debut album (!!!!) Something Good Will Happen, due for release via Communion on September 17th. New single Giving In is out now (video below) and they're heading out on a real life tour (remember those?) later in the year. I love MarthaGunn for their gorgeous harmonies, all too relatable themes and the passion they each exude - a passion to create and to collaborate. They're a really special bunch and I'm so excited to hear the fruits of their labour. Better not wish away the summer months waiting for the record though... 

On the new track, frontwoman Abi Woodman shares: "Throughout my life, like most people, I've had my fair share of ups and downs, emotionally and mentally. This song came about after we had been away on tour for about a month. I had been quite ill and had to miss a few shows. I felt like I had left everyone down. When I got back off tour, I just felt really low. The one person I turn to when I'm feeling low, is my mum. I sometimes feel guilty for baring all my worries upon her, afraid to be a burden. This song is about trying to hide how you feel from others. I like to come across as a strong woman, and I am, so in those moments of fragility, my biggest fear is people seeing me as weak. I tend to hide away when I feel like that. I eventually told my mum how I was feeling and the feeling disappeared within a few days. It's so important to share those feelings with someone and talk about them." 

"This album is us navigating the relationships of our twenties - the failures and successes. Constantly trying to find out who you are as a person, and constantly growing. You don't always grow the same as the people you are with. Sometimes you are on the same path as someone, then suddenly you're not. The overarching theme through this is losing oneself and rebuilding oneself through doing that, you learn a lot about yourself. You're always going to face challenges in life that are going to tell you that you're not good enough and let you question yourself, and it's a constant daily reminder to look after your inner voice, and to treat yourself well by having boundaries."

"I want to connect with people. The beautiful thing about songs is that you don't have to know someone, but you can connect with them through the same song without saying something. I want this album to be able to help people in some way, and give people courage to leave a situation they know isn't right for them, or for the other person. To go after the person they love and to know no matter how bad things may seem, it's just a chapter. Things always get better." 

MarthaGunn tour the UK later this year, starting in Oxford on Sept 30th and taking in venues around the country through October, including London's Moth Club on the 5th. Tickets here.

Pre-order/pre-save the record Something Good Will Happen here.

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Friday, 16 April 2021

WATCH: Fickle Friends - 'Cosmic Coming of Age'

Happy Friday and happy Low Island album release day. So much to celebrate! Coming to you on Wednesday evening (time travel) via the wonders of pre-scheduled posts with this ace new Fickle Friends tune. They're following up recent EP Weird Years (Season 1) with Season 2 and recently shared Not In The Mood from it. Latest tune Cosmic Coming Of Age is exactly that: a certified tune. 80s vibes galore, the band are making use of the juxtaposition between the serious emotions portrayed in the lyrics and the oh-so-lively musical backdrop. A joy, as ever! 

On the track, vocalist Natti Shiner shares: "Cosmic Coming of Age is about that transitional period in life where everything seems to fall apart, a kind of quarter life crisis. One moment you have everything together, the next it feels like you have to start life from scratch. In horoscope astrology this is seen as the time of reaching full adulthood, and man does the universe make you work for it! This song is full of lyrical visuals and is best heard on your car stereo, driving into a sunset." 

Known for regularly making their own videos, this time around the band's own Jack Wilson has the director hat on here, for a video featuring Natti as she experiences a whole range of emotions, from despair through to joy. 

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Thursday, 15 April 2021

LISTEN: Dizzy - 'The Bird Behind The Drapes' (ft. Luna Li)

Very excited to share this - new Dizzy (you're welcome!) The Bird Behind The Drapes with Luna Li is taken from their forthcoming EP Separate Places. It's a collection of tracks from their 2020 record The Sun and Her Scorch, reimagined and featuring collaborations with a bunch of their favourite artists. I've got a stream of the EP for an early listen and I have to say - you're going to love it. My jaw dropped a little at the list of collaborators. SO good. Born out of the inability to tour the new record and a desire to do something creative, each track brings in inspiration from the specific collaborator and their musical styles, and offers a beautiful example of finding ways to be together when you're not able to be together physically. I am fully in love with this release and can't wait to share more of it. 

On the EP, frontwoman Katie Munshaw shares "The 'Separate Places' EP has allowed songs from 'The Sun and Her Scorch' to go on tour without us. Following some of our favourite artists around the globe from Birmingham, London, New York and back to Toronto. Each song has been reimagined. 'Primrose Hill' is now fiery and tough. 'The Magician' and 'Ten' returned to a state of naive, solemn bliss. 'Beatrice' gains solace with felt piano and harmony and 'Sunflower' sounds like something out of a Super Mario Brothers video game. It's kind of a ride."     

"It felt necessary to have a friend join us on the rework for 'The Magician', a song rooted in friendship to begin with. We met Hannah at an outdoor show in 2019. She took the stage clad with sparkly cheeks and continued to deliver a massive fucking set, which I now know is the norm for her. Our relationship grew into one of cheering on each other's projects from the sidelines; one of my favourite parts of being in indie music. She ended up contributing strings to multiple tracks on TSAHS. To me, Hannah is an artist that signifies precise, skilled, gentle strength and I'm so proud to have had her turn what started out as a simple piano ballad into an anthem for platonic love performed by a million tiny fairies." 

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Follow Luna Li - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

WATCH: Luca Firth - 'Wings'

When the press release for this track landed in my inbox listing influences including Justin Vernon and Sharon van Etten I had a feeling that I'd probably enjoy it. I'm not sure I was ready for just how much I might fall in love with it. Love me a bit of alt-folk. Wings is the debut single from London-based Luca Firth, and it is a stunning introduction to his work. Luring you in with a stripped back acoustic guitar line and enchanting vocals, layers begin to build into a glorious alt-folk crescendo. 

On the track, he shares that it is "a sort of autobiographical statement of where I was at that point in time. While writing and recording, I realised I was kind of just at a loss. I was confused and struggling to picture what I was going to do with my life - as so many people were at the time." 

The track was recorded in isolation in his student halls at Exeter University, a situation offering up its own inspirations and challenges. With just a laptop, microphone and a couple of guitars, furniture was used to create percussive sounds, while Luca rearranged, recorded and mixed songs which he had written over Summer, inspired by a trip to his grandparents hometown in Italy during a break in lockdown. I can't wait to hear more!!

Follow Luca Firth - Facebook | Instagram.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

WATCH: Wallice - 'Hey Michael'

In my *other life* I work in a bookstore, and as the UK starts to open up again, I've been back at the shop setting up the store with all of the shiny new books and welcoming aaaaaall the customers back. It's strange after so much time spent at home watching birds and pottering around in the garden, and I miss being able to spend so much time on the blog when I'm there. Luckily, there is almost always a recent discovery stuck in my head - this one has been there a lot over the past few days. New from 23 y/o US artist Wallice, the track is Hey Michael. It arrives with news of her debut EP Off the Rails this Summer, and features her close friend and producer marinelli, assuming the role of 'Michael' for a verse. 

On the track, Wallice shares: “Hey Michael’ is a revenge anthem for anyone who has encountered a gaslighting, manipulative person. It’s what I wish I would have said to all the ‘Michael’s’ I have met in my life. It can be substituted by many names, we all know or have met a ‘Michael’ though. Somehow the world revolves around them and they just can’t catch a break, because they never do anything wrong and it’s usually your fault. You should have listened to your gut instinct and swiped left on this Michael. This isn’t a man-hating song, it’s just something many people can relate to. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to admit just how bad a friend, date, or romantic partner was and a lot of the time, I would just smile and laugh off stupid remarks but when I think back, I wish I had told them off. But at the same time, my persona in the song is not the best person either. I literally say “I think I want to start a fight, which one is your girlfriend?” The whole song is funny because I am so focused on how shitty Michael is that I don’t even think about how shitty I might be as well."

I love the video - directed by Phil Stillwell, it shows Wallice stuck at a houseparty, encountering various 'Michaels'. Playing on the lyric "hey Michael, you American Psycho" Wallice herself is dressed in a Patrick Batemen-esque business suit, channeling his comically dark (oh, very dark) energy. Watch for yourself above.

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Monday, 12 April 2021

WATCH: John Myrtle - 'How Can You Tell If You Love Her?'

Instant favourite alert. For you, and for me. New John Myrtle is just as dreamy as recent single Get Her Off My Mind. The track arrives alongside news of John's debut album (!) Myrtle Soup, due via Sad Club Records on 18th June. The beauty of the track is in the contrast of bright and cheery instrumentation with the confusion and anxiety portrayed in the lyrics. So goooooood. It's a genuine ray of sunshine in the shape of a 2 minute track. Get the repeat button at the ready. 

On the track, John shares: "I guess the song is about being sure of the relationship you're in - you can never really be certain you're doing the right thing, you've just got to trust yourself. It's not like you can get a tape measure or complete a questionnaire to tell you if what you're doing is right. This was the first song I had written since I had moved to London. I remember feeling quite alone when writing it, and just really unsure about all the decisions I had made up until that point." 

"I had just broken up with a long term girlfriend who I had partly moved to London to be with, and I had just begun seeing someone who told me she only wanted a casual type of thing going. I remember feeling like everyone I had known always seemed to doubt love in some way, and I wrote the lyrics to this song with that in mind. I was unsure of what the future held for me, and I felt like singing this song was quite cathartic, at least it screamed out that I wanted certainty in my life and answers!"

The video for the track was shot in the model village of Bournville in Birmingham, and made by Bristol-based duo Marie Dutton and Benjamin Saunders. On the thoughts behind it, John writes "we thought it'd be sweet to do it there, quite literally, as I grew up nearby and so it felt very much like I was 'coming home' in a way. We could smell chocolate whilst we filmed as the Cadbury factory is directly opposite, so it was a pleasure for the senses making this video - and I hope it's a pleasure for yours too!"

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Friday, 9 April 2021

LISTEN: CHILDCARE - 'Karaoke Mantra'

I'm a couple of weeks behind on sharing this, but I was very pleased to see new CHILDCARE music arriving into my inbox recently. The first stand-alone track since debut album Wabi-Sabi sees the four-piece opening up a new chapter. Soooo much yes. Eagerly awaiting more music. Recorded at Somerset's Distille Studios with producer Dom Monks (Laura Marling, Big Thief, White Denim) - the new track is exactly the sort of sonic patchwork that I love the band for. The grooviest of vibes, fun lyrics, vocal duelling and guitar parts that make me desperate to be watching them at a festival of some sort. Love this. 

On the night behind the track, frontman Ian Cares explains "for [guitarist] Rich's birthday I bought us tickets to an all-night gong experience. So we packed our sleeping bags and cereal bars and headed to a church in west London, with the promise to 'release old and stale energy', 'energize your life' and 'allow your soul surround your body'". 

Follow CHILDCARE online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

WATCH: Bess Atwell - 'Time Comes In Roses'

I'm falling ever so slightly in love with Bess Atwell. Following up recent single Co-Op, last week's release Time Comes In Roses is equal parts stunner and heartbreaker. Also painfully relatable. There's a really intimate and vulnerable side to this one, captured in the live performance video that Bess released alongside the track. Bess is signed to Lucy Rose's Real Kind Records label and the video is, for me, really reminiscent of the live videos which supported the release of Lucy's latest record. 

Talking about the new track, Bess shared: “I spent the first lockdown living back with my parents. I was privileged to be in the countryside with access to a garden, but it was also very challenging as someone who has a complicated relationship with their family. I kept to myself as much as possible, in the garden and out walking. As someone who has previously avoided self-sufficiency it was a time of personal growth and learning how to deal with my anxiety alone.

As the weather started to shift into summer, I remember being struck by how defiantly the seasons ignored the disruption of the pandemic. It felt like summer hadn’t been told it was now uninvited, and I found its arrival comforting and sad all at once. It feels disingenuous to say that I didn’t think anyone would ever hear this song, but I made a conscious decision to write it just for me, ignoring my usual rules around what is “too self- indulgent” or honest. It’s a reflection on quite an ugly side of me, which is liberating. It feels like the most vulnerable, and yet exciting, release of my career so far."

On the video, Bess adds: "I wanted to film a sparse live performance of the song, rather than a music video. It’s a unique stream of consciousness that I felt lends itself to a performance, rather than trying to contextualise it visually. I didn’t realise that it was quite so important to me to keep the performance very personal until my guitarist offered to sing backing vocals and I instantly declined!"

Follow Bess Atwell - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

EP NEWS: Rachel Sermanni - 'Swallow Me'

I've said it before... Stay Loose are absolutely smashing it with their PR roster right now (as ever). Latest addition is bonafide folk legend Rachel Sermanni. I've (shamefully) not given her back catalogue much of a listen yet but I caught Rachel playing at a Sofar Sounds show a few years back in a tiny Oxford art gallery and remember being left completely under her spell. Excited to share that she is releasing a new EP entitled Swallow Me - and has today released the title track. Rejoice!

The EP was written predominantly while pregnant on tour in the US, and charts the experiences of pregnancy, and of losing things which had played such a large part in her life for years. Travelling the world, creating without limits, living life on a whim. On the EP she shares "the thread that weaves most clearly throughout this collection is one of letting go. Jellyfish go where the current flows. It takes courage to be passive. If you can accept everything, you can embody the jellyfish."

"This song is me asking for some sort of relief, or maybe release. I'm basically asking that the universe give me a break or, at least, a pat on the back. Some form of divine acknowledgement of the heavy lifting I'd been doing (physically and psychologically) in coming to surrender into the changes - of becoming a Ma - and finding love in what felt like a scary situation. In its entirety, with the chorus woven in, it is a balm in that it accepts that this path is my path."

Rachel's EP Swallow Me is due 4th June.

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