Thursday 31 October 2019

LISTEN: Spector - 'Simplicity'

I really really love Spector. I think I see them as some sort of modern day indie heroes - a very deserved title. Debut album Enjoy It While It Lasts is somehow seven years old this year, featuring such absolute tunes as Chevy Thunder, Celestine and Friday Night, Don't Ever Let It End. OK, let's be honest: the entire album is brilliant. They followed it up with the equally superb Moth Boys in 2015 and last year's Ex-Directory EP. A recent bout of single releases comes ahead of an upcoming EP, with Simplicity the latest track from the band, released just ahead of their current UK tour.

Enigmatic frontman Fred Macpherson explains that the new track is "about getting the opportunity to leave it all behind [...] to walk away from the things that make you unhappy, to care less, make better decisions, treat yourself and others more sensitively, to not engage in petty hierarchies, not look at your life in terms of achievements (or lack of them), to spend more time with your family and people you actually like, be less selfish, less bitter, to give something back. It's about recognising the opportunity to do all those things and not taking it." 

Spector are currently in the midst of a UK tour - taking in shows across October and November, finishing up with shows at Oxford's Bullingdon on 12th Nov and London's Oval Space on 13th. Full dates and remaining tickets here.

Follow Spector online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 30 October 2019

LISTEN: VC Pines - 'Bones'

Loving this - VC Pines (aka Jack Mercer, ex Carnabys frontman) has shared his latest solo track, Bones, via Fierce Panda Records. His first new music since his successful EP Indigo, it is a really soulful tune, carrying the energy and sound of his live shows, where he is often backed with an eight-piece band and a whole lot of brass. He explains that Bones was "inspired by the film 'Onibaba', a vintage Japanese film with themes of war, romance, famine and death. The protagonist of the film becomes a stalker in the name of love due to such desperate times as a way of survival and this is something that I wanted to explore: to get in the mind-set of someone with such infatuation that they become obsessive. 'Bones' is written from within the mind-set of a teenage stalker in present day." 

Bones is the first track from his upcoming second EP, which is set for release in early 2020. The EP has a colour-coded theme, with Jack exploring his synaesthesia through the tracks. He explains (and this is genuinely fascinating) that "I found out what synaesthesia was during a lecture at music college, when the lecturer seemed to be describing how my brain worked. I always thought that that's how everyone saw the world and that various senses were triggered by certain things and that's just how we lived. Then when I realised that wasn't the case, and that I had something different, I started to use it as a tool." 

"Since then I've always used my synaesthesia, particularly chromosthesia to write songs. 'Bones' as a whole song for example is orange in colour in my head, with shades of violet/purple to add darker elements in certain areas [...] it all helps me visualise the song whilst writing to create something that I really feel when playing live on stage. I can see and feel the song as it moves throughout." 

VC Pines heads on a string of UK shows in April, taking in Brighton's Prince Albert (1st), London's Omeara (2nd), Leeds' Oporto (16th) and Bristol's Crofters Rights (24th.)

Follow VC Pines - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 29 October 2019

LISTEN: Saltwater Sun - 'Mouthbreather'

New Saltwater Sun! A cause for celebration, for sure. The Reading four-piece first came onto my radar last Summer with their single Hot Mess, and they released their The Great Deceiver EP earlier in the year. In short, they've had a pretty exciting year with support from press (the likes of NME, DIY and The Line of Best Fit) and BBC Radio (Huw Stephens, Annie Mac, Jack Saunders). They performed at a string of festivals this Summer, have recently supported US rockers Jimmy Eat World, as well as playing with The Amazons and Another Sky.

Brand new track Mouthbreather precedes a batch of new material set for release next year, produced by Kristofer Harris (who has worked with Bear's Den, Belle and Sebastian and more... though I know him best as the lead singer of the criminally underrated Story Books.) Delivering a sassy, rage-filled vocal, Jen Stearnes explains that "'Mouthbreather' is a monumental rant about the myriad people who get on Saltwater Sun's collective last nerve. Loud chewers, bad drivers and mansplainers - the list goes on! Sure, we could be the bigger people and rise above, but where's the fun in that?" 

Follow Saltwater Sun - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 28 October 2019

WATCH: Tom Rosenthal & Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Swarm Swamp Swim'

Delighted to share this one - a new collaboration from Tom Rosenthal and Cosmo Sheldrake. I'd like to think that Cosmo hardly needs an introduction on the blog - since discovering him as support act for Johnny Flynn just over two years ago I've posted about a lot of his tracks, and his debut album The Much Much How How & I was in my top five releases of last year. I really really love Cosmo's music. Tom Rosenthal is a newer name to me, though I recall seeing a session he played with Rae Morris a year or two ago. While volunteering at Bushstock Festival this year I got to catch Tom playing - I mostly just remember his set being really well received and hilarious for various reasons. Mostly the track Watermelon, featuring the lyric "boom boom boom, it's watermelon time" - genius. New track Swarm Swamp Swim is a collaboration that manages to capture the sounds of both Tom and Cosmo perfectly - take a listen below! Video directed by May Kindred Boothby.

Follow Tom Rosenthal - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.
Follow Cosmo Sheldrake - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 25 October 2019

LISTEN: Mosa Wild - 'Acoustic Sessions' EP

Bringing together my love for indie and acoustic music, one of my favourite musical discoveries of the year have released an acoustic EP with reworkings of two of their tracks and a Sharon Van Etten cover. Mosa Wild have had a crazy year, with a couple of sold out London shows, their EP release, festival appearances and an arena tour with Tame Impala to name just a few highlights. The acoustic EP, which you can listen to in full here is a lovely introduction to the band for new listeners. I completely adore this version of Honey, which you can listen to below. 

If you'd like to hear the band away from the acoustic side of things, they're heading out on tour very soon across the UK as main support for Glassnote Records label mate Jade Bird (who has a track record of brilliant support acts, with Flyte currently on the road with her in the US and Canada.) Those dates run through November, and the band headline Scala in London on 11th March. Full list of shows here.

Follow Mosa Wild - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 24 October 2019

TOUR NEWS: Fickle Friends (December 2019)

It feels as if time has completely flown by since Fickle Friends released their debut album You Are Someone Else. It was somehow all the way back in March 2018 and after a period of touring they've been hidden away making new music and... they're back! Amateurs is their first release of the year and the first taste of music from their second album and it was worth the wait! In short it is a bit of a bop.

They're heading out on the road this December for a run of intimate shows which finishes up in one of my favourite venues, London's Omeara. Dates and tickets here.

2nd December: Castle & Falcon, Birmingham
3rd: Leadmill, Sheffield
4th: Mash House, Edinburgh
5th: Phase One, Liverpool
7th: Moles Club, Bath
8th: Joiners, Southampton
9th: Omeara, London

Follow Fickle Friends - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 23 October 2019

LISTEN: BENEE - 'Find An Island'

Really enjoying this new track from New Zealand artist BENEE which I recently shared to the playlist (listen/follow that here.) At just 19 she's been making waves back in NZ and further afield with her music, falling somewhere between pop and R&B, carving out a soundscape of her own. Earlier this year she released the FIRE ON MARZZ EP with stand-out track Soaked (which has racked up over 25 million streams on Spotify) and my fave, Glitter. She explains that she wrote the new track "about my best bud because sometimes ya hate your friends, but you always love them." 

Follow BENEE - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 22 October 2019

LISTEN: Among The Citizens - 'In Your Car'

As a music blogger based in Peterborough and writing for the past few years, I think this may be my first post about a band based near the city. A historic moment. I was introduced to Among The Citizens last year by a close friend who went to college with the guys - cue a post-work gig in my hometown, another momentous occasion. (Gigs usually require a day out, or at least a frantic last minute train journey to London or elsewhere.) In new track In Your Car the band offer up a slice of indie/alternative in the vein of Catfish and the Bottlemen, Two Door Cinema Club and the like.

Like this? They're currently on a headline tour for This Feeling with a London show this Thursday (24th)  at The Monarch in Camden and a Cambridge show at Portland Arms on 2nd November.

Follow Among The Citizens - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 21 October 2019

LISTEN: White Tail Falls - 'Give It Up, Son'

Kicking off the week with something freshly squeezed... Give It Up, Son, the debut track from London artist White Tail Falls. Earning instant bonus points from me the track has some gorgeous strings throughout, with beats from drum and synth machines creating a sound that seems to be almost pulsing. It is constant and repetitive, whilst also being added to when you least expect it. All this while Irwin's ever impressive vocals sit atop the music, making for a really intriguing debut.

He explains that the track is a "wake-up call from someone who loves you; imploring you to be honest with yourself. It's set in the context of addiction, where family and friends know what's going on but the addicted individual is still labouring under the misapprehension that they've got everything under control. The voice is that of a parent watching their child unravel. Addiction doesn't just affect the person with the disease." 

If you like what you're hearing and happen to be in London this evening, then get yourself to Servant Jazz Quarters for the single launch this evening. Tickets here.

Follow White Tail Falls - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 18 October 2019

LISTEN: Brooke Bentham - 'All My Friends Are Drunk'

Singer-songwriter Brooke Bentham has shared the second of her tracks with Bill Ryder-Jones, a wistful track reflecting on lost youth, entitled All My Friends Are Drunk. In a description of the track which I find quite relatable, Brooke explains that "I wrote the lyrics about growing older, and growing apart, and learning about yourself. I was one year out of university and a lot of the lyrics on the album sound a bit lost because I realised I am so existential every day, and I'm so constantly aware of myself." Take a listen below and keep an ear out for more music to follow from the pair!

She's just finished up a run of shows supporting Bill Ryder-Jones, and he'll soon be playing as part of her band as main support on the Sam Fender UK tour across November and December. She's also playing a free solo show at The Islington in London on 9th December - full dates and tickets are here.

Follow Brooke Bentham - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 17 October 2019

LISTEN: Franc Moody - 'Terra Firma'

Since seeing them opening up for Friendly Fires last year I've had a big soft spot for Franc Moody. In the vein of experimental Cosmo Sheldrake, a read of their bio tells you "listen to their songs and you'll hear salt shakers and mugs, dripping radiators, the sound of someone zipping their flies, and their own family playing strings." This collection of sounds comes together with an array of instruments to make something really unique, with a whole lot of funk at the heart of it. Latest track Terra Firma arrives alongside their biggest tour dates yet, as they'll be heading around the UK and Europe across February and March, with a show at London's O2 Shepherds Bush Empire on 5th March. Dates are here.

Follow Franc Moody - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 16 October 2019

WATCH: Rhys Lewis - 'What If' (Live at RAK)

I've got a midweek treat to share today - a gorgeous new session video from Rhys Lewis. After releasing his In Between Minds EP and a couple of singles this year he's been busy playing shows around the UK and further afield in recent months. He found a moment to head to London's famous RAK Studios to record a live session of his recent single What If - with strings and a trio of backing singers to support, elevating the track to something even more special than the recorded version. I'm loving this!

Follow Rhys Lewis - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 15 October 2019

LISTEN: Low Island - 'Long Answer'

Oxford legends Low Island have shared the third track from their upcoming EP. Long Answer joins In Person and Search Box to create what is a really magical trio of tracks from the band who, for me, are one of the most exciting new (ish) acts around. After a DJ set at Oxford's Ritual Union festival this weekend (19th) they're touring the new music around the UK during November and December with support from Grace Lightman (whose debut album, released earlier this year, is stunning). Full dates and tickets for that tour here.

Follow Low Island - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 14 October 2019

WATCH: Maggie Rogers - 'The Knife' (live on Austin City Limits)

Since the release of her debut album Heard It In A Past Life back in February, I've spent this year full of adoration for Maggie Rogers. I've managed not to regularly spam the blog with posts about how brilliant she is, instead choosing to bother friends and families with videos of her performances... I'm still not entirely over that Glastonbury slot. I guess that it is about time that I share a live video from her recent performance on Austin City Limits - the track, The Knife, is one of my favourite off of the album. Arriving just a couple of weeks after I lost my job earlier in the year, the album came to mean a lot to me and remains my favourite release of the year. It's in her performances that Maggie truly comes alive, and the pure joy she exudes is contagious - I hope I can come to love something as much as Maggie loves performing with her gorgeous band. Enjoy watching!

Follow Maggie Rogers - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 11 October 2019

WATCH: Sea Girls - 'Violet'

I didn't get round to sharing Violet from Sea Girls when it was first released but have been loving the track, and knew I needed to get the video onto the blog as soon as I saw it was out! They've been making waves around the UK and have played to crowds at Reading, Leeds, Electric Picnic, TRNSMT, Truck and Benic├ássim festivals this Summer and they're currently in the midst of a mostly sold out UK tour, having headlined London last night.

The new video, directed by Michael Holyk, was shot in a disused railway ticket station in Woolwich. Talking about the video, the band said that "we may have songs with darkness, but that doesn't mean we can't look to the light. 'Violet' is wildly optimistic and for the video we find ourselves in an abandoned building and this time we aren't feeling sorry for ourselves." 

Follow Sea Girls - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 10 October 2019

LISTEN: Nick Mulvey - 'In The Anthropocene'

This week in 'things which have blown my mind recently'... one of my favourite humans and musicians Nick Mulvey has shared a new track. Musically it is as gorgeous as ever but what struck me immediately was the limited vinyl pressing. Already sold out, it's a project with Sharp's Brewery - the track has been pressed onto a vinyl record made from recycled plastic which has been washed up on Cornish beaches, with funds going to Surfers Against Sewage and their work to protect British coasts. Visually the records are unique and stunning - a real eye-opening repurposing of just a few of the millions of pieces of plastic which find their way into our oceans every day.

The anthropocene is defined as "the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment." The track serves as an exploration of, in short, what our freedom means to the environment, and the responsibility that we all carry. Nick expands on the themes, explaining that "my music is about knowing who - or what - we are, right at the core; aliveness itself, conscious. These times of urgent global crisis are demanding we re-examine ourselves and the world and we raise ourselves to match the Earth, this wonder-organism from which we are not, and have never been, separate." A stand-out lyric for me is "the voices of future grandchildren I hear them asking: what were you doing, what have you done?" 

Follow Nick Mulvey - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 9 October 2019

ALBUM NEWS: Gengahr - 'Sanctuary'

Utter joy to have Gengahr back with a new track, album announcement and tour news. The triple whammy. Everything & More is their first track since Atlas Please last year - a track produced by none other than Bombay Bicycle Club frontman Jack Steadman. The track is taken from their upcoming third album Sanctuary, due for release on 31st Jan. The track sounds fresh yet familiar, focusing around the charming falsetto of frontman Felix Bushe. I adored their last album Where Wildness Grows and can't wait to see what they've got in store for us! 

You can catch Gengahr across the UK and further afield next year across February and March - UK dates below and tickets/album pre-order here.

13th Feb: Band on the Wall, Manchester
14th: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
16th: King Tuts, Glasgow
17th: The Sound House, Dublin
19th: Fleece, Bristol
20th: Patterns, Brighton
21st: EartH, London

Follow Gengahr online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 8 October 2019

WATCH: Liz Lawrence - 'None Of My Friends'

Just a couple of weeks to go for the new Liz Lawrence album, so to whet your appetite she's released a lyric video for the absolute tune None Of My Friends. Created by Marc Corrigan, the video serves up a large slice of early 2000s nostalgia for you. As Liz wrote online - "if you remember your Mum screaming at you to get off the internet so she can use the phone then you might appreciate this lyric video for None Of My Friends." 

Get your ticket for Liz's upcoming London show (29th October) and pre-order a copy of the new album Pity Party here.

Follow Liz Lawrence Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 7 October 2019

LISTEN: Pizzagirl - 'dennis'

Not long to wait now until Pizzagirl's debut album first timer which is due for release this Friday (11th) via Heist or Hit (pre-order here!) The track dennis has been out for almost a month now but this post is better late than never, right? I'm loving the guitars on this one which hook you in instantly - musically it's cheery and sunny in nature, making the lyrics (a spot of jealousy) feel light-hearted and a little tongue-in-cheek. Pizzagirl himself (AKA Liam Brown) describes the track as the "class clown of the album [...] a bitter, meta, foot-long sub of jealousy, sports and that 43 year old guy who just stole your girl, all wrapped up in a neat little single length grease proof wrapping!"

Follow Pizzagirl - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 4 October 2019

WATCH: Christof van der Ven - 'Bravais Arc' (Live at RAK)

Even more glorious Christof van der Ven content coming your way today... I adore this guy, his music holds a really special place in my heart and the session videos that he recorded earlier in the year at RAK Studios are all proving to be a treat. With a band comprising of fellow Bear's Den live members, Matthew & The Atlas members and other talented friends, we've seen performances of 4AM and Lucky, and this time around new album opener Bravais Arc is in the spotlight and is sublime! Get watching...

If you like what you're hearing Christof is currently on tour to promote the new album You Were The Place - UK folk can catch him at Brighton's The Hope & Ruin on October 7th and London's The Lexington on the 8th.

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

Thursday 3 October 2019

LISTEN: Flyte - 'White Roses' EP

It's hard not to feel completely at peace as you settle down with the new EP from Flyte - White Roses is 11 minutes of pure bliss from the trio. With their incredibly tight harmonies and honest songwriting fans often draw comparisons to the likes of (and this is kind of huge) The Beatles (yep, them) and Simon & Garfunkel - deservedly so, I reckon. If you caught my recent interview with the band then it won't be much of a surprise to hear that I adore them and their music and I'm really excited that the new EP is out in the world. It's hard to pick a favourite but as the track which launched their return, I'm still really loving the title track White Roses, with the vocal backing of none other than The Staves. How to improve on one group with beautiful harmonies? Combine them with another, of course.

Frontman Will Taylor describes that for the new EP the band have "stepped into a much starker, more direct place emotionally [...] Our last album told other people's stories, where we were too afraid to look at ourselves. The songs on this EP seem to have predicted our futures - or it may be that things are already happening to us that we're not yet conscious of, and the music gets there way before we do. The song 'Sometimes' is the first track recorded since Sam left the band, and although it was written before he left, it is clearly about him and his reasons for going. The current album we're finishing is so much like that, it's incredibly confessional - so what better warm up than the EP." 

If you happen to be in America (hi!) Flyte are currently on tour with the equally magic Jade Bird across the US through to the start of November, after which they're heading home for a sold out Village Underground (London) show on November 11th.

Follow Flyte - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 2 October 2019

LISTEN: Julia Church - ‘Crawl'

As I frequently say on here, while I love sharing music from artists I already love, one of the best things about the blog is getting sent so much new music from artists I've never encountered before. This track has been sitting in my folder of tracks to write about for a few weeks but I didn't want to let it slide... South African artist Julia Church, who studied in Liverpool and now lives in London, recently released her third single Crawl. What is striking about this one for me is the layers of production and Julia's gorgeous tone.

Talking about the track, Julia explains that "it's an older one that I wrote at uni, while in quite a toxic relationship. It's basically about being a rock to someone who is struggling and how it was so often at the cost of my own well-being." 

Julia's next London show is at the Old Blue Last on 10th October - tickets here.

Follow Julia Church - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 1 October 2019

LISTEN: Max Blansjaar - 'The Shame That I Wear'

Continuing on the Oxford theme from my Sofar Sounds post yesterday, I'm loving this track from local musician Max Blansjaar - so much so that it's got the top spot on the CMAT playlist this week. Originally from Amsterdam, the 16 year old released his debut EP Spit It Out last October, via local indie label Beanie Tapes, with the limited run of 50 cassettes selling out in a day.

New track The Shame That I Wear is a bit of an indie lo-fi dream with some very very nice guitar riffs, and all the other technical stuff. It's the first single from upcoming EP Fantasy Living, due on 12th October as an official International Cassette Store Day release. Talking about the EP, Max explains that "while 'Spit It Out' was recorded over the course of four months, 'Fantasy Living' took me just a week to create; I spent entire days in Beanie Tapes Studios recording and producing everything myself. My aim was to fuse pop music - which gets an unfairly bad rep these days - with more trashy, lo-fi sounds, taking artists like Darwin Deez and Tune-Yards for inspiration." 

Pre-order the new EP on cassette here.

Follow Max Blansjaar - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.