Tuesday 31 March 2020

LISTEN: Pêtr Aleksänder - 'The Something Else'

News of an incoming Pêtr Aleksänder EP is very welcome indeed - Another World is due for release via Kin Records on May 20th. The classical contemporary duo, made up of all-round legends Tom Hobden and Eliot James, has recently shared The Something Else and for want of a better phrase it is... well, something else. Beautiful. I appreciate classical music but it isn't really a genre I've ever explored much, but I love the work that this pair do to bring classical music to a new audience, with a contemporary spin. It's all a very clever mix of strings and piano with electronic beats and is unlike anything else I post about here.

On the new track, Eliot explains that it is "an instrumental arrangement for piano and strings built around 16 repeating notes which were originally inspired by Pachelbel's Canon. Our 16 notes provide the backbone for a sweeping string arrangement which ebbs and flows around the central theme, accompanied by some slices of vocals and electronics which allude to the wider theme of our EP. It is a piece of music we have been playing and experimenting with live and became a natural starting point for the new wave of music we have been working on recently." 

Follow Pêtr AleksänderTwitter | Facebook | Instagram.

Monday 30 March 2020

LISTEN: Charlie Cunningham & Sophie Jamieson - 'Climb'

I love this! Charlie Cunningham, having shared his second album Permanent Way and a live EP last year, has just shared the second single from forthcoming Pieces EP. The new track Climb features guest vocals from Sophie Jamieson, who was supporting on Charlie's recent European tour. In a lovely and piece of gig-based serendipity, I first discovered Charlie when he opened at a Stornoway show in a church in Oxford in late 2015. Earlier that year, I'd seen Sophie opening for Sivu, in a church in London. In early 2018 I saw Sivu live in London with my friend Oli, from Stornoway, and who should be sitting next to us... Sophie! Small world, small industry, and all that.

While the first release from the EP was a sparse piano-led track, the new single sees Charlie returning to the sound that he is beloved for, and which I most associate with him. The acoustic guitar, with intricately finger-picked melodies creating a backdrop for a blend of the pair's vocals. As the press release for the track accurately posits - the result is intoxicating!

Follow Charlie Cunningham - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.
Follow Sophie Jamieson - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Sunday 29 March 2020

EP NEWS: Roo Panes - 'Pacific'

We all need a bit of soothing music at the moment, right? Well, let's look no further than brand new Roo Panes. He's just shared not one but two (!) brand new tunes from his upcoming Pacific EP, the title track and Colour In Your Heart, which you can listen to below. The full five-track EP is due for release on CRC Records on May 22nd.

While the title track, Pacific, brings us five and a half minutes of exactly the sort of track we've come to expect from Roo - the beautiful simplicity of acoustic guitar and those gorgeous trademark vocals - Colour In My Heart is something new. Without a guitar in sight (or earshot) there are electronic beats aplenty - Roo himself explains that "the reason I liked the idea of releasing this a and b side is because on this EP I've tried quite a lot of new ideas and textures, but also have some songs which are more traditionally me. 'Colour In Your Heart' is a new sound experiment and whilst being excited to share that as a single I also wanted 'Pacific' to be there to show the continuity with my other work. Together I think they make a really nice pair - both meditative and sound-scapey in their own way but one which is upbeat and the other more drifty and reflective." 

Follow Roo Panes - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 27 March 2020

WATCH: White Tail Falls - 'Fake News'

Last night, I should've been seeing one of my favourite artists on the first tour of his new project White Tail Falls in the beautiful confines of London's St Pancras Old Church. Instead, I had to make do with a live performance, via the wonders of the internet, from his (shed) studio. Pretty magical, and I didn't have to leave the house, or get dressed up. I quite like these internet gigs. It also happened to be launch day for his video for the track Fake News, the title track of his recent EP.

The video is the first part, but the third to be released (keep up...!) in a trilogy of videos, with the previous parts arriving alongside tracks Give It Up, Son and Disintegrate. Filmed in Barcelona, the video brings together footage of a New Year's Eve beach party (fireworks and all) and the sun-drenched morning-after. Crowds contrast with the near empty beach, with footprints ready to be washed away by the sea. It's all a bit profound.

Irwin explains that the video "created entirely by Craig 'Attacks' Young, begins the three-part story of how our demons haunt us, through hedonism, through time and through space. Whilst the lyrics flirt with optimism in how: 'If everyone's lying, someone must be, accidentally, telling the truth', the video reflects the sorrow of how what was will never be again." 

The tour has been rescheduled (phew!) for this September, with tickets still valid and for sale here for shows in Brighton, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and London.

Follow White Tail Falls - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 20 March 2020

EP NEWS: Rosie Carney - 'i dreamed i was the night'

EP news to share today, with Rosie Carney recently announcing the i dreamed i was the night EP to follow-up her debut album Bare. The EP is due for release on 10th April via Color Study, an indie label founded by her manager Spencer Kelley. The first track to be released is when i look at you, a track with themes of "heartbreak, betrayal and destruction." The video for the track reflects these themes, with Rosie explaining that "I never felt comfortable being in front of the camera, it's like I wrapped myself in chains, and I knew in order to really tell this story I had to break myself free from them." In the video, Rosie, alongside dance partner Tylor Deyn, uses subtle and minimal movement to portray the discomfort she has lived with for some time, describing the process as "the therapy I didn't know I needed."

Follow Rosie Carney - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 19 March 2020

LISTEN: MF Tomlinson - 'You & Me, Babe'

"You and me are always going to have a place called home." 

One of my favourite discoveries of last year, MF Tomlinson has been gradually releasing singles for a few months now, and has just released the final piece of the puzzle, You & Me, Babe, alongside the full Last Days of Rome EP - listen to the EP here. On the track and the EP more widely, this project calls on a community of collaborators - with MF travelling from London and LA to his homeland of Australia, with Japan's Ami Koda on flute, UK's Connie Chatwin on violin and backing vocals, Finland's Viljam Nybacka on bass and Turkey's Yigit Bulbul on guitar and percussion. It's a big old family, and it sounds lovely. MF adds "during my time in London I've been lucky enough to meet all these amazing people - it's an honour that they wanna play music together." 

Talking about the final track, he explains that it is "a story of how I (and many others) live now in love, surrounded by people they love - about how people, not places, are your real home no matter where you are. About the happiness we find in each other, romantically, and in friendship. Some of the most powerful & important feelings we have aren't ruled by the big forces that shape the world, they're sparked and expressed by little moments. That's what I'm trying to capture." 

"I wrote this song about my wife, each line in the song relates to something specific but I wrote in broad strokes because I like to think that everyone has someone close to them who this song could be about. I want whoever is listening to be able to think about their own memories and fill these moments in with their own details." 

Follow MF Tomlinson - Facebook | TwitterInstagram.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

WATCH: Alice Phoebe Lou - 'Witches'

Absolutely loving this one from an artist who is a new name to me (love me an ace new discovery!) Witches from Alice Phoebe Lou is currently sitting at the top of the 2020 playlist - get listening and following that here. The track arrives following the release of her second album Paper Castles this time last year, which saw Alice rack up 102 shows in four continents across the year. Trialling new tracks on the road, Witches came to life, and it is all sorts of lovely. The track, produced by Ziv Yamin in a DIY studio at home, and mixed by Noah Georgeson, is accompanied by a music video shot by Alice and her bandmates on an 8mm camera while on tour last year.

Talking about the track, Alice explains that it is "in a different world to my usual sound, a stand alone song that leans towards a punk attitude while holding on to a gentle feminine energy. After being gifted a one inch tape machine, we decided to use this song as the first try at recording in this tasty analog way. I've never been so inspired by a recording process as I have with recording to tape, especially in the DIY nature in which we did it (2 people in a living room). Watching the song come to life without a computer, listening to the tape whirring backwards [...] there's nothing quite like it!"

Follow Alice Phoebe Lou - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 16 March 2020

WATCH: MarthaGunn - 'Heaven' (acoustic)

You don't need me to tell you that everything is a bit of an apocalyptic nightmare at the moment - I hope you're all staying safe and keeping your heads. All I can say is thank goodness for music. No matter how dark times get, it's always a great relief to know that music will be here to bring joy through those times. On that note, as gigs get cancelled (understandably) around the world, lots of artists, including many of those who I write about here, are placed into difficult situations, as in an age of streaming, they often rely on income from live shows. If you're in a position where you are able to, be sure to support your favourite artists at the moment - buy their CD, buy their merchandise, support their online pages if they're on Patreon or similar, and stream them to your heart's content.

Back to the new (ish) music! MarthaGunn, the total stars, recently shared a gorgeous acoustic performance of Heaven. It was the first track they released a few years back, and they've recently released a new version of the track. I'm adoring this live version. Abi's vocals are, as ever, sublime, as are those 5-way harmonies. Also - if ever a band screamed 'hair goals' - just saying.

As currently stands, MarthaGunn head out on a UK tour this month with a bunch of brilliant support acts across the tour, tickets here. Be sure to follow the band on their socials below in case of cancellations.

Follow MarthaGunn - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 13 March 2020

WATCH: Oscar Jerome - ‘Sun for Someone'

From the first listen to Smile On A Screen a couple of years back, I've had a lot of love for Oscar Jerome. The Trinity Laban trained guitarist and member of afrobeat collective Kokoroko has been putting finishing touches to his debut album, and has just shared a politically and environmentally charged track, Sun for Someone, as his first new offering of 2020.

Talking about the track, Oscar explains that it is "about the extinction of the human race and it being a good thing for the planet. Once we are gone the earth will right itself and carry on like it always has. The Sun will keep rising for someone, be it animal or planet. It just won't run on the watch that we keep for our stubborn and unadaptable lifestyles. We often forget we are just a spec in time." 

The video for the track is directed by Joel Barney, and stars dancers Mukeni Nel and Antoine Sturge. Of the video, Joel explains that "initially when we first heard the track I knew that there needed to be dancing, however, after speaking with Oscar about the meaning behind the song, we found there needed to be a darker underbelly to the video. The surreal animal people were our tongue-in-cheek representation of the animals on earth watching on as we humans carelessly move forward with an innocent naivety." 

Follow Oscar Jerome - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 12 March 2020

ALBUM NEWS: Bryde - 'The Volume of Things'

Exciting news - Bryde (AKA London-based Sarah Howells) has announced news of the follow-up to her 2018 debut album Like An Island. The new record is called The Volume of Things and is due for release on 29th May. The first taste of the new record is The Trouble Is, produced and mixed by Thomas Mitchener - there's a fab music video directed by Our World Is Grey below...

Bryde heads out on a UK tour in September - tickets here - and pre-order/pre-save the record here.

17th September: Bodega, Nottingham
18th: Think Tank, Newcastle
19th: Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh
22nd: Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
23rd: Deaf Institute, Manchester
24th: Oslo, London
25th: The Castle & Falcon, Birmingham
26th: Clwb Iford Bach, Cardiff

Follow Bryde - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 11 March 2020

WATCH: Fickle Friends - 'Eats Me Up'

New Fickle Friends music? Yes please. They stormed onto the scene a couple of years back, releasing the brilliant debut record You Are Someone Else in 2018. I have a really vivid memory of us putting the album in the player when I was working at HMV, and a colleague running over to stop it once it started swearing. (Oops!) They're back with a new album in the pipeline and have released new tracks Amateurs and Pretty Great recently, and have just shared Eats Me Up. As always, it's a bit of a bop but there's a really important message about mental health in our social media obsessed world in the lyrics too.

I'll pass over to the band themselves to explain the track better than I possibly could - on writing it, singer Natti says "when we took some time away to write this new album it was a welcome break, but I found myself using social media as my main way of keeping up with things. It's a very tricky headspace to be in and there were moments where I felt very alienated, depressed, frustrated, jealous... and scared to say anything at risk of being shamed. Everyone who has access to these online platforms has a voice. They can build you up and tear you down, 'Eats Me Up' is about my relationship with that and how we all need to learn to find space away from it all." 

The video for the track was shot and directed by the band themselves. In a post online they describe the process - "we hired a sick camera, loads of lights, a haze machine [..] built cloud lights and turned Jack's house into a video set. The general idea was to create this kind of escape, a dream-like / nightmarish world that's representative of trying to find peace of mind... a kinda psychological calm within the storm." 

Follow Fickle Friends - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 10 March 2020

ALBUM NEWS: Sports Team - 'Deep Down Happy'

Absolutely obsessed with Here's The Thing from Sports Team at the minute. SO good. They're a Camberwell-based six-piece who have had a bit of a word of mouth shoot to stardom over the last couple of years, pulling in sell-out crowds before they had released any music. Two EPs later, they've earned themselves a reputation as an exciting young band, not quite sounding like any of their contemporaries. I'm mesmerised by the lyric video for latest single Here's The Thing, which gives you a little sense of quite how raucous their live shows might be...

They've just announced that their debut album Deep Down Happy is due for release on Island Records on 3rd April. Talking about the album, frontman Alex Rice says that "I don't think we were conscious of doing it but the album maps the journey of moving in together in Harlesden, moving back to home towns to sleep on floors for 18 months, then coming back to London, weighing up whether being in a band with your mates, being young in London is still the best thing in the world. I think it probably is."

Follow Sports Team - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 9 March 2020

LISTEN: White Tail Falls - 'Fake News' EP

As I write this, I'm still revelling in the wonder of having seen my favourite band live on Friday evening. Nothing quite compares. The Hoosiers took to O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire for their Greatest Hit(s) 'tour'. A triumphant live return to the capital for a band that I've spent over a decade adoring, a really special evening. It's a delight to share that the frontman Irwin Sparkes has a solo project, White Tail Falls - you may just about have spotted me raving about it, a little bit.

With the debut album Age of Entitlement due for release on Physical Education Records on 29th May, he's just released his debut EP, Fake News. The title track is the third to be taken from the album, sitting alongside a Karl Zine remix of Rome's Already Fallen, and acoustic versions of The Other Kind of Guy and Body Weight on this EP. All as yet unheard tracks from the project, so a genuinely exciting release. The lyrics throughout the project are honest and vulnerable, while their delivery is tender - trying not to weep my way through Body Weight.

Talking about the title track, Irwin explains that it "was written about four years ago and was inspired by the shock and awe at how people draw their conclusions; betting the farm on such little evidence. All the while I'm reminded of how cripplingly indecisive I can be." 

White Tail Falls head out on a UK headline tour through March and April, dates below & tickets here. Join me in London?

20th March: The Poetry Club, Glasgow
21st: Royal Park Cellars, Leeds
26th: St Pancras Old Church, London
27th: The Hope & Ruin, Brighton
2nd: Night People, Manchester

Follow White Tail Falls - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 5 March 2020

WATCH: Cj Pandit - 'Digital Love'

I bloody love this - Digital Love from Cj Pandit. I saw Cj (then playing under a different name - he's had a few different guises and is now comfortably putting out music under his own name) opening for Willie J Healey a couple of days after handing in my final coursework at university. It was a celebratory night surrounded by lots of friends from the local music scene and we all really enjoyed his set. I've been keeping my ear to the ground for news on his new project, having enjoyed his previous output, and I've been rewarded with ace new track Digital Love. The track arrives with a stop motion video directed and edited by Cj himself alongside friend and photographer Joe Vozza. The video takes you on a nostalgic trip through the many realms of the internet - I got pretty thrilled at spotting a Club Penguin snapshot, and Clippy is in there too. If you're not old enough to understand those references... that's mildly terrifying. See what you can spot below!

Speaking about the track, Cj shared that "however far technology and the world progresses we'll still have a deep desire to be cheek to cheek with someone we love and be able to reach out and touch them. I love and hate the digital world we all now inhabit but wouldn't change it for anything. No matter how cold it can feel at times there's always something so simply human at the root of any communication. And if I can see the person I love's face on the other side of the world in real time at the end of my arm then I think that's pretty fucking beautiful. Of course it's got its downfalls, the world being smaller than ever can push us to feel lonelier than ever but it's such an amazing tool." 

Follow Cj Pandit - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 4 March 2020


"Are your thoughts like mine, coming with you to bed?"

Let me introduce SKIA - Norwegian alt-pop newcomer and honorary Liverpudlian. Following the release of debut single Anyone, she's back with IDWTAI, released today via Heist or Hit. Focusing around the title lyric "I don't wanna talk about it" the track is an ode to overthinking - or more specifically, not overthinking - I can relate. There's a debut EP due later to arrive later in the year with some live dates to follow, so dig your teeth into this one for now.

Talking about the track, SKIA explains that it is "a track about all the feelings I don't wanna talk about. It can be stress of the future, fear of moving on from something, or a flashback to something I've done that makes me cringe and that I really don't wanna talk or think about ever again." 

Follow SKIA - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 2 March 2020

LISTEN: Winnie Raeder - 'BABY'

Winnie Raeder was one of my favourite finds of last year - her voice is incredible and she arrived onto the scene with her stunning debut Don't You Dare and the From Here EP, before selling out her first headline shows and supporting Charlie Cunningham and Tamino on tour. Self-producing for the first time, new cut BABY is a gorgeous first release of the year. Stunning and enthralling vocals sit atop a combination of piano and subtle electronics.

Talking about the track, Winnie explains that "BABY is about wanting to clean your apartment because you know its not good for you to live amidst mess and disarray, but at the same time, there's a voice in the back of your head that reminds you that's how you've always lived and what you know. Throwing away some of that garbage would mean having to get rid of some of the clutter you've learned to love. It's basically that, but instead of your apartment, it refers to you mind. I've always been interested in [...] what makes us tick and behave the way that we do." 

On producing the track herself, Winnie comments that "there are some brilliant female producers making music at the moment, but there aren't enough and that's partly because women aren't encouraged at a young age to explore production. A lot of female producers tend to feel a sense of imposter syndrome when they write and produce their own music and that has to change. [...] I've always paid a lot of attention when I've been in with other producers because I knew that one day I wanted to try and do it myself, so that's definitely helped the process." 

If you'd like to catch Winnie live (why wouldn't you!) she's just been announced for this year's Great Escape Festival and is playing the upcoming BBC Music Introducing showcase at The Lexington alongside Plested and Eloise this Thursday, 5th March.

Follow Winnie Raeder - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.