Friday, 17 September 2021

LISTEN: The Vaccines - 'Back In Love City'

A quick glance at my listening habits on last.fm 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!

Follow The Staves - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

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.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

WATCH: Francis of Delirium - 'Come Out and Play'

I'm still here! Kinda. Finding it a bit overwhelming to try and slot back into my usual routine of a few posts each week and frankly a little confused how I ever had the time to do two jobs alongside the blog and various other bits. Not to worry - I'm being patient with myself (so please bear with if you're waiting on responses to emails etc) and posts will likely be a little bit sporadic for the time being. Not right now though, a post awaits you...

Writing this on Wednesday evening, I've been working from home today... and I've had this track, the new Muna and Phoebe Bridgers track and Jump Off The Top by The Vaccines on a near-constant repeat. Come Out And Play is the first new track from Francis of Delirium since their Wading EP earlier this year. They never put a foot wrong - each track is a pure delight, and they usually arrive with a brilliant homemade video. This one is no exception! In fact - the behind the scenes here is just as good as the video itself. All hail Jana, I say. 

On the track, Jana shares "I kept thinking about clowns when making this song, I watched Felini's '8 1/2' and the closing scene where a procession of clowns play in a band stuck with me. I had them in my mind for months, thinking about the way they hid behind painted faces, keeping so much hidden from the audience, and also just how sad they seemed. I wanted this song to feel dark and to have an eeriness that would make sense in the background of some weird art movie about funhouses and carnivals."  

Follow Francis of Delirium - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 6 September 2021

WATCH: APRE - 'All Mine'

Happy Monday! Before the musical rambles, a quick thanks for the patience and kindness I've been shown of late. I'm attempting a return to posting on the blog (forgive me if posts aren't quite as frequent as normal, just yet...) with a song that has been on repeat on my Spotify account (no, not ABBA - but you should listen to them) and in my earphones for days now. The track is All Mine by APRE - I love these guys and I'm delighted that they're back, bringing with them one of my favourite songs of theirs so far. There's more what that came from too, as they're releasing a few more singles this year, with a mixtape due to arrive early next year.  

On the origins of the new track, the duo share: "when something becomes so good we can't help but look for the flaws, drowning our minds with false anxiety, as we lie in disbelief that we've found the one person that understands us. In other words it seems too good to be true. This song speaks of the never ending sense of joy another human being can give you."  


Follow APRE - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

WATCH: Bess Atwell - 'Nobody' (Live)

I've been a little quiet here... I had some awful news last week and haven't really had the mental space or time to sit and write blog posts. Grief is intense. Dipping my toes into the water and I'm ~back~ slightly (if temporarily) to share a video that brought me some real comfort this week. Bess Atwell shares her new record Already, Always on September 24th via Real Kind Records - I had a lil blog perk yesterday and listened to the record early... it's a stunner, just as I expected. Last week, Bess shared a live performance video for Nobody, directed by James Hough and featuring Marcus Hamblett and Jools Owen on horns. 

Speaking on the video, Bess shares "this is one of my favourite tracks on the record so I wanted to highlight it by doing something that felt a bit more special. I've always wanted to perform with a brass section so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. The video was done by the brilliant James Hough. It's rare to find someone capable of capturing high quality audio and visual all on their own so I felt very lucky to get to work with him on this. It's important to me that the whole record is connected through the same visual world so we filmed in the garden that the artwork for 'Times Comes in Roses' was shot - even using the same chair that's on that cover." 


Follow Bess Atwell - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

ALBUM NEWS: Lunar Vacation - 'Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp'

"Are you in love...?" ask Lunar Vacation before the synths kick in on their new track. 

You know what.... yes. I am. I'm fully in love with this track. A new discovery for me, they're an Atlanta-based four-piece made up of songwriters, vocalists and guitarists Grace Repasky and Maggie Geeslin who met in the eighth grade and began sharing music, quickly forming the band. Many a demo and lots of gigs later, they added Matteo DeLurgio (synth) and Connor Dowd (drums) to complete the line-up, self-releasing a couple of EPs along the way. 

They've just shared the superb (seriously... note the 'drop' - can I call it a drop? - at 40 seconds...) track Mold, alongside a video directed by Rach Rios Rehm, and announced details of their debut album. Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp is due on 29th October via Keeled Scales

Grace Repasky says that the track is about "navigating the oddities and strange tides of West Coast culture, specifically L.A., and influencer lifestyle for the first time. We played a festival out there and it felt like I was in an immersive Instagram advertisement. It kind of freaked me out. To make it all more confusing, the song also deals with having feelings for someone wrapped up in that culture and the conflicting feelings of wanting to fit in."   

On the video, Maggie Geeslin adds "we looked no further than Rachael to direct this one. We've been friends for years and working with her on this project was a no-brainer. We told her he wanted something funky and she worked her magic, cooking up a world of absurdity. We had such a good time, in fact, that Grace tattooed the address of the studio where we filmed on their leg at the wrap party." 

Follow Lunar Vacation - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

LISTEN: girlhouse - 'happy now'

Delighting in new girlhouse lately... new track happy now follows up the does-what-it-says-on-the-tin self-titled offering the girlhouse ep, released a few months back. (I was about to type that it was a few weeks ago and now I'm alarmed at the swift passing of time of late... uh oh.) While the EP served as an introduction to girlhouse (AKA Lauren Luiz) and her musical world, happy now sees her building on the momentum of the EP, and honing her style. It's passionate and unapologetically feisty ("are you fucking happy now?!") and I'm a little in love with it, and excited to hear what she releases next.

On the track, Lauren writes: "'Happy now' started as an angry poem towards someone in my life that was really emotionally challenging to me, but as we started producing it and I started looking at the lyrics from a different perspective, I realized I was projecting everything I hated about myself towards this other person. Happy now is my heart, gladiator screaming "are you not entertained?" to my body after doing all the things and following all the people that should in theory make me happy but in the end left me feeling empty." 

Follow girlhouse - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 9 August 2021

LISTEN: Karima Francis - 'Say'

Don't say I never treat you... brand new Karima Francis to ease you into the week. The crazy times we've all been living through have pushed me to seek comfort in music, and this one certainly fits the bill in that respect. Say is the fourth single to emerge from Karima's time in LA, where she headed in search of her new sound after hearing The War on Drugs' Lost In A Dream. Local artists, new and old, proved inspirational, and the results - previous single Carelessness Causes Fire included - are stunning. Carrying you along on those soothing vocals like some kind of wispy musical cloud, before you know it Say is over and you've already hit repeat. It'd be rude not to. 

On the track, Karima shares: "'Say' is about the isolation caused by Covid-19 and how that can impact relationships closest to you. The song lyrics came to me whilst I was on my daily run, the whole cycle of Covid repetition was becoming overwhelming. My ongoing battles with CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) became more outward and started to impact those around me." 

Follow Karima Francis - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

WATCH: Mumble Tide - 'Good 4 Me'

Another day, another example of me using my 'bedtime' before a day at work to write a post for the next day... you can't fault my dedication to the cause (of sharing brilliant music with you all, of course.) Aforementioned brilliant music is the latest offering from duo (& couple) Gina Leonard and Ryan Rogers, AKA Mumble Tide. Good 4 Me arrives with news of their mini-album Everything Ugly, due 3rd December, around which time they're heading on a small run of shows in Manchester, Bristol and London. The track's self-directed video (below) is just the tip of the iceberg for the fiercely creative duo, who also produce their own music and create the artwork. 

On the new track, Gina shares "'Good 4 Me' is one of our favourite songs that we've written so far. It fell together late at night during lockdown in our dressing gowns. The vocal is more or less the first take we did where I just let it all out. I guess it's about how the years don't always bring you the answers you thought they would. It's kinda sad but there's also this nostalgia and excitement underneath." 

Launching just in time for Bandcamp Friday - you can pre-order a limited orange vinyl pressing of the mini-album here.

Follow Mumble Tide - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

WATCH: Public Service Broadcasting - 'Blue Heaven' (ft. Andreya Casablanca)

There's certainly some trepidation when a favourite artist releases a new track... Public Service Broadcasting however prove time and time again that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. I tuned in to BBC 6 Music on Monday afternoon for the first play and it was love at first listen. Different, but with that inherent PSB spark running through the centre - those signature riffs for one thing, harking back to their early releases. Blue Heaven is the second track and lead single from their upcoming fourth album Bright Magic, releasing on 24th September via Play It Again Sam. The track features the sublime vocals of Andreya Casablanca from Berlin's Gurr

Arriving with a superb video directed by Alex Southam and featuring German dancer, choreographer and multidisciplinary artist Celine Fortenbacher, Blue Heaven is a pure delight, and is lyrically inspired by Marlene Dietrich. The band's J. Willgoose, Esq. explains that "the lyrics highlight her power of self-manipulation, her ambition, her bravery and her lack of compromise on vital matters of character - 'I am all my own invention / I'm in my blue heaven' and so on. It's named after the jazz number "My Blue Heaven" which she sang regularly and which she said first made her dream of America." 

Follow Public Service Broadcasting - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

WATCH: Ada Lea - 'damn'

"it's an album about magic, montreal, parties, friends, memories, phone calls, bedrooms, city-life, ferrante, the great mystery of memory and the passage of time; forgetting, and maybe stumbling into remembrance..." 

I enjoyed previous single Hurt, but Ada Lea's Damn really stopped me in my tracks last week. (Seriously - damn.) The track is taken from Ada's (AKA Montreal's Alexandra Levy) sophomore album one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden, due September 24th on Saddle Creek. Following the four seasons, the record opens a window on the city of Montreal, and the people and stories that exist within it - whether they be personal to Ada ("why would I try to write a story that's not my own?") or more universal. 

The record was written and demoed during an artist residency in Banff, Alberta, before joining producer and engineer Marshall Vore (Phoebe Bridgers) to record it in his studio in Los Angeles. "Marshall's expertise and experience with drumming and songwriting was the perfect blend for what the songs needed. He was able to support me in a harmonic, lyrical, and rhythmic sense." Also working on the record were drummer Tasy Hudson, guitarist Harrison Whitford and mixing engineer Burke Reid 

Pre-order Ada's new record one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden here.

Follow Ada Lea - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 2 August 2021

WATCH: Elke - 'I Can Help'

I receive quite a few emails to the blog each week with new music to listen to - it takes something special to stand out amongst the crowd. The gems that I discover there are part of the reason that I stick with this all... finding something I might have otherwise never heard is a rare joy. This last week, one of those was the new track from Elke, a new-to-me Nashville-based artist. Elke (AKA Kayla Graninger) has just shared I Can Help and announced details of her debut album No Pain For Us Here, due September 24th (already a ridiculously good day for new releases with records from Public Service Broadcasting, Bess Atwell, Childcare and Ada Lea) via Congrats Records

Produced by Kayla's partner, fellow musician and collaborator Zac Farro (HalfNoise, drums in Paramore) the new record pulls together influences from the New York music scene past and present. Kayla moved to the city at the age of 17, immersing herself in music and playing gigs under various monikers until landing on Elke, the name of her mother and grandmother, who passed before she ever got to meet her. 

"I wrote 'I Can Help' as an ode to the somewhat dystopian life we all seem to have accepted as comfortable, myself included. And then how the responsibility always gets dumped on the people who didn't even create the fundamental issues. Steel drums felt to be an appropriate foundation, and from there Zac and Co. worked their magic to lift up this song in an irresistible way. I'm very proud of this song, it is one of my favorites on the record."       

Follow ELKE Twitter | Instagram.

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.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

ALBUM NEWS: Sam Fender - 'Seventeen Going Under'

You might have seen me posting about it on social media, but if not... I'm delighted to share that I've just started an internship with the lovely folk at Chalk Press. They're a PR agency who work with a whole bunch of my favourite artists, and whose work I've long admired via the blog. All the years of rambling here might just about be paying off? I'd warn of some upcoming favouritism of Chalk artists, but that's always been the case. The quality is off the scale. I started last week, just in time for the return of one of the biggest artists on the roster, the one and only Sam Fender

It's almost two years since Sam released his debut record Hypersonic Missiles, which went straight to number 1 in the charts. After a couple of re-listens this week, I can confirm that much like a fine wine (or so I'm told) it has aged beautifully... and I am very much looking forward to the release of his sophomore record Seventeen Going Under in October. The title track debuted as Annie Mac's Hottest Record on BBCR1 last week with a really insightful interview with Sam (listen here.) I've been finding myself constantly returning to the new track - take a look at the video below!

The new record will be released via Polydor Records and was recorded in North Shields and produced with Bramwell Bronte. Sam describes it as "a coming of age story. It's about growing up. It's a celebration of life after hardship, and it's a celebration of surviving." It's an introspective record, deeply personal, and yet resonant. Can't wait to hear more - and for everybody else to get to! 

Pre-order Seventeen Going Under here - due 8th October.

Follow Sam Fender - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

WATCH: dexter - 'I Like Me'

Occasionally, you get that feeling that it's genuinely exciting to be there as a fan quite early on in a project. A palpable sense that they're probably about to do incredible things. I'm getting that feeling with dexter, AKA 18 year-old South West London based artist/human Charmaine. She's been self-releasing singles over the past year, using a moniker and keeping the project somewhat of a secret, but the cat is out of the bag, and she's got an EP (the delightfully named I Do Love A Good Sandwich) due on August 4th. I Like Me is the painfully relatable second track from the EP, for which you can watch the video, directed by Amity Bloc, below. 

On the track, she shares "I Like Me is about me feeling like I have to be a certain way to make boys like me or to feel more 'like a girl'. I was inspired by a period of time in lockdown where I found myself trying to buy a bunch of clothes that would make me feel more feminine and girly but I didn't even like half the stuff I was buying. I would like it to let listeners know that girls shouldn't have to act a certain way to feel like they are still feminine or worth people liking them and that it's cool to be both girly and not girly." 

Follow dexter Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 12 July 2021

LISTEN: Half Moon Run - 'Inwards & Onwards' EP

I've been a little nostalgic over the blog of late, and found that Half Moon Run were a band that I championed quite early on, sharing various new tracks, videos and tour dates to Tumblr. I'd actually 'found' them through a 4 for £10 offer in my local HMV store, where I picked up a copy of their debut album on CD - I'm not sure if I'd even heard of them, let alone listened to them, but the artwork (and the £2.50 price tag) pulled me in and I've never looked back. The blog has evolved a lot since then, and the band along with it. Their latest (and brilliant) EP Inwards & Onwards has been out for a few weeks now, but I felt a sudden urgency to share it here...

I've been self-isolating at home for the past few days, and have just watched both series of Feel Good on Netflix, which is written by, and stars, Canadian comedian Mae Martin. The show has one of the best TV soundtracks that I've ever heard, mostly thanks to the swathes of Half Moon Run, new and old, interspersed throughout it (Mae is a big fan) but also the likes of Fleet FoxesAjimal, Leif Vollebekk and Phoebe Bridgers. I genuinely don't feel as if I've seen a TV show make such brilliant use of music before, where it wasn't written specifically for the show. 

In a conversation with Mae, HMR's Conner Molander discusses how the pandemic affected the band, putting a stop to touring, encouraging creativity, and losing them a bandmate (amiably). He also mentioned that they've got a lot of music that they're currently working on... between this EP, last year's Seasons of Change EP and The Covideo Sessions it's a pretty good time to be a HMR fan. Better still if you're in the UK (London..) as they're playing Lafayette on 16th June next year (it's sold out, but you can join a waiting list here.)

Check out the Inwards & Onwards EP here.

Follow Half Moon Run - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 9 July 2021

LISTEN: Billie Flynn - 'Hey Stranger'

Contender the most gorgeous debut you'll hear this week coming right up... I'm loving Hey Stranger from Billie Flynn, the latest signing to Gabrielle Aplin's Never Fade Records. Sharing the track online, Billie explained that it was written a few years ago, and that she'd always wanted it to be the first track she officially release. For me, it was the beautiful instrumentation that immediately grabbed my attention... as piano and acoustic guitar build into a richer soundscape filled with strings. Come from the strings, but stick around for Billie's exquisitely intimate vocals. At once, the track feels as if Billie is singing directly to you, and as if the track should be occupying a film soundtrack, playing over footage of the Cornish coast that Billie calls home. In short: it's lovely, get listening. 

"This song came to me in a dream, I dreamt the melody and woke up frantically trying to find my phone to record a voice note, I still have it. It's about seeing someone again that isn't in your life anymore and hoping that they're proud of who you are now."  

Follow Billie Flynn - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

WATCH: Matilda Mann - 'Bloom'

"I met you too soon, for anything to bloom." 

As I've said time and time again, I am in love with Matilda Mann and her gorgeous music. It's been a treat to watch her going from strength to strength over the past year - and hearing recent single Doomsday on BBC Radio 1 a few days back was a delight. Onto the next, though... she's just shared Bloom, taken from forthcoming EP Sonder. The track arrives with a video from documentary photographer and director Aria Shahrokhshahi

On the track, Matilda shares: "Bloom is about meeting someone too soon. Sometimes you need a little more time, to figure out what you want and how to be alone, so that you don't give too much of yourself away to someone else. Sometimes it can just be a phase, or you feel like you made a mistake. But I think, as time goes on, things like that become more clear it was the right decision." 

Follow Matilda Mann - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

EP NEWS: JWestern - 'Midnight Thoughts'

Happy Wednesday, folks! Last week brought with it some EP news from the magnificent new talent JWestern, whose Midnight Thoughts EP is due on Heist or Hit on 13th August. If you're new to his music (or, indeed, if you're already a fan) you can get a taster of what's to follow with new single Active Guy below.

Speaking about the track, JWestern (AKA John Gooding) shares this all too relatable story: "Active Guy is a kind of ode to myself. At the time of writing it I was burnt out from working a 9-5 job leaving me drained all the time. When it came to the weekend I just wanted to kick back and listen to music, but I always felt this expectation that I had to be productive all the time, bettering myself in some way. Waking up at the crack of dawn and going for a run then doing a massive list of jobs, it just isn't for me - on a Sunday at least. When it came to the writing the track it all began with the line "you think that I'm crazy-cause I just want to be lazy" and I thought, what do I want to do on a Sunday? It all kind of snowballed from there and the lyrics just fell into place."

"I wanted the beat itself to seem quite lazy and laid back, so the kick and bass are lax and sloppy. The instruments have a dreamy kind of quality as well, almost as if someone's half awake, going between dozing off and just starting to wake up. I kind of imagine the chorus as a bit of an 'anti-lazy' section, cause honestly, I want it to pick people up who are similar to me, struggling to motivate themselves to open the curtains and instead make them want to bounce around their room a bit at 7am." 

Follow JWestern - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

ALBUM NEWS: CHILDCARE - 'Busy Busy People'

New music from CHILDCARE is always a reason to rejoice - particularly when it arrives alongside news of a brand new album. Little Secret is the third single to be taken from upcoming second album Busy Busy People, due 24th September... already a great day for releases with records from Public Service Broadcasting and Bess Atwell out then too! 

On the new single, the band explain "Little Secret is one of those songs which has taken years to come together; we've had the chorus for a long time but could never quite get the verses or feel of the song right. It wasn't until I started interviewing friends and asked them to each share a secret with me that the song clicked into place and we recorded it for this album. Little Secret is therefore like a smoothie mix of lots of different people's secrets, blended for your pleasure."


Pre-order the record/grab October tour tickets here.

Follow CHILDCARE - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 5 July 2021

LISTEN: Jolé & Christof van der Ven - 'Bygone'

Well, this is a bit lovely, isn't it?! A joy to find a collaboration from Jolé and Christof van der Ven in my inbox a couple of weeks ago. I'll take any new Christof music where I can get it, and a collaborative project with Jolé, entitled Great Parade, is an exciting new chapter, born via a meeting through mutual friends and an instant desire to write music together. First single Bygone is taken from an EP due to be announced later this year. Beautifully blending the complimentary sounds and voices of both artists, it's an indie folk/electronica mix, pulsating and soothing in equal measure. 

On the track, the pair explain: "Bygone was written as a memory of the younger us and the way we grow up forgetting the small moments of youth and childhood. We can often take for granted those memories as we age but also stop and reflect on what we had, to remind ourselves that life can be simple in the best ways." 


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

Friday, 2 July 2021

WATCH: Liz Lawrence - 'Down For Fun'

I bloody love Liz Lawrence. After releasing new track Saturated a couple of weeks back, she's just shared a video for previous single Down For Fun. Both tracks are taken from her upcoming studio album The Avalanche, due on September 17th. While on the surface the video is a little bit tongue in cheek, look a little closer and it extends on the themes of the song itself, a rallying call for strength and power to teenage girls who might feel sidelined. Liz explains: "all the subcultures and countercultures I was around were very male-dominated, and this is about feeling like there are other options. It's the words I needed to hear."

In true 'we love to see it' style, Liz wrote, arranged, performed and produced the entire album herself, trying to capture the essence of her joyous live shows on the record. "I feel like there's power and aggression in the way I perform live, and I wanted to capture that. It was a complete pleasure to write. I'd had all that anxiety around releasing 'Pity Party' after such a long period of not writing under my own name. But I was buzzing off the fact that people were receptive to it live, and it gave me so much confidence to make this. I like to dance, and I like to move, and I wanted to make a record that people would move to quite naturally, I wanted it to have motion. I think it's quite silly, and it's joyful, and I'm not always sure people expect that from me."  

Follow Liz Lawrence Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

WATCH: Maple Glider - 'Friend'

You could say that I chose a great week last week to get completely out of the loop with new releases and abandon my inbox for a few days... I came back to find one of the busiest release days in living memory (ask any music PR/journo you know... if they've recovered yet.) Australia's Maple Glider is an artist I hadn't heard of until Friday, when I saw a few tweets about her debut album, To Enjoy Is The Only Thing. You can usually tell if you're going to love an artist by the person recommending it, and I was right to have high hopes... it's a beautiful album. 

As your way in (like mine) here is new single Friend, with a video directed by Athina Wilson. On the track, Maple Glider, AKA Tori Zietsch, explains: "this song is for an old, good friend. In some ways it feels like one of the most personal songs on the album. I knew I wanted to write it for a long time, before I finally did. It's a reflection of some of my experience in the music industry from the age of sixteen or so, before Maple Glider existed, and the story of a friendship intertwined inside of each of our shiny music dreams. It was turbulent and unbalanced, and we both became a little undone within it. A lot of hurt and healing came to the surface after years of close collaboration, and 'Friend' is the result of that."

If, like me, Friend has you hooked, or at the very least a little intrigued, let Tori entice you further with these words describing the collection of tracks which make up the record: "...walking past tinsel covered trees in mid-September, swimming along the calanques in the south of France, car-bonnet frost, darkness at 4pm, lightness until 10pm, a muted feeling, the perpetual grey fog that swallows the Silver Coast, the colour red, this ugly green dress, red wine, red blood, red lips, red is the colour of the cardinal’s robe, Switzerland, my mother’s diaries, a coroner’s report, the sun on my face, the end of love, "To enjoy is the only thing. BTCH$.'"

Follow Maple Glider - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

LISTEN: Ed Nash - 'Plumes'

It's a great time to be a Bombay Bicycle Club fan, right? New Liz Lawrence a couple of weeks back, an ace new from one from Jack's Mr Jukes project with Barney Artist and Kofi Stone, and now this from Ed Nash. Plumes is the latest track to be self-released on Ed's superbly named label Bangers & Nash. Come on, it's worth a listen for the quality of that alone.  

As somebody who has spent the last year falling into a bit of a love affair with nature and coming to really appreciate birds, the sky above us and everything around us once you pause to see and hear it, I love Ed's words on the track: "Plumes was written and extensively tinkered with at my home studio during the endless dark evenings this past winter... certainly the bleakest winter I've ever had. 'Plumes' was my escape from this. 'Plumes' is air rising, birds flying and beautiful decorative colours. This is a song of optimism, about breaking free and looking ahead at better things to come." 

Follow Ed Nash - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

WATCH: LAUREL - 'Wild Side'

I love love love Laurel. For me, she's one of the most exciting pop artists out there at the moment (granted: I don't listen to that much 'pop' but if you do, or just... like good music.... you'll want to get to know Laurel.) Travel back in time and treat yourself to her debut album Dogviolet, and don't miss Scream Drive Faster from last year's brilliant Petrol Bloom EP. Luckily, she's been busy during the pandemic, working with producer Chrome Sparks, and we were treated to a whole new EP last week. New single Wild Side is an absolute bop. So. Damn. Good. Watch the video below!

Follow Laurel - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 28 June 2021

LISTEN: Charli Adams - 'Seventeen Again' (ft. Novo Amor)

Hello! I've been a little quiet here while I had a week off from work and did things other than the blog... it's very rare that I take any time away from the site and was quite refreshing, but catching up on a week's worth of emails was anything but. Some gems were nestled in there, making it worthwhile, as ever. Now, I absolutely love it when favourites collide. Brand new from Charli Adams, Seventeen Again features none other than one of my absolute fave musical beings, Novo Amor. The track is the latest to be taken from Charli's album Bullseye, due to be released via Color Study on July 16th. As is to be expected, it's a stunner - excited for the record! 

On the collaboration, which is one of a few across the album, Charli explains: "I'd been listening to Novo Amor for a while and was a huge fan when he reached out over Instagram back in 2019. I was spending some time in London shooting a video and he invited me out to his home studio in Wales to work on some music. Ali is ridiculously talented and we had a lot of fun creating this song."

"We spent the week making Seventeen Again and exploring Cardiff. I remember feeling the way that I did when I left home for the first time at seventeen and moved to Nashville, and that was the inspiration behind the song. It's definitely not in my nature to stay in one place for too long and I find myself fantasizing about moving away far too often. The song follows my familiar thought process of walking around a foreign city imagining what it would be like to never go home." 

Follow Charli Adams - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Follow Novo Amor - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

WATCH: Tom Rosenthal - 'I Went To Bed And I Loved You'

Happy Tuesday, pals... I'm on a week off from work and taking a few days to not do much on the blog (I'd say so that I can have a break - but I spent yesterday demolishing a shed...) so if you're waiting on an email or anything, I'll get back soon - going to dedicate some time later in the week to sort through my inbox. For now, a quick post to share a song I've become a little obsessed with of late. Seriously brilliant. 

Whether you already loved his music or discovered it under the name Edith Whiskers via viral tracks on TikTok, the likelihood is that you've listened to Tom Rosenthal a lot over the past year. He has announced his sixth studio album Denis Was A Bird, a record dedicated to his father, who recently passed away, due on his own Tinpot Records and Universal Music on August 20th. New single I Went To Bed And I Loved You is a shimmery and joyful ukulele folk-pop banger (sorry) celebrating unconditional love and lost loved ones. 

As if the track alone wasn't brilliant enough, the video wins the award for the most wholesome thing you'll see this week (month/year) with fans from around the world dancing around with photos of lost loved ones. Try not to feel a little warm and fuzzy in response to it, I dare you. 

On the track, Tom shares: "When I started writing an album about my Dad's death my primary objective was to not make it a doom fest! So I got out my ukulele, probably the least melancholy instrument available, and wrote this uplifting banger. It's a song of defiance, of facing the hardest moments in life head on, and trying to take them with a pinch of salt. It's also about the enduring nature of love and how that doesn't disappear when someone dies." 

Follow Tom Rosenthal - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

WATCH: Mumble Tide - 'Breakfast'

I'm increasingly of the opinion that there is simply not enough time in the day. That, or I am particularly bad at managing my time at the moment... by the time I get home from work, tend to the plants in my greenhouse (hey, I'm a gardener now and growing more in love with it by the day) and had some food it's 10pm and almost time to sleep and repeat the whole process. Currently finding quick snatches of time to catch up on new releases, glance at my rapidly growing inbox and to scrawl (type) a post for the following day. 

Today, that post is here, courtesy of late last night and featuring one of my favourites of a collection of wonderful new singles all released on Wednesday (Evergreen, Liz Lawrence, Anna Leone - I'm looking at you...!) Here, Mumble Tide with Breakfast. Yum. An instant favourite for the opening sound of swans squabbling and the line "everyone's an arsehole." I'm saying nothing...

On the track, Gina shares: "we've experienced a lot of disharmony in the past few years and at times, I've been pretty upset by how people have treated each other. I don't deal well with conflict and this song is about accepting that you aren't always going to see eye to eye with people and that it's ok to be on different pages sometimes, like it doesn't make you a bad person." 

Follow Mumble Tide - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

WATCH: M Field - 'Andrew'

The blog's submissions inbox is incredibly busy at the moment and proving a little tricky to keep on top of, but it's all made worthwhile (ish) when I stumble across a gem which I know will become a firm favourite. I've really fallen for Andrew from M Field... it arrived last week alongside news of his self-titled debut EP, due 2nd September. On first listen, I felt a bit of an early Vampire Weekend vibe to the track (a very good thing!) but you might recognise the vocals a little more precisely as Matthew is the frontman of South Africa's indie exports Beatenberg. This one's a little slice of summer-y joy. 

As a collection of tracks, the EP came together a little sporadically, with some written specifically for it and others reworked from old demos. Matthew shares that "there wasn't anything obvious or conceptual tying them together, but I trusted that my overall intention would bind them somehow. And of course, as time goes on and work is done things begin to cohere in unexpected ways. Working with Bullion also led to more sonic unity."  

On the new track: "Like in dreams, in songs everyone is you. But also nothing I say outside of my songs is actually true. The key of Andrew is to D major as 95bpm is to 98bpm - I slowed it down a little bit. The song started with the chorus and it took me a while to find the right verse. I really like the end bit with all the orchestral instruments and hope to do more stuff like that." 

Follow M Field - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

LISTEN: Lauran Hibberd - 'Bleugh'

It might be obvious from my latest playlist update, but right behind the new Dizzy EP another current obsession is the latest single from Lauran Hibberd. I'm not quite over the recent collaboration she shared with The Regrettes' frontwoman Lydia Night (it is seriously brilliant and well worth 3 and a half minutes of your time here) but this one is worthy of just as much love. Bleugh is taken from her upcoming Goober EP, due July 30th. I can't wait!

Lauran on the track..."'Bleugh' is the only sound that sums up my adult reaction to my pre-naive self. It's about always being attracted to people who've nothing going on, nothing to offer you, yet it's that hamster wheel you can't quite jump off. You'll probably find these people in bands called something like 'broken cyclists' or better yet in moody solo projects called something pretentious like 'bora boring'. It's my favourite track of mine, and I've been sitting on and incubating this girl for a while. It feels really good shouting 'Bleugh' btw, I recommend you try it out."


Follow Lauran Hibberd - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 14 June 2021

LISTEN: Dizzy & Flyte - 'Primrose Hill at Midnight'

I'm writing this quickly on Sunday morning before heading into town to see my best pals for the first time in months. Remind me how you do this social interaction thing again?! A quick post for Monday (hi - time travel!) to share the fact that I am completely and utterly besotted with this track and that you should all listen to it, and the full EP, right now. Dizzy just shared their Separate Places EP - a collection of reworkings of tracks from their second record The Sun And Her Scorch, which features guest vocals from Luna Li, Kevin Garrett, Overcoats, Jahnah Camille and on this one... Flyte! I've been desperate to write about this one since receiving the EP a few weeks back so I'm glad that the cat is finally out of the bag - the Flyte chaps are lending their stunning harmonies to Primrose Hill at Midnight and the result is sublime.  

During an Insta live chat between Dizzy's Katie Munshaw and Flyte's Will Taylor a few days back, they discussed the origins of the track. Turns out it actually came about after Flyte took Dizzy to Primrose Hill when they were playing a show in Camden, and Katie talked about how they'd wanted the band to sing that part of the track before they even released the original album version. Seems a bit of a dream collab for both (and for us!) - if you're not aware of one or the other, listen to both bands' recent records, they are so so so good. 

Follow Dizzy - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Follow Flyte - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 11 June 2021

WATCH: IMOGEN - 'Bloodbag'

A lovely bit of serendipity for you today, with news of sorts from two artists who have overcome their fair share of adversity, and brought us beautiful music along the way. I'd planned to share the new track from IMOGEN, and to write about how I'd first discovered her through her support set for Sivu at a London show a few years back. With Sivu firmly on my mind, it was a surprise (and a delight) to find a new documentary style clip on his socials yesterday. The clip explores his Meniere's Disease diagnosis (an ear condition which can lead to dizzy spells/vertigo and hearing loss - less than ideal for a musician), his use of hearing aids and his journey back to creating music with producer Charlie Andrew

More on Sivu soon, I hope. For now: Imogen. She too has a similarly inspirational (but entirely different) story, with surgery a few years back leaving her needing to learn to walk again. If I remember correctly, the show I caught her at was her first after having had surgery. Brand new track Bloodbag, her first since 2019, focuses on the adversity she has overcome, reflecting the trauma she has lived through and the strength and power she has found through the experience. Moving away from the piano ballads of old, the track is awash with drums, brass and synths, creating somewhat of a cacophony at the track's climax.

The video (below) was directed by Harv Frost (Matilda MannPhoebe GreenMolly Burman) and portrays Imogen ascending a spiral staircase into an endless light. 

On the track, she shares: "I wanted to write something that depicted the feeling of being out of kilter with yourself - grasping for some sort of control over your mind, body, existence. I took my literal experiences and used them as imagery to explain some complicated feelings, what happened in the end was an exorcism." 

Not only is Imogen creating gorgeous music (and there's plenty more where this one came from) but she is a director on the Ivors Academy Board and co-chair of the Youth Council. Through both, she is a passionate activist within the industry, working to make the industry safer and more accessible. I absolutely love this! 

Follow IMOGEN - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

ALBUM NEWS: Bess Atwell - 'Already, Always'

I am so so soooooo excited by this - album news from the inimitable talent that is Bess Atwell. She's following up recent singles Co-op and Time Comes In Roses (both complete tunes) with All You Can Do and news of her record Already, Always - due for release via Real Kind Records on September 24th. With records from Public Service Broadcasting, MarthaGunn and Liz Lawrence too, September is shaping up to be a pretty special month for new music. 

More on the record later - but for now, the new single is a complete gem. On the track, Bess shares: "You can only live in turmoil and guilt for so long. This song was a rare moment of relative ruthlessness. A moment to breathe and stop apologising for the way I felt, and to try out blaming the other person. However, even in an instance of liberation, I didn't want to shy away from the fact that, humanly, a longing for meaning and guidance still nagged at me. I had spent a long time feeling powerless, as if I were my partner's pet. I spent the best part of a year living in his house, eating the food he cooked, being looked after by him. This song is a daydream of a role reversal and an exploration of reclaiming control."

Wishing to create a video reflecting the mundane in a surreal way, Bess enlisted director Dylan Hayes and his DOP Owain Morgan, who filmed with her at her parents' house in Sussex, where she spent the first lockdown. On the experience, Bess shares: "it was fun to see it looking quite so dreamy on film. The idea was similar to that for the Co-op video, the concept being 'the domestic meets the surreal' but executed differently. We wanted to create mundane scenes, but amp them up to a point of surrealism (chopping a ridiculous amount of apples / sitting at a desk with unnecessarily tall stacks of books). I wanted the video to feel weighed down by domiciliary tasks, claustrophobic even. I’m the only person in the video which makes it feel extra lonely when contrasted with the fact I’m preparing so much food.

“I was lucky enough to be reached out to by Bvlgari who kitted us out with wardrobe accessories. It got to a point where I was just having fun playing dress-up which worked to make the video a little tongue-in-cheek – I’m pictured outside, wind blowing in my hair, wearing a black trench coat and sunglasses, almost parodying what a music video might look like.”

Pre-order & pre-save the new record here - it's due September 24th. 

Follow Bess Atwell - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

WATCH: Mazey Haze - 'Sad Lonely Groove'

Dreamy debut single vibes today with Sad Lonely Groove from Mazey Haze, AKA 21 year-old Amsterdam-based artist Nadine Appeldoorn. As the title of the track suggests, the seemingly carefree indie-pop vibes of the track juxtapose with the confusion and loss contained within the lyrics, as the track reflects on the aftermath of a tough break-up. It's the sonic equivalent of dancing around in a field of flowers... if that's your thing. Writing songs since the age of 13 and recording demos since 16, Nadine brings influences from the likes of ABBA, The Bee Gees and Fleetwood Mac to the project - portraying her deepest feelings in an explorative soundscape. Intrigued to see what comes next... 

Talking about the track, she shares: "The song is about me feeling the lowest and loneliest I've ever felt in my life. I hadn't built lots of friend relationships yet and I forced myself to be alone with myself. It's about missing the guy I thought I was in love with. It's a stream of thoughts that were circling around in my head all the time. It was the first time that I realised I wasn't able to be happy by myself and was very dependent in the past relationship. Suddenly I had to meet and get to know myself, something I had never done before. When I wrote this song I was still running away from it all."

Follow Mazey Haze - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.