Thursday 30 December 2021

My albums of the year (2021)

It’s been a long time coming but it’s that time again, folks… I’m sneaking my albums of the year post out *just* before the new year. My diary is already filling up with upcoming albums from the likes of Wet Leg, Gang of Youths, MICHELLE, Orlando Weeks and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard but for now, I’ve been reflecting on the records that I’ve spent the past 12 months with. The albums that have filled me with joy, made me cry, brought me to tears and been a comfort in this crazy year. A completely self-indulgent list of my favourite records of the year, which I hope that you’ll love too - there’s a little bit of something for everyone here.

After highlighting 40 (!) albums last year across 6 (!) posts (entirely thanks to the free time furlough gave me…) things are a little bit more reserved this year - a ramble about my top 5 albums, followed by a list of 20 more albums (in release order) that have moved me in some way this year.

Without further ado, my albums of the year… and don’t they look lovely?!

1. The Staves - Good Woman (buy/stream)

Since it was released back in February, there has been very little doubt in my mind about my favourite album of the year. Sure, it had a bit of a head-start on most of the other records on the list, but Good Woman immediately burrowed itself firmly into my heart, and has been stuck there, and in my headphones, ever since. The record was (Spotify informs me, as well as my record player) my most-listened to of the year, and The Staves my most listened to artist. Their Nottingham gig in October was my first show back since before the first lockdown - they've really been the soundtrack to 2021 for me. 

As always, there is something utterly transformative about those sisterly harmonies - pure magic. I've loved their previous work but this record really spoke to me, just a trio of good good women being the best. They've also got a pretty ace team around them on this record. Good humans all round. 

Favourite tracks: Best Friend, Good Woman & Failure (but genuinely all of it) 

2. Johnny Flynn & Robert Macfarlane - Lost in the Cedar Wood (buy/stream)

In the past couple of years, my interest in and love for the natural world has increased dramatically, with furlough offering up more time to get into the garden and to go on walks locally. As my curiosity has grown, I've been seeking out writing on nature, and was unbelievably excited earlier this year to find that one of our best natural history writers, the great Robert Macfarlane, was releasing an album with one of my favourite folk artists, Johnny Flynn. A masterpiece waiting to happen, surely. 

As I expected, the pair did not disappoint - Lost in the Cedar Wood is something to treasure and an album I will love for years to come. It arrived at exactly the time I needed it and perhaps could most appreciate it. My favourite line, from Enkidu Walked, describing my experience of the past two years - "the birds have my heart and they won't give it back to me." When two brilliant writers come together to make art it was never really in doubt that it would be something truly special... 

Favourite tracks: The World To Come, Bonedigger, Home and Dry & Ten Degrees Of Strange.

3. The Vaccines - Back In Love City (buy/stream)

It truly is the year of The Vaccines, right? While every social media post that I've attempted to do about this album has tested my patience in trying to tag several health organisations before I can find the band, I've spent a lot of time loving their new record this year. In fact, when Back In Love City was released back in September I listened to little else for a few weeks. Soundtracking my bus journeys to and from work, I was finding something else to love with each listen. Back to back listens of the record confirmed what I already knew - they're one of my favourite bands and I have a lot of love for this record. This live performance of Paranormal Romance with an orchestra is one of my favourite live videos of the year.  

Favourite tracks: Wanderlust, Jump Off The Top, Back In Love City & Paranormal Romance

4. Tom Rosenthal - Denis Was A Bird (buy/stream)

Now for the album that has probably made me cry most this year. The latest from Tom Rosenthal isn't quite the upbeat and quirky music that you might expect from him, but this record is stunning. The album looks back on the passing of his father, taking on various guises - at once mournful, reflective, beautifully nostalgic and full of pure joy. It's clearly a really personal record for Tom, but arrived at precisely the right time for me - a week or two after I lost my nan a few months ago. Music helps me to navigate situations and this record will always make me think of her, and it brought me a lot of comfort this year. The video below will probably make you cry, but is a beautiful watch. 

Favourite tracks: I Went To Bed and I Loved You, Little Joys & Not A Catastrophe

5. Self Esteem - Prioritise Pleasure (buy / stream )

Would it be an album of the year list if this one wasn't on it?! You probably don't need me to tell you how brilliant Prioritise Pleasure by Self Esteem is, but I will anyway. The singles were all pointing towards it being a great album, but I don't think I was prepared to love it quite as much as I do. Fucking Wizardry is, as I said at the time of release, a fucking bop. The record is undoubtedly an instant modern classic, and fully deserving of all the end of year lists and praise that it is receiving. Rebecca is a true force of nature.

Favourite tracks: I Do This All The Time, Fucking Wizardry Prioritise Pleasure

Arlo Parks - Collapsed In Sunbeams
Django Django - Glowing in the Dark
Flyte - This Is Really Going To Hurt
Low Island - If You Could Have It All Again
Billie Marten - Flora Fauna
Fryars - God Melodies
Merpire - Simulation Ride
Maja Lena - The Keeper
LUMP - Animal
Villagers - Fever Dreams
Big Red Machine - How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?
Liz Lawrence - The Avalanche
MarthaGunn - Something Good Will Happen
CHILDCARE - Busy Busy People
Public Service Broadcasting - Bright Magic
Bess Atwell Already, Always
Ada Lea - one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden
Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under
Voka Gentle - WRITHING!
Fleet Foxes - A Very Lonely Solstice

Well done (and thanks!) for making it this far... if you like what I do here on cool music and things, a friendly reminder that I have a Ko-fi page here where you can show the blog some support!

Thursday 23 December 2021

end of year ramble (bye 2021!)

So 2021 is coming to a close… simultaneously far too quickly and not soon enough, if I’m honest. It’s been a tough one, but we’re almost there, hey? Mostly with the help (for me, at least) of a lot of brilliant music - new and old. At the start of 2021 I did an ‘end-of-year reflections’ post and felt inclined to do the same now. Much like last year, this page and the community of friends I’ve forged around it on social media have offered solace to me this year.

In the post back in Jan I wrote this (and love & still feel it wholeheartedly, so I’m reproducing it here) - 

This blog has been a glorious escape for me this year. I really love this site. And I love the community of people that I've managed to grow around it. Things have escalated a bit this year. I've been forced into having more time for it, and while I couldn't get to shows and interact with fans and artists in person, I feel like I've connected with more people through the blog than ever before. Running the blog at some points this year has felt like a full time job in itself. I feel privileged to have an audience of sorts, though. As we pass into the new year, I feel inspired and determined to keep up with the blog, to keep it growing, and to find new and exciting opportunities within the industry.

When I’m not rambling about music for fun, I work in a bookstore, and I’m writing this in the midst of the last shopping week before Christmas. I started this post a couple of weeks ago, but time feels a little blurry at the moment, as it has for much of the past two years. As such, my AOTY list is a work in progress too… I’ve been listening back to albums I’ve enjoyed this year to try and figure out my favourites. No spoilers there, but it’s been a pretty joyous year for new music. 

A new record from The Vaccines, a gorgeous collaborative album from Johnny Flynn & Robert Macfarlane, that stunning Arlo Parks record from the very start of the year, the return of LUMP & the debut record from my pals Low Island. Growing obsessions with the likes of Melin Melyn, Banji, Francis of Delirium & Bess Atwell… I could go on, and I do… if you want to know what I’m listening to, the blog is of course as great a place to start as any. Or tweet me! I’m always desperate to share new discoveries.

I’ve been listening a lot (Spotify tells me *almost* as much as last year, which I spent most of at home on furlough) but have been posting a little less this year. Losing my nan a few months ago was the catalyst for a little break from writing, and while I expected to return to the site as “normal” after a few weeks, that hasn’t been the case. Five posts a week has turned into two or three most weeks…

A little of the magic was lost for a while this year. I didn’t want to force myself back into the rhythm of how things were (this is all meant to be for fun after all…) but I’m sad that I lost a lot of the momentum that I had last year when things really seemed to be growing. Despite that, and my tendency to be a blogger who doesn’t blog all that much, people have stuck by the site, and continued to interact with my posts, and with my rambles on social media. I genuinely believe that coping with my loss was made less difficult through talking to people who I’m friends with because of this blogging lark, and that meant more than I can articulate here. The internet proves itself yet again to be a wild and beautiful place - this corner of it, at least.

Another thing that has brought me a lot of solace this year is nature. I’ve always been curious about the nature around me, but that love has found new depths this year… particularly when it comes to birds. Time that might have usually been spent indoors replying to emails or procrastinating over a blog post has been spent birdwatching, wandering nature reserves, taking photos and gardening. While right now I feel quite exhausted from the onslaught of working in retail at Christmas, I also feel energised… excited to continue to work out the balance of enjoying time outdoors (and time spent staring through my kitchen window at the drama breaking out on the bird feeders) and working on the blog, getting back to more regular posting. This is after all a hobby, and there’s room in my life for more than one - and I feel so much happier for it. Birds are truly the best.

Despite my posting less and being less active online, while things have slowed down a little, the blog has still managed to grow this year. More submissions, more followers - the Instagram following has doubled to over a thousand, which is completely wild and impossible to wrap my head around. It’s lovely to know that there are people out there who are interested in what I’m doing here, on whatever level.

One of this year’s highlights, by far, is that I only went and improved on my total of two gigs in 2020 (Bear’s Den and The Hoosiers, squeezed in *just* before all of this) with a grand total of THREE this year. With nothing much happening locally to me, back in October I made my grand return to a gig, 19 months, give or take, since the previous one. In a completely spontaneous turn of events we ventured to Nottingham and saw my most listened to artist of the year, The Staves, in the midst of their UK tour.

In November, I saw the White Tail Falls album launch show (for an album which was released in the first half of 2020, and a gig which had been rescheduled 3 times) in London’s St Pancras Old Church. A beautiful evening seeing my favourite album of 2020 brought to life on the stage. With the gig bug threatening to return, I hopped on a train for another last minute (for me) gig a week later: Bess Atwell in Cambridge. With things getting progressively worse at the moment in terms of case numbers and restrictions, if that was to be my last gig for a while, again, I’m glad it was such a special one.

Another cause for less frequent posting might have been the very exciting months that I spent interning for Chalk Press Agency. They’re truly one of my favourite music companies with a dream roster, so despite all the chaos of the year, getting to work with them for a few months was a joy. I’m crossing my fingers to get started in another music role once Christmas is out of the way…

So, what am I looking forward to in 2022? Musically, more gigs, I hope. Crossing my fingers that the world holds itself together just enough to not cancel the Johnny Flynn & Robert Macfarlane shows at The Globe Theatre in February. Please! On the site, more posts? Maybe. But if not, that’s cool too. More interviews as those seem to have taken a break this year too, but they’re always fun to pull together. And a whole lot of brilliant upcoming music… a new album from my favourite band (you know who it is), new MICHELLE, new gang of youths, the debut from Wet Leg. It’s all happening, and I’m here for it.

Whatever happens I plan to continue to ramble, here and on Twitter, about my favourite artists and my favourite music. That’s what I’m here for. Happy reading, listening, and scrolling. It’s a joy to have your company.

Merry Christmas, pals. X

p.s. Albums of the year post incoming just as soon as I figure out what my albums of the year are, and write it. Worth the wait. Maybe. Probably not.

Tuesday 14 December 2021

WATCH: Bess Atwell - 'How Do You Leave' (Live)

Busy busy times... working in retail over Christmas doesn't leave much time (or energy) for writing posts, but I wanted to share something that I've been loving lately. I caught Bess Atwell live in Cambridge a couple of weeks ago and it was genuinely so stunning. She's just shared a live video of How Do You Leave (taken from the album Already, Always) with guitarist Chris Matthewson. I'm a little bit in love. Enjoy...

On the video, Bess shares: "I could lie and say that it was an intentional decision to showcase this song stripped back, but the reality is we were in lockdown and couldn't rehearse with a band. Turns out, I think I'm more proud of this duo version that I would have been if we'd performed with a band. It's empowering to be able to play band-produced songs in their original form, the form in which I wrote them. Lyrically, the song is really quite dark, and I think this is actually emphasised more in an intimate performance." 

Follow Bess Atwell - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 9 December 2021

LISTEN: Tara Nome Doyle - 'Crow'

"Gave your heart up to the nightingale, and so begins another star-crossed lovers tale... " 

It's no secret that I've become a bit (a lot) of a bird nerd this year, so it was probably only a matter of time before it started seeping onto the blog. Consider me instantly sold on a track called Crow, the latest to be taken from Værmin, the upcoming second record from 24 year-old Tara Nome Doyle. She's an artist with Norwegian-Irish roots and a new name for me, but I'm delving into her back catalogue as I write this and very much liking what I'm hearing... 

Following recent single Snail I, the crow takes its place among a line-up of leeches, worms, spiders and moths - each track on the record shares its name with a so called 'pest', with the hope of in fact celebrating their beauty and questioning our relationship towards them (and, in doing so, exploring our relationship with one another...) Storytelling is clearly a large part of Tara's music, and here we see it through the Romeo and Juliet-esque narrative that the crow finds itself within. Each aspect of the track, sonically and lyrically, combines to celebrate the many sides of the undesirable creature. It's gorgeous and atmospheric, and I can't wait to listen to the new record (and to carry on that back-catalogue deep dive...) 

On the track, Tara shares: "Crow tells the tragic love story of an opposing couple. The 'shadow' (referring to the theories of C.G. Jung) feels harassed, while the 'persona', unsuspecting, rises into naive romantic fantasies. There are many references in the lyrics to Shakespeare's Rome and Juliet to describe this doomed dynamic." 

Follow Tara Nome Doyle - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 8 December 2021

LISTEN: heka - 'no one'

If, like me, you loved the debut heka EP (a) then you'll be pleased to hear that she is back with a new song! If you missed it, here are some of my ramblings after I'd listened to an early stream... it remains like nothing else I've heard this year, in the best way possible. Sonic heaven, speaking straight to the soul. heka is back with the equally as stunning no one, arriving on Fire Talk's 'Open Tab' (a digital singles imprint marking its place as a discovery tool for listeners, platforming their favourite new artists.) The release marks the end of a pretty exciting year for heka and opens the door to an even more exciting 2022... 

On the track, heka, AKA London-via-Italy artist Francesca Brierley, shares: "The pivoting lyric of this track,' nobody ever gets this close anymore', is something someone said to me once. It filled me with sadness even though I couldn't fully understand the sentiment behind it at the time, and made its way to my brain, clinging to it, waiting to be experienced. Years later - when I'd finally understood what it meant to feel like that- this song was born."

Follow heka - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 7 December 2021

LISTEN: Mosa Wild - 'Expect Me'

"The song was written with love in mind." 

Mosa Wild are back!!! Genuinely delighted by this news - they're one of my favourite bands of the past couple of years, I absolutely adore the Talking In Circles EP. They're back with Expect Me - exactly the heart-on-sleeve kind of anthem you'd expect from the Kent four-piece. It's taken from an upcoming EP, the poetically titled Zip Your Coat Up For English Weather, due in Spring 2022 via Glassnote Records

On the new track, frontman Jim Rubaduka shares "Expect Me was initially written and recorded at my mum and dad's kitchen table in Ashford. We tracked the final version with our friend Ben Baptie at Pool Studios. I think it's the most collaborative studio session we've had. 

It was a joy to have a bunch of our friends come down and bless this record. The song has a very simple and direct message. I wanted the verses to feel like a hymn you know well, and the outro to feel like a hug that you don't want to end."

Follow Mosa Wild - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 2 December 2021

LISTEN: Sarah Goodson - 'I Don't Know What To Do With Myself'

Ah, I love Sarah Goodson. She's released a couple of brilliant tunes this year in the shape of Cold Room and The Limes but for me, new track I Don't Know What to Do with Myself has quickly become one of favourite releases of the year. Produced by Tim Bidwell (who is responsibly for far too many of my favourites to list...) the track also features Jools Owen (of Bear's Den fame) on drums and horns, and Ben Daniel on bass. The moment the horns first come in is sublime, and the vocals are (of course) stunning. Damn. 

Sharing the track online, Sarah wrote "I Don't Know What To Do With Myself is really special to me. It was written at an incredibly hard time, I'm so grateful to be able to reach for music when everything falls apart. Music is always there for us." 

Follow Sarah Goodson - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 1 December 2021

WATCH: Chartreuse - 'Deep Fat' (Live)

Ah, Chartreuse are pure magic, right? A little gutted I forgot about their show at The Lexington last night... looks like it was all sorts of wonderful and Orlando Weeks even jumped on stage for a song! The sadness is short lived however, as I was at my first solo gig adventure since last March, watching Bess Atwell in Cambridge with Eve Owen and Gabby Martin supporting. Hey, talk about magic... genuinely stunned by each of their performances and the entirety of Bess' latest record is circling my head non-stop today. No complaints. 

Anyway - Chartreuse! I've been loving their recent Is It Autumn Already? EP and the latest single Deep Fat. They've just shared a beautiful live performance of the track, filmed at Vada Recording Studios by Sam of Avocado Baby Film. Magic all round. If you like what you're hearing, there are a couple of shows left on this tour, at Birmingham's Hare & Hounds on Friday (3rd) and Manchester's Gullivers on Saturday (4th). Go on my behalf, please?! They're also heading out on tour with Palace in February and March so no excuses for any of us, really... 

Follow Chartreuse - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 25 November 2021

LISTEN: Wallice - 'Wisdom Tooth'

Alright, not to alarm anybody... but I'm going to an actual gig today. Ahhh!! Rescheduled three times thank to *everything* - White Tail Falls' gig at St Pancras Old Church is finally happening and I am very excited. So I'm writing this... yesterday? Time travel, obviously. Trying to keep up the momentum I'm feeling with a string of beautiful tracks shared this week from Prima Queen, Baby Queen and Sunflower Thieves. Another brilliant one today, Wisdom Tooth from Wallice

It's been a pretty solid year for the 23 year-old, and she's heading into the new year (can we talk about that yet? too soon?) having just signed to Dirty Hit. The new track is her first release on the label, following the recent Off the Rails EP - superb if you haven't heard it yet! 

On the new track, she shares: “I wrote this song in a session with my long-time collaborator and best friend marinelli the day before I got my wisdom teeth out. The doctor had just called to say that I’d also need a bone graft to fill in the space in my jaw where the tooth used to be. It really shook me up and there was no way we could write a different song after that. Getting your wisdom teeth out is an event that many people have to go through, it's a physical sign of growing up. In the song ‘Wisdom Tooth’, I conflate this experience to getting rid of a person in your life as a milestone of growing up too. It shows that sometimes people can grow apart and though it can be hard, it might be better to leave a relationship or friendship rather than keep on trying to make it work. It also talks about how there are little reminders in your life that can bring you back to that person mentally, even though you have moved on.”

Follow Wallice - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

WATCH: Sunflower Thieves - 'Sirens'

It's dream-folk time, pals. If you're not aware of Sunflower Thieves yet, you're missing out, but there's time... and discovering them through new single Sirens is a pretty exciting way to go about it. The Leeds-based duo is made up of lifelong friends Amy and Lily, who have some pretty remarkable sister-like harmonies under their belts, and sing songs of friendship and connection. The new track - the first from upcoming EP Someone To Be There For - is no different. Completely magic, like a warm hug on a chilly day, and elevated by a beautiful video directed by Olivia Ferrara which just premiered on Clash, too. 

On the track, the pair share.. "Sirens' is a song about friendship, inspired by particular people. When things feel overwhelming, tuning into a relationship or friendship with someone who needs you can keep you grounded, and keep you both moving forwards."

Follow Sunflower Thieves - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 23 November 2021

WATCH: Baby Queen - 'Wannabe'

Surprising myself once again by discovering that I haven't shared anything by Baby Queen here yet... (honestly, how?!) Fixing that now with latest tune Wannabe, which follows September's mixtape The Yearbook. Baby Queen, AKA South African-born London-based Bella Latham, is really finding a home for herself amongst contemporaries like Lauran HibberdSelf Esteem and Wallice... and I have to say I'm very much here for it. 

Describing Wannabe as somewhat of an "underdog's anthem" she explains: “It’s a song I wrote about the way other people have perceived me throughout my life. I feel like I’ve always had something to prove to other people and I’ve always been trying to fit into an ideal of who I should be and how I should behave. That changed when I became Baby Queen. I found a place I belonged and people who fully accepted me for who I am. By the standards of the people I grew up with, or used to try so hard be friends with, I might be weird or crazy or “the girl who kisses other girls” or a total wannabe, but by the standards of my people, I am great just the way I am. The song is an invitation to accept yourself and embrace the labels that are given to you by small minded, boring people. If this is what it means to be a loser, then I hope I’ll be a loser for the rest of my life.”

Follow Baby Queen - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 22 November 2021

WATCH: Prima Queen - 'Chew My Cheeks'

Time for one of my favourite discoveries of last week... fell a little bit in love with this one the second I set eyes on the video. Completely enchanting. The track is by Prima Queen - an indie/alternative rock band fronted by songwriting duo and best pals Louise Macphail (Bristol, UK) and Kristin McFadden (Chicago). Chew My Cheeks is their first release on Nice Swan Recordings and was produced by none other than The Big Moon (legends!)

On the track, Prima Queen share: "Chew My Cheeks is a song that centres on an unhealthy obsession with someone who is slightly out of reach. We wrote it in lockdown last year when we were remembering what it was like to idealise people you don't know and to use them as a form of escapism. We ended up watching The Matrix in isolation together around the same time and were really inspired by the world in which the movie creates." 

"It was incredible being able to work with The Big Moon since they've been such a big inspiration to us and we look up to them so much. They really understood our vision for the song and we were so impressed with how they were able to bring it to life."

Follow Prima Queen - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 17 November 2021

LISTEN: Bear's Den - 'All That You Are'

New Bear's Den day. It's new Bear's Den day! In a pretty grand blog perk, I might have heard this last week... as a huge fan of the band, it was pretty dreamy to stumble across the press release! All That You Are is their first track since last year's Christmas, Hopefully EP (a stunner) and announces their return from a hiatus of much of this year, opening the door to new music (*frantically crosses fingers*) - and I love it. Vintage Bear's Den, you might say.

On the origins of the track, the band's Andrew Davie shares: "'All That You Are' is a song that was born on Bear's Den's first ever tour - The Austin To Boston tour way back in 2012. It's been a soundcheck jam for so long and feels like an intrinsic part of what Bear's Den stands for as a band even if it's been unreleased for so long." 

"It's a song fundamentally about hoping for happiness for someone else even if you can't be the one that makes them happy. It's also about not being ashamed about looking for that same happiness for yourself."

"In a way it feels like a mission statement of the band to reconnect with this song from way back when and to perform it unashamedly with a bold and beautiful string arrangement from Sally Herbert and some beautiful performance from some friends of ours both old and new. The opportunity to work with Sally Herbert was a real dream of ours, together with the fantastic Matt Douglas on Clarinets/Saxophone and Paul Frith on horns. We hope you enjoy it."

Follow Bear's Den - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 16 November 2021

WATCH: Cj Pandit - 'Boyfriend'

Two posts in two days? Currently unheard of. Couldn't resist sharing this one though - pal of the blog Cj Pandit is back!!! Dreamy times. Back in May, he released the brill Just Before You Disappear EP and he's back with the follow-up and one of my fave Cj tracks - Boyfriend. Feels as if he's stepped things up a notch on this one... I'm loving it. 

On the track, he shares: "through the whole process of writing these songs, I wanted to embrace imagined personas, build scenarios and ask questions in my head that we could then leap from. 

For Boyfriend, it was what would happen if Prince, Bowie and Peter Gabriel all got fucked up and wrote a song together. And every time something would make us laugh, or question whether we were pushing things too far, we dialled them up more. I wanted to embrace the outrageous ways of performing, the escapism of the wild nights we're all getting back to. 

To me it's the song to strut around your bedroom whilst you get ready, and is playing loud whilst you walk into CBGB's for the night of your life." 

Cj is currently on tour supporting Saint Raymond, as has a sold out Leicester headliner coming up on the 26th. A headline UK tour follows in February - ticket info here

2nd: Stereo, Glasgow
3rd: The Night and Day Cafe, Manchester
4th: The Louisiana, Bristol
7th: Hare and Hounds, Birmingham
8th: Bodega Social Club, Nottingham
9th: Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
10th: The Lexington, London

Follow Cj Pandit - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 15 November 2021

WATCH: SOFT LAD - 'Singapore'

I don't know about you, but I've been completely rinsing the Self Esteem record lately. Fucking Wizardry is, to be frank, a fucking bop. As is the entire record. Unsurprisingly then, my interest was peaked on the arrival of the latest brilliant submission from Paddy at Stay Loose... the debut solo track from Sophie Galpin, AKA SOFT LAD, AKA multi-instrumentalist and musical-collaborator for the likes of Self Esteem, who she's currently on tour with. Fourteen years in the industry, collaborating and playing alongside a variety of artists, has led to this moment... dare I say it was worth the wait? Really digging this one. 

On Singapore, Sophie brings every aspect of queer love together into a four-minute (I'm saying it again...) bop. Singing along is optional, but difficult to resist. The track arrives alongside a video directly by Olivier Richomme and Sarah Jenny Johnson

About the track, SOFT LAD describes: "this song describes a break-up and that bit initially after where you look back for one last time then take that first step forward as a person on your own in the world. You feel like shit, and your friends tell you that you're going to be fine and although intellectually you can rationalise it, you can't truly feel it for a while until you get the perspective. And intertwined with that feeling of loss, you also have this feeling of relief of at least knowing where you stand and breathing it all out. You suddenly have time and re-realise you can do whatever you want at any given time." 

Follow SOFT LAD Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 4 November 2021

LISTEN: VC Pines - 'Be Honest'

Did I feel a little bit jammy having a stream of this one over a week before it was released? Yep. Love me some VC Pines. Be Honest is the first track to be released following his Concrete EP back in May. The track sees him exploding from the confines and pressures of the last year with a new direction but that gorgeous vocal and soulful sound that we've all come to love... you'll want to wrap your ears round this one pronto. 

On the new track, he shares: "Be Honest is a culmination of things, it was written towards the end of 2020 - the year of fuckery. So the beginning has this distrust and wariness I think we all had at the time. I wanted to convey my own mental health struggles and of those around me due to these strange, uncertain and lonely times. The tune explodes into this 'no fucks given' feeling that boils and spills over into a sense of paranoia." 

"I'd definitely been burning the candle at both ends when this song formed, so I think it's a small yelp for help but at the same time, encompasses the nervousness of the youth of this country. Working on this with Tobie Tripp was dreamy, we really focused on every layer, from BVs to brass to flute and then he sprinkled his magic string playing on top. It has this meatiness to it, but because each layer is so in and out, it has this child-like 'dares' quality to it which I love." 

On the evolution of his sound, he adds "I've definitely taken a more alternative direction, focusing more on contemporary and unique sounds and pairing them with soulful vocals. I love working with huge contrasts, so for me, using sounds as imagery as a way to paint a modern picture, paired with the occasional 'classic' instrument such as trombone or rusty xylophones, and a classic soul voice is a perfect juxtaposition."

VC Pines has announced a UK tour for February and March, starting in Dublin at Whelans on 24th Feb and taking in Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham, Bristol, Brighton and finishing up at London's Jazz Cafe on 9th March. Full dates and ticket info here.

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Tuesday 2 November 2021

WATCH: APRE - 'Waste My Time'

New APRE - rejoice! Waste My Time is the third track to be taken from their upcoming A001 mixtape, due 1st Feb. I've been a full-time subscriber of the APRE fanclub (is there one? can I join?) since seeing them open for Friendly Fires a couple of years back and can't wait for the mixtape.. recent singles All Mine and YOU are brilliant. They never miss! If you fancy seeing them live, they're in the midst of a residency at London venue The Social, delivering an immersive experience of the mixtape with art installations and live performance within a retro-themed narrative. 

On the new track, the duo explain: "'Waste My Time' is about egos and how they take over and control you and you don't realise it until it's too late, leaving you taken advantage of, making it even harder to remove yourself from the relationship because you are trapped by their ego, almost forcing their morals and beliefs to become your own.

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Monday 1 November 2021

WATCH: Lauran Hibberd - 'Charlie's Car'

This one has been stuck in my head for a few days now... no complaints here. Fresh from releasing anthem after bop after god damn tune (honestly, obsessed) Lauran Hibberd has signed to Virgin Music and shared her first single with the label, Charlie's Car. If you like what you're hearing (obviously) then check out her Goober EP here while we all eagerly await the debut album. Soon please! 

On the new track, Lauran shares... "I think everyone has a 'Charlie' in their life. It's ironic that this totally unreasonable behaviour is something I find myself thirsty for. WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME? This track is definitely just a down spiralling array of unhealthy events that I find myself (as always) coating in infamous comedy." 

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Thursday 28 October 2021


A slice of soulful bedroom pop for your Thursday... damn I love MICHELLE. The New York based 6-piece never miss, travelling across genres to create beautiful art with the layered harmonies of their four vocalists Sofia, Emma, Layla and Jamee, alongside synths and percussion from Charlie and Julian. MESS U MADE arrives with a living room session video (complete with session guitarist Maya Polsky and session bassist Nick Catrambone) and really shows off the cross-genre music they're making... and the passion behind it. The track is the second to be taken from their upcoming album AFTER DINNER WE TALK DREAMS (due 28th January via Transgressive Records in the UK.) Enjoy... 

Having just finished up a US tour with Arlo ParksMICHELLE recently announced US tour dates for 2022 with Mitski. They'll be supporting Gus Dapperton around the US in November, and a UK headline tour follows in February, including The Lexington on 9th February. Tickets here

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Monday 25 October 2021

WATCH: Matilda Mann - 'Glass Ceiling'

How about a completely joyful new music video to start your week off? I've been a fan of Matilda Mann for a while now, and it's a delight to see her going from strength to strength with each new release. The Sonder EP is gorgeous, I can't get enough of it! I'm loving this video for closing track Glass Ceiling, shot and directed by Jay Seba. Following a recent string of shows with Dodie and a headline show at London's Lafayette, Matilda has announced her debut UK headline tour for this March and April. 

Live dates as follows... tickets here.

30th March: Komedia, Brighton
31st: The Louisiana, Bristol
1st April: Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
2nd: The Poetry Club, Glasgow
4th: The Deaf Institute, Manchester
5th: EartH Hackney, London

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Thursday 21 October 2021

LISTEN: Chartreuse - 'Swedish Water'

Here's a Thursday treat for you, a new track from Chartreuse. Swedish Water is the fourth track to be taken from their upcoming Is It Autumn Already? EP, due for release on 19th November via Communion Records. This Black Country four-piece are truly something special - the combined vocals of Hattie Wilson and Mike Wagstaff alongside the instrumentation of Rory Wagstaff and Perry Lovering makes for something that is often weird and wonderful, and unlike anything else you'll hear this year. 

On Swedish Water, Mike shares: "This song is for people who find themselves away from the people they love. It's about working through the frustration of a long-distance relationship although there are difficult parts of the song it is essentially a love song about wanting to be with the person you love. 

A few years ago, I took a short trip to Stockholm to visit my girlfriend who was working over there at the time. There's a lot of water that runs through the centre of Stockholm, it moved in a certain way and looked different, different enough to notice. I think it was something to do with the summer light, it looked like oil moving around swelling up and down it was something special. This being something precious I decided to put into words as a snapshot of my life at the time.

I had just watched Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire which follows the journey of angels on earth so I guess I was walking around in that world for quite a while. This inspired me to search online for the definition of an angel 'a person of exemplary conduct or virtue’ these references fed into the opening of the song.”

Chartreuse are playing a run of headline shows in November and December, taking in The Lexington in London on 30th November. Tickets and dates here

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Wednesday 20 October 2021

LISTEN: Melin Melyn - 'Short Haired Lady'

I seem to have started a theme in the last couple of posts, so let's stick with it... another of my favourite discoveries of the past year or so today, this time the Welsh dreamboats Melin Melyn. I was essentially obsessed from the word go with the release of Rebecca last year, and have been loving their recent Blomonj EP, a culmination of the past year's single releases. New track Short Haired Lady wasn't on the EP, but marks the end of that era for the band - excited to see what comes next!

For now, very much enjoying Short Haired Lady - vocalist Gruff Glyn has this to say on it... "On a cold winters eve I was walking the streets of London feeling a bit blue, and then stepped in some wet sticky chewing gum. I looked up to the sky in distress and found the moon smirking at me. Kind of put things in perspective. The lady in the song came to me in a dream soon after and sometimes pops back into my siestas during a snooze. We had the pleasure of recording this song at Stiwdio Sain - a gem of a studio in Llandwrog where some classic Welsh Language psychedelic folk music was recorded in the 70s."  

Melin Melyn play their first London headliner tomorrow night at Old Blue Last - tickets here.

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Tuesday 19 October 2021

LISTEN: Banji - 'Chills'

Much like my previous post with Francis of Delirium, today's post features another band who hail from beyond the UK (in Utrecht), who I discovered in the past year, and who are currently touring here. They're just a few singles down, each completely charming in its own way and all adding up to mark them as one of the most exciting new bands releasing music at the moment (in my ~humble~ opinion...) Dogbreath, TalkieWalkie and Listen are each complete tunes. They're back with new single Chills, on which they've taken the reins on self-production (each member of the four-piece is a budding producer). 

On the track, lead vocalist Morris Brandt shares: “Chills is about being in a rut. That feeling of how everything around you goes too fast to keep up with. It's something everybody struggles with now and then, looking for grip. But when you can't find that, you tend to give up and it feels like you're stuck. Sometimes I get really tied up with myself, and it feels like my brain can't really process what I'm trying to deal with. Being okay with that, acknowledging it, and taking a step back has helped me a lot." 

Having taken in a London headline, Wild Paths Festival in Norwich and a Manchester livestream last week, the group are playing at Gullivers in Manchester tomorrow (20th).

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Thursday 14 October 2021

LISTEN: Francis of Delirium - 'All Love'

Psssssssst. Good news. A new track from Francis of Delirium arrived yesterday. Rejoice. The brainchild & alter-ego of Luxembourg-based 20 year-old Jana Bahrich, FoD has been one of my favourite discoveries of the past year, courtesy of Stay Loose, with EPs All Change and Wading. A torrent of creativity has ensued across the year, with various self-made music videos that are well worth your time over on Youtube. The new track arrives just in time for the UK tour, starting in a couple of days... 

Mixed by Jolyon Thomas (Royal Blood, Slaves) and mastered by Joe Lambert (Sharon Van Etten, Deerhunter) the track is genuinely one of my favourite Francis tunes yet.. I think I say this every time but they're all just so damn good. 

On the track, Jana shares that it is "about dissociating from what your present moment really looks like. Sonically, I wanted the song to sort of reflect that and feel like a big wave of sound that sweeps you up and carries you away from that reality and anything that feels painful to think about. That suspended feeling is meant to be shown via the looping video I made to go alongside the song, which highlights that feeling of floating then falling away." 

The UK tour starts in Brighton on Saturday (16th) taking in some solo shows before a run of dates with Coach Party, concluding at Omeara on the 28th. If you can't make the shows over the next couple of weeks, a headline show has just been announced at Sebright Arms on 3rd Feb. All dates here.

Follow Francis of Delirium - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 12 October 2021

WATCH: Voka Gentle - 'TV Bra'

Londoners Voka Gentle are back with one of my favourite releases of last week, the brilliant (and slightly bonkers, but in the best way) track TV Bra. It's the final preview of new album Writhing, due via Leafy Outlook on October 22nd and for me, it is the trio at their best. Eccentric and a bit chaotic, but completely alluring - just like the TV Bra itself. 

William's character asks in the track "are you lacking high quality content?" With this video, we're certainly not. If you're going to watch one music video this week, make it this one. In the clip, William takes on the role of a somewhat demonic (and all too believable) salesman in a 'QVC fever dream' alongside bandmates Ellie and Imogen. 

On the track, the band share: "TV Bra began as a joke improvisation inspired by the Korean artist Nam June Paik, who collaborated with the cellist Charlotte Moorman on a piece called TV Bra, where ostensibly she played the cello naked except for two small TV screens over her breasts."

"The idea was to imagine something like that being commodified and advertised, incorporating the familiar small print and customer surveys and things that you'd expect with something like that nowadays. It's pretty nonsensical, but we liked the way it almost went down the JG Ballard Crash route of exploring how technology threatens to pollute sex and intimacy in a really violating way. Maybe it's kind of a cheesy 'observation on the state of the world,' but with a bit of humour in there. You can hear the junky prepared piano we created in the studio - we shoved nails, cutlery, Game Boy cartridges, string, crisp packets and all sorts of things into an upright piano." 

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Monday 11 October 2021

WATCH: The Vaccines - 'Paranormal Romance' (Live at Abbey Road)

Did I mention I bloody love The Vaccines? On the release of their new record Back In Love City recently I was instantly and utterly smitten. Several listens later and I wasn't sure that I could love the record more, but then discovered (through the Tim's Twitter Listening Party they did for the record) that one of my favourite humans, the one and only Rae Morris, sings on the track Paranormal Romance. A new favourite? Maybe. (Don't tell Wanderlust though... that song!!!!) 

It's a month since the record came out, and I'm still very much in love... and somewhat obsessed with the live performance the band shared a few days ago. Back in July, they took to Abbey Road to record a special version of Paranormal Romance for Amazon Music. Sadly no Rae, but I can forgive that because there is SO much to love here, and I've lost count of the amount of times I've watched it over the past few days. Justin's performance (that charisma, damn)! The orchestra!! The DRAMA!!! Good god. Favourite live performance video of the year?  It just might be.

Here's hoping they found time to record some more tracks with the orchestra that day...

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Friday 8 October 2021

LIVE: The Staves at Rock City (6/10/21)

I’ve been struggling a little to get back into the rhythm of writing posts regularly lately, but I have something pretty exciting to write about. In a dreamy and somewhat spontaneous turn of events (hey - remember spontaneity?) I went to an actual real life gig on Wednesday night. My first gig in almost 600 days. Long overdue and a completely joyous experience!

There have been a few shows lately that I’ve wanted to go to and haven’t for one reason or another… it has felt a little as if I’m doing nothing but working, interning and failing at being a blogger at the moment. It’s difficult to describe quite how much of a gap live music has left for the past year and a half and just how much I needed this show - but if you’re here, you know that exact feeling.

Like many, getting out into nature has been a bit of a lifeline through all of this and has, I guess, unintentionally filled that gap a little. It’s not too dissimilar - both are an escape of sorts, an opportunity to come across people with similar interests, not to mention the glorious birdsong. (Ps, if you’re interested, I’m posting some nature pics to insta here.)

It was such a treat for my first gig back to be The Staves, honestly. Their latest record Good Woman has soundtracked 2021 for me, and it is no spoiler to say that it will very likely be featuring pretty highly on my albums of the year list.

First up, though, was Samantha Crain. A good woman indeed. And hilarious too. Together with Kyle Reid (“I brought him over from Oklahoma with me”) she performed tracks from last year’s record A Small Death and this year’s I Guess We Live Here Now EP. A genuinely delightful performance. Once I’d got past the novelty of being feet away from somebody performing live music I was blown away by the skill on show. Sam’s vocals are incredible. I’ve (foolishly) not done a deep dive into her back catalogue before, but will certainly be making time to now.

The mind boggles a little at the man behind us who was there specifically to see Sam, and loudly told somebody all about this during a couple of the tracks. Gigs are back and… so are the obnoxious people who think that the artist somehow won’t notice you talking loudly over their set, apparently. Joy. Don’t get me wrong - he sounded as if he really loved her music and I love that energy but... really?

After a quick change around, it was time for The Staves. Just two of them for this tour, Jess and Camilla - Emily, as the pair jovially proclaimed between songs, is selfishly skipping the tour to look after her baby. While it’s a shame not to experience those beautiful three-part sisterly harmonies, the show was pretty darn special regardless. Backing the pair up on stage were their ‘beautiful baby boys’ (their words, and who am I to disagree) Marcus Hamblett, Glyn Daniels, Chris Dagger and Rob Pemberton.

I’ve seen the trio once before, when they performed a secret set in the wine bar at Bushstock Festival in 2015. It was a stunning acoustic set but I’d never actually listened to them before then, and have been desperate for an opportunity to see them again now that I’m pretty besotted with their music. Performing the majority of the new album alongside a few older favourites, the set was a stunner. I think I’d probably have thought any live music was pretty magical after so long away, but this bunch are genuinely on another level.

My biggest takeaway from the show, though, was just how happy everybody on stage looked to be there. To be back performing live and finally sharing their new record with fans in the live setting. Their joy was infectious - I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense that I was exactly where I should be in that moment. And more than a little bit weepy too. All of the emotions. Now… when can I go to another gig?

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Wednesday 6 October 2021

WATCH: IMOGEN - 'Sleeptight'

Poking my head above the parapet to share a track I'm a little bit in love with at the moment... taken from the upcoming Bloodbag EP (due 28th October via 7476) the track is Sleeptight from IMOGEN. Transitioning from the tender piano-ballads and acoustic numbers of her earlier releases, she's experienced somewhat of a musical and personal rebirth - the tracks, videos, performance and image all combining to present us with a powerhouse to be reckoned with. 

Following complex surgery for a condition she was born with, Imogen became temporarily infirm, and the experience inspired her to investigate the agency that women have over their own bodies and health. Title track Bloodbag and follow-up Lioncub looked at questions of identity and bodily dissociation.

On the new track, she shares: "Sleeptight deals with the societal treatment of women's bodies and the reluctance we have to believe women's accounts of misconduct. The premise being 'if you don't believe me, I hope it haunts you.' It was a conscious decision to set this anger against a big pop track. I guess I found the easiest way to process and deliver the message was to create something that people could dance and lose themselves to. My favourite pop songs are often like Trojan horses. In 'Sleeptight' I want people to be able to find empowerment and release. It's definitely one of my favourite tracks to perform live."     

IMOGEN plays an EP launch show at Bermondsey Social Club on 27th October - tickets here

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Tuesday 28 September 2021

ALBUM NEWS: MICHELLE - 'After Dinner We Talk Dreams'

Brilliant news klaxon... NYC-collective MICHELLE have announced their new album!!! Genuinely the most joyous of news. After Dinner We Talk Dreams is due for release in the UK via the dreamboats Transgressive on 28th January. They've been one of my favourite discoveries of the past few years, bringing joy with recent singles SUNRISE, FYO, UNBOUND and latest offering SYNCOPATE. For me though, it was this live performance of first album track THE BOTTOM which got me hooked. Pure love at first listen. 

On new track SYNCOPATE, the group share: "the song at its core is about desire. Communicating your desire can feel vulnerable, so we wanted to have some fun with that and show our funky and seductive side. It really feels like we're hitting the street for the first time by putting this song out into the world."

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Monday 27 September 2021

WATCH: Orlando Weeks - 'Look Who's Talking Now'

Be right back, just off to find 2017 me - singing and dancing with my best pal and having the time of my life feeling overwhelming emotions at the farewell Maccabees gig at Ally Pally - and tell her that all is fine, Orlando Weeks' isn't that easy to get rid of, musically speaking. Thank god for that!

I haven't got a press release for this one, nobody else's fancy words to use to talk about it, but I felt a compulsion to share the news of one of my favourite tracks of the last week, and the delightful album news which accompanied the release. The track is Look Who's Talking Now - and it, and the accompanying video, are pure joy. Through his work with the band, Orlando's vocals have soundtracked a long stretch of my life, and this latest single feels like the return of an old friend. There's a nostalgic vibe to this one and I am, once again, feeling all of the feelings at the hands of this man. 

Orlando's new solo record Hop Up is due for release on 14th Jan - pre-order here

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Friday 17 September 2021

LISTEN: The Vaccines - 'Back In Love City'

A quick glance at my listening habits on 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!

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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!

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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." 

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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."  

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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." 

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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." 

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