Friday, 5 March 2021

LISTEN: JMES - 'Porcelain'

Happy Friday! Again... is it just me that the weeks are absolutely flying for? I swear the only markers of time I have at the moment are quiz shows and New Music Friday and they just keep on happening over and over. Like Groundhog Day but it's just The Chase on repeat. I was wishing the time away for the release of this track however... I've been excited to share this one for a little while now. Porcelain is the brand new track from JMES, AKA 20 y/o Texas-based Caroline Baker. Warning: it's super catchy. Following in the same vein of recent single Ready To Love Again, which explored love in the time of a pandemic, the new track is more direct, inspired by a toxic relationship that the artist was in. 

She shares that... "I wrote 'Porcelain' as if I were an outsider looking at my relationship and its current state. I wanted to separate myself and really look at the full picture and what I would say about it if it was not my relationship. The verses and beginning of the chorus highlight that toxicity." 

Follow JMES - Facebook | Instagram.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

LISTEN: Gold Baby - 'Betty'

Happy (drizzly) Thursday... here's a new track from North London grunge-pop trio Gold Baby, one of my favourite releases from last week. With some songs and a band name in tow, songwriter Siân Alex moved to London from Nottingham in 2018, setting about finding fellow musicians. She found Sweden-born bassist Sara Kleppe and Bristolian drummer Scott Hislop and the rest is.... glorious indie-pop history. New track Betty is taken from their forthcoming EP, due on 26th March, which was produced by Ian Flynn at werkhouse.uk, mastered by Pete Mayer and is supported by Help Musicians

On the EP, Siân shares: "Art is a reaction to, and a reflection of, the world we live in. Even in such politically crazy times, when you're never leaving your house it's harder to make sense of anything - isolation is stressful, and a hard place to reflect on anything from. That said, keeping up a creative practise has been really therapeutic and given me focus. My hope is that when real life starts up again society can rebuild better with a reordered set of priorities, and with a world of people more finely tuned to the things that our bodies and brains need to feel okay. It has been a devastating time, but there's a lot that can be turned into positive change, and I'm optimistic about that." 


On the character of Betty within the song, she shares: "Betty is a representation of all that is beautiful and feminine. She's like a Disney princess and I'm the creepy kid watching her, all mixed up about where I want her to be my mum, or my girlfriend, or whether I want to be her. She reminds me of my mum and I'm thinking about the ways that we're different, wondering who I'm supposed to be growing up into. An amalgamation of memories and fantasy, Betty is an exploration of identity told through a tantrum: that's not who I am, that's not who I am!" 

Follow Gold Baby - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

WATCH: James Humphrys - 'Three Weeks'

I'm a little late to the party with this one, which has been in the inbox for about a month... but that's OK! I feel like we have it ingrained in us (I do, anyway) that we can't talk/write about tracks and records once they've been out for a couple of weeks but that certainly shouldn't be the case. I was digging through my list of things to write about, and this stuck out to me, partly as it's been rattling around in my head a lot of late, and I wanted to share something upbeat today to lift my spirits (and hopefully yours, if they need it!) The track is Three Weeks from James Humphrys - an artist from Bristol who takes influence from the likes of Foals, Bombay Bicycle Club and Parcels (what a trio!) 

The video (below) features and is directed by Jessie Mei Li, who stars as the lead in the forthcoming adaptation of Shadow and Bone on Netflix. On getting Jessie involved in the project, James shares: "I've known Jessie since my time as a student in Bristol. She has always said she likes my music and so one night out at the pub I asked her if she would like to feature in the video for my latest single. She said yes and as things turned out she did a lot more than just feature in it. She basically thought up the concept and directed the whole thing. Performing alongside such a talented actor certainly took me out of my comfort zone but I learnt a lot and I'm really proud of what we managed to achieve together."  

On the track, James shares "Let's be real, lockdown has been bloody tough for us all - particularly those living far away from loved ones. For me, much of the time I tried not to think about how rubbish it felt to feel so distant and disconnected, and for the most part I managed fine and tried to focus on the fact that this would not be forever - but ultimately, sometimes those thoughts felt pretty overwhelming. This song is me being honest about the situation." 

Follow James Humphrys - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

LISTEN: Bess Atwell - 'Co-op'

Before I get to rambling, in case you read the blog but don't follow me on Twitter or Instagram... I'm a little blown away that the page had the most monthly page views ever in February (almost double the previous 'record' month) - thanks so much for reading! I have a treat for you today in the shape of a new track, at once witty and soothing, from all round stunner of an artist Bess Atwell. I've long admired her work, and reacquainting myself with her previous releases at the moment is making for a lovely trip down memory lane. She's back with new single Co-op, the first track she's releasing on Real Kind Records, the imprint of Communion from Lucy Rose... an exciting pairing if ever there was one!

Sharing the news, Lucy wrote: "I am so pleased to announce the signing of Bess Atwell to Real Kind Records. She is a phenomenal artist, songwriter and all round person. Her voice is like nothing I've heard before and her way of telling stories and communicating her thoughts through her music is extraordinary. I've honestly never come across an artist like her before and I'm extremely excited for what's ahead of her." 

On the track, Bess explains that: "flipping between past and present tense, I think of this song the same way I think of a memory that keeps interrupting the current moment. It's a snapshot of a time of refuge and routine. It's an illustration of mine and my partner's life together. The relationship seemed to provide me with some sort of permission to recuperate from family trauma, as if realising for the first time that there was a life outside of that chaos lulled me into an emotional slumber. Through the song I grapple with the desire for, and fear of, comfort. I used references to Virginia Woolf's 'Mrs Dalloway' to depict a vivid nostalgia and an affinity for trivialities that serve to calm when darker thoughts set in." 


The self-directed video (above) is inspired by the context of the track, Bess shares: "the music video, directed by me and shot by my good friend George Ogilvie, directly references one of the lyrics ("half your furniture we found on the street outside"). I didn't want to be too on-the-nose by shooting the video in a supermarket, but I also didn't want to shy away from that bold imagery, so I came up with the concept of shopping for memories/home comforts. The video attempts to marry two worlds at odds with each other - the mundane and the emotional - by contrasting the props, outfit, and setting."

"I associate the song with the boldness of the colour red and that was important to me to capture within this, occasionally whimsical, video. Co-op started out as a bit of a private joke, so I wanted the video to have a self-awareness and sense of humour to it too. I think there can be a tendency, when you're shooting a music video yourself, to try too hard to make it look professional. Instead, I wanted to lean into the fun of making it with a friend. It felt reminiscent of our childhoods, when we would make up plays or dances and perform them to anyone who would watch." 

Follow Bess Atwell - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 1 March 2021

LISTEN: Sunflower Thieves - 'Don't Mind The Weather'

Adoring this gorgeous new track from pop-folk duo Sunflower Thieves. Originally from Derbyshire and with over sixteen years of friendship under their belts, Lily & Amy moved to Leeds to pursue their musical ambitions. The project has since grown into a performing, writing and producing collective, and this latest offering is a stunner. Due to be released by Come Play With Me on 7" on 19th March, Don't Mind The Weather first began life as an acoustic composition, written alongside fellow Leeds artist Mehalah Ray in early 2020 in Lily's home studio. A little production here and there since... the result is beautiful and ethereal. I wouldn't expect anything less. 

On the track, they share that "'Don't Mind The Weather' translates as 'don't worry, this is where you're grounded and safe', a tale of wanting to make the most of that feeling and stay inside. The message conveyed is that no matter how the seasons and weather may change, the gravitational pull of the moon - the person you feel safe with - will keep you grounded and safe. We based it on the moon's relationship with the tides, and the idea that it's easy to get swept away in everything that's going on, but that there's beauty in that, and the relationship with this person overcomes it all anyway." 

Follow Sunflower Thieves - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 26 February 2021

LISTEN: The Northern Belle - No Rush (ft. Siv Jakobsen & Louien)

When I saw this in my inbox, it had all the hallmarks of a track I might well fall in love with. One of my favourite PR companies, and a feature from an artist I admire who brought out one of my favourite records of 2020. For this one, we're taking a trip to Norway for some stunning three-part harmonies reminiscent of The Staves and I See Rivers. Tromso-via-Oslo septet The Northern Belle are a new name for me, and on this one singer-songwriter Stine Andreassen has fellow Nordic songstresses Siv Jakobsen and Louien (another new name to me - but one I'm excited to hear more from) joining her. The result, as harmonic as it is heavenly, reflects a line sung by Siv in the track - "one is only as strong as all of us combined." 

No Rush is the first track from the group since last year's album We Wither, We Bloom, and Stine explains how "it felt very important to share this song with someone I look up to musically, especially after being isolated for so long. To be together about something, and to be able to comfort one another is essential."

Follow The Northern Belle - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Follow Siv Jakobsen - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Follow Louien - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

LISTEN: Blood Wizard - 'Total Depravity'

This one peaked my interest in my inbox a few days back - Total Depravity from Blood Wizard. BW, AKA Cai Burns, is the frontman of Kagoule, who I caught opening for one of my fave singer-songwriters (and all-round fave humans) Sam Beeton about a billion years ago (in 2012, ish) in Nottingham. They played an acoustic set, but Kagoule are anything but... punk to the core. Cai is now releasing music under the name Blood Wizard, and shared a few tracks last year. 

Total Depravity is my first listen to this new project, and the fourth track taken from his upcoming debut album Western Spaghetti, due next Friday (5th) via Moshi Moshi Records. The track juxtaposes a sing-along chorus and witty lyrics with the dark themes contained within them, with contrast also arising in the sound of the track - acoustic guitar working alongside some heavier sounds. On the track, Cai shares: "'Total Depravity' is a song about finding yourself in a situation that causes you to lose sight of yourself. An extended period of time that kind of turns into an obvious blur." 

Follow Blood Wizard - Facebook | Instagram.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

WATCH: Alice Phoebe Lou - 'Dirty Mouth'

I saw my first bumblebee and blossom of the year yesterday... spring is well and truly on the way! For now though, looking a little further forward, consider this a slice of summer bottled into a three minute track. Absolutely obsessed with this - and the wonderfully joyous video that comes with it too. Dirty Mouth is the brand new track from Alice Phoebe Lou, lifted from her upcoming third album Glow, due 19th March. 

Born in South Africa, Alice developed her performance skills at 18, busking through Europe, and releasing her debut EP in 2014, before her debut record a couple of years later. Paper Castles came in 2019, and - my first taste of her music - the singles Witches and Touch early last year. These tracks document the start of an analogue love affair of sorts, with the whole new album recorded using tape recording and vintage gear alongside producer David Parry at Castle Studios in East Germany. 

On the track, Alice shares: "'Dirty Mouth' is an upbeat punk banger with a badass attitude begging you to dance around your room naked and scream out what you really feel. The words are written from an uninhibited, no bullshit, part of myself that I often hide with manners, pleasantries & politeness. It's a big smiling middle finger to the men that have pulled me down, used me & hurt me in ways that took me years to heal. Asking for what I want. Saying how I feel. Not holding back." 

Follow Alice Phoebe Lou - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

LISTEN: Chloe Foy - 'Left Centred Weight'

The days are getting longer, the skies (sometimes) bluer and the end of restrictions is near (ish - maybe). This brand new offering from Chloe Foy is the perfect listening material today. Following her recent Covers, Vol. 1 EP (check that A Little Respect cover too!) Chloe is back with an original, Left Centred Weight. I first listened to and blogged about Chloe with early track Without You in 2019 and adored Callous Copper in 2020, but this track has its origins way back in 2014. 

While those earlier tracks were stripped back, bringing together the deceptively simple combination of guitar, strings and Chloe's sublime vocals, here is something even more rich. Drums and all! It was recorded at Manchester's Pinhole Studios with the song's co-writer and producer Harry Fausing-Smith, who also arranged strings, creating a bed on which the vocals are elevated even further. 

Having lost her dad to depression, the track is described as being 'about the existential thoughts prompted from understanding mortality at a young age.' On the track, she shares that it is "about feeling that everyone's going to die, which comes about from having grieved once before. But ultimately coming to terms with it and making peace." 

Follow Chloe Foy - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 22 February 2021

EP NEWS: Samantha Crain - 'I Guess We Live Here Now'

One of my favourite discoveries of the past year or so was the beautiful voice of Samantha Crain, whose record A Small Death was released via Real Kind Records, a new independent set up by Lucy Rose. Talented women supporting each other I am very much here for! It is a stunning record and received lots of well deserved praise, and (perhaps most excitingly for Sam?) featured in my albums of the year list. I'm delighted that she's back with not only a gorgeous single but news of an upcoming EP, I Guess We Live Here Now, due via RKR on 9th April.

As the title of the EP alludes to, the EP finds its origins close to home for Samantha. Forced to stay home in Oklahoma during lockdown, she worked on the frontline at a grocery store, and, like lots of us, used some of that extra time to appreciate the area that she lives in more than she might normally. Though familiar, those streets offered up some new appeal, and created inspiration for new music. I am absolutely loving Bloomsday and the lovely video, directed by Sam herself - watch it below!

On lead single Bloomsday, Samantha shares “I had bits of Bloomsday written out as a very long lyrical poem that I wasn't sure what to do with at first. I wasn't sure how to make it a song. One day, I was at work, at this market I was working at for a bit and I started singing the old gospel tune "This Little Light of Mine" under my breath as I was working. It really just made me feel good almost immediately. I could feel the agency that I had over my own mental and emotional state just with this little song about kindness and love. The next time I browsed through some of the lyrics I had been working on, I realized how it correlated with this moment I had had at work... how a normal, average day of seemingly no importance or specialness can become an opportunity for participation just by being aware and mindful."

"I started pulling out the bits of lyrics that I felt painted the best picture of feeling pulled along by life without control and then paired them with a reworking of the refrain from that old gospel song and it just felt hopeful and good. To me the song is anthemic in that it reminds me of the capacity I have for influencing my own day, the days of others, and a larger connectivity."

Pre-order/pre-save the new EP here.

Follow Samantha Crain - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 19 February 2021

LISTEN: Lizzie Reid - 'Cubicle' EP

I should almost certainly be asleep but instead I'm trying to write a post ready to share in the morning. Sometimes I've got a plan, sometimes I stare into my list of ideas and pick out something that I really want to share at the time - today it's the latter, as I'm desperate to share this beautiful collection of tracks, the new EP from Lizzie Reid, Cubicle. Seven tracks and just over twenty minutes of pure poetry and musical heaven await you. 

Released via Seven Four Seven Six, this is Lizzie's debut EP (I'm stunned by that fact!) and it was recorded with Oli Barton-Wood in Lizzie's home in Glasgow just before the first lockdown. Turning something difficult into a beautiful piece of work, the EP is a reflection of a summer in which Lizzie's first same-sex relationship came to an end. A tough situation to deal with, but one through which she grew more comfortable within her self and her sexuality. Listen to current single Company Car below...

On the EP, Lizzie shares: "I recorded this at my home in Glasgow, where most of the songs were written. It's about a time when I wasn't feeling my best but writing and recording this has helped me to process that time in my life and a real weight has been lifted. I'm so pleased to finally be releasing this record and thankful for everyone who has helped make it happen." 

Listen to the Cubicle EP in full here.

Follow Lizzie Reid - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

WATCH: John Myrtle - 'Get Her Off My Mind'

I've been procrastinating a lot lately... mostly by watching the birds in my garden (worse hobbies to have!) The inbox is looking a little daunting each time I try to approach it and look through some emails, but this caught my eye yesterday. A submission from Sad Club Records (Clara Mann) - they're keeping the bar really high with this one, a new track from 'eccentric indie-popper' John Myrtle. I have to admit that John is a new artist to me but I'm loving exploring his 2019 EP Here's John Myrtle and ADORE this new track, which has been rattling around in my head since the first listen. Perfect for fans of Willie J Healey, Boy Azooga, Premium Leisure and the like... (I wrote this, then got to the part of the press release where I find that John and his band supported Boy Azooga in the past - so I seem to be spot on!)

On the track, he shares "this song was written a long time ago and has stayed with me throughout the years so to finally give it a release is both exciting and relieving! I remember I was listening to a lot of The Beach Boys at the time, and just a lot of classic 60s pop which I guess is what I listen to anyway. Here though, I wanted to do a song that was just a very simple, catchy 3 minute pop song, like a Monkees track or something!"

"I was always fretting about how I can never get things sounding how I want them in studios, and it never occurred to me, as stupid as it sounds, that I could get a tape machine and do it myself. The early Ween stuff made that seem possible. [...] I've actually had this song recorded so many times in various studios and it was never what I wanted. When I learnt how to record myself it was like I was enlightened!"  

Follow John Myrtle - Facebook | Instagram.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

WATCH: Madi Diaz - 'Man In Me'

While I love spreading the word when a favourite artist of mine releases something new, there's something particularly exciting about sharing an artist to the blog for the first time. They might become one of my favourites, or somebody chancing across the post might listen and discover a new musical love. The possibilities are endless and the excitement palpable. Today, that artist is Madi Diaz. After somewhat of a musical restart, the Nashville-based artist is back with her debut single for ANTI Records, Man In Me, produced by Diaz herself with additional production from Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver.) 

Born and raised in Pennsylvania surrounded by an incredibly musical family, Madi moved to Philadelphia to have closer access to a broader music education, enrolling at (and subsequently dropping out of) Berklee College of Music before moving to Nashville to focus on being a songwriter. An LA move, a break-up and a return to Nashville later, she found herself writing over 100 songs in a couple of years, including this one. With so much songwriting experience under her belt, you're in pretty safe hands with this gorgeous new track. 

Madi shares that "'Man In Me’ was the first song I sat down to record for myself in about six years, which is the reason I thought it was so important to release first. It’s a very intimately visceral moment, a sort of play-by-play inner monologue, taking my first steps through a really hard time." The video, directed by Stephen Kinigopoulos, she shares, "emphasizes the intensity of a moment held and held and held. For me, this video is like holding a stare for so long that it hurts. It's like knowing you should let go, but you keep holding on cause you can't say ‘when,’ and playing with that tension lying right beneath the surface. You know something's up, but you just can't put your finger on it.”

Follow Madi Diaz - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

WATCH: VC Pines - 'Smoke Without Fire'

Looking back through old posts I can see that it's a couple of years since I was first introduced to VC Pines through his track Vixen, falling quickly in love with the unique tone to his voice and that oh so smooth style. Later that year, Bones had my interest piqued, and I simply adore the EP Skully released towards the start of 2020. Excited to share that he is back, with one of his best offerings yet. Smoke Without Fire is a gorgeous first taste of an upcoming EP entitled Concrete, due later in the year. The track was produced by Jonathan Quarmy (Tom Walker, Lewis Capaldi) and mixed by the legends that are Bad Sounds

On the track, he explains that "Smoke without fire is about hearing various rumours and not knowing whether or not to believe them, but being sure that rumours wouldn't have started without some kind of spark - 'No smoke without fire'. This song was written at the height of the first lockdown which made things more frustrating being locked down and not being able to tackle rumours and problems rising up around me. I think that's why the lyrics are so jagged at points."

"This song was also a turning point for me, discovering a new sonic avenue to delve into. I want to fit in a space as an artist that makes you think 'that's gonna be sick to see it live' so we thought about making the track faster and hit hard throughout but I also wanted to deliver the right energy to someone bopping down the street so we kept this smooth constant groove and let the horns and flute crash into the choruses. I wanted to incorporate the huge sounds developed in the 70s from funk, soul and Motown bands but also use similar instrumentation to my previous work with the 'Violet Collective'."


Follow VC Pines - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 12 February 2021

LISTEN: MarthaGunn - 'Honest'

A new (ish) MarthaGunn tune came out into the world yesterday and I have to say I'm very pleased to have it back! This has long been a live favourite of mine, and I've actually got it on a Communion 7" from a few years back. The track is Honest and it's been given a freshen up, and is more brilliant than ever. I hope the release means that we're stepping ever closer to an album announcement from the band, but singles will do for now... honestly. 

The lyric video for the track reflects that it is in part an ode to singer Abi's mum - in a post online she shared that "she is a strong and loving woman. Her strength has pulled me through so many times and I have her to thank for everything. This is why I chose to make the video all about her. Footage shot by my dad in the 90s and edited by me a few days ago."

On the track, Abi explains: "Back in 2016 I did a meditation with my mum. I remember asking in my meditation what I needed to do to get better at writing songs. I was shown a piano. I bought a piano a few weeks later and this was the first song I wrote on it. I didn't really feel like I wrote it. It was one of those songs that just wrote itself. For me 'Honest' is about a few things. It's the death of the person you were before a trauma. The grief you feel, knowing that person will never exist again and that you will always see life through new eyes due to experiencing something major. It's also about the fear of failure and the shame associated with that. The fear of not living up to your own or peoples expectations of you."

"The lyric 'Bereavement of a friend, a version of yourself naturally came to the end' is about breaking the shell for painful growth that is necessary to keep going. The only way to move through a painful time is to grow from it. I find that if you don't choose to grow and keep moving, things become stagnant and you will become depressed. Lastly, it's an ode to my mum. That woman means everything to me." 

Follow MarthaGunn - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

WATCH: Ruti - 'My Sunrise'

Happy Thursday, folks! Here's something that's guaranteed to bring a little slice of joy into your day. Ruti shared her new track My Sunrise a few weeks back - it follows Closer To You, and both are taken from her forthcoming EP. In the track, her smooth vocals sit over a beat provided by Wayne Wilkins (Beyoncé, Leona Lewis). The new music video which I'm sharing here today is a little ray of sunshine, showing Ruti herself dancing like nobody is watching against the backdrop of London's unmistakable skyline. I miss trips to London so much so this little window onto it is a really lovely thing to behold.

On the track, Ruti shares: "Sunrise isn't really about or for anyone in particular. In some ways I wrote it for myself. It's a reminder that often there is a lot more time to do things than I think I have and we have to allow ourselves to stop or slow down sometimes. Obviously I wrote it in a Covid free time so I was imagining taking a break somewhere else for a while, but I still have to give myself space to breathe working from home, because it gets so overwhelming." 

Follow Ruti - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

WATCH: Francis of Delirium - 'Let It All Go'

Really excited to share this brand new tune from Francis of Delirium. I've written about them before, but if they're new to you - FoD is led by 19 year-old Jana Bahrich alongside collaborator Chris Hewett. They're a Canadian-American duo based in Luxembourg and signed to UK label Dalliance Recordings (Gia Margaret, Common Holly, Wilsen). They shared their debut EP All Change last year and have a follow up coming very soon - Wading. Following up recent single Lakes (SO good) they're back with new track Let It All Go, alongside a 'claymation' music video made by Jana herself. I love how fiercely creative she is. I also love the tiny Fleabag snippet in the video. Blink and you'll miss it. 

About the track, Jana explains that "'Let It All Go' chronicles a full commitment to isolation. It imagines me on a night out, drunk and babbling on about how sad I am. Nobody wants to be around that person. At the heart of this song, away from all the craziness, is a desire to accept change and find acceptance within myself, letting go of holding onto any pain or hurt."

Follow Francis of Delirium - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

WATCH: Red Diesel - 'Feelitooelectricboogaloo'

Really digging this. New video and new artist for the blog alert... it's all going on today. Tuesday is the new Friday? Or something. Red Diesel, AKA singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Glenn Rawcliffe, who I'm familiar with as the drummer of Honey Moon (who I'm reaaaaally excited to find are recording their debut album at the moment!!) shared single Feelitooelectricboogaloo back in December. The track was self-produced and mixed by Louis Milburn (Fake Laugh, Italia 90) with all the recordings being completed in Glenn's bedroom (thanks to covid) - Glenn himself playing drums, bass, guitar, keys and vocals, and outsourcing sax to Lowri Heckler

A music video for the track dropped yesterday - very much a DIY project, it was mostly filmed in Glenn's flat, and most of the props for the video were built in it too. Including a mechanical horse, no less. On the video, Glenn explains: “the idea for the video kind of developed during the process of writing the song. It wasn’t an afterthought, but rather a visualisation of the deterioration of my mental state brought on by weeks of isolation during the first lockdown. I thought it would be amusing to illustrate my mild emotional breakdown by building a large fake horse around a tall bike, that I would later ride through the streets of South London. It seemed like the only rational thing to do.”

Follow Red Diesel - Instagram | Soundcloud

Monday, 8 February 2021

LISTEN: Lucy Leave - 'Pea Costume' (Despicable Zee reimagining)

I've been entrusted with the task of helping to spread the word about some exciting happenings in the Oxford music scene, in Lucy Leave (ace band from Oxford) and Divine Schism (ace label from Oxford) world. So here I am - spreading love, I hope! Lucy Leave are a constant source of joy on the Oxford scene - delivering brilliant music, unending support for fellow local artists online and (when legal to do so) at gigs, and not being shy to voice their (spot on) opinions. They're refreshing both in their music and their Twitter feed. Just over a year ago, they released their aptly titled second record Everyone Is Doing So Well

A year on and everyone is doing... well, alright, and Lucy Leave are back to share a reimagining of the equally superbly titled track Pea Costume by local legend Despicable Zee, featuring Just Emma, Valentine and Team Drum. Despicable Zee, AKA Zahra Tehrani, is a force to be reckoned with on the Oxford scene, and is currently the director of the brilliant Young Women's Music Project. They're an incredible Oxford project, described as "an educational charity that offers free workshops for women aged 14-21, which provide an inclusive and supportive space for young women to make music together, learn new skills, express themselves, and grow in confidence." 

Artwork is by Rosalind Jane - check out more of her work here.

I could ramble about the brilliance on show, but Lucy Leave and Zahra have much more important things to say, so over to them, first Lucy Leave on the origins of the track:

Pea Costume was originally written for our first album, but despite it coming from a jam like a lot of our songs we found it very tricky to play in the studio, or to reproduce the energy of a rough demo we made, so the version you hear on the album was recorded over several years… in the end, it’s one of the pieces of music we’re most proud of. The lyric sung by Mike concerns a couple of things that were in the news around #metoo, the first being an interview with the guitarist from INXS when he said that he missed the 1970s when women just loved being touched on the bum (why are men compelled to say these things? Besides, he wasn’t born until 1970)… the second was when the right-wing journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer recounted being repeatedly grabbed on the knee by Michael Fallon, who at the time of the story was Defence Secretary. Hartley-Brewer said something like ‘2002 was a more innocent time’.
 
I (Mike, guitar and vocals) really was walking down Museum Road when I came up with the line… As a disabled person, I have been shouted at etc. in the street, so I felt like I could readily bring to mind what it’s like. But the circumstances are not the same, and while there may be intersections, I also knew it was problematic to assume the position of a woman in a kind of #metoo situation. Hopefully the irony in the song accounts for that somehow, but anyway these mixed feelings that I have, in this case about doing any kind of advocacy for a group to which I don’t belong, became a theme of the album.

Zahra, Team Drum, and all of YWMP are incredible artists that enrich cultural life in Oxford so much and do brilliant campaigning work. We are so thrilled and excited to have have them rework one of our songs and bring their perspective to it.


And Zahra Tehrani on the reimagining:
I started work on Pea Costume Reimagined last year. Firstly Team Drum which is the Young Women’s Music Project drum troupe began to record different layers of percussion over the original track. We recorded bowed cymbals and big marching bass drums. Actually way more than I used on the track. I sliced up parts of the bass and drums that had a cool groove, decided to reverse a guitar lick and put some vocal lines down to add some textures which I usually do when creating a loop for Despicable Zee tracks.
When Mike approached me to remix the song he mentioned the meaning behind the lyrics and as someone who has experienced a lot of sexism off and on the drum kit I was super excited to be involved and put my own spin on it. wanted to adapt the lyrics to incidents that are relative to me and many marginalised people in music, it only felt right to invite a couple of friends to come and sing them with me, featured on the track is Just Emma and Valentine who have also both been big part of YWMP.
YWMP is a project that prides itself in being an active feminist organisation, we continue to create safe-spaces for young womxn and non binary people to feel comfortable to express themselves through music.
As a last note - if you grab a download of the reimagined track on Bandcamp, all profits go to Young Women's Music Project. Go go go.

Follow Lucy Leave - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Follow Despicable Zee Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 5 February 2021

WATCH: Sophie Morgan - 'Always'

My inbox is feeling a little (a lot) relentless today so naturally some procrastinating has led me to scrawling down a last minute post to share instead. Today I'm mostly shocked that it's two years since my local HMV store closed, delighted that Flyte have announced a new record and adoring every second of the new record from The Staves, which I'm listening to for the first time as I type. One of my favourite releases of this week is from the latest member of the Stay Loose roster, Sophie Morgan, who just shared new track Always. It's one of those tracks that will simultaneously fill your heart and make you weep, but you forgive the tears because it is just so stunning (*typed through the sobs.)

The track follows last year's Marmalade EP and was written alongside Archie Faulks, and features Simon Jones (The Verve) on bass and Matt Ingram (Laura Marling) on drums. Lyrically, Sophie describes it as a 'waltz for the lonely' - it's a track that has only taken on more meaning since the pandemic struck. The video (below) sees Sophie herself dancing in a Hollywood-esque setting - seriously beautiful - only for the backdrop and her dance partner to be cruelly taken away as the video comes to an end. 

Sophie shares that "the song always felt like a waltz for the lonely, I saw myself slowly swaying empty armed around the living room. I had that first line "leave the tv on" about watching dodgy daytime television shows like Homes Under the Hammer. It made me think of elderly people, maybe who have lost their significant other, spending most days dreaming of special nights dancing together, losing a little bit of sanity with each passing day alone." 

"We created the set in a local theatre, the first place I ever sang in public when I was nine. We joked that we were trying to make a million-dollar video on a shoestring in the middle of a pandemic and I hadn't even danced since school PE. But I'm really proud we somehow managed to bring my crazy idea to life." 

Follow Sophie Morgan - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

WATCH: Maja Lena - 'Birch'

Some very exciting news and a delightful new track for your Thursday! I loved the debut Maja Lena track Avalanche a couple of months back (ish? time is a construct...) and the follow up Hammer the Iceberg which snuck out over the festive period. Maja is back with a gorgeous new release, Birch, and news of her debut album. A debut solo record for Maja (the solo moniker and Swedish nickname of Marianne Parrish) but not her first foray into the industry by any means, having been part of the alt-folk band Low Chimes. The Keeper is due for release on 23rd July via Chiverin Records, and was recorded with former bandmate Rob Pemberton at his home studio in Stroud. 

On the track, Maja explains that "Birch is a song about feeling vulnerable yet elated. About starting a new phase of life and love, yet also knowing that this elation could be snatched away at any given moment. The Birch tree here is a symbol for this feeling, and its branches moving in the wind resemble a feeling of freedom and excitement."

"Birch was the first song written for my debut album The Keeper, so it feels like an extra special one to release. The video was filmed entirely on Super 8 in The Lake District by my good friend Martha Webb, whose work I've long admired. She also made the incredible dress that I am wearing in the video." 

Pre-save the record here

Follow Maja Lena - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

LISTEN: Bad Sounds & BROODS - 'Move Into Me'

Last year kicked off brilliantly with an EP from the dream duo Bad Sounds - Escaping from a Violent Time, Vol. 1. It's such a brilliant collection of tracks. A year (ish) later, they're back, and not quite as we know them... they've just shared Move Into Me, a track featuring BROODS. A fellow sibling duo, they travelled from LA at the start of 2020 to work with the brothers, who they'd toured with the year before, and made this slice of magic.

On the track, Bad Sounds share that it is "about growing closer with someone you love. Georgia (Broods) managed to write her lyrics in a way that felt so specific to what had been happening to her, but at the same time feels like something that so many people can relate to." 


It's the first time that the pair have released a track with such a prominent vocal from another artist, but it's something they've been interested in exploring since the start of the project. Callum explains that "when we started Bad Sounds we always dreamed that it would be a collaborative project, where we'd meet a bunch of like-minded musicians and write songs together and our friends would feature on our music. But we had a lot to learn before we were able to reach that point. We really couldn't have made something like this 2 years ago." 

"Since writing and recording this song we've spent almost a whole year collaborating with other artists and friends. It really feels like the next phase of Bad Sounds, it feels like it's growing into something that's much more than we could achieve on our own, and I think that's something we really value. Especially after spending so much time away from our friends and loved ones due to the pandemic." 

Having spent the last year working from their Bristol studio with the likes of Arlo Parks (on the track Bluish from her debut album), VC Pines, Max Pope, Rose Gray (and many more) on their own music, the duo have an EP of their own coming soon, and there might be more features involved...

Follow Bad Sounds - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

WATCH: Valley Maker - 'Instrument'

Just a couple of weeks until the treat that is a brand new Valley Maker record arrives in our lives. Announced a few weeks ago, When the Day Leaves is due via Frenchkiss Records on 19th February. Stunning new track Instrument joins recent singles No One Is Missing and Mockingbird in creating some firm (and exciting) foundations for a beautiful record. The video for the track follows on from that for Mockingbird and is again filmed and directed by Joseph Kolean and Zach Gutierrez, featuring footage that Austin himself captured on a Super 8 camera in the North Carolina mountains. 

There's something so special about these nature-led music videos, showing the wildlife of far-flung areas to my own, that I'm loving so much at the moment. That sense of escape and discovery. Here, there's power and worry too, with the track and video touching on climate change and natural disasters, and the effects that we have on the planet. Austin comments that "through mixing mediums and blending human and natural worlds, we wanted the 'Instrument' video to visually be in conversation with what we created for 'Mockingbird', and with the landscape of the album cover." 

"I wrote 'Instrument' as a meditation on the challenges of persevering, of loving the world and other people, and of maintaining a hopeful vision for the future in these times we're living through. The uncertain future of our planet, with climate change and related natural disasters, always feels very present for me in these considerations. So the song and video reflect both upon anxieties and affections for our world; they explore what it means to remain a part of it all, to carry on amidst human and elemental uncertainty."

Follow Valley Maker - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 1 February 2021

WATCH: Arlo Parks - 'Hope'

You really don't need me to tell you just how special Arlo Parks is, do you? Her much anticipated debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams was released via the legends at Transgressive Records on Friday. Despite only dispatching on Thursday, my signed copy of the album on vinyl managed to arrive to my door on Friday morning and I was delighted to get my hands on it - the excitement of taking a first listen of the album via a physical copy instead of Spotify! I miss getting to browse in record stores so much, and the feel of a brand new record is such an exciting thing. It's a truly stunning collection of tracks. So many that we've all come to know and love so much through lots of radio play and support all over - the likes of Caroline, Eugene and Black Dog, and so many more instant favourites in the rest of the record. 

Among them, current single Hope is delivering a ray of sunshine in stressful times. Thinking about it, hope is exactly the sentiment that Arlo's music makes me feel. There's so much delicate and raw passion buried throughout her music. The writing and delivery of those gorgeous vocals makes it feel as if Arlo is singing to you and you only - "you're not alone, like you think you are." It's a hug disguised as a song. Listening to Arlo is pure joy and ecstasy. The emergence of a true star of our times... she's such an exciting artist moving from strength to strength. 

The video for the track (above) sees Arlo collaborating with film-maker Molly Burdett (HurtBlack Dog) alongside director of photography Robbie Ryan (Marriage StoryThe Favourite) for a short film starring Arlo herself. A meander through intimacy and friendship - it's as stunning as the track itself. 

On the video and the song, Arlo says "this video to me is a warm, vibrant exploration of friendship and introversion. I think there's something so powerful about the saturated, filmic textures, the human portraits and depictions of euphoria. The song surrounds isolation, being present in your pain and knowing that you're not the only one on the planet feeling low. I think especially in times like these it's important to focus on the inevitability that things will get better." 

You can buy and stream Collapsed In Sunbeams here.

Follow Arlo Parks - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 29 January 2021

WATCH: Anna Leone - 'Once'

New Anna Leone, yes! Following from most recent single Wondering, new track Once is divine. It's produced by Paul Butler and is released via AllPoints/Half Awake. Anna is a self confessed video game & sci-fi obsessive, who loves escaping into other universes and found her love for storytelling through it. Though still battling debilitating stage fright, Anna has certainly moved on from acoustic covers in the privacy of her room - she originally picked up a guitar to perfect favourite tracks from the likes of Bon Iver and Laura Marling - and Once is the latest in a string of gorgeous tracks. 

On the track and video, Anna explains "the narrative loop comes from the idea of being stuck in your ways, going through the same patterns, but then choosing to break out of that and do things differently. Towards the end I reconcile with the past, symbolised by the little girl. I choose to embrace what once was in order to move forward. It was incredible getting to shoot the video in that beautiful environment. The weather was really unpredictable - we went through almost all four seasons in one day."

Follow Anna Leone - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

ALBUM NEWS: Ben Howard - 'Collections From The Whiteout'

I got a hint of the arrival of this track early, and got to listen to it a day before it was premiered by Annie Mac on Radio 1. Felt a little smug. It's out in the world now, along with some very exciting news! Ben Howard releases his fourth studio album Collections From The Whiteout on 26th March. It's a record far removed from his debut, with the press release describing it as "songs written from headlines scanned, or news stories scrolled past. Ben has taken those snippets and let his curiosity take control, creating an aural scrapbook that reverberates with tape loops and guitar FXs." 

Produced alongside Aaron Dessner (The National, Sharon Van Etten, Taylor Swift) this is the first of Ben's records to have production from outside of Ben and his band. Aaron brought his extensive contact list along for the ride, and alongside longstanding guitarist of Ben's band Mickey Smith, the record features Yussef Dayes (one of the UK's most innovative young drummer/producer's), Kate Stables from This Is The Kit, James Krivchenia from Big Thief, Kyle Keegan from Hiss Golden Messenger, and Aaron himself. As well as Thomas Bartlett (St Vincent's go-to pianist) and Rob Moose (string arranger for Bon Iver and collaborator of Laura Marling, Blake Mills and Phoebe Bridgers). 

Talking about the video, which was shot in Bulgaria and directed by Cloe Bailly, Ben comments that "this was a nonsense idea loosely thrown together on the Old English rhyme, 'back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other' with a bit of animal hysteria thrown in. Cloe somehow transformed a basic countryside shoot 'em up into an amazing tale of delightful retribution. Cloe is a queen of dark comedy and I'm so grateful that as friends we got to work together on it. The eclectic Bulgarian cast and crew somehow managed to pull this off in strange times. It was all the more entertaining in a completely foreign language."  

Pre-order/pre-save the new record Collections From The Whiteout here.

Follow Ben Howard - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

WATCH: MICHELLE - 'FYO'

"Why do I turn to you to tell me who I am?" 

What a treat! There's a brand new MICHELLE track out today. Really loving this project... with songwriting from Sofia D'Angelo, Julian Kaufman, Charlie Kilgore, Layla Ku, Emma Lee and Jamee Lockard and production from Kaufman and Kilgore, they're a group of born and bred New Yorkers making some of my favourite music at the moment. Recent singles UNBOUND and SUNRISE were two of the best tracks I heard last year. New single FYO is a powerful reflection on the four lead singers' experiences growing up with mixed race identities. It's all sorts of brilliant. Featuring the four singers, the video is directed by the band's own Layla Ku and Emma Lee (and it's also brilliant.) 

On the meaning behind the track, Jamee explains that "FYO is about belonging to different worlds, but feeling rejected by both. Growing up as a mixed-race minority in the US, my self concept was warped by other people telling me what I am and am not, pushing and pulling me between identities. Although my feelings of cultural dissonance still ebb and flow, now I have the vocabulary, support system, and perspective to unpack that inner conflict on my own terms. We should never give others the authority to define who we are." 

Follow MICHELLE - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

WATCH: Home Counties - 'Modern Yuppies'

Genuinely shocked to find that I've never featured Home Counties on the blog... I've been really loving their Redevelopment EP released in September - the title track and Dad Bod are tunes! Listening back currently, I'm getting quite a Lucy Leave vibe from that EP. New track Modern Yuppies sees the band switch a guitar-laden vibe for a synth-driven sound, partly out of choice, and partly from not being able to reunite with their producer during lockdown. They bought a second-hand analogue synth and a drum machine and this is the first of two self-produced singles to be released via Alcopop! Records.

Vocalist Will Harrison notes on the shift in direction that "synths and drum machines were already something we were very keen to explore and 2020 provided us with an unexpected amount of free time to experiment. We dialled the disco influences up to the max and totally embraces that 70s-cop-drama vibe for this pair of stand-alone singles. It feels like a bold declaration of who we are and it definitely gives a clearer taste of where we're heading for our next EP." 

On the track's lyrics, he adds "the song is a comparison between the young urban professionals of the 1980s to those of today. It discusses the differences, the way that arrogance and conservatism have made way for self-doubt and socially 'liberal' political positions. Ultimately however, they are both plagued by the same condition - of constantly needing more." 

On the video, Will explains that "a zero budget video feels very fitting for Modern Yuppies. The song was written and recorded in the November lockdown when we found ourselves unable to go back to the studio. Stuck inside, we spent the month sending the stems back and forth. The plan was to emerge from lockdown and head straight to London for a photo and videoshoot in December but things did not go to plan and we soon found ourselves trapped again. We actually put this video together the day before the single release. I think you can see the isolation taking its toll on us. I spent my hour of daily exercise playing synth to some local sheep." 

Follow Home Counties - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 25 January 2021

LISTEN: Clara Mann - 'Thoughtless'

Monday, again?! Hope you've all had a lovely (snowy?) weekend... I've been really getting into a spot of birdwatching and rediscovering my love for photography through wildlife recently, and spent much of the weekend staring at birds at my local nature reserve and through my window. Snowy weather guides me towards the sort of music that gives that same warm feeling you get sitting by a fire, and this new Clara Mann tune does just that. 

Thoughtless follows debut Spotify release (after some lo-fi Bandcamp demos) I Didn't Know You Were Leaving Today - in both we are utterly transported by Clara's intimate and unique vocals. For me, they offer up something that feels at once new while harking back to more traditional folk music. The track is taken from her upcoming debut EP, entitled Consolations, which is due on Feb 24th. The EP was recorded remotely in Clara's bedroom, with producer Benjamin Spike-Saunders mixing in his. It's hard not to make that connection with the homely, heartwarming feeling that the tracks bring. 

Speaking about the new track, Clara explains "I wrote this over a summer where I was totally adrift - it was quite a lonely time, and I felt that, in a bid for some kind of connection, I was making myself vulnerable to the wrong people. Thoughtless is a recognition of that unhealthy tendency in myself, as well as being about the way people can take too much of someone, without even realising." 

On the influence of water through the track, she writes "there's a lot about water in the song, about the sea, the waves. I grew up by a river in France, and I think have always felt most at home in landscapes with water nearby. It's a mixture of finding it comforting and familiar, but also being aware of he power of the current, the tide, or the swell, and feeling helpless and fragile next to them. The guitar part in Thoughtless unintentionally mimics the rise and fall of waves, and I like the way the melody floats above it. I remember finding it quite painful to write - it felt very raw. I was very into Sorolla's paintings at the time, and the way he paints light - I wanted to do that with music, with my words." 

Follow Clara Mann - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 22 January 2021

WATCH: Ailsa Tully - 'Parasite'

"Wouldn't you love to control me?!" 

Happy Friday (we made it!) - in a week filled with a lovely selection of new tunes from the likes of The Staves, Anna Leone, Clara Mann, Memorial and so many more, here's one from one of my favourite new discoveries of last year. With her second single via Dalliance Recordings, it's Welsh songwriter Ailsa Tully, whose track Drive was one of my favourites of 2020. New track Parasite is an introspective, personal and passionate protest track of sorts, crying out against toxic relationships and gender power dynamics at play within the music industry.

The video for the track shows parasitic plants winding around vines, taking control. The visuals mirror Ailsa's journey through the lyrics of the track - on lines such as "I am naive, I make this so easy" we see her as this person perceives her, a feminine product to be shaped without much opposition. Always maintaining both composure and fragility through the vocals, the situation reverses as Ailsa sings "I could break you down, you parasite" on the chorus. 

She shares that "Parasite is a confrontational song written for a controlling and manipulative person. It explores the insidious manner in which sexism takes form, particularly within the inner workings of the music industry."  

Follow Ailsa Tully - Facebook | Instagram.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

ALBUM NEWS: Low Island - 'If You Could Have It All Again'

Some glorious news for your Thursday which I've been desperate to share for a few days now. A new track from the Low Island chaps alongside news of their debut album. Ahhhhhhh!!!!! Feel Young Again is taken from If You Could Have It All Again, due on 16th April. It's a typically DIY affair from the quartet who manage their creative output, self-producing and self-releasing via their own label Emotional Interference. There's something kind of heartwarming about that - knowing that the music sounds exactly how the artist wants it to. In this case, it sounds brilliant, as always. These guys know how to tug on the heartstrings through endlessly danceable indie-pop. 

In the new track, a song which repeats the vocal "I will set you free" you lose yourself amidst the gorgeous and oh-so-Low-Island soundscape. This is a special one. I am itching to hear the record! Talking on the single, Carlos explains that "Feel Young Again is about a toxic relationship; not with a person, but with a part of yourself that you need to let go of. A part of yourself that is doing you harm but because of familiarity and a fear of change, you can't give it up. It's about taking that thing, feeling or frame of mind for one last dance before finally letting it go."


Pre-order/pre-save the debut album here (!!!)

Follow Low Island online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

WATCH: BE GOOD - 'Young Strangers'

Kicking off the year gloriously, my loves BE GOOD sprung an EP on us last week. Tis glorious. Obviously. Everything's Alright In The Evening is easily my most listened to ~thing~ of the year so far. It features a couple of certified tunes that were already out in the world - Cathy, Sickie and Dark Glasses - alongside Torch Song which they shared a demo version of on a Divine Schism compilation last year. Divine indeed. Brand new tracks Pink Sky (Can I Tell You Something) and Young Strangers are both superb, and they've just shared a video for the latter, the opening track of the EP, which you can watch below. 

Filmed in the Oxford suburbs, the video is directed by Joe Vozza and was worked on by the band and a bunch of their pals from the area. Lovely stuff! You probably already know this if you're on the blog/follow me online but I adore this band and their output, and this is no exception. Sending all of the positive BE GOOD vibes into your lives & your speakers. 

Stream or grab a copy of the new EP here (bandcamp, bandcamp, bandcamp!) 

Follow BE GOOD - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

WATCH: Tender Central - 'Galloper' (Live)

Just a few days to wait for The Garden, the debut record from Tender Central, releasing via Hello Friendly Recordings. Recent single Galloper is brill and has been elevated with a new live session recorded at Sorting Room Studios with a talented ensemble featuring Aaron GrahamMickey Smith, Nat Watson, Elise Yuill Cohen and Greta Vaughan. The track refers to India's racing heart and the physical symptoms that anxiety and panic attacks can bring, with the 'galloper' being a metaphor for anxiety feeling like hooves thundering through your body. It's upbeat and danceable nature reflects the subject of the track and it's another really exciting taster from the upcoming record. 

On the process of creating the record, India reflects on another creation... "I toured throughout early pregnancy playing with 'A Blaze of Feather'. I was playing two shows a night as I was also opening the stage as Tender Central. At 8 months pregnant with my son I finished recording the bulk of this album feeling him kick the cello and guitar through my belly as I played. And now, launching this album three years later I am pregnant with my second child. It seems that birthing an album and birthing a child goes hand in hand with me! It's been a musical start for this little one too."

Follow Tender Central - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 18 January 2021

WATCH: coupdekat - 'ur only'

Debut single time (sound the alarms!) I loved the PR description of this one and ever since, it's been floating round my head for days, keeping new William the Conqueror, Beach Bunny and BE GOOD company. ur only is bedroom pop at its finest from coupdekat, AKA 18 year-old singer-songwriter Kat Reilly. She's inspired by 80s female indie artists (think Blondie, Mazzy Star and The Slits) and mixes modern beats with melancholy vocals, tackling contemporary subjects like mental health, love, social media and loneliness. The new track is a catchy one, but it's kind of sad too (the best kind?!) I'm excited for what comes next!

Follow coupdekat Twitter | Instagram.

ALBUM NEWS: William the Conqueror - 'Maverick Thinker'

I feel a bit like the proverbial kid in a sweetshop at the moment, desperate to write posts and to share something but instead staring at a list of ideas, which, just a couple of weeks into the year, is already full with so many brilliant new releases. This one keeps coming back to me though. Quiet Life, the latest single from trio William the Conqueror, lifted from their upcoming record Maverick Thinker, due via Chrysalis Records on 5th March. The new record was writte in the English countryside and recorded in LA alongside producer Joseph Longe at the legendary Sound City Studios, ahead of March's lockdown last year. 

I've been following the band, and frontman Ruarri Joseph's solo music, admiring from afar, for a few years now. I saw the trio playing a brill show for us in Oxford a few years back. This one is maybe my favourite so far. A reflective, blues-y, rock-n-roll conversation as song, made for pub basements and festival stages alike. On the single, Ruarri explains "with Quiet Life we wanted to step outside the sound of the trio and build some walls, add some layers for this one. It's a trippy, fuzzy wander down someone else's memory lane, so we went cinematic." If the song-writing here entices you - check out the William The Conqueror podcast (on... podcast places) - it's essentially an audiobook, a reading of a fictional account of an 18 year old musician, written and narrated by Ruarri himself. 

Pre-order the new record Maverick Thinker here.

Follow William the Conqueror - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 15 January 2021

WATCH: Lokoy ft Emilie Østebø - 'a mistake'

Forgive the slight time travel, but as I was glancing through my (always growing) list of things that I want to share here, I rediscovered this absolute tune which was released back in November. It's taken from Norwegian artist and producer Lokoy's debut album Badminton, which is due a week today (22nd.) The record sounds as if it'll an eclectic exploration of pop bringing together a bunch of fresh Norwegian talent (the likes of Nils Bech, Moyka and Safario) and on this tune, Oslo-based 20-year old Emilie Østebø is blowing my mind a note at a time. 

Originally one of Emilie's own demos, she took it to Lokoy's home studio where they recorded the track with assistance from Sløtface guitarist Tor-Arne Vikingstad. Speaking about how the collaboration came to be, Lokoy said "I first met Emilie when she was playing support for Sløtface a few years back and I remember all of us thought she was the greatest support band we've ever had. Earlier this year we met in my studio together with Tor-Arne and just kept cooking on Emilie's demo. We added a ton of guitars, and some dirty bass-synths and drum machines and BOOM. It just fell together nicely."

Emilie herself shares on the lyrics that "it's nothing too complicated; it deals with the relationship between two people, the dynamic between them. Often I feel like songs are a parody of yourself. The chorus of 'a mistake' is sort of a parody of the self-indulgent things you imagine saying to a person you've just had a fight with. I wrote the melody of the post-chorus on guitar, but Lasse had the idea to sing it instead. The childish and sarcastic tone of that melody when sung perfectly communicates the petulance of the lyrics." 

Follow Lokoy - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Follow Emilie Østebø - Facebook | Instagram.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

LISTEN: Lizzie Reid - 'Been Thinking About You'

Happy Thursday, folks! Feeling in a bit of a rut (aren't we all?) while things around me and further afield are all so chaotic, so apologies for not posting so much at the moment. Trying my best to fall back into the rhythm. It'll happen. Searching through my submissions, a favourite showed up in the form of the latest track from Glaswegian songwriter Lizzie Reid. Her recent singles brought me some gorgeously delicate yet self-assured Laura Marling-esque vibes towards the end of 2020, and I'm loving this extra taste of her upcoming debut EP Cubicle, which is due out on February 10th via Seven Four Seven Six

While the previous tracks were mostly Lizzie and her guitar (the EP was recorded entirely in her house with producer Oli Barton-Wood, just before the first lockdown kicked in back in March last year) this new track is a little more raucous, and it's more collaborative, too. The guitar-led outro harks back to her past life playing in bands across Glasgow - as many as seven at once at one point!

On the track, she shares: "this is almost an appreciation song for a friend of mine. He was such a support for me at a time I wasn't feeling my best. I was going through quite a confusing time and felt guilty that I couldn't support him in the same way he supported me."

Follow Lizzie Reid - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 11 January 2021

LISTEN: Ella Grace - 'Unfree'

Here's something that I wanted to share before the festive break (sort of break?) kicked in and never got around to... so it's not brand new but more than worth your time if you haven't had the pleasure yet. Unfree is the latest single to be taken from Ella Grace's upcoming debut album Reverence, due on 20th April. It's described in the press release as an "endlessly playable anthem" and I can't agree more, having just listened on repeat several times while writing this post - previous single I Wonder is also a bit of a bop. In Unfree we're encouraged to embrace ourselves, to explore, to express, to grow.

On the new track she explains that it is "about my experience of throwing out the rulebook of what it means to be a woman in society and instead just following my own primal yearning for life and letting it lead me. This has often been met with judgement from people around me, especially in my younger years, no one was really doing things differently, there wasn't anything 'cool' about expressing yourself and there was such little support for it. I've gotten myself to the place I am today by breaking the rules of 'should' and trusting my heart's desires above those of anybody else." 


On the upcoming record, Ella shares "this album represents the end of pretending, it's a liberation for me, a becoming. Last year I fell in love with a woman and realised I'd been pretending to be someone I wasn't. In place of that pretending rushed in these very real, raw parts of me. The album tells that story, of falling in love with a woman, discovering myself again, and the surrender that comes with heartbreak." 

Follow Ella Grace - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.