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.

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