Monday 31 May 2021

WATCH: Holly Humberstone - 'The Walls Are Way Too Thin'

You all know how much I love Holly Humberstone by now... right? If you're not on the HH train yet then where on earth have you been hiding?! It's not too late though... you're here just in time to fall in love with The Walls Are Way Too Thin, her latest single, which she performed on last week's Later... with Jools Holland. Might be my favourite of Holly's tunes yet. Things are already looking pretty great for her and I'm loving watching her thrive with each new release. That debut album, when it comes, is going to be something really special. 

Sharing the track online, Holly wrote: "I wrote this song about moving to London on my own and feeling very lonely & claustrophobic in my tiny lil room. Everything I knew to be normal had shifted, I didn't really have any friends and felt quite lost so writing this song was hugely comforting and really helped me to cope with everything that was going on around me." 

Follow Holly Humberstone - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 27 May 2021

WATCH:: Mysie - 'Seven Nights'

Enormous earworm alert. Heck, I might even roll out 'bop'. I can't shake the new single from Mysie and I'm not sure that I want to... Seven Nights is taken from the new EP, Undertones, which was released via 70Hz on Friday. The label is owned by Mysie's mentor, producer and close collaborator Fraser T Smith. Having won the Rising Star Award at the Ivor Novello Awards last year, you know you're in safe hands when it comes to a new Mysie tune... and this is no exception. My favourite yet!

Speaking about the track, she shares that: "Seven Nights is about the excitement of fast love. It's about doing something out of the ordinary, booking that plane ticket and chasing a love that you want but have no clue as to where it will end up. It's about staying in the moment and enjoying every little part of that love, no matter what the outcome may be." 

Listen to the Undertones EP here.

Follow Mysie - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 26 May 2021

WATCH: Chloe Foy - 'Work of Art'

Favourite music video of the week alert. New Chloe Foy is a treat for all the senses. The fittingly titled Work of Art arrives ahead of her debut album, Where Shall We Begin, due June 11th. An ode to gig-goers at its core,  the track celebrates the confidence that playing live has given Chloe. Ah, gig-goers... I'm living in a state of perpetual jealousy of those who've been heading back to distanced gig in the past week. Oh to live in a city with an almost non-existent live music scene at the best of times. Tell me what a gig feels like?! 

On the track, Chloe shares: "For me, music can't fulfil its true meaning without sharing it in a room with others. That is the magic. When I'm singing "Bodies glow, you're a work of art", I'm talking about music lovers together in a room. I had a bit of an epiphany while on tour with Jesca Hoop when I realised you've either got to let go and enjoy it or go through life never enjoying the moment. This was all because of this beautifully warm reception of the crowd each night and their willingness to take me as I was." 

Follow Chloe Foy - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 25 May 2021

WATCH: Vanessa Gimenez - 'Make It Rain'

I am genuinely delighted about this news: Vanessa Gimenez, who some of you might recognise as the vocalist of Swimming Girls, is back with new music! The band had a brilliant few years, taking in shows around the country (I caught them from the back of a *very* busy pub at The Great Escape back in 2017) before disbanding in 2019. I'm incredibly excited to see that Vanessa has been working on a solo project - Make It Rain is her debut single, and it marks a confident return to the scene. Can't. Stop. Listening. 

On the track, Vanessa shares: "Make It Rain was the first song written for this project. To me it's about retaining that childlike sensibility that is full of hope and dreams. A mindset that a lot of people lose once they grow older." 

Follow Vanessa Gimenez - Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 24 May 2021

WATCH: John Myrtle - 'Spider on the Wall'

Most songs even ever-so-slightly inspired by our lockdown experiences make you want to roll your eyes back into your head too, right? How does a track from the perspective of the spider on your wall sound? The master of quirky musical narratives, John Myrtle has written just that, and tis a dream. Playing on the themes of isolation and, you know, being stuck inside your house, the imagined spider in the song finds what it sees of a human household to be ever so slightly underwhelming. Spider On The Wall is taken from John's debut record Myrtle Soup, releasing on 18th June via Sad Club Records.

John shares: "I thought a song that told a story behind closed doors was very fitting for the time we were all living in. With the whole album being written and performed at home in lockdown, writing and singing as a spider was freeing in a weird way. I was able to leave my house and go write about someone else's. Instead of envying the other people's lives, he's disgusted by them, and finds out that his home is the most comfortable of all." 

Follow John Myrtle - Facebook | TwitterInstagram.

Thursday 20 May 2021

WATCH: Wallice - 'Off The Rails'

"I'm doing fine, stop asking me what's wrong. I live my life like I'm the only one going off the rails." 

It feels like mere days since Hey Michael and 23 (both absolute tunes) were released into the world but Wallice is back with a new tune which is guaranteed to brighten up your Thursday. Off the Rails is the title track taken from her forthcoming debut EP, due to be released independently on 4th June. Lyrically, this one looks at the choices we make and their consequences, which we might try to blame on external forces. The music video, directed by L.A. photographer and creative Jerry Maestas, reflects the lyrics, and sees Wallice in a Sims-esque game being placed in situations that she can't control. 

"Off the Rails is about feeling like you don't have any control over your life and that the world is against you - and that you're the only one that feels that way. Sometimes there are periods in your life when it's easy to think your life is falling apart, and there's nothing you can do to stop it or fix it. I think sometimes it's okay to sit in that self pity, but also at the same time you have the power to control it and take responsibility for your actions, at least to an extent. Sometimes there are just rough patches, and you have to do your best to get out of them, roll with the punches, and try not to be a shitty person." 

Follow Wallice - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

LISTEN: Max Bloom - 'Palindromes'

I have to say, this new one from Max Bloom is a complete delight. Palindromes is the second single to be taken from his forthcoming record Pedestrian, due on June 18th. The record is releasing via Max's own (and new) label Ultimate Blends, the new home for his future projects. The DIY ethos extends to the visuals - he's designed individual artworks for every song on the album, as well as animations (like the below) for the singles. At the heart, this one is a tender and romantic tune and my heart feels a little fuzzy.

On the track, Max shares: "this song is about how I got together with my girlfriend Anna, who also plays bass in my live band (and co-wrote two songs on the album). We were best friends for years, then she broke up with her boyfriend and we got together quite suddenly. It was completely unplanned, but when it happened it felt like a lucid dream. I wanted to write something to commemorate it (Anna has also written a few songs about it too), and after the darkness and grief of Perfume, it felt cathartic for me to write this song." 

Follow Max Bloom - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 18 May 2021

ALBUM NEWS: Merpire - 'Simulation Ride'

"Sometimes it still wavers but I've worked hard on building my confidence, telling myself over and over through this song that it really does take a village to love someone." 

I absolutely adored Dinosaur, the recent single form Melbourne's Merpire, so I'm delighted that she's back with Village, and news of her debut album. Simulation Ride is due on 23rd July via Warner's ADA. Continuing in a lyrical theme, the new track tackles deceptively simple themes of self-doubt and comparing yourself to others, reflecting Rhiannon's own battles with anxiety and self-confidence. The single arrives with a video directed by Nick Mckk, which is below...

On the track, Merpire shares: "I used to have a day job punting people around the lake on a boat in the Royal Botanic Gardens in South Yarra, giving them a guided tour of the lake. There's one island we pass on the route we nickname 'Bell Bird Island' because the bell birds pretty much own it, very territorial. They're basically farming an insect called a psyllid and protecting it from other birds eating it. They have a symbiotic relationship. The psyllid produces a sugary coating like a cocoon and the bellbirds lick this sweet treat, not eating the whole insect so that the psyllids keep producing the sugar." 

"This loosely inspired the idea of it taking a village to nurture someone. Sometimes I would get so caught up in self doubt, seeing qualities in people that I didn't think I had, that I forgot to see what qualities I had that they might love me for. I constantly put pressure on myself to be happier, more energetic, more sociable. I didn't see myself as an interesting person without that or without my music and when I was feeling tired or withdrawn I'd beat myself up about it, not feeling worthy of company and thinking I was just a boring person who happened to be a musician (and punt people around on a boat in the gardens apparently?!) This affected my relationship. I didn't believe someone could be in love with me when there seemed to be way more interesting people out there."

Follow Merpire - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 17 May 2021

WATCH: Premium Leisure - 'Easy FM'

I live in a perpetual state of being in awe of the music coming out of Oxford, I swear. Forgive my slight delay in sharing this one but... a big fat yes to new Premium Leisure. With contributions from local indie contemporaries Willie J HealeyAsh Cooke (BE GOOD), Casper Miles (Catgod), Mike Monaghan (Gaz Coombes), Jack Kendrew (PETSEMATARY) and Harry Deacon (Palace), Easy FM is the latest tune to be taken from a forthcoming EP, due this summer via Plum Cut Records

As ever, it's a delight, leaving me somewhere between wanting to replay this one over and over and needing another new track, pronto. Luckily for me, there's plenty more Premium Leisure to dive into before the EP arrives. On the track, Chris shares: "The song is a comment on the ease of following trends. And the difficulty of consistently staying true to what really pushes our buttons." 

The video for the track flicks between green screen and live action, and was conceived and directed by Henry Dartnall and Tom Bonsu-Dartnall of Young Knives.

Follow Premium Leisure - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 13 May 2021

LISTEN: Mumble Tide - 'Sucker'

Another day, another of my favourite releases from last week via the ever-wonderful Stay Loose PR. I'm loving Sucker from Mumble Tide, AKA duo-come-couple Gina Leonard and Ryan Rogers, who met via Gumtree (true story) when Gina put out an advert searching for a bassist. The track, released on Nothing Fancy Records, follows their debut EP Love Thing, which garnered the duo support from the likes of Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq and various blogs (including this one...!) 

Creating music from their bedroom in Bristol, the pair make music in an environment free of the creative judgement that both had experienced in the past. They oversee every aspect of the project - producing, making their own videos and their own artwork. Carefree, slightly chaotic and all sorts of brilliant, Sucker is required listening. Get it into your ear drums with haste. 

On the track, Gina shares: "This one is just a super fun track we threw together. It's about feeling confident and free and moving on (or at least trying to). It's about throwing the baggage off your shoulders and strutting away... but also accepting that it's not that easy."

Follow Mumble Tide - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 12 May 2021

LISTEN: Cj Pandit - 'Bad Bad Fun'

To be honest, I've listened to very little for the past week that wasn't the new Cj Pandit EP and I have no regrets about that. I am so so happy & proud of Christian for this. We've never actually met in *real life* but I caught him playing live once towards the end of my time in Oxford - he was supporting at a Willie J Healey show I went to with pals from the local scene, in part celebrating handing in my final assignment. That show was waaaaay back in May 2017 (another gig is long overdue) and it's been such a joy to watch his journey (if at a distance) since then. Early singles as Magique and really coming into his own creatively under his own name. I love all of his musical output so far and I am adoring this EP.

It's late as I type this and I could ramble more, but I'd rather you took the time to just soak the EP into your ears/minds/hearts - it's on Spotify here. If you'd like a taster first, the newest single to be taken from the EP is Bad Bad Fun and it has instantly become one of my favourite songs of the year. So. Much. Love. 

On the track, Cj explains: "This is the euphoric part of these times for me. Mistakes repeated, bad decisions in the name of fun, the chaos and mess, and fall out of said decisions. Apologising, making up, and breaking up. The messiness of being human. I think bad bad fun is a little slice of guilty pleasures we all crave from time to time. I just wanted it to feel like it was bursting out the speakers, a thousand voices singing from the same song sheet, holding each other up and bouncing about in the July sunshine.”

Follow Cj Pandit - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 11 May 2021

LISTEN: Matilda Mann - 'My Point Of You'

You always know you're in for a treat when Matilda Mann graces us with a new track, and My Point Of You is no exception to the rule. A track about returning to yourself after a breakup, the faster delivery on this one makes it all the more enchanting. A tiny two minute track, you'll find yourself skipping back to the beginning to get just a couple more minutes with Matilda's completely hypnotic vocals. 

On the track Matilda shares: "I wrote My Point Of You about watching a friend of mine start doing all the things she loves doing again, after being with someone who slowly changed her. Growing back into yourself, and knowing you don't need that person to make you happy, is the best part of a breakup. You're coming back, they're not." 

Follow Matilda Mann - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 10 May 2021

WATCH: Madi Diaz - 'Nervous'

Quickly, I wanted to say thanks for all the birthday love. You're genuinely all the best. After a whole bunch of Sunday night procrastination / Monday morning anticipation, I'm staring at my list of potential posts in search of something to write about. It often feels a little 'kid in a sweet shop' when I do that - there's so much I want to share, so much good music being released right now. LUMP are back, there's a brilliant debut EP from my pal Cj Pandit, a new track from the upcoming Dizzy EP, new Matilda Mann and sooooo much more to revel in. 

I've settled (very happily) on one of my favourite releases from the past week, the latest tune from Madi Diaz. The Nashville-based artist follows recent singles New Person, Old Place and Man In Me with Nervous, her third single for ANTI- Records. A song about recognising unhealthy coping mechanisms in yourself, I think it's my favourite of the trio - from the hypnotic guitar lines to Madi's vocals dancing back and forth across them, I'm loving everything about this. The video (below) was shot in Nashville and directed by Jordan Bellamy - inspired by and including a homage to the final scene of Andrei Tarkovsky's film The Stalker

On the track, Madi shares: "You know when you hold a mirror up to a mirror and you get an infinite amount of reflections from every angle? That's what 'Nervous' is about. It's when you're in a loop of looking at yourself from every vantage point until you're caught up in your own tangled web of bullshit. It's about catching yourself acting out your crazy and you're finally self-aware enough to see it, but you're still out of your body enough and curious enough to watch yourself do it."

Follow Madi Diaz - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 7 May 2021

six years of songs (and things)

I'm a bit late to my own party writing this on Friday afternoon, but it felt like the blog was owed a little celebratory post to mark a milestone. 

The lil site that you find yourself on right now turns six today!!! 

Firstly - it's bewildering that it's been a year since I was rambling (far more than I will here - don't worry*) about the site's five year birthday. About my hopes to have organised a gig to celebrate it and announcing a little Youtube project that I had set up with some of my favourite artists playing tracks from their homes just for the blog. 

The stars aligned a little, and sent me videos from Sam Beeton and Irwin Sparkes (as White Tail Falls). Artists I've loved since before the blog existed, and who both inspired its creation in a way. Forever indebted to their inspiring artistry and general loveliness to myself and to the blog.

As a quick aside - I haven't shared anything new there in a while but do have monthly playlists (here's May) of my favourite music videos and performances, and if any artists fancy recording something for it then I would certainly be up for sharing more sessions so get in touch!! 

I have to say that the past year has probably been the best year yet for the blog. Follower counts and page views can be a little distracting but I do love me a statistic, and they've jumped so much in the past year. Twitter followers doubled, Instagram tripled (!) and I'm pretty sure the site itself saw the most views ever for the year. I've had a bunch of time at home from work on furlough over the past year, and it's been lovely to see the extra time that I was able to put into the site reflected in those ways.

More than a year without gigs has been strange - so much of my barely existent social life is usually going to gigs, catching up with pals I've made at previous gigs and through music over the internet. It's been really odd not to see my favourite artists and my favourite people and yet, in certain way, I've never felt quite so connected to the scene...

The number of fellow music fans, bloggers, PR folk, artists, labels and the like who I've interacted with over the past year, mostly through the blog, has been lovely. The blog is so much cooler than me, so I only hope that you're not too disappointed when you meet real life Megan at a gig somewhere along the line. 

I've been back at work for a few weeks now and finding time to keep on top of the blog can be a bit of a struggle. Growth on the site means that submissions have risen and my inbox is teeming with exciting new music. Everybody wants a slice of the CMAT pie. It can be a little overwhelming at times and yet, here I still am. Mostly it's a huge honour to have any kind of audience to share my music-based rambles with. 

Thanks so much for sticking around. Thanks for sharing my posts, for telling me that you enjoyed a post, and particularly the content I was sharing in it. There's no joy like knowing I've successfully spread the word of a release I have a lot of love for. That's what I'm here for.

If you forgot to get the blog a birthday cake, apologies accepted via Ko-fi donations. Joke. But the link is here if you did ever want to support the behind the scenes goings on of the site...

Here's to another year of music based rambles. Maybe even a gig.

Thanks for being the best!!!!

(*OK I lied and rambled a lot again. Oops.)

LISTEN: Ski Lift - 'Moaning Again'

Cast your mind back to March... you remember Portal, right? AKA the absolute belter of a tune from South London trio Ski Lift. They're back, this time with Moaning Again, the second of a trio of singles to be released through Spring. I think this one might even top Portal, which is saying something. Upbeat indie-rock at its finest, the kind of music you'd love to be in a basement music venue (the grottier the better) listening to of an evening right now. The shimmeriest (not a word) of guitars masks the more delicate nature of the lyrics, tackling the hidden nature of mental health problems in the style of a conversation with yourself in the mirror.

On the track, vocalist and songwriter Benji Tranter says: “Moaning Again is an internal conversation - I wrote it during a ‘down’ period, mentally speaking. I suppose I was trying to reason with myself, tell myself that it’s okay not to be okay - that your highs and lows are always relative to wherever your centre of balance is, emotionally. Looking back through the original scrawl of lyrics, there were some darker moments in there that I left out. On this occasion we packaged it up, all-smiles, with an indie-rock bow on top! But even the smiliest, loveliest person can be secretly battling their inner demons.”

Follow Ski Lift - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 6 May 2021

WATCH: Rachel Sermanni - 'Travelled'

Life feels all kinds of overwhelming at the moment. Everything seems to be happening at once and there are definitely not enough hours in the day. The blog turns 6 tomorrow (for those who I've bored with the ~origin story~ in the past, it's technically a couple of years older than that, but tomorrow is the anniversary of when I started the site here on Blogger with this URL. I'll probably (when I find some time, or something to procrastinate doing) ramble a little about that soon, but, wow. It's difficult to keep on top of submissions etc at the moment but it is worth it when I stumble across something beautiful in there...

Today, that comes in the form of this utter slice of heaven from Rachel Sermanni. As I type this late on Wednesday night, it's giving my wearied soul some much needed peace. She's a star. It's a really special new tune taken from her upcoming Swallow Me EP, which is due 2nd June. Much of the EP was written while Rachel was pregnant, and this track finds her mourning a particular way of life that she was about to lose to face the unknowns of motherhood - "I've travelled around but I never thought I'd stay."

On the track, Rachel shares: "I was staying with a beautiful family in Portland when I wrote Travelled. This is definitely a depiction of the dark night of the soul situation I was having at that moment in coming to terms with my choices." 

Kicking off in London at Omeara, Rachel tours the UK through to December. Tickets/dates here.

Follow Rachel Sermanni - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 5 May 2021

WATCH: feeo - 'feels like we're getting older doesn't it'

Let me introduce you to one of the best tracks you'll hear this week... you're welcome in advance. Oxford's experimental neo-soul singer and producer feeo is back (rejoice) with feels like we're getting older doesn't it, the title track of her upcoming EP, due 4th June via local label Upcycled Records. The track was co-produced by the label's own (and local folk musician) Niko O'Brien. As ever, the production pulls together sounds sourced from far afield into a stunning tapestry. It's transcendent, and feels like we're seeing yet another side of feeo as an artist after recent singles End Song and Yeti

On the track, feeo shares: “‘feels like we’re getting older doesn’t it’ is about being a part of a generation who are too terrified of the future to move forward. Instead we eternalise ourselves in the eyes of those in our present. Both scared to grow up and yet constantly rejecting the naivety of our younger selves. When we were 15, our love letters felt like infatuation and lingering eye contact. Now that we’re older they start to feel a bit more like relationships that only exist when it’s nighttime. Living in the space between a fear of abandonment and total indifference. Sex is now just a token of our physical existence - gone in the morning.”

There's so much to love on the Oxford scene at the moment (as always) and feeo is a reaaaaaally exciting artist - a student of both fine art and computer science, she has a fierce creativity which manifests itself beyond the music. She once again created the video for the track herself, combining artistic camera shots with CGI rendered visualisations. 

“For the video I really wanted to explore the idea of performative physical intimacy as both an act of selfishness and selflessness. In order to perform, we must be perceived by someone else-the affirmation of self is totally tied to how others see us. I was thinking particularly about my own performance of femininity. The idea is that the video is totally self absorbed, totally revolving around me, and yet is a performance that only serves its purpose when perceived by others.”

Follow feeo - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 4 May 2021

WATCH: Sarah Kinsley - 'Over + Under'

Pop belter alert. Absolutely loving this from Sarah Kinsley. As is the case around much of the industry, statistics on women in music show a real gender disparity when it comes to producers, and particularly female artists producing their own music. New York artist Sarah therefore somewhat breaks the mould, joining a group of self-producing bedroom pop artists including the likes of Girl in Red, Clairo and Beabadoobee (and closer to home here in the UK, feeo, whose latest tune I'm sharing on the site tomorrow). Not content to just produce her own tracks, Sarah performs everything on this latest single, as on the entire forthcoming EP. The result is simply joyous. All we need is some kind of dance floor.

On the track, Sarah shares: “Over + Under is a record about the only thing we know to be constant - the ebb and flow. In the midst of isolation and lockdown, I felt so stuck inside, surrounded by the same four walls and windows. I began to write, recording this feeling of being over and under in my journals. In the lyrics, I wrote of escaping to a crashing tide, chasing the clouds and searching for stability once more. I was lost in a place I knew so well and yet felt so far away from.

Out of this frustration I found myself one morning staring at my door. A glass cup. A trunk on the floor. My table. I began to knock against these different objects, suddenly creating sound with the same things that had made me feel so stuck. There was an entirely new sonic atmosphere literally in my hands, evolving into its own music. There was so much more meaning in the mundane. The world around and beyond my window was breathing with me, telling me that things must change. Just like the tree in my backyard, I would be something new tomorrow.”

With the release of Over + Under, Sarah announces her new EP The King, due on 4th June. 

Follow Sarah Kinsley - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 3 May 2021

WATCH: VC Pines - 'See You Soon'

I'm always a fan of new VC Pines and I'm really digging his latest track, See You Soon, lifted from his upcoming EP Concrete, which was written and produced during lockdown. Jack's vocals are completely on form here. Superb. Once you've listened to this, take yourself to the streaming platform of your choice and devour his back catalogue - you won't regret it for a second. He's just shared a video for the track, created by Apollo Films with director Adrian Lee - following a recent creative arc reflecting back the isolation and confines that we've all experienced over the last year...

On the video, VC Pines shares: "See You Soon as a song is about the various changes you see in people throughout the night and the different levels of emotions involved, especially at an after party. So with the video we wanted to convey mixed emotions within one person, using mirrors to reflect this. The different mirror shots portray feels of boredom, loneliness, happiness, anxiousness and the cheekiness of 'the devil on your shoulder'. And then towards the end of the video there's a change in the lighting to mark the end of the night when anxiety hits and you know you should have gone home hours ago, mixed in with mirror shots of other feelings begging you to stay..." 

The Concrete EP is due for release via Theory Records on May 26th, and VC is set to play a launch gig at the gorgeous St Pancras Old Church on July 28th. 

"I knew I wanted to do an EP launch show to celebrate Concrete (just like we all would have been able to do a year and a half ago without question) but there's still a bit of uncertainty and all that. My team and I have been looking at some weird and wonderful places that could be adapted to any sudden changes but also maintain that intimate feeling and so we found St Pancras Old Church! I'm desperate to showcase the new tunes for the first time and finally play live to you all again. The intimacy of this venue will provide a unique experience for us all and I think the tunes are going to sound beaut in there."

Follow VC Pines - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.