Wednesday 30 June 2021

LISTEN: Ed Nash - 'Plumes'

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

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

Follow Ed Nash - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 29 June 2021

WATCH: LAUREL - 'Wild Side'

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

Follow Laurel - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 28 June 2021

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

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

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

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

Follow Charli Adams - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Follow Novo Amor - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 22 June 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Tom Rosenthal - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 17 June 2021

WATCH: Mumble Tide - 'Breakfast'

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

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

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

Follow Mumble Tide - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 16 June 2021

WATCH: M Field - 'Andrew'

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

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

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

Follow M Field - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 15 June 2021

LISTEN: Lauran Hibberd - 'Bleugh'

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

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

Follow Lauran Hibberd - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 14 June 2021

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

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

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

Follow Dizzy - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Follow Flyte - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 11 June 2021

WATCH: IMOGEN - 'Bloodbag'

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

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

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

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

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

Follow IMOGEN - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 9 June 2021

ALBUM NEWS: Bess Atwell - 'Already, Always'

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Bess Atwell - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 8 June 2021

WATCH: Mazey Haze - 'Sad Lonely Groove'

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

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

Follow Mazey Haze - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 4 June 2021

ALBUM NEWS: Public Service Broadcasting - 'Bright Magic'

Oh PSB, I absolutely love you. As Steve Lamacq so beautifully put it a few days ago when premiering their new track on the radio, Public Service Broadcasting exist in "a genre of one". Over the past few years, I've felt that some artists might have been trying to emulate what PSB do, but nobody does it with such passion and endless creativity, and with such marvellous results. After being introduced to their debut album by a friend on a train journey in 2014, I was very quickly drawn into a love affair with their music. There are very few artists where I remember my first listen quite so vividly, which might be saying something... 

Much to my delight, they've just announced their fourth studio album, Bright Magic, due September 24th. A celebration of Berlin and its creative culture, the announcement arrives alongside the first track from the record, the incredibly hypnotic People, Let's Dance, featuring guest vocals from Berlin-based EERA. The track incorporates a guitar riff from Depeche Mode's People Are People and takes its title from a chapter of Rory MacLean's Berlin: Imagine A City. The accompanying video is equally brilliant, with synchronised roller-skaters against a city backdrop, directed by Chloe Hayward

Each PSB record brings with it an overarching theme, most recently the Welsh mining industry on Every Valley and the space race on The Race For Space. New record Bright Magic is an album in three parts (Building A City, Building A Myth, Bright Magic) and brings us to Europe's heart, the cultural and political metropolis that is Berlin. 
J. Willgoose, Esq. explains: "doing this felt inevitable, somehow. In my head, it was whirring and pulsing away for a long time, even before Every Valley - this fascinating, contrary, seductive place. I knew the album was going to be about the city, and its history and myths, and I was going to move there. So it's quite a personal story. It's become an album about moving to Berlin to write an album about people who move to Berlin to write an album..."

Willgoose did indeed move to Berlin, from April 2019 to January 2020, soaking up the city to directly influence the record, and writing and recording in Kreuzberg's famous Hansa Tonstudio. One particular instance saw Willgoose walking the Leipzigerstrasse, the site of the city's first electric streetlight, using a wide-band electromagnetic receiver from Moscow's Soma Laboratories.... "I walked up and down recording electrical currents and interference. You can hear a few of these little frequency buzzes, clicks and impulses in Im Licht (a song inspired in part by pioneering lightbulb manufacturers AEG and Siemens). It's what I was trying to do in the wider sense, I suppose - to capture those tiny little pulses you pick up while walking through a city."

What differs here however, is that the new record uses samples (and, indeed, the English language) sparingly. From the response I've seen to the announcement online though, I'd say that PSB fans are more than happy with the news (me included!) and have taken the single to their hearts already. I can't wait to hear more and see where the record takes us... holiday to Berlin, anyone?

Pre-order & pre-save Bright Magic here.

PSB are touring the UK later this year - dates and ticket links here (on sale next week, I believe).

Follow Public Service Broadcasting - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 3 June 2021

LISTEN: Cassia - 'Vitamins'

This gloriously sunny weather calls for some summer vibes in your listening (hence my commute choices of The Maccabees and Bombay Bicycle Club the past couple of days) and I've got just the tune in the shape of Vitamins from Cassia. I've got this one on repeat at the moment! Oh to be in a festival tent singing along to this one... 

Taken from their upcoming EP Magnifier, the track looks at the highs and lows of long distance relationships. Singer Rob Ellis shares: "it's about being in a long distance relationship and the weirdly scheduled calls that become an unmissable fix, almost like a drug. The distance can bring up all kinds of uncertainties and fears but knowing the next call isn't far away is like a vitamin boost that you need to get through the day, like a good berocca!"   

The band called on London based designer Cameron JL West (who has recently worked with Sports TeamEverything Everything and Alfie Templeman) for an incredibly personal animated lyric video to accompany the track. On the video, Rob writes: "we feel like we've had such a crazy journey over the past couple of years. The band has taken us to so many places, and through countless experiences with amazing people. We wanted to fill the video with the moments that we feel mark the different chapters best, from venues in Macclesfield where we played our first ever gigs, to memories on tour and also some of our favourite spots in Berlin (where we're living now). We hope that all the people who have been with us along the way can take something from it." 

Follow Cassia - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 2 June 2021

WATCH: Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen - 'Like I Used To'

This has been out a couple of weeks so you'll hopefully have had the pleasure already, but if not... let me boost your serotonin with this absolutely gorgeous duet from Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen. To my slight shame, I've not listened to much solo music from either of these undoubtedly brilliant musicians, but I loved Sharon's collaboration on the Deep Sea Diver record last year, so news of this track had my interested piqued. Hearing that John Congleton had produced and that Griff from Dawes is playing percussion on the track only tempted me more. 

I am so glad I took the plunge... this is a masterpiece. A coming together of two incredible voices, creating art that is nothing short of magical. If you want to feel all of the feelings (but mostly to feel completely enthused and empowered) then get this onto your stereo, pronto.

The track can speak for itself so I'll try not to ramble (to save you time for a repeat listen) but what I do particularly love about this, is from reading the press quotes etc from both artists surrounding the track. It's a perfect example of two women in the industry working together to create something which is artistically stunning, instead of competing or trying to pull each other down, which is so often the case. It's refreshing. The pair talk of admiring one another's art from both near and far, crossing paths on the road, at festivals and the like, and wishing to work together one day. 

Sharon: "Even though we weren't super close, I always felt supported by Angel and considered her a peer in this weird world of touring. We highway high-fived many times along the way... I finally got the courage in June 2020 to reach out to see if she would want to sing together. I got greedy and quickly sent her a track I had been working on."

Angel: "I've met with Sharon here and there throughout the years and have always felt too shy to ask her what she's been up to or working on. The song reminded me immediately of getting back to where I started, before music was expected of me, or much was expected of me, a time that remains pure and real in my heart."  

Here's hoping for more collaborations from these two in the future...

Follow Sharon van Etten - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Follow Angel Olsen - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 1 June 2021

WATCH: Girl Ray - 'Give Me Your Love'

The sunny bank holiday vibes of the past few days make me wish I was at the seaside (or... anywhere, right now) and that thought provides a tangible link to a memory relating to today's post... Rewind a few years, and I was at The Great Escape with team Tigmus. Late one night, we took a chance on a band that none of us had listened to (as is the charm of such a festival) at The Haunt (which a quick Google search tells me has since closed, moved and rebranded?!) That band was Girl Ray, a North London based trio whose first album was the delectably named Earl Grey. I enjoyed their set and have kept a vague eye on their work since, and I'm reaaaaaaally digging this new track which found its way into my inbox this week. 

Over to Poppy for some words on the track... "we worked on this song with Al Doyle and Joe Goddard from Hot Chip in their studio off Brick Lane in London. We had one day left with them, so thought we'd unearth an old demo of a slightly house-leaning song I'd been working on a few months before. It had a really loose structure but the feel of the chords was good so we decided to try fleshing it out. 

It was a really long day filled with a lot of playing around with the mountains of synths that fill their studio. Sections became longer... steel drums were added (along with some wonky backing vocals) and eventually it started taking shape. With all the awfulness of 2020 in our heads - it was important to us that it sounded optimistic and hopeful; a song for future summers where people can dance and enjoy music together one again."

Of the video, which features the full 8-minute long version of the track, Sophie and Iris explain: "We teamed up with our good friend and amazing director Alex Cantouris for another intricate and somewhat ambiguous love spectacle. Though this time we thought that 8 minutes of us acting would probably be unwatchable, so decided to get some professionals involved to deal with the main plot. What started off as a story about a woman having fun at a party, somehow soon turned into a romantic take on Midsommar, without the death and magic mushrooms. A queer Midsommar Night's Dream if you will. We had the best time making it, and discovered a new found love for the Kent countryside (even though one of the shoot days was literally the windiest day of the year." 

Follow Girl Ray - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.