Thursday 29 July 2021

EP NEWS: Melin Melyn - 'Blomonj'

Blimey. I love Melin Melyn so much that they're unwittingly making cool music and things history... I am almost certain that this is the first time I have ever featured a track performed in Welsh (perhaps even in any language other than English?!) A big day. I deliberated - I have very little idea what frontman Gruff is singing, but it's too difficult not to share when the band, and track, are this good. With one other Welsh track (Mwydryn) under their belts from 2019, they came onto my radar with the completely raucous Rebecca last year, and followed it this year with Lucy's Odyssey. Those three, and the brand new track - Dewin Dwl - feature on the band's upcoming Blomonj EP, due August 17th on Bingo Records.

Traversing between languages, the Welsh 6-piece exist in a space of their own making within the industry, pulling together aspects of folk, rock, pop and psychedelia to do their bidding. Intense, passionate, furiously melodious... I can only imagine what it would be like to see the tracks performed live. 

Frontman Gruff has this to say on the new track... "Dewin Dwl. It means Silly Wizard. We've all met a Silly Wizard in our time, and when they depart, I've often wondered, where do they go? This is a tale of legends: of bards debating upon a hill, dancing with skylarks and smoking a big fat pipe in a pub. It's also the name of a smash hit cartoon from my childhood. Tan y tro nesa ! / Until next time!" 

Follow Melin Melyn - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 28 July 2021

EP NEWS: Chartreuse - 'Is It Autumn Already?'

It's happened again - completely shocked that I've never featured Chartreuse on the blog... how?! Their Keep Checking Up On Me EP was one of my favourite releases of 2020, the title track easily one of my favourite tracks of the year. There's a familiarity to their sound, a relatability in the stories they tell through their lyrics - and yet they sound unlike anything else I'm listening to right now. They've just shared Things Are Changing Too Quickly, the first track from the upcoming Is It Autumn Already? EP, due 19th November. 

Chartreuse are Hattie Wilson, Mike Wagstaff, Rory Wagstaff and Perry Lovering, and if you've not listened to them before - now is as good a time as any. Check out the video for Things Are Changing Too Quickly below. (You can thank me later.)

To support the release of the EP, Chartreuse are heading out on a run of headline shows kicking off at The Lexington in London on 30th November. Dates and tickets here. Yep, still feels weird to say that.

Follow Chartreuse - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 27 July 2021

ALBUM NEWS: Aquilo - 'A Safe Place To Be'

Busy day at work. Sits down to write a blog post in the evening. Falls asleep at/on the laptop. Repeat.

Somehow being at home more since I've reduced the hours I work in my day job to do an internship has made me more tired. In a snatch of consciousness before sleep, however, I'm typing away at this...

The lovely Aquilo guys are back with a new track, and have just announced their upcoming record A Safe Place To Be. An incredibly moving track, my heart feels all aflutter listening to the strings on it. Stunning! Written a couple of years ago when the duo returned home to Lancashire from time in LA, it was recorded just before Christmas, in the basement of Ben's family home, where they made their first ever music together. 

They share: "When we made this song it felt like a defining moment for us and the album. It was one of the first songs we made where it all clicked into place for the two of us. We started playing this melody on an old, dusty, out of tune piano. Within a few hours of going with the flow it just poured out! We hope it can do the same thing for people listening that it's done for us." 

The new record, A Safe Place To Be, is due on October 15th - last word to the duo, who share "it really does feel like a new phase for the two of us. The start of something new. We're just eager to get it out in the world." 

Follow Aquilo - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 26 July 2021

LISTEN: Liz Lawrence - 'Babies'

Is it just me that's a little bit overwhelmed by the volume of superb music being released at the moment? As is probably predictable if you know me, I've got a spreadsheet list of records (which started last year as a lockdown boredom project, a list of classic albums & artists that I had never listened to, and is now a sort of release calendar on top of that) and, more than half way through the year, there are still SO MANY brilliant artists releasing records in the next few months. Big Red Machine, the newly announced James Blake, the debut MarthaGunn, new Bess Atwell, Public Service Broadcasting, LUMP and Jungle to name but a few....

One of my most anticipated albums of the year is The Avalanche from Liz Lawrence. Each new taste of the record is bringing with it such elation, and Babies is no exception to the rule. While previous record Pity Party (a complete gem if you're new to it) saw Liz drawing on herself and her experiences, the new record takes more of a distanced approach. In Babies, Liz inhabits a character 'dragging themselves away from drudgery' - she describes "I thought of a man who's driving to work every morning and saying goodbye to his wife, kissing her on the cheek and then going to sit in his car, even though he lost his job months ago." 

"I've been singing pretty for a long time, and I wanted to try new things. So I've machoed it up. Babies is one of my favourite tracks on the record. I felt like I was exorcising some demons with it, just for fun." 

The Avalanche is due on September 17th (pre-order/pre-save here.) 

Follow Liz Lawrence Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 23 July 2021

EP NEWS: Connie Constance - 'Prim & Propa'

I'm confused to find that past me didn't write about either of Connie Constance's previous singles (James and Electric Girl, both of which are excellent.) I'm remedying my past mistakes in keeping her music a secret from you all with this post... exciting news: she's just launched new track Prim & Propa and announced an EP of the same name. An artist to be reckoned with, last year saw her finding inspiration from her upbringing, melding Nigerian folk and rock music with the British guitar-driven music she grew up with. She announced her own label Jump The Fence and released the The Butterfly Club EP too. She describes her new EP as "a safe space to feel good, to be pissed off, to harness the future and to be - or not to be - Prim and Propa." 

On the single, Connie shares: "This song is about owning community culture, family and friendship. It's about looking at that big white house and the perfect grass and saying 'Yeah, nah, not for me, mate - not without my people enjoying it with me.' It's an anthem for everyone that feels betrayed and let down by this country. It's for the single parents, the people that work their arses off every single day and can barely get their head above water. It's a reminder that we've got what's important right here with us: 'When you want more then look around, if you've got love you know you're good / cause when the grass is greener, the people are meaner.'" 

Follow Connie Constance - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 21 July 2021

WATCH: Luna Morgenstern - 'Tonight'

In (very) exciting and slightly meta events that have happened in the past week... I had a hand in writing a bit of the press release for this video! Writing a paragraph for a press release for the first time is, it turns out, incredibly daunting - despite all the rambling I do here. Made easier however when the thing you're writing about is this good. Luna Morgenstern released her Taking the Blow EP recently and it's genuinely a stunner. 

Before the EP, Luna found herself working as a music producer at a music agency specialising in advertising. Feeling unable to write music, she took the job after the loss of her mother, but lost sight of herself amidst intense working hours and very little downtime. Quitting and working on the EP was an all or nothing decision - "if I don't do this now, I never will." In a fairly unique position among her (female) contemporaries, Luna is an engineer and producer alongside being a performer and writer, and the body of work is a beautiful and incredibly powerful reflection of her talents in all respects. Vast soundscapes combine with intimate writing, there's something almost filmic in the tracks. 

The video for current single Tonight is just that, recorded by Luna's film student boyfriend Ties Bruins. Luna explains - "we wanted to take this rather romantic and dreamy theme and flip the mood in the video to something unsettling, by shooting in a gritty location resembling a cell, thus reflecting the jail that your own thoughts can be."

Follow Luna Morgenstern - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

LISTEN: Ski Lift - 'Teenager'

I'm a teeny bit late to the party with this one, but I've really been digging Ski Lift this year, and as I shared Portal and Moaning Again, it seems only right to share Teenager - the third of a trilogy of tracks they've released this year. It's warm and I'm more than a little bit exhausted physically (.... hot) and mentally (hooray for that one horrible anti-masker who is desperate to spout ridiculous views towards retail workers - woo!) and I'm trying to write this far too late in the day, so I might just let the track do the talking. There are some pretty relevant themes at play... 

Vocalist Benji Tranter, who fronts the project alongside a rotating group of musicians as live back-up, explains of the track - "Teenager represents the mindset of youth, the optimism, the cynicism, the freedom, the rebellion. That time in your life when everything is ahead of you, and life is exciting and you believe that you can change the world - while at the same time you're imprisoned by it. There's a bittersweetness to it but it's visceral and real and tangible. Life can beat you into submission and apathy, but the young will always fight that. This is me refuting the mundanity and conformity of adulthood, even if only for two and a half nostalgic minutes at a time." 

Follow Ski Lift - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 19 July 2021

LISTEN: Ailsa Tully - 'Sheets'

Pure magic: Ailsa Tully has done it again. Released last week, Sheets is taken from her forthcoming EP Holy Isle, due via Dalliance Recordings on 20th August. Close your eyes, lie back on your own sheets and let those stunning vocals transport you - "we have nothing but time." I'd like to write some long descriptive sentences but I'd rather you just listened... let the song do the talking. 

On the track, Ailsa shares: "Sheets is about restlessness and trying to let yourself be still. It's about waking up and feeling the anxious urge to be productive, to wash your clothes, to make your bed, but forcing yourself to slow down in order to share a moment with someone." 

Concentrate just hard enough, and you'll hear the (topical) whir of a washing machine - elsewhere across the upcoming EP, other field recordings bring together the tracks. Winds, bristling leaves, the song of a cuckoo (hell yes!) and more tying together Ailsa's harmonies and instrumentation. I can't wait to hear more of it. 

Follow Ailsa Tully - Facebook | Instagram.

Friday 16 July 2021

WATCH: Luca Firth - 'Dancers'

Well this is a dream to ease you into the weekend... I'm firstly completely confused as to how it's already three months since Luca Firth arrived with debut track Wings. (And yes, still in love with that one, in case you needed to ask.) He's just shared second track Dancers, and it's just as much of an indie-folk dream. Recorded in his uni-halls, the track arrives a little rustic, with layered vocals sitting atop acoustic guitar and a percussive beat. If you close your eyes, you could be sat around a campfire with Luca performing... there's an intimacy in the performance and the lyrics which makes it really endearing - in the video too, recorded and edited by (and featuring) Luca's best pals. I absolutely can't wait to hear more (and I'm kind of glad to have something to alternate Wings with...) 

On the track, Luca shares: "Dancers is about the first summer I spent with an ex-girlfriend. Specifically one night that we just randomly started dancing together outside. That moment has stuck with me for a long time. The song tries to encapsulate that moment and feeling, and how that summer was." 

Follow Luca Firth - Facebook | TwitterInstagram.

Thursday 15 July 2021

LISTEN: Bess Atwell - 'Nobody'

You all know how much I'm adoring the new music from Bess Atwell by now, right?! Her new record Always, Always is due via Real Kind Records on September 24th, and she's just released another taster of it, in the shape of Nobody. For the most part marrying Bess's vocals with just a Spanish guitar, it's a delicate and minimal track to close the record, reminiscent of Real Kind founder Lucy Rose or Laura Marling in places. Strong, emotive and reaaaaally lovely. Safe to assume that you'll need to make space on your album of the year lists for this one, I reckon... 

On the track, Bess shares: "I wrote this song very quickly which is probably why it's one of my favourites. Writing can sometimes feel laboured and emotionally draining but this felt so easy and cathartic, sort of like it just fell out. It encapsulates a specific type of loneliness, a loneliness that I think I had probably been getting closer to conveying with every song on the record, but that finally felt solidified in this one which is why I decided to close the album with it." 

"Often, the harder you try to figure yourself out, the further you get from knowing yourself. Without knowing yourself it can feel impossible to know and love other people. I was desperate for answers about where and who I was meant to be. Nobody focused on a specific relationship, but I hope it taps into something more universal - the feeling of lacking a sense of belonging. 

Something about the simple Spanish guitar part reminded me of a little of 'Orange' by Big Thief which inspired me to keep the production minimal. We recorded drums but decided to take them off, and left mostly just a subtle electronic soundscape that I had put on the demo - synth pads and bass. I wanted something a little more special for this song, so we asked the wonderful Marcus Hamblett to play some brass towards the end."

Follow Bess Atwell - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 14 July 2021

ALBUM NEWS: Sam Fender - 'Seventeen Going Under'

You might have seen me posting about it on social media, but if not... I'm delighted to share that I've just started an internship with the lovely folk at Chalk Press. They're a PR agency who work with a whole bunch of my favourite artists, and whose work I've long admired via the blog. All the years of rambling here might just about be paying off? I'd warn of some upcoming favouritism of Chalk artists, but that's always been the case. The quality is off the scale. I started last week, just in time for the return of one of the biggest artists on the roster, the one and only Sam Fender

It's almost two years since Sam released his debut record Hypersonic Missiles, which went straight to number 1 in the charts. After a couple of re-listens this week, I can confirm that much like a fine wine (or so I'm told) it has aged beautifully... and I am very much looking forward to the release of his sophomore record Seventeen Going Under in October. The title track debuted as Annie Mac's Hottest Record on BBCR1 last week with a really insightful interview with Sam (listen here.) I've been finding myself constantly returning to the new track - take a look at the video below!

The new record will be released via Polydor Records and was recorded in North Shields and produced with Bramwell Bronte. Sam describes it as "a coming of age story. It's about growing up. It's a celebration of life after hardship, and it's a celebration of surviving." It's an introspective record, deeply personal, and yet resonant. Can't wait to hear more - and for everybody else to get to! 

Pre-order Seventeen Going Under here - due 8th October.

Follow Sam Fender - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 13 July 2021

WATCH: dexter - 'I Like Me'

Occasionally, you get that feeling that it's genuinely exciting to be there as a fan quite early on in a project. A palpable sense that they're probably about to do incredible things. I'm getting that feeling with dexter, AKA 18 year-old South West London based artist/human Charmaine. She's been self-releasing singles over the past year, using a moniker and keeping the project somewhat of a secret, but the cat is out of the bag, and she's got an EP (the delightfully named I Do Love A Good Sandwich) due on August 4th. I Like Me is the painfully relatable second track from the EP, for which you can watch the video, directed by Amity Bloc, below. 

On the track, she shares "I Like Me is about me feeling like I have to be a certain way to make boys like me or to feel more 'like a girl'. I was inspired by a period of time in lockdown where I found myself trying to buy a bunch of clothes that would make me feel more feminine and girly but I didn't even like half the stuff I was buying. I would like it to let listeners know that girls shouldn't have to act a certain way to feel like they are still feminine or worth people liking them and that it's cool to be both girly and not girly." 

Follow dexter Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 12 July 2021

LISTEN: Half Moon Run - 'Inwards & Onwards' EP

I've been a little nostalgic over the blog of late, and found that Half Moon Run were a band that I championed quite early on, sharing various new tracks, videos and tour dates to Tumblr. I'd actually 'found' them through a 4 for £10 offer in my local HMV store, where I picked up a copy of their debut album on CD - I'm not sure if I'd even heard of them, let alone listened to them, but the artwork (and the £2.50 price tag) pulled me in and I've never looked back. The blog has evolved a lot since then, and the band along with it. Their latest (and brilliant) EP Inwards & Onwards has been out for a few weeks now, but I felt a sudden urgency to share it here...

I've been self-isolating at home for the past few days, and have just watched both series of Feel Good on Netflix, which is written by, and stars, Canadian comedian Mae Martin. The show has one of the best TV soundtracks that I've ever heard, mostly thanks to the swathes of Half Moon Run, new and old, interspersed throughout it (Mae is a big fan) but also the likes of Fleet FoxesAjimal, Leif Vollebekk and Phoebe Bridgers. I genuinely don't feel as if I've seen a TV show make such brilliant use of music before, where it wasn't written specifically for the show. 

In a conversation with Mae, HMR's Conner Molander discusses how the pandemic affected the band, putting a stop to touring, encouraging creativity, and losing them a bandmate (amiably). He also mentioned that they've got a lot of music that they're currently working on... between this EP, last year's Seasons of Change EP and The Covideo Sessions it's a pretty good time to be a HMR fan. Better still if you're in the UK (London..) as they're playing Lafayette on 16th June next year (it's sold out, but you can join a waiting list here.)

Check out the Inwards & Onwards EP here.

Follow Half Moon Run - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 9 July 2021

LISTEN: Billie Flynn - 'Hey Stranger'

Contender the most gorgeous debut you'll hear this week coming right up... I'm loving Hey Stranger from Billie Flynn, the latest signing to Gabrielle Aplin's Never Fade Records. Sharing the track online, Billie explained that it was written a few years ago, and that she'd always wanted it to be the first track she officially release. For me, it was the beautiful instrumentation that immediately grabbed my attention... as piano and acoustic guitar build into a richer soundscape filled with strings. Come from the strings, but stick around for Billie's exquisitely intimate vocals. At once, the track feels as if Billie is singing directly to you, and as if the track should be occupying a film soundtrack, playing over footage of the Cornish coast that Billie calls home. In short: it's lovely, get listening. 

"This song came to me in a dream, I dreamt the melody and woke up frantically trying to find my phone to record a voice note, I still have it. It's about seeing someone again that isn't in your life anymore and hoping that they're proud of who you are now."  

Follow Billie Flynn - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 8 July 2021

WATCH: Matilda Mann - 'Bloom'

"I met you too soon, for anything to bloom." 

As I've said time and time again, I am in love with Matilda Mann and her gorgeous music. It's been a treat to watch her going from strength to strength over the past year - and hearing recent single Doomsday on BBC Radio 1 a few days back was a delight. Onto the next, though... she's just shared Bloom, taken from forthcoming EP Sonder. The track arrives with a video from documentary photographer and director Aria Shahrokhshahi

On the track, Matilda shares: "Bloom is about meeting someone too soon. Sometimes you need a little more time, to figure out what you want and how to be alone, so that you don't give too much of yourself away to someone else. Sometimes it can just be a phase, or you feel like you made a mistake. But I think, as time goes on, things like that become more clear it was the right decision." 

Follow Matilda Mann - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 7 July 2021

EP NEWS: JWestern - 'Midnight Thoughts'

Happy Wednesday, folks! Last week brought with it some EP news from the magnificent new talent JWestern, whose Midnight Thoughts EP is due on Heist or Hit on 13th August. If you're new to his music (or, indeed, if you're already a fan) you can get a taster of what's to follow with new single Active Guy below.

Speaking about the track, JWestern (AKA John Gooding) shares this all too relatable story: "Active Guy is a kind of ode to myself. At the time of writing it I was burnt out from working a 9-5 job leaving me drained all the time. When it came to the weekend I just wanted to kick back and listen to music, but I always felt this expectation that I had to be productive all the time, bettering myself in some way. Waking up at the crack of dawn and going for a run then doing a massive list of jobs, it just isn't for me - on a Sunday at least. When it came to the writing the track it all began with the line "you think that I'm crazy-cause I just want to be lazy" and I thought, what do I want to do on a Sunday? It all kind of snowballed from there and the lyrics just fell into place."

"I wanted the beat itself to seem quite lazy and laid back, so the kick and bass are lax and sloppy. The instruments have a dreamy kind of quality as well, almost as if someone's half awake, going between dozing off and just starting to wake up. I kind of imagine the chorus as a bit of an 'anti-lazy' section, cause honestly, I want it to pick people up who are similar to me, struggling to motivate themselves to open the curtains and instead make them want to bounce around their room a bit at 7am." 

Follow JWestern - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 6 July 2021

ALBUM NEWS: CHILDCARE - 'Busy Busy People'

New music from CHILDCARE is always a reason to rejoice - particularly when it arrives alongside news of a brand new album. Little Secret is the third single to be taken from upcoming second album Busy Busy People, due 24th September... already a great day for releases with records from Public Service Broadcasting and Bess Atwell out then too! 

On the new single, the band explain "Little Secret is one of those songs which has taken years to come together; we've had the chorus for a long time but could never quite get the verses or feel of the song right. It wasn't until I started interviewing friends and asked them to each share a secret with me that the song clicked into place and we recorded it for this album. Little Secret is therefore like a smoothie mix of lots of different people's secrets, blended for your pleasure."

Pre-order the record/grab October tour tickets here.

Follow CHILDCARE - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 5 July 2021

LISTEN: Jolé & Christof van der Ven - 'Bygone'

Well, this is a bit lovely, isn't it?! A joy to find a collaboration from Jolé and Christof van der Ven in my inbox a couple of weeks ago. I'll take any new Christof music where I can get it, and a collaborative project with Jolé, entitled Great Parade, is an exciting new chapter, born via a meeting through mutual friends and an instant desire to write music together. First single Bygone is taken from an EP due to be announced later this year. Beautifully blending the complimentary sounds and voices of both artists, it's an indie folk/electronica mix, pulsating and soothing in equal measure. 

On the track, the pair explain: "Bygone was written as a memory of the younger us and the way we grow up forgetting the small moments of youth and childhood. We can often take for granted those memories as we age but also stop and reflect on what we had, to remind ourselves that life can be simple in the best ways." 

Follow Jolé - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.
Follow Christof van der Ven - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 2 July 2021

WATCH: Liz Lawrence - 'Down For Fun'

I bloody love Liz Lawrence. After releasing new track Saturated a couple of weeks back, she's just shared a video for previous single Down For Fun. Both tracks are taken from her upcoming studio album The Avalanche, due on September 17th. While on the surface the video is a little bit tongue in cheek, look a little closer and it extends on the themes of the song itself, a rallying call for strength and power to teenage girls who might feel sidelined. Liz explains: "all the subcultures and countercultures I was around were very male-dominated, and this is about feeling like there are other options. It's the words I needed to hear."

In true 'we love to see it' style, Liz wrote, arranged, performed and produced the entire album herself, trying to capture the essence of her joyous live shows on the record. "I feel like there's power and aggression in the way I perform live, and I wanted to capture that. It was a complete pleasure to write. I'd had all that anxiety around releasing 'Pity Party' after such a long period of not writing under my own name. But I was buzzing off the fact that people were receptive to it live, and it gave me so much confidence to make this. I like to dance, and I like to move, and I wanted to make a record that people would move to quite naturally, I wanted it to have motion. I think it's quite silly, and it's joyful, and I'm not always sure people expect that from me."  

Follow Liz Lawrence Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 1 July 2021

WATCH: Maple Glider - 'Friend'

You could say that I chose a great week last week to get completely out of the loop with new releases and abandon my inbox for a few days... I came back to find one of the busiest release days in living memory (ask any music PR/journo you know... if they've recovered yet.) Australia's Maple Glider is an artist I hadn't heard of until Friday, when I saw a few tweets about her debut album, To Enjoy Is The Only Thing. You can usually tell if you're going to love an artist by the person recommending it, and I was right to have high hopes... it's a beautiful album. 

As your way in (like mine) here is new single Friend, with a video directed by Athina Wilson. On the track, Maple Glider, AKA Tori Zietsch, explains: "this song is for an old, good friend. In some ways it feels like one of the most personal songs on the album. I knew I wanted to write it for a long time, before I finally did. It's a reflection of some of my experience in the music industry from the age of sixteen or so, before Maple Glider existed, and the story of a friendship intertwined inside of each of our shiny music dreams. It was turbulent and unbalanced, and we both became a little undone within it. A lot of hurt and healing came to the surface after years of close collaboration, and 'Friend' is the result of that."

If, like me, Friend has you hooked, or at the very least a little intrigued, let Tori entice you further with these words describing the collection of tracks which make up the record: "...walking past tinsel covered trees in mid-September, swimming along the calanques in the south of France, car-bonnet frost, darkness at 4pm, lightness until 10pm, a muted feeling, the perpetual grey fog that swallows the Silver Coast, the colour red, this ugly green dress, red wine, red blood, red lips, red is the colour of the cardinal’s robe, Switzerland, my mother’s diaries, a coroner’s report, the sun on my face, the end of love, "To enjoy is the only thing. BTCH$.'"

Follow Maple Glider - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.