Wednesday 18 August 2021

WATCH: Bess Atwell - 'Nobody' (Live)

I've been a little quiet here... I had some awful news last week and haven't really had the mental space or time to sit and write blog posts. Grief is intense. Dipping my toes into the water and I'm ~back~ slightly (if temporarily) to share a video that brought me some real comfort this week. Bess Atwell shares her new record Already, Always on September 24th via Real Kind Records - I had a lil blog perk yesterday and listened to the record early... it's a stunner, just as I expected. Last week, Bess shared a live performance video for Nobody, directed by James Hough and featuring Marcus Hamblett and Jools Owen on horns. 

Speaking on the video, Bess shares "this is one of my favourite tracks on the record so I wanted to highlight it by doing something that felt a bit more special. I've always wanted to perform with a brass section so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. The video was done by the brilliant James Hough. It's rare to find someone capable of capturing high quality audio and visual all on their own so I felt very lucky to get to work with him on this. It's important to me that the whole record is connected through the same visual world so we filmed in the garden that the artwork for 'Times Comes in Roses' was shot - even using the same chair that's on that cover." 

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Wednesday 11 August 2021

ALBUM NEWS: Lunar Vacation - 'Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp'

"Are you in love...?" ask Lunar Vacation before the synths kick in on their new track. 

You know what.... yes. I am. I'm fully in love with this track. A new discovery for me, they're an Atlanta-based four-piece made up of songwriters, vocalists and guitarists Grace Repasky and Maggie Geeslin who met in the eighth grade and began sharing music, quickly forming the band. Many a demo and lots of gigs later, they added Matteo DeLurgio (synth) and Connor Dowd (drums) to complete the line-up, self-releasing a couple of EPs along the way. 

They've just shared the superb (seriously... note the 'drop' - can I call it a drop? - at 40 seconds...) track Mold, alongside a video directed by Rach Rios Rehm, and announced details of their debut album. Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp is due on 29th October via Keeled Scales

Grace Repasky says that the track is about "navigating the oddities and strange tides of West Coast culture, specifically L.A., and influencer lifestyle for the first time. We played a festival out there and it felt like I was in an immersive Instagram advertisement. It kind of freaked me out. To make it all more confusing, the song also deals with having feelings for someone wrapped up in that culture and the conflicting feelings of wanting to fit in."   

On the video, Maggie Geeslin adds "we looked no further than Rachael to direct this one. We've been friends for years and working with her on this project was a no-brainer. We told her he wanted something funky and she worked her magic, cooking up a world of absurdity. We had such a good time, in fact, that Grace tattooed the address of the studio where we filmed on their leg at the wrap party." 

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Tuesday 10 August 2021

LISTEN: girlhouse - 'happy now'

Delighting in new girlhouse lately... new track happy now follows up the does-what-it-says-on-the-tin self-titled offering the girlhouse ep, released a few months back. (I was about to type that it was a few weeks ago and now I'm alarmed at the swift passing of time of late... uh oh.) While the EP served as an introduction to girlhouse (AKA Lauren Luiz) and her musical world, happy now sees her building on the momentum of the EP, and honing her style. It's passionate and unapologetically feisty ("are you fucking happy now?!") and I'm a little in love with it, and excited to hear what she releases next.

On the track, Lauren writes: "'Happy now' started as an angry poem towards someone in my life that was really emotionally challenging to me, but as we started producing it and I started looking at the lyrics from a different perspective, I realized I was projecting everything I hated about myself towards this other person. Happy now is my heart, gladiator screaming "are you not entertained?" to my body after doing all the things and following all the people that should in theory make me happy but in the end left me feeling empty." 

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Monday 9 August 2021

LISTEN: Karima Francis - 'Say'

Don't say I never treat you... brand new Karima Francis to ease you into the week. The crazy times we've all been living through have pushed me to seek comfort in music, and this one certainly fits the bill in that respect. Say is the fourth single to emerge from Karima's time in LA, where she headed in search of her new sound after hearing The War on Drugs' Lost In A Dream. Local artists, new and old, proved inspirational, and the results - previous single Carelessness Causes Fire included - are stunning. Carrying you along on those soothing vocals like some kind of wispy musical cloud, before you know it Say is over and you've already hit repeat. It'd be rude not to. 

On the track, Karima shares: "'Say' is about the isolation caused by Covid-19 and how that can impact relationships closest to you. The song lyrics came to me whilst I was on my daily run, the whole cycle of Covid repetition was becoming overwhelming. My ongoing battles with CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) became more outward and started to impact those around me." 

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Thursday 5 August 2021

WATCH: Mumble Tide - 'Good 4 Me'

Another day, another example of me using my 'bedtime' before a day at work to write a post for the next day... you can't fault my dedication to the cause (of sharing brilliant music with you all, of course.) Aforementioned brilliant music is the latest offering from duo (& couple) Gina Leonard and Ryan Rogers, AKA Mumble Tide. Good 4 Me arrives with news of their mini-album Everything Ugly, due 3rd December, around which time they're heading on a small run of shows in Manchester, Bristol and London. The track's self-directed video (below) is just the tip of the iceberg for the fiercely creative duo, who also produce their own music and create the artwork. 

On the new track, Gina shares "'Good 4 Me' is one of our favourite songs that we've written so far. It fell together late at night during lockdown in our dressing gowns. The vocal is more or less the first take we did where I just let it all out. I guess it's about how the years don't always bring you the answers you thought they would. It's kinda sad but there's also this nostalgia and excitement underneath." 

Launching just in time for Bandcamp Friday - you can pre-order a limited orange vinyl pressing of the mini-album here.

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Wednesday 4 August 2021

WATCH: Public Service Broadcasting - 'Blue Heaven' (ft. Andreya Casablanca)

There's certainly some trepidation when a favourite artist releases a new track... Public Service Broadcasting however prove time and time again that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. I tuned in to BBC 6 Music on Monday afternoon for the first play and it was love at first listen. Different, but with that inherent PSB spark running through the centre - those signature riffs for one thing, harking back to their early releases. Blue Heaven is the second track and lead single from their upcoming fourth album Bright Magic, releasing on 24th September via Play It Again Sam. The track features the sublime vocals of Andreya Casablanca from Berlin's Gurr

Arriving with a superb video directed by Alex Southam and featuring German dancer, choreographer and multidisciplinary artist Celine Fortenbacher, Blue Heaven is a pure delight, and is lyrically inspired by Marlene Dietrich. The band's J. Willgoose, Esq. explains that "the lyrics highlight her power of self-manipulation, her ambition, her bravery and her lack of compromise on vital matters of character - 'I am all my own invention / I'm in my blue heaven' and so on. It's named after the jazz number "My Blue Heaven" which she sang regularly and which she said first made her dream of America." 

Follow Public Service Broadcasting - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 3 August 2021

WATCH: Ada Lea - 'damn'

"it's an album about magic, montreal, parties, friends, memories, phone calls, bedrooms, city-life, ferrante, the great mystery of memory and the passage of time; forgetting, and maybe stumbling into remembrance..." 

I enjoyed previous single Hurt, but Ada Lea's Damn really stopped me in my tracks last week. (Seriously - damn.) The track is taken from Ada's (AKA Montreal's Alexandra Levy) sophomore album one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden, due September 24th on Saddle Creek. Following the four seasons, the record opens a window on the city of Montreal, and the people and stories that exist within it - whether they be personal to Ada ("why would I try to write a story that's not my own?") or more universal. 

The record was written and demoed during an artist residency in Banff, Alberta, before joining producer and engineer Marshall Vore (Phoebe Bridgers) to record it in his studio in Los Angeles. "Marshall's expertise and experience with drumming and songwriting was the perfect blend for what the songs needed. He was able to support me in a harmonic, lyrical, and rhythmic sense." Also working on the record were drummer Tasy Hudson, guitarist Harrison Whitford and mixing engineer Burke Reid 

Pre-order Ada's new record one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden here.

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Monday 2 August 2021

WATCH: Elke - 'I Can Help'

I receive quite a few emails to the blog each week with new music to listen to - it takes something special to stand out amongst the crowd. The gems that I discover there are part of the reason that I stick with this all... finding something I might have otherwise never heard is a rare joy. This last week, one of those was the new track from Elke, a new-to-me Nashville-based artist. Elke (AKA Kayla Graninger) has just shared I Can Help and announced details of her debut album No Pain For Us Here, due September 24th (already a ridiculously good day for new releases with records from Public Service Broadcasting, Bess Atwell, Childcare and Ada Lea) via Congrats Records

Produced by Kayla's partner, fellow musician and collaborator Zac Farro (HalfNoise, drums in Paramore) the new record pulls together influences from the New York music scene past and present. Kayla moved to the city at the age of 17, immersing herself in music and playing gigs under various monikers until landing on Elke, the name of her mother and grandmother, who passed before she ever got to meet her. 

"I wrote 'I Can Help' as an ode to the somewhat dystopian life we all seem to have accepted as comfortable, myself included. And then how the responsibility always gets dumped on the people who didn't even create the fundamental issues. Steel drums felt to be an appropriate foundation, and from there Zac and Co. worked their magic to lift up this song in an irresistible way. I'm very proud of this song, it is one of my favorites on the record."       

Follow ELKE Twitter | Instagram.