Thursday 28 October 2021


A slice of soulful bedroom pop for your Thursday... damn I love MICHELLE. The New York based 6-piece never miss, travelling across genres to create beautiful art with the layered harmonies of their four vocalists Sofia, Emma, Layla and Jamee, alongside synths and percussion from Charlie and Julian. MESS U MADE arrives with a living room session video (complete with session guitarist Maya Polsky and session bassist Nick Catrambone) and really shows off the cross-genre music they're making... and the passion behind it. The track is the second to be taken from their upcoming album AFTER DINNER WE TALK DREAMS (due 28th January via Transgressive Records in the UK.) Enjoy... 

Having just finished up a US tour with Arlo ParksMICHELLE recently announced US tour dates for 2022 with Mitski. They'll be supporting Gus Dapperton around the US in November, and a UK headline tour follows in February, including The Lexington on 9th February. Tickets here

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Monday 25 October 2021

WATCH: Matilda Mann - 'Glass Ceiling'

How about a completely joyful new music video to start your week off? I've been a fan of Matilda Mann for a while now, and it's a delight to see her going from strength to strength with each new release. The Sonder EP is gorgeous, I can't get enough of it! I'm loving this video for closing track Glass Ceiling, shot and directed by Jay Seba. Following a recent string of shows with Dodie and a headline show at London's Lafayette, Matilda has announced her debut UK headline tour for this March and April. 

Live dates as follows... tickets here.

30th March: Komedia, Brighton
31st: The Louisiana, Bristol
1st April: Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
2nd: The Poetry Club, Glasgow
4th: The Deaf Institute, Manchester
5th: EartH Hackney, London

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Thursday 21 October 2021

LISTEN: Chartreuse - 'Swedish Water'

Here's a Thursday treat for you, a new track from Chartreuse. Swedish Water is the fourth track to be taken from their upcoming Is It Autumn Already? EP, due for release on 19th November via Communion Records. This Black Country four-piece are truly something special - the combined vocals of Hattie Wilson and Mike Wagstaff alongside the instrumentation of Rory Wagstaff and Perry Lovering makes for something that is often weird and wonderful, and unlike anything else you'll hear this year. 

On Swedish Water, Mike shares: "This song is for people who find themselves away from the people they love. It's about working through the frustration of a long-distance relationship although there are difficult parts of the song it is essentially a love song about wanting to be with the person you love. 

A few years ago, I took a short trip to Stockholm to visit my girlfriend who was working over there at the time. There's a lot of water that runs through the centre of Stockholm, it moved in a certain way and looked different, different enough to notice. I think it was something to do with the summer light, it looked like oil moving around swelling up and down it was something special. This being something precious I decided to put into words as a snapshot of my life at the time.

I had just watched Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire which follows the journey of angels on earth so I guess I was walking around in that world for quite a while. This inspired me to search online for the definition of an angel 'a person of exemplary conduct or virtue’ these references fed into the opening of the song.”

Chartreuse are playing a run of headline shows in November and December, taking in The Lexington in London on 30th November. Tickets and dates here

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Wednesday 20 October 2021

LISTEN: Melin Melyn - 'Short Haired Lady'

I seem to have started a theme in the last couple of posts, so let's stick with it... another of my favourite discoveries of the past year or so today, this time the Welsh dreamboats Melin Melyn. I was essentially obsessed from the word go with the release of Rebecca last year, and have been loving their recent Blomonj EP, a culmination of the past year's single releases. New track Short Haired Lady wasn't on the EP, but marks the end of that era for the band - excited to see what comes next!

For now, very much enjoying Short Haired Lady - vocalist Gruff Glyn has this to say on it... "On a cold winters eve I was walking the streets of London feeling a bit blue, and then stepped in some wet sticky chewing gum. I looked up to the sky in distress and found the moon smirking at me. Kind of put things in perspective. The lady in the song came to me in a dream soon after and sometimes pops back into my siestas during a snooze. We had the pleasure of recording this song at Stiwdio Sain - a gem of a studio in Llandwrog where some classic Welsh Language psychedelic folk music was recorded in the 70s."  

Melin Melyn play their first London headliner tomorrow night at Old Blue Last - tickets here.

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Tuesday 19 October 2021

LISTEN: Banji - 'Chills'

Much like my previous post with Francis of Delirium, today's post features another band who hail from beyond the UK (in Utrecht), who I discovered in the past year, and who are currently touring here. They're just a few singles down, each completely charming in its own way and all adding up to mark them as one of the most exciting new bands releasing music at the moment (in my ~humble~ opinion...) Dogbreath, TalkieWalkie and Listen are each complete tunes. They're back with new single Chills, on which they've taken the reins on self-production (each member of the four-piece is a budding producer). 

On the track, lead vocalist Morris Brandt shares: “Chills is about being in a rut. That feeling of how everything around you goes too fast to keep up with. It's something everybody struggles with now and then, looking for grip. But when you can't find that, you tend to give up and it feels like you're stuck. Sometimes I get really tied up with myself, and it feels like my brain can't really process what I'm trying to deal with. Being okay with that, acknowledging it, and taking a step back has helped me a lot." 

Having taken in a London headline, Wild Paths Festival in Norwich and a Manchester livestream last week, the group are playing at Gullivers in Manchester tomorrow (20th).

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Thursday 14 October 2021

LISTEN: Francis of Delirium - 'All Love'

Psssssssst. Good news. A new track from Francis of Delirium arrived yesterday. Rejoice. The brainchild & alter-ego of Luxembourg-based 20 year-old Jana Bahrich, FoD has been one of my favourite discoveries of the past year, courtesy of Stay Loose, with EPs All Change and Wading. A torrent of creativity has ensued across the year, with various self-made music videos that are well worth your time over on Youtube. The new track arrives just in time for the UK tour, starting in a couple of days... 

Mixed by Jolyon Thomas (Royal Blood, Slaves) and mastered by Joe Lambert (Sharon Van Etten, Deerhunter) the track is genuinely one of my favourite Francis tunes yet.. I think I say this every time but they're all just so damn good. 

On the track, Jana shares that it is "about dissociating from what your present moment really looks like. Sonically, I wanted the song to sort of reflect that and feel like a big wave of sound that sweeps you up and carries you away from that reality and anything that feels painful to think about. That suspended feeling is meant to be shown via the looping video I made to go alongside the song, which highlights that feeling of floating then falling away." 

The UK tour starts in Brighton on Saturday (16th) taking in some solo shows before a run of dates with Coach Party, concluding at Omeara on the 28th. If you can't make the shows over the next couple of weeks, a headline show has just been announced at Sebright Arms on 3rd Feb. All dates here.

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Tuesday 12 October 2021

WATCH: Voka Gentle - 'TV Bra'

Londoners Voka Gentle are back with one of my favourite releases of last week, the brilliant (and slightly bonkers, but in the best way) track TV Bra. It's the final preview of new album Writhing, due via Leafy Outlook on October 22nd and for me, it is the trio at their best. Eccentric and a bit chaotic, but completely alluring - just like the TV Bra itself. 

William's character asks in the track "are you lacking high quality content?" With this video, we're certainly not. If you're going to watch one music video this week, make it this one. In the clip, William takes on the role of a somewhat demonic (and all too believable) salesman in a 'QVC fever dream' alongside bandmates Ellie and Imogen. 

On the track, the band share: "TV Bra began as a joke improvisation inspired by the Korean artist Nam June Paik, who collaborated with the cellist Charlotte Moorman on a piece called TV Bra, where ostensibly she played the cello naked except for two small TV screens over her breasts."

"The idea was to imagine something like that being commodified and advertised, incorporating the familiar small print and customer surveys and things that you'd expect with something like that nowadays. It's pretty nonsensical, but we liked the way it almost went down the JG Ballard Crash route of exploring how technology threatens to pollute sex and intimacy in a really violating way. Maybe it's kind of a cheesy 'observation on the state of the world,' but with a bit of humour in there. You can hear the junky prepared piano we created in the studio - we shoved nails, cutlery, Game Boy cartridges, string, crisp packets and all sorts of things into an upright piano." 

Follow Voka Gentle - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 11 October 2021

WATCH: The Vaccines - 'Paranormal Romance' (Live at Abbey Road)

Did I mention I bloody love The Vaccines? On the release of their new record Back In Love City recently I was instantly and utterly smitten. Several listens later and I wasn't sure that I could love the record more, but then discovered (through the Tim's Twitter Listening Party they did for the record) that one of my favourite humans, the one and only Rae Morris, sings on the track Paranormal Romance. A new favourite? Maybe. (Don't tell Wanderlust though... that song!!!!) 

It's a month since the record came out, and I'm still very much in love... and somewhat obsessed with the live performance the band shared a few days ago. Back in July, they took to Abbey Road to record a special version of Paranormal Romance for Amazon Music. Sadly no Rae, but I can forgive that because there is SO much to love here, and I've lost count of the amount of times I've watched it over the past few days. Justin's performance (that charisma, damn)! The orchestra!! The DRAMA!!! Good god. Favourite live performance video of the year?  It just might be.

Here's hoping they found time to record some more tracks with the orchestra that day...

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Friday 8 October 2021

LIVE: The Staves at Rock City (6/10/21)

I’ve been struggling a little to get back into the rhythm of writing posts regularly lately, but I have something pretty exciting to write about. In a dreamy and somewhat spontaneous turn of events (hey - remember spontaneity?) I went to an actual real life gig on Wednesday night. My first gig in almost 600 days. Long overdue and a completely joyous experience!

There have been a few shows lately that I’ve wanted to go to and haven’t for one reason or another… it has felt a little as if I’m doing nothing but working, interning and failing at being a blogger at the moment. It’s difficult to describe quite how much of a gap live music has left for the past year and a half and just how much I needed this show - but if you’re here, you know that exact feeling.

Like many, getting out into nature has been a bit of a lifeline through all of this and has, I guess, unintentionally filled that gap a little. It’s not too dissimilar - both are an escape of sorts, an opportunity to come across people with similar interests, not to mention the glorious birdsong. (Ps, if you’re interested, I’m posting some nature pics to insta here.)

It was such a treat for my first gig back to be The Staves, honestly. Their latest record Good Woman has soundtracked 2021 for me, and it is no spoiler to say that it will very likely be featuring pretty highly on my albums of the year list.

First up, though, was Samantha Crain. A good woman indeed. And hilarious too. Together with Kyle Reid (“I brought him over from Oklahoma with me”) she performed tracks from last year’s record A Small Death and this year’s I Guess We Live Here Now EP. A genuinely delightful performance. Once I’d got past the novelty of being feet away from somebody performing live music I was blown away by the skill on show. Sam’s vocals are incredible. I’ve (foolishly) not done a deep dive into her back catalogue before, but will certainly be making time to now.

The mind boggles a little at the man behind us who was there specifically to see Sam, and loudly told somebody all about this during a couple of the tracks. Gigs are back and… so are the obnoxious people who think that the artist somehow won’t notice you talking loudly over their set, apparently. Joy. Don’t get me wrong - he sounded as if he really loved her music and I love that energy but... really?

After a quick change around, it was time for The Staves. Just two of them for this tour, Jess and Camilla - Emily, as the pair jovially proclaimed between songs, is selfishly skipping the tour to look after her baby. While it’s a shame not to experience those beautiful three-part sisterly harmonies, the show was pretty darn special regardless. Backing the pair up on stage were their ‘beautiful baby boys’ (their words, and who am I to disagree) Marcus Hamblett, Glyn Daniels, Chris Dagger and Rob Pemberton.

I’ve seen the trio once before, when they performed a secret set in the wine bar at Bushstock Festival in 2015. It was a stunning acoustic set but I’d never actually listened to them before then, and have been desperate for an opportunity to see them again now that I’m pretty besotted with their music. Performing the majority of the new album alongside a few older favourites, the set was a stunner. I think I’d probably have thought any live music was pretty magical after so long away, but this bunch are genuinely on another level.

My biggest takeaway from the show, though, was just how happy everybody on stage looked to be there. To be back performing live and finally sharing their new record with fans in the live setting. Their joy was infectious - I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense that I was exactly where I should be in that moment. And more than a little bit weepy too. All of the emotions. Now… when can I go to another gig?

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Follow Samantha Crain - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 6 October 2021

WATCH: IMOGEN - 'Sleeptight'

Poking my head above the parapet to share a track I'm a little bit in love with at the moment... taken from the upcoming Bloodbag EP (due 28th October via 7476) the track is Sleeptight from IMOGEN. Transitioning from the tender piano-ballads and acoustic numbers of her earlier releases, she's experienced somewhat of a musical and personal rebirth - the tracks, videos, performance and image all combining to present us with a powerhouse to be reckoned with. 

Following complex surgery for a condition she was born with, Imogen became temporarily infirm, and the experience inspired her to investigate the agency that women have over their own bodies and health. Title track Bloodbag and follow-up Lioncub looked at questions of identity and bodily dissociation.

On the new track, she shares: "Sleeptight deals with the societal treatment of women's bodies and the reluctance we have to believe women's accounts of misconduct. The premise being 'if you don't believe me, I hope it haunts you.' It was a conscious decision to set this anger against a big pop track. I guess I found the easiest way to process and deliver the message was to create something that people could dance and lose themselves to. My favourite pop songs are often like Trojan horses. In 'Sleeptight' I want people to be able to find empowerment and release. It's definitely one of my favourite tracks to perform live."     

IMOGEN plays an EP launch show at Bermondsey Social Club on 27th October - tickets here

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