Tuesday 28 February 2023

LISTEN: Low Island - 'It Holds And It Holds'

Entirely predictably, I'm here to ramble about how brilliant Low Island are. Obvs. They're announcing an extended edition of their second album Life In Miniature, arriving via their label Emotional Interference on March 10th. Best news. From the new version, they've shared It Holds And It Holds, a track which dates back a year and a half or so from the early sessions for the record. 

Writing about the track, Carlos shares: "it's a song about the affirmational power of love amongst friends and family - during the pandemic we were separated from friends and family, sometimes within a single city, but often that separation was across countries and continents. The idea that love could be felt so strongly at such a distance, that it could traverse oceans, that you could be 'there' for someone without being physically present, was something that felt very powerful to me at the time and inspired this song [...] 'my love covers oceans and rides across the waves' was one of the lines that I was especially proud of from my notebooks but couldn't find a home for on other songs that made it onto the album. Happy that this one is now out in the world." 

If you fancy a Low Island show (I mean - of course you do) you're in luck as they're currently touring the UK, sneaking in a few shows over at SXSW in the middle of it in March. They're playing Lafayette on 8th March. Dates and tickets here

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Thursday 23 February 2023

WATCH: Cat Clyde - 'Everywhere I Go'

I'm working most days this week so things are a little quiet here, but I wanted to share a post to say that I am reaaaally digging the new Cat Clyde album Down Rounder. SO good. A new name to me, and I'm excited to head into her back catalogue at the first opportunity. Papa Took My Totems is a banger, and I won't hear any different. (Check it out for yourself here.)

Latest single Everywhere I Go is pretty great too, and there's an ace new video featuring footage from Cat's current UK tour supporting Lissie which you can watch below. Cat explains "I created this video during my tour across the UK in February. It was filmed by Strummer Jasson mostly around Glasgow and traveling by train toward London, and in London. I wanted to capture the movement and message of the song as we travelled along, as traveling and movement are such a big part of my life." 

On the record's title and themes, Cat shares: "I’ve always felt like a rounder. I feel the term encapsulates the lost and searching nature of railroad hobos, cowboys, gold miners, adventurers - a rounder is someone who moves around through natural landscapes looking for answers, to make sense of it all through movement and experience. To find something or some place that could feel like home, to belong to the land and feel a part of something greater. During the making of this record I felt very lost and low and felt the songs were a way for me to explore myself and venture more deeply into my own natural landscape within. I was a down rounder, low down but still a rounder."

Follow Cat Clyde - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 16 February 2023

LISTEN: Brooke Bentham - 'Let Go'

February seems to be another month of exciting returns, hey? Teasing her return in November with the gorgeous single Over and over, the equally gorgeous human Brooke Bentham is back back. New track Let Go arrives with news of the Caring EP, due for release on March 17th. Ahh! The EP was recorded and produced with Patrick J Pearson (of too many brill projects to mention, but for me... Liu Bei, Dry The River and LYR) at Middle Farm Studios, and will be celebrated with a launch show at St Pancras Old Church on 12th April. 

On the new track, Brooke shares: "When I wrote 'Let Go' I'd just started a songwriting course with Robin Pecknold and I was training to be a singing teacher. I was really thinking about the way our bodies hold emotion and how it affects us. I'd been trying to get the song right for a while and our homework for the course was to try to rework an old song. After playing around with old material for a while, I came up with 'Let Go'. I think it sounds like a release; letting go of what's been held in you without realising. My producer Patrick J Pearson really helped this song come to life, I love the guitar lines in the chorus so much. It's the song that feels the most like me so far." 

Follow Brooke Bentham - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 13 February 2023

WATCH: Gengahr - 'A Ladder'

The returns keep coming. Indie heartthrobs Gengahr are back, and I'm more than a little excited about this news!! I've a huge soft spot for these guys - so much so that I caught them playing a 1am slot at The Great Escape a few years ago. I wouldn't do that for many bands...

They're three (brilliant) albums deep, and it looks as if we might be getting the follow-up to Sanctuary (2020) soon. For now, they've just released new single A Ladder which is quickly becoming one of my favourite tracks of theirs, and is opening up new depths in my love for the band. Check out the (equally brilliant) video directed by Billy Howard Price below.

On the track, frontman Felix Bushe shares: "'A Ladder' is a fun, trippy little song soaked in cartoon-like imagery. Essentially it's about the power of true love and its ability to not only change the way we feel but also the way we see and interact with the whole world around us." 

Follow Gengahr - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 7 February 2023

LISTEN: Elanor Moss - 'Mary'

"... you don't have to be alone, I'm always by the phone" 

It's no secret that I'm a little in love with Elanor Moss - her tender vocals and relatable songwriting have made for a string of beautiful singles over the past year or so. Following up last year's Citrus EP, she's just released new EP Cosmic and final track Mary. It's a plea to a loved one, 'imploring them to find and accept the same help that Moss is learning to accept from others', and makes a perfect final track for the EP, bringing together another stunning collection of tracks from Elanor.

Discussing the new track, Elanor shares "Mary is a song about looking after your friends. Loneliness and depression can creep in like a dense fog that separates you from people you love; this is a song about trying to reach and comfort a friend when they're in that place. It's a place I've been to plenty, so I understand it! We're not alone, and that's the message I wanted to ring the EP out with. I wrote it with my friend Josh Finn; I had nearly finished it and couldn't get a second verse so I sent it over and he sent back the whole second verse as it is now. He's brilliant!"

If you like what you're hearing, you can catch Elanor on her first headline UK tour starting in March - tickets are available here.

23rd March: Rough Trade, Bristol
24th: St. Pancras Old Church, London
25th: Upstairs at Whelans, Dublin
28th: The Fly Tower at Abbeydale Picture House, Sheffield
29th: YES (The Basement), Manchester
30th: The Poetry Club SWG3, Glasgow
31st: NCEM, York 
1st April: Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds

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Friday 3 February 2023

LISTEN: Benedict Benjamin - 'Furlough Blues'

What a time to be alive, pals. As if a new Sivu track and Stornoway announcing a gig and a festival appearance wasn't enough nostalgia for my university days, today sees another artist return that I'm pretty excited about. I caught Benedict Benjamin playing gorgeous sets at a couple of Sofar Sounds shows while I was living in Oxford, and most recently opening up for Christof van der Ven in London a few years back. His record Night Songs (2016) soundtracked much of my studies, while second album Truant (2019) arrived exactly when I needed it - I adore both. I'm delighted, naturally, to share that Ben is back with a new album for me to obsess over (which I'm diving into as I type - so far, so good). Tunnel is due for release on 9th June. 

First track Furlough Blues does exactly what it says on the tin... it's a relatable ode to those early days of lockdown and the anxieties that it brought for many of us. On the track, Ben shares "I don't know if anyone wants to hear music about that time, I feel like people are trying to move on from it culturally, but it was too big and intense a thing for me not to write about. And writing about it was what helped me get through it." He reflects on "the overwhelming amount of time that was stretching out in front of everyone with no indication of when or if things were gonna go back to normal. That feeling of being adrift. The song was written in that headspace."  

Follow Benedict Benjamin - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 1 February 2023

LISTEN: Sivu - 'Wild Horse Running'

I absolutely *could* be sat here wading through my ever-growing inbox, but one of my favourite artists in the world is back and I simply haaaave to share this. If you've been here for the long haul, you'll know that I'm a big fan of Sivu (AKA James Page, but not that one). He's got two albums under his belt, Something On HIgh (2014) and Sweet Sweet Silent (2017) which book-ended my time at university, and he's an utter sweetheart. He was the support at my second gig at university (Nick Mulvey) and I went on to follow him around to a fair few shows over the next few years. He's an artist whose music I am sure I will never tire of, and the time has finally come - Sivu is back, and there's a new track in the world taken from his upcoming third album. Enjoy Wild Horse Running - I certainly am...! 

On the new track, James shares: "'Wild Horse Running' grew from this yearning to escape, whether mentally or physically I'm still unsure - but to me the image of a wild horse running is the epitome of freedom and conjures so many feelings of strength, resilience and really a triumph in physical evolution. From there the song just grew in my mind, with an almost cinematic view in my head. 

I played on that imagery also, within the song mocking myself and my own male ego having this constant need to improve and selfishly fulfil my own desires over anyone else's needs. 

I think ultimately the song is just me trying to convince myself I'm not done yet and still have something to contribute. It's incredibly self indulgent but a general battle I face within my core as a musician and now father." 

The new music sees James once again working with producer Charlie Andrew, on whose label (Square Leg Records) the new album will be released. Charlie shares: "James is such a special artist, he's a big part of the reason I started the label originally and I'm very honoured that he's trusted me in the studio across all 3 of his albums.

We took a bit of a different approach this time round, partly due to the challenges of writing/recording during the pandemic and partly hitting upon a formula that seemed to work as we progressed. It's more upbeat than Sweet Sweet Silent. He was in a different life space writing and I think that comes across in the music. He's also been more hands-on in the studio, chipping in with a lot of programming ideas etc. This made the process feel fresh for us, it was a total pleasure." 

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