Thursday 13 April 2023

LISTEN: Benedict Benjamin - 'Hanging By A Thread'

"hanging by a thread, tryna keep it all in check, oh I lost my grip a while ago and haven't found it yet"

Nobody does lyrics like Benedict Benjamin

Alright, maybe they do. But he's still pretty good at them. Hanging by a Thread is the latest single to be taken from Ben's upcoming record Tunnel, which is due in a couple of months. He's one of my favourite artists, creator of gorgeous sad tunes and two brilliant previous albums, Truant and Night Songs. This record is another stunner and despite our circumstances not entirely overlapping, there's always something reassuringly relatable in the lyrics. Not least as this record was written through and about the issues of isolation and anxiety that arose through lockdown, as a way of working through them.

On the new single, Ben shares: "I wrote it at a point in lockdown where I was having some trouble and couldn’t provide support to the people in my life that needed me. I was having these sudden mood swings that I couldn’t get a handle on and it was scary. The song is a thank you to the people that showed patience and love and helped me out of the hole and it’s a pledge to return the favour."

Tunnel is due 9th June, and you can pre-order it on Bandcamp here.

Follow Benedict Benjamin - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 6 April 2023

WATCH: King Isis - 'i'm fine, thx 4 asking'

Brilliant new EP recommendation incoming - King Isis just shared scales via Dirty Hit and No Matter and it is all sorts of brill. Current single i'm fine, thx 4 asking is on repeat at the moment. So good!!! 

I love a great artist origin story, and Isis' is certainly that - born and raised in Oakland, CA, music is in their blood - they were taught to play on the same piano owned by their late family matriarch and great-great-grandmother Omega King, one of the first Black opera singers in Chicago. The King Isis moniker is a nod to Omega's legacy of pursuing her passion in segregated, post-slavery America. Isis shares: "her name holds a lot of power in my house and in my family. A big part of the reason my artist name incorporates hers is to remind me that there is power in my voice, that music has always been a deep-rooted part of me, and to keep going." 

Talking about the new track, Isis shares: "'I'm fine thx 4 asking' comes from moments of self-doubt and self-destruction, traversing through a place of hopelessness to hopefulness. This slump is expressed through the verses, like a cloud of dissociation, but then you're slapped in the face with a punchy chorus that represents a breakthrough moment of clarity and realization. So now you're kinda like wait - I think I can get through this - I know it's gonna take a lot of work but I swear I can do this. It is the moment of realizing that you have the agency to let go of your demons and work with your shadows, not against them."

Listen to scales here.

Follow King Isis - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 5 April 2023

WATCH: Alex Lahey - 'They Wouldn't Let Me In'

I spent much of last year watching and rewatching Heartstopper, gushing over the show and the soundtrack. (How could you not?!) A song somewhat inspired by watching the show found its way into my inbox last week and is now finding its way into a post... I like it a lot. (I also like that the video, directed by Claire Giuffe, is like watching an episode of Stath Lets Flats or something - as Alex assumes the role of a furniture salesperson. Brilliant.) They Wouldn't Let Me In is taken from upcoming album The Answer is Always Yes, due 19th May. 

Talking about the new track, Alex shares: "After watching the brilliant tv series Heartstopper, I spent a lot of time thinking about my own experiences growing up as a queer teenager. Although I was extremely lucky that the majority of my experience was filled with joy, acceptance and love, it wasn't always smooth sailing. This song is inspired by those tougher moments - not being allowed to attend my high school girlfriend's school formal, being excluded from conventional romantic rites of passage, moments of isolation and feeling like I couldn't relate to anyone around me. 'They Wouldn't Let Me In' is by far the most direct song I've ever written about this time."

Follow Alex Lahey - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.