Tuesday 30 May 2023

WATCH: Mumble Tide - 'Hotel Life'

Mumble Tide are back - everybody cheer / clap / rejoice! Or all of the above. The best news. Hotel Life is their first new track of the year, releasing on Nothing Fancy Records. They were one of my fave new artists of 2021 (I think?) who have spent the past couple of years recording and touring with a bunch of brill artists (Divorce, Liz Lawrence, Personal Trainer... ooft). 

Working with co-producer Ellie Mason (of Voka Gentle) this latest batch of songs saw the duo living a nomad lifestyle, uprooting their lives (and their recording set-up) every couple of months as they moved between boats, Airbnbs, spare rooms and warehouses. If the results are all as good as this first taster, I'm excited for more. 

On the new track, vocalist Gina Leonard shares: "'Hotel Life' is a song about relinquishing control. We wrote it after Ryan's dad had a 'funny turn' whilst on a work trip in Reading and we rushed to pick him up from hospital and ended up staying the night in a weird corporate business hotel on the outskirts of the city. I think hotels can be quite confusing spaces... I like running away in my head to a kind of 'hotel life' where I can escape everyone and be completely in control of who I am. Ultimately though, that's not healthy or possible. The song is overall positive and uplifting (I hope) - it's about not giving up." 

Follow Mumble Tide - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 29 May 2023

rambling about the future of CMAT (hi!)

It’s been a while since I did a rambly post like this, but I wasn’t sure how to squish my thoughts into a thread of tweets… basically the tl;dr is that I think that music blogging feels a little bit broken, but I’m refreshing my approach to it, and feeling positive.

Right now, I’m barely posting anything to the blog itself… I describe myself as a music blogger, but I’m basically a glorified email reader/inbox sorter at the moment.

Between days at work, time I give to volunteering online, and time spent doing other things I love (watching birds would get all of my time if it could) there isn’t always much time left for the blog. The time I have for it is usually spent trying my best to keep the unread number on my inbox close to zero.

The end of the week and the arrival of New Music Friday sees me tackling the inbox, trying to get through as much as I can so that when I update my playlists, I’ve listened to as many submissions as possible. So that everything gets a fair shot. As the number of weekly emails grows, playlist updates are pushed back to Sunday, Monday… by which point the torrent of emails has kickstarted for another week.

Sounds fun, right? I got into this to write about and share music that I love, and I do it for no monetary reward, simply for the love of the music. Which begs the question - why should I spend hours upon hours just dealing with an inbox and never actually sharing very much of that music that I do enjoy?

I’ve been part-time at work for a while, but the opportunity to go back to full-time just came up. It leaves me less free time, and I’d wondered about the sustainability of the blog. Will I have the time to keep it up… should I? Is it worth it?

I don’t want to lose CMAT, I’ve worked hard on it for over a decade if we go right back to the inception of the original Tumblr account. Made friends through it, met some of my favourite artists through it, discovered SO much brilliant music through it, and got into a fair few gigs through it. I love the little community I’ve fostered here. I love when people compliment my writing - this isn’t like many other music blogs, it’s often infrequent, a bit rambly, a little bit fangirl-y at times. It’s basically me, in a music blog.

If I want CMAT to carry on, something certainly needs to change. I guess I’m writing this sort of to formulate my own thoughts as much as anything (though I’d also be interested to hear from fellow bloggers/journos if my experience rings familiar with yours).

I want to try and be far less precious with the inbox - to dip in and out, taking from it the things that stand out, but not having to listen to every single thing. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Think #NoMowMay but for a blog inbox. If I let it go a little wild, the gems in there will stand out. I might reply a bit less but… I don’t reply that much as it is (again - there are only so many hours in the day, sorry!)

In spending less time trying to aim for perfection, for a perfectly tidy inbox, I am hoping that I’ll have more time for the important stuff. More posts! The hope is that I can use the limited time I have for the blog in a far more productive way, move on from being a part-time email reader and actually be a blogger. Engage with the tracks that I enjoy beyond a playlist, actually write about some of them!

There is SO so so much music coming out all of the time. It’s relentless. I sense that PRs are struggling on the other side too - struggling to find space for their artists when there is just so much competition. People are often so lovely about the blog, my work on it/my writing but the priorities have been in a weird place for a while now. I’m using this opportunity to re-focus and hopefully improve things for myself and the blog, and to breathe some new life into it.

If you’ve got this far in this little self-aggrandising ramble, thank you. If I didn’t think that there were at least a few people who appreciated my writing, my email-reading, my twitter/insta fangirling, I’d probably have stopped this a while ago. Whether you’re a diehard CMAT fan (do those exist?) or you’re new here, I think you’re great, and I hope that I can introduce you to a new favourite. 

Come and say hi on Twitter / Instagram (I can't promise I'll reply but I'll love you all the same!) 

Friday 26 May 2023

LISTEN: Sivu - 'Overtime Lover'

You BET I just gasped when I noticed a stream of the upcoming Sivu album in my inbox. I'm usually terrible at finding time to listen to early streams I get sent (there are a lot, please forgive me!) but I just had to open this one up immediately and get listening. Consider this post soundtracked by the album and written with a big ol' smile on my face. The rest of you will have to wait a couple of weeks - Wild Horse Running is due on 9th June via Square Leg Records - but fear not!

New track Overtime Lover is out now and is a beautiful number... as if we expected any less. The track is the oldest from the new record, first taking shape while James was on tour with Fenne Lily, Siv Jakobsen and Paul Thomas Saunders (the line-up of dreams) in 2017. Paul was recruited to oversee production on the finished article - years in the making, and well worth the wait!

Talking about the new track, Sivu shares:

"Overtime Lover is the oldest song from the new record and actually took shape just before I went on tour. I then road tested it extensively whilst on a beautiful tour with Fenne Lily, Paul Thomas Saunders and Siv Jakobsen. Paul was incredibly complimentary of the track and we always flirted with the idea of collaborating on something as I have always loved his production. Fast forward 3 years, I left the track with Paul and he created a magical landscape for the song to sit in which I adored from the moment I heard it.

The song is based around this idea of how much of ourselves we have to give to someone else when you are in a relationship - and sometimes you crave just to keep a little bit of yourself just for you. It's lyrically quite blunt but this was an important process for my head and was imperative I got it out. I had no aspirations lyrically to dress it up, and probably from the whole album this song cuts the deepest."

Sivu headlines Courtyard Theatre in London on 14th June - tickets here.

Follow Sivu - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 23 May 2023

WATCH: Chartreuse - 'Switch It On, Switch It Off'

Still bad at blogging. Sorry. Finding comfort in new tracks from favourites at the moment, and was really excited to find a new one from Chartreuse in the inbox a few days back. It's the first track from the band since last year's Satellites (featuring Orlando Weeks, no less) and the oh-so-brilliant Is It Autumn Already? EP which somehow came out in 2021... huh?!

They're a band who can kind of do no wrong in my eyes (though if they returned with some out of character death metal I might not vibe with it quite so much... but, you never know) and exactly what I'm looking for at the moment. There's only so much Stornoway I can listen to on repeat (OK, that's a lie). ANYWAY. Basically, Switch It On, Switch It Off is gorgeous and you should probably stop what you're doing and listen to it now.

On the track, vocalist Mike Wagstaff shares: "I wish I could control the switch in my head from overthinking and negativity. Through the verses, Switch It On, Switch It Off darts between memories, fantasies, daydreams and landscapes - snapshots from a busy mind. You have to observe and take them in quickly before they pass."

Chartreuse head out on a UK tour this November - dates and tickets here

Follow Chartreuse - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 9 May 2023

LISTEN: Ezra Williams - 'Until I'm Home'

ICYMI on Twitter / Instagram - the blog turned 8 this week! Happy birthday, website I pour many many words into.

I've been bad at posting things here for a bunch of reasons, but I want to do my best to share more when I'm able to... and I'm excited by this. Ezra Williams (of Heartstopper soundtrack fame with My Own Person - the track that plays as Nick starts to question his sexuality... and is all sorts of brilliant) has an album on the way!!!! Supernumeraries is due on 16th June, and new track Until I'm Home just dropped - featuring Sammy Copley. They're both dreamboats and I love this one. 

Talking about the track, Ezra says: "I wrote this song on the train home from hanging out with my girlfriend at the time. I overthink everything and cannot be left alone with my own thoughts for a second or I'll feel like the world is collapsing in on me." 

Follow Ezra Williams - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Follow Sammy Copley Twitter | Instagram.