Thursday 31 August 2023

WATCH: Francis of Delirium - 'Real Love'

Hello again! Two posts in two days? Who is she?? Short answer: I'm SO obsessed with this beautiful new video from Francis of Delirium that I instantly needed to share it. I've loved the project for years, and loved this track when it came out back in July. The new video, co-written and co-directed by Jana herself along with Rares Matei, is a gorgeous representation of a young blossoming relationship. Too pure. 

Talking about the track, Jana shares: "'Real Love' at its heart is a simple song about being in love with your best friend. For years, timing got in the way. I got in my own way, and then finally, it worked out. Coming out of a two-month-long tour in the US and heading into summer back at home, it felt like my world was opening up. I wanted to write a song that reflected the feeling of leaning into vulnerability, a song that embraces telling the people you love what they mean to you and truly meaning it. Spending every night watching The Districts on tour really impacted me. There was this hopefulness I heard in their music that I really connected to. After writing our last EP ‘The Funhouse’ which was all about darkness and the feeling of being engulfed by the chaos of the world, I just couldn’t write anything super dark and heavy at the time, it just wouldn’t come out. My body and brain were just guiding me to writing lighter, more open music."

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Wednesday 30 August 2023

WATCH: VC Pines - 'SUPERMAN'

(Hi!) I feel like I'm always writing something, apologising for barely writing anything, and then disappearing again before repeating the cycle. Back again! A lot is happening in my brain at the moment but as always music is a comfort, and while I don't have as much time to share it here as I'd like, I'm still listening! Adoring the new Willie J Healey album Bunny at the moment and v v much looking forward to the release of this one. SUPERMAN is the latest track from VC Pines, who shares his debut album MRI on 8th September. I think it must have been four years since I started listening to Jack's music - following various singles and EPs, and I'm excited to see this album find its way into the world. He's a special artist! 

On the new track, VC Pines shares: "'SUPERMAN' is about biting off more than you can chew and self sabotage. There are people in your life who mean more to you than life itself, but you let things get in the way, and you lose sight of what's important, until it's too late... It's also very easy to promise more to those you love, than you can deliver. So you live in this constant state of feeling like you've let everyone down, which is a dark dark place.

"I wrote this song with two mates who I've known for years. They recently started renting a studio in Dalston, but only have it at night times, so this was written and produced at around 3am under Stoke Newington high street.

"I've recently started working on my FOMO - Since writing this, I realised that I was saying yes to EVERYTHING and then being exhausted for, or missing the things that really mattered. I think that's what happens when I write, a lot of it is my subconscious, and I only realise how I've been feeling until the song is finished."

MRI is due for release on 8th September - pre-save the album here.

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Monday 14 August 2023

WATCH: Emma Gatrill - 'Adonis Blue'

Oh hi! We're back to writing blog posts too late, when I should be getting to sleep... but I haven't posted in a while and the press release for this one was sitting in my inbox whispering sweet nothings to me. I've just had a week off work and headed down to the South coast, to East Sussex. A trip to Brighton gave me aaaaaall of the The Great Escape memories from my couple of years there. A walk along the cliffs at Beachy Head provided the unexpected acrobatic trio you didn't know you needed - airplanes practicing overhead for this week's airshow, swallows dancing through the skies before their migration back to Southern Africa, and smaller still, some fancy blue butterflies. Back at the hotel, I had a look through my guidebook and lo and behold - we'd been admiring the Adonis Blue! Ooft. A real stunner!

Skip forward to staring at my inbox this evening, looking at the various tracks and announcements I'd like to try and write about and.... this one jumped out to me. Sussex resident and all round good egg/performer in many brilliant bands Emma Gatrill has just shared her new single Adonis Blue (you guessed it) and it is just as beautiful as its namesake. The track also features Conor O'Brien of Villagers - big yes to that!

The track arrives with news of Emma's new album Come Swim, arriving 24th November on Wilkommen Records, and featuring contributions from Emma's partner Marcus Hamblett (who also oversees production) as well as Helen Whitaker (flute) and Andrew Stuart Buttle (violin). More on the record over the next few months!

On the track, Emma shares: “Adonis Blue is a rare butterfly, the males have brilliant sky blue wings with a fine black line around the edge. I spent the summer on a quest wandering the South Downs in the hope of spotting this butterfly. The track is about searching for things that are hard to find but accepting that the quest itself can fulfil desires. It’s about the adventure and all that we find along the way. Conor is such an inspirational musician and it was an absolute honour to work with him on this song. The beat he crafted really weaved itself into the orchestration and his trumpet really makes the song for me!”

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Wednesday 2 August 2023

WATCH: Stornoway - 'It's Not Up To You' (feat. Yijia)

Can somebody explain to me how it is August already? I've been neglecting the blog lately - it's so hard to find time to write around work and other commitments, but I promise I'm trying to get things back to some sort of normality/a higher frequency of posts. Rest assured if I'm not writing as much, I'm still obsessing over new music in the background - and I'm very much in that place with Stornoway at the moment. If you know me or the blog, you probably know how much I love the band, and I'm all sorts of excited to share the latest track from their upcoming album Dig The Mountain! (due 8th September). It's Not Up To You is a Bj√∂rk cover, featuring Yijia, and I'm a little bit in love with it. 

The accompanying video, directed by the band's live violinist Susie Peters, sees the trio performing in Wytham Woods, just outside of Oxford, where Brian had his first conservation job (monitoring blue tit and great tit nest sites) after university. Watching them play in amongst the trees with the dappled light coming through the beech leaves... agh. The video is as beautiful as the track itself - a rare achievement.

Talking about the release, the band share: "we've always been hugely inspired by Bjork's fearless spirit and we particularly love this song from her 'Vespertine' album. We replaced electronics with acoustic instruments and vocal effects and changed the time signature, but it was once Jon and Oli got their hands on it and added piano, organ and bass that it started to soar."

You may have seen me gushing about this online already but... I saw Stornoway on Friday!!!! Friend of the blog, and my old boss, Oli got us into Cambridge Folk Festival to see the band headlining the second stage (competing with The Proclaimers, and so nearly giving us that I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) cover... you tease, Brian.) The band and their music mean so much to me - Oli and Tom gave me my first paid work in music and I've got so many lovely memories of seeing them perform. I can't quite believe they're really back.

I didn't manage to get to any of their festival slots last Summer, and the EartH gig earlier this year sold out far too fast for me (boo!) so my last show was the 2017 farewell show at Oxford's New Theatre (live album here) - I was working on the show so was there right from soundcheck through to the afterparty, it was an incredible day. Bittersweet, though, as I couldn't quite believe I wouldn't see them performing again. Fast forward six years and they're back, as brilliant as ever, and they've got new music to share. 

I'd say that I couldn't be happier, and that I couldn't love the band more if I tried... but then, well, this happened. Oli had organised for author, Johnny Flynn collaborator (!) and professor Rob Macfarlane (!!) to interview the band after the online premiere of their new video, live at the festival. I saw this was happening online and took my opportunity to try and meet Rob - he's one of my favourite authors to read and recommend, somebody whose opinion I trust deeply (if a book has a review from Rob on it, I'll probably buy it) and I adore his work with Johnny. Thankfully, Rob wasn't put off by my lingering outside of backstage to say hello, and was more than generous with his time - our conversation meandered through Stornoway, bookselling, writing, working with Johnny, my review of their show at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Johnny making me weep in The Motive and the Cue (so GOOD), wildlife and Rob's current projects. All of this happening under an oak tree, too. Poetic. 

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