Wednesday 24 April 2024

Favourites being favourites

I've been kind of dreadful at sharing much here this year (and for a while before that, to be honest) for various reasons. It's so hard to find the time around bookselling full time, volunteering a little online, and... life stuff. I wanted to drop in and write something, and was selecting from a few recent songs I've been loving, when it struck me: why limit myself to just one thing?! Three of my absolute favourite artists (no overstatement, I adore them) have released new albums in the past couple of weeks and I love each of them. There's a beautiful unmatched joy in an artist you love with basically every fibre of your being releasing an album you love. So three at once? I'm dreaming. 

Queen Maggie Rogers is back with her third studio album Don't Forget Me. (No risk of that.) She's just announced a big ol' US tour, and ran a week or so of physical box office sales to get tickets into the hands of real fans. Queues galore, Maggie turning up in person to sell tickets, small shows in the evenings - I've been admiring it all from afar. Patiently awaiting a UK show I can get to because it has been far too long and I need a Maggie show in my life. For now, I'm happily listening to the album on repeat - particularly The Kill. 

When I want a break from Maggie (not often) new Novo Amor is straight in the headphones. Collapse List is another stunner - following up Cannot Be, Whatsoever (2020) and Birthplace (2018) - which is when I discovered Ali's music and fell ever so slightly in love. He's still got it, and then some - this is a beautiful record - envious of everyone seeing the guys live at the moment. The power and beauty of these songs in the live setting... ah. 

On the record, Ali wrote: "made in the studio that sits beside my home in Wales, it's a record of personal growth. It means a lot that I get to share this with you. I hope you get something from this music. Go listen." 

Last but not least, my favourite musical magician Cosmo Sheldrake just shared his album Eye To The Ear - released independently on his own label Tardigrade Records. I saw a few of the tracks performed at Rough Trade East on release day, but the album is a mammoth twenty-one (!) songs, an hour of absolute wizardry. As always, field recordings play a huge part in the music, and some of the tracks will give streaming income directly back to relevant charities and organisations. As if 21 songs weren't enough, Cosmo shared Soil last week as part of an EarthPercent campaign celebrating NATURE as an artist, with revenue from streams going through EarthPercent to various conservation and restoration projects. 

Music that does good, and is also absolutely brilliant. Yes please! Soil is "a homage to subterranean ecosystems" featuring honey fungus, an oyster toad fish, nightingales... you name it, it will probably be in there somewhere.

Why not follow my 2024 playlist to hear more of what I'm listening to?

Wednesday 3 April 2024

LISTEN: Bess Atwell - 'Fan Favourite'

Ooft. My fave musical gals are very much smashing it at the moment - I'm devouring The Staves new record on a loop, we're just over a week away from a new Maggie Rogers record (remain calm) and there's new Lucy Rose on the way - what a time!!! I can't get enough of this either - with an Aaron Dessner produced record on the horizon, Bess Atwell recently shared new single Fan Favourite and it is exactly that. Sublime.

Speaking about the track, Bess said: "I wrote Fan Favourite after watching some behind the scenes footage from a popular TV show. Not even a die-hard fan of the show myself - I can't remember what it was now - I found myself emotional watching the cast's wrap party. I felt jealous of the sense of community and opportunity to reflect on shared experiences and history. I pictured my own family's "wrap party" and what that would look like. The sadness, humour, disappointment and joy that would come with acknowledging the huge shared experience we've had in this life. The song also touches on the passing of time, a sense of dissociation, and feeling as though you've missed out on life despite still living it.

Fan Favourite is an attempt at a self-wake-up call so I wanted the production to sparkle, breathe and feel alive, the instrumentation a reminder that life is indeed still there to be lived."

Light Sleeper is due on May 24th via Real Kind Records - pre-order the album here.

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