New Song: Green Gardens – Buried in Snow

Previously we described Leeds’ Green Gardens as a group with impeccable harmonies and charmingly restrained rhythms. The desert rock riff that opens new single ‘Buried in Snow’ downright near sandblasts that restrained tag off. Taken from forthcoming EP ‘Sauna, Teach Me How to Breathe’, the single is frankly dizzying, its waves calming and crashing at a rate not even possible of this earth. Described by the band as a ‘call for action to the inactive’, it couldn’t feel more ill-advised right now, when lying on the sofa and binge eating popcorn is an act of heroism. Our inner saboteurs remain ever-present, no matter the state of the outside world, and when together they harmonise, “quick becomes slow as you’re buried in snow to your throat”, that lumpen weight presses down on us like a corpse again, its power reawakened fleetingly. If I was to have one criticism, it is that the desert rock riff zig zags in and out too regularly, its arrival occasionally feeling forced and unwanted. For the most part though, ‘Buried in Snow’ is instantly relatable and yet another sign of Green Gardens’ emergence as an increasingly vital component of our ecosystem.       

‘Buried in Snow’ is out now

New song: BUGS – Nick Gowland

Screenshots of middle-aged men proffering advice to wxmen musicians are tragically commonplace on social media feeds. “Love the song but at this point I would’ve done that”, “Have you tried your guitar in this tuning?”, yada yada yada. To South London four-piece BUGS those men are what you’d call Nick Gowlands – a common noun of their own invention for those most likely to drop by the merch table and ‘educate’ you on guitars. The rage simmers on their debut single never combusting into the inferno threatened by the song’s subject matter. The shoegaze-indebted guitars are light and stretched out like that final drop of drink when you’ve fallen on hard times. Alice Western’s voice is nasal, teetering over the edge to get a look at the drop but never letting the wind take her. They espouse a restraint that Nick Gowlands across the world should exercise when their fingers hover over the dm button, when their bodies turn toward the merch stand. Perhaps quarantine may offer a rare moment for re-valuation, an unending stare into the void. Until then though, we join Western in proclaiming, “Fuck Nick Gowland. Fuck all Nick Gowlands!”

 ‘Nick Gowland’ is out now on Sad Club Records

New song: Talitha Ferri – Porcelain

Few artists enter the arena with a trio of singles as impressive as those of Talitha Ferri’s. The ever-reliable Gold Flake Paint first introduced us to her back in February when they premiered her debut single ‘Home’. The Copenhagen-based songwriter has since gone on to release ‘The Sadness Lasts Forever’ and now ‘Porcelain’. The latter finds Ferri riffing on feelings of guilt that often accompany depression over resplendent guitar and writhing strings. That moment under depression’s dark cloud when you look at lives much worse off than your own and feel unworthy of the sadness that rests on your stomach. It’s something Soccer Mommy wrestled with on her recent album ‘Color Theory’, to all else’s intents and purposes she was living out her childhood dreams on the road and yet inexplicably an unspoken darkness prevailed within. 

Like her contemporaries, Ferri sings in similarly unvarnished terms, “Got it so damn good that it hurts / and I should feel much better / but I don’t feel much better” she regrets in a dejected, mournful tone.  The arrival of wrenching strings transports us to more visceral territory as Ferri matches the sharp yank of the violin bow with words no less cutting, “I’m standing here with blood in my mouth / trying to keep from spitting it out”. In expressing her feelings so vividly, she gives legitimacy to your own feelings, resulting in the track representing a two-way exchange rather than the simple portrayal of one’s own experiences.  Creating a space where others can enter on a level-playing field and work through struggles of their own is not an easy craft to master, yet Ferri manages it with ease. Laura Marling’s ‘Song For Our Daughter’ has provided the soundtrack to my lockdown so far and I’m sure that when Talitha Ferri’s debut full-length ‘Get Well Soon’ arrives on May 01 it will provide a similar comfort, just when we need it most.

‘Porcelain’ is out now on soulpod collective

New song: Forever Honey – Twenty-Five

Age anxiety feels particularly prevalent right now. Ever since the global pandemic hit, each and every one of us is facing the precarity of our existence head-on. Though I should be adjusting to the new circumstances of my existence, internally I’m presiding over selfish arguments, questioning whether I’ve made the most of my twenty-seven years. New York City group, Forever Honey relay their own age anxiety story on new single ‘Twenty-Five’. An age that induces a harsh self-reckoning, twenty-five is the point where you begin to battle with the expectations of what a twenty-five-year-old should be – I’m 25 now I should be at this point in my career, I’m 25 now I can’t be having late nights like this anymore. 

“I thought I’d never say / I’m looking more like you every day / it’s not a bad thing / I just wanna recognise my face”, Liv Price sings in the chorus, feeling the vigour of youth slip through her fingers as she starts to resemble her mother more and more with every day that passes. An electrifying riff rumbles in the background implausibly partnering with glistening dreampop keys. On paper it sounds impossible but in practice they work together like legendary crime detectives, one needing the other to reach their true potential. Forever Honey are not afraid to indulge in big pop moments, Price repeatedly sings “hey yay yay” in the starbursting finish where you’re invited to plunge into the revelry one final time. Price may be having an existential ageing crisis, however, if her band continues to break boundaries, matching styles you never thought would complement one another, tiring of them will be nigh-on impossible.

‘25’ is out now 

New song: Francis of Delirium – Circles

By Sage Shemroske

“Stayed way too close to let you go / not close enough to feel like home” sings Jana Bahrich on ‘Circles’, Francis of Delirium’s new single. At just 18 she’s familiar with the pitfalls of intimacy, of feeling completely entwined with someone and yet not allowed in. Her songwriting gives the idea that she has done a lot of traveling and changing of paths, but this feels like a final molting with the strongest skin yet emerging. Her voice strains against the idea of suffocation, “I can’t breathe at all”. She pushes against what restrains her or what keeps her stuck in the same cycle. Her guitar gains speed acting as more of a pulse than a pillar, not generating the blood but rushing it out. It’s a layered sound with indie rock’s edges but emo’s soul and struggle. ‘Circles’ works in a series of build and release, build and release. The track pauses ever so slightly to reveal its own intricacies- the scratch of fingerpicked guitar strings, Bahrich’s voice lowering with a delicate piano softening the blows, all before getting caught up in Chris Hewett’s drumming again. Hewett allows for a glint right before the chorus pulls the tide again. The track does a tight walk between despair and clarity, there are moments of certainty but the band is never entirely unencumbered. ‘Circles’ starts solemn and gains ferocity as it expands. Here we find Bahrich trying to find the light, fingertips stretched outward. Bahrich picks up the pace “my head’s not going under”, refusing to stop or maybe unable to before finally letting go. Francis of Delirium manage to change the current right before they slip down the drain.

‘Circles’ is out now on Dalliance Recordings

New song: A.O. Gerber – In The Morning

‘In The Morning’ is the towering lead single from LA-based artist A.O. Gerber’s forthcoming debut record ‘Another Place to Need’. After a cleansing, revitalising start, the true colours of ‘In The Morning’ shine fiery red, Gerber letting loose in a rage which refuses to simmer until the song burns out. Though balm-like in the beginning, her voice turns malignant as she contrasts the wincing pain of a tumultuous past relationship with the surrounding natural beauty visible from her car window as she races on to Oregon. A collective wolf howl skirts her despair, rising and falling, appearing and vanishing. James Bond-like drama, which wouldn’t have looked out of place on Angel Olsen’s latest record, arrives in the form of whole-bodied brass and strings, they bounce off one another emitting a sense of foreboding as if the ground is preparing to give way under Gerber’s wheels. She does reach her destination however, one final gasp of relief escaping her before she turns the key, the engine rumbling to silence.

‘Another Place To Need’ is out May 22 via Hand In Hive / Copper Mouth Records

New song: BABii – Snake

On new single ‘Snake’, Margate-based sound architect BABii realises that the only way to free herself of a bad spirit is to express it through song. ‘A vicious ode to a manipulative spiteful person who has caused me, and a lot of people who are close to me, so much emotional pain’, ‘Snake’ is proudly petulant, an expulsion of hatred atop bombastic, bone shaking beats. Cresting and breaking synths make for an air of malice that bubbles under throughout, the foundations finally caving in when slithering, winding electronics clash with a bass that could crack firm gravel. A builder in all senses, BABii constructed the set for the ‘Snake’ video and has previously built machines that allowed attendees at an interactive clubnight, hosted alongside collaborators Chk Chk Chk (!!!) and Why?, to insert tokens to change the music and visuals onstage. ‘Snake’ is proof she’s just as comfortable at tearing the wall down as raising it from the ground up.  

‘Snake’ is taken from forthcoming EP ‘iii’, out March 27 on GLOO

Premiere: Hollan – Wild Man

I listen through our submissions whilst working, few waking me from my inertia. I still remember hearing Hollan’s music for the first time, having to push my chair away from the desk and sink into the fabric of my chair. This is the moment I’d been waiting for; this makes working through all the chaff worth it. Anna Manotti’s (Hollan) vocal could’ve come from any era, its deep reverence subsuming you whole, whilst her songs sound as if they’d sprung from the soil, the early recordings of Adrianne Lenker whirring round my mind. 

Latest single ‘Wild Man’ sees Manotti confront the reality of a break-up after returning home from vacation. “I was warring with my mind, struggling with my mental health and I felt an urgency that I needed to be rescued from the state I was in. During those couple of hours of feeling the rawness of life in a dark moment, I realised that a part of me and my soul will never be completely present. A part of me will always be somewhere else, somewhere better, somewhere right. And sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can go there”. 

Manotti’s words are so rich that she ensures you come along too. The scorched grass, the fading blue of the pick-up truck, the flower hanging from one’s mouth appearing in stunning high definition. “Somewhere I’m with you / Riding through the tall grass / And my feet are dangling out the back” she sings in the chorus, its beauty making you feel like you could keel over in front of your speakers. There’s a mourning, a sense of regret perhaps to her voice not distilled by the arrival of strings and swelling percussion. The ambiguity of her words steal you away from the day-to-day as you comprehend why the words “you know I carry rain” make you fall apart every single time. 

Whenever I listen to Manotti I imagine I’m watching her live. Stood in the crowd, my eyes are closed, the words to her songs escaping from my mouth though I have no awareness that I am singing.  The thought of it makes me feel warm. 

‘Wild Man’ is out Saturday 14 March

Premiere: Alf Whitby – Mountain (For Change)

It’s funny that Manchester songwriter Alf Whitby’s artwork always features nature. His songs suspend you in a silence similar to that experienced by neighbours looking out at a blood moon, a solar eclipse, a crimson sky. You just stand and admire, watch it play out in front of you. Words cannot suffice. 

‘Mountain (For Change)’ is the most forthright of the three singles to come from forthcoming debut ‘Sistine Dreams’, the swell of its second half swallowing you whole.  Whitby’s voice acts like a gusty swirl, occasionally unintelligible, he layers its rises and falls elevating it to an instrument all its own. Though initially you might compare it to Wild Beasts’ Hayden Thorpe, it’s more Anohni by the end, when he declares “I want it all / your grandmother’s throw / the honeycomb pillow / your favourite bowl”, his words carry the power of a fire burning inside finally given air. A song about the precarity of love, Whitby penned it after seeing the end of a close friend’s relationship that to him looked like everything he ever wanted. “That’s why love’s the sacrificial stone / The precipice I groaned to / The hardest to leap off”, he sings. 

‘Sistine Dreams’ is out March 13 on My Little Empire. 

New song: Chase Weinacht – Leap Day

Leap Day‘ is the debut solo single from Marmalakes singer & guitarist Chase Weinacht and his first release with Balloon Machine favourites Keeled Scales. Written in 2015 about the events of a leap day seven years previous, the weightless indie folk of ‘Leap Day’ is the type of song you’d want in your ears whilst freely strolling down a sunlit path. It’s the small embellishments that make it whole, the fidgety synth on the chorus, the ‘ba ba ba’ of the backing vocal. 

Written about the realisation that a lover’s world doesn’t align with your own, ‘Leap Day’ deviates into darkness when Weinacht sings “I am still in love with that woman / why does that make me feel so lost?”, the song structure collapsing around him. Weinacht reassembles the pieces quickly enough though and while this realisation may have devastated him initially, he’s content and glad of the experience seven years down the line. “I think I might go for a swim / I hope it’s cold out / I hope it’s empty” he resolves. 

‘Leap Day’ is out now on Keeled Scales

Premiere: Tom John Hall – Human

As an announcement rang through Manchester airport a few weeks ago, it struck me that for all intents and purposes I was now a passenger and that I’d remain so until I passed through the border on the other side. We shed our individual status more often than we realise, we’re patients, employees, customers, students. The individual requirements and responsibilities of each role require a different performance. It’s something Derby upstart Tom John Hall explores on new single ‘Human’, “a song about the tiny performances we put on in our everyday lives, and the nerve-wracking sensation of living in a permanent state of pretending”.

That wracking of the nerves is reflected in the song’s instrumentation; the spine-splitting solos, the frantic, galaxian synths, the hubbub of peripheral external voices that threaten to overpower Hall. Following an intro that recalls early Django Django, a slowly undulating riff comes to the fore, like a snake slithering out of a canyon. Hall regrets “it’s not me that people meet / when they meet me”, eventually declaring “we lie / we lie all the time”. The sheer hysteria that ensues from this point reveals Hall’s penchant for the eccentric, he ploughs a ship through rocky waters, challenging you to stay upright. Though fluid in the day-to-day, his identity as a songwriter is unbreakable, something that won’t bend no matter how great the pressure.  

‘Humans’ is the lead single from forthcoming debut ‘My Big Album’, out July 31st via Year of Glad

New song: Julia-Sophie – x0x

After years of playing in rock band Little Fish and, more recently, dream pop collective Candy Says, Julia-Sophie has decided to fly solo. Lead single ‘x0x’ taken from forthcoming EP ‘Y’ is in the singer’s own words, a ‘welcome to her electronic world’. 

The drum machine is perhaps the most prominent feature in Julia-Sophie’s new world. From the get-go of ‘x0x’, its beats are persistent, clawing even, providing a soil bed for the song to grow from. In line with the algorithmic song title, Julia-Sophie’s voice is robotic, singing “It’s hard to shake feelings I have / makes time pass slow” in a monotone that purposely contradicts the emotive potency of the words themselves. A warm synth which could provide an uninterrupted soundtrack to a spa swimming pool soon enters, along with a fleeting handclap, the inherent calm of both distilling the drum machine’s insistent clamour. An afrobeat-indebted thud drives ‘x0x’ to a frantic conclusion, perspiration dripping from the huddled hoards as they shield their eyes from an epileptic strobe. An intriguing entry point to a world well worth exploring.    

‘x0x’ is out now

New Song: Uma Bloo – Marguerite’s Novels

By Sage Shemroske

In my friend’s white tiled kitchen we are discussing friends-of-friends and what is good and local, and she excitedly tells me about a singer she thinks I’ll really like. With her phone set on the table for easy listening she plays Uma Bloo’s slo-mo cover of the poetically horny ‘I’m On Fire’. It echoes in a quivering chamber unrecognizable from the original. Just as devastated but noire not rugged. Since that 2018 cover Uma Bloo has grown, singer/songwriter Molly Madden now backed by a full band with a SXSW showcase under their belt. The new dynamic adds a textured layer to their newest song ‘Marguerite’s Novels’, the name of which is perhaps a perfect example of Uma Bloo’s pathos; Marguerite Duras, a french author known for her autobiography about a youthful affair titled L’Amant (which translates to ‘The Lover’ in English). Duras wrote prolifically and romantically before eventually delving into more experimental work. Something Madden has mirrored in her own career. The track walks out, Madden’s lyrics syncopated before the instrumental overlay melds into something more lush. Her voice is peeled back and the guitar starts to rail, taking up the job of the vocals, the reverb fluttering. The band sways and staggers into a finish. Yes it’s an homage to the romantic but to call Uma Bloo diaristic or confessional may lay them flat- they’re an experience, dancing somewhere between rock and baroque.

It’s impossible to listen to Uma Bloo without picturing Molly Madden’s guitar coated in silver glitter and her silk swathed photos. And then there’s Uma Room, an installation-meets-house-show designed to bring the audience into the world of Uma Bloo herself (a persona built on from Madden’s burlesque days). This gives Madden and/or Uma an opportunity to remove any label that may be placed on her sound. The Midwest has been graced with near 50 degree heat today and my windows are open hoping for an almost-spring breeze. The lights are dimmed and candles are lit just bright enough so that I can jot down my thoughts. Uma Bloo is playing loudly in the living room.

Marguerite’s Novels is out now

New song: Merce Lemon – Moon Shots (Demo)

If you search Merce Lemon on Twitter, you’ll see a ream of great artists who have asked the Pittsburgh singer-songwriter to join them on tour, many of them Balloon Machine favourites – Honey Cutt, Yowler, Yohuna and Rose Dorn. It’s a nod to the respect her songwriting commands in the DIY community and a suggestion of the success her peers suspect might follow.    

The ever-reliable Crafted Sounds are re-issuing her first two EPs; both were recorded by Great Grandpa’s Dylan Hanwright. They announced this release with ‘Moon Shots (Demo)’, a track that originally appeared on label sampler ‘Bridges’. I often find listening to playlists a passive experience, yet whenever ‘Moon Shots (Demo)’ is drawn out of the deck, I’m immediately brought to a standstill, captivated entirely by Lemon’s reverb-heavy guitar and her charming vocals. Other than the addition of an occasional straining synth, the song stays true to its humble beginnings, Lemon keenly aware that simplicity is her friend not her enemy. Oddly addictive, you make return visit after return visit to ‘Moon Shots (Demo)’, the stillness it supplies providing the perfect tonic to the busy everyday. Though it runs at just over two minutes, it lingers in the ether long after its final strum, the singer drawing you into a space of contemplation that you’re happy to bathe in for a while.  

‘Ride Every Day’ is out March 14 on Crafted Sounds

Premiere: Jane Herships – Scott Carpenter

A permanent fixture of the New York DIY scene, Jane Herships has ditched her Spider moniker, releasing music under her own name for the first time. Today we’re premiering ‘Scott Carpenter’, the second single from forthcoming full-length ‘The Home Record’, following on from ‘Best Friend’. Written about astronaut Scott Carpenter, who was forever curious about the world around him, the song is as winsome as the man it pays tribute to. Driven along by an effervescent acoustic guitar, ‘Scott Carpenter’ rolls along at a pleasurable pace, like a train presenting a shifting slideshow of breath-taking views. Warm, astral synths lift us into the chorus, Herships granting us freedom from the mundanity of daily life, our heads bobbing in the clouds. “It’s a long way to the ground from here” she sings, and for a minute reality really does feel distant, making the landing all the more devastating when the song fades to nothing.

Speaking of the track, Herships says: “I wrote this song after having read about the life of of astronaut Scott Carpenter and feeling really inspired.  His life was dedicated to exploration and science strictly for the purpose of expanding his knowledge of the world around him. I wish that there were more people today in the public eye that were celebrated for their curiosity and wonder.  There is so much to learn and explore in this world and I want to feel inspired by the people who are brave enough to do that and that in itself is beautiful.  

“I asked artist Arielle Sarnoff to make the video for this song.  Her work is really whimsical and beautiful and she is really good at telling a story.  But there is also a mischievous or fun quality to a lot of her videos and images so I thought she could have fun with this song.”

The Home Record is out Friday 28 February

New song: Clever Girls – Spark

The reverberating guitars and booming drums that open Clever Girls’ new single ‘Spark’ are quite the curveball as what follows is enticingly pensive and withdrawn. Buried beneath the murk, Diane Jean’s vocals are forlorn for the most part, sporadically piquing to a Snail Mail-like yelp in the rare moments where desperation overtakes dejection. There are times when the Vermont band unshackle, the shoegaze indebted chorus for example, but the charm of ‘Spark’ is in the vacuous tension that permeates it, like children huddled around an elder with a gift for storytelling, you stretch to hear Jean’s every word. “If you burn the house down, I’m the match that you had in your pocket” they sings towards the end, their words holding the door to their world entrancingly ajar but never throwing it wide open. 

‘Spark’ is out now on Egghunt Records

Premiere: Eilis Frawley – Leave The House

I first heard Eilis Frawley on Get In Her Ears’ reliably brilliant Hoxton FM show. Though the heart-rate monitor resembling synths and experimental percussion of her debut single ‘Illusions’ caught my attention, it was Frawley’s on-the-nose lyrics that really stopped me in my tracks, ‘business will kill us / when do you have fun?’ she questioned, forcing me to introspect.

Today we’re exclusively streaming ‘Leave The House’ from her EP ‘Never Too Emotional‘, which is out this Friday on Reckless Yes. It opens in a typically idiosyncratic style, with nearly a minute of churning, haunting ambience. This ends dramatically with a sudden drumroll that’s followed by an almost gallingly persistent kick-drum. From there, we segue into another soundscape made up of a voyaging bass line and glistening synths. Like a malfunctioning robot, it’s stop start, start stop, stop start. Frawley’s speaking voice is the only constant, sarcastically repeating advice that anxiety sufferers like myself hear relentlessly, “you’ll feel better if you leave the house.” Bold and uncompromising.  

‘Never Too Emotional’ is out Friday 07 Feb on Reckless Yes

New song: Lindsay Munroe – Mirror

By Philip Moss

On debut single, Mirror, Manchester songwriter, Lindsay Munroe, casts a reflective and critical eye over her formative years. Cool, understated guitars bubble beneath a critical take on gender roles, stereotypes and media indoctrination – which all builds towards an addictive choral refrain – packed full of sniping attitude. Channelling a brash delivery that recalls Sharon Van Etten, this is a bold first release that is very close to being fully formed. 

‘Mirror’ is out now

New song: The Early Mornings – Artificial Flavour

The Early Mornings are Manchester’s best new band. I first saw the three-piece support Porridge Radio in April of last year and found myself captivated by their bounding riffs and political poetry. Annie Leader’s apathetic singing style felt reflective of a young generation whose voices and votes count for very little within our ageing population. Today, the world gets to hear them for the first time, more than a year after their first show. 

‘Artificial Flavour’ reaffirms the punk ethos of the 70s that all you need for a good pop song is a really strong riff. That parading riff is the song’s axle, the scaffolding from which they build. From there, Leader’s guitar jousts and spars for power with Danny’s bass. The chorus sees Leader deliver her most devastating line, snarling “And everyone I know is sick”. Those words signal the return of the central riff, now bolstered by Rhys’ booming drums as Leader concludes that “the dream was blurred”. Modern life is rubbish but with songs this catchy, The Early Mornings make it all that bit more bearable. 

‘Artificial Flavour’ is out now on Safe Suburban Home

New song: Half Waif – Ordinary Talk

If you asked who we hoped for an album from most in 2020, Half Waif (Nandi Rose) would’ve been pretty high up the list. Today, Half Waif has shared details of her new album ‘The Caretaker’, the follow-up to the sublime ‘Lavender’. On lead single ‘Ordinary Talk’, Rose cages you within a claustrophobic atmosphere of dense synths and itchy percussion clicks. Soon the atmosphere falls away, Rose left alone with her piano to sing, “Walking to the lake / getting in my car / folding up the laundry / taking it too hard / everybody knows it’s how we fall apart”. Even when she’s riffing on life’s mundanities, Rose’s voice never ceases to be otherworldly, conveying emotion like few others can.  Ever the sorcerer, Rose then casts a dark gloom over the track as she whispers, “Baby don’t worry about me, I don’t worry about you” until her voice trails off into the distance.

Speaking about the track, Rose said: “Recognizing your own ordinariness can be depressing, or it can be a relief. In Ordinary Talk, I wanted to honor and celebrate my ordinariness as an incredible tool for making me feel less alone. The song is a reassurance that feeling bad – or ‘ill’ – isn’t something that needs to be corrected. There’s a depth of experience that comes from feeling emotions at their extremes. And it is, in fact, this vivid, varied messiness that makes us human and ordinary.

‘The Caretaker’ is out March 27 on Anti- Records

Premiere: Greg Mendez – Bike

Today we’re premiering the first single from Greg Mendez’ forthcoming record ‘Cherry Hell’. Though ‘Bike’ lasts just 93 seconds and comprises of fairly minimal instrumentation, the spectrum of emotions and feelings it manages to imbue within those limiting strictures goes beyond logic. The Philadelphian songwriter’s weary, latent vocals contrast the peppy acoustic guitar as he ticks off a list of people he’d prefer to be over himself; you probably fall down the same self-loathing hole every time you open Instagram. As a nostalgia-inducing synth joins the party and Mendez’ stream of consciousness becomes increasingly unhinged, “I want to fuck on ecstasy”, his adeptness at constructing vivid paintings comes to the fore. There’s a freedom and guile to ‘Bike’, its optimistic instrumentation ignites a child-like recklessness within you. With it by your side, you’ll feel like you can be whoever you want to be. 

‘Cherry Hell’ is out February 28 on Devil Town Tapes (UK) & Forged Artifacts (US)

Header photo by Veronica Isley

New song: Dana Gavanski – Good Instead of Bad

Dana Gavanski has marked the announcement of her debut album, ‘Yesterday Is Gone’, by releasing the subtly engrossing ‘Good Instead of Bad’. Her third single in under a year, ‘Good Instead of Bad’ imparts a sophisticated grandeur, you can imagine Dana and band playing it in the corner of a room as party guests waltz along to its slowly, bobbing rhythm. Gavanski is intriguingly off-kilter, her odd turns of phrase leave questions hanging in the air, the central line itself, “How can I be good instead of bad?” is delightfully ambiguous. Dana repeatedly questions “Or is this all I have?” over searing atmospherics and the incessant plucking of a taut harp to bring the song to a dramatic close.

Speaking of the track, Gavanski said: “It’s about reflecting on the end of a relationship and how quickly things change. The desire to make up for everything that wasn’t done or wasn’t done right. The muddiness of breaking up, and not knowing if it’s the right decision. Not saying the right things, not being able to express the complexity of what we’re feeling. Things change and that’s that – not being able to turn back and undo a bad move. It’s an attempt to see from the other’s perspective and understand how hard it is for them as well. Reflecting on the intractability of certain decisions.”

Yesterday Is Gone is out March 27 on Full Time Hobby

New song: Sofia Wolfson – Party Favors

Sofia Wolfson’s ‘Adulting’ was one of 2019’s best EPs. And the 20-year-old is quick off the mark in 2020, with new single ‘Party Favors’ arriving just eight days after the clock struck midnight.  The verse has a breezy languor Faye Webster would be proud of, whilst the air-punching chorus invites you to throw off your shackles and indulge in a carefree singalong. It’s the perfect introduction to Wolfson and one you’ll hit repeat on as soon as the guitar rings out. 

Speaking of the track, the LA songwriter said: “This song was recorded around the time of my last EP, but immediately had a different energy to it. I knew I wanted to release it separately. I wrote it while I was going to college in Boston when everything I was writing at that time was incredibly sad and slow and I needed to change it up a bit. I’ve always loved songs that sonically seem to be giving off one mood, while lyrically depicting another. ‘Party Favors’ stemmed out of an old frustration I had with a friend in high school who I played music with. The lyrics attempt to capture the feeling of not understanding a person’s motives or actions, of feeling like you thought you knew someone well but start becoming incredibly distant. And out of that frustration comes the song’s constant reminder that the person you’re in conflict with is just “bone and blood,” just one person in a world of billions. I think that lyric was me encouraging myself to redirect my focus.”

UK tour dates:

14th – The Shacklewell Arms, London (w/ Purple Pilgrims)  

15th – Rough Trade East, London (Matinee Show)

15th – The Line of Best Fit’s Five Day Forecast, The Lexington, London 

16th – Oporto, Leeds 

17th – Surf Café, Newcastle 

18th – The Hug & Pint, Glasgow (w/ Molly Linen) 

‘Party Favors’ is out now

New song: Bedroom – Gulf

Hypnagogia is the mental phenomena that occurs in the transition from sleep to wakefulness. When dreams and real-life intersect transporting you to a semi-conscious blur. Bedroom’s (Noah Kittinger) latest single ‘Gulf’ captures that liminality perfectly, its triangulating guitar and Kittinger’s soothing, lethargic vocal lulling the listener into a meditative state. A lightly threading bass and woozy Frank Ocean-like synths hover in and out, pricking the listener awake momentarily. The waters do shift direction eventually, a shimmying acoustic guitar and riffing saxophone forcing the boat to dock temporarily on a Balearic beach. Normality is soon restored though, as delicate percussion pushes us back into the ocean blue as Kittinger’s voice soars like a bird above that wordlessly we watch until we can’t see it anymore.

‘Gulf’ is out now

New song: Gold Baby – Dogbone

On ‘Dogbone’ Gold Baby’s Sian Alex fights on two fronts – against an artificial state of apathy that nearly convinced Alex she was void of all feeling and against gender stereotypes that caused her to fear she was being ‘bossy’ or ‘naggy’ whenever she tried to lead her band. Alex’s palpable indignation manifests in the words, “It doesn’t mean shit”, and the structure, the opening razorblade riff and the following guitar solo marks ‘Dogbone’ out as their most bombastic track yet. She barks in the face of her adversaries, eventually claiming victory when she howls “you’re no-one.” This outright refusal to acknowledge her insecurities drowns out their voices once and for all.

Gold Baby play for us alongside Crake on Saturday 08 February

‘Dogbone’ is out now. 

New song: Josienne Clarke – Slender, Sad and Sentimental

Earlier this month, Josienne Clarke released her charming debut, ‘In All Weather’. ‘Slender, Sad and Sentimental’ is easily its most jovial moment, a self-referencing track where Clarke ‘writes about writing a catchy single in the style of a catchy single’. The chorus is a certified foot-stomper, Clarke’s jocular alliteration – “poise, poetry and pride…slender, sad and sentimental” – perching above full-bodied guitars and pulsating drums. Though the chorus is great, the moments of melancholy and complexity that hem it in are perhaps the song’s greatest strengths. The end of the first chorus sees the arrival of a reeding, brooding guitar and lyrics that are both thorny and macabre, “I’m grinning with gritted teeth, I’ve been yearning at you, gurning at you”. While, in another moment, the song disintegrates entirely revealing its bare bones of pensive keys and introspective guitar strums. Catchy, complex and captivating. 

’In all Weather’ is out now on Rough Trade Records