Hello again! This week, like many others, I have been trying to thrive (and concentrate) while working in quarantine. In and amongst all of the extra snacks, burnt out candles and Tiger King binge-watching, I can safely say that I have achieved only one good thing; I have finally cleared out all of the press releases in my inbox!
I am going to put my hands up and admit that I am prone to swiftly deleting most press releases that I receive. As a former freelancer, I can receive well over a hundred singles, album streams and music videos in a day, though this number is probably pale in comparison to many renowned editors and journalists! This week, however, I decided to challenge myself to listen to every single thing that cropped up in my inbox, and it turns out that I had let a fair few gems slip under the radar. And what is the point of this procedure, you may ask? Well, I wanted to source out the best of the bunch for your listening pleasure, and you can now find my picks below. Enjoy, and don’t forget to thank me later!
Now, just when I thought I’d managed to start working at an acceptable, productive speed, I discovered singer-songwriter Tom King. Unlike some of us (me), the 18-year-old artist has actually put his newfound free time to good use. Following the cancellation of his final A-Level exams, King decided to invest the time in his music, and pulled forward the release date of his latest single, the emotive No Mans Land.
Tom King – No Mans Land
With a music video directed by Pedro Romhanyi, the brains behind the visuals for Blur’s Parklife and Pulp’s Common People, Tom King’s No Mans Land is a real slow-burner. Lyrically, it details the tidal waves of emotions that come with a broken relationship, atop a spectral, acoustic guitar lead. King’s haunting vocals are the draw here, though he is particularly doleful at points. “When you’re gone, I don’t want to think about you”, he husks over its delicate chorus.
The simple clip adds a whole new depth to the break-up ballad; it sees King confined in self-isolation while he sings to his laptop, lamenting over a former lover. If anything, it beautifully captures an individual’s disconnection in this current climate, where we are desperate to engage not only with others, but with the outside world again.
Recently, I transitioned from working as a freelance music journalist to a full time staff writer. Working from home and navigating a new job amidst a global pandemic has been challenging to say the least, but if anything, it has reminded me how lucky I am to be working with new music every single day. Mealtime’s Rain Like This is a shining example of why my work can be so special, and it was just what I needed to get me through a lethargy-ridden Monday morning.
Mealtime – Rain Like This
Right, sit yourself down and chuck a pair of headphones on. May I present to you the most exciting up-and-coming act I have heard all year, Mealtime, who have just dished out a rather delicious slice of industrial tinted noise pop.
Earlier this week, the Manchester six-piece released their latest single, Rain Like This. The surreal track hammers out tense, yet precise blasts of breathy vocals through a fog of electro synths, a pattern that is redolent of the woozy title track of St Vincent’s 2017 LP ‘Masseduction’, but on steroids, perhaps. Rain Like This ceaselessly shunts its territory of neon alt-pop into Mealtime’s eccentric style and in doing so, proves itself to be a ridiculously confident track that is more than worthy of your time.
Even better is the retro-esque video, which follows the band inside an arcade-style car race, complete with wacky character names and brightly coloured costumes. Game on!
Over the past fortnight, it has become increasingly disheartening to see hundreds of tours being forcibly postponed and in some cases, entirely cancelled in response to the COVID-19 global crisis. Obviously, live events should be the least of our worries at the moment, but I haven’t been to a gig since March 14, which is the longest I have been without hearing live music since the age of 14. For now, though, the news of proposed free gigs for our frontline NHS workers has truly softened this blow and has given us hope for a healthier, safer future.
Free Gigs For NHS Staff
Earlier this week, quiff experimentalist and all round legend Rick Astley confirmed details of a free concert for all eligible NHS frontline staff, primary care workers and emergency services staff. The gig is set to take place on October 28 at Manchester Arena, in hopes that the current coronavirus pandemic will be under control by then.
Astley is offering a career-spanning set for specified healthcare professionals and emergency service staff as a thank to you to those striving to keep the country together throughout this challenging, uncertain time. In a press release, Astley said:
“Our NHS and emergency services are amazing. This concert is a thank you to all those fantastic frontline staff. I promise my band and I will give it everything to give you a great night out.”
On October 28th at @ManchesterArena I’m putting on a free concert for all NHS Frontline, Primary Care Workers & All Blue Light Staff. Tickets available from Thursday 2nd of April at 7pm. https://t.co/RC9fg7gAXi @NHSuk #NHSheroes #NHS #NHSstaff #thankyouNHS (Post 1 of 2) pic.twitter.com/EzWrYkRttV
— Rick Astley (@rickastley) March 31, 2020
The news follows a similar announcement from the Beautiful South duo Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, who are set to play free concerts at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena on October 13 and London’s SSE Arena, Wembley on October 15. Once again, these gigs are exclusively for all eligible NHS frontline staff, primary care workers and emergency services staff.
Those who secure tickets for any of these free gigs will be required to present an original copy of their staff ID at the doors. The name on their ID must match the name of the person who made the original booking. Head to Stereoboard.com for more information.