What do we love? THINGS! When do we want them? THIS WEEK!
Right you are.
Loyle Carner – Ottolenghi
In the words of a random YouTube commenter: “Goosebumps alert”. This track is so laid-back you’ll be setting your recliner to maximum tilt to let the crazy smooth vibes wash over you. Muted synth piano chords lead the way, with Carner’s deep and soothing bars helming the verse and the calming influence of Jordan Rakei on the chorus. Just a simple tune about riding the train. Awesome. Oh, and the video has some really nice dogs in it if that’s your thing. It’s mine.
Super Furry Animals’ Fur
The Welsh alternative band have announced the release of ‘Super Furry Animals at the BBC’. But wait, there’s more. In 2003, the band put out Golden Retriever, the video for which saw Gryff Rhys and co don Yeti outfits. Clippings of this Yeti fur will be pressed into 100 copies of limited edition vinyl. What?! Here’s an artist’s impression. Gross.
Additionally, genuine stage-worn Yeti fur will be embedded into 500 numbered bonus hand stamped envelopes. Yup.
Paul McCartney – Come On To Me Video
Here’s one to get you through Friday and into the weekend. This is Fred. He’s a security guard. Watch him boogie his way through the shopping centre along to Macca’s latest single from ‘Egypt Station’. Everyone should be as happy as Fred. He is my idol now.
Record Store Black Friday Releases
Record Store Day is held in April, however as per the last decade or so, the organisers have put together another list of exclusive releases for Black Friday (and for the first time this year what they’re calling Small Business Saturday, to encourage spending at your local record store).
The list is a long one, and includes the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Blue Oyster Cult, Mamas and Papas, Manchester Orchestra, Rage Against the Machine, Outkast, Taylor Swift and even that cover of Toto’s Africa by Weezer, obviously. Head here for the full collection. Get ready to start your Christmas list.
Hi! Today is Friday (YES), and that means only one thing for the next 10 minutes or so – you’ll be here, reading me going on about some songs and things. Enjoy.
Kurt Vile – One Trick Ponies
Imagine going for a walk on a summer’s evening. It’s still warm out, the sun starts to set and you’re hanging out with your best friends with a can in hand. That is what this song sounds like. Sweet, carefree and easy-going, Vile has done it again with his unique, laidback style of alt-country. Harmonies are provided by Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa and Farmer Dave Scher, but the need for some Courtney Barnett lilts is inescapable after their collab last year.
Ruby Throat – Dog Song
Katie Jane Garside, who has previously fronted Daisy Chainsaw and QueenAdreena, has spent four years travelling the world on a boat named Iona.
During her time spent at sea, she wrote Dog Song with Chris Whittingham, which has a dark, folky feel with soft guitars throughout, before her searing vocals take over during the chorus. Bring on the noise.
She’ll put out ‘Stone Dress’ as Ruby Throat on November 9.
Phoebe Bridgers – It’ll All Work Out
This week, Bridgers released a deluxe edition of her debut album, ‘Stranger In The Alps’. This week also marks a year since the passing of Tom Petty. Get your ears ready for the most touching crossover episode ever.
The deluxe version of her album also includes a reprise of Smoke Signals and the demo for Motion Sickness, which sees a far more pared-back, folk sound. It’s beautiful.
Oh god, Theresa May
She is the dancing queen. Feel the beat of that tambourine, T.
First on the list of for Things We Love This Week is a new track from Muse! Just kidding. It’s terrible. If you want some delicious musical things that aren’t embarrassing, head below.
Methyl Ethel – Scream Whole
A juicy, sensual new pop track from the Australian band, whose most famous song so far asked us “Why’d you have to go and cut your hair?” The new release combines overlapping vocal harmonies and a catchy bassline to create a sound that wouldn’t be out of place on a Metronomy record, and the off-beat, reverberating synths, for whatever reason, make you feel like you’re in a haunted house. Its accompanying video focuses on the senses. Check it out.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Hanoi 6
Ruban Neilson is releasing an instrumental album. The recording of UMO’s latest release, ‘Sex and Food’, saw travels across the world including stops in Seoul, Hanoi, Reykjavik, Mexico City and Auckland, as well as his hometown of Portland. While visiting these far-flung destinations, Neilson recorded what he heard along the way, and ended up doing live sessions with local musicians, his brother and father in a studio in Hanoi.
These sessions became ‘IC-01 Hanoi’, a new supplementary release. On the first cut, it’s clear to hear the worldly influences, flecks of jazz and the avant-garde, wrapped up in a distinct feeling of the warm rain and thunder of a monsoon. Want.
LCD Soundsystem – Oh Baby Video
With a weekly column, there’s always a risk of repetition if bands you love keep releasing awesome stuff. Despite my pitiful attempts to keep it varied, I couldn’t resist dropping this sucker-punch of a video in this week. LCD Soundsystem are still at the forefront of whichever category you want to place them in, with last year’s ‘American Dream’ being an all-round banger.
This week came a video for the opener, Oh Baby, and oh baby, will it get you in the feels. Directed by Rian Johnson, fresh from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it finds a husband and wife (played by David Strathairn and Sissy Spacek) working tirelessly on a vague scientific experiment or invention of some sort. No spoilers. Watch the rest.
Summer has well and truly gone. We now peer out of the window, watching the rain and wind as it hammers into our grey landscape. It’s the wettest week we’ve ever seen, from the standpoint of water. So why not dry off with some lovely musical things that happened this week?
Christine and the Queens – La Marcheuse
In her latest video, Chris becomes a bullfighter. Or does she? Instead of squaring up to the animal, she whips off her traje de luces and makes friends with it. It follows her around and they have a little cuddle at the end. Heartwarming and wholesome, the warm-hued video captures the mellow indie pop of La Marcheuse. Have a watch to feel some good vibes.
Everything Everything at the Mercury Prize ceremony
I CAN’T GET OVER HIS VOICE. Jonathan Higgs, frontman of the eccentric pop band Everything Everything, has the most mental voice. It’s low, its high, it’s staccato and agitated, but its power really stands out during the exceptionally long notes. Higgs is backed by an exceptionally tight rhythm section and some bright synths, but his voice really takes over everything (everything) about their performance. I love it. They didn’t win (congrats, Wolf Alice), but check out their performance of Night Of The Long Knives from their Mercury-nominated album ‘A Fever Dream’.
Shout out to further nominees Nadine Shah and Everything Is Recorded, too.
Estrons – Body
Estrons have shared another track from their upcoming album, ‘You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough’, which is due on October 5.
Body explores how art has, for too long, set the paradigms for how we should look. Tali Källström, vocalist, said of the new track and its video, that reveals close ups of her body: “It suppresses us, it creates the unreachable which leads humanity into a pit of judgement, self denial and depression. This video is about studying the real. Celebrating yourself. Sexualising yourself, and letting go of the concept of flaws by flaunting who you really are.”
Hello! Guess what? It’s September. There are only three months left until Christmas…here are some things you might like a bit more than those two facts.
Phoebe Bridgers – Scott Street
In this new video, Bridgers hires a collection of lookalikes to dress up like her, to the point where it actually gets a bit difficult to tell them apart. They sing, have a bit of a dance, play on trampolines, ride the bus, and hit a piñata together. Where can I sign up?
Prince – 17 Days
A new version of Prince’s song, 17 Days, has been shared. Originally released in 1984 as a b-side to When Doves Cry, the new rendition is, in true Prince style, super funky and has a whole lot for rhythm for just one singer and his piano. It also features snippets of comments and chat between the musician and the sound engineers. I could listen to this all day.
The track comes off a posthumous album, ‘Piano & A Microphone 1983’, due for release on September 21.
Fleet Foxes – I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar
The ever-enticing folk band have shared a video for the opener from their latest album, ‘Crack-Up’.
Shot in Alabama Hills, a desert in Lone Pine, California, a house in Palm Springs, the video sees a man running – towards or away – a surreal, digital red cube.
Watch the video, directed by Sean Pecknold – frontman Robin’s older brother – below.
David Crosby – Glory
To finish, here’s just a really nice song. Some chilled-out guitar chords to take you into the weekend. Crosby is joined by Becca Stevens, Michael League of Snarky Puppy and Michelle Willis for this track, and a full album, ‘Here If You Listen’, due for release on October 26.
There’s a sinking feeling in everyone’s stomach this week. Razorlight have announced their fourth album, a total of 14 years after their debut, and 12 since America came out. You are OLD.
Muncie Girls – Clinic
Muncie Girls are at it again with another suitably catchy song and important message. In the video for latest single Clinic, the band undergo a science experiment based on a 1920s theory that everyone produces the same facial reaction when being exposed to specific situations including fear, joy, disgust and more. What’s cool is that they use this ridiculous notion to criticise the way mental health is dealt with. Not everyone is the same. Obviously.
Muncie Girls’ latest album ‘Fixed Ideals’ is out today.
…are going on tour! I really like this band and think you should too. Hailing from Amsterdam, the indie-rock outfit are touring across the UK and Ireland, stopping at a total of 14 cities. Yay! Find all the tour dates here.
The Lemon Twigs – ‘Go To School’
Regardless of what it sounds like, the concept of this album is just hilarious. The Lemon Twigs’ new high-concept rock-musical is out today. ‘Go To School’ is about a chimp who is raised as a human boy, and starts school. What happens next? Banana trickery? Swinging around from the ceiling? Monkey noises in the playground? Not quite. Unloved, bullied and heartbroken, Shane burns down the school and runs away to live a life of solitude in the woods. You can’t not listen to this.
Billie Eilish’s Press Photo
Are we going to question why she’s got a MASSIVE spider on her face? No? OK then.
Alas, your favourite columnist is back in work after a hedonistic, magical and other-worldly weekend at Green Man. She’s knackered, covered in bruises, and is also going through the classic post-festival flu. Cheer her up by reading about the things she has lovingly conjured up for you.
Boygenius is the brainchild of three badass musicians taking the indie-rock world by storm. Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus are teaming up for a new EP under the moniker, and early signs are that it couldn’t be better. Listen to three new tracks – each fronted by one of the artists in their individual styles, yet combining for a sound they all deliver impeccably – below.
Snoop Dogg – From Crook to Cook
Snoop Dogg is releasing a cookbook. Not the first rapper to release culinary literature, he follows in the footsteps of 2 Chainz and Kelis, but From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen will feature over 50 recipes from fine dining to wholesome favourites, and of course some snacks to satisfy those munchies. Oh – and of course, a recipe for gin and juice.
Sharon Van Etten covering LCD Soundsystem
As part of the BBC Proms’ annual concert series, Van Etten performed a version of New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down: fitting with the theme of celebrating a modern New York. The concert also saw sets from serpentwithfeet and Hercules and the Love Affair.
Van Etten’s recreation holds up her casual singing style against a full orchestral backdrop, rising into a huge moment of applause for the iconic song. Watch below.
For festival-goers around the country, it’s ultimately the headliners that draw us in. Of course you’ll fork out to see the War On Drugs, Fleet Foxes and King Gizzard over three consecutive days. Duh, that’s a no brainer. But if they’re the main course, then it’s the other dishes on the table that make the meal: smaller artists dotted around, good eats and a great setting. Green Man is again set to tick all those boxes.
The camping chair and Berghaus fleece will be set up in time for John Grant’s set, and of course the trip to the Goan fish curry stand will be scheduled perfectly around the inimitable Grizzly Bear. And what of those new names and fresh faces? These gems are the heart of a festival. Bands on the rise get a new audience to build a fanbase from, showcasing their craft on a bigger stage, and the audience get to discover brand new music that otherwise they may have missed.
But how do you know who to check out? Well, I’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s a short guide for who you simply must see at Green Man.
International Teachers of Pop Thursday, Far Out
NERD DISCO! Always the best kind of disco. This band only formed at the beginning of 2018 – out of the still hot ashes of the founders, producers and co-writers of The Moonlandingz – and so far they’ve only released one single. Age of the Train channels some serious Kraftwerk vibes in the opening few bars, and what’s not to love about that? You can be certain you are on the cusp of genuine new music here. How exciting.
Whyte Horses Friday, Far Out
“Empty words are haunting you.” Sounds bleak, right? Try it again in the sing-song, sunshine-filled tones of lead singer Andrey Pic. Oooh, interesting. Their 2018 release ‘Empty Words’ is a 16-track whopper full of pop hits. Dubbed the perfect psychedelic pop album by the usual outlets, one track even features guest vocals by La Roux. Maybe she’ll give us a surprise appearance. Or maybe not. Who knows?
Phoebe Bridgers Saturday, Walled Garden
This girl has got it. Whatever it is, Bridgers has it by the bucket load, and is definitely an act to catch this weekend. Normally better suited to small, intimate venues where her haunting voice is given the attention it deserves, her melancholic, heartbreaking songs may flip the positive Green Man vibes on their head, but in the best way possible. It’s good to be sad sometimes.
Tunng Sunday, Walled Garden
Here’s something totally different – intricate, experimental, electronic folk-pop. Tunng is for you. You think you know what a time signature is? Think again. These guys have been re-defining folk-tronica since their debut back in 2005. Their sixth LP ‘Songs You Make At Night’ is out on August 17, so expect jubilance from Mike Lindsay and the gang. (P.S. Have you listened to his side project, LUMP, with Laura Marling? You really must.)
Lucy Dacus Sunday, Walled Garden
Dacus returned with the biggest bang in March with her second LP ‘Historian’, after her debut won unanimous acclaim. Tackling the huge subjects of death and loss, crumbling relationships and self crises, it was no small feat. Tying up clever, witty lyricism with growling guitars and a huge sound, you better not miss her.
Big Jeff TBC
If you’ve ever been to a gig in the south west of England or over the bridge in south Wales – be that Bristol, Exeter, Cardiff, or wherever – you’ll have seen Big Jeff. You know, that tall dude with the curly hair standing in the front having a great time? That’s him. A regular on the live music scene in this neck of the woods, he’s only managed nab himself another DJ slot at the festival, after the success of last year’s performance. Expect the widest possible variety you can think of: free jazz to metal, hip hop to post punk, and anything else you could fathom in that vast (and frankly, brilliant) collection of his.
On looking back at said not-to-be-missed-acts, it seems the best smaller performances of the weekend will be in the Walled Garden, a stony square host to an intimate stage, lots of grassy sitting room, and of course the Green Man Pub, offering 50 different craft ciders and beers to choose from. See you at the front.
Green Man will return to the Glanusk Estate in the Brecon Beacons between August 16 and 19.
Time for a mix up. Instead of things we loved this week, for one edition only you lucky lot are going to be treated to things that we found to be on the spectrum of odd, weird, mesmerising, surreal, farfetched and just plain RANDOM. Kicking off the bunch of quirky things is Stefflon Don channelling farfalle pasta in one magnificent hairdo.
Sam and the Womp – Ice Cream Man
With a dancehall resurgence in our midst, it’s no surprise when new and revamped reggae beats flood the inbox. But something entirely different seems to have found its way through the cracks. Your life will be exactly 2.7 x better for this.
Superorganism – The Prawn Song
“Have you ever kissed a prawn and got a cold sore?”
After teasing fans with cryptic posters dotted around European cities, Aphex Twin has finally announced new material. A new EP, ‘Collapse’ gets a release on on September 14 through Warp Records. Richard D. James has also released the first cut from it: T69 Collapse.
The whole thing is your typical Aphex Twin attack on the senses with bleeps, clicks, lights and coding. It sounds like the future. But not the good kind with hover-boards and commercial space travel. The bad kind with evil robots that take over the human race.
Jake Shears – Big Bushy Moustache
All you fellas, don’t be jealous. Jake Shears has a great moustache. And he wants you to know it. But he wants to take it further – “a pornstar handlebar” really is more him. Double take – is that Josh Homme sporting a pornstar handlebar all of his own? Why yes, yes it is.
It’s August. Already. Time is slipping away. Life is fleeting. Spend it wisely. (Listening to these songs and watching these videos).
Sports Team – Margate
In the past nine months, this band have gone from “Who?” zeros to indie-post-punk heroes. They’ve got a massive buzz around them – and this is why.
Margate is an energetic track with some ridiculously catchy guitar riffs and an invigorating rhythm. The video alone will have you itching to get up and dance like good ol’ Alex Rice there. Margate celebrates summertime and Englishness in all its lacklustre glory, as the band note.
“Margate’s a song about English summers. Hosepipe bans. Overgrown hedgerows. Frayed tempers. The season of Reeling in the Years and tailbacks on the A303. We went in to record it with Burke during the first group stage games, when things were looking up. Some of that optimism rubbed off.”
It’s a shame the World Cup is finally over and we don’t have to talk about it ever again. A real shame.
Wild Nothing – Letting Go
New single Letting Go airs a nod to the War On Drugs in its vast production and reverb heavy vocals. But the video is why we’re really here. Mourning a dummy, growing mushrooms like pets, hundreds of snails, bodybuilders and a vampire-esque widow… it’s all over the place. You’ll love it.
Alaskalaska – Monster
This perfectly named band followed up April’s offering of Meateater, a synth-pop triumph, with the more sedate and leisurely Monster. It oozes just the right amount of alt-pop, hazy, sickly sweet and a just a little bit sad.
Additionally, there seems to be a running theme of glitter-tassle backdrops lately. I want more.
Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker
SUPERGROUP ALERT! The three musicians, who have released some of the best female-indie-folk-rock that 2018 and 2017 has to offer, including ‘Stranger in the Alps’, ‘Historian’ and ‘Turn Out The Lights’, have a collaboration in the works. Suspicions have been confirmed. YES!
While on the panel at NPR’s Turning The Tables Live event in NYC, Bridgers spoke to Ann Powers, divulging the rumours to be true. No more info as of yet… Keep those peepers peeled.
In the meantime, enjoy watching a video of the three musicians as Sims that a YouTuber has painstakingly made. There’s three parts, each over an hour long. Watch the entire thing. I dare you.