Things We Love This Week: Thundercat, Big Yawn, Cheerbleederz

Hello young soul! I presume you’re here because you want some GREAT music in your ears on this fabulous Friday. Welcome home.

Thundercat

Thundercat’s back! Not that he’s really been gone for that long, but it does feel like a while since 2017’s ‘Drunk’. The R&B artist will release a new LP, ‘It Is What It Is’, on April 3 through Brainfeeder. Oh, and what’s more? The record will feature collabs with the likes of Ty Dolla $ign, Childish Gambino, Kamasi Washington, BADBADNOTGOOD and loads more. Sweeeet.

The first cut comes in the form of Black Qualls, a smooth-landing piece of soul that takes inspiration from 1970s harmonies and guitar licks in parts, but structure-wise is surprisingly all over the place and so, so enjoyable. (Also, check out his distinguished outfit in the pic above. So chic.)

Big Yawn

I mostly included Big Yawn in this week’s blog because I was in the middle of doing a big yawn when I saw it pop in my inbox. That, my friends, is what they call fate. As it happens, the experimental electronic band’s new single Skin Rat (ewww) sounds a bit like that moment in a dark, underground cocktail bar where you get lost on the way back from the loo and can’t really hear anything except some pretty trancey beats. It’s woozy, trippy and rhythmically very interesting.

Skin Rat is the first single to be taken from their new album, ‘No!’ which is due on March 6. The album’s title comes from the frequent use of the word in the studio, the band eloquently say. “The louder, the looser, the more laconic it’s said, the bigger a laugh it gets. The joke is that NO actually means a yes. It’s an expression of camaraderie, a refusal to take shit super serious like”.

Cheerbleederz

We all love anthropomorphism. That’s why Cheerbleederz’ video for Disco gets a mention this week! Their adorable stop-motion video was created by Jono Ganz and tells the tale of a lonely plant — who over the course of the clip grows eyes, wears a checkered shirt and gets licked by a snail — trying their best to fit in, and in the end embracing their differences, growing into a huge vine and making friends with the other plants.

Wholesome, lovable fun with a great message, the track is the second from indie-pop trio’s second EP, ‘Lobotany’, which is due on February 7. In addition, they’ll play Wales Goes Pop in April, so you should get some tickets for that. Although I cannot promise any dancing plants, I’m afraid.

Smell ya later, alligator.

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Things We Love This Week: Celeste, Fontaines D.C., Peaness

Congratulations! You made it through the first full working week of the year! It was long and painful, but you got there. Nice one! To celebrate, treat yourself to a sprinkling of music news that happened over the past seven days.

Celeste

If you’re feeling a bit dull and drab at the start of a new decade, here’s something to make you feel even worse! Some people in our vicinity are absolutely smashing 2020, and it’s only January 10. You could have been this productive too, had you not been sprawled on the sofa snaffling extra large Galaxy bars for the last two weeks (guilty!). Celeste, a soul and R&B singer from Brighton, won the BBC Sound of 2020 award this week. What a way to start the year! She’s also got tour dates planned for April. Have you?

After the announcement on Thursday, she revealed a new single, Stop This Flame, as if to further confirm everyone’s already solid opinions about her amazing vocal talent. Opening with a Brubeck-inspired piano riff, the song transports the listener to a pop-inflected piece of contemporary soul that I’m sure will soon attract the fans of Emeli Sandé.

Fontaines D.C.

Our favourite Irish punk poets have shared a new video! The clip for Liberty Belle, a track from the album ‘Dogrel’ that dominated 2019, gets a mention this week because it highlights the incredible year that these lads have had.

The video is simple — footage from gigs they’ve played on a massive world tour, from festivals stages to sweaty underground venues, and of course, at the iconic Vicar Street in their hometown of Dublin. If all this footage is giving you serious FOMO, you’re in luck. They have more UK tour dates in 2020, including a massive show at Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens, in July. Is it too real for ya?

Peaness

These guys love an unusual chord, and so do we. Peaness are an indie-pop trio from Chester who have been involved with the BBC Introducing scene for a while now, but have been relatively quiet since the release of their second EP ‘Are You Sure?’ in 2017. Kaizen, their newest bop, is sure to give you all those positive Friday feels.

Tight, summery chords à la Phoenix take control in the verses, and the title itself is a Japanese word that translates to “change for the good”. If that’s not something to pop on your resolutions list, I don’t know what is. Check out the lighthearted and upbeat video below, referencing all kinds of Japanese pop and gaming culture. Oh look, they have live shows planned too!

Woohoo! You made it to the weekend. See you next week for more fun music news. Ciao!

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Things We Love This Week: Phoebe Bridgers, LadBaby, Wille Edwards

Cheer up! There are so many more important things going on in the world than elections and Brexit. There are people less fortunate than you or I, struggling to keep the fridge full, find a roof, or have a doctor who cares. So this week’s blog post is dedicated to the musicians trying to make a difference in this mad, mad world. Cheers!

Phoebe Bridgers 

Last year, Phoebe Bridgers treated us to the beauty that was Christmas Song. This festive season, we’re getting another delightfully gentle holiday song, but 7 O’Clock News / Silent Night comes with a critical twist.

Along with help from the National frontman Matt Berninger and backing vocals from Fiona Apple, Bridgers’ take on Silent Night is a soft performance underneath a depressing news broadcast.

100%  of the profits will go to Planned Parenthood, and the track comes with a statement from Phoebe: “Happy Holidays to everyone whose family has been literally or figuratively torn apart by Donald Trump. And to my racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, hypocritical family members, fuck you. Thanks Fiona, Matt, Simon, and Garfunkel.”


LadBaby

I’m not entirely sure who or what LadBaby is, but I couldn’t escape that name this week. Everywhere you looked, there was something about sausage rolls. More than anything, it was making me hungry.

Lunch over, and it turns out the comedy group, led by parenting YouTuber Mark Hoyle, hit the number one Christmas single spot last year with the charity single We Built This City On Sausage Rolls. They’re back with their love for savoury pastries in 2019.

I Love Sausage Rolls was recorded at Abbey Road (YEP!) and is as hilarious and silly as you might imagine. But it’s all in the name of a good cause, and that’s why we’re featuring it this week — proceeds from the track will go to the Trussell Trust, whose mission is to end the need for food banks in the UK. Watch and enjoy below.

Wille Edwards

It’s a bit grey outside, the rain hasn’t stopped for about eighteen weeks, and everything is cold. We all hate it, but think yourself lucky some people don’t have a cosy warm home to return to at the end of the day.

Wille Edwards (from Wille And The Bandits, who are on tour next year) is trying to raise awareness of the UK’s homelessness crisis with his new powerful, heartfelt anthem, Houses On The Sand.

The atmospheric track uses sparse guitars and the dramatic vocals of Wille to comment on “the system that has failed” and what it’s like to struggle in that broken system.

Do some good over the weekend by buying one of these singles or donating to a charity you believe in. Get in the Christmassy spirit!

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Things We Love This Week: Soak, Cat Burns, Adwaith


Photo: Soak Twitter

You – yes, you! – are one of the individuals lucky enough to be reading this blog. Fancy that! As a reward, here’s some laid back tracks that allowed us to have a quick breather away from a stressful and busy week. Have a listen below, then we can all have a nice early night. Aah.

Soak

As we come to the end of another decade (where HAS the time gone?!), publications are starting to think not just about their album of the year, but some of the best LPs that have been released in the last ten years. One of those frequently mentioned is ‘High Violet’ by the National, which came out in 2010 and featured the epic track Bloodbuzz Ohio.

It seems Soak has also been re-listening to this cracker, as she’s released a cover of it. The beautiful new version is a simple guitar-and-vocals format, and respects the original by not putting too much of her own spin on things structure-wise. It’s beeea-utiful.

Cat Burns

Helping to keep us going with our soothing, de-stressing theme is Cat Burns, an emerging pop artist who’s just 19, though her mature vocals and sentimental lyricism place her as much wiser than her years. 

A delicately finger-picked guitar teams up with Burns’ distinctive South London accent to add familiarity, while some subtle, early Bonobo-style synths join in for a contemporary twist on the poignant narrative.

Adwaith

The Welsh Music Prize took place on Wednesday. If you’re not sure what that is, I like to tell people it’s the Welsh Grammys, a prize that rewards the sheer talent and creativity of a country thats music scene doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. Among the nominees this year were HMS Morris, Estrons, Audiobooks, Cate Le Bon and more, but it was Adwaith who took home the prize, following in the footsteps of Boy Azooga, Gwenno, Meilyr Jones and Gruff Rhys.

Huw Stephens, who hosted the evening, described winning LP ‘Melyn’ as, “a very exciting and deserved winner from an exceptional shortlist,” and noted that it’s beautiful music, “captures what it’s like to be young, female, frustrated and bewildered at the world we live in.” Here here. Listen to Fel i Fod, a delightful and calming track from the album. 

Sweet dreams all!

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Things We Love This Week: Singing Dogs, Shoplifting Santa, Anti-Xmas Spirit

The biggest of apologies to the purists who only want ‘cool’, ‘good’ and ‘meaningful’ music from this blog. This week we’re going against the grain and featuring some big name pop and rock acts. Simply because it’s Christmas (kinda). Let your hair down.

Robbie Williams

Yep, you are seeing correctly. We are in fact featuring Robbie Williams in this week’s blog, and that’s for two reasons. The first, you’ll be pleased to know, is because we are fully embracing the arrival of Christmas. That’s final. The second is because we physically couldn’t not feature some singing dogs.

As he goes about his family Christmas, the former Take That member’s seriously cute canines have been put under the seasonal spell in his new song Time For Change, winking at the camera, singing along to the choir, and melting our hearts. Did we mention there’s also a giant snow dog?

Williams continues his festive feels at London’s SSE Arena Wembley for Christmas party shows on December 16 and 17, after a set at the London Palladium on November 24 for the Magic Of Christmas event.

Noel Gallagher

Every Christmas needs a comical robbery. That’s how the saying goes, right? In Gallagher Brother No. 1’s new single, Wandering Star, a slightly groggy-looking Santa Claus helps out a shoplifter by hiding her from a supermarket guard.

Later, viewers change their mind about the shoplifter, realising the pressures and difficulties single parents on the breadline might face at this time of year, struggling to afford presents for their children. Director Dan Cadan points us towards raising a glass to, “those less fortunate but equally as deserving”.

Gallagher and the High Flying Birds will open for U2 at their Australian and New Zealand shows later in the year, and they also play an exclusive outdoor London show at Kenwood House next summer for the Heritage Live concert series.

Mabel

Mabel is not a fan of Christmas. While everyone else is talking about the most wonderful time of the year and enjoying baubles and tinsel with their loved ones, Mabel is all on her own. “Sorry I’m not so merry,” she sings. “Christmas time isn’t my vibe.”

But you do like sleigh bells, classic Christmas chords sequences and that cheesy, glittery sparkle sound, right Mabes? Lyrically, though, Loneliest Time Of Year takes all the tropes and turns them on their head. Listen below.


Mabel will support her debut album, ‘High Expectations’, with a tour in early 2020 and a short run of UK shows next week.

 

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Things We Love This Week: Haggard Cat, Ezra Furman, Nilüfer Yanya

This week in the blogosphere, it’s all about the LIVE! That’s right, it’s gigs galore over here at Stereoboard HQ. Get your eyes and ears around this lot, listed in chronological order to appease you lovely detail-orientated people.

Haggard Cat

Have you heard of Haggard Cat? If not, you might have heard of Heck, their angrier, faster older brother. Two former members of Heck, Matt and Tom, form this duo, whose heavy blend of blues-rock and noise (and screaming) makes for some excellent live performances. Too busy enjoying myself to film any of their set at Bristol’s Thekla supporting the sublime Jamie Lenman, you can have a nice action shot and a link to their new single instead. Lucky you.

Like what you hear? They’re putting out a second album, ‘Common Sense Holiday’, in March, and will be the focus of a feature with us coming up in the next few weeks. Keep your eyes peeled!

Ezra Furman

The second gig of the week came courtesy of Ezra Furman at the O2 Academy Bristol, and what a show it was. Furman is on tour supporting his new record ‘Twelves Nudes’, which arrived at the end of August. The album isn’t about over-thinking. In fact, it’s the opposite. Ezra and band recorded it quickly with considerable help from booze and cigarettes, resulting in a record that’s full of fuzz and grunge and Lou Reed and 1950s doo-wop and transgender politics and capitalism in America and Black Sabbath and shiny pop. Just what you’ve always wanted, right? Right.

There’s no UK dates left on the tour, but there are a bunch over in Europe. I would highly recommend stopping by, if you fancy a little city break or something. I certainly do.

Nilüfer Yanya

Alright, you got me, I wasn’t actually present for this particular live show, but I did thoroughly enjoy the performance. Nilüfer Yanya took a few bars to get into her set on Jools Holland’s TV show this week, but once she gets going she really flies. As well as a delightful guitar tone on her strat and a tight band behind her, Yanya’s ability to pop little vocal backflips into her lyrics is one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen this week.

Yanya’s warming up for her headline show at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on November 19. Tickets are on sale now.

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Things We Love This Week: Frances Quinlan, Julia Haltigan, Nelson Can

This week in the blogosphere it’s all about the womxn, with a big ol’ middle finger to all those damn men thinking they’re better than us at being musicians. HA.

Frances Quinlan

Frances Quinlan, you know, the vocalist from Hop Along, has announced a solo album! ‘Likewise’ is out in January through Saddle Creek, and from the looks of things, it’s going to be a little less guitar-focused than her band, landing more on the synth-pop side of things. First cut Rare Thing is a testament to that theory. While the vocal melodies and rhythms are still unmistakably Quinlan’s, we’re looking at digitally-manipulated percussion and various keyboards and synths. Mmmm.

Julia Haltigan

Yes, we’ve all been playing too much Red Dead Redemption, and yes, consequently that whole Wild West vibe is pretty hot right now. Nonetheless, Julia Haltigan’s take — Bad Habit, from her forthcoming album ‘Trouble’ — features production from TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek, and is a mischievous, sultry song of dimly-lit rooms, candles and humanity’s inability to say no to temptations. Pretty perfect for Halloween on the way, don’t you think?

Nelson Can

Nelson Can, a Danish alternative rock trio, have released an airy track that belongs in a surreal dreamscape. After lead single Limelight, I Used To Sleep Through Everything is the second cut to come from a full-length that will arrive next year. Yearning for a more carefree time, the single is buoyant yet dark and calm but moving. Take a listen, you won’t regret it.

Happy Friday! Go and spend some time with loved ones before Monotonous Monday rolls around.

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Things We Love This Week: Wolf Parade, Beach Slang, Matt Berninger

Photo: Wolf Parade by Pamela Evelyn andJoseph Yarmush

It’s me again, your friendly neighbourhood indie kid, ready to put some great musical-based items straight into your brainbox. Are you ready? No? Well, it’s too late now, isn’t it.

Wolf Parade

I won’t lie to you: if the press shot (above) wasn’t amazing, this track might not have made the cut as a Thing We Loved This Week. As it stands, I can see three puppies. You do the math. Wolf Parade’s Against The Day is a catchy synth-pop number with an earworm of a main melody that it strangely reminiscent of something else, something poppy, big and bold… like if Future Islands made something a bit more stompy.

Wolf Parade are touring the UK in March 2020, and tickets are available now.

Beach Slang

Get out your gym shorts and weightlifting paraphernalia, because the new one from Beach Slang is HEAVY. Like that classic American heavy rock of the 1970s, we’ve got tightly wound distortion and simple rhythms for some storming  guitar riffage. Excuse me while I get my Harley Davidson from the garage.

Beach Slang will tour North America supporting the Goo Goo Dolls this fall.

Matt Berninger

Our dear friend Matthew Berninger has announced a solo album! Best known as the frontman of the National, he’s also worked on numerous projects over the years, like El Vy with Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls, and just yesterday put out a collab with Phoebe Bridgers. Although no date has been confirmed yet, we do know the LP will be called ‘Serpentine Prison’, and that production and arrangements come from Booker T Jones.

 

You don’t need me to tell you that the National are hitting the UK in December, because you’ve already got tickets for the Cardiff show, haven’t you!? SNAP.

Is it acceptable to be squealing with excitement? Yes.

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Things We Love This Week: Lucy Dacus, Queen Kwong, Heavy Lungs

IT ISN’T HALLOWEEN YET, GUYS. CAN WE PLEASE STOP WITH THE PUMPKINS? But… if we must continue on this godforsaken path, I have collated a bunch of ghoulish and *almost* scary tracks to darken your week. Have fun, darkness, my old friend.

LUCY DACUS

Lucy Dacus can do no wrong. She could skin a puppy alive and we’d still love her. Actually, now I think about it, probably not! Anyway, Dacus has experimented with auto-tuning for her latest cover, and embraces the spooky season with some eerie backing synths and double-tracked vocals on her version of Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight. It’s even got that drum fill. Check it out below.

Dacus will put out the ‘2019’ EP on November 8. You should buy it, then go see her on tour.

QUEEN KWONG

Aside from their brilliant band name, Carré Callaway and co, aka Queen Kwong, have a great song under their belts. Oh Well, the title track from the group’s forthcoming EP, is a hard-hitting banger made up of flourishing dynamic changes and a delicious guitar tone. Callaway’s vicious, biting vocals make this song perfect for your raucous Halloween party. Oh, wait, the party’s not going to be raucous? It is now.

‘Oh Well’ is yet to have a release date, but keep your eyes fully peeled.

HEAVY LUNGS

Skeletons, ghosts and dismembered body parts are all part of the fun on Halloween. Why not lungs, too? Bristol noise-punks Heavy Lungs, led by frontman Danny Nedelko (where have we heard that name before..?), have released a new EP this week, and IT. IS. HEAVY. Give it a spin below as it’s definitely worth your time, then check out our recent chat with Nedelko about the band’s plans to perform an entire set of Lighthouse Family covers on their upcoming tour and wanting to be bigger than Oasis.

Their headline UK tour starts TONIGHT in Reading, and keeps going until Bristol’s Thekla gig on November 16. See you at the back, to avoid the tinnitus. Tickets are on sale now.

That’s it for another week, my scary friends. Sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite!

(PSA: if you actually have bed bugs you really should get that sorted.)

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Things We Love This Week: Damon Albarn, Dry Cleaning, Nick Cave

This week I found out that Adele is supposedly dating Skepta. Not that we advocate idle gossip, but how cute would that Tottenham power couple be? Their kids will be so talented.

Nick Cave

Nick Cave announced a new album just last week. Today, it has arrived. Double LP ‘Ghosteen’ is comprised of two halves, one signifying children, the other their parents. Some listeners have dubbed this record some of the most beautiful songs Cave has ever recorded.

A weightless collection of piano-led landscapes, equally heartbreaking and unnerving, ‘Ghosteen’ is best served on days like today: grey clouds, endless rain, curled up under a blanket with a cup of tea and ready for a good ol’ cry. Enjoy.


Damon Albarn

Damon Albarn is a productive man. Not content with his success in Blur, Gorillaz or the Good, the Bad and the Queen, his latest work is a collection of experimental solo pieces inspired by the landscapes of Iceland, which, if you’ve ever been or seen pictures, you’ll know is a beautiful part of the world.

There ain’t nothing to listen to yet, but you can see him perform it live with an ensemble across Europe, as well as London and Dublin in May and June 2020. Tickets are on sale now. For the time being, here’s a clip of his the Good, the Bad and the Queen performing live in Paris.

Dry Cleaning

It’s time to get your dancing shoes on for line dancing class, kids! Well, not kids, more middle aged adults. In the latest video from Dry Cleaning, Viking Hair, the post-punk band have placed a camera at their local LGBT line dancing class, based in Clapham. Everyone looks like they are having so much fun.

Learn the routine below to be in with the chance of having as much fun as those line dancing guys and gals. Dry Cleaning tour the UK in early 2020. Get tickets now.

Happy weekend kids! Go party hard.

 

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