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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Things We Love This Week: Green Day, Field Music, Mercury Prize

Happy Friday! We are SO close to leaving work, getting our pyjamas on, curling up with a pizza and watching that new Zach Galifianakis Netflix film purely for the Phoebe Bridgers/Matt Berninger collab. ‘Til then…

Green Day

Pop punk troubadours Green Day want you to dance. More specifically, they want you to “lose your shit, scream like no one is listening and dance like your hair is on fire.” Then they want you to “crawl on the dancefloor”, “spit in the air” and “get weird.”

We likey. Can do, Billie Joe. Especially with the help of your new chaotic video for Father Of All… as well as tickets to the Hella Mega Tour, featuring co-headliners Fall Out Boy and Weezer, no less.

Field Music

It’s time for a song about sanitary towels! Perhaps the first in its existence that wasn’t written for advertising purposes, Field Music’s latest single delves into why period products are projected onto women in a way that makes them feel ashamed of that monthly, normal thing that happens to literally billions of us.

It’s the first taste of a concept album looking at the after-effects of the First World War that’s due on January 2020 via Memphis Industries. The Brewis brothers and band will perform the record in full on tour in the UK in February 2020, and tickets are on sale now.


Mercury Prize 2019

I don’t know about you, but I spent a large portion of yesterday evening watching the Mercury Prize enjoying the performances, speculating potential winners, and generally being agog during Black Midi’s set. You need to check out their performance right now, as it was both mesmerising and “what the f**?!!”-inducing. Are they even speaking in English? Is the guitarist doing backflips?!

It was confirmed at the end of the night that South London rapper Dave was to take home  the gong for his debut album ‘Psychodrama’, a well-deserved award for an important record.

 

Until next time, my amigos. ✌️

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Things We Love This Week: The Who, Lucy Dacus, Noel Gallagher

It’s time for some more #WholesomeContent from me, your friendly neighbourhood blogger. Welcome! Chance The Rapper is at it too, having recently postponed some tour dates to spend more time with his family. Cute huh? Here’s some more…

Lucy Dacus

Dacus. Springsteen. Two great musicians in two pretty different worlds. But what happens when they cross? Well, here’s your chance to find out. Lucy Dacus has covered Dancing In The Dark, somehow managing to make a great song even MORE special. Goddamn Lucy, you absolute hero.

Dacus’ version features a typical indie-rock band setup with delightfully twanging, slightly distorted guitars and her soothing vocal tone, which works for both lullabies and covers of the Boss. She dedicated the song to her father, a big Springsteen fan. Told you there’d be wholesome content! We love.

The Who

Who? The Who, that’s who! The seminal English rock band have announced a UK and Ireland tour with a full orchestra for spring 2020. THIS IS HUGE NEWS. They’ll take over arenas in Manchester, Dublin, Newcastle, Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff, Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and London. Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday September 20. I suppose we can expect some big old booing when they play Boris the Spider after the chaos in parliament over the last few weeks. Pete Townshend said:

“This album is almost all new songs written last year, with just two exceptions. There is no theme, no concept, no story, just a set of songs that I (and my brother Simon) wrote to give Roger Daltrey some inspiration, challenges and scope for his newly revived singing voice. Roger and I are both old men now, by any measure, so I’ve tried to stay away from romance, but also from nostalgia if I can. I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Memories are OK, and some of the songs refer to the explosive state of things today. I made new home studio demos of all these songs in the summer of 2018 using a wide collection of instruments old and new. We started recording as The Who in March 2019, and have finished now in late August just in time to make some vinyl………maybe even some cassettes……ready for release in November”.


Pardon me? New album?! You heard correctly, my friend. ‘WHO’ is out on November 22, containing 11 brand new tracks, including first cut Ball and Chain. Roger Daltrey even said it’s their “best album since Quadrophenia”. Woah!

Noel Gallagher

Noel Gallagher’s description of his latest track is what makes it. “To my ears,” he says, “it sounds like one of those iconic B-sides by The Smiths, only obviously not as good. A song that was born very quickly which is always a good sign… like it’s always existed… somewhere… Manchester probably.”

To my ears, All I Need To Get By, although featuring a vocal line identical to every other Gallagher brother-made track, has a really interesting array of backing instruments, including various worldly rhythms and percussion. Production wise, we’re talking bass high up in the mix and a full kit that sounds as if the microphones were placed deliberately a little far away to further the spacey, buoyant vibes of the whole thing. How pleasant.

Happy Friday x

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Things We Love This Week: Bombay Bicycle Club, Soundwalk Collective and Patti Smith, Sleater-Kinney

Happy Friday you lovely readers. It’s the start of the weekend! The pinot grigio is in the fridge ready and waiting, the sun is *trying* to shine, and Nicki Minaj has supposedly retired from music. Does it get better than this? You bet…

Bombay Bicycle Club

Bombay Bicycle Club have FINALLY confirmed what we all knew was coming: an album! Tour dates! Thank the indie-pop Gods for this special moment in all of our lives. About the new record, the band poignantly stated:

“This is an album for anyone who’s ever turned to music in a time of crisis, whether personal or political. It’s about the solace one can get from listening to music or playing music when everything else in your life or the world has gone wrong. It’s about finding kernels of hope and renewal in dire situations.”

Feel ya, guys. I’m ready. However ‘Everything Else Has Gone Wrong’ isn’t coming until JANUARY. How will we cope? With singles, that’s how. We were treated to their first new song in five years, Eat Sleep Wake, earlier this summer, and now it has an accompanying tongue-in-cheek video. Watch below, then check out their newly announced tour dates for March 2020, which go on sale at 10am on September 13.

Soundwalk Collective and Patti Smith

Now for something a little different. And when I say different, I think I mean a little bit hippy-dippy. Patti Smith has teamed up again with Soundwalk Collective for something very interesting indeed.

‘Mummer Love’ is the second in a three-part series of albums inspired by French poets. For this body of work, due on November 8 via Bella Union, Soundwalk Collective traveled to Africa to explore a period of work by Arthur Rimbaud, and its release will coincide with the anniversary of his death. Heavy stuff, but important. The first track, Eternity, features some rhythmic chanting and spoken word. Delightful.

Sleater-Kinney

Sleater Kinney released ‘The Center Won’t Hold’ last month. Their new album was produced by St Vincent, and it shows, taking the riot-grrl band into intelligent pop territory. Sadly, it’s the last with drummer Janet Weiss, who left the band in July.

Today saw the release of a video from the gang to accompany Can’t Go On. It features Lauri Guzda and Mami Kimura as a pair of serious ladies, whose afternoon tea turns into a crazy mud fight involving spilled drinks and smashed plates. Sleater-Kinney also have what can only be described as a butt-load of tour dates in both 2019 and 2020. You should get tickets.

Gros bisous, à la prochaine xo

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Things We Love This Week: Chris Farren, Michael Kiwanuka, Big Thief, Migos

Happy Friday! The weather has turned, and just as suddenly as we had a heatwave in February, we’re now into relentless rain. Time to curl up with a cuppa and some great new music.

Chris Farren

The Fake Problems frontman and one half of Antarctigo Vespucci is continuing his solo career. Farren’s second album under his own steam is called ‘Born Hot’, will arrive on October 11, and will feature the single Search 4 Me. While the song is a harmless, indie-pop number, the video is anything but. Meet ResistCat, the latest viral phenomenon.


Big Thief

Even though they’ve already released what’s in the running to be a contender for Album Of The Year, Big Thief just aren’t content with that, and have confirmed another. ‘Two Hands’ will arrive on October 11, ahead of tour dates around the UK in 2020. Check out the hypnotic, dark indie rock of its first cut, Not, then book some sweet, sweet tickets.

Michael Kiwanuka

If modern soul is your jam, then you’re in luck. Kiwanuka, who released the anthemic ‘Love & Hate’ in 2016, will release a new, almost self-titled LP at the end of October, which will get support from a ten-date UK tour in March 2020.  Hell yeah. If you like the sound of that, you’ll definitely enjoy the first taste of ‘Kiwanuka’. You Ain’t The Problem hits all the right notes with African skipped rhythms and ’70s-esque production.

Migos

Those amigos are at it again, but this time they’re robbing a bank. In the video for Frosted Flakes, Quavo and Takeoff conduct an elaborate heist, and almost get away with it. The track comes from a compilation album comprised of artists on the Quality Control roster, such as fellow Migos member Offset, Lil Yachty, City Girls, 24Heavy and Stefflon Don, as well as appearances from Megan Thee Stallion, Meek Mill, French Montana, Gunna, Playboi Carti, Travis Scott and Young Thug.

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Things We Love This Week: Orlando Weeks, Elbow, Haim

Now this is a blog post all about how, your week got flipped turned upside down. I’d like to take ten minutes, just sit right there, I’ll tell you ‘bout some brand new music that got released in Bel Air — and the rest of the world.

Orlando Weeks

If you’ve been searching for something to fill that Maccabees-shaped hole in your life, then today is the day. Although there’s no new music to speak of yet, we’re excited for a new project from Orlando Weeks, former frontman for the now defunct cult indie band. He said:

“The album I’ve been working on for the last eighteen months is very nearly done. For me, holding my nerve has been a large part of finishing a record, and there’s a certain confidence that comes from discovering a song can survive in a room full of strangers. The flip side of that is that you unearth problems you wish had stayed buried. There’s every chance it won’t work, but that’s the gamble.”

Since his Gritterman project in 2017, Weeks has been working on the album for 18 months and counting. Finally, it’s almost here. He’s presenting the new material at some intimate performances around the country in September, so you should definitely get tickets if you wanna hear something brilliant. Meanwhile, here’s a throwback to the title track from the band’s last album, ‘Marks To Prove It’.

Elbow

Elbow are back! Guy Garvey and co have released a new track from what is expected to be a new album. We say expected because nothing has been confirmed, all we have to go on is some posters emblazoned with ‘Giants Of All Sizes’ and ‘11.10.19’. Upon clicking through to the accompanying link, you’re given the following description:

“And I don’t know Jesus anymore. And an endless sleep is awaiting me. And I haven’t finished yet. And i’m not a dog for the end of days. I’m a bird in a hurricane. With the heaviest heart jackhammering in me. And I don’t know jesus anymore. Unstuck and the whole archipelago is rocking like a suicide pedalo at high tide. Blazing eyes hey how d’ya keep your eyes ablaze. In these. Faith free. Hope free. Charity free days.”

It goes on for a while, and we now realise these are the lyrics for the album’s first cut, Dexter & Sinister, a choppy indie track that cuts up a symphonic string section with a bassy guitar line. If their previous performances are anything to go by, this song is going to be pretty special at live shows, with a full orchestra accompaniment highly probable.

Haim

And now something for these hot, hot summer days. Those Californian Haim siblings have returned with new music in the form of an indie-pop ditty perfect for breezing through August on a yellow bicycle with hair a flowing. Danielle explained:

“This song started out as a garage band demo in my phone with just a bass line, drums, some gibberish and a doot doot doot little melody. I wrote it around the time my partner was diagnosed with cancer a couple years ago while we were making ‘STTY’ (he’s in the clear now!) We were touring on and off at this time and every time we were on the phone with each other, or when I would come home in between shows, I wanted to be this light that shined on him when he was feeling very dark. I wanted to be his hope when he was feeling hopeless. So I kept singing these lines – “I’m your sunny girl/ I’m your fuzzy girl/ I’m your summer girl – over the bass line. Summer Girl stuck.”

It’s a beautiful story for a beautiful song, and features a sax line written by Rostam Batmanglij, who you’ll know as the former member of Vampire Weekend. He still worked on the production side of things for the band’s latest album, ‘Father Of The Bride’, though, as did Ariel Rechtshaid from Haim’s story above. Oh, and did we mention Danielle Haim also provided some backing vocals on one of their tracks? Now THAT’S the kind of circle of friends I want to be a part of.


I pulled up to the website about three of four, and yelled to the editor “Go home, smell ya later!” I looked at my blog post, I was finally done, and sit on my throne as the Princess of Things We Love This Week. Or something to that effect.

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Things We Love This Week: Friendly Fires, Four Tet, DJ Shadow And De La Soul

There was so much to talk about this week in the music world, but alas, we only have so much space in one little blog. So, instead of discussing our favourite Mercury Prize nominees, the delightful new album from Common Holly or the 1975’s position on the climate change emergency, which they made pretty clear when including teenage activist Greta Thundberg on their latest single, we’re going  down the fun route. S’all about the grooves this week, kids. 

Friendly Fires

These indie-pop-dance-groove-disco-beat sensations are back in the game for 2019. After almost an eight year hiatus, Friendly Fires are returning with a new album, new tour and new singles! The latest of which arrived today.

Run The Wild Flowers has some super groovy beats, almost Brazilian-inspired percussion, and the breathy and beautiful vocal tones of Ed Macfarlane! Like a good, dry pinot grigio, this song is paired best with early evening sunshine and a little picnic. Glorious.


Four Tet

Kieran Hebden surprised us all this week when he dropped a live album out of the blue. Recorded during his two-night residency at Alexandra Palace in May, the record splits up his performance into seven tracks of varying lengths, from the 90 second opener to the fourth part coming in at almost 40 minutes.

If there was ever an artist to get lost in, it’s Four Tet. Beats and percussive skiffles a’plenty, Hebden’s music transports the listener to a whole other dimension. If you can’t really imagine how that would translate at a live show without the use of illegal narcotics, it makes for great background music while at work, or revising, or even an intense gym sesh. Thank you, Kieran.

DJ Shadow and De La Soul

The last few weeks have seen celebrations of the moon landing almost everywhere you look. So what better time to release a single called Rocket Fuel? It’s taken from the DJ’s new album, which is expected to arrive later this year, but is yet to have an exact release date. Boo.

The new hip hop track is full of energy and builds up from an a capella spoken bassline that’s sure to get those kids on Glee all excited about their next potential cover. Oh, and don’t forget that record-scratch solo. It’s a game changer, and I’m all here for it.

Happy Friday, one and all. Hope you’ve thoroughly got your groove switched firmly to ON for the sweet, sweet sounds of the weekend.

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