Buckle up and get those headphones plugged in — it’s time for another edition of Things We Love This Week! This week’s roundup is a doozy, and features three rising artists that are more than worthy of a coveted spot on your Spotify new music playlist(s).
Tom Aspaul – ‘Black Country Disco’
Strap in and fill up the fuel tank for the M6, we’re heading to the Black Country, baby! Across 10 dusky, confidently understated disco-pop bangers, the triumphant debut LP from Tom Aspaul explores the formative – and often heartbreaking – moments that accompanied the Wolverhampton native’s return to the West Midlands after a decade-long stint in London.
The Sam Sparro hat-tips are glorious, especially on tracks like the slinky, tip-toeing breakup bop Tender, or the irresistible hometown ode W.M., a song animated by Aspaul’s shape-shifting vocal. Built on ironclad hooks, razor-sharp songwriting and nary a skippable track, ‘Black Country Disco’ is a solid contender for album of the year. You’d be a fool to think otherwise.
Keaton Dekker – ‘The Unwelcome Series’ EP
A luminous collection of songs that traverse heartbreak, selfhood, purpose and everything in between, Keaton Dekker’s ‘The Unwelcome Series’ EP is a beauty. Delicately working with a palette of skittering, twinkly electro beats and shadowy backing vocals, Dekker crafts tracks that play with synthetic, ’80s pop textures and paints them over with a glistening, modern finish.
The heartrending ITYK transforms its narrative of a fragmented relationship into a soaring, earworm melody, and Makeup possesses a glow that is inviting and familiar, much like LANY’s youarefire. Heart-swelling and heart-draining in equal measure, this five-track collection could be the catalyst for a glittering future for one of the UK’s most promising pop stars.
HYYTS – Lonely People
If you’re a sucker for a chunky synth melody and some EDM-pop bounce, steer your attention in the direction of HYYTS. The latest offering from the Glaswegian duo, the shimmering Lonely People, vaunts an addictive, slow-building chorus and sequences of squelchy beat breaks, with coming-of-age themes of growing up and acceptance that are sure to tug on a few heartstrings.
Filmed with longtime collaborator Jordan Macrae at Glasgow’s Govan Shed, the neon-hued track’s accompanying live video is all flashy, Instagram-worthy club lights and passionate fist pumping, and encourages the imagination to conjure up images of togetherness, euphoria and all those other delirious feelings that only the dance floor will continue to provide, post-pandemic.
Guess who’s back, back again… it’s me, Sophie Williams, Stereoboard’s resident new music obsessive. Welcome (back) to Things We Love This Week, my weekly round-up of the latest tunes that you should be wrapping your ears around, and the viral moments that you need to know about right now.
Eades – I Want More
If you haven’t already heard, buzzy up-and-comers Eades have dropped an absolute scorcher this week. Their latest single, the woozy I Want More, swiftly follows the Leeds quartet’s debut EP, July’s ‘Microcosmic Things’, and its slow-burning, light-speckled riffs make for a sweet tribute to the lo-fi punk haze of the Velvet Underground’s seminal self-titled album.
It’s got a killer chorus that becomes more addictive by the listen, as its chugging rhythm section of soft drum beats and breathy vocals gives way to a downward spiral of tilting guitars. Stunning stuff: Eades can go anywhere from here.
Will Joseph Cook – Be Around Me
He’s a charmer, our Will. Be Around Me, the latest cut to be taken from the singer-songwriter’s forthcoming second LP, ‘Something To Feel Good About’, is a sickly sweet slice of bubbly indie-pop that revels in its cutesy sentiments, toe-tapping beats and the 23-year-old’s ability to ricochet between a warbling, swoon-worthy falsetto and characteristic, multi-layered vocals.
Be warned: the dizzying — almost headache-inducing, Bertie Gilbert-directed video is not for the faint-hearted; the clip sees the camera spin uncontrollably as Cook sings along to the track’s poppy melody. In the words of our saviour Kylie Minogue: “I’m spinning around, Move outta my way…”
Declan McKenna vs the Rolling Stones
2020: the year of coronavirusand…chart battles. Yes, you read that right. This year has played host to a series of nail-biting races for the top spot on the Official UK Albums Chart between ballsy indie heroes and pop superstars. Fontaines D.C. vs Taylor Swift! Sports Team vs Lady Gaga! DECLAN MCKENNA VS THE ROLLING STONES!!!
The indie-pop troubadour spent the past week rallying up his 145,000 Twitter followers (and beyond) in a daring attempt to to take down the Rolling Stones, whose reissue of ‘Goats Head Soup’ (first released in 1973) ended up neck-and-neck in a tight race with his new LP, ‘Zeros’, for number one. As the last-minute panic from his septuagenarian rivals — who haphazardly flogged their “luxury” CDs for a fiver — proved, it’s simply McKenna’s world and we’re all living in it.
Look, I know this is such a fickle thing to care about right now, but this week, I have managed to land myself in another quarantine-induced period of comfort listening. My reliable album of choice, you ask? 1967’s ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, which, in one of my many questionable musical opinions that make me rather ill-suited to my job, I believe is the Beatles’ greatest body of work. Sue me!
Forget the age-old debate of whether it can actually be recognised as an LP or not (it was originally released as a double EP in the UK), ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ is an instant mood booster. It’s inarguably joyous, and now, in 2020, works as an instantaneous balm against the constant background hum of anxiety that this global pandemic has flared up for many of us.
Now that my life is devoid of my usual routines for the foreseeable, I am holding on tightly to anything and everything that may spark some sense of familiarity. And guess what? It seems that I am not alone in turning to the Fab Four in a time of crisis.
On May 10, Welsh archivist and artist Catrin Saran unveiled ‘Corona Revolver’, a reworking of the Beatles’ 1966 landmark album, ‘Revolver’, in aid of Tarian Cymru, who are currently raising funds to provide health workers in Wales with PPE supplies throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Here, Saran and a group of like-minded musicians have put together a 14-track, non-profit project that re-imagines some of the legendary group’s finest tunes; Bete Pest spins Love You To into a spaced-out, synth-flecked daydream, Safari Art’s take on Taxman sees the classic hit plod along with a newfound psychedelic gloss, and elsewhere, Plastercast Peacock shakes up the haunting Eleanor Rigby with pitch-shifted vocals and processed beats. And if the whole thing couldn’t get any more ingenious, Cardiff-based artist Rosie Daffern’s accompanying artwork sees the Beatles don face masks, around a collage of all those involved with the making of the album.
‘Corona Revolver’ is free to stream on Bandcamp, but Saran is encouraging listeners to make donations to Tarian Cymru. Da iawn, team.
It seems that Stockport’s indie darlings Blossoms have also been in a similar mindset of late, made evident by their cover of 1966’s Paperback Writer, which appeared on streaming services earlier this week.
Blossoms – Paperback Writer (In Isolation)
Blossoms are beloved regulars of the British festival circuit, but with 2020 now being called a write-off for practically all mass gatherings (let alone thousands of festival punters in a sticky field), how will the band keep their live act together? With the help of their instruments, various household items and Zoom calls, it seems.
Over the past few weeks, the band have shared a dozen videos via their social media platforms, all of which feature clips of each respective band member jamming out in self-isolation to create note-perfect covers. Paperback Writer is one of the many classic tracks that they have reworked, alongside hit singles from other iconic artists such as Tame Impala, Frank Ocean and…themselves.
They are set to compile these tracks onto a new project titled ‘Blossoms In Isolation’, which is set to receive a physical release later this year, though a final date is yet to be confirmed. Keep your eyes (and ears) out for any news — you will definitely want to add a copy to your record shelves.
Right, enough Beatles talk for now. Believe it or not, I have managed to find just enough listening time to discover some new music too! Bristol singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist James Humphrys’s latest single, Colour, has become quite the infectious earworm throughout the week, often inspiring the odd dance break at my desk.
James Humphrys – Colour
Marking the first taste of Humphrys’s forthcoming second EP, Colour sparkles with indie-pop ambition as it bounces along an addictive, kinetic groove. The funk-tinged track refuses to wear out after repeated listens, partially due to the fact that Humphrys boasts fretwork so nifty that it could rival that of South London’s golden boy Tom Misch.
Colour will certainly whet your appetite for a few more infectious, textual rhythms (complete with a cheeky trumpet solo) from Humphrys, but you’ll have to wait until July 10, when he is set to drop his ‘Memory Place’ EP. Get your dancing shoes ready!
I have been trying to appreciate the small victories that have been happening around me, the main one being that this period of significant hardship has reminded me once again how grateful I am to have grown up in and around many independent venues across Cardiff.
At times, I have definitely been guilty of taking live music for granted. Growing up in a capital city with an ever-burgeoning musical landscape has always offered me a plethora of venues right on my doorstep, and in turn, multiple gigs have always been part of my weekly routine.
The current cancellation of all live events, then, has been quite a shock to the system and at times, it has become increasingly harder to work with a purpose now that my usual outlet is not currently an option. With that being said, we can only hope that a semblance of balance will be restored in the near future, but for now, we need to continue to support our local venues and artists in any way possible.
The best way to get directly involved from is to consider helping out Music Venue Trust’s Save Our Venues campaign, which is currently on its way to raising £1 million in aid of 556 independent venues that are currently are risk at permanent closure. Without our grassroots locales, most unsigned artists would lose any sort of opportunity to share their music beyond the spheres of social media. Our venues need our help to survive this unprecedented situation, so please, if you are in the position to do so, donate right here, right now.
Al Moses are one of the local acts that I’ve had the pleasure of following for a number of years, and watching their ever-increasing growth in popularity on a national level has always imbued a sense of pride in me. Their latest single, He Truly Is The Son Of God, seems rather apt for the minute.
Al Moses – He Truly Is The Son Of God
In a brisk two-and-a-half minutes, the South Wales rockers worship the grassroots acts that have helped them on their way up, flexing their garage-rock muscles via succinct riffs and a pointed narrative that documents (and exaggerates) what it means to come of age in and around decidedly messy areas of live music and nightlife. They commit this reckless spirit to He Truly Is The Son Of God perfectly, and so long as their local scene exists, there will be eternal value in this sort of escapist rock’n’roll.
On Facebook, the band said: “Son of God(…) was written when we were 18 and having a good time, going out and getting pissed at gigs in Cardiff. It acts as a reminder of the importance of our small and beloved music venues, especially those on Womanby Street where we grew up watching bands in Wales.” Well, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Parish are another set of buzzmakers on the Cardiff circuit, having made the stages of the Moon, Clwb Ifor Bach and Tiny Rebel favourite haunts of theirs over the past few years. Earlier this week, they dropped new track Having It Better, and it’s most certainly a doozy.
Parish – Having It Better
Having It Better is a trouble-free ditty that dances in the balmy sun of long afternoons, as gentle guitar leads and a catchy pop structure work up a buoyant melody. It sees Parish show off some newfound psychedelic grooves, and marks a confident step forward for a group that could have easily got too comfortable with the basic chorus-and-verse mundanity of riff-heavy indie-rock.
Parish are starting to become certain of who they are, and they are bloody owning it, too. Add this one to your Spotify playlist, and thank me later when you see them hitting the big leagues in a few years’ time.
To rehash a point that I made in another feature last week; there are so many unsung heroes behind our favourite artists’ tours. From the managers, to the sound and lightning engineers, to the stage technicians and the drivers, gigs could simply not go ahead without them. The Tours That Never Were is a vital campaign that will have a drastic impact on the future of independent and underground acts being able to tour across the UK.
The Tours That Never Were
In partnership with Awesome Merchandise and Kerrang! Magazine’s Deputy Art Director, Aled Phillips, The Tours That Never Were is a non-profit fundraiser in aid of UK-based artists that were supposed to play shows between March and May 2020, alongside their crew and charities associated with the COVID-19 crisis.
What most of us are forgetting is that with each cancelled show, there is a domino effect of non-refundable bookings behind it, including hotel and travel costs. Exclusive festival line up-style t-shirts, totes, and posters with the names of affected artists are available here, and they include the likes of Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Gender Roles, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Dream Nails, Haggard Cat, Cassels and Black Peaks, among others.
If you are in the position to help, I urge you to do your bit — your purchase will go much further than you can even imagine.
How are you doing this week? I have been feeling rather sorry for myself as the next wave of gig cancellations has started to come through (RIP festival season 2020). An abundance of leftover Easter chocolate has (sort of) softened the blow, but I know that I’m not alone in saying that the uncertainty of this ever changing situation has cranked the anxiety levels up to eleven.
I am definitely not speaking for all of us here, but when the news broke that Coachella was being postponed to October, I felt rather down about it. I understand that it’s a privilege to feel this way when there are much more pressing things happening in the world, but Coachella’s annual livestream has annually proven itself to be an accessible and consistent platform for many music fans around the world. Over the past few years, I have tuned in religiously; back in 2017, I stayed up past an ungodly time to watch Father John Misty grace the main stage, and the Little Monster in me set a 5am alarm to make sure that I didn’t miss a second of Lady Gaga’s electrifying headline set.
In lieu of my beloved livestream, YouTube Originals’ new documentary, Coachella: 20 Years In The Desert, did a damn good job of transporting me to Empire Polo Club.
Coachella: 20 Years In The Desert
Chronicling the 20-year whirlwind history of the iconic festival, Coachella: 20 Years In The Desert celebrates two decades of the cultural touchpoint’s greatest moments. Mixing fan footage with remarkable cinematography, the two hour-long documentary takes its audience through many of the event’s groundbreaking performances; Daft Punk’s awe-inspiring 2006 slot gets a nod, and Beyonce’s seminal 2018 headline show, aka “Beychella” (obviously) doesn’t go amiss.
Given that the world is entirely devoid of gigs for the time being, the film seems to resonate on a deeper level if you view it with the current situation in mind. It beautifully illustrates what it means to actively engage with live music, and how such a practise can be life changing in so many ways, far beyond the realm of Coachella. Blimey — pass me the tissues!
Thankfully, it seems that I’m not the only one with a Coachella-shaped hole in my heart. Today, sister duo REYNA have dropped their latest single, the aptly-titled Coachella. See what I did there?
REYNA – Coachella
REYNA weave their happy memories of the Californian festival into an indie-pop gem that plays with clean guitar lines and layers of slinky synths. The best part? They confidently deliver a punchy chorus that’ll have you dancing all day long. The single also comes with deftly woven threads of their Latin heritage; their native Spanish is incorporated into the bridge and Mariachi trumpets are suffused throughout.
Bored of self-isolation? Stick some glitter on your face, give this disco-lite ditty a spin and close your eyes. It’s the closest you’ll get to that festival feeling all summer.
Right, enough of me blabbering on about a festival that I have NEVER been to. Instead, let me introduce you to Alex O’aiza, who is another shining example of how many up-and-coming artists are pushing through this period of adversity via their creative outlets.
Alex O’aiza – Out Of My Mind
Alex O’aiza is trying to make sense of the Gen Z experience. While stuck in quarantine, the singer-songwriter has delivered a timely message about togetherness in a time of hardship wrapped up in a snappy, hook-laden single. O’aiza blends textured samples with rolling, gritty guitar riffs to deliver a healthy dose of shimmering alt-pop. You’ll be hard-pushed to find yourself not hitting the repeat button after the first listen.
Even better, though, is the Instagram-themed video that O’aiza made during lockdown, which sees him travel through every goddamn filter the app has to offer. It definitely put a smile on my face, and I can almost guarantee that it will have the same effect on you.
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.”
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.
Hello one and all! My name’s Sophie Williams and I am now in charge of Things We Love This Week, the lovely little section of Stereoboard that you are viewing right about now. It’s here where I am free to wax lyrical about the best musical releases of the week, and if all else fails, natter on about upcoming artists that I’ve been keeping an eagle eye (and pair of ears) on — lucky me!
Well, to start, it has been quite the week, hasn’t it? With the country now under lockdown for at least three weeks, music may be acting as a refuge for a lot of us in this current state of crisis. I, for one, have been finding some comfort via the boy band that I grew up with: 5 Seconds Of Summer. Throughout my early teenage years, 5 Seconds Of Summer (or 5SOS, as I still affectionately call them) became the grid by which I learned music fandom, social networking and the ways of a subculture. Given my personal history with the band, you could call this comfort listening, perhaps, but if 5 Seconds Of Summer have sonically matured into a watertight pop-rock crossover outfit, should I even be ashamed? Let me elaborate…
5 Seconds Of Summer – ‘C A L M’
Okay, so hear me out — *clears throat* — 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER ARE A GOOD BAND. A very good band, in fact. Now that they have parted ways with their questionable pastiche of post-adolescent, angsty pop-punk in favour of sleek, synth-laden power pop stompers, 5 Seconds Of Summer in 2020 are a band renewed.
Today (March 27), the Aussie rockers have released ‘C A L M’. It stands out as their most polished work to date, complete with syncopated drumbeats, flourishes of flashy synths and psychedelic guitar leads. The album’s fourth single, No Shame, marks a particular highlight; lyrically, it satirises self-obsession and toxic fame chasers atop a thumping bassline and falsetto-laced vocals, which work together to make a memorable, yet addictive chorus. Elsewhere, Wildflower offers a fun, choose-your-own adventure style refrain and the echoic Easier plays up to the band’s newfound penchant for dark, gothic synth-pop.
‘C A L M’ is a confident step forward for 5 Seconds Of Summer, and it begs for the attention of their many naysayers. Go on, give them another try. You know you want to.
5 Seconds Of Summer will support ‘C A L M’ with their No Shame World Tour, which is set to hit UK arenas in May 2020. Tickets are on sale now.
Now, if 5 Seconds Of Summer are (still) not quite your cup of tea, here is something that we can both agree on: Dua Lipa has just set the benchmark for pop music in 2020. Actually, scrap that. Dua Lipa has just set the benchmark for pop music this DECADE.
Dua Lipa – Break My Heart
If you haven’t heard already, Dua Lipa’s second studio LP, ‘Future Nostalgia’, dropped earlier today. Prior to its official release, Lipa had already enjoyed great chart success via a string of disco-inflected singles, including the chart-topping Don’t Start Now. The cream of that crop, though, is relatively easy to identify; Break My Heart is the fourth single to be taken from ‘Future Nostalgia’ and it recently arrived in a blaze of pink neon.
Break My Heart works tirelessly to prove that it owns the dance floor, sneaking in a sample of INXS’s 1987 smash-hit single, Need You Tonight, on the way. Over streamlined, slinky synth breaks and bursts of disco shimmy, Lipa delivers punchy vocals as she demands answers from a potential lover. “‘Cause now there ain’t no letting you go, Am I falling in love with the one that could break my heart?”, she questions, marking out a party-ready, anthemic chorus. The track oozes euphoric confidence of the highest order, and quite frankly, is the best thing that Lipa has released to date.
After listening to Break My Heart at least 30 times on loop, I’m about to get my teeth stuck right into the rest of ‘Future Nostalgia’. I suggest that you do the same, even if it is the only thing that you achieve in quarantine today.
Dua Lipa is set to tour the UK and Ireland in January 2021 as part of her Future Nostalgia World Tour. Tickets are on sale now.
Throughout the week, I have found myself going back to Father John Misty’s ‘Pure Comedy’ many times as I’ve been working from home. If you haven’t given it the time of day prior to reading this, I urge you to do so. Revel in all 75 glorious minutes of it. I mean, given the current situation, you know you’ve got enough time to spare…
Father John Misty – ‘Off-Key In Hamburg’
Earlier this week, Father John Misty dropped the transfixing ‘Off-Key In Hamburg’, a surprise 20-track live album. Recorded last August in Hamburg, Germany with his band and the widely acclaimed Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt orchestra, the career-spanning tracklist traverses through the finest cuts from all four of Josh Tillman’s studio albums. The best part? He manages to squeeze in his magnum opus, the 13-minute Leaving LA, taken from the seminal ‘Pure Comedy’.
‘Off-Key In Hamburg’ may leave us wishing for the times where we were able to safely attend gigs, but in this current climate, it works as a balm to help these days pass by even quicker.
It must be noted, however, that some of the tracks here, particularly those taken from ‘Pure Comedy’, feel more apt than ever during this global pandemic. Though the record was unveiled in all its glory back in 2017, when listening in 2020, its prophetic and intricate premonitions about the human condition translate to insightful reflections on the current crisis that is taking place all around us. To leave you in the words of Mr. Tillman: “I hate to say it, But each other’s all we’ve got…”
‘Off-Key In Hamburg’ is available to stream or purchase via Bandcamp. All proceeds will be donated to the MusiCares COVID-19 fund, which aims to provide relief to those in the music industry that have been drastically affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The time has come young (and young at heart) music lovers, for this is the final instalment of Things We Love This Week by me, your trusty and silly provider of musical news and fun, as I am moving on to the faraway shores of the Bristol music scene. Maybe I’ll see you at a gig there? But fear not! The lovely Sophie Williams will be taking over the reins from here on in, so you’ll be in good hands.
Oh Sufjan, can you do no wrong? His latest work, ‘Aporia’ is due to arrive on March 27 via his own label Asthmatic Kitty. It’s a collaboration with his stepfather, Lowell Brams, the eponymous latter half of Steven’s 2015 LP, ‘Carrie and Lowell’.
The latest cut arrived this week in the form of Climb That Mountain, a truly magnificent instrumental with mountainous highs and needle-thin lows. The duo put it best themselves when they said: “‘Aporia’ approximates a rich soundtrack from an imagined sci-fi epic brimming with moody, hooky, gauzy synthesizer soundscapes.”
Girlpool have dropped a new single! But it’s not like their normal output. Like I’m Winning It is a little darker than what we’re used to, with layered, breathy vocals and some meditative guitar lines. Its video is a bit of a wacky one too. Set in a nightclub, everyone is dressed in Renaissance-inspired outfits, before Avery Tucker heads out into the spooky, smoky abyss outside.
Girlpool’s latest record was last years ‘What Chaos Is Imaginary’, and they don’t have any tour dates lined up for 2020 (yet!). That’s probably a good thing for now, what with all the coronavirus cancellations going on. Fingers crossed we get some more soon!
Despite seemingly every event around the world being cancelled because of this inescapable coronavirus, Glastonbury, at the moment, is going ahead. The legendary festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary (yes, 50!) with some massive names this year. Emily Eavis said: “No one has a crystal ball to see exactly where we will all be 15 weeks from now, but we are keeping our fingers firmly crossed that it will be here at Worthy Farm for the greatest show on Earth!”
And what a show it will be, with some top names having joined the bill only yesterday. Aside from your mahoosive headliners and mainstream stars like Kendrick Lamar, Camila Cabello and Dua Lipa, we also will be treated to the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Brittany Howard, Big Thief, Laura Marling, Caribou, Confidence Man, Metronomy, Nadine Shah and Thundercat, among many, many more. Check out the full line up here, and Bridgers’ latest single, Garden Song, below.
Hello once again young Padawans, how are you this fine day? We hope your week has been full of awesome music and general musical things. If it hasn’t, we are here to help. Read on!
Katie Crutchfield is back! We were graced with the latest cut from her new album this week. Lilacs is a delightful number perfect for taking your mind off that horrible Storm Dennis bloke that won’t leave anyone alone.
Lilacs is a folk-tinged indie-pop song with subtle elements of country melodies, reminding us of warm summers with a twinkling guitar line recalling the reflection of sunshine on water. Its video is a DIY profile of a dancer practicing in a huge warehouse. Despite the large space, the wonky close ups give the whole clip a really intimate, loving feel.
Waxahatchee will support the album with a previously confirmed spring North American tour, and newly announced summer European and UK shows. Tickets are on sale now.
Benjamin Clementine and Flo Morrissey
There ain’t nothing better than a couple making music together. It’s a life goal that’s dear to my heart, which is why Benjamin Clementine and Flo Morrissey’s new project really **ahem** strikes a chord.
Calm Down by the Clementines features vocals from both wife and husband, with the former providing a smooth, agile voice and the latter taking on vintage recording effects. The song as a whole continues this retro production in its melodies and arpeggios, which sound like something taken from the 1950s.
The track will be part of a larger body of work, but no further details have been revealed. However, we can resolutely confirm that so far it’s really, really nice.
Lastly, the biggest news story of the year so far. Stormzy has been awarded a Greggs Black Card. What does this mean, I hear you cry? What does this symbolise? Well, mainly, pastries FOR LIFE. The bakery chain’s Black Card service allows next-level VIPs to order Greggs whenever, and wherever they want with an exclusive concierge service. It’s strictly invite only though, which is bad news for us mere mortals.
This all happened after the Brit Awards earlier this week, at which the grime artist won the prize for Best Male Solo Artist, and received nominations for British Album and British Single. Check out the full winners list here.
In other news, Stormzy has just deleted his entire social media presence… Spooky. We hope you’re all good, Michael. For now, watch this epic clip of his performance at the awards on Tuesday. Fancy some tour dates, too?
Happy Valentine’s Day young lovers! And old lovers, and non-lovers, and animals and single-celled organisms. Whether you agree with the heartfelt sentiments or think it’s a mostly commercial trickery, there’s one thing we can agree on: today is just another excuse to gorge on chocolate, really. This week we are feelin’ the love, and our hearts belong to awesome music.
Firstly, we’ll hand the reins over to Girl Ray, indie-poppers with a funny streak. Their latest single takes our love theme and gives it a platonic twist, focusing on the strength and solidarity that comes with your pals. “In music, friend love is often overshadowed by romantic love and IT’S JUST WRONG. This one goes out to the mates of the world,” said the trio.
We feel ya. Friend Like That, from the band’s recent album ‘Girl’, melds a variety of synth styles, including elongated spaceship sounds, organ tones and a bouncy bassline to prove this love, while its accompanying video finds the band stuck in the ‘80s and being tricked by nasty high school boys. At least you’ll always have each other! Girl Ray are touring the UK this month, and tickets are on sale now!
We love it when an artist’s effervescent personality comes out in their work. Stella Donnelly has smashed this time and time again since her EP ‘Thrush Metal’ and further on full-length ‘Beware Of The Dogs’. Today, she covered John Paul Young’s Love Is In The Air. Yes, this really happened, and yes, it’s as great as it sounds.
Performing for Triple J’s Like A Version, Donnelly and her band bring a summery, beach-pop aesthetic to the crooner classic. Her incredible (and let’s face it, flawless) vocals take centre stage, reaching the high notes with such ease that it’s like listening to a walk in the park. Absolutely gorg.
Finally, we’ll round off this post by proposing the motion that everyone should love each other. Scottish post-rockers VASA today released a new single, Mini-Boss, which takes a stand against bullying. Well, kinda. It doesn’t actually have any lyrics, but the sentiment still stands.
Drummer Niall MacRae said: “Mini-Boss is, at its core, about overcoming personal hurdles, where the term literally means your first ever bully—that miniature tormentor who would seem totally laughable to you now. It’s a representation of those small moments made huge in your adolescent life, where your decisions allowed you to overcome strife.” The group are set to play ArcTanGent this summer and are on tour with Thank You Scientist this month.
Au revoir, my friends, and remember to be kind to people! Happy Valentine’s Day ❤️