As we chop and wade through the technical glitches and bollocks that are the bane of our existence (I dunno, give me a typewriter and a notebook anyday (“Alright, Grandad, shut up”)) we have reached a clearing that is a post with formatted words and videos you can watch. Hurrah. There are some absolute belters in there too (“You always say that”). Have a gander and stick it in your lug holes. You’re welcome.
Nation of Language – Weak In Your Light
Why we love it: “Sometimes when I feel the most is when I feel hopelessly devoted to something or someone” states lead singer and songwriter Ian Devaney from Nation of Language. They have announced their third album Strange Disciple which will be released on 15 September via [PIAS]. Alongside the announcement Nation of Language have released new single ‘Weak In Your Light’. The track opens with bobbing synths and the gorgeous vocal of Devaney, full of emotion. The Brooklyn trio have shared that Strange Disciple’s overarching theme is the feelings of agony, ecstasy and anguish that come with any form of unhealthy dedication. ‘Weak In Your Light’ is a beautifully emotive track, the electronica balancing the power of the vocal. Soaring and pitch perfect.
The new album Strange Disciple is informed by the excitement of exploring new places the band never thought they would see on tour. I can only imagine what it must be like for a band to hit the road after lockdown. The mix of emotions must be overwhelming, in the best sense. (Julia Mason)
Fräulein – Brand New
Why we love it: because it’s another slice of brilliant grunge-pop (is that a thing? It is now) by Fräulein. This one threatens to take off, builds to the big distorted chorus, but instead just teases and tantalises. Even the end coda doesn’t explode, instead just ups the ante a touch and carries you home.
This is the second single to come from their new EP Pedestal which is out on 30th June.
“Brand New’ is sort of the culmination of the entirety of the EP, which is why it’s the closing track” explains Joni Samuels. “It’s a song about trying to shed all of the negativity and low thoughts explored in the first half of the EP, trying to start fresh and just express yourself. But with that comes some sacrifices too – it’s a song about putting yourself out there, barefaced and real”. (Jim Auton)
Deeper – Sub
Why we love it: Chicago band Deeper have signed to Sub Pop label and to mark the occasion have released new single, the appropriately titled ‘Sub’. Sharp and twitchy there is a definite XTC vibe about this track – a compliment of course. Glorious vocals and upbeat jangly guitars jumping between riffs, ‘Sub’ doesn’t meander along, it canters at pace and Sub Pop are quite rightly delighted with their new signing.
The band expands on the single and its accompanying video: “‘Sub’ was in the trash can for a minute. We recorded it in 2021 at a slower tempo before realizing it didn’t work. It was built again from the ground up, this time with a much faster tempo and different dynamics. The nice thing about iterating on songs over the pandemic was having time to revisit old ideas – the song even features a guitar part from the first recorded Deeper song that we ended up discarding. Lyrics jump around events from the last few years, often reflecting on the past and present. The video functions as a vessel for us to reference characters from past videos, showing them stuck in a loop, in a purgatory where they’re waiting to move on to whatever is coming next.” (Julia Mason)
Stornoway – Trouble With The Green
Why we love it: because Stornoway are back, which is reason enough to celebrate. What helps is that this is a great return from the band that met at university in Oxford and used a myriad of bizarre influences. ‘Trouble With The Green’ again illustrates the expert musicians in the band, but it also feels like they were never away, after announcing their permanent hiatus in October 2016, and playing a final gig the following March.
After a few reunion shows last year, here they are with new material and a new album Dig The Mountain. Brian Biggs said “Stornoway did not exist. I was creating with no goal or plan and it was exhilarating. I am a playful person and I got completely lost in the adventure of songwriting, not knowing where a song might take me, what feelings I might discover and how they might turn into sound. Every song was an emotional and physical journey I was only partly in control of“.(Jim Auton)
Yabba – Jawbone
Why we love it: Leading tastemaker label Nice Swan continues its high quality output joining up with Scotland’s YABBA who share debut EP lead single ‘Jawbone’. YABBA have one simple mission: to save music from mediocrity. Already grabbing attention last year with their live shows including supporting Enola Gay, playing Mutations in Brighton and Left of the Dian in Rotterdam, YABBA are unforgettable onstage – ferocious and wild. Describing themselves as more a collective than a band, they do everything and go everywhere musically with no limits. ‘Jawbone’ follows their debut single ‘Get By’ and sees the Scots adding a rock n roll twist to their feral soundscape. The vocal of Josh Kirk is savage on top of the bouncing but nonetheless raucous instrumentation. Prepare to be thoroughly entertained.
Detailing their latest release, YABBA explained:
“’Jawbone’ is a bluesy number from YABBA. It is another riff driven track, a sharp and quick little ditty. Very rock n’ roll. Very strong. One of the early songs that people seemed to like. It’s versatile so you can take it any which you want.” (Julia Mason)
Why we love it: feeble little horse makes inventive, off beat unpredictable songs that are a reflection of the joys that come with making music with your best friends. The Pittsburgh quartet’s second album, Girl with Fish, which is out June 9 via Saddle Creek, was made focusing on intuition over intention: letting the magic of collaboration come first.
“Anything that makes us laugh or puts a smile on our faces, we usually end up keeping in the songs,” explains drummer Jake Kelley. Across 11 self-recorded and self-produced tracks, the band careens from blissed-out pop to harsh noise, glitchy programmed drum beats, and off-kilter indie rock—sometimes all in one song. As a follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2021 debut Hayday, this LP, with its overwhelmingly inviting and emotionally resonant tracklist, is a document of four people trusting their instincts and most importantly each other.
“How we’ve historically written is that Sebastian and I will just play guitar together to start a song,” says Walchonski. “But we’ll forbid each other from bringing any riffs we’ve already made up to a writing session. It’s technically a limitation but it’s actually the opposite: It’s pushing us to be more creative.” Lead track ‘Tin Man’ is a delight, scuttling percussion gives way to scampering guitars and a soaring chorus over infectious fuzz, “I gotta go cause you flash sadness / I found you / all rusted and leaky.” They sing. It’s a off kilter earworm with elements of Flaming Lips and Pavement. A ramshackle charm. (Bill Cummings)
Art School Girlfriend – Close to the clouds
Why we love it: Art School Girlfriend‘s second album Soft Landing is out soon and she’s shared the evocative and meditative ‘Close To The Clouds‘, scattered beats, are burnished with electronic bleeps and bleeps, Polly Mackey’s vocals are ripe with wistful longing, looking to the past and discovering herself. It’s wonderful.
Art School Girlfriend, real name Polly Mackey, says: “”Close To The Clouds” is about looking back on my twenties with some kind of wistful hindsight. I wanted it to embody the energy of the music I spent a lot of my teenage years and early twenties listening to. It’s about reflecting on the winding path to contentment, having finally figured out how to find it.”
Soft Landing will follow Mackey’s 2021 debut album Is It Light Where You Are? The album was recorded between Mackey’s home and Crouch End’s Church Studios with friend and co-producer Riley MacIntyre. Mackey says the album’s title “is taken from these [“Close To The Clouds”] lyrics, and this track represents a lot of the record’s themes: reflection, joy, coming of age.” (Bill Cummings)
forthcoming second album Soft Landing, is out soon and she’s shared the evocative and meditative ‘Close To The Clouds‘, scattered beats, are burnished with electronic bleeps and bleeps, Mackey’s vocals are ripe with wistful longing, looking to the past and discovering herself. It’s wonderful.
Mackey says: “”Close To The Clouds” is about looking back on my twenties with some kind of wistful hindsight. I wanted it to embody the energy of the music I spent a lot of my teenage years and early twenties listening to. It’s about reflecting on the winding path to contentment, having finally figured out how to find it.”
Soft Landing will follow Mackey’s 2021 debut album Is It Light Where You Are? The album was recorded between Mackey’s home and Crouch End’s Church Studios with friend and co-producer Riley MacIntyre. She says the album’s title: “is taken from these [“Close To The Clouds”] lyrics, and this track represents a lot of the record’s themes: reflection, joy, coming of age.” (Bill Cummings)