5. The Dublin Lineman
Following the release of his third album under the Villagers name, Darling Arithmetic, Conor O’Brien seemed to discover new found inspiration. Playing older material with his newly formed live band, the tracks seemed reinvented and injected with fresh urgency. Wanting to capture this spirit they spent a day in London’s RAK Studio, and recorded a half live album, half greatest hits record. New versions of old classics, Conor weaves material from throughout his career into a coherent and highly satisfying listen.
This week Conor shared one of the albums most intriguing cuts in the shape of a cover of the Jimmy Webb track, Wichita Lineman, made famous of course by Glenn Campbell. This live version of the track emphasises the simple beauty of the vocal melody and the complex picking of the guitar line, as well as bringing fresh ideas to proceedings from the low rumble of a double bass, to stabs of piano, and best of all a gorgeous trumpet solo. Like the album it closes this is a recording that looks backwards, whilst simultaneously taking the music forward, a difficult trick for most made to look easy by one of the finest songwriters currently plying his trade.
Where Have You Been All My Life? is out now via Domino. Villagers are on tour later this month, click HERE for details.
4. Frankie Goes To Korea
Greta Kline, or Frankie Cosmos to use her musical pseudonym, used her latest EP, Fit Me In, as something of an experiment; an attempt, seemingly to fuse her songwriting into the electronic pallet of modern pop music. The result was a charming record, melding her minimalist lo-fi tendencies with a bold poppy production. Whether it will remain a beautiful aside to her music to date, or a brave step into intriguing new territory will only become clear when she releases her next record, which is set for release later this year.
This week she has shared the video to the latest track to be lifted from that EP, Korean Food. The self-made video set out with a similar mindset as the record it’s lifted from, it’s Frankie’s idea of a pop video, as she puts it, “boat, pool, beach, lipstick, alcohol.. but my way – camcorder, sunscreen, goggles, hummus”. The video and track alike are not mocking pop culture or laughing at it, it’s more a tribute to that world delivered in a way that could only possibly have come from the fascinating mind of Frankie Cosmos, roll on the new record.
Fit Me In EP is out now via Bayonet Records.
3. Roll With Nap Eyes
Nap Eyes are a four piece from Halifax, but the one in Nova Scotia not the one in West Yorkshire. This week they have shared brand new single, Roll It, the second track to be lifted from their upcoming second album, which is rather intriguingly entitled Thought Rock Fish Scales.
Discussing the track, frontman Nigel Chapman, a biochemist by day, rather complexly describes Roll It as being, “theory of mind. You are trying to understand why you didn’t get your way. Imagining what the other person was thinking, did you get past your initial doubt to remember that other people have their own minds, different from yours?” Whilst we attempt to get our heads around that we recommend you listen to this excellent single, pitched somewhere between The Modern Lovers and Pavement, it’s a track that is subtly a lot more clever than it initially appears. On a completely separate note, Nigel sounds a bit Scottish, anyone know much about Nova Scotia accents? Just another layer to this rather intriguing new track, and who doesn’t love a puzzle?
Thought Rock Fish Scales is out February 5th via Paradise Of Bachelors.
2. You Will Meet A Tall Pink Stranger
Belfast-trio Sea Pink have been releasing records since 2010, but their latest album Soft Days is both their freshest and best received record to date. Their sound blends the jangling guitars of the 1980’s indie scene with some excellently laid-back surf pop tendencies and marks them out as contemporaries of Literature or Wavves.
This week they shared the latest single from the album, Yr Horoscope. The track may clock in at just two minutes but with its ludicrously catchy astrology referencing chorus, it’s a simplistic, infectious pleasure that won’t be leaving your head anytime soon, don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Soft Days is out now via CF Records.
1. (Wild) Nothing To See Here
Hearing Jack Tatum, aka Wild Nothing, discuss new album Life Of Pause, it becomes clear that he was feeling the pressure to produce something different, “I’m terrified by the idea of being any one thing, or being of any one genre”. Whether that is a reaction to reviews of second album Nocturne, or simply the words of a restless, creative mind, is a question that only he could answer. What’s more clear listening to his new single Reichpop is that he has achieved his goal of moving his music forward, and it has never sounded fresher.
Reichpop builds from an almost choral introduction, through swells of sound and twitching blasts of Fever Ray inspired polyrhythmic marimba, before finally a pulsating afro-beat bass, and bright shimmering guitar chords cut through and bring the whole track to life. There are shades of Vampire Weekend or Bombay Bicycle Club; but what’s most impressive is his ability to make something that’s at once complex and sophisticated, but also undeniably and brilliantly pop. A brilliant return to form, and a glimpse of what could easily be his most intriguing record yet.
Life Of Pause is out February 19th via Bella Union.