Five Things We Liked This Week – 22/01/2016

5. The Perks Of Listening To Martha Ffion

Details of the debut album by Martha Ffion, one of our picks for 2016, remain fairly thin on the ground, however this week the Turnstile signed songwriter has shared her new single, Wallflower.

The follow up to previous single, the harmony drenched classic pop of So Long, Wallflower is a subtle shift in direction. This song emphasises her alt-country leaning coming across like an Irish Jenny Lewis or Caitlin Rose. Lyrically it seems to deal with the dangers of shyness and self-doubt, and encourages the inner wallflower in all of us to come out from the shadows and dance in the spotlight. Another beautiful tease of what we can expect if and when she lets us know about longer releases, with each new track it just gets more exciting.

Martha Ffion plays a handful of UK dates in February, click HERE for details.

4. Baby It’s Cool Out(side)

Between them Matthew E.White and Natalie Prass shared two of last year’s most intriguing and stunningly produced records. As both are signed to White’s Spacebomb Recordings, it perhaps shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that they have collaborated on a new track, indeed it’s arguably more a question what took them so long?

Technically the new single from Matthew E.White, Cool Out, is a splendid duet. It’s also something of a departure from the rich, full-band sound of both artists previous work, recorded alongside producer DJ Harrison, it’s a slinky slice of R&B that’s as intriguing as it is unexpected. Whatever this means for new music from Matthew or Natalie, well we haven’t got a clue, for now we’re just going to enjoy two of music’s best voices harmonising and worry about what this directional shift means later.

Matthew E.White is currently on tour in the UK, click HERE for details.

3. Steven, James and Adam Together At Last

As a former member of The Broken Family Band and the man behind Singing Adams, Steven James Adams has got used to receiving critical acclaim, if never quite finding the commercial break through to go with it. Neither of these factors are likely to change with the release of his brilliant, Dan Michaelson produced second album, Old Magick, due out on Fortuna Pop at the start of March.

 Whetting appetites for the release, Steven has this week shared the video for his new single, Togetherness. The video, directed by South London film-maker Liam Nolan features two men in Government issue Chemical Warfare protective suits meeting in a contrastingly green and leafy setting. The video ties into the lyrical content of the song which questions how as a country we react to immigrants as negatives rather than focusing on what they can bring to our country, Steven singing, “you can care for our kids, clean our old people’s homes, build the places where we live, and leave us alone”. The social commentary is set to a contrastingly upbeat and pretty musical backing, all bouncing drum-beats, rich piano chords and Steven’s beautiful warm croon. It’s all boding rather nicely for Old Magick to sound rather magical.

Old Magick is out via Fortuna Pop on March 4th. Steven James Adams heads out on a UK tour in March, click HERE for details.

2. Bewitching Waves

When we featured Witching Waves in our class of 2016, we had to admit we had very little idea what their actual plans were. This week they have thankfully clarified the issue! The London Noise-Pop trio will release their second album, Crystal Cafe at the end of February through the excellent pairing of Soft Power Records in the UK and Happy Happy Birthday To Me in the US.

Discussing the follow up to 2014’s debut, Fear Of Falling Down, the band have suggested this was an attempt to make a more cohesive and singular album, as opposed to a collection of individual songs. Whilst we wait to hear whether they’ve achieved their ambition, this week they have shared the first fruits of the self-recording process, Twister. The track is a streamlined blast of pure-grimy noise, persistent drums and Emma Wigham’s yelped vocals overlaying, some seriously hefty basslines and angular buzz-saw guitars recalling the likes of Flesh World and Primitive Parts. If the rest of Crystal Cafe is half as good it looks set to be one of the years most thrillingly noise and jarringly brilliant albums.

Crystal Cafe is out February 26th via Soft Power (UK) and Happy Happy Birthday To Me (US).

1. Well, Well, Wells

Hugely talented Texan multi-instrumentalist Emily Wells has this week shared her new single, Don’t Use Me Up. It’s the latest track to be lifted from her upcoming second album Promise which is due out next on her own Thesis & Instinct label. The album is the follow up to 2012’s Mama which came out via Partisan Records.

Describing the record Emily has suggested it’s an album “about friendship and the climate changing and fear of the unknown and love and desire and risk and amnesia” and the tricky skill of making them all, “sit together impolitely with no one leaving the room?” The early signs are good that Emily has managed to pull of that tricky balancing acts without compromising on her genre-fusing musical style.

The single Don’t Use Me Up is a fine example of her varied musical cocktail; it’s part whisky-soaked ballad, part unhinged gospel hymn, the whole track constantly threatening to collapse into a chaotic noisy void, only just held together by her stunning vocal performance. It recalls the experimentation of Julia Holter, the melodic qualities of Natalie Prass and the uneasy anxious qualities of Perfume Genius, largely though this just sounds like a unique talent with a singular vision for what the music she makes should sound like, and we can’t argue that this particular musical painting is anything but a masterpiece.

Promise is out via Thesis & Instinct on January 29th. Although no UK dates are confirmed as of yet, Emily heads out on tour in the US in February before returning to Europe in March, click HERE for details.


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