Five Things We Liked This Week – 18/03/2016

5. Meilyr Jones: Live And Dangerous

These are exciting times for Welsh-wonder Meilyr Jones as today see’s the release of his excellent debut solo album, 2013, on Moshi Moshi. Much more on that next week, but for today here’s his excellent video for new single, Return To Life.

The video takes us into the ambitious recording process Meilyr put together alongside composer Joseph Davies. Gathering together a 30-strong orchestra of, “friends, and friends of friends of friends”, Meilyr proceeded to record them entirely live, attempting to catch the scope and energy of a Frank Sinatra session. Return To Life is an ominous swell of a song: fluttering fingers brushing harp strings, breathy woodwind and rich emotive waves of strings, there’s hints of Scott Walker of The Divine Comedy, as Meilyr’s accented vocal sits atop the bold musical pallet below. Confusing as it may sound, 2013 is already looking like it might be one of 2016’s best albums.

2013 is out today via Moshi Moshi. Meilyr Jones heads out on a UK tour in April, click HERE for details of all his upcoming shows. 

4. RM Hubbert & Kathryn Joseph Are For Life Not Just For Christmas

On his latest album Glaswegian songwriter RM Hubbert has drawn on his cluster of musical contacts to gather up a different collaborator on each track. With guests including some fine voices, from Martha Ffion to Eleanor Friderberger, the album, Telling The Trees, won’t be with us until next month, but this week RM has shared his latest single, The Dog.

The Dog is a collaboration with Scottish Album Of The Year winner Kathryn Joseph. The Dog lifts Kathryn out of the piano led setting she’s become associated with and sets her quivering, emotive vocal into RM’s textural guitar playing. A match made in heaven, this dark, powerful and mysterious piece of song-writing is one of those rare collaborations where the whole is more than the sum of the parts. It might be time to stop trying new collaborators RM, you might have found the perfect pairing.

Telling The Trees is released April 29th, via Chemikal Underground.  For our Scottish readers, RM Hubbert has a handful of upcoming dates, click HERE for details.

3. So Dreamy, Oh MANDY

MANDY is the moniker of Welsh duo Mel and Andy Fung. Their latest album Universe was recorded back in 2014, in the run up to Mel’s sad death from cancer, and the album serves as Mel’s final, and deeply moving musical statement.

This week see’s the release of the album’s first single, Angela. Despite it’s difficult conception, the track is remarkably off-beat; it recalls the wonky-Welsh pop music of Cate Le Bon or H.Hawkline, awash with distorted guitar buzz and syncopated rhythms, it rewards the listener who stays more numerous listens, slowly revealing the extent of its undoubted charm. The story of MANDY may ultimately be a sad, even tragic one, but as Mel’s close friend Mared Lenny so eloquently put it, “the beautiful thing about music making is that it transcends mortality. It outlives us. And for someone with such a distinctive voice and spirit it’s comforting to know she’ll be on record for all time, forever immortal through her incredible creativity”. We can’t argue with that.

Universe is out May 27th via Bubblewrap Collective. 

2. The Prismer

Prism Tats is the pseudonym for one-man garage rock band Garrett van der Spek. Originally from Durban, Garret’s story takes in his journey from his native South Africa to his new life situated between Los Angeles and Seattle. This week he has shared new single, Death Or Fame, the first taste of his upcoming self-titled debut album, which comes out via ANTI-.

Death Or Fame buzzes by on a drum-machine beat, and Garrett’s fuzzy-guitar lines reminiscent of early record by The Kills or The Raveonettes, with a touch of the slacker vibes of Mac De Marco and a slight glam stomp. So far, so promising for this well-travelled, musical talent.

Prism Tats is out April 15th via ANTI-. Prism Tats tours the US in May with Nada Surf, click HERE for details.

1. Spook When You’re Spooken To

Scottish Indie-pop-punks The Spook School have this week celebrated their trip to SXSW to try and “break America” by releasing a brand new video for their track, Speak When You’re Spoken To. The track is the latest to be lifted from one of 2015’s finest albums, Try To Be Hopeful, which came out on the ever excellent Fortuna Pop imprint.

The video features Josie Long as an over-enthusiastic pet shop owner. Displaying her alternative musical credential in a Tuff Love t-shirt, Josie ends up selling a punter The Spook School as a rather odd, four headed, eight legged pet, they end up in a scrap with Wolf Girl before ending up in the lost animal pound and being turned down by their owner in favour of a dog; yep it’s as odd and brilliant as it sounds. The song is in many ways classic Spook School, all rapid-fire guitar riffing, yelped choruses and relationship difficulties. 2016 seem to be going from strength to strength for The Spook School and with some high-profile summer festival slots, they seem like a band on the brink of a well-deserved break through.

Try To Be Hopeful is out now via Fortuna Pop. The Spook School play a number of UK gigs this Summer including a headline show at Indietracks. Click HERE for all their upcoming dates.

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