Five Things We Liked This Week – 20/05/2016

Some additional listening this week, with new material from: MANDY, Mercury Girls, Darren Hayman, Kate Carr, Pink Milk, Fiona Brice, Velveteins, Hinds, Sea Pinks, Martha, A Grave With No Name, Steady Holiday, Emma Russack, John Grant and Mourn.

5. Dance To Brenda’s Friend

Brenda’s Friend are a duo from Bloomington in Indiana. The pair met whilst working on separate projects on the Bloomington scene and bonded over a mutual appreciation for one another’s work. The duo released their debut record, Under The Shrub, last year, and have already confirmed details of the follow-up EP, House Down, which is out next week.

This week Brenda’s Friend have shared the second taster of that EP, in the shape of new single, Pas De Deux. The track is titled from the name of a dance-duet in ballet, rather apt as the track is a lithe musical dance, guitars and fuzzy-bass lines entwine, then fall away, moving rapidly beneath the gorgeous vocal harmonies that bring to mind Let’s Eat Grandma or Cocorosie. Whilst previous output suggested a band who are masters of fuzzy-garage pop, Pas De Deux shows a previously un-displayed subtlety and lightness of touch, and with that expectations for House Down, just went through the roof and Brenda’s Friend marked themselves out as a rare talent.

House Down is out May 27th via Winspear Records. 

4. The Minor Fall, The Major Lift, The Teleman Composing Hallelujah

Earlier this year, to much musical fanfare, Teleman released their excellent second album, Brilliant Sanity. This week the London-quartet have shared the video for the albums most accessible and catchy moment, Glory Hallelujah. The video, shot by Jonny Saunders from the band, was filmed on the bands recent European tour, and is a snap shot of the beautiful vistas, and atmosphere of the tour, combined with the band dancing about near a motorway when their bus broke down.

Glory Hallelujah is arguably the band’s best single to date, a steady beat and stomping piano pulses throughout the song, giving a defiant bounce, while the chorus is just the kind of melodic genius that you’d expect from Teleman, who are quickly become one of the country’s finest pop bands. The video’s release ties in with the announcement of an upcoming Autumn tour, the band following up a huge number of festival shows and playing their biggest shows to date, not to be missed.

Brilliant Sanity is out now via Moshi Moshi. Click HERE for all upcoming Teleman shows.

3. T.O.Y.S share their latest play thing

Leeds/London trio, T.O.Y.S have this week announced the release of SICKS, their debut album, which will come out via the ever excellent Odd Box Records next month. The band, who formed back in 2010, have thus far shared a trio of EP’s, showcasing their own take on lo-fi indie experimentation, relying on heavy bass and prominent keyboards rather than the classic garage blue print.

T.O.Y.S have also this week shared the first material from the album in the shape of new single, G-A-C. As well as cementing their love for all things initial-based, the new single is a fine example of what the band do so well, urgent buzzing keys sit proudly atop, distinctive rolling drum beats and driving, dirgy bass-lines, as singer David Kitchen throws his heart and soul into a passionate yelp of a vocal. T.O.Y.S put a fresh spin on indie’s 1980’s hey-day , and in doing so create something intriguingly modern.

SICKS is out June 24th via Odd Box Records. 

2. Float Away On The River

The last few years have been a difficult period, personally and professionally, for Okkervil River frontman, Will Sheff. He lost music industry contacts and band members, and went through the painful experience of watching his grandfather, a man he describes as his idol, die in a hospice. As is so often the case, from these difficult times, he found new inspiration, and ultimately constructed his latest album, Away, which features collaborations with Marissa Nadler and composer Nathan Thatcher, before being mixed in Los Angeles with Jonathan Wilson.

This week Okkervil River, essentially now a solo project, shared the first track from their upcoming album, entitled chillingly, Okkervil Rier R.I.P. Described by Will as an “emotional transcription” of this difficult period in his life, the single is a masterpiece. It beings as his emotive vocal croaks over a gently picked acoustic guitar, and from there the whole thing slowly builds; a bass pulses, a piano rolls in with a hauntingly beautiful motif, drums click into gear, an a distant organ buzzes. Lyrically it’s heartbreaking, as Will recalls his grandfather’s final days, “you’ve got a big day coming, a big day coming now.” We won’t hear Away in its entirety until September but it promises to be very special, as Will puts it, “it’s not really an Okkervil River album and it’s also my favourite Okkervil River album.” Will Sheff or Okkervil River, whatever you call it, we can’t wait to hear it.

Away is out September 9th via ATO Records. Okkervil River tour the UK in October, click HERE for details.

1. An Explosions With A View

So fascinated were we by the debut Exploded View single, No More Parties In The Attic, we’ve already written an entire article on its charms (you can read that HERE). This week the multi-national quartet have confirmed details of their self-titled debut album, which will be out later this summer via Sacred Bones.

Exploded View have also this week shared the latest track from the album, Orlando. It’s a slightly lighter atmosphere than their previous track; vintage synths twinkle ominously above a backdrop of pulsing dancefloor basslines and complex, gradually evolving drum beats, the whole thing overlain with Anika’s echoing, almost robotic vocal-line, which is delivered with a disarming nonchalance. The band have intriguingly suggested their debut album is for fans of, “Can, dub, and political revolution”, sign us up immediately, because with every new glimpse into the world of Exploded View we’re just becoming increasingly enamoured.

Exploded View is out August 19th via Sacred Bones. Exploded View tour Europe in August, including a date at Green Man Festival, click HERE for details.

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