Further Listening: The Julie Ruin, The Parrots, Vomitface, Tom Brosseau, Dennis Callaci, Albert af Ekenstam, Zuzu, Mean Jolene, Forth Wanderers, Jambinai, Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve, El Vy, Amber Arcades, I Have A Tribe, Lambchop, The Tuts, Vanessa Anne Redd, Plush, Chris Staples, Keaton Henson, Jess Williamson, Deerful, Belle & Sebastian, Cass McCombs (NSFW) and an intriguing new effort from wiaiwya signed indie-pop supergroup Milk Skin.
5. Swooning In Your Sleep
It’s rare we go a week without mentioning at least one new band from Brooklyn, taking that role this week are spooky folksters, Swoon Lake. The trio, led by excellently named front-woman Melodie Stancato are set to release a brand new EP, and have this week shared a new track from it Narcolepsy.
The track builds around minimal, twitchy percussion, the gentle sway of an acoustic guitar and the consistently stunning vocals, whether it’s Melodie being joined in perfect harmonies by bandmate Lucy, or just singing alone, her pained, emotive croon equal parts Lucy Dacus and Kristine Leschper. Bewitching, beautiful and very promising indeed, the Brooklyn talent production line shows no sign of slowing down just yet.
Like Being In A Mouth is out September 6th.
4. Go C The Wytch
Peterborough trio The Wytches first came to our attention via an impressive slot supporting Metz at possibly the loudest gig in the world. They went on to release a critically acclaimed debut album, Annabel Dream Reader, and have this week confirmed details of the follow up, All Your Happy Life.
The first taste of their Jim Sclavunos produced, sophomore album, comes in the shape of confusingly titled single C-Side. The track waltzes with the glam-stomp of T-Rex or The Doors, the melodic-warmth of Sparklehorse and the gothic horror of, well, early The Horrors. The band have suggested their new record is influenced by Tolstoy, Elliot Smith, underground-metal and life in small town England, which sounds utterly intriguing – roll on release day.
3. These Words Draw Blood
Going back to 2014, we were blown away by The Innocents, the bewitchingly gothic record by ghost-folk songstress, Weyes Blood aka Natalie Mering. This week she has confirmed details of the follow up to that record, Front Row Seat To Earth. Co-produced with Chris Cohen, Weyes Blood‘s fourth record will be out later in the year on Mexican Summer.
Weyes Blood have also this week shared a mesmerizing new single, Seven Words, accompanied by a washed-up mermaid heavy video. The track builds from a gospel-tinged organ intro into a soaring piece of enticing Americana, Natalie’s vocal swopping and dancing atop the music with all the dexterity of Julia Holter or Angel Olsen. Lyrically it hints at the difficulties in cutting ties and, “facing tomorrow.” An intriguing departure from the dense layering of her previous recording, Weyes Blood seems to be moving in new directions, and doing it with aplomb.
2. Pictures Of Man
“This album is set in the Bamboo Diner of my dreams, with rain beating on the windows and a jukebox stocked with blues.” Does anyone make their music sound as intriguing as The Wave Pictures? The prolific London-based trio have, in typically flamboyant fashion, this week confirmed the release of their latest record, Bamboo Diner In The Rain. We’d say it’s good to have them back, but do they ever really go away?
The band have also this week given us the first taste of Bamboo Diner In The Rain, in the shape of new single The Running Man. It’s in many ways classic Wave Pictures; storming guitar playing, a steady bassy groove and the urgent tick of drums, but there’s progress here. It’s darker than Great Big Flamingo, it’s heavier than those earlier folkier records, it’s bold, brave and urgent, there’s even a section where they sound a bit like Cream at their most bombastic, which is obviously a good thing. The album was written as an attempt to be as good as Rory Gallagher or The American Primatives, as David Tattersall puts it, “The Wave Pictures are strange: an indie rock band with absolutely no indie rock influences.” Strange they may be, but more importantly they sound as fresh, brilliant and uniquely unfashionable as ever. They could release a new record every week and we’d be happy.
1. Hazel’s Never Going Home
25-year old Oakland songwriter Hazel English might be quite new to this music game, but she’s already making quite the impression. Her winning brand of American indie-pop has seen her garner a huge amount of online praise and all the hype and pressure that comes with that. It’s all the more remarkable, because it’s only this week that Hazel has actually confirmed any sort of release, with a debut EP , Never Going Home coming out in the Autumn.
Celebrating the announcement, Hazel has shared the video which accompanies the record’s title track. A soaring slice of dreamy, melodic pop, it brings to mind the likes of Alvvays and Night Flowers, but the true joys are in the details here; the slightly off beat drums of the intro, the way Hazel’s voice soars on unusual notes, the entwining guitar lines battling for your ears attention in the outro. Bright, articulate pop that none the less possesses a huge emotive pull, it’s very clever indeed, and explains all the praise that’s been coming her way. Whilst details aren’t confirmed yet, Hazel should be coming over to Europe soon, and if all her music is this good, those shows might just be unmissable.
Never Going Home is out October 7th via House Anxiety/Marathon Artists.