Further Listening: The Courtneys, Mercy Weiss, The Dove and The Wolf, Okey Dokey, Jason McNiff, Gabriella Cohen, Alex Chilltown, Moon Duo, Slow Decades, Great Ytene, Molly Burch, Mac De Marco, Noga Erez, Post War Glamour Girls, Stef Chura, Mount Eerie, Fionn Regan, Half Waif, Wooden Wand, Julia Holter, Joshua Burnside, Fuzzystar, Lucky Shivers, Bleached, Bonny Doon, Poppies, Andrew Combs, Embers, Fazerdaze, Tennis, The Captain’s Son, Louis Schefano, The Coathangers and the wonderful new single from Julia Lucille.
5. Turn A Grimace Into A Grin
Formed back in 2011, London post-punk four piece, H. Grimace have taken their time to get to the release of their debut album, but this week they have confirmed details of Self Architect which will be out later this year on Opposite Number, as well as sharing the first taste of the record in the shape of new single, Land/Body.
It may have been six years in the waiting but listening to Land/Body it doesn’t feel like time wasted. This is a slick and brooding slice of uneasy post-punk; from a fuzzy and unnerving intro, the track resolves into an anxious rhythm pitched somewhere between The Cure and Savages. It’s clearly not just the music but the words that have been put together with great care, discussing the track the band suggest, “Land/Body is a song which took inspiration from the idea that we are living through the end of nature and what changes have occurred from the likes of mass production and standardisation. It delves into the possibilities that this has affected our sense of belonging and roots”. This fascinating track marks H. Grimace out as an intriguing prospects, and one well worth pursuing.
Self Architect is out April 7th via Opposite Number. Click HERE for more information about H.Grimace.
4. Camera Obscura Go Back To The Start
Spanish label, Elefant Records has long been a bastion of high quality indie-pop music, releasing the likes of Los Bonsais, The School and La Casa Azul. The label has recently reached the incredible land mark of 25 years in the business, and is re-releasing a series of, you guessed it, twenty-five record to mark the occasion.
This week Elefant have announced that the latest offering is a re-release of two singles from indie-pop legends Camera Obscura, the tracks being Teenager and Keep It Clean. Each track is being pressed onto vinyl for the first time and accompanied by a plethora of additional cuts from the time. Teenager was the bands first release for the label and with its posturing spaghetti-western style guitar, and lilting vocals was the perfect introduction to the band. Keep It Clean is lifted from the bands classic Underachievers Please Try Harder album, and is a gorgeous shuffling beast, all wistful melancholic vocals, and chiming casio-keys, while in, “I don’t want to be part of your scene“, it features what is arguably their most iconic lyric. With Camera Obscura currently on a hiatus following the sad death of keyboardist Carey Lander, these releases serve as a wonderful and timely reminder of just how great at writing pop-songs Camera Obscura are, and how much the indie-pop world misses them.
Both re-issues are out March 3rd via Elefant Records – click HERE for details and pre-order.
3. Holly’s Got The Heartbreak Blues
One of our 17 for 2017, you probably already know that we think Bella Union signed superstar in the making Holly Macve’s debut album Golden Eagle, is going to be very special indeed. This week she has added to our evidence base by sharing her lovelorn new single, Heartbreak Blues.
Heartbreak Blues serves as a reminder of just how entwined country, American-folk and the blues are. Holly’s unmissable vocals with a touch of June Carter or Caitlin Rose, are accompanied by a chiming, meandering electric guitar line, a gentle twitch of percussion and not a whole lot else. Even lyrically it’s pure country melancholy, as Holly chimes poignantly, “follow me and I’ll make you see, my love’s not what you dreamed it to be”. Galway born, Yorkshire bred and Brighton based, just how Holly ended up becoming a country-western singer who wouldn’t sound out-of-place on the streets of Nashville, we haven’t a clue, but we’re very happy it’s happened.
Golden Eagle is out March 3rd via Bella Union. Click HERE for all upcoming Holly Macve tour dates.
2. Tica Douglas Offers More Of The Same Thing
Judging by recent social media posts, even Tica Douglas seems a little unsure about just how to promote their own music in the current climate, but as the saying goes the show must go on, and the upcoming return of Tica is something well worth celebrating. The first new music since 2014’s Joey, Tica’s stunning musing on gender and identity, Our Lady Star Of The Sea, Help And Protect Us, will be out later in the year and marks Tica’s first release on Team Love Records.
This week ahead of that album, Tica has shared a brand new track, The Same Thing. The Same Thing starts with a fuzzy recording of late night television, instantly setting a scene of sleepless nights and racing minds, Tica’s guitar clicks in, steady, and at first comfortably familiar, but then the drums crash in. The voice remains, the guitar remains, but this instantly sounds a more confrontational, more energetic piece; fuzzy electrics, layered vocals, and driving, clattering drums: this is new territory for Tica as a songwriter, and this denser sound is a fine match. The whole thing gradually builds and builds to a crushing crescendo, as Tica whispers, “and a choir sings”, and we’re joined not by an array of vocals but a violent pulse of chaotic musical energy, before a sweet organ washes the song to its moving outro, as Tica concludes, “the words on the breeze and the waves, the waves carry me away“. The Same Thing is one of those wonderful moments when an artist you’d almost forgotten about seems to return from nowhere, not just as good as they were, but sounding even better – welcome back Tica, you’ve been missed.
Our Lady Star Of The Sea, Help And Protect Us is out May 5th via Team Love Records.
1. The Life University With Alex Lahey
The latest talent to emerge from the currently fertile Antipodean music scene, Melbourne’s Alex Lahey, self-released her debut EP in the summer of last year, to relatively little fanfare. Now signed to Dead Oceans, larger recognition seems an inevitability. Dead Ocean’s have this week re-released that record, B-Grade University, as well as sharing the video to new single, Wes Anderson.
Wes Anderson is a bruised pop-gem in the mould of Field Mouse or Rilo Kiley, all chiming guitars, steady drums and soaring, emotive vocals. Lyrically it reflects on a relationship, it initially seems upbeat, positive as Alex sings, “you’re on my mind and you’re all mine, you’re the best nights sleep I’ve ever had“, yet somehow it feels uneasy as if, this is a doomed romance, even when she sings, “every day with you is my lucky day“, you can’t help but feel those days are destined to come to a sticky end. There’s a universality to the way Alex writes, and shares the troubles of life in your early 20’s, and by tapping into relatable concepts from relationship problems to the difficulty of finding a career, it’s hard to not feel like she’s speaking directly to you, or at the very least the person you once were.
B-Grade University is out now via Dead Oceans. Alex Lahey is the support for the upcoming Tegan & Sara tour, click HERE for all the dates.