Further Listening: Diet Cig, Pronto Mama, Alex G, Beach Fossils, Kane Strang, Courtney Marie Andrews, The Districts, The Wild Reeds, Low Horizon, Los Campesinos!, Rays, Mount Song, Lunch Ladies, Martha Tilston, Shrinking Minds, Jade Jackson, Doug Tuttle, Cotillon, Trust Fund, Lindi Ortega, Nadine Khouri, Why?, Peter Silberman, Dutch Uncles, Hiccup, She-Devils, Gold Lexapro, Husky Loops, Garden Centre and the ace new video from Doe.
5. A Modern Take On Englishness from Ulrika Spacek
Initially, “conceptualised”, in Berlin, Ulrika Spacek are a ludicrously hip prospect thankfully, there’s plenty of substance to go with the quintet’s unwavering stylishness. It was only last year the band released their debut album, The Album Paranoia, but wasting no time this week they’ve announced the follow-up, Modern English Decoration, as well as sharing the first single from it, Mimi Pretend.
Mimi Pretend is the albums opening track, and should be a good indication of the album to follow, as according to frontman Rhys Edwards the band, “started with Track One on the album and went from there”. Mimi Pretend builds around glimmering, focused guitar lines and a driving rhythm section, the whole thing pitched somewhere between Ultimate Painting and Television. Layered vocals seem to drift in and out of ear-shot, the lyrics largely unintelligible but delivered with an anxious energy that gives them an undeniable gravitas. The band may have recorded much of this record in their living room, but if Mimi Pretend is anything to go by, don’t expect a relaxed concept album on domestic bliss.
Modern English Decoration is out June 2nd via Tough Love. Click HERE for more information on Ulrika Spacek and live dates.
4. Don’t Ask About Former Bullies
Formed back in 2003 Former Bullies are a Manchester-based trio, not to be confused with the similarly named, and actually quite similar sounding, Gorgeous Bully. Built around the songwriting of Nick Ainsworth, Former Bullies have recently released their fourth album, Stranger, and this week shared the video to new single, Don’t Ask Many Questions.
Although only just over two minutes long, Don’t Ask Many Questions is a beautifully affecting slice of wistful jangle-pop. Recalling the likes of Expert Alterations or White Fence, there’s a simplistic beauty to Former Bullies work; incorporating little more than a steady drum beat, lazily unfurling guitar lines, and lackadaisical vocal harmonies. Nick has been quite open that Stranger is an open and honest account of the end of a long-term relationship, as he sings on Don’t Ask Many Questions, “don’t look to the future it’ll never last”. Yet somehow from the downbeat premise, Former Bullies seem to tap into something optimistic, sure somethings weren’t made to last, but inescapably this feels like a record that knows that whatever happens the sun will rise and one way or another, life will go on.
Stranger is out now via CF Records. Click HERE for more information on Former Bullies.
3. Get 2 Know The Maldives
On their new single, 2 Know U Is 2 Love You, the music of The Maldives seems to exist in another world from reality. Cinematic flourishes combine with aquatic synth textures to make us feel a little bit like we’re on the set of Sting Ray, waltzing with a mermaid, or at the very least a particularly friendly crab. The track is the first offering from the Seattle six-piece’s upcoming fourth LP, Mad Lives.
The Maldives, a collective built largely around the writing of frontman Jason Dodson, have been putting out music for thirteen years, but with the release of their upcoming album, their sound seems to be morphing. Gone are the Americana-flourishes of previous recordings, replaced with richly layered pop; equal parts Scott Walker and Father John Misty, to whom Jason bears a striking vocal similarity. Lyrically 2 Know U Is 2 Love You, seems to be a deeply confused blend of a love song, and a melancholy breakdown, “no I’m not crazy I’ve been drinking to erase me” sings Jason, before ending with the repeated line, “I’ve finally learned to live without”, as if still trying to convince himself as much as anyone else. A sparkling return from a hugely talented songwriter, who’s never sounded in a more intriguing musical head space.
Mad Lives is out March 31st. Click HERE for more information on the Maldives and lives dates.
2. Don’t Be A Stranger To Allred & Broderick
David Allred and Peter Broderick first met back in 2012, when David wrote Peter a letter saying he’d transcribed Peter’s piano track, Pulling The Rain, and wanted to check he hadn’t messed it up. It’s perhaps neither the most rock’n’roll, nor promising start to a musical relationship. Five years and a conscious effort to make the most minimal record they could later, the fruits of that letter are finally ready to be shared with the world in the shape of the debut Allred & Broderick record, Finds The Way.
Finds The Way won’t be in the word until next month, but this week the duo have shared the album’s second single, Hey Stranger. The track is about a friend of David’s who disappeared five years ago; someone he describes as, “one of the most perplexing individuals I’ve ever known” but also notes, “the memories I have of him somehow stuck with me more than most of the other people that I’m no longer in touch with”. Hey Stranger showcases the duo’s minimal approach to instrumentation, the whole album having been recorded on just a violin, an upright bass and perhaps most crucially, the human voice. Here the track builds around a repeated loop of pulsing violin, cut through with a heartbeat like bass, before David’s lead vocal enters, cracked, pained, emotionally broken. The track latterly lifts as Peter’s backing enters, sending the track soaring skyward and acting as a powerful reminder of the versatility of the human voice. The track breaks down to staccato stabs of violin, bringing to mind a classic Hitchcock film, before gently drifting away, somehow too soon despite the tracks five-minute plus run time. Hey Stranger is an absolutely stunning piece of composition, and a tantalising hint of what could be a very special album.
Finds The Way is out April 7th via Erased Tape Records. Click HERE for all upcoming Allred & Broderick live dates.
1. A Storming Introduction To Belinda Corpuz
Belinda Corpuz is a Filipino-Canadian songwriter and a regular collaborator on the fertile Toronto music scene. Having spent a long time working on other people’s project, Belinda is now stepping out of the shadows, with her debut solo release, an EP entitled All I Am.
Ahead of that release, this week Belinda has shared her new single, Storm. Belinda has suggested her music attempts to merge folk music with a richer variety of sounds and textures not always associated with the genre. Storm is a fine example of her ability to push the boundaries of what we consider folk; from a gentle beginning of plucked acoustics and warm cellos the track explodes into something all-together more technicoloured. Electronic elements form and dissipate like bubbles rising from the deep, before a reverberating piano line carries the track to a percussive interlude reminiscent of The Acorn. Like the titular storm, this track seems to build and fade, making its way menacingly towards the heart of the squall, a chaotic mess of fluttering piano keys, booming backing vocals, percussive flurries and distorted guitars, before, like a storm, it passes into a sun-drenched outro. The star of the show is Belinda’s rich, powerful vocal, it brings to mind the likes of Mitski or Squirrel Flower as unexpected melodies swoop and soar from the mix. It’s about as promising an introduction as you could hope to imagine, we can only hope the rest of Belinda’s music is half as good as this.
All I Am is out April 28th. Click HERE for all upcoming shows, and more information about Belinda Corpuz.