Five Things We Liked This Week – 24/03/2017

Further Listening: Caroline Lazar, Skating PollyDarren HaymanFamous Problems, Bad Sea, EAT FASTCHUMP, Frankie Goes On A Walk, HAWK, Mt.Doubt, Top Down, Chemtrails, Tender Central, Marvin Powell, ANi Glass, Peixe Cobra, Itasca, Adult Mom, Diagrams, Pega Monstro, The Nickajack Men, Oh Peas, Nite Jewel, Sóley, Ralegh Long, Luke Reed, Lucia Scansetti, False Advertising, The Physics House Band, The Vultures, OTOS, Molly Burch, Lab Coast, Chips For The Poor, H.Hawkline, Melby, Walrus, The Dream Eaters, Sam AireyFootball, etc and the sparkling return of Perfume Genius.

5. Fazerdaze Strike It Lucky

Yet another product of the flourishing Antipodean music scene, Fazerdaze is the new project from New Zealand native Amelia Murray. Following on from her well received self-released single Little Uneasy, Amelia is set to release Morningside, her debut album, this summer on the legendary Flying Nun Records.This week she has shared the video to new single, Lucky Girl.

With a video full of gorgeous imagery, and a suitable amount of sunshine, Lucky Girl is a euphoric rush of a song. Bringing to mind the likes of Alvvays and Amber Arcades, Lucky Girl is that perfect blend of sun-drenched melancholy, it’s the sound of a gorgeous sunset without your loved one by your side. There’s a happy-sad dichotomy that leaves you not sure whether Amelia is being flippant or truthful when, with her voice muffled with reverb, she sings, “I know sometimes I act like I don’t care about you, I know I’m a lucky girl, I’m a lucky lucky girl”.  Morningside, named after the suburb on which Amelia grew up, is an album that plots her place in the world, it marks her out as a songwriter capable of touching on those most universal of human emotions, and suggests she’ll be connecting with a much bigger audience in the near future.

Morningside is out May 5th via Flying Nun Records. Click HERE for more information on Fazerdaze.

4. BABY’s coming Home

BABY is the new solo project from Orlando’s Kaley Honeycutt, who is set to release her debut EP, Pick Me, next month on Yellow K Records. BABY has recently shared the first taste of that music in the shape of single, Home Sweet Home.

While we don’t yet know a great deal about BABY, we do know that Home Sweet Home is an excellent introduction. There’s something delightfully ramshackle about BABY’s take on bedroom-pop, recalling the likes of Frankie Cosmos or early Waxahatchee, this is swooning power-pop that, with its sub-two minute run time, makes the clever decision to never hang around long enough to out-stay its welcome. It might just be the beginning for BABY, but the future already looks very promising.

Pick Me is out April 25th via Yellow K Records. Click HERE for more information on BABY.

3. minihorse’s New Track Is A Thriller

Michigan trio, minihorse recently released their excellent debut EP, Big Lack, through the Friendship Fever label. This week after a successful stint wowing the crowds at SXSW, the band have shared the video for one of the EP’s stand-out moments, Thriller (sadly, or thankfully depending on your opinion, not a Michael Jackson cover).

Accompanied by a video with a suitably dark interpretation of the life of a chauffeur, Thriller is a delightfully shambling piece of lo-fi pop. It’s a beautifully produced piece, the whole thing perfectly coated in a sheen of fuzz, as buzzing bass lines, slinky lead guitar work and singer Ben Collins’ laid-back vocal combine to create a gorgeously hazy atmosphere. There’s nods to the likes of Chris Cohen and Lionlimb in the way they hide complex playing and lightly jazzy rhythms behind an attitude that seems to want to imply this is the sort of thing they’ve knocked up in their sleep. Thankfully we won’t have to wait long for more material as the band are currently hauled up in the studio finishing their debut LP, and no doubt it’ll be a thriller as well.

Big Lack is out now via Friendship Fever. Click HERE for more information on minihorse.

2. Kevin Morby Comes To The City

On last year’s excellent Singing Saw, Kevin Morby explored the autobiographical side of his mind. A place of solitude and rolling, rural landscapes, as he puts it, Singing Saw was, “an old bookshelf with a young Bob and Joni staring back at me, blank and timeless. They live here, in this left side of my brain, smoking cigarettes and playing acoustic guitars while lying on an unmade bed”.  For it’s follow-up, City Music, which will be out this summer, Kevin explores the same solitude, but with his view, “framed by a window of an uptown apartment that looks down upon an international urban landscape,exposed like a giant bleeding wound”. 

As a musician regularly penned in the alt-country oeuvre, Kevin might not be the obvious candidate for exploring the fast-paced world of our sprawling urban metropolises, but inspired by Lou Reed and Patti Smith, “Stretched out on a living room floor…somewhere in mid-70s Manhattan, also smoking cigarettes”, that is exactly what City Music aims to do. This week Kevin has shared the first taste of City Music, the albums lead single, Come With Me. Come With Me instantly transports the listener to a different place from Kevin’s previous output, it enters to the strains of a wheezing pump organ, built in the 1800’s, and as is traditional, apparently haunted. It’s only with the entry of Kevin’s familiar croaked, emotive vocal that fans of his output will find something familiar to grasp onto, as if he’s guiding us into his new world; and as dark and foreboding as it sounds, Kevin lights a match and the beautiful city emerges from the gloom. A love letter to the metropolitan experience, City Music, is already shaping up to be a surprising, but wonderful change of landscape for one of our favourite songwriters.

City Music out June 16th via Dead Oceans. Click HERE for live dates and more information.

1. Anyone for Badminton?

How Sweet Baboo followed up the intriguingly loved-up, Harry Nilsson like wonder of his 2015 offering, The Boombox Ballads was always going to be intriguing. That album so full of hope, love and wonder, seems at odds with the current state of the world. As Sweet Baboo, or Stephen Black to use his given name puts it, “I think everyone agrees 2016 was a pretty shitty year”. The obvious solution to difficult times is so retreat into melancholy and anger, but looking at his three-year old son, and wanting to protect him from the world, Stephen retreated not into the darkness, but into positivity. “I decided to try and make an album full of positivity because that’s what I know I can do. And at the moment, I don’t know what else to suggest”. That album, Wild Imagination, will be out in June on Moshi Moshi, and this week Stephen has shared the first single from it, the intriguingly named Badminton.

Synonymous with middle-aged couples arguing about where the shuttle-cock landed, Badminton is quite possibly the least rock’n’roll sport imaginable, yet it’s one that is somehow quite fitting with the music of Sweet Baboo. Like Badminton, Sweet Baboo exists wonderfully outside of the gaze of popular culture, seemingly uninfluenced by what anyone considers hip. The track builds around a pulsing Casio-keyboard line, with more than a touch of Barry Gray’s semi-aquatic work on Stingray, as Stephen steps into the unfamiliar role of old-fashioned, Scott Walkerish crooner. Lyrically it seems to be half a recognition of how good life is, but with a slightly foreboding edge that reflects the current state of uncertainty, as he sings, “I hope I’m lucky and some of all this good fortune carries on, I christen myself lucky at the disbelief of some”. The track was accompanied by a bio from Stephen’s long-term collaborator Cate Le Bon, who perhaps puts it better than we could hope to, as she notes, “within the honesty there is no agenda other than the salvation of his sanity, a man coming to terms with his existence and role on planet earth and its’ forever changing wallpaper. And that, dear reader, is how our mercurial genius, Sweet Baboo, dressed in a sensible shirt, wool cardigan and slacks, is able to sing a funk song about Pink Rainbows whilst nobody bats an eyelid“. And if that doesn’t make you desperate to hear Wild Imagination, we don’t think anything could!

Wild Imagination is out June 2nd via Moshi Moshi. Sweet Baboo tours the UK in June, click HERE for more information.

Main image courtesy of Ryan Eddleston – http://filmryan.com/

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