Further Listening: Sweet Baboo, Adult Mom, Misty Coast, The Deslondes, Beach Fossils, Drinker, Estrons, Wilderado, Justin Townes Earl, Ethan Daniel Davidson, OHMME, Nelson Can, The War On Drugs, Jon Tessier, Hermitess, Nicole Atkins, Phosphorescent, Joshua Burnside, Aaron Espe, Great Hare, Warm Digits, Ary Feynman, Storm The Palace, Hoop and the brilliant new single from The Golden Dregs.
5. The Loneliness Of The Short Distance Sprinters
Manchester based quartet, Sprinters are the brain child of Wigan born songwriter Neil Jarvis. The band formed at the back-end of 2015, and are today set to release their self-titled debut album. Recorded throughout 2016, the album was produced by Ste Jones and features both new material and re-workings of tracks previously put out by Neil under his own name.
This week Sprinters have shared the video for a brand new track, Young As Me. The track is a musing on growing old, without growing up; as Neil explains, “the song is about arrested development; being in your late twenties but still feeling like you’ve not got your head screwed on”. Musically, Young As Me, has something of the wistful, jangling dream-pop of Real Estate or Expert Alterations; ironic in a way, as those bands owe such a clear debt to the Mancunian sounds of the 1980’s. Neil speaks of the recording of Sprinters’ album as, “almost the death of the band”, but coming through that experience, it might just be the making of them.
Sprinters self-titled debut album is out today via Icecapades. Click HERE for further information on Sprinters.
4. Sløtface Find Happiness In Magazines
Following the break-out success of last year’s Empire Records EP, Norwegian pop-punkers Sløtface, are gearing up for a monumentous 2017. They’ve just added a huge October headline tour on top of a raft of festival slots and support dates with both Los Campesinos! and The Cribs. They’ve also got the small task of releasing their debut album, Try Not To Freak Out, which is will be out in September.
This week the quartet have shared Magazine, the first track to be lifted from Try Not To Freak Out. Magazine is their attempt at calling out the absurdity of body image standards, as singer Haley Shea explains, “it’s fuelled by the back and forth of knowing that society creates unrealistic expectations regarding what people “should” look like, and still feeling uncomfortable in your own skin because you don’t live up to those images”. A hugely powerful message in its own right, it’s even more impressive when coupled with bombastic riffing, angsty lyrical spitting, huge power-pop choruses, and the superb repeated lyric, “Patti Smith would never put up with this shit”. It’s the sort of life changing anthem every teenager needs, and every thirty-something music journo remembers needing in their youth. Their debut album might find Sløtface trying not to freak out, but with their career set to go stratospheric, that might be harder, and more exciting, than it initially sounds.
Try Not To Freak Out is out September 15th on Propeller Records. Visit Sløtface HERE for more information.
3. Siobhan Wilson Offers A Helping Hand
Brought up in Elgin, Morayshire, somehow Siobhan Wilson became intrigued by the culture of France. Having taught herself French, upon finishing high-school she upped and left for Paris. It was there Siobhan honed her songwriting skills, immersing herself in the culture and attending open mic nights. After being picked up by French label, MyMajorCompany, Siobhan successfully crowd-sourced the recording of her impressive debut album Songs.
Now back in her native Scotland, Siobhan has teamed up with the ever-reliable label, Song, By Toad, who will put out her second album There Are No Saints later this year. This week Siobhan has shared the first taste of that record, a new single, Whatever Helps. The track builds around driving muted guitar chords and a fluttering, heart-beat like bass drum, almost all the melody carried by Siobhan’s distinctive, husky vocals. Lyrically, it’s a song that explores the process of dragging yourself up after life has driven you to your knees, as Siobhan sings, “you’re stuck in the break of a wave, you’re haunted by a line from a song, you’re beaten by the weight of a prayer, try to move on”. The whole thing is a spell-binding piece of songwriting, a track that makes you embrace the hypnotic rhythms and slide away from the world for three perfect minutes of time well spent.
There Are No Saints is out in July via Song, By Toad. Click HERE for further information on Siobhan Wilson.
2. Juanita Stein Shows She’s No Dark Horse
Briefly in around 2007, it looked like the musical career of Howling Bells was about to take off. For whatever reason, despite the sheer genius of their self-titled debut album, it never quite happened, and four albums down the line, we had to check whether they were even still going. The band have actually been on something of a break since 2014; singer Juanita Stein having a child, and for the first time branching out into solo material. Those first steps in a solo career will be showcased on her upcoming album America, which is out in July, but teasing that release, Juanita has this week shared the first single from it, Dark Horse.
With its twanging lead-guitar and light, country-flecked vocals, Dark Horse sounds like it’s lifted straight out of the deep south, rather than Juanita’s homeland of Australia. That said with Juanita’s vocals still retaining the honey-dripped, dream-pop quality they always did, fans of Howling Bells won’t be disappointed. Discussing the inspiration behind the album, Juanita has suggested it’s a record about an idealised vision of America, the America that was force fed to her during her childhood in Australia, and her attempt to make sense of, “the dichotomy between what was real and a dream”. Still one of music’s most intriguing voices, America might just end up being Juanita’s finest offering to date.
America is out July 28th on Nude Records. Click HERE for more information on Juanita Stein.
1. Girl Ray Are Our Cup Of Tea
Girl Ray, almost certainly our favourite 19-year old, North London three-piece, have this week confirmed details of their hotly anticipated debut album. In a probably accidental nod to Cockney rhyming slang, that record will be called Earl Grey, and will see the light of day in August on Moshi Moshi.
Celebrating the release, the band have also shared a brand new single, Preacher. The song had something of a fortuitous beginning as singer Poppy Hankin explains, “I wrote the melody for the first part a few years ago on a little toy Elvis guitar that I bought in a charity shop. Its tuning was really weird, and this song was the only thing I could really get out of it. The melody suited a love song, so I went with it”. Preacher is Girl Ray’s richest and most experimental track to date. The wistful opening of bright piano chords, giving way to dense dreamy strings Meilyr Jones would be proud of, before a fuzzed up, Kurt Vile-like guitar solo sends the whole thing drifting off into a hazy, wash of sound. As well as detailing that record, the band have also confirmed their biggest headline show to date in November at The Scala; with their meteoric rise showing no sign of abating, don’t expect to see them in a smaller venue anytime soon.
Earl Grey is out August 4th via Moshi Moshi. Visit Girl Ray HERE for more information and live dates.
Header photo courtesy of Neil Thomson