Five Things We Liked This Week – 12/05/2017

Further Listening: Dog On A Swing, Hazel EnglishShannon Lay, The DearsAlison Iraheta + Halo CircusLauren Hibberd, EAT FASTMount Song, Nadine ShahTristen, Froth, Magic HourPassion Pusher, Big Thief, Lastigband, Dave Depper ft. Laura Gibson, Tinmouth, SeazooBreakfast Muff, She-DevilsBedouineLynette WilliamsMatt Saxton, Frontier RuckusAlcuna Wilds, White Wine, TancredCloud Tapes, Bold Of The Bear, Richard DawsonCherokee Death CatsUlrika Spacek, Will Stratton, Silverbacks, Blushing, See Through Dresses, Chastity Belt, Wesley Gonzalez, Honeyblood, Darren Hayman, Kynnet, BABY! and the new video from Girlpool.

5. Lab Coast Serve Up The Usual

Prior to hearing the new single from Lab Coast, the only musical link we knew to Alberta was the Eric Clapton song. Thankfully, thanks to their excellent new single As Usual, the Calgary quintet can now slip effortlessly into our favourite things about Alberta list. As Usual is lifted from their self-titled debut UK-release, a collection of various tracks acquired from the band’s back catalogue, which is out today on Brighton’s best label, Faux Discx.

As Usual is a classic slice of late-80’s influenced indie-pop, pitched between modern acts like Expert Alterations or Real Numbers and classic janglers in the Teenage Fanclub mold. It’s delightfully messy; as cheap electronic sounds waver in and out of earshot, the bass comes in fuzzy pulses and the percussion just about manages to hold it all together. Lab Coast are currently on tour in the UK, so check them out quickly and make sure you don’t miss the start of something very special.

Lab Coast’s debut album is out today via Faux Discx. Click HERE for more information and tour dates from Lab Coast.

4. Ratboys Are Keeping Elvis On Ice

Not to be confused with Chelmsford’s hotly-tipped and slightly boring songwriter Rat Boy; Ratboys are a Chicago based project led by singer/guitarist Julia Steiner and guitarist Dave Sagan. The band are set to release their second album, GN, next month on Topshelf Records, and have this week shared the video to their morbidly titled new single, Elvis Is In The Freezer.

Elvis Is In The Freezer is a winning blend of Field Mouse like college-rock and the sort of fuzzy, twanging -country guitars REM were so good at. Much of the melodic quality of the song is carried by Julia’s laid-back vocal, which walks the middle ground of Jenny Lewis and Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield. Ratboy have suggested the track is about, “the potential that every new relationship has to make life better and more fulfilling”. This track alone is making our life a little bit better, we can only imagine what a whole album could do.

GN is out June 30th on Topshelf Records. Click HERE for more information on Ratboys.

3. Atlas Cedar Take Us To Tinseltown

In a nutshell, Atlas Cedar is the recording project of Edinburgh born, Glasgow based musician, and research scientist, Chris Syme. Chris has teamed up with RIP Records to share his new single, In Hollywood – here ends things we know about Atlas Cedar.

We’ve may have somewhat limited information to go with Atlas Cedar’s new track, but we know that we like it a lot. It’s a record of gentle hooks and quiet revelations; beginning with multiple-layers of complex fluttering acoustic guitars, it builds in intensity as the drums enter, alongside Chris’ reverb-drenched vocal. There’s a touch of Chris Cohen or Lionlimb about the way musical ideas seem to drift in and out around the central repeated guitar-melody. It’s an incredibly promising start, when we’ve worked out who he is and what he’s got planned we’ll get back to you.

In Hollywood is out now via RIP Records. Click HERE for more information on Atlas Cedar.

2. The National Step Out Of The Darkness

This week has seen, in our opinion, the most exciting news imaginable, that The National are back with their seventh album, Sleep Well Beast, due in September. We couldn’t quite believe it when we realised that the last album by The National was released way back in 2013. A lot may have changed since then, but The National’s star remains entirely undiminished, as showcased by the tour dates announced this week, which see them headlining multiple nights at venues they’d have only dreamt of playing back in the days before High Violet propelled them to a stadium sized prospect. Also this week, there’s the small matter of a brand-new, and typically brilliant new single, The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness.

The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness stats off sounding very little like The National; the intro entering with an array of choral, female-vocals, rich, reverberating piano chords and a deliciously scuzzy electric guitar line.  Then in croaks Matt Berninger, that familiar, reassuring drawl, even the opening lyric, “maybe I listen more than you think, and I can tell that somebody sold you”, sounds like classic The National. From there more familiar ideas gradually drip forth, the distant muted-flourishes of brass, the way the vocals drift in and out of time with the music, and those unmistakable complex drum beats. For four years we’ve coped without The National, listening to this we can’t help but wonder how.

Sleep Well Beast is out September 8th via 4AD. Click HERE for tour dates and more information on The National.

1. Tina Refsnes Is The Woman Of This House

She may be from Oslo in Norway, but on her debut album, 2015’s No One Knows That You’re Lost, Tina Refsnes showed a mastery of Americana. That album, recorded in Toronto, was a fine introduction to a hugely talented songwriter, who this week has shared Man Of This House, the first new material since that album.

Taking an opposite approach to her debut album, Man Of This House was recorded in a small recording studio in Lilleaker, in Tina’s native Oslo. Produced in collaboration with a collection of local musicians, Man Of This House is just an aural-dream. Atop a musical bed of steady drums, bright acoustic strums, sweet pulses of slide guitar and ringing piano chords, Tina’s voice has never sounded better. Coming across part Joni Mitchell, part First Aid Kit, Tina’s honey-dripped vocals, effortlessly jump to high notes, while maintaining a gorgeous natural tone. Discussing the lyrical inspiration behind the track, Tina has described it as being, “about feeling rootless and confused at the same time as you’re trying to convince yourself that you’re the one sat in the driver’s seat”. Rootless she may be, but this track hints at a musician entirely in control of her own destiny, and with a very bright future ahead of her.

Man Of This House is out now. Click HERE for more information on Tina Refsnes.

Header photo by Eirik Stordrange – https://www.eirikstordrange.com/

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