Five Things We Liked This Week – 11/08/2017

Further Listening: Liv SlingerlandL.A. Witch, Club Night, Cherry, Mass DaturaWand, Parlour, Haunted SummerMisty Coast, TV SetsGood Morning, Freedom BabyEstrons, The NationalKiran Leonard, TwistKane Strang, Widowspeak, Rainbrother, MaunoBunny and the brilliant new video from Crumbs.

5. Don’t Be Such A Big Baby

Hailing from Richmond in Virginia, Big Baby are a trio dealing in what they describe as, “sweet and sour indie-pop”. The band recently released Sour Patch, their debut EP, via EggHunt Records and this week the band have shared a brand new single from that record, Not That.

The opening track on Sour Patch, Not That is a delightfully lo-fi affair; chiming lead-guitar and fuzzy, galloping bass-lines sit atop a steady, muffled drum beat. The track brings to mind indie-pop acts from either side of the pond, with the emotive qualities of Trust Fund and the urgent energy of Eureka California. Discussing the accompanying EP, the band have suggested Sour Patch, “is about the worst year I had after graduating college. I couldn’t catch a break and it felt like everything was crumbling from every direction”. Thankfully, from that difficult period something good has emerged: an angsty but triumphant record, Sour Patch sounds pretty sweet to us.

Sour Patch is out now via EggHunt Records. Click HERE for more information on Big Baby.

4. Does Malena Even Need To Try?

Born in Argentina, but now based out London, Malena Zavala is an artist, producer and film maker. Citing influences including Devendra Banhart and the guitar playing of versatile session musician, Blake Mills. Malena has this week released her debut single, Should I Try.

Discussing the inspiration behind the track Malena suggests Should I Try, “is a song about fearing the future, and the anxiety that comes with potentially setting yourself up for failure, but then realising that you need to relax. It’s not that bad, things will work out”. Should I Try is certainly a song that sounds relaxed, there’s a touch of Melody’s Echo Chamber or Beach House to the hazy production and laid back vocal delivery. A track to let wash over you, Malena Zavala is an artist in no rush to impress anyone, and all the more impressive as a result.

Should I Try is out now via Yucatan Records. Click HERE for more information on Malena Zavala.

3. Ken The Destroyer

The inspiration behind Ken, the new Destroyer album, seems a somewhat confusing one. Dan Bejar the man behind Destroyer, was, “physically struck”, by the discovery that The Wild Ones by Suede was originally meant to be called Ken. He goes on to note that this album was not inspired by Suede, but by thinking of the end of the Thatcher era, and how it coincided with, “the years when music first really came at me like a sickness”.

We must admit, we’re not really following the story behind it, but ahead of its release, this week Destroyer have shared a new single, Sky Is Grey, and it’s typically excellent. The track is built around a fairly simple repeated chord sequence on a piano, but around it electronic elements burble in and out of earshot and Dan’s typically light touch with an unpredictable vocal melody remains as compelling as ever. Then two minutes in it suddenly resolves, a steady beat is plucked out of the air and a meandering guitar line that sounds like, well Suede, propel the song along, and Dan repeats the line, “I’ve been working on the new Oliver Twist”. What exactly any of this is about, well we haven’t got a clue, but we know it’s every bit as brilliant as it is baffling, and we can’t wait to hear where Ken is headed next.

ken is out October 20th via Dead Oceans/Merge Records. Click HERE for more information on Destroyer.

2. Peter Oren Offers No Way Back From The Anthropocene 

The Anthropocene is the point in time at which man’s impact on the environment becomes permanent. Anthropocene is also the title of the new album from songwriter, and environmental activist Peter Oren. The Indiana-born musician has this week shared the title track from that record.

Peter Oren is an old voice trapped in a young man’s body; his rich, caramel-hued vocal brings to mind Murray Lightburn of The Dears or Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner, men many years the 25-year-olds senior. If his voice sounds old, perhaps his thoughtful soul seems even older, he muses on the future of the planet we live on, and how we’re rapidly driving it to its demise. As he sings, “soil is cleaner than money, we need bees for more their honey, how will we escape this lunacy? How will we escape this hell?”, Peter sounds tired, sick of generation after generation having to say this shit time after time. We simply cannot go on abusing our planet for ever. Music isn’t going to save the world, but it can spread the word, and to a stunning backing of heartbreaking strings, Peter Oren is making the cause sound more compelling than ever.

Anthropocene is out November 10th via Western Vinyl. Click HERE for more information on Peter Oren.

1. Half Gringa Sets Sail On A Body Of Water

Half Gringa is a new project from Chicago songwriter Izzy Olive. The tracks that make up their debut album, Gruñona, are inspired greatly by Izzy’s background, exploring the sometimes difficult task of balancing her Latin and Midwestern roots.

Gruñona will see the light of day later this month, and ahead of that release Half Gringa has this week shared a new single, Body Of Water. Bringing to mind the likes of Mitski or Torres, Body Of Water seems to almost fizz with all the feelings Izzy pours into it. Her vocal crackles atop a minimal backing of electric guitar and distant, lightly jazzy percussion. Lyrically it seems to question the idea of stiff upper lips, seems to suggest perhaps we shouldn’t just keep our mouths shut, as Izzy sings towards the songs finale, “I am nothing without what I need to say”. It’s a powerful introduction to an intriguing new voice, Gruñona may well be a deeply personal record, but by tackling the very nature of her own identity, Izzy may just have created a record that can help us all get closer to discovering our own place in the world.

Gruñona is out August 18th. Click HERE for more information on Half Gringa.

Header photo by Mike Dunn. 

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