Further Listening (now in playlist form!)
5. We Wish Sharon Knew
It’s coming up to a decade that we’ve spent being mesmerised by the songwriting talents of Sharon Van Etten. Back in 2009, Sharon put out her debut album, because I was in love, and this week she has announced that in November the album is getting a well-deserved deluxe re-issue.
As well as announcing that re-issue, Sharon has also shared a new version of her debut album’s stand-out moment, I Wish I Knew. This re-recorded version serves as a reminder of Sharon Van Etten’s remarkable ability to wring emotional honesty out of every single note. While many artists seek to hide themselves behind production and studio-wizardry, Sharon Van Etten offers her songs raw and unpolished. Accompanied by a lone guitar, Sharon’s voice carries the melodic workload, as she comes to terms with not really knowing how the world works, “I wish we could just run around and only worry about right now, I hate to admit it but I don’t know shit, and neither do you”. Following on from this re-issue, next month will see Sharon will head back into the studio to begin work on the follow-up to 2014’s spectacular offering Are We There, frankly that release can’t come quickly enough.
(it was) because I was in love is out November 17th via Vinyl Me Please. Click HERE for more information on Sharon Van Etten.
4. Kohli Calhoun Heads For The Magic Roundabout
Hailing, like so many artists, from Brooklyn, Kohli Calhoun has been making music for almost a decade, but it has not always been the easiest of journeys. Following an unfavourable parting of ways with the producer of her never-released debut album back in 2008, Kohli retreated from music and entered something of a creative malaise. Then, in 2014, inspired by a Brooklyn songwriting community, Kohli began writing again and rediscovered the creative side within her.
The result of this rediscovery was her recently released album, Take Me Away. The record touched upon the twin pillars of wanting to escape and wanting to stay, most of the tracks existing between the two extremes. This week, Kohli has shared the latest single from that record, Zebedee. Built around off-beat echoing electric guitar lines and Kohli’s rich, bassy vocal, Zebedee is a quietly unnerving piece of music. The whole thing feels uneasy; slightly lurching as if battling to come to terms with the emotions Kohli is drawing from it, the tempo rises and falls like a heartbeat fluttering unevenly in reaction to the stresses life throws at it. Like life, musicians don’t always take the more direct route, but perhaps Kohli Calhoun’s meandering path has left her to become the exciting and fascinating songwriter she now undeniably is.
Take Me Away is out now. Click HERE for more information on Kohli Calhoun.
3. For The Boys
With a name as ungoogleable as Boys, you sort of wonder if Stockholm-based songwriter Nora Karlson wants to be found. For Nora, also a guitarist in the equally hard to find HOLY, Boys is her lo-fi pop project. Boys released her most recent EP, Love On Tour, in spring last year, and this week has shared the first new material since then, a new single Rabbits. Her first step into studio recording, Rabbits serves as a sign of what to expect from Nora’s debut album.
Rabbits is a slice of swooning indie-pop, Nora’s vocal possessing the same natural flare for wistful melancholy as Alvvays’ Molly Rankin or Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell. Life in the studio seems to suit Boys, Rabbits sounds more confident, poised and exciting than she ever has before, and there’s more than enough intrigue here to mark Boys’ debut down as one of 2018’s most anticipated releases.
Boys’ upcoming album will be out next year on PNKSLM. Click HERE for more information on Boys.
2. Bearcats Drag Their Mind Into The Gutter
We really like Bearcats, we like everything they’ve done and frankly we can’t tell you enough times how great the Arroyo Grande-duo are. We even recently told you how good drummer Lexi McCoys’s side-project, Suzie True were, but if you’ll forgive us just one more time, we really want to tell you how great the new Bearcats single is.
Being released as a split single with the also excellent, Horrible Adorable, Gutter Pussy is set for a cassette release early next year on the Yr First Crush label. Starting of a sweet slice of West Coast pop, it soon dissolves into Sonic Youth-like clattering noise and guttural vocal howls. The whole thing is so wonderfully disjointed, the whole thing constantly tottering on the verge of collapse, but always just holding together. Lyrically it seems to take aim at emotionally abusive partners, as they sing, “you want me to hate myself, what am I supposed to do with everyone else? That’s not okay, going to do things my way”. It’s a timely reminder how thrillingly raw the Bearcats sound is, and even more excitingly, the track is apparently lifted from their upcoming debut album, so expect to be hearing even more about how great Bearcats are soon!
Gutter Pussy is out January 13th via Yr First Crush. Click HERE for more information on Bearcats.
1. The Spook School Are Still Alive
The demise of Fortuna Pop – which we’re still not okay about by the way – has left a number of superb bands, musically homeless, orphaned and wondering where their next square meal is coming from. At the top of the list of bands we didn’t think would have to rough it outside for long were The Spook School, and this week they’ve announced they’ve found a new home on Alcopop Records. The band’s third album, Could It Be Different?, is out early next year, and the Glasgow-based quartet have this week shared their new single, Still Alive.
A live favourite, with a chorus so catchy it’s been in our head almost constantly since The Spook School’s set at End Of The Road, Still Alive, is a fuzzy and furiously energetic slice of hook-laden pop. Discussing the track, Nye Todd has suggested it is, “about no longer being in an abusive relationship”. It’s a track that’s laced with anger at abusers, but also pride, as Nye explains, “I think there’s a kind of pride in it as well though, recognition that you had the strength to get through a shitty situation and to do what you needed to do, and that you don’t need to feel shame”. Confident, inspiring and as catchy as ever, The Spook School sound more alive than ever.
Could It Be Different? is out January 26th via Alcopop Records. Click HERE for more information on The Spook School.
Header photo courtesy of Joey Fourr – http://www.joeyfourr.co.uk/