Five Things We Liked This Week – 05/01/17

Further Listening:

5. Stuck Between The Black Pine And The Deep Blue Sea

Although completely new to us, Los Angeles’ The Black Pine actually formed way back in 1999. The band, who released their fifth album Waves in January last year, have this week shared their latest single, And The Sea, featuring Eric Nichelson, best known as a member of Midlake.

And The Sea, finds Emma Katham, usually the band’s drummer, taking lead vocal duties; her easy Cat Power like croon accompanied by warm buzzing organs and entwining acoustic guitar lines. The track drifts by in a warm haze, the sort of music you’d imagine Beach House might make if they’d grown up lazing on a beach in California. Whether this track is a stand-alone offering or the first taster of a new album, well, your guess is as good as ours, but with a huge back catalogue to dig through, The Black Pine are a band well worth looking into.

And The Sea is out now. Click HERE for more information on The Black Pine.

4. Listen To This And You’ll Forgive Tara Beier Anything

Tara Beier is a Canadian/American songwriter, originally from Toronto but now based on the other side of the border in Los Angeles. Tara came to many people’s attention with last year’s California 1970 EP, and has this week shared the first new material since that release in the shape of new single Forgiveness.

Forgiveness combines Tara’s previous exploration of alt-folk with an undeniable nod to the more tasteful side of 1980’s pop. That she’s drawn comparisons to Stevie Nicks and Angel Olsen should surprise nobody, but there’s a warmer, more upbeat quality to the track and fans of Mitski will certainly find plenty to admire. Lyrically, Forgiveness deals with moving on and leaving the past where it belongs, “I’m letting go, of what you did to me, I know you didn’t know, how much you hurt me”.  Emotionally and musically, this is the sound of Tara Beier moving onwards and upwards.

Forgiveness is out now. Click HERE for more information on Tara Beier.

3. Join The Aimless Queue

Hailing from somewhere between Washington D.C and Philadelphia, Queue are a four-piece band formed around the songwriting partnership of Olivia Price and Aida Mekonnen. The band have thus far released a handful of well-received singles, the latest of which, Aimless Kid, emerged earlier this week.

Recalling acts like Mothers or Wye Oak, Queue’s sound is one of chiming guitar, ethereal, moody vocals and rich, textural percussion. A fine example of Queue’s sound, Aimless Kid is an exploration of body ownership and toxic relationships; Olivia’s words becoming engulfed in a swell of beautiful noise as she repeats the line, “I was just another body, I was just another somebody, you were an aimless kid”. Olivia’s vocal delivery is stunning, even against a wall of noise, despite her naturally delicate tone, she sounds powerful, unwavering in the importance of her words; more songs as good as this and Queue could be one of music’s most vital new acts.

Aimless Kid is out now. Click HERE for more information on Queue.

2. Let’s Talk About Sex (Jokes)

Hailing from the mean streets of Derby, Shelley Newman is a musician with a lot on. Perhaps best known as a member of Mighty Kids, Shelley also plays with God No! as well as performing solo as Shelley From Finance. However, as everyone knows, three musical projects is nowhere near enough, so say hello to Shelley’s latest offering, Sex Jokes.

This week the first Sex Jokes material has appeared online in the shape of a bedroom demo, Talk. The track nods to a more driving sound than much of Shelley’s previous material, combing warm, fuzzy guitars with steady drum beats and beautifully distorted, emotive vocals, recalling early Waxahatchee or Diet Cig. Lyrically, it seems to deal with that universal feeling of frustration at not being listened to, as Shelley sings, “don’t talk to me, unless you’re willing to hear, you’re all talk, all talk, ’til I ask you to, and you’re so tough, so tough, until I’m tough too”. Lo-fi, endearing, and exactly two minutes long, 2018 needs far more Sex Jokes (snigger).

Talk is out now. Click HERE for more information on Sex Jokes.

1. Charles Howl Meets All Our Needs

Danny Nellis, now better known as Charles Howl, took a somewhat unique path into a solo career. A video maker of some repute, working with the likes of Virginia Wing and Let’s Wrestle, he slipped easily into music as a member of The Proper Ornaments, and then took a huge leap into the unknown with the debut Charles Howl album, My Idol Family. A leap that has unquestionably paid off with his well received record; adored by the likes of Marc Riley and voted the best album of 2017 by taste-making record shop, Sister Ray.

This week Charles Howl has kicked off what looks destined to be another successful year with the release of the video to album stand-out, Meet Lou’s Needs. The track is both a nod to the influence of The Velvet Underground, and a question to those who try to emulate everything about them, as Danny explains, “I love Lou Reed but I don’t want to see shit imitations of him every time I go see a show or after party”. The track is a waltzing wonder, as gentle drum ticks are engulfed by gloomy organs and a breathy, melancholic vocal, as Danny gently sings, “I’ve been staying in recently, missing out, I’ve been hurting so much, I’m bored, I’ll never know what Lou needs”. The track is the best of Charles Howl, gently prodding at rock clichés, with a wry smile and a knowing nod, even more importantly than that it sounds rather wonderful.

My Idol Family is out now, click HERE for more information on Charles Howl.

Header photo by Bex Day –

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