Five Things We Liked This Week – 02/02/2018

Further Listening:

5. Whether They Like It Or Not Ultimate Painting Are On Fire

Back in 2016, Ultimate Painting, the duo of ever prolific co-songwriters Jack Copper and James Hoare, released the hazy, Autumnal genius that was their third album Dusk. Later that year, following Dusk’s break-out success the band perhaps unsurprisingly felt a little burnt out. Unsure of their next move, they set about recording a very different record, only to eventually completely scrap that, a liberating experience that eventually led to the record they’ve announced this week, Up!

The band’s first record for their new label, Bella Union, Up! is due out in April, and the band have this week shared the first offering from it, I’m Not Going To Burn Myself Anymore. Perhaps the single is a fine example of the journey that created it, through all the self-doubt, depression and dark days, Ultimate Painting have emerged sounding more Ultimate Painting than ever, the easy shuffle of their classically English-take on lo-fi pop, has never sounded more focused, more refined or more coherent. By ripping it up and starting again, Ultimate Painting might just have realised they had it right all along.

Up! is out April 6th via Bella Union. Click HERE for more information on Ultimate Painting.

4. Songs For Walter Is Shaping Up Nicely

Songs For Walter, the project of Manchester songwriter Laurie Hulme, came to the world’s attention with his self-titled debut record back in 2016, that album, inspired by his grandfather’s tales, led Laurie to European tours, and an 18 months period that would provide him with a springboard to start sharing his own world view. This week Laurie has shared the latest Songs For Walter offering, his new single, Squaring Circles.

The track is dedicated to, “all those trying to please unscrupulous bosses and working un-paid over time in the age of the austerity, zero hours contracts and the gig-economy”. It delves into the troubling world of the pressurised and unrepresented lives of modern workers, expected to work all hours and be grateful for the opportunity to, “work their fingers to the bone”. The track’s difficult subject is juxtaposed in the most upbeat and pop-driven music Laurie has produced to date; a bright slice of jangling indie-pop recalling acts like The Goon Sax or Expert Alterations. An alternative to the fast paced modern way of making music, Songs For Walter is an artist taking his time, finding his place, and sounding all the better for doing so.

Squaring Circles is out now. Click HERE for more information on Songs For Walter.

3. Bodies Be Rattled

Things I’ll Tell You When You’re Older, the upcoming album from Brooklyn dream-pop band, Bodies Be Rivers, is shaping up to be one of the year’s most exciting debuts. Ahead of the record’s release in March, this week the band have shared the second single from it, Rattled.

From it’s opening reverberating guitar notes, Rattled is a track of slow burning beauty, as drums crunch in alongside contrastingly soaring harmonies, and latterly, an abrupt shift is brought about by the addition of warm, charming piano runs. Discussing the track, lead vocalist Lauren Smith has suggested that it is about, “that topsy turvy feeling when you leave behind a version of yourself and step into another incarnation, finding an eventual equilibrium within a new relationship”. An experience which we must admit does sound rather rattling, even if the music sounds nothing short of extraordinary.

Things I’ll Tell You When You’re Older is out March 2nd. Click HERE for more information on Bodies Be Rivers/

2. What’s In A Name For Martha Ffion?

Having gained plenty of attention with a handful of well received singles and EP’s, it would be fair to say there’s plenty of expectation surrounding Martha Ffion’s debut album. That record, Sunday Best, is set to arrive on Turnstile Music in March, and this week Martha has shared the video to the album’s first single, Take Your Name.

Her roots may lie in Ireland, but on Take Your Name, it’s perhaps Martha Ffion’s current home of Glasgow that shines through brighter; the bright guitar-sound, wry confrontational lyrics and classic pop vocals are surely destined for a thousand Camera Obscura comparisons. Thankfully this is far more than just a reworking of an old sound, Martha’s personality seems to shine out of the track. There’s a nod to classic girl groups, only Martha’s cutting look at traditional gender roles seems to question the very point of romance itself as she sings, “I wasn’t looking for anyone when you showed up lamenting at my door, what a troubled troubadour”. Cutting, clever and absolutely wonderful, Martha Ffion has never sounded better.

Sunday Best is out March 9th via Turnstile Music. Click HERE for more information on Martha Ffion.

1. Olden Yolk Are Just Looking For A Sign

One of 2018’s most exciting new bands, Olden Yolk are a New York-based band led by the songwriting duo of Caity Shaffer and Quilt’s Shane Butler. Their self-titled debut album is out next month on Trouble In Mind, and the band have this week shared the record’s stand out moment, Vital Sign.

The track find’s Caity taking lead vocal, her calculated, almost emotionless vocal recalling the likes of Nico or Cate Le Bon, atop a backing of choppy rhythms, bright jangling guitars and screeching John Cale-like strings. Discussing the track, the band have suggested it represents two sides of a coin, “it references feelings of isolation and paranoia felt during periods of illness and confinement, as well as the emergence from such an experience”. Lyrically, it contemplates what divides us and what brings us together, as Caity repeats the telling line, “it could have been you too”. A band borrowing influence across genres and eras and creating something utterly their own, Olden Yolk are a hugely exiting prospect.

Olden Yolk is out February 23rd on Trouble In Mind Records. Click HERE for more information on Olden Yolk.

Header photo by Daniel Dorsa – http://www.danieldorsa.com/

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