Five Things We Liked This Week – 16/02/18

Further Listening:

5. Which Witch Is Crooked And Crazy?

After two years out of the limelight, this week Allie Hanlon, the woman behind Peach Kelli Pop, has returned with news of an upcoming EP, Which Witch, coming out on Mint Records, exclusively for this year’s Record Store Day. The EP was recorded over a four day period spent back in her old bedroom in her hometown of Ottawa, using the same dust-coated instruments sat there since she emigrated some four years earlier.

Celebrating the news of Peach Kelli Pop’s long overdue return, this week Allie has shared the first taste of the record, Crooked & Crazy. In many ways the charm of earlier material remains; it’s still delightfully lo-fi, noisy and stunningly hook-laden, on a closer inspection though, the record shows a new confidence. The vocals once buried beneath layers of reverb are crisper, higher in the mix and more characterful than ever. Recalling acts like Franke Cosmos or Los Bonsáis, the whole tracks bounces with a purposeful strut, this is infectious, clever pop: now don’t ever leave it so long again.

Which Witch is out April 21st via Mint Records. Click HERE for more information on Peach Kelli Pop.

4. Courtney Barnett Puts A Face To A Name

It would be fair to say Courtney Barnett’s new album arrives with a lot more expectations than her 2016 break-out, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. That album, along with Lotta Sea Lice, last year’s collaboration with Kurt Vile, have propelled Courtney from underground intrigue to chart bothering, grammy nominated superstar. With that success comes a whole heap of pressure, however if new single, Nameless Faceless is anything to go by, Courtney might not even have noticed.

The first taste of Tell Me How You Really Feel, out in May, Nameless Faceless is a masterclass is moving on without losing who you are as a songwriter. The chugging Blur gone indie-pop guitars, the wry lyricism, that lackadaisical vocal style, they’re all present and correct. Yet scratch the surface, and there’s a quiet progress too, if previously Courtney’s observational lyrical style had seemed to focus her attention inward, here she’s casting her eye at the world around her. The track takes aim at internet trolls, quoting one particularly barbed comment, “I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup and spit out better words than you”, before shifting into the anxiety for her safety in the real world, as she references Margaret Atwood, “men are scared that women will laugh at them, I want to walk through the park in the dark. Women are scared that men will kill them, I hold my keys between my fingers.” There’s fear, steeliness, and, of course, anger in the words here; looking out at the world and finding it wanting, Tell Me How You Really Feel might end up being Courtney Barnett’s most important release to date.

Tell Me How You Really Feel is out May 18th via Marathon Artists/Milk! Records. Click HERE for more information on Courtney Barnett.

3. A Reaction – As You May

Adwaith were one of 2017’s break-out acts, quickly charging to the forefront of both the Welsh-language and DIY scenes. Whatever 2018 has in store for the Carmarthen-trio is going to be well worth keeping an eye on, and it’s starting with the release of a new double-A single, Fel I Fod/Newid.

Fel I Fod was written at a time of great change in vocalist Hollie Singer’s life, as she explains, “everything was new and scary to me. This song is about being afraid. Afraid of being stuck. Afraid of being comfortable somewhere I don’t think I belong. It’s about realising you’ll be okay even if you don’t feel okay all the time.” Musically, Fel I Fod is astonishing, all muted gorgeous keyboard washes, bright melancholic guitars, and mind-blowingly tight vocal harmonies. If Fel I Fod, is a tender, inward glancing moment, Newid is an anthem for our modern world, and the next generation, “the generation who were deceived and ignored by the cold, selfish world of Brexit and Trump”. Yet it’s not entirely downbeat, in the clattering post-punk chords, and pulsating bass there’s a feeling of hope, as they sing, ‘Bu nhw byth yn torri ni’ – they never break us! Making Welsh-language music might often be seen as niche, but making it this beautiful, this accessible, this powerful: well that’s very special indeed.

Fel I Fod/Newid is out today via Libertino Records. Click HERE for more information on Adwaith.

2. Take Your Real DRINKS Outside

With the release of their 2015 debut, Hermits On Holiday, DRINKS arguably confused as many as they impressed. The collaboration between White Fence’s Tim Pressley and Cate Le Bon, DRINKS are about as idiosyncratic, creative and challenging as you could possible hope them to be, they’re also, in our humble opinion, absolutely brilliant. This week, to the sound of much rejoicing, the pair have confirmed the release of a second album, Hippo Lite, and shared the first track from the record, Real Outside.

Seemingly taking it’s influence in equal parts from the angularity of post-punk and the creativity of art-rock, Real Outside is a track that sounds like nobody else could have made it. Instantaneously bonkers, and on repeat listens, hypnotic patterns emerge; the way the slowly plodding bass-line seems to exist at half the speed of everything else, the repeated jumbled lyrical phrases, the way the jarring guitars meld into the percussion, it all begins to make sense. Even then you’re not entirely sure if it does make sense, or they’ve just tricked you into thinking it does so they can haul up in an old mill in the South of France and muck about making records and drinking beer, because well who wouldn’t want to do that? DRINKS might be the world’s greatest band, or possibly the worst, or anywhere in between – whatever this is we’re utterly hooked.

Hippo Lite is out April 20th via Drag City. Click HERE for more information on DRINKS.

1. Why Bonnie Don’t Need The Practice

Yet another amazing band emerging from Austin, Texas, Why Bonnie started life as the bedroom recording project of Blair Howerton. After various iterations of the line-up, they’re now a settled quartet and today have released their debut EP, In Water, on the excellent Sports Day Records.

Ahead of the release, Why Bonnie recently shared the excellent single, Practice. The track explores the difficulty in preparing yourself for grief, heartbreak or any emotion, as Blair sings, “the rest is practice, it’s not the real thing…”. Musically, it’s a powerful mix of soaring shoegazy guitars and heartbreaking bedroom-pop; atop a steady, driving drum beat, guitars soar skywards as Blair’s stunning, natural vocals cavort with the effortless tunefulness of Flowers’ Rachel Kennedy or Soccer Mommy’s Sophie Allison. What really shines about this track is just how honest it feels; the grief, the loss, the pain, they’re written over every single note, and no matter how many times we’ve listened to it this week, we still can’t stop the goosebumps forming every single time: it’s a very, very special record.

In Water is out today via Sports Day Records. Click HERE for more information on Why Bonnie.

Header photo by Marshall Tidrick

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