Five Things We Liked This Week – 02/03/18

Further Listening:

5. Girl Ray Are On The Come Back Trail

Girl Ray’s unstoppable rise currently finds them across the pond on a pre-SXSW headline tour, before they come back over here in April for their biggest UK tour to date. Enough to keep the teen-trio busy you’d think, but this week they’ve managed to find time to share a new stand-alone single, The Way We Came Back.

Freshly recorded it may be, but The Way We Came Back actually pre-dates the writing of last year’s debut album, Earl Grey. The track was written back when chief songwriter Poppy Hankin was just sixteen, and is memorably described by band mate Sophie Moss as, “a plump cow that needed to be milked.” The resulting track is a delightfully wistful affair; one that has some of the teenage sweetness you’d expect, yet also plenty of the wisened maturity present in all Girl Ray’s songwriting. The accompanying video even features a weather appropriate blizzard, proving that Girl Ray’s knack for perfect timing shows no signs of skipping a beat.

The Way We Came Back is out April 20th  on limited edition 7″ vinyl via Moshi Moshi. Click HERE for more information on Girl Ray.

4. Formes à Calgary partagent en Français

In this week’s edition of excellent new stuff from Brooklyn, comes In French, the new single from Shapes In Calgary. The track is the first to be shared from the duo’s as yet untitled second EP, the follow-up to 2016’s debut release, Happy Now.

In French is, to our ears, the perfect kind of electronic music. The warm pulses of synth and bleeping electronics are laced through with a deeply human heart, courtesy of the stunning, yearning vocal of singer, Alyssa Atturio. Lyrically, the track details the closing blows of a crumbling relationship as Alyssa and her unnamed suitor are, “whispering in French, like two lovers that knew our time had passed, we hang on still.” Minimal, compassionate music sitting alongside soul crushing, honest lyricism; the two together might just be the perfect blend.

Shapes In Calgary’s new EP will be out later in the spring. Click HERE for more information on Shapes In Calgary.

3. Ryley Walker’s Got The Need For Speed

Ryley Walker has always struck us an artist with no interest in standing still. Ever since he burst onto the scene with the pastoral folk of Primrose Green, he has seemed like a musician keener on what’s next than what came before. This week Ryley has shared Telluride Speed, the first single from upcoming album Deafman Glance, a record he describes as his attempt to, “make an anti-folk record”.

Discussing the record, Ryley has suggested this is the closest he’s got to catching up with his own imagination: “I just wanted to make something weird and far-out that came from the heart finally.” Telluride Speed is certainly a fine example of his restless creativity; hushed vocals and complex acoustic picking are spliced with rushes of flute, and driving jazzy breakdowns. You can almost hear the synapses pulsing, as the spirit of innovation and improvisation take the track on a varied and thrilling journey towards places you’d never initially imagined it would go, but you’re very glad it did. Ryley has suggested that Deafman Glance is not just his most honest, but his most Chicago record yet, “Chicago sounds like a train constantly coming towards you but never arriving. That’s the sound I hear, all the time, ringing in my ears.” As frequent commuters, we only wish most trains sounded this good.

Deafman Glance is out May 18th via Dead Oceans. Click HERE for more information on Ryley Walker.

2. Steven Adams Is A Bad Apple

The music of Steven Adams has been through enough incarnations to put on his own festival. Whether you know him as part of The Broken Family Band, Singing Adams or just plain Steven James Adams, he’s always made consistently charming and critically lauded music. The latest project finds Steven teaming up with new backing band, The French Drops, featuring members of Absentee and The Drink among others. The band’s debut album, Virtue Signals, is due out in May on Hudson Records, and this week they’ve shared the first single from it, Bad Apples.

Clever and scathing, Bad Apples is a tribute to the, “flag-waving, supposed patriots whose voices are drowning out the national conversation.” Particular scorn is saved for the right-wing press, as Steven sings, “the people who need to divide us, they would like our ideas to die, isn’t that nice? You can feel them sneaking up inside an open mind, that’s why we fight and keep it up full time.” Both musically and lyrically the track feels raw and bruised, intelligent words that you can’t help but feel Steven has been repeating to anyone who’ll listen. A voice saying that whatever happens we must never stop fighting for what we think is right, and not fall into the traps of pride and division. We’d call him a national treasure, a reason to be proud of this country, one of good ol’Britannia’s finest songwriters, if that wasn’t entirely missing the point: so let’s just settle for the truth, it sure is nice to have him back.

Virtue Signals is out May 4th via Hudson Records. Click HERE for more information on Steven James Adams & The French Drops.

1. Stella Donnelly Hops On The Mechanical Bull

What do you get if you spend your youth equally between Wales and Western Australia? What does the middle ground of a Green Day cover band and a jazz musician trained at West Australian Academy of Performing Arts sound like? The answer, it turns out, is the music of Stella Donnelly.   Stella released her debut EP, Thrush Metal, in Australia last year, and courtesy of a re-release on Secretly Canadian, the rest of the world looks set to now take notice.

Celebrating news of the release, Stella has this week shared the accompanying video to one to the record’s stand-out moments, Mechanical Bull. The track is Stella’s tribute to, “people who work in hospitality who have to deal with customers, especially drunk ones, harassing them and making objectifying comments.” Lyrically, it is sublime, witty and honest with plenty of well-deserved anger for the sexist and sleezy, as Stella sings, “I’m gonna put you in place like a fixture on an emotional blackmail bookshelf, I’ll be your darling, tits, legs, honey, sweet pea but I’m a fucking arsehole if you ask me.” Musically, the distant guitar playing and tuneful, yet quietly intense vocal, is understandably set to garner plenty of comparisons to the likes of Lucy Dacus or fellow Australian, Julia Jacklin. Stella has suggested the record is, “a glimpse into what it’s like to be a millennial woman in the age of Trump, Tinder and third wave feminism.” If this is anything to go by, it’s going to be as brilliant as it is harrowing.

The “Thrush Metal” 12” plus bonus track is out June 22nd via Secretly Canadian. Click HERE for more information on Stella Donnelly.

Header photo by Evie Mackay –


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