5. A Love So Good
Major Love is the pseudonym of choice for Canadian songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Colleen Brown. After four well received albums under her own name, Colleen has embraced a new name, and a new direction, drafting in a backing band, largely members of former touring mates Scenic Route To Alaska. The result is Major Love’s self-titled debut album, out later in the year, and this week they have shared new single, So Good.
Fusing the sound of modern alt-pop acts like Natalie Prass or San Fermin, with the ambitious, vintage sound of the Stax and Motown house bands, So Good is a soaring triumph. Pounding drum beats, driving guitar-lines and delightful distant brass flourishes all combine to a dense, vibrant backing, on which Colleen’s exultant vocals dance, as she repeats the triumphant line, “I can’t remember a time when I felt so good”. We can’t say it’s a Major Love on the back of one track, but we’re certainly infatuated by the music this lot are making.
Major Love’s self-titled debut is out later this year. Click HERE for more information on Major Love.
4. Just Another Year For American Darling Valve
Those of a keen memory will remember our premiere of the rather sublime beauty:broken, by Miami-duo, American Darling Valve. That was the first taste of their self-titled debut EP, and this week the band have shared the video to the record’s closing number, Another Year.
Another Year serves as the EP’s beautiful, poignant finale. Stripped back to just Bryan Dubrow’s complex, textured guitar playing and Ariele Macadangdang’s gentle, beautiful vocal. Lyrically, it’s a beautifully intimate portrait of leaving someone behind, it’s not entirely obvious whether Ariele is leaving or being left, and perhaps she is not entirely sure herself as she sings, “you set me on a quest and left no clues, for fear that you had lost all you could lose.” With nods to the likes of Alela Diane or Sufjan Stevens, American Darling Valve, sound a band with far greater songwriting experience than their back catalogue would suggest, listening to this you already can’t wait to see where they’ll go next.
American Darling Valve’s debut EP is out now. Click HERE for more information on the band.
3. Evan Wright Makes The Best Spaghetti In The West
Although based out of New York, it was during a break from the city, in his native New Jersey, that Evan Wright crafted the songs that would become his debut EP, Spaghetti Western. A decidedly DIY affair, Spaghetti Western was recorded on a pair of second-hand microphones purchased on Ebay, Evan laying down vocals, bass, synth, guitars and pianos, before sending the record to drummer, Zachary Ostroff, to over-lay the drums. The resultant EP, released earlier this month, is a remarkable piece, and this week Evan has shared the title track from it.
Recalling acts like Chris Cohen or Lionlimb, Spaghetti Western is a masterclass in half whispered, unspoken melancholy. Described by Evan as a recollection of an old road trip, he seems to almost lose focus on his own story as he slips into the repeated line, “I swear I’ve seen that same face on the street where I used to live.” With a vocal like a younger Jeff Tweedy and an effortless way with a drifting melody Andy Shauf would be proud of, Evan Wright’s music might have started with him playing around his parent’s barn, but where it will take him? The sky and his own desire are surely the only limits.
Spaghetti Western is out now. Click HERE for more information on Evan Wright,
2. This Crocodile Will Eat You For Breakfast
After impressing with last year’s Eurgh!, Glasgow’s Breakfast Muff are wasting no time getting back to releasing new music. Recorded in just one day with regular producer Rick Webster, before being passed to Hookworms’ MJ for mixing, the trio’s next release will be the four track Crocodile EP, the title track of which the band have shared this week.
Currently over at that big industry showcase/festival thing that happens in Austin you might have heard a few people mention, things seem to be on the up for Breakfast Muff, and Crocodile might just be their most fully realised track to date. Without losing any of their spiky edge, the track sounds more melodic, more polished and more urgent than anything they’ve done before. Lyrically, the track touches on ideas of avoiding living your life for anyone else, of embracing who you are and not letting anyone else tell you otherwise. Always challenging, always interesting and always evolving, Breakfast Muff are making music entirely on their own terms and sounding fabulous doing so.
Crocodile EP is out April 6th Prawnshelle Records. Click HERE for more information on Breakfast Muff.
1. Lithics Offer No Excuses
Hailing from infamously hip-city that is Portland, Oregon, Lithics make the sort of noise that intriguingly artistic types have been making in knackered warehouses, in failing cities for as long as alternative culture has even existed. The quartet are set to release their new album, Mating Surfaces, in May and have recently shared the lead single from it, Excuse Generator.
“Can I be myself, can I be myself, can I be myself”, repeats singer Aubrey Hornor in her cold, arresting vocal, as ragged guitar lines jut in and out of a dense, propulsive noise from the rhythm section. It’s the sound of the Au Pairs and The Slits, of Talking Heads and Wire, of Shopping and Drinks, it’s clever and stupid all at once, it’s artistic without an aesthetic. It’s utterly brilliant, and quite possibly our favourite track of the year so far.
Mating Surface is out May 25th via Kill All Rock Stars. Click HERE for more information Lithics.
Header photo by Christie Maclean