5. Orchards Luv You 2
Brighton-quartet Orchards are a band who walk, or perhaps veer, between the worlds of pop and experimentation. Sweet melodies sit alongside complex math-inspired guitar lines and bafflingly difficult sounding drum parts. The band are set to release their new EP in July, and have this week shared the first taste of it, Luv You 2.
Discussing the songs lyrical inspiration, singer Lucy Evers has suggested it is, “about how it’s totally healthy to feel rejection or sadness, and about ultimately finding the power within yourself to say ‘fuck it, I don’t care what you think of me, I know I’m amazing.” Pulling off the middle ground of complexity and accessibility is a difficult trick, yet Orchards are making it sound like the easiest thing in the world.
Losers/Lovers is out July 6th via Big Scary Monsters Records. Click HERE for more information on Orchards.
4. Michael Nau Is Back And Mightier Than Ever
Michael Nau is by all evidence a musician in a hurry. It was only back in 2016 that he shared his debut solo album, Mowing, yet by August he’ll already have shared three albums, and a decent length EP. His upcoming effort, Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread, his first record with his new band, was recorded essentially live with nothing added after the event. Ahead of the album’s release in August, Michael has this week shared the first single from it, Less Than Positive.
Less Than Positive is a track that Michael wrote a long time ago, and it plays into the key themes of the record, time and distance, themes that repeat in the music that has a certain classic feel to it, yet sounds fresh. As with acts like Kevin Morby or Hurray For The Riff Raff, Michael Nau is a songwriter in an old-fashioned mould, breathing new life into ageing Americana. Lyrically, Less Than Positive is something of an existential crisis, as Michael’s cracked vocal sings out, “in the middle of the sun, I’m thinking about the universe, I think I know how it works, but I’m a bit less than positive, it’s a crack that you assume I know anything about you, if I knew anything about you, I’m less than positive.” Prolificacy alone is nothing, yet if you always produce music that sounds fresh, exciting and are always moving forward, then, as is the case with Michael Nau, we’ll take as many records as you’re offering and be very glad for the privilege.
Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread is out August 3rd. Click HERE for more information on Michael Nau.
3. Katie Von Schleicher Gets The Party Started
After the break-out success of her self-produced and co-engineered debut full-length album, Shitty Hits, Katie Von Schleicher found herself with a very rare break in proceedings. After touring the record fairly relentlessly, Katie found herself back in her native Maryland, and did what songwriters do with some time off: wrote songs. The result is a new 7″ Glad To Be Here, the b-side of which, Party Dawn, Katie has shared this week.
Describing the process of getting back to writing, Katie says, “I saw a ton of stars and felt smushed by silence, and it was lonely, so I made these songs.” Party Dawn ties back to her adolescence, to her friend, and to answering the question Katie repeats in the lyrics, “who am I going to be tomorrow?” Musically, like much of Katie’s finest music, it’s a wonderfully contrasting piece; in some ways simple, the languid guitar lines and repeating drum beats are delightfully unshowy, yet in the production it comes to life. The way the snare drum pops and fizzes, the heavy distortion on the guitar that contrasts its position low in the mix, the stunning inflexions in the vocal; it never sounds less than sublime. These two tracks apparently serve as a bridge to the material of Katie’s upcoming second album, a record that, on this evidence is well worth getting very excited about.
Glad To Be Here is out today via Full Time Hobby/Ba Da Bing Records. Click HERE for more information on Katie Von Schleicher.
2. Sun June Hit’s The Dancefloor
Hailing from Austin, Sun June formed when Laura Colwell and Stephen Salisbury were working long hours in director Terrence Malick’s editing room. The pair bonded over practice sessions whenever Terrence was out of the office. Recording their demos with Dan Duszynski, of our favourites, Cross Record & Loma, their debut album sessions drew the attention of Keeled Scale label boss, Tony Presley, not least because he lived above the studio they were working in. That record, Years, is set for release in June, and the band have this week shared new single, Discotheque.
Described by the band as, “a we’ve-been-broken-up-a-long-time record”, Years is an album that looks back on the past with the distance and knowledge that only passing time can bring. Now expanded to a four piece, Sun June’s sound is in some ways sparse; gentle guitar lines, sleepy rolling bass and barely-there keys, yet it doesn’t slip that easily into downbeat. Throughout there’s a warmth and a positivity in Laura’s jaw-dropping lead vocal, the stunning harmonies and the languid but none the less energetic beats. Towards the end Laura, barely above a whisper throughout, repeats the line, “I know this is going to bring you down”, before the guitar picks up and the whole thing slides to a perfect close. For a track that drifts, waltzes in the hazy sunlight and never rushes anywhere, without ever sounding excited, it manages to sound incredibly exciting. It may just be a beginning but Sun June already sound like the sort of band we want to spend our lives with.
Years is out June 15th via Keeled Scales. Click HERE for more information on Sun June.
1. These Goons Know
It was a couple of weeks back that The Goon Sax shared the news they’d signed to Wichita Recordings, no new music, no release dates, just two UK dates – it couldn’t have been much more minimal, yet it was still unimposingly thrilling news. The band’s debut offering, 2016’s Up To Anything, was one of the year’s finest records, and we’ve been waiting patiently for a follow-up ever since. This week the band have ramped up excitement with news of that record, We’re Not Talking, coming our way in September, as well as sharing their brand new single, She Knows.
Their debut album, written and recorded while the trio were still at school was a charming musing on adolescence delivered with a world-weary melancholy far more mature than their tender years. Instantly on She Knows a few things are obvious, three years is a long time when you’re 16 and The Goon Sax are no more comfortable with their place in the world. Discussing the track, James Harrison, who takes lead vocals here, suggests, “it’s a song about losing hope, stubbornness and heartache. I’m not sure if it’s our saddest song, but maybe if you lock yourself in your room for a couple of days and only listen to it you might not feel so happy.” While their world view remains decidedly downbeat, musically there are signs of plenty of progress. The hooky-centre remains, alongside it though are scratchy, angular guitars, a frenetic rhythmic pace and at one point even some squalling feedback coated violins than John Cale or Warren Ellis would be proud of. Darker, more musically mature, yet without losing any of their initial charm, even as huge fans we couldn’t have hoped for a better come back than this.
We’re Not Talking is out September 14th via Wichita Recordings. Click HERE for more information on The Goon Sax.
Header photo is The Goon Sax, as shot by Ryan Topaz