Five Things We Liked This Week – 11/05/18

Further Listening:

5. Don’t Spoil The New Ryley Walker Track For Yourself

He’s one of this sites favourite songwriters, and we’ve mentioned his upcoming album, Deafman Glance previously, however a week out from release day and with a stunning new single to promote, we couldn’t help but mention Ryley Walker again.

That single, Spoil With The Rest, is a fine example of the version of Ryley Walker that awaits a listener on Deafman Glance; an ever-progressing musician, his second album recorded alongside producer LeRoy Bach, might just Ryley’s most complex and inventive yet. On Spoil With The Rest, Ryley and band throw everything at the tape, there are gorgeous lilting moments of beautiful folk, set alongside complex blasts of loose jazzy drums and almost mathsy guitar-riffing. One minute it’s in a comfortable easy groove, the next it’s hurtling off somewhere entirely new.  It’s a world away from the pastoral-folk of his early records, and as a result is his most original and individual sounding record to date, more akin to the experimental post-rock of Tortoise or Wilco at their most sonically adventurous. Never standing-still, never taking the easy option, always pushing the boundaries of his music, Ryley Walker has never sounded better.

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

4. Allison’s Gate Is A Bona Fide Star In The Making

Admittedly we probably haven’t been looking that hard, however we can’t think of many successful musicians hailing from the Channel Islands? That is however, exactly the back-drop where Carolina McPhail, aka Allison’s Gate began her musical journey. Now based out of South London, Carolina is set to share her, collection of bedroom explorations”, Waves/Bona Fide later this month on Memorials Of Distinction, and has this week shared the first taste of it, Bona Fide.

The record is split into two parts, Waves, concentrated around the lulls and flows of abstracted noises, delays and flutters”, and the more traditionally song-led, Bona Fide. Described by Carolina as, “the most venomous song on the album”, Bona Fide is a masterclass in sparse sad-core. The simplistic, cyclical guitar line fuzzes with quiet distortion as the distorted vocals carry much of the melodic weight. The venom appears in the lyrics as she sings of anger and pain, and labels a former romantic ne’er-do-well, “a bonafide piece of shit.” Cathartic and rewarding in equal measure, Allison’s Gate is an artist of whom we cannot wait to see what comes next.

Waves/Bona Fide is out May 25th via Memorials Of Distinction. Click HERE for more information on Allison’s Gate.

3. A Boyfriend Wont Fill The Ex-Vöid

Joanna Gruesome were a band who always seemed destined to burn bright and burn fast. Their take on, “hyper-aggressive” pop music, resulted in two brilliant, and very short, albums and then singer Alanna McArdle parted company with the band, the band carried on, perhaps still are carrying on, yet it never quite felt the same. The partnership at the core of the band’s success was between Alanna and Owen Williams, and after, allegedly, “a chance meeting at a contemporary dance class”, the two began discussing working together again. The result is Ex-Vöid, and their debut three-track single out today, previewed earlier this week via lead track, Boyfriend.

Musically, there seems to be both continuity and progression from the Joanna Gruesome sound. The short sharp bursts of brutality remain, although they’re now accompanied by a more distinctly poppy sound than ever before, with nods to the likes of Veronica Falls or The Spook School, although the cited influences are, “Black Sabbath’s “Into The Void”,  D.C.-area hardcore legends “VOID,” and Raincoats number “The Void”.” As playful, noisy, hook-laden and exciting as ever, Ex-Vöid are a welcome return for this perfect coming together of musical minds.

A three-track single, Boyfriend is out today via Don Giovanni Records. Click HERE for more information on Ex-Vöid.

2. Squirrel Flower Lay Down Their Terms & Conditions

What were you doing when you were nine? Ella Williams, aka Squirrel Flower, was touring with the Boston Children’s Chorus singing to the likes of Barack Obama and The King Of Jordan. By fourteen she was taking songwriting seriously, and now aged twenty-one looks set to take world by storm, with the upcoming re-release of her superb second EP, Contact Sports.

This week ahead of the July re-issue, Ella has shared the video from one of the record’s stand-out moments, Conditions. The video, filmed in her college’s athletic centre, ties into the EP’s central idea, that as with sports, in this case basketball, relationships can feel like, “a dangerous game, a competition.” Musically, there’s a stunning maturity to both Ella’s vocal and her songwriting, the intense guitar lines, and nuanced vocal flourishes create an intensity that contrasts the slow-moving percussion. As the song reaches its emotive conclusion, Ella’s vocal repeats the line, “don’t you dare say that you do not know me”, before becoming lost in a barrage of reverberating guitar lines. It’s a stunning piece of songwriting, if you haven’t already explored the music of Squirrel Flower, this is the perfect time to discover your new favourite songwriter.

Contact Sports is re-issued July 20th. Click HERE for more information on Squirrel Flower.

1. Samia’s Got Us Feeling Twenty One All Over Again

From the title of her latest single, to almost every other word of her press release, Samia seems very keen to remind us she’s twenty-one. It seems that for the New York-based songwriter there was a fear around the landmark birthday, “I’d always thought there was something I should have figured out by then.” says Samia. “It was really liberating to turn 21 without having figured that out; I was happy knowing that I had a lot of love in my life and was doing my very best.” If everyone gets a song as good as 21 to show for turning that age, then nobody need worry about a thing.

It’s a complete cliché, but Samia’s music sounds far too mature for her years, sure there’s a healthy dose of angst; yet in her soaring, Torres-like vocal, razor-sharp lyricism and driving guitar work, she sounds anything but a newcomer. Lyrically, 21 is a cider-drenched, slice of introspection as Samia sings, “I weigh a hundred and fucking something pounds. That makes me almost good. It is nice to be a hero, but it’s better to be anything that anyone could want in a woman.” Samia is seemingly falling into the traps of society that wants to tell a woman she is only good as the man she can attract, before snapping out of that madness, “suddenly you’re a grown-up now, and you don’t have to be an ingenue and there is nothing wrong with you as long as you make your family proud.” Comparisons to Soccer Mommy, Mitski, and Phoebe Bridgers will rain down upon her, yet make no mistake, this is a songwriter who’ll equally garner attention entirely of her own making.

21 is out now. Click HERE for more information on Samia.

Header photo is Samia, as shot by Ruby Rose

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