5. Jenny Hval Casts A New Spell
Jenny Hval has always been an intriguing, challenging artist. With live shows as much performance art as they are concerts, and a novel on the way, you couldn’t even really declare Jenny a musician with any confidence. Yet as we saw on 2016’s Blood Bitch, and as we’re seeing now with the release of her new EP, The Long Sleep, you don’t need labels to create a fascinating sound.
Celebrating the release of her new EP, Jenny has also this week shared the video to lead single, Spells. The track finds Jenny casting off some of the darkness of her previous record, replacing it with fluttering rhythms, soaring synths and smoky waves of saxophones and brass. This new direction allows the sheer quality of her vocal performance to emerge; mesmerising melodies floating away on a wave of beautiful experimental musicianship, it’s not just the most accessible she’s ever sounded, it might also be the most exciting.
The Long Sleep is out now via Sacred Bones. Click HERE for more information on Jenny Hval.
4. HALEY’s Making Waves
After the breakout success of 2016’s Impossible Dream, HALEY (or Haley Bonar as she was known then, before choosing International Women’s Day to adopt her mother’s maiden name, McCallum) could have been forgiven for reflecting proudly on a job well done. Never an artist to rest on her laurels, with the release this week of My Wave, the first new material since that album, HALEY seems to be stepping into uncharted musical waters.
My Wave is according to Haley, “intentional in its use of repetition and very few lyrics”, the vocal kept deliberately minimal to become engulfed into the music, just another texture among instrumentation. Yet even in the repeated phrase, “if I lost you, would I find you”, Haley hints at meaning, in her own words, “finding the strength to recognise that you hold the power to finding yourself or controlling your own connection to the world around you and others is simple, and powerful.” It’s not just lyrically, but also musically that this is a new direction, the maudlin waves of synths and minimal percussion, creating something denser and gloomier than we’ve come to expect. The track is the first hint of an as yet unannounced upcoming album, a tantalising glimpse of the potential experimentation to come.
My Wave is out now via Memphis Industries. Click HERE for more information on HALEY.
3. May I Be The Lump
The combination of a Grammy nominated, Brit award-winning singer-songwriter and a prolific, Mercury Prize winning producer, doesn’t really have any right sounding as understated as LUMP. The band, consisting of Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay, founding member of Tuung and Throws, was born out of a chance meeting and a mutual admiration for one another’s music, Mike had been working on an ambitious musical song-cycle, and needing a vocalist, stumbled upon the perfect solution.
The resultant album, LUMP, is out today via Dead Oceans, and the band have this week shared the latest track from it, May I Be The Light. Described by Laura as, “the weirdest one to pull together”, May I Be The Light is without sounding in any way challenging, quietly, wonderfully odd. The time signatures, the way the vocal runs up and down scales, the bizarre, fascinating lyricism, “even beds deserve the very best”, it’s all beautifully odd, and more akin to Penguin Cafe Orchestra or Lau than any singer songwriter. You might not necessarily have put Laura Marling and the surreal, absurdist poetry of Edward Lear or Ivor Cuttler together before, yet proving she can pretty much turn her hand to anything, with the limelight shared, this collaboration might just be her finest offering to date.
LUMP is out today via Dead Oceans. Click HERE for more information on LUMP.
2. Falcon Jane Is Spreading The News
Hailing from the excellent named Orangeville in Ontario, Falcon Jane are the musical vehicle for the songwriting of front-woman Sara May. They describe their music as, “plez rock”, a genre inspired by nature, truth, peace and magic. On new single, The News, released this week, thankfully there’s enough quality to go without the need for musical tags.
The accompanying press release for The News starts with a simple pronouncement, “grief is so complicated.” The News explores that in stunning depth, from the fear, emptiness and anguish through to the moving on and the healing; as the song runs you can almost feel Sara healing. The track was inspired, at least in part, by a news story local to Falcon Jane, where a young boy was washed out of his mother’s arms by the flood waters, an event that deeply affected Sara and all in the local community. Musically, there’s a blurring of the sweet indie-pop of Camera Obscura or Squirrel Flower, fused with twanging country guitars and stirring, minimal production. Throughout the lyrics there’s a sense of searching, of longing for a way back to what was, yet somehow trying to find a path to a future where the pain isn’t quite so all-encompassing. Moving and rather wonderful, Falcon Jane might not make a loud noise, yet they leave a very strong impression.
The News is out now. Click HERE for more information on Falcon Jane.
1. Drahla Divide The Crowd
These are exciting times for Leeds-trio Drahla. Having released one of our favourite EP’s of last year, the band have since signed to Captured Tracks. This week they have shared the first new material for the label, new single, Twelve Divisions Of The Day, released to coincide with an intense summer touring schedule, starting tomorrow.
Twelve Divisions Of The Day comes with the band’s trademark minimal fuss. Three minutes of wiry-guitars, driving, almost motorik rhythms and singer Luciel Brown’s half-spoken vocal delivery. Drahla’s music stands out for its lack of pretense; the way the words are delivered almost unemotionally, the complex guitar interplay is always straight to the point with nothing showy about it, they are a band who just hit straight for the heart of the song. Twelve Divisions Of The Day serves as a timely reminder of why Drahla are one of the most exciting new bands on the planet, their potential is limitless.
Twelve Divisions Of The Day 7″ and fanzine are out July 20th via Captured Tracks. Click HERE for more information on Drahla.
Photo is Drahla by Bianca Wallis – http://www.endlessblue.com.dpg.cc/