Five Things We Liked This Week – 15/06/18

Further Listening:

5. Angelo De Augustine Joins The French Resistance

The first love of Thousand Oaks songwriter, Angelo De Augustine always had a simple dream, she’d always wanted to visit the medieval town of Carcassonne. Angelo discovered this just as he was about to head on his first European tour; unable to afford to bring her with him, he did the next best thing and wrote her a song, “so she can visit Carcassonne anytime she likes.” Thankfully, Angelo avoided mention of our major memories of visiting the city which was it pouring with rain, half of it being shut and the rest of it trying to sell us neon coloured cocktails by the pitcher.

Carcassonne, which Angelo has shared this week as his new single, is the first taste of his second record, which is currently in the, ‘being finished’, stage. Carcassonne is in some ways an exercise in the beautiful simplicity of songwriting, Angelo accompanied by nothing more than an acoustic guitar, and his ever-stunning vocal. At its core the track is a deeply romantic thing, a love letter to someone who, “helps you realise there ain’t much time in life before the lights go down”, and makes you, “forget the past and all its woes.” There’s a gorgeous honesty and simplicity to the songs repeated, questioning conclusion, “would you be the only one in my life with my love?” Carcassonne marks Angelo out as the next natural step in a lineage of songwriters from Elliot Smith through to Sufjan Stevens: with every track you hear, he just keeps getting better.

Carcassonne is out on 7″ June 29th via Asthmatic Kitty. Click HERE for more information on Angelo De Augustine.

4. The Ophelia’s Share Their Electric New Single

The Ophelia’s formed back in their teenage years, when they grew tired of being the, “token-girl”, in various “dude-bands” in Cincinnati. They decided to see what happens if they took tokenism out of the picture; the result was an intriguing collision of styles, from Opera to Surf-Pop, and the birth of a band free from, “the expected censorship of being a sideperson.” 

The Ophelia’s debut record, Almost, is out next month on Joyful Noise, and the quartet have this week shared new single, General Electric. The band’s lyrical content is an intriguing juxtaposition of ideas; part poised, assured confidence, part introspection and insecurity, a dissection of growing-up from songwriters right in the middle of the process. Musically, it’s equally intriguing, you can hear the sheer variety of the influences on show. Starting with a gentle buzz of keys and a warm meandering guitar, the propulsive double-time drums enter, before a melancholy, wistful vocal-line flutters into life, “I want to be just like the girls you like, I want to be what you fantasise.”  As with acts like Adwaith or Neighbour Lady, the influences are familiar, yet hard to pin down, sounds you know and love reinvented into something entirely new and quietly wonderful.

Almost is out July 13th via Joyful Noise. Click HERE for more information on The Ophelias.

3. There’s Just Not Enough Rachel Angel

The latest name on the never-ending conveyor belt that is the Brooklyn music scene, Rachel Angel recently released her latest EP, Not Enough, on Human Noise Records; a record described as, “the story of what it’s like to be young and tough in 2018.” This week Rachel has shared the new video to the title track, Not Enough, a solo exhibition through New York, spent contemplating complicated relationships and eating bagels (of course).

Not Enough is a stirring example of Rachel’s songwriting, fusing the influences of classic Americana with the laid back nature of slacker-rock and the lo-fi spirit of punk. Lyrically, it’s classic country heartache, from the crushing opening line, “sprawled out on the floor, it’s just another day”, through to the resolution, or lack thereof, that comes later as Rachel sings, “you’re a nice guy, sometimes, but that’s not enough”. Her music might be raw and unpolished, yet with Rachel Angel’s lyrical flair, and classic songwriting, we can’t help but feel this is the start of something very exciting.

Not Enough EP is out now via Human Noise Records. Click HERE for more information on Rachel Angel.

2. Cult Party Have The Early Morning Blues

Where have Cult Party, and their chief songwriter Leo Robinson been hiding all this time? From the moment his croaked, baritone vocal enters on new single, I Got The Blues This Morning, you just feel like you’re in the presence of a timeless songwriter. I Got The Blues This Morning is the first track to be lifted from Cult Party’s upcoming new album, And Then There Was This Sound. The album, recorded last year with a close-knit group of Mancunian musicians, including one Kiran Leonard, is due for release next month.

Although it might not sound obvious, the track is as Leo explains, inspired by the blues, “I was really into the idea of writing a kind of delta blues “woke up this morning” style song. Even though it doesn’t really sound anything like that it still has that confessional tone, like the idea of a song that comes from a person, and tells you how that person feels and where they went.” Musically, the song might not be routed in the blues, but there’s a definite Americana influence; the musical style of Bill Callahan looming large, the casual Steinbeck reference in the lyrics, you can’t help but picture Leo wandering the banks of Mississippi, looking to the setting sun, and trying to find a way out the all-encompassing grasp of, “sadness in general.” If it’s half as good as this single, And There Was This Sound is going to make for a record entirely worthy of your time.

And Then There Was This Sound is out July 21st via Icecapades. Click HERE for more information on Cult Party.

1. Villagers Are Up To Their Old Tricks

Few artists arrived with quite such a bang as Conor O’Brien did back in 2010 with the debut Villagers album, Becoming A Jackal. Mercury Nominated, as was the follow-up {Awayland}, Conor instantly became, if not quite a household name, a well established fixture on the alternative music scene. Conor’s next move was the sparse, bruising, intimacy of Darling Arithmetic back in 2015, and this week, Villagers have detailed the much-anticipated follow-up, with The Art Of Pretending To Swim arriving in the Autumn.

This week also saw the first taste from that upcoming record, in the shape of new single, A Trick Of The Light. It’s instantly clear that this is a track in a different emotional place to its predecessor. While Darling Arithmetic was introverted and angry, here Conor seems to be embracing the dystopian feel of the modern age. Over a propulsive, almost funky, bass-line, Conor seems to grapple with his own faith, torn between believing there’s something waiting for him, and accepting that, “a sign in the sky tonight”, could just be, “a trick of the light”. Musically, this suggests the new record, which Conor produced, mixed and played the majority of himself, is a step away from the poignant minimalism and towards the more sonically ambitious textures of his earlier material, in particular the intriguing {Awayland}. The Art Of Pretending To Swim is already shaping up to be as intriguing, and enjoyable as we’ve come to expect from this gem of a songwriter.

The Art Of Pretending To Swim is out September 21st via Domino. Click HERE for more information on Villagers.

Header photo is Villagers courtesy of Rich Gilligan – http://www.richgilligan.com/

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