Five Things We Liked This Week – 06/07/18

Further Listening:

5. Join The Fanclub Fanclub

Hailing from the musical mecca that is Austin, Texas, Fanclub initially formed as the brainchild of Mike Lee, to re-record his favourite albums with a rotating cast of musicians. Thankfully after working with vocalist Leslie Crunkilton, Mike decided that actually, it might be a lot more fun to record his own songs. Now joined by drummer Daniel Schmidt, Fanclub as we know it were born, and this week the band have shared their debut single, Leaves.

Despite self deprecatingly describing their music as, “Indiepop that probably sounds like everything else”, on the evidence of Leaves, Fanclub are considerably more exciting than that sounds. Energetic rhythms play off against tumbling synths and New Order-like guitar exploration, before Leslie’s hushed vocals steal the limelight. On these somewhat overly scorching summer nights, there’s something splendidly Autumnal about the track, with the lyrics references to falling leaves, you can almost feel the nights drawing in around you in their own inevitable, melancholic way. A classic, perfectly formed, indiepop song, Fanclub might just be your new favourite band.

Leaves is out now. Click HERE for more information on Fanclub.

4. Lauren Balthrop Shares An Unforgettable New Single

Describing her background as, “Alabama grown, New York tested, and Nashville planted”, there’s a good chance without knowing it you’ve already heard Lauren Balthrop sing. Whether on her own recordings, either under the Dear Georgiana moniker or as part of the doo-wop girl-group the Bandana Splits, or as a backing vocalist for the likes of Kevin Morby,  Bob Weir and Benjamin Booker. Now stepping out under her own name, Lauren is set to make her biggest splash to date, with her upcoming debut album, This Time Around.

This week, ahead of the album’s release, Lauren has shared the video to new single, Don’t Ever Forget. The nostalgic imagery of Hollywood lovers in the video, ties into the songs central themes, enchanted days and just how fleeting they can be. Apparently inspired by Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, musically, Don’t Ever Forget is a delightfully fuzzy take on a classic-pop song, over-driven guitars and pounding rhythms, topped with soaring backing vocals and Lauren’s frankly stunning lead, effortlessly gliding into impossibly high notes most singers wouldn’t even consider. It might be a record that’s knowingly living in the emotional past, musically though it sounds fresh, forward thinking and very exciting.

This Time Around is out September 21st. Click HERE for more information on Lauren Balthrop.

3. Ok So There’s A New Mi Mye Single And It’s Great

“The best thing you can do right now, is leave”, as scene setting opening lines go, they don’t come much more crushing than the words that start Mi Mye’s new single Ok, So. The track is the first to be taken from the Wakefield/Leeds quintets upcoming fifth studio album, out in September on Coble Records. Mi Mye started life as a solo project for vocalist Jamie Lockhart to share, “snapshots from the north coast of Scotland”, where he grew up, and has now morphed into a settled five-piece band.

The title of the track comes from what the band describe as, “the thinking time between an intake of breath and the giving of advice”, the moment when you can still pick you words carefully, and consider the impact of the wisdom you’re about to impart. The previously mentioned opening line was something Jamie overheard a tired professional saying on the phone on a Friday night, it opened a world of images in Jamie’s mind, who was this person talking to, was it the late night office worker or the heartbroken lover. Like so much of Mi Mye’s work, it’s emotional and raw, without explicitly wearing its feelings on its sleeve, like real life there’s plenty of nuance between the extremes, and it’s in that middle that sometimes the most honest, and important, music is created.

The Mountain Forces The Future, And The Forces Cause The Rain is out September 28th via Coble Records. Click HERE for more information on Mi Mye.

2. Moderate Rebels Aren’t Hiding Anymore

It was back in 2017 that we first featured Moderate Rebels, the London-based “Anti-Music collective”, they released both an EP and an album that year to some acclaim. Wasting no time, the band are already plotting a second album for later this year, and have this week shared the first taste of it, in the shape of new single, Beyond Hidden Words.

Discussing the track, the always intriguing Moderate Rebels have described it as an, “un-song”, the sound of a repeating half hallucination set to building noise, an invocation of strong communal power and hope, through the confronting of the uncomfortable, and the taking of some personal responsibility for being part of that conversation.” Somewhat counter-intuitively, Beyond Hidden Words might actually be Moderate Rebels most accessible offering to date. Atop the repeated, multi-voiced, lyrical chant, “shine you white lights on the black sites, I’m beginning to see the lights”, the musical backing swells and dips. A steady, almost hand-clap like drum beat, holds the song in rhythmic focus, as rumbling bass, burbling keys (with a slight touch of The Who’s Teenage Wasteland) and what sounds like an e-bowed guitar, play off against one another, fighting for the musical attention. It’s a track that despite it’s somewhat minimal, repetitive nature, draws you in more and more with each listen; it slowly becomes important, moving and without ever feeling the need to explain why, stirs a multitude of emotions inside. They might call it Anti-Music, yet with each release they’re getting closer and closer to the primal elements of sound, a place where music began and where music still thrives to this day.

Beyond Hidden Words is out now via Everyday Life Recordings. Click HERE for more information on Moderate Rebels.

1. Kiran Leonard Uses The Force

He’s already achieved so much that it can be hard to remember Kiran Leonard is still only 22-years-old. The Saddleworth songwriter released his debut album back in 2014, took a giant leap forward with 2016’s Grapefruit and then proceeded to write, “a concept album in five movements inspired by five pieces of literature and arranged for piano, strings and voice”, a move as inspired as it was ludicrously ambitious. This week Kiran has shared details of his upcoming third album, Western Culture, as well as sharing the first single from it, Paralysed Force.

Western Culture is the first album Kiran has ever recorded in a professional studio, as well as his first recorded with the involvement of his live band, and he has suggested it is, “both more accessible and more peculiar than my other records” – on the evidence of Paralysed Force you can certainly see where he’s coming from. Discussing the track, in his usual inimitable fashion, Kiran has suggested it is about, “how insecurities you should settle within yourself often get transplanted onto other people you know.” Musically it is as close as Kiran ever gets to a straight up indie-rock song, it’s still angular and awkward sure, however in the melodies and rhythms at times there’s an unquestionably hooky and approachable quality. With a title like Western Culture, it’s inevitable that this is a record that glances out to society, Kiran has suggested it looks to the power of words to shape the discourse, how, in his own carefully chosen comment, “the words we use have a funny sort of position, both as a feeble opponent to real-life violence, and as the critical foundation for that very violence.” With our own words, we’d strongly urge you to explore the fascinating work of quite possibly this countries most intriguing new musical voice.

Wester Culture is out October 19th via Moshi Moshi. Click HERE for more information on Kiran Leonard.

Header photo is Kiran Leonard by Manox – http://manox.tumblr.com

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