Five Things We Liked This Week – 24/08/18

Further Listening:

5. Cult Party Have Plenty To Offer

It was only a few weeks back we were raving about the brilliant And Then There Was This Sound, the debut album from Manchester-based songwriter, Leo Robinson aka Cult Party. The album is an opus in five parts, and this week Leo has shared the video to the second track to be lifted from the record, Pastures Of Plenty.

The video might look like it was shot in some far off, sunny, holiday retreat, however it was actually filmed just outside Manchester, during the recent heat-wave we all briefly thought was going to last forever. Filmed by director, David Jackson, it is a slow-moving choreographed passage featuring Leo himself alongside the artist, Alkmini Gkousiari. Discussing the track, Leo explains, “the lyrics are from an old folk song written about work on and moving over land, that’s the stuff that we need to acknowledge before we get into philosophy and lofty religious or political ideas. Not to disregard any of those, but it all starts from picking fruit or cooking potatoes.” Setting this humble folk song to a minimal backing of lightly strummed strings and wavering atmospheric background noise, the track’s humble lyrical roots are perfectly reflected in this almost simplistic, musical accompaniment. Like so much of And Then There Was This Sound, there’s a clarity and a purity to Cult Party’s music; nothing is wasted, nothing is said that doesn’t need to be, everything is perfect, everything is this sound.

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

4. Holy Golden Get Lost

Holy Golden is, in their own words, “the multifaceted musical world”, of Leslie Schott and Andrew Valenti. The pair came together following a chance meeting at a music shop on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. From there they set about making music, short films and photo stories, all of which form a part of Holy Golden. Their latest musical endeavour is their upcoming EP, Sleepwalkers In The Milky Way, and this week they’ve shared the first single from it, Lost Island.

Described by the band as, “a summer anthem”, Lost Island was actually written in the middle of winter. With a sound that’s reminiscent of Hazel English or Mitski; Holy Golden blend twangy guitars with a shimmering dream-pop production, creating a hazy, sun-dappled sound, painting musical portraits of watery sunsets and long summer evenings. As ever with so many of the best-pop songs, there’s a darkness hidden behind their wide-eyed sound, lyrically it takes aim at, “all the men that held me and said, you could be a good girl if you just go to bed.” The repeated pronouncement of, “who cares anymore”, is contrasted in Leslie’s vocal delivery, which seems to scream for someone to start caring and offer a chink of light at the end of the tunnel. A fascinating first offering from an EP that we can’t wait to explore further.

‘Sleepwalkers In The Milky Way’ will be out late October on Wallflower Records. Click HERE for more information on Holy Golden.

3. We’d Swear By The Music Of Whitney Ballen

With her debut album, You’re A Shooting Star, I’m A Sinking Ship, out today, it’s an exciting week in the life of Washington songwriter, Whitney Ballen. Following on from her two, well received EP’s, You’re A Shooting Star, I’m A Sinking Ship, invites the listener into Whitney’s world and shows us snapshots of her world; misty, beautiful, sometimes bruising, it all feels wonderfully honest.

Ahead of today’s release, Whitney shared the latest single from the record, Fucking. The track feels like a reflection on jealousy, of pushing your feelings inside and having them come out in a painful internal monologue. Set to a rumbling flutter of drums and twanging lead guitars, at the forefront throughout is Whitney’s inimitable vocal delivery. Whitney’s is a voice that wrings every drop of emotion out of lyrics like, “I’m allowed to feel anything that I want to feel, I’m allowed to say anything that I want that’s okay, they’re just my songs don’t mean anything anyway”, or the repeated chorus refrain, “I don’t get any sleep, I’ve got visions of you fucking her in my dreams”. In a lesser songwriters hands this might sound gentle, perhaps even broken, yet Whitney comes out powerfully, her self-doubt emerging almost triumphantly as a visceral musical wonder. Washington’s secret is about to become the world’s treasure.

You’re A Shooting Star, I’m A Sinking Ship is out today via Father/Daughter & Substitute Scene Records. Click HERE for more information on Whitney Ballen.

2. The Back Stabbing New Single From Songs For Walter

Songs For Walter, the stage name of Manchester’s Laurie Hulme, burst into our musical conscious back in 2016 with his self-titled debut album. It was a record that explored his grandfather’s stories, from memories of adolescent courting through to the true horrors of war. A beautiful, conceptual record, that did somewhat leave the question: where would Songs For Walter go next? Some two years later, we’re about to find out, with next months release of Laurie’s second record, An Endless Summer Daze, which he has previewed this week with new single, Traitors.

As ever with Songs For Walter’s music, Traitors seems to be an almost voyeuristic character story; Laurie removed from the scene he’s describing, observing the personal traits and intricate details of the song’s subject matter. Like all great observational lyricist though, Laurie draws you into the world, and puts his own spin on what he sees, as he recently explained, “I like writing about peculiarities in people, personal stories, the bizarre world we’re born into and strange things we do.” With an easy, ticking rhythm and  inter-weaving guitar lines, Traitors creates a bold and intriguing backing, to Laurie’s serene vocal. The whole thing drifts beautifully, building to unshowy crescendos, before floating off to gentler, dreamier places, and eventually just fading out to black, as if, as a listener, you’re pulled out of the scene before the story has been entirely told. Songs For Walter’s own story feels like it’s just getting going, and we can’t wait to see where it takes us next.

An Endless Summer Daze is out September 28th via Tallbird Records. Click HERE for more information on Songs For Walter.

1. IAN SWEET comes out of Hiding

IAN SWEET might sound like the guitarist in a 1970’s prog-band, however it’s actually the musical moniker of Los Angeles-based songwriter, Jilian Medford. Described as, the source of and solution to many of Jilian’s deepest anxieties, the debut IAN SWEET record, Shapeshifter was released over two years back. After relocating from Brooklyn to LA, Jilian decided to revert IAN SWEET back to a truly solo-affair, and the result is her second record, Crush Crusher, due later this year on Hardly Art Records.

Ahead of Crush Crusher’s release, Jilian has this week shared Hiding, the first single to be lifted from the record. Discussing the track, Jilian has suggested Hiding is a reminder, “to never get consumed with anything to the point of forgetting about my own needs”. The track seeks to find solace in your personal sanctuary, stay strong to your own desires, and, “be confident in the things that make me, me.” Musically, it’s presented in clattering drum beats, thrillingly, loose guitar thrashing, and more stable, driving sections, recalling the likes of Wye Oak or Neighbor Lady. Lyrically, the track seems to repeatedly fall back to the same recurrent conclusion, “I forgot myself in you”, always accompanied by a clatter of sound, as the Jilian seems to battle to free herself from the shadow of another. IAN SWEET’s return is already shaping up to be her best material yet, and one of the year’s most intriguing comebacks.

Crush Crusher is out October 26th via Hardly Art Records. Click HERE for more information on IAN SWEET.

Header image is IAN SWEET by Kelsey Hart –

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