5. Night Flowers Face Things Head On
It’s been a pretty special year for London indie-pop quintet Night Flowers. Their debut album, Wild Notion, drew near universal acclaim, they’ve toured up and down the country (and up and down and up and down again probably) and played a series of stellar festivals. Tonight the band play what might just be their biggest headline show in London to date at Moth Club, and ahead of the show they’ve shared the video to their excellent new single, Head On.
Head On was one of Wild Notion’s stand-out moments; a brooding and intense number, propelled by swaggering bass and swirling synths. Singer, Sophia Pettit’s vocal is pretty much faultless throughout, wringing every drop of emotion from the tale of communication break-down, isolation and fighting to make things work, before the intense burst of brass brings things to a thrilling close. The cinematic video, which to our mind looks like Singing In The Rain filmed in the style of House Of Cards, mirrors the song’s themes, as Sophie and Greg walk the London streets, searching for a connection that so nearly comes to pass. A triumphant sign off to a year where Night Flowers have moved up a gear, and sit poised and ready for a giant leap forward.
Wild Notion is out now via Dirty Bingo Records. Click HERE for more information on Night Flowers.
4. The Ophelias Are Anything But Sweet
Hailing from Cincinnati in the heart of the mid-west, The Ophelias are a collision of musical backgrounds, incorporating everything from garage-rock to opera. What brought them together was a desire to not be the token girl in, “dude-bands”. The resultant album, Almost, is a celebration of not being sidelined, of embracing the limelight and revelling in a freedom from censorship.
Ahead of dates with WHY? and the brilliant Lala Lala, The Ophelia’s have this week shared a brand new video to one of their album’s finest moments, Moon Like Sour Candy. The track is one of the more laid back offerings on the record; muted guitar strums give-way to pulsing synth bass, rich violins and twinkling electronics, all added to the melancholy vocal delivery. There’s a touch of the bedroom pop of Frankie Cosmos or early Waxahatchee. Proof, were it needed, that you don’t need to make a racket to have a huge impact, Moon Like Sour Candy is an understated triumph.
Almost is out now via Joyful Noise. Click HERE for more information on The Ophelias.
3. Hen Ogledd Are Feeling The Weight Of The Sky
We live in a cold modern world, dominated by logic and bereft of both belief and any dreams of magic. A statement which is quite clearly nonsense; the tiny fragments of knowledge we have of the way the universe works means in some ways we’re as reliant on some sort of faith as we ever were. That’s the idea that Hen Ogledd, a colaboration between four members from, “different tribal regions of the Old North”, look to explore on their upcoming debut album, Mogic (it’s like magic and logic, get it?)
This week the band have offered their new track, Sky Burial, a study on both death and cloud based technology. Questioning what death really means when our data-bodies can remain lodged in the cloud, long after our physical manifestation has slipped off this mortal coil. That might sound like quite a concept to get your head around, yet Hen Ogledd have made a musical offering that’s a lot easier to digest. In the same way that their ideas fuse the old and the new, so does their music, traditional instrumentation from harp to electric guitar, is cut through with swirling synth textures, creating textural layers of sound, atop which Sally Pilkington’s perfect, hazy vocal sits proudly, guiding you through the sonic fog, and offering moments of perfect clarity. With Mogic’s release to look forward to next month, and live dates either side of the New Year, Hen Ogledd’s intriguing musical vision is coming into view, and it looks like it’s going to beautiful.
Mogic is out November 16th via Weird World. Click HERE for more information on Hen Ogledd.
2. Kiran Leonard’s Life Lacks Lustre
For an artist who’s released so much, it’s easy to forget Kiran Leonard is just 22 year’s old. The Saddleworth-born musician already has an enviable back catalogue, with two home recorded albums and 2017’s ambitious literate concept album, Dervaun Seraun. Kiran’s latest album, Western Culture out next month, is also his first to be recorded in a professional studio, and is a record Kiran describes as, “both more accessible and more peculiar than my other records”, which Kiran Leonard fans will know makes for something really quite peculiar!
Ahead of the release, this week Kiran has shared the video to the latest single from the record, Unreflective Life, notable not least for what Kiran describes as, “a nice Bon Jovi solo at the end”. Lyrically as ambitious as always, Kiran suggests the track is what he sees as a total misunderstanding of how we use the internet, “the internet is not about total self-absorption, or attracting users to look in our direction,” says Kiran, “it is a complete paralysis, a disarticulation of the self which is caused by the act of looking outwards and being subsumed by the vastness of the violence we witness”. Musically, there’s a focus and a drive here, perhaps the result of recording with his live band for the first time. As always the track ebbs and flows, clattering from visceral crescendos to lush, intense periods of calm, and that guitar solo really is quite something! Kiran Leonard remains one of the most intriguing artists this planet has to offer, as challenging, rewarding and boundary pushing as ever, the constant re-invention of Kiran Leonard is a wonderful thing to behold.
Western Culture is out November 9th via Moshi Moshi Records. Click HERE for more information on Kiran Leonard.
1. Hairband Take Flight
Featuring members of Breakfast Muff, Spinning Coin, Lush Purr and Kaputt, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Glasgow quintet, Hairband are really rather brilliant. The band are set to release their debut EP next month and have this week shared the latest offering from it, Flying.
Flying is an ode to the power of gravity, about the world’s ability to pull us back to the ground even as it spins and sometimes leaves us utterly bewildered by what’s going on around us: “Everytime I leave the ground, I wonder will it be my last time, so I say goodbye to the feeling of my feet with the earth beneath and take to the sky. Thank you gravity for all you’ve done for me, but don’t let me go”. There’s an innocence and a poetry to the words, a moment where clarity of thought allows the noise of the world to fade out. Equally, the music seems to exist as a complex spiral of sound; rich layers of vocal harmony with a touch of The Wharves, are paired with intricate swaggering guitar lines and understated rhythms, before the whole thing fades to a moment of lucid vocal isolation. Hairband are five songwriters, each bringing ideas to the table and making them work as something rooted in music’s history but equally carving its own niche, a thrilling ode to friendship and the creativity that can come with it.
Hairband’s debut EP is out October 19th via Monorail Music. Click HERE for more information on Hairband.