5. It’s Only Natvral To Want To Go Home
What do you do when you’re a renowned songwriter, well known for your main band and you suddenly write a song that just doesn’t belong? It happened recently to The Natvral, aka Kip Berman from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, “I opened my mouth one day and heard a different voice. It was mine, but unfamiliar. I didn’t know – and still don’t know – where it’ll take me, but I’m going to follow it.” So far it’s taken Kip to his debut EP as The Natvral, Know Me More, and this week he’s shared a new video to stand-out track, Home.
Home is undeniably a different beast to Kip’s other band, it’s pretty much stripped bare, just a strummed electric guitar and Kip’s vocal, which as he himself noted sounds like an almost entirely different person. Lyrically, Kip has suggested the track is, “a reflection on the relationship that began seventeen years ago as a tumultuous and short-lived romance, and grew into a marriage with two children.” Passionate, minimal, raw and honest, The Natvral is a stunning re-invention of Kip Berman’s songwriting, and whisper it, might actually be even better than The Paints Of Being Pure At Heart.
Know Me More is out now via Kanine Records. Click HERE for more information on The Natvral
4. Stick Around For Holly Rees
Call us sentimental old coots, but listening to the music of Holly Rees, we’re instantly transported back to a simpler time. Roll back a decade or more, and acts like Laura Marling, Emmy The Great and Blue Roses were at the forefront of a folk-led movement, acoustic guitars and beautiful words ruled the roost and it felt like the start of a quiet revolution. It didn’t quite pan out like that as the market became saturated with budget Mumford & Sons knock-offs and Mumford & Sons, but Holly Rees reminds us folk is not a dirty word in the pantheon of pop.
Holly released her excellent EP, Slow Down, a few months back, and has this week shared a brand new single, Stick Around. A native of the Durham dales, Holly’s music has that certain wide-eyed rural sheen that only a sky full of stars without the distraction of cars and street lights can bring. “What’s this thing in my chest skipping in circles”, Holly sings with a beautiful simplicity and raw honesty; this is music that makes a connection with no bells and whistles, just a personal truth laid bare for all to see. Now wipe the tears out of your eyes, this is 2018 and the world’s probably on fire, there’s no time for wallowing in nostalgia, ah go on then, maybe just one more play?
Stick Around is out now. Click HERE for more information on Holly Rees.
3. Dan Mangan Explores The Highs And Lows
Vancouver’s Dan Mangan is an artist who has drifted in and out of our musical consciousness since he first emerged more than a decade ago as, “a 20-something troubadour playing coffee shop open mics”. His albums, 2009’s Nice, Nice, Very Nice and 2011’s Oh Fortune resonated greatly, although we must admit we haven’t always kept abreast of his work since. This year he released his fifth studio album, More Or Less, and ahead of his upcoming UK tour has shared the video to the latest single from it, Peaks And Valleys.
More Or Less is in someways the continuation of a classic path for a songwriter, from the youthful man putting the world to rights, to his current incarnation as a father, “raising kids in a turbulent world. It’s about unanswerable questions and kindness and friendship and fear”. Peaks And Valleys, is not just one of the finest tracks on the album, it’s one of the finest Dan has ever written, a tribute to another couple, who like Dan and his wife battle to make a living as artists, raise kids and remain credible and interesting people. It’s a track about riding the waves, keeping everything afloat in the crushing lows and the rare moments of calm serenity; “keep it even, keep her happy, don’t be afraid to love her madly, ‘cause she will steer you and keep you afloat, as you row that boat until you both let go some day.” Beautiful sentiments in a stunning and creative musical package, is there anything not to like about Dan Mangan?
More Or Less is out now via City Slang. Click HERE for more information on Dan Mangan.
2. Don’t Be A Stranger To Fanclub
They might describe themselves as, “just another dream pop band”, yet Fanclub, might just be one of our favourite discoveries of the year. The Austin-based trio wooed many earlier this year with their excellent debut single, Reflection, and have returned this week with a brand new track, Stranger.
Stranger is a perfect collision of synth-wave and classic indie-pop; there’s a touch of New Order in the beats, overlain with fuzzy electronics while the jangling guitar-lines could be lifted from the best Real Estate track. At the forefront throughout is the stunning vocal of Leslie Crunkilton; there’s an ease to her delivery, her words awash with a quiet sense of contemplation and wistful questioning. From the cold backing Leslie’s vocals seem to melt through, like bursts of green-life emerging from the frozen winter ground, ultimately concluding, “we’re all, we’re all, we’re all the same”, a reflection of our shared experience of love and loss. Fanclub might think they are, “just another dream pop band”, although on this evidence they’re breathing new life into what the genre even means.
Stranger is out now via Friendly Reminder. Click HERE for more information on Fanclub.
1. Panic Pocket’s Big New Single
Panic Pocket, the London-based duo of Natalie Healey and Sophie Peacock, have quickly become something of a fixture on the DIY-Scene, wowing crowds at Indietracks, and playing with the likes of Tigercats, Sweet Baboo and Fightmilk. What we haven’t seen a great deal of so far is recorded music, a fact they’re putting right this week with the release of their new single, Mr Big, and B-side, the future-feminist-Christmas classic, Mrs Santa, sample lyric: “wouldn’t it be done on time if a woman did the job? I guess we’ll never know”.
As we’re in danger of going too festive too early, we’ll concentrate largely on the brilliant A-side, Mr Big. Something of a live favourite, the track is, “a result of too many formative Sex In The City marathons”, and finds Panic Pocket wanting to persuade their friends to stop defining themselves by their relationship status. The resulting track is a passionate plea to focus on the power of friendship, “don’t laugh at me, but maybe we could be each other’s soul mates, we can dress up nice and take each other out on lots of hot dates?” Musically, the track marks something of a departure from the band, the presence of Healey and Christabel from Wolf Girl, rounding out Panic Pocket’s lo-fi sound, adding a drive to their natural flare with harmonies and wry-lyricism. A seasonal message from the band that tells us, in Sophie’s own words, to, “take your best friends on dates and treat them like your soulmate because chances are, they’ll love you better than any Manhattan investment banker ever could.”
Mr Big is out today. Click HERE for more information on Panic Pocket.
Header photo is Panic Pocket by Carl Farrugia – http://www.carlfarrugia.co.uk