Five Things We Liked This Week – 22/03/19

Further Listening:

5. An End Is A New Beginning For Mammoth Penguins

As we mentioned just a few weeks back, the Cambridge-based trio Mammoth Penguins are soon to return with their third album, There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win. This week the band have announced an array of dates across Spring and early Summer, as well as sharing the video to the record’s second single, Closure.

Discussing the inspiration behind the track, front woman Emma Kupa has suggested Closure, “is a song about an interaction, or day, or moment, or occurrence when something shifts and feelings that you may have been carrying around for a while just dissipate”. The track seems to not mourn this passing feeling but celebrate it and cherish the freedom that it brings. Musically, this feeling manifests as probably their heaviest, most dynamic track to date; the moments of shimmering calm never lasting long before a crashing crescendo of rhythmic noise comes roaring into their place. The mighty chorus serves as reminder of the band’s ability to write a scream-your-heart-out refrain; “all the yearning and all the regret, all the sadness just left me”, surely set to soundtrack every storming out of the house moment in indie films for years to come. Plus there is an excellent feather-flying, pillow fighting video courtesy of director Fraser Watson, so what’s not to like really?

There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win is released on 26th April 2019 via Fika Recordings. Click HERE for more information on Mammoth Penguins.

4. Porlolo Call It Quits

Firstly, apologies for any panic caused by the headline above, Porlolo aren’t quitting music or anything drastic, bandleader Erin Roberts has just done the far more sensible thing of ditching the day job and writing a song about it. The stand-alone single, I Quit, is the first new material since the Denver act’s 2018 album, Awards, with Erin also confirming work is underway on a brand new album for later this year.

Discussing the track, Erin has cited the influence of the 60’s pop on the track’s sound, with twanging guitar lines, doo-wop like vocals and strutting bass-line, adding a distinct girl-group swagger to Porlolo’s usual wide-screen country-rock vibe. The track was actually written prior to Erin walking out of her job, as she explains, “singing this song puts power back in my hands when the going gets rough. I’ve used it as mantra to sing repeatedly to myself when faced with tough situations. Dehumanizing bosses, turgid gatekeepers, class ceilings, blind eyes. Sometimes when there’s nothing nice left to say, you can just say ‘I QUIT’.” An anthem we’ve probably all been able to relate to at some point, thankfully seventeen years into a musical career Porlolo sound better than ever, and nowhere near ready to quit the important stuff.

I Quit is out now. Click HERE for more information on Porlolo.

3. Rebekka Reinhard Blossoming New Single

Rebekca Reinhard is a songwriter used to existing in two worlds at once, splitting her time between Stockholm and London. This perhaps is equally clear in her songwriting, sometimes dreamy and atmospheric and at others driving and dynamic. Both sides are likely to be on show with today’s release of Rebecka’s second EP, Valentine Road, which was recently preceded by the excellent single, Geraniums.

Like all of Valentine Road, Geraniums was recorded with a highly minimal set-up, in between working long shifts to make ends meet. The result is perhaps unexpected though, it isn’t a classically DIY sounding record; Rebecka’s  guitar-work is shimmering and processed, the wash of Mellotron adding a warm hazy feel, alongside the perfect, multi-tracked vocals. Geraniums is about, well Geraniums; one particular Geranium in fact, which was purchased from Colombia Road Market and became a potent symbol of a time in Rebecka’s life dominated by break-ups and regrowth in a new city; “they became symbolic of my time in London, and a part of me still takes comfort in dwelling on the old melancholies brought up when thinking about that part of my life”.  While still early days for Rebecka’s music, Valentine Road sounds like a songwriter truly coming to terms with where their music is going, this quietly thrilling record could be the start of something very special.

Valentine Road is out today via Breakfast Records. Click HERE for more information on Rebecka Reinhard.

2. Cate Le Bon Matters

What do you get if you cross one of this generation’s finest songwriting talents, the beautiful landscapes of the Lake District and a lot of wooden furniture? The answer might just be Cate Le Bon’s upcoming album, Rewards. Written in near solitude, Rewards was concocted by, “playing the piano to yourself and singing into the night”, resulting in a record that has been suggested might just be Cate’s most personal  to date.

The first evidence was presented this week in the shape of the frankly wonderful new single, Daylight Matters. The aforementioned piano is present throughout, yet almost slips into the background beneath pulses of synth and meandering guitar lines. The whole thing feels wonderfully close, almost to the point of claustrophobia, the lyrics laced with a question longing, where the repeated, “I love you”, is just a small part of a bigger story. There’s a particularly wonderful moment shortly before three minutes, where a multitude of Cate’s sing, “c’mon”, not in tight harmonies but in arresting, jarring contrast to one another, like you’re surrounded by multiple versions of her, each with their own interpretation of a moment. At once this feels like a bold next step, and a reminder of why Cate Le Bon’s music was already so special, now is the time to mark Rewards down as this year’s most anticipated new record.

Rewards is out May 24th via Mexican Summer. Click HERE for more information on Cate Le Bon.

1. Strictly No Smoking On Board This Boat

As they prepare to take their new slim-line four-piece out on the road for their longest run of dates to date, London’s Tugboat Captain returned recently with their new single, Be Strong, Smoke Less.

The track is loosely based around a conversation between principle songwriter, Alexander Sokolow, and his mother. It’s a musing on the difficulties in shaping yourself into the image another person wants you to be; whether that’s your mother telling you to be healthy, or an ex-lover you still hope you might win back. The vocals come in a call and response fashion, as the mother pleads, “be strong, eat well, if you’re better she can tell”, before Alex’s resigned response, “I’ve tried, but I still miss her all the time”. It’s a track laced with hopelessly romantic one-liners, not least the repeated chorus, “nobody wants a mess, I’m just trying to try my best”. While lyrically this feels a natural progression for the band, musically it’s something of a departure, taking on a fuller sound from their earlier home recordings, as wavering retro-electronics and woodwind come to the fore. Prolific and ambitious, Tugboat Captain are a band growing with every release, and with tour dates spanning from Glasgow to Truro, there’s a very good chance they’re coming to a venue near you soon.

Be Strong, Smoke Less is out now. Click HERE for more information on Tugboat Captain.

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