Five Things We Liked This Week – 05/04/19

Further Listeing:

5. Field Medic Want To Be Your Friend

We mentioned the upcoming Field Medic album, Fade Into Dawn, back in February. The songwriting vehicle of Los Angeles based songwriter Kevin Patrick, Field Medic have this week shared the latest, stunningly candid, offering from that record, The Bottle’s My Love, She’s Just My Friend.

The track is, as you’d perhaps expect from the title, a reflection on Kevin’s relationship with alcohol as he explains, “I was sort of seeing somebody & was reflecting on how more times than not they would ask me to come hang out or do something & I would decline under the pretense of being busy, but wind up drinking alone in my room… maybe making art, but mostly just drinking for the sake of getting drunk”. Kevin’s cracked vocal is left perfectly bare, with just a flutter of guitar and the sporadic pulses of reverberating piano chords as the whole track seems to play out like some uneasy, problematic relationship. Throughout, Kevin and the bottle are locked together, seemingly doing neither of them any good, and despite knowing that he seems to fall back to it, “can’t find any reason or cause to believe in so the bottle’s my saviour like it’s always been”. Bruised and brutally honest, here Field Medic offer no light at the end of the tunnel, just a reminder that from the bottom, the only way is up.

Fade Into The Dawn is out April 19th via Run For Cover Records. Click HERE for more information on Field Medic.

4. Julia Shaprio Is A Natural

Back in April 2018, Julia Shapiro, singer and guitarist in the acclaimed Chastity Belt, was on the verge of giving the whole thing up, “at that point I couldn’t even imagine playing a show again, I was so over it.” A combination of a difficult break-up, health issues and an existential crisis left her feeling entirely out of control. Tour dates were cancelled and Julia headed back to Seattle, to a one bed apartment. It was there that she fell back in love with music, and Julia’s debut solo album, Perfect Vision was born.

While the album won’t see the light of day until June, this week Julia has shared the first offering from it, her new single, Natural. Like much of the record, Natural seems to deal with the complex feelings we have for ourselves. It starts off with Julia looking to others and questioning how they can, from the outside at least, seem so confident, “how can somebody be so blindly confident? I want to know that trick, how can you love yourself? So damn so much, it isn’t natural.” The delivery is laced not with spite, but with genuine bewilderment at how others can be so confident in their own skin; as the track progresses, Julia grapples with ideas of how to learn to love, and perhaps even more importantly accept herself. This is the sound of self-discovery and recovery, of taking time out to truly know who you are and who you want to be, by stepping back Julia Shapiro might just have taken a giant leap forward.

Perfect Version is out June 14th via Hardly Art. Click HERE for more information on Julia Shapiro.

3. Keel Her Lose Control

Some eleven years ago, a fourteen-year-old Rose Keeler-Schaffeler, aka Keel Her, scoured the charity shops and car boot sales of Winchester for instruments and began writing songs, and she hasn’t really stopped since. The latest offering, and quite possibly Rose’s most high profile to date, is set to come with the June release of a new album, With Kindness, the first track from which, No Control, was shared earlier this week.

Discussing the record, Rose has suggested it’s a record of catharticism, “a collection of the past few years; frustrations, mental health issues, over-controlling relationships, being judged by the judgemental, being stuck in a routine you don’t want to be in”. No Control seems to fit into that world, “I am only 23, I live my life through other beings”, Rose sings with not so much anger as resignation. The battle for control of her own life seems to be present throughout, alongside a slightly weary feeling of having to constantly fight for that. Musically, this feels like something of a departure, there’s a touch of Cate Le Bon in the multi-tracked vocals, a bit of Ultimate Painting in the steady, rhythmic repetition, and an awful lot of ideas that seem to be entirely Rose’s own. This is a record from a dark period, and perhaps it was a record that needed to be made, as Rose herself puts it, “it feels like it had to be recorded for the feelings to dissipate”. Onwards and upwards, Keel Her have never sounded better.

With Kindness is out June 7th via O Genesis Recordings. Click HERE for more information on Keel Her.

2. Porridge Radio’s Compromising New Single

Porridge Radio originally started life in the bedroom of Dana Margolin, a solo experimentation in learning to perform, Dana rather wonderfully describes as, “me alone at open mic nights shouting at a room of old men”. Now expanded to a four-piece band splitting their time between London and Brighton, Porridge Radio have this week returned with Give/Take, their first new material since their 2016 debut, Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers, a record every bit as good as its title.

Talking about the track, Dana describes it as, “a song about desire and confusion”, about learning to know what you want, what you need and learning to take it and not feel guilty about it. Musically, this feels like a giant leap forward from the intriguing, if slightly chaotic nature of the band’s earlier material; repetition is at the heart of the track, it locks into a rhythmic groove, as guitars and vocals create the songs dynamic, as they shift from quiet contemplation to passionate howls. “I like you and you like me, but I’ve got other things that make me happy”, Dana sings as the track reaches a quiet crescendo, sometimes wanting something, or someone, isn’t the answer, sometimes you’ve just got to put yourself first, and be okay with doing just that.

Give/Take is out now via Memorials Of Distinction. Click HERE for more information on Porridge Radio.

1. Vera Sola’s Crooked New Single

Towards the end of last year you couldn’t look at the music press without finding critics falling over themselves to throw praise in the direction of Vera Sola’s debut album, Shades, and rightly so. Literate, theatrical and entirely solo, it was a stunning introduction to one of music’s most exciting new voices. Vera is set to return to UK shores later this month for a handful of dates, and to celebrate has shared a brand new single, Crooked Houses.

Vera has correctly suggested this is something of a departure for her, a conscious decision was made not to bury, “perceived imperfections in a soundscape”. The whole thing is laid bare and, despite for the first time on record featuring the presence of other musicians, feels like a more intimate and personal sound than ever before. There’s something delightfully lo-fi about the production here, not in the scrappy, punky sense; there’s just no attempt to dress the recording in ornate musical trinkets. Hypnotic guitar patterns are full of buzzing frets and quietly muted tone, the double-bass is prominent and booming, the vocal has a warm echoing beauty to it; it’s all stunningly, primally honest. Even the track’s lyrical content seems to have a winning simplicity to it; “the old familiar scars they tell me, that baby, you’ll break my heart”, it’s a statement musicians have been making since music began, yet it doesn’t feel trite or obvious, just stark, bruised and wonderfully candid. Another compelling piece in a growing body of evidence that Vera Sola is a songwriter with a very bright future.

Shades is out now. Click HERE for more information on Vera Sola.

Header photo is Vera Sola by Damon Duke – https://yearzerovisuals.com

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