Five Things We Liked This Week – 02/08/19

Further Listening:

5. Only Cross Record Can Set You Free

Any day where a record involving Emily Cross comes out is a good day in our opinion, already a key factor in two of the decade’s finest records, Cross Record’s Wabi Sabi and Loma’s self-titled debut, today marks the release of Emily’s most solo-record to date, the self-titled third album from Cross Record. Ahead of the release, this week Emily has shared the video to the latest track from the record, I Release You.

Inspired by personal upheaval, as well as a new role in life as a death doula, Cross Record is an album that focuses on themes of departure and separation. In the case of I Release You, this manifests itself as a desire to separate yourself from the identity you’ve created for yourself, as Emily sings, “Why can’t I bring the world with me? Why do I stay in the lines? Why am I afraid to leave what defines me?” Musically, it’s Emily at her most haunted and minimal, it’s a long way from a three minute pop-song, as the always spine-chilling vocal leaps to the foreground, accompanied by a minimal pulse of keys and just a slither of bassy rumbling. A track of self-reflection, transition and doubt, that seems to shudder with all that insecurity, yet conversely it might just be Emily Cross’ most confident musical statement to date.

Cross Record is out today via Ba Da Bing. Click HERE for more information on Cross Record.

4. It’s Your New Pal J.R.

J.R., in this instance is neither a wrestling commentator or the mystery murdered of Dallas fame, instead it’s Julianna Riolino, a singer-songwriter hailing from Niagara. This week Julianna has shared the brand new single, Pal.

Pal is an exploration of youth and, “naive invincibility”, that feeling so omnipresent in youth of feeling entirely misunderstood. As Juliana explains it’s a song that transports her back to those moments, those experiences of falling in and out of love, the realisation your parents are flawed people, “just like you”, and that no matter how hard you try, youth won’t last forever. Musically, the track has some of that naivety, and also the wisdom of time passing on, the slight wobble in the guitar-line, the just-off beat pulse of the bass; it’s woozy and nostalgic while still hinting that feeling can’t possibly last forever. At the forefront throughout the song is J.R.’s vocal, a gorgeous Caitlin Rose-like country lilt with just a hint of the bedroom melancholy of Soccer Mommy or Frankie Cosmos. We’re not sure where J.R.’s emerged from, or where they’re going next, we can’t wait to find out more though!

Pal is out now. Click HERE for more information on J.R.

3. Find A Place For Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something

Regular readers will be well aware of our admiration for Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something, the London-based trio fronted, as you’d expect, by Jemma Freeman, previously of Bella Union-signed dreamy-psych types, Landshapes. Now branching out as the driving force of their own project, they’ve recently announced their debut album would be out later this year on Trapped Animal Records, and has this week shared a brand new single, Find A Place.

Find A Place is a song about self-acceptance and empowerment, as Jemma explains, “the concept of the song itself is about the duality of our internal and external representations of ourselves. The idea of feeling empowered and the external image finally matching with my internal narrative”. Much of that new found acceptance comes from the decision Jemma made to start performing as their alter-ego, Jeff, “I’ve always felt genderless or imbued with maleness when I play live but it wasn’t until I performed in drag that i felt I could access those parts of me”. Musically, Find A Place feels like another leap forward for the band’s sound, a less frantic number than some of their previous material, it brings Jemma’s way with a melody and the expansive, dreamy-production to the fore. The production is fascinating, band member and producer Mark Estall has suggested it was heavily influenced by Spiritualized, and the idea of recording two versions of the track in Mono, before playing them simultaneously panned to the hard-left and the hard-right of the mix: the result is ethereal, unnerving and absolutely huge. It’s a really wonderful sign for a band to be progressing so quickly in all directions, on this evidence their album is going to be one of the year’s most exciting debuts.

Oh Really, What’s That Then? is out later this year on Trapped Animal Records. Click HERE for more information on Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something.

2. Show Me More Girl Ray

Girl Ray are back, and they might never quite be the same again. While their debut album, Earl Grey, was a distinctly indie-affair, even from one song the follow up, Girl, feels like an entirely different beast. Shooting out reference points like Ariana Grande and Rhianna, Girl Ray have emerged ready to redefine their sound and embrace their inner pop star. The first taster of Girl, emerged this week in the shape of their single, Show Me More.

Described by the band, rather wonderfully as being about, “crushing really hard but having to play the long game and wait it out because your boo is playing savage games”, Show Me More is a proper pop-song, combining icy vocals, a thumping bass-line and a guitar-line that Nile Rodgers would be proud of. If you’re panicking that the Girl Ray you know and love are dead and gone, well we can see why, yet remain calm, peel back the layers and it’s all still there, this is still Girl Ray just wearing a leopard-print jacket, donning a pair of sunglasses and strutting directly for the dancefloor. Bold, different and more than ready to divide opinion; they probably won’t even notice as they’ll soon be swimming in champagne and using gold disks as coasters – these stars are reborn!

Girl is out November 8th via Moshi Moshi. Click HERE for more information on Girl Ray.

1. Angel Olsen Offers A Glimpse In The Mirror

Showing that time truly does fly, it has been over three years since we last heard from Angel Olsen, on the career defining master-piece that was MY WOMAN. While we’d noticed a gentle re-oiling of the gears of late, with a somewhat surprising collaboration with Mark Ronson and a roll-out of some new tour dates, this week we received confirmation that a new Angel Olsen record is on the way in October, alongside sharing the title track, All Mirrors.

Described as, “an introspective deep dive towards internal destinations and revelations”, Angel’s new record was initially planned as two sides of the same coin, a double album, featuring both stripped back and full versions of the same songs, yet with the freedom of having the bare bones versions, Angel got truly creative and became entirely enamoured with the record, “in its heaviest form”. On the evidence of the title track, this might just be Angel Olsen’s most ambitious record to date, the comforting safety rope of the unmistakable vocal remains to the fore, yet now it’s accompanied by a dense soundscape of synths, strings and heavy pounding percussion. A bold statement of intent, it’s simply a pleasure to have Angel Olsen back out in the world.

All Mirrors is out October 4th via Jagjaguwar. Click HERE for more information on Angel Olsen.

Header photo is Angel Olsen by Cameron McCool – http://www.cameronmccool.net

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