Five Things We Liked This Week – 09/08/19

Further Listening:

5. Sour Widow Play Tommy To You On New Single

Hailing from the Bay Area (we assume the one in San Francisco rather than Morecambe or Whitby), Sour Widows were formed back in 2018 by three longtime friends with a shared musical vision. The band are currently building up to the release of their debut EP, and have this week shared the first single from it, Tommy.

Citing influences from Big Thief to Forth Wanderers, on Tommy, Sour Widows walk the line between heavy and melodic, as gorgeous vocal harmonies contrast with the steady clatter of drums and chunky, slacker-influenced guitar lines. Lyrically, the track is laced with a churning longing for the past mixed with a whole lot of doubt it’s even worth the hassle, “I felt lonely somehow as echoes of you came out of the mouths of strangers. Are you gonna be the one I think of?” The band recently described this track as something of an outlier to their upcoming music, if it’s all this good, it’s going to be an EP to get very excited about.

Sour Widows self-titled EP will be out later this year. Click HERE for more information.

4. Esther Rose Lower’s The Tone

We’ve raved about the music New Orleans-based songwriter Esther Rose in the past, and with very good reason. Esther’s second album, You Made It This Far, is set for release later this month, and this week she’s shared the latest single from it, Lower 9 Valentine.

Described by Esther as, “a sweet song about love”, the track came to her as she was driving and she immediately pulled over to write it down, only later when she played it to her boyfriend remembering that she actually hates Valentine’s Day. Whether you love the greeting card’s industries finest invention or not, there’s a lot to love in Esther’s slightly clingy take on love and infatuation. Set to a backing of Parisian-sounding fiddles and a twangy almost Hawaiian lead guitar, Esther pleads with someone to show a little commitment, “I know you got some girls at home, please make them go away, clear some room on top the shelf I think I’m going to stay”. Love sick fever or the real deal, Esther seems to revel in the glow of it all, Valentine’s Day has never sounded so good.

You Made It This Far is out August 23rd via Father/Daughter Records. Click HERE for more information on Esther Rose.

3. Good Night Sweet Dry Cleaning

Rapidly rising quartet, Dry Cleaning, only played their debut show last year, yet are already shaping up to be one of the year’s most exciting new bands. The band are set to release their debut EP, Sweet Princess, next month, and have this week shared the second single from it, Goodnight.

Described by vocalist Florence Shaw as, “a mixture of inner monologue, YouTube comments describing memories of songs, and phrases collected from adverts on TV”, Goodnight combines the band’s wiry-garage soundtrack with Florence’s distinct, spoken vocal style. On first listen the phrases seem almost random, snippets of personal information shared with the internet, advertising phrases designed to keep us down and hating ourselves, yet on further listening they seem to form patterns. They form into a reflection on where we are, a collage of ideas coalescing into a vision of life in 2019, in all its weird free-form wonder. Dry Cleaning might just be the sound of now, terrifying, exciting and entirely captivating; just don’t blame us when you can’t tear your ears away.

Sweet Princess is out August 16th via It’s OK. Click HERE for more information on Dry Cleaning.

2. Get Your Step Count Up For Richard Dawson’s New Single

Richard Dawson, “the black-humoured bard of Newcastle”, has this week detailed his upcoming album, 2020, his first since the acclaimed Peasant in 2017. A portrait of the here and now, 2020, is Richard’s own, “state of the nation study”, a reflection on tumultuous politics, bleak futures and a society teetering on the edge. While the album won’t arrive until later in this year, Richard has shared the first taste of it, the seven-minute plus everyday-epic, Jogging.

Like so much of Richard’s idiosyncratic musical output, Jogging is simultaneously a study of minute personal details and wider, societal themes, with to the point, stream-of-consciousness-like lyrics, Richard reflects on the benefits of jogging in dealing with anxiety, while making a wider point about the difficulty of life in austerity-hit Britain. Richard’s portraits might initially feel like unrelated character sketches, yet they reveal themselves to be part of a bigger picture, people struggling to get by, and finding a way to do it. Life is strange and hard and wonderful, as Richard sings, “there’s no such thing as a quick fix”, but we have to try, what else can we do?

2020 is out October 19th via Weird World/Domino. Click HERE for more information on Richard Dawson.

1. The Wide Sea Contains An Octopuses Garden Centre

Garden Centre is the musical vehicle for songwriter, Max Levy. Across their first two albums, they explored friendships forged in the fires of forgotten spaces, energy drink consumption and semi-rural exploration, with results considerably more accessible than you might imagine. Recorded with a backing band consisting of members of Porridge Radio, the third Garden Centre album, A Moon For Digging, is set for release in November and this week Max has shared the first single from it, Wide Sea.

Listening to Wide Sea, in the best way possible, it’s instantly Garden Centre’s most accessible sounding track to date. Described by Max as a song about, “being incredibly worried about somebody, and to devoting yourself to worry”, it’s a track considerably more positive than that might sound, it seems to seek comfort in the vastness of the world, embracing the freedom that comes with not being able to control everything. While the sea can be a metaphor for bleakness and fear, Max seems to revel in it, joyously declaring, “it’s a wide sea that opens up in front of me, it’s a wide sea, it’s wide sea, and I can’t tell what’s underneath”. The record was created with a simple ethos, “making songs for the sake of art, making art so you can make sense of the world and making that art with your friends, so you can make sense of the world, together.” Excellent advice that might just have created Max’s finest musical statement to date.

Moon For Digging is out November 1st via Kanine Records (US) and Specialist Subject (UK). Click HERE for more information on Garden Centre.

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