Five Things We Liked This Week – 16/08/19

Further Listening:

5. Amy O Inhabits Her Own Planet

We last heard from Amy Oelsner, or Amy O to her fans, in 2017 with the release of the well-received Elastic. Two years on the Bloomington songwriter is back with this week’s announcement of her new album, Shell, due out in October on Winspear. Alongside that announcement Amy has shared a brand new single, Planet Blue.

Continuing Amy’s way with a homemade pop song, Planet Blue, is equal parts 1960’s Girl Group and 1990’s grunger, a world of sashaying melodies and crunchy guitar lines. As well as musically fabulous, Planet Blue also impressively dissects the way seemingly contradicting emotions are able to survive in harmony, a world of grief and young-love, where, “light, silly feelings can sometimes coexist with depression. Both can be present and that’s okay”. Amy’s new album may be a Shell, although on this evidence it’s got a lot more depth to it than that.

Shell is out October 25th via Winspear. Click HERE for more information on Amy O.

4. Breaking News: Boy Scouts Hate U2

Boy Scouts is the musical project of Taylor Vick, a Californian-native, who after being brought up on a diet of, “country music and The Carpenters”, picked up a guitar at the age of 10 and never looked back. Taylor’s latest musical move will be detailed later this month with the release of a brand new album, Free Company, and this week she has shared the latest track from it, Hate Ya 2.

Hate Ya 2 is a delightfully dreamy slice of bedroom-pop, seeming to inhabit the same world of lush melodies and gentle introspection as acts like Lomelda or Frankie Cosmos. Atop the tick of a drum-machine, Taylor and collaborator Rose Droll weave gentle piano runs and swooping slides of twinkling guitar, as her lyrics navigate a world of conflicted feelings. Discussing the track, Taylor has suggested Hate Ya 2 is about the feeling when, “you still have love for someone who can also make you feel undervalued and hurt”, a classic tale of mixed emotions and grappling with just how close hate and love can feel at times. Although sadly not an attempt to get some internet beef going with Bono, Hate Ya 2 is none the less a hugely impressive moment from a songwriter who is improving with every track.

Free Company is out August 30th. Click HERE for more information on Boy Scouts.

3. A Brief Guide To Guessing At Animals

Field Guides, the Brooklyn-based collective led by Benedict Kupstas, first emerged back in 2012, and have spent what is rapidly closing in on a decade expanding in both members and ambition. This week the band have announced their second full length record, This Is Just A Place, as well as sharing the first single from it, Guessing At Animals.

A slice of atmospheric folk pitched somewhere between the expansive music-world of Fanfarlo and the downbeat introspection of Elvis Depressedly, Guessing At Animals instantly feels like a leap forward. At the heart of the song’s appeal is a back and forth between Benedict and his, “someone new”, voiced by the delightful tones of Jamie Reeder, as the pair play out a romantic encounter, doomed or otherwise. It all seems to be going so well until the pair part, and Benedict, walking home alone, gets stuck on the line, “this is the first song not about you”, as the spectre of his ex creeps into view, is, “Benny boy”, ready to move on? He might have a new subject for a song, but as he admits, “I’m not sure, not just yet, can this go a little more?” Like the first chapter of a really engrossing book, Guessing At Animals hooks you in and has you wanting to find out how it ends, come September we might just find the answer.

This Is Just A Place is out September 27th via Whatever’s Close. Click HERE for more information on Field Guides.

2. This Is Not The New Big Thief Single

If you’re a follower of this general musical world we call indie-alternative-whatever, you’ll almost certainly have had a website tell you about how great Big Thief are already, and just to re-iterate, Big Thief are really great. The band have already made one huge statement of intent this year with the release of the sublime, U.F.O.F. This week the band have surprised and delighted in equal measure with news that they’re releasing their second album of the year, Two Hands, the “earth twin” to U.F.O.F.’s more celestial ways.

Celebrating this news, the band have also shared the first taste of the record, Not, which is quite possibly their finest single to date. Two Hands was recorded in Sonic Ranch studio, specially chosen for its vast desert location, and you can almost hear it in Not, particularly in the fizzing intensity of the guitar solo that is about half a song long and worth every second. When not fawning over the guitar solo, there’s also plenty to admire in Adrianne Lenker’s cryptic poetry, we get a series of things that are “not” it, yet our imaginations are left to run wild as to what it could be, Adrianne’s ability to hide meaning and have you striving to find it is truly remarkable. Two Hands has been described by the band as, “political songs without political language”, a series of, “genuine attempts to point the listener towards the very real dangers that face our planet”, the world is almost literally burning, and Big Thief are asking, even begging you to wake up and do something about it, in doing so, they might just have made their most important and thrilling record to date.

Two Hands is out October 11th via 4AD. Click HERE for more information on Big Thief.

1. How Do You Like Your El Tee?

El Tee is the musical project of Californian-Melbournian songwriter, Lauren Tarver. Lauren started performing as El Tee just a year ago, and has quickly established herself on the thriving Melbourne music scene. We featured Lauren’s music back in April last year, and as we await news of the debut El Tee album, this week Lauren has shared her latest single, How I Like It.

Discussing the inspiration behind the track, Lauren has suggested How I Like It is about emerging from a toxic relationship, “where self-worth was put into the hands of another”. Musically, the track melds the intimate closeness of bedroom-folk with a more expansive, widescreen indie-feel, recalling the likes of Stef Chura or Jessica Lea-Mayfield. A song about rediscovering yourself outside of the controlling influence of another, releasing How I Like It might just be the perfect way of moving on, a statement of self-worth and a reminder of just how exciting an artist El Tee is.

How I Like It is out now via AWAL. Click HERE for more information on El Tee.

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