Five Things We Liked This Week – 22/08/19

Further Listening:

5. Toobin or Not Toobin – What Was The Question?

Toobin are a hot off the presses trio from Queens, New York, and after scouring the internet we’ve been able to find out, err, not a lot really. What we do know is that they’ve just put out a new double-A single, Hemorrhaging Light / Deku Scrub, and it’s really rather charming!

There’s a classic indie-pop feel to Toobin’s sound, all scratch Car Seat Headrest-like guitar lines, downbeat vocal delivery, and rapid, shimmying drum beats. Hemorrhaging Light is the more skittering of the two, as rapid guitar chords, and snare driven drums recall Expert Alterations or Literature. If Hemorrhaging Light, is the more immediate, Deku Scrub is just as intriguing, the whole thing is cut through with a pulsating bass-line, and is an all-together more spacious affair. What Toobin have planned for us, well we haven’t got a clue, and there’s something entirely refreshing about that!

Hemorrhaging Light / Deku Scrub is out now. Click HERE for more information on Toobin.

4. Kelly Comes Out From Behind Bars

Although forever associated with a particularly polished type of country-music, Nashville is quickly becoming a hot-bed for a much more varied collection of musicians. The latest name to emerge from the Tennessee capital is Kelly Hoppenjans, a songwriter equal parts power-pop perfection and riot grrrl rebellion. Kelly is set to release her debut album in October, and has this week shared the record’s stand-out moment, If I Had You (Love Letter From A Padded Cell).

On the surface an exploration of an obsessive romanticism, the track is actually a tongue-in-cheek thumb in the eye of the stereotype of, “crazy”, ex-girlfriends, as Kelly explains, “calling a woman ‘crazy’ is an easy way to dismiss the way she is feeling by making her seem overly emotional or irrational”. Recalling the likes of Tacocat or Field Mouse, the track walks the like between driving indie-rock and polished pop perfection, Kelly’s powerful vocal sat atop a musical backing of pulsating drums and clattering guitars. A sun-drenched wonder of a song, with an important lyrical message hidden underneath,  there’s an awful lot to enjoy about Kelly Hoppenjans.

Ok, I Feel Better Now is out October 18th. Click HERE for more information on Kelly Hoppenjans.

3. Say Haleo To Alexei Shishkin

Oh great another musician from Brooklyn we hear you cry, well not quite as Alexei Shishkin actually started his musical journey backing in Los Angeles before re-locating to New York via Portland. Alex has been making music for a number of years now and is set to release his self-titled, sixth album next month, and has this week shared the first single from it, Haleo.

There’s a nostalgia that runs through Haleo, a track inspired by, “all things that remind of my friend”, whether that’s Balkan music or California beaches. Musically, it might just be Alexei’s most stripped back offering to date, much of it was demoed into his phone, alongside computer generated drums, and a lot of that lo-fi, spacious atmosphere is maintained in the finished product. A songwriter growing into his art, by stripping everything, Alexei Shiskin might never have shined brighter.

Alexei Shishkin’s selt-titled album is out September 20th via Forged Artifacts. Click HERE for more information on Alexei Shishkin.

2. Get On The Bonnie Songs Train – Coo Coo

We featured Bonniesongs aka Bonnie Stewart, back in June around the release of Ice Cream, the first taste of her upcoming EP, Energetic Minds. With the record’s release date roaring into view, out on Small Ponds Records in a fortnight, Bonnie has this week shared the latest track from it, the hypnotic, Coo Coo.

Discussing the inspiration behind the track, Bonnie has suggested the track is a visualisation of a cuckoo coming out of its clock, “and just having a good time”, touching on themes of, “freedom, escapism, liberation and identity”, in the process. Musically, the track is a beautiful blurring of simplicity and complexity, built around a looped guitar line, Bonnie then used a loop station, to play around with waves of smooth simple vocals. The clever touch is using the voice not just for melody, it also adds a rhythm to proceedings, as clipped vocals and chirps add percussive notes atop the more traditional drums and bassy synth. There’s a fascinating musical mind at work here, someone who seems to see music slightly different to the average, not re-inventing the wheel so much, as sending it spinning off in new directions, and following it wherever it goes.

Energetic Mind is out September 6th via Small Pond Records. Click HERE for more information on Bonniesongs.

1. Be Aware Of Incoming Great Grandpa

Following the release of Plastic Cough, their 2017 debut album, Great Grandpa were a tight-knit touring unit, the quintet lived life as an almost singular entity. Following that intense time, rest was inevitable, and with it came a more mature approach and solitary approach to songwriting. Much of the follow up, Four of Arrows, was written across solo songwriting sessions, and came to life when the band returned to the studio and combined their collective wares. While we won’t hear the album until October, this week the band shared the first taste of it, new single, Mono no Aware.

Mono no Aware is something of a change of direction for the band, the youthful hi-jinks of their debut replaced with something more vulnerable and inward gazing. Gently processed vocals flutter in twitchy harmonies, as steady drums ticket and bold washes of keys and cyclical guitar patterns, create a hazy and expansive soundscape. Recalling the likes of Stars or New Pornographers, rested and rejuvenated Great Grandpa seem to be a band maturing without losing the essence that appealed so much in the first placed, put simply they’ve never sounded better.

Four of Arrows is out October 25th via Double Double Whammy Records (US) / Big Scary Monsters (UK). Click HERE for more information on Great Grandpa.

Header photo is Great Granpda by West Smith

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