Five Things We Liked This Week – 20/09/19

Further Listening:

5. Alexa Goes Where The Wild Roses Grow

Based out of Asheville in Carolina, Alexa Rose, is an Americana songwriter in the truest sense, combining elements of folk and country music from across the entire landscape of the USA. Teaming up with the Big Legal Mess label, Alexa is set to release her debut album, Medicine For Living, next month, which looks set to see her follow Esther and Caitlin, as the latest excellent country-songwriter to have the surname Rose.

Ahead of that release, Alexa has this week shared the latest single from the record, The Last Wildflower, a song about the passing of the seasons that is equally indebted to, “Appalachian folk and Memphis country”. The track was inspired by noting how as the summer faded, the landscape took on a sort of rugged beauty, every bit as enticing as its full-blooming peak, with, “just a few defiant yellow blooms contrasting against grey skies and high country cold fronts”. For Alexa the passing of the seasons didn’t conjure feelings of sadness, instead serving as a reminder that life is full of cycles. Musically, the track is a delightfully subtle affair, as the prominent strums of an acoustic guitar are cut through with waves of gorgeous slide guitar and Alexa’s crystal clear vocal lines. Like the the last wildflowers that are just around the corner, there’s an awful lot to love in the music of Alexa Rose.

Medicine For Living is out October 4th via Big Legal Mess. Click HERE for more information on Alexa Rose.

4. Hold Onto Your Bones

Wished Bone is the DIY-folk project of Ohio-based songwriter, Ashley Rhodus. Constructing music in her basements with, “borrowed instruments and broken tape machines”, Ashley’s songwriting creates a deeply human world of warm-afternoon sunshine and having nowhere to rush to, the sound of the small moments that make a life well led. Wished Bone’s second album, Sap Season is due out in November, and this week they’ve shared the first single from it, Hold Me.

On first listen you could mistake Hold Me for something quite stripped back, there’s a gentleness and intimacy to it normally associated with  acoustic-troubadour’s, yet scratch the surface and it’s a lot more interesting than that. The track is largely propelled by the glacial-paced bass-line, around which guitars, keys and gorgeous wood-wind flitter, like hummingbirds buzzing around a sloth. There’s nods to the likes of Cate Le Bon or Hand Habits, yet somehow Ashley’s musical vision shines beyond her influences, as the best songwriting always does. This instantly feels like an introduction into Wished Bone’s universe, a hand reaching out and guiding you to somewhere, don’t worry though, there’s no rush, music this good seems to have all the time in the world.

Sap Season is out November 1st. Click HERE for more information on Wished Bone

3. Angel Olsen’s New Single Is A Right Lark

As we mentioned just a few weeks back, Angel Olsen is gearing up to release All Mirrors, her fourth and quite possibly most anticipated release to date. Described by Angel as a record about, “owning up to your darkest side, finding the capacity for new love and trusting change”, we’ll get to hear All Mirrors next month, and this week Angel has shared the latest track from it, the majestic Lark.

Clocking in at over six minutes, and featuring an 11-piece string section, Lark could easily be mistaken for Angel at her most bombastic and impersonal, yet there’s another side to Lark hiding beneath the dense arrangements. “Hiding out inside my head, it’s me again, it’s no surprise, I’m on my own now”, for all the grandeur, this is Angel at her most personal and insular. It’s a track that almost feels like being trapped in your own head, there’s a claustrophobia to the strings and the repetitive pounding drums, yet at the centre of it all is a singular voice, whether accompanied by John Barry-like strings or a meditative Velvet Underground-like pulse, it’s always that voice, above all else, that demands your attention. It may lack the instant sugary thrills of Shut Up Kiss Me or the raw angsty charms of Hi-Five, yet as Lark slowly worms into your brain, it already feels like Angel’s finest work to date.

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

2. Perfume Genius Has An Eye For Detail

We last heard from Mike Hadreas the songwriter behind Perfume Genius back in 2017, with the release of their acclaimed fourth album, No Shape. After extensively touring that album, Mike has spent most of the year working on something completely different. The Sun Still Burns Here is a dance and music performance collaboration between Perfume Genius and Seattle-based choreographer Kate Wallich. The piece is set to debut in October, and this week they’ve shared one of the track’s from the piece, Eye in the Wall.

Perfume Genius has described Eye in the Wall as, “a cosmic peep show”, a voyeuristic vision of, “dancers unlatched from the Matrix and truly LIVING“. Musically, the track is unlike anything you’ve heard from Perfume Genius, while their music has always been visceral, as much about the body as the heart, here it becomes almost entirely fluid, a hypnotic pulse of twitching electronics, primal rhythms, and Mike’s crooning vocals. It feels like music from some hidden underworld, all laced with an unspoken, overwhelming feeling of being entirely free. If most musician’s said their next move was going to be a dance piece rather than an album, you’d be slightly worried they’d lost their mind, in Perfume Genius’ capable hands, this already feels like a natural and intriguing step into their music’s future.

The Sun Still Burns Here premieres in October with dates across the USA. Click HERE for more information on Perfume Genius.

1. Fran’s In Good Company

The first thing you need to know about Fran is that Fran’s name isn’t actually Fran, it’s Maria Jacobsen, an actor and songwriter hailing from Chicago. The debut Fran album, A Private Picture, is set to arrive in November, and this week they’ve shared the first single from it, Company.

With its bruising guitar lines and heavy hitting snare-drums, Company is something of a snarling affair, a visceral interpretation of the songs themes of, “retaking ownership of yourself in the face of misogyny and entitlement”. As with her acting, in Maria’s songwriting there’s an essential quality of truthfulness, “I feel that I am a songwriter for the same reason I wanted to be an actor. I want to tell the truth. I want to challenge myself to get closer and closer to the core of an experience, an emotion”. Recalling other honest story-tellers like Squirrel Flower or Amanda Palmer, Fran’s music is always asking questions and seeking answers, unafraid of confrontation and all the more exciting as a result.

A Private Picture is out November 15th via Fire Talk Records. Click HERE for more information on Fran.

Header photo is Fran by Reilly Drew

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