5. Sinead O’Brien’s A Joy
Sinead O’Brien is a poet, hailing originally from Limerick, a city she describes as, “a kind of grey industrial place with a certain poetry to it”. Don’t panic though, this hasn’t suddenly become a literary blog, while Sinead has an impressive list of publications behind her, lately she has been setting those words to a wiry art-rock backing, culminating in this week’s release of her new single, A Thing You Call Joy.
On A Thing You Call Joy, the combination of spoken-word vocals and angular musical backing instantly puts Sinead alongside the likes of Dry Cleaning or Drahla. There’s a bleakness in the music, distinctly urban and almost brutalist in its lack of interest in making you feel at all comforted. The lyrics, as you’d expect from a poet, are thrust into the foreground, throughout, Sinead’s words and her inimitable vocal delivery, seem to pull you along, dragging the listener with her, “there’s always a fall I feel coming, grip the water flowing and it falls faster from the palms”. We’re given snap shots of life being led, fleeting glimpses, of Sinead, “dancing to unknown music of foreign origin”, or finding herself, “always in recovery from a thing you call joy”. This is a track littered with questions, wondering why we’re here, and how we can get back to those passing moments of unquestioning happiness. A fascinating introduction to Sinead O’Brien, an artist already shaping up as one music’s most intriguing new voices.
A Thing You Call Joy is out now via Chess Club Records. Click HERE for more information on Sinead O’Brien.
4. Rosie Tucker Plays The Music Of The Gods
Ambrosia: food of the gods, that custard brand with the silly West Country-themed adverts or the new single from Rosie Tucker, frankly we like them all. Ambrosia is the latest offering from Rosie, and follows on quickly from their acclaimed second album, Never Not Never Not Never Not, stand-alone single or the first taste of something bigger, well we’re not really sure, yet any chance to hear from the Los Angeles-based songwriter is always worth celebrating.
Rosie’s Ambrosia is apparently a, couldn’t be created anywhere but America, sounding take on a fruit salad, which seems to include more whipped cream and marshmallows than fruit, and can apparently sometimes have mayonnaise in it for reasons we can’t really fathom. Anyway asides from the food references, Ambrosia is also a remarkable piece of songwriting, a track that seems to slip quickly from gentle reflections to emotive howls, as if the rapidly moving thoughts all become too much and need a moment of visceral release, “nothing is different just ’cause you wish that it is“. The rapidly moving themes touch on love, loss, and a certain fear at the passing of time itself, “the end is closer every second than it’s ever been, right now and now and now, I want you more with every second than I ever did”. With a slew of American dates on the horizon, this feels like the end of a break-out year for Rosie Tucker and simultaneously a sign of even better things to come.
Ambrosia is out now via New Professor Music. Click HERE for more information on Rosie Tucker.
3. Kraków Loves Adana Are A Voice Worth Following
We last hear from Kraków Loves Adana back in April 2018, with the release of their wonderful and almost criminally overlooked album, Songs After The Blue. That album saw the Hamburg-based duo, originally formed back in 2006, truly embrace their electronic side with slices of icy-pop perfection. The band are set to follow up that release next year with a brand new album, and have this week shared the first taste of it, Follow The Voice.
Follow The Voice feels like a natural follow on from Songs After The Blue, equal parts night-club banger and melancholic bedroom pop, the track finds Deniz Çiçek’s stunning vocal exposed and foreground, as a heady mix of keyboard melodies and processed beats clatter and chime around her. While the temptation is to throw about comparison to a raft of 1980’s electronic pioneers, Follow The Voice, is actually a considerably more contemporary sounding piece, slotting neatly alongside the likes of Patience or M83. A sparkling return, this might just be Kraków Loves Adana’s finest offering to date.
Follow The Voice is out now via Italians Do It Better. Click HERE for more information on Kraków Loves Adana.
2. Soot Sprite Vs. Soot Sprite
One of our favourite discoveries of the year, we featured Soot Sprite back in August when we premiered their single, Bleed. Recently signed to Special Subject, the Exeter-based sad-gaze trio are set to put out their debut EP, Sharp Tongue, next month, and have this week shared the latest taste of the record, new single, Vs. Self.
Like much of Sharp Tongue, Vs. Self is a reflection on themes of self-esteem and anxiety, as songwriter Eli Cook explains, “when going through times of heightened anxiety, it’s sometimes difficult to recognise that you’re your own worst enemy”. Lyrically, the track seems to be battling with the danger of constant comparison and the swirling feeling of life tumbling by all too quickly: “I’m tired of fighting with myself, lost sleep and writing doesn’t help, it’s not just one thing spinning round got more plates than a circus clown”, before the track ends with the repeated plea, “slow it all down, slow it all down”. The chaotic tumbling in the lyrics is reflected in the music too, with waves of bright-guitar and propulsive bass creating dense spirals of sound, only settling down at the tracks end into a contemplative stillness. At once familiar and forward thinking, Soot Sprite’s music dips one toe into the late 90’s alternative scene and then sprints forward into 2019, sounding fresh, intriguing and very, very exciting.
Sharp Tongue is out October 12th via Specialist Subject Records. Click HERE for more information on Soot Sprite. (We’re putting on the London show of Soot Sprite’s upcoming tour at The Cavendish arms on November 24th – details HERE)
1. We Don’t Mind Josienne Clarke
Opening lines can be so crucial to a song, the way they set a mood, create a scene and instantly plant the listener squarely in the centre of proceedings. “You’ve got your problems but I’m the one that needs to change”, is how Josienne Clarke’s new single, If I Didn’t Mind, greets you. Instantly thrusting you into the centre of a failing relationship, a row so instantly real you feel like you’re going to be ducking flying plates and pulling your hands out of the ways of slammed doors. The track is lifted from Josienne’s upcoming debut album, In All Weather, a record about pulling yourself out and starting again, “I exiled myself, moved to an island, metaphorically and literally; broke up with everything but songwriting, to re-make myself and learn to let it all go in peace”.
Built around a fluttering bass-line, and rolling drum beat, most of the track’s melody is carried by Josienne’s vocal. Throughout there’s a calmness and a strength to the delivery, that doesn’t disguise the hurt underneath, almost if Josienne is steadying herself determined to make her point. Discussing the album as a whole, Josienne has suggested In All Weather is, “a manifesto of how to leave and how to change”, a series of songs about breaking-up and crucially about moving on, on this evidence one enthusiastic writers claim that these are, “the best break-up songs since Blood on the Tracks”, might actually have some legs.
In All Weather is out November 8th via Rough Trade Records. Click HERE for more information on Josienne Clarke.
Header photo is Josienne Clark by Cat Stevens.