5. You’re So Vain, I Bet You Think The New Small Man Society Single Is About You
Best known this point as the home of Kasabian and Showaddywaddy, it’s about time Leicester upped its musical game, and Small Man Society might just be the band to do it. This week the band have shared their debut single, Songs I Write About You, and frankly it’s a blast!
“I can’t shift this feeling, it’s only just begun, oh I miss the feeling of being loved by someone”, sings main songwriter Dylan Morris, instantly drawing you into this tale of doomed romance and struggling to move on. The whole track bounces by on a wave of bright guitars and lively drums, recalling the likes of Fightmilk or Pillow Queens. Throughout the lyrics and delivery are compelling, as the ex who didn’t want you and yet won’t let you go given a thorough dressing down for their dastardly deeds, “You give me just enough attention to prevent me from moving on, what is it you want from me? You’re boring him and you’re boring me“. A charming introduction to Small Man Society, we already can’t wait to see where they take us next.
Songs I Write About You is out now. Click HERE for more information on Small Man Society.
4. Carry On Down To Alex Chilltown
Alex Chilltown is the London-based project led by the songwriting of Josh Esaw. Back in October, they returned with the excellent Drown, the first taste of their upcoming album Eulogies, out early next year on Fear Of Missing Out Records. This week they’ve shared the latest offering from the record, Carry On.
Carry On is a tribute to Josh’s hometown of Croydon, a reflection on the failed redevelopments and grey skylines, that none-the-less are home, “stories from the city where these hopes exist, either way these greying skies are mine”. Musically, the track takes in meandering lead guitars, stop-star drums and some delightful flourishes of glockenspiel, that remind you it doesn’t have to be the most twee instrument in existence. By the track’s end a sense of acceptance seems to wash over Josh, as he repeats an unambitious mantra of sorts, “then we carry on”. Keep on keeping on Alex Chilltown, this band’s journey is one well worth following.
Eulogies is out January 24th via Fear Of Missing Out Records. Click HERE for more information on Alex Chilltown.
3. These Sad Girls Are Going After Whatever They Want
Way back in January we ear-marked excellently named Pittsburgh duo, Sad Girls Aquatics Club as one of our top picks for 2019. What followed next, well not a whole lot really. We may have got the year wrong, yet we’ll stand by the fact SGAC remain one of the most exciting new bands around. A reminder of this came this week with the release of their new video for How Do I Get What I Want, one of the standout tracks on last year’s Vodkawine EP.
How Do I Get What I Want is a potent combination of dreamy synths and easy vocals, a hazy slice of pop-perfection, equal parts bedroom experimentation and 80’s influenced, dancefloor emptying sad- banger. The accompanying video finds the band living out all their best John Hughes/Saved By The Bell fantasies and signing up for the talent show at their local high school, resplendent with geeks, mean girls (wonderfully re-christened here as Sparkle Brats) and plenty of weird arty types, who inevitably end up as the heroes, if not the winners. Now roll on more music please, because right now the world all needs to join the Sad Girls Aquatic Club.
Vodkawine is out now. Click HERE for more information on Sad Girls Aquatics Club.
2. Torres Is Having A Gracious Day
The return of Torres, the musical project of New York-based songwriter Mackenzie Scott, is only two songs in and is already shaping up very nicely indeed. Having recently confirmed a new album, Silver Tongue, due in January and shared the brilliant first single, Good Scare, this week Torres has delivered a second taste in the shape of new single, Gracious Day.
If Good Scare was a rumination on the intensity and obsession of new love, Gracious Day is far closer to a traditional heartache fuelled love song. The track, as Torres explains, was a final throw of the dice for her relationship, “My girlfriend was trying to leave me. I basically wrote this song for her from the valley of the shadow of death, desperate that she might give me another chance – it worked”. Feeling in her own words, “like Ebeneezer Scrooge after he wakes up on Christmas morning“, it feels like a privilege that Mackenzie has shared this track with the rest of us. Gracious Day exists like a window into a one-sided view of the couple’s relationship, full of optimism, hope and love that’ll last a lifetime. It’s quite possibly the most straight-talking Torres has ever sounded, for much of the track it’s just Mackenzie’s vocal and an acoustic guitar, as if she’s speaking directly to her partner and her alone, “when I look far down to the end, it’s you that I see my by side”. Compelling and just a little bit gorgeous, Torres has never sounded better.
Silver Tongue is out January 31st via Merge Records. Click HERE for more information on Torres.
1. Like A Squirrel In The Headlights
If we had to tip just one act to take the world by storm in the year ahead, we’d struggle to think of someone more ready than Squirrel Flower, the musical moniker of Ella O’Connor Williams. Having caught the ear of many with a pair of slow-burning EP releases, Squirrel Flower is set to take a giant leap forward with her upcoming album, I Was Born Swimming, due out at the end of January.
Ahead of that release, this week Ella has shared the latest single from I Was Born Swimming, the quietly beautiful, Headlights. It’s a track that muses on movement, both physically and in life, recalling a car journey that found Ella looking forward into the future and still glancing back over her shoulder at where she came from. Musically, it’s a track that pulls off the trick of sounding at once hugely ambitious and somewhat minimal; with just the light patter of percussion and a lone guitar, Ella conjures up an atmospheric wonder, a dense musical landscape to get lost in, with a distinct hint of Massachusetts chill to it. Add this to the growing canon of evidence that Squirrel Flower is a star in the making.
I Was Born Swimming is out January 31st via Full Time Hobby/Polyvinyl. Click HERE for more information on Squirrel Flower.
Header photo is Squirrel Flower by Ally Schmaling