Five Things We Liked This Week – 28/02/20

Further Listening:

5. Peter Oren Gets Down To The Bare Bones Of It

There can be few more fitting settings to record an album of modern American-folk songs than a cabin on the outskirts of Nashville. That was where Peter Oren found himself in near complete isolation working on what would become his upcoming album, The Greener Pasture. So far so predictable, yet what’s less predictable is that the album came out as a sort of amalgamation of a musing on modern farming techniques and the dangers of excessive mobile phone usage, not perhaps such a classic folk exploration after all.

This week Peter has shared the latest single from the record, Gnawed to the Bone (Come By), a song that Peter admits he doesn’t quite know where came from, noting, “it began mostly as a gibberish voice recording that was later deciphered and re-figured”. The track is built around an almost lazy lead guitar, it meanders through the track like a river, as Peter’s stream of consciousness vocals taking him wherever his mind wanders, whether that’s Gnaw Bone Indiana or deep into his mobile phone. While comparisons to Bill Callahan or Josh T. Pearson aren’t entirely wide of the mark, increasingly on his own terms, Peter Oren is marking himself out as one of modern music’s most exciting voices.

The Greener Pasture is out April 24th via Western Vinyl. Click HERE for more information on Peter Oren.

4. Katie Von Schleicher Should Get Some Rest

Back in 2017, Katie Von Schelicher emerged with the acclaimed debut album, Shitty Hits, a sleeper hit that ended up being one of the most compelling soundtracks of that year. Now three years on, she is set to return with a new album, Consummation, a record that looks set to further expand Katie’s musical horizons. This week, Katie shared the first single from the record, Caged Sleep.

Caged Sleep instantly feels like a departure, the power-pop sounds of Shitty Hits, re-imagined into a slice of driving kraut-pop, nodding to the likes of Amber Arcades or The Beta Band, in its lush repetition. The track was inspired by a dream featuring, “a snake the colour of lapis lazuli”, although as Katie notes, “some people hate dream stories, so for those humans: I have included saxophones, synthesizers and claps to court your attention”. Consider our attention well and truly courted, and Consummation marked down as one of the year’s most anticipated returns.

Consumation is out May 22nd via Ba Da Bing / Full Time Hobby. Click HERE for more information on Katie Von Schleicher. 

3. Land Of Talk Feel The Weight Of Expectations

After seven years in the musical wilderness, Land Of Talk came crashing back into view with 2017’s acclaimed album, Life After Youth. Thankfully this week saw confirmation that the Montreal band, led by Elizabeth Powell, won’t keep us waiting so long again. The band’s new album, Indistinct Conversations, will arrive in May on Saddle Creek, and they’ve shared the first taster from it, Weight Of That Weekend.

In many ways this is a song of great positivity, it’s there for all to see at the close of the song, as Elizabeth repeats the line, “this is a prayer for love”, yet that only comes from shedding off the darkness of the past. It’s a track of saying no more, that you won’t be owned by the actions of others who have set out to hurt you, “I grew so sick of suffering and being slowed-down by this weight. The song is a prayer for a lightness of being. A prayer for capital ‘L’ Love”. While it’s the lyrics that catch the ear instantly, musically too this is Land Of Talk at their most compelling, as intricate guitar lines weave around bold country-licked vocal lines and cutting drum hits, existing in a place somewhere between Big Thief and Jenny Lewis. A song of reclamation, this is the sound of Land Of Talk moving forward in pursuit of a thrillingly bright future.

Indistinct Conversations is out May 15th via Saddle Creek. Click HERE for more information on Land Of Talk.

2. Perfume Genius’ New Single Is Beyond Description

There can be few more compelling artists operating right now than Mike Hadreas, the man behind Perfume Genius. Ever since he first emerged back in the late 2010’s, each release from Perfume Genius has felt like an event and an evolution, a songwriter gently discovering just how far he can take his musical vision. The next step will be shared with the world in May, when Set My Heart On Fire Immediately, his fifth studio-album, is released into the world.

This week saw Mike share the first single from the record, Describe, a typically intriguing affair. Discussing the track, Mike notes that it started life as a somber ballad before becoming something different, darker and slightly out of control. It’s a track that emerges from a dark place where, “you don’t even remember what goodness is or what anything feels like”. The track is a plea for someone to guide you back to the light, “the idea was having someone describe that to you, because you forgot or can’t get to it”. Musically, the track seems to exist in the sweet spot between beauty and brutality, Mike’s typically wonderful vocal is coated in a layer of buzzing distortion, engulfed in heady bass, clattering percussion, and almost bluesy licks of slide guitar. It’s recognisably Perfume Genius, yet it’s also something new and challenging, and frankly did you expect anything else?

Set My Heart On Fire Immediately is out May 15th via Matador. Click HERE for more information on Perfume Genius.

1. Why Bonnie Find Their Voice

We last raved about Austin’s Why Bonnie back in 2018 when they released not just one, but two of our favourite EPs of that year on the Sports Day Records label. The band have since caught the ear of Fat Possum Records, and this week they announced the release of their latest EP, Voice Box as well as sharing the title track from it.

Voice Box in some ways picks up where Why Bonnie left off, the stunning vocal of chief songwriter Blair Howerton remains front and centre, as it is engulfed in the lush guitar tones, waves of synths and propulsive, prominent bass. The difference here seems to be one of mood and intent, while previous material had an almost lulling sadness to it, here Blair seems to be letting the anger slip in, “I know it’s easier to bury your uncertainties in a cloud of masculinity guess it’s the curse you bear to talk over me”. Voice Box finds Blair taking aim at a society that tells her to know her place, as she explains it’s about, “the frustration and self-doubt that comes with battling sexism”. While the theme here is being silenced, conversely this feels like a songwriter stepping out and embracing her voice as the ultimate form of expression, singing out in protest, and sounding more compelling than ever before.

Voice Box is out April 10th via Fat Possum. Click HERE for more information on Why Bonnie.

Header photo is Why Bonnie by Pooneh Ghana – https://www.poonehghana.com/

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