Five Things We Liked This Week – 19/03/20

Further Listening:

5. Tenci’s New Tracks Aren’t As Scary As They Sound

Sharing an Earthquake and a Serpent at the same time? Doesn’t Tenci realise we’ve got enough to be worried about? Fear not gentle reader, Tenci isn’t actually offering natural disasters and venomous predators, just music, and what great music it is too. The latest signatory to the excellent Keeled Scales label, Tenci is the project of Chicago-based musician Jess Shoman. Beginning life as a bedroom-folk project back in 2018, Tenci, named after Jess’ grandmother Hortencia, has since expanded into something considerably fuller, touring most recently as four-piece band.

The two tracks offered serve as a perfect introduction to Tenci’s sound. Earthquake is fittingly the more intense of the two, a reflection on, “that ache when you recognize a feeling or a person starting to fade as you desperately grasp to keep it close”, beginning with almost jazzy, “high-noon” guitars before rushing by on gentle percussion and a beautifully raw, quavering vocal line. Serpent is a more lithe counterpoint, a tale of shedding your skin to find what’s underneath, with a guitar solo designed to sound like poison running through your veins, before the whole thing fades to a wash of waves and resolution. Instantly these feel like tracks that are here to be pawed over, to let slowly sink into you and unveil the full nature of their wonder; given time, Tenci might just be onto something magical.

Tenci are releasing music via Keeled Scales. Click HERE for more information on Tenci.

4. We Can’t Do Much But Listen To Waxahatchee

The next step for Waxahatchee, the musical project of songwriter Katie Crutchfield, was always going to be an intriguing one. After emerging as a masterful purveyor of lo-fi bedroom pop, the Waxahatchee sound had gradually gotten fuller and more polished with each release, culminating in 2017’s Out In The Storm. Some three years later, inspired by her decision to go sober, Katie is set to return next week with her fifth album, Saint Cloud, and this week shared the latest single from it, Can’t Do Much.

Described by Katie as, “a love song with a strong dose of reality”, Can’t Do Much is a reflection on the early days of a relationship when the feelings are strong, and you’re not always sure what to do with that, “sort of like ‘it’s annoying that I love you so much’—totally unromantic, which sort of makes it really romantic to me”. If a love song is something of a lyrical curve-ball, musically too this is uncharted territory for Waxahatchee. Gone are the big indie-rock guitar sounds of recent records, and in their place comes a slice of stripped-back Americana, a rootsy Southern sound, akin to the likes of Hurray For The Riff Raff or Hiss Golden Messenger. It’s a decision that seems to implant this track with a certain clarity and boldness, the sound of a songwriter doing something new and sounding more intriguing than ever as a result.

Saint Cloud is out March 27th via Merge Records. Click HERE for more information on Waxahatchee. 

3. Avery Leigh’s Night Palace’s Mystifying New Single

Arriving from Athens, Georgia, via Brooklyn, Avery Leigh Draut is a classically trained-vocalist, with an eclectic resume: from appearing as a soloist for both the Pittsburgh and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras, to singing backing vocals for the likes of Kadhja Bonet and Eric Bachmann. Avery is now stepping out with her new collaborative project, Avery Leigh’s Night Palace, and has this week shared their debut single, Into the Wake, Mystified.

The opening track of a forthcoming album, Into the Wake, Mystified is a beautiful introduction into Avery’s musical world, as she puts it “it’s always felt like a velvet curtain opening to me, an invitation into the world of the record”. The track is in a way both a step away and a nod to Avery’s classical background, it was written, and the orchestral flourishes were recorded at University of Georgia when she was studying, yet it was in a way a step away from rigidity of that world. The result is a slice of shimmering-pop, where prominent 80’s-pop influenced bass-lines share tape with fluttering woodwinds, and harps are equally important as reverberating guitar chords. Ambitious and perfectly crafted pop-music, Avery Leigh’s Night Palace upcoming record is shaping up to be a perfect slice of aural escapism.

Into The Wake, Mystified is out now. Click HERE for more information on Avery Leigh’s Night Palace.

2. Make A Lunch Date With Lewsberg

Hailing from Rotterdam, Lewsberg emerged back in 2018 with their self-titled debut album, drawing comparisons to the likes of Talking Heads and Television along the way. The band are set to return next week with their second album, In This House, and recently shared the latest track from it, At Lunch.

On first listen we thought of At Lunch as a rather beautiful, wistfully simple song, that certainly had us thinking of the most blissed out moments of The Velvet Underground. Then checking the press release came the rather surprising premise of, “a world in which the late inspector Morse is still alive”. The whole thing is inspired by Morse’s ability to take a drink and solve a crime or a crossword puzzle, as vocalist Arie van Vliet explains, “his decision to not choose happiness over anything else has always inspired me. You can kill people with kindness, or you can live a long and loveless life. Morse understood, and he chose killers and crosswords”. Right now, you can’t go to Rotterdam, sit in a bar, get lunchtime drunk and solve any crimes, yet take three minutes out with Lewsberg, close your eyes and you might just for a second feel like you’re right there.

In This House is out March 27th via Cargo Record Distribution. Click HERE for more information on Lewsberg.

1. Dream Nails Offer Up A Knuckle Sandwich

Like most, if not all, of the bands featured, it was a week of announcements and cancellations for London DIY-queer-punks, Dream Nails. There were postponements, both of tour dates and their upcoming debut album, yet on the flip side there was also a suitably feisty anthem to be shared in the shape of new single, Kiss My Fist.

The track is the band’s response to homophobic violence, in particular the shocking image of queer couple Melania Geymonat and Christine Hannigan, who were left bloodied and bruised by a group of teenagers for refusing to kiss on a London bus. The track is rambunctious thumb in the eye to homophobes who stop people just wanting to go about their day-to-day lives, as they conclude at the tracks thrilling close, “you fear us more than we fear you”. This feels like an instant Dream Nails classic, a collision of rage, tongue-in-cheek social commentary and riotous good times. Dream Nails are coming, and the world had better be ready for them.

Dream Nails’ self-titled debut album is out September 4th via Alcopop! Records. Click HERE for more information on Dream Nails.

Header photo is Dream Nails by Marieke Macklon – http://www.mariekemacklon.com/

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