Five Things We Liked This Week – 17/04/20

Further Listening: 

5. Are You Feeling Nostalgic For The Old Caves?

Formed back in 2018, Bristol-based quartet Swallow Cave had never even played a gig prior to releasing their debut EP to slow-burning acclaim. Since then they’ve been making a name for themselves on their home-city’s scene, supporting the likes of Porridge Radio, Sasami and Art School Girlfriend among others. This week the band have returned with a brand-new single, Nostalgia, the first of two tracks recorded with producer Ali Chant, who’s previously worked with the likes of Perfume Genius, Soccer Mommy and Gruff Rhys.

Discussing the inspiration behind the track, Swallow Cave have suggested it was influenced by the 2011 documentary, Nostalgia For The Light, a film that contrasted Chile’s place as the epicentre of world astronomy with the lasting effects of the dictatorship and human rights abuse of Augusto Pinochet. The resultant track is, at first listen a beautifully lackadaisical affair, all languid guitars, easy vocals and prominent rolling bass; despite the breezy tones, there’s a certain wistfulness lurking, and as they sing, “I’m getting nostalgia for the light, it’s always just out of sight”, there’s a distinct sadness for the unobtainable. This feels like a band in a hugely promising place, and while it’s early days for Swallow Cave, already they feel like a very exciting prospect well worth spending some time with.

Nostalgia is out now. Click HERE for more information on Swallow Cave

4. The Two Sides Of The Pictish Trail

For Johnny Lynch, the Isle Of Eigg dwelling, record label running, musical visionary behind the Pictish Trail moniker, this should be something of a triumphant moment. With the recent release of his fourth album, Thumb World, he seemed to have reached new levels of critical acclaim and should be on the road now playing some of his biggest shows to date. Instead he’s isolating on his remote island home, appearing in Guardian articles about the diversification of rural economies, and plotting whatever comes next. With the tour dates re-arranged for 2021, this week they’ve shared a video to Double Sided, the last song written for Thumb World, and arguably its finest moment.

Discussing the track, Johnny has suggested it’s part of a pair with After Life, from his previous album Future Echoes, “it’s about how we present different versions of ourselves online, how we often experiment with how we wish to be perceived by others, and how there’s almost a sense of detachment from responsibility for our behaviour”. It forms part of Thumb World’s wider exploration of our relationship with technology, how our opposable thumbs are what set us apart from other animals, and also what trap us in the virtual reality lifestyle of modern existence. Musically, the track is an exploration of the jarring chill of processed percussion and warm, distinctly human melodies, as if the voice is trapped in a virtual void, battling for some semblance of reality. There may have been a few detours in the latest Pictish Trail, yet as always, wherever they go is a path well worth taking.

Thumb World is out now via Fire Records. Click HERE for more information on Pictish Trail.

3. God Knows We Like This New Jenny O. Track

Hailing from Los Angeles, Jenny O. has been making her own music, and appearing on other people’s for the best part of a decade. Jenny already has an impressive resume with a number of albums and EPs of her own, as well as vocal credits for appearing on records for the likes of Conor Oberst, Father John Misty and Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Jenny’s own musical output is about to take a step forward, with this week’s announcement that she has signed to Mama Bird Recording Co. and will release her third album, New Truth, in June. Ahead of that release this week Jenny has shared a brand-new single, God Knows Why.

The first sign of things to come, God Knows Why is something of a fusion, as grungy-guitars are combined with elements of 60’s psych-folk and easy West Coast pop. The track is a reflection of Jenny losing her hearing in one ear and debating why these things seem to happen, “when I lost my hearing, a doctor said, “God took it.” Something happened to me neurologically, but here we are. Why do people behave against their own interests? Why do some people survive and others don’t?”. The blurring of acceptance and resignation is there in the half-sighed repetition of the title, “god knows why”, Jenny singing for some understanding, while knowing the change is something that is ultimately beyond our control. Life throws things at us, and with each change, like the album title, we find a new truth, a new way to be, and in Jenny O’s case a new way to come back as intriguing and unmissable as ever.

New Truth is out June 19th via Mama Bird Recording Co. Click HERE for more information on Jenny O.

2. It’s Never The Wrong Time For Rosehip Teahouse

Rosehip Teahouse, the Cardiff-based project based around the songwriting, and hauntingly wonderful vocals, of Faye Rodgers have quietly been making waves on the UK DIY-Scene ever since they first emerged back in 2016. Following the release of their single Growth, they played one of our favourite shows we’ve had the privilege of hosting at The Victoria with our friends Scared To Dance, and generally drew acclaim from all the right places. Now channelling social isolation into creativity, the band have this week shared a brand-new single, It’s The Wrong Time, a new track recorded by Faye in her own home.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, It’s The Wrong Time, is a musing on being stuck with your thoughts and trying to stop the darkness creeping in and causing you to self-destruct. Atop a backing of wavering synth beds, and twinkling electronic pulses, Faye’s vocal instantly draws your attention, “it’s the wrong time to throw it all away, but I do it anyway. The shadows creep in and I can’t get them out again”. There’s something about it that’s so relatable and honest, a track stripped back to its barest bones and allowed to sigh out its own beautiful take on the strangest of times. With each new track, it feels like Rosehip Teahouse are onto something truly special, and we can’t wait to see just how high they’re going to soar.

It’s The Wrong Time is out now. Click HERE for more information on Rosehip Teahouse.

1. You, Merival And Everyone You Know

For Merival, the musical project of Toronto based-songwriter Anna Horvath, these should be times of great celebration. Having built a growing audience, via the word-of-mouth acclaim of her self-released music, culminating in last summer’s LP, Lesson, Anna should be heading out for a string of dates on both sides of the Atlantic. The dates were set to coincide with the release of Anna’s new EP, Either Side. While the dates are obviously on hold, the EP is still set for release next week, and this week Anna has shared the latest offering from it, Me And My Friends.

Discussing Either Side, Anna has described it as, “depression songs from 2019”, a series of tracks that in her own words are about, “learning to heal and be bigger than myself”. Fittingly for our times, Me And My Friends is a track about boredom as much as anything, in particular it deals with the boredom of depression, as Merival explains, “there’s no romantic wallowing in tears – more just days of uselessness, exhaustion, and numb rage”. Musically, the track places Anna’s vocal, think equal parts Joni Mitchell and Lomelda, front and centre; it seems to almost be the glue of the track, just about holding the disjointed, freneticism of the guitar lines and meandering flutters of percussion together into something cohesive. The unusual song structure allows Anna’s words to take on a playful quality, not confined by rhyme or traditional rhythmic patterns, it becomes almost sing-speak, as Anna dances around friendship, insular tendencies and what’s left when you cast off everything that you don’t like about yourself. There’s a feeling here too that as children we are lied to, lead to believe that one day it will make sense, and we’ll feel like adults, “perhaps the greatest myth is that you’ll ever grow up and feel in control for more than one week, so why do they tell it to us?” The final result is a fascinating piece, an almost stream of consciousness, full of peaks and troughs, ideas thrown into the world, before scurrying off to the next one. Merival seems to have hit a rich seam of songwriting gold, growing more interesting and intuitive with each release and truly stamping herself onto the tape, the result, of course, is that she’s never sounded better.

Either Side is out April 24th. Click HERE for more information on Merival.

Header photo is Merival by Jenna Ledger – https://www.jenna-ledger.com/

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