Five Things We Liked This Week – 19/06/20

Further Listening:

5. Blackaby And White Television

We first featured Blackaby, the London-based project fronted by William Blackaby, back in 2018 at the release of their debut single, My Paula. Since then they’ve gone on to catch the ear of many, through a series of well-received singles. Next month, the band are set to release their debut EP, What’s On The TV, through the excellent Hand In Hive label, the title track of which, the band have shared this week.

William presents the track with the suitably self-deprecating summary, “it’s short, so you won’t get bored”, and at just over two minutes, he’s definitely not wrong. In fact, the whole thing rolls by in a beautifully furious blur; vocals tumble out as furious stream of consciousness, as surfy-guitars combine with rapid Strokes-like drums, and then before you know it, it’s gone, and you’re pressing play for the tenth time in a row. While the track seems to dart quickly between topics, there’s a general feel of escapism, of a distracted mind buzzing in front of the 24 hours news channel. On this evidence one of the London scene’s best kept secrets might just be ready to make a much bigger splash.

What’s On The TV? is out July 24th via Hand In Hive. Click HERE for more information on Blackaby.

4. Al Riggs In Wonderland

A new name to us, Al Riggs first appeared back in 2016 and has gone on to try their hand at almost every genre going. 2019’s Lavender Scare was a reflection on queerness set to a backing of midi-keyboards, while elsewhere they’ve tried their hand at drone metal, acoustic confessionals and minimal electronica. This week the North Carolina songwriter has shared their latest offering, Alice, the first track to be shared from upcoming album, Bile And Bone.

Perhaps counterintuitively for a songwriter half a decade in, Alice is something of an introduction, at least to a part of Al. The track is written from the point of view of Alex, Al’s masculine side, yet tells the tale of Alice, their feminine counter-part, in Al’s own words, “a sort of goth Pippi Longstocking”. The song speaks of both what unites and what divides these two sides, as Al sings, “Alice you’re just like me, I’m still in this in-between and I don’t know if I’ll ever meet you”. The track is set to a slowly lurching electric-guitar and the gentlest of drum flourishes, recalling the likes of Nick Cave or Jason Molina. The guitar track seems to almost be stuck in a cycle, an almost absent minded plucking, as if Al has far more on their mind, than where this song is going next. Ultimately this track is all about Al, about a personal journey towards self-acceptance, of learning that even in our own heads, there are things that unite us and things that divide us, learning to live with those and embrace all of who we are is both our greatest challenge and the only option we have.

Alice is out now. Click HERE for more information on Al Riggs.

3. Liza Anne Can’t Wait To Arrive

Based out of Nashville, Tennessee, Liza Anne came to the attention of many back in 2018 with the release of the album, Fine But Dying, her debut release for the Arts & Crafts label. Since then Liza has toured with the likes of Ray Lamontagne and Kacey Musgraves, appeared on national television in the US and even found time to launch a mental health focused interview series, Emotional Health 2020. Music thankfully hasn’t taken a back-seat though, and Liza is set to return next month with her new album, Bad Vacation. This week Liza has shared the latest single from it, I Wanna Be There.

As with much of Liza’s output, I Wanna Be There is not a song that shies away from emotional topics, here it confronts a relationship drifting, two people growing apart and growing isolated even as they remain together. As Liza explains, “this song is about feeling the weight of someone else’s sadness and feeling it, inevitably, bring you down too because when you love someone, sometimes you wear their emotions like your own”. With that said, a cursory listen to I Wanna Be There doesn’t initially feel downbeat, it is a track resplendent with shimmering guitars, airy synths and hazy washed out vocals, recalling the likes of Amber Arcades or Hazel English. It’s only when you dig a little deeper, that the inherent wistful melancholy really reveals itself, as she plaintively sings “do you think about me when you’re smiling or does the weight of it bring you down?” Like the Bad Vacation that titles her upcoming album, Liza Anne knows all things end, however that doesn’t necessarily make the end any easier, yet sometimes you just have to dive in and see where it takes you, this album is already one we can’t wait to splash around in.

Bad Vacation is out July 24th via Arts & Crafts Records. Click HERE for more information on Liza Anne.

2. Place Your Betty On Mirabelle

Mirabelle is the musical pseudonym of Montreal-based songwriter, Laurence Hélie, who grew up in rural Quebec, “in the ’90s listening to The Cranberries and Mazzy Star”. After releasing two Francophone albums under her own name, Laurence hit a creative brick-wall, and believed she was done with music. That all changed a few years back when for no obvious reason, she started singing again, started channelling the anger of those 90’s records she so loved into something new, and Mirabelle was born. The result was the debut Mirabelle album, Late Bloomer, released last month, and this week she has shared a new video to one of the album’s stand-out moments, Betty.

Betty was the first track that Laurence wrote for Late Bloomer, it was in some ways the spark that started the whole project. Betty is in many ways a track about the disconnect between the person you are and the person that you want to be, a reflection of growing up and changing, as Laurence sings at the track’s end, “sure we can fool anybody but we canʼt fool ourselves”. Musically, Betty is an intriguing one, equal parts Portishead-like trip-hop and luxurious dream-pop, from the lurching bass to the sonorous vocal, it’s a track that seems to lurk, gradually, almost hypnotically, weaving its way into your brain, and refusing to let go. It’s less an instantaneous thrill and more a slow-burning wonder, a bit like the songwriting of its creator, given time it thrives, flourishes and ends up far more intriguing than you ever thought it could be.

Late Bloomer is out now via Simone Records. Click HERE for more information on Mirabelle.

1. Kate Teague Offers A Temporary Solution

We featured Kate Teague back in 2019, when the Oxford, Mississippi resident shared the excellent single, In Our Element. The track was quickly followed by Kate’s self-titled debut EP, released in September last year via Muscle Beach Records, which drew wide-spread acclaim across the web. Having recently made the decision to pursue music full-time, Kate’s touring plans have unsurprisingly been put on hold, however this week with the desire to keep the momentum building, Kate has decided to share a brand-new track, The Temporary.

Tuning into The Temporary, it’s instantly obvious that there’s a shift in Kate’s approach, gone are the guitar-led explorations of previous work, replaced by a world of synthesizers, hypnotic vocals and an all-together more experimental feel. Kate cites the influence of pop-provocateurs like Colleen and Jenny Hval on the track, which came to be around the time of major transition in her life, although the themes have perhaps morphed as she explains, “those feelings of hindrance and uneasiness about the future have taken on a new meaning for me during this pandemic”. At the heart of the track, amid all the gorgeous swirling instrumentation, is Kate, her vocal with that familiar Southern-twang demands your attention as she reflects on the passing of the temporary, “everything looks better from far away. Did you miss me when I was willing to stay?” While this is a distinct shift in style, The Temporary also feels like a logical next step for Kate, her songwriting was always too versatile to sit in a particular box, where it takes her next, who knows, but we certainly can’t wait to find out.

The Temporary is out now via Muscle Beach Records. Click HERE for more information on Kate Teague.

Header photo is Kate Teague by Casey Shaw – https://www.instagram.com/shawscope/

 

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