5. Odina Puts Her Heartache Into It
Splitting her time between Barcelona and London, Catalan songwriter Odina has been making gentle waves ever since sharing the excellent EP, Broken, with the world back in 2016. Some four years on, she now looks set to make an even bigger splash with the release of her debut album, What I Never Told You, out at the end of August. Ahead of that release, this week Odina has shared the record’s latest offering, Heartache.
Heartache, is perhaps unsurprisingly a song about a break-up, an oddly productive time, as Odina explains, “at the time there was just a lot pouring out of me, I think it took 30 minutes to write – it was just one of those songs that felt like it wrote itself”. If the lyrics are an emotional journey, it is one mirrored in the instrumentation, the track starts life in a shuffling country style First Aid Kit would be proud of, before taking a turn for the orchestral as mournful trumpets play out a beautiful, broken refrain. Like many of Odina’s songs, Heartache seems to chart her first exploratory steps into the adult world, a journey that is ultimately about finding yourself a place to exist, the heartache is real, painful and hopefully fleeting, and what we learn along the way is what makes us the people we become. On this evidence Odina is quickly becoming a star.
What I Never Told You is out August 21st. Click HERE for more information on Odina.
4. Fenne Lily Breaches The Peace
We last featured Fenne Lily back in March, when she shared the excellent single Hypochondriac and announced her signing to the acclaimed Dead Oceans label. This week has seen Fenne take the logical next step with the announcement of her upcoming second album, BREACH. The album was written during a pre-Covid period of self-induced isolation, in which she tried to, “work out the difference between being alone and being lonely”. While the album won’t arrive until September, this week Fenne has shared the latest offering from it, Alapathy.
Alapathy’s title comes from the conjunction of two words, apathy and allopathic, a term loosely meaning the use of conventional Western medicine, as Fenne explains, “Western medicine generally treats the symptoms of an illness rather than the cause“. The track is Fenne’s attempt to put the feeling of an anxious racing mind into a track, channelled here into a guitar that seem to gallop ahead of the drum beat, leaving Fenne’s vocal seeming sedate and engulfed in the race as a result. Alapathy leaves us feeling anything but apathetic; it’s a thrilling ride, the sound of an artist in a hurry to be heard and ready for the successes that are bound to come her way.
BREACH is out September 18th via Dead Oceans. Click HERE for more information on Fenne Lily.
3. Holly Macve’s Feeling A Little Lonely
Holly Macve first came to our attention, and the attention of many others back in 2017 with the release of her sublime debut album, Golden Eagle, put out through Bella Union. That record introduced the world to Brighton-based songwriters Southern English take on the world of country, drawing valid comparisons to the likes of Patsy Cline, Gillian Welch and Caitlin Rose along the way. Now three years on, Holly is back with her first new material since then, the brilliant new single, Little, Lonely Heart.
In many ways, Little, Lonely Heart feels like a natural next step for Holly, the distinctly country-inflexion of the vocals remains, yet now is paired with a folk sound that’s distinctly British, Holly acknowledging the influence of the likes of Nick Drake and Scott Walker. Lyrically too, the track has a classic feel, a twisted ballad about, “loving someone you shouldn’t and the damage done”. The track enters on a wave of beautiful strings, before that familiar vocal, as smooth as silk and dripping with emotion, slides into earshot, “took your love from her that day, it came like a feather in the wind”. Throughout Holly seems torn between worlds, the freedom of letting go and the comfort of the familiar bad old ways, “like a moth to a flame, I don’t know who’s to blame anymore”. A wonderful return that’s been well a long time coming, the return of Holly Macve is a moment that’s well worth celebrating.
Little, Lonely Heart is out now. Click HERE for more information on Holly Macve.
2. Tré Burt Well Worth Worshiping
Sacramento’s Tré Burt has been slowly making waves with his excellent debut album, Caught It From The Rye, which was re-released by Oh Boy Records earlier this year. While the album has been out into the world for a while, Tré has this week shared the accompanying video to one of the record’s strongest moments, Undead God Of War. The track was written in 2016, in the aftermath of the murder of Philando Castille, it is a song about racism, about injustice and about America. It also a song about Tré Burt, about his own loss of innocence, as he realised his life is not as valued by many, because of the colour of his skin, “Mother Nature, I guess she caters to those with white skin. I don’t feel well anymore, to darkness I’m returning”.
Sadly, as Tré explains, this track was written four years ago, and nothing has changed, “today, we are fighting for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmed Aubrey, Stephon Clark and the countless others. The Undead God of War is as alive now as it was when colonialists first stole this land and took it for their own. We are not surprised by this, for this is the America we are introduced to as children. It is also the America that I fight for, my first love, my demise, my home”. Musically, the track fits neatly into the history of American song, channelling the political edge of protest folk and the visceral howl of the blues. Lyrically he muses on the Eagle, the symbol of American freedom that for many has never existed, and the Boar, a symbol chosen as the face of rampant racist capitalism, “up in the clouds, the eagle flies so mournfully, from its claws, the head of a boar spills blood on Main Street”. In this imagery Tré offers some hope, the feeling that change can, and one day will come, even in the darkness, there’s the light of hope.
Caught It From The Rye is out now via Oh Boy Records. Click HERE for more information on Tré Burt.
1. Half Gringa’s New Single Is Thirty Years In The Making
Half Gringa, the Chicago-based musical project of Isabel “Izzy” Olive, first appeared back in 2017 with the well-received debut album, Gruñona. The Half Gringa name is a nod to her Venezuelan-background and American up-bringing, Izzy was playfully labelled “la Gringa” by the Venezuelan part of her family. With her new album, Force To Reckon, arriving in August, this week Half Gringa has shared the first single from it, 1990.
Discussing the track, Izzy has suggested it’s a track about intrusive thoughts, and about not letting, “the past get in my way of moving forward”. The track opens with a driving rhythmic guitar line, interspersed with slashes of a more bombastic lead-line, before Izzy’s vocal enigmatically enters, “I watched ice settle on everything in sight, 1991 was good to you and I”. From there the track bounds forward, as galloping drums add an increasingly frantic edge to Izzy’s musing on how adult anxieties are traced back to moments in our past. Discussing the wider record, Izzy has suggested it’s a record of grief, written in the form of unfinished thoughts, the middle of the journey not the final destination, a life very much in the process of being led. In that moment of personal pain, there’s something honest and thrilling about Half Gringa’s music, Force To Reckon is shaping up to more than live up to its title.
Force To Reckon is out August 28th. Click HERE for more information on Half Gringa.
Header photo is Half Gringa by Rachel Winslow