Five Things We Liked This Week – 03/07/20

Further Listening:

5. Oceanator’s Cracking New Single

Oceanator is the musical project of New York-based multi-instrumentalist, Elise Okusami. Elise has been sharing music under the Oceanator name since back in 2016, and is set to take a big step-up next month with the release of her debut album, Things I Never Said, on the Plastic Miracles imprint. This week she has shared the first offering from it, A Crack In The World.

A Crack In The World in many ways seems to live up to its title, it finds Elise staring on in horror at the world around her, hanging on by her fingertips, “sometimes there’s only so much you can do and it’s hard to have big dreams but it’s hard to let those dreams die out, too”. Set to a backing that’s part grunge and part power-pop, Elise’s impassioned vocal is the constant that keeps pulling you back, whether it’s a full-on howl or a broken malaise. Towards the songs outro, it seems to slow down, and catch its breath for a second, “I’m still trying my best you know it keeps getting harder and harder every day when you see the news on the TV, on the radio but I’ll keep trying to keep the skies blue anyway”. The cracks might seem like they’re growing, yet ultimately there’s still hope, still a belief that better times can be around the corner, still a reason to cling on, as Leonard Cohen sang, “there is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in”.

Things I Never Said is out August 28th via Plastic Miracles. Click HERE for more information on Oceanator.

4. Sign Up For Girl Friday’s Indie Rock Club

Like so many great bands, the seeds of Girl Friday were planted at a house party. Guitarist, Vera Ellen walked in and saw Libby Hsieh playing bass on the couch, the rest as they say is history. Now expanded to a four-piece, the Los Angeles-based band who have already toured with the likes of The Beths and Marika Hackman, are set to release their debut album, Androgynous Mary, next month. This week they have shared the latest single from it, the intriguing titled, This Is Not The Indie Rock I Signed Up For.

While its title might suggest a side-swipe at the music industry, the track is actually somewhat more positive than that, as the band explain, “in the moments of wicked darkness and what felt like hell, real love and community was presented to us on a plate — ready to be eaten. We are extremely grateful to have received that”. The track seems to walk the line between the chaos of the world around us and the calming feel of community spirit, at times building to riotous crescendos at others drifting by in a hazy dream. Ultimately as the lyrics say this is, “a song of hope”, a celebration of the power of community and finding the, “best way we can be an accurate picture of what love means”, listening to Girl Friday you might just find that answer out for yourself.

Androgynous Mary is out August 28th via Hardly Art. Click HERE for more information on Girl Friday.

3. Steven Adams Keeps It Light

With the regularly shifting nom de plumes, it’s easy to forget just how many fantastic records Steven Adams has been involved in. Whether as The Portland Brothers, The Broken Family Band, Singing Adams or a host of other pseudonyms, the East-London based songwriter has been sharing his music with the world for the best part of two decades. Currently releasing music as Steven Adams and The French Drops, this week the band have shared My Brother, The Racist, the latest single from their upcoming album, Keep It Light, due next month on Fika Recordings.

My Brother, The Racist is a song with a somewhat self-explanatory title as Steven explains, “it’s an awkward thing to sing about, but it felt like the right thing to do”. Like much of upcoming album, Keep It Light, here Steven seems to play with ideas of darkness and light, “I worried that it was a bit depressing, but as soon as we started playing together it felt positive and optimistic”. Certainly lyrically it hits a downbeat tone almost instantly, “my brother, the racist will die and I won’t know when Guess I’ll find out later, I can hold on till then”. From there though, the track seems to leave room for growth, Steven explores how they ended up the way they both are, and ultimately seems to find strength in letting go of a relationship that could never work. Musically too, the track seems to walk the line between emotional states, the bright shuffle of acoustic guitar and drums contrasted, by the more melancholic tones of piano and bass. Steven has suggested this is the best record that he’s ever made, and while that’s quite some claim, on this evidence we’re not going to argue.

Keep It Light is out August 21st via Fika Recordings. Click HERE for more information on Steven Adams and The French Drops.

2. Should You Go To Heaven Or Corey Flood

Philadelphia-based trio Corey Flood formed back in 2017 and first came to our attention with the release of their debut EP, Wish You Hadn’t back at the start of 2018. That record saw the band garner an avalanche of great reviews and they have subsequently gone on to share stages with the likes of Mothers, Palehound and Rose Ette. Signed to Fire Talk Records, Corey Flood are set to release their debut album, Hanging Garden, in September and this week they have shared the first single from it, Heaven Or.

Discussing the inspiration behind Heaven Or, the band’s Ivy Gray-Klein has suggested it is about a time when she, “felt so numb and passive to everything happening around me”, feelings that led Ivy to go against her instinct for caution, and to try, “reckless choices just to try and feel something”. Ivy has suggested these are themes that run through the album, of getting stuck in cyclical thoughts and struggling to articulate your emotions. Musically, Heaven Or is a fine introduction to Corey Flood, highlighting both their way with melodic bedroom-pop and their ramshackle slacker-rock qualities. The track is built around two entwined guitar lines, one bright and poppy, the other more ragged and energetic, each contrasting perfectly with Ivy’s easy, half-spoken vocal delivery. Corey Flood in some ways sound quite a simple proposition, yet there’s something behind the lo-fi exterior, the feeling that they’re a band maturing, shuffling forward and with their debut album, ready to make a real splash.

Hanging Garden is out September 4th via Fire Talk. Click HERE for more information on Corey Flood.

1. Cancel Your Plans Captain There’s a Tugboat Coming In

We’ve made little secret of our love for Tugboat Captain on this site, we’ve hosted shows, premiered singles and generally encouraged everyone to fall head-over-heels for their charming take on indie-pop. Through a series of singles, EPs and two self-released albums they’ve made a strong case to be one of the UK-scene’s best kept secrets. The cat looks set to slip effortlessly out of the bag later this year with the release of their latest record, Rut, their first for Glasgow-label, Double A-Side Records. This week ahead of the album arriving in October, Tugboat Captain have shared the first single from it, No Plans (For This Year).

With an almost Nostradamus like prediction of everyone’s current schedules, the track was actually written long before everything in sight got cancelled, including the band’s trip to SXSW, got cancelled. No Plans (For This Year) serves as beautiful introduction to the band’s shifting sound, recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, it sees the band eschew their previous DIY-front-room recording style for a grandiose vision of modern chamber-pop. The track starts with an intro that’s somewhat at odds with the rest of the track, the initial urgency of the guitar-line and drums, drifting away as the vocals enter on a wash of piano and woozy Fanfarlo-esque brass. From there the track is a Beatlesian-pop classic, front-man Alex Sokolow’s wistful vocal accompanied by an ever-shifting array of musical ideas, from rambunctious guitar-solos to serene piano flourishes. Lyrically, the track seems to play out as an almost grimly unromantic vision of a relationship of convenience, “it’s fine if you can’t hold me dearly, I’ll just hold the line”, Alex sings before launching into the titular refrain, “I’ve got no plans for this year”.  Few bands seems to channel the ennui of our times with more aplomb than Tugboat Captain, yet in the gloom there’s always a glimmer, a spark that dares to dream big, even in the gutter, they’re eyeing up the stars, while this album might find them in a rut, you’ve got to believe it might end up alright, they might make it big, they might just soar.

Rut is out October 16th via Double A-Side Records. Click HERE for more information on Tugboat Captain.

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