Five Things We Liked This Week – 31/07/20

Further Listening:

5. We’ve Run The Projections And Ganser Are Going Places

Chicago-based quartet Ganser first emerged back in 2018 with their well received debut album, Odd Talk. Two years on, today marks the release of their second album, Just Look At That Sky, and ahead of its release the band have recently shared the video to the record’s stand-out moment, Projector.

Discussing the track, vocalist Nadia Garofalo has suggested the track is about, “what happens when someone becomes so far removed from general society that their thoughts become a Dunning-Kruger Effect echo chamber of pseudo-wisdom and self-affirmations”. The descent into dangerous fantasy is set to a backing of rapid-fire, PJ Harvey-like vocals, primal drum pounding and taught, angular guitar riffing. The musical urgency is matched in the lyrics, as Nadia sings of, “a climate of catastrophes, that’ll never get better”. The accompanying video was recorded the day after SXSW was cancelled, as the band recall, “we didn’t know what was coming, but we knew it wasn’t going to be good”. It may arrive into a very different world to the one it was conceived in, yet Just Look At That Sky already seems ready for the chaos, an album ready to make an impact, even as the world threatens to collapse around it.

Just Look At That Sky is out now via Felte! Click HERE for more information on Ganser.

4. What’s Left Of Your Personal Trainer

Based between Brooklyn and Philadelphia, queer garage-pop trio Personal Trainer caught the ear of many back in February with their debut single, Backyard, released through the House Of Feeling imprint. The band, who met at college and formed back in the Summer of 2018 have this week shared their latest offering, What’s Left.

What’s Left is an exploration of what remains after the lust fades, and asks us as listeners to confront the automatic conflation of emotional and sexual attachment. As Personal Trainer explain, they see, “rediscovery of pleasure as a radical act of resistance against the male gaze”, an attempt to redefine the shame society assigns to, “feminine desire outside of monogamous relationships”. The concepts are explored through a piece of jittering, angular grungy noise, as the primal rumble of drums is punctuated by jagged guitar chords and vocals that often seem to arrive like a tumble of ideas, multiple voices colliding in your ear-drum each battling to be heard. Personal Trainer seem to have emerged into the word fully formed, a band just getting started who already sound like a polished perfect proposition, we can’t wait to see where they’re headed next.

What’s Left is out now via House of Feelings. Click HERE for more information on Personal Trainer.

3. Everyone’s Raving About Raveloe

Raveloe is the somewhat mysterious project of Glasgow-based songwriter, Kim Grant. Recording from the bedroom of their flat, Kim has recorded a new EP, with the help of friends from locations as diverse as Derby, Dumfries and Melbourne. The record was produced in someways as a response to the difficulties 2020 has thrown at us all, as Kim explains, “I started Raveloe with anticipation and excitement for the year ahead and like everyone faced a tidal wave of uncertainty”. While we await further information on the upcoming EP, this week Kim has shared the latest Raveloe single, Abalone.

If, like us, you are wondering what Abalone are, they’re a type of sea snail, known for the beauty of their pearlescent inner shell. Here Kim is presented with one of these shells, a mysterious gift from the sea, serving as a reminder of the beauty the planet remains capable of. The whole song seems to muse on ideas of escapism, of our ability to transcend beyond the day-to-day and into our wildest dreams and most vivid memories. The whole thing is delivered via a slice of atmospheric folk, in the mould of Molly Linen or Shannon Lay; Kim’s vocal taking centre stage, above twitching percussion and propulsive, cyclical guitar lines. Like the abalone shell from the song, we’re not sure where Raveloe emerged from, we’re just very glad they’re here.

Abalone is out now. Click HERE for more information on Raveloe.

2. Angel Olsen’s New Record Is A Complete Mess

Prior to sharing her acclaimed fourth album, All Mirrors, Angel Olsen had something completely different in mind. Following the end of her relationship, Angel set out to make a record to, “examine who you are or were in all the relationships. I wanted to record when I was still processing these feelings”. That record is Whole New Mess, Angel’s first properly solo record since 2012’s Half Way Home, the raw unfiltered scars of a relationship, before they were shaped into the lush, orchestral pieces, ready for the world’s consumption on All Mirrors.

While Whole New Mess features many of the ideas that would become All Mirrors, it’s also an enticing stand-alone piece, a record with its own atmosphere, the sound of a songwriter making sense of her own words and feelings. Ahead of the release, Angel has this week shared the record’s title track, one of two tracks that didn’t appear on All Mirrors in any fashion. The track is in some ways a reminder to Angel herself, a reflection of how low she got and the need to, “try and stay sane, keep healthy, remember to breathe wherever I happen to be, because there is no saving it for back home”. Musically, the track is a reminder that solo records do not have to be quiet, with just a ringing electric guitar and her wavering vocal tones, Angel creates an engulfing, claustrophobic piece, “gettin’ back on track, when it all fades to black, I’ll be gettin’ back on track, back to my own head, cleared out…until the time comes”. Channelling universal feelings of heartbreak, self-doubt and scrambling for a brighter future, Whole New Mess is a raw, honest dissection of Angel’s own troubles, a mess that’s every bit as relatable to us as listeners as it is to its ever fascinating creator.

Whole New Mess is out August 28th via Jagjaguwar. Click HERE for more information on Angel Olsen.

1. This Loma Song Really Plants Into Your Head

There was never meant to be a second Loma record. The collaboration between Cross Record’s Emily Cross, Dan Duszynski, and Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg released their challenging and brilliant debut album back in 2018, which topped our list of our the year’s best albums, and drew near universal acclaim. The gruelling tour that followed culminated at Sub Pop’s SPF 30 Festival and ended with Emily leaping from the stage, and heading straight for the sea. That was originally meant to be that – no more records, no more Loma. As Emily recalls, “it was the biggest audience we’d ever had. We thought, why not stop here?”. As you can probably guess from the fact you’re reading this, that wasn’t quite how the story ended. Courtesy of Brian Eno loving their music, the members pursuing their own projects, and a return to Texas, Loma were inspired to keep going, and the result is Don’t Shy Away, the band’s second album, out in October through Sub Pop.

Ahead of the release, this week Loma have shared Ocotillo, the first single to be lifted from Don’t Shy Away. Lifting its name from a cactus-like plant native to the deserts around the border of Mexico and the USA, the band were inspired by the somewhat precocious nature of the plant. As the band explain, “Ocotillo is a graceful, spindly plant that flowers extravagantly after rain—but it lives in places where it doesn’t rain for months, even years. It’s not hard to identify with it“. The track is instantly intriguing, the band continuing their collaborative approach to writing, and shaping their creativity into something that’s both dense and dextrous; even as it gets loud and jarring it always seems to maintain it’s propulsion, always flowing, always moving, never standing still. The track seems to build around the prominent bass, as flourishes of brass, woodwind, percussion, and vocals drift in and out of earshot. Lyrically, it seems to channel the freedom that often comes with moments of chaos, “lead me to another life. All my ties are broken, I’m in wonderful disarray”. The return of Loma feels like a second chance, a band who could so easily have slipped between the cracks, returning to give us the chance to make them realise just how loved they are, cherish their return, it’s a triumph.

Don’t Shy Away is out October 23rd via Sub Pop. Click HERE for more information on Loma.

Header photo is Loma by Bryan Parker – http://bryancparker.com

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