Five Things We Liked This Week – 21/08/20

Further Listening:

5. Pillow Queens Put On One Holy Of A Show

Pillow Queens first caught our ear from the Indoor Stage at Indietracks back in 2017, before going on to release one of our favourite EPs of 2018, State of the State. The next two years have been spent in a period of organic growth for the band, as they’ve drawn the support of everyone from The Guardian to KEXP. The band are currently gearing up to release their debut album, In Waiting, on their own Pillow Queens label, and have this week shared the latest single from it, Holy Show.

Discussing Holy Show, Pillow Queens have suggested it is a song about the intricacies of the things we say and how we all worry about our own words far more than anyone else does, an attempt to, “articulate the heavy burden of being the only person who is concerned about the minute details of how you present yourself to the world“. The track finds the band subtly evolving their sound, casting off some of the grungier influences of their previous output for a widescreen-pop sound, with their trademark harmonies accompanied by crashing drums, and layered walls of shimmering guitars. As ever Pillow Queens seem to tap into their own lives, singing songs of queerness and being marginalised by society, themes that resonate with so many, and offer a much needed dose of hope. Quite fittingly, In Waiting is shaping up to be well worth the wait.

In Waiting is out September 25th via Pillow Queens Records. Click HERE for more information on Pillow Queens

4. Warning : Lemon Drink May Cause Manic Episodes

Formed at the back-end of 2017, Glasgow-based quartet Lemon Drink went on to sign with Last Night From Glasgow, who released their debut EP, Better Run, in March this year. Having previously shared stages with the likes of Carla J. Easton and Lazy Day, the band were one of a number of acts set to play at this year’s Long Division Festival, which was sadly cancelled. Today finds Long Division teaming up with Last Night From Glasgow to release a compilation of bands who should have been playing, featuring the likes of Mt. Doubt and Life Model, as well as Lemon Drink’s latest offering, Manic.

Manic is a something of a thumb in the eye to the idea of the, “manic pixie dream girl” cliché presented so often in pop-culture, a reminder as the band explain that, “women are individuals and do not exist to save men“. This anthem for, “women to take control of their own destinies”, is set to a suitably brash slice of indie-pop, all rumbling bass and surfy guitar strutting. While they sadly won’t be gracing any stages this year, this feels like a Summer anthem worthy of any festival, we might just need to wait a year to see it get the attention it so clearly deserves.

New Addition Vol. 2 is out today via Long Division Festival / Last Night From Glasgow. Click HERE for more information on Lemon Drink.

3. We Hope The Other Half Never Change

Hailing from Norwich, Other Half are a post-hardcore trio, resplendent with contrasting vocal yelps, pounding drum-beats and deliciously unhinged guitar lines. Today see’s the band release their debut album, Big Twenty, which they previewed earlier this week with the wonderful, Sameness Without End.

There’s something timeless about the music Other Half-make, the noisy underground that always exists whether anyone’s shining a light its way or not. To people of our age, they’ll bring to mind the likes of Your Code Name Is:Milo or Winnebago Deal, yet surely every generation has their own equivalent, whether that’s Slint, Fugazi or The Stooges. It’s noisy and literate, angular and angry, yet somehow, despite borrowing its title from Kurt Vonnegut, doesn’t take itself too seriously. Vocalist Cal Hudson delivers his words with such speed and intensity that you can almost hear him stalking the stage, as he delivers his take on the problematic nature of one-upmanship and, “the boredom of never really being bored”. While you’d have to be listening very carefully, and not getting carried away by just how great the guitar and drums combo is, there’s a message here, a plea for joined up thinking in the face of global chaos, “for once display some common sense, don’t get bogged down in the mulch of morality. You’ve got to think about this whole thing globally“. We offer plenty of beautiful music for our readers to enjoy, yet this is a reminder that it doesn’t always have to be that way, sometimes it’s just got to be fast, loud and utterly compelling.

Big Twenty is out today via Venn Records. Click HERE for more information on Other Half.

2. Make Helena Deland Your Someone New

After emerging into the world with the well-received EP, Altogether Unaccompanied, Montreal’s Helen Deland has spent the last two years touring with the likes of Weyes Blood and Conan Mockasin, and working on the songs that would become her debut album. That release will arrive in October via Luminelle Records, and this week Helena has shared the second single from it, in the shape of the title-track, Someone New.

Someone New enters on the buzz of a distant-organ, before Helena’s vocal creeps in, “if I could have every thought as though for the first time, I’d never get sick of the patterns of my mind, but I am stuck”. From there the track seems to be always shifting, always running away from itself, whether it’s via the Radiohead-like percussion, the lo-fi guitar twang or the crisp, calculated vocal delivery, it is a track that never for a second seems to stand still. Discussing Someone New, Helena has suggested it, “ambivalently celebrates and condemns the idea of being in one’s ‘prime’, as it is so rare that youth and self-understanding are simultaneous“. There’s an intensity to the whole thing, the feeling of youth fleeing from us all, punctuated by reminders to not be so hard on ourselves, as Helena sings, “I will give myself a fucking break”. It may seem counter-intuitive, yet Someone New is a record not about finding anyone else, it’s about Helena re-discovering who she is, and sharing that with the world; we think they’re going to like her an awful lot.

Someone New is out October 16th via Luminelle Records. Click HERE for more information on Helena Deland.

1. Listening To Tomberlin Isn’t Wasted Time

Back in 2018, Tomberlin, the musical project of Sarah Beth Tomberlin, caught the ears of many with the hushed beauty of her debut album, At Weddings. The subsequent two years have seen Tomberlin pretty much living on the road, touring with the likes of Pedro The Lion, Andy Shauf and most crucially Alex G. We highlight the latter as it’s in collaboration with Alex, as well as Tomberlin bandmate Sam Acchione, that Sarah Beth has produced her latest record, a new EP, Projections. That record won’t arrive until October, however this week Tomberlin has shared the first single from it, Wasted.

Wasted instantly sets the scene for where Tomberlin’s music could be headed next, while the whispered vocal-tones reminiscent of This Is The Kit or Hand Habits remain, it’s what added that really lifts the track. While the opening guitar line hints at something gentle and beautiful, it’s the drums and prominent bass-line that ensure this is something fresh and exciting, the whole thing has a percussive quality comparable to when Iron & Wine left the cot-side and fell in love with the complexity rhythm can offer. Lyrically, the track is classic Tomberlin, a complex tale of self-discovery and human relationships, reviewing both Sarah Beth’s place in the world and how that ties into other people. Cleverly we’re presented with a relationship, romantic or otherwise, in turmoil, yet like all human interactions it’s not one sided, “do you think this song’s sad? You made me smile, but could you spell it out for me? You say you shouldn’t have to, I know you shouldn’t have to”. Ultimately perhaps this is a song about compromise, about what we as humans require and what we have, and understanding when that gap between the two can be bridged and when the distance is too great. This is a sparkling return, a songwriter clearly reveling in pushing the boundaries of her musical world, and hinting at just how exciting Projections could be.

Projections is out October 16th via Saddle Creek. Click HERE for more information on Tomberlin.

Header photo is Tomberlin by Marc Silverstein.

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