Five Things We Liked This Week – 28/08/20

Further Listening:

5. Dream Nails Are The Sound Of Your Summer

We last featured London’s DIY-punks Dream Nails back in March, that was around the release of their single, Kiss My Fist, and the news that the release of their much-anticipated album had been delayed. Thankfully today is the day that the record does finally arrive into the world, and the band celebrated this week by sharing a brand new track, This Is The Summer.

Discussing the track, the band have suggested This Is The Summer is their, “call to arms for climate justice”. With their typical combination of raw anger and intersectional politics, the band note how climate change, the migrant crisis and white supremacy are all part of the same problem, even if the song is also about, “catching a tan in the park while the world burns“. The song is a suitably ebullient summer banger with crashing snares, vocals that slip effortlessly from charmingly sing-song to raging yelps and back again and a particularly fabulous driving bass-line that propels the whole song along with a rapid intensity. An album well worth waiting for, Dream Nails might just have written the compelling soundtrack this most unpredictable of years so desperately needs.

Dream Nails is out today via Alcopop! Records. Click HERE for more information on Dream Nails.

4. Loma Share The Sound Of Silence

It was only last month that we were raving about the return of Loma, the collaboration of Cross Record’s Emily Cross, Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater and Dan Duszynski. That was around the release of Ocotillo, the first track from their upcoming second album, Don’t Shy Away, out in October via Sub Pop. This week the band have shared the latest offering from the record, Half Silences.

The first song the band wrote for Don’t Shy Away, Half Silences is the result of what Jonathan described as, “tinkering”, the track evolving from its early form, into the final version that, “always seemed to belong”, on this record. The whole track is built around the propulsive, brilliant drum beat, accompanied by chiming guitars and Emily’s echo-drenched vocal, creating an eerie shuffle that slowly worms its way into your mind and refuses to let go. Particularly wonderful is the chant along chorus, where voices arrive en masse to repeat the line, “generate light, generate heat, generate feeling”, driving the uneasy message home with each run-through. Further evidence that we’re on the right track when we declare Don’t Shy Away our most anticipated record of 2020, it could be very special indeed.

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

3. These Dads Just Want To Play Sport Any Name Any Place

“Our band name sucks”, Dad Sports’ own words rather than ours, yet we would agree that the music is considerably better than the name. The Ottawa bedroom-pop trio formed in, “the early hours of the morning”, back in 2018 and after a series of single releases in 2019, have now found a home on Grand Jury Music. While album plans remain under wraps, this week the band have shared a new single, Name & Place, the first of a number of tracks the label plan to release this year.

The track is rooted in a somewhat cinematic landscape, as the band explain, “u know that feeling when yr looking out of a car window and its dark out and everything is just really beautiful and u feel like yr in a coming of age movie? we tried to make this song exactly that”. Dad Sports interpretation of that idea manifests as a fusion of chiming, wistful bedroom-pop and, courtesy of a unerring electronic drum-beat, a certain 80’s sparkle New Order or Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark would be proud of. Don’t let their playful, light-hearted approach fool you, on this evidence Dad Sports are a seriously talented bunch, and we can’t wait to see where their music takes us next.

Name & Place is out now via Grand Jury Music. Click HERE for more information on Dad Sports.

2. Sophia Knapp Is Dancing Despite The Flames

For her summer releases plan, Los Angeles-songwriter Sophia Knapp turned to a somewhat unusual collaborator, renowned astrologer Rose Theodora. The pair worked on an astrological timeline to coincide with the retrograde of various celestial bodies. Now if like us, you know nothing about astrology, worry not, these tracks are not so much studies of the stars, as they are released within the framework the universe provides, as Sophia explains, “retrogrades are an invitation to reflect on the past so we can see the present more clearly”. This week Sophia has shared Dancing On Ashes, a track for the retrograde of Chiron, a body that’s between a comet and a planetoid, and derives its name from a Greek Centaur.

Discussing Dancing On Ashes, Sophia has suggested it is a track about, “failure, forgiveness, and renewal“, a tale of painful interactions and our own ability to self-sabotage. The whole thing ties into the idea of Chiron as, “a wounded healer”, a being inflicted with chronic pain, who uses that experience to heal and teach others. Musically, the song is a perhaps surprisingly bouncy affair, as driving drum beats are accompanied by tumbling guitar lines and Sophia’s easy vocal, the whole thing taking on a dreamy-pop quality reminiscent of Night Flowers or Martha Ffion. While Sophia’s set of retrograde recordings might have a certain bookish mysticism, they also dig deep into something human, the desire to learn from our experiences, to revisit our pain and reimagine a brighter future.

Dancing On Ashes is out now. Click HERE for more information on Sophia Knapp.

1. We’ve Got A Bone To Pick With Laura Fell

Based out of London, Laura Fell is a songwriter by night, and a psychotherapist by day. Laura is the first signing to the fabulous music-blog, turned soon-to-be fabulous record label, Ballon Machine, and is gearing up to the November release of her debut LP, Safe From Me, a record described as, “a search for answers from a woman always expected to have them to hand”. This week Laura has shared the first single from the record, Bone Of Contention.

“Bone of contention is an exercise in anger”, explains Laura, a song about, “allowing myself to sit with my anger, and ending up finding clarity and power within it”. While Laura started her creative journey writing poetry, it’s arguably the skilled arrangement here that shines brightest, as Laura’s lithe lyricism is combined with steady acoustic guitars, the warm pulse of upright bass and the contrasting flutter of lightweight synths, that dance atop the mix like leaves blown around by the wind. Ambitious musicality, sitting alongside an undeniable way with words and a voice every bit the match of Nadine Shah or Aldous Harding: on this evidence Laura Fell is a talent the world won’t be able to ignore for long.

Safe From Me is out November 20th via Balloon Machine. Click HERE for more information on Laura Fell.

Header photo is Laura Fell by Chris Hyson.

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