5. Don’t Pray For The Red, The Pinks Or The Purples
The Reds, Pinks & Purples is the latest project from musical-lifer Glenn Donaldson. Based out of San Francisco, Glenn first came to the world’s attention as a member of the acclaimed, albeit brief, band, The Art Museums. Disenchanted with bands at that point, Glenn retired to the hermetic life of a bedroom-musician, and an instrumental, conceptual project called FWY! Despite his turn to the more esoteric, Glenn never lost his love for direct communication, and back in 2013, The Reds, Pinks & Purples emerged; direct and honest, tackling themes of grief, anxiety and, “atrophying subcultures”. This week Glenn has announced details of his upcoming third album, Uncommon World, due out in April via Slumberland Records.
Ahead of that release, The Reds, Pinks & Purples have shared the first track from the record, the enigmatically titled, Don’t Ever Pray In The Church On My Street. Listening to The Reds, Pinks & Purples they’re a band who seem to fall neatly into the rich lineage of indie-pop bands, borrowing equally from acts like Television Personalities or The Cure and more contemporary acts like The Goon Sax or Expert Alterations. While at first glance it might seem like a straight to the point indie-pop song, the addition of delightfully layered percussion and Glenn’s easy vocal delivery lift it far beyond a pastiche, and mark out The Reds, Pink & Purples as a band ready to join the indie-pop big leagues.
4. Like Everyone Else Melby Want To Get Back To Their Old Life
Back in 2019, Stockholm-quarter Melby were a band very much on the up, with their debut album, None Of This Makes Me Worry garnering critical acclaim and seeing the band take their music out on the road across Europe. When 2020 did its thing and got directly in the way of the band’s touring plans, they made the decision to retire to the studio and begin work on new material, as premiered back in December with the excellent, Common Sense. This week the band have shared the second offering from those sessions, in the shape of new single, Old Life, released through Rama Lama Records.
Old Life is a track that again finds the Swedish-quartet walking the line between melancholic-folk and more psychedelic territory, the track is pushed forward by the propulsive shuffle of the Do Make Say Think-like drums, and warm, shimmer of the electric-guitars, which possess a touch of Antiphon-era Midlake. What really stands out here is the band’s use of melody; atop the air-tight rhythm section, both guitars and vocals are given room to swoop and dive, Matilda Wiezell’s ever-wonderful voice, seeming to almost absent-mindedly weave between the musical gaps. Lyrically the track seems to touch on ideas of leaving a life behind, laced with both the insecurity of what could be lost and hope of what might be found. It’s quite possibly Melby’s finest moment to date, and with their increasingly unforgettable back-catalogue, that’s high praise indeed.
3. Juliet Quick Is Going Round In Circles
Originally from the Hudson Valley and now based out of Brooklyn, the world last heard from Juliet Quick back in 2018 around the release of her three-part EP, Changeling. After three years out of the limelight, Juliet recently returned to the studio with Florist’s Rick Spataro and set about recording her latest offering, Glass Years. Ahead of the EP’s March release on Substitute Scene Records, this week Juliet has shared the record’s opening track, Circles.
As the title suggests, Circles is a song of repetition, of falling back into your darker moments, and struggling to escape feelings of aimlessness, yet throughout there’s also a steeliness to Juliet’s words, refusing to listen to those who seek to doubt her, noting, “lately I’m not that driven, funny how everyone else seems to have an opinion”. Ultimately this song has a certain downbeat celebratory quality, an acceptance that despite the men who try to tell her otherwise, or the “crust punks”, with, “no coherent politics”, against the odds Juliet has learned to live in her identity, “I’m tired but I know myself”. Accompanying her wonderful turn of phrase is a delightfully understated musical backing, propelled, fittingly, by cyclical rhythmic guitar patterns, as Juliet’s voice carries out much of the melodic heavy-lifting as the tracks one constant, joined at times by flutters of strings and percussion that drift in and out earshot. With little show-boating or fanfare, here Juliet creates something subtly majestic, her words drawing sketches, her music fleshing them out into fully realised worlds to get lost in, and in doing so marking herself out as an artist at the very top of her game.
2. MUNROE Is The Girl Who Never Grew Up
Kathleen Munroe, or MUNROE to use her musical moniker, first appeared back in 2015 with her well-received debut EP. Splitting her time between Los Angeles and Toronto, Kathleen also splits her time between music and being a very successful actress, which might explain why she hasn’t shared any new music since 2019’s Wreak Havoc. Now two years on, this week saw the release of the latest MUNROE single, Don’t Rush To Get Old.
Working with acclaimed producer Benjamin Schwab, known for his work with Golden Daze and Drugdealer, Don’t Rush To Get Old is a track that emerged from an ending, although not one met with despair, but positivity. As Kathleen explains, “I sat down to write what I thought would be a song with some edge, or regret, or bargaining. But all that came out was this well-wishing. Just love”. Musically, Don’t Rush To Get Old is a timeless piece of slow-burning folk, Kathleen’s vocal accompanied by beautiful finger-picked guitars and the most subtle of buzzing back-ground synth, the whole thing has a timeless quality as likely to appeal to fans of Joni Mitchell as it is her contemporaries like Vera Sola or Hand Habits. With loose talk of an album coming on the horizon, the return of MUNROE is a reason to be very grateful, as whether acting or singing, she is a story-teller of the very highest order.
Don’t Rush To Get Old is out now. Click HERE for more information on MUNROE.
1. Ailsa Tully Exorcises Her Parasite
It was only a few weeks back that Welsh-songwriter Ailsa Tully last appeared on these pages, as one of my #21for2021. Wasting no time in cementing her spot as one of the year’s most intriguing new voices, Ailsa has this week shared her fantastic new single, Parasite, her latest release via Dalliance Recordings.
Discussing the track, Ailsa has suggested it takes aim at her personal experience in the music industry, as she explains, “Parasite is a confrontational song written for a controlling and manipulative person. It explores the insidious manner in which sexism takes form, particularly within the inner workings of the music industry”. It is a track that sets Ailsa at its heart representing both how she is perceived by the unnamed other, and her own sense of identity. It’s a theme explored in the lyrics, as she sings “I can see your saliva, feel your prying eyes, you trace the creases of my every line”, before snapping back, “I could break you down you parasite, you just wait until I get your right”. It’s a theme mirrored in the music, which contrasts the lightness of the vocal, stretching into Ailsa’s highest range and lightly distorted in places, with the grimy, grungy quality of the guitars and pounding drums, like a surprisingly wonderful amalgamation of Nine Inch Nails and Daughter. There was already plenty of excitement around Ailsa’s music, Parasite just adds to it; while it would be tempting to say she’s an exciting prospect for the future, more than that she’s already arrived, Ailsa Tully is the sound of the present, and it sounds wonderful.
Header photo is Ailsa Tully by Finn O’Hara