Five Things We Liked This Week – 16/04/21

Further Listening:

5. ME REX Are Far Too Good For The Bin

Based out of South London, ME REX started life as the solo project of Myles McCabe back in 2018. At that point Myles, disillusioned with the music industry at large, and battling with alcoholism and mental health issues, began making bedroom-pop, returning to the joy of making music for music’s sake. Now expanded to a four-piece supergroup of sorts, courtesy of members of Fresh, Cheerbleederz and Happy Accidents, ME REX recently released their new EP, Stegosaurus through Big Scary Monsters, and this week shared the video to their new single, Heart Of Garbage.

Set to a soundtrack of rapid-fire guitars and yelped vocals, Heart Of Garbage uses a, “plant trying to grow in a poisonous environment“, as a metaphor. As Myles explains, “the song is about digging out space, providing light and clean water, trying to create the circumstances under which growth can happen”. Musically, this feels like a real extension of the ME REX you knew before; the full band feel channelling the spirit of whole-hearted emotional outpouring perfected by the likes of Frightened Rabbit or Los Campesinos! There’s a joy here, a sense of creativity, freedom and friendship that just pours out of the speakers, ME REX are the sound of falling back in love with making music, and you might just find yourself falling for them as a result.

Stegosaurus is out now via Big Scary Monsters. For more information on ME REX go to https://merex.bandcamp.com/.

4. Yellow Ostrich’s New Single Really Can Fly

Yellow Ostrich is the project of Minneapolis-based songwriter, Alex Schaaf. His new album, Soft, which will arrive next week on Barsuk Records, marks the end of a seven-year hiatus for the project, which Alex spent exploring other musical identities and releasing records under his own name. The return of Yellow Ostrich coincides with Alex’s recent return to his mid-western roots, after spending half a decade in New York, and finds him joined by a cast of friends, both returning and new to the Yellow Ostrich-moniker. This week ahead of the album’s release, Alex has shared the latest track to be lifted from it, Birds.

Tapping into one of Soft’s core themes, Birds is a musing on binary ideas of attraction and sexuality, as Alex explains the track is about, “realising desire can be fluid and that it doesn’t follow strict rules and patterns the way you might expect it to”. Writ large within the track’s message is the idea of constantly learning about yourself, of growing older and accepting, “that it’s not a process that stops when you reach a certain age”. Musically, the track is Yellow Ostrich as their most wistful, as the steady pulse of the rhythm sections is overlain by a delightful, slow meander of guitar, and Alex’s softly delivered vocal, reminiscent of Lionlimb or his near name-sake Andy Shauf. There’s something wonderfully understated about the music Yellow Ostrich make, the songs tackle deep emotional roots without ever resorting to the dramatic, and they feel fantastically real and raw as a result.

Soft is out April 23rd via Barsuk Records. For more information on Yellow Ostrich go to https://yellowostrich.com/.

3. Melby Really Are Magic

Regular features on this site, Stockholm-based quartet Melby have been winning over hearts and minds with their deliciously eclectic musical journeys through the worlds of psych, dream-pop, alt-country and everything in between. The latest in a series of singles that go from the dreamily-melancholic Old Life to the more driving, dynamism of Somewhere New, this week the band have shared their latest offering, Magic.

Discussing the track, the band have suggested it is inspired by Sweden’s culture of, “extreme realism“, and how this can be frustrating for anyone wanting to run with their imagination and explore less concrete explanations, captured in the Matilda Wiezell’s lyrics that crave magic and escape, while being faced with the boredom of the rules; “you want my ambition, my biggest smile”. Musically, it feels like a further example of the confidence the band now possess to push their own boundaries without losing sight of their intrinsic sound; here a relatively straight-up pop-song is re imagined by a deliciously fuzzy lead-guitar line that early-Tame Impala would be proud of and Matilda’s wonderfully characterful vocal delivery. Melby feel on the verge of something very special: magic by name, magic by nature.

Magic is out now via Rama Lama Records. For more information on Melby go to https://melby.bandcamp.com/.

2. Listen To Trevor Sensor’s New Track On Account Of It Being Really Good

A songwriter based out of Illinois, I featured Trevor Sensor on the site back in 2016. That was in the build up to the release of Texas Girls and Jesus Christ, his debut EP for Jagjaguwar, that was followed a year later by his debut album, Andy Warhol’s Dream. While never quite providing the break-through that it arguably deserved, the record did propel Trevor Sensor’s music forward, a fact that is becoming obvious with each new track from his upcoming second album, On Account Of Exile Vol. 1, out in June via High Black Desert Records.

This week, Trevor has shared the latest offering from the album, Chiron, Galactus. The track is inspired by Panos Cosmatos’s film, Mandy, rumoured to be, “the trippiest horror movie ever made”, and a film that had a huge effect on Trevor, “it functions as this perfect allegory of the dichotomy between those who want to be left alone, and those who can’t leave people alone“. Throughout the film the protagonists just want to escape and be alone, while other groups come barging in to destroy their solace, “that’s pretty much the catalyst to all the problems of the world if you think about it. Those who seek to impose their will upon others are often the worst of us”. The track came to Trevor quickly after watching the film, as he recalls, “some deep melancholic anguish rose up in me, and everything came out fully formed“. Musically, this feeling comes across, as the track starts with a steady propulsive guitar, and gradually builds to a cacophonous howl, contrasted by the lush orchestral backing. Described by Trevor as an album for, “trailer park loners, desperate drifters, nouveau riche rejects, or frankly anybody who feels at odds with the cultural milieu of rotting America“, On Account Of Exile Vol.1 already feels like a sparkling return, a songwriter who always had a way of putting the scenes forming around him into every note, capturing a snapshot of the world in all its brutal splendour.

On Account Of Exile Vol. 1 is out June 18th via High Black Desert Records. For more information on Trevor Sensor go to https://trevorsensor.bandcamp.com/.

1. Lucy Dacus’ New Single Is Hot Hot Hot

Somewhat remarkably, it’s now four years since Lucy Dacus first emerged with her near-perfect debut album, No Burden. Followed in 2018 by the equally well-received Historian, the two albums have propelled Lucy into the upper-echelon of modern singer-songwriters, and with that comes a certain expectation around her third album, Home Video, which will arrive in June. Alongside the album’s announcement, Lucy has also this week shared the first single from it, Hot & Heavy.

As Lucy explains, the track started off life as being about an old friend, before, “I realized along the way that it was just about me outgrowing past versions of myself“. The track has a certain nostalgic quality, Lucy returning to her teenage haunts and hangouts and feeling like she’s, “trespassing the past“. Ultimately it’s a song about accepting who you are, even if you’re not the person your past self expected you to become. Musically, this feels like a bit of a departure for Lucy’s music, channelling her inner Bruce Springsteen into her driving, widescreen take on Americana. It might only be one track, yet already this feels like the biggest, boldest and most ambitious record to date.

Home Video is out June 25th via Matador Records. For more information on Lucy Dacus go to https://lucydacus.com/.

Header photo is Lucy Dacus by Ebru Yildiz.

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