5. Cots’ Breathtaking New Single
Based out of Montreal, Cots is the solo musical project of composer, singer and guitarist Steph Yates. Discussing her debut album, Distburing Body out next month via Boiled Records, Steph has suggested it is inspired by, “the power of celestial mechanics”, a record that seeks to explore human interactions via the mathematics of interstellar bodies. The record seeks to explore how human bodies and planets alike are constantly, “carved out in relation to others”. Ahead of the album’s release, this week Steph has shared the latest single from it, Our Breath.
Discussing the inspiration behind the track, Steph admits, “I can’t say what exactly the song is about“, the words coming out, “like a braid”, an interwoven set of ideas with no singular clear narrative. If the songs lyrical content is unclear, its musical heart is much more to the point, coming across like the middle ground of Eerie Wanda and early Cate Le Bon with its playful, striding rhythms and the uneasy warble of the deliciously rich vocals. Spanning from the tiny dot that is humanity to the wonder of the cosmos at large, Cots has made something very special, who knows how far up into the stars it could take her.
Disturbing Body is out August 11th via Boiled Records. For more information on Cots visit https://stephyates.com/cots.
4. Let Hadda Be Nurse You Back To Health
Back in April, Hadde Be released Another Life, their superb debut album on the Scottish label, Last Night From Glasgow. A record that saw the band subtly shift from the jangle-pop of previous releases into a grittier, driving world of indie-rock. This week, to celebrate the NHS’ 73rd Birthday they shared the video to one of the album’s stand-out moments, Nurse’s Song.
The single is particularly close to vocalist Amber’s heart, inspired as it was by her own experience as a nurse, the lyrics coming across like a poem as she reflects on the changing face of the institution. The track ends with a recording of the Health Minister who oversaw the formation of the NHS, Nye Bevan, his hopes and dreams for the institutions future contrasting with Amber’s own experience, as Hadda Be ask whether we truly value health care as we should, “gone are the days where needs are met and life seemed so alive”. Musically, the track is a slice of wiry post-punk, with the tight rhythmic pulse, overlain by layers of to-the-point guitars and Amber’s easy, world-weary vocal delivery. Written before COVID-19 brought the NHS sharply into focus, there’s an eerie prescience to the track, a reminder not to take anything for granted, and to replace claps and rainbows with the funding and support that one of our country’s finest achievements requires to keep on helping us all in the hour of our greatest need.
3. Veronica Everheart’s Sweet And Savoury New Single
Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Veronica Everheart is a brand new name to me. Back in 2019 she released her debut album, Thank You, I Love You, a collection of ten fairly lo-fi songs that took in elements of anti-folk, bedroom pop and Americana. This week Veronica has returned with a new single, Sour, a re-working of an old song and her first new material of 2021.
Listening to Sour, there’s a distinctly tongue-in-cheek sarcasm to the track, with Veronica’s snarl of a vocal dissecting a time-wasting lover and their wandering eye, “sorry for all I said but, why do I have to apologize for something that you did?” Musically, the track starts with an almost absent-minded meander of guitar before exploding into life via a crashing drum pattern and rolling bass. The track seems to gradually build throughout, to the point where it becomes a cacophony of distorted guitars and rapid pattering drums, all sitting in perfect contrast to Veronica’s nonchalant vocal style. With a melting pot of influences from slacker-rock through to indie-pop, Veronica Everheart’s early offerings hint at an artist we’ll be hearing a lot more from in the years to come.
Sour is out now via Cherry Pit Records. For more information on Veronica Everheart visit https://linktr.ee/veronicaeverheart.
2. Give Wednesday Just One More Listen
Hailing from Asheville, North Carolina, Wednesday first caught my attention when they released one of my favourite records of 2020, I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone. The band recently announced details of the follow-up, Twin Plagues, due out next month via Orindal Records. This week the quintet have shared the latest track from the record, One More Last One, the first track to feature lead-vocals from lap steel guitarist, Xandy Chelmis.
Normally when an album arrives, music writers receive an array of information about it, the where/when/why of the record, Twin Plagues is instead presented to the world with an essay by poet, essayist and cultural critic, Hanif Abdurraqib. Instead of being told about the story of the record, we’re instead told how it makes you feel, as Hanif puts it, “I promise you the songs will be what grab you first, beyond any of my foolish high-level emotional theorizing or projections”, and he’s right, there’s something guttural, honest and perfectly human about the sound that Wednesday make. Listening to One More Last One, we’re greeted by a wall of distorted guitars and pounding drums, a riotous racket that all but engulfs the vocals. Despite the disorienting noise, there’s something in the drum-beat that pulls you back to the world of the living, rattling around your rib-cage and making your heart pound with the visceral excitement of it all. Wednesday make music to get lost in, music to wash over you and music to make you feel, this is music for your vital organs, not your mind, urgent, unmissable and utterly wonderful, they might just be your new favourite band.
1. It’s Time To Get All Your Ducks Ltd In A Line
Hailing from Toronto, Ducks Ltd. are the duo of Tom McGreevy and Evan Lewis. I last featured them on the site at the back-end of 2019, around the release of the slow-burning success that was their debut album, Get Bleak, initially shared via Bobo Integral, before being re-released by Carpark Records early this year. While many people have only just discovered the charms of Get Bleak, the duo are wasting no time in getting back to it, and this week announced their second record, Modern Fiction, will arrive in October. Ahead of that the band have also shared the first track from the album, 18 Cigarettes.
Showing themselves to be well in touch with the current UK obsession with all things 1990s, 18 Cigarettes was apparently inspired by a 1997 Oasis performance of Don’t Go Away, as Tom recalls, “it’s a song that kind of tells on itself“, with 18 Cigarettes his attempt to mirror the feeling of, “raw emotional expression from someone whose capacity to talk about their feelings is stunted“. If thematically it was influenced by Oasis, musically I wouldn’t know it, less anthemic rock’n’roll and more rapid-fire jangle-pop. The lithe guitars and urgent vocals, a tumble of lyrics delivered in a delightful sing-speak style, are less Knebworth and more sweaty, sticky nightclub and all the better for it. Lyrically the track sits in a sweet spot but knows it’s not going to last, time inexorably marches on whether we like it or not, “I wanted things to stay how they would not stay, I’d ask you to explain but it’s not your problem”. A sparkling return, Ducks Ltd. are one of those bands that seem to come along from time to time and breathe new life into a musical style just as you began to think there was nothing new for it to stay, call off the paramedics, indie-pop in 2021 is alive and quacking.
Modern Fiction is out October 1st via Carpark Records. For more information on Ducks Ltd. visit https://ducksltdband.bandcamp.com/.
Header photo is Ducks Ltd. by Christiane Johnston