5. Lowertown Face Up To The Vastness Of The Oceans
Based out of Atlanta, Lowertown are a duo of 19-year-old bandmates and best friends Olivia Osby and Avsha Weinberg. Like all the best stories, Lowertown begins with a chance meeting in Maths class, which led to a discovery of a shared love of DIY music and progressed to making music in a basement studio. Back in 2019, the pair shared their debut album, Friends, which garnered millions of streams and led to a recording stint in London, where the band made their upcoming EP, The Gaping Mouth, out next month via Dirty Hit. This week the band have shared the latest track from the EP, Seaface.
At the heart of Lowertown’s musical dynamic is the pairs contrasting musical backgrounds, Olivia is a self-taught singer-songwriter, while Avsha is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist. Lowertown’s sound is as hard to pin down as you’d expect of a band who cite influences as diverse as Aphex Twin and Modest Mouse. Here there’s a certain jazziness to the drum-beat, reminiscent of Lionlimb, while the urgency of the vocals brings to mind the likes of Forth Wanderers or even Life Without Buildings. The band speak of this album as their most mature work to date, and it instantly feels a little more expansive and focused, the sound of a band growing into their sound and becoming very exciting indeed.
4. Ten Days Of Surfing Will Make Anyone Shiver
A supergroup consisting of one half of Slow Club and two-thirds of The Wave Pictures, The Surfing Magazines emerged back in 2017 with their eponymous debut album, a record that combined their love of Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground and the surf-rock bands of the 1960s. Later this year the band will return with their new album, Badgers Of Wymeswold, and on the evidence so far it’s set to be an equally joyous slice of vintage rock’n’roll. This week the band have shared the fourth single to be lifted from the record, Ten Days Of Shiver.
Discussing the track the band have suggested Ten Days Of Shiver, “channel 90s nostalgia into a Phillip K. Dick sci-fi murder mystery, involving darts, ghost pirates and Janis Joplin“. Thankfully the track is just as much of a joyously wild-ride as that sounds The track starts life in darker tones, the moody muted-bass notes and shimmering guitar lines giving the whole thing a certain New York swagger before it suddenly explodes into life on a loose guitar line and howling organ that seems to switch coasts to the California-sheen of The Byrds. While the band’s collective tongue might firmly be in their cheek when they state Badgers Of Wymeswold is, “even better than Rod Stewart singing The Great American Songbook”, they do seem to have hit onto something rather magic here, mining the past to plot out an exciting future, grab your board because pretty soon everybody’s going surfing (magazines).
3. Carpet Come Back Smelling Of Roses
Carpet, the project of Leeds-based musician and producer Rob Slater, has been something of a fixture on this site this year, courtesy of a series of intriguing singles. Before this year, Rob was best known for both his work with the band Crake, and working on records by the likes of Mi Mye and The Spill. This week has confirmed the release of the debut Carpet EP, out at the end of September, as well as sharing the latest track from it, Rose Ephedrone.
At first, Rose Ephedrone appears to be a more straight-talking affair than Carpet’s previous output, Rob taking us into the dark underbelly of a night out, full of bad habits, destructive behaviour and a sense of building regrets. However, as the track progresses, the edges start to become blurrier, and the lyrics more cryptic, “doused our pleasures in destructive actions, we smoke the last and burned the whole thing down”. Musically, there’s a touch of Low or Kiran Leonard, as the wiry guitar-line runs throughout the track, accompanied by a gentle drum-tick and Rob’s emotive vocal, that also seems to crumble in time with the characters in the track. This track feels like a different side of Carpet, it showcases his ability to set a scene, to draw you into his world and leave you as a listener wanting to know just how this story ends – and the best news of all, Carpet’s tale is only just getting started.
Carpet is out September 24th. For more information on Carpet visit https://carpetsongs.bandcamp.com/.
2. I’m Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered By Bas Jan
Based out of London, Bas Jan are in their own words an, “experimental post-punk ensemble”. The band was formed back in 2015 by songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Serafina Steer, who also releases acclaimed records under her own name, and is a touring/recording musician for the likes of John Grant, Patrick Wolf and Jarv Is, to mention but a few. Three years on from the last Bas Jan release, 2018’s Instant Nostalgia, the band returned this week with a brand new single, You Have Bewitched Me, released through the Lost Map label.
The song marks something of a change of approach for Bas Jan, the current four-piece line-up embracing a more collaborative approach to writing. The track came about courtesy of Arts Council funding, which allowed the band to rehearse and record at Cafe Oto in Dalston during the 2020 lockdown. The track builds around Serafina’s prominent bass-line, combined with the girl-gang vocal harmonies it seems to nod to the likes of The Wharves or The Raincoats, combining pop sensibilities with a knowingly subversive streak. At its core though, there’s a certain tenderness to You Have Bewitched Me, while it doesn’t scream “I love you” from the highest tower, there’s a subtle sense of serenity brought about by the presence of another being: “it’s the Autumn leaves, it’s a walk in the park, it’s you by my side, it’s a feeling, I want to reach out”. Throughout there’s a beautiful flow to Bas Jan’s music, it might clock in at just over three minutes yet it seems to move between ideas so quickly you feel like it has been with you so much longer. Bas Jan’s welcome return is a reason to be very cheerful, and where they’re going next might just be spectacular.
1. I’m Eating Up Wasuremono’s New Single
Hailing from my home county of Wiltshire, Wasuremono first appeared back in 2014 with their self-titled debut album. The quartet have gone on to release a further four records, culminating in the April release of Let’s Talk, Pt.1. As you might guess from that title, it was the first instalment of a wider project, with Part 2 due out later this year via The Wilderness Records. This week Wasuremono have shared the first offering from Part 2 in the shape of their new single, Eating Up The Sky.
Eating Up The Sky is in many was classic Wasuremono, taking heavy topics, in this instance the creeping dread of climate change, and dressing them up in a technicolour blast of pure joy. Described by songwriter William Southward as, “a bopping summer pop tune”, the track is a kaleidoscopic slice of expansive indie-pop existing in a similar vein to acts like MGMT or Black Kids. Put simply this is a great pop song, don’t take our word for it though, it found its true audience as William explains, “my 1-year-old daughter always asks for this song in the car and so it passed the litmus test. Who knows? Maybe it could be the next baby-shark”. Whether it’s CBeebies or hoards of bouncing indie-kids, one way or another, for Wasuremono cult adoration surely awaits.
Header photo is Wasuremono.