5. Let’s Set Sail’s Savage New Single
A wonderfully hard to categorise quartet hailing from Ireland, Let’s Set Sail have been performing in their current lineup since 2016. Having received a raft of praise in their home country, the band are set to branch out internationally with the October release of their new EP, Enzo. Ahead of that release the band have shared their fascinating new single, Savage Goo.
Savage Goo enters with a distant burble of synths, so gentle you barely notice the song has started until Warren McCarthy’s voice arrives initially just talking, melody only starting to slide into his gritty vocal as the song seems to slowly build around him. The lyrics are very straight-talking throughout, an almost blow-by-blow account of sitting outside an Amsterdam Cafe until a phone call suddenly sends things spiralling into a darker place, as the beauty of his surroundings is interrupted by a blast of gritty mortality. As the story progresses, so does the music, the minimal electronics joined by rich piano chords and ethereal layers of almost choral backing vocals, the whole thing bringing to mind the likes of Meursault or Mark Kozelek’s collaboration with Jimmy Lavalle. A blurring of spoken-word, folktronica, ambient-electronics and post-rock, whatever you want to call Let’s Set Sail’s music don’t be surprised if you hear a lot more about it in the months ahead.
Enzo is out October 1st. For more information on Let’s Set Sail visit https://letssetsail.bandcamp.com/.
4. I Promise You’ll Like Abby Huston’s New Single
Hailing from the fertile music scene of Richmond, Virginia, Abby Huston appeared on this site last month with a live version of their previous single, Apartment. That track was the lead single from Abby’s upcoming album, AH HA, a record out next month on Egghunt Records, which seeks to combine bedroom-pop, R&B crooners and their love for the early-noughties emo boom. With that fascinating combination of influences, this week comes Abby’s latest single, AH HA’s opening track, Promise.
Promise enters on a delightful meander of piano and a processed drum-beat that for those of a certain age will probably always be the sound of late 90’s pop, as the track progresses the bass comes to the fore before a twangy country guitar-line arrives to take the song home. It’s the sort of song that on paper you don’t think is quite going to work, yet somehow comes out far better than the sum of its parts, like a collaboration between All Saints and Beck you never knew you wanted, but guess what, you really do. The track came from Abby imagining themselves as, “a TV-drama, brokenhearted, boy band type character“, and quickly shifted into a reflection of slow summer days on the outskirts of a city, “finding things we can eat growing outside and playing pokemon emerald for the first time and tall grass and dogs and cats and our cars failing in rainstorms or sunshine“. A brilliant unusual songwriter, Abby Huston’s distinctly modern amalgam of sound and influences doesn’t quite sound like anyone I’ve ever heard before, and for that reason alone they deserve your attention, who knows you might even like it as much as I do.
3. Lunar Vacation Really Grind My Gears
The latest signatories to quite possibly the best label on the planet, Keeled Scales, Lunar Vacation are a quartet based out of Atlanta, Georgia. The band formed when co-vocalists and songwriters Grace Repasky and Maggie Geeslin met in the Eighth Grade and immediately began swapping musical ideas. Taking to pretty much every stage Atlanta had to offer, the band rapidly expanded to their current line-up and self-released a pair of well-received EPs. At the end of October, the band will release their fabulously titled debut album, Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp, and this week they shared the latest single from it, Gears.
Written by Grace Repasky, Gears is a song that focuses on the breaking point of a relationship, the point where you know it’s right to end things, yet aren’t quite ready to accept the emotional tumult. It’s reflected in the track’s two contrasting narrators, at first we get the almost cold indifference, “there is no reason, no there’s no reason to be sad about it”, yet as the track progresses the internal, emotions spill forth, “you’re moving on, but I still love your call, covering highway walls, you know I still get sad about it”. The song’s lyrical content is matched in the track’s musical progression, beginning as almost clinical synth-pop, only Grace’s shimmering vocal adding a human flourish, before on the two-minute mark, the track suddenly shifts, the electronics drop off leaving Grace with just guitars for company as they dig deep into what went wrong. Grace has spoken of how their songwriting is often, “future-me giving past-me advice”, and while Gears is certainly an attempt at that, here the advice is perhaps a little muddled, unsure whether to leave the rose-tinted spectacles on, or confront the harsh-light of reality. Like the best things in life, there’s light and shade to music Lunar Vacation make, joy and struggle, acceptance and denial, and it’s all the more human and relatable as a result.
2. Honeyglaze’s Music Is A Real Steal
A South London-based, “haiku loving” trio, Honeyglaze formed out of vocalist and guitarist Anouska Sokolow’s desire to not be a solo artist. After meeting up with bassist Tim and drummer Yuri, Honeyglaze began playing live just three days later. After eighteen months of not playing, the band have quickly made up for it, with sets at the 100 Club and Greenman Festival already under their belts. Continuing their magical few months, the band have this week announced their singing to Speedy Wunderground and marked the occasion with a brand new single, Burglar.
Burglar was inspired by a poem by Charles Bukowski, and attempt to capture the feeling of, “being half-awake before dawn and waiting alone for the clarity of morning“. The lyrics are less a story and more an attempt to capture a feeling, a series of metaphors designed to make you dream, not understand, “you said I was nothing but a dream, I said you were nothing”. If the lyrics are intriguingly obtuse, musically too this is a difficult track to pin down, there are nods to the surrealist pop of Haley Heynderickx, yet the twitchy guitar lines and jazzy rhythms would sound equally at home on an album by Radiohead or Do Make Say Think. By the time the track slides away on the fabulously intense instrumental outro, you’ll be intrigued and charmed in equal measure. The band claim to be for fans of Salvador Dali and Power Rangers, yet if you don’t fit that particular Venn diagram don’t be put off, there’s something here for everyone from a band who look to be at the start of something very special.
1. Renée Reed’s Return Is As Dreamy A Expected
2021 has already been a break-out year for Lafayette, Louisiana’s Renée Reed with the release of her sublime self-titled debut album, which drew near-universal acclaim from everyone who heard it. With a huge US tour coming up with Whitney, alongside solo shows, Renée has this week detailed her new EP, J’ai rêvé, four tracks recorded in the same sessions as her debut album. Ahead of the EP’s release in November, this week Renée has shared the first taster of the record, Tonnerre mes chiens.
Literally translating as thunder my dogs, Tonnerre mes chiens is a colloquial term in Cajun French with a similar meaning to goddammit. Despite its French title, the track actually finds the bilingual Renée singing in English, reminiscing on, “listening to someone else’s anger while feeling that my own anger is going unheard“. Musically, the track seems to pick up where Renée’s debut left off, here tapping into the folkier-end of her musical spectrum. The gorgeously sedate finger-picked guitar winds and flows like the slowest running river as her spectral vocals dance above, the playful melody contrasting the steely indifference of the lyrics, “I’ve been through hell a thousand times, so don’t tell me of your sorrow ’til your dying day”. For those who haven’t already had the pleasure, consider this an invitation to dive into the world of Renée Reed, her self-described “fantasy folk from the Cajun prairies” looks set to reach out and capture the whole world’s imagination.
Header photo is Renée Reed by LeeAnn B Stephan