Five Things We Liked This Week – 08/10/21

Further Listening:

5. Hannah Jadagu Is Anything But A Waste Of Time

Hannah Jadagu appeared on this site back in April, around the time of the release of her brilliant EP, What Is Going On, which was the Texas-born, New York-based musician’s debut for Sub Pop. Gaining praise from the likes of NPR and Under The Radar, the success of What Is Going On has propelled Hannah out onto the American roads this Autumn supporting Beach Fossils and Wild Nothing. Ahead of those dates, this week Hannah shared her fabulous new single, All My Time Is Wasted.

Co-composed by Hannah and producer Huck, All My Time Is Wasted is a song inspired by Hannah’s experiences during her first semester at University, and the sense of feeling inadequate, “despite the new adjustments, hard work, and risks I had been taking”. Featuring backing vocals from Frankie Cosmos, although you’ll have to really listen carefully to recognise her, All My Time Is Wasted is a deliciously dreamy affair. At times the song seems to hang back, often dropping down to just the muted strum of an electric guitar, before bursting forward on a blast of conjoined vocal melodies and bright rushes of synths. For Hannah Jadagu music feels like anything but a waste of time, this is a songwriter at the start of some really quite special.

All My Time Is Wasted is out now via Sub Pop. For more information on Hannah Jadagu visit https://www.hannahjadagu.com/.

4. Sister Lucy Isn’t Kidding Around

Originally from Devon, although now based out of South East London, Abi Sinclair is the songwriter behind the Sister Lucy moniker, working in the probably unique genre of, “Country-Grunge headbandgers you can scream-sing along to”. Next month will see Abi release the Big Girl Pants EP, and this week she has shared the record’s, “big sister track”, Big Kid.

Abi admits she relates heavily to the song’s title, “the phrase Big Kid describes my permanent state of existence and my need for daily escapism”. The song is a reflection on the world’s desire for us all to grow up and forget our dreams, “it’s my nostalgia for childhood simplicity and the longing to break out of mundane adulthood”. Much of the song plays with the imagery of pretending to be playing the “grown up”, when you still feel enlivened with youth, contrasting the adult grind of washing clothes with childhood freedom of, “baby dolls and barbie days”. Musically, the track rolls by in a distorted fuzz, like an arena-worthy anthem re-imagined as a lo-fi slacker-pop song. As the track rolls around to its final thrilling chorus, it seems to dive out of adult living entirely, pursuing joy and passion with the line, “everything’s better, I wanna go wherever you are”. On the evidence so far Sister Lucy is a big kid ready to make a splash with music fans, whether they are adults, children or like most of us, somewhere in between.

Big Girl Pants is out next month. For more information on Sister Lucy visit https://sisterlucy.bandcamp.com/.

3. Old Man Of The Woods Are Going To Need A Bigger Boat

When Miranda Elliot went looking for a name for her lo-fi ambient pop project, she went back to a rather unusual childhood desire, she wanted to be a tree. The only child of a landscape painter she would spend her youth wandering the mountains and forests that were like a back yard, feeling connected to the trees as if they were friends, not scenery. That embracing of the world as an ever-changing collage is something Miranda brings to her debut album Votives, a musical landscape that is constantly evolving in her capable songwriting hands. Ahead of the record’s release next week, this week saw Old Man of the Woods share the latest track from the record, Sharks.

Discussing the inspiration behind Sharks, Miranda has suggested it, “was born of the claustrophobia of isolation”. It is in many ways a song about the voices in your head, and how when confronted with isolation, they often rear their ugly heads and the only option is to confront them head-on, “it’s about building the courage to talk back to the voice in your head, instead of accepting it as fact”. The track opens with a literal cleansing, as to a backing of subtle electronics, Miranda sings, “I take longer showers as if the steam will liquify your sharpened words”. From there the track slowly expands like an inflating balloon, the gentle burbling synths becoming a melodic tide dragging you into the salty lyrical deep, “I was scared of sharks when you were behind me, I guess I’ll punch your nose, it’s worth a try”. As the song fades out on the lapping tide, it feels like the first step on a long hike towards self-acceptance, a battle we all face to be happy in our own skin and leave the sharks in the deep oceans where they belong. When Votives arrives next week the Old Man Of The Woods might just be the best forest-based surprise since the Teddy Bear’s picnic.

Votives is out October 15th. For more information on Old Man of the Woods visit http://oldmanofthewoods.rocks/.

2. Feel The Force Of Claire Cronin

Based out of Los Angeles, Claire Cronin is both a musician and a writer, and critically acclaimed as both. After 2019’s second album, Big Dread Moon, she returned to the written word for her 2020, “horror memoir”, Blood Light of the Screen. Less than a year after relocating to Berkeley with her husband and violinist Ezra Buchla, the pandemic hit, accompanied by one of the worst wildfire seasons in Californian history, and the pair were largely forced into near entire isolation. While Claire was feeling, “trapped and hopeless and terrified”, it did allow the pair time to work on the, “almost hallucinatory” recording process that would become Claire’s this album, Bloodless. The album is due out next month via Orindal Records, run by Owen Ashworth who appears on the album, and this week Claire shared the latest single from it, No Forcefield.

Bloodless’ centrepiece, No Forcefield, is in Claire’s words, “about feeling lost and trying to read my fate in omens and dreams“. Throughout the track Claire conjures up ominous portents in her poetic words that seem to go from the most mundane and domestic to the heights of existential dread, “do you hurt the furniture because it frightens you? Are you imprisoned by some private absolute?”. Musically it seems to be a masterclass in ringing emotion from simplicity, recalling the likes of Elvis Perkins or Alela Diane, as the gentle burble of keyboards and barely-there rhythmic guitar seem to create a limelight for Claire’s gently cracking, perfectly unhurried vocal to claim the centre-stage it so richly deserves. While barely raising her voice above a whisper, Claire Cronin manages to create an emotional landslide in a way only truly great songwriters can, Bloodless looks like being the next brilliant chapter in a story you won’t want to miss.

Bloodless is out November 12th via Orindal Records. For more information on Claire Cronin visit https://www.overandthrough.com/.

1. Aliens Are Just Going To Love Gracie Gray

Gracie Gray’s musical journey has been a somewhat eclectic one, growing up in Los Angeles as the middle child of four siblings, she was on the road touring with bands at the same time as attending the Bob Cole Conservatory for Classical Voice. After the widespread acclaim that greeted her self-released 2019 debut, Oregon In A Day, Gracie caught the ear of the Hand In Hive label, and in February next year they’ll team up for the release of her second album, Anna. Ahead of that release, this week Gracie has shared the first single from the record, alienlover.

alienlover is in many ways a perfect introduction to Gracie Gray’s musical world, where crunchy-guitars collide with processed layers of vocals and wavering keyboards to create a brand of heady bedroom-pop perfection. Discussing the track, Gracie recalls it was inspired by a dream and is based around the idea, “that an alien could fall in love with a woman but knows it cannot be with them“. As she further explains, “the alien communicates its adoration for her by sending down art for artists to see in their mind and create, whether it be a song, dance, painting, etc. The woman experiences certain art throughout her life and knows it’s for her. She feels loved and seen, but isn’t sure how or why“. Despite its extraterrestrial origins, alienlover still manages to feel delightfully human, Gracie’s ability to use her voice as both an instrument and emotional divining rod creating a hazy melange of technical prowess and melodic thrills. While Anna’s arrival might be a way off yet, already it feels like an album to be excited about, a shining light in the distance that I can’t wait to discover.

Anna is out February 4th via Hand In Hive. For more information on Gracie Gray visit http://www.graciegray.com/.

Header Photo is Gracie Gray by Sergio De La Torre.

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