Five Things We Liked This Week – 29/10/21

Further Listening:

5. Just Like Gin, You Can’t Have Katy Kirby Without Juniper

Rewind the clock back to February and every music journalist with an indie-bone in their body was queueing up to throw deserved praise in the direction of Katy Kirby and her remarkable debut album Cool Dry Place. Like so many artists releasing in that period, Katy found her touring plans somewhat short-changed at the time, a wrong she has set out to right this week with the announcement of a slew of dates across the US and Europe. To celebrate the news, Katy has also shared a brand-new video to one of Cool Dry Place’s most thrilling moments, Juniper.

Discussing Juniper, Katy has suggested the track is an “exploration on ever-strange motherhood”, touching on ideas of, “heredity and intergenerational knowledge“, as well as, “the way your mom teaches you to put on mascara for the first time“. Musically, it’s delightfully ragged in the best way possible, the lurching guitar line and clattering drum-beat contrasting perfectly with the lilting vocal as Katy sings of all the things she’s been taught and all the things she now realises she has to learn for herself. The excellent video, courtesy of Eleanor Petry, is even accompanied by a cocktail recipe for Katy’s own boozy concoction, Juniper’s Last Word, with gin as the primary ingredient – so raise a glass to Katy Kirby one of 2021’s musical heroes now ready to show the world just what they’ve been missing.

Cool Dry Place is out now via Keeled Scales. For more information on Katy Kirby visit https://katykirbyon.bandcamp.com/

4. Meanwhile Back In Midlake

Somewhat remarkably, it has been eight years since we last heard from Denton, Texas’ finest Midlake. That was around the release of Antiphon, the band’s fourth album, and the first since original vocalist Tim Smith departed the band. The album was something of a triumph, the band revelling in the collective spirit as they rallied around and made the decision to keep on keeping on. Since then the various members have pursued other projects, yet the desire to get back to Midlake always remained strong, and in 2019 they reconvened to begin work on the tracks that would become their upcoming record, For The Sake of Bethel Woods. The album was ostensibly written and recorded, with the help of producer John Congleton, while the musical world ground to a halt, the enforced lay-off in other plans allowing them to truly focus on the project at hand. While the album won’t arrive until March next year, this week the band have shared the first taste of the record in the shape of their new single, Meanwhile…

Discussing the inspiration behind Meanwhile…, Midlake have suggested it draws inspiration from what happened when they decided to pause the band’s activities after touring Antiphon, a reminder they suggest of, “the beautiful growths that can emerge from the cracks and gaps between things”. If the aim of an opening line is to instantly set a scene, Meanwhile… will take some beating, as Eric Pulido sings, “listen to me closely here my dear, for I do fear, that the end is near”. From there the track progresses in classically Midlake fashion, with luxurious harmonies, ample use of spacy reverb and a distinctly modern take on the classic psych-prog genre, wearing the influences of acts like ELO and early Genesis as badges of pride. They might have been out of the limelight for eight years, yet the Midlake story never felt like it was done in my mind, they were always a band who felt like they had more to offer the world, a welcome back to a great band who might just sound better than ever.

For The Sake of Bethel Woods is out March 18th via Bella Union. For more information on Midlake visit https://www.midlakeband.com/.

3. Here’s To Another Round Of Eve Adams

Hailing from Los Angeles, Eve Adams is a songwriter rooted in the history of Americana, from the jazz clubs of the 1930s through to film-noir and the golden age of Hollywood, everything she does seems to sing with the shadows of the past. Following up on 2019’s Candy Colored Doom, Eve has this week announced her new record, Metal Bird, which will be released in January via Todmorden’s finest record label, Basin Rock. Ahead of the release Eve shared the first single from it La Ronde.

Opening with a meandering electric guitar, La Ronde is a song rich with unease, it feels like looking at the world as someone slowly fades it in and out of focus. Particularly wonderful is the perfectly gentle piano flourishes, a series of ringing notes, equally reminiscent of the neo-classic forays of Yann Tiersen and the Americana-noir of Elvis Perkins. The only instrument that doesn’t seem to be setting out to distort the picture throughout is Eve’s vocal, it belies its hushed delivery with a steeliness of character, as she dissects the disarming quality of falling in love, “just friends, just faking a smile till it ends, I’ve fallen in love but you’re tying my hands”. Like Vera Sola or Kate Davis before her, on Metal Bird, Eve Adams mines musical history, yet crucially seeks to re-imagine, not re-hash it. A fresh take on a sound as old as the hills, Eve Adams breathes new life into old ideas and comes out sounding like an artist at the start of something very exciting indeed.

Metal Bird is out January 12th via Basin Rock. For more information on Eve Adams visit https://www.eveadams.club/

2. Use Some Of Your Time To Listen To Peaness

Formed in the halls of Chester University back in 2014, Peaness have, like so many musicians, had something of a stop-start eighteen months, with delays and cancellations hitting almost every plan they tried. A fact which is epitomised by their upcoming London show at Oslo being their fourth attempt at playing the capital since the pandemic began. This week the band released their new single, What’s The Use? Which was originally scheduled for release in the Summer of 2020. It’s the latest taster of the band’s debut album, which will see the light of day in 2022.

What’s The Use finds bassist Jess taking lead vocal duties as she shares the entirely relatable feeling about the world right now, “Did you feel like screaming into a pillow at all these past 18 months? Same!” Despite being essentially a track about the sheer futility of existence, in Peaness’s indie-popping hands, it becomes less nihilistic and instead, a howl of collective angst and a reminder to keep on going, “I drag myself up, only to fall back down again”. The world is waking from its slumber and Peaness couldn’t be better placed to make the most of it, they might wonder what the point of it all is, but with music this wonderful, maybe discovering the meaning of life can wait until next year.

What’s The Use is out now via Totally Snick. For more information on Peaness visit https://www.peanessband.com/.

1. Tasha Has Taken Her To Bed

Born and raised in Chicago, Tasha came to the music world’s attention back in 2018 with her debut album, Alone at Last. Things are just starting to heat up again for Tasha, with November dates across America that will see her share stages with the likes of Fran, Mini Trees and S.Raekwon. The dates will follow hot on the heels of Father/Daughter releasing her latest album, Tell Me What You Miss The Most, which Tasha previewed this week with the record’s opening track, Bed Song 1.

One of the first tracks written for Tell Me What You Miss The Most, Tasha notes how the song, “came to encompass many of the feelings that I go on to continue exploring throughout the rest of the songs“. The track is a reflection of the pain and sadness that comes when love goes, as she explains it is about, “reminiscing before the end has even come, relinquishing your heart so as to keep the sadness away just a little longer“. Musically, the track is a delightfully straight-talking affair, the propulsive quality of the acoustic guitar, resplendent with the sound of fingers scratching on strings, is reminiscent of Laura Marling’s most intimate work, while the addition of rich pulsing strings brings to mind Vashti Bunyan or Nick Drake. If the music is beautiful, the lyrics are verging on devastating, Tasha’s plaintive vocal somehow not wavering as she sings, “here take my heart for me, I don’t need all this old sorrow”. This is the latest in a string of statements of intent from Tasha, an artist who makes music for the dawn, songs for the sun clambering over the horizon as the coffee brews on a breaking morning, and the world feels fresh, new and just a little bit easier than the one that came before.

Tell Me What You Miss The Most is out November 5th (digital) and December 3rd (physical) via Father/Daughter Records. For more information on Tasha visit https://www.wowtashawow.com/.

Header photo is Tasha by Alexa Viscius – https://www.alexaviscius.com/.

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