5. A Greener Kind Of Sea Power
The recent return of Sea Power, minus the word British from their name, was somewhat overshadowed by everyone seemingly having an opinion on a band changing their name. What was perhaps somewhat missed in that news, was the announcement of the band’s upcoming eighth studio album, Everything Was Forever, which will see the light of day next month. This week the band shared the latest single from the record, Green Goddess.
Described by Jan from the band as, “a love song about everything green from the Lake District to the New Forest…also a love song for my wife whose favourite colour is green“. The track is a reflection on the power of muses, both human and non-human, and their ability to calm, ground and inspire all at once. Musically, the track is classic Sea Power, all atmospheric shimmer and stadium-sized clatter, as it questions the state of the planet, and those running it, while simultaneously seeking hope nearer to home, “your bucolic poetry, it stirs my heart, it moves me, my green, green goddess. “. Ultimately it’s a song about escapism, “there are dark and complicated things going on but sometimes it is good to forget this and go to the places where you are happy“. Good advice for anyone, whether your happy place is a forest, a mountain, a field, or a band playing in your headphones who are sounding better than ever.
Everything Was Forever is out on February 18th. For more information on Sea Power visit https://www.seapowerband.com/.
4. The Leaf Library Are Really Tired Of All These Ghosts
Trying to keep track of the output of The Leaf Library can always be a bit tricky, one on the hand they haven’t released what would be deemed a traditional album since 2019’s majestic long-player, The World Is A Bell, on the other, they’ve barely stopped releasing music of some sort since then. Whether it’s About Minerals, a series of ambient sketches, or the off-the-cuff experimentation of their Monuments Series, a collection of releases that are sort of solo/side-projects from various band members. Their latest offering, shared on Christmas Day, was their (sort of) new track, Tired Ghost.
Tired Ghost is a re-working of an older track, An Endless, which originally appeared on The World Is A Bell as an eleven-and-half minute drone-pop opus. Here The Leaf Library re-imagine the track, the gentle flow of the original replaced with the driving intensity of the almost techno-inspired processed drums, and uneasy quality of the wavering, all-encompassing electronic flourishes. In many ways, it’s a reminder of the sheer variety of this band, who seem able to turn their hand to a huge variety of music and still make it sound exactly like The Leaf Library, and in this case, that sounds very good indeed.
Tired Ghost is out now. For more information on The Leaf Library visit http://theleaflibrary.com/.
3. Lewis Mclaughlin Heads For The Forest
A songwriter based out of Glasgow, Lewis Mclaughlin grew up surrounded by music as his parents were a pair of folk musicians. Approaching making his own music Lewis aims to connect the community spirit and songwriting chops of the trad-folk era with an altogether more modern production style inspired by contemporary peers like Sylvan Esso and Animal Collective. The result of his endeavours will emerge with the March release of his debut album, Feel The Grounds You Walk Upon. The record is coming out via Monhands Records, the label ran by Frightened Rabbit member, Andy Monaghan, and this week Lewis shared the first single from it, Wolf in the Woods.
Discussing the track, Lewis has suggested Wolf in the Woods is inspired by his experience of anxiety, even if he wrote it, “before I even knew what anxiety was”. The track explores the fear anxiety brought up in Lewis, as well as the difficulty he had in learning to talk about it, which was ultimately the best way he found to make sense of it, “literally just talking about what’s going on is so beneficial, although it’s daunting taking that first step”. Musically, it’s a stunning amalgam of a track, blurring the lines between genres, as his warm croon of a vocal and folk-tinged songwriting are re-imagined via a pallet of electronic drums and luxurious reverberating instrumentation, reminiscent of fellow Scots Meursault, or Diamond Mind, King Creosote’s magical collaboration with Jon Hopkins. Promising stories concerning everything from first love to the joys of sneaking into pubs with your teenage pals, Feel The Ground You Walk Upon is shaping up to be a special record, a live affirming collection that is as warm and inviting as a blazing fire on a winter’s day.
2. Savage Mansion Are Having A Ball
A five-piece based out of Glasgow, Savage Mansion are a band I’ve been raving about to anyone who’ll listen since they emerged back in 2019 with their debut album, Revision Ballads. The band quickly followed up with the acclaimed 2020 offering, Weird Country, then, like so many bands, saw their plans grind to a halt, and eventually be scrapped entirely. Rather than fall into the trap of self-pity Savage Mansion instead chose to, “double-down”, and set to work on the track’s that would become their latest album, Golden Mountain, Here I Come, due out next month via Lost Map. Ahead of the release this week saw the band share the latest taster from the record in the shape of new single, Football Weather.
Discussing the inspiration behind Football Weather, Savage Mansion state it is, “a song about the myriad hypocrisies of the ruling classes told through the frame of modern professional sports”. Musically, it’s Savage Mansion at their most bombastic, the opening guitar-line bringing to mind Art Brut’s classic Modern Art, before it breaks down to a delicious groove, the keyboards courtesy of the band’s newest member Beth Chalmers adding a distinct and delightful thrust to proceedings. Songwriter Craig Angus’ lyrics are always a delight, explorations of the surreal oddness of the every day, here comparing the “ultras grazing by the riverbank” with Knights of the Realm, “the brave defenders of queen and of kingdom but not of you and I”. Sure it might not be quite as they originally envisioned, yet Savage Mansion are back with a bang and whisper it in case it doesn’t come true, but on their new record, they might just be better than ever.
Golden Mountain, Here I Come is out February 25th via Lost Map. For more information on Savage Mansion visit https://savagemansion.bandcamp.com/.
1. Dropper Strike Gold
Based out of New York, Dropper is the musical project of multi-instrumentalist Andrea Scanniello alongside a host of collaborators. Andrea formed the band to make music for a list of people she created in her head that includes everyone from, “people who are lonely yet want to be left alone”, through to, “bisexuals with crumbs in their bed” and most importantly, “people who, in lieu of being crushed by the eternal weight of existence, choose to scream internally with a smile upon their face”. With Dropper’s debut album, Don’t Talk To Me, due out next month, over the Christmas break the band shared their latest single, Memoirs of Working in a Bowling Alley.
Memoirs of Working in a Bowling Alley is perhaps unsurprisingly a song about working in the service industry as Andrea recalls the song is about, “working these types of jobs and how at times it makes you question humanity and never want to speak to a soul ever again; that emotional drain that can only be experienced when you’re dealing with shitty drunk people night after night“. Musically, the track is considerably better for the soul, all strutting Courtney Barnett-like guitars and rolling bass, as Andrea quietly fumes at the working world, “if one more person wants my attention they’re gonna have to pay”. Now add two things to your New Years Resolutions, listen to Dropper and be nice to service workers, they not only make the world go round, but they might also secretly write a song about how awful you are as well.
Don’t Talk To Me is out February 11th via Dirt Dog. For more information on Dropper visit https://www.droppermusic.com/.
Header photo is Dropper by Cirsty Burton.