5. Kindsight Are Living Their Best Life
Something of a regular presence on this site, Kindsight are a Danish quartet who take influences from both the classic indie sound of the late 1980s and the recent boom in shimmering Scandinavian dream-pop. After a series of sublime singles, the band recently announced the release of their debut album, Swedish Punk, due next month via the Stockholm institution, Rama Lama Records. This week the band shared the third single from the record, Hi Life.
Hi Life marks something of a departure for Kindsight, foregoing their more dreamy qualities for a punchy, punky offering that lives up to the title of the album from which it is lifted. Thematically it seems to dial up the Rear Window-like qualities of living through Covid-19, watching life unfold through your window as the drama of your own existence hits a temporary hiatus. Initially, the track is somewhat jarring, the clattering maths-rock rhythms sitting uncomfortably with Nina Hyldgaard Rasmussen’s crisp, glacial vocals. As it progresses though, it feels like the pieces start to gel, like oil and vinegar emulsifying into perfect harmony. As the track reaches musical harmony, the lyrics fall into line, Nina imagining love across the divide and trading it in for freedom, “we’ll trade our love for passports, spend our days in a holiday resort”. Danish indie-poppers dreaming of Swedish Punk, Kindsight crossing The Sound strait is a reason to be very cheerful indeed.
4. Frontperson Are Worth Throwing A Parade For
Based out of Montreal, Frontperson are something of a super-group in miniature, consisting of Kathryn Calder, vocalist and keyboardist with The New Pornographers and Mark Andrew Hamilton, known for his work under the moniker Woodpigeon. Back in the Autumn of 2018, the duo released their self-titled debut album, a record recorded at the National Music Centre in Calgary, with, “almost infinite options at our fingertips“. For their upcoming second record, Parade, due at the end of April, they decided to approach things differently, bringing in deliberate limitations to focus their sound, showcased this week in the release of the record’s title track.
While its title might hint at a technicolour celebration, Parade is actually a somewhat more restrained affair, a song about, “trying to find our way back to one another”, and how our long-term planning can leave us unappreciative of, “the small moments that actually make up our day”. Made from a carefully chosen pallete of synthesisers, Parade is an introduction to Frontperson’s new approach, one which saw them arrive in the studio with most songs already written and allowing the various collaborators the freedom to shape them into their stunning final forms. The resultant song is a fascinating collision of sounds, crisp electronic pulses contrasting the loose clattering of electric guitars, the whole thing swells to a crescendo of pounding drums, before collapsing to the quiet comfort of layered human voices. Bringing to mind the likes of Stars or a more-playful Postal Service, this feels like a giant leap forward for Frontperson, an already exciting prospect just became unmissable.
3. Porridge Radio Are Back On The Airwaves
One of the UK DIY-scene’s biggest success stories, Porridge Radio’s debut album, Every Bad, was released back in 2020, taking the band from tiny venues to a Mercury Prize Nomination and an upcoming tour that includes a headline show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Throw in a pandemic, and it has been a pretty overwhelming couple of years for the band. In that time they’ve found time to record their third album, Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky, due out in May via Secretly Canadia, and this week the band shared the first single from it, Back To The Radio.
Back To The Radio was written shortly before the release of Every Bad, and focuses on the anxieties and excitements of being on the edge of success, as vocalist Dana Margolin recalls, the track is about, “being unprepared for what everybody was promising me was about to happen”. Listening to Back To The Radio it’s instantly clear that Porridge Radio have dulled none of their sharp edges, yet in the meandering keyboard-line and soaring drum rhythms, there’s a hint too at something more anthemic. The song has an almost post-rock-like build, moving from the squall of distorted guitars to an arena-sized sing-along, even if it is a particularly nihilistic one as they sing, “talk back to the radio, think loud in the car, I miss everything now, we’re worth nothing at all’. Sometimes a band comes along that seems to perfectly soundtrack a moment in time, for twenty-something Britain Porridge Radio might just be that, a voice of the forgotten youth, anxious, urgent and demanding to be heard.
2. Langkamer Bare Their Teeth
Based out of Bristol, Langkamer caught the ear of many last year with their excellent debut album, West Country, a diverse collection of songs that went from raucous sing-alongs to pensive reveries, from tongue-in-cheek humour to thought-provoking sentiment. After sharpening their live chops with a series of dates supporting the likes of Bull and Fenne Lily, the band are currently in the midst of two months of solid touring, and this week shared a brand new single, Teeth.
Teeth was born out of Langkamer’s self-imposed deadlines, as singer and drummer Josh Jarman recalls, “we were chatting at the start of the year and said, right well we’re going on tour in a few weeks. Shall we give people another new song to sing along to?” From there they had just days to get into the studio and record the thing! The resultant track feels anything but rushed though, there’s a depth of thought here, as the band reflect on, “wishing you could see the beauty of a moment and not just its odiousness“. Musically, the track feels like a whistle-stop tour through guitar music’s history, from the wiry Velvet Underground-like guitars, to the Pavement-like clatter and Josh’s urgent, yelped vocals, which come across like a transatlantic cousin of Wolf Parade’s Spencer Krug. Frenetic and exciting, Langkamer breathe fresh life into old sounds, whether it’s a grin or a snarl this is a band baring their teeth, and it’s really quite thrilling.
1. Elanor Moss Is Just Soundings Us Out
A songwriter from Lincolnshire, and now courtesy of a degree in Medieval Literature, based out of York, Elanor Moss is currently building towards the March release of her debut EP, Citrus. Despite being a relatively new voice on the UK-scene, Elanor has already found high-profile support from the likes of Gideon Coe and Guy Garvey. Ahead of Citrus’ release, this week Elanor has shared the video that accompanies her debut single, Soundings.
Soundings is a delicate fusion of ideas, its title is lifted from the Geophysical principal of taking soundings to measure the depth of a body of water, yet its lyrics focus on more personal depths, focusing on the lows of depression and the liquid in the bottle that so many turn to, to try and drown that pain out. While Soudings themes might be heavy, the music has a deliberate lightness of touch, Elanor’s bright melodies contrasting the recrimination that laces her words as she sings, “my body was made for more than I’m giving it”. As the song progresses, Elanor, as the song’s narrator, seems to almost fade from view, giving in to her worst urges and sliding into the comforting unhealthy haze. With its subtle percussion and beautiful layers of guitar, Soundings feels almost like a siren song, a beautiful invite into Elanor’s darkest moments. Take Soundings whisky soaked majesty and add Citrus’ lemony kick and Elanor Moss’ debut EP might just be a cocktail nobody can ignore.
Citrus is out March 11th. For more information on Elanor Moss visit https://linktr.ee/elanormoss.
Header photo is Elanor Moss by Mon Levchenkova.