5. Cherry Blaster Don’t Wanna Date You
A trio based out of Toronto, Ontario, Cherry Blaster have been active for a while now, and first caught my ear with their last single, New Age, which arrived in September last year. The track saw songwriter Iulia Ciobanu expanding what was originally a laptop synth project into a full band as she worried about turning thirty and fearing becoming irrelevant. Continuing a rich songwriting vein, this week the band have returned with their latest offering, I Don’t Wanna.
Described by Iulia as, “a party ballad about being done with dating”, I Don’t Wanna came off the back of a disappointing year of superficial dates, “I was feeling frustrated and hurt, even though I knew that I had been trying to see more in it than was really there”. While the dates might not have worked out, at least Iulia got a song out of it, and I Don’t Wanna is an exuberant number. Recalling the likes of Natalie Prass or Quilt it builds around a repeated piano pattern and is slowly stretched out by the presence of live horns, as the band attempt to, “create an exacerbated and exuberant wall of sound chorus”. The whole thing builds to a giant crescendo, as Iulia quietly screams, “I don’t wanna do this anymore” over a triumphant clatter, before the whole thing breaks back down, to quiet contemplation, as Iulia sings, “think I knew you would disappoint me, even so, when you went cold I was overheating, wanted to believe you were a charmer, started to see myself as a partner”. Ultimately the connection wasn’t there, and perhaps this is a reminder that we shouldn’t have to work so hard, as Iulia puts it, “one is left to party alone again”, and there are worse parties to be at than that.
I Don’t Wanna is out now. For more information on Cherry Blaster visit https://cherryblaster.bandcamp.com/.
4. Anne Malin Is Feeling In The Pink
A poet and songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee, Anne Malin has been sharing her music with the world for nearly a decade now. Back in 2020, she had something of a breakout moment, when she self-released the well-received album Waiting Song, a record described as “an album about what it means for everything to stop”. Freshly signed to Dear Life Records, Anne Malin is currently gearing up toward the release of her latest collection, Summer Angel, a series of tales of love, violence and the non-linear aftermath that follows them. Ahead of the release, this week Anne Malin shared Summer Angel’s opening track, Pink Blur.
The most propulsive track Anne Malin has shared from Summer Angel to date, Pink Blur enters on a prominent bass-line and the steady tick of drums, before gradually being adorned with flourishes of Nick Drake-like guitars, and Anne Malin’s crisp, enunciated vocal, “I love the pink blur of your lips, moving close to mine”. Perhaps fitting for an opening number, the track seems to have a certain calm before the storm feeling, gradually swelling with percussive intent before the whole thing floats out in an instrumental whirl. Further evidence of just how special Summer Angel might be, Pink Blur finds Anne Malin pushing her musical boundaries, branching out into new sonic territory as she brings her always fabulous words to life. Sure it’s a long way removed from a blissed-out Ibiza anthem, but give her a chance and Anne Malin might just soundtrack your summer.
3. There’s Nothing Like Going To A Fresh Bed
Fresh have been one of the breakout names on the UK’s DIY scene, ever since emerging back in 2017 with their self-titled debut album. Having cemented their reputation with 2019’s Withdraw, lead-singer Kathryn Woodz and her bandmates have been performing in other well-received projects including Cheerbleederz and ME REX. After returning last year with the superbly named EP, The Summer I Got Good At Guitar, the band have been working on the tracks that will become their new album, Raise Hell. Ahead of its July release, this week Fresh shared the latest single from the album, Going To Bed.
In some ways, the track seems to focus on the dual possibilities of bed, exploring both ideas of self-care and cocooning yourself away from the world, as well as the fears that come with a new crush, and deciding to dive in feet first and embrace the, “I don’t knows”. If the lyrical questioning has been a constant throughout Fresh’s back catalogue, musically there’s plenty of progress here, as galloping drums propel the wiry guitars and belt-it-out choruses, there’s even room for a luxurious flourish of brass, reminiscent of mid-noughties indie heroes like The New Pornographers or Fanfarlo. After years where sometimes the world has felt like it’s in a state of inertia, Fresh seem to arrive like a shot in the arm, a reminder of the joys of belting out the chorus, drums that swirl around your brain and songs about the little stuff that makes life so delightfully exciting – their band name couldn’t be more apt.
2. Clara Mann Threads It All Together
One of my top tips for last year, Clara Mann came good on all that promise when she released her brilliant debut EP, Consolations, via Sad Club Records. A collection of folk influences and distinctly modern themes, the record caught the ear of many, including 7476 records, who this week announced the Bristol-based songwriter as their latest signing. It was a big week for Clara with the announcement coinciding not just with a string of dates across Europe with Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen, but also with the release of her brand new single, Thread.
Thread is dedicated to Maggie, a woman in her 90’s that Clara met during a three-month stint living in a cabin on Dartmoor next door to a farm, “she had immense spirit, an absolutely wicked sense of humour, and was an incredibly powerful presence on the farm”. The song was written on the night Clara left the cabin, and was met by the news Maggie had been rushed into hospital, “I didn’t know what to do, all I could do was try and hold onto her in my heart”. Maggie survived that experience, and lived another year before sadly passing away a month ago, the song is dedicated to her, “and the grief and magic of that strange time”. Initially written straight to her phone in a single sitting, the final recorded version keeps that raw emotive edge and adds a coat of glossy polish, as Clara’s fluttering guitar and soaring vocal, equal parts Karen Dalton and Joanna Newsom are latterly joined by a rich flourish of piano and wavering strings. Ultimately perhaps this is a song not about grief, but about the impact human relationships can have on us all, “traces of her light remain, and she touched me and many others deeply- I hope we meet again someday”, as Clara herself puts it, this one is for Maggie.
1. Holiday Ghosts Get Some Much Deserved Credit
It was almost exactly a year back that Holiday Ghosts shared their superb third album, North Street Air. Their first album since relocating from Falmouth to Brighton and expanding to their current four-strong lineup, North Street Air took the band’s songwriting away from the personal and out into the wider world. Picking up on those themes of social commentary and running with them, the band this week announced the July release of their new EP, Credit Note, as well as sharing the title track from it.
Recorded in North Wales at the start of the year, Credit Note is the band’s attempt to harness their live sound, embracing the, “punky and rock’n’roll sounds” they gravitate towards when performing. The resultant track is certainly Holiday Ghosts at their most primal, as rhythmic guitar thrashing collides with prominent bass runs and drummer Katja Rackin’s trademark pounding drum beat. Lyrically the track takes aim at our current political systems and its seeming inability to keep up with the pace of social change, reflecting how even when the government does try to intervene it’s all too often there to prop up broken systems, rather than provide the reform we so badly need, “like a credit note that can only be spent in the same shop”. With the EP set to make a splash this summer, and work on a new album well underway as well, Holiday Ghosts show no signs of slowing down, sure the world might be failing us all, but thankfully this band will never let you down.
Header photo is Holiday Ghosts by Johnny Griffiths