Five Things We Liked This Week – 20/05/22

Further Listening:

5. Angel Olsen Walks Through The Flames

As discussed on these pages back at the start of April, Angel Olsen recently detailed the release of her upcoming fifth studio album, Big Time. The album is a record of mixed emotions, built around both love and loss, reflecting on her first queer relationship and the loss of both her parents within weeks of each other. Recorded with co-producer Jonathan Wilson in California, Big Time is set for release at the start of next month, and this week Angel shared the album’s centrepiece, Through The Fires.

A song written to, “remind myself that this life is temporary”, Through The Fires exists to remind us not to dwell on the past, as Angel explains, “it’s important to keep moving, keep searching for the people that are also searching, and to notice the moments that are lighter and bigger than whatever trouble I’ve encountered”. Throughout there’s a real sense of purpose to Through The Fires, a song that strides confidently into the next phase, as Angel sings, “I moved into the feeling I found” over a backing of rolling percussion, prominent pianos and the gradual swell of the string-trio. By the song’s close, Angel seems to tap into an almost biblical metaphor for pain and reward, “walk through the fires, of all earthly desires, and let go of the pain that obstructs you from, higher higher higher”. Throughout, there’s a sense of opening your heart to the possibility of new adventures, an experience that can be both enriching and painful, and one that seems to be writ large over all the music we’ve heard from Big Time so far, a record that’s already shaping up to be just as special as we’ve come to expect from this most fascinating of talents.

Big Time is out June 3rd via Jagjaguwar. For more information on Angel Olsen visit https://angelolsen.com/.

4. Ruby Gill Causes Mass Panic

Raised in a forest in South Africa and now based out of Melbourne, Australia, Ruby Gill has been active for a few years now, appearing on these pages back in 2018 when she shared the brutally honest single, Your Mum. Four years, and a handful of singles later, this week Ruby returned with a brand new single, Public Panic Attacks.

Living up to its title, Public Panic Attacks is a song about the moment Ruby found herself experiencing a full-blown panic attack in a parking lot, as she recalls, “this is not the first time I’ve had a panic attack in a public parking lot. I had to start figuring out exactly why I kept freaking out and how to make it stop”. The song explores Ruby’s potentially doomed-to-fail attempt to get to the bottom of her issues, creating something of an anxiety anthem in the process. The track beings like a classic finger-picked nu-folk track, reminiscent of Emmy The Great or early Laura Marling, but as the guitars pick up and the prominent throb of bass enters it takes a turn to somewhere completely different. As the track progresses it becomes oddly catchy for a song about panic attacks, the slide out of the instrumental middle section in particular you can imagine being the soundtrack to a lighters-in-the-air angsty howl of collective struggle. A return to be cherished, from a songwriter who feels like she’s only just getting started, Ruby Gill is going to be a star.

Public Panic Attacks is out now. For more information on Ruby Gill visit https://linktr.ee/rubygill.

3. Dead Gowns Are Running Acting Classes

Based out of Portland, Maine, Dead Gowns is the songwriting project of Geneviève Beaudoin. Back in 2018, she released her debut EP, New Spine, a record that saw Dead Gowns tour across the Northeast of the US, featured in a Wilco recommends playlist and declared by one outlet as producing one of Portland’s best records of the decade. In January last year, Geneviève was in a state of creative flux, working on a completely different record, as a handful of new tracks began bubbling up. Torn as to what to let go of, Geneviève followed her instincts and began recording this new material with a host of friends from the New England DIY scene, the first example of which emerged this week in the shape of her new single, How You Act.

Discussing the inspiration behind How You Act, Geneviève suggests the track is, “a reclamation of agency”, a moment of clarity that allows the narrator to forgive and accept what came before. Musically, the tracks seems to exist in the delightful middle ground of dreamy folk and bedroom-pop, nodding equally to the angular acoustics of Dana Gavanski and the swooping melodies of Sun June. Lyrically, the track deals more in imagery than a direct narrative, “collect the lawn chair debris from my yard and paint my doorway the colour of a birthday card”, is one of a host of thought-provokingly wistful snapshots. Throughout, the song is a gorgeous listen and particularly wonderful are the traded melodies of Geneviève’s vocals, which carry a similar laid-back charm to Zelma Stone, and the fabulously fluttering flugelhorn. If this is the start of a new project for Dead Gowns, it’s already one that seems to suit her, the sound of a songwriter coming good on all her promise and then some.

How You Act is out now. For more information on Dead Gowns visit http://deadgowns.com/.

2. Lindsay Clark Is Going To Be A Star

Originally from the small gold rush town of Nevada City, California, Lindsay Clark now calls Portland, Oregon home. Having shared stages with the likes of Alela Diane, Adam Torres and Laura Gibson, the world last heard from Lindsay back in the Autumn of 2018, when she released the acclaimed album, Crystalline. Four years on Lindsay is building towards the release of her latest collection, Carpe Noctem, and this week shared her new single Evening Star, which featured the fabulous guitar work of William Tyler.

As Lindsay recalls, Evening Star was written on a winter trip back to Northern California, taking inspiration from both, “being soothed by the sound of water against rock”, and, “a sense of deep internal change”. Like so much of Lindsay’s music, nature seems to flow through her compositions, a connection with the earth she shares with William Tyler whose exquisite guitar parts add to this stunningly textural song. There’s a wonderfully organic quality to the way the track shifts, there are no abrupt changes, instead just a gradual sense of shift, whether it’s the layered vocal harmonies or the ever-changing rhythmic pulse of the layered guitars. Throughout Lindsay returns to themes of change, and they remain even as the song begins to draw to a close, as she sings, “I am changing more and more, the sky changes over an evening star”, before the song slowly fades away. It takes a rare talent to tap into the folk tradition and find something they can claim as their own, but that’s exactly what Lindsay Clark does, breathing new life into old sound, carving new words from thoughts that are as old as human’s themselves.

Carpe Noctem is out June 24th via Audiosport Records. For more information Lindsay Clark visit http://lindsaybethclark.com/.

1. Art Moore Are No Distant Memory

Based out of Oakland California, Art Moore are something of a supergroup, consisting of Taylor Vick aka Boy Scouts, and Ezra Furman collaborators Sam Durkes and Trevor Brooks. They originally formed with the intention of pitching their music for film and television soundtracks. After heading into the studio in January 2020, they recorded only four tracks before feeling they were onto something more than a sync deal, and the idea of Art Moore was born. The trio embraced pandemic enforced working arrangements, trading songs over email, shifting indie-rock into electronic textures and forming the songs that would become their self-titled debut album. Ahead of that record arriving in August, this week Art Moore shared the first single from it, Muscle Memory.

Both the first track they wrote together, and the opening track on the band’s debut album, Muscle Memory is a reflection on how relationships change through the phases of a lifetime, with Taylor explaining, “I wanted to write about this experience from a neutral perspective, one with the belief that it’s neither a good or bad thing but simply a given in life”. The song opens on a delightfully electronic blast of organ, reminiscent of Software Slump-era Grandaddy, before Taylor’s vocal enters, as emotionally evocative as ever, as she sings, “like muscle memory, I find myself walking toward your street. Again, without thinking I’m writing down words I’ll never speak”. While used to hearing Taylor’s vocal adorned with the easy backing of Boy Scouts, here the pallet is richer but no less sympathetic, a complex but cohesive sound showing just how exciting this collaboration has the potential to be.

Art Moore is out August 5th via ANTI-Records. For more information on Art Moore visit https://artmooremusic.com/

Header Photo is Art Moore by Ulysses Ortega

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