5. Jesca Hoop Is South Dakota Bound
When I first moved to London over a decade ago, one of the first bands I remember seeing was Jesca Hoop, on a trip down memory lane I found a review of that show, that described Tom Waits’ former nanny as, “like something Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have drunk”. At the time the California native had relatively recently located to Manchester from her homeland and was finding a rich vein of acclaim for her masterful songwriting chops. A decade, and many albums later, Jesca recently headed South from Lancashire to work with producer John Parish on what would become her sixth album, Order Of Romance. Ahead of the album’s release this September, this week Jesca shared the latest track from it, Sioux Falls.
Sioux Falls is a somewhat cryptic and unsettling affair, an unflattering take on modern America, “the term “greater good” takes the shape of a dog whistle for the death spiral. Meanwhile, we over here are just simply looking out for each other while we manage the hard facts of life”. The general air of unease in the lyrics is mirrored in the music, all anxiously fluttering guitars and playful, choppy vocal melodies. The whole thing slowly swells as the brass goes from infrequent staccato blasts to a Sufjan Stevens-like flourish as Jesca’s vocal switches to a rapid spoken word, as she sees armageddon as, “not a rainbow but a weak president”. Jesca Hoop may now be something of a musical veteran, yet she’s as intriguing as ever, always pushing her boundaries, documenting the changing world around her and sounding wonderful as she does it.
4. Booter Wish To Phone A Friend
The latest band to emerge from the delightfully cold-sounding Winnipeg, Manitoba, Booter began as a vehicle for the songwriting of Allanah Walker, previously known as one half of indie-pop duo Cannon Bros. Now expanded to a four-piece lineup the band are gearing up towards the September release of their debut album 10/10, a record Allanah describes as being, “inspired by women writing love songs about women”. Ahead of the album’s release, this week Booter shared their new single, Call Me Upset.
Discussing the inspiration behind Call Me Upset, Allanah reflects on the difficulty of setting boundaries with those you care about and removing yourself from their problems, “being a crutch for someone you’d rather not be a crutch for anymore”. From its opening guitar clatter, Call Me Upset instantly takes us back to the heyday of 90’s indie-rock bringing to mind everyone from Guided By Voices to Liz Phair. Despite the clear retro flourishes, there’s also a freshness to Booter, a songwriter heavily influenced by those around her, embracing the honest lyricism of Diet Cig or Adult Mom as she sings, “this shouldn’t be my problem anymore, call it out, but if I don’t am I a better person?”, with a distinct weariness at always picking up the pieces. With the release of 10/10 promising to share further tales of, “breakups, make-ups, and crushes on straight girls”, Booter’s debut is shaping up fabulously, two years of piecemeal recording sessions coming together into a cohesive record not to be missed.
10/10 is out September 9th via Midwest Debris. For more information on Booter visit https://booter.bandcamp.com/.
3. Madi Diaz Is Living With Last Night’s Decisions
Say what you will about Harry Styles, but the guys got great taste in support bands. He recently invited Mitski along for his UK tour, brought Jenny Lewis along for a string of US dates, and will be joined in Australasia by Wet Leg. Joining him for dates in Toronto this August will be the ever fabulous Madi Diaz, who last year drew widespread acclaim for her album, History Of A Feeling. With those arena shows followed by a US tour of her own, this week Madi shared a brand new single, Hangover.
Despite its title Hangover isn’t actually about the after-effects of too much sherry, instead, it reflects on the way a relationship lingers as Maddy explains, “I was still feeling the lagging throws of heartbreak—the waking up in withdrawal, aching, reeling over a person and all the things that come after it’s over“. Ultimately it’s a song about memories, stumbling around in the past, “bumping into that old feeling and reliving the less appealing side effects of not being in love with that person anymore”. The song arrives on a burst of noise, that’s gone as quickly as it arrives, as it settles into just Madi’s shimmering vocal and a guitar, “lied to myself like a hundred times, lied to keep the fantasy alive, anything to keep myself from dealing with the fact I gotta move all of my shit out of your house”. As the song progresses, it swells in volume, while keeping the same controlled pace, the whole thing bristling with an intensity reminiscent of Squirrel Flower or Lucy Dacus as Madi struggles to accept her moving on, “even though I say you’re not important, I try to get a little closure but I still wake up with your hangover”. This feels like Madi Diaz at her most straight-talking, an intense and honest slice of indie-rock that might just be her most compelling release so far.
2. Julie Odell Takes Flight
A singer-songwriter based out of New Orleans, Julie Odell admits she spends a lot of time thinking about transformation, and it’s a word she uses to describe her upcoming debut album, Autumn Eve. In particular, it is about the change of becoming a mother, about the growth required to move from the recklessness of youth to the maturity of planting roots. With Autumn Eve out in September via Frenchkiss Records, this week Julie shared the latest single from it Cardinal Feather.
A track Julie explains was, “born out of a panic attack”, Cardinal Feathers is about, “finding support in the dark times and finding the strength within to be gentle with yourself“, as she further explains, “it’s about accepting help when you need it and not being ashamed for needing it”. Cardinal Feather comes rushing in on a galloping drum rhythm, like the audio equivalent of being emerged in a stampede of rushing horses, it’s an intensity that passes and returns throughout the track. In between the sonic rushes, Julie breaks things down to flamboyant folk-flourishes, equal parts Haley Heynderickx and Rufus Wainwright, as she sings of the calmness of closeness, “although separated from my roots I still grew close to you”. Particularly intriguing and unusual is the outro, a song that entered so quickly, it suddenly seems to wring out every second, all meandering guitars, choppy percussion and drawn-out vocals, “I know you heard what I said boy I said, why don’t you just open your mouth and kiss me”. This is a fascinating piece of songwriting, the changes of tone and tempo creating a certain feverish intensity, a unique quality to Julie Odell’s songwriting that instantly makes you come back begging for more, Autumn Eve can’t come quickly enough.
1. Everyone Will Be Falling Hard For Poster Paints
One of my 22 For 2022, it was only two months back that Poster Paints surprise released their debut EP, Blood Orange. Wasting no time, the band, led by the Scottish duo of Carla J. Easton and Simon Liddell, have this week announced the details of their debut album, Poster Paints, out in October via Ernest Jenning Record Co. / Olive Grove Records. The album was recorded remotely, allowing for contributions from a cast of musicians from across the globe, as well as Scottish regulars. Celebrating the announcement, the band have also shared a fantastic new single, Falling Hard.
Discussing Falling Hard, Carla recalls how it started life as a writing experiment after Simon sent her three minutes of, “summer guitar pop”. Carla has been experimenting with free writing, “you write non-stop without thinking and the only rule is to fill 3 pages of your notebook“. The track that came out was a recollection of, “an ill-fated attempt to get what I want one hot Summer and subsequently falling from grace, splitting my shin open in the process”. As with so much of Poster Paints’ music, Falling Hard has the feeling of a perfect collision, two songwriters bringing their musical worlds together not in compromise, but instead in unflinching singularity. Carla’s sugar-sweet pop vocals take your mind to one place, before the musical grit of the guitars and pounding drums brings you crashing back down to earth. It’s as if Camera Obscura’s Traceyanne Campbell was fronting The Jesus & Mary Chain, with only a Be My Baby-like drum breakdown to showcase their shared musical DNA. Lyrically, the track has a certain nostalgic lack of cynicism, “giving up is not on the cards, when I fall, I’m falling hard”, yet like all those great songs by 60’s girl-group, scratch the surface and there’s something a little darker beneath, a certain unease lingers, “my scars won’t be forgiven, but I’m not an angel fallen, it’s just a price I pay for loving”. Poster Paints may be a collision of musical worlds, yet they feel like they were meant to be, a perfect coming together from a pair at the start of something magical.
Header photo is Poster Paints by Craig McIntosh.