5. Lande Hekt’s Back…Alright
After making her name with the politically charged punk of Muncie Girls, Lande Hekt set about doing something entirely different for her solo songwriting. Her debut EP, Gigantic Disappointment was one of my favourites of 2019 and was followed last year by her first long-player, Going To Hell. Documenting Lande’s experience of coming out as gay, it combined her skills as a biographical storyteller with her knack for writing a brilliant melody. Less than a year later, Lande is at it again with the upcoming release of her second album, House Without A View, which she previewed this week with a new track, Backstreet Snow.
Backstreet Snow is Lande’s response to pandemic life, a reflection on the difficulty of knowing who you are when you’re removed from the things you love doing, “I struggled to understand where my place was when I couldn’t play music with friends and be active within a scene“. Despite that, Backstreet Snow is far from self-pity, instead, it becomes something of a celebration, a love letter to the people who pull us through the moments of fear, “a ray of light comes through on the darkest day”. Musically, the track adds a certain indie-pop bounce to Lande’s regular guitar-led compositions, coming across like the middle ground of Veronica Falls and Adult Mom. House Without A View in many ways feels like a record of transition, that blurred, multi-yeared moment of shifting from childhood into adulthood, learning how your youth shaped you and working out the person you are, and the one that you want to try to be, we’re all works in progress and just like Lande Hekt’s music as it continues to thrive, we’re getting closer to ourselves all the time.
4. The Poster Paints Circus Are Rolling Out Of Town
A band I’ve been eulogising about since I first heard them back in May last year, Poster Paints are the duo of Carla J Easton and Simon Liddell. Last month I featured their excellent single Falling Hard, which was shared alongside the announcement of their upcoming debut album. With the record out in the middle of October, this week the duo shared another track from the album, the Side A closing wonder that is, Circus Moving On.
Listening to Circus Moving On, it instantly feels like a departure for Poster Paints, it dials down some of the nostalgic indie-pop thrills for something entirely different, as Carla explains, “it’s not the Poster Paints sound you might be expecting but it’s one of our favourites on the album and is a joy to play live“. Circus Moving On emerged from a shared love of the song All My Happiness Is Gone by Purple Mountains, with the track built around the sound of Mellotrons, before becoming something of an, “orchestral blowout”, courtesy of the string arrangement added remotely by Canadian musician, Andrew Jin Chung. Lyrically, the track is a reflection on a relationship, “doomed to fail but you stretch it out as far as it will go. Needing the darkness in order to shine. The criticism. Being drawn to people that aren’t good for you and unable to leave or let go“. The track captures the push-and-pull of a relationship disintegrating, clinging on to the moments, “where everything seems fine and happy“, Carla’s crushing vocals dancing out on the minimal percussion and swooping strings as she sings, “we’re on borrowed time, ’cause the party is over, it’s all fading lights, with the circus moving on”. A real departure, Circus Moving On is a reason to be even more excited about Poster Paints, a band who seem like they might be onto something very special.
3. There Are Many Threads To Rapt’s Bow
Rapt is the latest alias of London-based musician, Jacob Ware, whose previous musical dalliances take in everything from forming the death metal group enslavement, through to making ambient drone music. Rapt caught my ear back in 2020 with his folk-influenced debut album, None Of This Will Matter. Two years on Jacob is gearing up to release his second record, Wayward Faith, due later this month via Z Tape, and this week he shared the latest single from it, Threads.
For a songwriter who has dabbled in many musical worlds, Threads is delightfully unadorned, Jacob joined by nothing but an acoustic guitar, sparse flourishes of piano and the vocals of his regular collaborator Demi Hayes of the band Seashine. The influence of Leonard Cohen is written large across the track, a song that’s as much poetry as song, as Jacob takes inspiration from, “a wedding invitation I found in my postbox” to write his version of, “a country duet through the sullen eyes of a pessimist”. It might sound odd for something so sparse, yet Threads is fantastically produced, capturing the essence of the 60’s folk sound, it’s less like hearing a song than it is akin to discovering some lost recording from an undiscovered gem. Nostalgia isn’t saved just for the listener though, Threads is doused in the stuff, Jacob trying to move on when his mind only wants to go back, “you be the present I’ll live in the past”. At one point he sings of it as a leaving song, yet Jacob seems incapable of leaving, at the most he’s giving permission for someone else to go, “I sing to remember, the evening astray but you should hear something better, to end your day”. Threads slides into a lineage of broken duets, collaborations where two voices sing the same words yet in their tone alone seem to be remembering things entirely differently, this is already my favourite Rapt song by some distance, and here’s hoping when Wayward Faith arrives there are plenty more contenders for that particular crown.
2. Just Being Adults Is An Achievement
Last month saw South London DIY punks Adults announce their signing to Fika Recordings, alongside sharing the spectacularly good single, All We’ve Got // All We Need. This week they ramped up the excitement still further with the announcement of their debut album, For Everything Always, which will arrive this October. Alongside the announcement the band also shared a second taster of it, in the guise of a new single, Things We Achieve.
Discussing the inspiration behind Things We Achieve, Adults suggest it’s a song about, “how capitalism makes us forget what matters, how to be kind to people and to enjoy living”. Clocking in at barely two minutes, the track is a belt-along blast even by Adults’ high standards, yet like so many of the best seemingly chaotic bops, beneath the clatter, there’s plenty to say. Joely and Tom share vocal duties, yelping out their frustrations at both a lack of progress and having to exist in a world that constantly demands it, “pretending to feel ok about unchanging things, like we know who we are and the things we achieve”. Ultimately the track concludes the only way to feel okay is to refuse to play the game, to hold onto your words and creativity when the power at the top wants you to fall in line, “we’re not the things we achieve, we’re not just the things we achieve”. Adults tap into a vein of thought that so many of us feel, the need to stay hopeful and remain ourselves even as we get older, get jobs and to one extent or another join the world at large, there’s still music, art and expression and thankfully nobody is trying to take that away from us just yet.
1. Sink Your Teeth Into Some New Martha
Something of an antidote to the usual route to success, Martha’s rise to something resembling fame has been rewardingly long-winded. The Durham-based band started back in 2012 with an EP on Oddbox Records, grew up on the UK DIY-punk scene, and released two albums on the much missed Fortuna Pop label before they found themselves on Big Scary Monsters, sharing their most recent album, Love Keeps Kicking, back in 2019. Along the way something happened, without much hype or hyperbole, relying largely on brilliant lives shows and word-of-mouth, Martha started selling out venues, then bigger venues, then even bigger venues. They’re a reminder that if you’re good and people like you, sometimes that’s enough even if you don’t fit a major label template or have the financial muscle the creating “out of nowhere” hype in 2022 requires. Three years on from Love Keep Kicking, the band this week announced the October release of their fourth album, Please Don’t Take Me Back via Specialist Subject Records, and shared the latest single from it, Baby Does Your Heart Sink.
Discussing the track Martha describe Baby Does Your Heart Sink as, “a classic break-up song”, only one that also features “multiple timelines, worlds and universes”, and is designed to be played at, “the disco at the end of the world”. The track enters on a typically rambunctious guitar line and cymbal heavy drum clatter, as ever with Martha it walks the line between familiarity and sounding deliciously fresh, like a favourite old song you somehow erased from your MP3 player twenty years ago that you swear you’ve heard before, but could never quite place. Guitarist Jonathan Cairns takes lead vocals, accompanied as ever by brilliant backing harmonies, as they flicker between the past and present, one second thinking back to, “the last time we were dancing at the darkest timeline disco”, then crashing into the present with the brutally catchy chorus line, “baby does your heart sink when I call? I know it does”. If Love Keeps Kicking was a defiant response to a world in crisis, Please Don’t Take Me Back is what comes next, a reminder you can’t go back, and you probably don’t want to either, whatever’s coming you can only face it head on and make the most of whatever is waiting for you.
Header photo is Martha by Victoria Wai