5. Wonderbug Come Out Of Hiding
Describing themselves as being from, “The George Tavern scene”, a reference to the much-loved Stepney Green venue/institution, Wonderbug are following in the footsteps of contemporaries like Honey Glaze and Ellie Bleach. The quartet, who are fronted by dual-vocalists Edie Chesters & Ollie McDaid, have already caught the ear supporting the likes of Tugboat Captain and Maripool and took their first step into the recorded form this week with their debut single, Hiding In Plain Sight.
The first taste of the band’s upcoming EP, Wait Wait? which was created with the skills of producer Yuri Shibuchi, Hiding In Plain Sight is a six-minute blast of longing and imposter syndrome. From its intricate beginning, the song gradually swells to a chorus of sorts, which could almost be mistaken for a pop song were the vocals not cast in a wash of emotional doubt. Ollie takes much of the lead vocal duties here, Edie entering at times like a particularly melodic comfort blanket, as if backing up Ollie’s words when he needs her the most, “I’m lost in love, like a dear in the headlights, hiding in plain sight”. Often bands emerge with potential sure, yet with a certain ragged charm, thrillingly Wonderbug seem to have just brushed straight past that, it might be their first single yet they already feel ready to make a real splash.
Wait What? is out next year. For more information on Wonderbug visit https://linktr.ee/wonderbugband.
4. L. T. Leif Is Just Passing Through
A native Canadian, and adopted Glaswegian, L.T. Leif has always liked life cold, whether it’s the self-sufficient spirit of the Canadian prairies or time spent in Iceland and Finland, their music has a certain distinct Northern grit, from the kind of person who considers anyone less than 60° North to be a Southern softy. After years spent in other people’s projects, L.T. released their first, “solo-with-friends” album back in 2016, before earlier this year teaming up with Lost Map for the first time on a live and unreleased compilation, Introducing L.T. Leif. With a brand new record, Come Back To Me, But Lightly, due out on the fittingly wintry date, January 27th, this week L. T. shared the latest single from it, Pass Back Through.
A song L. T. describes as being, “about the cyclical nature of healing”, Pass Back Through picks up on the swamp-rock vibes so often explored in L. T.’s music, the track pulsates on a stomping drum rhythm, as it’s joined by disjointed keyboards reminiscent of The Research and layers of vocals, that fade in and out, like a 100 strong choir ebbing and flowing with the tide. Lyrically, the track seems to explore ideas of addiction and, “the harm we inflict on ourselves by holding the sharp edge that is LIFE too close and tightly”. Discussing Come Back To Me, But Lightly, L.T. has spoken of it as a record that comes from, “a six-year long space of change“, yet listening to Pass Back Through it seems to also be one that knows change is not a fixed point, “I don’t believe in easy closure, but I do believe in finding ways through, again and again, however we are able“, so here’s to L.T. Leif and to the power of the journey, when we keep on keeping on our potential for something wonderful might just be limitless.
Come Back To Me, But Lightly is out January 27th via Lost Map. For more information on L. T. Leif visit https://ltleif.com/.
3. Moriah Bailey Is Thinking Of Something New
Moriah Bailey first came to the world’s attention back in 2017, at the time still working under the Sun Riah moniker she released the domestic majesty that was, Sitting with Sounds and Listening for Ghosts. Five years on, and now releasing under her own name, today sees the Oklahoma-native release her new album, i tried words, a record she describes as exploring dualities, definitions and expectations of womanhood and femininity. Ahead of the release, this week Moriah shared the latest track from the album, Wishful Thoughts.
Discussing Wishful Thoughts, Moriah is happy to accept it could be misconstrued, noting how the track, “sounds like a love song, a falling in love song. And I hope some people interpret it that way”. Despite accepting that version, it wasn’t quite the intention, “it illustrates losing one’s strength and falling in love with the idea of someone or something…the heady feelings of falling for someone and imagining what could be“. The song’s potent mix of hope and reality is set to a luxurious, almost orchestral backing, Moriah’s fabulous hard-playing accompanied by an array of strings and guitars, sitting somewhere between the alt-folk of Marissa Nadler and the instrumental flourish of Dirty Three. There’s a sense of ambition writ large over Wishful Thoughts, the sound of a musician stretching themselves to be more creative, more pioneering and more fiercely herself than ever before.
i tried words is out today via Keeled Scales. For more information on Moriah Bailey visit https://moriahbailey.com/.
2. Sunny War’s Music Is Reaching New Heights
A singer-songwriter, and guitar virtuoso based out of Nashville and tipped as one of the rising stars of the Americana scene, you might expect Sunny War to have grown up obsessing over roots music, but instead, it was AC/DC and The Minutemen, “I don’t really make music with a traditional roots audience in mind. I like weird music, outsider music”. Sunny’s story is well-documented, after overcoming an addiction to meth and heroin, she left Los Angeles behind with a broken heart and a series of demos, she booked into a recording studio with acclaimed producer Andrija Tokic and began work on what would become her upcoming album, Anarchist Gospel. With the album due via New West Records next year, this week Sunny shared the latest single from it, Higher.
Featuring the talents of David Rawlings, Higher is a reflection on a relationship right in the burning heat of a break-up, as Sunny explains, “the break up was fresh and I was thinking about all the years we spent together. I was also thinking about how much stronger I was before our relationship”. Built around some gorgeous meandering folk-inspired guitars, the instrumentation of Higher seems to almost embrace Sunny’s vocal, as if creating a sonic cocoon to allow her to work her way through this moment of change, “I am out of remedies, at least I’m not a liar, somewhere in my memories, I held my head much higher”. The track is ultimately one searching to get back to something, an attempt to, “get back to whoever I was back when I respected myself. It was the same person my ex was attracted to in the first place that he unknowingly destroyed“. We often think of people who’ve experienced difficult times as moving forward to something, yet perhaps Sunny War’s greatest achievement is going back, to remind herself what a special talent she is, and sharing that with the world.
Anarchist Gospel is out February 3rd via New West Records. For more information on Sunny War visit http://www.sunnywar.com/.
1. Divorce Keep Running Up That Hill
One of my favourite new bands of 2022, Nottingham’s Divorce are today making a late break for the EP of the year lists with their debut offering, Get Mean, even if they never quite meant to. As they explain, this collection of singles was never meant to be an EP, “it was when the final track, ‘That Hill’, came into existence over the summer, that we realised they were a part of the same beast“. It is only fitting then that the band have marked today’s release, via the excellent Hand In Hive label, by this week sharing That Hill.
While it might sign off a collection of songs with a shared, in the band’s own words, “tiredness for this life in all its monotony and glass ceilings”, That Hill is actually a little more optimistic than that might imply. The track serves as something of a reminder of what they are in this for, as the band’s Felix Mackenzie-Barrow explains, the track, “was written as something of a commitment to pursuing our dreams”. The track reflects on the sacrifices that come with, “trying to make a career out of the thing you love most in the world”, be it working a dead-end day job you can drop at the sniff of a gig, or travelling all night to play to rooms full of, well, nobody. That Hill is musically something of a song of two halves, it begins with a dreamy early morning vibe, that feeling of waking in the darkened hours to head off before the world had started spinning. As the song progresses it seems to swell, Tiger Cohen-Towell’s vocal joining Felix’s to pick apart the struggle and effort it takes to keep on keeping on, repeatedly singing, “here I go, so long old friend, if I make it up that hill, I swear I’ll never come down again” as the guitars get increasingly wiry and wild. It’s hard to make a reliable prediction in the music industry, nobody can guarantee a career or a breakthrough, yet Divorce’s commitment to this dream is in no doubt, and they’re as well placed as anyone to make that hope into a well-deserved reality.
Get Mean is out today via Hand In Hive. For more information on Divorce visit https://divorcehq.bandcamp.com/.
Header photo is Divorce by Rosie Sco