5. Oh Look It’s Stacey Off The Telly
TV Room is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist, and Deep Tan drummer, Lucy Rushton. Based out of London, and originally from a small town near Manchester, Lucy debuted TV Room back in 2021 when she released the single Balcony via Sad Club Records. Catching the ear of an ever-growing audience with a string of excellent singles, this week Lucy shared possibly her finest offering to date in the shape of her new track, Stacey.
Described as, “a track about people living as a main character in their own movie”, Stacey is a reflection on the dangers of ego, how it can lead to hurting those around you and how, “they gaslight and harm others without holding any responsibility for their actions”. The track mirrors some of the surprises that come from being around an unreliable egotist, as the track shifts from its initially stripped-back sound to something more lurching and frenetic, the guitars weaving amidst, slashes of electronics and ever-changing drum rhythms. This is the sound of TV Room taking someone down from their pedestal, even if it does end with more of a sigh than a sting as Lucy wearily notes, “I’m tired, you can win”. Thankfully with music this good, everyone’s a winner, TV Room is onto something very special.
Stacey is out now via Sad Club Records. For more information on TV Room visit https://linktr.ee/tvroom.
4. Bug Bites Start The Car
Back in 2020, I picked out Houston’s Bug Bites as one of my top tips for the year ahead, the band subsequently made me look a tad silly by not releasing anything at all. Indeed they’ve only shared two tracks, as part of split 12″ with Astragal, in the subsequent three years, and I’d all but given up ever getting an album from them. Luckily my slither of remaining faith was rewarded this week when an email fell into my inbox announcing not just a single, Toyota Sienna, but also promising that a whole album of Bug Bites material would arrive in the Autumn.
Originally the project of Rose Ette-member Daniela Hernandez and producer John Stevens, Bug Bites deal in that sort of wistful turn-of-the-century indie pop that I’m something of a sucker for, where breezy guitars and bright vocals drift across contrastingly driving rhythm tracks that stop the whole thing from getting a little too ethereal. Thankfully for fans of the band’s earlier material, Toyota Sienna doesn’t stray too far from the blueprint coming across like the middle ground of Alvvays and Why Bonnie as Daniela laments the drag of getting older, where life seems to only get faster and we forget to live in the moment, “in the blink of an eye youth gone by it was over as soon as it started”. Interestingly they choose to book-end the song with the same memory, getting a lift from a friend’s parents, “the year was 2000 and something”, it has a wonderfully inconsequential feel, an everyday event elevated by future loss and the unspoken events around it. Bug Bites finally coming good on that promise I heard all those years ago, that’s a treat that’s well worth waiting for.
Fits And Starts will be released this Autumn. For more information on Bug Bites visit https://bugbitesband.bandcamp.com/.
3. Nicholas Krgovich Is The King Of The Stoop
A veteran of over two decades of music making, Nicholas Krgovich is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known for his work with No Kids, Gigi and P:ano. Based out of Vancouver, Nicholas is currently gearing up for a string of US-dates with his label boss, Owen Ashworth aka Advance Base, which will coincide with his new four-track album, Ducks. Ahead of the release, this week Nicholas shared the first single from the album, Front Stoop #2.
Recalling writing the song, Nicholas talks about its, “end of the bed preparing for a coffee shop open mic nite spirit”, and it certainly possesses a certain charming spontaneity. The track was written back in the summer of 2019, a season of forest fires, “and a very trippy biblical end times western hemlock looper moth infestation“. Despite its somewhat end-of-days origin story, Nicholas’ rendition of it is considerably more relaxed, as languid guitars and a drum beat that’s more like a metronome back his tale of clouded thoughts clicking into sudden clarity. A track that starts with an admission of loneliness, a porch and a beer, ends with Nicholas marvelling at the simple beauties of the world and hoping for better days, “the summer was a weird one, I swing open the door “welcome fall”. And with another toss of a pebble, combing the beach for shells, and looking at the water at sunset, next to things that don’t matter and things to forget”. Perhaps that’s the joy of Nicholas Krgovich’s music, he takes the view out your window and shines new light upon it, he highlights the beauty and the sadness, the tough past and the bright future we have to believe is coming around every corner.
Ducks is out March 10th via Orindal Records. For more information on Nicholas Krgovich visit https://nicholaskrgovich.bandcamp.com/.
2. I’m Coming Round To Hairband
Formed in 2016, Hairband are something of a supergroup, consisting of various luminaries of the Glasgow underground scene, including the likes of Spinning Coin, Breakfast Muff and Kaputt. After bursting onto the scene back in 2018 with their self-titled debut EP, Hairband went through something of a gear change after guitarist Rachel Taylor relocated to Berlin, making them a long-distance prospect ever since. Back at the start of 2020, in the nick of time pre-lockdown, the band gathered in one place, Glasgow’s Green Door Studio, and managed to record their debut album, Under The Plow, which three years later will see the light of day in April via Lost Map Records. Ahead of the release, this week the band shared the first single from it, Unconcious Rivals.
Creating Under The Plow is an experience that the band look back on fondly, as drummer Emma Smith recalls, “these songs reflect a period the band will forever appreciate and be proud of, having stumbled on a particular kind of musical chemistry none of us had really felt before“. Despite the clear joy in its creation, Under The Plow is a record unafraid to explore darker themes, as showcased on Unconcious Rivals, a song about, “the call and response of co-existence, autonomy, and repair within relationships“. The track is built around the pulse of a truly fantastic bass-line, atop it the guitars seem to mirror the call-and-response theme, trading looping rhythmic runs, bringing to mind the stop-start angularity of Weaves or The Drink. The result is a track that feels every bit as uncertain as the lyrical narrative, the shared vocals coming and going, half a conversation and half a demand, as they muse on competition and ego in relationships, “searching for some kind of relief, escape from this rivalry between you and me”, and how it can lead to mistrust and deception, “it’s been the truth, let me make it up to you, been twisting the truth, let me make it up to you”. Whatever Hairbands plans from here, Under The Plow feels like a special moment, a place where friendship and musical talent collide in a celebration of sisterhood and the joy of musical expression.
Under The Plow is out April 21st via Lost Map. For more information on Hairband visit https://hairband.bandcamp.com/.
1. Esther Rose Runs Into The Prince Of Cool
A firm favourite around these parts, Esther Rose first caught my ear back in 2019 around the release of her brilliant second album, You Made It This Far. After returning in 2021 with the equally excellent, How Many Times, Esther recently made the move from New Orleans to her current home city of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was there that Esther began the two-year writing process that led to her upcoming fourth album, Safe To Run, which she announced earlier this week. Ahead of the album’s April release via New West Records, this week Esther shared the first single from it, Chet Baker.
Discussing the single, Esther explains it was brought on by a message from the past, a simple, “do you remember me?” that sent Esther into, “a decade-old memory; a weird weekend with a crew of dangerous college preps, a car crash”. The track that came out of that is a reflection on “wilful recklessness”, Ether looking back on her younger self with a sense of empathy, wanting to empathize with her younger self, “it’s alright, you were 23. You were out of control. I got you now. You’re okay”. Chet Baker’s role in the song’s narrative is a soundtrack on the car stereo, yet perhaps he serves as a wider metaphor, a reminder that not everyone makes it through the drink and drugs unscathed. Musically, the track remains distinctly Esther Rose, with her smooth country-licked vocals, sashaying Latin-influenced guitars and that ever-present slide guitar, yet there’s distinct progress here too. Esther’s dissections of youthful misdemeanours and self-destructive tendencies are part of a deliberate lyrical moving on, “my challenge every time I picked up the pen was: not another heartbreak song”. Musically too there are hints of new influences, fittingly for a song about dangerous vices, the outro struts with the laid-back urgency of The Velvet Underground or even a touch of The Kinks. This feels like a new adventure for Esther Rose, as she makes a leap into the unknown, she’s taking us along for the ride, “this album feels different to me than everything I’ve made before it. But who knows? I’ve traded hurricanes for wildfires”. Extinguishers at the ready, this already feels like it’s going to be a thrilling ride.
Safe To Run is out April 21st via New West Records. For more information on Esther Rose visit EstherRose.net
Header photo is Esther Rose by Brandon Soder.